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Book three of The Estelle Series, Belief, is ready, are you?

Seriously, are you? Because it’s awesome.

So if you’re behind, let me start at the beginning. I was for long years a cartoonist and now I am a writer. They are in many ways the same thing, except cartoonists must be brief, and have a pretty lax view of punctuation rules. (If a comma mars the beauty of the bubble, then why?) Okay, maybe their view isn’t lax, maybe it’s more, discriminating. I used to suffer over a sentence, trying to get to the gist, the joke, the essence of the thought.

Now I write, but that desire, to get to the point is there, and my point—that the world is a wondrous, beautiful, happy, hopeful place, especially when mothers and babies and families and women are honored and respected and loved and…

Well, that all remains true, and so I write stories with a point.I’m also a lactivist, still. And what better way to promote breastfeeding, than the world of YA literature?

I started with one book, Bright.

This is a great book that is sure to be a classic for young readers. The story of Estelle Wells is as inspiring as it is poignant. A young girl living with every luxury but wondering what else is out there. An inspirational tale that weaves together past and present, love and loss, passion and fear. Estelle epitomizes the power and passion of the teenage mind and heart and shows us what one person is capable of if she questions everything and follows her dreams. It is also a diversion from so many modern tales of power through aggression and war, as the main character and her comrades stand up for what is right through nonviolence and intense loyalty to their cause…even when they weren’t sure what they were standing for. I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to read it again. It is a coming of age masterpiece! -J. Schilling-Wigley

And I introduced a character, Mj, who is a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, baby slinging mama. You’re welcome.

 

Then I wrote a sequel, Beyond. A lot of things happened to Estelle in the first book and though she was strong, the case could be made that she was rescued. In book two Estelle rescues someone she loves. She becomes courageous.

I don’t want to give too much away, but Beyond was a wonderful follow-up to Bright. Things became intense early on, and I was thoroughly gripped by unexpected turns, interesting characters, and a story that felt simultaneously like fantasy and yet all-too-possible. I rarely re-read books, but this is one I’ll happily buy in print and share with my daughters. While I’m sure it’s probably considered “young adult”, I can definitely imagine my 10 year old falling in love with this series, and eventually my 7 year old too. To the author, thank you especially for William. He made me smile and laugh numerous times. And for MJ. She’s my dream friend, haha! – R.B.

In this book, Mj becomes pregnant again and invites Estelle to her home birth.

Now the last of the series, Belief is ready. Estelle’s insistance that change is possible has created a sh*tstorm of repercussions, what will she do, when she’s responsible for it all?

 

Mj, the AP character, is a small role, but here’s a sample:

It was late. The rest of the family had tucked in for the night. Little Bea, though she wasn’t very little anymore, was in Mj’s sling, fast asleep, arms splayed, chubby legs poking out, top of her head sleep-sweaty. She barely woke up, though Mj had picked her up from the bed, put her in the sling, and carried her downstairs. Once Mj sat down, Bea nudged and wiggled, meaning she wanted to nurse, so Mj lifted her shirt in mid-sentence, without a thought. I laughed to myself that I used to find that shocking and now it was so commonplace I hardly noticed it. William must have been thinking the same thing because I glanced at him and he winked.   —From Belief (Book Three of The Estelle Series)

These things, romance, family, and strong, inspiring women are the point of these stories, and I really hope that the characters will become some of your family’s favorites.

xox,

Heather Cushman-Dowdee

writing as H.D. Knightley