By Alicia Squillante
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Although the quote was first spoken by Anne Frank, author Elaine D. Walsh has always found it inspirational and believes whole heartedly in the message it sends. To show her belief in that message, she will be donating the royalties from her book, Atomic Summer, to cancer research charities as well as the Hope for Kathryn “Kitty” Fowke foundation.
Although Walsh was born in Oahu, Hawaii, she spent the majority of her early years in upstate New York. She attended the State University of New York at Geneseo and received a B.A. in English. After graduating she packed up her bags and moved to Florida with a friend. Her first job was at the Tampa Tribune in the classifieds area. “I always wanted to become a writer,” said Walsh. After the Tampa Tribune, Walsh moved from Progressive, where she entered in to management training, then to the Home Shopping Network and then finally to a company called MedCo. Around this time is when Walsh began her work on her coming of age book, Atomic Summer, based in a fictional town in upstate New York.
The book begins in the early 1950’s and focuses on three teenage girls, Bernadette Vaughn , Faith McNulty and Octavia Mansfield. Each of the three are based on real people: Walsh’s own mother and friends. According to Walsh, the three friends asked one another what they would do if the world suddenly came to an end. “I was so amused by their answers,” said Walsh. “I would tell friends about it and it was always good for a few laughs.” The book recently hit #11 on Amazon’s list of Hot New Releases in the coming of age genre and is being favorably received both online and off.
While every author’s goal is to become a best seller, and Walsh is no exception, her main drive is not on how many books she can sell, but on how many lives she can touch. “I didn’t publish Atomic Summer to make money,” said Walsh. “I published it to realize a dream.” In December of 2008, Walsh’s mother died of a rare and aggressive form of cancer known as primary peritoneal carcinoma. “I knew I wanted to do something more to honor my mother,” she explained. So, from now until the end of the year, all royalties she collects from book sales will be dispersed to cancer related charities, one in particular being that of Kathryn “Kitty” Fowke, a family friend suffering from leiomyosarcoma. Fowke recently flew to Europe to undergo experimental treatment at the Lentz clinic in Germany.
When asked if Atomic Summer would be coming to a nearby bookseller, Walsh explained that while that was the ultimate goal, for right now it would be available at online retailers like Amazon. She does, however, hope to do some book signings in the near future. You can read the first chapter of Atomic Summer on the Amazon Website. For more information on the author or book, please go to www.elainedwalsh.com.