The next chapter

Plymouth writer completes first novel, working on second
by Jeff Pederson
of The Review staff


PLYMOUTH RESIDENT AND former Sheboygan Falls High School English teacher Dawn Hogue (below) recently released her first novel “A Hollow Bone (above).” — Photo below by Kimberly Johnson PLYMOUTH RESIDENT AND former Sheboygan Falls High School English teacher Dawn Hogue (below) recently released her first novel “A Hollow Bone (above).” — Photo below by Kimberly Johnson PLYMOUTH - After teaching English to students at Sheboygan Falls High School for 26 years, Dawn Hogue is living well and prospering in her second career as a writer, poet, editor and now author.

In mid-June, Hogue launched her first-ever novel titled “A Hollow Bone” and recently held a public book launch event at the Plymouth Public Library.

While “A Hollow Bone” is her first swing at writing a novel, Hogue has been heavily involved in teaching and practicing the art of writing for many years.

“I started teaching English at Sheboygan Falls High School in 1990 and continued doing that for the next 26,” Hogue said. “I also advised the student newspaper and the yearbook during my years at Sheboygan Falls High School.

“I currently work as a writing tutor for The Center for Talented Youth, a long-established program through Johns Hopkins University that serves gifted and talented children,” she said. “My fifth-sixth grade students, whom I communicate with online, come from all over the world.”

Hogue, who has resided in Plymouth since 1975, first became interested in writing poems and stories at a young age.

“I started writing poems and little stories as a child” Hogue said. “In my adult life, I continued to write. I took a writing minor at Lakeland College in the late 1980s and put together a collection of poetry for my senior project.

“Commercially, I’ve written two Advanced Placement English test prep books for REA (Research and Education Association), which continue to sell well,” she said.

“My poetry has been published in Stoneboat Literary Journal and in two books that emerged from collaboration with The Mead Public Library Poetry Circle, which I’m a member, and the Sheboygan Visual Artists,” Hogue said. “These books are available on Amazon. One is called ‘Intersections: Art and Poetry,’ and the other is ‘Making it Speak: Poets and Writers in Cahoots.’”

Hogue is not just a published poet, but also an award-winning one. On Aug. 4, Door County’s Peninsula Pulse selected Hogue as the winner of the annual Hal Prize for her poem “The Obligation.”

According to Hogue, the original idea for “A Hollow Bone” developed within the framework of a complicated mother-daughter relationship.

“It began with an idea for a story about a divorced mom whose adolescent daughter was the real ‘adult’ in their relationship, but the story grew well beyond that impulse,” Hogue said. “The mother and daughter are still my key characters, but their personalities and their relationship is far more complex than I imagined originally.”

Set in Sheboygan in 1977, the book begins with 42-year-old Angelina Miranda learning that she has stage-four breast cancer. This is when she realizes that everything she has done in her life has not been enough and it has been wrong, too.

With only months to live, Angelina seeks out to set things right with her daughter, Sophie, which is something she regrets she never did with her father.

Throughout the book, readers learn that Angelina’s relationship with her father, complicated by her mother’s tragic accident, had propelled teenage Angelina on a reckless course that shaped her life and robbed her of the love she had been seeking.

After seeking a publishing company to carry the book, Hogue decided to take the increasingly popular self-publishing route for “A Hollow Bone.”

“I worked for over a year, seeking an agent to represent my novel,” Hogue said. “I queried over 90 agents and got a few positive responses, but in the end, that route proved fruitless, and I wanted to make positive forward progress.

“It was then that I decided to self publish by creating my own small press company called Water’s Edge Press,” she said. “This has been a real learning experience. In addition to publishing my novel, I am currently working on an anthology of poetry called ‘The Water Poems’ that includes poetry by The Grand Avenue Poetry Collective, made up of six really talented Sheboygan area poets. I am hoping it will be available to readers from Water’s Edge Press by October 2017.”

After officially introducing the book to the public at the Plymouth Public Library on Aug. 10, Hogue is looking forward to holding a book signing event at Book Heads Book Store in downtown Plymouth in either November or December.

Just two months after its release, Hogue has been pleased with the response to “A Hollow Bone.”

“I have had many positive comments on my writer page on Facebook.” Hogue said. “There are also positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Everyone takes something personal, it seems, from reading my novel.

“Many have mentioned how much they enjoy being taken back in time to a Sheboygan they remember,” she said. “The book evokes memories of their parents’ and grandparents’ lives as well. When I chose Sheboygan as my setting, I wanted it to provide something real and familiar for readers. My characters could have lived anywhere, but Lake Michigan and the Midwest sensibilities of Sheboygan fit my story very well. Once I decided to set the book there, the setting actually helped me further develop my human characters.”

Although “A Hollow Bone” has only been out since June, Hogue is already hard at work on her next book project.

“I am currently working on my next novel,” Hogue said. “It is also set in the past and in Sheboygan County, though it is a much different story from ‘A Hollow Bone.’”

“A Hollow Bone” is available at www.watersedgepress.com, amazon.com (paperback and Kindle versions) and Book Heads Book Store in Plymouth.

In addition, the book will soon be on the selves at the Plymouth, Sheboygan Falls and Mead public libraries.


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