Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Emery Lord

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-three authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Emery Lord

Hi! I’m Emery. I’m the author of four novels about teenage girls: Open Road Summer, The Start Of Me & You, When We Collided, and The Names They Gave Us.

I was born near a harbor on the East coast and raised near a beach, an ocean, a great lake, and the Ohio River. I’m a longtime Cincinnatian, where we love good beer, good music, and our public library.

​I’m married to a scientist who shuts down every wedding dance floor, and we are owned by two rescue dogs.

I believe in the magic of storytelling, Ferris wheels, and you.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

I was a weird and lonely kid, and preternaturally anxious.

I moved a lot, so maybe that was part of it. (Have you seen The Sandlot? I was Scotty Smalls.) But, honestly? I don’t know how much different I’d have been if I’d lived in the same city my whole life. I think some of us are born weird and lonely and anxious.

It felt like imaginations were little chimneys on the side of your head, and teachers loved it when you puffed out little clouds. But my imagination? Spat out aurora borealis, hurricane systems, heat lightning. I was too much, too strange, and I struggled to even understand normalcy enough to emulate it.

I didn’t sleep easily or well, prone to panic spirals about what happened to the dinosaurs, my inability to conceptualize “eternity”, and my encompassing fear of doing anything wrong in school ever. For starters.

Something that is useful, when you are weird and lonely and anxious, is books. They address all three issues! So you’re weird! Great! All the good books are about weirdos. Lonely? I mean, have you met Harry Potter? Anxious? Well, on the good nights, books could transport me far enough away from my worries that I could finally shut my eyes.

Nearly all my most-beloved characters have already been mentioned in previous posts. These are the girls who raised me after my parents went to bed each night: Ella of Frell, Alice McKinley, Claudia Kishi & Stacey McGill, Hermione Granger. Ella made me less fearful of doing things wrong. Alice made me embrace my inquisitiveness, my social awkwardness and questions. Claudia & Stacey sowed the early seeds of best friendship. Hermione made me care less if classmates thought my eager hand-raising was annoying. (I’m sure it was, but I would have saved all their asses from Devil’s Snare.)

But I also read a lot of Saddle Club books, which I don’t hear talked about very much. Stevie, Carol, and Lisa rode horses, and I loved horses. I read Man O’ War and Black Beauty, studied photos and memorized facts and coloring and history, rode whenever I could. But I…did not have a Stevie or Carole or Lisa. I did not have a group of friends at all, let alone one that shared my interests.

The three girls were all so different. Different family lives; different strengths. The books were in third person, so I got to know each of them. They fought sometimes. Made mistakes. Made up.

These books are not the most definitive of my childhood reading life. But these three girls kept me company at a time when I couldn’t really cope. I could, however, imagine myself as the 4th member of their club, and it gave me a template for long-term friendship. There were so many books in the series that I carried on my friendships with Carole, Lisa, and Stevie longer than any friends I left behind when I moved away. Sometimes, I went to bed early at sleepovers because I didn’t know how to interact with girls my age. I laid in my sleeping bag with whichever Saddle Club book I’d brought, and I traveled to Pine Hollow Stables. I observed friendship until I found my footing in real-life friendship.

I am still anxious. I am still weird. I no longer care about containing my imagination or humor or sense of what is interesting in delicate cloud-forms.

I am still a little lonely, but not for companionship. It’s a strange, inborn longing for…something, for someone. But now I believe this core, wispy loneliness is supposed to be there, a gap that character voices were always meant to fill. Maybe that persistent twinge keeps me seeking new characters, keeps me writing them.

And besides, I grew up and found my own Caroles and Lisas and Stevies after all.

They were just in their rooms reading, too.

Title The Names They Gave Us
Author Emery Lord
Pages 384 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published May 16th, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters – in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp-one for troubled kids – Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord’s storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life’s biggest challenges.

One response to “Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Emery Lord”

  1. This is such a beautiful piece of essay. <3 Thank you for sharing, Emery Lord! Thank you for this series, Jen!
    Shelumiel @ Bookish and Awesome recently posted…Unmissable Weekly: July 9, 2017My Profile

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