Author and visual artist Stephanie Rose Bird has released her debut novel, Out of the Blue, a young-adult coming-of-age tale of a teenage girl who struggles to save her father, a blues singer and shrimper from Mobile, Alabama, who lies unconscious in a hospital bed, suffering from a mysterious illness.
In order to save her father, 15-year-old Tina must travel to a world of strange and magical creatures to wrestle his soul from control of a Siren. A gift from Greek mythology, Sirens were said to be alluring yet dangerous harp-playing, half-woman-half-bird creatures who attracted sailors with their lovely singing, driving them to their deaths.
Sirens were my inspiration for this book, says Bird. I love mythology and folklore and am particularly captivated by stories involving Sirens.
While Out of the Blue is Birds first novel, the multi-talented Chicago-area writer and artist is the author of several books, including Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo and Conjuring with Herbs, A Healing Grove: African Tree Remedies and Rituals for Body and Spirit, and The Big Book of Soul: The Ultimate Guide to the African American Spirit; legends and lore, music and mysticism, recipes and rituals.
In Out of the Blue, fifteen-year-old Tina is on a search for the where, who and how. She finds herself flowing in and out of several distinctly different cultures. She wonders where she fits into her community and even her family. She thinks she knows who her people are but her deep ancestry paints a different story.
The story marvels at the resiliency of the human spirit, says Bird. As Tinas magical journey twists and turns, shell learn what it means to be a woman and what it means to save not only her father, but herself, as well.
Birds paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally in museums, universities and galleries. Bird has won numerous grants, fellowships and scholarships including a Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant, a San Diego Opportunity Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Faculty Enrichment Grant and funding from the Australian-American Educational Foundation.
Published by One Odd Bird Press, Out of the Blue is available for Kindle and goes on sale on March 22 at Amazon for $5.99. A 240-page paperback version ($11.99) will be available from Amazon by the end of March.