Longtime Library Lover Publishes Book
Warren resident Elissa P. Matthews’ book will be available at SCLSNJ libraries
(Somerset County, NJ: March 30, 2017) Warren Township resident Elissa Matthews has a long history with Somerset County’s libraries.
“I’ve lived in Somerset Country most of my life and I’ve haunted all of the branches of Somerset County Library System of New Jersey at one time or another,” said Matthews. “I served as president of the Friends of the Watchung Library for several years, and everyone in my family has been a volunteer at various library branches. I can honestly say that the Library System is part of my family’s community structure.”
And now, her name will be among those she has browsed many times before. Her book, “Where the River Bends: The History of a Tragedy,” is available at SCLSNJ for checkout.
“It’s amazing to think that my book will be here in the library, sharing a shelf with all the great stories I’ve enjoyed over the years,” said Matthews.
“It was terrific to learn that a long-time resident and member of the Watchung Book Discussion Group was writing a novel, and how especially exciting that it has been added to the System’s collection,” said Elaine Stringer, head of circulation at SCLSNJ’s Watchung Library branch. “The interesting characters are forced to deal with long-held secrets at a devastating time in our nation’s history. This may sound like many other books you’ve heard about, but I can sincerely say I have never read a book quite like this one. Very original.”
“Where the River Bends: The History of a Tragedy” is described as the story of a mother and son fighting to save themselves — and each other — from the destruction that sex, money, and power can cause, set in a turbulent and decisive period of American history.
Matthews’ “Where the River Bends: The History of a Tragedy” can be checked out of any of SCLSNJ’s 10 library branches. Visit your local library branch or SCLSNJ.org for more information.
Get to know Elissa Matthews
SCLSNJ: What inspired “Where the River Bends”?
EM: This story had two origins. First, I had a scene in my head where a teenage son realizes that his mother is an individual, with her own past. Second, I was horrified by the James Byrd event in Texas, where three white supremacists tortured and murdered a man because of his skin color. These combined to form the core of my story. The characters themselves took it the rest of the way.
SCLSNJ: How long did it take you to write the book?
EM: I worked on this novel on and off for many years. The historical research required a good deal of effort, at least a couple years. The overall writing took an additional two years.
SCLSNJ: Can we expect more books?
EM: Yes, indeed. I love writing and I have several short stories published in literary magazines, but also reprinted on my website (EPMatthews.com). I’m starting research on a second historical novel set in Egypt during the time of the Pharaohs.
SCLSNJ: What’s your favorite book?
EM: I don’t have just one favorite book. I have a favorite book when I’m in a serious mood, a favorite for a rainy day, a favorite childhood book, a favorite book to share with others…the list goes on.
SCLSNJ: Where is your favorite place to read?
EM: Anywhere in the woods, near a lake, or in a hammock under a tree. I think being outdoors makes me feel like I’ve truly escaped from the real world.
SCLSNJ: What’s your favorite thing about the library?
EM: The very best thing of all about the library is that I can go in, pick out all the books that call out to me, and I don’t have to choose between them – I can take them all!
About Elissa Matthews
Elissa Matthews was born and raised in New Jersey, close enough to visit New York City and watch the turmoil of Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and anti-war demonstrations first hand, then return to the quiet of the country to absorb and understand. She is the author of several short stories, all of them dealing, in one way or another, with our lies, our masks, and the issues we need courage to face. She has visited almost every state in the USA and more than 30 countries around the globe, but still lives 12 miles down the road from where she grew up. “Where the River Bends: The History of Tragedy” is her first novel.
About Somerset County Library System of New Jersey
Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) partners with you to connect, to explore, to share and to discover. Together we enrich lives, expand knowledge and strengthen communities. SCLSNJ branches can be found in Bridgewater, Bound Brook, Hillsborough, Manville, North Plainfield, Peapack & Gladstone, Rocky Hill at Mary Jacobs Memorial Library, Somerville, Warren Township, and Watchung. Additionally, there are two SCLSNJ reading stations in Branchburg and Washington Valley. Visit SCLSNJ.org for further information about library services offered at SCLSNJ.