“This provocative tale will resonate with many in the era of the #MeToo movement.”
—Publishers Weekly starred review
“Think Dave Eggers’ The Circle meets Lean In meets Lord of the Flies. A truly unique storyline and compelling main character… I absolutely loved everything about this book!"
—Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of The Blackbird Season
“With biting honesty, Brown tackles a litany of timely topics and deftly dissects the often male-driven, competitive, cutthroat professional arena women must navigate. HOW FAR SHE’S COME will give readers plenty to discuss, especially the breathtaking conclusion guaranteed to leave you cheering and weeping…”
—Heather Gudenkauf, NYT bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound
From the highly acclaimed author of DON’T TRY TO FIND ME and THIS IS NOT OVER comes a story that’s both page-turning and thought provoking. In HOW FAR SHE’S COME, the young broadcast journalist Cheyenne Florian discovers a mysterious diary from a female broadcaster in 1991 that features increasingly frightening parallels to her own life. How far have women really come, and how far is there still to go? And how far will Cheyenne have to go to not just stay safe but to make her mark?
The New York Times Book Review recommended it for book clubs, and beyond: “Fiction has the extraordinary power to teach humans empathy, but unless this book is required reading for every man in America it might reach only an audience who’s already open to the difficult discussions the book club guidelines lay out. It would be nice if we could have these talks with the people most resistant to them, through the lens of fiction, around a coffee table with some poundcake and red wine.”
Here's a note from the author about her inspiration, her process, and why she’d love to come drink some wine with your book club!
FROM THE AUTHOR:
HOW FAR SHE’S COME was “inspired” by the 2016 election. It really shook me up to think that an admitted pussy grabber had won the presidency. I’ve always worked in female-dominated industries (publishing and mental health, since I’m a practicing marriage and family therapist) so I’d never before grasped just how pernicious and widespread the difficulties are for so many working women. It was a real wake-up call, and therefore, an inspiration.
The day after the election, I was shell-shocked and horrified and confused. It was a form of grief. As it began to lift a week or so later, I had changed from a lazy feminist into a motivated one. I knew the title of my next book: HOW FAR SHE’S COME.
We all have to fight with the tools at our disposal. In my case, as a therapist and a writer, I wield words. I’d written three psychological thrillers (or domestic suspense, if you prefer), and while I was interested in female experiences, there was nothing overtly feminist about the books. They took place close to home for the most part—hence the term “domestic”—and while some scenes occurred in workplaces, they were almost incidental to the action. They were just another setting.
HOW FAR SHE’S COME is a very different book, one where the setting is, to a large degree, the story, a twist on that old saying about how the media is the message. In my case, that setting would be a fictional cable news network called the Independent News Network (INN), with the slogan, “Because independent thinking is the only way out.”
I’ve always tried to avoid “the sociopath did it” suspense; instead, I’ve favored suspense that mirrors that description of the frog who’s placed in water that heats incrementally so that he won’t jump out. I trap my characters in water that eventually boils around them. HOW FAR SHE’S COME does that, too, but on a whole different level. The system is boiling the water, and the individual players have their own motivations, but it’s bigger than that. It’s about the network itself, and about the larger societal pressures and culture which that workplace reflects, and it’s told through two women’s stories, one in 1991, one contemporary. I don’t think this is much of a spoiler alert but in case you’re wondering, there are no sociopaths in this novel either. That would be far too simple, and monsters aren’t the right focus, not if we want to change the world. We have to focus on the vast majority of us, who are flawed actors, many of whom just aren’t even aware of the scripts.
I intend HOW FAR SHE’S COME to be page-turning and entertaining, but I hope it’s more than that. While the novel is unabashedly feminist, it’s not political, in the sense that the goals of equality and a world free of abuse are non-partisan. As the mother of a six-year-old, the election jarred me into action. Writing is my small attempt to help create the world I want for her, and for every other female, and every male, too. In the big picture, sexism and abuse benefit no one.
I’ve been in book clubs myself, and I love the novels that move quickly but leave plenty of real-life questions in their wake. I think HOW FAR SHE’S COME fits the bill, and it’d be a real honor to drink some wine with your club—in person in the San Francisco Bay Area, or by Skype nation-wide. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can make it happen.
Thanks for reading!
HOLLY BROWN is (in no particular order): a novelist, wife, mother, marriage and family therapist, poker enthusiast, resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, lover of some incredibly shameful reality TV, devotee of NPR (she owes a debt of gratitude for inspiring more than one novel), and a believer that people should always be willing to make mistakes and always be the first to apologize for them.
She can be reached at email@example.com.