Hey Visionaries! I don't think I've talked about it much over here but last year on www.sisters-three.com I held a short story contest in honor of my Debut novels release. Then I took those stories and curated a short story collection with my sisters!
So, I present - Heard in Silence: A Short Story Collection!
All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to the ASDC or American Society for Deaf Children. Here is the link to the site: https://deafchildren.org/
Here's some bookish info and then the mini interviews!
Release Date: Sept. 8th, 2023
Authors: Saraina Whitney, Alison Stadt, K.R. Mattson, Marisa Phillips, Kylie Beevers, Riley G. Stanch, Jaiden Phillips, Lorelei Angelino, Lillian Keith, Grace A. Johnson, Kaytlin Phillips, Autumn Nicole, and Wilder W.
Some voices can only be heard in silence.
Thirteen young authors invite you to journey deep into a silent world so often overlooked. Within these pages, you’ll find bittersweet contemporary YA, spellbinding fantasy, tender romance, and so much more, each centering on a deaf character.
Curated by author Kaytlin Phillips, this short story collection offers you a peek inside a life without sound, a fresh perspective on a world you may never have experienced. For a moment in time, hush the noise around you and absorb the quiet heartbeat of these diverse stories. Let yourself be swept away in these characters' struggles, heartaches, and victories.
Heard in Silence features work from Saraina Whitney, Alison Stadt, K.R. Mattson, Marisa Phillips, Kylie Beevers, Riley G. Stanch, Jaiden Phillips, Lorelei Angelino, Lillian Keith, Grace A. Johnson, Kaytlin Phillips, Autumn Nicole, and Wilder W.! This unique, richly imagined short story collection will stretch your mind and hold your heart captive.
Goodreads Book Link: https://www.goodreads.com-heard-in-silence-anthology
Pre-Order Link: https://www.amazon.com/heard+in+silence+anthology
Mini Interview - Saraina Whitney
Tell us a little about you:
I’m a Christian writer from Illinois and a recent homeschool graduate, passionate about telling stories of hope and truth to kindle a bold faith in God. My default genres are Christian historical romance and fantasy. Besides the obvious fondness for reading and writing, I love playing piano and singing, blogging about my bookish opinions, sharing inside jokes with my siblings, and people-watching. (Well, let’s be real, who doesn’t love that?)
What inspired your story Invisible?
Probably my own love for music! I just adore writing stories with musical threads, and an immediate conflict presented itself with how my character was deaf yet still felt a connection to music. It was intriguing enough of a premise to carry me through till the end of the story.
I also think that, indirectly, the following quote inspired this story: “He wanted to be alone, and he wanted to be found.” It’s from The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, and when I first read it, it instantly resonated with me—the striking and bone-deep paradox of wanting to be seen and wanting to be invisible because you’re also scared of being seen for who you are. Because you’re scared you won’t be accepted, understood, loved. That’s a theme that’s always been close to my heart, and it happened to spill over in this story.
Do you think you will ever expand the story?
Though I don’t have anything planned, I would be so excited to explore Elizabeth and Roland’s story further and discover what happens after the short story’s end! There’s a lot of intriguing potential and unknown. It would definitely involve Elizabeth’s family (I know she has a sister named Belle who’s only mentioned in passing 👀) and Roland’s uncle. I guess I’ll have to sit down with the characters one day and get them to let me in on all their secrets.
Mini Interview - Alison Stadt
Tell us a little about you:
Haha, to be honest, I never know what to say when I’m asked this question, but I shall try ;). I am a Christian highschooler, and have been an avid reader and writer since I was little. Some of my hobbies are reading and writing (hopefully obvious XD), jigsaw puzzles, drawing, playing piano, and running.
My favorite genres are fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary fiction. I’m a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, and would love to create a world as complex and fascinating as Middle Earth one day.
In my writing, I strive to create meaningful stories that will touch people’s hearts and stay with them for a long time. I want to glorify God with my work, deliver messages of hope and light in the darkness, and for readers to come away with some of that hope in their hearts.
Where did the idea for Friends of Silence first spring from?
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. I have basically no memory of starting to write “Friends of Silence.” And I don’t know if that’s concerning?
I think I was just trying to imagine what daily life for a deaf girl would look like. And for me, daily life is school, so that’s where I put her. The rest of the story kind of flowed out from there—the challenges and isolation that can come from being deaf, but also the hidden gems of people in the world, and how they can affect others.
Are your characters anything like you?
In a way, I based my main character, Emilie, off of me. Because of her disability, she feels disconnected from everyone else and like she doesn’t belong. I know those feelings of insecurity and not belonging, and so that part of me is part of her. I think she is a really relatable person, and I wanted that in my story. Someone I could connect with and go deeper than I could otherwise, especially since her deafness is something I have no experience with.
Mini Interview - K. R. Mattson
Tell us a bit about you:
Hey! I’m K.R. Mattson, an author of action, adventure, suspense, and whatever else gets in the way. Usually romance. I enjoy volunteering as an EMR and firefighter in my local small towns and gathering story ideas from my experiences. I am also an artist and a seasoned debater of random statements. My apologies in advance.
Where did this story idea spring from?
Well it first sprang from Kaytlin’s story contest of which there was a prize offered for the winner, which was her latest book. The reason I signed up is obvious. As for Secret and Whisper’s relation to the story…who knows from whence they came? It's a mystery to even me. But I do know that they made a fine riot in the editing process. *eyeroll* Even to this day they refuse to stand in line.
Will you ever write more of Secret’s story?
Hopefully. I’m actually toying with an idea to write a novella for him this coming winter for an anthology releasing in February. He’ll trip through an adventure of mystery: he is sent to investigate a series of deaths all related to one object. Action: Fight scenes, arguments, naughty children, maybe even a traitor! Suspense: I don’t know what yet but it’ll be in there! And romance: Ugh. Yep. The conniving rascal has found its way into my story once again. But don’t get your hopes up. I’m not an avid writer of happy endings.
Mini Interview - Marisa Phillips
Tell us a little about you:
Ello, as you’ve gathered, I’m Marisa Phillips, but everyone calls me either Rissy, Risa, or Ris. I’m the second youngest of an awesome big family and most often can be found sitting on the porch with our dog Ruger or baking something in the kitchen, and usually writing while doing either of those things. ;)
I love keeping my hands busy as it helps me think and since I use for voice to text (since I’m dyslexic) for writing, it works well to bake or pet the dog.
I write action-packed stories that point back to the One who made me in hopes that they will touch the heart of some adventurous soul and draw them closer to our Lord.
What gave you the idea for this story?
I feel like God gave it to me as I wrote about 20 different stories and deleted them before settling on this one…lol…so this definitely came from Him because I was ready to throw in the towel on this idea. 🙂
How did you make it so short and yet, perfect? (Please, I need this secret…lol…)
That probably has something to do with my dyslexia and having a hard time focusing. It’s really hard for me to keep track of long timelines *ahem* (thus the reason my fantasy is taking so long to write). But writing super short, quick stories that I can sum up and write in a day are easier for my scattered brain…lol…
Mini Interview - Kylie Beevers
Tell us a little about you: Hi! My name is Kylie! Though, most folks around here just refer to me as Ky. I’m a young teenage author striving to bring clean, morally sound content to the middle-grade audience! I’m very passionate about raising awareness of children's content, as it gets harder and harder for parents to find good and beautiful books for their children to read. Amidst the darkness, I yearn to bring the light of Yahweh through tales that defend hope and courage.
Where did the theme and title of this story come from? Wrapped Gifts of Tranquility, I’ll admit, is a story I look back on and don’t completely understand where it came from. I suppose I was imagining myself deaf, knowing fully well that nothing I could think of would amount to the difficulties and blessings that so many deaf people have. So, I started with one sentence: I receive these wrapped gifts of tranquility. There are so many blessings that we fail to count in our lives; we forget the blessing to hear; the blessing to see; the blessing to taste; to use all our senses. It’s a gift we have. It’s a gift we should be grateful for. Receive your gifts, your blessings, while you have them. While you're in the moment, thank God. Silence is not a curse. It’s a blessing. Receive your wrapped gift of tranquility; seize the moment.
How hard was it to write? And what emotions fueled it? This, surprisingly, was not a difficult story to spin. And there are countless moments where I look back and wish I had the chance to fix it up. However, Yahweh has used it to encourage countless people and I pray that all the glory will go to Him who gave me the pen. The emotions that stirred me were honestly few. I powered on to bring hope into what seemed like a hopeless character. Safety to a character who thought he had none.
Mini Interview - Riley G. Stanch
Tell us a little about you:
Yodel! I’m Riley. I am a nerdy, creative young lady who likes to draw, read, write, and listen to music. Oh, and fangirl about my favorite stories, especially Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. I have an ardent passion for learning, and for the arts.
I believe there is something for us to learn in even the little aspects of life that seem to be no more than fun—and even if what we discover doesn’t seem important to us now, it will be someday. It’s a matter of learning how to see what there is to learn, and learning how to learn. Through my writing, I strive to show others how to discover the beauty in the world around us, the wonderful things we can learn, rather than the icky junk many peddle today. I strive to learn something with everything I write, no matter what it’s about.
Where did this idea first stem from?
When I heard Kayti was putting an anthology together, I was so excited! I and a bunch of kids put together an anthology for 8th grade, which was a fun experience (it was an odd experience in some aspects as well, but let’s not go into that…), so I wanted to participate in another.
My mind went to Beethoven when she said it was about deaf characters. Beethoven is one of my favorite composers, and today is more or less a household name. The theme in the finale of his 9th symphony, Ode to Joy, is also a piece everyone knows, even if you’re unfamiliar with classical music. But many don’t know what internal struggle he went through to produce the symphony.
I read a little bit about the story of his ninth in “Classical Music for Dummies” a few years back, and found it so exciting and inspiring. I decided to take that story—one of my favorite classical music backstories ever, next to Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique—and put a spy flavor in there, which I will tell you about here in a second!
Tell us a bit about the series you hope to connect this story to?
I thought you’d never ask! I hope to someday, when I can muster up the might and courage to research thoroughly, write a series about classical composers, and some of the works they composed. There are so many fun and crazy stories in the lives of composers, many that you would think only happen in fiction.
As for the series’s name, I don’t really have one yet, but I’m thinking about calling it “The Hands of a Composer” or something like that. Each story (probably novella length) will feature a different composer and a work of theirs—a different agent in the SACM (Secret Agency of Composers and Musicians) and a mission of theirs.
The Secret Agency of Composers and Musicians is an agency who seeks to bring a passion for music to the world by seeing justice served, whether it be directly in the music community or not. They may work with the government, or as an independent entity. Each agent is a famous musician or composer, using their talents to save their countries and their music. So yes, most characters were real people, with the exception of the Altstimme family, and some of the villains.
Too much work to figure out what real people could run the agency, haha.
My inspiration for the series was a story in the life of Hector Berlioz. He once was engaged to a woman who, when he left for music school, married someone else. In his rage, he decided to disguise as a woman and return to Paris, taking matters into his own hands. He never followed through with the wacky plan he concocted, but upon learning the story, I was moved to write about such an interesting encounter, perhaps tying it with the Fantastic Symphony he composed soon after.
The idea of him doing such things because he’s a spy popped into my brain, and I began to imagine the lives of other composers if they were also spies…. And the SACM was born.
There’s still much to figure out about this story—timelines especially. But I am so excited to find out more about the lives and works of the composers I love so much, and write all about them. I wonder what they would think.
Mini Interview - Jaiden Phillips
Tell us a little about you:
Hey-Oh! I'm Jaiden, but you can call me Jaidie!😜 I'm a writer, artist, and die-hard HTTYD and LotR fangirl!
When I'm not writing down stories or sketching new creations in my sketchpad, you can find me buried in a good book, hanging out with my sisters and friends, listening to music, or praising my Lord Jesus Christ.
I love creating new things—whether it's writing books or drawing—that show the beauty of God's creation, and I hope that my books and art will bring glory to Him and light a path for those around me.
Where did you get the inspiration for the coastal backdrop of this story?
I wanted the setting to contrast with the MC's emotions, so a bright sunny beach full of colorful houses and dancing waves seemed like the perfect backdrop for the story. Most of the inspiration for the way the beach looked, the way the waves crashed upon the shore and sent shells flying, the swaying palm trees, and colorful houses came from my own beach vacations with my family to beaches that I will not name😉
And what did you base Peter and Cole’s close friendship off of?
Honestly, my relationship with my own siblings. Though Peter and Cole are not blood-related, they are more or less brothers in heart. I wanted to break the stereotypical friendship trope with something that I related to more in my personal life. That being friends isn't about liking the same things, or what you talk about, or if you get each other's jokes or whatever. Sometimes what makes the strongest friendships is just knowing you have someone you can count on. Someone who's always ready to pick you up, who doesn't need to talk to know what you're feeling. Someone who can simply be there for you even if you're not the funniest, most talkative, outgoing person. Someone who will sit with you in silence simply to be there for you.
Mini Interview - Lorelei Angelino
Tell us a little about yourself:
Howdy, I’m Lorelei! I’m a Jesus-following, book-loving, chocolate-devouring writer! I’m also a college freshman working towards my degree in Communication. Some of my favorite things to do are read, build puzzles, hike, sip iced tea, and spend time with my family and friends!
How much research went into your story Daydreams?
A lot! Getting everything historically accurate is hard work. But it was also interesting to learn about everything that deaf people went through during WWII and hear testimonies from real WWII survivors.
What inspired Telsi?
Name-wise, Telsi was one of those made-up names that I stored in the back of my pocket, waiting to pull out when the need arose. I also took some of the character inspiration from Liesel (from The Book Thief) and by picture prompt (that I can’t seem to find anywhere).
Mini Interview - Lillian Keith
Tell us a little about you:
Hi there! My name is Lily and I’m a Christian homeschool grad. My favorite kind of stories to write are for the children’s/middle-grade age range. I’m not sure exactly when I decided to be an MG writer; I suppose when I was in my late teens and I started seriously considering being an author did I realize that I was most at home in the MG/kids lit genre. For me, at least, I love the imagination and adventure that comes with those stories (and the beautiful themes that so many talented authors pour into them are also something that I love and strive to incorporate in what I write.)
As for some totally random facts (because those are some of the best parts of an intro!) I love the National Treasure movies. Hiking is a favorite activity (when it’s not super hot outside lol), and I really enjoy needle-felting dolls (Oh, and did I mention that raising chickens has been one of my favorite experiences? That and playing balloon volleyball with my sisters. Yes, those are two totally unrelated things XD.)
Where did you get the idea for Norah’s story?
Oof! We’re going way back. Let’s see. From what I remembered, it was a combination of things. I decided to focus on an MG angle for the story, which included themes of friendship. Then I found a picture of a girl around ten years old and knew she had to be the MC (I’ve probably already explained this in a different post, so apologies if I repeat myself XD.)
But in the photo, the girl was wearing a blue t-shirt with a logo near her shoulder. It was too fuzzy to make out, but it made me think of the NOAA symbol (which I had only learned about when I was researching moray eels for a class writing project. Yeah, that’s a long story lol.) It inspired the idea to have my MC be interested in weather science, and then the idea to have the story be a camp setting in the midst of an unexpected storm was born.
What’s your favorite thing you learned while writing this story?
I enjoyed learning how to make the prose/narrative of the story reflect the MC and her passion. That would be one of my favorite things. But the most favorite (and valuable!) thing that I learned was trying to see the world from a completely different perspective. Learning to walk in someone else’s shoes was challenging, yet so important. I hoped that my story reflected how there can be a barrier between the hearing and not-hearing world, and yet two people learned to cross that divide anyway and learn to see things from each other’s perspective (and also find common ground too).
Mini Interview - Grace A. Johnson
Tell us a little about you:
I’m first and foremost a Christian and secondarily an indie authoress of historical Christian romance, as well as the publisher and founder of Sky’s the Limit Press. I’ve been writing for eight years now, and have self-published three novels, a novella, and a devotional. I’m in love with history, etymology (the study of words; not to be confused with entomology, the study of insects), Jane Austen, art, homemaking, biblical femininity, and music—and when I’m not writing, I’m reading, designing graphics and websites, snapping photos of books, baking bread, or rocking out to my favorite bands!
What inspired this piece?
Truthfully, it was a picture. There was a time where I got story inspiration from scrolling through Trevillion Images and saving all the interesting pictures to my computer. One of said pictures was of a girl hiding half of her face behind a book. When I saved that image, I renamed it “The Girl in the Pages.”
Thus my story was born. From there, I started brainstorming a full-length novel about a deaf girl in Victorian-era London, and managed to type out a few chapters before, as usual, I moved on to something else.
When I saw that Sisters Three was having a short story contest centering on stories about deaf characters, I knew I had to redo The Girl in the Pages.
What is your favorite aspect of the story?
I have to pick a favorite?? That’s just cruel. 😜 Seriously, though, my favorite part is probably the bookishness of it. My heroine Amice and hero Kent both love books; they meet in Kent’s library; they bond over a shared love for reading and learning; he buys her a book as a gift. I mean, I didn’t title it The Girl in the Pages for nothing!
It was so fun not only to incorporate a love of books (obviously something I myself possess) into the story, but to also research literature during that era. With a story set in 1821, I narrowly missed the releases of Jane Austen’s and the Bronte sisters’ novels (Austen was before, the Brontes were afterwards), so I had to discover new books and authors I’d never heard of, such as Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin, Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott, and the various works of Hannah Maria Jones. There’s a whole treasure trove of intriguing stories that have been lost to most of us in the midst of newer fiction and the few lauded classics!
Mini Interview - Kaytlin Phillips
Tell us a little about you:
Hi, I'm Kaytlin Phillips, but everyone calls me Kayti, which autocorrect hates. I’m the fifth kid out of seven and was born and raised in the Southern Appalachian Foothills of Western North Carolina!
Around fourteen my dad encouraged my sisters and I to write and I fell in love with writing MG and YA fantasy as well as Westerns and dabbling in Historical Fiction all with themes of hope, redemption, and the message that every life has a purpose and is precious!
You can most often find me typing away, reading, hiking, or just enjoying time with my family and our dog Ruger.
What was the first image you had in mind for Silent Memories?
Funny thing is this story actually started with an image. A white-haired boy on a beach staring at a stormy sky and roaring ocean that he could not hear. A ship far off in the distance illuminated by the lightning ripping across the dark sky. He knew it was a ship, but he didn’t know why he knew or even what his name was.
A dark picture of a mysterious boy with no hearing and no idea who he was.
From there, the story grew, with the first lines coming next. But that first image spurred the whole thing!
What was the easiest and/or hardest part about writing this story?
Easiest was the first few pages, they followed nicely, coming with ideas and scenes and pushing me to write the next sequence… the ending was the hardest. I often have trouble finding the perfect way to wrap up a story and this was no different. Because the story was supposed to be under 3k I couldn’t seem to pick a way that would give the answers needed and be satisfactory.
I don’t remember how I ended up with the ending the story now has, but I know it was definitely a God thing, because it’s the perfect ending! Which is something I am unable to attain on my own…lol…
Mini Interview - Autumn Nicole
Tell us about yourself:
I’m a Christian teen who loves to share the truth of Christ’s love and grace through my stories, and to call believers to a deeper relationship and victorious life in Jesus. My favorite genre to read and write is fantasy with allegorical truths. I’m a farm girl, big sister, lover of stars, sunrises and flowers. I love spending time with my family, my happy place is around the campfire, and anyone who gives me oreos will be an immediate friend. :) As an author, I’ve written many short stories and am working towards one day publishing a full length novel.
This is such a unique concept, what inspired it?
I’ve always loved fantasy, ever since The Chronicles of Narnia, and since then, I’ve discovered so many other good fantasy stories. (If you’ve never read Kingdom Tales, put it on your list right now!) I always love a good opportunity to include a fantasy element to my story. I had an opening scene and a main character, and from there the rest of it eventually played itself out, after trying multiple bunny trails. Foster, orphaned, and hurting children have always been near to my heart, and I try to write their stories in a way that is realistic and portrays the pain and hurt of their situation. Suicide is another topic that is not to be taken lightly, and I pray that whenever I touch on the topic it is in a real and raw way.
How hard was this story to write? And what truth do you hope readers glean from it?
The story took me a couple of weeks to write. It was during a time when my family was going through a really hard loss, and writing has always been a way I express myself and make sense of my life. :) While every story has its hardships to write, and I had to change direction several times, the story came together relatively easily, and a lot of Hannah’s thoughts and feelings flowed easily.
This story doesn’t have a conclusive ending, but a hopeful one. It is my hope that this story will encourage you to experience Christ’s love for yourself, in light of whatever pain and hurt you’ve gone through. Jesus’ love for you is deeper than the deepest ocean, wider than the farthest galaxy, and more beyond your comprehension than you’ll ever know. I pray that this story can draw you back to the Savior who loves you, who enters your pain and your heartache and holds you while you cry. And when you're lost under the waves, may you feel His hand catch yours and see the light up above. Yes, Jesus loves you.
Mini Interview - Wilder W.
Tell us a little about yourself: Hello. My name is Wilder. I am just a gal, who, like yourself, is seeking truth. I love to encourage people to fight the good fight of faith. To look from a different angle. To serve and not expect to be served back.
What inspired this poem? Unlike what most people may think, this is not a love poem between two humans. This is a poem between the Lord and a human. Although the deaf feature is not explicitly clear as the other stories in this collection are, I found that this poem, as hard as I tried to scrap it, kept coming back. One of my favorite lines in the poem is: You were aching for love
and I was blind
I was screaming for you
but you were deaf The inspiration is simply this: God was aching for love from Israel; He wanted us, but we constantly kept refusing. We were blind. And then, when we did scream for him, he turned away. Throughout the poem, in an abstract way, the stanzas are weaving a story of God’s never-ceasing love and endurance for us.
How long did it take you to write it? (it takes me forever to write a horrible poem…lol…) Haha. It took me about four days to write completely; I then tweaked it here and there.
And there we are folks! I hope you enjoyed the interview! I had the first two authors into the doc ask me a question each so that I could be in the interview without asking myself questions and that turned out really good!
I've had so much fun putting this collection together with these girls and I cannot wait for it to be out in the world!
Do you like short story collections? Have you ever read a story about a deaf character? What would you do if you lost your hearing? and if you were writing a story about a deaf character what would your first line be?
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