Nel Rand’s novel “Mississippi Flyaway” is a fictitious southern gothic novel, which also contains autobiographical elements from Rand’s own life.
The main character in the book is 31-year-old Ellie Moon who ventures on a three-week road trip with her father, Tiny.
She had not seen her father in twenty years but the two begin their journey in St. Louis, Mo. to New Orleans, La.
During their travels memories of Ellie’s past begins to unfold, including memories of the abuse from her father before he left Ellie and her family twenty years before.
Rand said that the novel has helped her with her own healing from the abuse she received as a child from of her own father.
“It is important to remember what happened before you can heal,” said Rand.
In the novel, Tiny is a gambler and con man, whereas Rand’s own father was also gambles but much less a con man.
The title “Mississippi Flyaway” is an appropriate title for the book and its setting.
”The Mississippi River shows its power, sometimes violent, sometimes protective, but it flows relentlessly to its appointed end, reflecting nature’s force to be true to its course,” Rand said.
“The bird flyway is suspended over the action of the story and promises freedom to those who take it.
The characters careen recklessly down southern back roads, highways and city streets searching for an escape.
The revelations of Ellie’s hidden past are progressively uncovered in dense forests of kudzu vine covered trees, underground tunnels, thick swamps and the force and wisdom of the river.”
“[Ellie] learns that in order to forgive [her father] she must first remember, because the person she must first forgive is herself,” Rand said.
Rand is an artist, environmentalist and author who lives in Cornelius, Ore. Rand has also lived in Manning, Ore. in a log cabin in the woods.
She taught art-therapy workshops to help people open the door to their own creativity. Rand was born in St. Louis, Mo. and grew up in Illinois and Southern Kentucky.
Rand self-published “Mississippi Flyaway” in 2005, but was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. This held her back from being able to promote her novel.
However, now that Rand’s health has improved she is now advertising her book.
For more information about Nel Rand and her novel, visit her website at nelrand.com and her blog at mississippiflyway.wordpress.com. Her book can be found on amazon.com or at Barnes & Noble and Powell’s Books.
Rand’s most recent and second novel is called “The Burning Jacket.” She is currently working on a series of short stories and a mystery novel that relate to her southern roots.
Mariah Gonzales / Culture editor
Mariah Gonzales can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org