Writers’ Program alum Brenda Marie Smith announces the publication of her third novel, If the Light Escapes, an apocalyptic science-fiction thriller, and a standalone sequel to the award-winning If Darkness Takes Us. Set in current day Austin, Texas, the novels are true-to-life depictions of a family’s struggle to survive a solar pulse that fries the U.S. grid, phones, and cars, with the first book told from the point of view of Grandmother Bea Crenshaw, who’s trying to keep her four grandchildren alive, and the new book told in the voice of her heroic grandson, eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.
According to Brenda, she would be nowhere without the solid foundation she got on craft from her UCLA Extension fiction instructors. “My most memorable lessons: from Roberta Morris, I learned to use symbols and not to mix metaphors; from Caroline Leavitt, I got a special lesson on subtext; Dennis Foley drove home the importance of story and the need to give characters a series of hardships to conquer; and Terry Borst taught me to focus my ambitions one story at a time.”
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