Author: Martha Alderson
Have you ever met someone only to find you were both in the same place at the same time years before you ever met? Set in the San Francisco Bay Area during the turbulent 1960s, Parallel Lives follows the destinies of two people-a mute girl and a reckless boy-who have nothing in common but their mutual fascination in their seemingly random meetings. Now, as adults, before they can set out on their own, first they each must find and confront the unforgettable and mysterious other. What if each of us is promised one wild and precious someone for a lifetime? What if to seize this true love first both parties must undergo an arduous and dangerous journey separately? Would you? Billy Wayman Wolf lives with his maternal, Potawatomi grandmother in the San Joaquin Valley. Punished for mouthing off and his petty thievery, nonetheless, Billy becomes an expert at talents that later prove disastrous. When he is twelve, he is sent to downtown Oakland where his mother lives in a flat over the Drop-In Club. Maj Hawthorne-four years younger than Billy-is the beautiful and silent daughter of country club privilege. She lives with her parents and Swedish-born grandmother in the East Bay foothills at Great Oaks, their generational family estate. Pressed by her grandmother to speak or be destined to live by her looks alone, she struggles to use her voice after an unspeakable betrayal and then later while suffering a brutal horror. Maj and Billy's lives converge for the first time along a forgotten highway when Maj is seven and Billy is eleven years old. Though they come from opposite worlds, when their eyes meet, they know one another in a profound and certain way. They meet again three months later, and each knows in their own way that the meetings are not accidental or luck but fortunate and intended. Deftly interweaving the lives of Maj and Billy at pivotal historic events - a roadside accident, a Santana concert for farm workers, Caesar Chavez with Robert Kennedy in Delano, the Native American take-over of Alcatraz - Parallel Lives illuminates the ways, against all odds, two people are destined for each other. During these brief encounters, they touch, they kiss and they break each other's heart as the currents of their lives bring them together and pull them apart, again and again. Until, finally, nothing is ever the same. Parallel Lives demonstrates that our chances for love and happiness are never truly over or used up. Success hangs on readiness and timing. This coming-of-age love story about parallel lives, the power of communication, and the redemptive fire of love set against a time of cataclysmic change was written for fans of mystery, San Francisco in the 1960s, fashion, magical realism, destiny, fate, romance, politics, transformation, suspense, and intrigue. The idea for Parallel Lives came to me soon after I met my husband nearly 40 years ago. As we got to know each other and fall in love - for me, at first sight - I was captivated to discover how many places we'd both been at the same time and long before our first meeting. Intrigued by the notion of how, if we'd met at one of those earlier moments, we likely never would have fallen in love and ended up together - the timing wasn't right and neither of us were ready - I set to work researching. Having worked on this novel - historical fiction - for more than twelve years, I am thrilled to share Parallel Lives with you. Passionate about weaving imagination and the past to bring history to life, I'm especially excited about history that is rarely told. In this historical novel, I invite you to experience how Maj and Billy's lives implode during the wild migration of people from all over the United States and beyond who poured into San Francisco, stuck flowers in their hair, and saw only their dreams of the place.