The Debutante Ball Welcomes Andrea Lochen!

Andrea LochenThis weekend we are thrilled to welcome Andrea Lochen to the Ball! Andrea is the author of THE REPEAT YEAR, a novel she began while earning her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. While there, she won a Hopwood Novel Award for a draft of her debut. She currently lives in suburban Milwaukee with her husband and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. For more information, visit www.andrealochen.com.

Andrea has been kind enough to share an excerpt from THE REPEAT YEAR with us, so without further ado, here is a snippet from her debut!

When intensive care nurse, Olive Watson, wakes up on New Year’s Day in her ex-boyfriend’s bed, she discovers that she is reliving the previous year.  At first, it seems like she is the only one singled out for this miraculous second chance until her path crosses with Sherry Witan, an experienced “repeater” and an unlikely mentor.  In this scene, Sherry pays an unexpected visit to Olive’s apartment.       The Repeat Year Cover Final

“It’s not just a feeling, Olive.  It’s real.  You’ve already lived through 2011.  I have, too, and I remember all 365 days of it.  But here I am back at the beginning.  Here we are, I should say.”

Olive nodded, not trusting her voice.  The mixture of relief and vindication she’d been expecting to feel—to have someone else acknowledge this bizarre occurrence—did not come.  Instead, to hear it spoken aloud—spoken aloud by someone like Sherry Witan, no less—made the whole thing seem like an elaborate hoax.  She felt inexplicably defeated.

“I went to bed in December 2011 and woke up the next day in January 2011,” Olive mused aloud.  She knew there was no taking it back now that she had spoken it in Sherry’s presence.  She had chosen her side, or rather, her side had been chosen for her.  The surreal side.  Sherry Witan’s side.

“So I thought.”  Sherry nodded again with her magisterial grace.

“Are there other people?  Do you know why this happened?  What are we supposed to do?”

Sherry held up her hands as though to dam up the flood of questions.  Her left hand was bare, Olive noticed.  No wedding ring.  She had heard from her mom that Sherry had been married something like three or four times.  On her right hand was a thick-banded gold ring with a garnet the size of a grape.

“Slow down.  I’ve got a lot to tell you, and I don’t want to leave anything out,” Sherry said.  “I should start by telling you that this isn’t my first time.”

“You mean you’ve lived this year over more than once already?” Olive asked in disbelief.  She saw the past year loop before her eyes, continuously, over and over again like the reel of a movie.  She imagined 2011 was a trap.  Perhaps, one by one, everyone would fall into it until the history of the world repeated and erased itself at the start and end of every year—always the same year, 2011.  Or maybe it was just she and Sherry stuck here while everyone else marched forward.

Sherry held up her bare left hand again to silence Olive.  “No, not 2011.  This is my first time repeating it, same as you.  What I meant was I’ve repeated other years in the past.  My first was 1982.  And then 1997.  I had to repeat 2005 twice.”

“You had to live the same year three times?” Olive asked.  She felt a little lightheaded at the prospect.  “Why did you have to do that one over again and not the others?”

“Calm down, calm down.  You look like you’re going to faint.  Why don’t I get us something to drink?  Is it okay if I do that?”

Sherry looked fuzzy and pixilated as she walked to the kitchenette.  Olive rested her head against her knees.  Three times?  How many additional years had Sherry lived total?  Four years?  This would be Sherry’s fifth repeat.  Would Olive have the same fate?

“For heaven’s sake,” she heard Sherry say from the kitchen.  “You’ve only got beer and diet soda in here.  How do you kids live?  No milk?  No orange juice?”  Olive heard the wooden rattle of drawers and cupboards opening and closing.  “Don’t you have any tea?” Sherry called.

“I don’t drink tea,” Olive called back.  She had to lift her head momentarily from her knees to respond.  “My roommate does, though.  There might be some in the silverware drawer.  You can make some for yourself, but I don’t want any.”

Sherry stood before her shortly holding two mugs.  One of them was a novelty mug that read, You are dumb.  The other was a global warming mug that had a map of the world drawn on it; when you poured a hot beverage in it, some of the land disappeared.  Olive chose global warming.  The bitter smell of green tea rose up from it.  She watched as Florida vanished.

Sherry resumed her spot on the couch.  “You should try it.  It will make you feel better.”

“I’ve tried tea before.  It’s not really my thing,” Olive protested, but she took a small sip to show Sherry she was appreciative of her efforts.  “I’m eager to hear what you have to say about this—” She interrupted herself, not sure what to call it.  Phenomenon?  Time warp?  Miracle?  Curse?  “This…this.”

“I knew you would be.  So let’s see.  Where to start?”  Sherry looked pleased with her role as storyteller.

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When intensive care nurse, Olive Watson, wakes up on New Year’s Day in her ex-boyfriend’s bed, she discovers that she is reliving the previous year.  At first, it seems like she is the only one singled out for this miraculous second chance until her path crosses with Sherry Witan, an experienced “repeater” and an unlikely mentor.  In this scene, Sherry pays an unexpected visit to Olive’s apartment.       

 

“It’s not just a feeling, Olive.  It’s real.  You’ve already lived through 2011.  I have, too, and I remember all 365 days of it.  But here I am back at the beginning.  Here we are, I should say.”

Olive nodded, not trusting her voice.  The mixture of relief and vindication she’d been expecting to feel—to have someone else acknowledge this bizarre occurrence—did not come.  Instead, to hear it spoken aloud—spoken aloud by someone like Sherry Witan, no less—made the whole thing seem like an elaborate hoax.  She felt inexplicably defeated. 

 “I went to bed in December 2011 and woke up the next day in January 2011,” Olive mused aloud.  She knew there was no taking it back now that she had spoken it in Sherry’s presence.  She had chosen her side, or rather, her side had been chosen for her.  The surreal side.  Sherry Witan’s side. 

“So I thought.”  Sherry nodded again with her magisterial grace. 

“Are there other people?  Do you know why this happened?  What are we supposed to do?”

            Sherry held up her hands as though to dam up the flood of questions.  Her left hand was bare, Olive noticed.  No wedding ring.  She had heard from her mom that Sherry had been married something like three or four times.  On her right hand was a thick-banded gold ring with a garnet the size of a grape. 

            “Slow down.  I’ve got a lot to tell you, and I don’t want to leave anything out,” Sherry said.  “I should start by telling you that this isn’t my first time.”

“You mean you’ve lived this year over more than once already?” Olive asked in disbelief.  She saw the past year loop before her eyes, continuously, over and over again like the reel of a movie.  She imagined 2011 was a trap.  Perhaps, one by one, everyone would fall into it until the history of the world repeated and erased itself at the start and end of every year—always the same year, 2011.  Or maybe it was just she and Sherry stuck here while everyone else marched forward. 

            Sherry held up her bare left hand again to silence Olive.  “No, not 2011.  This is my first time repeating it, same as you.  What I meant was I’ve repeated other years in the past.  My first was 1982.  And then 1997.  I had to repeat 2005 twice.”

            “You had to live the same year three times?” Olive asked.  She felt a little lightheaded at the prospect.  “Why did you have to do that one over again and not the others?”

             “Calm down, calm down.  You look like you’re going to faint.  Why don’t I get us something to drink?  Is it okay if I do that?”

            Sherry looked fuzzy and pixilated as she walked to the kitchenette.  Olive rested her head against her knees.  Three times?  How many additional years had Sherry lived total?  Four years?  This would be Sherry’s fifth repeat.  Would Olive have the same fate?

            “For heaven’s sake,” she heard Sherry say from the kitchen.  “You’ve only got beer and diet soda in here.  How do you kids live?  No milk?  No orange juice?”  Olive heard the wooden rattle of drawers and cupboards opening and closing.  “Don’t you have any tea?” Sherry called.

            “I don’t drink tea,” Olive called back.  She had to lift her head momentarily from her knees to respond.  “My roommate does, though.  There might be some in the silverware drawer.  You can make some for yourself, but I don’t want any.”

Sherry stood before her shortly holding two mugs.  One of them was a novelty mug that read, You are dumb.  The other was a global warming mug that had a map of the world drawn on it; when you poured a hot beverage in it, some of the land disappeared.  Olive chose global warming.  The bitter smell of green tea rose up from it.  She watched as Florida vanished.

Sherry resumed her spot on the couch.  “You should try it.  It will make you feel better.”

“I’ve tried tea before.  It’s not really my thing,” Olive protested, but she took a small sip to show Sherry she was appreciative of her efforts.  “I’m eager to hear what you have to say about this—” She interrupted herself, not sure what to call it.  Phenomenon?  Time warp?  Miracle?  Curse?  “This…this.” 

            “I knew you would be.  So let’s see.  Where to start?”  Sherry looked pleased with her role as storyteller. 

 

Buy on Amazon

Buy at Barnes and Noble

Like on Facebook

Add on GoodReads

Author Website: www.andrealochen.com

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