Even as We Breathe follows nineteen-year-old Cowney Sequoyah in the mountains of western North Carolina during the summer of 1942. When a summer job at Asheville’s luxurious Grove Park Inn and Resort brings him one step closer to escaping the hills that both cradle and suffocate him, he sees it as an opportunity to define himself on his own terms. The job introduces him to the beautiful and enigmatic Essie Stamper--a young Cherokee woman who is also working at the inn and dreaming of a better life; as well as the Axis diplomats and their families who are being held at the inn as prisoners of war. In this richly written debut novel, young Cowney must learn to navigate difficult social, cultural, and ethnic divides while unraveling complicated family mysteries.
Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and resides in Qualla, NC with her husband, Evan, and sons Ross and Charlie. She holds degrees from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. Her debut novel, Even As We Breathe, was released by the University Press of Kentucky in 2020 and became a finalist for the Weatherford Award and was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020. Clapsaddle’s work has appeared in Yes! Magazine, Lit Hub, Smoky Mountain Living Magazine, South Writ Large, and The Atlantic. After serving as executive director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, Annette returned to teaching at Swain County High School. She is the former co-editor of the Journal of Cherokee Studies and serves on the board of trustees for the North Carolina Writers Network.
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Megan Behm is a Book Club Operations Manager at PBC Guru, a book club management company that believes in the power of lifelong learning communities centered around reading and thoughtful discussion. PBC Guru partners with more than 250 higher education alumni associations and private high schools, businesses, library systems, and professional societies worldwide to create meaningful and vibrant online book clubs. PBC Guru's virtual book clubs allow over 130,000 members to connect from anywhere they are, at whatever time is convenient. With PBC Guru, Megan develops the content for and moderates the discussions for over 50 book clubs reading titles from all genres. Before joining PBC Guru, Megan spent ten years working in the performing arts and literary industries in Washington, D.C., and New York City. She is a life-long bookworm and a proud graduate of the College of William & Mary.