PSU professor publishes 11th book
PSU PROFESSOR JOSEPH MONNINGER publishes his 11th novel, ‘Margaret from Maine.’ COURTESY
PLYMOUTH — Award-winning author and Plymouth State professor Joseph Monninger of Warren recently published his 11th novel, “Margaret from Maine,” a novel that poignantly explores the dilemmas faced by those who serve our country, and the men and women who love them.
Monninger, who the New York Times said “writes with his five senses open,” set the story against the stunning natural backdrops of Maine, Virginia and North Carolina.
Margaret Kennedy lives on a dairy farm in rural Maine. Her incapacitated husband has been cared for in a veteran’s hospital for six years, after being brain damaged in a war overseas. When the president signs a bill in support of wounded veterans, Margaret is invited to the nation’s capital to witness the signing and Charlie King, a foreign service officer who is also a wounded veteran, volunteers to escort her. The two fall in love, but Margaret cannot abandon her marriage vows.
One reviewer said of this story, “The fluidity of the story line and the immediacy of the characters quickly drew me in. Before I knew it, I had finished the book, but I didn’t feel finished with the characters — I wanted to read more. I wanted to know what the future held for these people whose loneliness led them to each other.”
Monninger’s work has appeared in American Heritage, Scientific American, Reader’s Digest, Glamour, Playboy, The Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated and Ellery Queen, among other publications. Over his 30 year writing journey through multiple genres in fiction, nonfiction and young adult novels, Monninger has attracted significant praise: Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Richard Eder, reviewing Monninger’s 1991 novel
The Viper Tree, compared him to renowned author Graham Greene; in 2007, NPR’s Bill Littlefield said Monninger’s historical boxing book, “Two Ton,” deserves a spot among that sport’s classic literature.
Included among Monninger’s honors are two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a fellowship from the New Hampshire Council for the Arts and national honors for his young adult novel, “Baby,” which was selected as one of best young adult books in 2009 by the Young Adult Library Services Association, and “Hippie Chick,” which was selected as one of the Most Distinguished Books in 2008 by The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.
Monninger said he is now able to focus on projects he really wants to do and that he knows he will enjoy. He also enjoys his role as an English professor and mentor to his students at PSU, where he has been teaching since 1990. He wants his students to know that writing doesn’t happen magically.
“I hope that by the end of a course, they’ve glimpsed a certain disciplined approach to writing — that there is no muse sitting on my shoulder that’s not on theirs,” he said.
The Penguin Group published “Margaret from Maine” under their Plume imprint in January 2013. A reader’s guide is available online at www.penguin.com.