Stoking Hope (D.X. Varos, 2021), C.K. McDonough’s debut novel, opens in an early 1900’s southwest Pennsylvania coal town. Nineteen-year-old Martha gets pregnant, her father banishes her, and she’s sent to a home for unwed mothers in neighboring West Virginia. She gives birth, and when her daughter Frances is taken from her six years later, Martha agrees to marry her widowed boss with hopes of getting her daughter back. The loveless marriage allows Frances to stay in school and pursue her dream of becoming a chemist, until long-held secrets cut that dream short. Stoking Hope is a family saga that travels through five decades of challenges and heartache with moments of unexpected generosity and joy. The novel culminates with the creation of Kevlar, a life-saving fabric.
A Uniontown, Pennsylvania native, C. K. McDonough has a journalism degree from West Virginia University’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, and twenty years’ experience in the communications industry. She says writing video scripts and advertising copy is fine but writing a novel is bliss! A self-proclaimed history nerd, Caren has turned her love of research and the written word into Stoking Hope, her first novel. When not writing, Caren is reading, devouring books of every genre. She also loves to ski, hike, and garden but her favorite pastime is hanging with her pets.