Cover reveal season is upon us, and today on Pop! Goes The Reader I’m proud to partner with my friends at Owl Hollow Press to host the exclusive cover reveal for Candice Marley Conner’s young adult debut, The Existence of Bea Pearl! A contemporary Southern mystery scheduled to be published June 15th 2021 by Owl Hollow Press, The Existence of Bea Pearl follows sixteen-year-old Bea Pearl, who becomes determined to uncover the truth regarding her brother’s sudden and inexplicable disappearance.
A Message From Owl Hollow Press: The cover of The Existence of Bea Pearl was designed by Owl Hollow’s in-house team. Because this was such a unique book with a unique setting, we really wanted to zero in on the most important elements of the story, so this is one we lovingly created with beautiful design elements from Deposit Photos and Pixabay artists: Anastezzzia, MyStocks, and OpenClipart-Vectors.
About Candice Marley Conner
Growing up between swamps, a river, and the Gulf Coast, Candice Marley Conner’s stories emerge from gnarled cypress knees, muddy water, and salty air. She is the kidlit haint at a haunted indie bookstore (but not haunted how you’re thinking), a Local Liaison for SCBWI, and an officer for her local writer’s guild. Her short stories and poems are in various anthologies and magazines including Cabinet of Curiosities, Under The Full Moon’s Light, Highlights Hello, Babybug, Chicken Soup For The Soul, and more. Her Southern mystery, The Existence of Bea Pearl, is her YA debut. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two children (one of whom is possibly feral).
My favorite pastime growing up was reading Nancy Drew books by a swamp in the middle of the woods. I grew up on a fish farm that had been a recreational hotspot from the ’30s to the ’70s thanks to an artesian-fed pool, and heard stories from teachers and old men in front of the hardware store of how they met their love out there as teens.
My family and I would find fossils in the limestone banks from when the whole area was under a primordial sea. We had alligators eating out of the dog’s food bowls, ‘possums in the cat’s food, crawfish in the swimming pool, and had to check our boots for tadpoles or snakes before putting them on. It was an amazing swamp-wild childhood with such history that I wanted to claim it somehow. Let the past and present exist together somewhere. Thus Bea Pearl was born. This story is my ode to girls who search out the truth no matter how society tells them to behave, and my love letter to the swamp and river that shaped me. As one of the most bio-diverse river systems in the U.S., I want people to see past the mud and decay to the natural beauty and know it’s something valuable to treasure.
This story is also about believing in yourself and those you love. About existence and what kind of life you choose. I hope you fall in love with Bea Pearl, and Honey, and the mysterious Chatothatchee River as much as I have.
Title The Existence of Bea Pearl
Author Candice Marley Conner
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Publication Date June 15th 2021 by Owl Hollow Press
Find It On Owl Hollow Press ● Goodreads ● Amazon.com
Sixteen-year-old Bea Pearl knows her brother isn’t dead. Even if her parents don’t agree. Even if the entire town doesn’t believe her. She knows it’s true. When orders came to evacuate Lake George due to rising floodwaters, Bea Pearl saw Jim head toward the river. She followed him. Only she returned.
When her parents have Jim declared legally dead, Bea Pearl decides it’s up to her to figure out where her brother could be if he is alive, and so begins to unravel the mystery of his disappearance. But it seems like someone else wants to know what he was hiding when his bedroom is ransacked. More clues come together: a scrap of paper, mysterious numbers that may lead to swamp monkeys, Jim’s shoes turning up in unexpected places. Bea Pearl can’t figure out what connects them all until she’s stolen from her bed in the dead of night.
Bea Pearl’s insistence that Jim’s alive and her quest to figure out why he went down to a flooding river in the first place takes a toll on her shattering family. But she must unearth the truth surrounding her presumed dead brother. Otherwise, the rumors are true and she has killed him. Because if Jim can stop existing, could she too?