Books

What happens when children are denied love and then left to their own devices? Follow Me into the Dark traces the unraveling of a family marred by perverse intergenerational abuse. Kate is a young baker whose mother is dying of cancer. Gillian is an oversexed, hyper-intellectual who looks like Kate and is sleeping with Kate’s stepfather. Jonah is Gillian’s odd but devoted stepbrother, who increasingly matches the description of the “Doll Collector,” a menacing serial killer. With Kate flailing in her mourning and beating back unwelcome memories, snippets of her family legacy are revealed just as the Doll Collector’s body count grows.

A complex, dark expression of the deprived heart and the desperate lengths children will go to in order to create family.

“The raw terror of Sullivan’s novel lies in her depiction of family, of motherhood, not as safe haven but as private, internal danger. The horror comes from within, from inside the house, from inside the family, from inside the mind.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“A searing portrayal of a woman’s complicated grief. . . . An original, spellbinding, and horrifying read.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“Sullivan’s haunting novel should have a strong appeal for fans of dark, psychological suspense.” —Booklist

“Follow Me into the Dark is a dark, dense, and rewarding debut novel.” —Largehearted Boy

“Haunting prose and intelligent twists haunt and thrill, while her lyrical prose simultaneously adds an elegance and beauty to every scene and character. Sullivan does not apologize for the derangement of the characters, because this is a reality that could be happening right next door. It makes for both a seductive and demented novel of pure genius. It is a jolting and invigorating ride.” —Bellingham Review

“The book is exceptionally dark and filled with abuse. It’s bleak and depressing but powerful.” —Books of Blood

“Within the first words you’ll find yourself pulled into something rich, luminous, and unsparing. I’m reminded of contemporaries like Merritt Tierce and Ottessa Moshfegh, but Felicia Sullivan achieves both an emotional intensity and pacing that is simultaneously seductive and blistering. Follow Me into the Dark is both an invitation and a dare. Accept both. You’ll be glad you did.” —Joe McGinniss Jr., author of Carousel Court

“A haunting and wholly engrossing story of uncommon moral complexity, with prose bright and swift as lightning.” —Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me

“Precise and powerful, Felicia Sullivan’s gorgeous novel takes you on a journey through the darkest sides of human nature, with arresting images and unforgettable characters that don’t let go.” —Liza Monroy, author of Seeing As Your Shoes Are Soon To Be On Fire

“A gripping exploration of pain, anger and revenge. It will stay with you long past the last page.” —Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself

Days before Felicia Sullivan graduated from college, her mother disappeared; she hasn’t been heard from in more than twelve years. It was possibly the last betrayal her mother, a beautiful, volatile, deceitful drug addict, would add to those that built their relationship, which subjected Felicia to a nightmare childhood on the toughest streets of 1980s Brooklyn. Growing up in the close company of dealers, users, and a host of unsavory characters, Felicia became her mother’s keeper at a shockingly young age—getting her to the hospital after her overdoses, enduring her cruelty and narcissistic rages, and accepting the abuse or indifference of numerous so-called stepfathers. Years later, damaged and ashamed of her past, Felicia invented a new, brutally hard-partying persona to show to the world: she became her mother.

Affecting, honest, and utterly extraordinary, The Sky Isn’t Visible from Here is a book about secrets and forgiveness—the story of a young woman unraveling . . . and then putting her life back together again.

“A poignant memoir.” —Publishers Weekly

“Sullivan appears to defy odds, moving past childhood poverty and her addict mother’s abuse to gain an education and career…It’s amazing to read how she transformed herself into a carbon copy of her college classmates, seeming to escape her traumatic rearing so completely”—Elle

“Sullivan’s bracing, pared-to-the-bone prose evokes compassion by being impressively free of the narcissistic self-worship that so often infects books of this stripe.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A young woman from Brooklyn “looks at her rocky childhood growing up with a beautiful, drug-addicted mom” in this remarkable memoir.” —Vanity Fair

“A poignant memoir by writer Sullivan palpates the wounds of growing up with an unstable, cocaine-abusing mother.” —Library Journal.

“Felicia Sullivan’s mother disappeared on the night Felicia graduated from college. The daughter would go on to an Ivy League education and numerous accomplishments—but eventually, just like her missing parent, she would succumb to alcohol and cocaine abuse. In this “brave and lovely” account, Felicia looks at the ways she was shaped by the shame of her past, and how she finally overcame it.” —Roxana Robinson

“Looking back on the tough streets of Brooklyn in the 1980s, where she lived among drug dealers, users, and substitute fathers who tended to be indifferent at best and abusive at worst, Felicia reveals how she became her mother’s keeper, taking her to the hospital when she overdosed, withstanding her narcissistic rages, and always wondering why her mother would never reveal the truth about the father she’d never met. The Sky Isn’t Visible from Here is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and an “extraordinary memoir [that] will keep you awake at night and haunt your dreams.” —Dani Shapiro, author of Family History

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  • We spend our time devoted to the periphery. If periphery was an altar trust that we’d all gather and worship. We cleave to the shiny objects that are social media, email, podcasting—we’re told we have to be diversified—at the expense of the one true thing you create. The thing by which you want to be known and remembered. We give equal (if not more) weight and devotion to that which surrounds our thing instead of getting laser-focused and refining our skills, being a student—all to keep getting better at the thing.
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Trust me, I want to do ALL THE THINGS. Now, I ask myself what portion of my day have I committed to being a better writer, a better storyteller and brand builder? Am I learning something new, regardless of how minor that something is? Or am I zeroing in on the things that are conduits and bridges to and from the work. You’ve created all these points of entry to a thing that isn’t as good as the vehicle that got them to the thing.
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Think about that. Prioritize. .
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#thursdaymotivation #freelance #freelancelife #femtrepreneur #beingboss #ladyboss #protip #beastudent
  • So, I fell down in the middle of the street while walking to an important meeting. I scraped up my knee pretty bad, but kept it moving, because I have a long-term play to earn as much as I can to move somewhere super remote and quiet by the end of the year.
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It’s weird to think that I’ve lived in NY for the first 39 years of my life, Los Angeles for the past four, but I’m watching old episodes of Shetland and wondering how I can get myself to a remote farmhouse, cabin, outhouse, etc. All I need is good WIFI for work.
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But an island in Scotland isn’t realistic, so I’m setting my sights closer to home, California. And I’ve got time to research, thankfully. .
Until then, I’ll keep plugging, keep writing, keep up with newly-revisited healthy habits.
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#freelance #freelancewriter #tuesdaymotivation #beingboss #bosslife
  • New post up on medium. Link in bio.
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“If I had my way, I’d never leave my house. My home is small, and I know every inch of it. An 800-square foot box with two windows, walls, and a doorbell that plays instrumental Julio Iglesias. Half the rooms are cloaked in effulgent light and the other a cool charcoal black. I’ve become fluent at oscillating between the two. I don’t even love the space in which I live, but I’m hard-pressed to leave it.”
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#authorsofig #authorsofinstagram #writing #weekendvibes #mediumstory #friyay #friyayvibes #novelplotting
  • I live in a city of four million people, which was a marked improvement from my home, New York, of eight million. I snapped this photo during my trip to Cape Town (488K people), and during that trip we traveled to towns of four thousand people and it was GLORIOUS.
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It’s bizarre that I’ve always been a city girl and all I want now is small. Quiet. Remote. I feel like my dad.
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I cracked my tooth on Friday (it’s all good—I got Percocet and a $3K bill), and it made me think that there’s so much I want to do, work-wise and artistically, but I’m always thinking about money. Years ago, I heard Paul Jarvis talk about reducing your expenses to feel richer. I know, captain  obvious, but it resonated with me on Friday while on Percocet.
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I’m considering another move when my lease is up to a small AF town in California not too far from the Redwoods and the ocean. I LOVE California, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the US. And I love the idea of FEWER people. Quiet to write. Maybe I can get a dog friend for my Felix! .
So, we’ll see. Does anyone here live in a remote or super small town? If so, what do you love about it?
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#sundayfunday #sundayvibes #weekendvibes #freelancing #authorsofig
  • My breaking point was over a hazelnut. A hazelnut that cracked my tooth at two-thirty this morning. Because I was stress-eating granola. But it was the three thousand dollar bill to fix said tooth that did me in. Only a few weeks before, a persistent ache in another tooth turned into a five-hour fiasco involving a dentist, an endodontist, a $5,000 bill and me texting a friend — while the fifth shot in my mouth was kicking in, and I was inhaling nitrous gas like a glass of water in the fucking Sahara — ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS BULLSHIT?
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My dentist tried to reassure me, after rejecting my pleas for a fifteen-year repayment plan, that this particular tooth had already booked a one-way ticket to a root canal, so I ended up saving $2,000! Oh, cool. So, instead of dropping ten grand on two teeth, I was only paying eight. Like I have eight thousand dollars just laying around, waiting to be flushed down the dental toilet. Apparently, the hazelnut was my salvation. I started laughing and continued laughing. For a while. To the point where everyone in the waiting room was uncomfortable.
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****I wrote about teeth, money, and debt in my latest medium post. Link in bio.*****
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#risingtidesociety #freelancing #freelancinglife #bosslife #bossbabe #beingboss #cashmoney #fuckstudentloans #femtrepreneur #realtalk
  • This is our one life. We love. We lose. We overcome. We break in ways we never thought possible. We climb, ravage, and wreck. While it’s possible that every story has been told, that knowledge doesn’t stop us from reading, watching, listening, and feeling. It doesn’t disconnect us from someone’s unique experience. Instead, we live for the retelling: how individuals bear that which is familiar or common, and how their singular experience feels fresh and new.
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Today, I wrote a tutorial about crafting plots. Instead of vivisecting plot arcs — because frankly, I’d rather gouge out my eyes with an acetylene torch — I invite you to consider three simple questions: what story will sustain your interest for 70,000 words? Can you commit to your story and the sequence of events that unfold for months or years of your life? Does your novel have the weight to capture and hold your reader until the end?
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This year, I’m committed to sharing what I know for FREE. I’ve got no classes to sell after this (I actually hate the idea of teaching writing; I’d rather be doing it), but lots of people have asked for the goods and I believe if you’ve got the skill and privilege, you should be sharing it.
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So, if you want to get your plot on (I am such a 40-something), hit up the link in my bio. If you like what you read, consider clapping (you can clap up to 50x on medium) and share it, so more people get the education love.
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#authorsofig #novel #howtowrite #authorsofinstagram #freelancewriter #novelplotting #mondaymotivation #risingtidesociety #writing #writingcommunity
  • Want to write a book? I'm sharing a six-part series in how to get the job done. The first two I'm previewing on Medium. Yesterday, I wrote about writing killer dialogue. Today, I'm sharing how to craft compelling characters. If you love what you read, consider sharing and clapping (more than once!). link in bio!
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Characters are delicious. When I was small, I didn’t have many friends, so I surrounded myself with books and my imagination. It’s a strange, magical thing to live your life inside your head, but this is what I did. Long, sultry summers formed a backdrop for one of the many worlds I’d created, complete with a cast of characters who felt so real you could touch them. This was more than inventing an imaginary friend or anthropomorphizing a stuffed bear; my characters were fully-formed people who had their own personalities, a particular way of talk, and facial features I’d cobbled together from television shows and magazines. They clasped pearls around their thin necks and wore sweaters and shoes made of silk and dyed blue. They were carriers of credit cards, plastic rectangular shapes I’d only seen on TV — a far cry from the crumpled bills and pennies we hoarded. My characters were breathing Frankensteins, only far less frightening. What made them real was they refused to follow a script — they rarely behaved the way I wanted them to.
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#howtowrite #writing #writingtips #characterdesign #authorsofinsta #authorsofinstagram #bookstagram #howtowriteabook #weekendvibes #sundayfunday
  • Want to write a book? I got you. Below is an excerpt from my latest medium piece—the first tutorial of six I’ll be sharing on writing mechanics. You’ll get the other 5 later this month if you’re on my email list. Link in profile!
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Denis Johnson once said that dialogue isn’t about what characters are saying, but what’s left unsaid. The leaner the dialogue, the bigger the bite. Darkness fell. The summer in 2005 was unseasonably chilly, and we wrapped ourselves in light jackets and thin cotton sweaters, watching the author of Jesus’ Sonchain-smoke and dole out advice with humor and humility. We were at a writer’s conference where we workshopped our stories during the day and mingled with boldfaced names in the evening. This would be the summer before I sold my first book and I was floored that my teacher at the time, Nick Flynn, found something honest and worthy in my essays that would become my memoir, The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here. Back then, I was painfully shy and prone to giving violently awkward first impressions, so instead of the cocktails and conversation, I chose to sit on the wet grass and listen to writers whom I admired. One evening, Denis Johnson gave a talk on dialogue.
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Dialogue is difficult. I often think of it as the power-lifter of novel writing because it has to operate successfully on several different levels. Not only does it have to move the story forward, convey information quickly, and grant narrative breathing space (because who wants to plow through pages without an exhale), but it also has to reveal core character truths. Dialogue delivers what narrative can’t — a voyeuristic, in-depth look into the minds of characters through what they say, and more importantly, what they chose not to disclose. Characters come to life when they speak. We visualize them as living, breathing people who have a particular way of talk, a specific view of the world and their place in it. While the author has dominion over the narrative, serving as your tour guide through the story, the dialogue serves as the wild card, the wrench that could usurp everything you’ve just read and what you’re about to read.
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#howtowrite #writing #writingtips #authorsofig

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