I know the author bio formula. I’m supposed to state my credentials, and then tie my work and life experiences to the novel. I’m expected to volunteer a sliver of generic information about my personal life, and then end with a one-liner that makes me seem relatable.
Nina Navisky holds degrees in both psychology and speech-language pathology. She has worked with both children and adults with a wide range of neurological disabilities, and drew from her own family’s struggle with autism in the creation of her debut novel. Born and bred in Massachusetts, she completed her studies in Atlanta, Providence, and Washington, D.C. prior to returning to her hometown, where she now lives with her husband and two sons.
Done! And also--yawn.
The problem with conventional biographies is that they don’t give the reader any insight into who the author really is, and I think that’s important. When I finish reading a book that has resonated with me, then I want to know more than a few dry facts about the author.
So here's what I'd like to share: I like my imaginary friends. I know it sounds a bit odd, but it’s the truth. I’ve spent the last several years with them, and I’m going to miss them.
Control is absolute when writing a novel; all of the characters’ dreams, decisions, thoughts, and words must bend to the writer’s will. It’s an illusory power, but an enormous one, and concentrating on the characters’ problems sustained me during a period in my life when I was powerless to solve my own.
But at a certain indefinable point, I began to experience the situations with the characters rather than control them. That isn’t to say that I threw out my plentiful outlines or timelines. But I no longer had to think about how they would respond to the situation I’d contrived, or what their facial expressions, mannerisms, or interior thoughts might be. I could predict their reactions because I’d lived in their heads.
If you’ve arrived at this page after having read the novel, then I’d like to begin by saying that I hope I’ve been able to make the characters as vivid for you as they are for me. But more importantly, I’d like to thank you for devoting some of your valuable free time to reading my book. It is the greatest compliment an author can receive.
“This is such a compelling novel-especially from a first-time author. The powerful first chapter draws the reader in immediately, with its heart- wrenching portrayal of a family facing the challenge of coping day- to-day with very significant disability. From then on the characters continue to compel as they grapple with the complexity of family relationships, the nature of faith, the reality of facing difficult health problems and even the place of work in our lives. It is a tribute to the author’s skill that she has developed these global themes through the absorbing portraits of her characters and their struggles. Pastor Tim, Gracie and Luke are particularly riveting but even more minor characters such as Brett and Wes are well-drawn. The book is rather deceptive in that it is easy to read and yet at the same time, it forces the reader to pause and consider his or her own beliefs about the themes raised. Congratulations to Ms. Navisky on a most promising debut.”
"A Mosaic of Grace is an intricate novel that explores several compelling themes, including faith, family, and the power of secrets. The author takes the reader into her characters to experience these dimensions as they live their lives, striving for authenticity that is more complex than it appears. We become acquainted with two families whose symbiotic relationship over time includes love, support, anger and secrets that drive several interconnected subplots. The insights that author Nina Navisky gives readers about autism have particularly great impact. She writes from experience, and we are on the roller coaster that Luke’s mother, grandfather, and others experience as his behavior careens from loving affection to violent aggression, from clear signals of what he is thinking and feeling to actions that cannot be interpreted, even by those closest to him. The “Luke” scenes were, for me, powerful, engrossing, and enlightening; and I felt that I was deep into something conveyed so honestly that it took my breath away and gave me a level of understanding that I would have thought impossible…”
"New author Nina Navisky sculpts a beautiful, heartwarming story that reflects the deep conflicts all of us face at our moments of greatest crises, our crises of faith in what we hold dearest. Tim’s struggles to love his autistic grandson show him simultaneously at his best and his worst. As readers we are drawn into his struggles as he comes to grips with the hand he and his family have been dealt. Thank you for sharing this wonderfully crafted first novel. I cannot wait to see what else is to come.”
“A Mosaic of Grace is one of those books you get so lost in the story that you forget they aren’t real. The author does a beautiful job of pulling you in and explaining so gracefully and thoughtfully each character’s thoughts and emotions that you feel what they are feeling. Her descriptions of living with epilepsy, caring for a child with autism and being the sibling of child with developmental delays are especially moving. I am looking forward to the author’s next book!”
“Amazing insight for a new author. Having seen many children with autism professionally, Ms. Navisky gives a compelling very realistic description about what life with an autistic child is like. Her thoughtfulness in developing all her characters brings them alive for the reader. Although this book is a quick read, I intentionally took extra time to mull over the story line and hated to finally put it down. Well done, Ms. Navisky, and I look forward to many more offerings from you in the future."
“Ms. Navisky’s portrayal of Luke’s behavior and grandfather Tim’s response to it was so spot on it gave me goose bumps. My family and I have often been in the same situation, afraid for the child, loving the child, and embarrassed by the behavior….Would like to read more by this author.”
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Pastor Lundstrom has two weeks to decide.
Soon he will preside over his daughter Gracie's wedding--a blessing he has long prayed for--but as the day approaches, he finds himself dreading its arrival.
Tim harbors a shameful secret: he has lost his faith. Revealing himself risks losing Gracie, his adored and only child; his baffling autistic grandson, Luke; his devout and kind-hearted wife; and the community he has nurtured at his small church. But the price of silence is steep. Performing the ceremony as a nonbeliever will taint Gracie's wedding and bind him forever to the secret that isolates him from those he loves.
Also burdened by the truth is Josephine Wallis, an accomplished physician who has yet to reveal her secret to her longtime boyfriend. Compounding her worries is the looming deadline of the wedding--will her intellectually disabled younger sister be able to live on her own when Gracie and Luke move out of the apartment the three now share?
A poignant exploration of the boundaries of trust and the repercussions of secrets, A Mosaic of Grace captivates with its skillful weaving of the lives of the Lundstrom and Wallis families as they wrestle with uncertainty and stumble towards acceptance.