Saturday, April 21 , 2018, 6:46 pm | Fair 70º


Marcy Luikart to Present and Sign New Novel, ‘River Braids,’ at Chaucer’s on Tuesday

Marcy Luikart knew she was on to something when her short story won first place years back at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.

Marcy Luikart

“I was working on a mystery at the time and was workshopping it,” she said. “I got tired of reading the same thing over and over. So, I read a short story instead and won first place.”

A bookkeeper by profession, Luikart challenged herself to keep on writing. She has had great success with her short stories. Several have been published in literary magazines throughout the nation, including The Iconoclast, Bellowing Ark, Pangolin Papers, Beginnings, QWF and the Connecticut Review.

Luikart’s newest endeavor — the historical novel, River Braids, published by Sea Hill Press (2013) — will be launched at Chaucer’s Bookstore, 3321 State St. in Santa Barbara, from 7 to 10 p.m. July 30. A second reading and signing will occur at Tecolote Bookstore, 1470 East Valley Road in Montecito, from 3 to 4 p.m. Aug. 27.

River Braids is a five-star reviewed “Huck Finn-like” tale inspired by a trip Luikart, her husband and brother-in-law took on a homemade raft down the Mississippi River.

“Along the way, we stopped at a bar that used to be an old rowing boat club,” she said. “When I came home, I wanted to write a story about it.

“The only old rowing photos I could find were from the 1904 Olympics, which was part of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (World’s Fair) in St. Louis. When I started researching, I discovered that American Indians were not allowed to participate in the Olympics. My novel came from that discovery.”

River Braids weaves together the riveting tale of contemporary Sonny Barton’s search for the truth behind his grandfather, Joe Barton’s, once-promising career as a 1904 Olympic rower and his life as an Olympic-hopeful rower of Native American descent. Sparked by an altered photograph, Sonny’s search reminds readers that a “captured” moment in time rarely tells the whole story.

Research for the novel extended far beyond researching documents and searching for information on the Internet.

“I contacted the UCSB Rowing Team and went out rowing with them,” she said. “I had to know what I was talking about ... and it was a lot of fun. .. They are a team and great community.”

“If I had to explain the underlying message in my novel, it would be what it means to belong to a community, to belong,” she continued. “All the characters are trying to find their ‘team’.”

River Braids

In addition to being a bookkeeper and writer, Luikart is also an oil painter and a fiddler.

“I walked into Folk Mote Music one day and bought a student fiddle,” she explained. “Then, I went off to a music festival and my fiddling has gone on from there.”

When asked for words of advice on writing, Luikart said, “Write what you see and not what you think you see. ... Famous acting coach Sanford Meisner once said that ‘acting is behaving truthfully in imaginary circumstances.’ To paraphrase his words I would say that writing is having your characters behave truthfully in imaginary circumstances.”

Luikart is the owner of Monarch Office Services, at 631 N. Milpas St. in Santa Barbara, and lives with her husband, Ralph, and miniature poodle, Casey, in Santa Barbara.

Publisher Sea Hill Press is owned by Santa Barbara-based Greg Sharp. Sea Hill Press is represented in the book trade by Continental Sales Group in Chicago and distributed by Innovative Logistics in Lakewood, N.J.

For more information about Marcy Luikart or Sea Hill Press, contact Nancy Shobe of Shobe Biz Communications at 805.886.5381 or Greg Sharp of Sea Hill Press at 805.845.8636 or

Nancy Shobe is a Noozhawk contributing writer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow her on Twitter: @shobebiz.

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