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Just River

Sara B. Fraser

November 23, 2021

Today I talked to Sara B. Fraser about her new novel Just River (Black Rose Writing, 2021).

The Otis River flows through the once bustling city of Wattsville, a few hours north of NYC, reminding the remaining residents of better days. Cross-dressing Sam is okay with his new, minimum-wage job, as long as he gets to sing Karaoke twice a month. His neighbor and best friend, Carol, is a cashier who spreads love through her baking. Garnet, Carol’s daughter, is in prison after nearly killing her violent boyfriend, who visits her in prison. A couple of inmates learn that he’s rich and threaten Garnet with violence unless he sneaks in drugs for them. Carol and Sam try to help Garnet, but then an innocent boy is kidnapped and a dog is poisoned. The river is the only thing that can save them all.

Sara B. Fraser is the author of the novels Long Division and Just River. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Carve, Jabberwock Review, the Forge, Wilderness House Literary Review, Salamander, Traveler’s Tales, and more. Fraser completed her BFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College and two master’s degrees, the first in Composition from the University of Massachusetts and the second in Education from Boston College. She is a high-school Spanish teacher, married to an Irishman, and mother of two boys. Her passions are surfing—she has trouble finding people willing to accompany her as she’ll drop everything even in the dead of winter if there’s swell (don’t tell her boss)—and fermenting things in her kitchen. She cultivates funny smelling stuff like kimchi, sauerkraut, vinegar, kombucha, and sourdough bread starter. Some people think scoby (a product of fermentation) is weird looking, but she loves it. She spends summers in Galicia and plans on retiring there. A random fact that may or may not indicate something about who she is: as a teenager she used to darn her socks.

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