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Author heals from tragedy through new novel

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CANTON - Kathryn W. Craft was filled with anger when her husband died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound nearly 14 years ago, leaving her to raise their two young sons and sort through the confusion and grief that followed.

To help process her emotions, Ms. Craft turned to writing.

The result is her newly-released novel, “The Art of Falling,” a 150-page story that features a heroine who survives a death-defying, 14-story fall.

Ms. Craft, a Pennsylvania resident who summers at Trout Lake, is scheduled to discuss her writing during a book signing from 1 to 3 p.m. March 29 at St. Lawrence University’s Brewer Bookstore, 92 Park St.

“I started writing as a way of healing,” Ms. Craft, 57, explained during a phone interview. “I was kind of stuck in this anger stage, and I needed to find some compassion.”

Her husband, an alcoholic, committed suicide in 1997 during a police standoff at their home in Berkes County, Pa.

“He was depressed and he had fallen into a lot of hidden debt that I wasn’t aware of,” Ms. Craft recollected.

Ms. Craft, a former dancer and choreographer, decided that her novel would explore the intense pressures of the dance world and the relentless pursuit of perfection.

In the novel, Penelope Sparrow is a 14-year-old dancer when her ballet teacher takes her aside to tell her she doesn’t have the right physical build to be a star.

Against the odds, she prepares to make her international debut when she wakes up in a Philadelphia hospital, undable to move after a death-defying 14-story fall. Supported by an extraordinary friendship, Penny begins a journey toward acceptance while piecing together the dark mystery of what happened on the ledge.

“It has been such a joy to share this story that was just between me and my computer for so long,” Ms. Craft said. “I am getting feedback from people of all ages who are connecting with this in a deep way.”

Prior to writing fiction, Ms. Craft wrote dance criticism for 19 years for The Morning Call daily newspaper. She holds a degree in health and physical education with a dance concentration from Miami University, Ohio.

Ms. Craft eventually remarried and now resides in Doylestown, Pa. She is working on her second novel. Her website is www.kathryncraft.com.

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