NASA's space shuttle program may be terminated, but it lives on through a psychological thriller by Philadelphia writer Nicole Wolverton. The Trajectory of Dreams
(Bitingduck Press, March 1, 2013, ISBN 9781938463440) takes place in a world where the shuttle program has been relaunched, and the dangerous rituals of a madwoman keep it and the astronauts aboard safe.
The novel exposes the chaotic inner life of Lela White, a Houston, Texas sleep lab technician and mentally-disordered insomniac, who believes she has been tasked with protecting the safety of the revitalized U.S. space shuttle program. She breaks into the homes of astronauts to watch them sleep, and she is prepared to kill to keep those with sleep problems from the shuttle launch. Her delicate grasp on reality becomes more tenuous when annoying co-worker Trina Shook insists on moving into her house and visiting Russian cosmonaut Zory Korchagin inserts himself into Lela's life. Korchagin's increasing interest puts her carefully-constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch. Lela's tragic childhood unfolds throughout the novel, revealing the beginnings of her illness and long-buried secrets, and as Lela's universe unravels, no one is safe.
Publishers Weekly calls The Trajectory of Dreams a "skillful mainstream examination of a psychotic woman's final descent into insanity."
Wolverton says the idea for the novel came to her while reading about psychological testing and the shuttle program. "Before long I was wondering what would happen if someone was rigging the tests and how NASA ensures the mental health of those who work the astronauts. Lela White is the result. There's a certain level of trust you put in your co-workers and neighbors, the trust that there's nothing dangerous going on below the surface. To believe otherwise is unthinkable."
A series of author events will take place in March and April to celebrate the release of The Trajectory of Dreams. Wolverton plans for an online virtual book tour in March as well as in-person readings and signings The Wise Owl Bookstore in West Reading, Pennsylvania on April 6 and Farley's Bookshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania on April 20.
Wolverton is a freelance writer and former non-profit fundraising director. She has lived in the Philadelphia region for over two decades; grew up in Berwick, PA; and attended Temple University. The Trajectory of Dreams is her first novel; her short fiction has been published in Black Heart Magazine, The Molotov Cocktail, and Penduline, among others. She is represented by literary agent Michelle Witte of Mansion Street Literary Management. Wolverton is Founder and editor-in-chief of Farm to Philly, a website devoted to eating locally and sustainable living in the tri-state region, and a member of the all women's dragon boat team, Philadelphia Flying Phoenix.
The publisher, Bitingduck Press, specializes in fiction by, for, and about scientists and self-proclaimed geeks of all ages. DRM-free versions of the book will be available directly through the webstore; the press also sells e-books in brick and mortar stores with a patented QR-based technology called Web Bytez.