McBride’s Novel ‘We are Called to Rise’ Inspires Many

Laura McBride

Laura McBride

By Braydon Heier

Laura McBride, assistant chair and professor of English at the College of Southern Nevada, debuted her first novel “We are Called to Rise” to much acclaim.

“Laura McBride had me hooked on her novel by page two,” according to the book review by writer Kathleen Grissom. “The beginning of a roller coaster ride of emotions powered by her gorgeously strong writing, she took me to sorrow and despair and then to the heights of love and forgiveness where we find our best selves. ‘We are Called to Rise’ is a powerful, memorable achievement.”

McBride’s book is a dark drama focused on the psychological, emotional and physical hardships of four main characters who overcome tremendous obstacles.

“I wanted the reader to walk away believing that, with all our faults, human beings are worth something,” McBride said.

The plot centers around the complex lives of the characters: an immigrant boy Bashkim, who fears others will take him away if they knew his father was beating his mother; a middle-aged housewife Avis, who is trying to save her marriage only to find out her husband is having an affair; a social worker Roberta, who deals with youth in unfortunate situations; and a wounded soldier Luis, who wakes up in America with little knowledge of how he ended up there.

“She gave a really great credible rendering of a soldier,” said Lee Barnes, author of “Cold Deck” and professor at CSN. “I found her to be a pro; she didn’t ever talk about writing a book, she just did it and I am proud.”

McBride set the novel in Las Vegas because it is a boomtown. According to McBride, boomtowns are filled with people from all over the world who come for many different reasons; they are fluid, energetic and diverse. McBride was clear that the book didn’t focus on the Strip but instead the residential areas.

“I enjoyed the four different narrators most,” said Courtney Harler, assistant at CSN’s writing centers. As an aspiring writer, Harler enjoyed McBride’s book signing at the CSN Charleston campus Sept. 18, 2014. There were numerous people gathered to share appreciation for her book.

McBride described her writing process at the event. She generated a lot of ideas and made a road map. “I broke the project into smaller pieces and tackled it.” She didn’t worry about whether people would read the book or not. Instead she took on the challenge of writing her first novel because she loved it.

“I didn’t sweat the small stuff; I let my imagination carry me,” McBride said.

Though there were good and bad writing days, McBride kept working and celebrating each success along the way.

“I didn’t suffer terribly from writer’s block; the ideas were always flowing,” McBride said.

McBride said that she enjoyed writing male characters more than their female counterparts. She felt freer writing characters that readers would not confuse with her personally. She wasn’t interested in writing about herself.

The book was released June 2014 and it took off. McBride didn’t expect it to sell so quickly. McBride is busy working on her second book.

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