Davida G. Breier's debut book, Sinkhole, takes readers on a trip to rural Florida in the 1980s. Amidst golf courses, mobile homes and alligators, some things on the agenda: friendship, identity, sexuality, grief and murder.
Breier was born in Miami and grew up moving around Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She now lives in Maryland with her family, rescue dogs, rescue tortoise and companion chickens.
Having held many different jobs, including youth sports photographer, TV extra, substitute teacher, jewelry maker, bookseller, and ATM cleaner, she has spent the last two decades in various roles within the book publishing industry. Breier currently serves as the director of the distribution division at Johns Hopkins University Press and the co-director of marketing and sales for the Johns Hopkins University Press books division.
"It's one of those things where I kind of had no choice, I think, and I didn't realize that for a long time," Breier said of making a career among books. "My mother was an independent book seller, so I always grew up around books and I was one of those kids who only survived [junior high and high school] because of books and didn't know what I wanted to do."
Breier, who identifies as bisexual, got her start writing for a non-profit magazine, adding she edited a book for them and "had a taste for it." Spending years helping other writers and publishers, especially independent presses, was actually how she came to know the University of New Orleans Press who would go on to publish her book.
"It was always something that I wanted to do, but it was always something that scared me," Breier said of writing her own novel. "To me, there's really nothing worse than reading bad fiction."
"This experience in writing and then publishing, working as an author has really rounded out my experience and I have a much better picture, holistically, of the whole of the process," said Breier.
Breier said she is a heavy fiction reader, but to her, voice and character are the most important elements.
Calling it suspense and a coming-of-age story, Breier described Sinkhole as "very character driven."
The dark comedic coming-of-age story takes place in Central Florida during the 1980s as the AIDS crisis takes hold. Michelle Miller returns to her tiny hometown Lorida, Florida after 15 years. With her mother in the hospital, Michelle must face the broken relationships that she left behind with her family, her two high school best friends, as well as with herself. Lies from the past and a dangerous present collide, as she confronts a troubling death. Michelle needs to question her past for survival. In her questioning, what if the past she remembers is a lie? Or, just as dangerousWhat if it is not a lie?
"I was hoping it would strike a chord with different people for different reasons and that's what I'm hearing so far, and it's just so heartening," said Breier.
Sinkhole, Breier said, also includes queer themes in its coming-of-age story and the isolation that could happen to kids in a rural area.
"There's also some underlying themes about grief and also looking for father figures," Breier discussed. "The LGBTQ themes are both from that adolescent perspective of the '80s and the isolation of the time period, but also it is looking back on the '80s as not that shiny, happy nostalgia that we are often seeing in the media, but it was a particularly hard time for a lot of people economically and especially for the gay community dealing with AIDS and taking some of that pop culture shine off the '80s and saying 'no, it was actually hard for a lot of people.'"
A soundtrack accompanies the story. While writing the book, Breier, explained she played songs for each character to get into each of their heads. Readers can listen to this soundtrack, which plays chronologically with the story, on Breier's website.
"My hope is that it finds its readers and that it connects with the people that I hope it connects to and that it offers a little bit of entertainment and that it works because I'd really like to do this again."
To learn more about Breier and Sinkhole, visit davidabreier.com .