• About Carrie

    Carrie Esposito spent most of her adult life on the East Coast, except for stints in India, Thailand, and London, until she recently moved to Denver with her husband and children. After the move, she worked on her novel, No Way to Fall Off This Earth, which she began writing in a notebook on the subway ride to and from work, while assistant principal of a middle school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The idea for the novel was born when she couldn’t get the thought out of her head of two twin girls who had never shown up to school and were taken to India by their father. This novel was a quarterfinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and received the following praise from Publishers Weekly judges: “The characters are strong … India is evoked through a wealth of well-observed detail.”

     

    Carrie has worked as an English teacher, literacy coach, and assistant principal in the New York City public schools. This work continues to inspire her writing about race, class tension, relationships between adults and adolescents, and marginalized souls.

    Her short stories, “Broken Fourth Walls” and “Preservation” were published in the 2014 Summer issue of Mused - The BellaOnline Literary Review.

     

    She loves working with her writing groups in New York and Denver, as well as taking classes and attending author events at Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

     

    Her dream life is being lived right now filled with yoga, dance, reading, writing, travel, three beautiful girls, and a husband who believes in the dream.

     

    She continues to write short stories and is working on two other novels, When Whispers Shatter and Forgotten Downtowns.

     

     

     

  • No Way to Fall Off This Earth

    About

    Amala and Zahrah Khadim, fourteen-year-old twin sisters born and raised in gritty Crown Heights, Brooklyn, run through a crowded market in Delhi, India—scared and alone. After their beloved mother’s death, their distant father has brought his daughters to his home country, only to become separated from them. Their journey then takes them from the slums to an orphanage, and to Gwen Ellis. Haunted by their tragedy, Gwen catapults herself into the girls’ situation, even though her involvement threatens her relationship with longtime boyfriend Hendrik.

    While Zahrah wants nothing more than to go home, Amala becomes enthralled with India—its sari-clad women, rickshaws, camel rides, ornate temples, ashrams, festivals, and multi-limbed goddess statues. Driven by an unwavering faith in her father, Amala travels alone across India to find him, only to be confronted with the reasons he left. Cultures then collide as Gwen attempts to rescue the girls from an uncertain fate, until Amala must decide what she is willing to risk to keep her family together in a place she longs to call home.

    Behind the Book

    Amala and Zahrah Khadim, the twin sisters in No Way to Fall Off This Earth, were inspired by twins who were on the roster of the middle school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn where I was the Assistant Principal. One of my responsibilities was to make sure that students who were called “no shows” were discharged from our school, but students may not be discharged from a New York City school’s roster until there is proof that they have either moved or are going to school elsewhere. The twins proved to be a more difficult case, until we found out that they were taken to India by their father. I continued to wonder about them, until I had to sit down and write this imagined account of what happened next in India, where I have worked and traveled extensively.

    Excerpt

    Zahrah and I walked behind Baba through a corridor to the exit of the Delhi airport with other silent travelers, maybe also dreaming of what they would find on the opposite side. A burned rubber smell stung my nostrils. But I hoped that somewhere out there I would find the smell of India I’d always imagined—a mixture of rosewater and cardamom that was Mama’s smell.

    It was three in the morning, which meant it was late afternoon the day before back home in Brooklyn. In the dark sky over the ocean, hours since Mama died one week ago had evaporated as irretrievably as a star expending its light. But I didn’t know if I wanted those hours back. I didn’t know what I would hold onto or what I would let go in this country that had always belonged to Mama’s pictures and stories.

     

  • When Whispers Shatter

    About

    Jodi stands accused of sexually assaulting her fifteen-year-old daughter’s boyfriend, Rafael.

    Though Jodi is unnerved that her studious and responsible daughter has kept her boyfriend a secret, she finds herself forming a friendship with him. Their relationship escalates as do their secrets and confidences until the day a police officer arrives to arrest Jodi. Alvaro, Jodi’s husband, and Miranda end up at odds as they grapple with understanding the wife and mother they thought they knew.

    Meanwhile, Rafael, reeling from missing his estranged father and broken-hearted after a relationship gone wrong with his former English teacher, isn’t sure who he can trust and what kind of justice he seeks.

    Jodi feels as trapped by her ankle monitor as she always has by her troubled past, and she’s failing to find answers for the husband and daughter she adores. Fearing a trial could never expose the whole truth, Jodi tries to take matters into her own hands with Rafael at the run-down motel where she has been living. But she’s failed to realize how much he’s willing to sacrifice now that he feels he has nothing left.

    Behind the Book

    It’s amazing how a conversation can turn into a novel if you stay open to the possibility. My mother told me the story of a woman who was put in jail for sexually assaulting her daughter’s boyfriend in her hometown, and I was hooked. What intrigued me the most was that the woman’s husband and daughter stood by her, while her immediate family shunned her. This started all sorts of questions about innocence, identity, sexuality, love, and forgiveness that are explored in this story.

    Also, as with my previous novel, No Way to Fall Off This Earth, I'm inspired by my work in the New York City public schools to explore the unique relationships that can develop between adults and adolescents.

    Excerpt

    He shrugged and backed away, not closing the front door when he left. He hopped over the porch steps and veered off to the right, slapping the tall bush with his palm as he crossed our narrow strip of lawn. Before stepping onto the sidewalk, he turned to where I stood in the open door and nodded, like he was saying yes to a question I hadn’t asked.

     

  • Forgotten Downtowns

    About

    Forgotten Downtowns is the story of a young woman from a dying small town in upstate New York. She falls in love with a soldier who is deployed to Afghanistan where he commits a monstrous act of violence. This story explores how one family copes with the simultaneous collapse of their small town, their family, and what they always thought to be true about themselves and the America in which they live.

    Things have been the same for Naomi Berg forever, until she meets unpredictable, charming Sean Evans, a soldier who lives on the nearby army base and who sparks desires in Naomi that have been simmering beneath the surface. She must fight for her relationship with Sean despite the disapproval of her Jewish family and save her beloved father from the sadness that chokes him as their family’s downtown shoe business falls into disrepair. Then, she must deal with what she believes is the worst that could happen when Sean leaves for Afghanistan.

    But, the chilling actions of her father and Sean, that she never could have imagined even in her most fervent attempts to rescue them from their own demons, put her strength and will to survive to the ultimate test.

    Behind the Book

    The idea for Forgotten Downtowns was conceived when I considered the atrocities that Robert Bales committed in Afghanistan. I thought about principled soldiers going from small towns across America to entirely foreign places for which they might be unprepared for the people, food, prejudices, hatred, and violence that await them. I decided to set this story in Watertown, New York, where my father grew up and where my Uncle and Grandfather did own a shoe store like the one in the book. It experienced a twenty year decline and now sits vacant in the once budding downtown. The town has a prominent army base, so while Naomi and Sean are fictional, it is conceivable that two people like them could have met and fallen in love in this town. This story attempts to imagine what redemption and rebuilding look like for the majority of us left in America to cope with what we both consider and don’t consider about the wars happening overseas.

    Excerpt

    Grandpa used to tell me how this mall, on the edge of town, was a dairy farm where he would get ice cream cones as a child. But it was always too hard to imagine these waxed floors and the collection of brightly colored merchandise in window after window as anything else, so I’d stopped trying. My parents had never brought me here, and coming on my own still felt like a betrayal of the downtown where our family’s shoe business had started falling apart almost the same day that the mall had its proud grand opening.

  • Short Stories

    "Preservation" by Carrie Esposito

    “Preservation” was published in Mused – theBellaOnline Literary Review in their 2014 Summer issue.

     

    When Theresa loses her father, she flies across the country to see her mother from whom she’s been estranged for as long as she can remember. In the confines of their Upper East Side apartment, the assumptions she’s always held true about her mother slip away in the face of grief, even as both she and her mother fear letting go of the way things have always been between them.

    "Broken Fourth Walls" by Carrie Esposito

    “Broken Fourth Walls” was published in Mused – the BellaOnline Literary Review in their 2014 Summer issue.

     

    Fiona, a cynical young woman, sits in a Denver bar late at night with her husband Ryan. She has a strange, ghostly encounter with Maggie, another patron at the bar, who tells stories of her youth in Manhattan in the 1980s and reveals a secret that changes everything for Fiona.

    "The Bribe" by Carrie Esposito

    In front of an ex-pat bar in Delhi, Banhi, a sharp and cunning Indian beggar woman, meets Amber, a young woman volunteering in India. Banhi sees an opportunity to save herself and her children, but her plan goes awry when Amber isn’t quite who she seems.

    "Awakening North" by Carrie Esposito

    Ashley, fifteen, seeks adventure one hot summer day when she and a friend wander from their Upper East Side neighborhood to Spanish Harlem. She finds unexpected first love, but must contend with the consequences of seeing the truth for the first time about privilege and racial disparity.

    "I Came Here to Be Alone" by Carrie Esposito

    My reading of an excerpt at 'Stories on Stage'

     

    An artist, Justin, moves to Western Minnesota from Brooklyn to work on his art in peace and solitude. But when a dog comes up to his art studio and leads Justin to his front lawn, the discovery he makes there won't allow him to go back to the solitary life he thought he wanted.

    "Sacred Ash" by Carrie Esposito

    Nate, or Shankar, as he calls himself at the ashram where he lives near Boulder, Colorado, goes home for a family funeral and must face the ways in which his spiritual practice doesn't hold up under pressure.

    "Opting for Illusions" by Carrie Esposito

    A school fundraiser and a series of white lies collide in this story where the character of Nora is made to look more closely at the charged relationship with her best friend.

  • Media

    Please enjoy Carrie's book reviews on goodreads.

    Please enjoy Carrie's reading from a short story at "Stories on Stage" in Denver.

    Please enjoy this abbreviated version of Carrie's radio interview with WSOU: Talk/Art/Radio to hear about Carrie's writing process, the origins of No Way to Fall Off This Earth, and how the characters came to be.

    released May 2014

    Please enjoy a slideshow of photos from Carrie's time in India, many of which inspired scenes in No Way to Fall Off This Earth.

    Blog Posts On Lighthouse Writers Top-Secret Blog

    Read here for Carrie's first experience at LitFest at Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

     

    Read here for Carrie's thoughts on writing novel openings inspired by a class with Dana Spiotta.

    Poem Posted on Judaism Your Way's Blog

    Read here for Carrie's poem inspired by the gorgeous high holy day services run by Judaism Your Way at Denver's Botanic Gardens.

  • Email Carrie