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With an objective of producing well-written, carefully crafted, thoughtful and entertaining works, Kepler Press places a premium on attentive editing and on upholding high-quality production values, ensuring that each book's subject matter is integrated with professional book design and custom cover artistry.

Can a man write strong women contemporary heroines . . . and in Gothic-Romance style?

Cambridge, MA—Sometimes, in the book industry, it's good to break all the rules. What rules? How about these:

  • “Chick-lit” and serious feminist literature should both be written by women
  • Gothic novels are a throwback to the past, and their heroines usually lived 100 years ago
  • You can’t mix a modern heroine with ancient Druidic lore
  • If you’re going to put Druids in a book, they belong in Ireland—not Gloucester, Massachusetts
  • Men are ill-equipped to deal with issues such as mature love, sexual abuse, mother-daughter and cross-generational relationships, and pathological jealousy

Kepler Press's debut offering, Memoirs of a Shape-Shifter by Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield, breaks all of these. Mixing a complex modern love story with a well-researched historical saga of 300 years ago, Kaplan-Maxfield takes on this set of issues in a stunning fourth novel.

Forty-year-old Nikki Helmik, single mother and high-powered Boston lawyer, returns to her childhood home in Gloucester, Massachusetts. She immediately falls in love with Philip, son of the beautiful and cruel Rose Eveless, Nikki’s childhood mentor—and present enemy.

Yet, it's Rose who sets Nikki on the life-changing search for the diary of her ancestor, Anne Cleves…a Druid princess and shape-shifter of the original 17th-century settlement.

Kaplan-Maxfield, a veteran professor of writing and literature at Boston College and Tufts University, deftly handles the two very different styles of writing.

Nikki, the contemporary protagonist:

Although exhausted, she got up and flicked on the gas to the coffee, the new reality settling in. She had been abandoned and betrayed by everyone and everything, only to be left—ironically—with the hard truth she had always known: life as warfare; human relationships as a perpetual struggle for power. She smiled darkly as she waited for the coffee to heat, then poured herself a boiling cup. (p. 274)

And Anne, the ancient priestess:

From the old Druid I learned many things: the lore of the ancient times; why milk is white and the wife loving; why the goat is bearded and the wheel round; learned of the dry craeft and other sacred mysteries. The thousand and one secret spells to chant over potions and herbs I learned by heart, listening to Ganieda's voice crackle like dry leaves in the wind, his knobby hand beating time with a stick while he spoke. Else while he beat time I recited, always in poetic form, the many spells and incantations he taught me: to bend fire and make the Druid wind blow, cause the cat to rise in the air and hover there; and make the door open and close to fan itself… (p. 308)

Kaplan-Maxfield describes his new work as "a story that attempts to overcome what is often considered a literary curse in America—our inability to write a novel that concerns mature love. My attempt in writing Memoirs is to try to move us beyond the war of the sexes into a new way of seeing one another, not as opponents in love and relationships but rather as friends and partners.”

Title: Memoirs of a Shape-Shifter
Author: Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield
ISBN 0971377030, LCCN 03 1079386
6x9 hardcover , $25
Pub. date: October 1, 2005 home page