Clinton Item/Worcester Telegram Previews “Horseshoes”

newspaper article on sexual harassment novel

Thanks to my local paper, The Item, for writing up a very nice overview of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, which also ran in the Worcester Telegram. (Although, can I say, one never knows how much forehead one has until you see a photo cropped this closely, haha!)

Following is the text of the article, or view the online version of the piece here.

Clinton woman writes novel on sexual harassment

CLINTON – Watching all the #MeToo publicity, Clinton resident Susan Boucher was struck with an idea for her third book.

Under the pen name S.M. Stevens, Boucher’s book, “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades,” will be released on Sept. 27 It is available for pre-order now on Amazon (ebook only).

Boucher moved to Clinton in April after 14 years in Boylston (where she raised her two daughters) and three years in Berlin.

Writing books came to Boucher in times of pain.

“I’ve been a business writer for what feels like my entire life, and I started writing fiction during back-to-back health crises,” she said. “I wrote ‘Shannon’s Odyssey’ for my middle-grade, animal-loving younger daughter while laid up with a shattered pelvis for three months. Then I wrote the Young Adult Bit Players series for theater-loving teens like my older daughter while in treatment – successful, I might add – for ovarian cancer.”

A press release described “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades” as a #MeToo book on workplace sexual harassment.

“I love writing in different genres and had always intended to write fiction for adults, too. In fact, my first manuscript, dismal though it was, focused on a young woman dealing with childhood incest memories,” Boucher said. “The new novel, ‘Horseshoes and Hand Grenades,’ was born as I watched the media coverage of Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement. I was dismayed to see society asking the same questions of workplace harassment victims that it asks of incest survivors. I decided it was time for a novel that helps people understand why many women in those situations don’t speak up when their abuse is occurring, if at all.”

But Boucher said the book is not necessarily dark.

“Believe it or not, it’s a light-hearted coming-of-age tale, even though it has intense themes,” she said. “One early reviewer described it as a ‘safe place to explore tough subjects.’ That makes me very happy because I want it to be accessible and enjoyable, as well as thought-provoking.”

The title comes from the old saying that “almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” she explained.

“I really want this novel to be a conversation-starter, and to help victims of harassment and abuse acknowledge that their experiences matter,” Boucher added. “The first has already come true. An early reviewer told her husband something she’d held secret for years, after reading the manuscript. I can only hope the second comes true as well.”

This will not be Boucher’s final writing project.

“My hope is that ‘Horseshoes and Hand Grenades’ is successful enough for me to justify the time it takes to write another novel,” she said. “But I’ll always be writing something, even if it’s just for me.”