First Fiction Friday: Mad Honey

Fans of Cherie Dimaline’s Empire of the Wild or Sue Monk Kid’s The Secret Life of Bees will enjoy this new debut novel by Katie Welch. Her debut novel Mad Honey (Wolsak and Wynn Publisher) immerses the reader in a search for truth bounded by the everyday magic of beekeeping, family and finding peace, while asking how much we really understand the natural world. 


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If you ask Katie Welch why she wrote Mad Honey, she may explain a teen-aged LSD trip where she saw trails of light linking bees to flowers, to hives and to the world. Or she may mention reading about colony collapse and the mystery of what was happening to the bees. Or many other things.But all these points of inspiration came together to create a rich, elegantly written and compelling layered mystery. There is the story of what happened to Beck Wise, who vanished for a summer and came back with mysterious bee-memories. There’s the struggle of his girlfriend Melissa Makepeace to both believe Beck and trust again after her father vanished years ago. There’s the story of her father’s disappearance, which Melissa starts investigating. There’s the effort to manage the family farm, which Melissa runs with steely determination, along with the beehives Beck was responsible for before he vanished. It’s all beautifully interconnected in Mad Honey, a page-turning story, which immerses the reader in a search for truth, shares the everyday magic of beekeeping, considers the complexity of family and of finding peace, all while asking us how much we really understand the natural world.

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If Cherie Dimaline’s Empire of the Wild was crossed with Sue Monk Kid’s The Secret Life of Bees, you’d have Katie Welch’s Mad Honey. A man who’s lost his memories and a woman trying to save him, family secrets, a lost parent, bees and honey, finding out the truth, it’s all in here.

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Katie Welch writes fiction and teaches music in Kamloops, BC, on the traditional, unceded territory of the Secwepemc people. Her short stories have been published in EVENT Magazine, Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, The Temz Review, The Quarantine Review and elsewhere. She was first runner-up in UBCO’s 2019 Short Story Contest, and her story “Poisoned Apple” was chosen as Pick-of-the-Week by Longform Fiction.