Author Elizabeth J. Church. Courtesy photo
Elizabeth J. Church, who spent her early years in Los Alamos and has now returned here to live, has written a novel called The Atomic Weight of Love. She will talk about the book, which is set in Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project and following decades, at the Library’s monthly Authors Speak program at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 23.
Church’s book was released May 3, and she has been on a whirlwind book tour ever since. She spoke most recently at the iconic bookstores Powell’s (in Portland) and The Tattered Cover in Denver.
The Atomic Weight of Love centers around the life of Meridien Wallace, who is in love with learning. Meridien is dazzled as a young woman by the mind of a brilliant professor, whom she later marries. When he begins work in Los Alamos, she follows him to New Mexico. Meridien finds satisfaction in the beauty of the landscape and in observing the behavior of crows, but becomes increasingly lonely in her marriage.
Atomic weight of Love cover. Courtesy photo
Although the novel is Church’s first book, she has always felt that she would be a writer. Her plan was to begin the writer’s life immediately following college, but that was not to be. Practical concerns, the disapproval of her mother, and the social strictures of the time all conspired to guide her to a different path. She practiced law for 31-plus years, and used her writing skills to “draft persuasive legal briefs,” along with publishing stories and writing for journals.
After her husband died and Church retired from legal practice, she decided to return to her dream of devoting a period of time to writing her novel, and The Atomic Weight of Love was the result.
As Church said in her article for bustle.com, it was “fear, death and grief” that spurred her to write the novel. Among the kudos the book has received there was a blurb from Judy Blume, who said on the Diane Rehm show “I’m finding it hard to put down.” The book was an Amazon book of the month, an Audible editor’s choice, and an Indie Next pick.
Copies of the book will be for sale at the program, thanks to the Los Alamos History Museum gift shop. Church will sign books after the talk.
The Authors Speak Series is a monthly event featuring local and regional authors speaking about their writing on a variety of subjects such as local and state history, travel, outdoor activities, fiction, Native American history and culture, poetry and more. The series is funded by the Friends of the Los Alamos County Library System. The talks are free and begin at 7 p.m., on the fourth Thursday of each month, followed by the opportunity to meet the authors and enjoy refreshments.
For more information, visit the Library’s website at losalamoslibrary.org.