VIOLA SHIPMAN is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name to honor the woman whose charm bracelet and family stories inspired him to write his debut novel, which is a tribute to all of our elders. Rouse lives in Michigan and writes regularly for People and Coastal Living, among other places, and is a contributor to All Things Considered. To date, The Charm Bracelet has been translated into nine languages. He is at work on his second “heirloom novel,” which will be published in 2017.
The Charm Bracelet is a tribute to my Ozarks grandmother, Viola Shipman, who I grew up alongside, the jangling of her charm bracelet as ever-present as the moan of the bullfrogs, the call of the whippoorwill and the hum of the cicadas.
It was through the charms on my grandmother’s bracelet that I got to know her. I found that each charm held a story, a key that unlocked a secret part of her life.
Through these charms, I got to know my grandmother not just as a grandmother but also as an incredible woman who had lived an extraordinary life filled with beauty, hope and tragedy.
My grandmother’s story and life jangled in my head for years, and I felt compelled to write a novel based on her charms and the lessons she taught me: That the simplest things in life – family, friends, faith, fun, love, and a passion for what you do – truly are the grandest gifts.
I couldn’t be prouder of this novel, which not only honors my grandmother, with the pen name Viola Shipman, but also all of our elders.
For more about the author, please visit Wade Rouse’s official website.