Wade Rouse’s newest book examines important bonds of friendship

"The Clover Girls" is about four girls who met at camp in 1985. Courtesy Wade Rouse

Author Wade Rouse, who writes under the pen name Viola Shipman, released his new book “The Clover Girls” last month. This is an inspiring story that takes place in Michigan and is about four girls who met at camp in 1985. Now approaching middle age, the women are facing challenges they never imagined as teens — struggles with their marriages, their children, their careers and wondering who it is they see when they look in the mirror.

Wade Rouse writes under the pen name Viola Shipman Courtesy Wade Rouse

Grand Rapids Magazine: What inspired you to write “The Clover Girls?”

Wade Rouse: “The Clover Girls” is an ode to friends and dreams, how each changes our lives and why we too often and too easily let those fade. It’s about how our friends love, support and complete us, but also how, sometimes, they hurt us, so deeply in our souls that scar tissue develops and we become scared to trust and love again. More than anything, “The Clover Girls” is about forgiveness and learning to forgive yourself first so you’re capable of forgiving others. Mostly, this novel is an ode to friends helping us rediscover who we were and who we still can be.

GRM: What did you learn when writing the book?

RW: To be a better friend. I’ve learned through the last year and writing this novel that we need one another now more than ever. We can’t hug, but we can be a lifesaver in the ocean to someone who is struggling, isolated, simply needs us to reach out and ask how they are doing. I also believe we need huge doses of hope and inspiration, and those are foundational elements of this book and every book I write.

GRM: What advice do you have for writers?

RW: How much time do you have? First and foremost, be fearless, in life and writing. Have thick skin. Rejection is part of the process. Every writer is rejected. I still get rejected. When you put your work out there, you have to be able to take the good with the bad. Write for yourself.

GRM: Can you tell us about Viola Shipman’s style of writing?

RW: My writing is filled with hope and inspiration, which we need so much of these days. I love writing about what I call the “minute moments” in life, the little things, the things that unite us rather than divide us. My novels are meant to be shared amongst friends and family and generations, like the books that were shared with me growing up. My books are meant to remind readers to slow down and remember what matters most in life. My fiction is meant to honor the elders in our lives whose sacrifices and journeys helped make us who we are today.

GRM: What do you wish to accomplish in writing long term?

RW: My hope is that in a hundred years when readers pick up one of my books when I am no longer around, they understand who Viola Shipman is and why I chose her name and seek to understand or more appreciate their own elders and family histories. If so, then I know my work will truly have connected and made a difference.

Visit waderouse.com for more information on where to buy “The Clover Girls.”

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