Lisa Lawmaster Hess will be signing her first novel, “Casting the First Stone,” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, July 29, at Bethany Beach Books and at 10 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1, at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach. Having spent 27 years as an educator, Hess often heard her colleagues joke about writing a book. Now, two years after declaring her intent to retire early, Hess is celebrating the release of “Casting the First Stone.”
The novel tells the story of a custody dispute that arises when a noncustodial father, who has been only peripherally involved in his daughter’s life, decides to pursue full custody of her just before she turns 13. “Casting the First Stone” is written in alternating points of view, telling the story from the perspectives of the child’s mother, who got pregnant at 16, and her stepmother, who is trying to have a baby of her own. Weaving in themes of faith and family, the novel raises the issue of what makes a person a good parent.
A native of New Jersey, Hess moved to Pennsylvania to attend college at Bucknell University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education. While working as an elementary school counselor, she wrote two nonfiction books inspired by her interactions with her students, “Acting Assertively” and “Diverse Divorce,” along with numerous articles. Her work with families of divorce also served as an inspiration for “Casting the First Stone.” “I loved running small groups for children of divorce,” Hess said. “The students shared so freely, and they were so relieved to discover peers who shared the same conflicted feelings they were experiencing. They became a wonderful support network for one another.”
Although she retired in 2012, Hess remains an educator. In addition to working as an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania, she teaches community education classes through her local school district and has taught at Elizabethtown College’s Institute for Learning in Retirement. Though she frequented the Jersey shore with her parents and sister when she was growing up, she and her husband and daughter have been vacationing in Bethany Beach for nearly a decade.
For more information about Hess’s books, to inquire about a review copy, or to schedule an interview, contact her at L2Hess@comcast.net or 717-487-1633. For more information on Hess's author events, visit www.L2Hess.blogspot.com or her Facebook author page.