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September, 2020: Invited by creator/songwriter/bassist, Teo Lee, to be part of a diverse collective of musicians, emcees, singers, and activists, Devon Wilke joined The Funkin’ Rebellion on the track “Be The Change That You Want to See,” a call-to-action—in funk form—to voters of compassion, progress and change. From Teo Lee:
“FRIDAY 9.18.20 is the OFFICIAL NATIONAL RELEASE DATE of ‘BE THE CHANGE THAT YOU WANT TO SEE!’ on all major digital platforms and streaming services. This ‘get out the vote’ anthem is the first official release from the 7-track collection titled Narrative Disruption by The FUNKIN’ ROCK REBELLION.
“The entire collection was inspired by a call to action from the Legend, songstress and Civil Rights activist, NINA SIMONE who famously said, ‘Art should reflect the times.’ #FunkTheVote!”
Download a copy of “Be the Change That You Want to See” HERE.
May 2020: Lorraine was chosen as one of five authors highlighted in this colorful and comprehensive “video wiki” feature:
“With so much genre fiction in the marketplace, one can be forgiven for not realizing there’s anything else being put out these days. These authors all buck the trend, producing category-defying work that is insightful and touching, giving readers an experience they’ve never had before and won’t soon forget.” Wiki.ezvid.com
JANUARY 27, 2020: Lorraine was invited to participate in a panel discussion on NPR’s popular interview show, 1A, debating the controversy over American Dirt, as well as detailing her own journey in getting The Alchemy of Noise published. Click image below to access full interview (her segment runs from 23:25-29:45). For more information on the topic, as well as the other speakers, click HERE.
Lorraine’s short story, “Penelope For His Thoughts,” was awarded in Tulip Tree Publishing’s “The Stories That Need to Be Told 2019” short story competition. Included in the prize was publication in their latest anthology, now beautifully assembled and available at Amazon. Click HERE to purchase in either print or ebook. Lots of wonderful stories included!
PRAISE FOR THE ALCHEMY OF NOISE:
“Part awakening, part trial by fire, The Alchemy of Noise is a timely social novel that unfolds with tenderness and cruelty. A story on fresh beginnings marred by police brutality, The Alchemy of Noise tests the limits of love. Lorraine Devon Wilke’s sharp interracial romance strikes at the heart of contemporary race issues with thoughtful, vulnerable characters who excavate their own beliefs to reaffirm what’s worth fighting for… Between its heartfelt message for allies and its cautious navigation of what it’s like to be made a target, a profound optimism emerges. Love can’t solve everything for Sidonie and Chris, but it continually encircles them.”
10 of the Most Anticipated Books to Make Time for in 2019:
“An impactful story about race, equality and love, The Alchemy of Noise has quickly become a highly-buzzed-about read in the vast community of female writers.”
“Wilke’s rewarding novel (after Hysterical Love) follows the relationship between a black sound engineer and the white manager of the club where he works. … When Chris is arrested for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest, and brutally beaten by police, Sidonie supports him as he decides whether to go to trial or take a plea deal. But the possibility that he may be implicated in another, more serious crime causes a fracture in their relationship that may be irreparable. Wilke’s story will satisfy readers with its emotional depth and strong characters, making for a memorable novel.”
“Wilke’s prose is cautious and empathetic, probing at the edges of politeness, taboo, and uncomfortable truth …the directness and openness with which the author explores the topic, as well as its continuing relevance, make this a novel that will still read as daring to many.”
“5-Stars: The writing is emotive and highly descriptive, painting snippets of life for Chris as he struggles with the everyday racism and assumptions put upon young black men all across America, and Sidonie’s struggle to connect and understand is intelligently handled. Neither of them is perfect, but together they find something special of their own. Wilke’s superb pacing and frank dialogue guide us through every harrowing moment as they fight hard to protect it. The Alchemy of Noise is a highly entertaining and engaging piece of drama which shines a light on pivotal issues of today.”
12 Can’t-Miss Books by Women to Read This Year:
“In this devastating and touching new novel from Lorraine Devon Wilke, two unlikely lovers find themselves in the middle of a corrupt investigation that will change their lives forever. Chris is a black sound engineer and when his path crosses with Sidonie, a white and successful venue manager, the two quickly fall into a whirlwind love affair. But everything suddenly changes when Chris is arrested and charged with horrific crimes that will show the young couple just how wicked the world can be.”
“A fascinating book, really, really quite something… a real Chicago novel. I do find something quite courageous about this book. It’s not only terribly provocative and moves like a freight train, but it’s a very, very, very ambitious book.”
“This book. Stop what you are doing. And read this book. It’s heartbreaking, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s daring in the most important way… This book haunts me – but it’s a good thing. I cannot stop thinking about it. I feel as if Sidonie and Chris are real people, and in a way, they are – as the gut-wrenching brutality, tension, and racism is entirely plausible in this day and age… I loved every minute of this story.”
“The exploration of all the relationships in this novel is excellent. The characters rich and rounded, the way they react and interact absorbing. It is very well written. It’s intelligent, educational and eye-opening, though still easy to read, the prose flowing and drawing you in. The Alchemy of Noise is an excellent novel I thoroughly enjoyed and don’t hesitate for a moment to recommend.”
“The writing of The Alchemy of Noise is hauntingly beautiful, shocking, and compelling. I feel like I know so many of the characters, that they are the family and friends and fellow students I knew in Chicago. And yet I don’t know them at all, can’t believe they would react as the characters did here. But, as Sidonie points out, I’ve read the papers, listened to the news, heard the casually racist and discriminatory remarks. And even with a love as big as Chris and Sidonie’s, I don’t know how you get past that. Maybe reading this stunningly well written book is a good way to start.”
“I absolutely loved this book, and found myself engrossed in their story and journey. I felt a somewhat deep connection with Sid and Chris’ characters. The story is just heart wrenching – I really couldn’t put the book down, and it will stay haunting me for a long time to come. If you haven’t yet read this – it must be next on your TBR!”
“From the challenge of loving narrow-minded relations to finding love without trust impossible, no matter your race or level of privilege, this book is rich with raw human experience. Deftly executed with grace and the author’s own keen sensibilities, the story left me wishing it would never end. It is well-paced with moments of epiphany that had me feeling I was not just a reader but part of the story. In some way, we all are. Every single one of us can take responsibility for changing history for the better, lessons of yesterday are a chance to improve, to hate less, love more and a chance to be at peace with all people.”
“The Alchemy of Noise was not what I expected. With each page I found myself becoming more and more intrigued. Then I had to step back for a minute and see the much larger picture she was painting with her words. Emotionally wrenching … well written and developed, Wilke has communicated the fears, doubts and being human in a world where intolerance of difference is rampant, where being humane is not extended to those who are different. This is not a light book, it is one that will stick with you for weeks if not longer. I finished this book about three weeks ago and just now sat down to write the review. Having come from a family from the deepest part of Indiana where racism runs unchecked and fueled by the past, I still feel the impact of this story.”
INTERVIEWS & PODCASTS
Iconic Chicago Tribune columnist & WGN Radio personality, Rick Kogan, discusses The Alchemy of Noise (LDW segment starts @ 38:00 min.)
“Author, Lorraine Devon Wilke, is on the podcast this week. We went deep on race, culture and politics. Buckle in.” Julie Walker Harris, the other 50% Susan Wingate, host of DIALOGUE: Between the Lines, discusses art, music, books, and The Alchemy of Noise with Lorraine Devon Wilke PODCAST: A Conversation About Fiction, Culture, Stories, Imagination & The Alchemy of Noise w/ Debbie Zipp The Three Tomatoes Popular podcaster, Amy Beth Arkawy, welcomes back Lorraine: “Is fiction friendly or dangerous terrain for social commentary?” Robert Batista brings Lorraine Devon Wilke to The Authors Lab to discuss The Alchemy of Noise and the power of stories to change culture. “Empathy is the antidote to everything” when sparking a movement: an interview with authors Sara Connell & Lorraine Devon Wilke
MORE PRAISE FOR THE ALCHEMY OF NOISE:
“This is not a run-of-the-mill love story. But Lorraine Devon Wilke is not a run-of-the-mill writer. The Alchemy of Noise, a powerful interracial romance with rich, cinematic quality, is gritty, clever and superbly crafted, sustaining a gut-wrenching level of tension until the final page.” ~ Jane Davis, author of Smash All the Windows & seven other titles; winner of Daily Mail’s First Novel Award.
“Every character was authentic. Sidonie and Chris have great depth; they’re real-life people, and I wanted them to overcome, for their love to prevail. The plot line was great as well. The microaggressions, the hidden and overt racism, the passive-aggressive low-key racism—it was all in there, all very plausible and realistic. The book is a sort of Racism 101, an eye-opener for allies.” ~ Regina McRae, BLM activist, award-winning baker/owner of NYC bakery, Grandma’s Secrets, and author of Taking the Cake, Your Ultimate Cake Guide
“Beautifully written, perfectly balanced, and evenly paced, The Alchemy of Noise, Devon Wilke’s story of love, redemption, and racial conflict in the shadow of contemporary urban America, is a tour-de-force from an author at the top of her game.” ~ Mark Barry, author of The Night Porter and Carla
“A powerful novel that wraps the love story of a mixed-race couple in a ‘ripped from the headlines’ narrative, The Alchemy of Noise is alternately touching, painful, sweet, and enraging. With its exploration of race and privilege, and stunning, unexpected plot twists, it demands your attention from beginning to end.” ~ Susie Singer Carter, award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter (My Mom & the Girl and Soul Surfer)
“Reading this combination love story and page-turning legal drama, I was particularly moved by the exploration of the psychological and emotional impacts of racism on each of the characters. The Alchemy of Noise dives into those issues in new, unexamined ways, and as a professional working in the field of PTSD and family trauma, I found that element to be a powerful and authentic driver of this very topical story.” ~ Nancy Locke Capers, writer/producer, licensed psychotherapist
“Infused with beauty, humor and pain, The Alchemy of Noise is a modern American love story that asks if love can bridge the distance between two Americas. Author Lorraine Devon Wilke writes with authenticity, insight, sensitivity. Her characters Sidonie and Chris (and the loved ones in their orbit) stayed with me like old friends whose success I am rooting for, but is in no way guaranteed in a world where skin color may be destiny.” ~ Laura Nicole Diamond, author of Shelter Us and Deliver Me
“The story of Sidonie, a white woman, and Chris, a black man, is a well-written and compelling tale of love that offers a glimpse into the unique experiences couples face in interracial relationships. When allegations of criminal activity are lodged against Chris, the two are forced into a confusing and frightening reality which shakes them to their very cores. The Alchemy of Noise is an intense emotional journey, and Wilke masterfully guides us through it with laughter, tears, and thought-provoking insight.” ~ Kimberley A. Johnson, author of Peyton’s Choice and The Virgin Diaries
“The Alchemy of Noise is an honest, empathetic, and powerful look at racial tensions in modern America, explored through one interracial couple’s burgeoning relationship—and how it plays on the concerns and assumptions of their friends and families. The writing is excellent, the characters full and real and conflicted—just like life.” ~ Laurie Boris, author of The Call, a Baseball Novel and A Sudden Gust of Gravity
“Lorraine Devon Wilke’s The Alchemy of Noise includes brushstrokes of nightlife, music, the club world; true-ringing elements that too often in the lit-game are swung at and missed. Her portrait of Chicago as a representation of contemporary urban culture is so vivid it stands as a character all its own.” ~ Junior Burke, author of A Thousand Eyes and Something Gorgeous
Published 2.8.19 by Book Trib:
We live in a time when history is made by Tweets, when what happens there can instantly be known here. A time when anyone with a digital device can express views, publish opinions, or comment on news within moments of it unfolding, making the (somewhat dated) concept of “information superhighway” never more accurate…or glutted.
We want to be informed, we want to keep our awareness sharp, or maybe we just want some good old chatty entertainment, but given the sheer volume of what comes at us daily, it seems truth—and its ripple effects of impact, inspiration and illumination—often gets lost in the shuffle.
Yet truth is conveyed in many more ways than just news and social media, in just non-fiction tomes and memoirs of note. In fact, some of our most poignant cultural truths have been discovered and disseminated through stories, through imagination…through fiction.
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