For readers of literary mysteries, Karen Hugg writes captivating novels about plants (real or imagined), combining her knowledge of horticulture with a passion for the natural world to inspire and entertain.
The following novels are complete and available for representation.
Harvesting the Sky
Harvesting the Sky is 65,000 words with a speculative apple tree at the heart of its story. It asks the question: What would happen if an apple was discovered that cured illness? The story focuses on a botanist and his struggles to propagate a genetically special apple tree while being opposed by skeptical traditionalists. It deals with issues of religion versus science and redeeming one’s self from past mistakes. Because it’s about an American living in Paris, it also deals with issues of alienation and generational differences.
It was a semi-finalist in the Del Sol Press First Novel Prize contest.
American Andre Damazy is an experienced botanist. He can grow any plant so when he gets the opportunity to propagate a rare medicinal apple, he jumps on the chance. The issue’s personal for him since his mother had a stroke and he knows if he can bring this apple to the public, thousands of ill people will be healed. But a stranger constantly thwarts Andre’s work: stalking him, spraying his trees, intimidating him through effigies and notes. While Andre doesn’t understand why anyone would do this, he suspects it’s related to a previous project during his teenage years when an old woman died. Now, he has to push on, despite the stranger’s beliefs, so he can not only bring this curative apple to the world, but redeem himself for his past mistakes.
The Forgetting Flower
The Forgetting Flower is 73,000 words and features a speculative flower. It asks the question: What would happen if a plant’s scent could erase a memory? The story centers on a plant shop owner who, while caring for the plant of an estranged sister, must decide whether to sell its flowers illegally to keep a new better life afloat. It deals with ethical issues of selling natural drugs on the black market, a woman’s struggle to create her own destiny, and familial issues of attachment and broken ties. Because the protagonist is a young Polish woman living in Paris, it also deals with issues of migration, class, income inequality, and aspirational choices.
Renia Baranczka is living the life she always hoped for in Paris. She manages a chic plant shop though her rarest plant is locked away and not for sale. Its flowers emit a special fragrance that can erase a person’s memory. She can’t just destroy it, she promised her mentally unstable sister she wouldn’t. But one day, when Renia’s favorite client turns up dead, she realizes the plant may be more dangerous than she thought and without her client’s business, the shop can no longer stay afloat. So when a shady character from her past appears with a nefarious proposal, Renia does what she’d pledged she’d never do: sell the flowers for cash. As Renia navigates the underworld of blackmarket mobsters, she must fend off unwanted advances, physical abuse, and intimidating threats until finally, she must fight not only to save the plant, but her sister, and ultimately, herself.
For more about Karen, click here.