UD professor Rehoboth resident publishes novel


Ethan Joella, a resident of Rehoboth, has made a long-held dream come true with the publication of his first novel, “A Little Hope”, by Simon & Schuster, available November 16.

Set in a small town in Connecticut, Joella’s debut novel follows the intertwined lives of a dozen neighbors facing everyday desires and fears. Joella has written essays, poems, and chapbooks in the past, and he said he knew there was something special about this book.

In 2016, his wife’s mother died of leukemia; he began the book the fall after his death, when he had gained an understanding of grief and the pursuit after loss.

“It changed my way of seeing the world,” said Joella. “I started to appreciate the little moments in life. I learned a lot from going through this with my wife, and you don’t realize that people go through this every day, losing people they can’t lose.

Over the years, Joella said he had interviewed hundreds of agents, “until there were hardly any left.” One evening at midnight, he sent three requests to agents he had not yet contacted. The last one he emailed responded at noon the next day.

“She read the two sample chapters I sent and wanted more,” Joella said.

In this case, the agent was based in London but was planning a trip to New York. The Joella family had tickets to a Broadway show during the same period; a meeting was scheduled to discuss the options, and his agent then sold the book to Simon & Schuster a few months later.

“It was a dream come true,” said Joella; Simon & Schuster even signed it for a second book even before the first was available for sale.

To celebrate the book launch, Browseabout Books will feature Joella at a reception and reading event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, November 19 at Rehoboth Beach Country Club.

Browseabout will donate 10% of all sales of “A Little Hope” to the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild, said Susan Kehoe, owner of Browseabout, who said Joella uses the language of a poet to draw the curtains back. life of its characters and allow the reader to scrutinize their broken but hopeful hearts.

“You will be investing in the lives of these interconnected families,” Kehoe said. “You will laugh when they find unexpected joy and cry when they realize that some loves are gone forever.”

Joella grew up in Pennsylvania and her family has been vacationing in Rehoboth since the 1950s, he said. His parents bought their house in the 1980s, and as a kid he was a frequent Browseabout customer, so for the bookstore, hosting a reception for his first novel is very special, Joella said.

In 2010, Joella joined the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild, an organization whose members, especially Maribeth Fischer, supported and challenged him in his work, said Joella; he is now chairman of the guild board.

Currently a professor of English and psychology at the Georgetown campus of the University of Delaware, Joella has been teaching at the high school and college level since the age of 21. He lives in Rehoboth with his wife, also a university professor, and their two teenage daughters.

Register for the launch party on November 19 at bit.ly/3pAGZrr.


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