Mount Union Professor Publishes Novel

September 07, 2012

ALLIANCE, Ohio — University of Mount Union professor of English Dr. Michael Olin-Hitt has added a novel to his list of published works.

Olin-Hitt, a resident of Green, OH, recently published his first novel, “The Homegoing,” a fictional story based loosely on his mother and grandmother. The story takes place in Laurelville, OH, where his mother grew up.

The book’s description reads, “Nobody knows why Hannah Marshal drowned in Laurel Creek in 1937. Over two decades later, her niece, Ruth Sherman, takes it upon herself to find out. As she is pressed by her grandmother to learn the folk cures and healing rituals of Appalachian Christianity and armed with only a few rumors, old newspaper clippings and even some ghost stories about her aunt, Ruth begins to uncover the events surrounding Hannah’s death.”

Throughout the book, 21-year-old Ruth finds herself on a journey into the past, the traditions of a southern Ohio Pentecostal church and the shadowy side of the Holy Ghost among serpent handlers. On this journey, she discovers her own spiritual gifts and uncovers the unspoken shame in her family.

“I used this novel as a way to explore my own faith heritage through fiction,” Olin-Hitt said.

This is the third book for Olin-Hitt, who has also published “The Word of God Upon My Lips” and “A Fish Made of Water.”

Olin-Hitt has been writing since the age of six, when he wrote his first story about monsters. He continued writing for a literary journal in college at Otterbein University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in English. He also earned a Master of Arts in English and a Ph.D in English from The Ohio State University. In addition to his books, Olin-Hitt has written many short stories in his professional career. “The Homegoing” has been an ongoing project, which Olin-Hitt worked on during two sabbaticals.

“It’s very gratifying to publish a novel,” Olin-Hitt said. “It’s exciting because fiction is for everybody. “

Olin-Hitt has plans to write a sequel to “The Homegoing” which will focus on the character Ruth’s children.

The novel, published by Bottom Dog Press, is available on Amazon.

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