While some people may have spent the early spring months of 2020 at home somewhat unproductively, Easton resident Alisha Gorder was not among them. She took advantage of the time to put the finishing touches on her recently published debut novel, “Joy: A modern fable.”
As its title promises, Joy is an uplifting read: “This book is my gift to myself and to all those I hold dear,” Gorder explains. “Family, friendship, and love are its guiding lights.”
The book chronicles the respective journeys towards happiness of five loosely interwoven characters. And while part of Joy is set in fictional “Eastville”, elements of that bucolic New England community will seem very familiar to Easton readers. Most of the book itself was conceived and written in different parts of Easton and Redding, as Gorder waited to shuttle her children between their various activities. The St. Mary’s section of Bridgeport, from which the Gorder family moved to Easton, also plays a featured role.
The novel was a long time in the making: It took Gorder close to a decade to complete the book’s development, writing and editing. But it was the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting large amount of time spent at home that allowed her to complete the work. “It’s been my lifelong dream, and it’s been a long journey,” she said. “But it’s all worth it to see people reading and enjoying the book.”
Joy is a charming, “easy” read, but its themes run deep. “My hope is that readers will feel a sense of happiness and calm when they finish it,” according to Gorder.
Born and raised in Trumbull, Alisha graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Christoph (whose work for international non-profit charity: water was profiled in The Easton Courier on June 29) have lived in Easton with their children, Anya and Leo, since 2013.
After moving to town, the Gorder family quickly immersed themselves into Easton life, particularly its schools and educational community. Alisha is a former board member of the Easton Learning Foundation, active in National Charity League and currently a volunteer curriculum liaison for the town to the ER9 board of education.
The book’s cover was designed by hand by 15-year old Anya, a rising Joel Barlow High School junior. “I’ve enjoyed this entire process,” Gorder says. “But working with my daughter was probably my favorite part.” Although the book is not autobiographical, Anya’s younger brother Leo, a rising seventh grader at Helen Keller Middle School, inspired one of the novel’s characters.
This may be Gorder’s first full-length work of fiction, but she is an accomplished writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, New York Post, The Hartford Courant, The Patriot Ledger, and The Easton Courier. She has also published short stories and OpEd pieces.
“Joy: A modern fable” is available on Amazon.com, via the Kindle Reader, for $7.99. The free Kindle Reader app can be downloaded to a computer, phone or tablet. Joy is scheduled to be released in paperback and available on Amazon by the end of August.
“I try to be an optimist. It’s kind of my thing,” Gorder says. “So this is an optimistic book, a balm for troubled times.”