No Sex or Violence and Just a Little Bit of Murder

“Aria wanted to look back but she was afraid. After all, everybody knew what happened to Lot’s wife when she looked back. So she ran.”

So begins Come Home Free.

What is it like to live a life homesick forever? Aria never feels like she fits in her family. But when she falls in love with Luke Wagner, she thinks she has found “home.” Little does she know what a stranger she will become in her own life. 

Clara feels like a stranger in her life too. How can a daughter be so different from her own mother? When her mother gives her the old family Bible, she hopes to discover answers in its pages. The answers she finds only make her feel less at home in her own body and with the people she calls “family.”

Though separated by more than 70 years, Clara and Aria seek truth–about themselves and the places and people they call home.

These words now appear in the “book description” section of for a novel entitled Come Home Freeby Hunter Crainshaw. I am excited to announce that I co-wrote this novel with Sheila Hunter. While I have published four academic books, this is my first attempt at writing fiction, and I am pleased to introduce it and its characters to you, my blogging friends.

The desire to write this story was sparked 30 years ago when I learned about a family mystery. About five years ago, Sheila said to me, “You just need to write the thing. Let’s do it together.” The idea of co-imagining the full novel took root. Now, after many hours of writing, not a few moments of self-doubt, several dead-end storyline pathways, and countless days of editing, the digital version of the novel is available on

The novel tells the stories of two primary characters, Aria and Ophelia, but its pages are alive with the voices and faces of other characters who remind us of what it means to be friends and family to each other. Come Home Free is not a steamy romance, an edge-of-your-seat thriller, or a labyrinthine mystery. Some people might call it “Southern fiction.” Others might say it is “religious fiction.” What we hope is that the story invites people to laugh and perhaps even to have hope again in the mysteries of home.

A print version of the novel will be available through Amazon in a few weeks. For now, the digital version is $4.99 and can be downloaded starting today.

Co-author Sheila Hunter owns Hunter Piano Service in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and is a photographer, blogger, and musician.