“‘The Promise of Water’ is as graceful as it is powerful —
a bracing and heart-breaking plunge into the mystery of identity, the boundlessness of love.”

The Promise of Water

The Promise of Water  is a novel that I pursued for my MFA master’s thesis. I have been a writer by trade throughout my entire professional career, but this was my first foray into novel writing, an ambition I’ve had since childhood. I made Nate Bishop my protagonist primarily because I wanted to challenge myself to write from a male perspective and create a character that would interest male and female readers alike. I also wrote The Promise of Water to pay homage to an area of the world that has beguiled me — the North Shore of Lake Superior. The lake is very much a character in my book. It has a hold of Nate’s missing twin sister, for whom he has returned home to find. It is a source of enlightenment and mystery, renewal and despair. And for Nate, specifically, it is a constant reminder of a dark secret from his childhood that he must face, once and for all.

In 2013, the novel was named Runner-Up in the Whidbey Emerging Writers Contest. In 2014, the manuscript was named a finalist in the Great Novel Contest by the Columbus Creative Cooperative and a semi-finalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. This year, The Promise of Water won the 2016 Caledonia Novel Award in Edinburgh, Scotland.

With the outstanding representation of agent Elizabeth Copps and the Maria Carvainis Agency, I hope this book will become my debut as a novelist. Thank you to all of the readers who have read the book in parts or whole along the way, especially my SNHU MFA faculty and fellow alumni.


For my next novel, I am venturing back to a woman’s worldview. I am sure Cloudspotting will shape-shift over the coming months, as novels–in-progress do. But I am excited to spend some time with a mother-daughter pair and take a look at how women in particular navigate the many stages of life that come crashing in after forty. My goal with this book is to create relatable characters who, especially in Skylar Whitmore’s case, are dangerously close to forgetting what matters in life. Grounded by the dispiriting memory of a decade-old school shooting, this story captures a woman whose sense of humor keeps her afloat amid a chaotic string of life challenges and her daughter, who wonders why her life was spared.




A Crossley SpencerA. Crossley Spencer

A. Crossley Spencer is the author of The Promise of Water, a freelance writer and a teacher.

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