“‘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 lake, it is said, never gives up her dead…

California advertising executive Nate Bishop thinks that a relationship and a career on the brink of disaster are his biggest problems — until his twin sister, Nora, goes missing while sailing on Lake Superior.

 When his twin sister goes missing on Lake Superior, Nate Bishop returns home to discover that searching for her means coming face to face with his past — and summoning the courage to find himself. 
When he returns home, Nate finds his search for Nora complicated by a number of discoveries. Who is the mysterious boyfriend known only as Miller? What secrets has Nora been hiding? Is the Seachant lost at sea — or have Nora and Miller stolen away to the other side of the lake?

When the search appears to turn cold, Nate begins to question not only the whereabouts of his twin, but the past he thought he knew and the future before him.

With the backdrop of northern Minnesota as its setting, The Promise of Water is a novel about the quest for identity, the pursuit of family, and how twins distanced by secrecy experience the duality of nature and themselves.

Runner-up: Whidbey Emerging Writers Contest (Northwest Institute for Literary Arts)
Finalist: 2014 Great Novel Award (Columbus Creative Cooperative)
Semi-Finalist: Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition (Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society)



The lake blends seamlessly and silently into a horizon of shadows. Gazing out at the expansive body of water, I listen for clues about Nora.

In history class, I learned about the Edmund Fitzgerald and countless other shipwrecks on this lake. Over centuries of time, she has claimed her victims. Small boats. Great vessels. Lone fishermen and large crews. This lake has overwhelmed every kind of craft and taken bodies with them to the unexplored bottom. When I think of those sailors, preserved in the lake’s cavernous belly, more than a thousand feet below, the legend echoes in my mind: Superior, it’s said, never gives up her dead.      

I crouch down and grab a handful of cold, water-worn stones. Closing my eyes, I try to conjure the twin telepathy that Nora and I have shared so many times. Nora has always possessed it more strongly. Often my phone would ring at just the right time – following a stressful day at work or a fender-bender, or when I was simply missing home. But what if there is no such thing as twin telepathy? What if Nora has simply been a better sibling, more attentive, more aware? The thought grabs hold of me like a hand at my throat.

Far down the jagged shoreline, I imagine our cove in the silhouette of rocky points.  Placing my hand on the surface of the water, I search for a connection. I want to sense her in some way, like a current through the water. But all I can feel is an aching cold spreading toward my bones.

She would know how to find me.

Across the big, black lake, I seek her guidance once more, trying to separate the legend from our reality, trying to cast from my mind those sailors held in their watery keeping place. Maybe she can sense me.

Be anywhere but here, Nora. Anywhere but here. I can get to you anywhere … but here.   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________


If you would like to know more about The Promise of Water or to receive a copy of Chapter One, please feel free to reach out to me via the contact page.

A Crossley SpencerA. Crossley Spencer

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

A. Crossley Spencer on Twitter
Keep up with Andrea

Sometimes I find resources and information that I think are worthy of sharing. If you would like to receive those updates, provide your email address and stay tuned!