from author’s website

JUST THE FACTS (book jacket bio)

Cynthia Newberry Martin holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has served as the Review Editor for Contrary Magazine and the Writing Life Editor for Hunger Mountain. Her website features the How We Spend Our Days series, over a decade of essays by writers on their lives. She grew up in Atlanta and now lives in Columbus, Georgia, with her husband, and in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in a little house by the water. Tidal Flats is her first novel.


I write novels about marriage. About how characters navigate between separateness and togetherness. About how they balance the need for both time to themselves and time together. About what compromise does to a person’s sense of self.

In addition to Tidal Flats, I’ve written three others. So far, all in drawers instead of stores. Back in 2010, the first novel I wrote, The Painting Story, placed on the Short List for Finalists in the novel category of the 2010 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and at the same time, the second novel I wrote, Between Here and Gone, placed as a Semi-Finalist.

My early stories, essays, and reviews appeared in Hunger Mountain, Brevity, Gargoyle, Contrary Magazine, Clapboard House, Storyglossia, and Numéro Cinq. For a number of years, which I think of as my crazy years, I served as the Review Editor for Contrary Magazine AND the Writing Life Editor for Hunger Mountain AND I was in graduate school AND in a writing group.

In 2012 I graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Creative Writing. Later that year, I was awarded a residency at Ragdale. Being able to write in a sacred place was amazing, and I often think of my time there in the Playroom and throwing pages down the stairs. In 2013, I became a founding board member of the literary nonprofit Writing by Writers. Pam Houston and Karen Nelson needed a third body, and I got to be it. The workshops are in gorgeous places with excellent faculty, and you can usually find me there selling books or fetching coffee.


I have a big family—four children and their significant others and five grandchildren right at this moment. If I have any free time and can stay off my computer, I clean out a drawer. At night, if it’s been a long writing day, I confess to Acorn TV over a book—something I need to work on.


I grew up in the sixties in the heart of Atlanta, went to college in North Carolina, spent a year teaching English in France, practiced law, and had kids. But through all of this, and especially when the kids were little, I was a reader. So when I had a little free time in the late 90’s, I thought, books are cool and writers are cool. Maybe I can do what they do.


Spring Street Elementary School (now the Center for Puppetry Arts) in Atlanta, GA (K-6th), Westminster High School also in Atlanta       (7th -12th), Davidson College in Davidson, NC (BA), the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, GA (JD), and Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT (MFA). Huge thanks to all my teachers. Forever grateful.


Currently, I spend my days in Columbus, GA, with my husband, and in Provincetown, MA, in a little house by the water. Provincetown is my favorite place on earth.


In this elegant and honest debut novel by Cynthia Newberry Martin, Cass and Ethan must navigate that fine line between the things they want for themselves and the life they want together, and it appears each will have to make a choice―the person they love or the life they want.

Mary Cassatt Miller falls for famous photojournalist Ethan Graham. For months at a time, Ethan’s work takes him to Afghanistan, and Cass, who’s passionate about her job in Atlanta, wants a husband who comes home at night. Then, there’s the issue of family―he wants one; she doesn’t.

What they do want is a life together, so Ethan agrees that after three years, he will stop traveling―whether Cass agrees to children or not. But for Cass, who grew up with a mother who didn’t want her and a father who was never home, even thinking about children troubles her.

Nine weeks before their third anniversary, Cass wonders whether Ethan will try to squeeze in one final trip to Afghanistan. When he does, she’s unsure if he will ever give up the work he loves. And if he won’t, well, she will not repeat the life her parents had. As the clock counts down, it doesn’t help that Singer, the artist-bartender, is always in Atlanta, and the enthralling Setara, the subject of Ethan’s most famous photograph, is also his business partner. Then, a new danger in Afghanistan changes everything.

Purchase your copy.


2020 IPPY Award Winner for Literary Fiction, 2020 NIEA Winner for General Fiction and Best Cover

“Cynthia Newberry Martin is a tremendous writer, with a Woolfian talent for taking the full measure of small moments. Her work is both subtle and revelatory, and I’ve been waiting a long time for this book.” ―Rebecca Makkai author of The Great Believers and Music for Wartime.”

Exquisite! A gorgeously observed account of one woman’s life, lived in our era of global reach, of international obligations, of domestic worries and domestic triumphs too. Cynthia Newberry Martin has found the perfect story through which to share her rare wisdom. Brava!” ―Robin Black, author of Life Drawing

“Cynthia Newberry Martin’s TIDAL FLATS is written out of the rough wisdom that knows that love is a peculiar, dynamic force, and all we can do against it is to be alert and open and awake. This is a story of making and unmaking and making again, with no neat resolutions or pat answers. It’s a beautiful book.” ― Paul Lisicky, author of Later and The Narrow Door

“For once, a novel of big ideas that is also filled with bold and uncommon events. In Tidal Flats, Cynthia Newberry Martin, a storyteller at the top of her game, creates a universe of betrayal, compassion, and regret in which two people’s love for each other is surpassed only by their loyalty to their convictions. I was glued to the page.” ―Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“With deep insight and unending sensitivity, Cynthia Newberry Martin shows us to ourselves: our penchant for choosing lives that will crack us open, our resilience when our deepest fears come true. In scenes both vivid and emotionally complex, Tidal Flats excavates the interior of a long term marriage, how it demands the impossible, offers the unimaginable. This book is a stunning, heart-expanding debut.” ―Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country


Author visits with Cynthia Newberry Martin are available via