Alumna Releases Debut Novel
DC alumna Courtney Turcotte Bond (’00) recently released the audio version of her 2020 debut novel “Breathtaking.”
The story was inspired by the life a young girl with cystic fibrosis for whom Turcotte Bond acted as a homebound teacher. The student, Madison Taliaferro, received a lung transplant from Alex Lott, a high school senior who died after a football injury. Through the struggles of its protagonist, the novel emphasizes the importance of organ donation and part of the proceeds from the book fund scholarships in Taliaferro’s and Lott’s names.
Although Turcotte Bond lives and teaches English in Lawrence, Kansas, there are quite a few touchpoints to the Dayton area where she grew up.
The novel is set in Dayton and “Canterville” (or Centerville, according to Turcotte Bond) and mentions points of interest Daytonians will immediately recognize like Bill’s Donuts, Marion’s Piazza, and the Oregon District.
In addition, it was in the classroom of former DC English teacher Greg Kurtz that Turcotte Bond developed a love for writing and decided to change her future college studies from psychology to English.
“In his class, I just fell in love with literature and writing,” Turcotte Bond said. “Kurtz taught in ways that made sense to me.”
Even in college where she exceled, Turcotte Bond referred back to Kurtz.
“I told the other English majors that I had had a really great high school English teacher.”
He was so impactful on her career that Turcotte Bond thanks Kurtz in the acknowledgement section of her book.
However, although she is thankful for the past and the lessons she learned in a DC classroom, it is the future where Turcotte Bond is focused. She uses the book to shed light on the importance of organ donation.
“People can save lives when they become organ donors,” she said. “Alex Lott saved five lives because he signed up to become an organ donor when he got his driver’s license when he was 16. The lung transplant he provided gave Madison six extra years she wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Turcotte Bond is planning a second book, a biography of both Taliaferro and Lott, that will act as a companion piece to the novel.