The Insistence of Memory

Nothing could prepare Joanne for the secrets her husband left behind. As she stumbles through each day, trying to raise their daughters alone, Joanne soon learns that Jeff’s basement tinkering had led to a remarkable invention: a machine that can record memories and play them back in someone else’s mind.

Now, Jeff’s partner-in-crime wants to turn their unfinished project into a money-making scheme, while Joanne’s best friend fears the danger of dredging up buried memories. Joanne’s heartache must take a backseat as she struggles to find a way forward. She’s torn between supporting the future of her husband’s incredible discovery and keeping her own troubled history safely locked in the past.

The Insistence of Memory gently bends reality as it explores grief, friendship, and the ethics of privacy.

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Available in paperback and ebook editions, 300 pages.


As a work of speculative fiction, the story is set in our contemporary world with the addition of a machine that can record memories and play them back in someone else’s mind. This sci-sfi twist questions the future of technology while also leading into the story’s elements of mystery. Note: The Insistence of Memory includes adult language and themes.


“The Insistence of Memory by Susan Quilty is intriguing and fascinating, with a perfect balance between science fiction and mystery.” – Emma Megan for Readers’ Favorite (Full review here)

“A solid speculative fiction story with enough mystery elements to keep readers guessing.” – Kirkus Reviews (Full review here)


Chapter One – The ceiling is smooth and white above Joanne’s head. Shadows play on the wall as light filters in through the partially drawn shades. Joanne doesn’t notice the worn paperback that is spread open, its pages bent, less than a foot from her head. She doesn’t notice the book light, fallen forgotten on the floor, still shining faintly in the morning light.

While her eyes skim the surface of the ceiling, Joanne’s inward gaze focuses on the blue pickup truck from her fragmented dreams. She sees it driving away, in stages, down a long dirt road. She knows Jeff sits behind the wheel. Every night, driving away.

The images blur as little-girl chatter filters in from the bedroom down the hall. The truck loses shape. The road fades away. Joanne can’t make out the words, but she knows the familiar cadence. There’s a lilting quality to the conversation, a rise and fall that’s almost like a song. As Joanne listens, she wonders if she did that to them. To her daughters. She wonders if their speech patterns have been affected by the years of poems, fables, and nursery book rhymes. She wonders if she had the right to fill their heads with fairy tales. (Read a longer excerpt here.)


In 2017, The Insistence of Memory was published exclusively through Amazon. In 2021, a second edition was released for wider distribution. The novel’s original cover was designed by Angel Fischer of Halo Designs and was briefly available on the second edition. You may notice, the current cover features elements and colors inspired by the original design.

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