Saturday, August 13, 2016
SNEAK PREVIEW! After years waiting MEMORY GIRL -- a YA about the risk of living forever -- is out!!!
In 2009 I woke up one early morning with words in my head screaming to escape. So I got up and wrote 4 pages.
I was busy writing the DEAD GIRL trilogy at the time, so put the pages aside. But they haunted me. Finally when my career hit a low; lost a publisher and agent, I had time to write this book. So I did. I got a new agent, and she loved it. She sent it out to a dozen publishers and two of the Top Five took it to acquisitions. But a few months later, it was still unsold. Rewrites happened. Two more publishers interested. But months and rewrites later: rejection. My agent was discouraged, and she dropped me. I put the manuscript aside...
But in 2014, while I was promoting my picture book SNOW DOG, SAND DOG, at a library conference, I ran into an editor-friend who was looking for a YA book. "I have one!" I told her excitedly, then submitted to her. And she loved it.
MEMORY GIRL is now a hardback novel from CBAY Books and it already got a good review from Kirkus. Hollywood is even interested!
Here's a link:
Here's a sneak preview from the ending of Chapter One:
Soon I’ll have a Family, a new name, and a forever role in ShareHaven society.
But will I still be me?
“I have to go . . . I’m sorry,” I say and turn my back on my friends.
I untwist the wires so they fall to the sides like the open mouth of a jagged-toothed monster. I’ve grown up with warnings of claws and snakes outside ShareHaven. But while I’ve heard roars beyond our boundaries, I’ve never seen monstrous creatures. Day by day, I only see the same eternal faces.
Everything except my face will change when I belong to a Family.
I don’t want to think on this and push through the narrow opening, legs dangling as I balance precariously on wire. I’m only a jump away from the forbidden side of the Fence.
They are no more warnings from my best mates. I’m tempted to look behind me. Instead, I lift my gaze to the gray-blue horizon that stretches forever. Chilly sea fills me with an ache so deep I want to cry, although I have no idea why. Am I flawed somehow? Why can’t I behave the expected, dutiful way, like Lorelei, and be studious, like Marcus? Why am I always yearning, frustrated, even angry sometimes for no sensical reason? Why can’t I accept all I’ve learned from the Instructors? Instead I am tormented with questions.
My mind slips into familiar groves of wonderings—whispers shared in darkness about belonging to a Family. Since our birth, we’ve been on the same path with the same destination—to reach age fifteen, join a Family, and receive memories of a Lost One. There’s a retro word that comes to mind: recycling—when rare resources like metal or plastic are melted and reshaped into something new.
Why can’t I stay in this shape?
With a fierce look at the sky, I suck in salty freedom. I look over at the safe side of the Fence, relieved yet a little disappointed too. No one is there.
In the distance, I spot Lorelei and Marcus walking away.
Clinging to the wire, I whisper over and over, “I am Jennza . . . I am Jennza . . . I am Jennza . . . .”
I spread my arms wide.