Many of the Pitch Wars mentees and alternates organized a fun blog hop for us all to kick off the agent round with a big bang, and I’m honored to get to participate. Not only should you read my post below, but feel free to hop around to the other amazingly talented writers being featured this week. Links below!
The topic is an interesting one. Why did I write THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES? I feel like there’s so many layers to this that I could either make it light hearted or super heavy. But the truth is– just like my book– the answer isn’t just one or the other. It’s a crazy mix of both.
I had the idea for THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES a couple years back, and its working title was something completely different (however, it was so bad, I won’t even share it lol). But overall the general concept on a shallow level had been on my mind for awhile. Even in 2007, I wrote a short monologue called “Baby, Baby” that was featured in a showcase called “Words of Choice” in New York. It was about an inner city teen whose abusive boyfriend left her after she was pregnant. Even though she was abandoned and even though she didn’t choose the situation, she couldn’t bring herself to abandon the baby.
A lot of that is in THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES except I flipped the story on it’s head, made it about a a Mississippi pastor’s daughter whose perfect Christian boyfriend left her because she’s pregnant, and made it actually…well…funny.
So this idea had been bouncing around for awhile, and midway through this past year while I was working with my lovely editor friend, Katelyn Stark, on my YA light Sci Fi, THE CURED, I decided I needed a break. My editor at one point said, “Not going to lie. In a couple of places, your male MC has the voice of a teenage girl.”
Obviously I had a teenage girl voice inside me fighting to get out–which I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised considering I was one at one point (Also, fun fact: my MG novel was critiqued by an author in a contest and she too said, “Hmm..your 12-year-old MC sounds more like she’s 16. It was fate, I tell you!). My Pitch Wars mentor Rachel even said she couldn’t believe I had written sci fi before because I had a strong voice for contemporary. So, it was time to take a breather from that story and start a new one. Basically, I had learned so much through the revision process for THE CURED paired with the other books I had recently written and thought, “Hey! Why not start a book with all my new knowledge!”
What happened to come from what I thought would be a month-long break was actually a whirlwind love affair with this book now entered in Pitch Wars. I didn’t even sit down thinking, “Yup. Finally going to write that book about that girl from that monologue.” It just sorta, well, happened. And then to my surprise– it came out pretty funny. I had so much fun writing the cast of characters and was beyond humbled when some betas compared it to FREAKS AND GEEKS.
But when it came to the MC’s story arc, a lot of what I was exploring had to do with a conversation I had with friends over a particular topic (which, unfortunately, I can’t explain here in great detail because I would like some mystery to be surrounding the book for those who intend to read it). In that conversation, we all explained how we would handle it if it happened to us. I’m a pretty open, transparent person. I don’t really believe in secrets. I’d rather people see me and know what they get than to have to guess and wonder.
But that got me thinking, especially after hearing other friends express their personal takes on if they had to encounter such a situation. I wanted to explore a character who was the complete opposite of me. Someone who would rather die than people know the truth, someone who values her privacy above all else, and someone who doesn’t care that people have the wrong idea of her.
And that’s how my MC Ellie was born. It was more of a fun, soul-searching exercise drenched in empathy to explore a different type of person. But then, it turned into a whole lot more. Over the past couple of months, I’ve really channeled a lot of personal frustrations regarding certain things that I won’t go into too much detail about here. The book took on layer upon layer of different issues–often in a comical way–and came out with something I thought was reminiscent about how life as a whole really is.
It’s not all happy. It’s not all sad. And sometimes, what seems like the big issue isn’t really the main issue at all.
Why did I write THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES? The story wanted to be told. The subject needed to be explored in a new, fresh way. And I honestly couldn’t NOT write it. It just sorta happened. And I’m glad it did.
I love making people laugh and cry, but above all else, I just love writing. I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Now if you were to ask me why I’m writing my next book, THE LIFE AND DEATH AND LIFE OF CRAIG-- well, that’s an entirely different story involving my neighbor who asked for me to write his semi-fictionalized autobiography. I accidentally started an entirely fictionalized YA thriller about doomsday prepping foster kids on the run from drug lords, but that’s sorta the same thing, right? Stay tuned!