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!
Check out the links below to visit some of my fellow Pitch Wars mentees and their beautiful books.
Carleen Karanovic: HOPE ON A FEATHER
Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND
Rachel Sarah: RULES FOR RUNNING AWAY
Amanda Rawson Hill: GRIMM AND BEAR IT
Charlotte Gruber: CODE OF SILENCE
Kip Wilson: THE MOST DAZZLING GIRL IN BERLIN
Nikki Roberti: THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES
K. A. Reynolds: LE CIRQUE DU LITERATI
Susan Crispell: WISHES TO NOWHERE
Ron Walters: THE GOLEM INITIATIVE
Rosalyn Eves: THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION
Janet Walden-West: Damned If She Do
Elliah Terry: POCKET FULL OF POPPIES
Alessa Hinlo: THE HONEST THIEF
Rachel Horwitz: THE BOOTLEGGER’S BIBLE
Whitney Taylor: DEFINITIONS OF INDEFINABLE THINGS
Natalie Williamson: SET IN STONE
Robin Lemke: THE DANCE OF THE PALMS
Stephanie Herman: CLIFF WITH NO EDGE
Shannon Cooley: A FROG, A WHISTLE, AND A VIAL OF SAND
Ruth Anne Snow: THE GIRLS OF MARCH
Elizabeth Dimit: PHOEBE FRANZ’S GUIDE TO PASSPORTS, PAGEANTS, & PARENTAL DISASTERS
Gwen C. Katz: AMONG THE RED STARS
Gina Denny: SANDS OF IMMORTALITY
Natasha M. Heck: FOLLOW THE MOON
Esher Hogan – Walking After Midnight
Nikki, you are expanding your horizons so much! I believe your books will be in great demand some day. The greatest thing about you, aside from your obvious talent, is the fact that you want to keep on improving and expanding and you’re humble enough to take good advice and put it into play. That is a very Rare ability – to always be ready to listen and learn… I am so impressed with the way you’re handling everything. I can hardly wait to read your best sellers down the road apiece. I love you so much, awesome girl!
That’s great! Thanks for sharing.
You had me at Freaks And Geeks. LOL. But seriously, I can’t wait to see more of this book. Not only is it relevant and necessary, it sounds like you were able to tell it in a way that readers will relate to well. So excited for you, Nikki. Definitely keep me posted on your progress so I can cheer you on all the way.
Two Shoes sounds great, but you’ve got my mouth watering with your next project. Holler if you want a Beta, ’cause drug-lord dodging foster kids who are also prepping for doomsday is right up my alley. 🙂
I second Tracie on this. Gimme. 🙂
I’m so excited for you, Nikki! An important topic for sure. 🙂
It sounds like you have totally found your niche with TWO SHOES. Humor is definitely your forte, and I can’t wait to see this book succeed! Good luck!
“The story wanted to be told.” <<The best reason there is to tell a story! Having been brought up in the deep south in a strict Christian home (and being considered a bit of a black sheep), I can so relate to your main character! Look forward to reading!
Love the topic, the setting, the possibility of looking at it in a humorous light–basically, I can’t wait for this one to come out.
I’ve loved this premise since I first heard about it during the Pitch Wars submission window. It’s a memorable one for sure, and I look forward to reading it.
I’ve always wanted to write a pregnant teen story. One day I will. I have written a Mississippi pastor’s daughter story, but it tackles young suicide and bipolar in the midst of a tornado ravaged town. No funny there. LOL.
I look forward to reading your book. 🙂
I’ve wanted to read your MS since I saw your pages on WriteOnCon. And since I saw that one of your comps is SAVED. Um, YES, PLEASE. Oodles of luck to you tomorrow! Hope I get to have this on my shelves soon!
You know I’m rooting for you in the agent round and beyond 🙂
Thanks, Stephanie! You’re so sweet and awesome. I really appreciate it ❤ 😀
Thank you, guys. So so much. ❤ Your support means the world to me. It really really does. I also wish all those putting their necks out there on Pitch Wars the best luck in the world. Big things are happening for us my friends! Keep writing! ❤
I love the humor in the excerpts you’ve shared! I hope you find a good home for this.
I love books that make me laugh and cry!