I used to be a secret writer so no one would think I was eccentric. Besides keeping a blog, there’s nothing quite so dreamy-sounding as writing a novel. I’ve written two, and the third is two-thirds done.
The good news, the news I’m banking on, is I’ve found, after 99 queries, a NYC-based literary agent, and I have confidence she’ll get done the job of landing a publisher. In her hands is Shelby’s Sister, as well as my first book, Helen Wilfer.
So I’m anticipating that call about the big book deal. Any. Day. Now.
I know what you’re thinking. Good luck, right? But the dream is not to self-publish or e-publish or read my stories out loud to Hazel, our basset-y, beagle-ish mix, who simply snores. I want to get a big box of my books delivered to the front porch, fresh from the printer, and then sit on the step and run my fingers across the pages. I want to smell them.
Get a virtual whiff of all three novels here.
Helen Wilfer saves the school play, survives a fall through an (almost) frozen creek and rescues a gentlemanly hound dog from homelessness. She also unwittingly makes an enemy of the most popular girl in the fifth grade and finds an unlikely ally in a rough-and-tumble boy who teases her on the school bus. Not bad for the new girl in town.
Helen has been the new girl six times in her eleven years. She’s not so comfortable in her own skin, and her parents hope the family’s latest move to a quirky, small town in Vermont will be just the change their eye-rolling only child needs. They’re right, but not in the ways they imagined. Through adventures and trials, Helen finds friendship, courage and a home unlike any the nomadic Wilfers have ever known.
When tragedy strikes and Helen walks in on her parents contemplating another move, she sheds any show of indifference and fights to stay.
Another novel for preteens, Shelby’s Sister is about twelve-year-old Ada Gladwell, who’s like me but more like my teen-aged twin daughters, and Ada’s little sister Shelby, based on my youngest, special needs Sadie.
Ada considers herself a right-er of wrongs, a matchmaker and a peacekeeper—at least when it comes to other folks. As for her life, things are a mess.
With an autistic sister she struggles to love wholeheartedly, a minefield of middle school relationships to battle through each day, and a reclusive uncle who can only be described as peculiar, Ada schemes to get things back on track.
While she’s focusing her efforts on Operation Uncle Spencer, a project to de-freak her eccentric old relative, Ada realizes they have more in common than she imagined. She watches him slowly come to life as she hangs back—from facing her fears about her disaster-prone sibling, from her budding talent as a violinist, friends and even the dog she longs for, who lands (literally) in her lap.
But when her worst worries about Shelby are realized, Ada is forced to make a choice between further withdrawing or living fully. When the mountain of her uncle finally moves, he winds up teaching Ada a thing or two about courage—and love.
In Opting Out, ninth-grader and equestrian London Teage can’t emulate the ease of gregarious Justus Lively from biology class or match the quick wit of her sarcastic new friend, Storm, but she mucks one mean stall. London would love to expand her comfort zone beyond the barnyard. But she’s constantly kicking herself for doing awkward things like librarian-style shushing Justus, the most popular boy in the freshman class.
And that beautiful boy had been flirting with her.
Just when charming Justus starts chipping away at some of her shyness, London’s world, which was never quite right side up, turns upside down. More than ever London wants distance from the crowd she runs with—and the lies she lives—so she starts searching for a way to opt out.
But through a series of mistrials and errors—including a nasty fall from a horse and a fresh dose of heartache—along with a triumph or two, London finds that jumping into things with both feet can be the best way to break free.