Monday, August 19, 2013

Hush Puppy Release Day

I’m so pleased to be able to finally share my first traditionally published novel with you, Hush Puppy.  This has been a long time coming.  I won’t tell you here what it’s all about; you can read that on the back cover.  But I thought I would tell you how this story came to be and how it almost never happened at all.

I initially wrote the first few chapters of Hush Puppy years ago when I was taking a writing correspondence course. Originally, I told the story from Jamie’s point of view until I realized, this is Corrine’s story.  I changed the point of view, but in the back of my mind I felt like I shouldn’t be writing from a black girl’s perspective. What did I know about the black experience?  I’m not a black girl OR a white boy for that matter.  I didn’t worry about it too much since it was just a few chapters for my correspondence course.  My instructor liked it.  At the end of the course, she wrote “I hope you finish this story. It will get published.”  (I guess I’d better let her know she was right.)

Then my life took a turn, as life so often does.  I had my son and became very busy for the next few years.  The chapters and the outline sat in a computer file tucked away for years, until one day; I saw an ad for the 2010 Young Adult Novel Discovery contest sponsored by Writer’s Digest.  The entry only required the first 250 words of a story, which wasn’t even required to be finished.  I had nothing to lose, so I entered Hush Puppy on a whim.  After entering, I learned the final judge was to be Regina Brooks, a literary agent who also happened to be a black woman.  I worried that I was not a black writer, but the entry was already submitted. I couldn’t take it back.  Life continued as normal and I sort of forgot about the contest for several months, until I got notification that Hush Puppy was a Top 20 finalist.  The pages went on to end up in third place and earned me a phone call with Regina Brooks.  It was all enough to convince me it was a story I had to write. 

I’m still not a black girl or a white boy, but I did grow up in the South and I know what that’s like.  Now that I’m older, I also know that each of us is the same inside anyway. We all have fears and desires, doubts and strengths.  We all make mistakes, fall in love, hurt people, get hurt, and grow up.  It’s the way we’re made. I hope you enjoy the book on Amazon or B&N~

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