To be published around late February by The Story Plant, www.thestoryplant.com, Keep the Ends Loose is a coming of age story that combines humor and chaos in the summer of one family. Here is a quick summary: All Mandy Heath wants to do is get ready to enter tenth grade and learn from her best friend how to dress right and attract boys. But when her mother pulls Mandy aside and enlists her help to find a mystery man named Frank Fletcher, the summer turns into a madcap adventure of Google searches and clandestine road trips. As Mandy tries to make sense of the chaos, the convoluted history of her parents’ lives begins to unravel. Matters escalate when a long-held secret is revealed that threatens to tear apart Mandy’s family and destroy her older brother. Hilarious, insightful, and quirky, Mandy’s story is a whirlwind journey that proves adults can mess up as much as their kids, and that nothing is more powerful or important than the bonds of family and forgiveness.
How do you write a novel, you might wonder? It isn’t easy. First, you have to have a plot. For me, this was the hard part. Stories don’t just pop into my head all the time. As a matter of fact, I wrote an entire novel before this one. And it had no plot whatsoever. It was good writing practice, but I had to trash it.
What happened this time around? I think writers have to read other writer’s novels as text books. I did this for about a year or two, making notes as to how plots evolved, how authors structured stories, and I kept all of my observations swirling around in my head for months. Then when I sat down to write what I thought would be a short story, Keep the Ends Loose evolved over a period of about two years.
How many times do writers have to rewrite their books? Many times. Although my story was solid, I got lost in the details, got confused on others, and had to make a lot of changes. But as I rewrote, the book got stronger.
I wrote it in pieces. I am not one to sit at the computer for a specific number of hours a day, writing whether or not I feel inspired. For me, the book was a series of scenes. I wrote one, carried it around in my head for awhile, and then the next scene developed in my mind. Fits and starts. The entire process took about two years.
I was very lucky that Lou Aronica, the man behind The Story Plant, was my mentor during the whole process. A bestselling author himself and a long time publishing professional, he formed The Story Plant as a company for up-and-coming authors, with the intention of developing their careers. Working with Lou has been a real education. I feel very honored to have been selected as one of their authors.
I will keep you all posted on my book’s progress. I hope you will all want to read it!