For the third year in a row, I entered the increasingly popular Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) contest, aka American Idol for writers. And for the second time, I made it to Hollywood...err, I mean, Round 2! This just means I wrote a pitch interesting enough to rate a couple of reviews of my 5000 word excerpt. If that goes well, I get a review of my full manuscript from Publishers Weekly. If that goes well...well, I can't even think that far ahead right now.
I'm a little scared about the excerpt. It's the first 5000 words of the manuscript, in which--with my novel at least--the real story hasn't quite started yet. Let's hope these reviewers smell something good cooking.
I'm actually really surprised because I wasn't expecting to advance at all. My book is 100% free of vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, zombies, fairies, poltergeists, gnomes, or three-headed unicorns with super powers. I hear agents are getting sick of mythical creatures anyway.
So here's the pitch that got me this far:
At eleven years old, Riley Tate witnessed the sudden death of her father. Now, at sixteen, she still can’t bring herself to step on “the spot”—-the section of kitchen floor on which her father landed after collapsing from a brain aneurysm. For someone like Riley, a hypochondriac with anxiety issues, moving on is never easy.
Since losing her dad, Riley has become obsessed with the human body, how it works, and what can go wrong with it. Reading about diseases distracts her from the things she’s not ready to deal with, like the fact that her mother started a whole new family with a man who has more muscles than brains and tries to act like her new dad. And that her doctor thinks she’s a mental case. And that her ex-boyfriend dumped her because she wouldn’t have sex with him. But she refuses to let anything—-especially not a guy—-interfere with her dream of becoming a surgeon.
When she meets Cole Boyer in an ER waiting room, Riley realizes immediately that he’s far from the safe, predictable boy she usually goes for. A fearless daredevil with mysterious scars and a thirst for all things dangerous, Cole is like an accident waiting to happen. Still, despite their differences, they forge an unlikely friendship that eventually blossoms into something more. Dating someone who’s so casual about death has its challenges, but as Riley soon learns, not everyone can be—-or needs to be—-saved.
OUT OF NOWHERE is a 69,000 word contemporary young adult novel that will appeal to fans of authors like Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott. With flawed, relatable characters and a blend of heavy issues and humor, OUT OF NOWHERE explores the total randomness of life, death, and love.
My baby is now out in the world.
I'm am totally overwhelmed and delighted with all the support I received today (and every day) from my family and friends. Writing is a lonely, frustrating job, and just knowing there are people out there pulling for me helps a lot. THANK YOU!
Next cut is announced on March 20. Stay tuned!