The Writer’s Voice 2014

I’m thrilled to participate in the Writer’s Voice 2014.  Thank you for reading my “audition” (query and first 250) below!


When Lucy Mason discovers a magnificent garden beyond her grandmother’s hedge, she thinks she has heatstroke. When she meets handsome, intelligent Isaac in the garden, she thinks she’s in love.

But Lucy doubts the garden’s existence when she returns to the real world, where her grandmother’s disappearance, her high school crush’s reappearance, and her imminent departure for college vie for her attention. Compared to these stark realities, the garden is improbable and Isaac impossible, but in her heart, Lucy believes.

Desperate to prove she’s not crazy, she studies her grandmother’s journals. Lucy quickly concludes the garden is real; her grandmother saw it, too. As the summer wanes, Lucy rushes to uncover her grandmother’s connection to the garden, and Isaac’s connections beyond it, before the start of college ends her time in Eden.

But reality proves too messy for paradise. When Lucy tries to tell Isaac how to find her in the real world, the garden disappears. With the garden gone, her grandmother’s house for sale, and school beginning, Lucy must find a new way to Isaac – or a way to let him go.

EDEN is a 57,000 word, young adult low fantasy novel set primarily in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Princeton, New Jersey.  Like Lucy, I’m a native North Carolinian. Unlike Lucy, I’ve never had a green thumb.

First 250:

My grandmother had been missing for two years. I sat on the steps of her old, white house and stared across the garden. A few deep pink roses still braved the tangled weeds, but it had given up before we had. The house wasn’t much better. I sneezed and wiped away tears. A thick layer of dust coated everything inside, billowing around the bags in the entryway and dancing in the filmy afternoon light.

Not that it fazed my mother. She’d marched through the house checking light switches and faucets, insisting the place would be back to normal in no time. I wasn’t so sure. The house was more than dusty; it was empty. My grandmother’s absence echoed through every room.

I sneezed again. Already I wore a thin layer of grime, and I had three weeks of cleaning to go. I hadn’t looked forward to school like this since kindergarten. My name echoed from depths of the house. Hands against knees, I drank in the humid air. Three weeks wasn’t long: three weeks, twenty-one days, five hundred – actually four hundred ninety-nine hours, we’d been here a while. I could do that. For her.

With one last glance at the garden, I hopped the crumbly stairs to the house. I had to help my mother. It was the reason I was here. At least it was the reason I talked about.



Like a Virgin 2014 Blog Hop

1.  How do you remember your first kiss?

Disappointing.  We sat on the curb in front of a friend’s house during a sixth grade Halloween party.  He leaned in, our lips met, and then he stuck his slobbery tongue in my mouth.  Two weeks later, he dumped me for a girl with big boobs.

I think he’s a surgeon now.

2.  What was your first favorite love song?

If You Leave from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. It is a beautiful, heartfelt song.  I once played it over the phone to an ex-boyfriend, which emphasized the fact that it is also an extremely long song.

3.  What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day?

Scribble notes, make some edits,  think about all the more practical things I should be doing with my time.

4. Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?

At the risk of excluding myself from future Pulitzer-nominating committees, it was Stephenie Meyer.  I hadn’t read YA in years before I hit the Twilight books and her stories absorbed me.  I didn’t notice the writing or the structure of the book; I just read.  She made it look easy.  (I know better now.)

5. Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with?

Sort of? The general nature of the chapter is the same, but it starts in a slightly different place and the scenes within it have changed several times.

6.  For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting?

Plot. See above.  I’m a story girl.

7.  What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing?

Invisible.  I’d like for my writing to get lost in my stories.




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