It’s shocking to me how little I’ve managed to say publicly about this book so far, especially when I used to say so much about previous projects. I have my reasons – gun-shy about all those half-written books I didn’t finish (yet), which made me worry I’d never finish a project. That I was incapable.
I’m not incapable, I know now. I just had to find “the right one”, catch the right timing. Everything is kind of like dating, you know? ðŸ˜‰
I’ve also got a great group of girls to babble to about it in private, and I find that’s a much safer option in the early stages of a project.
All that said, I can’t really say this book is in its infancy anymore. If a book was like a child, it wouldn’t even be a snotty pre-schooler, or a moody middle-schooler who thinks she knows everything. It might be a high schooler, that I’ve taught everything I know, and that I’m about to ship out into the real world, ready to stand on her own two legs. Oh how I hope she’ll make me proud! (Okay, that analogy is spent.)
Exactly Where They’d Fall is about many things: friendship, love, betrayal, trust. It’s the story of a group of friends – mainly Jodie, Drew, and Amelia – and what loyalties they owe to each other, or don’t.
I’ve made the book its own page where you can read the full blurb. As the book launches, it will be a place to collect all the media snippets and extra goodies you might want to know about it.
If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you may have seen pieces of this story in draft form as part of last year’s 52-week photo/story project [here, here, and here]. In the following weeks, I hope to share a lot more. In the five weeks leading up to the release, I’ll be sharing the first five chapters of the novel, one chapter each week. But until then, I thought we might start out with an excerpt!
I thought long and hard about what would be the first bit I shared. There are so many bits, and so many carefully woven storylines, but I always came back to this. Since their whole collective world spins around this one night, I couldn’t think of anything better to share first.
Here you’ll meet Jodie and Drew. This is a scene from “chapter 1.1: a fraction of a sliver of a moment”:
Sometimes you know of a person for years, sharing outings as friends of a mutual friend, bumping into each other at parties but never speaking, never exchanging more than a nod, or a hello, or a goodnight. Jodie could still remember the first whole conversation she had with Drew. He and Amelia were already tied up with each other in that momentous but stunted way, but there was this moment – and Jodie wasn’t even sure if it was real – where she thought Drew might have actually been interested. She felt honestly ridiculous to think such a thing, to even think it in the private cavities of her own head. Interested in her? No, it was unlikely. It must have all been in her mind, that moment when Amelia was still an impossibility to him, before she was dating him, or sleeping with him, that inescapable night Amelia had dragged them all along to this cocktail bar, and left them there with smoke on their clothes and neon lights in their eyes. One single fraction of a moment when Jodie thought Drew might have considered her an option.
Jodie’s martini glass glinted pink light over her blunt-cut fingernails. Drew took the bar stool next to her, bringing in a breath of crisp fall air from outside, almost overpowering the smell of cigarette smoke in the room. “Why do you think she won’t date me?”
Jodie looked him up and down. “Because you look like you’re twelve?” The venom spewed from her mouth like a reflex. She didn’t know why. She didn’t find him unpleasant, and she didn’t know him well enough to hate him. He hadn’t even said anything to annoy her in the two hours they’d been out that night. In fact, in truth, he didn’t even look like a twelve year-old at all, but maybe eighteen, twenty on a good day, clean-shaven and gentle-faced as he was. He was so untouched by the world.
“I’m twenty-six, thanks,” he said.
“Maybe grow some chin hair then?”
His hand moved to rub his chin. “Believe me, I can grow plenty of chin hair if I wanted to.”
“Let me guess,” she said. “You want to get married?”
“Sure,” he said.
“Did you tell her that?”
“Probably. But in a general way. I didn’t pop the question or anything.”
Jodie shook her head. “What’s wrong with you freaks?”
He just stared at her. “What’s wrong with you?”
She gasped. “Wrong? Nothing’s wrong with me.”
“You’re so angry.”
“I’m not angry.” She folded her arms tightly over her chest. “Tell you what, I just tell people the truth. People don’t like to hear the truth.”
He pointed at her, his finger wagging slightly. “You’re so bitter, jaded. You’re statuesque almost, a strange approximation of a woman, stiffened by spite.”
She laughed out loud. “Who talks like that?”
“I’m going to write a poem about you.” He smiled then, which was both inquisitive and genuine. The unimaginable grace it must have taken not to hold the hostility against her. How could he stand it? It crossed her mind then to ask him why he thought nobody wanted to date her.
Didn’t she know the answer already?
He bought her a drink – martini, dry, with an extra olive. He drank an imported beer. They stayed for a while, and wherever Amelia had gone that night, why he’d stayed and Amelia hadn’t, Jodie didn’t know. It wasn’t a date. It was some drinks, some conversation, a night of company. They were friends, or at least, they would begin to be from that point on.
But still, there was this future that might have existed, spawned from that night, those drinks at the bar, with the music thumping in their chests and the neon lights in their eyes, and those few perfect hours that followed. A man like him – sensitive and tender – he would want a wedding, as much as he liked them, and maybe even a family. Children, in the plural. None of it was anything she ever wanted, but for that fraction of a sliver of a moment, she allowed the possibility to enter into existence. Maybe she also scowled at it, but it had existed there just the same.
And would anything have ever come of it? Nobody would ever know, because just days later, Amelia finally kissed him. She changed her mind, took him in, swept him into her arms, into her bed, into her heart, which was everything he’d been waiting years for. Just like that, whatever possibility might have existed with Jodie was wiped clean away with that kiss. The most inspiring connection of her entire life had lasted approximately seven hours.
Jodie had no plight to argue. She couldn’t say she liked him first. She couldn’t say she liked him better, or even that she liked him more. As much as she loathed to admit it, she just liked him. To a ridiculous degree. That was all she knew.
Exactly Where They’d Fall will be available in all e-formats and paperback
March 13th, 2012! *ahem* I mean, Spring 2012!!!
(“This spring, for sure!” she says, in a Sponge Bob French Narrator voice…)
I know for as long as some of you have been hearing me say “It’s coming!”, a couple months probably seems like forever away, but trust me, I still have a LOT to do on the business end of things, with account set-ups for printers, and getting the formatting just right, and all the other little bits I need to arrange. ðŸ˜€