Like most of you, I like to read and critique WIPs for friends, many of whom kindly return the favor. It's helps make the process of writing a novel, sometimes lonely and frustrating, more social, less FML-y. It's especially great if you're lucky enough to have incredibly talented critique partners like mine. Often, you get to read something no one else has seen, well before it makes it onto a shelf somewhere.
Last year I got to work with a group of writers I met through Cupid's Literary Connection. All of them are insanely talented and they helped me improve a project that was so much better for their input.
One of the writers, Kate Larkindale, let me read a book she wrote called Stumped. Stumped is about a high school kid who loses his legs in an accident and has to deal with the aftermath, all while navigating life as a teenager. It was a dark, at times funny, at times poignant story that was waaay outside my comfort zone.
And I'm so glad I read it.
It was one of those projects where you knew the writer had poured her soul into it. And I was amazed that she had undertaken such a complicated and challenging story (and pulled it off so well, too).
A lot of us are afraid to write the hard stuff because we're concerned we won't be able to pull it off. That fear of failure keeps us from swinging for the fences when a single is so much safer. But, of course, if you're always stretching, always going for that challenging story, always trying to step outside your comfort zone, always playing just beyond your own A-game, eventually you look up and realize the fence you're swinging for isn't as far away as you remember.
Kate Larkindale is that kind of writer. And while she continues to work on Stumped, she's got something new coming out that we're fortunate enough to get a sneak peak at.
This week, Kate unveils the cover of her new book, An Unstill Life.
Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years. Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better. Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.
Livvie seeks refuge in the art room and finds Bianca, the school ‘freak’. Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.
When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the Winter Formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates.
At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.
While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.
GLTB YAI'm thrilled to read Kate's new book and encourage you to check it out. An Unstill Life comes out in January. But we have the cover NOW!
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Please help me congratulate Kate Larkindale and her gorgeous new book!
Please say hello on Twitter (@Copil).