Taking the Leap

This morning I was reading on the Writers Unboxed blog about how readers who don’t like the book you wrote may post bad reviews. The author talked about the content kicking off the reader’s imagination and that sometimes a reader is just not taken by a story. Whether it’s not to their taste, period, or as the author mentioned, not the right timing is immaterial. The fact is the story isn’t working for that particular reader. I agree because it happens to me all the time so why would it be any different for other people.

So what I wanted to write about today was my venture into publishing a first novel and how doing so will expose me to the world, including readers who may not like it. Naturally, I’m hard at work with my editor to create the best possible story. A story that entertains and moves and somewhere deep down has meaning. A DIFFERENT TRUTH is a young adult historical mystery, a parallel to the Vietnam War when the country was divided between pro-military establishment and peace movement and young men’s fates depended on lotteries. Taking place at a military prep school, it’s about a boy and his best friend, it’s about standing up for someone when everyone is against you, about hazing and hatred and not fitting in. Ultimately, it’s about standing up for what’s right.

people protesting the Vietnam war with soldiers standing in front of them
Vietnam protest Pentagon

Over the years I’ve read my fair share of books, usually I’m enjoying two or three at a time. I read young adult, the audience I mostly write for, historical fiction and books on craft as well as the books of authors in my network, no matter what they write. I’ve completed five manuscripts with many revisions each, collected feedback from writers in my critique groups for years.

I think I’ve done my homework. Yet there is this nagging thought of inadequacy. What if it’s not good enough? It’s like standing on the five-meter board in the public pool with everyone watching you make that first leap. It’s public and it’s personal. At the same time, if you’re serious about writing (which I am) and you consider writing your career for the foreseeable future (which I do) then there comes this point of no return.

You must go out and show your face, ignore the inner voices of angst and doubt, ignore the nervous jitters of showing yourself in public and stepping in front of your audience. You go and leap. For better or worse.

Preliminary Intro to A DIFFERENT TRUTH

In 1968, with the Vietnam War at its bloodiest, sixteen-year old Andy Olson is banished to Palmer Military Academy. Along with his best friend, Tom, he is plunged into a world where rules are everything and disobedience not an option. Andy doesn’t care about politics and grows increasingly irritated when Tom openly supports the peace movement. Messing with the establishment or Andy’s bullying teammates is dangerous—underestimating fanatics like Officer Muller, the tormentor of plebes a mistake.

It’s hard enough to make it through each day, avoid counselor Beerbelly’s spying eyes and extra marching. As long as Andy can play football and pursue his new love interest in town, he’ll do what they ask and count the days to graduation. But when Tom dies after being discovered lashed to a tree and the school calls it an unfortunate accident, Andy must decide whether to obey orders or finally take a stand and look for the killer.