Jun 11, 2009

In Case You Haven't Met Denny & Haley Yet

I just realized that I haven't posted anything about my debut novel recently and I'm working hard to attract new readers to my blog. So here's a little introduction:

“Cast the First Stone” is not about vampires, shopping, or finding “Mr. Right.” :)

The two main characters, Denny Stone and Haley Fisher, could not be more different, but they both feel trapped in small town, Oklahoma. Denny is being raised by her career-driven mom. Her dad dropped out of her life when she was a toddler. The beginning of each chapter starts with a letter from Denny to her dad. Denny doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere. She’s angry and searching for herself and for answers. Haley is searching for answers too and she finds them in God. Her parents are together, but her dad has to work all the time to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Her mom is battling depression and so Haley is left to raise herself and her sibling(s) on her own most of the time. She takes this very seriously, but she’s also envious of Denny’s freedom.

I wanted to write a story that reflects a strong camaraderie between girls. This is a coming of age story where two girls are tough and they’ve got each other’s back. This isn’t about obsession with boys, although they are in there, and this isn’t about fashion or trying to be popular. It’s about two girls struggling with issues that are way above their heads. They make it through because they have each other.

I’m a strong feminist, but I also have fantastic guy friends and two younger brothers, so I wanted to create characters that acted like people I’ve known. I’ve got these characters that are all on their separate journeys and they collide into each other and impact each other in different ways. They’re sometimes insecure, sometimes stupid, but they’re also loyal, intelligent, and honest.

When I started writing this story, I didn’t try to categorize it in any way. But the story is told by a 16/17 yr. old girl, in her own words and the narration of the novel is dialogue driven. When I was in high school, I didn’t read anything like this, but I wish I had. When I finished the book, I was pretty sure that I couldn’t label it Young Adult because of the strong language, sex, and alcohol usage. When people asked me what kind of book it was, I started looking at the novels in the Young Adult section at bookstores. I was pretty shocked at the explicit themes of the books. So I’m proud to say that my first novel is Y.A., but I think anyone over the age of 14 will identify with the characters.