Writer’s Voice Entry: “In My Shoes”



Dear Mentor:

Teenagers are good at keeping secrets, and Abby Lunde is keeping a huge one.  At only 17, Abby and her family are homeless.  Floating between living in her family’s van, moving in and out of various homeless shelters, and even squatting in the basement of a nearby church after hours, Abby strives to live a normal life as a high school senior with dreams of going to college and maybe pursuing a career in music.  But Minnesota winters are frigid and unforgiving, and so are many teenagers.

As her parents run out of resources. Abby’s arch-nemesis discovers her embarrassing secret and announces it to the world through Facebook.  With her secret now out, will Abby’s friends stand behind her?  Will she even still have friends when she returns to school on Monday?  How will she manage to face her teachers and classmates ever again?

Featuring quirky sidekicks and a precocious six-year-old sister to lighten the mood of an otherwise serious topic, IN MY SHOES is a story of true friendship, first love, and overcoming adversity.  Complete at 90,000 words, this young adult (contemporary fiction) novel would appeal to fans of Eleanor and Park and The Fault in Our Stars, and I am anxious to see it in the hands of young readers.

A 1992 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, I hold a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in History; and I have spent the last 23 years in a variety of writing and editing capacities.  My first novel, The Edge of Nowhere, is currently under publishing contract with an expected release date of Fall 2015. I am an active member of the Rochester MN Writing Group, a prolific reader of many genres, a 15-year book club member, the administrator of a dynamic book discussion group on Facebook, and the blog and newsletter editor for the Friends of the Rochester (MN) Public Library.

Thank you for your consideration.



Catherine H. Armstrong


In My Shoes
A YA Novel by C.H. Armstrong
First 250 Words


The sound of my mother’s sobs bounced of the walls of our small home and awakened me from a sound sleep. It was the first time I’d ever heard my mother cry. It was also the first moment I realized that something was very wrong. I snuck from my bed, careful not to awaken my little sister, Sara, and crept to the door of our shared bedroom. Turning the knob, I eased the door open a tiny crack and peeked through the small slit. Huddled together on our old, sagging sofa were my mom and my stepfather, Nick. I watched as Nick held Mom in his arms, gently rubbing her back and soothing her in the only way he knew how; he would do anything necessary to shield her from the outside world.

Muffled some by the fabric of his flannel shirt, Mom’s sobs were heartbreaking. It was almost more than I could stand. My instinct was to go to her, to comfort her; but I was reluctant to intrude. Nick’s posture was too defensive, as though he was trying to absorb her fears and take on her pain. Instead, I stood there listening to their conversation. I hoped that whatever had upset my mother was only a temporary problem that Nick would resolve quickly as he did everything else.

“What are we gonna do?” Mom whispered.

“I don’t know. I’ve been thinking we might go to Rochester,” Nick told her.

Rochester? Rochester, where? Minnesota? I thought to myself.

“Minnesota? How does that even help?” Mom’s confusion echoed my own.