I am absolutely ecstatic to announce that my young adult novel, IN MY SHOES, has found a publisher!
It seems like forever and a hundred revisions later, but IN MY SHOES has been acquisitioned by Michelle Halket at Central Avenue Publishing for release in Spring 2017. I’m so excited to work with Michelle and Central Avenue, as their reputation is top notch. A huge thank you to my agent, Tina P. Schwartz of The Purcell Agency, LLC., and to Michelle Halket for believing in my story. I’m so excited to begin the final stages of launching this story to the public.
So what’s it about?
In November 2014, I was given an assignment through Rochester Women Magazine to cover a local “soup kitchen” at a nearby church. Popularly known as “Saturday Noon Meals,” this soup kitchen was celebrating twenty years of serving the hungry, and my assignment was to meet with one of the original founders and bring the story of this wonderful offering to the community. You can read that original story here.
I can’t lie: I was very nervous for this interview. After all, what you don’t know and understand about a community can be very intimidating–downright, scary in fact. But I made arrangements to meet with a woman named Linda Curtis, where I was allowed the opportunity to understand more about what she does and the hundreds of people she serves each week.
Interestingly, Mrs. Curtis was just as concerned about meeting me as I was her. In fact, she was like a mother hen over her flock; careful to be sure I wouldn’t exploit them or in any way “hurt” her guests. She vetted me carefully before opening up about what she does and allowing me to talk to the guests she serves.
To say that the experience profoundly changed me is an understatement. I had expected to find a room full of the community’s “less desirable elements,” all standing in line to be served trays of food from a large trough containing mystery meat. What I found instead was a loving community of volunteers and their guests. I found a woman who has a profound love for the families she serves, and they for her.
Walking into this room was like nothing I’d ever experienced. The tables were set formally with cloth tablecloths, real plates and silverware, and even a centerpiece floral arrangement. People mingled around the room in friendly conversation, seeming more like close friends or family than a bunch of strangers congregating for a free meal. The feel of the room was nothing short of welcoming and filled with love.
While there, I met many of Mrs. Curtis’ regular guests; but it was meeting a family with two children that the idea for IN MY SHOES was born.
In the entire room, there were only two children–a high school student and her younger sibling. I couldn’t get those kids out of my mind. What must it be like to be homeless in high school or elementary school? Or, if not homeless, so destitute that you look forward to that free meal and camaraderie provided at a local soup kitchen? What must it be like to be a kid trying to fit in with your peers at school, yet be so “different” that you’re not sure you’ll ever fit in? From those thoughts and the people in that room, Abby’s story was born.
IN MY SHOES tells the story of a high school senior who finds herself in a new town and homeless with her family. Abby wants nothing more than a normal life with normal friends, dates, sleepovers and maybe eventually college. But to have those things she must keep her family’s circumstances a secret. Sadly, secrets have a nasty way of always coming to light, and this story is no different.
Follow my publishing journey for IN MY SHOES through his blog and my newsletter, and see how Abby juggles her new school and friends with the inherent hardships of living out of her family’s van in the midst of a harsh Minnesota winter. I hope you’ll find as much love in the story as I did writing it.
Until Next Time,