Three years ago I sat down to tell the story I never expected to tell.
The one I didn’t know how to talk about, even to those closest to me.
The one that scared me, taunted me, and dared me to keep silent.
I told the taunting voices to shut up, and started to write. One month later I had my first draft. I titled it SUICIDE SLUT, but I think we all know that didn’t pan out (though, to be fair, I changed the title before my agent or editor ever saw it). Eventually the story would have a more mysterious title: THE S-WORD. A title that people could interpret however they wanted, that didn’t just belong to me.
It belonged to everyone.
That, I think, is the most amazing part about this experience for me. Certainly, there’s a feeling of accomplishment (I worked my butt off, you guys). But more than the feeling that I’ve done something, or made something, is the feeling that I’m sharing something. After all, I’ve written for myself my entire life. This time, I wanted to write something for you. I wanted to share something with you, something we could talk about. I wanted a jumping off point for discussing not only the horrors of society, but also the ways we can improve, choose love over hate, and heal ourselves.
The ways we can save ourselves. Save each other. Maybe the world.
It’s a tall order, and I’m not saying THE S-WORD will accomplish all these things. But it can be my first step in truly engaging with a broken world, and doing my part to try to change it. It can be my first book of many that examines humanity’s propensity for darkness, and it’s ability to find its way back to the light.
I put my heart and soul into this novel, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with you. I hope, too, you will share your thoughts, dreams, and accomplishments with me. And on this day, when all the editing and polishing are finished, let this not be an ending to the creation of a story.
Let it be the beginning.
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Remember loves, sharing is caring (so sayeth the Care Bears, and I agree!) Won’t you share this special day with the other May 7th Luckies? Check out the following fabulous YA debuts, also out today:
REBOOT by Amy Tintera
THE END GAMES by T. Michael Martin
MAID OF SECRETS by Jennifer McGowan
HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES by Jennifer Doktorski
CODA by Emma Trevayne
NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland