Monday, October 17, 2016

Being a Teenager at Heart


I’m delighted today to welcome author Beverly Stowe McClure to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her latest release, UNDER A PURPLE MOON, a YA contemporary fiction.

Until I started blogging I wasn’t that familiar with YA (Young Adult) novels. I guess I though they wouldn’t be intense enough for me. Boy, was I wrong. Beverly’s book is a prime example of that. She’s joining us today to talk about how she wrote her latest book.

But first here’s a brief synopsis of UNDER A PURPLE MOON:

Eden Rose has learned to deal with her mother's criticism that she can do nothing right. What she can't deal with are the arguments between her parents. To escape their angry words, she finds refuge in an old abandoned house. She always returns home, hoping her mother will love her one day. even though Eden's not sure what the word love means.
          Three other teens with problems also hang out at the Old House. Meeting Murphy, Toby, and Josh changes Eden's world, and she begins to have faith in herself. Perhaps she can do something right, after all.
          Thanks to the boys, she begins to understand the meaning of love. But will it be enough to save her broken home life?

Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
March 15, 2016
978-1939844132   Print
978-1939844149   eBook

UNDER A PURPLE MOON won silver in the teen division of the recent Children's Literary Classics competition.

Now please join me in giving a warm welcome to Beverly as she explains about her writing. Welcome, Beverly.

Thank you, Mason, for inviting me to share how I wrote my latest YA novel, Under a Purple Moon.  I guess I’m still part teenager at heart. I love to read YA books; I enjoy writing them too. Teens’ lives are so complicated. They have so much to learn, and when they get little guidance from parents, they often seek help from friends, who sometimes are as confused as they are.

Four years ago, I was tossing around ideas for a new story, and it came to me: teens with rotten home lives. They could form a club to support each other. My story, Survivors’ Club, was born. And what better place to discuss their problems than an old, abandoned house at the edge of town?

Creating the characters just happened. The girl, Eden, and three boys, not friends before, soon became friends. They presented me with problems that teens and even younger children have: parents that didn’t have time for them or parents that wanted them to be someone the teens didn’t want to be. A couple of the characters even suffered from mental and/or physical abuse, which surprised me, since the novels I usually write are gentle stories. 

The characters led me, however, telling me the details of their lives. So I listened when Toby said he did not want to be a football star like his father wanted him to be. I listened when Eden was rejected first by her mother and then her father. Josh’s bruises were evidence of his abuse. And Murphy was the kid bullied at school because he was different. These teens were living the way many real-life teens could relate to.

I sent the manuscript to my critique partners for their thoughts and advice, and they helped point out places that didn’t work. After six months or so of revisions, I sent my story to an editor for her opinion. She had a lot to say. At first, I was overwhelmed. Then I decided she was right. So I went back to work on what I once thought was the perfect novel.

The characters stayed the same, only now they were better developed. I gave the book a new title: Under a Purple Moon. It seemed right because of something Eden says at the end of the story. I submitted a query letter and sample chapters to a publisher that I thought was great, crossed my fingers, and waited. The publisher asked to see the whole manuscript and soon offered me a contract. Thank you, Freedom Fox Press, for your faith in my story. If even one young reader finds hope in my story, I’ve done my job.

UNDER A PURPLE MOON is available through Freedom Fox Press and Amazon.

Beverly, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing how this story came about. YA stories have a lot of depth to them and deal with some difficult issues.

Now for those who aren’t familiar with Beverly, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Beverly Stowe McClure
For twenty-two years, Beverly Stowe McClure taught children in grades two through five how to read and write. They taught her patience. Now, she teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church. Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing stories young voices whisper in her ear. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps pictures of clouds, flowers, and wildlife.

She’s sometimes known as the “bug” lady. She’s not telling why. She also enjoys playing the piano. Her cats don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories. She loves them anyway.

Beverly, a member of the SCBWI, has fourteen books published for children and teens, as well as short stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul Anthologies and children’s magazines. Her novels have won many awards. She’s thankful.

For more on Beverly and her writing, visit these sites:

Thanks for stopping by today during Beverly’s visit. Are you a fan of YA novels? Do you shy away from a book just because it’s listed under YA? Don’t you just love the cover of Beverly’s book?

30 comments:

  1. Thank you both.
    I read YA, and children's books perfectly happily. And often take something away with me afterwards.
    I know that being young is supposed to be the best time of our lives, but I wouldn't go back to being a teenager again for any money. So much anxt. So much confusion. And rather a lot of pain.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Elephant's Child. Yes, being a child or teen is not always easy.

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  2. I enjoy reading YA, especially when it's done well. The books I read at that age were some of my very favourites. If you think about it, some of the world's most famous and beloved books could be considered YA.

    Good luck with your release, Beverly. It sounds great, and I know you have a damn good publisher behind you, which always helps.

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    1. Thank you for your good wishes, J. H. My publisher is the best and I appreciate Diane's constant support.

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  3. I do enjoy YA (I try to mix it up and read a little of all the genres). Congratulations to Beverly for this interesting story. Great cover that really builds the mood!

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    1. Like you, I enjoy reading different genres, Elizabeth. There's so much to learn from each one. Thank you. The illustrator did a beautiful job with the cover.

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  4. I know that author!
    Sometimes the characters go into a darker area than planned. But we can still control the overall tone of the story.

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    1. Hi, Alex. Nice to see you here. Yes, the characters often have a mind of their own and don't listen to the author. Like real life kids.

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  5. Beverly, thanks again for joining us today. YA books are becoming among my favorite genres to read. Good to know how this story came about. Wishing you much success.

    Hi all! Thanks for dropping by. I'll share my review of Beverly's delightful book later this week. Have a fun Monday.

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    1. My pleasure, Mason. I'm happy to be here to share my story. Thank you for inviting me.

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  6. How wonderful to see Beverly and her book here! I loved the story and how the main characters all came together in a believable way.

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    1. And you made it all happen, Diane, wonderful publisher. Thank you.

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  7. I have so much respect for authors who can write books that get young people to want to read. And I like the premise for this one. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Margot. I hope young readers can take away something from the story to help them deal with their situatations.

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  8. The characters taking a life of their own is always interesting as we see where they go as much as the reader will.

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    1. That is part of the fun of writing, Pat. Letting the characters loose to do their own thing.

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  9. Congratulations, Beverly. I'm thrilled for it. Your book sounds wonderful. It's on my list for December.

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    1. Thank you, Joylene. Awesome. I hope you enjoy meeting Eden and friends.

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    1. Great, Lady Fi. YA are my favorite reads, and I enjoy writing them, too.

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  11. Great post, I am a huge fan of YA books... and secretly wish I could be a young adult writer myself, haha! - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. Ah, another YA fan. Super. Have you ever tried to write them? You never know.

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    1. Thank you, H. R. I'm excited about the silver. It makes all those hours of typing worth while.

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  13. This sounds terrific! So many kids deal with these tough issues and I love when authors deal with it!

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    1. They sure do, Jemi. I hope my book shows them they're not alone and there is help.

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  14. What a terrific premise. Congratulations on the silver, Beverly! I often read YA, and although it’s not my “core” writing genre, my first YA short story will be out in an anthology next month.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Thank you, VR. The silver makes me happy.
      Congratulations on your forthcoming short story. Anthologies are popular right now.

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  15. That's what fascinated me about that book...I loved the idea of troubled teens having an escape...a house they could call their own.

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    1. Thanks, Stephanie. I think most everyone would like an escape sometimes, if only for a short while, just to get away from it all. What better than an old house?

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.