Take Chances Teaser Tour Day 15
Good Morning! My name is KC Sprayberry, and I'm hijacking my own blog today. The purpose is to tease all of my very dedicated readers with information about now released YA coming of age novel, Take Chances.
Coming of Age in the Twenty-First Century – School Violence
Back when we were teens, we never …
Insert the appropriate commentary today's teens have heard from their parents or grandparents, and there is an eye roll, a shaking head, even a snarky comment. Today's teens truly don't believe their issues have anything to do with the past.
That may be true. May be.
In some ways it isn't. Take school violence for instance.
Teens today believe the violence they see in schools never happened to their parents or grandparents. Actually, school violence began in American, eleven years prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It wasn't an isolated attack, although if you'd asked the residents around what is now Greencastle, Pennsylvania, they might disagree. Of course, they didn't have the internet, nor twenty-four news services to blast the story and images of grieving family members beamed into our world via satellite, cable, or the many portable devices all of us now own.
From then until the late twentieth century, these incidents were more often than not carried out by adults, mostly men. Then came a new, more frightening type of predator – the student perpetuating violence for any number of reasons. Not all of those episodes occurred with guns. These individuals often got quite creative with their weapon of choice.
The first impression I have of the twenty-four news coverage, of the minute-by-minute nail biting terror is from Columbine. That one hit home for my family. We'd recently moved from Sedalia, Colorado to Northwest Georgia. I had worked with people whose children were running out of that school. My kids knew children who attended that school. This was personal.
Take Chances wasn't born that day, but the early glimmerings of a story were. Notes were taken. Research began.
This story remained on the back burner for many years, but eventually found its way into a first draft, a second, many revisions, editing sessions, about five trips through one of my critique groups, and finally, a total revision in the 2009 NaNoWriMo session, and the necessary edits required after that race to finish a manuscript. Finally, I had a good story told, but then Newtown happened.
For almost four months, I sat with this story on the shelf. I agonized over the decision to send it to my publisher. As I'd learned from other stories, this one was winner. It would find a place, but one question had me second-guessing myself. Was I ready for it going out to the public? Mostly, was the time right to send this story out for publication?
Then I realized something. I've spent my writing career focusing mostly on young adult coming of age stories. Not the stories that brought Judy Blume so much fame, but stories of issues young adults face in the twenty-first century. To forever bury Take Chances was to deny what I'd been doing for so long.
So, I put my fictional Northwest Georgia town of Landry on the map of school violence, but instead of concentrating on the act, of making that the pivotal point of the story, I went with what I do best – the characters.
They are a group that can be found in different pieces of literature throughout history. Not much makes them different from other teens in other more well-known books, but they're together in this story:
The military brat who has finally found her roots
The head cheerleader who longs to be with her mom.
The quarterback who has a secret that could destroy his life.
The bullied boy who is the "perfect" perpetrator of school violence, but isn't.
The class clown, who turns out to be the best friend to have in a bad situation.
The former student, who returns home not for his stated reason, but to connect with a girl that he fell in love with a long time ago.
These teens – Julie, Heather, Lukas, Hugh, Tom, and Michael – come together to let the world see their incidence of school violence. They'd love it if you shared their story.
Julie Bond grew up in Europe as a military brat. She found her very first permanent home in Landry, GA as a teen going into high school. Almost four years later, she's having pre-graduation jitters and flashing back to an incident of school violence she experienced in Europe. She attempts to convince herself that it can never happen again, but continually finds herself flashing back to that day no matter how hard she tries.
The people around her present any number of problems for Julie, and she's hard put to keep from drowning under all the issues. Then Michael--a cool guy she's had a crush on for the last three years—returns from traveling the US as a photographer, and Julie now has one more thing to distract her as she prepares to leave high school. One thing she firmly believes in: no one will ever invade her classroom with violence again.
Once again, the impossible happens. Once again, she's in a classroom with a madman holding a gun. Once again, she must survive.
Final Teaser Excerpt:
The German word for attention rings through my brain as I come back to my present, to the safety I have come to depend on. It's not happening again. No way will I let that intrude on the best life I have ever had.
Those terrorists are dead. I have nothing to worry about.
In an effort to bring back normalcy, to forget about Ramstein AB, I grab Hugh's arm and literally drag him into AWP. Mr. Thompson smiles at us from his desk. Heather Billings waves me over to the desk beside hers. Hugh and I settle in our usual places, me next to her and him two seats over. The two desks beside Heather and me have no one at them.
"Where are Tom and Lukas?" I ask her.
Again, that strange feeling hits me hard. Again, the images of my kindergarten classroom come into view. Again, I feel as if terrorists threaten my life.
This is not happening! I shake my head to clear it. I won't let it.
KC Sprayberry started writing young, with a diary followed by an interest in English. Her first experience with publication came when she placed third in a Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge contest while in the Air Force, but her dedication to writing came after she had her youngest child, now a in his senior year of high school.
Her family lives in Northwest Georgia where she spends her days creating stories about life in the south, and far beyond. More than a dozen of her short stories have appeared in several magazines. Five anthologies feature other short stories, and her young adult novel Softly Say Goodbye, released in 2012. During 2013, more young adult stories have been released: The Ghost Catcher, Who Am I?, Family Curse … Times Two, and Amazon Best Seller, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates.
You can find her on the web here:
The free event for Softly Say Goodbye and Who Am I? ended yesterday, but they are still available for a very reasonable price:
Here's the fabulous news. The tour may have ended, but Take Chances is available today at Amazon. Thank you for participating!