“These are the decisions old white men in suits used to make in locked rooms around circular tables. Now there is only a boy who needs a haircut and a girl who needs a shower.”
If you didn’t know, I’m trying to get my first novel, “In the Sky,” published. (Aka, the reason I made this website and my sick new Instagram account.) It’s been a super weird, long road. So here is my story!
I began writing “In the Sky” in 2012, my sophomore year in high school. The main character was originally based off a crush of mine at the time, but over the years he’s morphed into his own. Thank goodness. (No offense to said crush, he’s an amazing human being!)
Anyway, writing was always a passion of mine. I would write fantasy stories about my classmates in elementary school, then moved on to celebrity fan fiction in middle school. (No joke, I have like three binders full of “Twilight” fan fiction. Doesn’t every millennial?)
In high school I began crafting more of my own stories with my own characters—always based upon people in my real life in some way—and since then, that’s always what I’ve done.
I began about three novels while in high school, but “In the Sky” was my first baby.
So, once I had what I thought was a finished draft, I had the courage to show it to one of my friends. He fell in love with it, and I gained the confidence I needed to continue to work on it. (s/o to Robbie go subscribe his YT channel he’s the best ever.)
Once college came around, I knew I had to get more serious.
I have this vivid memory of lying in my uncomfortable twin bed in Craige Dorm my first year at UNC-Chapel Hill. I was reading over my three books and realized that because my writing was always for myself, the stories were so crazy and melodramatic and at a lot of points, really bad.
Throughout my freshman year, I edited all three pretty heavily. But it still wasn’t enough. I wanted them to be good enough that someone would want to buy them off a shelf.
I always wanted my first book published to be the first one I wrote, so “In the Sky” was the one I decided to send to a professional editor. I wanted to see if I was crazy, if my story was stupid and if my writing was too poor to ever get to where I wanted.
“In the Sky” was edited by my awesome editor, Crystal Watanabe of Pikko’s House, my sophomore year in college.
The first pass was a developmental edit, and the feedback was hard to hear. She basically said my book fell apart by the second half and that I would have to re-write what felt like the entire thing over again.
Because the task was so daunting, I procrastinated re-writing it for the rest of my college career. I told myself it was because I was too busy with classes, with work, with everything, but I was really just too overwhelmed.
I kept telling myself that after graduation, I would have a finished copy to send back to my editor. Eventually, through grit, determination and sheer boredom with no classes to attend, I finally finished my official manuscript. And after a final pass for proofreading, that manuscript would end up being the one I sent to over 100 agents at the beginning of this year.
“In the Sky” is a story about a boy and girl, a grocery store, a small Southern town, and yup: aliens. It’s also a story that I hope you’ll be able to buy soon.