Our New Book

It’s here!

Stargazing from Nowhere, our YA novel, is finally available in paperback, with the ebook to follow next week. It is part Romantic-Comedy, part Teen Romance.

When we first began writing scripts together, a YA novel was not on the horizon at all until we finished one of our scripts, an early version of the novel. While we loved the script format and knew it would make a wonderful romantic comedy, we also began to feel that the story would really suit a younger protagonist than the one we had originally written, and that the story seemed to naturally lend itself to the YA genre in book format.

We had already edited the script version, after many drafts, readings with professional actors and with other writers, in writing workshops, and much research. One summer, we went on a road trip to test out our setting, which we wanted to be quirky, so we settled on a town that was settled along the 45th parallel, half-way between the equator and the North pole. It’s always been neat on road trips to discover towns with unusual notable facets. I think we were both originally inspired by an enormous apple replica on the side of a highway in Ontario on the way to visit our parents’ friends on childhood family outings. The landmark became a type of marker for the distance travelled, and the answer to the never-ending “How much longer?” There was something lovely about the simplicity of it, and the subtle invitation that it offered to stop by, if even just to buy some delicious apples.

We became really enamored with the fictional town of Spencerville (one actor even suggesting that we change the name of the script to “Spencerville” due to the personalities in the work), and although we passed through many nice places along the 45th parallel that summer, we eventually settled on placing it in Minnesota. There was something grounded and heartening about setting it in a place like that, which reminded us of Ontario. It was just the kind of place that we could both stay in a while.

So we abandoned screenwriting for the next while (and it was a challenge to balance writing with work and other life stuff), and wrote this novel. It seemed like a natural transition for us too, and much more enjoyable than we had ever imagined.

For years, being High School teachers meant that we were in on the “in” and “cool” stuff that kids were interested in by virtue of association and some of it, very reluctantly because kids can be very creative when insulting your un-coolness (as in, too much homework, too many rules, etc). We were reminded of what it was like to be a teen, of the insecurities, of the fun, of the wide expanse of possibilities for the future, and we just felt that Kristen would be the perfect protagonist for our story, which had all of those elements.

The world of celebrity can be daunting and fascinating to those watching from the sidelines. Also captivating is how teens are mini-celebrities in their own circles with the advent of new media. Celebrities used to have a very illusive relationship with their fans and now teens can tweet to and about their favorite celebrity and engage in a conversation, whether it’s brief or somewhat extended. As the world shrinks, celebrity’s orb expands, which makes for a very interesting and complicated dynamic.

Teenage girls dream. And they dream often and they dream with their hearts on their sleeve and that’s a magical quality.

And they have crushes that can be so strong that they are crushed by their intensity, at least temporarily.

One of the most fun things about writing is being able to dream as we ask, “What if?”

So, what if a small town girl meets her celebrity crush? What if that small town girl loved to write and had a secret identity for a blog that trashed the work of the celebrity crush? And what would happen if he came to be in her town long enough for them to meet, even long enough for them to get to know one another a little bit? Well, then you have a girl who’s been stargazing from nowhere finding herself in quite a different situation that what she’s used to. One of the aims in writing a protagonist like Kristen is that we wanted her to be relatable, and fun, especially when she gets herself into trouble.

Kristen, our protagonist, is just an ordinary girl, and like most all other ordinary people, she has extraordinary qualities. She is ordinary in routine, but in spirit and kindness and intelligence she is special and sweet.

We really love the world of Spencerville, and the romance between Kristen and Michael, and hope that others will too.

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Also Available in Epub Format at Smashwords

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