So, the shear number of fabulous people I met at the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend, both authors and readers, was staggering, wonderful and a bit intimidating. But, everyone I met was just so darn nice, down to earth and friendly. Seriously. That includes the fabulous Patty Blount. She’s a genuinely wonderful woman. Her soft smile and sparkly brown eyes draw you in right away and then she speaks and you realize you are meeting someone special. That’s why I had a bit of a fan girl moment when she agreed to be here with us!!!! So, I’ll stop gushing and let you meet Patty Blount.
I just finished writing my sixth young adult novel for Sourcebooks Fire. It’s called NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE, a story about two teen race car drivers from feuding families that’s essentially Romeo and Juliet on asphalt. Though it’s my sixth teen novel, but in a way, it’s a first for me.
This book marks the first time I’m attempting comedy. I recently attended a workshop by the always-fabulous Damon Suede and decided to incorporate some of his tips on writing comedy. I had SUCH a fun time writing this story and I think it’s because of the humor infused throughout. The story just made me so happy to be with… and that’s kind of the point of writing. Authors get to hang out with the people they’ve birthed, and in the settings they’ve created. If you don’t want to be there, if you don’t love these people, how will readers?
NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE features Jensen Lowe and Callie Truitt, two eighteen-year-olds who grew up on the modified racing tour circuit in North Carolina. Their dads raced back in the day and there’s been bad blood between them for years. An only child, Jensen adored having a “brother” in Cody, Callie’s twin, and a “sister” — but those feelings quickly evolved into more by the time they were thirteen. And that’s when Jensen’s car crashed into Callie’s, breaking her arm and ending her racing career before it had a chance to really start. Forbidden to speak to each other, Callie and Jensen spend years apart until Callie decides she wants Jensen back — now she has to convince him.
I had a great deal of fun researching this story — all of the behind-the-scenes race activity, plus writing some colorful southern expressions like this one:
“Lord, Jensen, did Chevy stop making trucks? You just had yourself a great event — even secured a new sponsor all by yourself. Ain’t nothin’ to be lookin’ so long in the mouth about.”
But this story is also a sweet romance, too. It has a love scene that I believe is the best writing I’ve ever done. Here’s a little teaser:
He smiled, his thumb tracing my lips. “I love you, Callie.”
He kissed me, long and slow and I felt that warm, lazy spread of love fill me from toe to hair follicles and wanted to just drown in it. I tugged the shirt from his waist band, slid my hands under the hem and touched skin, smooth and taut over layers of lean muscle. As a little boy, Jensen hadn’t been much of a mystery to me. I’d known everything about boys. After all, I’d shared a womb with one. They liked icky stuff — the grosser the better. They never walked when they could run and they much preferred actions over words. I thought I’d known everything about Jensen. Soft-spoken, well-mannered, he was shy and quiet until bothered. So when he swore, ripped the shirt over his head and kissed me, hungry and impatient, and all I could think was, Wow. I may have remembered the little boy, but I knew nothing about the man he’d become.
“What are you smilin’ about?” He asked, lifting his head.
“You.” I waved a hand over his hips.
“I’m glad you like it.”
“Oh, I do,” I admitted. “But that’s not why I was smiling.”
He took my hand, stretched out next to me on the sleeping bag. “Gonna tell me or keep me guessin’?”
A slow smile spread across my face. “I was just thinking how much you’ve changed since the time you, me, and Cody went skinny dipping in the lake up near LaSalle Green and —”
“Oh, God, no.”
“And you wanted to go in still wearing your—”
“Callie, I was twelve and you were a girl. It wasn’t right.” He rolled over, buried his face in my hair.
“Hey, I showed you mine!” I tugged on his hair until he lifted his head. I wanted another kiss and took one.
“You did. And I am pretty sure yours has changed a lot since then, too.” He pushed my knees apart, as if to confirm that suspicion, but I slapped at his arm, giggling.
He rolled on top of me and I stopped laughing when I felt him there. “Jensen?”
“I loved you. Even then, I loved you.”
I can’t wait for this story to be released. Next year, THE WAY IT HURTS drops in August, 2017. I expect that NOTHING LEFT TO BURN will come out some time in 2018.
So that means I’ve got lots of time to make it funnier, sweeter, sexier than it is right now. Until then, check out my previously published novels. SEND, about a bully trying to cope with the suicide he caused; TMI, about a friendship ruined by online secrets, SOME BOYS, about surviving rape and victim-blaming, and NOTHING LEFT TO BURN, about teen volunteer firefighters.
You can stalk Patty here:
Want the chance to win a signed copy of Send? Just comment below and tell us what your favorite romantic comedy is. Book or movie!]]>