Honestly YA is pleased to welcome Sheri Adkins, a 2013 Golden Heart® finalist, so she can tell us a little bit about her book and her ideas. Take it away, Sheri!
|Okay, what's with the zebra?|
It’s funny how seemingly unrelated things can connect events in our lives. Several years ago I was listening to the radio in my car. Being the mom of teenagers, I rarely get to choose what is blaring through the speakers and often I’m too distracted by the million things running through my head to really listen anyway. But this particular day a story came on the radio news about a massive wreck near San Francisco. A zebra had escaped a local zoo and made its way onto a highway there, resulting in a massive pile–up. Though, of course, that isn’t funny in the least, I couldn’t help but think about how odd that would be…and yes, in my warped mind, a bit funny too. Imagine, driving along on your normal route to work or school or wherever you were headed and—POW!—out of nowhere a zebra trots across the road.
|The captured zebra...|
I knew I had to put that in a book somewhere!
I’d been wanting to write a Young Adult Romance with the flavor of the John Hughes movies I had loved so much as a teen. I’d tried and tried to think of a quirky, all-in-one-day plot that would still have enough meat to it that it would sustain through an entire novel. I’d been struggling to come up with anything. Until this fateful day when I heard about the zebra. What if it were a teen driving? I thought to myself, “Hmmm… what would be the absolute worst time for a teen to have an accident?” Well, when she’s taken her parents’ car without asking, of course. And what would make that even worse? If the car was really expensive and difficult to repair, like a rare, classic car. So then I had to think, “What would compel this teen to take her parents’ car, knowing she would get in more trouble than she can imagine if she’s caught.” And it had to be funny too, in that John Hughes way…
And so the premise for my Golden Heart manuscript was born. From a zebra.
MIRANDA PERRY’S IMPORTED PROM DATE is about a type-A senior who has spent her entire high school life trying to reach perfection: class president, National Honor Society, Valedictorian—any distinction she can claim on a college app, she has garnered. But when her boyfriend (and all-around god of the school) breaks up with her a week before prom, she is devastated, bested, defeated. But she’d never let him know that. When he walks into the library with his new date on his arm, Miranda inadvertently claims she has a date that’s way better than him anyway. Which would have felt great…if it wasn’t a lie. Long story short: she turns to her best friend, Baxter, for help and ends up “importing” the gorgeous Italian guy that Baxter had stayed with as an exchange student. But when Miranda wakes up on Prom Day to find her car is dead in the driveway—and her parents are out of town on business that couldn’t be cancelled—she has no choice but to take her dad’s classic convertible to the airport to pick up her prom date.
Insert Zebra. Hijinks ensue. Happily Ever After looms in the distance.
I was thrilled and honored to get the fateful call telling me that this story had finaled in one of the most prestigious contest for unpublished writers, the GOLDEN HEART®. (For a list of all finalists, go to http://www.rwa.org/p/bl/et/blogid=20&blogaid=364 and scroll down to the Golden Heart Finalists®) Thank you to RWA® for hosting the contest each year. I can’t tell you how excited I was that morning to learn that I was a finalist once again, especially since I adore this story so very much. I had a wonderful time writing it and I truly hope I was able to capture the fun, witty, zany feel of the Hughes movies. Not that anyone could ever touch his true genius, but if I even came close to the essence of what those movies meant to me, then I am happy.
By the way, the day I heard that odd tale of the zebra-escape on the radio, I came home and Googled it to get the facts straight. Turns out, this happens about once a year somewhere in America… so not as rare an occurrence as one might think. Zebras must be as determined as my pets!
So, what about you? Do you have a particular favorite movie of John Hughes? If you’re a writer, do you ever have stories born out of a quirky fact you happened to hear in passing? Or, best of all, what’s the strangest thing to ever run out in front of you while driving—anyone ever swerve to miss an escaped zoo animal???
(Please post! Even if it’s only to say Hi! I am just desperate enough to beg for bloggers to make me feel better about myself…)
|Sheri Adkins, represented by Cori Deyoe at|
3 Seas Literary