Monday, April 25, 2011

The Making of "Sticks and Bones"

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The idea for my novel, "Sticks and Bones," evolved over time. I will be the first to admit it is not the great American novel destined to become a household word. However, I feel it is important to tell the story of how "Sticks and Bones" came to be.

I have been writing stories for years. Many of these stories were never finished or lay in the bottom of a drawer never to be thought about again. "Sticks and Bones" was different. It contains a powerful message from the mouths of babes. A message so powerful, so strong, so simply full of truth it had to be conveyed to the masses.

As a single mother of three children, teenagers at the time "Sticks and Bones" was started, I had a lot of free time in the evening to write. I was 'everyone's mom'. I made myself available to teenagers from all walks of life when they needed someone to listen. As their lives unfolded before me a story idea formulated in my mind. I wasn't sure where the story was going as I began writing, but I continued to write.

One night while working on "Sticks and Bones," I was busted by the whole lot of them. "What are you doing, Mom?" They asked with genuine interest. I told them I was writing a book. At the time I wasn't really writing a novel, in my mind I was simply writing a story. My daughters outed me as a writer right then and there. "Oh, Mom writes stories all the time, but usually she doesn't finish them." The gauntlet had been thrown down, there was no turning back; no quitting. I had to meet the challenge of the young people who were so excited to know that I had truly taken an interest in the lives they led on a daily basis. And so it began.

I would write a few chapters then read what had been written to the teens who frequented my house. It was strange to me how they seemed to take an ownership of the story. If I used the wrong phrase or choice of word one of them was right there to correct me. There were a minimum of twenty-eight young teenagers contributing to the accuracy of the story. I'm not certain of the reason why the story was so important to them. Afterall, it was just a story; or so I thought.

"Sticks and Bones" isn't just a story. It's a chronicle of their lives. Their lives from their perspective. How they saw each other, how they saw their peers, how they saw their teachers and their city. For the record, none of the teens were from West Fargo. If you read "Sticks and Bones" you will see the heavy emphasis on the illusive life of teenagers in America. Some things parents are aware of and some things they aren't.

"Sticks and Bones" is heavy on the emotions of teenagers: anger; love; hate; friendship; and all the things in between. As a person who has really lost a friend at 15 years old, it was difficult for me to write about this particular subject. It brought back all the feelings and emotions that I carried with me for years regarding my friend. At the same time it lends a bit of realism to the reactions of each person.

I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everybody; and everything about everybody. There is always one or two people who are infamous in the town. Mr. Clyde Jordaine is an example in the story of these infamous people. The people you feel sorry for, yet despise at the same time. There's always one kid who is different than the others and his or her life is plotted out for them before they even reach young adult. Sean Dorian is such a kid in the plot of "Sticks and Bones".

No, "Sticks and Bones" isn't just a story. It's a glimpse into the hardships and lives of teenagers; real teenagers from every city in the country. It's a story that could play out in real life at anytime. A story that will take you back to the time you were a teenager and bring forth memories you thought were long forgotten; to a time where everything was chaos on the road to organized adulthood.

"Sticks and Bones" is available for purchase on Kindle and for Kindle Apps at Once you've read it, you will never look at the world the same again.

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