I'm delighted to welcome author and creative writing tutor, Jacqueline Seewald on my blog today. She's dropped by to tell us about her writing, and her new YA novel, Stacy's Song.
Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository and technical writing at RutgersUniversity as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Fifteen of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including books for adults, teens and children. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as: THE WRITER, L.A. TIMES, PEDESTAL, SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE, OVER MY DEAD BODY!, THE MYSTERY MEGAPACK, LIBRARY JOURNAL, and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. One of her poems recently took first place in the Reader’s Digest 2015 Poetry Contest. She’s also an amateur landscape artist.
I asked Jacqueline to tell us a bit more about herself:
Do you have any favourite family Christmas traditions? If so, what are they?
Our main holiday tradition is to get together with our children and grandchildren, share a holiday meal, and give them gifts. It’s a fun time for our family.
If you could invite any author living or dead to share your Christmas lunch, who would it be?
For me, it would be Jane Austen. I’d love to discuss her novels with her. I’ve read and reread PRIDE AND PREJUDICE many times. It’s my favorite of her novels. But all are an inspiration.
What book would you like to find in your Christmas stocking?
A large print edition of The Bible.
You can find out more about Jacqueline and her work here:
As well as Twitter and Goodreads
STACY’S SONG, now available in a brand new ebook edition from Clean Reads Press, is Jacqueline's second YA novel for this publisher, the first being THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER which has developed a good readership and is both a romance and an allegory. It’s available in ALL ebook formats as well as paperback.
STACY’S SONG is a perfect YA romance/coming-of-age novel for the holidays. The novel has family values and ends at Christmas. It also has a nice upbeat, inspiring message: be true to yourself. Jacqueline hopes that family and friends will gift this novel to teens.
I followed Liz up the porch steps with a decided lack of enthusiasm.
“Come on in,” she urged, noticing me hesitate at the door.
The foyer oozed darkness; the living room was equally gloomy, even after Liz pulled back the curtains. As my eyes adjusted, I was startled to see a boy sitting in the corner hunched over a piano. Liz saw him too.
“Michael, I didn’t know you were there. Stacy, I’d like to introduce you to my brother. He’s the composer in the family. Michael, like you Stacy is very talented.”
He didn’t respond. In fact, he didn’t even look up or acknowledge my presence in the room. There was something about him that made me feel uneasy. I could see him much better now that my eyes were adjusting to the dusky room. I figured him for around seventeen, with straight, sand-colored hair long on the sides. He looked fairly tall, though I couldn’t tell because he didn’t bother to stand up. He wore dark glasses that I found particularly odd since the room was ill lit.
“What do you play?” he asked in a voice that could have frozen a lake. “I’ll need to hear what you can do. What did you bring with you?”
“I didn’t expect an audition,” I responded with equal frost.
“Yeah, well, Liz thinks you’re all right, but I’d like to decide that for myself.”
Liz seemed to sense the tenseness in the atmosphere and jumped in. “Why don’t you sit down and relax, get to know each other better, and I’ll go fix us a snack.” Coward! She didn’t even bother to wait for a response, instead hurrying off to the kitchen and leaving an uncomfortable silence in the room.
Michael didn’t look at me. He seemed to be busy composing, but I had a feeling that was bogus.
“Do you go to Wilson High?” I asked him.
An odd smile crossed his lips. “No, I’m too special for that.” There was a hint of sarcasm in his tone, as if his words had some personal or private meaning.
Not easily daunted, I tried again. If you can’t discuss anything else, usually the weather’s a safe topic. “It’s turned beautiful, don’t you think? This must be the sunniest day we’ve had in months.”
“I wouldn’t know,” he said in a voice I can only describe as hostile.
“Wouldn’t know or don’t care?” I was sorry I said it even as I spoke; usually I’m polite, but this boy just seemed to bring out the worst in me. I hated the way he wouldn’t even look in my direction. I guess he thought those dark glasses made him look cool. I felt a sudden urge to yank off his glasses and break them. “Look, maybe I just ought to go,” I said.
He rose to his feet with an awkward, unsteady movement. “Wait! I want you to try out some of our music. You can use Liz’s guitar.”
“I don’t know…” I said.
“What have you got to lose?”
I looked around and saw an electric guitar against the opposite wall. “I have to warn you I’m used to an acoustic not an electric.”
“It’s no big deal making the switch for a real musician. If you’re any good I can show you in minutes.” He seemed to be daring me, taunting.
“All right,” I said picking up the guitar.
As he started across the room I pushed the coffee table forward to allow more foot space. Before I could say anything Michael Norris walked into the table losing his balance. I put out my hand to steady him; he almost fell on top of me. My heart started to pound like a runner racing toward the finish line. I withdrew from him striving to regain my composure. I put down the guitar.
“Sorry,” he said, “I’m not usually this clumsy.”
Why had he walked into the table? Anyone could have seen it. Then a thought hit me. Of course! Why was I so naïve, so dense?
Want to buy it for a teen in your family?
Thanks for dropping, Jacqueline. Merry Christmas!