Today (5/7) is the day ANTHONY hits the shelves! This is the story of two unlikely friends who witness a not-so-friendly incident — all told with humor and heart. I hope you’ll love reading it as much as I loved creating it. Go get a copy from your local bookstore or from any of the store links on this page.

Writing SURPRISINGLY SARAH was not-so-surprisingly refreshing. I had really wanted to break away from the formula I use for this series. I’d only done it once; in BECOMING BRIANNA, there is just one main character (as opposed to my traditional two), and instead of the chapters switching between the characters’ POVs, the timeline switches between past and present.

illustration from BECOMING BRIANNA

In SARAH, I also broke the mold — this time by manipulating the plotline. I created a “what if” situation. That is, I present two different responses to an event and the reader sees how each one unfolds. More details here.

It wasn’t easy to pull off. I had to make sure the story wouldn’t be confusing — especially since those two scenarios happen to one character (Sarah) but are presented by two different characters (Sarah and her best friend, Leo). Yikes!

I also made up brand new characters, Leo and Ben. Creating new kids from scratch is always a challenge…although a fun one. Luckily their personalities came together well. In fact, I absolutely fell in love with Leo — what a quirky, funny, loyal kid! I kinda liken his relationship with his best friend Sarah to that of Duckie and Andie from “Pretty in Pink” (kids, ask your parents…or your grandparents).

aforementioned movie characters

I really had to pay attention and make sure I was attributing the right details to the correct plotline. I went over everything with a fine tooth comb, as did my editors. Can’t be too careful. Add in all the art, and double that fine tooth combing!

But how I loved writing this. First, because I got to really delve into sweet Sarah’s life, which I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And second, because I grew to enjoy her evolving relationship with Leo. A wonderful by-product of writing is watching your characters’ personalities emerge before your eyes — sometimes with little effort. Such was the case with both Sarah and Leo. I remember when creating TRULY TYLER, I had such a tough time writing from a boy’s POV at first. Once I got over that stumbling block and everything clicked, it felt so natural to write for Tyler, which in turn, paved the way for Leo. I’ll always be grateful to Tyler for that.

Tyler from TRULY TYLER

In a nutshell, writing SARAH was challenging AND creatively freeing. In other words, everything an author wants. For the most part, it’s been this way with the entire series, which is one of the reasons I continue to write these books. That, and incredible reader response, which is ALWAYS rewarding.

Welcome signs from readers at a school visit

I hope you choose to pick up a copy of SURPRISINGLY SARAH. Better yet, I hope you love reading it as much as I loved writing it. To order SARAH, click here.

As always, happy reading!

SO thrilled to be on this insanely fun and insightful podcast hosted by the hugely popular author, Marissa Meyer (one of my daughters is a big fan, so we’re very familiar with her books).

I hope you’ll take a listen to my episode on The Happy Writer Podcast — we had such a great time. And be sure to catch her other guests. I’ve listened to many authors’ episodes and learned a lot (and had fun doing it).

Hey, all! This year’s book tour will be COMPLETELY in the Midwest! That’s because I’ll be taking a mid-May authors’ trip overseas this year — so my publisher is kindly keeping me closer to home (and keeping my jet lag at bay…I hope).

I’ll be presenting and signing at schools in the cities above as well as in St. Louis, MO (school visits only). For registration and/or details about the public events, go to these links (not all are up yet) :

May 1: Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Cincinnati, OH)

May 3: Barnes & Noble, Livonia (Northville, MI)

May 22: Cuyahoga County Public Library (Bay Village, OH)

May 24: Louisville Public Library (Louisville, KY)

May 25: Red Balloon Bookshop (St. Paul, MN)

In the meantime, you can pre-order SURPRISINLY SARAH here!

I’m so excited to be among such an amazing lineup of authors at the North Texas Teen Book Festival in Irving, TX and the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) in Chicago, IL. I’ll be in Texas March 22-23 and Chicago March 24.

Click here for details about my appearance at NTTBF.

Click here for details about my appearance at C2E2.

Hope to see you!