THE ART OF ESCAPING
My solo debut, a contemporary YA novel chronicling the misadventures of a teenage escape artist, will be released by Amberjack Publishing on June 19, 2018.
“An exciting and nuanced portrayal of the terror of vulnerability and the exalted freedom of authenticity.” — Kirkus, Starred Review
I stripped down to my bathing suit and gripped the ladder to the top of the tank with my shaky fingers. A little voice hissed through my mind. You can’t do this. You’re out of your damn mind. Stop. Go back to your quiet little life. I swallowed the voice and started the climb.
Seventeen-year-old Mattie is hiding her obsession with Harry Houdini and Dorothy Dietrich from everyone, including her best friend Stella. When Stella takes off to boarding school for the summer, all of Mattie’s anxieties bubble to the surface, leaving her feeling adrift. To distract herself, she seeks out Miyu, the reclusive daughter of a world-renowned escape artist whose life and career were snuffed out by a tragic plane crash.
With Miyu’s help, Mattie secretly transforms herself into a burgeoning escapologist and performance artist. Away from the curious eyes of her peers, she thrives in her new world of lock picking, straitjackets, and aquarium escapes. But when Will, a popular varsity athlete from her high school, discovers her act at an underground venue, she fears that her double life is about to be exposed. But instead of outing her, Will tells Mattie something he’s never told anyone before and the two of them find out that not all secrets can remain secret forever.
Told through the perspectives of the witty main characters, this funny and fresh debut explores the power of stage personas and secret spaces, and speaks to the uncanny ways in which friendships transform us.
In 2008, while perusing the YA shelves at Borders (R.I.P.), my dear friend Troy H. Gardner turned to me and said, “We could do this.” I naively and arrogantly agreed with him and the MAD WORLD series was born. Part contemporary YA and part urban fantasy, the series follows two kids who meet at an institution for troubled teens and, together, discover the world is super strange and more complex than they ever thought possible. You know, just regular growin’ up stuff…
The first three books in the series were e-published by a tiny little Canadian press roughly a zillion years ago, and served as a crash course in writing YA. In 2017, we self-published a re-release of the first book (WAKEFIELD), with a brand new cover designed by Troy H. Gardner himself. You can buy it here! We are currently working on new editions of books two and three, along with the first edition of book four. Stay tuned.