Whitney Denison can’t wait to start over.
She thought she had everything under control, that her future would always include her best friend Katie… Until everything changed.
Now her life in Bloom is one big morning after hangover, filled with regret, grief, and tiny pinpricks of reminders that she was once happy. A happy she ruined. A happy she can’t fix.
So, she is counting down the days until she leaves home for Colson University, cramming her summer with busywork she didn’t finish her senior year, and taking on new hobbies that involve glue and glitter, and dodging anyone who reminds her of her old life.
When she runs into the stranger who drove her home on graduation night, after she’d passed out next to a ditch, she feels herself sinking again. The key to surviving the summer in Bloom is unraveling whatever good memories she can from that night.
But in searching for answers, she’ll have to ask for help and that means turning to Evan, the stranger, and Kyle, Katie’s ex-boyfriend. Suddenly, life flips again, and Whitney finds herself on not only the precipice of happy but love, too, causing her to question whether she can trust her feelings, or if she is falling into her old patterns of extremes.
As she uncovers the truth about her memories, Whitney sees that life isn’t all or nothing, and that happy isn’t something to wait for, that instead, happy might just be a choice.
* * * * *
Greetings, Coleen. Welcome to 4am. Hope this isn’t too early for you. I’m having coffee. What do you like?
Hey Kate. Do you have soy milk? I like to mix a cup of that with half a cup of coffee.
While I add some, er, coffee to your milk, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the writing gig.
I’m a wife, and a mom. I’ve had a variety of jobs here and there—from working at a library to setting appointments for gutter sales—but in between I was always writing, and trying to fit in creative writing classes. As my kids got older, I felt the pull to do something more with my writing, and set aside dedicated writing time. I did that for a couple of years before realizing that I needed some sort of online presence. I started blogging in 2011, and it’s been great. I’ve learned so much from the friends I’ve made through the online writing community.
And I’ve been enjoying your blog. What ignited your idea for your YA contemporary story, Come Back to Me?
The idea first came to me around three years ago. I was driving (this seems to be an idea generator for me), and Pink’s song, Sober, was on the radio. I pictured a guy and a girl in a car. All I knew in that moment was that she was confused, but projecting a tough exterior—and this guy, who seemed to be a stranger, calls her out, gets her to think about things she’d been avoiding. The story evolved over the next couple of years, but there is an important scene between Whitney and Evan that takes place while he’s
driving. It’s a nod to that first glitter speck of idea.
I love how book ideas come to us when we’re driving. If you could be transported into your book, what scene would you want to experience?
Whitney’s first date with Evan. Whenever I got stuck with her story, I would always go back to this scene to get unstuck.
If you could have an evening out with any 3 authors, who would they be and why?
Judy Blume pops into my head first, except I see myself sitting across from her frozen and unable to speak, and well, that would be a waste. So, I’d pick Susan Beth Pfeffer because her book, Life As We Knew It, still stays with me. I’d like to pick her brain about that series. Then, Beverly Cleary, because I loved the Ramona books so much when I was a kid. I’d also like to hang with Meg Cabot, because I think I’d like her sense of humor.
I think you should have your evening out with all of them together. Then it’ll be easier to talk to Judy. Just hide behind the other 3. One of my favorite questions to ask authors is about the balance of writing and life. How do you fit writing into your daily schedule?
My house is almost always quiet between 8:30 and noon, so that’s the time I use for writing. Morning seems to be the best writing time for me.
Judy Blume would be proud. She’s a morning ’till noon writer, too. See, you could talk to her about that! Okay, one-word answers only:
Writing or reading? reading
Wolf or crocodile? crocodile
E-book or print? print
Salty or sweet? salty
Drama or Action? drama
You got 2 wrong out of 5. Not bad. You live in a world where you get to make the rules for writers, and everyone must obey. Name 5 rules.
This is hard! I assume if someone is a writer, they want to write. So my rules would be about those things that might get in the way of that desire.
No internet during writing time.
Need to move, recharge, and stay healthy.
Find a way to connect with other writers. Helps you feel less crazy about being a writer.
And since I’m making it up, there will be no dusting or vacuuming. Someone else will do it.
Those are great rules. I’d love to live in your world. Thanks for hanging out at 4am, Coleen. Wishing you much success!