My writing career developed after I decided to leave the land of schools and school administration. I watched a number of my colleagues struggle with illness and a syndrome that I called ‘staying too long at the party’. Many of my friends became ill due to the nature of their job and chose to go on ‘stress leave’.
I decided that wasn’t going to be the route that I would follow. So, I left my job as a school principal when I had a stellar, successful school. Everything was running smoothly.
Looking back, I was at the top of my game. Super students, super parents and super staff. Everyone was shocked when I announced my early retirement! Me too.
But I had an idea tucked up my sleeve. What I needed was time. I needed time to dig into who I was before I was locked into my role as an educator. It’s taken a number of years to reclaim the real me. I guess I’m still searching.
First I had to decide if I truly enjoyed writing. And I do. I thought the journey would be so straightforward. Write, pitch, publish!
In the publishing business, that’s not quite the reality today. So, I had to boomerang back to the basics. I attended conferences, read craft books, and found other like-minded writers. And along the way, I’ve met a fabulous group of authors. I continue to attend workshops and I try to keep my ‘head’ in the game.
Recently I plunged into the self-publishing pond, or lake or whirl-pool, however you wish to describe it. It’s turned out to be a fascinating ride.
Currently I’m writing Young Adult fiction which turns out to be an arena not only for the young, but for the young-at-heart.
My latest novel in The Girlfriends Series –Best Friends Forever is Little White Pills available on Amazon.
The idea for this novel came from an article I read in the newspaper. The article described how first year university students had easy access to medication to help them cope with the demands of classes. They simply borrowed pills from their parents or from friends.
The journalist revealed that this route was an easy pathway to addiction. This idea percolated in my brain for a few months. Then I combined that premise with the stories from my school experiences of pressures that teens face in middle school and high school. And suddenly I had my story.
Little White Pills
Tenth grader Steph Baxter has it all, perfect looks, perfect grades and a perfect life. She’s a model high school student and a member of the cheerleading squad. But in her quest for excellence she makes risky choices.
Soon her simple solution becomes a complex problem. Follow Steph and her best friend Rachel as they cope with Steph’s unexpected journey. Can Steph find support before it’s too late?
I recognize that this is a serious topic, so I made sure that throughout the novel, Rachel, the best friend is present to lighten the moment. I’ve enjoyed writing Rachel so much that she reappears in my third novel of the series, Little White Magic which will launch in the fall.
I hope you will enjoy my expedition into the land of the theatrical, the land of the passionate, the land of Young Adults.
Queen of the Universe Question
Ah yes! For some unknown reason my mind immediately zeroed in on the ‘Miss Congeniality’ movie starring Sandra Bullock.
Ms. Bullock was an under-cover cop posing as a beauty contest contestant. In every question and answer segment, the young women would answer ‘Blah, blah, blah’ and oh yes, ‘World Peace’.
So I guess if I could have a lofty, soaring goal that would be it.
However, on a practical level – and more related to writing as Queen of the Universe I would wish that the writing business would be more encouraging to new writers.
I remember a young woman I met at a Seattle writing conference. She had saved up her money and traveled all the way from Alaska. It was her first conference. She was keen, enthusiastic and thrilled to be attending her first writing workshops. She had her pitch ready. By the end of the week-end, she was humbled, saddened and discouraged.
In my opinion, that was all wrong. Even though I tried to encourage her, I had a feeling that she was going to quit. She had decided writing wasn’t for her.
In the August 2013 edition of the RWR (Romance Writers Report) author Marybeth Whalen created a checklist of strategies for finding encouragement for the writing journey.
- Engage through Social Media
- Surround Yourself with Passionate People
- Find Your Person
- Create a Portfolio
- Erect Boundaries
- Get Spiritual
- Join Groups
I wish that I could have directed this emerging writer to the information presented in this article.
Many, many thanks to the blog host –Jo-Ann Carson for giving me this fine opportunity to join her on her blog.
Tweets by JodieEsch
Excerpt –Chapter 1 –Little White Pills
My fate is the land of perfection. Perfect grades, perfect body, perfect life. But I’m faltering, I’m not who you think I am.
I stroke the side of the plastic vial of little white pills considering what to do. It’s all good. They’re prescription, you know. Not mine of course, but legal. Just something to take the edge off my day. I tuck my secret deep in my pocket and get ready for school.
I’m the girl you love to hate. I have it all. Brains, looks, friends. My best friend Rachel says so and she’s right about everything. I’d like to agree with her –but most days, I think she’s wrong. So what if I’m pretty, get straight A’s and have a ton of friends? None of that makes me feel good.
I’m only in the tenth grade and Dad and Mom keep asking what I want to do with the rest of my life. I tell them I haven’t a clue. What I do know is I plan to be very careful about the path I choose. I won’t follow my dad.
I don’t want to spend my life hating what I do. I don’t want to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and think ‘Is this all there is?’ I need to discover what’s out in the world at my own pace. That’s the problem. My parents are fast-track kind of people, looking for the best, wanting the most expensive stuff. Every day they push, push, push. Push themselves. And push me.
0 Replies to “YA Author Jodie Esch – Little White Pills”
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story, Jodie! While reading this post, I found myself nodding in agreement. (I’m a retired teacher) And your books sound simply delicious.
Thanks so much Joanne. I discovered that I just couldn’t walk away from the school stories that were trapped in my head. So, they were the basis for some of my fiction. I hope you will give my books a try.
What a fantastic excerpt, Jodie! Now I absolutely can’t wait to read “Little White Pills”! You have an amazing writer’s voice and you’ve sucked me into your story.
Thanks Jacqui. This was a challenging novel to write. At the end I felt as if I was emerging from a tunnel. Thanks for commenting.
I’m so with Jodie. Young adult fiction is for the young at heart!
Hi Emma, I agree with you. This genre appeals to readers of many different ages. Young adult fiction doesn’t shy away from any of the difficult topics but embraces life’s challenges.
Love your cover and your excerpt. I also like the way your wicked sense of humor permeates your writing.
Thanks Jo-Ann. The cover fell into place quickly and I adore the shades of blue. In terms of humour, I find that helps me balance writing about serious topics. And I guess in my every-day life, humour carries me along through my writing journey.
Reading your excerpt makes me want to buy! But more importantly as a parent it reminds me not to push too hard particularly since your story is based on a real one about older students in their first year of university or college.
Thanks Pat. I appreciate your comments. Yes, the newspaper article that prompted me to think about addiction was very clear about how easy it was for anyone of any age to access prescription medication. It is an issue that is not going away. And young folks entering a new phase of their school journey certainly require all of the parental support that we can offer them. The pressure of constant assignments can certainly stress a young learner. Thanks for stopping by.
Jodie, your book is so pertinent to all. Can’t wait for Rachael’s story too. Your books are fun to read and eventhough are written in today, the emotions so remind me of my long ago school days.
Hi Pat. It’s interesting -some themes are so classic that they keep rolling along from one generation to the next. My own early school days were challenging because my family was constantly moving.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m looking forward to launching the third book in the series Little White Magic in the fall. I hope you’ll enjoy Rachel’s next adventure.
What courage, Jodie, to leave your career when all was going well. But I think you made such a good choice writing Ya novels. You portray teenagers with such accuracy that their voices ring true. I’m looking forward to book number three in your series.
Hi Helena, Thanks for commenting. Leaving my school career at a high-point was certainly a leap into the unknown. However, I think that has turned out to be my style.
I certainly have the teen voices trapped in my head, so I decided to ‘let them out’. I hope that you’ll enjoy Little White Magic when it releases in the fall.
Jodie, you do write for the young and the young at heart! (love this line…) It resonated with me because I so enjoy your books. Reading “Little White Pills” at this time and am blaming today’s baggy eyes on your talent. Last night, I couldn’t put the book down!! When my kindle hit me in the face, I had to turn off the light. Now I can’t wait for tonight 🙂 I have no doubt this new Indie career has just waiting for you!!
Hi Mimi, Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for reading ‘Little White Pills’. It’s very special to have some readers. Way more exciting than looking at my manuscripts sprinkled all over my desktop. Thanks for all of your support along the way. I appreciate all of your expertise!
Love that excerpt. Great article, Jodie. Love the wise choices you made.
Thanks so much Shereen. I didn’t want to make the excerpt too long. I’m hoping that my short snippet may entice some readers! And I think the advice that the writer suggested in the RWA article is a good reminder to all authors no matter where they are in their career. Happy writing!
I love the cover of your story, and the excerpt is great. It sounds like a book I couldn’t put down. Sylvia
Hi Sylvia, Great to hear from you. Thanks so much for commenting. I hope that you will like this book. I think it is a page-turner!
Great excerpt, Jodie, and a little scary, too. I just heard an ad on my local radio station about this very subject–teens accessing their parents’ prescription meds. Very timely.
I thought so as well a few years ago. The abuse of prescription medication is a topic that doesn’t disappear. Recently, I saw a cautionary ad on t.v. so I believe there is a bit more awareness. Thanks Ros for dropping by today and I hope that you will enjoy this novel. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
What a powerful and timely story. Beautiful cover too. Sharron
Thanks for stopping by Sharron and thank you for the compliments. I think that the cover makes an impact and I was pleased with the final result. Learning about cover art is an entire new ballgame. But it is certainly fascinating.