New Kids On The Block 2018 with Amelia Brunskill

New Kids On The Block is a year-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader meant to welcome and celebrate new voices and debut authors in the literary community.

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2018? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at [email protected]. I would love to collaborate with you!

About Amelia Brunskill

Amelia Brunskill was born in Melbourne, Australia, but her family moved to the United States when she was very small, and she then attended ten schools in three states and two countries before heading to college. She now lives in Chicago, where she eats as much Thai food as possible and works as a librarian. The Window is her debut novel.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

The Long Break

Some authors tell stories about how they’ve been writing all their lives. How they began writing as soon as they could hold a pencil steady, wrote their first book at fifteen, and went on to study creative writing in college, then write in their office cubicle during their lunch hours. How they wrote and wrote and wrote, always confident that it was what they needed to do, always hopeful that one day they would become a published writer.

I love these stories.

Mine doesn’t go quite like that.

It starts off in a similar vein. As a child, I wrote elaborate texts about unlikely animal friendships, and teachers praised me for being good with words, even sent me to local writing workshops. Being a writer became part of my identity, the silver lining to being an overly sincere kid whose family moved frequently, the perennial awkward newbie who spoke too much in class and too little outside of it.

Then ninth grade English came around.

The assignment was to write a short story. I came up with an idea that I thought was beautiful and full of meaning, and I poured my whole heart into it, furiously writing and revising. By the time I turned it in, I was positive it was the best thing that I — a straight A student with perfectionist tendencies — had ever written.

When I got it back, I found that my teacher had labeled it macabre, and given it a B minus.

I so want to tell you that I knew better than to let a single grade make me redefine myself. That surely my skin was not so horribly, ridiculously thin that I took this to heart.

I did not know better. My skin was gossamer thin.

I stared at her comments, at that grade, and then I literally wept in class, my tears adding another thick layer of humiliation. I was thirteen, and suddenly convinced I had been incredibly naïve to think that I could create something worthwhile.

I did not voluntarily write another word of fiction for seventeen years.

I did other things. I went to college early, and studied psychology and art. I fell in love with a boy (Reader, I married him). I prepared for the GRE like it was an Olympic sport, and then I went to library school, and became an academic librarian. But I’d learned my lesson, I thought, and would never again be so foolish to show my pathetic creative underbelly to those who might have teeth.

So, when an idea for a story came into my head – one about twins, about identity and grief — I ignored it. The story nudged at me, repeatedly. I pushed it away.

Then, seventeen years after I’d abruptly stopped writing, I attended a comics convention on a whim. It was a delightfully — intentionally — indie one, with the artists literally standing behind their work, which ranged from graphic novels produced by major publishers to photocopied zines. As I browsed through their work, I found that I could not imagine any of these people giving a flying fudge what their ninth grade English teacher thought about what they were creating. And that called into question why I still did.

On the way home, I decided I could totally write a graphic novel. I had been an art major and a lifelong doodler so surely if I tried hard enough, by the following year I could be somewhere among these people’s ranks. Probably at the bottom, but still. Producing work that someone might judge as meriting only a B minus suddenly felt vastly preferable to simply producing nothing at all.

I read a few books on creating comics, and then I began to draft panels. The panels weren’t very good, and they were taking me forever, so I decided to try to figure out the story part in more detail before diving back into the art.

I started writing out the first scene — attempting to simply describe what would go on the panels. Quickly, it got long and highly narrative. Way too long, way too narrative, for a graphic novel.

And then, suddenly, there it was: I was thirty years old and writing again.

It felt good. And this time I didn’t stop.

I took classes at a local writing workshop, I got an agent, and when we ended up parting ways, I entered the querying trenches again and I got another agent. She sold it. And now, five years and some months after I started writing again, that book is going to be sold in bookstores.

And maybe my old ninth grade English teacher wouldn’t like this story either.

That’s okay. Because I didn’t write it for her.

I wrote it for me.

Title The Window
Author Amelia Brunskill
Pages 352 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Publication Date April 3rd 2018 by Delacorte
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Secrets have a way of getting out…

Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside — it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure…but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.

One response to “New Kids On The Block 2018 with Amelia Brunskill”

  1. I’m currently reading this and so far it’s very good!
    Bee (Quite The Novel Idea / Novel Ink) recently posted…I Love These Books That Take Place In Foreign Countries!My Profile

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