|Butterfly Chaos, my YA novel, is free today until August 31!
I got over a hundred rejections on this story (actually 200 when you add in the rejections on its previous version). And yet this novel is the one that gets the most love from its reviewers. Funny how that works.
Butterfly Chaos grew out a book I worked on with Gary Schmidt and Mary Logue when I was getting my master’s at Hamline University. When I was working with Gary, my dad was dying of what we think was Lewy’s Body dementia. Dad died just before my last semester at Hamline, when I worked on the book with Mary.
This book grew out of a number of events in my life. One was when a friend of mine drowned a week after we came back from church camp, when I was 12. A year or two later, four kids died in a bus accident when I was in junior high. One of them was a student helper in my English class. I might have had a crush on him, though I didn’t understand crushes at the time.
Side note: I did not figure out crushes until I was a freshman in high school and fell for a trumpet player during a band trip. I could not figure out why I was compelled, in a bus full of freshmen, to keep turning around and staring at this guy during the whole trip. But, you know, he was still very good to me about it. I won’t lie, he was a real jerk to everybody else – but he was just as kind as could be to me, even though I couldn’t hardly speak to him. FYI, that guy is Jake in the book.
(Savannah people who know who I’m talking about, don’t laugh – because if you do, I’ll put you in my next novel.*wink*)
Butterfly also ties in a bunch of other events. My own family, and their losses. My relationship with my cousin, where we’d be friends one minute and arguing the next. My life in Nodaway, a tiny river town where just about everybody was related to me, and all the families there had relationships stretching back over decades. How tragedy affects people in a small town. And my love for these small towns in Missouri that I call my home, even though some of the folks out here are goofballs. Can’t win ‘em all.
When I was working on the book with Mary Logue, I had most of the elements in my book in hand, except for one. “Mary, do you have any idea what the tornado in this book is about?” I finally asked her.
“It’s grief,” she said.
Man, you talk about an epiphany. See, this is why we all need to work with poets. They know stuff.
Anyway, Butterfly Chaos is free until August 31. Grab a copy, read it, and please take a few minutes to post a review. I still need to get back with a lot of you and get review copies out, but I promise to do that over the next couple of days.