Dear Secret Agent,
Tragedies have punctuated Casey’s life, but she has never explored them – until a creative writing assignment forces her to delve into the events that shaped her. An autobiography involving painful and traumatic childhood memories is no picnic, even as an eighteen-year-old who thinks she’s put all that behind her.
When Casey meets Mark, she discovers he is struggling with his assignment too. Their connection is immediate, and the two are drawn to one another. Casey wants their relationship to blossom, but is terrified by the possible outcome - everyone close to her ends up abandoning her.
As they write their ‘Assignment 9’, Casey and Mark discover things about themselves, their families and each other that will change their lives forever. One big question remains unanswered: are they really soul mates, or nothing more than damaged goods seeking solace and empathy? If Casey dares to find out, she may be surprised by the answer.
Assignment 9, a 71,000 word young adult novel, was a semifinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. My short stories have appeared in HER Magazine, All Things Girl, Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, and Residential Aliens. I am currently revising another YA novel, a companion piece to Assignment 9, and have just completed my first book for adults, a western/romance set at the tail end of the Australian gold rush.
I would be delighted to send you sample chapters, or the entire manuscript, at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
He’s going to call on me, I think. He’s going to call on me and I’ll probably puke. There are only twelve of us in this class - seven boys and five girls – so it will not take too long before it’s my turn to present my work in progress.
Work in progress? So far I’ve made no progress on this so-called work. I have no idea how to start writing this. We were given the assignment almost three weeks ago and I’ve been putting it off ever since. Now my tutor is expecting something. A draft perhaps, or at least a detailed outline. But I have nothing. So here I am, sitting in class, working knots out of my hair as I think about it. Above me a near-dead fluorescent tube hums and buzzes, disrupting my chain of thought. I’ve been thinking a lot, and the more I do, the more certain I am that the beginning of my story was long before I ever imagined. Perhaps even before I was born.
I pray the class will end before Ian reaches me. I even pray for Alice Wilkins to be called on before me. Alice, with her long-winded explanations and incessant questioning, her interminable need for assurance and approval. Usually it bugs me, the way it bugs almost everyone here, but today I would welcome it. It may be the only thing that saves me from humiliating myself.