Five years ago today, I became a published author when THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST hit bookshelves. So today I’m celebrating with some fun new resources!
I never thought this book would be published and never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever have a story published by the likes of Simon & Schuster, home to Stephen King, Jason Reynolds and so many other amazing authors. But that’s exactly what happened.
THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST is my little story that could. It was challenging to write. The story is unconventional. I was told the point of view wouldn’t work. And the manuscript got a LOT of rejections. But I couldn’t let go of it. I couldn’t give up on the Boy I’d grown to love.
I had poured a lot of myself in the story too. If you’ve read the book, you’ll remember that the Boy has a voice in his head that consistently tells him he’s going to fail. That was the same voice that told me I was going to fail in my dreams of becoming an author. The Boy dealt with a lot of anxiety, and I had always been an anxious person. The Boy even soothed his fear by rubbing his fingertips on his lip, an action I graduated to after I stopped sucking my thumb when I was a child.
So when I finally attracted the attention of a literary agent (the amazing Rachel Orr at Prospect Literary Agency), then that agent sold the book – to Simon & Schuster no less – I can tell you that there was much screaming and crying in my house that day.
Today, it’s still hard for me to believe that the story that took me 10 years to get right has been loved by children and adults all over the world. It was even translated into different languages. And it won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for Texas/Oklahoma, which was especially meaningful since it’s decided by fellow children’s book creators.
But the best part is that, five years after its introduction to the world, THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST is still being discovered for the first time! Just a few weeks ago, I got a message from a mother who said she had been reading THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST with her son and it was the first book that her son wouldn’t let her put down.
For this reason, I released some fun new resources for THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST to celebrate the book’s fifth birthday. Click here to get a quiz that’ll give you a password to an interactive map where you can go behind the scenes of the book. And scroll down to watch the new trailer my husband created for the book!
The fact that new readers are still discovering my debut novel five years on is because of all the amazing librarians, bookstore staff and readers who have recommended this book either in person or by writing reviews. I owe a huge THANK YOU to them, and to all the people who have supported and encouraged my writing and wouldn’t let me give up. Five years and seven published books later, I am so grateful. And I feel like I’m just beginning…