The Treadwell Academy – one year anniversary

Exactly one year ago today, The Rock Star’s Daughter was first published.

I had written the first book over the course of a year, inspired to write a story about how difficult it is to move forward in life after something completely unexpected happens. While my own dad is not a rock star (and probably if pressed to name a rock star, he might only be able to come up Mick Jagger) and my mom (thankfully) is in perfect health and is not at all the type to hang out in seedy bars in Hollywood, the event in my own life that inspired Taylor’s story was the very untimely death of a close friend. After the initial sadness and shock over his passing subsided, what was far more painful was the part that followed: figuring out how my life was still my life in his absence, when everything felt so different (and at the time, unbearable).  I shaped Taylor’s struggle to embrace all of the changes thrown at her on my own day-to-day acceptance of changes in my life.  Taylor’s story became one of triumphing over loss, of opening her heart to love even though she was in pain, when the risk of getting hurt (by everyone… her Dad, Jill, and Jake) was great.

Never, ever did I dare to dream that this book would be downloaded by hundreds of thousands (yes!) of readers, and that so many readers would review it so favorably and reach out to me. I’ve heard from readers who wished Taylor had chosen Jake instead of Todd, from readers who were angry that Allison never called back to apologize, from readers who have lost their own parents and identified with Taylor’s shock over her mother’s death, and readers who complained that Iowa doesn’t stink like manure!

Pretty much as soon as I started writing the Taylor book, I realized that there were a lot of other stories I wanted to tell about things girls go through at Tayor’s age. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than writing these stories, and I really cannot thank every single one of you who have downloaded the book and read it enough for your support. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this year so very special for me.

This summer, I’m busy editing books 3 & 4 (dealing with topics of sexual abuse and eating disorders) for release, and writing the sequel to Taylor’s story. In the follow-up, Taylor deals more thoroughly with her grief, but all of the Beauforte/Atwood clan will be back: Jill, Kelsey, Chase, Todd, even Betsey Norfleet…  and of course, Jake.

Book 2… incoming!

At last, it’s here! I’ll be posting the first Chapter to Facebook as a sneak preview later today!  You can become a fan of Treadwell on Facebook to get all of the latest scoops 🙂

http://www.facebook.com/TreadwellAcademyNovels

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Things Grace Mathison did her sophomore year of high school that she never expected to do in her lifetime:

1.) Run away with her brother to New York City

2.) Tattoo a unicorn on a pop star’s back

3.) Fall in love a Russian graffiti artist

At the age of 15, Grace Mathison has been sheltered most of her life. Her father is a successful television evangelist, famous for starting headline-grabbing feuds with the fathers of Grace’s classmates at the Treadwell Academy over lyrics in rap music and risqué catalog covers.  Unlike her classmates at Treadwell, she prefers riding her horse, True Heart, and sketching in her drawing pad, over gossiping and shopping for fancy clothes.

When Grace’s beloved older brother, Aaron, makes international headlines with a romantic relationship gone wrong, Grace finds out that her father doesn’t practice forgiveness as he preaches. Aaron is disowned, and begs Grace to run away with him to start a new life. Delving head-first into a personal examination of the difference between right and wrong, Grace grapples with everything in which she has been raised to believe.

She and Aaron find themselves in New York City, struggling to meet adult challenges like paying rent and holding down jobs. To make matters worse, their parents’ troubles are only beginning. Grace learns that they are being investigated for financial fraud, and their entire empire is in danger.  And then there’s Felix, the cute tattoo artist who dabbles in graffiti. Incredibly, in a city inhabited by millions, he and Grace keep crossing paths.

Grace starts to realize what she’s really made of… she’s a lot tougher and smarter than the mean girls at Treadwell ever knew. In the face of losing everything she cherishes, she closely examines what she believes in and discovers what she least expected to find: that she believes in herself.

All things Taylor Beauforte

I get it! I get it! You guys want more Taylor Beauforte!

And I am truly happy to give you more. Here are some places and bits of trivia related to Taylor’s life that are based 100% in truth!

Boardner’s bar:  when Taylor’s mom Dawn passes away, this is the seedy bar in Hollywood where all of her B and C-list friends go for a drink after the wake. Boardner’s is real, and I once worked in an office directly across the street. It’s the kind of gritty Hollywood bar that’s both charming and disgusting. On any given night you might encounter any kind of rock ‘n roll fading star.

The Grove: The Grove is Taylor’s favorite place to go shopping and see movies with Allison before joining her dad on the road. It’s a pretty awesome outdoor mall, especially at Christmas time. It’s featured on TMZ often because the Kardashians shop there (Kourtney is my favorite)!

Robek’s:  This is the juice bar where Taylor and Allison had part-time jobs (and then Nicole took over Taylor’s hours). I had the location in West LA on National Blvd. in mind when I was writing the book.

Lucky Strike: This is the swanky bowling alley at Hollywood & Highland where Todd Burch had a summer job. There was once a time when someone I know (ahem, ME) tried to get a job there. And failed.

Six Flags Great America: There’s a real amusement park in Gurnee, IL not too far north of Chicago, which is the setting for where Taylor loses her lunch after one too many spinning rides.

Coach Kristin Leather Hobo: This is the Coach bag that Taylor demands when she’s feeling snobby in Chicago. It doesn’t have a big buckle on it, but this bag has been on my radar for quite some time, so I thought Taylor should have it.

The Virginia Beach boardwalk: The scene where Taylor has to drive Betsey and Bijoux Norfleet home from a rowdy day of underage drinking happens here, at a real-life boardwalk that really does put on an elaborate fireworks display on the Fourth of July each year.

The Rock Star’s Daughter – now available on Smashwords!

Hi guys! As you may (or may not) know, the first novel in my series The Treadwell Academy is now available for FREE at Smashwords! You can download it in any format that works best for you – for your Nook, Kindle, Kobo or even just an easy-to-print PDF. This is super exciting for me because I’m sure you can imagine, the more people who read Book 1, the more people will likely read Books 2 and 3, which I spend every single second of my free time writing these days!  So far Taylor Beauforte, the main character of The Rock Star’s Daughter, is my favorite literary character I’ve ever yet written. I drew upon not only a lot of boarding school memories of my own writing this first book in the series, but also on the strangeness of being a boarding school kid home for the summer, and how weird it can be to feel “not at home” when at home. As my own parents have both remarried, and it was a challenge in both cases getting to know not only their new spouses but also the kids that came into the family with those second (and third) marriages, I really set out to write a book that addressed how hard it is to deal with a new parent in your life in telling Taylor’s story. I think a lot of teenage girls can relate to that element in the story, and about what it’s like to realize as you get older that parents are only human and capable of making dumb mistakes.

OK now I’m getting sentimental about my own book (which I have to confess… personally, I love). I really hope you’ll download it, post a review, email me and tell me if you liked it or didn’t, and drop Lovestruck Literary a note on their website or on Facebook.