Nov 28, 2012

Guest Post: Jeffrey Blount, author of Hating Heidi Foster

Title: Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffrey Blount
Published October 25, 2012; Alluvion Press

Goodreads: "Hating Heidi Foster, is a young adult novel about the place of honor true friendships hold in our lives. It is about suffering and loss and the ethics of grief. It is about a deep and painful conflict, the bright light of selflessness and sacrifice and the love that rights the ship and carries us safely to port."

The Hating Heidi Foster Background Story
by Jeffrey Blount

The Hating Heidi Foster Background Story
Jeffrey Blount

It was a simple and probably inconsequential moment in time for my daughter, Julia and her long-time friend, Emily;  the two of them sharing a brief spell of laughter as they passed each other in a room full of friends.  For me it was much, much more.  In that instant, my smile reflected years of memories.  At this particular instant, they were seniors in high school, but I was drawn backwards to the vision of two little girls laughing together.  I could see them growing and sharing life in the way true best friends do. I became nostalgic and at the same time a little fearful.  In only a few months, they would be graduating, going off to different colleges and then on to adulthood where they might be half a country or world apart. When life intruded, how much of their friendship would they remember?  Would they be able to continue to make time for each other?  Would their children ever know about the bond they shared?

I loved to write.  The manuscripts hiding in drawers in my desk or in folders on my computer were a testament to that fact.  What if I wrote them something? It might be the perfect tribute. They could carry a book with them and if they lost track of each other, maybe they'd pick it up from time to time even if just to pack it in another box.  But while moving it, the story might bring them back to each other and maybe even inspire a phone call or two and a trip down memory lane. Most importantly, it might remind them of just how important they were to each other’s development as a human being.

In the early mornings and late at night, I wrote and when they graduated, I handed each of them a double-spaced manuscript in a binder bought at a local pharmacy. They both were touched by the gift I don't know which they appreciated more, the effort or the manuscript.  Either way, I had achieved my goal of a written tribute to a very special friendship.  As an added bonus, I thought I'd also created a very good story.

A friend of mine is a literary agent for adult fiction.  Even though I knew this was young adult material, I sent the book to her and she responded by saying that she couldn't put it down and that it brought her to tears.  She only had one contact within the YA genre and she sent it off to that publishing company.  I waited and waited.  Months went by. Finally, we heard that while the book had enjoyed quite a lot of support within the company, the final decision was not to publish. I thanked my friend for her efforts and left the book in another folder on my laptop.

Maybe two years later, a good friend of mine and regular tennis partner asked about the manuscript.  I told him that I had filed it away.  I told him that I had tired of the whole agent/publisher thing.  It took too long and I was too busy.  He said he understood, but also wondered whether it wouldn't be nice to put a real book in Julia's and Emily's hands.  After thinking about it some more, I agreed.   Not long after, Alluvion Press teamed up with 1106 Design to create the wonderful cover and to provide editing and typesetting.  Alluvion then contracted with The Cadence Group to prepare an online presence and marketing and finally New Shelves Distribution for warehousing, distribution and additional marketing.

Four years after the manuscripts in binders were delivered, the real book, Hating Heidi Foster, was published.  Julia and Emily received their books as young adults, just months after graduating from college, both of them now teaching in inner-city teaching programs, half a country apart. 

But it seems that I shouldn’t have been too worried.  Julia and Emily are still very much in touch, having visited each other in college, logging Skype hours and even as I write this, they have plans to be together over the holidays.  Still, I am happy that they have the book.  Just in case.

Thanks to author Jeffrey Blount and The Cadence Group for this guest post.


Staci said...

Sounds different and interesting.

Suko said...

Wonderful guest post! The book sounds quite touching.

Unknown said...

Thank you very much,Staci and Suko. I hope you'll both give the book a try!

office administration careers said...

I have friends from so long ago. While we do not get together personally, we are in touch. Yes, these are special bonds. The writer of this blog is one!

Harvee said...

Barb: I'm going to visit you one day...

Teena in Toronto said...

I enjoyed it :)

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