Guest Post: Where You’ll Find Me

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The first month of school, thirteen-year-old Anna Collette finds herself… DUMPED by her best friend Dani, who suddenly wants to spend eighth grade “hanging out with different people.” DESERTED by her mom, who’s in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt. TRAPPED in a house with her dad, a new baby sister, and a stepmother young enough to wear her Delta Delta Delta sweatshirt with pride. STUCK at a lunch table with Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker and Sarabeth the Irish Stepper because she has no one else to sit with. But what if all isn’t lost?

About the Author:

Natasha Friend–wearer of silly hats, lover of press-on mustaches, admirer of Gloria Steinem, devotee of well-named nail polish shades–is also an author. When she is not writing books, you will find her playing Wiffle ball, turning cartwheels, making chocolate-chip pancakes, singing, dancing, and wishing she was in a talent show. Natasha lives in Connecticut with her husband, three kids, and dog. Where You’ll Find Me is her sixth novel. Visit her online at natashafriend.com

 

The original title for WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME was “Gobsmacked.”  I absolutely loved that title—not just because it described Anna’s life perfectly (“completely shocked, astounded, flabbergasted, speechless with amazement”), but also because it was the name of Shawna Wendell’s nail polish (“Gobsmacked.  Best color ever.”)

 

My editor was on board, so “Gobsmacked” it was, and the original cover was bright purple and hot pink, with a big bottle of silver nail polish smack in the middle.  We were even considering a nail polish giveaway as part of the book promotion.  But then someone in marketing had second thoughts—not just about the cover, but also about the title.  She thought “Gobsmacked” sounded both too British and too flippant given the subject matter of my book—more applicable to the story of a girl getting dumped by her boyfriend.  I was seriously bummed.  I loved “Gobsmacked”!   But as every author will tell you, getting too attached to titles, covers, or even your own writing, can impede the ultimate goal of selling books.

 

So . . . we went back to the drawing board.  I came up with a long list of potential titles, most of which were awful (“Out of the Woods.”  “One-Two Punch.”  “Isn’t it Ironic?”)  before hitting upon “Where You’ll Find Me,” which came from the lyrics of Anna’s talent show song and dovetailed nicely with some of the plot elements in the story—Anna running away to a place where she knew she’d be found, ultimately finding herself, etc.

 

The designer, Elizabeth H. Clark, created a beautiful cover, which everyone liked and seemed to agree on so we printed galleys, see below.

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But then, as it happens, we changed our minds. We decided to go with a photographic approach, to something that might entice middle-grade readers to pick up the book. Back to the drawing board again! Elizabeth H. Clark designed another beautiful WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME cover, which everyone loved even more than the first one. So there you have it: a circuitous, sometimes frustrating, mostly comical journey with a rainbow-y ending.

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