A bell above the door jangled
as we stepped inside. It was split-level, with the counter at ground level
and seating space in a loft above it, overlooking the river. For a place with
thousands of bad reviews, it was awfully packed. I didn’t see a single empty
table. When we stepped up to the counter, I understood why. There was a
laminated sign stuck to the register that read IF YOU LIKE US, LEAVE US A
REALLY CRAPPY REVIEW ON FORUM. SHOW IT TO US, AND YOUR NEXT DRINK IS ON US!
“You didn’t fall for it,” I
heard a male voice say. “Or you just like shitty coffee.” I looked up. The guy
behind the counter was about our age, and he might’ve been cute were it not for
the tattoos covering his bare arms and peeking out from the collar of his white
V-neck T-shirt. I didn’t have anything against tattoos in general—Beck had
a hanja character behind his left ear—but this guy had that whole
about him. The Mohawk on his head didn’t help.
“I was brought against my
will,” I said, and the boy smiled. His eyes, pinned on mine, were dark brown,
almost black, his pupils shiny like wet paint. “Let me guess—first-years at the
academy?” There was something dismissive in his tone, as if our affiliation
with Theden was a mark against us.
“I’m Hershey, and this is
Rory,” Hershey said, stepping up to the counter. “Maybe you can show us around
sometime.” The boy didn’t respond. “Cool ink,” she cooed, touching her fingers
to his forearm. There were lines of text drawn there, each one in different
handwriting. They looked like lines of poetry or quotes from books. The writing
was small and I definitely wasn’t about to lean in for a closer look, so it was
hard to be sure. “What’s your name?” she asked him.
“North.” His eyes still hadn’t left mine. They
were doing that rapid back-and-forth thing that eyes do when they’re studying
something. Or, in this case, someone. Heat sprung to my cheeks. I cleared my
throat and looked past him to the chalkboard menu. Beside me, Hershey pulled
out her Gemini.
What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness? What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?
What if you never had to fall?
Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results. Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school. Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.
You can purchase Free To Fall at the following Retailers:
I grew up in Atlanta. I went to college at Yale and law school at Berkeley, then I got married and moved to Southern California to practice law.
I liked it. But after about a year, I got the itch to be doing something more creative. The itch got stronger. I found myself typing out random bits of dialogue on my Blackberry (remember those?) and pitching story ideas to my co-workers. One of those ideas became a script for a TV pilot. When it didn’t sell, I wrote another one and another one. Soon, I was ducking out of work to go to pitch meetings at studios and networks. It felt like I was getting somewhere.
Then I got pregnant. Unexpectedly. This freaked me out. Not because I didn’t want kids (I did), but because I was afraid (ok, convinced) that motherhood would zap my creative potential.
To prove myself wrong, I resolved to write a novel in the first 100 days of my child’s life and blog about it, an experiment I called “embracing the detour” (if you’re looking for an embrace the detour fridge magnet, I’m your girl. If you’re looking for old embrace the detour blog posts, click HERE). At the time, it seemed like a brilliant idea. Looking back, it makes me laugh at the childless version of me.
Then again, she’s the reason the current version of me ended up with a two-book deal at HarperTeen. And my very first script sale (but that’s a whole other story).
Thanks to to Kristyn Keene at ICM and Sarah Landis at HarperTeen, my debut novel, Parallel, hit bookstores on May 14, 2013. My second novel, Free to Fall, came out on May 13, 2014! You can watch the trailer for the book and read the first 50 pages free at freetofallbook.com
Embrace the detour was my foray into blogging. Over time that morphed into this. Whatever this is. Not a blog exactly. A life-log of sorts. A place to remember and reflect. And, yes, a place to update readers about my novels. So if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re in the right place! Follow me on Twitter to keep up with the latest. Or email directly to say hi, which you can do HERE.