I'm so excited to show you the cover for my young adult novel, THE OBVIOUS GAME, which will be published on February 7, 2013, two days after my thirty-ninth birthday.
Those of you who have been reading me for a while know what a labor of love this book was. While there was an awful lot of pain and sweat I didn't write about, I think you saw enough to know there were many days I didn't know if this would ever happen and many days when I really, really wanted to just throw down.
I'm glad I didn't. Not only is this book finally finding its way into the world, my publisher has generously offered to donate a portion of the proceeds of the book (I don't know how much yet) to the Eating Disorder Foundation, which was recommended by my friends at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver. It's my greatest hope that this novel will not only be worthwhile as a novel but will also help parents and families understand and feel compassion for someone suffering from an eating disorder and offer hope for a full recovery to those who are in the grip of it. UPDATED 1/14/2013: My publisher has informed me they have been unable to get in contact with the charity and are putting this plan on hold until they can hammer out details.
This novel was so much harder than SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK was, and I thought that was really hard. But the novel was so much more personal and so much a combination of craft that I had to learn on the job and inspiration and revisions and rejection and more revisions and hours I could've spent doing something else. I know a lot of writers talk about the pain of the writing process. For me, there is actually never a blank page because I don't sit down to write without a lot of couch time first in which I figure out what I want to say and visualize the scenes in my head. So I guess maybe I'm "writing" when I'm not writing, but that works for me, because I have so little writing time (as does everyone -- how many novelists don't have day jobs?) I have to be getting thousands of words out every time I schedule a 9-midnight with myself after my daughter goes to bed. Usually on Mondays. I seem to be more tolerant of flogging myself on Mondays, not sure why.
But I wouldn't do it if I didn't like it. I love it. I feel energized by it. I love thinking about what I'm going to write next. This is fun for me. Otherwise, I would never put myself through the rejection.
If you're working on a novel, take heart -- everyone feels the way you do on your darkest day sometimes.
“Everyone trusted me back then. Good old, dependable Diana. Which is why most people didn’t notice at first.”
Praise for The Obvious Game:
"Lovely, evocative, painful and joyful all in one ... much like high school." -- Jenny Lawson, author of LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED
“I couldn’t put down THE OBVIOUS GAME. Arens perfectly captures the hunger, pain and uncertainty of adolescence.” -- Ann Napolitano, author of A GOOD HARD LOOK and WITHIN ARM'S REACH
"THE OBVIOUS GAME is a fearless, honest, and intense look into the psychology of anorexia. The characters—especially Diana--are so natural and emotionally authentic that you’ll find yourself yelling at the page even as you’re compelled to turn it." -- Coert Voorhees, author of LUCKY FOOLS and THE BROTHERS TORRES
"Let’s be clear about one thing: there’s nothing obvious about THE OBVIOUS GAME. Arens has written a moving, sometimes heart-breaking story about one girl’s attempt to control the uncontrollable. You can’t help but relate to Diana and her struggles as you delve into this gem of a novel." -- Risa Green, author of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL
"THE OBVIOUS GAME explores the chasms between conformity and independence, faith and fear, discoveries and secrets, first times and last chances, hunger and satisfaction. The tortured teenage experience is captured triumphantly within the pages of this unflinching, yet utterly relatable, novel. - Erica Rivera, author of INSATIABLE: A YOUNG MOTHER’S STRUGGLE WITH ANOREXIA
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Release Date: Feb 7th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9856562-7-0 (ebook), 978-0-9856562-8-7 (Paperback)
Paperback Price: $13.99
To be available at all major online outlets: Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository
Pre-order now at Inkspell Publishing Website at a special discount of 30% on both paperback and ebook!Website/blog: http://www.surrenderdorothyblog.com or http://www.ritaarens.com
And here's a short excerpt!
When we were in seventh grade, Amanda and I snuck out of her house one foggy Saturday night to meet her boyfriend, Matt. We spent more time planning our escape than we did actually conducting it.
We’d made a list while pretending to do our homework:
Wrap flashlights with black electrical tape. (check)
Make fake bodies out of pillows to hide in our sleeping bags. (check)
Booby-trap her bedroom door with string across the threshold so we could see if her mom had tried to check on us. (check)
Assemble all-black outfits, complete with stocking caps, so we would blend in with the shadows as we walked. (check)
Arrange the rendezvous point ahead of time with Matt: the third-grade playground at the elementary school. (check)
It wasn’t until we’d successfully shimmied down the fence, jogged the four blocks up the street, and seen Matt sitting there alone on the seesaw that I realized I had nothing at all to do while they giggled and kissed. I’d been so caught up in the planning portion of our escape that I didn’t notice how pathetic my part in it seemed.
I twirled on the swings across the playground and out of view, once again pretending to be totally cool with it. The thing was, though, I wasn’t cool with it. I felt about as important as the guy who wrote the cooking instructions for Pop-Tarts.
We probably would’ve stayed there for hours if I hadn’t finally strode over to the jungle gym, coughing and kicking rocks as I went. Amanda poked her head out.
“What’s up, Diana?”
“Can we go soon? I forgot to bring a book.”
Her expectant smile turned sour. “Okay,” she finally said, disappearing in the darkness. “Just five more minutes.”
I wandered to the edge of the playground, thought about turning back on my own, letting her get caught out there by herself. But I wouldn’t. That’s what friends are for. She knew it. I knew it.
Everyone trusted me. Good old dependable Diana. Which was why most people didn’t notice at first that I was in trouble.
It's really happening! Huzzah! Let's bring out DJ Nibbles.