Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He’s not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it.
So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly Hewson is everything Max isn’t. She’s outgoing, witty and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her.
Still, he isn’t stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he’s been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won’t make the same mistakes as last time.
Yet underneath Melly’s sweet smiles lies a secret she’d rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worse than the truth is the facade that surrounds them.
If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Writing
Guest Post by Author Jelsa Mepsey
Any story I’ve written would be completely different whether I wrote it a year earlier or a year later. In fact, any story I’ve written would be completely different whether I chose to stay up late one night when the juices were flowing or decided to go to bed instead. It even makes a difference whether I decided to write the last chapter at 6:40 p.m. or 6:41 p.m.
Whether I’m aware of it or not, everything I’ve experienced up until the point right before my pen touches paper influences the words that flow out. If my clumsiness earned me yet another random paper cut, the frustration shows in one of two extremes: I treat my characters very well or treat them very poorly. A difficult day may result in a particularly long writing session. A particularly busy day may cause what could’ve been an especially profound session to never exist. The little things are especially crucial in determining a manuscript’s path.
Looking back, maybe I would tell seventeen-year-old Jelsa to do a better job incorporating Max’s job into the storyline. Cassy and Jaxon could and should have been written more three-dimensionally. She probably would’ve liked to know that leaves don’t fall in Florida the way they do in Texas. Knowing how to write 62 chapters into 37 beforehand would’ve been nice. And wouldn’t it have been better if she didn’t write 20,000 words that would never make it into most drafts of the manuscript?
By no means is PICTURE IMPERFECT a perfect manuscript. (All puns intended.) But neither is anyone else’s manuscript. The reason why I love PICTURE IMEPRFECT so much is because it was the novel that helped me find my voice, the one that taught me how to create any three-dimensional characters at all. I stepped way outside my comfort zone in subject matter and main character choices. As a person who struggles with visualization, it was difficult to write about an artist and a photographer. But I pushed through, and I sit here four years later much more knowledgeable not just about writing, but about life itself. Although I love many of my other manuscripts, I wouldn’t want any other one to be my breakthrough story. This is the one that taught me what I could only learn through a large volume of writing and sets a standard for how much work I’ll have to put into each of my other stories to make them as ready as this one is.
If I knew what I know now about writing, this book wouldn’t be the same, and neither would I. The core of everything I wanted to convey through this novel remains clear, so even with its flaws and issues, I proudly stand behind it. After all, the best books are the relatable ones—and in more ways than one, I hope PICTURE IMPERFECT is exactly that.
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One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of Picture Imperfect by Jelsa Mepsey, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Open internationally. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on October 16, 2015.
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