Release date: November 14, 2017
When Lexi’s older brother, Charlie, finds out that Adrian Wildes, a famous musician, has been reported missing, he insists on taking a road trip to find the elusive rocker. Lexi decides to go along with him, and so does their music-loving, out-and-proud neighbor, Zack. Being stuck in a car with Charlie—the same brother who disappeared from her life when he started dating the horrible Penelope, only to reappear in the form of an irritable couch potato when they broke up—is the last thing Lexi wants, but if it means getting Charlie out of the house for the first time in months, then so be it.
Besides, Lexi could use the distraction. Though she can’t exactly pinpoint why, her breakup with her pretentious ex-boyfriend, Seth, has left a bitter coil in the pit of her stomach. With a long stretch of lonely miles ahead of her, Lexi starts to recall bits and pieces of their short-lived romance and realizes that, with Seth, she became one of those girls—the kind that gets wrapped up entirely in a guy. Seth had a goal, he reached it, and then he blew her off. Now all that’s left is a blaring red rage—and the person whose help Lexi needs the most might as well be deaf.
As Lexi, Charlie, and Zack’s trip unfolds, the three uncover more than just clues about where the reclusive Adrian Wildes could be. Like why the smell of chlorine makes Lexi completely shut down. The real reason Charlie has been so withdrawn these past few months. What the words no, thank you mean. And if broken girls can put themselves back together again.
Megan Frazer Blakemore is an award-winning author of novels for children and young adults, including The Water Castle, The Firefly Code, and Very in Pieces. She is a school librarian in Maine, where she lives with her family.
I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of Good And Gone and asked Megan the following questions about her writing life and her process. She kindly complied.
- Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents (besides writing)?
I used to take flying trapeze lessons. I don’t do that anymore, but I still love all things circus.
- If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?
I really wish I could take the story from my head and put it onto the page. Most of my work comes in revision, and getting the story down is hard labor for me. That would be my writing superpower. My everyday superpower would be flying.
- What type of writing do you do? What drew you to that genre/age group?
I write middle grade and young adult. I started with young adult. I think I was drawn to the intensity of emotion. Also, young adult books tend to be about characters defining themselves in relation to the larger world, and I find there is a lot of material to mine there. My first middle-grade novel, The Water Castle actually started as a young adult, but it wasn’t working at all. I realized that the characters needed to be younger, and, for me, that freed up the writing.
- How did you get started writing children’s books?
I studied creative writing in college with the intention of writing YA. No one ever said anything directly, but I definitely got the impression that this was not considered “real” writing. So I switched to writing for the adult market. I had some stories placed in literary magazines and, a personal rejection from The New Yorker. What a funny business this is that when a person takes the time to explain why they said no, it’s considered a win. Anyway, I started getting some feedback that the most interesting characters in my stories and the novels I was trying to write were the teenagers. So I went back to YA and wrote and published my first YA novel, Secrets of Truth & Beauty.
- Do you set a daily writing goal (such as a certain number of words)?
My goal is a thousand words per day. I try to do that at least five days a week; otherwise, I lose momentum, and it can be hard to get back into the story. I also try to end each day knowing what I need to write the next day. I don’t plot out ahead of time, so if I don’t know my assignment for the next day, I am afraid to sit down at the computer.
- Do you Google yourself? If so, what is the most interesting thing you’ve found?
I try not to anymore because invariably you find bad things. However, I do know that there is another Megan Frazer (my maiden name) who lives in Northern Ireland and plays field hockey. I studied abroad in Northern Ireland and played field hockey in high school, so that was cool.
- How important is it to build a writing community? Do you have a group of some kind that you rely on for support?
It’s essential to have a writing community. I was in a critique group for a long time in Boston. That focused mostly on the work itself. We met once a month or so and shared our work. It was great to be around other writers. Since moving to Maine, I haven’t had a regular, frequent in-person group like that, but I do have other sources of support. Of course, online communities are huge, and I don’t know what I would do without my Twitter and Facebook buddies. But I have also made in-person connections. I have writer friends with whom I swap critiques. I feel especially lucky to have recently joined a group of writers who meet for retreats here in Maine – that’s how I got to know Joyce Shor Johnson and was so grateful to her for reading an early manuscript of Good And Gone. When we get together, it rejuvenates me and makes me so eager to get to work because it makes my work feel like it’s part of something bigger.
- Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
Good and Gone was a really difficult book for me to write. Content wise it was tough, as it deals with issues of consent and relationship abuse, but I also wrote it in pieces. I wrote scenes when I had a chance, in between school work and other writing projects. Then I had to put it all together. There are two different timelines and fitting those storylines together was a huge puzzle. My editor at HarperTeen, Alexandra Cooper, was amazing and patient. We did many rounds on this book, and it was right down to the wire, but I am very pleased with how it came out, and I owe so much of that to her.