By Carol Quaintance
For 21st Century Media
On Saturday, June 8, 2013, a steady stream of fans and intrigued buyers came to Aroma’s Bagel & Coffee Shop in Elversonto meet local author Michelle Kemper Brownlow and preview her newly released novelromance novel In Too Deep.
In Too Deep is a fictional account of the love story between characters Gracie Jordan and Noah Foster, and how Gracie’s best friend - who also happens to be Noah’s former roommate - decides he can no longer stand by and watch Noah break Gracie. He intervenes by trying to bring Gracie to the surface so she can see how dysfunctional her relationship is, but she may just be In Too Deep to see the truth.
Brownlow hit the jackpot with her novel after a seven year trek to every corner of the publishing world she could find.
“I collected over 150 rejections for picture books, non-fiction parenting books, a middle grade chapter book and numerous proposals for ideas,” she said. “(This) didn’t happen overnight.”
Brownlow is an avid blogger and reader with a great following. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Art Education and a Masters in Elementary Education.
Brownlow says she set out on a journey that went like this:
*Commit to writing 1500+ words/day
*Hit 90,000 words in 6 weeks
*Enter #PitchMAS contest (where your peers first help you hone your Twitter/Blog pitches and then you pitch your manuscript to an editor or literary agent)
*Got 3 requests from agents and editors for “more”
*Offered and accepted a contract just weeks after typing the last word of the first draft
Brownlow said she entered a writing contest and “nailed it” because publishers are looking for books in the New Adult genre (ages 17 to 24 years old). Hmm…shades of Twilight and Hunger Games audiences.
Fast forward after six months she has a publisher - Sapphire Star Publishing - and her book is selling on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and in some local book stores. In Too Deep is available in paperback and as an eBook.
“The book is a story of love, loss and the meaning of true friendship. It’s based loosely on my own experience with emotional abuse while in college,” she said.
The following paragraph, a direct excerpt from the book, started it all for In Too Deep:
“The strong force of the wave pulled me under. I gasped for air just before my face disappeared below the surface. My body rolled over and over, my arms flailed, and my head pounded into the sea bed which felt like a concrete floor. The salty water stung my eyes. I forced myself to keep them open, fearing I would slip into unconsciousness from the blow I took to the head. I knew I had to hold it together long enough for the swell to pull me back up when the wave rolled. But something was pulling me deeper. I fought with all my might, kicking against the thick water swallowing me whole. I used my arms like underwater oars and sliced through the depths trying to reach what I needed most, but I was in too deep…”
Brownlow claims that while the story is fiction, the patterns and dynamics of emotional abuse are the same reality in most cases: it tears down one’s self-esteem piece by piece, and the humiliation and the blame are often twisted back onto the victim. It exists in every abuse scenario. It’s a sick place to be and she wants to share how twisted it is because so many people see it from the outside and just assume the victim is too weak to leave, but, as Gracie’s story will show, that is not the case.
“I want this story to highlight the red flags so others who may be in the same situation could take note and recognize its red flags and dangers before they are in too deep,” she said.
June 13-17 is her Virtual Book /Blog Tour thanks to Xpresso Book Tours.
“I will be bouncing around to 49 different blogs that week,” said Brownlow.
She is also looking forward to a couple of college visits next school year; and has been invited by two universities to come speak to their SIGMA KAPPA Chapters (her sorority) and do a program on emotional abuse. She will be selling and signing books at these events as well.
To get to know Michelle and read excerpts from the book she invites you to:
Visit her blog at michellekemperbrownlow.blogspot.com
Follow her on Twitter @MK_Brownlow
Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MichelleKemperBrownlowAuthor