Cover lines on a fashion magazine are almost like ads for life lessons you should’ve already learned. ‘Is He Cheating on You?’ and ‘How to Live Up to Your True Potential’ are universal problems many people begin to reconcile in their teens. The correlation between some common high school and college experience and the articles we were printing when I was a magazine editor in New York (the head of Research at Marie Claire) wasn’t lost on me. We were still growing up. In fact, it cemented my intention to write my first young adult novel How Good It Can Be. I now live in San Francisco, where I work as a copywriter.

In How Good It Can Be we meet 17-year old Emma Saffron, a smart, bookish teen with fashion sense and style to spare. Full of curiosity, Emma is eager to graduate high school and start living life. A shy girl, more than a few pain-in-the-ass boys have chased her, without success. Then Emma encounters the devastatingly cool guy Blake and everything changes—she falls in love for the first time and soon loses her virginity to him. The theme of awakening continues to play out and Emma learns a huge life lesson when Blake turns abusive. How Good It Can Be shows how Emma survives and thrives, rejects what other people think and is ultimately true to herself. The book covers issues such as first love, jealousy, losing your virginity, abuse, competition, betrayal, and death. Abuse among teenagers is more common than people like to think. According to a recent article in the New York Times, 10% of teenagers in a serious relationship are abused by their partner. That statistic makes quite a sensational cover line.

How Good It Can Be and Emma shine as a source of modern feminist inspiration for young readers, encouraging them to be leaders of their lives not followers. I hope to suggest to teens that bad situations don’t have to direct the course of your life and that they don’t have to settle for an unworthy partner to be part of the status quo. After workshopping How Good It Can Be, I spent the past couple years rewriting and revising, editing and proofreading, and now at 70,000 words it reads remarkably well.

A sequel to this novel is complete at 68,000 words and is currently being workshopped. Tentatively titled The Love Quad, it follows Emma Saffron to college where she meets a motley group of interesting characters including her gay best friend, where the love story develops into a girls who like boys who like boys who like girls who like girls conundrum. Emma learns that everyone goes through bad experiences and that you can’t let them affect the course of your life. I’d like to sell these two books as a package.

Please contact me for sample chapters, a plot synopsis, and an outline. Thank you for reading—Michelle