Forever ME has re-launched just over a week ago with a gorgeous new cover by the powerhouse book designer Sarah Hansen at Okay Creations. Huge shout out to Sarah and her company.
Forever ME is a YA novel that was inspired by true events. In October of 2010 I caught a segment on morning television about a group of high school girls from Texas. They had created an organization called, Redefining Beautiful. The idea was to encourage girls to go one day a week without makeup. To get girls to understand they didn't need to look a certain way to be attractive. In a matter of moments I was sold and a concept came to me. Two years later "Forever ME" was published.
I never dreamed I would write YA novel, I was used to writing comedy for the stage, independent television and film, oh and the occasional horror novel. Of course the thought of taking on the idea of writing a novel of teen angst didn't really cross my mind, for me, I had a story to tell and I was just going to write it. Even when I knew I was going to be spending 90% of the novel writing from a female perspective...a sixteen-year-old teen's perspective. Naturally as I began to write, I began to wonder, will anyone read a novel about teen girls struggling with the social issues that plague our schools and the lives of our youth written by a man? A female author very quickly came to my support and, "Yes, it's a little novel called, "Carrie" by a man you may have heard of named Stephen King."
"Yes, but that was 1974!" I bemoaned.
"Teens are still teens." This is something every human being who's sixteen or older can attest to. We all worry, will I ever find true love? Why couldn't I have been born rich? Why do the pretty girls always get everything they want? And so on. (They don't BTW, that's just how it seems.) You may have asked different questions but we all still found those years at best, awkward at times and a time when you're still trying to figure out who you are and what you want from your life.
For me, I always knew I wanted to be in show business. I loved acting and writing. So when it came to writing "Forever ME" for the first time ever I had the entire story in my head within five minutes of watching the segment on morning television. This was a book I loved writing, and I learned a lot about my own emotions and perspectives. But the true test would be....would teen girls like the book? Embrace it? Or would I get tons of hate mail. Well, to my welcome relief, teen girls are taking the time to tell me they do like the book, they love Hannah. I have had a couple of bad comments...but they weren't from teens. I see the occasional comment...seems like "Mean Girls"...in my defense...I have never seen Mean Girls...honest! Cross my heart! There was one person however that stated: I didn't know enough about teen girls to be writing about them. They felt It was so exaggerated I was making fun of the girls." THAT couldn't be farther from the truth. I am a dad. I have a 19 year old daughter who just turned 17 when I began this project. I interviewed teens and asked them directly does this sound right? Teens have no problem telling you if you suck. Their honesty filter is set to wide open. Which is a good thing. But the comment from the person who was an adult really bothered me...bothered me until....a girl from the other side of the planet sent me a message, that said she read Forever ME and cried on public transport while reading it. Then a teen from the midwest left a message on my FB page that said: Forever ME was amazing! Thank you for your contribution to modern literature and to my life. More and more teens began commenting. "Wish I had been allowed to read a book like this when I was an insecure 14 year old." THAT was all the vindication I needed. Obviously teen girls are responding to "Forever ME" in a positive way. And just today I saw this note posted on an earlier blog I had not seen before: Hannah is a heroine. More than a heroine. She is real."
That is all any writer can ask for, is praise from a reader who confirms your writing made an impact on them. I am truly humbled by the girls who have taken the time to tell me, how much they identified with Forever ME. Thank you girls!
So finally the last news: Forever ME will be in paperback officially on May 6, 2013!
There will be 3 ways to get paperbacks: 1. Amazon.com 2. My Createspace Store and 3. My blog via PayPal. If you notice at the top of my blog there is a PayPal buy button. Copies purchased through my blog are slightly higher priced but they are autographed and the shipping is included on all purchases in the USA. The button is live now and I am accepting advance orders. But release date will be, May 6, 2013!
Thank you everyone who has taken the time to read the novel, Tweet it, share it on FB and have taken the message of the novel to heart. And once again my fondest thanks to the girls of "Redefining Beautiful" This never would have happened without your heartfelt desire to help girls just learn it's okay to be themselves!
~ Cheers, Thomas Amo