Today, TeachingBooks.net welcomes author Bret Hartman as he stops by on his blog tour to discuss his new book Cadillac Chronicles (Cinco Puntos, 2012).
My first young adult novel, Cadillac Chronicles (Cinco Puntos Press, 2012) tells the story of sixteen-year-old Alex Riley and an ornery old man speeding south in a Cadillac. Alex wants two things: to find his father and a girlfriend with a decent set of breasts. Lester, an old man with an old man’s personality, just wants his freedom. On their wild ride, they both discover what it means to finally find a real friend.
My big struggle writing Cadillac Chronicles came long after I finished the first draft. In fact, that first draft (written in 2007) was titled Worthy Companions Incorporated, and it wasn’t even YA. I was so attached to the manuscript that I wasn’t able to realistically consider its faults.
Enter the struggle. By this I mean months and months of rejection. I tried not to think about it. I renovated our kitchen. I worked my day job as a psychologist. I kept up with husbandly and fatherly duties. I wrote here and there (not enough) and I kept checking my inbox for that elusive contract. Rejection slowly gave way to silence.
But then, just as I was ready to bail on the entire project, I took another look. My moment finally arrived. I thought, Wow, this would make a great YA novel—if I could just rewrite it in Alex’s voice! (Okay, so I’m a little slow … and a lot stubborn.)
It wasn’t a simple makeover. I lost count how many revisions it took to get it right. And there were plenty more rejection slips heaped onto the previous pile. I lost count there, too. Still, I never gave up. I believed it was a hell of a good story. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one.