Please give a warm welcome Liz Coley, author of Pretty Girl-13She’s here today with a guest post about how she preserves time, and how once she lost time herself, and how it inspired Pretty Girl-13.

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz ColeyReminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she’s returned home…only to find that it’s three years later and she’s sixteen-or at least that’s what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn’t know.

But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her “alters.” As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Liz Coley’s alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing – and ultimately empowering page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

 Goodreads |  Amazon | Barnes & NobleIndiebound

Preserving Memories and Losing Time

by Liz Coley

I am one of those people who clings to stories and mementos, who documents my life if only for myself. Like Angie, in the middle school grades I kept a journal of sorts, not in a locked diary format, but in calendar squares. Tucked away somewhere, I have a kitten calendar from fifth grade and a collection of the Kliban wall calendars that came out every year, with cartoons of dumpy, awkward cats on top and 365 squares filled with tiny scrawl below. Like Angie’s mom, I created scrapbooks before the scrapbooking industry turned into the popular art form it is today. I pasted up collages of photos, comics, ticket stubs, programs, and other flat ephemera from middle school, high school, and college. Later on, I created elaborate baby books for my three kids, documenting their early vocabulary, their teeth coming in and falling out, their developmental milestones up to age two, their birthdays thereafter. When the family took trips, I created detailed scrapbooks for each adventure with all the photos, maps, napkins, subway tokens, postcards,  hotel chocolate wrappers, admission tickets, etc. until digital photography made the task too unwieldy and the lack of interest on anyone else’s part made it too thankless. I tell the same stories again and again, repeating my mom’s recollections of her childhood, my own, and my kids’ so they won’t be lost. I’ve kept all handwritten letters, the Christmas cards we receive, and the emails in both directions since Yahoo was invented. Before that, I printed them out and put them in folders. I still have my baby blanket, my first pillow, and the little red wool coat I wore when I was four. I treat Memory like a cherished friend, and aid it in all these ways.

There’s a hole in my memory. I’m still trying to figure out where it came from—I guess from the anxious days of 9-11 and the anthrax scare days thereafter. It was a weird period in my life when I often found it hard to breathe, even though nothing bad was happening in my little corner of the world. I gave up reading the comics every morning. I forgot to do things. Somehow I missed over a year of dental appointments, something I’d done faithfully every six months for myself and the kids. I skipped my annual checkup. I forgot to enter an entire year of birthdays in the kids’ baby books, something I later discovered when it was too late to recapture the “state of the child” report. It’s as if I didn’t really process the passage of time and just moved mechanically from day to day in a seasonless, uncalendared period. And I think it must have been during that phase that we learned a particular piece of music in church choir—for the first time.

Some years after, when I was back to what passes for normal, my choir director passed around a “new” piece of music. It was entirely unfamiliar to me. Those of you who sing know that when you’ve spent time mastering a piece for performance, even if a few details like the words slip your mind, the brain stores the melody and the tricky timing you’ve rehearsed. You simply don’t forget music. Music clings deeply in memory and can be accessed even for people who have suffered strokes and lost the ability to speak. Our director’s husband made a comment about having done the piece before, and I figured he meant before they came to our church. Even singing the first few pages brought no sense of familiarity with the words or the melody. Then other people began commenting that they remembered doing it as well. And as I kept sight reading, I thought, “Well, I must have been on vacation or out of town when they did this.” It was as new to me as if I’d never seen it. But obviously I had. Because there on the third page, were notations and symbols unmistakably in my handwriting. I had definitely worked this piece before, and it had left no mark whatsoever in my memory. If you don’t sing, it’s hard to explain how spooky that was—because it was impossible.

When Angie sees irrefutable physical evidence that she has been present for things she can’t begin to recall—scarring, aging, growing, wearing strange clothes—she’s filled with deep, anguished dismay. When she’s told she’s lived somewhere else for three years, a thousand lost days, it’s inconceivable. “How could I not remember all this?!” she wails. I found that confused and frightened wail inside myself on page three of my music, where I told myself to take a breath, sustain the phrase, and look up for the cut-off. How could I not remember all this?

Trailer for Pretty Girl-13

Liz ColeyAbout the author: 

Liz Coley writes fiction for teens and for the teen in you.

Her first published work was science fiction short stories, published in Cosmos magazine and several anthologies. Self-published YA novel Out of Xibalba features a contemporary teenager thrown back to ancient Mayan times.Pretty Girl-13 from HarperCollins will be released in at least ten languages on five continents, in print, ebook, and audiobook.

Liz lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, her teenaged daughter, a snoring dog, and a limping old cat. When she’s not involved in writing-related activities, she can be found sewing, baking, shooting photos, playing tennis, and singing. Liz loves reading aloud.

Website | Phlog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Many thanks to Liz for stopping by today! 

Tagged with →  
Share →

7 Responses to Guest Post by Liz Coley, author of Pretty Girl-13

  1. Julie S.
    Twitter: juliecookies

    How absolutely frightening to lose a chunk of memories like that. I know what you mean about music – I did choir through high school so I definitely understand how you just don’t forget a song completely.
    I’ve added Pretty Girl-13 to my never-ending to read shelf 🙂
    Julie S. recently posted..Book Blast and Giveaway: Tragic by J.A. HussMy Profile

  2. fakesteph
    Twitter: fakesteph

    I just reviewed this and loved it so much! I can’t imagine that choir moment, that would freak me out SO BAD.
    fakesteph recently posted..Pretty Girl-13 by Liz ColeyMy Profile

  3. I am a person that captures memories any way I can. I can’t imagine not be able to remember events. I loved this book, so emotionally invoking. Thanks for sharing the Guest Post.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever
    Books Live Forever recently posted..Waiting on Wednesday #49 No Reverse by Marion Croslydon & Never Fade by Alexandra BrackenMy Profile

  4. Melissa T
    Twitter: MidnightOrchid

    I’m the same way with saving things so that I can remember the events, but I can never seem to find the time to put them into scrapbooks. It’s something that I’m determined to work on this summer.
    Melissa T recently posted..Book Spotlight (and giveaway!!): Unveiled by Lauren GrimleyMy Profile

  5. Todd says:

    For most recent news you have to pay a visit
    tthe web and on web I found this website as a most excellent web
    site ffor most up-to-date updates.
    Todd recently posted..ToddMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge