N5: 1313 Amber Road
Second Draft: 4/22/2008
Self-published and available for purchase at:
They knew their school by its rating, their social rank by their GPA, their future by their admissions letters. Five students at Regatta High, the top-performing suburban Albeit school for decades, had learned to get used to the education-by-numbers world that launched countless classmates into the Ivy League. With only junior and senior year to go, they were more worried about the quality of their admissions essay than the quality of their education. The tests, policies and restrictions that surrounded them were there for a reason, they thought. And then came a strange teacher, a creative writing instructor by the name of Pier Vogel. In the next four months, he would tip their world upside down…
On a Personal Note:
My first four books all defied that fundamental law of the craft: write about what you know. Granted, I don’t think one has to become a murderer or a detective to write a good mystery, or an airplane pilot to write about a scene on a jet, but I figured it was time to give the suggestion a shot. 1313 Amber Road is a book based on experience more than conjecture; it details the fictional lives of a group of students who, like me, lived out their junior year in stress and worry. This book involved little mystery, no guns, no deaths, no street corner informants, yet I like to think it demonstrates improvement over my earlier reads.
N5 also marked the occasion when writing became fun again. It was a relief to be able to come home from school, sit down at the computer and channel my worries and hopes into a group of juniors and their quirky teacher. It was equally liberating not to obsess over plot points and twists; in abstaining from planning out the chapters ahead, I managed to focus on the characters and scene at hand—with decent results.
There are no car chases in this book. No guns. Not even a fist thrown. Perhaps that makes this book a lame duck in the literary world, but I like to think that Pier Vogel is captivating enough.