December 8, 2020

Release Day Celebration: Escaping Eleven by Jerri Chisholm

Escaping Eleven
Author: Jerri Chisholm
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopia
Release Date: December 8, 2020
Publisher: Entangled Teen


In Compound Eleven, the hierarchy of the floors is everything.

My name is Eve Hamilton, and on my floor, we fight.

Which at least is better than the bottom floor, where they toil away in misery. Only the top floor has any ease in this harsh world; they rule from their gilded offices.

Because four generations ago, Earth was rendered uninhabitable—the sun too hot, the land too barren. Those who remained were forced underground. While not a perfect life down here, I’ve learned to survive as a fighter.

Except my latest match is different. Instead of someone from the circuit, my opponent is a mysterious boy from the top floor. And the look in his eyes tells me he’s different…maybe even kind.

Right before he kicks my ass.

Still, there’s something about him—something that says he could be my salvation...or my undoing. Because I’m no longer content to just survive in Eleven. Today, I'm ready to fight for more than my next meal: I'm fighting for my freedom. And this boy may just be the edge I've been waiting on.

My debut novel ESCAPING ELEVEN will be released soon—December 8th, to be exact. And so it might seem like my “journey”, so to speak, is just beginning. In fact, it began many years ago when I was working in the legal profession, fresh out of school, flipping through files the size of my fist, perusing insurance form after insurance form after…insurance form. Fascinating as those insurance forms may have been, I couldn’t help but daydream of something else. Something that had been planted like a seed in my brain years earlier…
See, my childhood was spent mostly with books. No siblings to play with, not a great number of friends. Books! My happiest memories from those formative years involved said books, a comfortable couch, and a large block of unscheduled time. Probably some snacks, too. And with every book that I read, that little seed germinated, it grew into a desire to create stories of my own…
At the time of flipping through insurance forms, however, it seemed purely fantastical that creating—and selling—stories could ever come to fruition. After all, my schooling had taken a purely professional turn: policy studies, then law. Creative writing wasn’t something I knew how to do. Right?
Right. My first book-writing attempt turned out terribly. Even my attempt to explain the plotline to family didn’t go so well, and what I thought were powerful symbols—such as a dead deer, for instance—quickly became memes within my own home. To make matters worse, it had taken two full years to write, which felt like a huge waste of time.
But, of course, what our parents teach us is (usually) true. It wasn’t a waste of time…it was a learning experience. Indeed, the next novel I wrote came into existence in a much more efficient manner, thanks largely to an outline created at the front end. Knowing exactly where I wanted the story to go before I started writing meant I finished it in a matter of months, not years. Progress—definite progress. Unfortunately, the final product still wasn’t bookstore quality. Nonetheless, I sent it out to agents, a lot of them, just in case they could see something magical sparkling inside… 
They couldn’t. It was rejected across the board.
Another…learning experience.  
And then it struck me that perhaps I could learn a few things about creative writing by doing some research. Some studying on the craft. I bought up a bunch of books on the topic, my favorite being Stephen King’s On Writing. All of this was so helpful that I was a little embarrassed I hadn’t thought to do it sooner. Oh, and I did that other imperative thing you must do if you want to become a writer…I kept writing.
Finally, after a flurry of writing projects, some completed and some not, I came up with ESCAPING ELEVEN. Right away I thought it had potential. I thought that it was a page-turner, I even thought it had that elusive quality…voice. I thought maybe, just maybe, some agent out there and then some editor would think that too. And that’s what happened.
It didn’t happen overnight, just as seeds don’t sprout into oak trees without a great deal of time, patience, and nurturing. But eventually, with perseverance, those daydreams I had while perusing insurance forms turned into reality. A long, yet totally worthwhile, journey. 

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