I used to hate pink book covers.
I felt they sent the wrong message: “This is a book for women only.”
Okay, yeah. Extracurricular is for women.
Mothers who have sweated—or are sweating—their kids' path to college, or what they hope is a better life for their children.
And for girls—that is, young adult women—who have dreamed, or now dream about, college. Or those young women who are in college, and worked hard to get there—
But know others who may have gamed the system.
This book is for men too. Because men are also worried about how their children will be educated. They stay up late at nights worried that they won't be able to afford the college tuition for their children.
(And they will read it despite the pink hue of its cover.)
They too dream that their children will have a fair chance to earn a slot at the school of their choice.
But then there are parents who will commit fraud—take a “side door,” as it's called—but justify it because it's for their children.
In the three episodic novels that make up Extracurricular, you'll meet all sorts of parents and their kids. One—the protagonist, Audrey Thorpe—will have a shameful secret. Another, Egan Gable, will be the catalyst for the decisions she makes for herself and her loved ones.
And all the characters you meet will have personal agendas—driven by pride, arrogance, or greed.
A few you'll cheer for, despite the battles they face. Others, you will hate because how they view their lives, and others whose lives they affect on a daily basis.
Nothing is black and white. Just like real life, there are a lot of variables that affect my characters' decisions, both right and wrong.
In other words, what you've come to expect from a Josie Brown book.
So, yes, a pink cover is right for the very first novel in the series, when, after meeting the FBI team that is leading the investigation, we leap back twenty-two years in the past, when the real story begins: a time of youthful, exuberant innocence.
Where it ends up? Well, that’s the problem. You see, every deed, good or bad, has a catalyst that began in some ripple of time.
The second novel in the series sports a blue cover. It brings us back to the future, with darker times and more at stake. The last cover is a pale yellow, representing knowledge, or wisdom; the light after the storm.
Be duly warned: there will be many trials and tribulations before our characters get there.
If you've been reading my other blog posts about Extracurricular, you already know that this story has been percolating with me for quite some time now: eight years, in fact.
If you're wondering why, it too me so long to write, it's simply that I got sidelined with other fun characters and their stories. My housewife assassin, Donna Stone, for one, who gets even more complex with every book in her satiric series. And of course, my four lovely Totlandia ladies, (and one who was more difficult to love (ahem: BETTINA). And Ben Brinker and Maggie Vandergalen in The Candidate.
Before Audrey and Egan, there were Hannah Fairchild and Louis Trollope in Hollywood Hunk; Nina Hart and Sam Godwin in Hollywood Whore; and Lyssa and Harry of Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives; and Katie Johnson and her husband, Alex, in The Baby Planner.
To an author, each story is a puzzle. Each character—every plot point—is just one piece that must fit perfectly with the others to make the story whole.
And now, finally, it's Audrey and Egan's turn. Their story is part comedy, some tragedy, and hopefully a journey that you'll enjoy all along the way. Since I initially concepted it, the world has gotten even more complex. Ironically, the issues they face in the novels—first as young adults, then with children of their own—reflect what we see happening now, as it pertains with college admissions and the lengths those with more money than brains will go to make sure their children get into “the right schools.”
And yes, the foibles of the parents caught up in the current scandals will be reflected in Extracurricular.
Sometimes, you can't make this stuff up. At least, together, we can laugh at it.
Thanks for taking a chance on my story.
Extracurricular / Book 1
Signal Press (Release Date: June 28, 2019)
BOOK 1 of an Episodic Series of 3 Books
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-970093-02-5
It's your child's senior year.
A private high school's reputation is at stake.
A math teacher refuses to grade his final exams on a curve.
Students have only one more shot at the SAT before college applications are due.
And a few desperate parents with much more money than brains are willing to do anything to get their children into Ivy League colleges.
And Audrey's dirty little secret will soon be the downfall of everyone and everything she holds dear: love, family, friends, and her private high school alma mater.
In EXTRACURRICULAR, a dark family secret leads to a college admissions cheating scandal at a private school, setting off a crisis of conscience for the parents, teachers, administrator and the students involved—and a catharsis for one couple about their marriage.