I thought it might be interesting to share with you the first chapter of the first book I ever wrote. It was a young adult book that takes place in the White House about the daughter of a president – a girl named Summer. The title: “Be Careful What You Wish For.”
I wrote this book for a class assignment way back in 1992 (and the dot-matrix printing is still attached, accordion style).
I am not editing it at all (although it pains me not to) and I’m typing it from the actual document. I realized something today…besides the one-dimensional detail and grammar issues…I don’t think I have read through this manuscript since I turned it in over twenty years ago.
Here goes. Chapter one:
Summer knew that in five days her life would change forever.
“Carrot and beet juice? For breakfast?” Summer’s mother said with disgust knowing that her only daughter hated both carrots and beets.
“Yes mom,” Summer said as she sat down in the lavish dining room of their new home. It was going to take Summer a long time to get used to living in such an old and historical house.
The maid walked slowly into the kitchen to retrieve the requested juice brining the concoction to Summer in a cut-crystal goblet.
“Isn’t dad going to have breakfast with us anymore?” Summer asked as she got up from the table pushing her straight auburn hair away from her eyes.
“Probably not. He’s already in the oval office.”
That afternoon Summer and Ben returned home from school in a white stretch Cadillac limousine followed by two secret service men, Tony Harrison and Peter Montgomery.
Summer sat down at her white wicker desk in her newly decorated purple room which overlooks the rose garden and pulled out her new book on angels. The book was a gift from Summer’s best friend Amanda on the day before Summer left California for Washington, DC a few months ago.
“This just has to work.” Summer thought to herself as she flipped through the book until she landed on chapter thirteen, “how to summon your very own angel.”
Summer is certain that an angel can help her get good grades like her older brother, Ben. She wants her parents to be proud of her like they are proud of Ben.
“Yuk! Only four more mornings of drinking carrot and beet juice by 8am. That night, at exactly midnight, Summer needs to stand in the light of the moon for five minutes for five evenings.
Summer stared at her bulletin board which contained tacked pictures of Amanda and her at the carnival last summer, a picture of them in Amanda’s backyard in the swimming pool, a postcard of a beautiful angel and a signed autograph of Michael Bolton that her father just recently got for her when he sang in the White House.
At 11:50pm Summer got out of bed and walked out of her bedroom, quietly shutting the door behind her. Under her foot a floor board creaked and Summer stopped and stood still for a few seconds. She couldn’t risk anyone waking up and wondering what she was doing at this hour.
She walked slowly to her brother’s bedroom down the hall passing portraits of past presidents, McKenna, Washington, and Adams.
Summer turned the knob of her brother’s bedroom and walked into the large bedroom with the adjacent balcony.
She passed his queen sized bed with a dark blue bedspread thrown on the floor and a chair that had a stack of folded clothes on it.
The French doors linking his room to the balcony were slightly ajar. Ben liked to be cold, Summer thought. She passed his pine dresser and a glass-top executive desk they had shipped from California and tripped over a trigonometry book lying on the tan carpet.
Ben rolled over with his face facing Summer as she stood still waiting for him to settle back to sleep before proceeding through the French doors. Once outside, she glanced at her watch which showed both hands straight up. Midnight.
After five minutes she went back to her bedroom to wait.
I have an apparent liking to the adverb ‘slowly’ (sorry, Stephen King) because I use it a lot, still do, and have to change it all the time (I mean, really, how often can people do things ‘slowly’?). Also, I realize there is no president by the name of McKenna. I believe, if I remember correctly, I wanted to use McKinley but my instructor advised me against it stating that the family of President McKinley may not appreciate nor like me using him in my story. And since the story takes place in the fictional White House in present times you can only guess where the story goes…