|Eleven-year-old Gail, totally ready for a road trip.
And a horse.
I loved the license plates. The billboards. The motels. Picnics in the median during those standstill traffic jams. The rivers and towns with different names. Reading book after book in the backseat while taking breaks to stare at the scenery. The "Welcome to" state signs. Making up silly songs with my sister. All of it.
While a lot of OUT OF TUNE comes from the beautiful, wide-open, truly awesome places out west, the heart of it came from a ten-year-old girl who rode in the back driver's seat of her mom's Delta 88 every summer. The girl who pored over the map because she wanted to go places. Who stared out the window, trying to memorize the way a river wound around a city, or the long, fascinating name of a county in Pennsylvania.
|Any mention of Out of Tune calls for a stunning
picture of Yellowstone. I took this one in 2010.
But of course, if I wrote a character who loved everything (minus her bored sister, anyway), that would be one seriously dull book.
So instead, I wrote about a girl whose family decides to sell everything and live a nomadic life in the world's ugliest RV. Which, of course, Maya (the main character) refuses to accept. While Maya is desperate to pursue her dream of becoming a country music star (and winds up on a hundred-mile bike ride through Yellowstone National Park to reach that dream), she struggles with the very idea of what home means and where home is.
May we all find home.
And may the way there not be like a country music song.
About OUT OF TUNE (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster):
IndieBound / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
When twelve-year-old Maya’s parents sell their house and move the family into the world’s ugliest RV to travel the country, Maya’s only goal is to get back home—and fast. No way is she going to miss the chance to audition for Dueling Duets, the singing competition show that’s going to surely propel her—and her cowboy-hatted crush—to country stardom.
Operation Maya Goes Home, or OMGH, turns out to be more complicated than she had expected, so Maya sets out on a secret one-day, one-hundred-mile bike ride through Yellowstone National Park with her know-it-all little sister, a cute nature boy, and blue-haired, earbud-addicted Shiver (a.k.a. the most annoying girl ever). Somewhere between the worst muscle ache she’s ever experienced and losing half of their group to a flat tire, Maya starts wondering if maybe, just maybe, it’s possible to find home in the last place you expected.