So, I asked the readers in my Keatyn Chronicles Addicts Facebook group how they felt about me including this, and the responses varied between really wanting it, to being afraid it would ruin the KC series for them. So, I’m going to tell you about what this is, and you can decide for yourself if you’d like to skip this section. I thought it would be fun to include because so many of you have read this series multiple times. I hope you will enjoy seeing my first attempt at writing Keatyn and will see the big difference between this and what the story became.
What you will read is basically a brain-dump. It is me getting down everything I had in my head with no regard to plot. Writers have different ways of compiling stories—some plot out every detail before they write a word, others write with no idea of where the characters will take them. For the published Keatyn books, I did a combination of both. I let the story go wherever it wanted in this draft with no thought to plot. It was also during this exercise that my characters really came to life for me. I had already planned out their profiles, but they ended up being more than I planned. Some characters even surprised me during this time. For example, Dawson was supposed to be Riley’s older brother. I never expected him to become a love interest and had to go back and revise his character profile. Originally, both Peyton and Whitney were mean girls. But Peyton had been dating Dawson. And Peyton and Aiden were twins. Keatyn lost her virginity to Brooklyn (not Cush) the night before she left for boarding school. And she makes out with Riley in this version.
After I wrote this, I really felt like I had the makings of a great series and then went back, plotted each book, and realized I needed an overall story antagonist—not just some mean girls, but bigger stakes. That’s when I came up with the idea of the stalker. I realized that a girl like Keatyn couldn’t just go to boarding school because she wanted a fresh start. The first sign of trouble and she would have been, Screw it, I’m going to France, or wherever. I needed a reason to make her stay. Something to push her growth. She was starting to get there by understanding that she needed to change, but the stalker situation accelerated her growth. The Keatyn you meet in Stalk Me is completely self-absorbed, self-centered, and worried about what people think. But the thing I loved about her was she knew it, and she didn’t want to be that girl. She loved her little sisters and her willingness to leave her family to keep the girls safe was a big sacrifice. And it had to be so scary for her. To leave everything she knew. Everyone she loved. In that moment alone, you saw a lot of growth.
In each book, my goal was to show growth in Keatyn. A lot of people questioned her growth due to her decisions regarding boys. I hope by the time you finished the series you realized that it wasn’t about the boys. It was about Keatyn as an individual. About loving herself. About becoming the kind of person she said she wanted to be back in Stalk Me. Did she screw up sometimes? Yes. She did. A lot. Because she is seventeen and learning about life and love the hard way—like we all do in real life. By the end of Get Me, Keatyn transformed into a young woman who knew what she wanted out of life and wasn’t afraid to go for it. And for me as a writer, that was very satisfying.
Read this at your own risk. And if you don’t think you’ll like it, please, skip it. Also, please note that this section is quite long. Over 143,000 words. In this you will also find an alternate ending for the series. But I think you will like it.
So, if you are still with me, I’ll remind you again that this is my original, unedited, very first draft. You’ll find elements in it from the entire series and see glimpses of what the story became. Most of this version takes place at Eastbrooke, and the beginning is much different. Really, the whole first book is not present in this version. Or the stalker. Okay, I’ll stop and let you read.
Please note that this isn’t edited, and it’s meant to be that way. It really is my first real draft. I should also note, if you are an aspiring author you may have heard the line Show. Don’t tell. Um, yeah. You will notice I didn’t follow that rule here, but thankfully changed that in the final versions. If you see a note in parenthesis, it’s from me now. (Probably because I’m dying of some kind of literary embarrassment.)
Before we start, your first laugh from this will be from the very wordy original blurb and title.
Push Me Over the Edge of the Love Cliff. (I’m really tempted not to let you read any further.)
Don’t make fun. I mean what would you call the story of your life when you’re just starting to live it?
Some titles I came up with and disregarded: (And, really, I did consider all of these as possible book titles.)
Leaving the love of my life to go to an East coast boarding school to become my own person.
How to have your four-eyed, debate team, goes-to-bed-at-9:30 band geek roommate dump YOU as a roommate.
How to survive multiple encounters with the God of All Hotties.
How to (or maybe, why you shouldn’t) kiss four different boys in less than three days.
My sex life. (As in, I have a sex life!)
The psychic panty network.
A perfect four-leaf clover.
How to tutor a god.
How getting tagged in a Facebook photo kissing someone can cause all sorts of shit.
My boots aren’t slutty, they’re Gucci.
How not to fall in love with a player.
Sniffing markers when making football posters really doesn’t get me high.
Forget that my parents are famous actors, this book is all about me.
The adorable nickname your little sisters call you sounds slutty when freshman boys say it.
True love leaves a mark.
Boots is the name of the monkey on Dora the Explorer.
How to carefully hone your high school reputation, haha, NOT!
Skinny soy chai latte no whip, and so on.
The point is, I came to boarding school to find myself, take control of my life, but uh, yeah, that’s not working out so well… and the truth is, even I don’t know how this one will end, I’m still trying to figure it all out.
But I do know this. When I put my head on Aiden’s shoulder on the Ferris wheel, I felt like I’d died and gone to hottie heaven. Just saying.