Fantastic Friday: Battle of the Books and the Power of Reading

I’m excited about my new release, The Girl Who Flew Away. As I was finishing final edits on this young adult novel back in 2015, I was invited to participate in Loudoun County’s high school Battle of the Books competition with my novel The Scarred Letter.

The Girl Who Flew Away coverWhat an amazing day—to see students coming together to celebrate books!

I offered that the winning team would have their school colors and mascot featured in my upcoming novel. I’d like to officially congratulate Tuscarora High School, the 2015 winners. But I’d also like to congratulate everyone who participated.

Reading is such an important element of life today, but as technology takes over, it seems fewer and fewer people read. Every member of the Battle of the Books teams has already made a commitment to reading, and there are numerous studies proving how reading is linked to improved performance at a variety of tasks, including math and memory, not to mention personal enjoyment and enlightenment.

In middle school and high school, my favorite activity was sitting in my room next to the open window, reading. The amazing paradox of those moments never ceases to amaze me. There I was, situated physically in the most familiar place in the world to me. And yet with the turning of a few pages, I could travel to a place real or imagined. I could confront challenges I might one day encounter, or ones that terrified me.2017-04-22 08.01.34_1492862550787

I try to capture a little slice of that in my writing. In The Girl Who Flew Away, Steffie encounters situations that terrify me—some that I have experienced in life, some I have seen others struggle with, and some that I hope no one ever has to. Among other, more serious, problems, Steffie becomes lost in the woods as she searches for her friend.

One element that inspires her to persevere is thinking about her high school mascot—the Husky—and its strength. The Huskies certainly embodied that spirit in winning the 2015 competition.

I look forward to reading an excerpt from the novel at the Purcellville Library’s Words Out West Festival on April 22 at 2 p.m.words-out-west-web

And once again, a Fantastic Friday congratulations to the winners from 2015!


The Girl Who Flew Away is available at in paperback and for kindle. You can also read the first four chapters for free, and receive a discount code at

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