The Glister Journals: Bronze
written by B.B. Shepherd
published by China Blue Publishing
About the book: Allison Anderson knows she’s a little different, but it hadn’t bothered her too much-until now. Moving away from everything she’s ever known to a new house, new neighborhood, and new school is bad enough, but it’s her first year of high school too, making it even more intimidating. She’s more aware of her social and physical limitations than ever before. And then there are the new people she meets: the tough-looking girl in her home room; the cute but dangerous-looking boy she first saw before school even started; the quiet, older girl who keeps to herself; the sullen-looking, seemingly isolated junior that doesn’t seem to trust or like her at all. Can she trust them? While the peaceful situation of her new home only amplifies the sound of her own doubts, she begins to learn that things are not always what they seem, and her world is turned upside-down by these new friends, two-legged and otherwise. Life soon becomes more complicated, and much more interesting!
About The Glister Journals series: The Glister Journals series is told from the perspective of a normal but not average teenage girl. It is not obvious, but Allison has a mild pervasive developmental disorder (autism spectrum). She thinks and experiences things a little differently from most of the other kids. In the past it has caused her to be alienated at best and bullied at worst. After the family moves, she becomes involved with a group of teens that open up new worlds to her. The four book series follows her through high school but is equally about her friends who have their own problems, fears, and aspects of their lives they’d rather keep quiet. There is action—mostly in the form of equestrian and extreme sports—and though there are only hints of it in Bronze, there is a love story which will play a more prominent part as the series progresses. The main story is about assumptions, acceptance, love, and friendship, though there are other themes running throughout the series.
I stood gawking for quite some time until something hard, cold, and stinging hit the back of my head. Sure of my attacker, I turned around, ready to protest Dave’s behavior, but was brought up short.
Chris stood several yards away, coolly regarding me, expressionless as ever, and forming another snowball between gloved hands. My jaw dropped and my eyes popped wide as I realized he’d not only circled around and hidden in the trees waiting for me to come out into the open, but was now preparing, very deliberately, to pelt me with another projectile. I began backing away as quickly as the snow and cumbersome boots allowed.
“Get her, Henry,” he said, calmly.
What?! The next thing I knew, I’d been tackled by a very robust eight year old, almost knocked off my feet, and was now held quite firmly, my arms pinned against my sides. I expected Chris to lob the snowball from where he stood, but instead he began walking very slowly toward me, holding the large, obviously firmly packed orb in his right hand.
“No . . .” I said, unbelieving and looking for a way out of the situation. I looked to Dave who had moved out of the way as soon as I’d gotten hit, probably thinking he was next. He now watched, looking a little confused but apparently amused enough to allow his brothers to continue.
“Henry!” I said firmly, managing to extricate my arms. “Let . . . me . . . go!” I gasped, now ineffectively working to remove his arms from around my waist.
He just started laughing. Now I was laughing too—very nervously.
Chris continued his slow, deliberate progress toward me, torturing me with anticipation until he stood directly in front of me. He wasn’t looking me straight in the eyes but took brief glances there.
“What? You don’t really think I’d hit you square in the face with this do you?”
I laughed nervously again. “I . . . don’t . . . um . . .”
He scowled slightly as if hurt that I’d consider such a thing. “I’d never do that,” he said, and I felt a moment of relief. Perhaps he was content with having alarmed me badly.
Nope. In the next instant he had slipped behind me, grabbed the back of my collar and stuffed as much of the well-packed snowball down it as he could before Henry’s grip loosened and they both let me go. I squealed loudly, both from the cold of the attack and the absolute fright he’d given me in actually doing it. Henry was rolling on the ground laughing. I quickly unzipped my jacket and tried to remove as much of the offending ice from my back as I could.
Allison narrates a gentle coming-of-age story that has a strong equine subplot…undeveloped plot points hint at future complications and will likely keep readers looking for the next entry. — Cindy Welch Booklist Online
Written with intelligent humor, this tale follows an awkward girl as she enters a new school…This is a strong first book, both for Shepherd and for the series. The friendships the characters build are realistic and lifelike, strong, and durable, just like bronze. — Beth VanHouten ForeWord Reviews
The story is well-written and sweetly told. Allison’s anxieties and insecurities are true-to-life, and so affectionately and clearly portrayed as to make anyone who’s ever been through adolescence wince in sympathy. Dave, Robin and Chris are complicated, intelligent, three-dimensional characters whom the reader enjoys getting to know, and all of the minor characters are vividly drawn and believably real. The author is adept at setting a scene, both external and internal, bringing Allison’s mind and world to vivid life. — Catherine Langrehr IndieReader
“Bronze: The Glister Journals” is a well-written novel of teenagers and their world. It is also a story of horses and teenage horsemanship. The main character Allison is a totally delightful fourteen year old girl whose innocence and awkwardness is refreshing. — Alice DiNizo Readers’ Favorite
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
I really do think the story has something for everyone and a cast of characters that you will love and want as your best friends!
Where did you get your inspiration for Bronze?
That’s complicated and spans most of my life. It started when I was quite young with an idea about a girl who sees something shining in the distance and what she found. When I was in high school I began writing the first book based on the original idea and including the main character who, as I had myself many times, was starting a new school in a new neighborhood. That is when the main characters began to come to life for me. I’ve begun it a couple of times since then, but it wasn’t until late 2008 that many other things came together to become something much bigger and involved. And the characters have grown up quite a bit too, which will of course make things progressively more complicated and more interesting.
Why did you decide to write a 4-book series as opposed to a single novel?
My first idea for this story was a series, but a very different series and more episodic so that they could stand alone. It would have been middle grade and much more just a “horse story.” When I first started planning the story this time, I knew the story wasn’t the same—the focus and characters were much more involved—and I thought it would be a single, stand alone novel. But the more I thought about the characters, how they had changed over the years, and the different issues I myself, my children, and other people I’ve known have had to deal with, the story and themes became more and more complicated. I wanted to tell a story of people—realistic people with real issues—and that takes time. There are no quick solutions or magical make-overs, and there’s no insta-love in this series. At least, not really. Bronze follows Allison, the main character through her whole Freshman year, so it will take a series to get through high school and explore all the characters’ stories.
Any other projects besides The Glister Journals series in the works?
As I work full time, it doesn’t leave me a lot of time for writing so, no, The Glister Journals will be getting most of my attention until it is finished.
But I get ideas all the time. I keep a file for them on my computer and add notes to them whenever things occur to me that either expand the idea—story elements, etc.—or ideas about characters. I keep a physical file for pictures, articles, etc. that I think may be useful in the future or tie in with ideas I’ve already had. I also have folders in my web favorites for sites having to do with those idea topics. I try not to spend too much time researching those though. I just keep them for later. By the time I get around to writing any of them, they may have evolved into something completely different so I try not to get too distracted by them now!
Several ways unfortunately. And I should probably add that I feel like I often get in trouble for talking in general. One way is that my mind works in associations—which is really handy when you’re trying to remember things, especially people’s names which I have trouble with. When it comes to humor though, other people don’t necessarily make those same connections which can really backfire or just leave people thinking you’re rather weird. Which, of course, is true. Also, sometimes something will occur to me that is really funny, but I don’t think it through adequately before saying it out loud. That can be embarrassing. And my timing is sometimes not the best. I feel more comfortable at home where I can be myself and not second-guess everything I say. My kids get me!
What is your favorite genre to read?
I don’t like reading the same genre all the time, but I guess fantasy novels, especially those a little more on the literary or adult side. I like reading all kinds of books though, as long as they’re really well written with characters I can connect with.
Who is your favorite author?
Hard question! I don’t have just one. C.S. Lewis and Jane Austen are probably my favorite “classic” authors. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Robin McKinley. My newest favorite is Maggie Stiefvater. I need to read J.K. Rowling’s adult novels, but I loved the Harry Potter series.
In your opinion, what is one book that everyone should read?
My book, of course! No, I really couldn’t say. If we’re talking fiction, people’s tastes in literature are so very different. That’s why there’s room for all kinds of books and authors, and different approaches to literature.
Tell us three things about yourself that cannot be found on the internet…at least not found easily.
I have three adorable children. Okay, they’re not exactly adorable anymore because they’re really big, but once upon a time they were!
My whole family—excluding my children—are from England. I only have one other relative living in this country.
When I was eleven I spent most of the year in casts for three separate broken bone incidents, once involving my left arm and twice involving my right arm. I’m right handed, so my poor teacher was frustrated with my work almost all year. That’s the year I learned the word “ambidextrous”!
Thank you for having me on Every Free Chance!
About the author: A graduate of Cal Poly with graduate work at Chapman and U C Santa Cruz, B. B. Shepherd has lived most of her life in California and loves the diverse beauty of its many landscapes. Music, horses, literature, and art have been her passions as long as she can remember. She enjoys road trips, almost all horse sports and extreme sports (as a spectator), and is addicted to research.
As a writer, Shepherd enjoys exploring emotions and motivations: why do people do what they do? She also likes trying to find the funny side of things. She admits to being a hopeless romantic and often gets in trouble for her sense of humor. Bronze is her debut novel, the first in a series of four called The Glister Journals. She currently works full time as a music professional and educator, and lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her youngest daughter and a very silly cat.
(Ends October 31, 2013)I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.