This is my first year entering Pitch Wars and I could not be more excited (or nervous!).
First things first, my book! My MS is a YA contemporary romance called SEEING STARS.
Seventeen-year-old Arianna Gold’s life seems perfect, but underneath the façade of popularity, she’s hiding her real life: a set of neglectful and abusive parents, and her depression and anxiety which led to a prior suicide attempt. When people look at Arianna, they see a future singer or the football star’s girlfriend, but when August Stone, the school’s number one nerd, discovers the truth, he threatens not only her self-constructed image, but her heart. It would be easier to just ignore him, but Arianna needs his help to pass algebra and graduate so that she can get out of Connecticut to pursue her dreams.
August Stone is a boy genius: top of the class, bound for the Ivy Leagues and a career in astronomy (planetary science, to be exact). And that means he has no place in Arianna’s circle—especially around her jealous, hot-headed boyfriend; even when it becomes dangerous. Though he could blow her cover, she can’t stay away from him. He sees her the way no one else does, for the girl she really is, not the one she pretends to be.
August quickly becomes the only person she can trust with her secrets, but as their relationship grows from strictly mandated, to friends, to something more, so do the risks involved. His father makes it clear he thinks August is throwing away his future to be with a girl that isn’t good enough for him and she could lose the comfort and safety of her perfectly constructed world. She knows that it’s fake, but it’s all she has. And she’s scared that losing it could make her mental health spiral again.
SEEING STARS (complete at 52,000 words) is a contemporary YA with an alternating timeline: telling the story of how two teens from very different families form an unlikely and ill-fated romance and how that goes on to affect their futures. It is a story of sex, love, nerds and the lifelong battle of mental illness and absent parents that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer Niven.
My name is Eliza Turrill and I have a BA in English and Writing as well as a publishing certification from Denver Publishing Institute. I have had poetry published in my undergraduate literary magazine, Neon, and won an honorable mention for one of the poems.
By day I am a writer/editor for a large health system in IL and co-run their Internal Communications. By night, I am also a writer and video game nerd. (Carpal tunnel couldn’t stop me!)
I grew up in a small New England town similar to where this novel takes place, and have dealt with my own personal struggles with mental health. I can certainly lend authority to this tricky, yet important subject. I am also a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. Ari is queer (refers to her sexuality as fluid), but this novel mainly deals with hetero relationships.
I created a Pinterest board that captures the spirit, people, fashion and settings that go with Seeing Stars. You can find it here. This board can be further curated as a promotional tool and interactive companion for the novel.
Here are some songs that inspired, or fit the mood of this novel:
- Tracy Chapman- Fast Car
- Kesha- Praying
- Halsey- Colors, Drive, Gasoline (pretty much the whole badlands novel. I picture Ari’s music with the rawness of Halsey and the commercial appeal of T Swift).
- Taylor Swift- Red (seriously, I must have listened to this song 100000 times over the course of this journey), Wildest Dreams, 1989 album.
- Ben Folds Five- Brick
- Mariah Carey- You’ll Always Be My Baby
- The Verve Pipe- The Freshman
- Coldplay- Fix You
- CCR- Fortunate Son (Because they both like CCR)
- Grizzly Bear- Slow Life
- Vampire Weekend- Pretty much all of their songs.
- Miley Cyrus- Malibu
- Dave Matthews Band- Crash Into Me
- Train- Drops of Jupiter (Though Augie hates it for its inconsistencies)
- Counting Crows- Colorblind
- The Killers- All These Things That I’ve Done
- Matchbox 20- Bright Lights
- Pink- Don’t Let Me Get Me/18 Wheeler
Here is a picture of my beautiful cat and faithful writing buddy, Bella:
My favorite books/authors include (but certainly not limited to):
- Nicola Yoon
- S. Jae Jones- Wintersong
- Rainbow Rowell
- Sarah J. Maas
- VE Schwab
- JK Rowling
- Judy Blume- Summer Sisters
- Janet Fitch
- Ernest Cline- Ready Player One
- Deborah Harkness- All Souls Trilogy
- Jennifer Niven- All the Bright Places
- Amy Zhang- Falling Into Place
- Gabrielle Zevin- The Storied Life of AJ Fikry
- Sylvia Plath- The Bell Jar
To sum it up: SEEING STARS is a gritty YA: dealing with themes of sex, drugs, bullying, mental health and family dysfunction. (It also has an alternating timeline–claps hands).It shows that mental illness is not just something you beat or get over, but that it’s a part of you and involves peaks and valleys. Ari is flawed and does not just “get better”, but learns ways to improve through therapy positivity and self-awareness. They both succeed, and are stronger, despite their obstacles.
I want to show young women that they deserve all the love and happiness in the world and that THEY’RE WORTH IT! For the nerds and popular kids and everyone in between who struggle with mental health, but still dream of the stars. I’m looking for a mentor that is totally behind this and can help me with conflict. The voice, romance and pacing are strong: this book has had many beta readers and polishes but I am so ready to get my hands dirty and get into the trenches bringing this book to the best it can be. I’m definitely a hard worker!