Hello and welcome, everyone!
I plan to enter my Middle Grade novel, THE PRINCE OF STEEL PIER, in this year's Pitch Wars. Despite the usual struggles that writers face, I thoroughly enjoyed writing this manuscript. Here's my pitch:
All four of the Goodman brothers have summer jobs but none of them as dangerous as Joey’s. This summer, he’s working for a gangster.
It’s August of 1975 in Atlantic City, and all Joey wants is to have his voice heard above the din of his large, Jewish family. He’s tired of hearing that he can’t do this and he shouldn’t do that at his grandparents’ kosher hotel. And he’s had it with living in his brothers’ shadows.
Then Joey stands up for himself to the so-called King of Steel Pier, Artie Bishop. In Artie’s world on the Boardwalk, Joey finds a place to belong, to feel important. Artie even hires Joey to “chaperone” his charming daughter, Melody, for a couple of weeks. But the more involved Joey becomes with Artie and Melody, the further he endangers the people he loves. His lies begin to pile up, and soon, Joey must decide: Will he risk the lives of his own family to become part of a different “family”?
THE PRINCE OF STEEL PIER is a middle grade, stand-alone novel with series potential, complete at 58,000 words. It will appeal to readers of Gennifer Choldenko’s Al Capone Throws Me a Curve and This is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang. Like these wonderful books, my novel explores sensitive family dynamics and cultural issues in a retro setting of decades past.
Here's an aesthetic. I spent a great deal of time down the shore in New Jersey as a kid in the 1970s, and yeah, this captures it.
A little about me:
I'm a middle school librarian at a wonderful independent school in the Columbus, Ohio, area. If you love books, writing, and kids, THIS IS THE DREAM JOB! Now, I also count myself as a #MG writer.
I earned a Master's in Education from Columbia University Teachers College in 1990, and I taught middle school language arts for many years. In 2014, I earned my Master's in Library and Information Science from Kent State University. Basically, I've spent my entire adult life working with 11-14-year-old kids. They are the best. Besides my own kids, who are 20 and 23. They're really the best.
I grew up in South Jersey and practically lived at the St. Charles, my grandparents' kosher hotel in Atlantic City. This is NOT the Jersey Shore from the television show. I don't what that Jersey Shore is. My Jersey Shore was full of warm summer days on Steel Pier and Million Dollar Pier, hot dogs from Nathan's, and afternoons at the arcade playing Skee-Ball.
I was one of those kids who wanted to be a writer from the time I was six years old. I wrote Star Wars fanfic before fanfic was a thing, and of course, I believe in my heart that I am a Jedi.
Voice is central to my writing. I start with a protagonist who has a strong yet vulnerable inner life, and I surround him/her with a family that is both challenging and supportive. Middle grade readers are discovering that they have their own place in the world, but they also need to know that their family is behind them. It's this tension that I seek to explore in my writing.
I write about Jewish kids, so I suppose that makes me an Own Voices writer. I think the world needs more stories about Jewish American kids.
For Pitch Wars, I hope to match with a mentor who feels that not every story needs to have epic proportions to be an epic piece. I write about real kids with real problems and issues, and I'd love to work with someone who loves a strong, honest voice.
Please follow me on Twitter @snockowitz.