The genesis of the novel The Bottom of the Lake came from a simple conversation with one of my best friends, writer Alex Bledsoe, over coffee one day. (Note: This is not verbatim, but since you probably weren’t there, let’s just say that it is.)
Me: What should I write next?
Alex: A novel.
Alex: A novel.
Me: I write plays.
Alex: So base it on one of your plays.
And that was that. I instantly churned out a finished novel, as all great writers do . . . only I didn’t. It took several years and 523,456 revisions. Or something like that. But then it found a wonderful home with Orange Hat Publishing, which led to another 523,456 revisions.
And now it’s out in the world. Do I want The Bottom of the Lake to be successful? Absolutely. But in a way, it’s already successful. Because it’s out in the world. But not because of me. I am fortunate that I’m surrounded by a bunch of amazing people who support me, encourage and push me, make me feel valued, and never say no when I ask for the billionth time, “Will you read this and make it better?”
But I do want the outside world to read it, because I think it’s a good story. And I hope that when you read the last line and close the book, you’ll take something away from it: A connection. To own your life.
So what is The Bottom of the Lake about? Here’s the write-up from the book:
When Vanessa, Lindsey, and Claire sneak away from Camp Kimi for a night of junk food and ghost stories, they meet Dani, a strange and distant girl none of them have seen before. As each tells her own scary tale, they reveal personal truths they could never share directly. But the newcomer has a story of her own, and before they know it, the three friends find themselves an unwitting part of it-and there might be no escape.
That’s what it’s about – but what is it really about? On the cover of the book, the tagline, written by one of the most amazing people I’ve known (Maggie Stack, not me), reads “Everything surfaces eventually.” You read that, and you might go “I know what happens!” And maybe you do.
To give you a glimpse inside the book, without spoiling anything, I’m going to give you a glimpse inside me. (Note: I realize that sounds gross, but you know what? I don’t want you looking at my spleen or pancreas either. They’re both very personal.) Anyway, the last couple of years have been full of many dark and life-changing moments. For me, my family, my friends, many of the students that I have had the pleasure of working with. I’ve experienced and seen the struggle to present the version of ourselves that we think the world demands while keeping our battles, the fears of not being “right” or “okay,” the fears of never belonging anywhere, never being good enough, or simply the effort to get up everyday hidden. All of those things, including the hope that somehow everything will be okay, eventually surface.
And that’s what The Bottom of the Lake is all about. The unspoken truths. Masked, of course, by the elements of horror, humor, teenage issues, film noir, urban legends, summer camp, and many other things including . . . ferns and squirrels. That’s right. Ferns and squirrels.
The Bottom of the Lake, though aimed at teens, is really for everyone. It takes you on a journey that is fun, terrifying, heartbreaking, and touching – sometimes within the same moment. You know, like a typical day.
I hope it’s a journey that you find worth taking, and that you’re willing to take the plunge.
The links below will take you to where you can buy the book. Just click on your choice and away you'll go. If you do get yourself a copy and read it, first . . . thank you. And afterwards, please feel free to leave a review. But no pressure. :-) Thanks!
Barnes and Noble
Here it is. Steven's blog, where his thoughts about things are revealed. Good luck.