Dr. Shelly Sanders, assistant professor of English, is taking an innovative approach to publishing young adult fiction online as co-author of a new novel titled That was Everything.
Although navigating the chasm between Gardner and Mabee dorms to meet in the Brown library for a group project may seem difficult, Sanders and her co-author Dr. Scott Peterson, English professor at the University of Maine, have taken on the challenge of writing a novel while separated by the vast miles between Texas and Maine.
“It has been an amazingly easy process,” Sanders said. “Scott is very organized; he made charts and outlines to keep us on track. Technology has also really helped us to be successful.”
Sanders and Peterson met at the annual Sports Literature Conference a few years ago and first decided to begin writing together in the summer of 2007. They each did a dissertation on sports literature and share an interest in sports.
“Sports weren’t always linked with my writing,” Peterson said, “But about 10 years ago I wrote a story that was accepted in Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, and I saw the opportunities of combining two of my primary interests.”
Sanders and Peterson do much of their collaboration through e-mail and using GoogleDocs.
They will post their novel, one chapter at a time, on a blog. The blog is updated with one new chapter per week, which will continue until all 18 chapters are posted.
That was Everything is about the romantic relationship between Travis and Astrid, high school athletes each dealing with weighty secrets linked in ways they do not at first realize. Travis, an all-around jock, is hiding his use of steroids and Astrid, a swimmer, is hiding her mysterious gift of healing.
Sanders describes the blog as an online workshop for the writers and hopes to gain feedback from a built-in audience of family, friends and interested readers. Sanders said she is especially thankful for the support of her colleagues at ACU.
“It has been great to have support from other faculty and connections through the ACU English department following the story and giving feedback,” Sanders said.
Sanders and Peterson plan to publish the novel and are in the process of sending the manuscript to agents. In the meantime, they continue to gain readership through the blog, Facebook and Twitter.
Chapters can be found online at thatwaseverything.wordpress.com.