Published by Kids Can Press
It was supposed to be the best summer of her life. Instead, seventeen-year-old Lucy finds her best friend, Harper, shot dead in an LA swimming pool. How did things ever go so wrong? The story circles back to trace the steps that led to this disaster.
Only Harper McKenzie could have taken five girls from their school and reinvented them as Crush, the top prospect to win the international talent contest Project Next. As soon as the band finds its footing, it scores a huge win in the UK semifinal. Next stop, LA!
The girls will spend a luxurious summer in Hollywood, living as reality TV stars while they prepare for their performance in the Project Next final. With a mansion to themselves, they’re the toast of the town … living every girl’s dream come true.
It’s way too late when Lucy discovers that Harper’s heart has never been in Project Next at all. Joining the competition was just part of Harper’s elaborate ruse to reconnect with her no-good ex-boyfriend. Harper will risk anything — from her friendships to the band’s reputation — to get him back.
Meanwhile, the other members of Crush are throwing themselves headfirst into sex, drugs and rock and roll. With the band in crisis and the final approaching, Lucy must decide whether she wants to play to Harper’s beat or set the rhythm for the rest of the band.
This fast-paced story takes unexpected twists, unraveling the mystery of Harper’s murder and exploring the complicated relationships among members of the band. Writing team Marie Powell and Jeff Norton — with many years in the entertainment business between them — deliver one-part wish fulfillment and one-part cautionary tale as they go behind the scenes to reveal what no one sees on “reality” TV.
Jeff Norton is an author, writer-producer, and founder of AWESOME. He creates compelling characters, amazing stories, and immersive worlds for all ages, in all media. He is the author of the high-tech thriller ‘MetaWars’ series from Hachette, ‘Memoirs Of A Neurotic Zombie’ from Faber, and the upcoming ‘Stomp School’ picture book series from Little Tiger Press. He also creates and co-writes with other talented authors, such as the best-selling ‘Princess Ponies’ series with Julie Sykes (under the name Chloe Ryder) for Bloomsbury and the young adult novel ‘Drummer Girl’ with Bridget Tyler.
Jeff is an Executive Producer of the pre-school television show ‘Trucktown’ based on Jon Scieszka’s best-selling books. Through his production company, AWESOME, Jeff is developing a slate of high-concept television shows for kids and adults.
MY TYPICAL WRITING DAY!
With writing, I’ve become a creature of habit. I start early and typically write from a local coffee shop near my house in London. The café staff know me and they know my order (latte in a paper cup…it stays warmer for longer!). I settle into the same table each day, flip open my laptop, put on my Bose headphones (I write to film scores) and get to work. I have a rough idea of how many words I like to nail each day (ideally 1,000 good words) but will often go over and sometimes fall short.
The key is to keep going. I’m a big believer in just getting the words down on the page. They may not be any good, but if they’re not on the page then the book is still trapped in your brain.
Writing can be a lonely pursuit, often only with your characters to keep you company. I tend to say my dialogue out loud, so to the uninitiated I probably look like a crazy person in the corner of the café.
Creating ‘Keeping the Beat’ was different, because it was a collaboration. Working with Marie Powell on the book made the whole experience vastly less lonely. We could work through problems together and slipped into roles quite naturally. I tended to focus on story and Marie is gifted at prose; giving each character a distinctive voice.
Right now, I’m working a Victorian period thriller – all by myself – so it’s just me, the voices in my head, and my latte (in a paper cup).
3 winners will receive a finished copy of KEEPING THE BEAT, US Only.
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