on June 6th 2017
What sixteen-year-old Elizabeth has lost so far: forty pounds, four jean sizes, a boyfriend, and her peace of mind. As a result, she’s finally a size zero. She’s also the newest resident at Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls like her—girls with eating disorders. Elizabeth is determined to endure the program so she can go back home, where she plans to start restricting her food intake again.She’s pretty sure her mom, who has her own size-zero obsession, needs treatment as much as she does. Maybe even more. Then Elizabeth begins receiving mysterious packages. Are they from her ex-boyfriend, a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick?
This eloquent debut novel rings with authenticity as it follows Elizabeth’s journey to taking an active role in her recovery, hoping to get back all that she lost.
Alexandra Ballard has worked as a magazine editor, middle-school English teacher, freelance writer, and cake maker. She holds master’s from both Columbia (journalism) and Fordham (education) and spent ten years in the classroom, beginning in the Bronx and ending up in the hills of California. Today she writes full time and lives in the Bay Area with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. What I Lost is Alexandra’s first novel.
Because I work almost exclusively in coffee shops, I don’t really have a desk. What I have is my purple and mint-green Northface backpack. I love that thing so much. Before I had it, I’d cram whatever I needed into whatever bag was available and drive somewhere to write. Then, when I got where I was going, I’d start writing a scene and pour every thought I had onto the page and edit later. But after I got my backpack I started walking more, which meant that I thought more about what I wanted to say before I wrote it down, which was so helpful. I mull over ideas and make decisions in my head while I walk, editing as I go. It saves me time and makes my writing better. I’m in better physical shape, too.
I carry my backpack with me everywhere. As a result, it’s got its fair share of random stuff in it ranging from socks (for cold feet), to a pair Golden State Warriors mittens (You get free coffee when you wear Warriors Gear at my local Peet’s), to a poem ripped out of the New York Times that relates to my current WIP, to my uncharged Fitbit (I’ll wear it again, someday).
I have a desk at home I could use, in our guest room, but I prefer to be out and about. I like to be near other people when I am writing, and working in a coffee shop makes me feel like I am a part of the world. I find it inspirational and interesting. To me, silence is the worst distraction.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of WHAT I LOST, US Only.