Thursday, May 31, 2007
Alumna publishes first book in series
By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
Nicole Young (CAS ’89) has been on a journey throughout her life. Her journey took her from the Upper Peninsula to Oakland University. After completing her degree in communication, she spent some time in advertising before returning to northern Michigan to run a bed and breakfast and perform with two country bands. Young has always loved to write so she began to construct a novel using her experiences to guide her main character through a spiritual journey. The book, “Love Me If You Must,” is the first in the three-book “Patricia Amble Mystery Series.”
Young grew up in Escanaba, Mich., and wanted to go away to college. Many of her friends were going to bigger schools, but Young was looking for a school where she felt safe and connected to campus life. Her parents were graduates of Rochester High School and her family was still in the area, so Young decided to apply to OU.
Young said her education at Oakland University was a good basis for life, not just a career. In addition to the academic education, she also participated in student life, even receiving a student life scholarship.
“It was because of that scholarship that I did stay involved in the student life on campus. In addition to what I took out of the classes, I took a lot away from the student activities as well,” Young said.
Young was an Orientation Group Leader, had many on-campus jobs, participated in drama productions and the OU chorus, was on the forensics team and active with the Student Program Board. One of her greatest memories is flying to Georgia to pick up Jimmy Carter for his speech at OU. Young said she learned how to deal with different types of people, work out problems, handle planning and even the background of the speaking circuit, which is helping her now from the other angle.
“I had a great college experience,” Young said. “I enjoyed the fact that OU was like a little island and the university was, and is, so safe.”
After having a family and moving to Garden, Mich., to run a bed and breakfast, Young began to seriously write.
“I started a book in 2000. I call it my practice book. It was a regency-romantic-adventure book. As I was peddling that manuscript around, I learned no one was buying historical manuscripts,” Young said.
While attending a conference, she overheard two agents discussing the need for a cozy mystery involving a woman in a small town. Young figured she’d write it and give the readers what they want. She never thought she’d get so drawn in to contemporary writing.
In 2004, she entered a writing contest and won the Noble Theme Award for the Best First Chapter from the American Christian Romance Writers. The contest happened at a time in Young’s life when writing had to take a backseat to other obligations.
|Young's book, "Love Me If You Must," is the first in a three-book series. |
“My personal life presented things I had to take care of. I had to stop writing but before I put it aside I entered this contest. I poured my heart into the chapter because I knew I wouldn’t be able to work on it for a while,” Young said.
An agent working the contest contacted Young and is representing her for the series of books.
The writing process hasn’t always been easy for Young. She said after a critique group tore her writing apart during her first few visits, she became really discouraged.
“I’m sometimes a starter and not a finisher. I can’t tell you how many books I have started. It took a lot of preparation to write a book. Now it’s not something I’m doing as a hobby, but something I’m going to do as a livelihood, that is when I got serious about it,” Young said.
While Young said she is a Christian, she also said she wouldn’t classify the book as religious, though the main character is influenced on her journey by Young’s Christian values. According to Young, the main character, Patricia Amble, does something really awful in the first book that she can’t forgive herself for. The story is her journey to forgive herself. While fictional, the story takes place in Oakland County in a fictional town just north of Clarkston on I-75.
“My main character is very emotionally driven. She can change her mind in a flash. One event will change her mind. I’ve had so many people who had read the book say ‘I so relate to how she thinks,’” Young said.
While the first book took four years to complete, Young said the second book was much easier for her and it will be out next April. It will focus on the same character, who is in search of information about her mother, who was absent most of her life. In book three, she will look for information about her father.
Young has a number of projects she’s working on for the future. She’d like to polish the first book she wrote and possibly have that published. She’d also like to do another contemporary series and work on some youth books. Regardless, Young has made writing her life and plans to continue doing it.
“It’s important for me to write because it helps me deal with the emotions of real life,” Young said. “I can put them on paper and not have to deal with them in real life.”
“Love Me If You Must,” is available through Amazon.com, local Christian booksellers and some Borders stores. Signed copies are also available through Young’s Web site, www.nicoleyoung.net, as well as more information about the author and the book.