After more than twenty years, my first book is finally going to print. Yes, after many false starts, a few forced stops, and several revisions, Thinner Skin will finally see the light of day as a complete work by yours truly.
That paragraph may be confusing to those who have purchased and/or read Unmatched, so I will explain: Although Unmatched was released first, it was actually written eighteen years after Thinner Skin for the purpose of entering it in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition in 2012.
I had planned to enter Thinner Skin in that same contest in 2011, but had to scrap that plan when I realized its word count exceeded the contest’s limit by a substantial amount. With only weeks to go before the contest—and having tried and failed to reduce the word count several times in the past decade—I decided I had a better chance of writing a new book before the contest deadline, than I did of trimming Thinner Skin by almost 20 percent.
Although I made a good show of it, I missed my deadline for the 2011 contest by a mile, which is how Unmatched came to be a 2012 entry instead. And although it made the first round of the competition, it failed to place in the second round, which is how it came to be released as an indie novel in October 2012.
Since then, I have spent my time promoting Unmatched, writing this blog, and revising Thinner Skin. Although it still exceeds the Breakthrough Novel Award competition word limit by a smidge, it is significantly lighter, funnier, and cleverer than at any point since its conception. Although I do not have a firm release date yet, I am confident it will be available sometime this month.
And so, without further ado—and in the interest of stoking your interest in reading the rest—I hereby present the prologue of Thinner Skin.
Thinner Skin, by Billie Jean Diersen
I’ll never forget the night I met the only man I’ve ever killed. Despite my efforts to erase it from my mind, I remember it as clearly as I do the night my mom died, the day I got married, and the days both of my children were born.
That’s not to say I make a habit of committing to memory my every experience—much less the circumstances surrounding each new acquaintance. For example, I have no idea how or when I met my husband. Nor do I recall meeting any of my closest childhood friends. Although I can ballpark the geneses of these relationships, when I try to summon specific dates or memories of the occasions, I draw a total blank.
Maybe that’s how it is for anyone who’s moved around as much as I have. You come into contact with so many people over the years that you don’t stop to document the moment you become aware of their existence. Unless you keep a diary—or have OCD—you don’t bother; there just isn’t time.
So the kid who sits behind you in fifth grade gradually becomes Tony Zeigler and, later, the first boy you ever kiss, while the girl with the pink-rimmed glasses becomes your science partner and, over time, your best friend, Quinn. You don’t remember your initial meeting or when you first spoke. Unless there was something special or significant about the event, you only know that at some point they appeared on your radar and you somehow learned their names. You also learn that relationships are fluid, and you don’t expect them to last.
That’s how it should have been with Rob Copeland. And yet, although there was nothing at all significant about that Friday, I remember it as if it were yesterday, and in fine detail. I don’t recall the date, but I can name the location right down to the zip code. I also remember what he wore, what he was drinking, and nearly every second I spent with him until the moment he was no longer of this earth…
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