Melissa MacVicar –Author

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Release Day! The story behind the story.



I began writing this book a very long time ago—December 2012 to be exact. I don’t usually keep track of dates this closely. I have quite a few stories I have started and stopped, left in word files on my old laptop.  Most will never to see the light of day. When I tell my students that I write for enjoyment and sometimes nothing ever happens with it or worse yet,  it gets deleted, they are horrified. Why would I do all that WORK for NOTHING!? But that is a story for another post. This post is about the long and winding road to ONE BROKEN DAY being out there for people/teenagers/readers to take in.This is about working on a very emotional book for a very long time.

The reason I know the exact month and year that I started ONE BROKEN DAY  is because the inciting incident behind it was the terrible tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. As a parent, a teacher, and a human being, I was deeply affected by that event. I, like many others, could not wrap my brain around it nor could I make any sense of how something like it could happen. Sandy Hook sparked national conversation about so many issues from gun violence to mental health and more.

One part of the story that I became interested in was the family of the shooter. Many people felt that there were warning signs, and that the perpetrator’s family (I will not name him here because part of what he wanted was notoriety in death) should have seen what he was capable of. In the days that followed, some blamed his family for not stopping him. His brother, in fact, was arrested at gunpoint in the aftermath.

Gray Wooden Floor Background

As a result of my pondering this tragedy, I found myself considering what responsibility we all have for the actions of the people we are close too. My husband being in law enforcement in a small town has made this an issue I’ve dealt with. Some people dislike me simply because I am married to him. Does closeness to another imply you are somehow responsible for their actions? Is everyone, in fact, culpable for the actions taken by those they love? Surely, we can distance ourselves and leave everyone in our lives if we don’t like how they act but does the world ever  let us leave our family-—blood or otherwise? Maybe we are always stricken with guilt by association when it comes to them. These are just a few of the  questions that led me to write this book.

Despite how heavy it sounds, ONE BROKEN DAY is not an overly sad novel. It is actually filled with humor and love and many universal, coming-of-age themes. In the story, the fictitious Lizzie Berringer must face all of the ordinary things of life as well as the tragedy of her past. Does she deserve a normal life after what her brother has done? Can she forgive herself for not seeing the warning signs?

I wrote 25,000 words that became  ONE BROKEN DAY in one week over Christmas Break 2012. I had never written anything that fast, and I have not done it since. The road from 2012 to 2017, however, has been a winding one. First, the story was put aside while I focused on publishing my first two books: EVER NEAR and EVER LOST (yes the third one, EVER AGAIN, will be written).  Then, the path to publishing the work included landing an awesome agent, Meg Ruley, going on submission at the big pubs, and getting a revise/resubmit from Harper Teen that was ultimately a “no”. There have been approximately one thousand and one rewrites since that first 25K words, too. In the end, ONE BROKEN DAY is finally being published. It is being published because I want it to be. It is being published because it’s a beautiful, timeless story about growing up.  


It has been an emotional journey getting to this moment, and I hope that when you read this novel, you will feel all that I have put into it—the heartache and the fear and ultimately, the triumph that it represents, both for my characters and for myself. God help me, I still love getting lost in a good story, especially the ones of my own making.   

Thanks for reading.




Curiosity- Did it really kill the cat?

Since I announced to the world that I wrote a book and that someone thought enough of it to want to publish it, people have a lot of questions for me. I’ve literally got some explaining to do.


So I thought I’d share a little bit  about my writing- what it is and what it is not.

As a teacher, there were many things that worried me about writing a young adult novel. One of my fears was that my friends and colleagues would make assumptions about the book that were inaccurate. So I wrote down some answers to questions people might have about the book.

Is it an educational book? The simple answer is no. I didn’t write the book to educate anybody about anything. I wrote the book to entertain people, the youngest probably being 14 and the oldest probably 110. Could people pull meaning from some of the themes and emotions in the book? Maybe. Hopefully. But not necessarily.

Are the characters based on real people? No. Definitely not. My characters are pure fiction. Making up characters is one of the most fun parts of writing. Of course, my characters do possess traits and emotions that a reader might recognize as familiar to them. That’s what every writer strives for–to emotionally connect with their reader. That’s part of what makes a book good, I think. I hope anyway.

Do you approve of or condone everything your characters do? Heck no! But I try to make my characters real people who make real life bad decisions. In fact, good conflict and action in a story often results from characters making bad choices. And just like real people who make bad decisions, I still love my characters. That doesn’t mean I recommend doing the things they do.

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Thanks for reading and feel free to follow my blog to see future posts. I’ll try to make them fun!