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.




Are You There Judy? It’s me, Melissa.


I haven’t needed Judy Blume in a long time. Not since I wanted to know…well…about stuff that Judy wrote about. In fact, I was just Facebook messaging with my bestie from fifth grade, Amy, and reminiscing about our fun times, one of which involved reading Forever and talking about the love scenes.

Now that I have my own Young Adult book coming out, I find myself thinking about Judy again. I have been wondering about her and how her books were received back in the seventies. This is not because I think my book will be as good as Judy’s were. Good God no! Nor do I expect wild fame and success like she had. If only right? No, I have been thinking about Judy because I’ve been on the receiving end of a few vague, disapproving questions about my writing. People wondering if my book is going to be racy? Wondering if that’s going to be weird, and if that’s somehow inappropriate because of my roles as a teacher and mother? Hmm, I wonder… Maybe it is. Maybe I should have shut myself down and never taken up the pen again. In fact, disapproval was one of the things that shut me down the first time so maybe I should have stuck with that plan. It’s too late now though. The book is in its final stages, taking shape as we speak out there in bookland. Eek! I’m beyond the point of no return.

So I visited Judy’s site. I remembered that she wrote some of her books at the request of her daughter who wanted more realistic Young Adult stories. And when I went there, I was so very pleased to find a whole tab devoted to censorship! Imagine that! I clicked and it was like it was written just for me. Judy still knew just what I wanted and needed to hear in this new time of self doubt and wonder. I think the part that touched me the most was the following:

“Ideas. Censors don’t want children exposed to ideas different from their own. If every individual with an agenda had his/her way, the shelves in the school library would be close to empty. I wish the censors could read the letters kids write.

Dear Judy,
I don’t know where I stand in the world. I don’t know who I am.
That’s why I read, to find myself.
Elizabeth, age 13

But it’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.”

Seriously, did she write that just for me? I admit that it felt like she did and it gave me as much solace as Margaret and her talks with God did back in the day. Judy, coming through for me again—coming through in the clutch. Gosh, I love that woman.

Here is the link if you want to check it out in full.

Thanks for reading!