Deriso Changes Tune with Upcoming Novel
November 7, 2017
When Christine Hurley Deriso embarked on her 10th book last year, she had no trouble nailing the rhythm of the story.
“I’m a lifelong music lover, and I’d recently started writing songs with my brother, a musician and producer in Nashville,” says Deriso. “The experience was so exhilarating that I knew I wanted to capture the energy for my book.”
The book, a contemporary young-adult novel titled “All the Wrong Chords,” follows 18-year-old Scarlett Styles through a summer of grief, turmoil, discovery and, ultimately, love.
“Scarlett is grieving the loss of her brother, who dies of an overdose after becoming addicted to the opioids prescribed to treat a basketball injury,” says Deriso. “I know so many families affected by opioid addiction, and I wanted to give voice to the wonderful people who through no fault of their own get caught up in this tragedy.”
But the book, she stresses, is ultimately hopeful and buoyant. “Scarlett is spending the summer before college with her grandfather,” Deriso says, “and she joins a local rock band to try to keep busy. Scarlett had previously played in a band with her brother, and she hopes revisiting their shared passion will help her push past her grief.”
The band, the Beastings, includes three guys who immediately welcome her into the fold, as well as a fourth—lead singer Declan—who resents feeling upstaged. The challenge of winning him over sparks Scarlett’s romantic interest in him.
But even as she pursues the romance, she feels increasingly drawn to the talent, integrity and sweetness of the band’s lead guitarist and songwriter, Zach. She interprets the connection as friendship, but when Declan’s true colors become increasingly apparent, she wonders if what she’s been looking for has been right under her nose the whole time.
“There are lots of music scenes in the book,” says Deriso, “and because Zach’s songwriting is a major element of the story, I wrote original lyrics to intersperse throughout the narrative.”
The next step, she says, was a no-brainer. Her musician-brother, John Hurley, suggested putting the lyrics to music and recording the songs. The result is an EP with four of the songs included in the book. “I didn’t set out to create a novel and EP simultaneously,” Deriso says, “but everything fell into place with this project, and each component of it complemented the other.”
Her brother enlisted several other musicians on the EP, and Deriso collaborated with Nashville songwriter and filmmaker Craig Carothers to create a trailer highlighting both the novel and the music (search “All the Wrong Chords” on YouTube).
The novel will be published Dec. 12 by Flux. “This will be my fourth young-adult novel with the imprint,” Deriso says, “and the staff’s passion and talent are simply unparalleled. Every step of this journey has been a total joy.”
The EP, “All the Wrong Chords” by the Beastings, is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and other digital music providers.
“I hope people who enjoy the novel are compelled to check out the music, and vice versa,” says Deriso. “The combination really brings the whole experience alive. And nothing I’ve ever done professionally has been as much fun to put together.”
Deriso will sign copies of her novel Tuesday, Dec. 12 from 6-8 p.m. at the Book Tavern, 936 Broad Street, Augusta, Georgia, 30901. Included with each purchase will be a gift card for the EP.
Early praise for the book
“Hurley Deriso skillfully handles the delicate topic of drug addiction, humanizing this national epidemic while also creating a believable and breezy love story.”—School Library Journal
“Scarlett’s interactions with her family and community are fresh and believable. Fans of Alecia Whitaker’s Wildflower series will like this blend of tentative romance, music, and family.”—Booklist
“The story touches on the timely topic of opioid addiction while maintaining a swift and light narrative flow. “—Kirkus Reviews
“All the Wrong Chords resonates like the lyrics of a beloved rock ballad. Readers will enjoy the author’s gentle humor and keen insights about a young woman who is emotionally adrift.”—Karin Gillespie, author of Love Literary Style
More about the book
Author: Christine Hurley Deriso
Formats: Paperback original and eBook
Genre: YA contemporary
About the author
Christine Hurley Deriso is an award-winning author of YA novels Tragedy Girl, Thirty Sunsets, and Then I Met My Sister. She has also contributed to Ladies’ Home Journal, Parents, and other national magazines. She lives and writes in South Carolina. Visit her online at www.christinehurleyderiso.com.
Flux publishes diverse young adult fiction and is an imprint of North Star Editions, Inc. North Star Editions publishes fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages that inspires, informs, and entertains. For more information, visit fluxnow.com or northstareditions.com.