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Friday, June 3, 2016

The First Sentence of We’re All Damaged by Matthew Norman + Giveaway (US/Can only)

We’re All Damaged
Matthew Norman

Andy Carter was happy. He had a solid job. He ran 5Ks for charity. He was living a nice, safe Midwestern existence. And then his wife left him for a handsome paramedic down the street.

We’re All Damaged begins after Andy has lost his job, ruined his best friend’s wedding, and moved to New York City, where he lives in a tiny apartment with an angry cat named Jeter that isn’t technically his. But before long he needs to go back to Omaha to say good-bye to his dying grandfather.

Back home, Andy is confronted with his past, which includes his ex, his ex’s new boyfriend, his right-wing talk-radio-host mother, his parents’ crumbling marriage, and his still-angry best friend.

As if these old problems weren’t enough, Andy encounters an entirely new complication: Daisy. She has fifteen tattoos, no job, and her own difficult past. But she claims she is the only person who can help Andy be happy again, if only she weren’t hiding a huge secret that will mess things up even more. Andy Carter needs a second chance at life, and Daisy—and the person Daisy pushes Andy to become—may be his last chance to set things right.
Buy the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

The Microcosmic First Line of We're All Damaged

Somebody told me once that the first sentence of a novel should act as a microcosm of that novel. I’m usually suspicious of rules like this in writing—particularly ones that use words like microcosm. But, this particular rule, I get.

I tried a bunch of different beginnings to We’re All Damaged. For whatever reason, I had a tough time figuring out the story’s entry point. Nothing felt quite right. But, when I finally committed to opening with Andy’s detailed account of the night his marriage collapsed, I knew that I wanted to put it all out there right away. I wanted the reader to know immediately what he or she was getting into. So, one evening, I took a deep breath and typed the words:
It’s scary how many details I remember about the night Karen left.
Writing is all about rewriting—deleting and tweaking and adjusting. Once I had that line, though, I never touched it again. It might not be a perfect microcosm, but here are four reasons why I kept it:

1. It establishes the POV.
We’re All Damaged is a first-person book. It’s you and Andy until the end, for better or worse.

2. It establishes the tone.
I wanted every sentence in this book to feel conversational and immediate, and that starts with Sentence #1. Andy is right there with you, telling you exactly what’s happening and exactly what he’s thinking.

3. It establishes what the story is about.
Tons of stuff happens in We’re All Damaged. There’s a war with some squirrels. An old man is dying. There’s a car chase, kind of. A garden gnome gets its head kicked off. And so on. But, if you only had five seconds to describe what the book is about, you’d probably say something like, “It’s about this guy who’s trying to get over a messy break up.”

4. It’s relatable.
We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all been wounded and damaged. That’s the whole point of the book. And, part of being human, unfortunately, is obsessing over that hurt—every stupid, ugly, painful little detail. Again and again and again and again and again...

About the Author

Matthew Norman lives in Baltimore with his wife and their two daughters. His writing has appeared on Salon, the Good Men Project, and the Weeklings. His first novel, Domestic Violets, was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in Best Humor.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of We're All Damaged—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Matthew's question in the comments below:
We’re All Damaged opens with the main character being dumped at Applebee’s. Where’s the worst place or method in which you’ve been dumped?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Matthew and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Little A!
Giveaway ends June 17th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!