New Project! A PIECE OF YOUTH: Coming 2021

I'm excited to announce my latest book, A PIECE OF YOUTH, is tentatively scheduled for release in Spring of 2021. 

This book is quite the deviation from my normal writing style and subject matter, but it's a project I've been tossing around for many years and feel I'm finally in the right "head space" to do justice to it. It is an autofiction, which combines the elements of autobiography with those of a novel to enable me to create a world very much based on reality and truths, but allows room for creativity and dramatization to develop a more compelling story. Yes, the book is inspired by my own experiences as a teenager coming of age in a rural southern town in the late '90s, and I even use my own name as the main character. I regularly wrote in journals from sixth grade through my high school graduation which I have kept all these years and drew heavily from when writing this book; however, I did utilize the "fiction" liberties of autofiction to do things such as shift and compress timelines, combine elements of multiple real people into single characters, and-though very minimally-turned some experiences of others into my own in order to paint a more complete and comprehensive picture of what adolescent life was truly like in a small town during a very revolutionary time.

The internet was just beginning to arrive in middle-class homes. In music and style grunge was colliding with goth and country music was becoming more pop every hour. The LGBTQ community was still very much persecuted and we'd have "secret ally groups" that were safe spaces for our gay, trans, and bisexual friends at school because not even all teachers could be trusted. Teen pregnancy rates were astronomical as many small-town doctors stood by the medieval prescription that "the best birth control is a dime held firmly between the knees." While adults spent billions of dollars and countless hours trying to deter our generation from Marijuana, teens were dying in car accidents and committing suicide in droves. College was quickly becoming much too expensive for the average family, and the expansion in federal student loans and aid had yet to catch up, thus leading to the massive influx of small town kids joining the military to escape dead-end futures and receive money for college. The '90s were a relatively peaceful time on the international conflict front, so we were all lulled into a false sense of security and many of us joined the military thinking we'd spend four years drinking around the world and going to college for free. We all know how that turned out. 

The book is organized in diary format and the writing is very raw. I did my best to stick to original language and common colloquial terms that we used as '90s teens to maintain the story's authenticity. I also worked very hard every step of the way to keep myself firmly rooted in the psyche of my seventeen-year-old self and limit injections from my adult mindset. I regularly employed several tactics throughout the writing of this book to assist in my psychological "time travel" - hours of flipping through old photo albums (lots of bugging high school buddies I'm still connected with on social media to send me all their old pictures - sorry Natalie, I promise to include you in the acknowledgements section), reading and re-reading through my high school journals, watching old movies, and, of course, listening to a ton of '90s music to help "transport" my mind back to that era of my life.

Of course, I think anyone who was a teen anywhere in 1990s small-town America will enjoy this book, but I also feel modern teens will find it interesting as well and be able to use it as a window into their parents' minds and souls. They will also be able to relate to many of the struggles and challenges even though they are decades removed from them - sadly, teens today in rural pockets of America are still dealing with many of the same issues. 

Keep an eye out for A PIECE OF YOUTH on Amazon next Spring released under Reese & Rayne Publishing. Like my other books, it will be available in both paperback and Kindle formats; the Audible audiobook version will likely be available a month or so following the hardcopy and e-book release dates. For more information and to stay up-to-date on everything, please visit my website at AmandaMatti.com and/or follow my public Facebook page at facebook.com/AuthorAmandaMatti

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