Finding Center Stage

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FINDING CENTER STAGE, is a coming-of-age, upmarket, John Green meets Jojo Moyes novel about a young, musical genius who isolates himself because of his physical differences and must learn over the course of the novel that sometimes when you’re set apart, you’re meant to stand out.

Richard Black has enough talent at 16 to become the next big thing in the music industry. That’s before his life turns so upside down that he wants to be free of it all and walks in front of a moving truck. He survives but instead of being free, this 16-year-old is now shackled with a lifetime of scars from face to toes and he’s forced to accept that he’s obliterated his once-magical future of performing in front of millions. After running away from life for years, he decides to risk everything to salvage the last, best part of himself—his music. He becomes obsessed with giving his compositions to a beautiful, star vocalist. Richard is turned away many times but when Amy Laurel finally hears the songs, she is blown away and flies him to her estate. She’s never seen someone scarred like Richard but soon she sees beneath his broken exterior and is smitten by his heart and by getting a glimpse of his musical genius. Unfortunately, her off-and-on-again partner, Ben, views this genius as a threat. In the final showdown, Amy must choose between the two men and Richard must do for himself what his doctors could not help him do: heal. He learns how to fight his way back to his own center stage, free to walk out in front of everyone under the bright, stage lights exactly as he is, whole and unafraid. 

From the Author

Sometimes when you’re set apart, you’re meant to stand out.

As teens and young adults, we struggle to find the center stage of our lives, defining for ourselves who we are and what we’ll make of this lifetime. Although that journey never stops, we feel it most keenly at the beginning of adulthood when we are forced to take our first steps into the world of  “making it.” Like the first steps we took as infants, we fall, get hurt and stand back up. So it is with Richard Black, a musical prodigy who is severely scarred from an auto accident and who therefore runs from the very thing that is center stage for him: his musical genius. Most of us have a drive to make this lifetime extraordinary but also feel a strong pull to stay safe. We end up straddling both worlds never quite satisfied with either. So it is with Richard, who must risk his family ties, his promising job and his sobriety to pursue the dream his brain tells him he shouldn’t but his heart tells him he must.

I wrote this novel remembering the profound sense of being "different" when I was growing up. I didn't realize until I was older that this is a human phenomenon, not a George phenomenon. The novel celebrates one of our most fundamental rights: the right to be different.


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