Introducing Shirley Loeb and her debut novel

I’m so happy to welcome Shirley Loeb today as she tells us how she created her debut coming-of-age novel, The Y Sapphires.

The Y Sapphires

First a brief synopsis of The Y Sapphires:

It is a coming-of-age story that will satisfy adolescents and adults. The 12-year-old protagonist, too tall and too fat, is lost in the new world of high school. She’s funny, lovable, and reads people accurately. She joins the Y Sapphires, a club of the “not-so-popular” and begins a friendship with a sophisticated but troubled classmate. Can she remain true to herself and still fit in the club she loves?

Here’s Shirley:

“The process was lengthy. I started writing this book about 25 years ago. I always loved the protagonist but somehow could not sit down long enough to complete it. It was left languishing for years at a time. Funny as it might sound, I felt I had abandoned Sylvie, the 12-year-old protagonist, and that I owed her the debt of completing her story. I was in a writing class where the members encouraged me to read a few pages aloud to them. Their response was positive. They found Sylvie warm, loving and someone they could relate to. So many young women told me their experiences or those of their daughters and friends about feeling left out and that I was touching a universal theme, a questioning of self at the time of adolescence that many girls experience.

One of my favorite books is Catcher in the Rye which can be read by an adolescent and also by an adult with humor at the musings of the adolescent. I tried to do the same here. Hopefully an adult reading the book will find this humor.

Overall the completion has been a positive experience. I am not good at promotion so most of the readers who have gotten back to me are friends and acquaintances although there were comments on Amazon by strangers.”

Thank you Shirley. I can certainly relate. It took me almost 18 years to write and get my memoir published.”

As Shirley says, she’s received some wonderful feedback. One reviewer says:

“From the opening line to the closing, this book The Y Sapphires touched my heart as the young girl protagonist struggles to find her place in teen life. She shows us compassion, embarrassment, shyness, body issue struggles, and the desire to “fit” with humor, tenderness and wisdom. I recommend The Y Sapphires especially to any mother or grandmother to read to remember and understand how that time in our lives was so special and so fragile and then to pass it on with love to their kids for insight and support in their journey towards adulthood. I great book to start cross generation conversations.”

Shirley’s Bio:

Shirley PhotoShirley Ross Loeb has just completed her first novel, The Y Sapphires. She is currently working on a play. She is also a practicing Marriage and Family Therapist and was formerly a  lawyer. Her work often centers on the internal turmoil we experience and how we patch together our resolutions. She lives in Santa Monica, California.

Thank you so much for being here, Shirley, and sharing your writing process with us.

Please click here to download a free sample of The Y Sapphires. I’ll bet you’ll be encouraged to keep reading.


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