Do you like short stories? I tend to read and write novels, but one of my favorite reads is a collection of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri titled Interpreter of Maladies.
So when Omnific Publishing asked its authors if we wanted to write short stories for a charity anthology, I jumped at the chance. Besides trying to rein in my bloated word count, I also tried to stretch myself by writing a Young Adult short story from first person POV.
That story is Swim Recruit, available for FREE.
Not long after Abby Donahue’s family falls apart, she escapes on an airplane to Chicago for a recruiting trip. A talented high-school swimmer, Abby hopes to score both a college scholarship and some distance from her parents’ recent divorce. But is this university for her?
Her first encounter with freshman swimmer Reese McGowan makes her nervous. He’s a tall backstroker with a mess of blond hair, glittering aquamarine eyes, and a suspension from the team for badmouthing the school to another recruit. As Abby unravels the mystery underlying Reese’s disdain, she begins to unlock her own hidden emotions about her father. Together Abby and Reese battle bullies on the team and inner demons, learning that flipper feet and fighting for family can actually be a good thing.
Traci from Goodreads had this to say about Swim Recruit: “It was surprisingly deep for such a short story, it had a good message of acceptance, and standing up for yourself and your beliefs.”
Ana from Goodreads said “Jen, I love the simplicity and honesty with which you broach controversial subjects. You make it seem so easy to deconstruct a theme down to its more basic and important aspects.”
Ooh, controversial subjects–my favorite!
Once I reached O’Hare’s baggage claim, I scanned the area until my eyes rested on a dark-haired man in a purple parka. His eyebrows lifted when I approached. “Abby Donahue?”
I shot him a nervous grin. “That’s me.”
He smiled back, reaching behind me for my bag. “Welcome to Chicago. I’m Eric Landon, the assistant coach. My car’s just a short walk from here if you want to follow me.”
On our trek to the parking garage, we dodged busy travelers, including a couple in the throes of PDA. I was simultaneously appalled and jealous when the guy groped the girl’s butt during their kiss.
I’d wanted a boyfriend my entire high school career, but a suitable one had yet to materialize. Looked like I was going to prom yet again with Anthony Jackson, a nice but nerdy boy who was one of the only seniors ahead of me in class rank.
I looked over to find Eric staring at me, and I realized I’d missed his question. “Uh, sorry?”
“I asked you how your flight was.”
“Good. My mom was freaking out ’cause we were supposed to get freezing rain, but I guess it held off or something.”
“That’s lucky.” Eric nodded. “We don’t get much rain here in the winter — too cold.”
As if on cue, I felt a blast of icy wind gust through the parking garage, and I eyed his Northwestern Swimming parka longingly while tugging up the zipper of my jacket. So this was the reason he willingly wore a coat that made him a shoe-in for Grimace. I wondered if Hamburglar was sneaking around here too.