Rebecca Behrens books
Rebecca Behrens books
Rebecca Behrens books

Thanks to Katy Upperman for tagging me. I loved reading about her fabulous WIP, Cross My Heart. Here are some answers about my upper-MG WIP:

What is the working title of your book?
When Audrey Met Alice

Where did the idea come from?
It’s kind of a long story. I knew a little about Alice Roosevelt from my dad, who has always been a huge Teddy Roosevelt fan. I have always been fascinated by the lives of first daughters, and I suppose that interest was re-sparked when the Obamas moved into the White House.

But the specific idea for a book about a first daughter who “meets” Alice Roosevelt came to me while I was walking home from work one day. That’s not very special, but I later found out that I was walking past a home where Alice once lived, as a young person, right at the time that this concept popped into my head. Which is a little spooky.

What genre does your book fall under?
A blend of contemporary and historical fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Alice Lee Roosevelt (from

I am a huge Mad Men fan, and one of my favorite characters is Sally Draper. I would love to see the very talented Kiernan Shipka as Audrey. As for Alice, I’m not sure. Any suggestions?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Lonely first daughter finds Alice Roosevelt’s long-lost diary, and shenanigans ensue.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am so fortunate to be represented by the amazing Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Hmm, I got the idea in summer 2010, and I had a finished first draft by the end of that year. I wasn’t working on it continuously, though: there were some distracting life events (e.g., a move) and some revisions on a previous manuscript that pulled me away at times. So I’d say about five months. But that was a first draft of two completely separate narratives, which I had to try to weave together.

May we see an intro?
I’ll give you the first line:
It is ridiculously difficult to
get a pizza delivered to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

What other books would you compare this story to?
In some ways, the structure is similar to Revolution, which I read long after the first draft. But my manuscript is upper middle grade, so the subject matter is a little lighter. Promise the Night, an MG about famous female aviator Beryl Markham, is also kind of similar. I like to think that both Audrey and Alice have strong voices, and there is a lot of humor in the stories they tell. So I might compare it to some of my favorite voice-driven books.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Alice Roosevelt, of course. She was a scandalous White House wild child at a time when girls had a lot of social constraints. Also, there was a photograph of Sasha Obama on a beach that I found really poignant–she’s in her swimsuit, playing in the sand. But you can see behind her a horde of people gawking at her and taking pictures. First kids are afforded some incredible opportunities and experiences, but I imagine they also lose a lot of privacy, freedom, and normalcy. I wanted to explore that situation.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There is a very cute boy. And lots of descriptions of food.

Have you shared about your WIP? If you’d like to, consider yourself tagged for the Next Big Thing!