As a girl, Richland High School alumna Alexis Bass played a game with a friend — pretending to be authors, they’d sit down and quietly compose imaginary masterpieces.
What started as a childhood fantasy has come full circle. The 30-year-old’s debut novel, Love & Other Theories, hits bookstore shelves Dec. 30.
“I’ve always loved to write,” said Bass, a 2002 Richland graduate. “ I was doing it since I was really young.”
Bass will continue doing it at least a little longer. She’s agreed to a two-book deal with publisher HarperCollins and expects her second novel, What’s Broken Between Us, to be released next year.
Love & Other Theories doesn’t have a specific Tri-City connection, but Bass said the story unfolds in a city similar to Richland, which she described as a “town that’s a big draw to scientists.”
The story follows 17-year-old Aubrey Housing as she and her best friends navigate the perils of teenage love and friendship. It’s recommended for teens 14 and up and will cost $17.99.
“Aubrey Housing and her best friends live by a set of rules: Don’t fall in love, don’t be needy and don’t give away your heart,” reads HarperCollins’ description of the book.
Bass, who now lives in Chico, Calif., followed an unconventional course to arrive where she is today. Shunning the typical English and master’s degree pathway toward publication, Bass earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Arizona State University in 2006 and joined the everyday working world. She continued writing in her free time and joined critique groups to hone her craft.
“Just getting feedback is really helpful,” she said of the writing groups.
Bass wrote a draft novel and was convinced she could make it in the fiction writing world. Her first attempt at novel writing received little attention, but Bass didn’t give up. She kept writing, found an agent who recognized her potential and pressed on in the genre of young adult and contemporary realistic fiction. She signed the two-book deal with HarperCollins last year.
The book review magazine Kirkus Reviews called Love & Other Theories “careful, subtle and aching” in a starred critique.
Publishers Weekly said of the novel: “Bass provides honest, incisive, and sometimes uncomfortable insights into the complicated intersections of friendship and romance, the ways sex can be wielded as a weapon, and the measures some teens take to protect themselves from pain.”
Bass continues to work in marketing in northern California, where she also blogs, tweets and writes. She has transitioned to working part-time to better accommodate her writing and promotion schedule.
Bass will be in town Jan. 2 for a noon reading and book signing at Columbia Center mall’s Barnes and Noble.