Designer You

Sarahlyn Bruck

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA FAMILY

    Core Theme

    SELF-DISCOVERY, REBUILDING LIFE AFTER A TRAGEDY

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    DEMOLITION, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, HGTV'S FIXER UPPER

    CHARACTER LIST

    • PAM WHEELER: 44. LEAD. AMBITIOUS BUT INSECURE. SHE LOSES HER HUSBAND EARLY IN THE STORY AS HAS TO REBUILD HER WHOLE LIFE.
    • GRACE WHEELER: 15. PAM’S REBELLIOUS DAUGHTER. ADVENTUROUS, COMPLEX, DESPERATE, OUTSPOKEN, SECRETIVE.

    Logline

    Pam Wheeler checked every box: Happy marriage? Check. Fantastic kid? Check. Booming career? Check. So when her husband dies suddenly and their DIY empire goes on life support, Pam must fix the relationship with her troubled and grief-stricken daughter and save the family business.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54

    Target Gender: Female leaning

    Setting

    Philadelphia, PA/St. Petersburg, FL

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

    Year Published: 2018

    Starting Description

    Pam & Nate are semi-famous DIY home renovators. When he dies in a freak accident, Pam becomes a single mother of a headstrong teenager. Her life is now a juggling act between dealing with her loss & learning how to parent by herself. On top of that, she must reinvent herself or lose the business.

    Ending Description

    Pam reinvents herself by creating a career that celebrates her talents without sacrificing her relationship with her daughter.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending, Meaningful Message, Coming of Age

    Plot - Premise

    Quest

    Main Character Details

    Name: Pam Wheeler

    Age: 44

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Faithful, Funny, Romantic, Insecure, Engaging, Complex, Desperate, Educated, Modest, Obedient, Aspiring, Clumsy, Empathetic, Charming, Underdog

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Grace

    Age: 15

    Gender: Female

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous, Complex, Desperate, Empathetic, Insecure, Manipulative, Outspoken, Secretive

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    Brief

    When her husband dies suddenly, Pam finds herself both a widow and a single mother to a rebellious
    teenager. She must save the family business, a DIY empire, while trying to repair her relationship with
    her troubled daughter, all while moving through her own grief.

    What We Liked

    - This story represents a journey of self-discovery, and proves that anyone can find a new path,
    even later in life;
    - Relatable, inspiring, and hopeful for a wide range of female audiences - women would tell
    their friends, mothers, and daughters to go see the movie;
    - The broken and repaired relationship between Pam and her daughter;
    - Pam's struggle to figure out who she is without her husband;
    - It taps into the success of HGTV-style shows.

    Synopsis

    While Pam is out shopping for their latest client, her husband, Nate, falls to his death while working on
    their own house. Pam returns home to find him, and she must break the news not only to her teenage
    daughter, Grace, but also her and Nate’s adoring fans. The couple ran a successful DIY lifestyle brand
    called Designer You, wherein Nate restores old homes, and Pam writes books and blog posts sharing
    their work. Now, without Nate’s artistic genius, Pam is saddled with all of their unfinished projects, and
    very little idea of where to even start. Pam takes on as much of the work as she can, learning as she
    goes. However, she’s putting off the next book she’s under contract to write, and she barely sees
    Grace at all.
    Grace begins to act out, rebellious in her grief. She skips school and even gets in a physical fight, and
    she’s nearly expelled. Pam writes the private school a sizable check to keep Grace in, and goes back
    to focusing on work. Though she’s completely wrapped up in Designer You, she’s struggling to stay
    afloat. She and Grace grow more and more distant, and Pam falls behind on nearly every aspect of the
    brand. Pam toys with the idea of dating, but she’s reluctant so soon after Nate’s passing. Meanwhile,
    Grace feels out of place at her college prep school. PSATs are coming fast, and Grace is lost. On
    Thanksgiving, Pam learns from her literary agent that her book deal has been cancelled thanks to her
    lack of progress. Writing was the last thing she felt confident of, and now that’s been taken from her.
    Completely at odds and overwhelmed, Pam questions her career path. She’s failing to keep up with
    Designer You, but she feels pressure to keep Nate’s dream alive.
    She decides to make Grace her newfound focus and quits all things Designer You, contracting out any
    remaining projects and effectively dismantling the company. Grace is still distraught and angry, every
    ounce the grieving teenager, but she agrees to spend a month in Florida with Pam. Every evening they
    sit down to eat at 6pm, and they begin forging a relationship again. When they return to Philadelphia,
    Pam agrees to stage a friend’s house when she lists it. The house sells immediately, and the real
    estate agent is so impressed with Pam’s staging that she offers her more work doing the same thing.
    Though Pam is unsure, she feels a passion for this that she hasn’t felt since Nate’s death. She opens
    her own business in staging houses for sale, and she begins attending every function at Grace’s new
    school. A year after Nate’s death, Pam finally feels ready to try dating again, and to be the stable
    parent her daughter deserves.

    About The Author

    Sarahlyn Bruck writes contemporary women's fiction and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. She teaches writing and literature as an associate professor at a local community college, and she also coaches developing writers on their own books.