Amy Matayo: The Whys Have ItPosted on June 14, 2017 in Story of the Week
My Story of the Week selection for June 17, 2017 is an excerpt from the novel The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo, a multi-published author who is represented by my agent, Jessica Kirkland of Kirkland Media Management.
The Whys Have It is a story about grief. Loss. About not asking why all the time…letting life unfold and learning to take things as they come. It’s about not beating yourself up for every little mistake. It’s about acceptance and rising up after a hard fall. It’s about smiling through the tears and looking for the positive side. It’s about healing and forgiveness and seeing the best in all situations.
Here’s a preview:
Chart topping pop musician Cory Minor has it all—fame, money, more women at his disposal than time to spend on them. He’s living the life most American men only dream of. Until an ordinary concert in Springfield threatens to destroy everything he’s worked for.
As he and his band leave the arena for his next show, Cory’s tour bus loses control and crashes into two teenage girls, kicking one girl instantly and leaving the other barely clinging to life. Lawsuits are threatened, tabloids are talking, and Cory’s idyllic world falls apart. But what no one knows is that this scene is all too familiar. Because this isn’t the first accident Cory has caused. This isn’t the first time he’s destroyed someone else’s life to save his own.
It’s just the first time he’s had to face it head on.
Small town girl Samantha Dalton has no one—no mother, no father, and now no sister. She’s lost everything in a world that celebrates excess. So when Cory Minor shows up at her doorstep offering money and apologies, she turns him away, too. You can’t lose what you don’t have, and she can’t take another letdown, especially not from someone who has managed to rip away all she had left. Samantha has been fine on her own for years. She’ll be fine now too.
At least that’s what she tells herself.
But Cory won’t leave. He’s persistent in the worst possible way.
Will Cory’s determination to make things right pay off in the end, or will Sam keep pushing him away until there’s nothing left to fight for? How can two people learn to rely on each other when life keels hurting them both?
Here are the Prologue and Chapter 1 of The Whys have It. The Kindle edition releases June 20 on Amazon.com. Amy Matayo has poignantly captured a journey every human being faces. You will be inspired by the possibilities her story portrays.
Fame isn’t as glamorous as people might think. Sure, there’s wealth and notoriety and adoration and access to whatever a person might want. Things like luxury jets, lots of sex, alcohol and drugs if that’s your thing, lavish vacations to places most people have never even heard of, and an overabundance of friends ready and waiting on the receiving end of whatever your lifestyle has to offer.
But no one talks about the downside.
The adrenaline rushes that keep your heart in a perpetual state of near-attack from excessive beats that will probably wear it out before the age of fifty. The constant fog of exhaustion that hovers over your head from lack of sleep. The ever-present vertigo from not remembering what area of the country you’re currently in. The persistent soreness from being tugged on, pulled on, yelled at. The resentful family back home who remain perpetually unhappy because you don’t have time to visit.
Sure, fame is fun…fame is exhilarating. But it isn’t entirely what I imagined it would be.
My name is Cory Minor, and according to People Magazine I’m currently the most sought-after man in America.
I never dreamed I’d feel so isolated.
I never dreamed I’d have so much regret.
I never dreamed fame wouldn’t fix all my mistakes.
My past just caught up to me, because for one careless second I forgot to run.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
How the heck did I forget we were here?
It was the masking tape that reminded me. The masking tape that put me in an instant foul mood. I stomp backstage and hand off my guitar to a member of the crew and drain a water bottle in two long swallows, then pull the sweaty black tee over my head and run a towel across my chest. I need a shirt, and fast. Intermission lasts ten minutes, and I need to sit and calm down while I can. The last thing the crowd needs is for me to act pissed off for reasons they can’t control.
I give the room a great big eye roll and collapse into a leather chair. Leaning my head back, I alternately replay the first half of the show and try hard not to. I need a minute to clear my muddled head, a minute to come back down to earth and rid myself of the tension and dread that have enveloped me for the last half-hour. Blinking up at the ceiling, I wait for the feeling to pass. Wait a little more.
It doesn’t happen.
The moment I spotted that tape on the floor I nearly came undone, right there onstage and in front of everyone. Before each concert, a crew member tapes a strip to the floor behind a speaker. On it, our location is written in bold black marker so that I can shout the correct name of the town to the audience. “We love you, Seattle! You’re my favorite, San Antonio!” Blurting out the wrong city never goes over well. When you live out of a suitcase, when you wake up in a different place every day, it can sometimes be difficult to keep them all straight.
Tonight I forgot. Or blocked it out, whichever. I wasn’t prepared for the pain that rammed my gut when I read the name.
Springfield is my hometown.
I hate everything about it.
For reasons that belong only to me, I haven’t been back in a decade.
Thank God we’re leaving tonight. From now on if we need to perform in Missouri, I’ll agree to St. Louis and nothing else. No discussion. Springfield won’t make the list again.
“One minute, Cory,” my manager says. I barely register his yellow tie and pink dress shirt, though both look terrible together. I just hold up a finger in a hang on and close my eyes. Sal has been with me since the beginning. He’s eccentric in dress and slightly odd in personality, but he knows me better than almost anyone. The me I am today, at least. He doesn’t know anything about the Cory who ran from this city almost ten years ago.
And he never needs to.
“Put this on and get back onstage,” Sal says. A clean black t-shirt lands on my face like I knew it would. I sit up with a groan. The shirt is over my head in two seconds and I’m walking up the stairs in four. Time to shake it off. Time to smile. Time to start the second half of this show and make it better than the first. Time to check off my to-do list like a robot if that’s what it takes to get through the rest of the night.
Grab your guitar.
Pull the strap over your shoulder.
Bring it around your waist.
Strum a couple chords.
Forget where you are.
Look at the audience.
And that’s when I see her.
Amy Matayo is the award-winning author of The Wedding Game, Love Gone Wild, Sway, In Tune with Love, A Painted Summer, The End of the World and The Thirteenth Chance. She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But don’t feel sorry for her—she’s super proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn’t put it to good use.
She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is working on her next novel.