The Pace of Nature
It’s 1991. A time when kids gather in yards to jump rope and play hopscotch and games like red light/green light and Simon Says. A time when kids climb trees and get muddy, fall down but get back up, brushing off their scrapes and bruises.
But no one warned Lilly Difeo that a simple act of childhood play gone wrong could lead to a lifetime of consequences. Her childhood is interrupted by a horrible moment of chance. Lilly can no longer run free with her sisters in the open; instead, she faces years of cognitive rehabilitation indoors with doctors and tutors. Her family’s ability to hold themselves together in the wake of the incident is tested to the breaking point. And it breaks.
Lilly is alone, an outsider to her family. Caught between the past and the unbearable present, she longs to be loved by her family; she yearns to be “normal” like them. But it is only after the result of a pending lawsuit, which put’s Lilly’s treatments on hold, that she meets April and catches a glimpse of a future filled with boys and punk music. Lilly begins to find the confidence to start to assert herself, but quickly finds herself on a downward spiral towards violence and petty theft, balancing on an ever-thinning wire with no safety net in sight.
Leaving her parents with no choice, fifteen-year-old Lilly is forced into a car and dropped off at Forge Academy, a boot-camp boarding school in the back-woods of Connecticut, where she’s forced to face her personal demons.
Lilly soon falls back into her old habits and gets pulled deeper into a whirlwind of confusion after refusing to adhere to the Forge philosophy. Lilly is desperate to be with her family, but she must first learn how to straddle the line between her sense of right and wrong. Only then can she begin the precipitous climb towards figuring herself out and find the path back home.
Join Lilly as she travels to a strange new place, at the mercy of a group of people beholden to a toxic belief system. Follow Lilly’s journey through loss and betrayal as she learns to trust her intuition in a search to reclaim her identity, determined to find her way back home.
Elizabeth Eslami, author of Hibernate, winner of The Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction, says, “Fierce, tender, and real, Lilly DiFeo is that rare creature: a character you can root for. Her struggle for survival and redemption – on her own terms – broke my heart and showed me how the pieces fit together. Bountiful in its gifts, honest in its voice, The Pace of Nature is a marvel, and Britt DiGiacomo is a writer to watch.”
Alex Gilvary, author of Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant, winner of the 2012 New York City book award, says, “Turning our lives into fiction is no easy task, but Britt DiGiacomo managed to tap into the past with subtleness, feeling, heart, and a moving, gut-wrenching, and at times infuriating story that shows a command of scene.”
The Pace of Nature is a two-novel series I began writing in July of 2009. Although The Pace of Nature is based on true events from my life, the story is written in the first person and told through my character, Lilly Difeo. It is my goal to traditionally publish the manuscript under the genre of literature fiction as a coming-of-age story.
After I finished the first draft of the novel, it became clear that I needed to go back to school and continue my education.
In fall of 2010 I attained my bachelor’s degree in English Literature, where I found my love of American, classical, and romantic literary works. Specifically, I delved into the writings of Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and the rest of the lost generation, along with Homer and Sappho, and perhaps most influential, Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. My professors were supportive of my creative writing and allowed me to incorporate excerpts and drafts of The Pace of Nature into my final projects so that I could further explore my style and shape the tone of my story.
During my senior year of college, one of my mentors suggested I look into applying to a Master of Fine Arts program so that I could continue my education in writing. I began the application process, applying to MFA programs with the specific goal of writing, crafting, and polishing the second draft of The Pace of Nature. I applied to eight MFA programs and got into three. I chose to attend Manhattanville College because I fell in love with the community when visiting, and because it offered fellowships for extracurricular opportunities; I served as production editor for the Manhattanville Review, the MFA program’s literary magazine, during my second year.
During this time, I grew as a writer and worked hard at re-writing The Pace of Nature. I regularly met with my teachers who helped me understand the process of what it takes to be a published novelist in this day and age. I graduated with my MFA in 2014 with a full-form second draft of The Pace of Nature.
It has been a busy ten years since I started the first draft of The Pace of Nature. I have attained two degrees. I have pitched the novel to over a hundred agents and attended dozens of writers’ conferences, where I’ve had face-to-face time with editors and others involved in publishing. I’ve re-worked three different versions of The Pace of Nature, finding that my story grows stronger with each revision. It has been a long, bracing, hair-pulling process involving less and less sleep. But, nevertheless, The Pace of Nature is a story I love, and I am dedicated to getting it on the shelf.
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