Title: THE ASTRONAUT'S DAUGHTER
Genre: YA Historical
Word Count: 75k
When sixteen-year-old Evelyn’s father accepts a position with NASA’s Project Gemini to land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, she and her family are thrust into the spotlight. Evelyn pushes aside shyness to embrace new opportunities: the head cheerleader at school rallies for Evelyn to join the team, and popular football player Kip seems like potential boyfriend material. She’s even offered a spot with an exclusive debutante cotillion. Whether it’s all due to her father’s celebrity doesn’t matter; for the first time, Evelyn is in.
Then Evelyn meets David, a rising student civil rights leader, whose family’s store is vandalized with racial slurs. She’s drawn to David’s passion for the cause. When Evelyn speaks too readily to a reporter that segregation is immoral, her actions threaten not only her reputation at school, but also her father’s high-profile job. Tensions rise between Evelyn's classmates and the rival all-Negro high school when prank wars turn violent. Evelyn must decide whether her newfound popularity is worth her silence. If she does speak out, will her father lose his chance to set foot on the moon?
THE ASTRONAUT’S DAUGHTER takes place in the space race era. I am a member of SCBWI and RWA and active in local chapters.
I never gave the moon much thought until my father told me he wanted to walk on it.
Ever since NASA hired him for the Gemini project, the one that set the stage for Apollo and the future moon landing, that rock in the sky dictated my family’s every move. Life magazine’s latest issue made my father a household name, and now that we’d arrived in Houston, the spotlight included me, too. I was Stephen Richardson’s daughter — the daughter of a United States astronaut.
Now, if I could only stop sweating.
At tonight’s gala, held at some big-time rancher’s estate, I escaped to the balcony for cooler air, but the Texas heat was unforgiving. I’d aimed for more Audrey Hepburn and less Shirley Temple, but I didn’t quite feel like the glamorous society girl I’d hoped to show off.
"Evelyn, there you are!" I jumped at my mother's presence and despite my best efforts, my dress stuck to my back. She looked like a carbon copy of Jackie Kennedy with her bouffant and slim-skirted evening gown. "I'd like you to meet someone."
I expected another lady from The Daughters of the American Revolution, or The United Daughters of the Confederacy as both were well-represented tonight. Instead she introduced me to a boy about my age, sixteen. His sandy-colored hair faded at the tips like he'd spent all summer in the sun.
"Pleasure to meet you." He shook my hand with a firm grasp — probably from a military family, like me.