Burbank resident and author Mary Ellen Herenda has released a charming and engaging new middle-grade novel, The Soda Pop Skaters: Friendship on Ice.
The book follows middle school students Mary and Kelly as they explore a new hobby, figure skating, for their seventh-grade elective class. While they start skating at The Fizzy Rink, the lively ice rink in their hometown of Soda Junction, the two encounters friendly, experienced skaters named Lisa and Mickey. The middle schoolers quickly hit it off and team up to form The Soda Pop Skaters. This group is ready to pursue their dreams and take on any challenges they may face on or off the ice.
The process of writing the book began in 2020 when Herenda decided to pen early drafts of The Soda Pop Skaters. The author had the idea in mind for years of writing a novel based on her own experiences of figure skating while growing up in Northern California in the ‘70s. Herenda describes competing in the sport as “a challenging experience that required a lot of discipline and perseverance,” but one that was also filled with enjoyable moments she incorporated into the novel.
“The rewards like landing jumps, passing a test, or performing well in competitions made it well worth it,” Herenda said of her time as a young figure skater. “Just like the characters in the book, I had as much fun off the ice with my friends as I did skating.”
The Soda Pop Skaters: Friendship on Ice is a read that has earned glowing reviews from customers. “The storyline was well crafted, easy to follow and very realistic,” one Amazon user wrote. “This story brings back memories of my own youth,” another reader said. “I enjoyed it as much as my daughter.”
This positive reception follows Herenda’s first-ever professional writing venture. This endeavor consisted of months of rewriting early drafts, receiving edits from her daughter, who is also a writer, and researching the self-publishing process. Throughout the journey of creating The Soda Pop Skaters, Herenda continued to use her own memories as inspiration, which has proven to connect with readers the most.
“As a first-time author, my advice for writers would be to write about what you know and what has impacted your life,” Herenda said. “If you feel you have a message or story to share, then go with it. You would be surprised by how many people can relate to your experiences and how much your story can resonate with others.”
Herenda states that the book is the first in a series, though she isn’t yet certain how many total Soda Pop Skaters volumes she’ll release in the future. She has already begun working on the second Soda Pop Skaters book. In addition, Herenda and her daughter have collaborated on a pilot script based on the storyline of the first book and plan to make a television adaptation of the series.
For both the pilot script and the first Soda Pop Skaters novel, Herenda has highlighted the similarities that are shared between the diverse group of characters who participate in figure skating. Skating, friendship, and fun form the foundation of the plot of the book. Using this as a starting point, Herenda has created a world in which these personalities are loyal to each other as they go through coming-of-age adventures and make memories to last a lifetime.
“In the book, I really wanted to emphasize the bond we all had going through the same challenges as skaters and kids growing up even though we came from different backgrounds,” Herenda said. “Sometimes we skated together as a group, and we even competed against each other in certain events, but we always supported one another.”
To learn more about The Soda Pop Skaters: Friendship on Ice, visit its Amazon page here.