Katie Leimkuehler, from left, Jen Yih and Melissa Wilson are the authors…
Katie Leimkuehler, a 28-year-old social media consultant and co-author of the book series “Shy Town Girls,” might be one step closer to bringing her story of Chicago’s twentysomething women to the small screen.
The Lincoln Park resident has made it through to the second round of The 2013 Fresh Voices Pitch Contest, which crowns a grand winner Aug. 1 to receive $5,000 in prizes, screenplay consultation and the opportunity to pitch their story to an experienced producer.
“We’ve had a vision from the beginning to create such a compelling world in these novels that the characters also come to life on the screen,” Leimkuehler said.
The four-part book series created by Leimkuehler, Melissa Wilson and Jennifer Yih follows the lives of four friends—Bobbie, Ivy, Ella and Meryl—as independent young women in Chicago, Leimkuehler said.
The idea for the collaborative series started with Wilson, who is also the founder and president of a publishing and marketing company called Networlding. Both Yih and Leimkuehler were working with the company when Wilson approached them about collaborating on a book.
“We all met in Chicago at Melissa’s office at Networlding and just started dishing out ideas and forming characters,” said Yih, a 22-year-old marketing creative currently living in Hawaii. “I didn’t know Katie prior to that, but we all ended up getting really close during the process.”
After brainstorming, the trio agreed on a storyline that related to them all, based off the question that Yih said many women are confronted with during their quarterlife crisis: Who am I?
“We wanted to get into the inner insecurities and the shyness of women, especially being young in the city, intimidated by the job market and having to deal with all sorts of boy problems,” Yih said.
Each novel in the series focuses on one of the four characters, and each member of the writing group has a specific character they chose to bring to life.
“I know my character [Ivy] is inspired by me at a point in my life,” Leimkuehler said. “She’s like the crazy party girl; she’s really outgoing and has a sassy persona. It’s a mixture of my experiences and the experiences of some of my friends meshed together to create this personality.”
Leimkuehler’s story of Ivy is the second book in the series, set to be released in August, and is the story that she used for consideration in the Fresh Voices Pitch Contest.
“Katie took the initiative to get this book out there, which I totally think is worth it because this book would make an amazing TV series,” Yih said.
Although Yih said she can already envision mainstream actors like Meryl Streep and Rachel Bilson for the roles of characters such as Barbara and Bobbie in the potential “Sex and the City” meets “The Devil Wears Prada” TV series, Leimkuehler noted that “Shy Town Girls” would be completely different from the hit HBO TV show, “Girls,” which involves a similar storyline.
“It’s [in reference to ‘Girls’] rather depressing I think and kind of like a downward spiral of girls doing everything wrong, and I feel like our characters are more relatable and fun to watch and read about,” Leimkuehler said. “It would definitely be more lighthearted and have a little more of a positive twist.”
More information on Leimkuehler and the book series can be found on the “Shy Town Girls” website.
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