Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why should a reader read "Surviving Haley?"

Tragedy can strike without notice. It’s in the news every day. Bad things happen to good people—men, women, and children, and that bothers me.      

My young adult novel, Surviving Haley, is about Lauren Werthman, a teen who used to like soccer, who used to play an instrument and have a best friend. But now she turns to food for comfort and doesn’t do much of anything. Why? A tragedy. She makes a mistake, one that results in her little sister Haley’s death. Lauren can’t forgive herself, because if she’d been paying attention, Haley might still be alive.

The book isn’t about the accident, though. It’s about Lauren’s battle to fight her way back to a normal life. After the accident, the family moves to a new state. Lauren gains weight. She hides mini-candy bars in her school bag. At home, she keeps a stash in an old flocked bunny bank where her mother won’t find it, because Mom monitors everything Lauren eats. Food is the only thing that lifts her mood, but the good feeling is short-lived. She eats way too much in a short period of time and afterwards, she’s disgusted with herself and even more depressed.

There are lots of novels about Anorexia and Bulimia, but there’s another disorder known as B.E.D., or Binge Eating Disorder. Overeating is normal from time to time. But Lauren’s eating becomes out of control—she can’t stop even when she’s full.   

Suffering causes people to question their faith or even doubt the existence of God. Guilt invades every aspect of Lauren’s life. The first day at her new school, she meets a guy who’s wearing a shirt with a religious logo, and her initial reaction is anger: If there’s a God, why didn’t He save her sister? 

Who’s this book for? Readers who want to root for a character trying to change, who believe everyone deserves a second chance. Can Lauren ever be happy again? Could you?   

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Exclusion Starts Early

Children are born with no sense of right or wrong, and left to their own devices, human nature will take over. Unfortunately what comes naturally is selfishness and cruelty. Even in kids as young as three, I've witnessed the exclusion of classmates and heard cruel comments directed at others. "I don't like you," or "You can't play," or "No girls allowed."

I've seen kids, really young kids, refuse to hold hands with someone whose skin color differs from their own. Or some of them don't want to sit at a table next to another child who is of a different ethnic background. It's sad that this behavior occurs in early childhood settings, when children are supposedly innocent and unbiased.

The key word in all of this is, "different." If a child is different from others in any way, he or she is a prime candidate for being teased, bullied or excluded. Children don't seem to value uniqueness, they value sameness.  Again, that's sad. Because we were created to be unique with our own set of talents, gifts and abilities. The only way we should all be the same is in the way we treat others--with empathy, acceptance and love.     

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book cover released

After more than ten years of writing, and a file drawer full of unfinished pieces, it's really happening--my book's being published. If there's something you love to do, even if realizing your dream is a long shot, keep doing it, because you never know. The only thing certain is, it will never happen if you give up.  

Throughout the entire process of learning to write, I kept hearing, "a published author is an amateur writer who didn't quit." Like most things, writing improves with practice, and one page at a time, one chapter at a time, those blank pages fill and you end up with a book-length story. 

So, what have you always wanted to do? What's holding you back? Quit listening to people who say, "That's impossible," and just keep trying. It's been said a long journey begins with a single step. So take the first step and then keep moving forward. Stop listening to negative thoughts and negative people and go ahead, allow yourself to believe it's possible.