CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN through September 2nd
THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON through September 23rd
MASK OF SHADOWS through September 30th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Danielle Burby Agent Spotlight Interview on 9/25/17
Molly O'Neill Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/23/17
Quressa Robinson Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/30/17

Shannon Wiersbitzky on Story Seeds and giveaway of WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER

Long time readers will remember Shannon from a previous guest post on focus that included a giveaway of her YA novel The Summer of Hammers and Angels. Shannon has a brand new middle grade out called What Flowers Remember and this time she's here to talk about story seeds and why she found herself writing about Alzheimer's.

The "Seeds" of Stories
By Shannon Wiersbitzky

I’ve thought a lot about memories over the past two years. The idea of what we remember, how we try to help ourselves remember, and whether or not memories can exist in other forms. You see my new middle-grade novel, What Flowers Remember, involves Alzheimer’s.

The disease isn’t one typically associated with children. More than once I’ve gotten the question, Why Alzheimer’s in a children’s book? It may not be a disease that children “get”, but with one in three seniors dying with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it is absolutely a disease that impacts both children and grand children.

I was one of those grand children.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My parents both worked, and my grandparents loved having me, so when school let out in the summer, off I went. I lived with them for three months of the year. My grandparents became both second parents and great friends.

In What Flowers Remember, the main character, Delia, also has a deep connection to someone older. For her, it is a neighbor, a man named Old Red. The two of them share a love of flowers and gardening. When Old Red begins to experience the signs and symptoms of dementia, Delia does everything in her power to save his memories. And she pulls in the entire town to help.

Like my character Delia hopes that Old Red won’t forget her, I too hoped my own grandfather wouldn’t lose me. That somehow, I might be special enough that the disease wouldn’t find me. I was wrong.

When I visit classrooms and talk about storytelling, I discuss the “seeds” of stories. And how the best seeds often come from moments of great joy, or sadness, fear or confusion. The moment I realized my grandfather had forgotten me was the seed that started this novel.

I never set out to write a children’s book about Alzheimer’s. Instead, I tried to find a way to plant that seed. A way to share the truth of my own experience in the context of a fictional town with fictional characters who are busy creating new memories of their own while someone they love is losing his.

How would you set out to try and save someone else's memories? And what would you be willing to sacrifice to do so? Maybe your answers are the same as Delia’s.
***

Shannon is giving away a paperback copy of her middle grade novel What Flowers Remember to one lucky commenter. The giveaway is US only and will run until Monday May 26th. I'll announce the winner that week. If your e-mail is not on your google profile, please post it with your entry.

Good luck!

From Goodreads

"Most folks probably think gardens only get tended when they're blooming. But most folks would be wrong. According to the almanac, a proper gardener does something every single month. Old Red Clancy was definitely a proper gardener. That's whyI enrolled myself in the Clancy School of Gardening. If I was going to learn about flowers, I wanted to learn from the best."

Delia and Old Red Clancy make quite a pair. He has the know-how and she has the get-up-and-go. When they dream up a seed- and flower-selling business, well, look out, Tucker's Ferry, because here they come. But something is happening to Old Red. And the doctors say he can't be cured. He's forgetting places and names and getting cranky for no reason. As his condition worsens, Delia takes it upon herself to save as many memories as she can. Her mission is to gather Old Red's stories so that no one will forget, and she corrals everybody in town to help her.

WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER is the story of love and loss, of a young girl coming to understand that even when people die, they live on in our minds, our hearts, and our stories.
 Find Shannon at her website, Facebook, and Goodreads

45 comments:

  1. This sounds fantastic. Would love to read!
    aungleich@gmail.com

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  2. Gosh, Shannon. You definitely made me teary-eyed. I've actually thought about exploring this theme, myself. My grandmother suffered for years with this, the last ten rendered her basically comatose. It's a tender subject, but one that definitely deserves the limelight. Thx.

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    1. So sorry to hear that your grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's as well. A terrible disease and one that we don't talk about enough.

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  3. Yes, such a tender subject and relevant for all of us. Your story sounds lovely and poignant. My daughter just finished reading Cynthia Lord's new book, Half a Chance, which also touches on dementia in a grandparent.

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    1. Kristin, I'll have to read that. Thanks for mentioning it.

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  5. So sad. Alzheimer's is like losing someone before they're completely gone. I think I'd draw on some training I got when I worked at a nursing home, try to help the person hold on to any memories they can for as long as possible.

    Delia sounds like a fantastic character :)

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    1. I completely agree. They lose you and you lose them...even while they're still there. Delia does her best to keep the memories alive. She's a creative girl. :)

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  6. I would like to enter.
    mdmaurer135 at gmail dot com

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  7. Thanks for writing a MG novel about memory loss. I can relate to Delia's story. My experience with Alzheimer hits closer to home with my grandmother, uncle and now my father.

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    1. I do hope this book speaks to your truth and helps in any small way. I can't imagine losing multiple loved ones to the disease. Memories shouldn't be able to disappear.

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  8. A timely post as I continue to look back to find those story seeds you speak of! Thanks.

    p.s. I am in Canada can't be in the draw. Have the book added to my TBR though!

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    1. Hello Deb in Canada! Story seeds...tricky little things. All around us but still hard to find at times. Look forward to hearing your thoughts...thanks for adding it to your TBR list!

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  9. Your book sounds just like one I need to read as well as my daughter. She has aging grandparents showing signs of forgetting easily and as a family we have to pay attention and monitor without "stepping on their toes" and taking charge. I like the idea of a young person and an older person as friends--not a relationship all people are blessed to have. Thank you for the giveaway!

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    1. Danielle, I would be so interested to hear about how both you and your daughter absorb the story differently. As someone who did have eldery "friends" as a child, it isn't common, and you're right, it was a blessing.

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  10. Wow, I would LOVE to read this one. Wow.

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  11. Kira - It makes me happy to know that the story idea resonates. Hope you enjoy it!

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  12. Wow. I don't usually like contemporary but this novel resonates with my experiences with my grandparents. I need to put this on my goodreads to read list. Emilygmoorewriter@yahoo.com

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    1. Emily- Sadly, so many of us have had these experiences. I hope you find that Delia's story is your story too.

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  13. Oh my goodness, how touching and sad at the same time. Alzheimers is not something I've ever experienced first hand, although we've done cancer, deafness, heart attacks and most anything else under the sun. I can hardly imagine how difficult it would be to face a loved one who doesn't remember you.

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    1. Crystal - Hopefully you won't ever have someone you love forget you. If only in a novel, that would be a good thing. And it isn't all sad...like life, sadness and happiness are woven together in unexpected ways.

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  14. Shannon, its great to meet you and best wishes with your childrens story on Alzheimers. This would be a great read for kids whose grandparents might have the disease.

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    1. Stephen, thanks so much for the good wishes! I do hope the book will be especially meaningful to those children who are experiencing the disease with someone they love.

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  15. As one who loves flowers and gardening (and who worries about getting Alzheimer's), I can't wait to read this book. It sounds delightful!

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    1. Nina - I apologize in advance for any flower / gardening blunders that may be included in the story! Hope you enjoy it!

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  16. What a lovely premise. Remembering our loved ones is an important hope most of us have. Great to see someone tackle it in a book.

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    1. Emily - Hope you enjoy the story. Writing it certainly made me think about the memories I should be saving in my own life.

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  17. Alzheimer's is a sly thief and it does steal from children. Your title is wonderful and intriguing.

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    1. A sly thief who steals parents and grandparents away from those they love. Hope you enjoy the story!

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  18. Sounds like a touching story, plus I love gardening. I'm pleased to meet Shannon.

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    1. Medeia - Hope you like both the memories and the gardening. Nice to meet you too! Thanks for joining in the conversation.

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  19. Congratulations to Shannon! This sounds like a very good story with a strong emotional connection.

    Indeed, a number of my story ideas have been planted from seeds of my own experiences, both positive and not so positive.

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    1. Cynthia - The old adage "write what you know" comes from all these little seeds. Good luck with your stories!

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  20. A wonderful post. The topic of Alzheimer's/dementia is very near to my heart and family history. This sounds like a very special book.

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    1. Jessica - Alzheimer's robs so many of us from family we love. I hope Delia's story speaks to your truth as well.

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  21. this sounds so good. I am anxious to see how she tries to save his memories. My dad lost a lot of his memories in his later years. Some memories of long ago he could tell over and over. But, even they finally were being told differently to different people. It was hard when I visited him. It was hard to see this change in him. But, I came to accept it. Good luck with our book. It sounds like a good one.

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    1. Janet - It is so hard to watch someone disappear bit by bit, memory by memory. I do hope you enjoy the story.

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  22. I think this is a book that many kids and adults will be able to relate to, as most of know someone who has suffered from Alzheimer's. I love the idea of trying to save memories and I look forward to reading Shannon's book. Thanks for sharing and for the chance to win. :)
    ~Jess
    haightjess at gmail dot com

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    1. Jess- Thanks for the note. Look forward to hearing what you think after you read it!

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  23. Premise brought a tear to my eye. Thanks for writing this and thanks for sharing this!

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    1. If the blog post brings a tear to your eye, then grab a few tissues when you read the book. Hope you enjoy!

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