Bish Denham's new picture book, A LIZARD'S TAIL, just released. Here's a blurb: When a feral cat
And here's a few links:
And I have a winner to announce.
The winner of STRAY is BookNut!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can have your book sent to you. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I'm excited to have blogger friend and debut author Kim Van Sickler here to help celebrate the release of her YA contemporary book, SNATCHED IN GULLYBROOK, that was released in August. It's about a difficult but important topic, sex trafficking. Details about the giveaway will be at the end of the post.
So here's Kim!
Crafting an edgy, sexually explicit YA novel
If the book’s going to have any value at all, you don’t.
Snatched in Gullybrook was a slippery slope of conveying the horror of what befalls these previously sheltered suburban teenagers without sliding into Penthouse forum vernacular. I want readers to be shocked, revolted, and spurred to action, whether that action is adults talking to their children about manipulation, teenagers reading the book with opened eyes, or activists spreading awareness and/or supporting anti-trafficking organizations.
Did I succeed? Some trafficking experts have weighed in and said I have. Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, a human trafficking professor at The Ohio State University calls Snatched in Gullybrook the best fictional account of domestic minor sex trafficking she’s ever seen. She put it on her recommended reading list for her massive open online course on human trafficking.
Consider this passage from Sissy, who’s reassigned the working name of Iris after she’s captured.
After he's finished, I pat him on his Jell-O stomach. "You are a tiger. My beast of the jungle." The words mean nothing. As empty and routine as the rest of my life.
He laughs. A smoker's laugh. Rumbly and phlegmy sounding. "Get me a glass of water, darlin'," he says as he lights up again.
This time when I return, he drapes an arm around me and pulls me close. His signal that he's done with the sex and wants to spend the rest of our time together snuggling. Now is the time for me to sound interested while he talks about his boring life.
I try to keep the focus on the girls as they are forced to navigate their new lives. Away from explicit descriptions of what they’re doing. But you get the picture.
It’s a picture that disturbs many people. A few beta readers refused to finish the book, saying it upset
On the flip side, I’m hearing from readers, like this one, who are drawn into the story and know it’s an important message:
Oh my goodness!!!! I am reading your book and all I can say is that I absolutely "HATE" it!!! I say that meaning it as the greatest compliment to you ever as a writer!!! I have encouraged and recommended your book to every parent that I cross paths with. I have posted the link to order your book in my book discussion groups and it casually became part of conversation at preschool gymnastics!!...
So what advice do I have for other writers who want to delve into difficult topics?
1. Make sure you are truly enamored with your subject matter. You will be fighting to be heard. You will encounter resistance. You need passion to pull it off.
2. Research, research, research your topic. Read, read, read what has already been written about it. Differentiate yourself from what is already published. I found that telling the story of three abducted teenagers in first person present tense was a unique approach. The fictional aspect allows me to interconnect these girls’ journeys and reveal the grimmest of details about their experiences. Maybe more so than a memoir writer is willing or able to reveal.
3. Forge connections with organizations and people who are interested in and embrace your topic. For me, that means seeking out opportunities to introduce myself to people in the anti-human trafficking industry and convincing them to read and hopefully champion my book.
4. Regarding sexual topics: make sure the sex serves a distinct purpose and isn’t gratuitous. Write it so that if your parents read it you won’t die of embarrassment. (My dad read Snatched in Gullybrook and, as Candace would say, “bless his senior citizen heart,” recommended it on Amazon.)
5. Feel free to contact me with questions about writing a story involving your own edgy topic. I’m happy to offer an opinion.
Kim will be selling copies of her book at the Not Under Our Roof, Preventing Human Trafficking Within the Tourism Industry conference in Lima, OH on October 15th.
Thanks for sharing your advice, Kim! You can find Kim at:
Links to the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble:
Here's a short blurb on SNATCHED IN GULLYBROOK:
Three of Gullybrook’s teens are manipulated and snatched from the local mall. In their new lives as sex slaves, Megan, Candace, and Sissy, strangers before their abduction, forge a bond with one another that becomes their lifeline.
Kim has generously offered a copy of SNATCHED IN GULLYBROOK for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through October 25th. I’ll announce the winner on October 270th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.
Here's what's coming up:
Tomorrow I’m participating in the Spooktacular Book Giveaway Blog Hop. I’ll have lots of great choices for you or an Amazon Gift Card if you don’t like what I picked.
And next Monday, I’ve got a huge celebration giveaway because we’ve reached over 4000 GFC followers. They'll be a huge giveaway of both MG and YA books and a grand prize Amazon Gift Card. Hope you'll stop by to help celebrate!
Next Wednesday I'll be hosting a giveaway of the entire YA urban fantasy Heir Chronicles series by Cinda Williams Chima, one of my all time favorite authors. So excited about this!
The following Monday 'll be thrilled to share an interview with debut author Martina Boone who so many of us know with a giveaway of her fantastic YA Gothic romance COMPULSION. You'll love the small town Southern setting and the characters who are all so unique.
Wednesday that week I'll have a guest post by debut author M.A. Larson and a giveaway of his MG fantasy PENNYROYAL ACADEMY. M.A. is a television writer so I know he'll have lots of great advice for us.
And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.
Hope to see you tomorrow!