Tag Archives: head injury

Sense and sensitivity

I hadn’t intended to blog today but I received an email from a writer friend that has made me think about writers and the responsibility they have to deal with difficult subjects sensitively and with good sense.

ITL?_new packshotMy friend has just read Is This Love? and said nice things about it. But she also said that she found it unsettling because her younger daughter is disabled. In this book the heroine, Tamara, has a sister, Lyddie, who needs more care than most adults after a hit-and-run incident in her teens. Is This Love? gave my friend a ‘flash forward’ look at how things might be for her family as her daughter grows older, especially for her other, able-bodied daughter.

I thanked my friend for sharing her thoughts – they really gave me pause. At the time, one of the things that worried me  about writing the book was whether readers would think Tamara was wrong for having the hots for Jed, when Lyddie had had such a teen crush on him! I ran a Facebook conversation about it and everyone said they thought it was OK because Lyddie/Jed had been so young, so I included all their feedback in Tamara’s thoughts. But this morning’s email showed me that it certainly wasn’t the only area where I could have jumped all over people’s feelings.

I’m sorry if I made my friend think of things that she’d rather not, I really am. Writing the book came out of guilt. When I was a teen we had a friend – we’ll call him Tom – who suffered head injury when hit by a car. It wasn’t hit-and-run, as it was for Lyddie in Is This Love? Tom just did something careless, but the effect was the same. He was reasonably OK for friends as long as we were all teens, but when we got a bit older I’m afraid we left him behind. We got married, got jobs, went to uni, etc etc. I know that he began to go to the pub and had no sense of when to stop drinking and other drunkards used to drag him home. He had a younger brother who used to do his best for him … but I recently discovered that the younger brother died in his early thirties, which made me feel worse. I don’t know if Tom’s still around, or his parents.

I channelled some of my feelings and thoughts about Tom into Lyddie and her family.

I also knew (and really disliked, but that’s a different story) a woman whose daughter had cerebral palsy after a difficult birth. However much I didn’t like the woman, she was ever-conscious of what was best for her daughter, and I admired her for that. I can even accept that some of her less endearing qualities related to the sacrifices that she’d made. I used to speak to her about the daughter going into respite care at weekends, how the younger (able-bodied) sister coped, and stuff like that, so I utilised some of that knowledge for Lyddie, also.

Research is fascinating but today has shown me how much a writer should think about readers in ways more than just book sales.

 

 

 

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Ebook publication day for Is This Love?

Today’s ebook publication day for Is This Love?

It’s kind of crept up on me as I’m busy with the next book (which has at least three possible titles …) and have been stopping to do the promo for Is This Love? whenever requested, without realising that Tamara and Jed would soon be let loose on the ereading public.

So, what can I tell you about the book? Well, it’s about the different types and qualities of love.

Tamara has never moved away from Middledip village out of love for her sister, Lyddie, who suffered a hit-and-run accident when she was a teen and needs more care than most adults. Jed, teenage sweetheart of Lyddie, left the village around the time of the accident and the story opens when adult Jed returns to explain who was driving the car that hit Lyddie. He’s a bit of a mystery, is Jed, having dropped out of society for a while at sixteen yet somehow managed to land a great job without a qualification to his name.

As a ten-year-old, Tamara had harboured a secret crush on Jed – and those feelings come rushing back. But now she can’t make up her mind about him. Is he one of the good guys?

Or not?

DSCF9095I had a lot of fun with this book. Tamara’s a yoga instructor and yoga is one of my passions, so the research there wasn’t difficult because my own yoga instructor, Gail, gave up her time to help me. But there’s an alpaca herd in the book, and millionaires, and a lot of money, all of which had to be investigated. I had to find out how much half a million pounds in £50 notes weighs and whether a woman with a bad leg could carry it, when alpacas have their babies and how to look after them (happily, I have other friends, Sue and Adrian, who keep alpacas), what a close protection officer does (Jed has a stepbrother, Manny, who heads up security for the millionaires) and other fascinating stuff … like what happens at a spa day. (I had to do a day and a weekend, just to make double sure I had it all covered …)

The less fun research was into acquired head injury. My thoughts are often with all those who have suffered.

ITL The paperback of Is This Love? will be released on 7th November 2013. I received my author copies just before I went on holiday in mid-September. Pretty! It’s a sight that always makes my heart sing.

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