So, you can probably tell by now that we deal with some pretty heavy things in our book. It’s true, we tackled a lot of serious subject, many of them considered taboo or controversial: teen depression, suicide, drugs and alcohol abuse, rape, self-harm, sex, etc. We understand that these subjects aren’t for everyone. In fact, when writing it, we knew that it would be completely unappealing to some, and we are certain it was the main reason behind more than a few rejection letters.
So why did we write this? Well, have a seat and we’ll tell you, because there are a few reasons.
The most important reason we chose to include such themes in our novel is because these are real issues. Teens and young adults deal with this and more in today’s society. We have a small amount of insight on what some of this feels like (more on that below), and so our goal was to reach out to teens going through some of that and to in some small way help them. We want to take away that horrible feeling of isolation, to let them know they are not alone. So many troubled teens feel like no one understands how they feel, that no one else has struggled with these feelings. We are hoping to show that just isn’t true. We hope that they can relate to what Pepper goes through, they will believe that they can get through the dark times too.
To go along with that, we want to raise awareness about these issues. There are so many great organizations to help teens, but sometimes they just aren’t aware of them. Here in Indianapolis, our local news station WTHR and the Community Health Network have teamed up to promote awareness and prevention of teen suicide. This is exactly what we are hoping to do with our book.
Visit their webpage at http://www.wthr.com/community/have-hope-community-health-network
Another reason we felt moved to write about these topics is we have actually seen first hand what some of these things can do to a young person. Certainly we did not go through exactly what Pepper goes through in the novel, but we can relate to her feelings. Both Kelly and I have dealt with feelings of anxiety and depression.
Kelly went to a inner-city school. Some of her close friends dealt with issues of substance abuse and self-harm.
I was teased and bullied in school. As a very sensitive person, that was very difficult to deal with and I went through a period where I was very depressed and felt like no one understood my feelings. Later in life, I struggled with very different issues that made me feel isolated–I struggled with infertility and pregnancy loss. During that time, I found an amazing online community of people that were going through similar situations, and I cannot express enough how much it helped to have people who could really relate to what I was going through. It was so helpful to have someone to talk to.
So as you can see, we can relate to these subjects on a very personal level, and our book is meant to give hope and support. We realize the subject can be dark, but we also promise that there is a lot of wit and comic relief as well!
Remember, the book is being released on July 13th, just 21 days from now! It will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and many other sites, as well as direct from our publisher Black Rose Writing!