I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was clear within the first few pages that this was a different kind of YA story. Some might be tempted to call it a coming of age story or an 'inspirational' story, but it is so much more than that. This is a very powerful story about a very real problem within our society. Most addictions are apparent and with kids of a certain age, and if they are thrill seekers, many will be tempted to try and ultimately become addicts to drugs or alcohol. But if they do it isn't long before those around them see the effects of the drugs/alcohol. But the addiction of self-harm comes from a very dark place and can be covered up so easily many will not suspect. This addiction comes from such a dark place that many people don't want to talk, read, or consider as a problem in their homes or within their circle of friends.
The details in Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God is about the addiction of self-harm and the recovery from it. This book is not easy reading, but it is compelling. The story of Krystal's journey to finding the love of God is authentic and real without sentimentality and the ending is not unrealistic but still gives the reader a sense of hope. You are left with the certainty that the faith Krystal found is as real as her love for God.
After reading the book, I asked the author a few questions.
Do you work with at-risk teens? There is so much detail in Krystal’s rehab that I wondered if you worked with kids in this
I have worked with teens. They weren't declared 'at risk,' though some were. 'Krystal' was very open with me about her personal experience in the hospital. Plus I've visited a couple of people who stayed in mental/behavioral hospitals in the past and recall those experiences. Briefly I worked part-time a local behavioral center, taken multiple psychology classes in college, and to top it all off I did a ton of research. Not just for 'Krystal's' character, but for Walt's too.
How long did it take you to write this book? Was it something that quickly came together or did you need to do a lot of
I actually spent two years writing this book. For various reasons. There was plenty of sitting time in that two years. I know at one point, at least six weeks went by that I didn't even touch it. A couple months (collectively) was spent on research. I didn't want someone who may have had Krystal's experience or Walt's to pick it up and go, "It's not like that." It had to be right. Now granted, some hospitals do things differently, but it's all completely realistic. Same with Walt. I spoke to quite a few soldiers. There were some details about water that one gave me that another soldier didn't agree with. It was really interesting, but it's based on their personal experiences.
Faith and trust are what this book is all about. Did you have people you prayed with over this or was this something you felt you had to write?
While people prayed for me, I can't say I prayed with them about the book. God really led me with this book. I've always wanted to write a book but had no idea until the day I started it that it would be about self-harm.
Where do you see your career as an author going? I know that this is your debut book, but I am curious – what is next?
Currently, I'm working on a sequel to Memoirs. It's hard to fit in writing while working full-time and publishing the first book. But now that Memoirs is/will be out, I can focus more on my current work-in-progress. I certainly don't want it to be a two-year project. My goal is to have the first draft complete by the end of this year. Afterward, I plan to keep writing... forever.
Pick up a copy of Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God at this link http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Girl-Who-Loves-God-ebook/dp/B0100W0G7O/