The Silence in the Sound is a provocative novel detailing the devastating effects of growing up with addiction. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
Inspiration for the book came from plenty of things, but if not for William Styron, the Pulitzer-prize-winning author probably best known for his book Sophie’s Choice, I’m not sure I’d ever have had the courage to write a word. Writing had always been my passion since I could remember, but having grown up in the inner city, blue-collar and with lesser means, it wasn’t something encouraged. Like many inner-city kids, I was shown early on that paying the bills was the priority. My mother, a nurse, and father, a truck driver, seemingly wanted my brother and me to pursue our passions, mine being art and writing, but encouraged a career that fed us and put a roof over our heads; that was first and foremost. Dreams could come later. After becoming a nurse, like my mother, and succeeding at putting a roof over my head, I felt satisfaction and honor in helping people, but there was always something missing, although I wasn’t sure what. While having the privilege of caring for Mr. Styron on the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard as his nurse at the end of his life, I saw a man and a family existing for art, and I breathed it in along with the crisp salty air, feeling alive and inspired. I spent years with a talented, complicated, deep, and melancholic man at the end of his life, reading his books across from him in one of the most stunning places in the world. His friendship and fascination with the darkness of humanity and himself led me to explore my darkness, which was growing up in addiction, my father an alcoholic, and later falling in love with someone with the same affliction, both having succumbed to the disease. Mr. Styron showed me through his life and work not to be afraid to find my meaning.
Georgette is a compelling and well-defined character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?
Georgette (George) grew up with an alcoholic father she loved, but his chaos affected her much more than she realized. She’s insecure and feels unsafe, longing for stability, but she doesn’t know what that is. She formed an armor long ago as a child in living in her unpredictable home and thinks her toughness can get her through life. She knows better than her mother as a teen and young adult, she feels, as much of us do at that age, but in the running away from her family and pain to the island, her safe place, she finds she can’t run from herself. She must learn to love on her own, both herself and another person, in a healthy way which she doesn’t have the foggiest idea how to do. She must learn who she is and accept life on life’s terms. She’s spent her entire life fighting this—fighting them and the disease that’s affected all of them.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Of course, addiction. It’s odd, though, because I didn’t intend for this book’s premise to be about the effects of addiction. It was supposed to be there but in a much more subtle way. This all changed as I wrote about Georgette’s relationship with her father and found I could go back in time and tap right into my feelings of being a child and a young and new adult navigating his disease. My father was an alcoholic, so I have a significant amount of experience regarding this, but this was not supposed to be the central theme. Sometimes as we write, we have to see where the story takes us, and it took me here. So many readers have said I’ve helped them see the addicts they love in their life as more than their disease and that I brought humanity to my addicted characters. Because someone is flawed and broken in some way does not mean they are unlovable, and the people who love them should never be shamed for doing so. There is much shame in this disease, and while we often have to detach from the people we love who are suffering from this in our lives, often to save ourselves, it does not mean we suddenly love them any less. There is enough pain in this affliction, so it’s important to me to help end the shame children and anyone who loves those suffering feel because of our societal ignorance.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m well into my second novel. I hate to be cryptic and loathe people who are, but I’m going to be here. I was working on another book when something happened just outside my family’s inner circle. It’s another dark subject and one that I don’t have any personal experience with but have many friends who do. There was a trial, and two best friends, young girls, were broken by another’s act. The story is written from the perspective of the victim, which is not as obvious. In so many crimes, there are a vast number of victims, not just the ones directly harmed. I listened to this trial and became utterly fascinated. I want to do this story justice in every way, so I’ve been listening to other trials and performing interviews. I’m about halfway through, and I hope I can get it out much faster than my debut!
Posted in Interviews
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A memoir that speaks through scars and helps transform trauma into wisdom.
Trauma f*ucking sucks! There is nothing gentle, pretty, or rosy about it! Its painful, dark, and lonely. Rooted HEIR is a vivid and transparent memoir that takes you on one woman’s journey of suffering, self-discovery, and forgiveness.
In a span of three days the illusion bubble burst. Christina finds herself sitting in a dark room feeling so small and insignificant. She has a choice to make, more of the same or change. After more than two decades of avoiding the painful truth, running from herself, and pretending it was time to drop the shackles of shame.
Have you ever asked yourself, who am I, when you strip away the titles and roles that you’ve been defined by? Well, she did, and she didn’t have a clue. She needed to hold up the mirror, grab the shovel, and start unearthing the traumas that held her freedom. But where do you start? …At the beginning.
In her own words Christina reveals the most intimate parts of her life from the childhood abuses to her own self-destructive ways, and the lessons she has learned along the way. Rooted HEIR is a courageous story filled with the voice of brutal honesty. Her voice that was silenced so many times now can be heard in hopes that others will know they too can speak. Let’s heal, be empowered, be inspired, and redefine our lives. THE TIME IS NOW!
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Drunks by Ken Fry is a tale that’s deeply personal and dramatic and is an ultimately inspirational story that is told with an infusion of romance. This story is narrated by Alan Markham, the main character, and his journey and experiences with alcoholism, marriage, and learning to conquer and control addiction. Alan and his wife, Chrissy, appear to have the life everyone wants – Alan has a successful career, and Chrissy lives a free, luxurious, and enjoyable life. Still, just below the surface, there’s trouble in their marriage.
As both Alan and Chrissy struggle with their marriage and lives together, they share a common addiction, alcohol. While the couple attempts to keep an illusion of normalcy in their lives, they quickly descend into severe alcoholism, which impacts every level of their lives, from Alan’s career, their marriage, and financial stability. The author does an exceptional job of highlighting the compound impact of an alcoholic couple and how dangerous their health and lives become within a short time.
I enjoyed Ken Fry’s narration as Alan Markham and the gritty and realistic story that unfolds. It’s both sobering and inspirational. It does a fantastic job of stripping away the glamourous façade of sipping martinis and cocktails in upscale lounges and reveals the dark and tragic lives of alcoholics and their various struggles.
The author gives his characters interesting layers and shows how they appear successful and prestigious in their upper-class lifestyle while suffering from their addiction and dysfunction. Maintaining the appearance of perfection and success takes a toll on the couple, who eventually must face their inner struggles, and this dueling lifestyle makes for a compelling drama but a tragic life.
Ken Fry’s Drunks is a poignant yet inspirational story that focuses on the reality of what many couples face and how financial success can mask alcoholism. It’s an entertaining read that gives the reader an in-depth look at how codependency impacts people, even when they appear to be self-sufficient and content.
Pages: 336 | ASIN: B09HP26Q76
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Dying For a Drink can be described as a recovery memoir, in which author, Amelia Baker, writes the authentic and very raw account of her fall into alcoholism and prescription drug addiction and her incredibly turbulent recovery journey. Due to the subject matter, this book touches on some challenging topics, including abuse, family turmoil, rehab, suicide, and many more.
Baker unravels her story part by part and exposes the true extent of how life-destroying her addictions were. It becomes evident that her choice of title was not simply a cute usage of a prevalent saying- it was intended literally. It was heartbreaking to read about what Baker went through, and by the end, it felt incredibly uplifting to see what the human spirit can overcome after hitting rock bottom so many times. In the book, Baker goes into depth about all the various support systems she used to overcome her disease, highlighting the importance of her attending AA meetings, as well as the constant support of her friends and family, as well as her faith.
I picked up Baker’s book and was hit immediately by how heavy it was. Of course, this is not an easy topic to write about, nor easy to read, but I think Baker handles the subject beautifully. Through the memoir, she uses a simplistic, matter-of-fact narration style. In parts, it can be incredibly jarring to read about events so traumatic and heartbreaking through a narrative voice void of any emotion. In the book’s foreword, Baker explains that she uses this style simply to cut out the nonsense and anything that would cloud what the book actually is- an admission of truth. While I did struggle with the style at times, I think it made it easier for me to understand Baker’s struggles more. While I don’t think I could ever fully understand the true horror of what she went through, it allowed me to become connected to her fight more. Due to this, I became engrossed in her story incredibly fast.
While I congratulate Baker wholeheartedly for sharing her experience so powerfully, I felt so much frustration reading this book as her recovery was such a rollercoaster. Of course, this is not a criticism of Baker or her writing style whatsoever and is a natural reality of recovery. Just at points in the novel, I found it really hard to continue reading it as it just felt like it would never get better, and the thought of a novel as awful as this one not having a happy ending was really distressing. But perhaps those feelings are probably what Baker wished to illustrate with the novel, that feeling of helplessness that one can never fully recover. If that was her intention, it was done masterfully as I felt that so profoundly while reading it.
Due to the sheer power and depth of the novel’s topics and the narration style that paired perfectly with it, I feel it would be wrong to say I enjoyed a book on such an awful subject matter. Still, I enjoyed seeing Baker manage to overcome her struggles. It was really touching overall.
Dying For a Drink is a powerful memoir about addiction and recovery. A no-nonsense self-help book that is written in direct and plain terminology to bring to light the ups and downs of recovery from addiction, and how it is a lifelong battle.
Pages: 158 | ASIN : B07DYKPQ52
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Based on a True (Traumatic) Brain History tells your story of addiction and path to sobriety and how you dealt with life after receiving a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was important mainly because of how the TBI I experienced in 2015, and the recovery from it…was all too similar to my recovery from addiction and alcoholism. The two had so many obvious differences, yet the recovery and perspective I had when trying to heal were so similar. It just seemed like a book that had to be written. It morphed into the autobiography it is.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
The hardest part of the book? Reliving drunken nights, high out of my mind, and remembering how I felt about the pending next day. The dread and fear of trying to play a composed, well-put together 20-something year old, while everything was falling apart on the inside.
What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?
When I told a friend that if I was on the edge of a cliff, and if he would push me off, he said to me, “Nope. But I’ll walk you back.” That comment and phrase saved my life that day. It’s a good way to calm someoneone down, if they’re feeling like they can’t handle stuff.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?
The obstacle is the way. Challenges in the journey of life…are simply just that. They amount to the journey itself.
Posted in Interviews
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When to Run, Born Scared by Stephanie King is a book about a young Canadian girl who suffers through an abusive childhood. She struggles to find a way to survive her horrific home life and tries to escape several times. But she ends up back in the same terrible place again and again. In a bid to finally be free from her father’s control, she finds herself in a situation that is just as bad as the one she was so desperate to leave behind. Will she ever be able to put the past behind her and make a good life for herself at last?
The theme of this story was finding a way to survive somehow. Reading about the things Stephanie had to endure in her life, like childhood abuse, rape, drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, domestic assault, and medical issues that required multiple surgeries and a long recovery, it was amazing that she was able to survive. In addition, she had the strength to persevere after going through so many terrible things. I was surprised that she continued to put her trust in people after her own family had shown her the true evil that could be found in the hearts of people. Sometimes she had to trust other people because she had no other choice. However, Stephanie proved that she was a survivor. No matter how many times she stumbled along the way, she never gave up and kept fighting to survive. Stephanie’s story continues in Book Two, Among the Guilty, Under Attack.
The first chapter of the story jumps around, talking about Stephanie’s father’s childhood and mentioning him fighting in the war, then relaying experiences that happened during Stephanie’s own childhood, then going back to before her father left to fight in the war. This is how memories work sometimes. They don’t always follow a logical path but are connected in one way or another.
I felt that it wasn’t always clear how old Stephanie was during certain incidents that happened throughout the book, and I would have liked a clearer picture of the timeline. The inclusion of the graphic descriptions of sexual abuse of a child was hard to read through, but it also allowed me to connect with Stephanie and understand the depth of suffering she endured.
When to Run, Born Scared is a deeply personal memoir of what one woman had to do to survive the life she was dealt. Readers looking for a personal account of hope and survival will appreciate Stephanie’s story.
Pages: 245 | ASIN : B08TH74KR9
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Behind Blue Eyes by Seamus Paul Corcoran is a psychological fiction novel that takes readers through an authentic life journey filled with stories of healing and recovery. Joe Marley has a successful and prominent career, but the death of a son and the end of a marriage leave him feeling numb and empty. As many in his position do, he eventually falls into the arms of addiction, abusing alcohol and drugs. Due to the wrongs committed under the influence of addiction and rage, Joe ends up in court, accepting to go into rehabilitation to avoid jail. Hopeless, he arrives at the Janus Clinic where he struggle to turn his life around against all odds.
The description of the Janus Clinic is simply splendid: a health center with the true mission of helping and curing people, giving them love and tenderness. Through Joe’s eyes, we get to see the power and importance of meaningful human connections, which Joe gets to fully live, experience and appreciate after a few days at the clinic. Dr. Janus has a big heart and uses all his ability to provide a safe haven for those unfortunate souls that have forgotten how to live and have given up on life. This is a story of a man’s path through recovery, where the soul awakens and the heart starts to feel alive again. The story is centered around the Janus Clinic. The outsiders don’t seem to understand how it is possible that only one place seems to have the ability to cure the minds and hearts of so many people. The mystery though, is no secret, there are no magic words nor strange drugs involved. The Janus Clinic’s success is due to its wholehearted dedication to its patients, where love, attention, understanding and companionship are given priority, portraying a natural and healthy mindset for the medical approach to mental health.
The story is beautiful and meaningful, with characters that excellently present the intense emotions that come with life, making the reader feel a variety of sensations throughout the book. The intrigue also increases when unknown forces try to sabotage the fame and success of the clinic, introducing a mystery into the plot and letting the excitement grow. The story is highly entertaining and the reader almost gets to heal alongside Joe. The reading experience is a absorbing one that awakens the human spirit, and reminds us to reconcile with ourselves and with life itself. It’s very calming to read about Joe’s recovery path and readers will be able to relate to him.
A plus is Corcoran’s writing which is very beautiful and poetic, making the story even more enthralling and captivating. There’s pain and hurt in the story, but there’s also love, hope and healing, mixing all the human emotions into a wonderful experience. Behind Blue Eyes is an impassioned novel that brilliantly portrays the real path to recovery and the path to life, with a beautiful narration style that’s soothing and reminds us of what truly matters.
Pages: 295 | ASIN: B098KBHVXS
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The Addiction Manifesto, by Jerry Weaver, provides readers with an impassioned retelling of his experience battling addiction. Weaver is a former addict who shares his personal story and the story of other individuals throughout this book to reveal and examine the real struggle with addiction.
The book depicts Weaver’s battle with addiction and his personal experiences, what led to the addiction and how he overcame this battle. The addiction is referred to as its own entity, something that only cares about its next fix, something that controls the individual until they no longer recognize themselves. The novel includes multiple individuals account of their own battle with addiction and where they are now in recovery. This provides a wholistic view of addiction through multiple perspectives.
The writing style in this book is very personal and stirring, but it is also edifying and provides readers with coaching and mentoring to help them. Weaver writes about his own experiences and then gives his opinion and advice on how others struggling can recover. Weaver shows that no matter your background, what type of addiction, or where you hit rock bottom, there is always a path to recovery and always a lesson to be learned. This was a profound moment for me, to see someone so low, and pull themselves from the depths like a phoenix, and the way that is portrayed in the book is enthralling.
I admire the strength of the individuals who told their stories and are on a path to recovery. I believe anyone who reads this book will gain insight into the battle of addiction and the path to recovery.
The Addiction Manifesto is an inspiring book that provides a fascinating look at addiction and provides practical advice on how to overcome it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is struggling or has struggled with addiction or to anyone who knows some struggling with addiction. This book can give insight into what individual’s go through to get their next fix, how they struggle daily, and what you could possibly do to help.
Pages: 178 | ASIN: B08KY52VJK
Tags: addiction, author, autobiographical, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, JR Weaver, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, self help, story, The Addiction Manifesto, writer, writing