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Posts tagged ‘coming of age’

Interview with Kristen Esh, the Heroine of Linda Maran’s The Stranger

Today’s guest is Kristen Esh, the heroine of Author Linda Maran’s The Stranger. I’m so glad to have you here with us Kristen since your story was released on Friday.

Will you tell us a little about your life—as it was and what it has become?

I was alone a lot due to my mom working so much and the arrangement of our living situation. Mom was the live-in help for Ross Maddock, who was a wonderful man, but he was the employer. There was no eating around the table together for meals or holidays. I had no extended relatives so my best friend, Cindy, invited me to her home for dinner and Christmas. Living close to the beach was the bonus of our situation. I loved everything about it…the scent, the sounds, the sunsets and having a great place to hang out with my friends and to walk with Mom on her Sundays off.

Now I live in the country without my ocean. But here there’s a whole set of different smells and views that I have come to love too. I have family…aunts, uncles and cousins. This is still so amazing to me. Especially eating every meal in the company of all or most of them. Cell phones and television are not missed as much as I’d assumed they’d be because I’m too busy and not alone and needy for Social Media.  I also learned how to pray and not until I came here did I realize the importance of prayer.

It’s been a while since I was your age, but as I read your story, I couldn’t help but to think of how I would handle your situation. How difficult was it for you to adapt to the Amish life?

I was totally panicked. Everything and everyone I knew before I arrived to live with my Amish family, was gone. I dressed different, spoke different and came from a completely different background. I was literally a stranger among them. And on top of that, to not have the modern conveniences like electricity or an indoor bathroom was more change than I thought I could deal with. During those first weeks, I cried myself to sleep.

What are some of the things that you miss from your life outside of the Amish community? What in the Amish life do you embrace?

I miss the Jersey Shore environment of sand, ocean and boardwalk activity. I miss wearing my hair down in summer and jeans in winter. I miss getting to places by public transportation or by car. And I miss kissing people ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye.’

I love the feeling of belonging. Of having family and of growing in my faith. I like having simple choices now in what I wear and what to do. I like the clean natural living.

Based on your life experiences, both outside and inside the Amish community, what is one thing that you feel young adults need to know about life in general?

That no matter what changes happen you will be able to get through it and come out OK in the end. That even if you feel you don’t belong or are not one of the crowd, there is a place and others just like you where you do fit and belong and God will lead you there. Trust in who you are on the inside. Pray every day.

More About The Stranger:

When Kristen Esh loses her mom in a tragic accident months before her eighteenth birthday, she suddenly finds herself among Amish relatives she never knew she had. The dramatic change from the Jersey Shore to the remote Stone Arabia in upstate New York is difficult enough, but abiding by the Amish rules and lifestyle is a challenge unlike any other.

When anonymous notes begin to arrive for her to go back to where she came from, Kristen longs for her past life and her mom. As she discovers secrets that unravel her true identity, she finds an unlikely ally in John Wagler, the step-son of her aunt. He lessens Kristen’s fears and encourages her faith.

Interwoven with gradual revelations is the growing love between Kristen and John. One that encourages forgiveness and helps seal Kristen’s fate.

More About the Author:

Linda began writing poetry as a teenager and then turned to food and self-help article writing in her adult years. Now, in her sixties, she is blessed to have her first novel published, which has been her goal for many years. She enjoys reading, writing, research, painting, music, playing drums, walking, contemplative prayer, and sampling new eateries. Her personal experiences, both good and challenging, have become material for stories. This helps her to write about what she knows best, which lends authenticity to her platform. She has been married for thirty-eight years, is a practicing Catholic, and has been surrounded by musicians most of her life. She resides in both city and country settings. Wherever Linda is residing, you can find her on Facebook, on Twitter, on her blog, and you can learn more about her debut novel here.

 

The Huge Difference Between Be the Best and Do Your Best

GailPallottaHeadshot (2)Today, our guest is author, Gail Pallotta, author of the young adult, coming-of-age novel, Stopped Cold. Gail is an award-winning author, a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets, and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator, and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen book, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance eBooks. She’s published short stories in “Splickety” magazine and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Readers can find her on the internet on the staff of Clash of the Titles, at her blog,  on her website, on Authors and More, which is on Facebook, and at  Twitter.

Today Gail shares some thoughts about the issues that brought about her young adult, coming-of-age novel.

Stopped Cold focuses on steroid use, a relevant issue. But it’s not the motivation behind the book.

Our society glorifies winning. In competition almost no one remembers the person or team who finished second. Ads on television and magazines encourage us to use products that will make us “the best.”

Even though the encouragement to rise above everyone else floated around me during my youth, it played in the background of my life. However, as I grew older I saw heartache when people driven to be number one weren’t. For instance, I knew of a girl who tried to commit suicide because her first semester college grades weren’t as good as she or someone thought they should be. At the time the pain she must have gone through and how her talents were wasted struck me as so sad.

Then there was a young woman, an honor student, who won nearly every beauty contest in her college, and everyone appeared to love her. She was gorgeous and friendly, not stuck up as some might expect. After she graduated I saw a friend of hers and asked how she was doing. The friend replied, “She’s living at home with her parents. She couldn’t cope with just going to work every day and being an ordinary person.”

Unfortunately, I knew a few people who took drastic measures not to live with mistakes people who were “the best” wouldn’t make. These events touched my heart in a sorrowful way that never left me.

All of these things rattled around in my head for a long time.

However, when I sat down to write a book, the first thing I thought about was something fun to read. As a youngster I loved Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, so I wanted to come up with a mystery reminiscent of them. At the same time a story about a young person struggling to be the best nagged me. Could I connect the two?

On a different day I pondered writing a book about sports because it would appeal to girls and boys. At that point it dawned on me—a sports mystery. But what was the mystery? It didn’t take long until steroids came to mind. Many high profile professional athletes have taken them and competitors have been kicked out of the Olympic Games because of steroid use. I asked myself why these people took them. That was a no-brainer—to win, to be number one, set records and be the best ever.

I started writing and the essence of the problems that had rattled around in my head for such a long time found its way to the page. Then I remembered words from The Bible telling us how much God loves us, that He’s given us gifts to use for him. I recalled man’s purpose stated in The Westminster Shorter Catechism—“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” What I now consider the most important part of the book, the message, came to life—we don’t have to be number one for God to love us.

More about Stopped Cold:

Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.

Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.

Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

Don’t miss Monday’s character interview with Margaret McWhorter, the heroine of Stopped Cold, or Gail’s Interview from Wednesday.

 

Author Interview: Gail Pallotta

GailPallottaHeadshot (2)Today, our guest is author, Gail Pallotta, author of the young adult, coming-of-age novel, Stopped Cold. Gail is an award-winning author, a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets, and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator, and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen book, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance eBooks. She’s published short stories in “Splickety” magazine and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Readers can find her on the internet on the staff of Clash of the Titles, at her blog,  on her website, on Authors and More, which is on Facebook, and at  Twitter.

High school athletic steroid use is the main topic of Stopped Cold but I believe that there is another issue that you, the writer, delve into, and that issue is an unrealistic expectation of a parent for a child. The high expectations of Sean and Margaret’s father is what led to their peaceful lives being turned upside down. Is this something that you have witnessed? If not, how did this issue come to light for you?

Sadly, I’ve seen instances in which not being the best caused heartache in children and young people. Unfortunately, a couple times the drive to be number one resulted in devastation. I’m not sure if this phenomenon crossed my path more than that of others, but it touched my heart in a sad way.

Margaret and her brother, Sean, are very close. Despite the father’s shortcomings, I found it very refreshing that he wasn’t portrayed as abusive. He simply had expectations for his children, but I found him genuinely likeable. I’m curious, is there a person like Bullet in your life?

No one person. He’s the combination of characteristics I’ve come across in people and the personification of two truisms. Most conscientious caring parents want the best for their children. In many instances that translates into encouraging their children to excel. But there’s a huge difference in “do your best” and “be the best.” Also many who come from loving homes and succeed in their lives will raise their children exactly as their parents raised them. In some instances without even thinking about it, they push their children to always win.

In your novel is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bring to the light for your readers?

The concept is: We don’t have to be number one for God to love us. He’s given each of us a gift or gifts to use for Him.

One Scripture is: 1 Peter 4: 10: Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

Numerous passages in the Bible which speak of God’s love for and acceptance of us came to mind as I worked on the book, but I’ll cite Psalm 66: 20:  Praise be to God who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me.

What advice would you give a teenage reader or even a parent who is dealing with personal use of steroids or who knows someone who might be taking such drugs?

I’d tell them to look for a counselor or physician who might help. Then I’d encourage them to get into a Christian youth group or Sunday school class or talk to a minister about how much God loves us and what He, not man, expects from us.

Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

Yes. In one a woman deals with the death of her husband. In another a young lady’s coping with a deep hurt that makes her distrust men. A heroine’s plagued by a mysterious illness in a third book.

Thank you for having me, Fay.

You’re very welcome.

StoppedCold200x300More about Stopped Cold:

Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.

Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.

Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

Don’t miss Monday’s character interview with Margaret McWhorter, the heroine of Stopped Cold.

Character Interview: Margaret McWhorter from Stopped Cold by Gail Pallotta

StoppedCold200x300Today’s guest is a sweet young lady, Margaret McWhorter. Margaret comes to us from Gail Pallotta’s novel, Stopped Cold.

Margaret, welcome to Inner Source. Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? What story did you bring to your author?

I’m a freshman in a private school in Mistville, North Carolina. I enjoy swimming and hanging out at The Grill with my friends. The first day of classes Jimmy Willmore caught my attention. I hoped he’d ask me out, but then my brother, Sean, took a steroid, had a stroke and ended up in the hospital. Now I’m hot on the trail of the drug dealers with my best friend, Emily, and Jimmy.

You’ve been through a tough few months, and you have watched someone you love suffer from steroid use. I’d like to know what you’d have to say to anyone contemplating taking these drugs to enhance their physical abilities.

If you had any idea what could happen, you wouldn’t do it. It’s not worth it. My brother is so smart he could have been anything he wanted. He could’ve grown up and found a cure for cancer, but now I’m afraid his life is ruined. We just want him to wake up and come live with us again.

Your father was a football player, a good one, and he exceled at what he did. You’re also an excellent athlete in your sport of choice. I get the feeling that even if your father didn’t push you to be the best, you’d still give it your all. What I’d like to know is that if you had the chance to have a heart-to-heart with your dad—because, after all, he is a nice guy, a loving father—what advice would you give him about his overzealousness to have his children compete?

LOL. My dad’s the most competitive guy in the world. If I could talk to him about it, I’d ask him to have a healthy competitive spirit. My Sunday school teacher says we all have a gift or gifts to use for God, and our purpose is to glorify Him. I want to develop my talent to the best of my ability, and yeah, it’d be nice if my best turned out to be “the best.” But I’d try to make Dad see that Sean and I don’t have to always be number one to be worthwhile.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When God says, “all things” I believe He means even the bad things that happen to us. I got the distinct feeling that you understood this principle. What good do you believe came out of this traumatic time for you and for Sean?

The most important one was Dad accepting Sean for the person he was. Dad no longer had a choice about pushing Sean to be a great quarterback. It forced him to be proud of the things Sean had accomplished, and all of us were a lot happier.

Okay, inquiring minds want to know. How is Jimmy? Did you enjoy the Fall Festival?

Big grin. Jimmy’s fine. We had a great time at the Fall Festival. We’re dating now!

More about Stopped Cold:

Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming, and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay. Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.

Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

GailPallottaHeadshot (2)About Gail Pallotta:

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen book, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance eBooks. She’s published short stories in “Splickety” magazine and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Readers can find her on the internet on the staff of Clash of the Titles, at her blog,  on her website, on Authors and More, which is on Facebook, and at  Twitter.