Today I have with me Anne Tibbets talking about an issue close to her heart. You see, Anne just published a new book, Shut Up, about childhood abuse, bullying, and depression. If you haven’t checked out her book yet, there will be more details after her post. Even if contemporary fiction isn’t your “thing,” this is a great, quick read about a topic that doesn’t see enough of the light of day, especially lately. But more of that to follow.
Now, here’s Anne!
If She Were Here
By Anne Tibbets
A few years back, after I had just started shopping Shut Up to publishers and literary agencies, I attended an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference, and listened to a bunch of speeches, took a few seminars, and even took one writing class. It was a great conference, and I highly recommend it, if you’re a children’s author or illustrator – but that’s not the point I’m trying to make.
One of the speeches was from an author (I can’t remember her last name – so I’ll just call her Rachel) who spoke in front of an auditorium full of thousands of writers and artists and asked us to close our eyes and picture our main character sitting next to us.
“What would you say to them?” she asked.
Well, I’m not a particularly weepy person (at least, not typically in public), so I surprised even myself when I burst into tears – because if Mary (the main character in Shut Up) was sitting next to me, the first thing I wanted to tell her was, “I’m so sorry!”
I took every traumatic event from my entire childhood, multiplied it by a thousand, and had Mary suffer through it in about nine fictional months.
That poor kid! No wonder she was suicidal!
I wanted to hug her, to tell her that it was not going to stay that bad forever, that there was hope for her future, that she was a bright and worthy individual and that I was so very, very sorry for having caused her so much pain.
I know – I’m nuts.
I was having a fictional (and mental) conversation with a figment of my imagination. But after you work on the same book and same character for three years – Mary was more real to me than any character I had ever written about before.
She was me. I was her.
Where’s my padded cell?
Thankfully, I don’t think anyone else in the conference noticed I was a blubbering mess. Or, at least if they had, they had the common decency to leave me alone with my misery.
And time went on, and I didn’t have another conversation with Mary for a very long time – though, she was obviously on my mind quite a bit when it came time to have Shut Up released.
And then there was yesterday…
A beautiful, bright thirteen year old girl, after having been bullied, socially ostracized, and called numerous nasty names by classmates, took her own life – and words could not express the depth of pain I felt for that poor girl, her family, and even for the bullies – who obviously did not have any idea that their words were killing the girl.
My pain cannot even scratch the surface of the torment that has been inflicted upon the girl and now, to all those around her, and I was reminded, yet again of what I had said to Mary at that conference.
I’m so sorry!
It’s not going to stay that bad forever!
There is hope for your wonderful future!
You are a bright and worthy individual and I am so very, very sorry you have been in so much pain!
So, I’m putting those words out there – and I’m praying they reach the right people – the ones who need to hear it, in the hopes we can stop this terrible cycle of pain that is swallowing a great many number of wonderful girls.
With all my heart and deepest sincerity,
Now a bit more about her new book:
Mary’s older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she’s also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up.
Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport.
Despite her brother’s advice to shut up, Mary can’t keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows.
Mary doesn’t know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.
About the Author:
Anne Tibbets is an SCBWI award-winning and Smashwords.com Best Selling author. Anne found her way to young adult fantasy by following what she loves: strong female characters, magic, sword fights and ferocious and cuddly animals. Anne is co-author of the middle grade time travel adventure, “The Amulet Chronicles,” author of the young adult fantasy “The Beast Call,” and YA contemporary “Shut Up.”
She divides her time between writing, her family, and three furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination. For more information about Anne, visit her website at www.AnneTibbets.com, her blog at http://writeforcoffee.blogspot.com/ or on Facebook atwww.faceboook.com/AnneTibbetsAuthor
For more on teen depression, please check out Teen Depression. If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. Please, do not be afraid to get help.
My review of Shut Up
My review of The Beast’s Call