Wow. One week from today I am going to be a published author. In a week people can buy my book and read my words. They will get to hear this story that I made up and that has been so important to me. I don’t really know how to feel right now. Everything just feels surreal to me. I can’t believe that I’m writing this post while sitting next to a big box that contains books with my name and picture on them. I can’t believe that only a year after graduating from college my book is coming out. I feel like I’m dreaming.
I thought I would share with you why I wrote Somewhere Only We Know, because I feel this story is important. The book is about abuse. It explores how sexual, physical, and emotional abuse affects four different girls. Abuse is an all-too-relevant problem in our country. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 1 in 9 girls under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault by an adult, 16-19 year old females are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault, and that 93% of child victims know the perpetrator. RAINN also states that 61,000 children a year are victims of sexual assault and that 55% of all sexual assaults take place at or near the victim’s home.
When I was in college, I took an intro to women’s studies class to fulfill a general education requirement. And when I learned all of these statistics I felt sick. I hadn’t experienced anything like this in my own life, but a lot of the women in my class had, and the classroom became a safe place where everyone could talk about their experiences and find healing. This is what I tried to do with my book.
I went on in my college career to minor in women’s studies, taking many classes on violence against women and writing many research papers on the subject. I now try to use that background of research in my fiction.
The book is not only about sexual violence and abuse; it also looks at physical and emotional abuse within families and relationships. The four girls in my book all have different experiences with abuse—from crippling emotional abuse that leads to silence to repeated sexual abuse by a father—but they find a place where they can come together and share their stories and try to find the healing they’ve been looking for.
I know this book is not for everyone. It was a hard book to write and I know it’s a hard book to read. There are rape scenes and heartbreakingly emotional scenes, but there are also scenes that give so much hope.
I hope that people enjoy reading this book. I hope that the book does well come publication next week. And mostly I hope that people appreciate what I’ve tried to do with this book.