Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Author Guest Post & Interview: Paige Dearth, Author of Believe Like A Child

Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Paige Dearth, author of Believe Like A Child!

Since I was young I made up stories in my mind. It was my ultimate escape from my rough upbringing. While most children make up stories that bring them joy, my stories were always dark. These stories, darker than my real-life, helped me to cope.

Believe Like A Child is a graphic novel. It's written in a sexually explicit manner so that readers feel the horror of child abuse, sexual exploitation and rape. There is nothing pretty or light about these subjects. However, while the subject matter is harsh, the novel is written so that readers can enjoy a fast paced suspenseful thriller with a sturdy narrative.

I like reading dark, dramatic fiction novels, stories that makes your guts twist, keeping you on the edge of your seat and making you come back for more. It's like watching a horror movie and putting a hand over your eyes with your fingers spread out like the feathers of a peacock because you don't want to see what will happen next, but you can't stop yourself from looking.

Believe Like A Child was written as a compelling dramatic thriller. However, there is a point to this work of fiction that is worth mentioning. The narrative describes the real horrors of child abuse and how one act of abuse can, and often does, continue throughout a person's life. A young victim becomes vulnerable because of their need to validate themselves as a normal person. It is so easy for the abused to go from one horrible situation to another.

After reading my book, my hope is that readers will better understand that exercising simple kindness, to those in need can be impactful. Kindness doesn't have to cost money rather it's an emotional investment.

Alessa, the protagonist of Believe Like A Child, craves these moments, small acts of kindness. They are integral to the story and how she manages to survive on her own. Like Alessa, we all need and want people to care about us. It takes little effort to reach people in a way that matters. I hope Believe Like A Child leaves my readers with an acute awareness of the power they hold. The next time you are in a store, at work, standing in line at the bank or wherever, and you see someone with that look of sorrow, and we all know that look, just reach out with a pleasant smile or a nice compliment. It's in those moments that we can help people instead of pretending that we don't see them. Remember, that person could easily, so easily, be you.

It is our flaws that make each one of us so perfect!


Why did you write this novel?

Since I was young I made up stories in my mind. It was my ultimate escape from my rough upbringing. While most children make up stories that bring them joy, my stories were always dark. These stories, darker than my real-life, helped me to cope. I finally decided to write my stories and see if people would be interested in reading them.

Believe Like A Child is a graphic novel. However, it is a story filled with twist and turns to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. 

Who is your intended readership?

Adults who enjoy reading gut wrenching, dramatic, fast paced fiction. As I said before, the novel is sexually explicit and intended for the mature reader. The narrative is constructed with gripping and suspenseful moments that are meant to pull the reader along, almost against their will. The novel will appeal to men and women who enjoy a good tale.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 22 years-old I was with a friend who loved to listen to my stories. She told me I should write a book. While the thought appealed to me, I had no idea how to go about writing a novel. After I finished my college degrees, I had the confidence I needed to write, but was busy earning a living and had little time to invest in writing. 

As I got older the desire to write increased. I talked about writing my first novel for many years then I read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (thank you, Rhonda!). I finally sat down and wrote my novel. It took me three months to write the novel and nine months to edit, reedit and edit again. 

How did you research your book?

The majority of the novel is based on my imagination, some from my life experiences and where I needed to obtain more detail, I surfed the web, reading random articles on various topics to gain insight and ideas. 

What surprised you about the writing process?

The amount of time it took to edit the novel. I've read it at least nine times. I had it professionally edited and a friend read it twice before publishing. The process was very, very long. I've learned a lot from publishing my first novel and have incorporated those lessons into expediting the editing process.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love reading novels in several genres. A few of my favorite authors are: John Saul, James Patterson, Danielle Steel and V.C. Andrews. I also enjoy Stephen King novels and I just loved Misery and Thinner. The first novel I ever read was A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford, this is my all time favorite novel ever! I also enjoy Alice Seybold and Patricia Cornwell.

I love to go on vacation, exercise and read novels on the beach. Cooking is one of my passions. I get satisfaction from creating new recipes through trial and error. My husband is the guinea pig for my new creations. 

Are you working on another novel? 

Yes! I just finished writing my second novel, When Smiles Fade due out in June 2012.

This novel is about a girl named Emma and her first childhood memory of being beaten by her father, Pepper, was when she was just five years old. Resentful that ha had to sacrifice his life for a woman he barely knew and a child he never wanted, Pepper holds Emma responsible for his failure to achieve the life he once imagined for himself. As time passes, his intolerance of Emma grows and his physical and verbal abuse escalates beyond the imaginable. Finally, when Emma is old enough, realizing her mother can't protect them, she decides to take matters into her own hands ... 

I have already begun to hatch the idea for my third novel and started to develop an outline for that book. I have several books lined up, just waiting to be written. I'm living my dream.

Thank you Paige for the opportunity to host your virtual book event, and for allowing us to get to know a little bit about yourself and your novels. 

About The Author:

Born and raised in Plymouth Meeting, a small town west of Philadelphia, PA, Paige Dearth was a victim of child rape and spent her early years yearning for a better life. To escape the unwanted attentions of her molester, a pedophile uncle who lived with the family, she married at the age of nineteen and moved with her new husband to Chula Vista, California. After two years of marriage during which she struggled to make ends meet, she became pregnant, only to discover that her husband was a heroin addict. Paige waited for the birth of her daughter and when the baby was just eight months old, moved back to Pennsylvania. With no formal education or money to fall back on, she courageously set out to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and make it whole once more.

Living through the fear and isolation of her youth, Paige developed the ability to create stories that would help her cope and finally put them to use by embarking on a series of novels. Believe Like A Child, the author's debut offering, is the darkest version of who she could have become, had fate not intervened in the nick of time. It presents a fine balance between what lives on in her imagination and the evil that lurks in the real world.  

BUY THE BOOK: Believe Like A Child

Book Description: Believe  Like A Child

Alessa is just seven years old when her uncle rapes her for the first time. As the years pass, his sexual appetite becomes more voracious and his perversion more twisted, until the abuse has become almost a daily ritual, with the unspoken involvement of the girl's mother.

At the age of sixteen, after the death of her only friend, Alessa finds herself at the mercy of her real-life monster, with no relief in sight. She flees her home to escape this hell, only to find herself descending into a more dangerous one. Alone and helpless in the streets of North Philadelphia, she encounters more human predators who want to take over her life and devour her. About to hit rock bottom, Alessa manages to break away from her new tormentors and finds refuge in a shelter for homeless and abused women.

Wherever she goes, however, trouble keeps seeking her out, until she meets three people who change the course of her life forever. Though Alessa's bittersweet journey is perpetually fraught with challenges, she does, nevertheless, manage to find fleeting moments of joy along the way. But as she begins to settle down, a ghost from the past comes to haunt her again, threatening to destroy the very foundation of her small world and plunging her back into an abyss of despair, until she makes her final bid for escape.

* Believe Like A Child Book Contest Giveaway *

May 21-31, 2012

Two (2) Copies (Kindle or Paperback) 

To enter the Believe Like A Child Book Contest Giveaway, click on the link above and leave a comment with your name and a valid email address. The two (2) winners will be randomly selected by number generator at 11pm on May 31st. The winners will be contacted via email by author Paige Dearth. The Contest is open to US and UK residents.

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