It is my pleasure to present to you today a fellow writer and blogger Lorraine Reguly.
Risky Issues by Lorraine Reguly serves a very necessary and worthwhile function; it opens the door to conversation. We all know that children and teens these days face intense and tragic challenges, and we all know that these same youngsters have a tendency to keep it all inside (sometimes threatened by the people who prey on them). Caught up in the silent web of pain, lies and deceit, kids will often make bad decisions, while if they had been able to discuss the issues and get some rational feedback, they could often see things in a different light and rise above the challenges to create happy, successful lives for themselves. This book could make the difference. A survivor of abuse herself, Reguly has seen all sides of this experience and brings her hard-won wisdom to bear. All her stories reflect the heartbreaking emotion faced by so many children today, and all bring them to a crossroads where they can turn away from abuse and turn toward freedom and wholeness. This slim collection of stories could easily be the lifeline that saves a child from the mire, a slender thread to lead them from the darkness. Read it. Share it. Talk about it. The conversation starts here. ~ Melissa Bowersock, Award-Winning Author
In her words . . .
There is no doubt about it: fiction often mimics reality. Because of this, some of the stories in Risky Issues – although fictional – are based on real events. The first story, The Secrets of the Study, is about a girl who enters her father’s study to get some blank printer paper but instead finds papers that reveal she is adopted. To compound things, her father catches her… The second story, Pamela in the Park, is about a teenage girl who is out past curfew and is supposed to meet a temperamental drug dealer in the park to give him back some drugs she was holding for him. He doesn’t show up, but a policeman does… The third story, The Day Adam Saw Red, is about sexual abuse. Adam, a victim, gives a speech to his class about this topic, and then goes outside to sit under an oak tree to ponder his dire situation, as his speech was a masked cry for help. He is befriended by the school custodian, who is thought to be “creepy” but who takes the time to speak to him to help solve his problem… In the final story, My Best Friend, a young girl finds out that her Grandma’s dog died. She thinks of Snoopy as her own, and is devastated… The reason I have decided to share these stories with the world is to help spread awareness about some of the issues that children, teens, and even young adults may struggle with, including – and especially – the issue of sexual abuse. I am a rape survivor. I was raped when I was a fourteen-year-old virgin by a man over twice my age. I also told no one about this experience for years, as I didn’t know who to turn to, and it wasn’t until I became an adult that I sought counselling. I also had a male friend who, as a child, was molested by his stepfather for years. Unfortunately for my friend, the outcome was quite different from the one in The Day Adam Saw Red. It is my hope that those who are in similar situations can find the strength and the courage to speak out about their fears and experiences instead of holding their secrets inside – whatever these secrets or issues may be. It’s tough enough being a child, but being a child with no one to speak to is even harder. Let’s change that. Now.
Q & A with Lorraine Reguly
- What inspired you to write the short stories in Risky Issues?
I actually wrote all four stories found in Risky Issues for a creative writing course. I had written them by hand, typed them up, and then converted them into an eBook. Of course, I did a bit of rewriting and editing before I released them to the world, based on the valuable feedback I received from my beta readers. The only one I did not change was the bonus story, as it was published as a blog post on one of my websites, and still can be found at http://wordingwell.com/my-best-friend/.
- Is the eBook, Risky Issues, based on real life stories or is it a fiction?
Risky Issues is comprised of four stories. Of the three fictional stories, two are very much reality-based. The bonus story is one hundred percent true, while the basis for the third story stems from the life of one my best friend who was abused by his stepfather each time his mother went to Bingo. Unfortunately, my friend was alienated from his mother when he told her of the abuse… which he, sadly, didn’t reveal for years. When he did, his mother did not believe him.
The stories in my book have “happy” endings, though. I wanted to present these serious issues in as positive a light as possible.
- Have you or someone close to you ever abused drugs or been abused?
This is a loaded question. I’ve known many people who’ve both been abused – physically, sexually, emotionally – and have been a victim of all types of abuse, too.
I’ve also known numerous people who have abused drugs, and I’ve abused drugs, too. Ironically, I used drugs in an attempt to deal with sexual abuse I suffered when I was raped. (I was 14 years old, and a virgin at the time. I also told no one about my rape for years.)
- Did someone close to you die recently?
Luckily, I’ve not lost any friends or relatives to death for a few years, with the exception of a few family pets.
- Are these stories for teens or for parents/adults?
These stories are for everyone, really… teens, tweens, young adults, and even parents or grandparents. I don’t really like to say, “Hey, this is for only teenagers. If you’re over 18, please don’t read it!” In fact, sometimes adults *should* read stories that are written for a younger audience, to help with communication as well as to enjoy a “lighter” read.
In addition, the issues raised in these stories could – and should – be read by both parents and children alike. I would have to say that I think the youngest reader would ideally be about 11 years of age. I say this because some of the vocabulary used may not be understood by younger readers. However, it seems like kids are getting smarter and smarter these days, so if it’s okay with their parents or guardians, I’d say, “Go for it!”
There are three more reasons parents should read Risky Issues. One, it will help them connect with their children. Two, it may help them face some of their own issues, if they have any. Finally, it will also reinforce some of the morals and values they are trying to instill in their children. I don’t think any parent can ever get enough of that!
6. What are you working on now?
I am working on my second book, Letters to Julian. It’s a collection of letters I wrote to my son throughout his life.
7. What genre would you say your book, Risky Issues fall under?
Risky Issues is a work of fiction, and is a collection of short stories geared toward teens and tweens, so I’d have to say Juvenile Fiction and Short Story would be the two genres it falls under.
8. Are you in this for the love of money, or the love of writing?
I doubt any writer is in it for the money. Writers write because they love to write, and I am no exception.
9. Which phrase in your book are you most proud of?
Truthfully, the last line of the poem that is included in the book is my pride and joy. Read the poem. You’ll likely agree. http://wordingwell.com/in-ones-eyes/ is a direct link to it.
10. Did you write your book in chronological order? Which part of your book did you write last?
The stories in Risky Issues were all written about six years after I wrote the poem. I wrote the front and back matter (Note from the Author, Acknowledgements, etc.) this past year when I put the book together. The bonus story was written last year, and it’s actually a true story, too, even though my book falls under the category of Juvenile Fiction.
Thank you, Lorraine, for being my guest today!
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At what age do you feel you should talk to a child about serious issues such as drug abuse or death? Would you rather be the one to talk to your kids about these issues, maybe using a tool like ‘Risky Issues’, or do you prefer a teacher have that talk with them?