Saturday, March 22, 2014

"A Special Love" by Krissy Bells

A Special Love
by Krissy Bells

A Special Love is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

When Robert Adler and Meredith Conrad fall in love, all that is left for them to do is prepare to live a fairy-tale life. With the blessing of their second child, a son named Michael, everything they have always dreamed of begins to become a reality. But his autism diagnosis is something they never anticipated. The struggle they face after the diagnosis puts a strain on their family that begins to tear them apart.
Years later, Michael begins high school, and the true love his older sister Ann Marie finds there helps bring her insight and appreciation of Michael’s unique gifts and identity.
It might be just what is needed to put their family back together.

“What are you, retarded?” Luke yelled, his words echoing throughout the cafeteria. Michael jumped backward, caught only by the table behind him. He leaned back, startled. Luke’s monstrous shout drew Ann Marie’s attention, along with the rest of the lunchroom’s, to the altercation. He swung around to find Michael to be the perpetrator of his chair’s assault. “My bad,” he said. “You are retarded, you idiot!” He grabbed the plastic water bottle from Michael’s hand and poured it over his head. Distracted by the water falling over him, Michael began to smile and bounce up and down. “Look, he likes it!” Luke said, and with the bottle now empty, he whipped it at Michael. It rebounded off of his forehead and landed on the floor.
A silence now resonated through the cafeteria, only pierced by the taps of the empty plastic bottle bouncing on the tile floor. Michael’s face, only seconds before filled with joy, was now changing. After the bottle struck him, his expression became carnal. Michael’s eyes squinted, his forehead crinkled, his jaw clenched, and he exposed his teeth. He emitted a soft but growing roar as he prepared to retaliate.
“What is this weirdo doing?” Luke turned his back, laughing with his friends. Ann Marie approached the scene, silently sliding between them, coming face-to-face with her brother. She took his hands in hers, terrified at what he might do. Still furious, he stared past her to the back of Luke’s head.
“You want to get your soda, don’t you, Michael?” she asked. Michael’s focus was unfazed. Ann Marie stepped to the right, interrupting his line of vision. “Michael, look at me. Look at Ann.” His eyes met hers briefly and then darted back to Luke. “No, Michael, look at me.” She moved, meeting his eyes again. “Let’s go get a 7 Up.”
“No, a Coke, Ann. I want a Coke!” Michael replied.
“Look at this,” Luke said, now turning toward them to observe their exchange. “This retard has a hot girlfriend!”
Ann Marie turned, but before she could speak, someone stepped in between them. Like Michael, Kevin McKendrick was new to Willow Creek, though his arrival had sent the school’s female population into a frenzy. He was clean-cut but casual, usually found in a T-shirt and jeans. He was still unsure of his place there, thus he had so far kept mostly to himself, choosing to remain polite but distant. Ann Marie had noticed him in her U.S. history class when he had done a presentation on the Revolutionary War. He was hard not to notice. He looked more like he belonged on the cover of a magazine than in a classroom. Though his back was now to her, she could easily tell it was him; his tall, brawny frame and closely cropped chestnut hair was a clear giveaway.
“Apologize,” he said.

From the time we are very young, we have expectations of what life will be like when we are adults. Will me meet our perfect mate? Will we have wonderful children? Will he or she become a movie or sports star? Perhaps even President? We want them to have a life that fits our dreams for them. But what happens when something beyond our power changes things so that it seems the hopes, dreams and expectations that we have had for their lives, seem to become out of reach? How does it affect us as individuals and families? This is the question that Krissy Bells attempts to answer in this heartwarming book. It is a story of relationships, families and expectations. Although it is a story whose main characters are teenagers, it is a story that can tug at the heart strings of a reader of any age. It will make you laugh, cry, think and feel. A thoughtful and touching first novel.

Interview With the Author
Hi Krissy, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, A Special Love.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I would classify it as a Young Adult novel, but I hope that the themes of the story are applicable to older readers as well.
What sparked the idea for this book?
The story of, A Special Love, began to form in my mind when I was lucky enough in life, to stumble upon a job at a school for special needs students. I recently left my position after having a baby, to be a stay-at-home mom. At that time, a family member began self-publishing and inspired my decision to actually start writing. I had always wanted to focus on young adult/teen stories, and missing the students I had grown so attached to, I continued to develop the story of a family with an autistic son, and their relationships.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
For me the two went hand-in-hand.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
It was difficult for me to rework sections that weren’t working. It’s hard to make changes when you are attached to the details. I had to remind myself that the overall picture was what was most important.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
It is meant as a love letter to any family facing trials and tribulations, with a reminder that while it is easy to focus on the hardships of life, the gift of acceptance and love is what it is really all about. I hope that it also brings about greater autism awareness and acceptance.
How long did it take you to write this book?
The entire process was almost six months.
What is your writing routine?
It’s hard to have a routine. I pretty much have to sneak it in while my baby naps, and there are usually snacks involved.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Start writing and follow your heart. There is an audience for almost anything. The hardest part is believing in yourself and realizing someone might want to hear your story.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Spend time with my family and friends. I also just started doing Zumba and I love it. My face turns purple and I swear I’m going to die but it feels great when it’s done!
What does your family think of your writing?
They are very supportive.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I did love reading as a child! Reading to my baby has also renewed my love for children’s books. I enjoy them as much as she does!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always loved to write poetry. Writing stories was the next step. I wasn’t sure that publishing would be possible, but the ability to self-publish recently made my dream a reality.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Definitely, my novels will always feature the intricate balance of love and family relationship dynamics.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I will never forget the first book I fell in love with. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. I read it over and over! I have pretty diverse tastes, J. K. Rowling, Jane Austen, John Grisham, anything that grabs my interest.
Do you hear from your readers much?
I hope to in the future!
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I am almost finished with my second novel, I am hoping to have it published in May.
Fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Krissy Bells was born and raised in the Detroit metro area. A former school secretary, she now spends her days as a stay-at-home mom. She is passionate about her family and friends, her Dachshund named Harry, and anything topped with cheese or chocolate.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or a signed copy of A Special Love by Krissy Bell.