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Thursday, August 9, 2012

It Only Takes One Click Blog Tour + A Giveaway!


Send

To keep his secrets, all he has to do is listen to the voice in his head and just walk away...

On his first day at his new high school, Dan stops a bully from beating up a kid half his size. He didn't want to get involved. All he wants out of his senior year is to fly under the radar. But Dan knows what it's like to be terrorized by a bully-he used to be one. Now the whole school thinks he's some kind of hero, except Julie Murphy, the prettiest girl on campus. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel.


BEHIND THE BULLY

People often wonder how I got the idea for SEND and why I wrote it from the bully’s perspective. The answer to this question is a complicated one – actually, it is an answer with several parts that converged into what would ultimately become Dan Ellison’s story.

First, let me tell you about my son. When my oldest boy, Rob, was in sixth grade, he broke down in tears one gloomy night in April and told me he no longer wanted to live. To say I was surprised would be the biggest understatement in history. Turns out, he’d been the victim of bullies since the term began the previous September. I had no clue he was being tormented. I had no idea he was even unhappy. He was twelve years old and suffering through an early puberty. His classmates tormented him over his body hair, his acne, his deep voice and made him feel so freakish, he actually believed he was not normal. We got him help and spoke to his teachers and principal and my son finished out the year with no further incidents. He’s now in college but his scars are deep.

The second contributing factor occurred the following year, when Rob was in seventh grade. I’d left the house early one Saturday morning to run errands with my youngest son in tow. Rob was still sleeping when I left. When I returned to my house, I saw some guy hanging by his fingertips from my living room window. This guy turned out to be the older and very muscular brother of a classmate who claimed Rob was now bullying him. He came over to ‘talk some sense into him,’ which – judging by his confrontational demeanor – was code for ‘see how he likes it.’

I’ve been a parent for a long time now and I KNOW most of us are oblivious to our kids’ shortcomings and faults. I have seen so much denial in my life but trust me on this – the word ‘disbelief’ doesn’t even come close to describing my reaction. How could the same boy in so much pain barely a year earlier turn around and cause that same pain in someone else? Near as I was able to determine, since the child would not directly address us, Rob intimidated this child without meaning to. Rob is large: by sixth grade, he was shaving, had reached five foot nine inches tall, which put him about a foot and a half higher than most of his classmates. What he thought was fooling around or playing was perceived as something entirely different by this boy. Judging by the depth of Rob’s guilt after hearing the accusations from this boy’s family, I have to believe he never meant to intimidate or threaten anybody. His despair over this runs nearly as deep as his scars from sixth grade.

I’d been writing all my life and after Rob’s sixth and seventh grade ordeals, put all that on hold for a while. I picked it up again to write a contemporary romantic trilogy that had been burning in my brain for a few years. I’d finished book 1 and had books 2 and 3 outlined. That brings me to the next significant event – my day job. I write software instruction guides and several years ago, a new executive directed us to start using social media in our work. I didn’t even know what sites like Twitter were. So I started doing the research. I learned not only how people use these sites, but also how they abuse them. And somewhere in the back of my brain, a little voice whispered, “I did that.”

I became obsessed with the idea of guilt – or more specifically, living with that degree of guilt and wondered how a kid who’d done something without understanding the permanence or the reach of his action could endure such guilt. And that little voice replied, “I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”

This voice would not shut up. I’ll be honest, he really pissed me off. I wanted to write book 2 in my trilogy, not turn a bully into a tragic hero. It felt wrong – distasteful – disrespectful – even disloyal to my son. I wasn’t ready to forgive Rob’s bullies. I wasn’t sure I could especially since I knew forgiveness would be an important theme in this novel. The idea of torturing this character in effigy did hold a certain amount of appeal. I gave it a shot and found that the deeper I dove into Dan’s story, the more I actually liked him. The duality of Dan/Kenny was a nod to that persistent voice in my own head that compelled me to write this story – sort of an inside joke.

Would you be able to forgive your or your child’s bully? After reading SEND, do you think most bullies are like Dan and my son, and unaware that they’re causing any pain?



Patty Blount


Technical writer by day, fiction writer by night, Patty mines her day job for ideas to use in her novels. Her debut YA "Send" was born after a manager suggested she research social networks. Patty adores chocolate, her boys, and books, though not necessarily in that order. 

Find out more about Patty Blount on her Website HERE


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7 comments:

  1. I think there's a mixture of children who may have no empathy for others or those who are trying to survive the best way they can. There's also influence from others involved. My son was bullied in school and as a single parent I was at a loss as to how to handle it. The principal's response was "This is Jr. High after all!" and the counselor said she didn't know who my son was so couldn't help. This sounds like a great book on a subject that needs to be taken care of.
    Ann

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  2. this book sounds really interesting. I know they always say there is a reason behind bully's behavior, but I don't know if I buy that excuse all the time. I'm glad this issue is being discussed so openly now. Before it seems like adults in education just didn't care.

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  3. Wow, what a heartbreaking story for Patty. Kudos to her for using that experience and writing a book about it. It's so sad what we are capable of doing to others. Hopefully by continuing to raise awareness and those in authority actually doing something about it we will be able to see changes. Thanks for this giveaway!

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  4. This book sounds intriguing. I've read a few books involving bullies, but never one like this. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  5. Thanks for the giveaway! I have really wanted to read this book.

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  6. I think there are different types of bullies - those who enjoy inflicting pain because it makes them feel more powerful, and then there are those who don't really know they're hurting others. Maybe they say things or act in a way just to fit in but what they do is perceived as bullying by other kids.

    I'd forgive depending on which category the bully falls into.

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  7. Yahoo! It ends before school starts! Maybe I get to be trigger happy then!!

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