Tuesday, January 3, 2012

K.J. Steele: Author Guest Post

K.J. Steel is a new author on the scene and I am honored to be a part of her tour with Pump Up Your Books. I think you will find K.J. delightful and engaging, and you simply must check out her novel No Story to Tell. My review and a guest post are forthcoming tomorrow and Wednesday.

About the Author:

KJ Steele is an emerging writer who has learned that the process is not so much about choosing what to write as it is about having the courage to write what chooses to be written. Having spent the first half of her life creating an amazing family with her husband, Victor, she intends to spend the rest of it creating equally amazing fiction.

About the Novel:

Victoria Lackey, a once extraordinarily promising dancer, now finds herself mired down in a joyless marriage, tending to a heart full of secrets, her dream of being a dancer buried deep within her.

Buried within her, that is, until Elliot, a newcomer to the small, gritty town of Hinckly and a sensual artist, recognizes the dancer’s spirit within her. Believing in her abilities, he encourages her to open a dance studio, something previously forbidden by Victoria’s boorish husband, Bobby.

With Elliot’s attentions sparking the flame of desire within her, Victoria suddenly begins to receive softly seductive anonymous telephone calls. Encouraged by her best friend, Rose, Victoria slowly allows herself to start enjoying the calls, eventually creating a perfect fantasy lover in her mind. Eventually, she slips from listener to speaker and begins to divulge the intimate and profound secrets that haunt her soul.

Inevitable tensions begin to arise between Victoria and Bobby as he attempts to keep her new-found freedom from taking root. Desperate to resuscitate the woman she was truly meant to be, Victoria is in for the struggle of her life. With a burden of secrets collapsing around her and a life hanging in jeopardy if she embraces her own, Fate devilishly delivers her to an impossible fork in the road.  

Author Guest Post:

My novel, No Story to Tell, is awash with conflicted, humorous, delightful, and sometimes darkly twisted characters. Writing down the travails, trials, and triumphs of these characters fascinated me. What possessed them to do the things they did? What possesses any of us to do the things we do? Creating these characters into their on-the-page selves was an exercise in layering back the veneer of outward action–overreactions–and digging deeper to find the reasons that birthed the behavior.

I was intrigued by all of the characters who arrived onto my page, but my utmost sense of wonder was reserved for Victoria, the novel’s protagonist. Watching the events of Victoria’s life unfold, I began to question where she had sprung from. In some ways, she was familiar to me, and in others, she was completely unknown. I began to trail back over the story of my own life to see what parts of her may have emerged from me.

I did not grow up surrounded by outwardly empowered women. My formative years were spent in a small town where traditional values and necessity were the glue that held marriages together. As with most things, there was some merit and positive influence to such an arrangement. There was also the obvious pitfall of marriages being held together when the couple (or most often, the woman) would be much better off apart.

Without realizing it, my silent-self observed these arrangements, and questioned the wisdom in them. Were these women weak, unable to leave simply because of the over-powering fear of going it alone? Or, was there something more going on? Some of these women did not strike me as weak. To the contrary, they were able, quick-minded, and courageous. It was a juxtaposition that never came clear to me.

When Victoria began to pencil herself into my life, I realized that I was now ready to learn of the deep complexity of the human spirit. And even more accurately–the maternal spirit. As I delved ever deeper into the character of Victoria, an interesting truth began to reveal itself to me. A truth that caused me to look back at certain ones of those seemingly dis-empowered women of long ago, and see them in a new light.

The truth that had emerged through the entrance of Victoria into my life was–that sometimes within our greatest weakness, lies our greatest strength. It was a profound discovery for me. The sort of paradigm-shifter that causes a person to rethink their view of the world around them. For me, I was able to look back at those seemingly dis-empowered women who were the canvas of my youth, and see a different possibility in the choices they made. And, even now, I do not look at people with the same judgements. I am encouraged by that truth to look deeper. To allow for the fact that within those weaknesses presented to the world, lies the possibility of tremendous strength.

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