You know, even after 2+ years of being part of this wonderful neighborhood of book blogging and reviewing, I still wake up every morning and look forward to turning on my computer to see what awaits me. And it still amazes me that me, a (I was going to say how old but let’s skip that part lol) little ole blogger from the smallest state receives emails from publishers asking if I would like to review a book. Well, that happened again a few weeks ago. Kristin from Simon & Schuster sent me such an email.
Since I am slowly getting back into my reading routine, I have once again started accepting reviews that I feel I will 99% truly enjoy. And after reading the synopsis of today’s guest debut novel, not only did I agree to read it, I asked if she would stop by and visit. She accepted. Please help me welcome Ka Hancock to the CMash blog!
ABOUT KA HANCOCK
KA HANCOCK makes her fiction debut with Dancing on Broken Glass. She has two nursing degrees and has specialized in working with psychiatric and substance abuse patients. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and has four children. Visit her at www.kahancock.com
I think I was nine when I crafted a story about my mean teacher who was found dead in his stinky house, which explained why he wasn’t at school. I have to admit that as a child, I was a bit overwhelmed by my absolute power to write someone dead. So much so, that I brought Mr. Meany back to life—albeit with an intractable ear infection. I was pretty much hooked on writing—the power of writing—from then on. But I had to learn how to do it because these were not natural bones for me and I knew interest, obsession, and irrational self-confidence were never going to be enough. It got a little tricky because I had to learn this craft while I wasn’t busy doing other things like getting a couple of nursing degrees and raising a few kids. But spare moments yielded pages and, despite my busy life, I soon learned that, for the writer in me, nothing was ever going to be wasted. Every good, bad, bizarre, heartbreaking, or embarrassing experience was somehow destined for the compost heap of my brain. There, it all simply ferments until it surfaces as an idea or the perfect detail in a story.
Dancing on Broken Glass started out as a very sparse idea. Two sisters, cancer, an unplanned pregnancy, and a little town were all I had to go on. Those four elements woke me up one night like a whisper from God. It wasn’t much to go on, but it was enough to keep me very preoccupied with the possibilities. My hero came later when I needed a good reason for his ill wife to give their child up as opposed to trusting him to raise her. So Mickey showed up as a man afflicted with bipolar disorder, which seemed like excellent reasoning on my part. Silly me! I don’t outline, so Mickey’s story was not immediately clear to me, but I wasn’t worried because I’m a psych nurse and the compost heap was teeming with material. It wasn’t until a major revision brought Mickey’s mental illness to the forefront of the story that it became a driving force—when I knew him, the story blossomed. My process is flawed, to be sure, but it works for me. I should probably outline (it would undoubtedly save me some time), but I kind of like stumbling around in the dark; I like the discovery. I should also write every day, but I don’t do that either. What I shoot for is the completion of two chapters a month, minimum. I meet with my highly intuitive writer’s group—two other novelists and a mega-reader—every other Wednesday. My goal is to come prepared to read a polished chapter, about 20 pages. If I can do that, I’m a happy writer.
Next up for me: The story of a heroine who was a piano virtuoso before she suffered a traumatic brain injury. I have no piano experience I can pluck from the compost heap, not a single note. So, I’m taking lessons. LOL! How’s that for process?
ABOUT THE BOOK
An unvarnished portrait of a marriage that is both ordinary and extraordinary, DANCING ON BROKEN GLASS (Gallery Books; on-sale March 13th , 2012; Trade Paperback; $15.00) takes readers on an unforgettable journey of the heart.
Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let along gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes – he has bipolar disorder; she, a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry.
Cautious every step of the way, Mickey and Lucy are determined to make their relationship work – and they put their commitment in writing. Mickey will take his medication. Lucy won’t blame him for what is beyond his control. He promises honesty. She promise patience. Like any marriage, there are good days and bad days – and some very bad days. In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children. But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary, she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything. Everything. Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window, and the two of them must redefine what love really is.
Inspired by her years as a psychiatric nurse, Hancock’s debut novel showcases her deep understanding and empathy and brings to life a story of imperfect love, loss, and bipolar disorder. Her underlying faith in the resiliency of the human spirit, despite the challenges of mental illness, shines through in this powerful first novel.
Watch for my review in the coming weeks.
THANKS TO KRISTIN FROM SIMON & SCHUSTER,
I HAVE 3 COPIES OF THIS BOOK TO GIVE AWAY.
CLICK HERE TO BRING YOU TO
THE GIVEAWAY ENTRY PAGE.