- What drove you to write this book? In October 2013, I was flipping through the channels on the TV when I saw a mother talking about her daughter’s suicide on the Dr. Phil Show. The girl was named Rehtaeh Parsons and she committed suicide because she was bullied constantly after a photo surfaced showing her being sexually assaulted. Something about her story resonated with me, and I wondered how many more teenagers experience similar situations. I decided to write a book about this topic to raise awareness about the problem of bullying and cyber bullying that plagues our country.
- With all that is out there on bullying, how does your book add to the conversation? There are many books about bullying, with statistics that are shocking. But when you are not part of those statistics, it’s hard to relate. My book is written in first person, present tense, through the eyes of a teenager named June who is currently living with the nightmare of being assaulted, bullied, and unable to find ways to cope with the problem. The reader will be able to feel what June is feeling, see what she is thinking, and understand how desperation can lead to a total mental breakdown when a person feels like no one is on her side.
- How will it help people who are bullied? The most important part of helping people who are bullied is trying to get them to understand that they are not alone. I want my book to start a conversation by connecting those who have experienced bullying first hand. When we connect and share our stories with one another, it empowers us. Victims should know that their thoughts are not “crazy” or “shameful.” The mind is powerful and can go to dark places, but it can also recover if we are given the right tools.
- What are three take-always from your book?
a. This book is not only for those who have been bullied. Adults, who don’t understand what teenagers are going through, will be able to better understand the physical and psychological effects of bullying by reading what actually goes through a victim’s mind when he/she is constantly bullied.
b. The book is also faith based. It’s important to believe that there’s a greater meaning to life. No matter what you believe, even if it’s as simple as living life to help others, you should believe that you are not here to live life alone. There’s help and all you have to do is ask.
c. Bullying is not just a part of life. It is serious and can be extremely detrimental to one’s mental health, causing thoughts of self-harm, or even worse, suicide. Laws need to be implemented in the US to protect victims of bullying.
- Did you ever deal with bullies? I was bullied as young as four years old. I lived in Austria and German was not my first language so I was a very quiet and shy child. One girl in school took advantage of that and made fun of me, stealing from my cubby every morning because she knew I wouldn’t say anything. I remember coming home every day from school crying. I don’t have a lot of memories from that time, but I remember these experiences vividly. That’s how much they affected me. When I moved to the US for college, I was bullied again my freshman year because the girls in my dorm thought I was “different.” That time, I fell into depression—something I learned is a very real and serious condition.
- What can be done to prevent bullying? The best thing people can do about bullying is to inform others and educate people about the problem. Parents should talk to their children about bullying, and encourage them to open up if they are bullied, for whatever reason. Often kids will feel embarrassed or ashamed of being a victim, leading them to become more isolated from family and friends. I’m hoping my book will create more media attention around this subject. The more talk there is about the problem of bullying, the better chance people will pay attention. Laws need to be implemented that prevent bullies from feeling like there are no consequences to their actions.
- What advice do you have for struggling writers? Keep writing. Write something every day. Anything. Writing is a job like any other job. Even though you may love doing it, that doesn’t mean that you will want to do it every day. So, sometimes you need to schedule your writing. Treat it like a chore. What also helps me is writing about topics I feel will help people. I write articles for several popular websites, and thinking that at least one person is reading and benefitting from what I’m writing about, keeps me writing.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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