Saturday, August 27, 2016

Thoughts and Reviews for the Book Og by Brittany Shannon

"This will be a sweeping saga. Your prose is beautiful. But I am concerned about your main character. She needs to be a hero."
-(Unnamed Editor)
Do you know an addict or have you experienced addiction before? (Me: ✔️&✔️)
I have incorporated some addictive personalities in my book and I do volunteer work with an Addiction Recovery Program. This is one thing I am passionate about and wish I could change the world's view on with a snap on my fingers.
It is easy to tell how a human feels about addiction or the individual suffering in their life, by simply reading their response.
I have had two people read my book and respond with comments about their "annoyance" with some of the main character's actions and their "confusion" with what the character is going through. 
If you haven't heard already, my main character in Og, Kaya, suffers from alcoholic tendencies. Why?--you'll have to read to find out. In short, she is haunted. Pain is second nature to her and she chooses to numb it more often than not.
When those two readers responded to me with indifference for this character of mine, I couldn't help but take it personal.
Kaya, like many of us--including me--will make grand errors in this thing called life. Especially with her tendencies towards alcohism. Yes, that can be "annoying" to people who don't know the pains and torments associated with addiction. It is even annoying to the addict at times! But I've been there...I've personally experienced it, and many of the things I write about. For someone to tell me I need to change my character and make her more of a hero chafed my spirit the same as if they'd told me I need to change myself and be a better hero. 
With what I've gone through, I think I already deserve a cape and shield!! Can I get an AMEN?
Keeping in mind my book is also fiction, I still want to point out that just because it takes place in roughly 1406BC doesn't mean people didn't face great adversity. Namely alcoholism.
The bible is FULL of accounts of men and women being drunken with wine.
A wine bibber is someone who indulges in too much wine (see bible).
There wasn't much knowledge about the repercussions of drinking heavily and from the beginning of time man has had to jump through the hoops the wile devil has set out for us in our mortal existence.
The biblical era was also full of "every manner of wickedness"(see bible).
The cities of Canaan were consumed with "all manner of abominations"(see bible).
I know we often put the bible and religion and God and Christianity into a muffin tin and expect lovely frosted cupcakes to materialize, but the truth is evil and hardship has existed since the creation of man. And it is documented in the most read book in the universe.
The Buble.
The abominations spoken of include but are not limited to: addiction, substance abuse, infidelity, whoredoms, incest, idolatry, child sacrifice, rape, murder, adultery, theft, lying, sexual transgression out of wedlock, and cannibalism.

I like to read all kinds of novels. I particularly like ones that discuss these so-called "Darker" elements. I find it comforting, ironically, because I can relate to these characters and their stories. I cannot relate to Anna of Arendale or Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. (Although wonderful gals) It is perfectly fine to not like a book but appreciate the writing.
Take Wuthering Heights for example.
It is a classic.
Lots of people hate it.
If is considered tragic.
I happen to LOVE IT.
I would like to address the comments Trudi, a reviewer online, said concerning Og:
I am happy with the ending, but it was a long, arduous journey to get there."
Yes, yes isn't it always? Trudi? Or have you locked out and been blessed with the simplest and most prosperous life of all?
In my Addiction Recovery meetings I attend and help travel to give presentations on, a common reaction from the family members of addicts is just this: confusion, anger, bitterness, indifference, denial, or sometimes codependency.
The truth is, in my book Og, I DID want to attract readers who feel the way I feel and enjoy the things I enjoy. I DO want those readers to relate to my characters on a deep level on understanding. On that same note, I DID make them 100% realistic.
(No Bella Swan teeter-tottering)
They don't act out of character, therefore if they're an alcoholic, they likely do things that make you furious. Good. You FELT.
If they're the kid that was bullied growing up, they likely showcase a significant amount of insecurity in adulthood. You feel sorry for them. Exactly.
Humans are complex and multifaceted and utterly AMAZING. God sent each soul to Earth with a unique set of gifts and weaknesses. (See bible)
I write about ALL of these, based on personal experience.
I have also don't a significant amount of research about the biblical era to make sure it is historically accurate.
If you want a sunny-skies-perfect-soft-kisses-aromatic-fresh-bread-smelling happily ever after read, Og might not be for you. Regardless, I do hope you read it and appreciate the quality of writing, the way my reviewers have!!

Addiction is not some "annoyance" we should overlook. And if we are confused by someone's actions out of pain, wouldn't it be better to LOVE that person and serve them and ask about their grievances that we may bear one another's burdens?
It is often confusing when we can't relate to one person'a pain. Abandonment, rape, heartbreak. It isn't my goal to write about stereotypical "heroes" and "heroines" but about people with real weaknesses and real triumphs. It can be ugly, and uncomfortable. It isn't always a fluffy fairytale. Kaya is not a Disney-Princess-Michael-Bay-type hero...but she is a warrior in her own way. She is fighting demons each day of her life, and throughout this trilogy you will experience her failures and successes. It is my JOB to make you feel. It is no accident if you feel good or bad, happy or disgusted. If you want to throw the book across the room, do it! It makes me smile to know I've evoked the proper emotion. And when you finish the book and tell me how happy you are with the ending, I'll smile larger. Of course you are. I didn't intend for Og to be a tragedy. I just like writing about tragic events:)

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, just like villains.
I am so thrilled these readers find my book so emotional, and a "sweeping saga", but I want EVERYONE who reads it to understand this: The dark side of life is real. Adversary exists. Temptations will break even the strongest soul in the face of enormous pain. But without it, we will never know joy. There is opposition in all things. With God at the helm, you will sail victoriously through them all.
The end.
#books #words #addiction #og

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