Author: A. Meredith Walters
Publisher: (March 17th 2014)
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NOTE: This is a "New Adult" novel. Due to mature content this title is recommended for ages 17+
Synopsis: Bully and victim.
Tormenter and tormented.
Villain and hero.
Ellie Mccallum was the bully. The Tormenter. The Villain. Taking what she wanted, stomping over anyone that got in her way. Feelings, futures, and relationships be damned. She felt no emotional connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable.
Particularly Freaky Flynn.
Growing up, Flynn Hendrick was known only as “Freaky Flynn.” He lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger's. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.
But then Flynn and Ellie grew up.
And moved on.
Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.
When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other.
And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds.
But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the farther you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.
Hi A.! Welcome to my little corner of the internet. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. How about we get started?
First off, could you talk to us a bit about writing Reclaiming the Sand and what the book means to you?
Flynn and Ellie’s story was extremely important to me. It’s the journey of two lost people who find hope and happiness with each other. The underlying themes of bullying and find yourself made the experience of writing it so much more poignant. I’ve experienced bullying in my life. My best friend was bullied horrifically and I saw the devastation that played out in his life. The effects of that on your heart and mind is significant but I wanted to show it doesn’t have to define you. Reclaiming the Sand is about two individuals who are struggling to become more than their labels.
What were the hardest and easiest parts of writing this title?
The hardest part was writing in Flynn’s Point of View. I wrote this story in both past and present. Flynn’s POV was the past. Delving into his head and making sure I did it justice and showed the impact of the abuse he experienced was hard. It was gut wrenching. And at times I had to leave it and walk away from it before coming back to finish. There were no “easy” elements of this story for me to write. But perhaps the most enjoyable were the simple moments between Ellie and Flynn as they got to know each other and fell in love.
If you could sit down and talk to Ellie and Flynn during their early years, maybe if you were around when their bully and victim relationship started, what would you say to each of them?
I guess I would tell Ellie that she doesn’t need to hurt others to feel good about herself. That it’s okay to be herself and that she is worthy of love. To Flynn I would tell him that real friendship makes you happy and that you should be proud and comfortable with the person you are. That when you feel good about yourself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
In today’s world we see bullying more and more every day. Do you have any static’s you could share with us? And also, would you like to share any websites, organizations’ and phone numbers to help those that are being bullied?
In my previous life as an adolescent and child counselor, I sat on the bullying task force for the local school system. It was comprised of a group of people whose goal it was to implement practices to combat bullying in the schools and attempt to be proactive.
The statistics on bullying are startling.
-Over half of all students have witnessed an act of bullying in school.
-A reported 15% of students who didn’t show up for school state that it’s out of fear of bullying.
-71% of students report that bullying is an ongoing problem.
-1 in 10 students drops out or changes schools due to bullying.
-There has been a 50% increase in the last 30 years of “bullycide” (suicide brought on by bullying).
-42% of kids have been bullied online.
-77% of kids report being a victim of some type of bullying.
These are some pretty scary statistics. The most important thing is to encourage kids to talk about what’s going on and when you notice something is wrong, you be pro-active about it. Every day we hear about the devastating affects of bullying. Know the signs and know how to get help.
Here are some great online resources:
Beat Bullying Online Resources: http://archive.beatbullying.org/dox/resources/resources.html
Bullying at school and online: http://www.education.com/topic/school-bullying-teasing/
Stop Bullying UK: http://www.bullying.co.uk/
Stop Bullying US: http://www.stopbullying.gov/
Great bullying website for kids: http://www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org/#/home
Could you ask Ellie and Flynn a question for me? Would you ask them to describe the other in three words?
Ellie would describe Flynn as awkward, loving, and talented.
Flynn would describe Ellie as beautiful, smart, and confusing.
What do you hope readers take away with them from the story and these characters?
When I wrote this book, I wanted to give voice to people who couldn’t always speak up for themselves. I wanted to show that everyone deserves love. No matter what. And that loving someone unconditionally brings the greatest rewards. Ellie and Flynn’s journey wasn’t an easy one but I hope people see that our actions don’t have to define us. That the labels we are given don’t dictate our futures. That we are in charge of who we become and that you should never be afraid to be the person you really are.
And lastly, if you could write an open letter to a bully OR the victim what would you say? Could you share this letter with us?
To that kid who could have been me,
I know that you feel alone. I know that you feel like no one understands. And in some ways you are right. I can never truly “get” what you’re going through. But I have been there. I know what it feels like to wake up in the morning with that sick sense of dread. Worrying what your day would bring and whether it would end in tears.
I know what it takes for you to walk through those doors at school and hope that if you keep your head down then maybe no one will see you.
But I also know that you shouldn’t be ashamed of who you are. That the problem is with them and not you! That you are a fantastic, amazing person that deserves better. The strength it takes to put one foot in front of the other and to face the day is greater than people give you credit for. You are strong. You are capable. And you can rise above this.
And when you are at your darkest, find the light somewhere. Remember there are people that care. People that love you. People that want to see you happy. And know that your life is only just beginning. There is a whole world of greatness meant only for you.
Talk to someone.
Share the fantastic person that you are.
And know that I get it. I’ve been there.
And it does get better.
A. Meredith Walters
Thanks for visiting with me today, A. It’s been amazing and I hope to get a chance to read and review this title soon… it sounds wonderful and emotional.
About the Author:Find A. Meredith Online:
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary and Paranormal romance including The Find You in the Dark and Bad Rep series as well as the upcoming stand alone romance, Reclaiming the Sand, and a dark new adult series for Gallery Books.
A. Meredith spent ten years as a counselor for at risk teens and children. First working at a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program and then later a program for children with severe emotional and mental health issues. Her former clients and their stories continue to influence every aspect of her writing.
When not writing (or being tortured with all manner of beauty products at the hand of her very imaginative and extremely girly daughter), she is eating chocolate, watching reality television that could rot your brain and reading a smutty novel or two.
A. Meredith is represented by Michelle Johnson with the Inklings Literary Agency.
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