Interview with author Lorca Damon & #Giveaway!
Author: Lorca Damon
I am a teacher, writer, and all-around thing-doer. Not professionally. Well, the teaching thing and the writing thing I do professionally, but the doer-thing is just stuff that I... do. Like triathlons and cookie-baking contests.
I got into writing because I finally had enough to say that I could envision a full-length story unfolding. I’ve played with short stories, just for myself, but had this character that I just couldn’t finish with until I told his whole story. After writing one book and putting it aside, I participated in my first NaNoWriMo, and the urge to keep telling the whole story just took over.
The Book:The Earth is For Dancing
Sam is a fifteen-year-old drug orphan living with her custodial grandmother who is stricken with late-stage Alzheimer's. She struggles to fill the role of caregiver to her grandmother while keeping her little family a secret from the authorities who would send Gamma to a state facility and Sam to foster care. Just because her life isn't hard enough, there are still boys to have crushes on, essays to write for horrible English teachers, and a squad full of bullies to torment her on a daily basis.
I teach in a maximum security juvenile detention facility, and my characters are so often created from a student or a student’s experiences. I remember one of my students coming to me panic-stricken, wanting to know if I could call his grandmother. That is absolutely against the rules, but he teared up and said, “I just need someone to check on her, I don’t know if she’s okay.” I asked him why she wouldn’t be okay, and he said, “Someone has to feed her.” I must have looked confused, because the whole story came tumbling out. He is the only care-giver for his elderly grandmother, the woman who raised him when his own parents took off. Now that she has advanced Alzheimer’s, there’s no one to care for her. He had been taking care of her for years.
That one interaction would not stop bugging me. I kept coming back to what life must be like for both the boy and his grandmother, and how our society is set up to not help them or not keep them together. Requesting assistance would mean he gets sent to foster care and his grandmother ends up in some state-run facility. So he toughed it out and did his best, which unfortunately, meant breaking the law to feed them both.
Can you describe your protangnist Sam in 140 characters?
Afraid but determined, Sam tries to swim upstream in order to take care of her Gamma until Alzheimer's finally takes her away for good.
Why should we pick up The Earth is for Dancing?
One of the crappiest reviews I got for Earth didn’t just piss me off because the person didn’t like my book or my characters. The reviewer actually said something like, “It’s a really good book, but it’s just too unbelievable. Stuff like this just doesn’t happen.” Really? This isn’t happening right now? Sixty million adults in this country have their grandchildren living with them, either through actual custody or shared housing. What’s going to happen to everyone involved when the adult needs the care, instead of the other way around? While this book is entirely a work of fiction, it is based on a very real, very frightening reality for a lot of teenagers, and I hope it opens people’s eyes to the struggles and pressures teens often face.
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Giveaway is sponsored by the author and is open to anyone who can receive Amazon Giftcards
Giveaway Ends 9th June 2013
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