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  • Writer's picture Kathy Cassel

Kia Tells Her Story

Updated: May 9, 2020

A few years ago I felt a real need to write books for teens who will not pick up a typical Christian book. I wanted to reach the teens who are reading books like Thirteen Reasons Why, All the Bright Place, and the many John Green books. Issue-based books. They are very popular among teen readers, but Christian publishers have shied away from them.

I've talked to many editors over the past three years about my ideas, but I've gotten comments that show that they really don't get it. Except Elk Lake. Elk Lake gets it. Teens need issue based books that have an added element of hope.

They will be publishing my book, Freerunner.

Here is a short synopsis of it:

Night is Kia’s favorite time. It’s when she can be anonymous as she runs to outdistance the voices in her head and the ugly images that are never far away. The abuse Kia suffered at the hands of her grandfather when she was six has left invisible scars that have never healed. Only her best friend Thorn knows how damaged she feels.

When her Grandfather not only returns to town, but moves in with Kia and her mother, Kia’s world is shaken. Freerunning, a creative way of running that incorporates gymnastic and acrobatic stunts, helps Kia flee both memories and the unanswered questions she has. Questions about the father she’s never met.

Then former reality television star Terrence Jones arrives at the school as the new head track coach, and Kia decides to try out for the team. What can it hurt? And maybe being part of a team will help her feel more normal, although normal was stolen from her by her grandfather.

But making the track team only causes more turmoil. Why does the assistant coach, Cassandra Clark, dislike Terrence Jones so much, and even more troubling, why does Coach Clark dislike her so much?

When Terrence Jones starts a freerunning club at a local church and asks Kia to help, things seem to be looking up. Then Kia realizes her grandfather’s true intentions and knows she must face the past and act if she wants to save another child from the fate she suffered.

As you can tell, Freerunner is going to talk about some tough issues. Real issues. Because girls are abused by family members every day. And all too often it's swept under the rug or the victim is even accused of lying. I've had editors look at the story and tell me that no mother would let an abuser back into her house. Yes they would. Just ask any foster parent, and they'll probably be able to list for you all the times they know of that it has happened. And those are just the known cases.

It will be interesting to see how this book is received once it's in print. I believe in the power of story to heal, and I'm hoping this book gets into the hands of the readers who need it. I will be sharing more about the story as we move into the editing process.

The picture above is of a friend's daughter who agree to pose as my main character Kia, who used freerunning (parkour) as a way to escape the memories that haunt her. We took quite a few pictures, and I will be sharing them on here and on my facebook author page in weeks to come.

Stay tuned, and come along for the ride!

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