I wish to thank Paige Dearth for sending me her book, One Among Us in return for an honest review. You can read my review here. Also, her book is only 4.94 on Amazon, so you must take this opportunity and order the book today. You won’t regret.
Usually, I would have told you something about Paige, but she gave me such awesome and complex answers, that I felt that there is nothing I can say more.
I must say that now I respect her and her work even more than I did before. She went through so many bad things but she managed to become such a beautiful person, doing wonderful things for her, her family and her friends. I am certain that her work will change many lives.
1. How was this book born? Or the idea of it?
It was a summer night about five years ago. My daughter had a friend over to our house and at the end of the night, she drove the other girl back home, about eight miles from where we live. It was supposed to be a quick drop off and come home.
Her father, boyfriend (at the time, now her husband), and I cleaned up from dinner while my daughter ran her friend home. Thirty minutes later she hadn’t returned. We started calling her cell and sending frantic text messages. Her boyfriend got in his car and traced her route. I was freaking the hell out, I mean, a heart stopping, mind melting feeling that tore at my soul. Hyperventilating, I called my older sister (who knows everyone and is the most resourceful person I know). She heard my voice and through gasping sobs got the story out of me. My sister quickly hung up the phone and within ten minutes she had friends and family deployed all over the town where my daughter had gone.
Well into an hour later my sister called me back. “I just talked to her,” she said. The five most beautiful words anyone has ever spoken to me. My daughter had walked into to meet her friend’s mother and, left her cell phone in the car. “Well, mom, one thing led to another and before I knew it a whole hour had gone by. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” Scare me? Oh, hell, my life was over in that hour. The thoughts that ran through my head were dark…the regret for letting her go alone, relentless.
Over the next few days, I reflected on my own experience. The terrible things I imagined could have happened to my kid (an early twenty-something at the time).
This is what inspired me to write One Among Us…so that people protect their children…hold them closer…not let them wander off on their own no matter how old they are…and, be aware so that someday they may save the life of a child.
Read about sex trafficking…talk about it to your friends and neighbors…do something to make a difference. That’s what I learned and hope all of you will too.
Oh, and my sister, she plays the role of sister, friend, and mother in my life. The person I call when I am sitting on the edge of a tall cliff and have about lost my damn mind.
2. It was so hard reading this book not because it isn’t good, but because of the reality that you described and I wasn’t aware of it (because I was so naive when it comes to prostitution). Where did you find the strength to write it? You describe an awful reality, with so well detailed facts.
My strength to write stories about young children who have to face adversity comes from my own experience. I was sexually abused by my live-in uncle at seven years old. I write with such detail to bring forth raw emotion so people reading can feel what abused children experience. Young children are mentally and physically tortured every day. It’s all kept secret. That’s the way abusers train their victims. We hear stories on the news of abused and missing children, sometimes they are returned, but often they never go home again. These stories merely skim the surface of what might be happening to a child. This results in minimal change and so the abuse cycle continues.
Ben Franklin’s quote sums up what I am trying to achieve with my writing. “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
3. You had help with it? Was there someone for you, who would tell you how prostitution, child abduction, and sex trafficking really work?
No, just me and my thoughts. However, these thoughts stem from what I have imagined could have happened to me because of my own childhood experiences. A person who is abused, abducted, sex trafficked or forced into prostitution to survive all have the same common thread of despair — being violated and controlled by other people. My imagination gets me into the psyche of the violated or exploited individual and from there I make up my stories.
4. What was one of the most surprising things that you learned from writing this book?
That I don’t care to write a series. One Among Us was so large that I planned to make it two books. When it came back from my editor, she validated what I already felt, it needed to be one book to have the impact I intended.
5. I am really curious, who are your favorite writers? I can’t help it not comparing you with Stieg Larsson. I felt that both of you described violence easily. Is he one of your favorites?
I’m embarrassed to say I have never read Steig Larson, however, so many people love his work, I’m certain it’s incredibly moving. A few of my favorite authors are Stephen King, James Patterson, Danielle Steele, V.C. Andrews and John Saul.
As for the violence, while the words flow easily from my mind onto the page, it is because I despise the villains in my stories so much that I look forward to destroying them…to giving the protagonist the justice she or he deserves. Sounds weird?
6. Do you have any advice for people out there who wish to write a book?
People tell me all the time that they want to write a book. So did I and, the only way you will is if you sit your ass down and write. When I wrote my debut novel, Believe Like A Child, I had no idea what I was doing, I only knew that I had a story to tell. To write dialogue I opened a novel I owned and looked at how the author did it. Writing comes naturally to me and I am very thankful for that gift.
7. I read the first three chapters of the book describing Emma’s life, When Smiles Fade. Should I expect to find another painful childhood and life as Maggie’s and the other’s children?
You should expect that Emma must overcome her abusive childhood to find the life she deserves. So, yes, Emma has a rough time at the hands of her drunken-ass father, but unlike
Maggie in One Among Us, Emma has the grit and opportunity to take control of her situation. Emma is resourceful and strong in a different way than Maggie. Both protagonists are thrust into lives that are not a product of their own doing. Emma experiences deep pain and decides to take matters into her own hands. Pain and suffering, yes. You see, young Emma Murphy kills people only if they deserve to die. Vigilante justice? You decide.
8. I know that you published a new book this year, but are you working on a new book right now?
My latest novel, Mean Little People was published in April 2017. I am about 75% done drafting my fifth novel about a young homeless girl who has to face life on the streets because she finds herself with no family…at least not the family that a normal twelve-year-old would ever want.
9. Please tell us something about you. Let us know, who is the magnificent woman who writes books with such painful subjects?
Well, let me start by saying that I’ve had to work very hard to make a good life for myself. Being raised in an abusive household took my focus from learning to survive. When I finished high school, I had no dreams or vision for my future. I was married at 19 and pregnant at 21. My first marriage ended when my husband starting shooting heroin shortly after my daughter was born.
I was determined to give my daughter a good life…I wanted her to have more than I did as a kid. Scared (literally, freaking out scared) I started college when I was 25. I was 37 years old when I finished my master’s degree. It was a long, tiring road, but I was determined to set an example for my daughter and earn a living that would afford her opportunities.
Along my journey, I have met really incredible people who have encouraged me by saying things I’ve never heard while growing up…” you’re smart,” “you’ll be successful,” “you can do anything you want to do,” and other things that were so foreign to me that I thought they were lying. I wasn’t raised that way, I was raised in a house where graduating high school and getting married was considered success. To give you an idea of what I dealt with, when I was seventeen I told my mother I wanted to be an engineer, her response, she chuckles at me, “Do you know how smart you have to be to become an engineer?”
I think that at age 25 was when my life started to become wonderful. I met a great man (who is also a badass) and, married him one year later. Now I like to write, cook, travel and hang with my people. Oh, and I like Vodka and cranberry with lime on the lip or a large glass of red wine.
And, (someone please help me), but I can eat potato chips until I puke.
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