Aloha dear reader, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite writer buddies, A.M. Leibowitz. I’m the next to the last stop on her blog tour promoting her new book, Walking By Faith. I’m incredibly excited and honored to be involved and have the chance to tell you more about this intriguing book that I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of it over the course of the year.
If you’ve been on #writestuff chats, then you may have met her. Let me tell you a little about her, before I introduce you to her book. A.M. is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and their family.
Synopsis for Walking by Faith:
Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Length: 261 pages
For Becket “Cat” Rowland, falling in love has never been easy. The summer he meets Micah Forbes, the intensity of his feelings brings back all the memories of eight years earlier.
Following a brutal attack that left him nearly dead, Cat is a mess inside and out. To cope with the trauma and with his view of himself that he’s nothing but an empty shell, he’s taken three vows: simplicity, chastity, and silence. His once colorful, trendy, and often feminine wardrobe has been replaced with jeans and t-shirts, and he’s sworn off men. He locks himself away from the world, using the memorized prayers of his childhood as his only speech.
Cat is lost to himself and everyone around him until another hospitalization introduces him to nurse David Simms. David takes Cat’s silence in stride, caring for him without pushing and slowly building Cat’s trust.
Outside the hospital, Cat discovers he has more in common with David than he knew, and they begin to build a friendship. As it slowly grows into love, David reveals his own need for someone to take him as he is. Cat begins to let go of his vows one by one, only holding onto the silence.
Despite how far he’s come, Cat’s increasingly severe panic attacks threaten to undo everything David has helped him build. Cat’s only hope is to break the final vow and tell the truth about the night of his attack. When David fails to keep a promise he made to be there for him, Cat has to stand on his own and prove to himself he’s strong enough to survive.
Prequel to Passing on Faith.
Here, come closer…I want to give you a little sneak peak into confusion that Cat is going through.
“Cat? You need to answer the question,” Dad urged. “Is there anything you can tell the police?”
Yes, Cat thought then, No. For a long time he sat there, staring into Officer Kerwin’s face. He might have been mistaken, but he was sure he read judgment there: Cat shouldn’t have been at that club; what did he expect would happen? He didn’t want to tell anyone anything. In fact, he didn’t ever want to talk to anyone again. He pressed back against the pillows and shook his head.
The officer’s expression relaxed, and he lowered his voice. “It’s all right, son. No one is going to hurt you here. I can’t help find the person who did this to you unless you tell me anything you know.”
Cat cringed again at “son.” He’d never liked it anyway, but now it made him feel wrong and vulnerable. He looked to Dad, who nodded, and Mom, whose eyes were red-rimmed. He wasn’t going to talk in front of them, that was for sure, but even without them he had no desire to tell anyone a single thing that would give them power over him. Slowly, he shook his head again and put a hand to his throat.
The officer sighed and turned to Cat’s parents. “Does he even know what happened?”
“I’m not sure,” Mom replied. “He’s been in and out of consciousness the whole time. He might not remember how long he’s been here or why. Um…” She paused, then continued with a quavering voice, “I don’t even know if he can talk. He hasn’t said a word to us or the hospital staff.”
Officer Kerwin nodded. “There’s not much I can do without his statement. It’s still potentially a hate crime, and it’s certainly battery, but it’ll be hard to find the guy unless Becket cooperates. We’ll look for him, but I sure would appreciate something more to go on than…well, nothing.” He gave Cat a pitying look, which only served to make Cat more determined not to tell him anything.
They moved the discussion out of the room, Cat’s parents holding hands as they exited. Cat breathed a sigh of relief. No one would ever get a word out of him for any of it. In fact, if he made it out of the hospital—which he suspected was still up in the air, given how he was feeling—he would make a promise. No, several promises. Nothing like that was ever going to happen to him again.
Lying there, listening to the steady beep and watching the IV fluid drip, he made his first vow: silence. No more talking, ever.
Sound good? What to read more?
Then definitely look into purchasing your copy here:
Whew…intense, right? Don’t you wonder more about what inspired this story and some fun facts about A.M.? Here’s the interview just for you, to tell you more about our author.
What inspired you to write this story?
People kept telling me how much they loved Cat in Passing on Faith, so I wanted to tell his story. But I didn’t want to simply re-tread his romance with Micah from his perspective. This was sparked by a quote in PoF where Cat’s sister says he’s in “shut-down mode” and won’t talk to her. I wondered why not.
Is there a character you feel especially connected to? Why?
To Cat, of course, although he is really only one aspect of my inner self. His questions and mental dialog about his gender mirror my own. But I also feel linked to Cat’s mom, as a parent myself.
What was the hardest part of writing this?
Getting the emotions just right. It is really hard to show the kind of gender dysphoria both Cat and I experience, and I also sometimes find it hard to pour feelings out on the page—as though I’m revealing too much of myself in them.
Tell us a little about any upcoming projects.
I’m working on several things: The next part of my Notes from Boston series; a young adult coming of age novel; and the last part of Cat and Micah’s story, Keeping the Faith. I’m always busy working on something.
What subjects would you never write about? I will not ever, ever, ever write incest of any kind. I also won’t write anything non-consensual played for eroticism or an adult-child “romance.” Those topics are entirely off-limits for me personally. I won’t say never, but I’m unlikely to write BDSM because I don’t know enough, and it doesn’t feel like the kind of thing I could research and get right. That seems disrespectful to me, so I wouldn’t do it. I won’t write about exclusively characters of another race or culture than mine (for example, an urban black couple) because I feel it’s more valuable for me to lift up the voices of people from those cultures writing their own stories.
Are there topics or issues you wish were more common in books? I wish there were more books about disabilities that didn’t rely on tropes or feel pitying. It would be great to see books about characters with learning disabilities or neurodiversity (autism, ADHD, etc.) which centered on other aspects of the character besides their differences.
What is one subject you would really like to tackle in a story? The aforementioned disabilities, for one. I’m trying to write on a variety of subjects, so it’s hard to pick just one thing. I’ve already written about many of the topics I wanted to touch on, such as disability, religious trauma, HIV, polyamory (other than ménage), gender identity, and intimate partner violence. I’m currently writing one with a character who has a trauma-induced eating disorder, and one about a teenager discovering their intersecting identities.
- What’s on your to-be-read shelf? More books than I’ll get to in this lifetime, probably
- What’s on your playlist? Mainly stuff I’m playing with my orchestra
- What’s in your fridge? Leftovers
Thank you so much A.M. for sharing with us today and thank you so much dear reader for taking the time to check all of this out. If you’d like to know more, please find her at the social media sites below:
And the other stops on tour, if you’d like to visit them:
Charley Descoteaux – November 1
Caraway Carter – November 2
Shan Jeniah’s Lovely Chaos – November 3
Fallon Brown Writes – November 4
Nephy’s World – November 4
De-blog – November 7
Louise Lyons author – November 7
Dawn Sister – November 8
Governing Ana – November 9
PenPaperPad – November 10
Mann’s Ramblings – November 11