Everyone knows someone who or, God forbid, was themselves, in an abusive relationship. Whether it's sexual, physical or emotional abuse, it's still abuse and too many people deal with it everyday instead of escaping.
In Nicole Belanger's debut novel Lost Voice, written when she was 15 and published when she was just 17, she deals with what goes on behind the scenes of an abusive household.
19-year-old Emily Sharpe hasn't had a great life. Her father left her family when she was a kid, taking her brothers with her. Her mother died when she was 15 and her adoptive father raped her.
She thought she won the lottery when she met and moved in with the handsome Jake... but really she won a trip to Hell.
She is beaten, cut and emotionally decimated on a daily basis. No one, not even her best friend, knows what's happening. As the abuse escalates, Emily knows she must tell someone, but every time she does, her voice becomes lost.
Ms. Belanger had a great idea and ran with it, but sometimes it seemed like she ran a bit too fast. Lost Voice is a great read into the mind of an abused young woman who can't get out of her situation.
Most of the story is her mind conversing with the reader. You really well feel as if you're inside Emily's head, feeling her fear and listening to her try and get her life together.
The story has a fast ending that will keep you reading, but the last two chapters went by a bit too fast for my taste. I would've liked to have had some more detail into the "after" part.
But I can't really fault this book. A teen wrote about a problem that so many teens and adults deal with and wrote about it so realistically.
Readers will feel for Emily--either sympathy or empathy--and her hurt psyche will make you want to alternately hug her and slap her to wake her up.
Good read; could've used a little more flair and detail at the very end.
1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I didn't really decide to become a writer, it sort of just happened. I've been writing since I was six years old and I've always enjoyed it. Writing became a passion for me at a very young age, and I wanted to do something larger; so I began Lost Voice.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I didn't read a lot growing up, to be honest. I didn't like having novels forced onto me in school, and it pushed me away from having a passion for it. After I wrote Lost Voice, I realized the only way to improve my writing, other than by doing it, was to read. I could see the different writing styles and create my own voice. I really admire work by Nicholas Sparks. I've never been able to write romantic pieces, and reading his work inspires me to try because nothing is impossible.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel Lost Voice?
I actually had to write a research paper for school and I didn't know what to write. I pulled domestic abuse out of a hat and after doing some research, I wanted to do more with it. I realized there was so much that people didn't know about it. There was a lot I didn't know, so I began doing more research.
4. What made you decide to write about such deep subjects at such a young age?
For some reason that even I can't figure out no matter what I write, it ends up dark. I'm a very happy person, don't get me wrong, but I lose myself in my writing. I want to make a point with the work that I do. I love action, and I'm able to get that when I write deeply.
5. All your characters are very three dimensional. Were any of them based in real people?
It was unintentional at first, but there are traits in each of my characters that I pulled from at least one person I know. None of the characters are based off of one friend, they're kind of a mixture of each person and of people I meet. It makes the character their own person and I want my characters to feel real to my readers, not just a fictional person.
6. You're working on another novel now. What can you share about it with KSR?
Shadows is about a young woman who is fresh out of Nursing School and has been on the job for about three months. She works in a pediatrics unit and is happy that life is finally falling into place. After a traumatic shooting, she feels she didn't do everything she could to protect the person around her. Spiraling into a deep depression when the shooter slips away unnoticed, she discovers the only way out of the shadows of despair is to figure out who was behind the tragedy.
7. With fantasy and paranormal novels topping charts, why did you choose instead to write about such harsh reality target than what's popular now?
Fantasy and paranormal novels seem to be the norm nowadays, but I don't want to fall into a social mold. I prefer to write about things that can happen in everyday life. My readers are able to relate to my characters and what they're going through, even if it's just a small piece of the puzzle. I do want to try some kind of fantasy or paranormal piece some day.
8. What author (dead or alive) would you love to collaborate with?
That's a very good question. I love Stephen King's work. He puts such a dark twist on everything he writes and by collaborating with him, I think we could pull off quite the masterpiece.
9. Did you debate on how you ended your book or was it a set ending from the moment you thought it up?
I had an idea of how I wanted things to turn out for Emily. However, when I write, I let the story lead me. I love to be surprised with where the story may go. A lot of the time, I surprise myself with what I write next. Half of the ending of Lost Voice was a surprise for myself. Writing this way gives me the ability to enjoy the story as well, not knowing where it'll go next.
10. Why do you think, personally, that so many people choose to live in an abusive home like Emily's instead of leave?
I think they're afraid of what would happen when they finally do leave. They become so used to the abuse that they don't know anything other than it. They become isolated and they're practically brainwashed into thinking that there's nothing else out there for them. They begin to think they deserve the abuse because they feel they did something wrong.
11. What would you like readers to take from Lost Voice?
I want them to know that it's never too late to reach out. No matter how bad it gets, they can still get away. They're not alone, there are resources out there and people that are willing to help. It's not their fault and they deserve better.
12. As a part of the next generation of novelists, what would you like to see change/return to the literary world in the near future?
I like originality. I understand there's a certain genre that becomes the "top" pick for readers throughout the year, however I want novelists to write whatthey want to write, whether it's what's "top" or not. If it's a good story and well written, people will read it, and that's what matters.
13. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
Oh boy, ten years from now I'll be 29! That seems so far away. I'll definitely be working in the medical field, whether it be as a nurse or a paramedic. As for my career as an author, I'm hoping I'll have some more novels out. It took me three years after having Lost Voice published for me to start writing Shadows, but I'm hoping to start having a novel out every year. I don't care if I hit "famous" status or not. As long as I'm able to share my work with people and they enjoy it, I'll be happy.
14. Would you like to see Lost Voice made into a movie?
I think Lost Voice would be a good Lifetime movie. I would absolutely be willing to see it become one, I think that would be pretty cool!
15. Thank you for participating in the interview! Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
Oh gosh, there's so much about me! Let's see, other than the fact that I'm 19...
First off, I'm an avid photographer. I absolutely love taking picture of people, animals and inanimate objects. It's another one of my passions. The cover of Lost Voice is actually a photo I took in North Carolina.
Secondly, someday I want to travel the world. I know a lot of people say they want to, but I truly do. I want to learn about other cultures and the best way to do that is to visit them. I will travel, someday, while I'm still young.
Lastly, I'm actually learning American Sign Language at the moment and I'm almost fluent. I've taken four classes so far and I love it. I have a minor in deaf studies with a concentration of ASL interpreting at the college I go to.
Find Nicole Belanger online via:
Author FB: facebook.com/authornicolebelanger
Photography FB: facebook.com/nicolebelangerphotography
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Nicole-Belanger/e/B007AOQ4CM