Believe like a Child by Paige Dearth
Alessa is just seven years old when her uncle rapes her for the first time. As the years pass, his sexual appetite becomes more voracious and his perversion more twisted, until the abuse has become almost a daily ritual, with the unspoken involvement of the girl’s mother.About Paige Dearth from her site:
At the age of sixteen, after the death of her only friend, Alessa finds herself at the mercy of her real-life monster, with no relief in sight. She flees her home to escape this hell, only to find herself descending into a more dangerous one. Alone and helpless in the streets of North Philadelphia, she encounters more human predators who want to take over her life and devour her. About to hit rock bottom, Alessa manages to break away from her new tormentors and finds refuge in a shelter for homeless and abused women.
Wherever she goes, however, trouble keeps seeking her out, until she meets three people who change the course of her life forever. Though Alessa’s bittersweet journey is perpetually fraught with challenges, she does, nevertheless, manage to find fleeting moments of joy along the way. But as she begins to settle down, a ghost from the past comes to haunt her again, threatening to destroy the very foundation of her small world and plunging her back into an abyss of despair, until she makes her final bid for escape.
Born and raised in Plymouth Meeting, a small town west of Philadelphia, Paige Dearth was a victim of child rape and spent her early years yearning for a better life. To escape the unwanted attentions of her molester, a pedophile uncle who lived with the family, she married at the age of nineteen and moved with her new husband to Chula Vista, California. After two years of marriage during which she struggled to make ends meet, she became pregnant, only to discover that her husband was a heroin addict. Paige waited for the birth of her daughter and when the baby was just eight months old, moved back to Pennsylvania. With no formal education or money to fall back on, she courageously set out to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and make it whole once more.
Living through the fear and isolation of her youth, Paige developed the ability to create stories that would help her cope and finally put them to use by embarking on a series of novels. Believe Like A Child, the author’s debut offering, is the darkest version of who she could have become, had fate not intervened in the nick of time. It presents a fine balance between what lives on in her imagination and the evil that lurks in the real world.
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--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
Believe Like A Child was written as a compelling dramatic thriller. However, there is a point to this work of fiction. The narrative describes the real horrors of child abuse and how one act of abuse can, and often does, continue throughout a person’s life. A young victim becomes vulnerable because of their need to validate themselves as a normal person. It is so easy for the abused to go from one horrible situation into another.
After reading my book, my hope is that readers will better understand how impactful simple kindness is to other people. Kindness doesn’t have to cost money rather it’s an emotional investment.
Alessa, the protagonist of Believe Like A Child, craves these moments, small acts of kindness. They are integral to the story and how she manages to survive on her own.
--How did you get the idea for the story?
Since I was young I made up stories in my mind. It was my ultimate escape from my rough upbringing. While most children make up stories that bring them joy, my stories were always dark. These stories, darker than my real-life, helped me to cope.
Believe Like A Child is a graphic novel. The reason I wrote it to be so sexually explicit is because I wanted readers to feel the horror of child abuse, sexual exploitation and rape. There is nothing pretty or light about these subjects. However, while the subject matter is harsh, the novel is written so that readers can enjoy a fast paced suspenseful thriller with a sturdy narrative.
--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
That would definitely be Lucy. She has the wisdom of an old woman with the tenacity of a fierce competitor. She is smart and funny but best of all she loves ice cream just like me!
--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
I love reading novels in several genres. A few of my favorite authors are: John Saul, James Patterson, Danielle Steel and Patricia Cornwell. I also enjoy reading Stephen King novels with Misery and Thinner being my favorite books that he’s written. The first novel I ever read was A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. This is my all time favorite novel!
I read all the time. Reading helps me be a better writer. As soon as I finish a novel I start the next one.
--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
Yes! I am very excited about my next novel. This novel is about a girl named Emma who, at the age of five-years old, is physically and verbally abused by her father. Even as a child, she sacrifices herself to save her younger sister Gracie from the same sadistic hand life has dealt her. Her beatings are ruthless, and as Emma grows older and more resourceful she finally reaches her breaking point. As the hatred for her father is fed beyond her ability to control it, she takes matters into her own hands...
My next novel will be released in early summer 2012. I have several books lined up, just waiting to be written. I’m living my dream.
--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Many people who I know thought this book was pie in the sky. I took the book very seriously and it has changed my life. After reading The Secret I wrote Believe Like A Child. I think that The Secret reminds each of us how we should live, day in and day out. It touched me in a very profound way.
--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
I write in complete silence. I have to go out of my way to block out any noise. It is in the quite world that my mind does its best work.
--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
From when I was little, for obvious reasons, I always wanted the power to be invisible. Now that I’m older, it would still be the same superpower. I would use my superpower to expose pedophiles and abusers of children. It is when we are alone and no one is watching us that we reveal our real selves.
--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love to go on vacation, exercise and cook. Cooking is one of my passions. I get satisfaction from creating new recipes through trial and error. My husband is the guinea pig for my new creations.
--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?
Readers often tell me that they love the title of my book, Believe Like A Child and ask me how I came up with it. Well, having lived a rough childhood, I was not carefree and I never experienced the freedom of thought that most kids do. When I was still writing my novel, I was having a conversation with a close friend. We were discussing the book and how I could make my book a reality. He told me to just believe like a child. I was confused and he explained that kids believe in their dreams and the people around them with an unwavering faith. Even when things don't go their way, their innocence allows them to continue to simply believe things will turn out okay. I felt terrible that I couldn’t relate to what he was telling me. I used this line in one of my chapters because it hits the very core of the psychological difference between abused children and those who are not. So, when I look at my title and have any doubt that people will love my book, I remind myself to just believe like a child.
Lightning round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate
Edward or Jacob? Jacob
Hockey or soccer? Hockey (Go Flyers!)
Ebook or paper? Ebook (Love my Kindle to pieces)
Salty or sweet? Salty
Beach or mountains? Beach
Phone call or email? Email
Early bird or night owl? Early bird
Dog or cat? Dog
Messy or neat? NeatNinjas or pirates? Pirates, definitely pirates!