Deanna K. Klingel lives in western North Carolina in the mountains with her husband. She enjoys visiting their seven married children and grandchildren, playing golf, walking their golden retriever and traveling with her books. She writes children’s literature, middle grade historical fiction and YA. Her first of her new nonfiction nature series for very young children, The Little Beth Books, titled Beth’s Birds, will soon be available. Rock and a Hard Place, A Lithuanian Love Story will release later this month as well. Amanda ant the Lazy Garden Fairy will be available in March. Her other five books are all available on her website www.BooksByDeanna.com, and anywhere and any way you like to purchase your books.
Discover the Passion Behind the Sell
Authors always want to sell their books, that’s not news. Motivations are probably as diverse as the authors. So I’d like to tell you why I’m so passionate about getting Cracks in the Ice into the hands of young adult readers. It’s because of another book.
This other YA book is written by a well-known and talented writer. It’s the winner of a prestigious award, which has landed it in many middle and high school libraries. In some schools it’s required reading.
This is the story of four teenagers, three boys and a girl, who are left alone over the holidays at a boarding school with no adults, no supervision, no accountability and no consequences. Their goal is to break every rule. They are promiscuous and drunk. The author shows the readers what a great life this is. These kids are falling down drunk, laughing and having a great time, life of the party, with no consequences. Even when they are hung over, the story shows us that it was worth it. As adults we recognize these kids as alcoholics. If you can’t start the day without tearing your dorm room apart to find your vodka, you are an alcoholic. This book never names it, never calls it out. What kid reading this book wouldn’t want a piece of this action?
This book upsets me. Not because of the subject matter. We need to talk about drinking. Underage drinking and teen alcoholism are huge problems in our country. Did you know we have eleven year- old binge drinkers? It upsets me because it betrays the young readers. It doesn’t tell them the truth. It’s fiction, but fiction has an obligation to the truth. Fictional characters carry a lot of influence with young readers. So maybe especially in fiction, these kinds of issues need to be told truthfully. To portray a life without consequences is to lie to the reader. There are always consequences.
Cracks in the Ice is truthful. What happens to Gina, a world class figure skater, is what happens to many athletes when injury forces them off the playing field. They lose their identity, they take pain medication, try to hurry recovery, become depressed, cheer up with alcohol. No one sets out to become an alcoholic; but it happens. In my book you don’t see the fall-down-laughing silly drunk. You see the truth of how devastating this illness is. But, it also gives hope. Gina returns to the faith of her childhood; she discovers Al Anon and joins AA. She reinvents her life, puts her skating talents to work in a new way and finds joy in a different kind of victory.
If one student reads this book and changes the direction of his or her life, if one teen decides to confront a friend in need, if only one youngster who lives in an alcoholic family finds Al Anon, or one who is already in trouble turns to AA, then this book has earned its spot on the library shelf. There are discussion questions at the end of the book which could help open the discussion with friends or parents. We need to talk about this. We already know lectures and statistics don’t help. Perhaps teen fiction can.
I’m working hard to get this book into high school and middle school libraries. It’s not about money. I’m passionate about teen drinking and teen alcoholism. I’m passionate about truth in fiction.
by Deanna K. Klingel
Young Gina Mangalli, niece of a mafia don, has her dream of Olympic gold as a figure skater. Forsaking everything else, she sees victory in her future. When tragedy strikes Gina is without support of faith, friends and family. She spirals into despair, with pain medication and alcohol. Two people who never give up on her are able to convince her of God’s never ending love for her. With hope restored, Gina is able to discover other victories beside Gold Medals.