Happy Hump Day, RG2E Peeps!
Today, we’ve got a special look at Bullying from fabulous YA Author – Ansha Kotyk – who’s been on the receiving end…
Fourteen-year-old Jonathan Brooks would like nothing more than to relax for a few hours and read his comic book. But GANGSTERLAND is no ordinary comic book. When Jonathan actually disappears inside the book, he’s dropped into a world of dueling gangsters, a flapper with a fantastic secret and a murder that binds them all. He must decide to become the hero or the final page may trap him inside forever.
The first draft of GANGSTERLAND was written in 2007, while my young daughter napped. It took five long years and the birth of my second child before GANGSTERLAND was ready for the world. During this time, I heard Cynthia Lord’s keynote speech at a regional SCBWI conference. Her novel, RULES, had garnered a Newbery Honor Award and her speech centered around her experience of using a piece of her life in her story. She explained the importance, as a writer, to be prepared to relive this segment of your life over and over. Her words resonated with me. Not only have I relived a difficult time of my life during writing and revision, but also later, through interviews and blog posts such as this one.
I have replayed a few painful moments from my life over to create this story, but those moments don’t hold the power they once did, and perhaps I owe that to the book.
GANGSTERLAND opens with a bullying scene where we first meet our protagonist as the victim. This is where Jonathan’s challenge begins. I remember how incredibly isolated and alone it felt to be bullied. As an adult, I realized that I was never as isolated or as alone as I once believed.
Jonathan feels this isolation and friendlessness after months of bullying. As the story unfolds he realizes he is not alone and must do something he truly believes he cannot do; rescue someone else.
I wanted to see Jonathan become someone’s hero, to help someone in a worse situation than his own. Enter Molly, the 1920’s flapper with a secret. Jonathan must now, even while being bullied, find a way to help Molly escape from her abusive gangster, “brother”. The adventure begins.
Reliving my past in order to create the scenes for GANGSTERLAND challenged me, but it also made me grow, just as we watch Jonathan grow throughout the story, and for this, I am grateful.
Put my personal history together with my deep love of the 1920’s, and memories of a classic 80’s A-Ha video, and you have GANGSTERLAND. A story where everyone has the opportunity to be someone’s hero.
Thank you, DD, for letting me stop by and share my story with your wonderful readers.
In recognition of all that RG2E does, I’ve lowered the price of the GANGSTERLAND ebook to 99 cents. And…I’ll be Ebook Gifting 10 of you terrific RG2E Peeps!!! So, let me know below if you’d like an Ebook Gift Copy!!!
Do you remember that iconic 80’s A-Ha video? Here it is, for those of you who would like to reminisce. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djV11Xbc914 I just love the illustrations and the romance!
Ansha Kotyk lives with her family in Massachusetts where she squeezes in her writing time between drop off and pick up. She is currently creating the next big adventure for Jonathan and his friends. Book #2, Apocalypse Junction, will be available late 2013.
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Find when Ansha Kotyk host’s #mglitchat 9pm est, Thursdays
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What a powerful story to help today’s youth deal with bullying, Ansha. Well done and thanks sooo very much for sharing your book and message with us today!!! U rock!!!
The Best of RG2E Reading Wishes — D. D. Scott, RG2E Founder