My friend and fellow author has a new release, entitled “Stopped Cold”. Isn’t that intriguing? Here’s what Gail is sharing about her new book.
What was your inspiration for writing Stopped Cold?
As a college student then later as a young Mom, I knew of children, teens and young adults affected in a devastating way because they didn’t always excel. The results ranged from heartache in children over not winning a race, or making all As to suicide attempts and suicide in young adults. I’m not sure if these sad situations crossed my path more than they did that of others or not, but the more pain I witnessed, the more I wished these children, teens and young adults had believed they did not have to be the best, but do their best. Even though the drive seemed to originate from different sources – parents, siblings, peer pressure or within – I wanted to tell them that God had given each of them a gift or gifts to use for Him, and they didn’t need to be #1.
Over the years I’ve seen newspaper articles about the pressure on teens and have noted some of them, such as “Hospital Offers Hope for Teens” by Eric Adler in “The Kansas City Star” several years ago.
“…After a minor injury, or even a sudden perceived failure, they develop symptoms that doctors think have as much to do with psychology as physiology. The condition appears to exist at the nexus of illness and culture, suggesting that today’s stressful, high-expectation teen environment plays a noxious role.
“I’ll tell you about the pain I see and the kids I see,” says Barbara Bruce, director of the Mayo Clinic’s pediatric chronic pain program, which opened in 2010. “There’s a lot of pressures on the kids we see. They’re driven.”
“Even before they get ill, these kids tend to worry,” Bruce said, “about school and the future. Pressure can arise from themselves, parents, peers, culture…”
Unfortunate circumstances created because someone looked for their worth in winning rattled around in my head for years until finally I wrote Stopped Cold. Don’t misunderstand, healthy competition is good. It pushes us to do our best, but it should be kept in perspective and not equate to a person’s worth as a human being.
Blurb: Things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville, North Carolina.
Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school swimming and hanging out with friends—until the day her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking steroids. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital.
Anger sets a fire for retribution inside her, and Margaret vows to make the criminals pay. Even the cop on the case can’t stop her from investigating. Looking for justice, she convinces two friends, Jimmy and Emily to join her in a quest that takes them through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture they discover deep in the woods behind the school. Time and again they walk a treacherous path, and come face-to-face with danger.
All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.
Excerpt: Emily entered gasping for air as though she’d raced inside. Leaning against the windowsill, I looked toward Mom then Dad.
“Sean’s had a stroke.” Dad spoke in a monotone.
Every fiber of my being weakened as I doubled over to keep from falling then sank onto the edge of the bed. I grasped the light blue spread and squeezed it hard in my fist. He was fine earlier this morning.
“He’s only eighteen. How could that happen?”
Dad gestured with his large hand. “He came down the steps and collapsed in the foyer.”
My stomach churned like a washing machine.
“We brought him to the emergency room. That’s the last we’ve seen of him.”
Dad had a blank stare in his grayish blue eyes.
A man wearing a white jacket entered. “Hello, I’m Dr. Salis.” He shook my parents’ hands. While standing in the middle of the floor he talked about Sean as though he was delivering a speech or giving a weather report.
“Sean’s stroke was a mild one. I don’t believe he’ll have permanent damage, but he may need therapy for his left arm.”
Anger, sorrow, and disbelief over Sean’s illness swirled in my head like a tornado. How could this happen?
“Sean’s never had a health problem. He’s an athlete. What caused this?” Mom asked.
“I’m sorry to tell you, but we found stanozolol in Sean’s system.”
A hint of compassion rang in Dr. Salis’s official-sounding tone.
Mom’s gaze grew distant. “What’s that?”
“It’s an anabolic steroid. It carries many adverse side effects, including kidney and liver dysfunction. In some people there’s a risk of heart attack or stroke.” Dr. Salis spoke in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Why would anyone take it?” Mom’s questioning voice trailed off.
Dr. Salis took a deep sigh. “It enhances athletic performance.”
“In what way? I can’t imagine Sean taking something like that.” Mom spoke softly as though she talked to herself.
Dr. Salis raised his gray eyebrows. “Steroids build muscle mass and shorten the recovery time needed after strenuous workouts. Jocks who use them grow stronger and can practice more often.”
Mom’s eyes snapped open.
Was she thinking of the pressure Dad put on Sean?
“I don’t feel well. Margaret, would you get me some water?” Dad asked.
He was as white as Mistville’s winter snow. So fit, so strong, he rarely got sick, weak, or pale.
Anxious over the sight of him, I bounded off the bed, grabbed one of the paper cups out of the dispenser beside the sink, and filled it.
He reached out for it then took a sip as I dropped down into a black vinyl chair. Dad collected drops from the side of the container on his fingers then wiped his forehead with them. Some color returned to his face.
“Where would Sean get steroids?” Dad gazed at Mom with a helpless stare.
How would she know? Nothing made any sense to me. Not the questions. Not the answers. They were all scrambled in my brain like letters from a Scrabble game that were scattered on a table.
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