About the Book
Author: Kathy Cassel
Release date: March, 2022
Set against the backdrop of the sport of freerunning, Kia must decide whether she will continue running or face her past abuser in order to save another child.
Night is Kia’s favorite time, when she freeruns to outdistance the memories of abuse she suffered as a young child. But when former reality television star Terrence Jones arrives at their school as the new head track coach, things begin to change in unpredictable ways. Kia tries out for the team to fit in, but just as she’s gaining a new sense of normal, her abuser steps back into her life. Not only that, but being on the track team causes even more turmoil. Why does the assistant coach, Cassandra Clark, dislike Terrence Jones so much, and even more troubling, why does Coach Clark dislike her so much? As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, Kia realizes she has to choose between running from her past or saving a child from the same sort of abuse she suffered. But will she have the courage to do so?
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About the Author
Kathy Cassel is author of more a dozen fiction and non-fiction titles for preteens and teens, including 2021 Selah Award finalist Freerunner and the iParenting award winner Christian Girls Guide series. Kathy has lived on three different continents with her USAF husband, has eight children, five adopted from Haiti and the United States, and six grandchildren. To better relate to her characters, she enjoys learning their skills such as whitewater rafting, scuba diving, and riding a motorcycle, but draws the line at sky diving.
More from Kathy
For many years I wrote devotion books for preteens and early teens. I tried to make the devotions both fun and interesting. I wanted preteens and early teens to see that the Bible is relevant to them today. But I realized that the readers I most wanted to reach weren’t likely to pick up the Bible or a daily devotion book. But they might read a story. These are the teens who are hurting inside. Those who have been abused, neglected, bullied, abandoned, or who face challenges. Those who may have lost hope and who need healing. Those who need to realize that God still has a plan for them no matter what has happened.
So I turned to writing faith-based, issue-based young adult books. It hasn’t been easy. There are a multitude of issue based books in the general market, but these can be graphic and offer little hope or healing, yet they are snatched off the shelves and are some of the most popular books. Mine are not graphic and mention God throughout the book. They are not likely to reach library shelves. So the challenge is to get them into the hands of the readers who most need them.
Freeerunner is about a 15-year-old girl who is sexually molested/abused (I never give details so readers can interpret what happened based on their own knowledge and experiences) by a family member when she is only six. She doesn’t get help. No one talks about it. So when the abuser walks back into her life now that she’s 15, she has a lot of unresolved feelings. For adults reading this book, the story may trigger negative feelings or bring up a painful past. But don’t let that turn you away from the book because it may be a powerful resource for those experiencing what Kia did. For teens, the book gives them a character they can relate to. The story lets them know they are not alone and don’t need to suffer in isolation. Like Kia they may find the courage to finally speak out and get help. And they may come to realize that God has an amazing plan for them no matter their past.
So for some the book may simply be an entertaining sports story, while for others it can be a springboard to talk about their own problems. I am hoping this book will become a resource for parents, counselors, pastors, youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, and librarians to share with teen readers.
And above all, I hope the story is a source of hope and healing to those who need it.
What role does God play in your writing career?
My YA books are all written for teens who are searching for something more in their lives. They are meant to point the reader to God as the source of hope and healing.
What one thing do you love most about writing? Why?
I love creating new characters. Naming them. Giving them a problem to deal with. Sending them a friend to point the way. And so on. I also love that the quirky things that happen in life can end up in a later book.
Describe to me how you flesh out your characters. Do you have the story idea first or do you create characters and then design the story around them?
A character will come to mind and I give her an issue to dealing with. Then I try to give her an interesting setting or hobby. Slowly the story will unfold, and I’ll start getting it down on paper. Often the story changes along the way to up the action or suspense. I usually raise the stakes prior to the final version.
If you had to choose a best friend from all your characters, who would it be and why?
Either Thorn in Freerunner or Chad in Catching Hope. They are both strong in their faith and are supportive of the main characters in their respective stories.
Are you a “punster” or a “plotster” or a little of both? What does that mean to you and how do you use that when writing a book?
Both. I have an idea of where the story is going, and I’ll plan out the big events, but I’m never sure how the characters will choose to get there.
What kind of fiction do you like writing the most? Why?
I love YA books, but most of the books I was checking out from the library had themes of depression, suicide, death and so on. I quickly realized the books didn’t offer any real answers or hope, and I felt a strong call to switch from devotion books to fiction that would reach teens with the message that there is a God, and he has a plan for them. If they walk away from the story with that hope, then the story has succeeded.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
I like to do things with my family. Even though schedules can be crazy, I try to include them in “adventures” whether it is rafting in Tennessee, scuba diving the springs in Florida or visiting little known places. I recently took two of my daughters on a scuba diving trip to Key Largo.
What are some new projects you’re working on?
I am currently working on an underwater crime scene investigation novel. This is challenging for me because I don’t have any law enforcement knowledge, so I’m not always sure how to get from point A to B. I actually learned to scuba dive and ride a motorcycle to relate to the main character several years ago when I first began planning this book, so the scuba scenes are strong. But I have a lot of research to do for the rest.
Thanks for connecting today.
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Don’t forget to check out the other blog spots listed below for your convenience.
Texas Book-aholic, September 3
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 4
Through the Fire Blogs, September 5 (Author Interview)
Naked and Unashamed, September 6
For Him and My Family, September 7
Splashes of Joy, September 8 (Author Interview)
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 9
Inklings and notions, September 10
Spoken from the Heart, September 11 (Author Interview)
deb’s Book Review, September 11
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 12
Vicky Sluiter, September 13 (Author Interview)
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 13
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 14
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 15
Blogging With Carol, September 16
To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Books-A-Million Gift Card!!