Today we're excited to chat with Christine Dore Miller author of
Forgiven Are The Starry-Eyed.
Read on for more about Christine, plus an interview!
Meet Christine Dore Miller!
Christine lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and their two children. She works full-time as a senior marketing manager for a large media company and holds a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree from Western Michigan University where she studied marketing. Growing up in the chilly midwest, she developed a deep passion for dramatic writing and alternative music at an early age, which still peaks through in her adult-corporate-mom life today. Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed is Christine's debut novel.
Meet Forgiven Are The Starry-Eyed!
Naïve sixteen-year-old Andrea Cavanaugh is elated when Josh, a charismatic, bright-eyed piano prodigy, becomes her first boyfriend. But the closer she gets to him, the more she realizes that he is not the boy she first fell for. In its poignancy and emotional darkness, Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed takes you deep into the delicate and devastating web of shame that spirals from the depths of dating violence when dreamy teenage love turns dark. Andrea must find not only an escape, but a belief that she is even worthy of freedom.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: Tell me a little more about yourself?
I live in the Los Angeles area with my husband, who is a film editor, and our two young children. I also work full-time as a Senior Marketing Manager at a large media company in Santa Monica so my days (and nights) are pretty consumed with motherhood and work, but I've also always had a passion for writing. A couple years ago I finally decided to pursue my dream of writing a novel and Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed was born.
YABC: What is your favorite genre of literature to read?
I love dark, realistic fiction, both YA and not, especially contemporary stories about love, loss, friendship, family, despair, and hope. I'm a sucker for a good drama, especially when the protagonist is vulnerable, honest, and someone I really want to root for.
YABC: Where did you get your inspiration for writing Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed?
I was inspired by a lot of things, some from my own experiences as a survivor of teen dating violence and some from the stories of many other teens who have suffered abuse at the hands of an intimate partner, whether it be emotional, physical, verbal, and/or sexual. A new study shows that 60% of teens in the U.S. have experienced some form of abuse from a person they were dating. This is a staggering statistic. It became my mission to spark a dialogue on this topic.
YABC: Are any of the characters or locations in your book based on your real-life experiences?
The book is a work of fiction but the experiences that Andrea faces were created from true stories, whether it be from my own real-life experience, from someone I know, or from someone I interviewed for this book. Dating violence can be more manipulative than typical bullying and it can begin more subtly, plus it's easier for outsiders to view it as "relationship drama" or "not my business" or assume the victim is staying in the relationship by choice instead of by fear.
YABC: What is your writing process?
I started this book first by creating the main characters: Andrea, Josh, Harper, Carter, Ethan, and Stephanie. Once they had names and faces in my mind, I wrote thorough character descriptions for myself to refer back to, so that everything each character did and every piece of dialogue was authentic to their unique identities. After that, I created a rough outline of where I thought the story would go, and then I just started from the beginning. Music was a big part of writing this book for me, too. I let the story flow out of me, not looking back to reread anything until the first draft was complete. At that point I had the bones of the story all put together, so then it was about rereading and editing, which I did a lot of.
YABC: Do you think the ‘sisters before misters’ pact that Harper and Andrea made regarding Josh should have been honored by Andrea?
I think Andrea should've honored her friendship with Harper enough to have had a more honest conversation about her feelings for Josh from the beginning, but I want to be clear that regardless of Andrea's missteps, she did not deserve to be abused. Andrea and Harper both betrayed each other in different ways by prioritizing a boy over their friendship.
YABC: What’s your word of advice to young girls and boys who ignore all the good they have simply to pursue being “liked” by a boyfriend or girlfriend?
Your worth is not defined by other people. If you believe what other people tell you about yourself, you're in for a long, hard journey filled with peaks and valleys and very little authenticity. It's important to remember that other people's words only have power when we believe them.
YABC: What type of reader will your debut, Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed, appeal to?
The story was written with high school and college-aged young women in mind as the primary readers since that's the demographic of the narrator, but I think it has a certain appeal to young men and adults, too, just in a different way. Those who can relate to Andrea will be the most interested in her story. I definitely think parents, teachers, counselors, or anyone who works with teens could get something out of reading this book to help them better understand the mindset of teens in abusive relationships and educate them on how/why this happens.
YABC: Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed is a cautionary tale for teenagers, but what is the message you want parents to take away from this?
Parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and anyone who regularly interacts with teenagers should learn the warning signs of abuse so you can recognize an abusive relationship before it escalates. It's important to encourage discussion, listen, be supportive, and take teens seriously. Don't minimize them because of their age or lack of experience. And don't underestimate when it's time to get professional help from a licensed therapist to guide you and/or the teenager to safety. I encourage both teenagers and adults to familiarize themselves with the materials on Loveisrespect.org which provides excellent resources to help stand up against teen dating violence.
Forgiven Are The Starry-Eyed
By: Christine Dore Miller
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Release Date: April 26th, 2019
Five winners will receive a signed copy of Forgiven Are The Starry-Eyed (Christine Dore Miller)
~ US Only ~
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