I remember a high school teacher saying that television shows like “Leave it to Beaver” and “Ozzie and Harriet” did more to harm the American family than help them. For one thing, most kids didn’t have parents like Ward and June, and to be honest, most kids weren’t as conscious-driven as Beaver and Wally. For another, when you don’t have that “perfect” family, you start thinking there must be something wrong with you.
As a child, I loved those shows because I believed that other people did live like that. I had neighbors who treated each other, and their children, with love and respect. I knew it existed beyond the television tube. I just didn’t know how to find it in my own home.
At our house, I was dealing with alcohol, abuse, and abandonment. Any one of those “A’s” can break up a family, and cause low self-esteem, but when you have all three of them, there are sure to be problems. The problem, as I saw it, was that everyone was so wrapped up in their own issues that mine weren’t even considered. Because of that, at fifteen, I was making choices that would affect me for the rest of my life.
I wrote about this part of my life to leave a record for my children. In the process, I discovered that writing about it was great therapy. When I really got into the character and let my fingers type what they wanted, I was even enlightened.
My first goal was to write the story. As badly as I wanted to have the book published, over the years I came to realize that I had reached success by just putting it on paper. For awhile, I even convinced myself that it wasn’t important for it to be published. After all, who would want to read it? After thirty years of writing and editing, putting it down, picking it up, working on it again,and lots of encouragement from others who had read the drafts, I finally decided to go to print. Instead of looking for a publisher, I did it myself. I’m glad I did, because now I can put all of those obstacles behind me. I wanted to write the story, and I did.
I hope that as you read the book, you will come to love Nikki as much as I do. It makes me smile to write that, because there was a darker time in my life that I didn’t love Nikki (myself) very much at all. Those who were supposed to love me were the ones who wanted me to believe that I had no value. There was a long period of time when I felt weak but as I stepped back in time to write this story through the eyes of a fifteen year-old girl, I discovered that I had always had the strength I needed to succeed. I just needed to find it.
Whether you are a teen or an adult, man or woman, I believe you’ll be able to relate to the story in one way or another. I hear from readers all the time who tell me that Nikki’s story isn’t much different than their own. Others tell me they loved Nikki’s character so much that they felt they had made a very good friend. I love being able to visit book clubs when they discuss the book. I am strengthened by not only the questions and comments, but by the compassion and love that others feel for Nikki.
I would encourage you to read Chapter 1 of the book on this site. If you want to read more, it’s available as a Kindle download, or use PayPal and order a copy directly from me. That way I can autograph it for you, or include a personal message.
Joyce Moseley Pierce
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