Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guest Post: Patty Blount

I'm excited to have a special guest Patty Blount talking about an important issue on learning the truth before speaking and the dangers of internet attackers. 

Among the deepest pain I’ve ever felt in my life is being unfairly judged and punished for something I never did by someone I trusted, someone who should have known me better. It hurt so much, I wasn’t sure I’d survive. I kept asking myself how anyone who knew me could think me capable of this. 

Thankfully, the internet did not factor into this particular trial. Imagining that sort of condemnation by hundreds of people who do not know me is a form of torture, I’m certain of it.

This is precisely how main character Grace suffers in Some Boys. After she’s attacked by sports celebrity Zac McMahon at a party, her friends, most of the school, and her parents don’t fully believe her side of the story. Worse, complete strangers enter the debate online, after her attacker posts an incriminating video. 

As I write this post, the internet has been lit up with news of the tragedy that occurred when race car driver Tony Stewart hit and killed another driver, who’d left his wrecked car. Internet users forget that they’re posting about people with feelings, people who may be experiencing guilt we can’t even imagine. They forget that they do not have all the facts in hand and are rushing to judge—to pile more guilt on top of what people are already trying to cope with because it’s just so easy to step onto that virtual soap box. 

Also as I write this post, news of comedian Robin Williams’s death has just reached me. In my favorite role as John Keating in Dead Poets Society, Williams said, No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Some Boys is sadly a story inspired by too many real news events. If my words and ideas can change the world, I fervently hope they will help encourage readers of this book to practice internet restraint the next time something happens in real life that compels them to take sides, to unfairly criticize or condemn someone simply because everyone else is doing it, or to shame them for something that was not their fault. 
Some girls say no. Some boys don’t listen.

When Grace meets Ian, she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses Zac, the town golden boy, of rape, everyone turns against her. Ian wouldn't be the first to call her a slut and a liar.

Except Ian doesn’t reject her. He’s the one person who looks past the taunts and the names and the tough-girl act to see the real Grace. He’s the one who gives her the courage to fight back.

He’s also Zac’s best friend.

Patty Blount works as a software technical writer by day and novelist by night. Dared by her 13-year-old son to try fiction, Patty wrote her first manuscript in an ice rink. A short version of her debut novel, Send, finished in the top ten of the Writer's Digest 79th Annual Writing Competition.

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