Posted by Heidi Blakey on 21st August 2017
My debut novel with Pride Pubishing, Misdemeanor, book one in the Responsible Adult serial went on general release this summer and I’d love the opportunity to tell you more about the book and a little about what had lead me to write it.
Misdemeanor is part of a three book serial, with Hard Time (#2) and Reformed (#3) both to be released in 2017 in fairly quick succession. So no hanging around clutching on to those cliffhangers for long. Book one is the main introduction to the characters, the setting and starts off the premise for the serial.
The backdrop to the book is a small urban town in South East England. A place similar to where I grew up. It’s the sort of town where everyone is three people away from everyone else and a town that attempts to keep its residence firmly within its concrete borders by offering everything they would ever need on their doorstep. This can often make you forget there’s a whole world out there to be discovered. Something that both the MCs struggle with.
Micky is a nineteen-year-old teenage tearaway who had to make huge sacrifices to alter his life after the death of his mother. He had to grow up fast and take on the ultimate responsibility of caring for his disabled eight-year-old brother, Flynn. He’s stuck in a town where everyone knows who he was, who his family were, and cannot ever see Micky as the person he strives to be. He’s resigned himself to the fact he will be Flynn’s main carer forever and that no one will ever see him as anything more than who he used to be.
But then he meets Dan, his boss at the supermarket where Micky is unexpectedly given a chance with a part-time job. Dan has his own struggles. Coming from a more middle-class family and upbringing, it seems on the surface he is doing well for himself. But his dreams have fallen to the wayside and demons from the past make it hard for him to move on. He’s bumbling through life, hoping that one day something will give him the boost he needs. Enter Micky.
I started this book a year ago. Having no real idea where it was going. I just threw everything I knew at it. It’s set in my old home town (although the name has been changed for legal reasons), a place I look back on fondly now that I don’t live there anymore. The claustrophobia that a small town can have is prominent throughout the books. People have their places and it’s exceptionally hard to move on from that. I worked at the very supermarket that Micky and Dan do (again, name change) where the colleagues all act like family - as in they can be rather cruel to one another but also depend on one another to get them through the monotonous day. Mostly, though, I also have my own Flynn - a little boy born with a rare genetic condition called Williams Syndrome. Flynn is, and will forever be, an eternal child filled with sweetness, light and joy. WS people have some remarkable realignment of genetics, making them always happy, overly social and friendly. They see everyone as their friend and dish out hugs, kisses and unconditional love - even to those who don’t really deserve it. So I know the struggle. I know how hard it can be. I know how very alone parenting a special child can be. And I know how it feels as though the rest of the world just doesn’t understand, making you close off and build a wall to surround you. Like Micky does.
A past juvenile delinquent, Micky grew up tough and within a gang of friends whose daily existence consists of fights, bullying and petty crime. He finds it increasingly hard to cope with his brother’s need to love everyone. Micky doesn’t love anyone, except Flynn of course. He can’t. He’s learned that loving leads to pain. He’s been a witness to that first-hand. So he keeps people at arm’s length. It’s Flynn who breaks that resolve and Micky clings to him to make him a better person. He just has to get over the pre-judgement within the town to accept it. And he needs to accept that someone, like Dan, might be what he needs.
Having my own Flynn, I realised how special a child he really was and could be. With such huge love, purity and innocence, I wondered how someone like Micky might cope with having to parent him. What would happen? Would Flynn be able to break through a tough heart? It felt a little like giving a guide dog to a blind person. Like the dog provides a sense of security and safety to those who cannot see, Flynn provides a sense of human love and interaction that Micky’s tough upbringing had turned him against.
Misdemeanor isn’t a light, fluffy read. Although I’d say it has its moments - how could it not with a character like Flynn in it? It’s raw, heartfelt and gritty. The following two books continue in this vein but, as with all romances, it will have its HEA. Perhaps Micky just has to struggle that bit harder to get to it. As do all of us special-needs families. Our HEAs come with endless battles, so when they do finally come, they are worth all the angst. Like Misdemeanor. I promise :-)
Happy reading, C F White