Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nurture Book Tour and Giveaway/Q&A with Lynda M. Martin author of This Bird Flew Away

         September 28th – Kendall G. @ Telly Says @ Reading; Reading & Life
          September 29th – Lindsay H @ Everyday Is An Adventure
          September 30th – Wendy G. @ Fabulosity Nouveau
          September 30th – Charla W. @ Book Talk With Charla

Let's give a warm welcome to author Lynda M. Martin she will be sharing her book This Bird Flew Away with us today.
Lynda was born in Dunfirmline, Scotland in 1953, emigrated to Canada with her parents as a young girl. She grew up on the vast prairies of Western Canada, and loved the open wide spaces of that wild land. She was educated in Medicine Hat, Alberta, a town in the southeast corner of that province, and spent most of her time riding horses, barrel racing and hanging around rodeos and cowboys.

In 1968, the product of a troubled youth and a dysfunctional family, she found herself on her own at the age of fifteen, two thousand miles from her home, and knows first hand the dangers facing girls on our streets and the predators that prey on them. She was one of the lucky ones. She survived.

Later in life, she went east to Montreal for her education, graduating from the University of Montreal with a degree in Business Administration, which provided a fine income, but little in the way of personal satisfaction. Still in her twenties, she became a volunteer with social services to work with troubled teen-aged girls, and took every course the social agencies offered.   Read More!
What is real love? The whole world wants to know. They should ask Bria Jean, because she has it all figured out. Opinionated, stubborn and full of woe, Bria would tell you real love is having one person you can always count on through thick and thin. For her, that's Jack. And it doesn't matter to her that she's nine and he's twenty-three-not one bit.
When, at the age of twelve, Bria disappears, he and his Aunt Mary search for her, and when she surfaces, injured, abused and traumatized, Jack fights to become her guardian with no idea of the trials ahead of him. By then, Bria is thirteen going on thirty, full of her own ideas on how her life should run and with some very fixed notions about who is in charge.

This Bird Flew Away
Author: Lynda M. Martin
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published by: Black Rose Writing (January 27th, 2011)
Age Recommendation: 14+ for Mature Themes & Sexual Assault
Format: Trade Paperback & eBook
ISBN 13: 978-1935605928
Number of pages: 312

Lynda has agreed to let me interrogate her. So Lynda let's get to it.

How did this novel come to you? In other words how did it come about?
I’ve mentioned this a few times, but never delved into it. So here goes.
As anyone who reads my articles or other work knows, I spent a good chunk of my life involved in child protection, a second career that began in my twenties, helping underage prostitutes get off the street. (And it would break your heart to know how young some of them are, or how they got there.) From there I moved on to working with such groups as SafePlace and Children’s Home, organizations dedicated to at-risk children, offering them shelter, counseling and other assistance. (My training was through social agencies and law enforcement, but truth is you either have a knack for connecting to these kids, or you don’t.)
Before too long, I had made good connections with law enforcement, and became an outreach worker, often the first person to speak to child victims of crimes. In those days, the idea of paid workers was still unheard of, and most of us were volunteers. Later, I added fostering children in my own home to the mix, specializing in abused and exploited teenage girls – those completely messed-up, (and often indescribably wounded) kids no one wants to take on.
Over the years, you might say I developed a pretty good handle on the child-protection system, knowing it from kids on the street, social workers, law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts.
I wrote about it in articles and edited a journal for the international group, SafePlace for several years. I spoke to Chambers of Commerce, church groups and anyone who would listen and perhaps help out. In 1985, I attended the first ever international conference on child protection in Vancouver, Canada and made acquaintance with professionals in that field from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Rim countries, including the infamous Thailand (though in all honesty, their problem is no worse than ours – only more publicized.)
Then, changes in my private life and the needs of my own teenaged daughters took precedence and I stepped back, but my interest and passion for these issues remained strong. If anyone would like to read more about my experience in child protection, here’s a link to my personal publishing site on Hubpages, and an article there that sees 20,000 reads per year, The Rape of the Innocents http://lmmartin.hubpages.com/hub/The-rape-of-the-innocents .
Suddenly, child abuse and exploitation plunged out of the closet and into the limelight. It featured in the movies and moved to the small screen. TV dramas abounded with child victims, but something was wrong, very off kilter. The worst of these had to be Law and Order: Special Victims Unit with all its dark and twisted plots, intense and brooding police officers whose behavior is off the scale (if any real police officer acted this way, they’d be fired in an instant) and most despicable of all, the depiction of survivors as psychological bombs waiting to go off, suicidal, neurotic and warped, likely to murder (or be murdered,) destined to grow up into dysfunctional adults and become abusers themselves, with the phrase “ruined lives” bandied about at least ten times per show. High drama, indeed, but about as far from reality as one can get.
It angered me. I know so many survivors and most have grown up to live reasonably normal lives (or as normal as anyone else, which may not be saying a lot.) I’m not suggesting there aren’t scars or their subsequent behavior isn’t affected. No, not at all. But the portrayal of the victims in these dramas struck me as so disrespectful, so distorted as to do disservice to the God only knows how many survivors of childhood sex abuse walk the planet. (I promise I won’t quote the stats yet again.)
Friends who knew my background would ask me, “Did you see last week’s episode, when the teenage girl killed her abuser and…” in a hushed, shocked voice, followed by questions, as though I should feel some connection to the story, as though this was the way it is. It isn’t.
I decided then and there I was going to write a story reflecting the truth as I knew it. And after much thought and reflection, This Bird Flew Away was born.

Tell us about the most difficult chapter you had to write in this book. Tell us why.
There were a number of tough ones but by far, the most painstaking effort had to be Chapter Ten: “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” This is a scene written in the first person voice of the victim depicting the rape of a twelve-year-old girl. I wanted to express the girl’s pain, fear and bewilderment without stooping to anything overly dramatic or gratuitous. Finding that delicate balance presented a challenge.
I changed tenses for this one chapter from past to present to develop more of a sense of immediacy. I struggled to find bring to life that strange voice children will use when they remember and relate such experiences, often as though they’ve distanced themselves from the reality. They speak of what went through their minds – a day at the beach, the memory of a happy event, anything to escape the present and divorce themselves from what is happening to them. This is what they will remember, not the brutality committed against them – survival instincts at work.
I worked so hard to put all these somewhat nebulous things into words.
It was the first chapter of the book I wrote. I felt if I couldn’t get it right, there was no point in going on. I must have written that chapter thirty times before I shared it with my editor. I waited for her reaction with bated breath, expecting the worst. (Don’t ask me why I expected the worst, but I did. It had been such a difficult thing to get right.)
Her reaction was complete and utter enthusiasm for the scene, filled with many compliments about “my talent,” and how I’d taken her breath away. She said I’d transported her into the poor tortured girl’s mind while at the same time leaving her enough distance to be an observer, exactly the balance I’d striven for.
What was most important to me was that she “got it!” She understood it all. I knew it when she spoke of how I’d so vividly described the “shutting down of the child’s self.”
It meant a lot. I think that chapter is the most difficult, but the best writing I’ve ever done.

Who was your biggest supporter in writing this book? Tell us why.
I have to give you three answers here. It wouldn’t be fair otherwise.
First and always is my biggest fan, my husband, Jim. Not only did he make it possible for me to take the time to write this book, sending me to our Florida house while he stayed up in Alberta, facing the ice and snow – and work! – but he had the patience to sit on the other end of the phone for hours while I chattered away discussing this bit of plot or that, never voicing an opinion, just letting me talk. When I wrote the scene of Jack’s finally confronting his abusive alcoholic father, he gave me a lot of insight into the male point of view, helping me with the dialogue, line by line. By the way, Jim has never read the finished work. He doesn’t read much. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t deeply involved.
Second, I have to talk about my granddaughter, Paige. She was sixteen when I wrote this novel and came down to spend a couple of weeks with me in Florida, leaving the frigid Manitoba winter behind for a while. I was still struggling through that messy first draft and Paige became deeply involved in the process, reading each passage as it developed and offering me her youthful input. Much of the voice of the teen-age Bria, particularly in Chapters Twenty-Seven and Twenty-Eight where Bria confronts Jack’s girlfriend and must cope with idea she is not the center of his life, as she yearns to be -- belongs to Paige, right down to the cadence of my granddaughter’s speech with that flippant teenage attitude.
Lastly, I can’t say enough about my editor, Kathryn Lynn Davis. A talented and successful author herself, she devotes much of her time to editing and mentoring new writers and writers like me who’ve been out of the game for so long, they’ve gotten a little rusty. Her kindness, her faith in my work, her sometimes sharp tongue, and her tremendous skill kept me going and pushed me to put the book out there. We’ve since become good friends and I will always be grateful.

Lynda M Martin

I have found Lynda M. Martin, author of This Bird Flew Away, guilty of writing a good book. I have no other chose than to give her a rating of 5 out of 5.  Do we all agree! Say Yay!

Where you can find and follow Lynda M. Martin?
Author Website
Author Blog
HubPages Profile
Facebook Page
Facebook Profile
Goodreads Profile

Where can you buy her book?
Barnes & Noble
Author Website

My Thoughts:
Some of you may be curious to know what I disliked about this book.  I pondered over this question and could not come up with anything I disliked about the book.  It is somewhat of a touchy subject that a lot of people keep behind closed doors.  I feel as if Lynda has done us a favor by opening those doors for people to face up to the fact of abuse, slavery, yes and trafficking of children.
Bria Jean felt as if she could trust only one person with her secrets and that was Jack. He understood her need to share her dark secrets because he had secrets of his own and he shared them with her.  Even though Bria was thirteen years younger than Jack she was much older in maturity because of what she had to live through.  This kept Jack confused about his feelings toward her. This I think was a problem for the readers of this book but also for other characters in the book.  Jack wanted to keep her safe.  But is that all he really wanted?

The author, okay Lynda, gave the character Bria a strength and courage along with determination to not only survive but to succeed in her life.
Kuddos, bravo or however you say it Lynda did the job of sticking it in our face as some say.  Let's be more aware and protect our children.

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child!!!

Lynda I want to thank you for joining us on my blog today! I hope I wasn't too tough on you. I enjoyed the questions and answers.  I wish you great success with this book and I can't wait for more.  Watch over Bria and her family until we hear from you again with the next book. You are free to go write again!
Patricia aka Mamaw

I received a free copy of this book  for review.  This is my honest opinion.

Lynda is offering to giveway a pdf copy of This Bird Flew Away.
To enter leave a comment about what you enjoyed about the Q&A or you ask a question to Lynda.  Be sure to leave you email so we can contact you if you win.
 It is not mandatory that you follow me but it would be nice.
When you leave your email be sure to leave it so spammer can't get it.
example:  plb1050 (at) gmail (dot) com
Entries Sept 27-30th.  Winner will be announced Oct. 1st.


  1. Hi Patricia and thank you for devoting your time and space to This Bird Flew Away. Thanks also for the review, especially your verdict. Yes, I am guilty, guilty of writing on a subject some may not want to discuss, guilty of exploring the relationship between a man and a girl --- which is very common among such girls, and guilty of trying to change common opinion: survivors do heal and go on to lead fulfilling lives. But most of all, I'm guilty of laying out the road to healing. So, what's my sentence?

    I will return to answer any questions or comments left for me.

    Thanks again,
    Lynda M Martin

  2. I'm not entering the giveaway but just wanted to say great post! Thank you for sharing. It is always wonderful when authors have a support system to help them through writing their books :)

  3. Lynda I feel as if the time and devotion you put into this book and the book tour I will consider it time served as long as you keep writing books for everyone to enjoy.

    Thanks for sharing Your talent with us!
    Patricia aka Mamaw