Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Tour and Guest Post by Monique Bucheger

This past year, I had the chance to meet and become friends with Monique Bucheger, who writes middle-grade family drama. I think we might have been brought together at first because my book is called Secret Sisters and her first book is The Secret Sisters Club. We were even mistaken for each other a few times at last year's LDStorymakers writers conference. I'm also sometimes mistaken for Josi Kilpack. Hey, what can I say - I get compared to all the good ones.

Then I had the chance to edit one of Monique's books, and I enjoyed the experience a lot. We don't have enough middle-grade fiction right now that's not fantasy, and I think middle graders need more stories that are based on everyday families.

I asked Monique if she'd stop by my blog and share with us some things that are important to her, and while you're at it, enter your information in the rafflecopter below to be entered to win some very fun stuff. You can also purchase all Monique's books here.

Take it away, Monique!


Hi, Everybody!

 I want to thank Tristi for allowing me this opportunity to share a few thoughts. I’m new to guest blogging (this is my very first one) and I have been trying to figure out what to share with you. Then I remembered a recent email announcing the title of Tristi's sixteen-year-old daughter’s first book: Good Thing Daddy’s A Super Hero. I want to take a moment to say: “Congratulations, Caryn! I admire you for accomplishing what I only dreamed of at your age.” I love her title and it makes me want to share a few notions I have about the male parental unit.

First of all, even though society may have us believe differently, dads are important … very important. I love that Caryn must think highly of her dad to write such a book. I love it when my own kids have something kind to say about their dad, because after all, I picked him, and I think he’s a pretty great guy.

Being a good parent is a tough job some days, and while most parents don’t quit after a bad day … it’s nice to be appreciated. One thing I’m noticing in our media is that dads are being portrayed more and more as irrelevant, if they are pictured at all. Most sitcom dads have been reduced to an ATM or a joke, which is truly sad for the increasing number of kids growing up in fatherless households. They don’t have a real-life role model and the media dads are increasingly less desirable.

Recently, I attended the funeral of a young bishop whose four children range in age between 15 and 23. Each child stood and shared memories of their dad and the great example he was as a listener, teacher, counselor, encourager, and rock in their lives. He most certainly had been a great influence and will be sorely missed, but because he had done his job well, I left the funeral uplifted and hopeful that each child would carry the strength of their father’s love in their hearts and minds, and know unconditionally that they were cherished.

The main character in my Ginnie West series has the opposite issue. Ginnie is a half-orphaned girl being raised by a widower dad who has tried very hard to provide a loving home to his two kids. Ginnie’s best friend, Tillie, didn’t fare so well. Her birth father was abusive and abandoned her six years before. Tillie recognizes a good dad when she sees one and wants to trade up. She waits impatiently for the day that Ginnie’s dad will ask her mom to marry him. Ginnie doesn’t really have an issue with sharing her dad with her best friend, but she does want to find out about the mom she lost as a toddler that he doesn’t often talk about. Together, the BFFs have to figure out how to make their new family work.

It’s one thing to have your greatest wish come true: becoming “for real sisters” with your best friend, but sometimes getting what you want doesn’t always work out like you thought it would. Tillie’s not so sure there’s room for the ghost of Ginnie’s mom in their new family tree, all the while she tries to purge the father who hurt and disappointed her from her mind. Ginnie has very few memories of her birth mom, and questions whether she wants them replaced with a stepmom, even a kind and loving mom like Tillie’s.

As they go along, the girls realize that they’ll need to adjust their visions of “the perfect family” to accommodate their best friend’s missing parent and happiness. Being “for real” sisters isn’t turning out quite like they had planned. It doesn’t help when a blast from the past threatens to push Tillie over the edge and she clings to Ginnie’s dad to get her through. Ginnie would love it if her dad would concentrate on Tillie and give her more room to be who she wants and thinks she needs to be. Too bad his past is as haunted as Tillie’s, and he’s determined to protect Ginnie from a danger he won’t name.

In my latest book, Simply West of Heaven: A Ginnie West Adventure, Ginnie finds herself torn between her loyalty to her dad and what could be the answer to her prayers. Her dad wants to keep her safe and Ginnie wants the truth, but when she discovers it, everything changes. Ginnie and Tillie aren’t prepared for the changes and scramble to make sense of the twists. Tillie faces old fears and Ginnie learns more than she ever wanted to know about her best friend, her dad, her mother, and ultimately … herself. And that’s okay because life isn’t meant to be a do-it yourself project. It’s the people in your life that make living a richer, more engaging experience. I’ve been thinking about a quote from Mother Theresa lately: Never worry about the numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you. That’s seems like a good motto as we go through life.

 Laugh lots … love much … write on. :)  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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