If you are reading this blog for the first time, welcome, and a small recap. I will be posting some behind the scene thoughts of various subject matter from each chapter in my new YA novel Tunneling; release date June 8th.
The first Chapter: A Nasty Development introduces the dual protagonists: a fifteen year old sister named Hallie and a thirteen year old brother Collin who have just found out their father has abandoned them. Unfortunately, as if divorce doesn’t tear at kid’s emotions enough, abandonment is also on the rise. Even though abandonment is becoming more common place, doesn’t make it any less devastating. When a parent leaves a child and never looks back, deep insecurities and anger can linger around even through adulthood. As one of the abandoned, I wrote Tunneling to help readers connect with the characters who are going through devastation similar to their own. My hope is for them to identify and understand their feelings. Tunneling is an allegory that uses creatures, roots, and vines to represent healing vs. destructive patterns.
The excerpt below takes place after the kids have just listened in on a phone discussion between their mom and dad. They have just discovered their father has another life that doesn’t include them and he won’t be coming home, ever again.
Hallie stumbled to her room while groping at her punctured heart. She crawled onto her bed—every muscle ached—and dropped into a fetal position on top of her bound-up sheets. Her splintering heart would never be made right again. Hallie kept picturing Mom standing in that snot-covered sweatshirt, vulnerable in front of them. She squeezed her eyes as tight as she could to make the image go away. Instead hot tears leaked everywhere.
How could Dad do this to her—to me? Is it true? He doesn’t love us anymore? Hallie hyperventilated through escaping sobs.
Sorrow squeezed the life out of her chest while hissing into her ringing ears, You will never survive this horrible, horrible rejection!
Her own dad had rejected her . . . didn’t even want to say good-bye to her . . . or even talk to her. He would never wish her a happy birthday or be at her graduation . . . Nothing. . . ever again. She meant nothing to him!
Insecurity and hopelessness began to wrap a chokehold around her emotions. You’ll never be good enough. Not for your dad . . . not for anyone. Destructive reasoning twisted her thoughts further downward, making her feel like the garbage she had emptied the day before—unwanted, unloved, worthless.
One last, desperate plea escaped her lips, “Can someone ever love me for me? Not for how I look or act, but just for me?” That question hung in her mind, until she released it into deep space, hoping it would be received by someone bigger than herself.