Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This Makes Me Uncomfortable by Suzanne Jenkins (Guest Post & Kindle Fire Giveaway)

As I began writing in earnest two years ago, the inspiration to tell a story about an older woman who discovered her beloved husband’s infidelity after he died came from out of nowhere. Pam of Babylon simply appeared in my consciousness and I wrote it as I thought of it. Later, a quote by E.L. Doctorow would confirm my writing style was not unusual. He said, “Writing is like driving a car in the dark. You only see as far as the headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Those words validated me. An encounter with an editor who did not like my story line made me doubt the wisdom of spending another second writing. She asked me to do an outline before I began to write,which I found nearly impossible to do because of the way the book was coming to me as I went along. She referred to the story as triple-x rated because it contained a depiction of child abuse. Child abuse transcends the rating system.

Later, I learned from a fellow author that sometimes a writer/editor relationship may not be a good fit and it is acceptable to move elsewhere. Once I found the courage to move on, I found a new editor. She was a barracuda who demanded revisions and rewrites, but she also loved the story and wanted it to be the best I could make it. I felt totally comfortable deferring to all of her suggestions and to this day wish I had used her from the onset. However, once the story was published, I would encounter readers who felt the same way my former editor did. My books are not for everyone. I can’t say I enjoy writing about topics that many people find repugnant and some that are downright disgusting like the child abuse and marital infidelity. But it’s something that I find compelling for whatever reason and the stories wind through the tragedy and horror
that normal people sometimes encounter.

After a book is finished, I suffer from insomnia for months. I’m in that mode right now. The Greeks of Beaubien Street will be released this summer, and although I love the story, there is a portion of the book that worries me because it depicts the seamier side of life in a most grotesque way. Even the perpetrator is disgusted with the crime. I know there will be those readers who are offended by it in spite of a warning. I almost didn’t write the book until my son, a filmmaker and writer told me not to censor myself. I have tried censoring in the past and once I began, I found I was putting up so many parameters I could no longer write. The question I had to ask myself over and over confirmed that the story line was important. What is my purpose in writing about this topic? It isn’t to titillate, or to be sensational. In The Greeks, the horror story is in contrast to the gentle Greek father who prepares his homicide detective daughter’s breakfast 

Regarding Pam of Babylon’s adult content, I tried to write so that it would be the least offensive as possible. If a writer is going to have child abuse as a topic, there is little that can be done to clean it up. It’s deplorable, and the consequences are usually tragic. The Kirkus Review said about the third book in the series, Dream Lover; “A gritty, realistic portrait of the aftermath of deceit.” In order for the resolutions to take place, I must first describe the conflict. 

My friend Dan Georgakas, author of My Detroit, Growing up Greek and American in Motor City (Pella Publishing Company, NY, NY, 2006) wrote when I confided my concerns, “….people are embarrassed by this [content] and want to project a perfect family image: a stereotype no one is going to believe anyway. I have always believed in showing warts whenever possible.” Some of character’s warts are painful to look at, but exist in real life.

The final book in the series may be finished this fall and has some of the characters achieving positive resolutions. Fans of Pam will be relieved that she is triumphant in the end. 

About the Author:
Suzanne Jenkins lives at the west Michigan lakeshore with her husband, two dogs and two sheep. Her latest books are Pam of Babylon, Don’t You Forget About Me and Dream Lover.

To get your copy of PAM OF BABYLON by Suzanne Jenkins at Amazon & Barnes & Noble

About Pam of Babylon: 
Pam Smith lives a charmed life as a well-to-do Babylon, N.Y., homemaker in a large house by the water. In her 50s with her children grown, Pam is happy with her exemplary husband Jack. After he has a heart attack on the subway, however, she finds out more than she ever wanted to know about Jack. Pam must confront a series of revelations that unmask a life she realizes she only thought she knew, and the losses and disappointments she discovers give color and understanding to a man markedly different than he appeared. Uncovering secrets and betrayals far worse than her most vivid nightmare, Pam retreats to their meticulous Babylon beach house, the one refuge she has to put the pieces of her life together and move toward ultimate forgiveness.


To be entered to win a Kindle Fire complete the three mandatory entries in the Rafflecopter form (below) and then complete whichever additional entries you want - the more you do, the more entries you will earn. This giveaway will end on September 27, 2012. The winner will be selected by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on September 28, 2012.

The person who leaves the most comments on Suzanne Jenkins' blog tour stops will receive a $50 gift certificate. AND, the blog host who receives the most comments will also receive a $50 gift certificate!!! Check out the list for tour HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  Blogaholic Designs”=


  1. I admire you, Suzanne Jenkins. Child abuse is not an easy topic to approach, and I can imagine many being downright uncomfortable with the subject, but I also feel like that's more of the reason to write about it.

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

  2. Can't enter the contest. Don't do facebook, and don't plan to start. Too bad too. :-(

  3. emaginette, you can log in without doing facebook. I hope you'll enter so you have a chance to win the Kindle Fire. There is a button right under the facebook logo in which an email address is used to enter. I don't want you to miss out!

    Suzanne Jenkins

  4. I would love to win the Kindle so I can carry ALL my books everywhere I go! :)

  5. I would like to win a Kindle Fire because It would give me the opportunity to own more books without trying to find more room for more book shelves!! I am running out of space!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  6. Hi I just grabbed your button.Here's the link:http://perrytheplatypus1102-3daydreamer3.blogspot.com/p/blogs-im-following.html
    Feel free to grab mine as well. :)

  7. I have a Kindle but rarely get to use it because my kids are always on it. A Kindle Fire would give me the opportunity to see the covers as they were meant to be and give me a Kindle for me... not my kids. Plus I could watch videos and listen to music while I read without having two devices. That would be great

  8. I would love to win this because I am a bookaholic that has to start making room in my house for other stuff. There are books everywhere.

  9. I would love to read this.

  10. This is a hard topic to write about but sometimes keeping it secret only makes it worse. I think if people really imagine the horror of what goes on they might be more inclined to get involved and do something.

  11. I would love to win a Kindle Fire, because I'm a voracious reader and book blogger, and yet I have not acquired an e-reader. I did get myself one, once, but donated it to the local library for a fundraiser. Although I do not regret my decision for even a second, there are times that I wish I had an e-reader when I don't have the luxury of carrying a bulky book around.

    Thank you for this amazing giveaway, and a special thank you to author Suzanne Jenkins who took such an important, yet difficult, topic and decided to create awareness for it through her writing. According to Isak Dinesen, "All sorrows can be born if you put them in a story or tell a story about them.", well, author Jenkins has certainly not only told a story, but in doing so, enabled the pain and sorrow of it to dissipate! Touche! :D

    Name: Hira Hasnain
    Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. I would love to win a Kindle Fire!!!
    Enter me!!
    God Bless!
    Sarah Richmond

  13. so i can have lots to read when i'm on the go - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  14. I would like to win a kindle fire because I currently read using the kindle app on my phone. It would help my eyes strain less.. haha


  15. I told my sister I was going to get her one for her birthday but I had to pay off bills instead and got her a few cheaper things. I would love to surprise her with one soon.

  16. I have so many ebooks I need to review, but my laptop broke so I can't!

  17. I have finished the first two books in this series, and loved them. They read like a movie. Bless you Suzanne!

  18. I would dearly love to win a Kindle Fire. I have a simpler one but love the idea of the color and music, internet, etc. Please enter my name in this drawing. Blessings.

    Darlene [spangldlady@gmail.com

  19. I would like to win a Kindle Fire because It would give me the opportunity to own more books without trying to find more room for more book shelves, I have so many hardcover book and this would be perect for me. I am disabled and this reader would help me. Blessings

  20. why I'd like to win a Kindle Fire?
    I'm having a lot of difficulty w/ my eye since bell's palsy struck, so I'd appreciate the adjustable print size and audio capability for when the pain is too great and I would otherwise have to lay a book down and quit reading altogether. I'm sure the colour aspect would also be a benefit and certainly enjoyment of magazines in the larger reading print size w/ colour illustrations an added delite!

    TY soooo MUCH for the opp to win this AMAZING multi-faceted reading tool! I see nothing but benefits to winning the Kindle Fire...:)

  21. This books sounds great...I'd love to read it! I'd also be thrilled to win a Kindle fire!

    Cindy @ Notes in the Key of Life

  22. What a wonderful sounding book! I would love a chance to read and review it for my blog!!