Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Teenagers, Cell Phones and a Legal Nightmare--Meet The Author Tonight And Learn The True Story Behind the Book

In Exposure, Therese Fowler has written her most gripping novel to date—a ripped-from-the-headlines story of ardent young love and a nightmarish legal maelstrom that threatens to destroy two families.

Amelia Wilkes’s strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn’t stop the talented, winsome high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony Winter. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia’s parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult. Anthony’s mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows—and keeps—their secret. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia’s father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested.

Despite Amelia’s frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against “sexting,” the investigation soon takes an even more disturbing and destructive turn.

As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear their names and end the madness once and for all.

A captivating page-turner, Therese Fowler’s Exposure is also a deftly crafted, provocative, and timely novel that serves as a haunting reminder of the consequences of love in the modern age.

Jackie's review:
"This book packs in a lot--several different versions of parental dilemmas, teenage love, lust, social media, cell phone cameras and texting, the law, and more.  Much more.  It's about society changing faster than the laws that bind it do, faster than most parents and school counselors can keep up with.  It's about broad definitions and narrow minds.  It's about what we want for ourselves, and what we want for our children.  It's about what we expect of ourselves, and what our family expects of us.  It's about brilliance and stupidity.  But that's all simmering below the surface.  The basic story is a about a teenage boy and a teenage girl who have fallen in love.  They make a simple decision, a private decision, that gets exposed to the public in a damaging, life destroying way.  This is a riveting story, made more so when you know that the author went through a similar situation in her own life with her teenage son.  She is brave in writing it, and I believe that the reader will be richer for the reading of it.  This is going to be a HUGE book for bookclubs--there is so much to talk about within it's covers.  Fans of Jodi Picoult will embrace it completely.  Fans of Therese Fowler will be blown away by how far she has come in her writing and in her grip upon her reader.  This is a story no one will forget."

Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters says:
“Complex, gripping, and rich with emotion, Fowler’s 21st-century Romeo and Juliet beautifully blends modern day drama with carefully drawn examinations of family, loyalty, honesty, and the power of love.”

Come meet Therese Fowler TONIGHT at 7:30 at our Highlands Ranch Store.

BTC's Q&A With Therese Fowler:

BTC: You put your already started third book on hold to write this book--why?
TF:  While I was working on that book, my son, who was nineteen at the time, was arrested and charged with what's come to be known as a "sexting" crime. He had shared a photo of himself undressed with a girl he
knew, and one of her parents discovered it and called the police. The girl was under eighteen and he was over eighteen, and the charge was "disseminating harmful materials to a minor", which is a pornography-distribution
offense. I was astonished that this charge could be levied in this situation. I was even more astonished that if my son were to be convicted, he might have to register as a sex offender.

I continued to work on that book while we dealt with the situation, but I also researched this previously unheard-of matter of sexting, to help me understand what we were dealing with. The news stories I came across were chilling, and haunted me even after our own crisis was resolved. When a story idea inspired by all of this came to me, I realized I could, and should, tell that story instead. The issue needed to be brought to light, and then maybe other crises could be prevented. With my son's blessing, I wrote what became

BTC:  Is it different, writing something from such a personal perspective? Where did the ideas for you other books come from?

TF: The main difference for me was that I felt I had closer and more immediate access to the forces that shaped the story, as well as to some of the emotions the characters experience. Exposure is entirely fictional, and draws as much from classic story tropes as it does from personal experience, but that experience did make it easier for me to get to the heart of the matters from the parents' perspectives in particular.

My previous books also have elements that were inspired by personal experiences; I think most novelists would say the same about their books. The proportion of personal to imagined is just a matter of degree, and varies from book to book.

BTC: How is your son about all of this?
TF:  He's been fully supportive. What's especially good, though, is that in many ways this book is simply "Mom's next book", and just happens to have come from something he was involved with.

BTC:  Do you find the social media changing how you think about your books or how you go about writing them? What's it like to be an author in 2011?
TF:  Social media is wonderful in the ways it connects authors with readers and booksellers and librarians and bloggers and other publishing-industry professionals. There's a fluidity of communication that didn't exist before blogs and forums and Facebook and Twitter. Anyone whose read my books knows I'm keenly aware of how technology, media in general, and social networking infiltrate our lives nowadays. But no, social media
doesn't affect my thought processes or my approach to writing. What it does affect is my awareness of how at least a portion of the reading public is responding to both my work and me as an individual.

I was just talking with a book club about what it means to be a novelist today. Many of us use social media daily, and then there are speaking engagements, radio interviews, television interviews--many novelists are becoming "personalities" in the same way that actors and musicians and even some visual artists have done. For some novelists, this is an unwelcome burden. For others, it's a new and fascinating aspect to a job that was once considered solitary. I'm in the latter camp, most days.

BTC:  What book (or books) have you loved lately?
I confess that because I've been fully immersed in writing my next book and preparing for Exposure's launch, I've had very little time to read. The number of books I own but haven't yet read is startling (that's what summer is for, I guess!). But some wonderful books I did find time for are Caroline Leavitt's Pictures of You, Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters, and Cathy Marie Buchanan's The Day the Falls Stood Still.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading Therese Fowler's comments regarding the impact social media is having on authors. I can definately see how some authors would view the introduction of social media as an intrusion. I think Therese has a pretty good grasp of it though.

As a reader I think it's great that I can follow my favorite authors on Twitter (those that have accounts). I really enjoy being invited into their writing process and seeing them share their struggles with writing block, post pictures of their writing space, or share industry insights and helpful hints.

Industry research suggests that the advent of the e-reader has made it much easier for smaller, independent publishing companies to enter the market. Often times these e-publishing companies serve a niche market but they are finding success via social media by building communities around their brand. They are actively connecting readers with the company itself and the authors they have signed.
The indie e-publishing companies are doing some really innovative stuff in terms of social media strategies.

I'd be interested in hearing what others think of the introduction of social media to the book publishing world.

Great read, I look forward to coming back.

Michael Girard
Community Engagement, Radian6