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HONORABLE DISGRACE: Stephanie Pitman’s Debut Novel
It is with great pleasure that I introduce my SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) friend and critique-group partner, Stephanie Pitman. Stephanie's debut novel, HONORABLE DISGRACE is scheduled for release February 2, 2015.
Honorable Disgrace: the Story
Sixteen -year-old Angie Adams is smart, beautiful, and head-over-heels in love. Everything is going her way as she catches the eye of her longtime crush, football hero Cory Jacobs, proves her strength to those skeptics on the powerlifting team, and even lands her first job without even having to apply.
But Angie’s new job may be more than she bargained for. She soon finds herself drawn toward her older, very good-looking employer, Brad. Cory is everything Angie could ever want, so why does her stomach do flips every time Brad looks at her that way?
Then, when Angie’s older sister, Lorraine, needs a late-night ride to a friend’s house, Angie senses she could be making a big mistake. She knows all about Lorraine’s problems with drugs and alcohol, but her concern for her sister overrules her cautious instincts. That night, Angie is brutally attacked and raped. All the while, Lorraine is just in the next room, oblivious to (or ignoring?) Angie’s cries for help.
In the aftermath of such cruel betrayal, Angie can’t bring herself to trust anyone: not her family, not her friends, and definitely not herself. She struggles to “be strong,” fighting against growing feelings of worthlessness and despair. And for Angie, the horrors are not yet over.
Rape is a difficult thing to talk about, let alone write about. Stephanie Pitman takes it on with raw honesty and courage. Through Angie, readers experience a young girl’s first taste of love and the unpredictable fluctuations of a budding sexual awareness. Angie’s voice is youthfully naïve but intelligent, strong and yet vulnerable. After Angie is attacked, readers feel her anguish and pain, but also fleeting moments of hopefulness as she struggles to rebuild her life--and self-identity--in the aftermath of rape and its devastating consequences.
Stephanie N. Pitman: The Author
Stephanie N. Pitman has taught preschool for over 12 years and is a motivated entrepreneur, currently operating two successful businesses with her husband, Travis. She is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her first novel, a YA Contemporary, Honorable Disgrace, is based on her own story of overcoming the ugly side of life, betrayal and rape. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and an active member of the SCBWI. Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband of 16 years, and their two boys, visiting the beautiful splendor and diversity of their home state of Montana. Along with being an avid reader and dedicated writer, she enjoys pushing herself to her best by competing in triathlons, relay races, and half marathons along with being a Zumba and Yoga Instructor.
An Interview with Stephanie N. Pitman
Mrs. M: From page one, I was charmed by the voice of protagonist, Angie Adams. She is a very appealing young person, and very real. I was especially moved by Angie’s courageousness toward the end. How did you find Angie’s voice?
SP: I feel I kind of cheated because Angie’s voice is so much like my inner voice as a teen, so it was easy to capture. Though, she is more outgoing and courageous than I ever was at her age.
Mrs. M: You have mentioned that Angie’s story is based on your own personal experience. What was it like for you to put such a traumatic experience into writing?
SP: It was very healing. At first, this began as simple journal writing, but it evolved to so much more. Once I realized I wanted to make it into a novel, I had to decide what to keep the same, what to change, and what characters to bring in. I truly did have a huge crush on number 35 on the high school football team, and I did work in a pizza restaurant, and I was also betrayed by my sister leading to my rape. There was a lot of forgiveness I had to do in my heart. Also, each time I told someone about my current work-in-progress I had to get over that hesitation to share the personal side of it. I can now, most of the time, talk about it without tearing up and wanting to shove it back down and hide it. Weird that I should feel ashamed of something horrible someone else did, but I still fight that feeling.
Mrs. M: Wow, you are an inspiration! Did you write this story with the idea of publishing it, or was publishing more a result of having written such an inspiring, compelling story?
SP: When I made that decision to make it more than just journal writings, I knew I wanted it published.
Mrs. M: It is very interesting that Angie chooses to be part of an almost all-male powerlifting team. That takes guts! What made you choose powerlifting as Angie’s sport?
SP: In high school, I took several weightlifting classes and fell in love with the raw power I felt, and that feeling has never left me. I still love to lift weights and workout. I felt compelled to make it into a team rather than just a class because, one, I’ve never seen it done in any YA book, and the other reason is that I always wanted to be on the wrestling team in high school, but my dad flat out wouldn’t allow it. So, I merged my desire to be a wrestler with my love for lifting and the result seemed natural to me, to be powerlifting.
Mrs. M: Angie has a true and loyal friend in JJ, something not all teenage girls are lucky enough to have. Did you really have a friend like JJ?
SP: Yes, I love JJ. She is a mixture of two great friends of mine. One I had in high school whose name is Erin Jones, and we are still good friends, and another great friend I met as an adult whose name is Jewelie. Hence the name Jewelie Jones, nicknamed JJ. Everyone needs a true friend.
Mrs. M: Yes, indeed! Friends make all the difference. You and I became friends through a SCBWI writers conference. Have you always been a writer?
SP: No, but I’ve always been a reader. In high school I didn’t even like English. It was when my best friend, Erin, came down with cancer at the young age of 19 that I began to think about writing. I wanted to take an English paper I'd done in high school, one I would recount to make my friends laugh, and one they each contributed something to, and turn it into a children’s picture book. I dreamed of selling it, making big bucks, and covering all the medical costs for my friend. That didn’t happen. I am still working on revisions for it. Gratefully, Erin recovered, though not without a huge fight through several years, and she is married to a good man and the beautiful mother of 8 wonderful children. I still want to get that book done one day, in honor of her.