As a brand-new author, I often get asked what suddenly drew me to writing. I’m in my thirties (all right, later thirties) and I suddenly had an urge to finally do something about the desire I’d had from an early age—to write and be published. My guess is it took me that long to figure out what story I needed to tell. Turns out, Misdemeanor is that very story, along with the whole Responsible Adult serial (consisting of three books).
So how did I get started and what was it so important for me to write this particular book?
Responsible Adult started life online. I’m a writer on the online community, Wattpad. It’s the first place I felt confident enough to start putting my words out there. I hadn’t really had a plan when I started (certainly not a three-book one); I just had a burning desire to tell this story. So I started tapping away, not really knowing where it was going, but just knowing I had to write it. A few months later, I had completed the book (then called Responsible Adult which now is split into the two books with Misdemeanor being the first). I won a couple of awards from the community readers on Wattpad and that gave me the courage to send the manuscript off to a publisher. It was accepted by Rebecca Baker Fairfax at Pride Publishing as a three-book serial and now here we are with the release of Misdemeanor, a book so close to my heart I’m honestly afraid of it.
So, why is it so dear to me and why did I need this book to be my first? Mainly it is due to the addition of the sub-character, Flynn. An eight-year-old little boy with the rare disorder of Williams Syndrome. He was the main reason I had to write this book. My second son, who is four, has the condition, and I guess this was my way of raising awareness for the relatively unknown disability but also a way of coping and dealing with my daily struggle.
The book, however, is a contemporary m/m romance novel. And it’s real, down to earth, raw, and I have been told it’s a bit gritty. Set in a small town in south east England, it’s true to its roots with the lingo being a tad, well, British. Brit slang, urban backdrop, steeped in authenticity. I hope. But alongside this I’ve tried to keep a bit of humour in it. Because laughter is important. Especially when it feels like the world is crumbling around us. And this is evident in the main character, Micky O’Neill’s, life. Until he meets Dan, that is. But I won’t give too much away about that. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
So to offer a little background about the condition that Flynn lives with that will help not only raise awareness per se, but also give a little insight into his character and how he is such an important factor in the relationship weaving between our two MCs, here are the facts: Williams Syndrome affects around 1 in 20,000 people. It’s a genetic condition, occurring randomly, with deletions on part of chromosome 7. Much like Downs Syndrome with their extra chromosomes, WS people have a multitude of medical and learning disabilities. But perhaps the most striking part of the condition is their affinity for music and their overly social, friendly nature. WS children and adults love people. All people. Everyone. They wave and offer a cheery hello to every single person they pass in the street. And, if they are allowed close enough, will hand out free hugs and kisses a plenty. In the words of Micky O’Neill in Misdemeanor:
“He’s an eternal child. Sees the world like it should be in a fairy tale, minus the evil characters. Everything is bright and beautiful and everyone is his friend.” Micky hesitated. “It’s a real shame that life isn’t like that. Because a world full of Flynns would be the one I wanna live in.”
Such a wonderful aspect to the otherwise harrowing condition that Flynn, and my son, lives with, but it’s also one of the biggest fears and threats to WS people leading a typically independent life. They are vulnerable to the very core. Easily taken advantage of because they will never know or understand how some people in this world are not always particularly nice.
All of these elements are touched upon in Misdemeanor, or over the three books that make up the Responsible Adult serial. But mostly, it’s a book about having to grow up. Having to make sacrifices and having to make tough choices. Micky is nineteen and had to take on the responsibility of his little brother after the tragic death of his mother. He’s already harbouring many a secret and had a past life of juvenile delinquency that he cannot escape from. Micky wasn’t ready, nor equipped, to be sole carer to a disabled child. And, although I am a fair bit older than he and I, at least, made the choice to have a child, I still feel exactly like he does—juggling through life, making decisions and choices I feel completely unqualified to make. But that’s my lot as a mother. And that is Micky’s lot as a big brother.
I hope you’ll give this book a chance. I promise you that once you’ve met Flynn, your world will be a little bit brighter, too. J
Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.
Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.
She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.
Having worked in Higher Education for most of her career, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Having embarked on this writing malarkey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride...
You can follow C F on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Website.