T.J. has always looked out for his little sister, Angela. When Momma used to go out and leave them home alone, he'd lock the door so they'd be safe, keep Angela entertained, and get out the cereal and milk for her. When Momma's boyfriend got angry at them, he'd try to protect Angela. Later, at their foster homes, T.J. was the only one who knew how to coax his little sister out of her bad moods. The only one who understood why she made origami paper cranes and threw them out the window.
But now T.J. is sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, wondering if Angela, unconscious after a fall, will ever wake up. Wondering, too, if he will ever feel at home with his and Angela's new parents—Marlene, who insists on calling him Timothy, and Dan, who seems to want a different son.
Going back and forth between Now and Then, weaving the uncertain present with the painful past, T.J.'s story unfolds, and with the unfolding comes a new understanding of how to move forward.
How would you describe Waiting to Forget?
Here’s my “elevator blurb,” or how I’d summarize the book to a stranger between floors (assume it’s a slow elevator):
Waiting to Forget, for ages ten and older, begins and ends in a hospital, and in between, twelve-year-old T.J. waits to learn the fate of his little sister, who lies unconscious in the emergency room. While T.J. waits, he struggles with disturbing memories of their difficult other life, before they were adopted. When these past memories catch up with the present, T.J. realizes he must now make his own decision about how to face the future.
My own family was formed through birth and adoption, and most of our children joined the family when they were already school age. So, even though this book is fiction, it’s a story that’s very real to me.
Which of your characters do you feel you relate to the most and why?
I am going to give two answers to this question because the word “relate” has several slightly different meanings.
1) If we use the following meaning from a dictionary “to have or establish a relationship” then I would say Celia, the mother who can’t cope. Although I am nothing like Celia, I feel as if I know her and have a relationship with her because I can understand her feelings. She’s overwhelmed and discouraged, especially after Ray leaves. Being a parent is not an easy job, and if Celia were a real person, she shouldn’t have kids. But there are many women in the world who have children without making a conscious choice. Those mothers need a strong support system in order to cope.
2) If we use the definition of “relate” that says “to respond especially favorably” to something or someone, then I’d have to say the one character I relate to the most is T.J. because he’s just T.J. I think readers of the book will understand what I mean.
Were you a reader in your teen years and if so, who was your favorite author?
Although my friends all had TVs, our family didn’t own one until I was in tenth grade. So, yes, I was definitely a reader!
I didn’t have just one favorite author. The ones who stand out in my memory from when I was a young teenager are: Mary O’ Hara (My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead), Marjorie K. Rawlings (The Yearling, The Sojourner), Rumer Godden, (The River, An Episode of Sparrows), John Updike (Pigeon Feathers - a collection of short stories), Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
What one 2012 release are you most looking forward to reading this year?
No Name Baby by Nancy Bo Flood
Are you currently in the process of writing a sequel or newer book?
I’m not writing a sequel. I am working on several other books, including revisions on two novels plus writing another new novel for YA readers. I also hope to find publishers for a couple of picture books.
Thank you so much for asking such good questions.
Thank you for stopping by Ashley Suzanne and for giving us the chance to know you and your book, Waiting to Forget!