This week’s guest is a repeat offender in the attic. Her first post, in 2017, was about her struggles to get published, so I’m thrilled to welcome Vikki back today and share the good news that her first novel, Breaking Storm, has been published.
Breaking Storm is the first book in Vikki Holstein’s romantic suspense series, White Wattle Creek. Vikki herself is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and her writing reflects the struggles of survivors of childhood trauma. She lives in central Victoria, with her husband and a herd of animals. Apart from writing, she also enjoys spending time with her beloved horses, helping her husband with his latest renovation project, reading and gardening.
You can find Vikki on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter, Amazon, Pinterest, Goodreads.
Buy Breaking Storm at Booktopia.
Including Trauma in Storytelling
When I wrote my first piece for Writers in the Attic three years ago, I was determined to get Breaking Storm into the hands of people who needed to see themselves represented in books. I wanted survivors of trauma to have a voice and to see they’re not alone, to see they’re deserving of love and understanding, peace and happiness.
Though I’d put aside the driving need to find a publisher, I couldn’t fully let go of the search for someone to take on my book. I’m ecstatic to say not only is Breaking Storm now in the hands of readers and being loved, but I have three more books contracted through Vulpine Press.
White Wattle Creek is a romantic suspense series that follows a group of friends as they negotiate life and the after affects of different types of trauma.
Breaking Storm, the first book of the White Wattle Creek series, is about forming family bonds through love and trust, and finding self worth and strength in the aftermath of violence and heartbreak.
Though Breaking Storm has been through many rewrites and edits, the core questions have always stayed the same:
What happens when someone you love is in trouble?
How far will you go to make sure they are safe?
How do you cope with trauma when you feel alone, hopeless, and helpless?
Kelsey has only ever had one answer—she would do anything and everything for Pipa, even return to the town and the man she’d run from five years ago because, though he broke her heart, she knows Ethan is the only person she can trust to keep Pipa safe. But can she learn to trust herself as well as others, to ask for help, and to believe she deserves love?
Many of us struggle with these same issues. Whether we’ve been shaped by abuse or neglect, trusting ourselves to make the right choices and judgements as far as letting people into our lives can be debilitating.
I want survivors of trauma and those who love them to know that with time, patience, and love, we can trust ourselves, and that we deserve whatever we strive for. It’s a hard road to travel, and most of us carry the weight of it our whole lives.
But the weight is not ours to bear, and never has been.
Nor is it our silence, but we keep it.
The way surviving trauma is represented in books and movies needs to change. It needs to be more than a five second fix and show the years it takes to heal. It needs to show the real struggle with self-loathing and self-preservation we live with.
We need to be seen as we are, not as hysterical side characters or the psychopathic lead. We need to be heard when we try to speak, not silenced because the truth is too hard to hear.
In the White Wattle Creek series, I hope to provide a narrative for those voices and representations. I also hope to give courage and strength to anyone who thinks they are alone in how they feel, because they aren’t.
If I have one wish, it’s that Breaking Storm and the rest of the White Wattle Creek series give people a better understanding of the deep effects of trauma.
And to the survivors out there: I see you, I hear you, I am you.
Vikki has kindly donated a copy of her book, Breaking Storm, for a lucky reader to win.
If you’d like to enter, let me know your thoughts on how you’d like to see survivors of trauma represented in fiction (of any genre).
Once again, you can leave your comments here on the blog, or on any of the social media posts about Vikki’s post.
Entries close 12pm Thursday, 28th May, and the winner will be chosen randomly.
International entries welcome, but we can only post to an Australian address.
I feel stories about survivors must be written with compassion and respect, they need to inform readers not titillate them. Congratulations on your book Vikki, I’d love to read it.
I love how you’ve phrased that, Shannon—’not titillate’. So true, otherwise it’s exploitative. Thanks for your comment. 🙂
Thank you Shannon. Yes, that’s exactly it. I get so frustrated and angry when abuse is either romanticized or added purely for shock and titillation, as you said. I wanted to tell the real story of what it can do to people, and the struggles they live with.
Trauma survivors should be lauded in literature rather than cast as victims or villains. They need to be represented with compassion for all they’ve gone through, and respect for having endured it.
Thank you, Marilyn! Couldn’t agree more. 🙂
Exactly!! You’ve said what i haven’t been able to find the words to say, thank you <3