A bomb destroyed high-powered lawyer Gil Lemieux’s seemingly perfect life, and PTSD has ruled every decision since the explosion that left him scarred inside and outside. Moving home with his mom is meant to be a temporary measure, just like proofreading for a medical editorial firm is meant to be a stopgap. But two years after taking on the wrong court case, he’s still living in fear.
Keith Kramer might be based 1,500 miles away from Gil, but their shared work brings them together—a chance meeting that’s life-changing. Gil is drawn to Keith’s good looks and intelligence, but it’s his innate understanding that Gil is more than the scars on his skin that is truly attractive. He’s everything Gil used to be and more. It blows Gil’s mind that his attraction might be returned.
Only doubt could widen the distance between them. Keith’s hopefulness, borne out of surviving some tough challenges of his own, isn’t enough to bridge the distance alone. Gil will need to believe he has as much to offer as Keith if they’re to build a life together.
Posy Roberts writes about romantic male love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.
Posy is married to a man who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep. Her daughter, a budding author and dedicated Whovian, helps her come up with character names. When Posy’s not writing, she enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.
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Thanks for hosting me today. I’m excited to be here to talk about my new book, Silver Scars.
Not so long ago, I overheard someone say they wanted to read a book with normal characters. My immediate thought was, "What's normal?"
Millions of people suffer with chronic pain and mental illness around the world. In the US, the Institute of Medicine (part of the National Academy of Sciences) estimates over 100 million people, roughly 40% of the population, deal with chronic pain. National Association of Mental Illness estimates 1 in 5 of adults experience mental illness in a given year, and the prevalence of anxiety disorders lasting at least a year in US adults hovers around 18%.
Those are some scary statistics, but they show how common pain and mental illness is.
Writing about characters who struggle with issues that millions of people deal with on a daily basis comes naturally to me. Some of that is because I have struggled with chronic pain for two decades. I also enjoy writing imperfect characters who not only have external struggles but also internal challenges. I think that's why so many writers go there. It allows us to write richer characters.
When one thing changes—let's say your left knees starts giving you hassles every single day—you make accommodations and changes in your life. If the problem lasts beyond a week or two, you avoid certain activities or find better ways to do them. If it persists, the pain can affect work, sleep, relationships, and overall happiness.
Anyone who has experienced or has a loved one who lives with chronic pain or mental illness knows this. Many people get stuck in a rut, and when medical interventions don't help, it can be hard to get out.
And then there's the more recent phenomenon of healthy people claiming anxiety or depression, when what they truly mean is they're worried or feeling down. That's not anxiety or depression and claiming it poo-poos the struggles people with those diagnoses have.
A person who gets nervous when meeting their new boss does not have social anxiety. Someone with mental illness can't just "get over it" or "let it go." They are genuinely unable to, which is why they've been diagnosed as such. This is real, it can be debilitating, and it needs to be taken seriously.
This is why I wrote Silver Scars, which explores the themes of both chronic pain and mental illness. Keith has lived with chronic pain for six years and that will most likely continue the rest of his life. He's pushed people away because he has had mostly bad days with only a few good ones in between. Gil has lost many of his friends due to his anxiety and PTSD that overtook him after an explosion. He has turned inward at the start of the book and only has one friend left in his life and his mother.
Gil and Keith meet and connect in a way neither of them expected. They have an innate understanding of each other’s struggles from the start. But they had both resigned themselves to being alone until they meet. They know they will never be normal, but with each other, they don't have to be.
That is why I will continue to write characters that don't live glossy magazine lives.
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Cate Ashwood's books on Goodreads
Keeping Sweets (Newport Boys, #1)
ratings: 1018 (avg rating 3.75)
Brokenhearted (Hope Cove, #1)
ratings: 764 (avg rating 3.72)
A Forced Silence (Zero Hour, #1)
ratings: 635 (avg rating 3.90)
Married for a Month
ratings: 407 (avg rating 3.80)
Wholehearted (Hope Cove, #2)
ratings: 458 (avg rating 3.51)