Things have been quiet on the e-shelves regarding fiction by Michelle Robbins. Have they not? Well, quiet on YOUR side. I, the scribe in question, have been banging away on the keyboard. The result? Two paperbacks, coming soon.
First, Catching Her Balance, due out at Amber Quill’s main fiction line on Nov 30. (ß MY BIRTHDAY!!!) This is a special story for me. The characters first landed in my hands in 1986, the year of my daughter’s birth. That was 1986. For these 28 years I’ve struggled with the story. Why? Because Jenna’s story is my own.
Jenna is a product of ephebophile sexual exploitation for a caretaker’s gain, as am I. But what’s this? Ephebophile? What on earth? There’s a long and complex explanation for what that is, but in sum ephebphilia is sexual interest in teenagers. A very convenient tool for sexual exploitation. For my mother, it was very profitable…until I became rage. I hung the sign out on her door and screamed my ugly, painful reality about her and her boyfriend, my “stepfather” to anyone who would hear.
No one would. They turned away, saying, “not our business” or “shouldn’t be spoken of it public, even if it’s true” or (my favorite) “your mother is a special, wonderful person! How can you *dare* to…!” Yeah, I dared and so does Jenna in Catching Her Balance. Why did it take 28 years to write? Those are painful memories I was only ready to talk about in 2012.
What was the big deal about 2012?
In 2012 I was accepted to the MFA “Writing Popular Fiction” program at Seton Hill University. Greensboro, PA. Lovely in the Winter…from inside. It’s snowy and cold but magical. That summer, I showed up with this story in mind. I was ready to strip away the mask of “it’s all okay” and deliver the reality of my childhood/teens. See the ghastly “Papa” character? Know the brutality of my stepfather. See the absent but enabling mother? Recognize the protection I received from my “caretaker.” Koffkoff.
Jenna was ready to tell her/my story and I was ready to go for it. Damn those torpedoes! And to hell with the shame game played out by my mother’s flock of hens. Frankly, eff them to hell and back!
So, Catching Her Balance went forth as my Seton Hill “thesis.” Which basically is a “marketable manuscript.” Sure, it’s my first rodeo but I can’t say I wasn’t THEILLED when Amber Quill accepted the manuscript for its main fiction line. So, now, I write for two lines and have two pen names. Catching Her Balance is written by “B. Thatcher.” That’s me. Brenda Thatcher. Michelle is my middle name. So, Balance really is the first book written by Brenda Thatcher.
Balance is my pain and my victory. It’s my daily struggle.
I hope you will join me with my victory dance.