Sunday, 31 July 2016

Promoting RHP



 P is for Promoting Ride High Pineapple

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to promote my new children's novel, Ride High Pineapple. I began writing this book officially in 2014, though there had been a few sporadic attempts before then over fifteen years; the book being partly written in numerous forms but put away for another day. Never ever finished. Why? Because the subject matter of Ride High Pineapple - not the pineapple part, as I love pineapples - was too close to home.

You see the main character, 13-year-old Issy Burgess has something that I have. Something that I grew up being embarrassed and ashamed about; something that I hated talking about; something that would give me panic attacks if people questioned me about it; something that affected my self-esteem and self-worth and led me on a series of destructive paths in my teenage and young adult years; something growing up that I wished I hadn't been born with. And something two of my children were also born with.

What was it?

It was having a face that was different, labelled initially as 'Crouzon Disease', caused by a rare genetic mutation of a chromosome. This change in the chromosome told the cells forming the bones of the skull and face to stop growing too early.

In a 1977 Australian Women's Weekly magazine article a child with this syndrome was described as having a 'grotesque' deformity. At the time I was nine years-old and I thought I was more severe than that child - so what did that make me? 

Being born with this syndrome (at some stage it was renamed from being a disease to a syndrome), directed my life. It affected the happiness of my childhood. It affected how people treated me. People thought that they had the right to pass their judgements and prejudices onto me. I was different and that wasn't okay. It affected my personality. It affected the decisions I made in my life. It also has led me to write this book and be an advocate for facial differences, which is a positive thing.

In Ride High Pineapple, Issy Burgess, the protagonist (main character), was born with Crouzon syndrome.

And I am here to tell you, that it is okay to be different. It is okay to be born with a face that has grown in a different way, no matter what other people may think or say. 

I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager. 

So why did I write this book?

The main reason was because there was no other book in the world with the main character having my syndrome. There is the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio (http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/rj-palacio/wonder-9780552565974.aspx) but it is a very different story and it isn't written by an author who knows what it's like to be born with a craniofacial syndrome. I truly believe that unless you walk the walk you can't possibly know what it's like to be born with a face that is considered 'abnormal' or 'deformed'.

On my re-working of one of the early manuscripts of Ride High Pineapple, I added another dimension of myself to Issy. Something I knew I had but didn't have a name for - Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I was only diagnosed in 2013, in my 40s, after suffering with it since a child. So as a good writer does and with lots of awareness happening at the moment about mental illness, I gave Issy this as well. In the book all sorts of things stress her out and give her symptoms.

So what's all that got to do with pineapples? Well I want you to read Ride High Pineapple, to find out. But some hints are:  Pineapples are tough on the outside; not many things can penetrate the prickly thick barbs. Pineapples are strong. Pineapples have a crown on top. Pineapples are sweet on the inside.  


Some other interesting facts about Ride High Pineapple.
The story is written as a journal. It is raw, honest and gutsy.  The characters in the story are fictitious but there are parts of the story that are factual.
For example:
*Issy gives a speech to her Year Nine class. This speech was based on the speech my daughter presented to her Year Eight class to explain her face. I changed it to suit the story.
*At the time of writing the novel, my daughter loved skateboarding, so this was the influence for the sport. She also had an accident on her board, face planting on the concrete. Because of her facial surgeries we had to take her to the hospital to make sure her nose wasn't broken or damage had been done to the bones in her face.
* The medical and hospital information is all true, based on my own and my children's experiences.

So I would love your support in helping to promote Ride High Pineapple. Let's be partners! Please spread the word about my book and  buy a book or download the ebook.

RRP paperback $15 AUD
RP ebook $4.14 AUD
Postage within Australia is $5

It's available at:


Ebay.com.au

Direct bank deposit for Australian customers -
bsb: 062692  account no: 27847742

Hear some of my story in my Ride High Pineapple book launch speech



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