Today is my stop on the
STRUCK by Jenn Bosworth Blog Tour!
I am SO excited!
“…I was not bothered by the use of religious themes/cults in this book at all. I thought it was written well without being preachy or judgmental, and I never felt convicted in my faith while reading…” –ME! I said this on January 31, 2012
Adventures in Writing about Touchy Subjects
I have recently hit a nerve with readers.
My debut novel, Struck, takes place in earthquake ravaged Los Angeles, where my protagonist, a seventeen-year-old lightning addict, faces off against two rival doomsday cults in a battle of apocalyptic proportions.
One of my cults is controlled by a blind televangelist/prophet named, well, Prophet. Rance Ridley Prophet, to be exact. He is the leader of the Church of Light, and claims that God is about to send an apocalyptic storm to destroy the wicked world. Only his followers will be saved.
Prophet’s followers follow him as though they are the blind ones. They do whatever Prophet tells them to do, which includes blanketing the city and preaching the word of Rance Ridley to whoever will listen. And, to my protagonist’s surprise, hordes of people DO listen. This is Los Angeles, after all, a city that has a reputation for thriving on shallowness, greed, and a certain amount of debauchery. It is not known for its piety, unless you count yoga or wine drinking as religion.
But the earthquake, which was predicted by Prophet, has left the people of Los Angeles shattered and afraid. And when people are afraid, they often listen to whoever offers to protect them. To save them.
This scenario might strike you as completely fantastical. Or it might strike you as too plausible for comfort. Or it might leave you with the impression that I’m taking a jab at religious folks, and if you are religious, it might make you want to punch me in the face.
Please don’t do that. I like my face. I want to keep it intact.
I want to emphasize that Struck does not address religion. It addresses religious fanaticism. But you will recognize certain features that I borrowed from existing religions: revivals, dressing in all white, having apostles, the laying on of hands, so on and so forth. The Church of Light in Struck is a Frankenstein monster of familiar religions, but raised to the power of ten. My fictional “religion” has much more in common with cults like the Peoples Temple of Jonestown massacre fame and the Branch Dividians of the Waco debacle than it does with any traditional religion.
I went into the creation of this book knowing full well that you can’t write about the dark side of the Big R(eligion) without hitting a few nerves. Before Struck was even released, I began to receive flack for my decision to tackle the theme of religious fanaticism, and how it can validate or excuse certain harmful behaviors.
So, you might wonder, why did I choose to write about a subject that I knew from the start was going to be the equivalent of kicking the hornet’s nest?
Well . . . someone has to. And it might as well be me. It’s a relevant subject, and there is no better place to explore topical matters than in YA literature. I want to get at young people when they’re still forming their beliefs and deciding what their unique perspective on the world will be. And, more than anything, I want to speak to those who like to question the world around them. Who refuse to follow blindly, and choose instead to think for themselves and decide what’s right for them.
But more than anything, I want to write to a teenage me. Struck is the book I wish I’d read as a teenager, because I needed it. And I know there are teens out there who need this book, just like I did.
I’d rather risk leaving some readers angry in order to reach the ones who’ll be inspired to think about this issue. If there is a subliminal message in the pages of Struck, it is this: Don’t let fear rule your life, and don’t let anyone else do your thinking for you.
That’s not such a bad message . . . right?
It’s an absolutely pleasure to have you here today!
You are welcome here anytime. I mean it.
Fierce Reads Facebook Fan Page
Jenn’s Tour Dates for Fierce Reads
Jenn Bosworth and Macmillan Publishing,
I am able to offer a copy of STRUCK to ONE LUCKY WINNER!
PLUS: It comes with a cool LIGHTNING TATTOO!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth Blog Tour!
I made it easy for you & listed the blogs below!
(Hint: There may be other giveaway opportunities.)
Monday 5/7 Wastepaper Prose
Tuesday 5/8 Book Hounds YA
Wednesday 5/9 Into the Hall of Books
Thursday 5/10 From A to Z
Friday 5/11 Moonlight Book Reviews
Saturday 5/12 Short and Sweet Reviews
Sunday 5/13 Christina Reads YA
Jennifer Bosworth lives in Los Angeles, California, where lightning hardly ever strikes, but when it does she takes cover. She is the writer half of a writer/director team with her husband, Ryan Bosworth. Learn more about her at http://www.jenniferbosworth.com.