Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Class of 2014 Day 14 ~ Chris Struyk-Bonn

Welcome to the fourteenth day of Class of 2014! For a few weeks, I'll be spotlighting some of this year's debut authors. I wanted a way to celebrate both my high school graduation and one year blogoversary, so I decided to feature authors of the same "class" as me on Reading is My Treasure! (Want to learn more about this event? Go here.)

Today, I get to share Chris Struyk-Bonn's guest post about writing! She has some great advice for you writers. :) I hope you enjoy reading what she has written and find her book, Whisper, interesting. (If you do, you can enter to win the giveaway below!)

I live in Portland, Oregon, even though I am originally from Iowa. I've been in the Pacific Northwest for so long that I can hardly claim to be a midwesterner anymore.

My family keeps me pretty busy and on my toes! I have two boys who have decided that it is their goal and ambition in life to make my days as difficult as possible. We have soccer balls in every room, we have darts stuck to every window, and my cats are losing fur in clumps because of the teasing they must endure.

I love cats. I have three of them and one of them is about twenty pounds. I have been trying to figure out how to help him lose some weight, but he is just not interested, and the treadmill has not been working.

Reading and writing young adult literature is a favorite past time of mine. I try to keep up on trends in YA, and find myself astounded by some of the amazing novels that are available for teens. I am thrilled to see my own book in print and hope that you will let me know what you think of Whisper.

Genre: YA dystopia
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014
Purchase: Amazon / B&N
Find it on Goodreads

Goodreads description:

Sixteen-year-old Whisper, who has a cleft palate, lives in an encampment with three other young rejects and their caregiver, Nathanael. They are outcasts from a society (in the not-too-distant future) that kills or abandons anyone with a physical or mental disability. Whisper’s mother visits once a year. When she dies, she leaves Whisper a violin, which Nathanael teaches her to play. Whisper’s father comes to claim her, and she becomes his house slave, her disfigurement hidden by a black veil. But when she proves rebellious, she is taken to the city to live with other rejects at a house called Purgatory Palace, where she has to make difficult decisions for herself and for her vulnerable friends.
Guest Post
You, too, can write a book.

That has become my motto this year with my students. I can not believe how many teenagers have entire novels secreted away in their laptops that they’ve been working on for years and either haven’t finished, or haven’t polished. Dig them out, polish them up, and collect some beta readers for comments. These manuscripts are rough beauties and honest revelations.

When I was about fifteen years old, I wrote a poem about a vacuum cleaner that came to life, roared out of control, and sucked up everything in its path. It was a ridiculous poem with a pretty horrendous rhyme scheme. To this day, it is one of my favorite early creations. Why? Because I didn’t care about following rules, or finding the current trends, or selling the piece – I wrote it out of sheer fun and out of a love for writing.

This is the power and beauty that I see in teen writing today. Adolescents write from the heart. They pour out their emotions, trials, frustrations on paper and their writing is raw and strong. It’s beautiful and it will be some of the work that they will remember with the most nostalgia.

Keep writing. Don’t let anyone tell you that there’s a certain way to write and that you need to follow particular rules. Yes, you should write with correct grammar, but even that can be smudged and those lines can be blurred.

Write from the heart. Throw those feelings out there. You will be making beautiful, unrefined writing pieces, and they will cleanse your heart and bare your soul. That is what writing should be like and somewhere in our adulthood, we feel the need to follow the rules and not take chances. Take your chances now when you feel compelled to do so and before life dictates order.Let me know if you need a beta reader. I am more than willing.

Chris Struyk-Bonn
Chris has offered to give away one copy of her book! (Thank you, Chris!) The giveaway is open to US addresses only and ends on July 2nd @ midnight PST. I will announce the winners on Twitter and will send emails to the winner. If you win, you have 48 hours to respond and claim your prize.

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you enjoyed the guest post! Come back tomorrow to read my interview with the penultimate Class of 2014 author.

Hint: Her book is one of three 2014 debuts featured in my Twitter background.


  1. My favorite 'early creation' is a poem I wrote about smelly shoes in 5th grade. I still have the original copy I wrote for class and I always read it when I want to cheer myself up :D

    I've been meaning to write this story that's been in my head for a while and this is so encouraging!

    Thank you so much for sharing this guest post with us Kaitlin! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

    1. That's awesome! It sounds like it would be a funny poem. :D

      I'm so glad to hear that, Rashika. The purpose of this guest post is to help out authors.

      You're welcome!

  2. First, I love the inspirational piece about writing from Chris. It was lovely, and motivating! But I must say that what drew me to the book was the character's cleft palate. My son has one, and is having surgery in a month, so I'd love to hear more about what inspired Chris to write about it. And, I am very excited to read about it, and how it plays out in the dystopian society.

    1. I'm glad you loved it! :)

      I found an interview that touches on why what led Chris towards writing her book, if you would like to read it: http://fearlessfifteeners.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/one-four-kids-an-interview-with-chris-struyk-bonn-author-of-whisper/

    2. Thank you so much! That is pretty interesting. It is definitely sad about other countries not fixing these type of issues, because it is so much more involved than just the appearance aspect. I am so, so curious to see how Chris writes about the topic! A year ago, I didn't really even know what it entailed, that it was so widespread, etc. so it is really refreshing that an author is using it in a protagonist (there was a big uproar a few months ago about Disney using a cleft affected person as a villain- it did not go over well as you can imagine!)

  3. Whisper caught my eye right away with the mention of cleft palate, since I'm a speech-language pathology student. Sounds a little different from most other YA books! Have added it to my Goodreads list, thanks for putting it on my radar :)

    1. It really does sound different! That's mainly why I'm excited to read it. You're welcome. :) I was glad to introduce you to the book!

  4. A very thoughtful guest post--thanks for sharing


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