Monday, February 25, 2013

Blitz: Forged in Grace

Forged in Grace by Jordan E. Rosenfeld 
Publication date: February, 2013 
Genre: Psychological Suspense (Adult w/ YA and NA crossover appeal)
(Goodreads) (Amazon) (Book Trailer)

Grace Jensen survived a horrific fire at age 15. The flames changed her: badly scarred in body and mind, Grace developed an ability to feel other people’s pain. Unable to bear human touch, she has made a small life for herself in Northern California, living with her hoarder mother, tending wounded animals, and falling a little in love with her former doctor. Her safe world explodes when the magnetic Marly Kennet reappears in town; Grace falls right back into the dynamic of their complicated friendship. Marly is the holder of many secrets, including one that has haunted Grace for over a decade: what really happened the night of the fire?

When Marly exhorts Grace to join her in Las Vegas, to make up for the years they have been lost to each other, Grace takes a leap of faith and goes. Although Marly is not entirely honest about her intentions, neither woman anticipates that enlarging Grace’s world will magnify her ability to sense the suffering of others—or that she will begin to heal wounds by swallowing her own pain and laying her hands on the afflicted.

This gift soon turns darker when the truth of Marly’s life—and the real reason she ended her friendship with Grace—pushes the boundaries of loyalty and exposes both women to danger.

Kinds of Seeing
By Jordan E. Rosenfeld
Author of Forged in Grace

It occurred to me quite by accident one day that my book is as much about forms of seeing/not seeing as it is about other themes like isolation and healing.

The protagonist of my novel, Grace, spent the first half of her life flying under the radar, feeling “plain;” and the second half, after her terrible burn accident, being unwittingly in the spotlight due to her disfigurements. Until she meets a character named Gus, the “tattooed man” who is even stranger to look at than she is, and who photographs her, Grace has never willingly called attention to herself before. Gus gives her a sense of being witnessed, seen and accepted, which she will need to draw on if she is to be in a relationship with the man she loves.

When people ask me which of my two main characters I most identify with, I usually think of Grace first, though I’ve never experienced the kind of agony that she has, nor the disfigurements. What I do relate to is her sense of shame and hiding. It’s such a universally human experience to feel invisible, unseen, or ugly. It was important to me throughout this book to explore the ways we make ourselves smaller, and believe falsely that we are not enough because of how we look on the outside.

And I have the best avenue to explore this in her best friend Marly, who has always been effortlessly, genetically beautiful—drawing attention whether she likes it or not. But important people in Marly’s life do not see or deny seeing terrible things that have happened to her, including her best friend, Grace. Marly understands the power of the presentation, the fa├žade, the image, and lives believing that what you show the world is what you are.

And then there’s the deeper kind of seeing: when someone sees you as flawed and messy but still loves you; when someone sees past the surface, deep into the heart of you. Both of my characters have deep wounds, and their need to be seen is what brings them back together again after a thirteen year hiatus. And yet, they have to explore what they want from each other, because trying to pick up where they left off at age 15 is a deadly proposition.

It’s my hope that my novel can open up a dialogue about what it means about these different kinds of seeing, of being accepted and loved, and how beauty can be a shallow and even dangerous tool for relating to others.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld learned early on that people prefer a storyteller to a know-it-all. She channeled any Hermione-esque tendencies into a career as a writing coach, editor and freelance journalist and saves the Tall Tales for her novels. She earned her MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is the author of the books, Make A Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time (Writer’s Digest Books) and Write Free! Attracting the Creative Life with Rebecca Lawton (BeijaFlor Books). Jordan’s essays and articles have appeared in such publications, Publisher’s Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The St. Petersburg Times, The Writer and Writer’s Digest magazine. Her book commentaries have appeared on The California Report, a news-magazine produced by NPR-affiliate KQED radio. She lives in Northern California with her Batman-obsessed son and Psychologist husband.

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