Courage in Patience
(The Patience Trilogy #1)
Publication date: March 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Courage to endure.
Courage to survive.
Courage to overcome.
Tenacious 14-year-old Ashley Asher claws her way back to normalcy after enduring six years of an unimaginable Hell. Uprooted from her negligent and selfish mother, Ashley finds solace in the safety of her father’s home. Building a relationship with her stepmother, she’s finally able to open up and confront the past that haunts her.
With the help of her stepmom, therapist, and a group of troubled adolescents, Ashley battles her demons, struggling to find the normal teenage life she’s always wanted. Can Ashley find the strength and courage to overcome the horrors of her past while fighting for the future she so deserves?
In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is a high school English-Language Arts teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading.
Beth is a featured author on the 2015-2016 Spirit of Texas Reading List- High School for the Kirkus Starred Reviewed Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014) and The Patience Trilogy: Courage (1), Hope (2), and Truth (3) (Steady On Books, April 2016).
Beth is a member of the RAINN (Rape , Abuse, Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau. She has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups.
She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope.”
Beth is in-demand as a panelist, having presented/appeared at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference, the American Library Association’s annual conference, YALSA, and N.C.T.E./ALAN, and she is a member of The Author’s Guild.
She is a survivor of a traumatic childhood, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope.
Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.
You can find Beth online at http:www.bethfehlbaumbooks.com, http://www.uncommonya.com, on Facebook, and on https://twitter.com/bethfehlbaum.
Hey, thanks for having me today! I’m Beth Fehlbaum, author of The Patience Trilogy: Courage in Patience (1), Hope in Patience (2), and Truth in Patience (3) The books follow the arc of a fifteen-year-old girl’s journey to recovery from childhood sexual abuse after she is removed from her mom’s home, where her stepfather abused her from age nine. I’m excited to meet you and your readers!
How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?
I have always processed my life through writing, but about a year into intensive therapy as I worked to heal from being sexually abused as a child, I was given a challenge: my doctor, who had been reading the poems and short stories I wrote, recommended that I try writing a novel.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
I love it when I’m in the zone—deep inside my story and watching it unfold like a movie in my mind. Being in that place is magical. Equal to that, hearing from readers of all ages is gratifying—I “officially” write for teens, but in addition to the YA audience, I have learned that case workers, psychologists, and therapists are using The Patience Trilogy with their patients who are on the same road that I traveled.
The worst aspect is the constant suspicion that I could be doing more to advance my writing career, and discovering exactly how to do it. I am not comfortable constantly pushing my work on my Facebook page; I’d rather have give-and-take with people than being a marketing mouthpiece. And, though I know that the best way to spread the word about my work is to write another book, I teach high school in my day job, and finding time to write during the school year is difficult. It’s not a matter of time on the clock, per se, so much as having room in my mind with everything else I juggle by teaching seven class periods of English and being mentally tired when I get home in the evening. The books I write are intense and they require my full attention.
What inspires you to write?
I joke when I say, “If I ever get totally healthy, I’ll have nothing to write about!”—because all four of my books (The Patience Trilogy and Big Fat Disaster), are “problem” novels and I have a personal connection to all of them. In addition to being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have Binge Eating Disorder. Food was/is my drug of choice and I had to learn to manage my compulsion to eat to soothe myself. Big Fat Disaster’s main character, Colby, also struggles with B.E.D.
All my books are edgy, truthful, and humorous and hopeful throughout. I am interested in the theme of hypocrisy vs. authenticity, and others have described my style as “writing without looking over my shoulder.”
How did you come up with The Patience Trilogy story?
My therapist saw something meaningful in my writing, and he suggested that I try writing a novel. I struggled for four months to begin composing a book, but I kept falling into a “spin cycle” of anger, grief, and numbness as I struggled mightily to understand how my own mother could turn her back on me when told her that I’d entered therapy to deal with “what happened in our house” when I was a child.
Finally, I thought, “Okay, what if a girl was removed from her circumstances and placed in a totally different environment”—in this case, moving from the Dallas area to a small town in East Texas—“and living now with a father she’s never known? What would she do; how would she react?”
It still wasn’t easy, but I at least had a starting point to begin to process this overwhelming experience I was having in a way that didn’t feel as if the pain would kill me. I wasn’t sleeping well at the time anyway; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was kicking my a**, so I’d stay up for hours, getting the story out of my head and onto a screen.
How did you conduct your research for The Patience Trilogy?
Fortunately, I saw my therapist regularly, and the therapy scenes in the books are fairly faithful to what happened in my doctor’s office. When I had questions, I emailed him to share scenes and ask questions. I always want to make sure that what I am writing reads true and does not cause harm or an unrealistic view of the recovery process. For the courtroom scenes in Hope in Patience, I asked my brother, a police lieutenant and veteran officer with thirty years’ experience, to read over the scenes and advise me as to legal aspects.
What are 3 of your favorite lines/quotes from this trilogy?
From Courage in Patience: the scene is at the end of Ashley’s first therapy session with Scott “Dr. Matt” Matthews. He has been asked to evaluate Ashley in order to determine if she should be returned to her mother and stepfather’s home:
“Ashley, before our session ends, what is the most important thing you need me to know about your mom? About living with your mom?” He leaned forward in his chair.
“I … I can’t live with her. She won’t keep me safe.” For the first time, I was able to raise my eyes to his for longer than a millisecond. I pleaded, “My mother won’t keep him away from me. Please don’t make me go back there.”
“Ashley, there is no way I am going to recommend that you be returned to your mother and stepfather. I need you to know something very, very important: what happened to you is not your fault. The people who let it happen to you and who did it to you are not parents. Parents do not do those things to children. We have a lot of work to do, sweetheart.”
What would your friends say is your best quality?
I took a poll and was told the following: “Compassion and feisty loyalty to those I love, coupled with an inability to tolerate bullsh*t.” I credit my therapist, who reparented me, for the tough and loving person I am. I was always loving and protective of my kids, but my therapist, Matt, taught me how to be tough. I’m no longer a scared, paralyzed victim, and I’m able manage the anxiety that plagued me for most of my life.
Are reader reviews important to you?
They are; however, a fellow author helped me with an insight about how to process reviews: they are opinions. They are not necessarily “vetted.” This helps me not get upset when I read reviews of my work in which I can tell the book was not read. There was an interesting phenomena with Big Fat Disaster in which a person referenced a violent rape scene in it… and, while a rape is referenced as having happened in the life of one of the characters before the story starts, there is no rape scene in the book. It’s hard to take seriously reviews written by people who have clearly not read the book.
Do you have any blogs/websites?
Yes, I do: readers can find out lots about me, read Sneak Peeks of all four of my books; contact me, and check out my blog. My website is bethfehlbaumbooks.com
Can your fans find you on Social Media?
Absolutely! I’m on Facebook (a LOT): Facebook/Beth Fehlbaum
And Twitter: Twitter/Beth Fehlbaum
What do you do when you don’t write?
I teach English I, Pre-AP English I, and a remediated class for kids who haven’t passed the End of Course English I test. I keep up with our three grown daughters and daughter-in-law, and my husband and I live with four spoiled dogs in a house our family built in a forest clearing in East Texas. I do a little gardening, keep up with domestic goddessing, read, and mentally plan my next book. My mind really never stops, so writing is a great profession for me to have.
Tell us about your other books?
Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/ F + W Media, 2014), which is on the Texas Library Association’s 2015-2016 Spirit of Texas Reading List for High School!
Colby Denton’s family is a “package deal”. That’s what her dad, a candidate for the U.S. Senate running on a “Family Values” platform, calls his wife, a former Miss Texas, and three daughters: Rachel, Colby, and Drew. Rachel and Drew inherited their mother’s traditional beauty, but Colby takes after her father, a linebacker on his college football team.
Colby finds a photo of her father kissing another woman, and within hours, Colby’s father admits that he is in love with his mistress. But that’s not all he’s been up to; he’s also been stealing from his campaign, and his investment company has been defrauding investors so that he can support his secret lifestyle.
His wife and daughters are not only the objects of media speculation; they’re left homeless, too. The only person willing to provide them a place to live is Colby’s eccentric Aunt Leah, resident of Piney Creek, a tiny East Texas town, the black sheep of her image-conscious family, and mother to Ryan, the only player on his football team with the courage to report a girl’s sexual assault at a party. His teammates are out for revenge, and Ryan has a grudge against the world.
Piney Creek, Texas is tiny: Kindergarten through 12th grades are in the same building! But the social media network is huge, as Colby discovers. Her mother blames her binge eating and resulting weight problem for attracting negative attention, and Colby is driven to desperate measures. Tragedy ensues, and Colby keeps a secret out of fear that her mother will reject her once more if she finds out the truth.
At last, Colby must confront the truth about the tragedy, her role in the destruction of her family, and the eating disorder that will eventually kill her if she does not learn to cope in other ways.
If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be?
I am living proof that a traumatized person can walk through hell and come out the other side a strong, whole being. It’s hard work, but with the guidance of an experienced mental health professional, recovery is possible!
I invite your readers to visit my website and read the first chapters of each of my books! Each of The Patience Trilogy books was written as a stand-alone, although I’d love for you to read the series. If you’d like an autographed book, contact me through my website. All my books are available through brick-and-mortar and online stores and all distribution channels. Thanks again for hosting me today.
Courage in Patience:
Courage to endure.
Courage to survive.
Courage to overcome.
Tenacious 14-year-old Ashley Asher claws her way back to normalcy after enduring six years of an unimaginable Hell. Uprooted from her negligent and selfish mother, Ashley finds solace in the safety of her father's home. Building a relationship with her stepmother, she's finally able to open up and confront the past that haunts her.
With the help of her stepmom, therapist, and a group of troubled adolescents, Ashley battles her demons, struggling to find the normal teenage life she's always wanted. Can Ashley find the strength and courage to overcome the horrors of her past while fighting for the future she so deserves?
Hope in Patience: a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers
Hope to heal.
Hope to grow.
Hope to evolve.
Still shattered from the horrific events of her childhood years, 15-year-old Ashley Asher is barely holding it together. Battling her vicious and vile mother who still sees her as the villain and not the victim, Ashley's stuck in a cycle of self-injury and self-hatred as a result--despite the many people who trying to pull her out of it.
Truth in Patience:
Truth in the past.
Truth in reality.
Truth for tomorrow.
Finally adjusting to life in small town Texas, Ashley Asher sees a glimmer of what happiness really is. Even her new relationship with the attentive Joshua Brandt shows promise of a first romance. But Ashley's fear of intimacy after years of unspeakable abuse may cause friction and distance in their relationship.
Determined to prove to her that she's healing, Dr. Matt, her beloved therapist, shows her that "life is messy." And he doesn't know how messy it is about to get. When her mother decides that Ashley belongs back in their hometown with her, Ashley is forced into another family feud that she isn't prepared for. Refusing to leave behind the new life she created in Texas, Ashley and her mother go head-to-head. But can Ashley finally find the courage and strength to battle her demons when her mother might be the biggest demon of all?
Here’s a link to a Sneak Peek on my website: Sneak Peek of Courage in Patience
Here’s the actual link URL if that’s better: http://www.bethfehlbaumbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/3.29-Courage-Excerpt-Ch-1.pdf
Beth Fehlbaum, YALSA Quick Pick, Spirit of Texas High School List, Sexual Abuse Recovery Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Recovery Fiction, Bibliotherapy, The Patience Trilogy, Beth Fehlbaum Books, #YALit, #SpeakLoudly, #IfYouLikeSpeakYou’llLikeThis, Stepfamilies