Happy book birthday to The Tensions of Opposites! (Go, no run, to your nearest bookstore and buy it! Snap a photo if you see it.) I shall now hand the mike over to Kristina McBride and she’ll share with you something special about today. *cues drumroll*
You know what today is?
May 25, 2010: Launch day for my debut novel, The Tension of Opposites.
*Excuse me for a moment while I swim in some YAY*
But today is also something else. Something that neither my publisher, agent, nor I knew about until way after the launch date for my novel was scheduled. I swear, no one planned this.
It’s National Missing Children’s Day. (Cue the creepy music.)
If you know nothing of my book, let me tell you why this is an eerie coincidence.
The Tension of Opposites is the story of 16-year-old Tessa McMullen whose best friend has just returned from a 2-year abduction. The plot centers around Tessa’s struggle to reconnect with her friend, who has become a very distant and self-destructive version of her old self, and also Tessa’s struggle to reconnect with a life she felt too guilty to live after her friend disappeared.
When I found out about my launch day and National Missing Children’s Day coinciding, I had to wonder if this was just a fluke, or if it could possibly be a sign that some cosmic force is behind me, helping me along the way. I’m a believer in signs, you see. And this one made me feel a little bit of relief, like maybe I was doing something here that could make a difference. Like maybe I’ve accomplished more than simply writing a book. Maybe I’m actually spreading knowledge that could save a life.
I’m often asked what I want people to take away from this book. There’s one thing. And it’s very important: Just because a child is missing does not mean they haven’t survived.
While The Tension of Opposites is a work of fiction, there are real children out in the world who need to be returned to their families. Kidnappers are talented manipulators, and often, their victims will do what they are told even when a chance to escape arises. It is our responsibility as a society to pay attention to what is going on around us. If we simply ask a few questions, or contact someone if we suspect something is not right, we might even save a life. Shawn Hornbeck, Elizabeth Smart, and Jaycee Dugard are only a few examples of this truth.
So what do I want you to take away from this read, even if you never pick up my book? The knowledge that you can make a difference. You don’t have to study the faces of missing children on milk cartons, or send large chunks of money to some organization. Just pay attention to the world around you. And if you ever notice something a little off, speak up. Tell someone – a police officer, the child’s school counselor, a neighbor.
It’s that simple. Each of the above children were found and returned to their families because someone like you paid attention to their gut when it said something was wrong. They acted on this feeling. And that’s it.
So if you ever have the opportunity, please be prepared to act.
Make a difference.
Save a life.