Monday, October 24, 2011

Guest Blogger: Stephanie Worlton

Today on Six Mixed I reviewed Hope's Journey, and I was so lucky to be able to get Hope's author, Stephanie Worlton, to guest blog for me as the kick off for the Blog Tour of Hope's Journey

More than a froo-froo interview where I ask weird questions like What's your favorite kind of yogurt, I really wanted to just give Stephanie the floor and have her dive right in to the content of her book.  I've read Hope's Journey (in one night--I could not put it down), and I was so impressed with the way Stephanie handled this often touchy and taboo subject of teen pregnancy.  She comes at it from a mature and LDS perspective and obviously a lot of careful analysis.  I can't begin to outline everything I loved about the story.  Hope's Journey is not a book that will waste your time, even if you're not a teen and even if you don't have a teen.  For my full review of it, click over to Six Mixed Reviews when you're done here.  The link is at the bottom.

Hope's Journey is about teen pregnancy and the emotions, changes, acceptance, and repentence that are connected with it.  It is not about adoption, though that is one of the choices the main character, Sydney, prayerfully considers.  But while we are so close to the subject today, I hope my awesome guest blogger won't mind if I shamelessly take a second to direct your attention to the two couples on my sidebar who are seeking to adopt.  If you or anyone you know is considering placing a child with adoption, please take a moment and look at the profiles of these two great families.

Now, I asked Stephanie to briefly summarize the Author's Note from her book and then go over a couple of the Book Club questions listed in the back of it.  So I'm going to let her take it away!

Hope’s Journey is a work of fiction based loosely on my own story. It is a story of discovery; a story of two young people who as the result of a life-changing mistake find themselves on a soul-changing journey.
Like many youth today, as a young woman I didn’t believe in myself. I was constantly in the habit of comparing myself with others and I always felt that my best was never good enough. What I needed was validation. Where I sought it was through the attention of boys. Unfortunately, too many girls follow this same pattern.

Teenage pregnancy isn’t a just plague of the impoverished, the uneducated, or the immoral. It exists everywhere, regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic class. I don’t wish to excuse or down-play the severity of pre-marital relations, but I do want to caution people not to pass judgment so quickly. My pregnancy wasn’t the result of naivety, but rather the fear of rejection. Simply put – I didn’t believe in myself enough to walk away.

My purpose for sharing this story is twofold. First, there’s a lot of social pressure for young women to have a boyfriend and with that comes the eventual graying of boundaries. I want girls to understand that they are more than “so-and-so’s girlfriend,” that they are valuable and important on their own, and that they are in fact daughters of God. And secondly, I hope to distill the stereotypes that exist about our “troubled youth.” Most kids who get into trouble aren’t bad kids – in fact, they’re usually good kids who, trying to fill some insecurity, make a bad choice or two.

I hope that Hope’s Journey will live up to its name, bringing a message of hope and a softening of hearts to those who read it. If it touches but one life, changes one hurtful stereo-type, breaks down the walls of communication for one family, or saves just one “lost” teenager, then it has fulfilled the purpose for which it was inspired.

I’ve had the fun opportunity to sit in with a few book clubs as they discuss Hope’s Journey and by and large there are two questions that come up every time. The first is an evolution of one of the questions in the back of the book (Q #4), and the second, more a derivative of the story itself.


Q -Why do you think people reacted so rudely towards Sydney?

A – Honestly, I don’t think anyone intended to be mean. Human nature is kind of a funny thing. Sometimes when we are uncomfortable in a situation we withdraw from it. The ladies in Sydney’s ward likely didn’t intend to harm her and they were probably unaware of the damage that they did. Surely they didn’t want to condone the act (Sydney’s pregnancy) but they completely missed the opportunity to lift a broken spirit. I think this kind of thing happens more than we’d like to admit. I saw something similar happen recently and it about killed me. The last thing I want to do is hop up on my soap-box, but if we learn one thing from Sydney’s story it should be not to judge people. One person can make the difference in the life of somebody who’s struggling. Why shouldn’t that person be you?

Q – How much of the story is true?

A – This is where I grin and say, “Enough,” but for some reason people want more specifics than that. So, I guess I’d say 70/30, or is it 30/70? The framework is my story, meaning the basic outline is true. The characters and the details of the events are works of fiction, but there are many similarities to my real experience. I did wreck my car, I did turn down scholarships, my “Alex” did date other girls, and I did get offers from other boys. Does Damon really exist? Possibly. Did the scene with Hannah really happen? Maybe… maybe not. Was I a smart-aleck, stubborn, pain in the butt? Probably. Am I still? Absolutely.

Thank you so much, Stephanie for stopping by the blog today! 
 
For my full review of Hope's Journey click over to Six Mixed Reviews.

And for those of you who would like to win a copy of Hope's Journey, see the details below.
 
Hope's Journey Giveaway:

As part of Hope's Journey's blog tour, we will be giving away an autographed copy of Hope's Journey to one lucky winner. To enter, simply visit the author’s blog (stephanieworlton.blogspot.com) and leave a comment on the BLOG TOUR post.Plus, for a few bonus entries, “like” Hope's Journey on Facebook or become a follower of Stephanie’s blog. It's that easy!

Contest is limited to those within the continental US. Each person is eligible for up to three (3) entries. Contest closes at 11:59pm November 14,2011. Winner will be selected by random.org then notified via email and listed at stephanieworlton.blogspot.com on November 15, 2011.

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