Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Five W's in Dr. Bob Rich's Hit and Run, Win a FREE eBook, FREE Book Edit Contest

The 5 W's of Stories
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. We continue with the guest author series, The 5 W's--who, what, where, when and why. I'm thrilled to have Australian author Dr. Bob Rich visiting this week. He shares about his latest release, Hit and Run. (I must add, as per usual, Bob is not following the rules.)

At the end of the blog post, be sure to check out all the prizes Bob is generously offering. 


Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich

My Review of Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich

I was privileged to receive an advance copy of Bob's book, so I thought I'd share the review with you.


Hit And Run by Dr. Bob Rich demonstrates how the world would be a much better place if we could stop the “endless cycle of hate begets hate, vengeance leads to vengeance, and violence feeds on itself.” The premise of the story of 84-year-old Sylvia Kryz helping a troubled 14-year-old boy, Charlie, is a call-out to readers to consider if “love can turn hate into love.” She spearheads a movement to help the boy who intentionally ran over elementary age school children and the crossing guard and killed them, narrowly missing Sylvia, and then drove off.
What a heinous act! Who in the world could ever forgive this malicious behavior? Who could defend Charlie’s wanton destruction of lives?
Sylvia could. Accepting there are people in this world like Sylvia was difficult for me. She took his side once she learned about Charlie’s upbringing and understood the motive for his behavior. I especially enjoyed the paranormal visits to Sylvia by Charlie. Suspend your disbelief and accept it because those scenes really make the story sparkle. The author included a lot of detail in the book about the legal steps needed to defend Charlie and about Sylvia’s family to deepen the reader’s bond with Sylvia. As I read, I questioned if this book was based on a true story. Could there be real people like Sylvia?  Sylvia’s actions inspire readers. But did her heroic efforts prove that love is greater than hate? Not telling. Grab this novel and hang on for an emotional roller-coaster ride through the pages.

The 5 W's in Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich

Janet, thank you for the honor of featuring me on your blog. Usually, I find it impossible to fit into other people’s rules, but yours is so sensible that even I can do it. Only, I am mixing up the order.

Why

I’ve recently finished my next book. It’s non-fiction: From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide. One of the chapters is on how to help a loved one who is tortured by depression. Here is a short extract:
When members of my family suffered from some devastating event, all I could do was to give them a loving hug, be there for them, let them tell me anything without judgment or advice, let them say nothing if that was what they needed to do at the time.
Not only could I not do therapy with relatives or even friends, it actually would have been unethical for me to do so. That is termed a “dual relationship,” and is a no-no for a reason. You’re sure to share the emotions of people you care for. You cannot lead someone out of an emotion by joining in.
Here is an example of how I achieved “professional distance” when needed.
I once had a “victim of crime” client: a blind old gentleman whom a bunch of teenagers bashed up. They also hurt his old seeing-eye dog. I visited him at home. When I left, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to work with him, because my sense of outrage got in the way of the professional relationship. So, that evening I started what I thought would become a short story in which a far worse criminal teenager would get just retribution. This is the standard technique of “displacing emotion.” I invented two people: a fourteen year old boy who murdered six little kids and a woman. The second character was an old lady, Sylvia, who was the witness. Only, Sylvia then took charge, and the story became one of the power of compassion. It grew into a novel, Hit and Run, which many of my fans have considered as my best. 

What

The book is a private journal Sylvia decided to keep, of her nine months of contact with the multiple murderer, whose birth certificate named him as Chuck (because his mother had chucked up all through pregnancy). Sylvia insisted on calling him Charlie, because she refused to join into abuse-by-name.
So, it’s a detailed record, kept by an old lady. If I’d written it, it would be quite different in many ways. For example, in her youth, she was firmly trained never to say or write obscenities. Charlie, and everyone from his background, used them with abandon. So, while I’d have let them rip on the page, she felt the need to partly blank them out, as in “f--” Please excuse her for this. I remember reading Angela’s Ashes, which is a great book, but has not a single quotation mark to indicate conversation. This grated for a few pages, then I got used to it.
She also drank lots of tea, which I don’t particularly like. However, her baking was delicious.
Sylvia was an artist, with eidetic imagery, both for vision and sound. That’s highly unusual, but does happen. Her drawings of Charlie enabled the police to catch him. Her memory for words ensured that her record of the many emergencies and challenges they went through was accurate.

Where

I live in Australia, and Sylvia graced this country with her life for almost 85 years.
Australia’s two largest cities are Sydney and Melbourne. Somehow, from the details I got from her journal, I’d best describe the location as Sydbourne. It’s clearly on the eastern seaboard, in a moderate climate with no worse than cold and rain in winter, but she hasn’t given me any further details.
But then, this story is about people, who are much the same everywhere. If Sylvia could turn hate, anger, despair and hopelessness into Love in Sydbourne, you can do the same wherever you live.

When

That’s easy, because two documents within the book are dated. It was in 2014 and 2015.

But what happened?

See? I couldn’t keep with your requirements after all.
Chuck hated everyone, except for his little brother, Tommy. If he could have, he’d have blown up the planet. So, he decided on suicide, by killing as many people as possible. He planned out several possible actions. As the first, he stole an old car, and used it to drive over six little kids and the crossing guard. He missed old Sylvia by inches.
That night, mysteriously, he, his image, his representation, appeared in front of her. All he wanted was to kill her, too, but was unable to move. Despite his fury, foul language and aggressiveness, she treated him with respect, and reacted to him in the way she did to everyone: with empathy and decency.
This contact kept repeating, but it was somehow in his control. She used his love for Tommy as a lever in starting him on the way to positive change.
There was a memorial service for the murder victims. When someone stated a wish for vengeance, she was outraged enough to get up on stage.

I thought of the hell Charlie had lived in, the horrible conditions that had twisted him and sent him over the edge. I knew I had to say something. I struggled to my feet. I walked forward, unsteady because my stick still lay on the floor by my chair. Instantly, Vlad was by my side, and helped me up the steps. I'd never used a microphone before, but had often seen others do it. I simply spoke.
“I was there, within inches of being killed myself, but God has spared me for a purpose, and now I know what that purpose is.
"Mr McRae, you and your wife have suffered a terrible tragedy. Nothing can fill the hole in your lives. And yet, I heard not one word of hate and vengeance in what you said. Why did Chuck Debnall steal a car in order to find someone, anyone, to kill? What drove him to this crazy, cruel act?
"He was hurting, filled with hate. In his fourteen years, he'd known nothing but cruelty, abuse, violence. His very name is an abusive joke against him. So, he struck back in vengeance. Like Catholics and Protestants for hundreds of years in Ireland, like Arabs and Jews in the Middle East, he wanted to repay hurt with hurt. To him, the enemy was all humanity, so he didn't care who his victims would be.
"Mr McRae, Charles has a little brother, only six years old. He speaks with a foul mouth like... a drunken sailor. He can be violent, because it's the only way he's ever seen. In his short life, he has experienced a long succession of drunken, drug-taking men who spent time with his mother, and they're his only model. But inside, he's a sweet little child, like your Katie was. Suppose you were to take him into your hearts? Then he'd have a chance to grow up into a man like you, instead of following the only path he's seen so far--the path of hate and violence that's turned his older brother into a murderer.
"Hate begets hate, vengeance only leads to vengeance, violence feeds on itself. Only love can stop the endless cycle. Only love can turn hate into love.
"Charles has done a terrible thing. He has hurt us. Should we therefore hate him, and wish him harm? Then we act from the same motives that twisted his young soul. Maybe, maybe, we as a community can do something to teach him a better way, a way of decency and kindness and respect. Maybe we can do this for others of his kind.
"The Reverend said, '"Vengeance is mine," said the Lord.' But Jesus said, 'Love thine enemies.' I think that's a better guide."

I won’t tell you more about the story, except that I’ve been told it’s a page-turner. Yes, Sylvia managed to reform Charlie. Yes, she recruited the grieving community to become his support team. Incidentally, both these are based on research. There are many real-life examples of “violent no-hopers” turning into decent people, and of survivors of criminal actions ending up motivated to help lead criminals to a better way of seeing the world. At the end of the book, I very briefly discuss some of this evidence. 

You can read my short story, Armour-coating Our Kids with a similar theme. Click here to read the story on Bob's blog.

Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich

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About Bob

Dr. Bob Rich has retired so far from five different occupations. Of those remaining, the most important is being a Professional Grandfather. He has beloved genetically related grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but also many hundreds of others, all over the planet. Any person under 25 qualifies. They only need to apply.
Dr. Bob Rich

Many do so by sending him an anguished email. His words often make a difference, and some of these contacts last for years.
Because he passionately cares for the welfare of young people, he is a committed environmental and humanitarian campaigner. We live in an insane global culture that encourages and rewards the worst in human nature: greed, aggression, territoriality, fear and hate of “the other,” short-term thinking. 
Everything he has done since the 1970s is aimed at moving culture toward encouraging and rewarding the best in human nature: empathy, compassion, cooperation.
We are now in the 6th extinction event in Earth’s history. When we unravel the web of life, we also fall through the hole. So, live simply, so you may simply live.
If this message resonates with you, click here to visit Bob's blog.

Look around, and if you like what you read, click the Follow button.


Enter for a chance to win! 

1. Bob says, "I am happy to give a free copy of any of my books to each of three commenters, randomly chosen. Winners can pick the book they want at Bob's Writing." Leave a comment below for a chance to win one of Bob's books. Deadline to enter is11:59 pm. ET, Wednesday, August 15.

2. Bob is generously offering a FREE edit of your book. Click here for details on how to enter this contest at his blog.

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Thanks so much, Bob, for being my guest and for the opportunity to gift a book to three commenters!

Coming Up!!
The 5 W's of Story Guest Authors Event
Thrilled to have more guest authors this month and beyond sharing the Five W's of their stories! Come back and discover authors and great reads to wind up the summer. And You may win a book too!!

AUGUST


22Diane Burton

SEPTEMBER
 5          IWSG Blog Hop
12           C. Lee Mackenzie


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10 comments:

  1. Thank you for hosting me here, Janet. No, I am not trying to win a copy of my own book, but just want to say hello to your visitors. I hope to respond to everyone who wants to chat with me.
    :)
    Bob

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  2. It wasn't made exactly clear HOW one was to enter the contest. I have been recommending Hit and Run ever since I read it, which is probably over a year ago now.

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  3. It sounds like a wonderful, very uplifting book.

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  4. Barbara, thank you for visiting. Whenever I post anything, anywhere, there is your smiling face which makes all the work worthwhile.

    And Crystal (what a lovely name), I hope you and I can become friends, too. Writing is a tool for giving pleasure to people.

    :)
    Bob

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  5. You're so welcome, Bob. Happy to be your host.

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  6. Barb, you are right. Thank you for pointing that out. I didn't add that the winners for Bob's book will be chosen from the commenters. So you are in for a chance to win!! I have updated the post with that information.

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  7. Hi Crystal, The book is a good lesson for all of us. Thank you for stopping in.

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  8. I love a good page turner. Put my name in the hat. For some reason this summer has been my mystery/thriller one, and I've really enjoyed reading several already. I'm keen on another good one.

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  9. Thank you for visiting, Clee. When the comments period is over, I'll ask random.org to pick your comment, but then it only listens to me on random occasions.

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  10. Hi Lee, I like mystery/thriller books too especially when I can't figure out the ending!

    ReplyDelete

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