I write books about abuse and neglect.
My books aren’t for everyone. In fact, readers either love them to death and follow them passionately, or they hate them in the extreme.
There is no middle ground.
As an author, as a describer of worlds, this used to bother me, but I’ve since discovered a hard truth pertaining to books about abuse and neglect: Some readers identify; others don’t, and it’s the farthest thing from personal.
Abuse and Neglect: Sticky Topics
For other readers, however, The Ashkettle Boys Book Series remains sticky. Sonny, Bo, and Dack linger in the minds of these readers long after the last page turns.
And that, my friends, is what writing books is all about.
These are my readers, and I appreciate them.
Everyone can never love you, but to a select few, maybe you’re doing a good thing.
A Fictional Series of Books About Abuse and Neglect
The Ashkettle boys are brothers. The series begins when Dack is just sixteen and trying to survive a life ruled by a cruel step-uncle. The opening scene is explosive, but satisfying, and it catapults readers into the worlds of Sonny, Bo, and Dack Ashkettle — devoted brothers fighting to save each other, regardless of the consequences.
The setting is cold — a mostly fearful community of neighbors in the reclusive Appalachian Mountains, reluctant to get involved. From the opening pages, however, the story warms. My favorite parts of these stories, ones that fought their way to life through the overwhelming powers of self-doubt and procrastination, are the passages that echo the love of a determined family to escape abnormality and find at least momentary peace, however fleeting.
How Books About Abuse and Neglect Reflect Real Life
Sadly, many children and teens live much like the characters portrayed in books about abuse and neglect. In fact, statistics from Childhelp.org are heartbreaking:
- Five children die every day in this country from abuse and neglect.
- We report an incident of child abuse every 10 seconds in America.
- There are enough mistreated children in America to fill at least five football stadiums. These are only the ones about which authorities are aware.
- Abuse and neglect in childhood can shorten your life expectancy as you grow older and leave you with mental scars that make life difficult to understand.
The last is a pervasive theme throughout the Ashkettle Boys Books, because keeping mental illness real and portraying it truthfully is important.
Meet the Ashkettle Boys
In the Ashkettle Boys books, Dack is the youngest brother who took the brunt of the abuse and neglect for seven long years. He battles daily to control his mental state and to navigate life in a “normal” fashion. Luckily, he has his two older brothers to help.
Some people read my books and leave reviews stating that they’re exaggerated or unrealistic. Others say things like, “Yes. That’s exactly what happened to me.”
Unless you’ve experienced it, or you grew up with someone who experienced it, you’re probably not going to get it. And that’s wonderful. I wish that very thing for all my readers.
But if you do identify with books about abuse and neglect, you’ll find hope in the Ashkettle Boys books. These are books about abuse and neglect, it’s true. But these are also books about hope and redemption, books about moving on and letting go, books about finding your way in a dark so black it solidifies, forcing you to kick, claw and scream your way out.
Mostly, however, they’re books about the strength of family and the undefinable power of love. I hope you’ll begin reading with Ashkettle Crazy and work your way through:
- Ashkettle Haunted
- Ashkettle Fierce
- Shaw’s Obsession
- Sweet Cold of Winter
- Ashkettle Boys: The Trilogy (Featuring books 1,2, and 3)
You know, if you identify with books about abuse and neglect.