I am thrilled to welcome Ben Craib onto the Pewter Wolf, and he's going to chat about his debut YA novel, Love Is The Answer.
Scarlett feels like she's lost a lot. Her mother to cancer. Her friends who have no idea what to say. Her dad, who has meet someone and seems to be moving on with his life. Scarlett just feels lost. Till she meets Hayden, life and soul of the world. He sees her and feels her pain. Scarlett dives into his life, all the parties, the sweaty raves and worse. All that matters is them: Scarlett and Hayden.
But not everything is as it seems...
Like I said earlier, I am thrilled that Ben can pop on the blog and write a small guest post, tackling about grief and mental health. And Ben would know - he co-wrote write two self-help books (Slay Your Dragons With Compassion with Malcolm Stern and Online Men's Group Success with Kenny Mammarella-D'Cruz), both tackling resilience and resourcing in turbulent times.
Now, before I hand you over to Ben, if you want to know more about Ben or Love Is The Answer, you can check out Ben's website at bencraib.com/ or check out the publisher's website at quoscript.co.uk!
There is an old idea of “initiation” — life comes along and hits you so hard and shakes things up so much, you’re lost with the demons and you don’t know how to get out.
Scarlett, the protagonist of my book, Love is the Answer, experiences such a brutal initiation. First she loses her mum, aged 17. No one around her understands, despite their best intentions. Overwhelmed and crushed, she yearns for something to set her free. She finds it in Hayden, an aspiring DJ, a troubled young man who introduces her to his hedonistic world of clubs and raves. She falls in love so deeply, so wholeheartedly that she sacrifices everything - her life at home with her Dad, her friends, her A-Levels, to move in with him. But when Scarlett discovers Hayden isn't the person she thought she was, this massive "high" comes crashing down, breaking her heart and wreaking havoc.
Like Scarlett, I had a major initiation when I lost a close parent (my Dad) very young and like her I experienced disconnection and alienation from the world. It's at times like this, when you're at your most vulnerable, when so-called 'bad choices' - the thrill of being wild, taking risks, going mad - are at their most seductive . When your life feels dead, it's easy to stuff down the warnings when someone makes you feel so alive.
Scarlett finally has to face that the only way through grief is to grieve. Eventually, out of her twice-broken heart comes a new, stronger sense of self, and a more resilient purposeful young woman.
Although the death of my dad was “unthinkable” — I could not imagine life without him, and it seemed like the crowning tragedy of a bunch of them — finding my way through eventually offered me great gifts, including a hard-won independence and a new love and respect for myself.
So while Scarlett’s story has a sadder, madder, side I wanted to show, that even the times when we are most lost are not pointless, are part of a bigger picture, and offer us the opportunity to discover something golden within us.