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Guest post with author Anne Tibbets!

Today we have a special TGIF guest post from Anne Tibbets, the author of SHUT UP.

First, so you have an idea about the book, here's a synopsis:

Mary's older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she's also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up.

Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top if off, The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary, while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport.

Despite her brother's advice to shut up, Mary can't keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows.

Mary doesn't know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.

And a quote quote about SHUT UP from NYTimes Best Selling author, Christine Wiltz:

"Twelve-year-old Mary is running away from home. She's sick of her school, her friends, and her family, especially her big sister, Gwen. But this is not just the story of a girl with a case of adolescent angst. It is all of us who ever experienced the fear of what fresh hell the next hour will bring, deep hatred of ourselves, despair, and the very real possibility that we will spend the rest of our lives with echoes of "You're stupid, you're ugly, shut up!" haunting our hearts, minds and spirits. There is physical violence and there is the hidden violence that poisons families and corrupts the soul and is as much a danger to a human life as any weapon of destruction."

Intrigued? It's too bad I didn't have the time to read it myself (my pile of books is still threatening to suffocate me in my sleep), but I wanted to make sure y'all got the chance to hear about it! Here's a few words from Anne Tibbets herself:

The Making of Shut Up
By Anne Tibbets

I got the idea for Shut Up and despite all my best attempts to ignore it; the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. I had just finished writing The Beast Call, and was all set to delve into re-writes, when I had a memory from my childhood pop into my head, and it wouldn’t let me go.

Finally, in an attempt to purge this memory (because it wasn’t a good one!), I wrote it down with the hope that would be the end of it.
It wasn’t.

After I wrote that memory, I wrote another one. Then another. Then another. I became almost obsessed with purging all the horrible memories I had as a kid. And while, on the whole, my childhood wasn’t as tragic as some, I had some pretty amazingly poignant moments. After all was said and done, I had a mishmash of non-linear memories, that didn’t make much sense to anybody but me.

I hoped that would be the end of it, and I went back to work on the rewrites for The Beast Call. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t concentrate on it.

I didn’t want to write Shut Up. Some of the memories were too painful. But I was on a mission, of sorts, and it took years for me to fictionalize it, in order to make it a cohesive and solid piece of work. I also altered some of the characters in the book, so they didn’t so closely resemble my immediate family members, and all the horrible memories I had, I twisted, distorted, warped and exaggerated so that the main character ended up having all the bad moments of my entire childhood in a single year. The poor kid.

This process took me eight drafts and three long and agonizing years. But I was finally able to put it away and leave it away, and flush all that ugliness from my mind. And the book sat abandoned for several more years, on my hard drive, collecting cyber dust.

After some time, I tried querying a few literary agents about it, but since the story was so deeply personal, every rejection felt like a dagger through the heart. So I stopped submitting it.

Then, after I released The Beast Call through Premier Digital Publishing, they asked what I wanted to release next, and I tentatively said, “Well, I have this book based on my childhood, but I’m not sure I want to publish it.” My book to film agent read the book, and immediately recommended Shut Up be published.

When it first came out, I was incredibly nervous about how it would be received. Publishing Fantasy is one thing, but publishing THIS story is something entirely else. All my fears were swept away on the first day, however, when an old friend of mine contacted me after having read it, and she told me about how much it affected her, and how it showed her just how a mother’s actions, however well intentioned they may be, can affect their children – and now, I’m not so worried anymore.

I always said, “If this book helps one person, then I’ve done my job.”

So everything else after this, is just icing on the cake.

Awesome! Thanks, so much, for joining us Anne! Feel free to come back anytime!

And I will see YOU, bibliophiles, on Monday with more reviews! :)


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