Wednesday, July 24, 2013

     I am excited to share that I will be receiving a small grant from              OCD-Twin Cities (an affiliate of the National OCD Foundation) toward the development of my next novel, Holding on with Both Hands. I will use the funds toward a manuscript critique that will guide my revision process. 

     Here's a little about Holding on with Both Hands:

16-year-old Shelly would love to know how to quiet the voice in her head—the one telling her that the world will end unless she disinfects her hands with another wipe right now.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has consumed much of Shelly’s life since her parents’ divorce last year, but now that Ms. Winter has had an aneurism and won’t be teaching drama club—the one place where the OCD voice is silenced—the obsessions and compulsions are closing in fast.
Starting behind the wheel: terrifying; Revealing to her best friend, Mandy, that she’s making her OCD worse: devastating; Telling her mom that she needs to feel loved and she needs to see Dad: impossible. But if Shelly ever expects to gain back ground against OCD or have any hope of not being a social misfit, she’s going to have to listen to her therapist, Shannon, who’s ready to expose her to everything she fears the most.
One reason why this book is important to me is that it shows recovery from OCD through exposure therapy--a little known, but effective treatment. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a pervasive, misunderstood, and often difficult to treat neurological disorder and I hope that my book (and even discussing it in the pre-publication stages) will shed some light on the topic and bring hope to those suffering alone.

Dr. Renae Reinardy, Psy.D., LP, a therapist specializing in the treatment of OCD using exposure therapy (a type of cognitive behavioral therapy), read a draft of my manuscript and had this to say:

This is a positive story that can be an inspiration to young people struggling with OCD. It takes an honest view of being a teen with OCD and demonstrates how Shelly got control over her nervous system in order to make important changes in her thoughts, attitudes, and actions. It is also helpful in seeing the impact OCD had on family members and friends.
You have a true talent for being able to bring the reader into the story with great descriptions which help to visualize Shelly's environment.
The story highlights the depth of being an adolescent with OCD who is also struggling with common teen issues. I especially liked how you tied in Shelly's relationship with her parents and how they had to learn to communicate about OCD...So much going on and very realistic.

With Dr. Reinardy's input on the realism of the story and the portrayal of OCD and its treatment, my next step is a literary critique for input with the effective use of story elements for a young adult novel. 
I look forward to continuing this process and bringing this story to life and eventually to a larger  audience. Thank you for your interest!

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