This post will be a departure from my blog both in its topic and in that I am not writing the blog post below. I was contacted by a BlueGrayGal reader with an inspiring message and journey that I felt compelled to share.
Katie Kuperman is an author of a book about bullying.
My website is glossy by design. Rarely do I go into too much private detail (with the exception of a blog post about depression) but this is by design. My husband and I want to keep our private life, well, private.
However, I am a mother to three children, two of whom are identical twin boys. Both have speech challenges. They both currently have stutters. In the past few years both have experienced bullying. We have worked through this as a family, and they have worked through how to handle it through grace and strength. I’d rather keep the rest private, but know that we have worked through this as a family.
Enter Katie’s story. She has written an eloquent blog post about her journey to tell a young woman’s story about bullying and serve the cause of bringing awareness to the topic. I was moved by this and was willing to share my platform to hopefully provide an audience.
The rest of this post is written by her. So, all, meet Katie…
A Book with a Powerful Message about Youth Bullying and Mental Health
…at a time when we need it most.
“I wrote a novel about bullying and mental health.
That only marks the beginning of what I’ve set out to do.”
– – Katie Kuperman, Author
I can still sense my past frustrations. Still remember my indecisiveness. Still feel my struggle to find the missing piece to my master-plan.
The plan? Write a book.
The missing piece? I hadn’t the foggiest clue what to write about.
The day it all fell into place
I was at the gym going through my usual cardio circular motions on the elliptical, zoning out with my upbeat tunes and catching up on the news on my phone.
It was then that I saw it – the heart-wrenching video of Amanda Todd from Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. She was a 15-year-old who described her story as one depicted by “struggling, bullying, suicide and self-harm”. Her flash-card video brought tears to my eyes and I distinctly remember trying to regain my composure. At the time I saw the video, she had already died by suicide. Just 15…
She moved me to my very core, and on that day, it was her story that inspired me to start writing. Because, finally, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about.
Pen to paper
Regardless of the fact that I never thought myself to be a fiction writer, I began to write a fiction story. In fact, it quite literally poured out of me. My writing experience was fluid and free-spirited. Regardless of the fact that the subject matter was serious and heavy, I have never felt happier as a writer than in those countless moments I spent bringing The Only Way Out to life.
The core writing of my book happened quite some time ago, after which I set it aside for a long while. Even though I can quite easily name off a million reasons why I did that, including “I was focused on my business”, “I had two kids”, “It was silly – I’m a nonfiction writer, not a fiction writer”, and so on, I now believe the real reason was rooted in my personal fears as an author-to-be. And as I sit here writing this article today, I also like to think that the timing was off. The best time for this book, this message and this mission is right now.
Fast-forward to 2020
At the beginning of 2020, I made myself a career promise and personal goal (which I made public, by the way): write a book in 2020. Contrary to my lack of direction years ago, I had a million different ideas I wanted to pursue this time around, but something made me go back to my novel manuscript, sitting idly and uselessly on my computer.
To my surprise, I liked it. Loved it, in fact. But it needed work.
So, I spent the better part of 2020 editing, rewriting, changing, updating and making the manuscript more current for today’s audience.
2021 and finding Carol Todd
In the early months of 2021, it was ready for publishing. And I kid you not, on the day I was so close to clicking the submit button on my final manuscript to be sent to my publisher, I stopped. An overwhelmingly strong and brilliant thought came over me: what if I could somehow dedicate this book to Amanda Todd?
I sought out Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother and a prominent voice in the bullying prevention space. After explaining who I was, what I was doing and sending her a few sample chapters from the book, she granted me permission and now I am incredibly honored to have my book dedicated to my two children, and to the world’s long-lost, fallen snowflake, Amanda Todd.
Carol and I have proceeded to collaborate in a few ways since then, the most important of which involves a donation partnership.
A portion of all book proceeds from The Only Way Out will be donated to the Amanda Todd Legacy Society, a bullying and mental health nonprofit organization that seeks to help struggling youth on the ground, in meaningful and direct ways.
The Only Way Out is a young adult novel about bullying and mental health. It chronicles the tale of a bully, a victim and a bystander whose lives are changed forever. I believe there are pieces of this story that everyone can relate to.
It ignites emotion in readers. It makes people feel something. It covers tough topics that are at the forefront of the conversation today. And most importantly, it drives home a powerful message about just how impactful it can be to talk openly and speak up.
The purpose and the mission behind the book
Since The Only Way Out was published, it has become so much more than a book. It has become my dream.
My dream to…
Open someone’s eyes a little wider.
Encourage a teen to tell just one person about their inner struggle.
Prompt a student to stand up for themselves in the hallway.
Give a kid the hope and inspiration they need to get up the next day.
Make someone start an important conversation.
Motivate a friend to defend another on social media.
To remind people that we can be open, honest and accepting.
To invite us all to make one, small change – any change – in the right direction.
And to give back to a meaningful cause in the process.
Join the mailing list at www.theonlywayoutnovel.com and get a FREE audiogram!
Katie Kuperman is a passionate author, copywriter, entrepreneur and mother situated in Toronto, Canada. It is her dream that The Only Way Out may have a positive effect on the perceptions, understandings and actions of those who read it.