I am so honored to be hosting author Ginger Scott, and to celebrate the release of How We Deal with Gravity. Ginger has shared the story behind the book, her inspiration. She's also shared some behind-the-scenes tidbits. I would like to note that the first-week proceeds will be donate to SAARC, an organization you will learn more about below.
Thanks for stopping by!
Genre: Contemp Romance
Publication Date: 7/8/14
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When her son Max was diagnosed with autism, Avery Abbot’s life changed forever. Her husband left, and her own dreams became a distant fantasy—always second to fighting never-ending battles to make sure Max was given opportunity, love and respect. Finding someone to fight along her side wasn’t even on her list, and she’d come to terms with the fact that she could never be her own priority again.
But a familiar face walking into her life in the form of 25-year-old Mason Street had Avery’s heart waging a war within. Mason was a failure. When he left his hometown five years ago, he was never coming back—it was only a matter of time before his records hit the billboard charts. Women, booze and rock-n-roll—that was it for him. But it seemed fate had a different plan in mind, and with a dropped record contract, little money and nowhere to go, Mason turned to the only family that ever made him feel home—the Abbots.
Avery loved Mason silently for years—until he broke her heart…completely. But time and life have a funny way of changing people, and sometimes second chances are there for a reason. Could this one save them both?
Autism. My connection. And the inspiration behind How We Deal With Gravity.
I’m a hopeless romantic. Always have been. I was the girl with butterflies in her tummy at just about every high school dance and the one crying at every John Hughes movie (no matter how many times I saw them). I’m also a sucker for a good news story. You know—the kind that move you? I save them, clip them from magazines, stalk them on YouTube, tuck them away on jump drives. I like the ones that show the strength of the human spirit; how we can be pushed to almost breaking points, yet still persevere.
Years ago, I was a young journalist, and I wanted to write one of those.
I had just left the newspaper world where I was working as a breaking news reporter covering crime, courts and politics—the exciting stuff that happened in the wee hours and ends up on front pages. Suddenly I found myself in the land of magazine writing, with month-long deadlines and thousands of words at my disposal. And I was hungry to write a story that really mattered. I mean really mattered. I profiled interesting people, investigated some serious political puzzles and covered some pretty exciting business deals. But I still hadn’t found that gem—that story that I would want to rip from my magazine and save.
I’m not sure where I was when the idea of autism hit me. But once that thought passed through my mind, it kept coming until I couldn’t ignore it. I wanted to show what it was really like to be a family living with autism. I didn’t know much, a vague impression of what autism was that I’d picked up from movies and a few articles. But I made my pitch, found a few key local connections and was off and running on my assignment. I read article after article, medical journal after medical journal, and book after book—and everything felt like it was upside down and impossible to understand. A typical journey for a person’s first experience researching autism, I would later come to understand.
Once I had soaked in what I could on my own, I took a deep breath and called an organization here in Arizona that would be my anchor, and hopefully put me in touch with families, doctors, therapists, teachers—people who could help me make sense of what I’d learned so I could tell the story to others. This place is called the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), and when I first entered its doors, it was nothing more than a library room and a few resource offices for therapy, meetings and assistance.
It was a small operation, but it was mighty.
I walked into SARRC as a journalist on her mission for a good story, and I walked away changed forever. I met the founder, Denise Resnik, and spent time with her family learning first hand what went into raising a child with autism. But I also learned what went into igniting a wave of change—a movement. When the Resnik received a diagnosis of autism, she processed it with grief, anger, frustration, despair, hope and will, as many families do. And then she partnered with a few others, dug in and started something—something…big.
Since those early days, SARRC has grown into one of the national leaders in autism research, spawning programs like job training for young adults, genome studies, integrated pre-school programs and more. That tiny building has grown into an enormous one, and SARRC’s reach is mighty.
I have never been inspired by anything more my life, and that first story, which turned into my favorite thing I’ve ever written, ignited a passion in me to help however I can to spread autism’s story. Over the years, I have volunteered my writing services to SARRC, telling dozens of stories of families, doctors, programs, achievements, triumphs and inspirations. And over that time, I have had family members face autism diagnoses as well as many friends.
So now fast forward to a few months ago, when another idea found its way into my head. I had a new story I wanted to tell—this time, as an author. And I want that story to make a difference, which is why the first week of royalties are going to SARRC .
Autism is a powerful subject in its own right, and the numbers, unfortunately, show that it’s something more and more of us are intimately aware of (the latest studies show one in 68 children in the US are affected). I’m not the same person I was when I first walked through SARRC’s doors. I’ve absorbed and helped share some pretty powerful true stories—stories of challenged marriages, crushed spirits and loss. But somehow, people find a way to persevere. And that…that…is what HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY IS ABOUT.
Autism is consuming. It becomes a parent’s priority, and things like love, happiness…and life…take a bake seat. Ah but hope—hope. This one word is something I hear in every interview of every family affected by autism. So when I created Avery Abbot, I wanted to push her to the edge of almost losing hope—and then I wanted to give her chance. And that’s how Mason Street was born.
You see, love and hope are deeply intertwined, and I believe you need to use one to fight for the other. And when you are raising a child with autism, love and hope almost take on super human strength, because you need them to survive. And I wanted to tell a story that honored that fight. So while HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY is a love story between two people who are losing hope, it’s also my love song to the many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and grandparents who have opened up their hearts to me and shared their stories with me over the years. They’ve changed me, and I hope I do them justice.
The Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center is located in Phoenix, Arizona, but it serves the Southwest and beyond. For more information, visit them online at www.autismcenter.org. The first week of royalties for How We Deal With Gravity will go to SARRC.
Behind-The-Scenes of How We Deal With Gravity
I was in the middle of writing Gravity when I went to a concert with a few girlfriends. It was a Dustin Lynch show. Now, I’m not a huge country girl, but I’ve come to appreciate the music. I was always more into the classics, like Willie Nelson. But let me say—Dustin can make a country fan out of just about anyone. Anyhow, I started listening to a few lesser-known country musicians after that show, just to get my fix, and I discovered Sam Hunt. So Mason Street? He’s definitely rock and blues – but there’s a little bit of country (aka Dustin and Sam) in there, too.
How We Deal With Gravity is set in Cave Creek, Arizona. It’s a real place. The bar, Dusty’s, isn’t real. But the main drag through town is cool as hell and dotted with nothing but the best cowboy and biker bars to be found. I’ve two-stepped in several of them. As for the great bands passing through town, that was more inspired by a dive in Phoenix that has long-since closed. It was called Mr. Lucky’s, and people like Waylon Jennings used to play there.
I like beat-up old cars, and I’ve given a few to some of my characters. I think they’re real, and I like that they don’t start sometimes and that their air conditioning is shoddy and that sometimes you have to tape a hole in the seat. I don’t really want to drive one, but I think it’s good to own one (or two or three) in your life. It gives you a sense of yourself. And I want my characters to have that, too. Plus, my brother knows his way around an engine, so I’m pretty good at writing cars. Avery drives an old Buick.
There’s a little nod to Otis Redding in Gravity. I fell in love with him the first time I saw Pretty in Pink and Duckie sang “Tenderness.” They don’t make songs like that anymore. Well…Jack White does. Oooooh, you think someday Jack White would cover Otis? Speaking of cover songs, that’s also a fairly heavy theme in the fabric of Mason’s character. His love of covering great tunes was inspired by Greg Laswell’s cover of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
The title, How We Deal With Gravity, came to me in seconds, and I never once changed my mind. I wrote the prologue, and that was it.
Getting those scenes with Max just right was supremely important to me. I’ve watched, interviewed and experienced many similar moments, but I had two parents of children with autism beta read for me to make sure I hit the nail on the head.
People judge without knowing all of the facts. I wish we didn’t. But we do. So I guess I hope Gravity makes us think twice.
About Ginger Scott