Lovely cover, and great characters in this story.
Not My Ruckus by Chad Musick released in February in the Literary genre.
Folks know 14-year-old Clare isn’t normal, even for a tomboy. She runs too much, talks too little, carries a gun too often, and holds a grudge forever. Only her papa’s job at the bank keeps gossip quiet. It’s unwise to risk the cold anger of the man who knows everyone’s secrets.
Clare feels prepared for everything from fire, to flood, to what her momma calls demon attacks. When her neighbor Esther kisses her, though, Clare has no ready script. Maybe she could write one, given time she doesn’t have. At the moment of that first kiss, Esther’s mom is bleeding out from a gunshot wound.
Clare can read the signs everyone else is determined to ignore. A murder was only the beginning. Esther needs protection, whether she wants it or not, and Clare won’t abandon her friend just because things are hard.
Maybe one day she’ll be forgiven for doing what’s needed.
Instead of the library, I went to the local graveyard. There were older graveyards outside the city. I liked to run to them sometimes, when things were too noisy, but the one out back of the library was my favorite. There seemed like worse places to wait for the call to serve in the army of the Lord.
I went first to where Esther’s mom was buried. It wasn’t marked yet, but she was the only one who’d been buried in the last couple weeks so unless folks were digging up the graveyard for giggles, the spot where the grass was fresh laid and you could still see the turf lines must be hers. Esther didn’t seem to be hanging around, though. Probably it would have been suspicious if she had been haunting her mom’s grave.
That had been my only idea, but momma wasn’t expecting me back for a couple of hours, so I wandered around the graveyard reading the graves.
A few times, we’d gone to one of the worker graveyards, momma and me, and done some rubbings of the few gravestones there. Mostly those were just old stone bricks set on the ground. You couldn’t avoid stepping on people in that yard, so I wasn’t shy now about tramping on graves or anything, but I was trying to show some respect. Here, at least, there was a pretty good chance you could avoid stepping on a body’s grave if you followed the neat rows of stones and metal vases.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Chad Musick grew up in Utah, California, Washington, Texas, and (most of all) Alaska. He fell in love in California and then moved with his family to Japan, where he’s found happiness. He earned a PhD in Mathematical Science but loves art and science equally.
Despite a tendency for electronic devices to burst into flame after Chad handles them, he persists in working in various technical and technology-related roles.
Chad makes no secret of being epileptic, autistic, and arthritic, facts that inform how he approaches both science and the arts.
Who is Clare, and is there an inspiration behind her?
Clare is two people in Not My Ruckus, in a literal sense. Something that she finds out early in the book (Chapter two) is that she wasn’t born as Clare. The original Clare was the twin sister of her older brother Frank. So “Clare” is both a girl who was lost and the girl her parents decided would replace her.
Most people I know have at least these two selves: who they present to the world, and who they present to the mirror. Clare (the younger one, who narrates the story) knows this really explicitly. She’s caught between the expectations that those around her have and the things that she wants for herself.
Lots of people inspired Clare. I’ve read the observation by many novelists that every first novel is an autobiography. That’s not the case here, but Clare’s thought processes are often what my own would be were I in her position. Because I’m autistic and epileptic, and Clare is also autistic and epileptic, the internal narrative is (sometimes uncomfortably) close to my own. She is nevertheless a fictional construct. Her story combines real elements of my own and others’ lives, but she is none of us.
I decided on a few facts about her, and built her from how she reacted because of these facts. She is an avid shooter, mostly of her Daisy BB gun. As was tradition in my family, I received one for my fifth birthday, and in junior high I was a quite good shot and on the rifle team. (Alaska has such things at schools.) She is a runner (something I am absolutely not). And she is a competitive athlete (something I have never been). These lead her to be inclined to action, rather than contemplation.
I wouldn’t aspire to have her life (I don’t think anyone would), but I do aspire to have her resilience. The final inspiration, then, is how I imagine my best self. Removed from her situation, she might go unnoticed, but in her world, being invisible is utterly impossible, so she shines.
Author web links:
This post is part of a Tour. The tour dates can be found here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2021/04/vbt-not-my-ruckus-by-chad-musick.html
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