A little something different today. I “met” A.M. Leibowitz through the WiPPet Wednesday blog hop. I have read many of their books and enjoyed them, especially Passing on Faith. So, I wanted to help out with the release for Walking by Faith, which gave us more of Cat’s story. I got to read an early copy and had so many feels throughout it. Now, if only I can articulate them all. 😉 But, first:
Title: Walking by Faith
Author: A.M. Leibowitz
Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Length: 261 pages
Categories/tags: LGBT literature, Christian fiction, bisexual, genderqueer, romance, contemporary, disability
For Becket “Cat” Rowland, falling in love has never been easy. The summer he meets Micah Forbes, the intensity of his feelings brings back all the memories of eight years earlier.
Following a brutal attack that left him nearly dead, Cat is a mess inside and out. To cope with the trauma and with his view of himself that he’s nothing but an empty shell, he’s taken three vows: simplicity, chastity, and silence. His once colorful, trendy, and often feminine wardrobe has been replaced with jeans and t-shirts, and he’s sworn off men. He locks himself away from the world, using the memorized prayers of his childhood as his only speech.
Cat is lost to himself and everyone around him until another hospitalization introduces him to nurse David Simms. David takes Cat’s silence in stride, caring for him without pushing and slowly building Cat’s trust.
Outside the hospital, Cat discovers he has more in common with David than he knew, and they begin to build a friendship. As it slowly grows into love, David reveals his own need for someone to take him as he is. Cat begins to let go of his vows one by one, only holding onto the silence.
Despite how far he’s come, Cat’s increasingly severe panic attacks threaten to undo everything David has helped him build. Cat’s only hope is to break the final vow and tell the truth about the night of his attack. When David fails to keep a promise he made to be there for him, Cat has to stand on his own and prove to himself he’s strong enough to survive.
Prequel to Passing on Faith.
Where to start? I guess with I absolutely loved every moment of this book. I loved Cat in Passing on Faith, and it was nice to see more of his story. There was a side character or two I may have wanted to slap a few times(seriously, I’m not a violent person, but I have very visceral emotions to books and fictional characters). But, I loved the relationship between Cat and his sister. Also, how his relationship with David grew. There were moments that made me laugh, some that had me nearly in tears, and times I just wanted to give Cat a hug. Overall it was a wonderful read.
“Listen,” David said, and Cat rolled his eyes, preparing for a lecture. He knew how conversations went when he was expected to pay attention. “There’s something you should know, and I want to tell you now since I won’t see you tomorrow.”
Cat looked back over his shoulder, and David shifted so he was turned toward Cat.
“You know it wasn’t your fault, right?”
A frown crossed Cat’s face. He had no idea what David was referring to. Cat had been hospitalized lots of times over the years, and no one had ever suggested it was his fault. Even he knew better, aside from That Night.
“Just…” David hesitated. “I read your chart, and even without the details, I do know your medical history.”
Instead of answering, Cat turned over again so he wasn’t looking at David. He wasn’t going to dignify him with an answer. David shouldn’t have pried, and he had no business talking about it now.
“Your illness doesn’t define you, and neither does one night. It doesn’t have to be that way.” David pressed lightly on Cat’s shoulder; his fingers were warm.
Cat shrugged him off and remained resolutely turned away.
“It’s my job to listen, if you change your mind and decide to talk.” David stood up and stretched. “Back to work. Unit’s slow, but I need to start meds. I had fun hanging out with you.”
Cat peeked over his shoulder and found David grinning down at him. A sudden flash of heat bloomed in Cat’s chest that was nothing like the fever he’d come in with. He rolled back over and looked up at David—his warm smile, his curly brown hair, his summer-sky-blue eyes—and he began to sweat. He had to duck his head. How had he not noticed before how good-looking David was? He answered his own question with the realization that he had, but he’d been pretending not to.
What inspired you to write this story?
People kept telling me how much they loved Cat in Passing on Faith, so I wanted to tell his story. But I didn’t want to simply re-tread his romance with Micah from his perspective. This was sparked by a quote in PoF where Cat’s sister says he’s in “shut-down mode” and won’t talk to her. I wondered why not.
Is there a character you feel especially connected to? Why?
To Cat, of course, although he is really only one aspect of my inner self. His questions and mental dialog about his gender mirror my own. But I also feel linked to Cat’s mom, as a parent myself.
What was the hardest part of writing this?
Getting the emotions just right. It is really hard to show the kind of gender dysphoria both Cat and I experience, and I also sometimes find it hard to pour feelings out on the page—as though I’m revealing too much of myself in them.
Tell us a little about any upcoming projects.
I’m working on several things: The next part of my Notes from Boston series; a young adult coming of age novel; and the last part of Cat and Micah’s story, Keeping the Faith. I’m always busy working on something.
- Who do you write for (your audience or who you hope to reach)? I write primarily for the bisexual community, but I’m happy to have anyone read my books.
- What do you wish people knew about your books or characters? I wish people understood that while there may be a love story, I don’t really write romance—at least, not in any traditional sense. Sometimes the love story is as much between parents and children, siblings, or friends as it is between two romantic leads.
- Are there any common themes you see in your work? Yes, predominantly the idea that no matter what you’ve been through, you’re not alone; you’re not the only one. Someone out there cares.
- What’s your favorite ice cream? Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie
- What’s your favorite movie? Princess Bride
- What’s your favorite of your published works? Anthem
About the Author:
A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and their family.
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