Today we welcome C. Kennedy and his upcoming book
Slaying Isidore's Dragons
5 Best friends, 4 Vicious brothers, 3 STD tests, 2 Guys in love, 1 Car bombing & nowhere to run
Follow the burgeoning love of two teens during the worst year of their lives. Irish-born Declan David de Quirke II is the son of two ambassadors, one Irish and one American. He is 'out' to his parents but to no one else. French-born Jean Isidore de Sauveterre is also the son of two ambassadors, one Catalan and one Parisian. His four half brothers have been told to cure him of his homosexuality. Both teens have lost a parent in a London car bombing.
5 Weeks of hell, 4 Attempts on their lives, 3 Law enforcement agencies, 2 Dead high school seniors, 1 Jealous friend & a love that won’t be denied
Declan and Isidore meet at the beginning of their senior year at a private academy in the United States. Declan is immediately smitten with Isidore and becomes his knight in shining armor. Isidore wants to keep what is left of his sanity and needs Declan's love to do it. One is beaten, one is drugged, one is nearly raped, one has been raped. They are harassed by professors and police, and have fights at school, but none of it compares to running for their lives. When the headmaster's popular son attempts suicide and someone tries to assassinate Declan's mother, they are thrown headlong into chaos, betrayal, conspiracy, allegations of sexual coercion, even murder. And one of them carries a secret that may get them killed.
5 New family members, 4 BFF’s, 3 Countries, 2 Extraordinary Psychologists, 1 Courageous Mother & a new beginning for two young men in love
Cover and Artwork by
Read the first chapter here.
The Mom I Always Wanted to Have and the Value of Humor
by C. Kennedy
When I write for young adults, I embrace adult characters who are supportive, understanding, and wise. In Safe, Caleb’s parents are supportive of his interest in Nico and deeply concerned about the abuse he suffers. In Omorphi, Christy’s psychiatrist is the only adult figure he’s ever known who isn’t an abuser and it’s entirely new to him; and Michael’s parents are supportive of his interest in Christy in spite of Christy’s background. As such, when I sat down to pen Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, I had to consider carefully what I wanted for Declan and Isidore’s home lives.
Knowing that Isidore’s story involved sibling abuse, I considered who the parents would be and how they would behave. In a home environment such as this, you have only one of two circumstances: 1) parents who are aware and do not care; or 2) at least one parent who is aware and believes s/he is powerless to act to stop it. Contrary to popular belief, parents are rarely ignorant of sibling abuse and, if so, not for long. To facilitate the telling of the story, I eliminated dual parentage for each of the boys. Each of them has suffered the loss of a parent whom they loved dearly. This gave them an element in common (Story Tactics 101): a profound grief. But it also did three other things. First, it eliminated the intra and inter-parental blame that occurs when parents become aware of sibling abuse. Second, it made Isidore’s remaining parent, his father, culpable. And finally, it allowed me to pit the remaining parent for each boy squarely against each other on an even playing field: Isidore’s father versus Declan’s mother.
In considering these characters, it was easy for me to create Isidore’s father, a truly evil human being. Unfortunately, I have personal familiarity with evil parents and creating him was cakewalk. That left Declan’s mother to create and I wanted her to be imperfect but perfect—and I had no role model! A daunting task, indeed. I considered what I would have liked to have had as a parent and the wonderful parents of others whom I have known and, voilà, Sorcha was created.
Along these lines, and considering the elements of hope and triumph in my writing, I didn’t want to neglect the grueling task of what a victim endures to leave an abusive environment. Timmy’s interview of Isidore is spot-on and I hope you have a chance to read it. We’re familiar with the adage that laughter is the best medicine. Taking nothing away from it, it’s only a symptom. The true best medicine is good humor. Good humor is the motivation for laughter. It allows us to feel camaraderie, to identify with others, to see things from new perspectives, and to tease good-naturedly—ourselves and others. But most importantly, good humor is a new experience for a victim of abuse, and usually the first happy experience they have; the first good feelings they feel. So, I made Sorcha a funny person. She teases, she makes fun of things and people as often as possible, she isn’t afraid to do the inane, to do the ridiculous, all while she maintains aplomb as a diplomat. And it goes to show each of us that we can be fun and funny no matter how serious life is or we may need to be at times.
Enjoy reading Slaying Isidore’s Dragons!
Anna Lund's review:
What a ride! What an amazing story. I’m still reeling. And so full of hope, for the future, for the future of these boys, all our boys.
In this story, as is the usual fare with Kennedy, there is action; there is no time to relax, no time to slow down, things are happening all the time, and in so many layers, it takes all my concentration to keep it together. And I love it. I just simply love it. I roll in it, I run with it. I revel in it.
I feel I know these people, already after a few chapters. It is as if I am running beside them, seeing what they are seeing, feeling what they are feeling. It is almost overwhelming. I scream, and I scare the cats. I giggle, and I wake Mr. Anna.
Kennedy must be the king of purple prose, and yet, somehow, here, it just works; it doesn’t become ridiculous, it just becomes powerful and full of awe-inspiring, foreign flavors.
And then another bomb goes off.
Why am I not surprised?
While reading until my iPad hits my face, I realize, just as I am falling asleep, that there is so much more to this story than meets the eye.
There is the careful choosing of words. The loving turn of phrase that won’t scare a potential victimized reader. Words are of such vital importance to young survivors; those of us who have never lived through abuse, can never quite understand how loaded a simple word can be.
And then there is the momentous message to abuse victims and survivors that there is a future, also for them. That there is hope for sunshine and love, in all our futures.
It is uplifting. It is caring. There is hope.
And then another bomb goes off, yeah?
This book had me sitting on the proverbial edge of my seat, jumping with excitement, smiling with bliss, and feeling the love between the two young men grow and blossom. (See? I have achieved some purple myself). I cry me an ocean, too, for good measure.
The way Declan and Isidore discover each other is beautiful, loving, enriching, sweet, and so sexy. Without ever going into the exploitative and crude, the physical love they explore is simply beautiful. They are both on the older side of their teen years, at eighteen and seventeen, thinking about their bodies and discovering a new sensuality, and the way Declan gets frustrated with his dick makes me scream with laughter. So many good feels, here, too.
There is no way I can review this book without drawing parallels to Omorphi, Kennedy’s other long novel about abused youth. The similarities are of course there, but what really strikes me is the difference between them. The main character in the first story, Christy, is a survivor of abuse. In Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, Isidore is still a victim, and he is still living with his abusers. There is such a huge difference in mindset.
Now, there is a special talent to be able to describe and write about this kind of abuse, without either falling into the exploitative, or brushing over the sad facts. Here, none of those things happen. There is truthfulness in these pages, but most of all, there is hope. Awe-inspiring Hope. It makes the reader understand what goes on inside the mind of an abuse victim. It shatters me to see how this new life, when saved from an abusive environment, can be so overwhelming that the victim is ready to go back to the abusive home, just to get to a place where everything makes sense.
This is a book with really difficult themes, and it is striking how it can ring true in all its horrid details, while still giving hope and showing a way out. This book may very well be saving lives, and giving hope.
It is interesting how well the double POV works, where we see things mostly from the eyes of the boyfriend, Declan. I don’t think we could take seeing it all from inside Isidore’s mind, but the short interludes that we do get to see are so revealing. Thank you for showing us how completely different the same scene may seem to the victim.
Now, I also want to tell everybody about how much I adore Sorcha, Declan’s mother. She is a powerful, gorgeous, strong, beautiful, and loving woman. I love all those things in people, but I especially appreciate them when they are attributed to a woman in an m/m setting. This is finally happening more often, but I still want to say thank you for this: thank you, author, for a strong and good woman. Mothering is not easy, and she does shine a light. The fact that she was also an Ambassador in her own right, makes my heart sing. A real woman. Somebody with both a job and a career. Not only, she is also absolutely hilarious, and a good belly laugh really makes life worth living. The healing value of humor is well known, but is even more so to a victim of abuse.
It is important for me to see that the story in this book actually rings true in the ears of the intended readers, i.e. young survivors of abuse; youth who, through this novel, can visualize a potential future, a possibility of a decent life, of love, of happiness. Reading young Timmy’s review of this book, I see the story through his eyes. (See his review here)
It is true. This story brings hope. It shows the path forward, it shows the possibility of future.
This is top notch.
On my Top-Read-Of-2015 shelf.
Well done, Kennedy. I just realize that I have written the word “hope” nine times in my review. That must mean something.
You pass with flying colors.
Five shining stars.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, and a positive review wasn’t promised in return.
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About C. Kennedy:
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.
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