About the book
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk through life in someone else's shoes?
Strong-willed tomboy Harley LeBeau puts you in the boots her mother gave her, as she takes you along her journey of escape from an abusive childhood and the desire to find herself as she comes of age. Made to feel a burden to her father simply by her gender, Harley is determined to prove her worth and independence, leaving the small town she grew up in and the one boy who gave her a soft place to fall, Jeremiah Johnson. Torn between saving herself and abandoning her mother and younger sister, Harley chooses her own life in hopes they will choose theirs, too.
A mature, candid read for everyone. A must for women. The Boots My Mother Gave Me explores the dynamics of abuse and dysfunction, the courage to overcome, the strength in sisterhood, and the ongoing conflict and unconditional love between mothers and daughters.
Climb into Charlene the Chevelle for a fast-paced story about a girl who is tough enough to survive and tender enough to learn to trust in love.
Signed Paperback & Original Music Soundtrack to The Boots My Mother Gave Me can be found at www.brooklyn-james.com
About the author
Click on the ABOUT THE AUTHOR link above to find the author and her albums on Amazon with links to EVERYWHERE....
Here is my 10c. I got introduced to this author via a review of a friend of mine. I figured that if Lynn Worton adores this book so much then I must get into this action. So I contacted Lynn who contacted Brooklyn who contacted me and I can say via email and PM's on FB this is one classy strong woman. One I would tip my hat to if I owned one.
I loved the human frailty in all of these relationships. What according to you is the most important relationship in this book?
Although my favorite scenes to write were the ones featuring the relationship between Harley and Miah, I concur with you that the most significant relationship in the book is the one between Harley and her father. The dysfunction of that relationship, and living through domestic abuse in general, is what drove Harley. In a way, it made her who she was. Most every thought, belief, action and reaction she had was in some way formed by her relationship with her father.
I believe father/daughter relationships are so pivotal. It's through that relationship that most girls get a sense of who a man is—what makes a man a man. The way a father treats his daughter and his wife is often a gauge by which the daughter assimilates her value. Growing up with an abusive father was the impetus for Harley's soul-searching behavior. With most abusers, there is that constant flip-flopping. One minute, they're abusive and the next they're kind and loving. To a child, that can cause a great sense of confusion. Regardless of how good or how bad a parent is, most children love their parents unconditionally. Harley's opposing feelings of loathing and loving her father are spot on in the tumultuous environment that is the dysfunction of domestic abuse.
The reason Harley ran from everything—her small town, love, commitment, life in general—was because of her strained relationship with her father. With her father's love and acceptance being so inconsistent, detachment became her safe place. Running from anything and everything that felt good was her inherent defense mechanism because she was so used to good ultimately turning bad.
And in the same breath, her inclination to run, soul-search, find herself, was her saving grace. Determined to be good enough, she lived with vitality, experiencing things and learning stuff about herself that she may not have otherwise. Ultimately, her relationship with her father drove her to be more than the dysfunction she grew up in. It drove her to question the meaning of life, love, and relationships in general. It drove her to seek something more rewarding than what she was simply given, born into. It propelled her to end the cycle of abuse, refusing to be a victim or a cyclical statistic. Her self-awareness was pivotal in turning something so unfortunate into something good, meaningful and empowering.
You narrated this book yourself with a musical soundtrack to accompany it. What was the most challenging aspect of recording a full length audio book?
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process actually. Being a singer/songwriter, I had been in studio several times recording singles and albums. I felt quite comfortable behind the mic. And this novel means so much to me. It was my first and will always hold a special place in my heart. With the soundtrack, I was hopeful that the audiobook would provide a unique listening experience. My engineer at Wonderland Studios here in Austin was phenomenal.
All in all, I'd say the most challenging aspect of narrating the audiobook was reading the love scenes aloud...lol. It's one thing to write intimate scenes in the privacy and solitude of my office with nothing but me, my thoughts, and my computer. But to read them out loud in a recording studio in front of engineers and producers, that's an entirely different thing!
Some of the aspects touched upon in the theme of this book seemed less fiction and more personal. You narrating the book yourself added, for me, that intimacy of relating some form of the truth. How much of this book is fictional?
I'd say it's about an 80/20 split. Eighty percent being truth and twenty percent being author's liberties. The abuse and dysfunction made up the majority of the truth. We get comments in reviews all the time—“Is this story real? It feels very real.” The reason it reads with such authenticity is because it is real. If I hadn't grown up with an abusive father, I am not sure that I could have captured the tangibility in Harley's voice. If there is one thing I understand, it is domestic abuse and how it shapes the mind and heart of a young woman.
The beautiful thing that came out of telling a rather difficult truth was that it served to be the best form of creative therapy I have ever experienced. In telling my story, sharing it with others, it healed something inside of me. As a child, I did not talk about my home life, ever. We told no one. It was our shameful little secret. Having the nerve to talk about it, rewrite it somehow, was cleansing and liberating. It felt like a huge burden had been lifted. In opening up about domestic violence, I found many windows of opportunity. I have talked with numerous groups from elementary students to college students to police departments to shelters to military groups to national domestic violence organizations as a guest speaker.
Each and every time I share my story, I come away from it with a sense of renewed spirit, a reckoning, maybe. Hope, that if more people talked about, brought it to the forefront, educated and offered support, possibly we could end domestic violence altogether.
Who inspires you? Somebody famous? Your spouse? Your parents? Share with us what makes Brooklyn James, Brooklyn James.
Everything inspires me—life, people, nature, spirituality, experiences. I'm a true Sagittarius—shamelessly optimistic, imaginative, a seeker and searcher of the true meaning of life.
My grandmother inspired me as a child, and her memory still inspires me to this day. She was a hard-worker, an incomparable mother, a fierce ally. She never had an excuse, she simply did what was necessary. She had a lot of grit, and made the best homemade bread known to man.
My husband inspires me. He's kind, compassionate, and affectionate, a stellar mate and father. He inspires me to be a better person. A more patient person. A gracious wife and mother. Watching him with our daughter gives me the most joy. She will have a healthy father/daughter relationship, a great example of what a man is supposed to be. She is loved. She will be loved. She will never have to doubt that.
My daughter inspires me. She has changed our lives in countless ways. Having her has really made my priorities come to light. She makes me feel enlightened and gives me reason to be selfless. I feel more connected to myself as a woman being a mother, the single most profound thing I am convinced I will ever do with my life, my time here on earth. She reminds me to laugh.
My fans, my readership, they inspire me to continue writing, living my life's dream. Creativity is so subjective. It's easy to lose faith in my writing. It's easy to compare myself with authors who are more successful. It's easy to think that I should hang up my writing hat and use one of my degrees to make a more substantial living. But the people who download my ebooks or pick up a paperback at a book signing, they fuel my writing flame. Thank God for them.
Meditative, philosophical types inspire me. Deepak Chopra, Tina Turner, and Bruce Lee among some of my faves. I love motivational quotes. People who give me a sense of enlightenment and reason to have faith, believe in my abilities and the mercy of a higher power.
Famous people? Goldie Hawn inspires me. I have read her book “A Lotus Grows in the Mud” several times over. It's a great read. I admire her gentle spirit and fierce charisma.
If you can give a bit of advice to other authors, what would that be?
Write. Write again. And then write some more!
Research—understand your options (i.e. self-publishing, traditional publishing, ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks, etc.). There are many opportunities for self-publishing these days. If you have a story to tell, you can share it with pretty minimal start-up costs. The resources I have found most helpful in my own self-publishing endeavors are Amazon KDP (ebooks), CreateSpace (print on demand paperbacks), ACX—Audiobook Creation Exchange (Audible's independent division), Smashwords, and Goodreads.
Another tremendous resource for generating reviews and buzz about your books is book bloggers. Many of them are open to supporting Indies. You can do a general search for “book bloggers” and find many lists cataloging participating blogs. Visit those blogs. Read the 'About Me' and 'Review Policy' sections to get acquainted with the bloggers' personalities and what types of books they are interested in reviewing and promoting.
Do not follow trends. Write what is interesting to you, what is inherently organic to you. If that falls within whatever happens to be trending at the moment, great luck for you! But if you do not write what happens to be trendy at the moment, write it anyway. Trends come and go. Who knows, your writing, your story may be the new trend. And wouldn't that be simply awesome!
I listened to the audio book of The Boots My Mother Gave Me. I was addicted from the start.
Usually I would not advise an author to narrate their own audio books but as a singer and a professional in this business, Brooklyn could not have done better. This is an amazing story about a father and his daughter and the dysfunctional part of having a father that is an alcoholic and who was so tortured himself that he does not know how to relate to the people in his life.
It is a story of trust. It is a story of betrayal and a story of love. Although it has some romance to it the story is not about romance but about how failed relationships shape expectations for future relationships.
The audio book is a first for me in as far as it has a musical soundtrack to accompany it. These songs/tracts are sung by the author herself and it may not be for all but my one biggest complaint against the incorporation of these songs into the productions was this ---THEY WERE MOSTLY ONLY SNIPPETS -- leaving me wanting more. Craving more and it worked wonders to show the main characters naive notions on the one hand against her world weary well earned mistrust on the other. This was totally brilliant. The second and more important facet of this audio book was that the author wrote a true story in fictional context and her voice became Harley's giving the book a feeling of intimacy second to none. I stand in awe.
Now the main character in this book is Harley LeBeau. Her direct family and the boy next door Miah. All in all these 5 people are pivotal to the story but towards the theme of the story lies this basic truth. Parents teach their children via behaviour and the fact that Harley's mother coped with the abuse, the fact that her father is hot and cold in his affection. Physically and mentally abusive. Cognitively absent from the rearing of his children and the running of his household, all of these were crystal clear and achingly truthful in its telling of the story.
All in all, this is a story I will recommend to all. A story that you should, possibly must read...