Title: OF BREAKABLE THINGS
Publication date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: A. Lynden Rolland
Alex Ash was born broken. Living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is like living on Death Row, but she is willing to fight for her frail life as long as it includes the boy next door. Chase has always held the pieces of her together, but when he dies tragically, Alex’s unfavorable fate becomes a blessing in disguise.
Faced with a choice, she finds herself in a peculiar world where rooms can absorb emotions and secrets are buried six feet under. Among limitless minds, envious spirits, and soulless banshees, Alex hardly rests in peace
Check out Of Breakable Things on Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Guest Post from Author A. Lynden Rolland
Note from Susan: For the guest post, I told the author that I was curious to know more about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and why she chose to have her main character have this disease. I thought perhaps there might be a real-life connection…
Thank you so much for allowing me to visit today!
Oddly, there is no real-life connection. Just complete curiosity and the desire for something unique.
In Of Breakable Things, most of my characters are dead. It wasn't my intention for this to happen, but as the story unfolded in my mind, the main character was ill and would die young, and that is when her story really began. Her hindrances made her who she was, and there were no miracles to save her. She is flawed and naïve and sheltered. This makes her all the more skeptical and curious when she enters a world manipulated by the mind, a world where bones and breaks no longer matter. But she can’t quite tell her mind to follow such elastic rules. I needed her to have a difficult time letting go of her limitations. I needed her to be literally breakable.
When I saw the term, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), during my research process, it struck a chord. It almost felt like passing a stranger on the street and knowing I had seen her somewhere before. As a kid, my friends and I would go to the town playground, and sometimes there was a little girl who only went on the swings. She never did anything else. She said she wasn’t allowed. She had these gigantic eyes and tiny frame and thick hair. She was otherworldly. I honestly can’t remember specifically what she told me she had, but I’m pretty positive it was Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. If it wasn’t, it doesn’t matter because she is the picture I see in my head when I see Alex.
What is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome? I had no clue until I started researching hereditary disorders (heredity plays a pivotal role in the story). EDS is a tissue disorder, and there are different types. It can be as mild as bruising easily or having elastic skin. I needed Alex to have a more severe case, so she has vascular EDS.
It's difficult to describe in layman's terms, so I requested approval from the powers that be, and (rubbing hands together) here is a small excerpt from Of Breakable Things. The scene is written from the perspective of Alex's best friend, Chase, as an eight-year-old:
Chase couldn’t fathom the idea that his best friend was sick. Alex had too much energy. When he stood next to her, he could feel it like the static electricity he learned about in science class. So then how could she somehow have less life than he did?
He knew it was called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and he’d heard Alex’s doctor say things like type four and vascular and dangerous. He knew Alex’s mother had been sick with it, too. And her mother was dead.
“They don’t look any different to me,” Chase whispered to his mother. That morning they had driven into the city so Alex could attend some sort of meeting. There was a huge banner outside the Baltimore Convention Center that read Learning Conference: Living with EDS. Jonas had snorted and told Alex she was going to a freak show. Chase had punched him in the belly, and to his shock and amazement, his mother turned her head and didn’t scold him. And now, sitting outside the convention center, the people walking inside didn’t look strange at all.
“There are different kinds of EDS,” Danya explained to him, ruffling his hair. “Some are worse than others.”
“Worse than Alex’s?”
Danya shifted on the bench. “No. Alex has the worst kind.”
“She doesn’t look sick.”
“That’s because most of it is inside her body.” She pointed to his arm. “You have tissues in there. Don’t scrunch your face like that! They aren’t the same kind that you blow your nose with. Your tissues hold your body together. Alex’s tissues don’t work quite as well as yours.”
No kidding. One time he’d pulled on her arm to get her attention and her shoulder fell out of its socket. He’d cried the entire way to the hospital because he’d hurt her.
“In our tissues, we have something called collagen. And if collagen is like the glue of body, the normal person has liquid cement while Alex has cheap Elmer’s glue.”
“Is that why Jonas says that Alex was assembled at Kmart?”
His mother rolled her eyes. “Probably, but Jonas really shouldn’t say that. I’ll speak to him.”
Chase fiddled with the Velcro on the pocket of his shorts. “I still don’t get it.”
“Why is it such a big a deal?”
“Tissues support your skin, which is why Alex bruises easily. And they hold your bones together, which is why hers are more likely to break.”
“But broken bones don’t kill you,” he argued. “Why did her mom die?”
His mother’s face crumbled, and he felt that pang in his chest that told him he’d said something wrong. “I’m sorry.”
“No, don’t be sorry. I just miss her.” Between her hands, she rolled a pamphlet she’d picked up that morning at the convention. “Tissues also support your organs. Like your heart. That’s an organ. The things inside you keep you alive, and if they aren’t supported properly, you could bleed inside your body. That’s what happened to Alex’s mommy when Alex was born. They couldn’t stop the bleeding.”
“Is that why her dad hates her?”
“He doesn’t hate her.”
Chase looked at his mom doubtfully, but quickly shifted his attention to several people exiting the convention center. His heart fluttered in hope, but his friend wasn’t among them. He couldn’t believe his mother had made him stay out here instead of letting him go in with Alex. This was all Miss Petra’s fault. Their teacher was the one to suggest that Alex’s friendship with the Lasalles might be detrimental to her health. She was always trying to put them in separate groups during class or encouraging Alex to hang out with the other girls during recess. Thankfully, Alex ignored the suggestions. But within the past few months, Alex had broken three different bones during their adventures with his brothers. So her dumb doctor recommended she meet other kids who were “limited” too.
A selfish part of Chase wanted Alex to come screaming out of that door. Usually they joked about her illness. They would look at the bruises on her arms and laugh about what they saw … like lying in the grass and finding images in the clouds, only these clouds were stormy. She was going to be sick no matter what, so what good would it do to sit around and talk about it? Alex didn’t like to think she was different, so he was sure she wouldn’t enjoy this experience. Or at least that’s what he hoped. After all, he needed her as much as she needed him.
She just never understood that.
I am giving away promotional buttons in exchange for donations to the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. You can donate a dime, or you can donate a dollar, or even twenty dollars. You can use the contact form on my website or direct message me on Twitter. If you tweet, Instagram, or FB the button, link me in the comments, and you are eligible for a giveaway. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about Of Breakable Things and EDS!
Find me online:
Barnes & Noble
A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, a picturesque town obsessed with boats and blue crabs. She has always been intrigued by the dramatic and the broken, compiling her eccentric tales of tragic characters in a weathered notebook she began to carry in grade school. She is a sports fanatic, a coffee addict, and a lover of Sauvignon Blanc, thunderstorms and autumn leaves. When she isn’t hunched behind a laptop at her local bookstore, she can be found chasing her two vivacious children. She now resides just outside Annapolis with her husband and young sons.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE TOUR!
And CLICK HERE and enter to win:
• Four (4) winners will receive an ebook copy of Of Breakable Things by A. Lynden Rolland (INT)
• One (1) winner will receive an ebook copy of Of Breakable Things by A. Lynden Rolland AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)
Giveaway ends 5/2/14