A little about Jennie Shortridge:
Jennie Shortridge is a bestselling novelist with four published novels to her credit: Riding with the Queen, (NAL 2003), Eating Heaven (2005), Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe (2008), and now When She Flew (2009). Her nonfiction work has appeared regularly in magazines and newspapers, including Glamour, Mademoiselle, Natural Home, and others. The Seattle writer has been called “an accomplished and superior novelist” by the Statesmen Journal and “a writer to watch out for,” by the Rocky Mountain News.
When not writing, she spends time in the community helping kids and adults learn to write better, and in 2006 co-founded (with fellow Seattle author Garth Stein) a collective of Northwest authors whose mission is to create “connections between writers, readers, librarians and booksellers to foster and support a passion for the written word.” In 2009, they pledged to undertake several community outreach initiatives, including: panel discussions and writing workshops with all or partial proceeds benefiting literacy programs in the Northwest; the development of community “pocket” libraries in unconventional places; and book club events to encourage community support of local libraries and independent booksellers.
To read more about Jennie Shortridge and her work, visit the author’s website.
When She Flew and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder):
Shortridge’s 4th novel centers around a true story of a war veteran and his daughter living off the land in a forested park in Portland in 2004. One of the themes of the novel is the challenges faced by those people suffering from PTSD. In the novel, Shortridge dispels some of the myths surrounding this disorder…including questions around the ability to effectively parent.
I love novels which inspire me to learn more about a subject…and When She Flew motivated me to read a bit about PTSD. I was familiar with the disorder through some education I received as part of being a Search and Rescue volunteer…and in fact, had suffered a episode of PTSD myself following a search where I was part of the team who located a suicide victim. Fortunately, I received good support from people close to me and was able to resolve the psychological trauma I had experienced, although that particular search will always be with me.
The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs defines PTSD as:
[...]an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.
Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop PTSD. These events can include:
- Combat or military exposure
- Child sexual or physical abuse
- Terrorist attacks
- Sexual or physical assault
- Serious accidents, such as a car wreck.
- Natural disasters, such as a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake.
After the event, you may feel scared, confused, or angry. If these feelings don’t go away or they get worse, you may have PTSD. These symptoms may disrupt your life, making it hard to continue with your daily activities.
PTSD is a medical diagnosis, established in 1980, defining symptoms that last at least a month after experiencing a major trauma.
The Gateway to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Information website provides some great national and international links to learn more about the disorder and to locate help or treatment if you are suffering from it. One site they linked to really caught my attention. Gift From Within is a non-profit organization which is dedicated to those suffering from PTSD, those at risk of PTSD and those who care for traumatized individuals. They develop and disseminate educational materials and other resources through their website, and maintain a roster of survivors who are willing to participate in an international network of peer support.
If you or a loved one has suffered from PTSD, I urge you to check out some of the resources available to you on line, or contact local resources for treatment.
BOOK GIVE-AWAY of When She Flew:
To wrap up my tour of this book, Jennie Shortridge has graciously agreed to give away a SIGNED copy of When She Flew to one of my readers. To enter the contest:
- Simply leave a comment on this post by 8:00am (PST) January 5th.
- Make sure you include a legitimate email address so I can contact you if you win.
- I will draw a name sometime on January 5th and announce the winner here on my blog.
- This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada.