by Jacqueline Abelson
Publication Date: May 19, 2012
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synopsis from Goodreads.
I’m very happy to be featuring Jacqueline Abelson, who is the 19-year old author behind her debut novel, HEAR.
Lots of people can hear, but how many really listen?
At the age of 17, Charlotte Goode has issues. Serious issues. Despite countless surgeries, her parent’s panic attacks, and a well-meaning oncologist, a rare genetic disorder means Charlotte must live with recurring tumors. Life isn’t supposed to be this way.
And just as Charlotte is learning to cope, she gets some devastating news: Tumors are growing on her auditory nerves. But, the necessary surgery will leave her completely deaf.
With the operation scheduled in a month, Charlotte prepares herself for a world without sound. A world without the violin she loves, without her best friend’s laugh, and even without her boss’s irksome tone. Charlotte’s on a mission to take it all in, while trying to hire a band to play a benefit concert. Will it be The Bond Boys or Lennox?
Counting down the days until everything goes silent, The Bond Boys’ lead singer, Ron Cam, sweeps Charlotte off her feet. He’s pure charisma. Then there’s Matthew Lovelace of Lennox , who captures Charlotte’s attention with his music and “that” voice. What will she do?
Time is running out. Charlotte must find a way to leave the hearing world on a high note without missing a beat.
What inspired you to write Hear?
In the summer of 2008, when I was fifteen–years–old, the TV morning news program, Good Morning America had a story about a woman named Jessica Stone, who – like Charlotte – suffered from neurofibromatosis type II. Jessica’s story was different from anything that I’ve ever heard of. She was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis when she was 15 and had more than 20 surgeries to remove the benign tumors that grew along her nervous system. She had an estimated 80 tumors throughout her body. After watching this women being faced with this unthinkable obstacle, was the sole inspiration for HEAR. I wanted a character who was just as strong as Jessica Stone who was able to overcome the impossible. It wasn’t that simple though. I began writing HEAR while I was on Coronado Island (in San Diego) and found myself putting my character in an environment where I took the sounds of the waves and the seagulls for granted. I just couldn’t imagine a world without sound.
Is there a character in Hear that you feel most resembles you?
I would say that every author feels a certain kinship or resemblance to their main character. I know that in the four years I spent working on this novel, I inserted some of my own qualities into Charlotte. So for example, in Chapter 3, the first five sentences in the beginning of the chapter are just some of the traits that I find myself doing from time to time. I love french fries dipped in chocolate milkshakes, spraying whipped cream into my mouth from the can, I’m still a huge Spongebob Squarepants fan, I always thought that the Shamwow commercials were entertaining to watch, and from time to time I’ll be with my friends and we would prank call people asking if they would like to donate a dollar to the Ice Skates for Ostriches Campaign. And these are the things that Charlotte finds herself doing as well. Plus, Charlotte has this cynical approach to life, which is something every teenager (like myself) has been through at some point or another.
What was the writing process like? Did you do any special research for it?
The writing process wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. In the first couple of drafts, I was more interested in how I was going to pull the story off than the scientific aspects behind Charlotte’s disease. Afterwards, once the draft was completed, I researched more upon neurofiberomatosis type II. When I learned more about the disease in depth, then I went back and filled in the scientific portions of the novel. As for, what kind of special research I had to do, it was a mixture of taking what Jessica Stone (the women whom Charlotte is based off from) had experienced from living with neurofiberomatosis, as well as the mechanics behind the genetic disease. So in a way, my research entailed both a personal component and a neurological component. I had to keep myself up to date with the encounters Jessica had to face through her blog, as well as visiting various websites that touched upon the properties of neurofiberomatosis.