In today’s Writers’ Wednesday post, US novelist Mary Crawford explains what inspired her new book, a work of fiction based on a real-life case study of skin cancer, and how it meshed with her other advocacy work.
Sometimes, you know in the moment when something takes your breath away and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, that what you're experiencing is going to change your life. That's what happened to me one night as I was procrastinating.
You all know how it is when you're not exactly sure where your story is going next and you decide to take a “mental health break” on Facebook.
I was scrolling through my newsfeed when I encountered pictures of Judy Noble Cloud. However, these were unlike any other pictures I’d ever seen. They were raw, honest and unfiltered.
Those nineteen pictures told the story of skin cancer in a vivid and direct manner. I was compelled to stop and read more. As I read more about Judy's deeply painful battle with skin cancer, I realized that everyone that I knew needed to know about this story. It needed to be accessible to as many people as possible.
Skin cancer touches so many lives, mine included. My husband has had his own fight with skin cancer, in large part because it doesn't occur to him to wear sunscreen. Sunscreen is too girly for my husband, or, at least it was until they had to remove a layer of tissue all the way down to his bone on his face.
An Important Cautionary Tale
In Judy's case, her cancer was caused at least in part by her habit of tanning in tanning booths and laying out in the sun. I can tell you that back in the day, we thought nothing of laying out for hours with no sunscreen with very limited SPF. In fact, we often put on additional oils to increase the burn, and if we smelled like coconuts, all the better. Probably the only thing that saved me from the same fate as Judy is the fact that any time I was out in the sun for more than about three minutes, I tended to break out in a red, puffy rash. Out of necessity, I became a pale, white bookworm. Secretly, though, I was very jealous of my tan counterparts. Sadly, not much has changed over the years.
This pale bookworm grew up, through a convoluted set of circumstances to first become a social worker, then a Civil Rights Attorney, and finally a contemporary romance novelist.
A Common Theme in All My Work
The one constant throughout all of my career choices is that I’ve always been an advocate. When I set out to become a writer, I wanted to change what people read about. I write inclusive centric fiction.
My characters resemble real life people, with real life challenges. Those challenges include disabilities, racial discrimination, and insecurities about body type and age.
When I saw Judy Noble Cloud's story, it was a natural fit with my advocacy work. I contacted her and asked her if I could fictionalize her life story and use it to increase awareness about skin cancer. To my surprise, she agreed. Love is More Than Skin Deep was soon born. Judy Noble Cloud was kind enough to write the foreword of the book and choose the charity, the Skin Cancer Foundation. It is my practice to donate at least 15% of my net profits to a charity related to the story line of each book. In the past, I've designated other great charities such as Habitat for Humanity, the Limbs for Life Foundation, the American Lung Association, and the Wounded Warrior Project.
The reason I write is so that I can honor stories like Judy's and show the world that because love matters, differences don't.
Endorsement by Judy Noble Cloud
Mary, I've read the book, and I've read the book again. And I am in tears, again. I didn't want it to end, and you've done a beautiful job of capturing fears and triumphs. I am so grateful to you for writing this story, and so very thankful that you came across my post and messaged me. Never in a million years would I have imagined it, and I am so moved by your writing and your willingness to spread awareness. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
OVER TO YOU If you have any questions for Mary, please leave a comment and she'll be happy to reply.Indie #author @MaryCrawfordAut shares her inspiring story of why she writes what she writes: advocacy #ww Click To Tweet
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