Businessman and author Thomas Wade Bounds is a husband and father of two. Here, he shares with us his reasons behind writing his new series for teens, Choices, the message he's trying to relay in the first book of this series, My Secrets, and what the next book will be about. After that, Tom will share his personal reflections on writing Choices, My Secrets.
My thoughts were for my oldest as he was approaching his first year in high school and I wanted to share with him some things he might come across. He would face challenges in a variety of ways: religion, faith, relationships, parties and so on. How would he know what to do or how to handle it with out being intimidated or reluctant to speak with us about it? I wanted to get a message across without coming over too strong or even boring him so he wouldn't respond. Well, Choices, My Secrets worked. He opened up. I listened and he talked; he asked questions and before we knew it we had a very important conversation going on about many issues that he will most likely face. He has a better understanding now, and an experience he can use and identify with to encourage him to make better choices. Most importantly, he knows he can lean on God and trust Him and seek His wisdom, as well as, his parents.
We can not make all the choices for our kids, but we sure can help them identify the ones that may be harmful or even deadly with good examples that have strength to stand on.
I saw the impact Choices, My Secrets had on him and a few others that read the story, and I decided to make it a series in the hopes that this could help others identify issues that they may come across. An experience, good or bad, most likely will have an impact on how we make our choices.
The messages that lie within this particular story happen daily in our world. After a summer romance and a night of passion, Rachel discovers she's pregnant. Her boyfriend has gone off to college and doesn't return her messages. She is left to handle this on her own, afraid that she can't confide in her parents or her friends, and that she can't turn to God for guidance. She decides to have an abortion, but a life-changing experience could lead her in a different direction.
I wanted to show with an up-close experience how some of the choices we make without thinking them through can affect our life and the lives of others. Life has its challenges and we sure don't need to add to them through choices that could have been prevented.
Choosing to have a sexual relationship during the teen years is dangerous in many ways. Celibacy is the best choice. Teens don’t need to be ashamed of that; it is actually cool. You may want to read the story a few times to gain all the messages. Teens seem to pick them up more quickly than adults, who may have a number of their own experiences.
Life is a precious gift from our Creator, no matter how you look at it; but sometimes we do not see it that way. We all have been given the power of free will and choice. The message is to stop and think about that choice before we make it, so we can prevent having to make the most trying choice – considering ending a life. Part of being responsible is making responsible choices first.
I hope that the reader will pick up on all the messages in this short story. There are many. It is not just about abortion or life. Of course, those are what stand out the most. Life is important and special at all stages. It is how we handle those stages and how and who we turn to when in need. Teens do not always turn to God or parents during trying times. Sometimes they just keep it bottled up inside and lose hope. I hope that Choices the series will encourage teens and parents to come together and build that very important part of being a family - mutual trust – trust to allow the teen to make choices and trust to consult the parent when doing so.
I have also been working on my second short story that deals with teens and the night life of parties and the aftermath. This story will take you into one week of several lives and the struggles of being a teen dealing with seeking to be accepted and sometimes crossing the lines to feel cool. It reaches deep into the depths of the “after world” – the world where the consequences of bad choices can take you. This is a reading experience you don’t want to miss.
My Personal Reflection on Writing Choices My Secrets
Looking back I was not sure if I could do it. I was never big on writing and really was not sure where and how to start. I asked my sister, who loves to write, if she could write it for me. I told her of my thoughts and she asked me to write them down and then send them to her. So I did that and before I knew it I had completed the story as a draft. Before I knew it my quest had begun. I did it or did I? It took me time to get up the nerve to ask someone to read it. I thought, of course, who would read something I wrote? Who and why would this help anyone?
On the day that I started Choices, I had a completely different title for it. I called it “A Front Seat View”.
Why? The purpose, I guess, in my mind, was what I wanted to give my son and daughter. Who wouldn’t want to give their child a glimpse of what life’s choices can bring? My daughter at the time was constantly asking me if she could sit in the front seat of the car when we go on drives or to the store and I always told her, not yet, wait until you are older. Then one day she asked me, "Why Daddy?" I explained, it was the law that when you are 9 you can sit in the front seat. She looked at me shaking her head, then she responded with a pretty strong question. "Daddy don’t you want me to see where I am going so if you get lost I can help you find your way?"
I thought about that long and hard. "Yes, I do want you to learn that. That is exactly what I want you to learn."
Wow! A front seat view could be helpful. God offers us this with stories from the Bible. Indeed, we have clearer vision and insight from reading the Bible, but do we use that to our advantage?
Choices, My Secrets simply lays out a view of one's choices and the consequences of them. So the readers can see where they may need to turn so they don't make similar choices. Learning one's path is not so bad when it develops a better understanding of that choice and its potential consequences.
Wouldn’t we love to have a crystal ball to help our teens and to guide them to make the right choices; even an adult would like to have a helping hand to make better choices. We tell our kids stories about our lives. Some of them they do not want to hear and others they might think we should not have told them, but when a story is told about someone their own age there is some serious merit to it. It's wisdom they can use and think about.
I look back at my experience while writing Choices, My Secrets and reflect how important it is to listen to what kids say. Sometimes they tell us just what we need to know and how to help them develop better habits and choices.
Rachel spent time wanting instead of listening to what her heart and mind was telling her. She had the answers already, but did not listen clearly to them nor did she know how to listen to them. If she had taken the time to ask her parents questions about what she was feeling, and her parents had taken the time to ask her about what was going on, they might have been able to change the course of actions that she took.
I enjoyed the time I took to write this story. I have learned a great deal from it, as well as, from the people I have come to know who have shown me and advised me to help my journey as a first time author easier.
I have learned a great deal more about God and His wisdom, and through that, my wisdom has grown and so have I. I plan to use this knowledge to write better stories with more impact and excitement, but most importantly, realistic journeys that can be shared with teens and parents to enhance their wisdom during their journey through life and the challenges it brings.
I thank God for His words He has given me.
Cheryl thank you for your efforts and interest in Choices, you have offered great advice and made my journey simpler. I wish I had known you during the writing of My Secrets.
I would also like to thank Pump Up Your Book Promotion and all involved in helping Choices, My Secrets reach the audience that it is intended for.
Thomas Wade Bounds
One lucky person who comments on any blog stop during Tom's virtual book tour will win a free copy of Choices, My Secrets.
You can purchase a copy of this book that will help jumpstart parent/teen discussions at Amazon or Xulon Press. For more information about this series, visit Heritage Values.
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