This is my stop during the blog tour for Guardian by Katy Newton Naas. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 3 till 16 August, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.
by Katy Newton Naas
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: July 7, 2015
When Kinsey Lydell enters seventh grade, the only thing she wants is to fit in. But being like everyone else isn’t easy when you have epilepsy. Especially when that means a dog has to follow you around everywhere you go.
Drake, Kinsey’s assistance dog, has been her best friend since the day she met him. They have a special connection – he can sense her seizures before they occur. The other students have always loved having Drake in the classroom, making Kinsey feel special, not strange. But just a short time in a new middle school changes all of that.
Kinsey can’t help but admire Taylor Thompson. The boys like her and the girls want to be like her. But from the first day of school, it’s clear that Taylor is determined to make Kinsey feel like an outsider. Suddenly, her best friend – the one who lives his whole life just to protect her – becomes her source of humiliation.
Katy Newton Naas has teamed up with Willing Partners Canine Education, Inc.! For every copy of THE GUARDIAN purchased, Willing Partners will receive a portion of sales. Willing Partners trains service and assistance dogs to work with kids, adults, and veterans. Find out more about their program at the Willing Partners website
You can find Guardian on Goodreads
You can buy Guardian here:
It happens so fast, I don’t have time to be scared. A strange smell, sort of metallic, fills
my nostrils. My vision gets blurry, just slightly, and I feel like I’m a million miles away. If
I’m in the middle of a conversation, the person talking suddenly sounds like they’re speaking
a different language. I feel a cold wind blowing against my skin, but I start to sweat. My head
feels light and the next thing I know, I’m waking up on the ground and it’s over. I have no
memory of the episode itself, but every muscle in my body aches. It makes Mrs. Henshaw’s
famous physical fitness test in PE class seem like a relaxing stroll on the beach. I am so sore
that for days, my body struggles to recover from the two-minute workout of a lifetime.
This is the best description of what it’s like to have a seizure that I can give. I get
asked all the time, from curious classmates or family members, to tell them how it feels. But
the truth is, as far as the seizure itself, I have absolutely no idea how to describe it. I can’t
remember them, any of them. Though I remember what it feels like just before, the symptoms
hit me all at once, and before I can even warn the people around me, it takes over. And there
is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it. I can’t even slow it down. It takes control of me; it
My name is Kinsey Lydell, and I have epilepsy. My seizures are called tonic-clonic,
which is a fancy way of saying I have the really scary ones. No one knows why I have it.
None of the usual explanations are there: I haven’t suffered any head trauma or brain injury,
and I have no history of it in my family. When I was born, I was normal, and then one day, I
It happened when I was only three years old. I don’t remember my first seizure, but I
once heard my mom tell my doctor all the details. “We were just sitting on the floor. Kinsey
was building a tower out of blocks, and then suddenly her eyes went blank. I knew something
was wrong, but before I could react she was laying in the floor. Her body convulsed and her
eyes rolled back in her head. I rushed to the phone to dial nine-one-one, but before they even
answered the call, the seizure was over. She was crying hysterically, so confused…how do
you explain to a three-year-old what just happened when you don’t understand it yourself?”
When I heard my mom telling that story, she didn’t know I was listening. She was in
our living room, sitting on the edge of the couch while my doctor sat facing her in the
recliner. I hid behind the wall in the hallway that led to my bedroom, which was where they
thought I was. Watching my mom’s big blue eyes fill with tears as she relived that moment,
her blonde curls bouncing slightly as her shoulders shook, made me sorry I was ever even
born. My mom, the funniest, most bubbly person I knew, was in pain. And it was all my fault.
That first seizure was followed by another one, just two days later. And another one,
shortly after that. I was labeled with epilepsy before my fourth birthday. Because I’m the only
child in the family, my parents put all their time and energy into “fixing” me.
But the problem with epilepsy is, it’s unfixable. There is no cure. There are only ways
to control it, to help keep the seizures to a minimum. And if it’s a treatment option, I’ve tried
it. Vitamins, medications…I’ve been through them all. There is a really scary and expensive
surgery that I’m not old enough for just yet, and I’m hopeful that by the time I am old enough,
I won’t need it. Not because I’m scared – I’m not, really. It’s because I don’t want my parents
to have to pay for it. They have spent more money on me over the last nine years than most
parents spend on a whole family of kids in a lifetime. I mean, they don’t tell me this, but they
don’t have to. I see things; I overhear conversations. I know what I cost them.
I’m telling you all of this and you’re probably thinking one of two things. One – Wow,
poor Kinsey, or two – This girl is a basketcase. And let me assure you that both thoughts are
wrong. I am not crazy, and I am definitely not looking for sympathy. My life is wonderful,
and living with epilepsy doesn’t change that fact.
So, let the record show that I am not telling you all of this to make you feel sorry for
me or anything like that – I’m telling it because I have a story that deserves to be told. I have
been a part of the greatest love story that has ever existed, and a story like this just has to be
shared. But don’t worry – this isn’t the mushy, kissy, lovey-dovey, gross kind of story you see
in the movies. This is real; it’s pure and it’s strong. It brings a new meaning to the word
This is a love story about a girl and her dog.
Where do your ideas come from?
My story ideas come from everyday life. Sometimes they come from something I see in the news or other media. Many times they come from things I see in school as a middle and high school teacher. My two sons also inspire ideas all the time. Some of the things that happen to my characters are based on things that I remember from my own childhood and teen years. I just write what I see and what I know.
What time of day do you write?
That’s a tough question to answer right now! I just had my second child in June, so my schedule is no longer very routine. (And my other son is only four, so he keeps me on my toes as well!) I used to write at night after my son went to sleep, but now, it’s whenever I can find time. I strive to write at least 2,000 words a day, but that doesn’t always happen right now. I don’t beat myself up over it – I have to be flexible with two young boys.
Where do you do most of your writing?
I do most of my writing on my laptop in my recliner. Sometimes, I have one or both of my sons asleep on my lap, and you’ll find me leaned over them, typing away!
How you do come up with names for your characters?
I honestly don’t know how to answer this question. Sometimes I name characters after people in my life – my boys, my nieces and nephews, my cousins. But usually, for the main character, I find myself searching for the perfect name and suddenly, one will come to me and I just know that’s his or her name.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I have tried to work with an outline or plan of some kind, but what I’ve found is, as my story takes off, I never stick to the plan. In my case, trying to create a structure to follow just doesn’t work. I know it works for many others, but not for me.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Well, my latest book, GUARDIAN, features a main character with epilepsy. I have only known one person with epilepsy, and I never had the chance to really talk to her about her condition and ask questions. But since the story is told in a first-person point of view, I wanted it to be authentic. So, I did a lot of research on epilepsy – what it’s like to have a seizure, what it takes to train and purchase an assistance dog, etc. I worked really hard to make sure my information in the book was as accurate as I could.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
All the time! It’s frustrating, but it’s just part of it.Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?For me, it helps to just put it down. When I try to force myself to write through it, I end up hating the work and throwing it out anyway, so I don’t try to make it happen if I just don’t have the words to say. You can’t quit writing all together; just work on something else for a while, and then go back to it when you feel ready. I have five half-completed manuscripts on my computer at any given time, so I just pick one that suits my mood and start writing!
What is your favorite motivational phrase.
“I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan(In the world of writing, it’s virtually impossible not to fail sometimes. I keep this quote on my computer screen to remind me to keep going, even when it seems like it’s going nowhere.)
What is your favorite positive saying?
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
What is your favorite book and why?
This is a tough question! I guess if I had to narrow it down to just one, my favorite would have to be Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume.
What is your favorite quote?
Hands down, best advice of all time: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
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About the Author:
From the time she was old enough to talk, Katy Newton Naas has been creating characters and telling stories. As a child, they sometimes got her into trouble. She knew she wanted to write books when she won a Young Author's competition as a second-grader for her short story titled, "The Grape Pie." (Don't let its tasty title fool you - it was actually a sad little tale!)
Katy devoured books as a child and young adult, always doing chores and odd jobs in order to make enough money to buy more of them. Though she continues to age, her true literature love is and has always been children's and young adult fiction.
Katy currently teaches middle school reading and high school English in southern Illinois, as well as children's church. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor's degree in English Education and a master's degree in Reading and Language Studies. She enjoys her life out in the country with her husband, her sweet and rowdy young boys, and all her four-legged kids: Shakespeare, Poe, Morgi, Cappy, Ana, and Gray.
She loves creating both realistic and futuristic stories about kids, tweens, and teens, and feels so fortunate to get to work with them every day as a teacher.
You can find and contact Katy here:
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Guardian. These are the prizes you can win:
- 4 e-copies of Guardian by Katy Newton Naas
For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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