If you look up the word rape in the dictionary, you’ll find something like a forced sexual encounter. However, what you won’t find are the ramifications—sometimes lifelong–from such a disgusting act. Oftentimes, the victim is forced to live a life of unnecessary embarrassment, shame, and even guilt.
For Author Anne Maxtom, she was forced into that category. The Indiana native was raped at 28 by a date. After living with shame and hurt for fourteen years, she’s finally realizing that it wasn’t her fault. Strangely enough, it’s her first erotic-romance novel, Fire and Ashes, that she has to thank.
“When I started writing Fire and Ashes I had planned it to be a ‘fun’ read,” Maxtom noted. “The more I wrote, the more my past began to take shape and a flood gate opened. I actually told a dear friend about the rape before it made it onto the pages of Fire and Ashes.”
Her debut novel is about a woman, Norah Sinclair, overcoming issues that Maxtom has hurdled. Like the author, also, the main character hides from her pain.
“Norah hides behind her carefully constructed brick wall of hatred and fear,” the Indianapolis Colts (and Peyton Manning) lover explained about the novel. “Finn Asher is a controlling, loveable ass who takes a sledge hammer to the bricks and mortar of Norah’s existence.”
The telling of her own unfortunate tale through Norah has lifted a weight off of Maxtom’s shoulders. More determined than ever, the animal lover with three cats and a dog is releasing Fire and Ashes to amazon.com, March 21, 2014. The original idea for her debut book came about a year earlier, but she didn’t start putting pen to paper for another four months.
Unsurprisingly, F&A isn’t her first work. No one will ever read that book, unfortunately. As a 14-year-old Hoosier, she had the completed novel stolen when her family’s car was heisted from a church parking lot. The car was later found submerged in water.
“I remember crying more over my lost work than the car,” the Maya Angelou fan added. “I don’t think I have to say that the manuscript was lost, forever.”
Angelou’s expertise was brought up because Maxtom says the poet’s words have more-than inspired her.
“’Still I Rise’ a poem about overcoming the stigma of slavery and poverty but for me it has become my life poem,” Maxtom passionately pointed out. “I first read that poem at fourteen amidst a huge uncertainty and again after being raped fourteen years ago; it saved me!”
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Maxtom is also working on a “complicated” love-triangle story, Cake, involving two women and a man. No matter how readers slice it, Maxtom plans to continue writing even after Cake is complete for at least two reasons. She’ll write as long as she has the opportunity to help others find their voice and share their story.
Don’t forget: Mark your calendars and look for Fire and Ashes, coming to amzon.com, March 21.
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