I’m so thrilled to have @caracrescent on the blog today discussing her research, SPD, and many other fascinating topics relating to #DontLetMeForgetYou

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~ Don’t Let Me Forget You by Cara Crescent ~

Digital ISBN: 978-0-9971872-4-3
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9971872-5-0
Page Count: 369 pages
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Release Date: September 22, 2016

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The invitation promised respite from the harsh realities of life. But here at Pembrook, not even the dead are permitted to rest.

Olivia Pembrook knows something isn’t right. She’s not remembering things she should. Pembrook Manor’s caretaker advises her to stay away from the new guest, but Hunter is attentive and sweet. She feels safe being near such a big, quiet man. He listens, and Lord knows, she can’t remember the last time anyone paid her any attention. So when he invites her to join him for dinner, she can’t say no. Everything is wonderful. Perfect. Until the clock strikes five. The doors lock. And her memories return.
Luke Hunter, a wounded ex-SWAT officer, experiencing a recurrence of his childhood Sensory Perception Disorder, goes to a private island for seclusion and rest. Instead, he finds a lover. A lover who relives her death nightly and forgets everything by sunrise. He’s determined to stop the cycle but is unsure if he can survive his own ghosts – or the ones wandering the halls – long enough to secure their happily-ever-after.
And even if he does… will she remember him tomorrow?

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Thank you so much to Cara Crescent for taking time to answer our burning questions!

What inspired you to write Don’t Let Me Forget You?

Usually, with each book I have ‘stuff’ that I’ve been pondering that sort of roll around together until they mesh. With this one, I had been re-reading some of Lovecraft’s work with one of my kids and I was watching a lot of science shows with another of my children. I was also working at a non-profit organization that provided occupational and physical therapy. Everything sort of morphed into aspects of this ‘haunted-house-sci-fi-romance’ I wanted to write. I ended up with a hero with SPD, monsters and ghosts, a heroine who forgets everything that happened the day before, a creepy caretaker, and a physics professor. And while it all sounds like a disconnected jumble, they’re all symptoms of a singular problem.

Did you do much research for the story and if so, care to share any interesting finds?

Yes. I do a ton of research for every book I write. Even though my stories focus on the fantastical and futuristic, I have to ground those things in reality so they don’t throw the reader out of the story. For Don’t Let Me Forget You some of the things I researched were:

Sensory Processing Disorder – I was already familiar with the disorder—I had done a lot of research because two of my children have sensory pieces to their puzzle. Years ago, shortly after my kids were diagnosed, the clinic we go to offered a class specific to parents with kids who had mental/behavior health challenges. The first thing they did was pass out a test—we had to watch a video and then answer five questions for each section of the video. Easy-peasy, right? The video was taken from the perspective of a person with a disorder—Sensory Processing, Schizophrenia, ADD, Bi-Polar, etc.—and while the teacher on the video gave a medical lecture on each disorder, the viewer experienced the same sensory interference common with each disorder. For example, while she explained SPD, the lights on-screen dimmed and then got too bright, the clock ticked so loud it muffled her voice, someone coughed and it was loud as a gunshot. It was disorienting and horrifying and I couldn’t answer one damned question in any section of the test. All I could think was, “Oh, my God, how many times have I put my kids in time out for not listening?” The experience stuck with me.

Future technologies – This story is set in 2040, so it’s not a huge jump, but taking into account Moore’s Law, I needed to predict some day-to-day technologies that we may have by then.

Prosthetic legs – Holy smokes, they are doing some amazing things in prosthetics now-a-days. From prosthesis designed for specific sports to those that are linked to the brain and can feel (still in the lab phase).

Impaling –(skip this paragraph if squeamish) I didn’t go into a lot of detail in the book, but I needed to know the particulars. Legend says Vlad the Implaer’s victims would remain alive for days as they hung on a stake. Some scientists did a computer simulation a few years ago and discovered that, yes, if done carefully, impaled victims could remain alive and aware for hours until grew tired, started to slouch and suffocated. I also needed to discover what kind of external injuries impaling a victim might cause—which is how I came up with the character Jawless and the rest of the `Less Gang.

If you had to write a book without any romance, which genre do you think you’d choose?

I can’t imagine writing a story without romance, but if I had to, I’d probably write science fiction or horror. They’re my favorite genres outside of romance.

Who would be your number one book boyfriend?

Oooh. I think it’d be a toss-up between Noah, from Jacquelyn Frank’s Noah and John Matthew from J.R. Ward’s Lover Mine. Those are both on my ‘to be read again’ shelf.

When you’re writing do you need absolute silence or does background noise work for you?

Absolute silence? What is that? I have four children and three ferrets—I don’t remember what silence sounds like, but I bet it’s amazing. Actually, now that three of my kids are teens and all are over the age of 10, I often drive across the street, park at the back of the lot and write. I always listen to music—I create playlists for each book—and depending on the scene, sometimes I’ll play a song on repeat for hours as I write. The repetitiveness keeps me from being distracted and helps me stay in a particular mood for the scene.

Now that you’re publishing your third novel, have you learned anything from your first two books which you applied to writing this new one?

Right now, I still feel like I’m learning the ropes of all the PR and publishing stuff. What has become easier, almost second nature now, is the story-telling. I’m one of those people that tends to complicate the hell out of the simplest task in effort to find the ‘best way’ to get the job done. So now that I’m through three books, I find that my process has become much more stream-lined and efficient. I waste less time on preparation and spend more time writing. I do a double plotline for each book, one character follows the hero’s journey, and one character follows the lover’s journey and I intertwine them like a double-helix. At first, the process felt cumbersome, but now it gets faster with each outline.

What made you decide to include a character with SPD? And what challenges did you face in writing him? (something which I very much admire, my cousin and daughter suffer from SPD and you don’t see many adult characters portrayed with these issues)

Oh, honey, you have your hands full, don’t you? Kudos to you. I have four kids, one is on the spectrum and one has various and sundry diagnosis—both have sensory pieces to their puzzle. It’s a whole different kind of parenting when you have kids with special needs and I’m always happy to meet other parents who understand.

As for why I chose to include a character with SPD…My daughter was about thirteen when I bought her an old Sweet Valley High—her first romance. She was having a tough time focusing long enough to read, but loves romances, so I thought she might be more successful if she was engaged in a topic she liked. Anyway, about a week later, she came down stomping downstairs and I just knew we had a major escalation brewing. She walked into the living room and said, “I’ll never be like the girl in that book.” As we talked I discovered at the ripe-old-age of thirteen, she didn’t think she’d ever get married because “who would want someone with her problems. Because boys wanted girls like the one in the book.” Yeah, I blew that one big time! I had tried to do something positive, but hadn’t taken into consideration all the angles of the problem. I felt horrible. I started looking for books with characters she might relate to better that actually got their h-e-a. They are out there, we found heroes who were blind, had Asperger’s, or were mute. We found heroines who were deaf, had compulsions, OCD, or PTSD. But they are few and far between. We need more. A lot more. I included a character with SPD because we need to hear that voice, too. Because our daughters, and many others with SPD, are going to grow up into adults and they’ll be looking for a sinfully wicked romance and now they’ll have at least one with a character that (hopefully) they can relate to. Which brings me to the challenges…

There were so many challenges in writing a character with Sensory Processing Disorder, I’m not even sure where to start. First, I’m a cis-white-female with no disabilities. So the first thing I had to do, was give myself permission to fail at accurately portraying this character. As an author, that’s difficult because you want so badly to get everything right, but as a human being full of faults and bias, it’s also essential accept your limitations. There’s no way to perfectly portray an experience you’ve never had. Instead, I interviewed people with the disability, I read about it, watched videos, and hoped to hell I got close. I wasn’t really happy until my kids said, “yeah, it’s kinda like that.” –Which was still hard, because they’re not allowed to read my books yet so I was just reading them the ‘safe bits’.

The second major challenge was that Sensory Processing Disorder is so diverse. It can affect hearing, sight, taste, touch, or motor base, all of the senses or any mixture of those. They can be over responsive or under responsive. Hunter’s disorder affects his hearing and touch, and to a lesser degree, taste and sight. He is over responsive.

The third major challenge was that I didn’t want him to be either the ‘magical disabled person’ nor the ‘inspirational disabled person’. I didn’t want to create a character that would be healed by love or whose disability would become a superpower. I just wanted him to get through the same trials any hero would have to go through the best he could and have his h-e-a. While I do think acceptance and love will give any person a brighter more hopeful outlook—Hunter’s outlook does improve with both—unfortunately they are not cure-alls. I had a fantastic beta group and that was one of the things I had them look out for.

And yes, it’s common to hear of SPD in children, not so much in adults.  Which is odd, because it’s not like the disorder magically disappears at the age of eighteen. The thing is, adults are less likely to advocate for themselves or have someone else who will advocate for them. They tend to hide their differences, and learn to compensate for anything they perceive as a weaknesses. I think another reason we don’t hear about it in adults as much is because it’s a fairly new diagnosis.

Do you take time off once a book gets published or is it go-go-go all the time?

I take a week off in-between books. I catch up on Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Preacher, read as many books as I can off my TBR pile, do a deep-clean of the house, take care of the pile of forgotten mail on the counter. By then, I’m itching to get back to work.

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About the Author:
Cara Crescent currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her children and three overly dramatic ferrets. When not writing, you can usually find her curled up with a book, engrossed in a movie, or playing video games with her best friend.

Visit Cara on the web at http://www.caracrescent.com

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