Monday, March 5, 2018

Guest Post: Inspiration behind TRUST by Avery Woods #NewRelease #NALit #Excerpt


Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 5, 2018
Publisher: Roane Publishing

Why does society treat you as an outcast when you're single? Is it not bad enough that I have my two best friends pressuring me to date every chance they get. It's probably because I still haven't told them the reason I've avoided dating: The fact that I am HIV positive. It's this dirty little secret I've been keeping to myself for the last two years. I've tried telling my friends and family numerous times, but something always gets in my way. At least that's what I tell myself. Don't worry, I'm ninety percent sure you can find my picture under the word cynical in the dictionary.

Since my ex-boyfriend basically called me a walking disease, I've lost a bit of my self confidence you could say. I mean, how am I suppose to tell my friends and family? I guess writing a letter to my parents won't cut it.

More importantly, how is Travis, the new guy I like going to take the news? He is perfect, and I am far from it. I have to trust him, but trusting someone is easier said than done.

If dealing with HIV wasn't enough, the bombshell my mom decided to invoke on my sister and I sure takes the cake. At least that's what I thought, until I attended Lauren's birthday party. Who knew that would be a night I would never forget.

Who would have thought ripping off a band aid would be the most painful route to take?




Inspiration for Trust

When I am not writing, I work as a Registered Nurse. I'm privileged to work with individuals and families who live and deal with chronic illnesses. Not only does my job involve treating sick individuals, but educating individuals on how to manage chronic illnesses, such as HIV.

In my third year of nursing school, my class was studying communicable diseases. One of the diseases we briefly learned about was HIV. One of my nursing instructors organized for a presenter to come talk to our class about HIV. During this presentation, I was astounded on how much I learned about HIV. I couldn't believe how much research there was on HIV, and how far the medications have come to treat HIV. Although HIV is currently not curable, I was amazed on the advancements regarding limiting the transmission of HIV from person to person. The presentation had greatly altered my perception on HIV.

As a nurse, I work with individuals who are HIV positive. Each individual has their own story of how they contracted HIV, and how the illness affects them on a day to day basis. It's unfortunate, but I find there is a negative stigma associated with HIV. Because of this stigma, I wanted to write about a character who was embarrassed to disclose her HIV status. Having my protagonist have a bad experience disclosing her status with an ex-boyfriend, enhanced her insecurities about telling her friends and family. It was after writing that scene, that I realized, disclosing one's status to another person involves an enormous amount of trust. The approach of how one would disclose their status to a loved one, piqued my curiosity, and I decided to write about it.

HIV is a preventable illness, which assisted me in developing the internal dialogue of my protagonist. Because my character's HIV could have been prevented, it was interesting tackling the guilt my character felt about contracting the illness. I find that understanding one's illness and accepting an illness are two different concepts. My protagonist went back and forth numerous times on how she knew she couldn't 'undo' her illness, yet at the same time she had difficulty accepting her illness. I hope this is a concept that others could relate to.

In nursing school, the idea that an illness is a part of a person, but does not solely identify them, is a theme I tried to relay in the book. I wanted my protagonist to continue on and achieve her goals, as she would have, if she was never diagnosed with HIV. At one point in the book, my protagonist talks about how easy it is to hide her illness, as others couldn't necessarily 'see' her illness. I purposely wrote this to enforce the idea that the HIV is a part of my protagonist, but does not solely represent her. Her one decision does not have to dictate the rest of her life. I included characters in my protagonists life, such as her friends and family, who were supportive of her because I think support is truly important to have. 

~ Avery Woods



This isn't good. She knows, damn it. I can't even lie to her and tell her I take the

medications for a different reason. She knows what the medications are for. I completely

forgot I had my medications in my purse when I gave her permission to go in it to grab the

tampon. I mean, I wasn't thinking. I was half asleep.

I don't know what to say. She’s caught me off guard. I stay silent.

"The medications are anti-retroviral medications. They are used to treat HIV."

Cori gasps, completely shocked. Cori looks at me, but I turn my head. I can't look at her. "Do you have HIV?" She asks.

I stand up to clear my plate. I've lost my appetite. What am I supposed to say?

"Those aren't mine."

Brennley stands up. "Hayden, I saw your name on them."

I get defensive. This is my worst case scenario. I wanted to be the one to tell them on my own accord, so Brennley finding out this way? It’s awful.

"Maybe I took them out under my name for someone else, did you ever think of that? Maybe someone who’s ashamed of having to go to the pharmacy to buy them, worried they will be judged? Did you ever think of that?" Okay, that was a horrible lie, but I'm feeling cornered.

Brennley blows out a breath, and scratches her head. "No, I didn't. I wasn't accusing you of anything. I was just stating what I saw."

I'm angry, but only because they found out like this. "Well, don't jump to conclusions."

I look over at Cori and I can see tears forming in her blue eyes. "Hayden, just be honest with us. Whose medications are those?"

I squeeze my eyes shut. I will not cry. "No one's!" I shout.

I look over and see tears now forming in Brennley's eyes. I can't do this. There are too many emotions floating throughout this room. I'm sad, hurt, angry, devastated, frustrated, and feeling very, very guilty.

"They aren't mine," I sob. My shoulders begin to shake. Cori comes over and lifts my hands away from my face and wraps me in a hug.

"Hayden, it's okay if they are yours, just be honest with us. We don't care if they are yours."

You know the feeling you get when you are about to cry and someone asks you if you are alright, and it's them saying that, that makes you ultimately cry? That's what I'm feeling right now. I release Cori's grip on me and gently push her away. I turn and walk to the other side of the kitchen. I turn to face them. I wipe the tears that have spilled down my cheeks. I shake out my hands. My heart is hammering in my chest. My chest feels tight, like an elephant is sitting on it. I feel a bit dizzy, like the room is moving and I'm having trouble seeing straight. I take a deep breath until both of them come back into focus.

I decide it's time for the truth to come out. Although when I tell them I can't look at them. I'm scared to see their reaction.

"Alright, I give up. Those pills are mine." I cry. "Because I am, in fact, HIV positive."


About the Author:

Avery Woods lives in beautiful, but sometimes rainy Vancouver, BC, Canada. In addition to writing, Avery Woods works as a full time Registered Nurse. When she's not writing or working as a nurse you can find her consuming books by the minute. Trust is her first book.

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