Monday, 4 March 2013

Finding Cherokee Brown

Three years ago I had a dream.

Somebody close to me was having their previously happy life ruined by mindless bullies. Within months they’d become a withdrawn shadow of their former self – attempts to fight back had failed and the teachers at the school concerned claimed to be powerless to act.

This wasn’t the first person I’ve known to have suffered at the hands of bullies – as a life coach, I’ve seen numerous clients still suffering from self esteem issues years after childhood abuse.

I know all of the arguments about bullying being an essential part of growing up – a rite of passage necessary to toughen kids up and a valuable life lesson. A life lesson in what though? That cruelty is something that just has to be accepted? Is this really all that we aspire to as a so-called civilised society?

According to a UK government report, 46% of all young people will be bullied at some point in their life. 38.4% of young people were victims of cyber bullying last year. 28% of young people feel unable to tell anyone and so, suffer alone.

Three years ago, fired up by fury that bullying should still be such a prevalent and accepted part of our culture, I had a dream that I would write a novel challenging this. A novel about someone determined to find the courage to fight back against her bullies and hopefully inspire and uplift other victims. A novel that would throw a spotlight on the shortcomings of our education system when it comes to bullying, and our failure as adults to protect our kids from this kind of abuse.

Today, my dream has come true, and my novel, Finding Cherokee Brown, has been published. I usually find it painfully difficult to promote my own books, but with this one I have to swallow my embarrassment and become a shameless plugger if it is to reach the people I wrote it for and if its message is to be heard. With modern publishing being what it is – and with me not being a reality TV star / footballer’s wife / Middleton sister – I have no mega-buck marketing budget.. All I have is my dream, and the power of word-of-mouth.

So, take a read of the reviews below, and if you like what you see, and if you feel just as passionately as I do about bullying, then please buy a copy – and when you’ve read it, please pass it on to somebody you feel might benefit from the book’s message.

Some people say that bullying is an inevitable aspect of human nature. My response is that actually love is the only ‘inevitable’ aspect of the human condition. Bullying, like anger, hatred and fear, is only ever learned. And it can be unlearned too – if enough of us say, ‘no more’. That is my dream today – that enough of us start saying no to bullying, wherever it takes place – be it in schools, the workplace or relationships.

As the strapline for Finding Cherokee Brown says – everything changes when you dare to dream’.

Early Reviews for Finding Cherokee Brown

‘Siobhan Curham has written a great book that deals with bullying, identity and being brave enough to be yourself. . . This is a lovely story that had me rooting for Cherokee all the way . . . and her journey of self-discovery is delightfully written.’ The Bookseller

'Finding Cherokee Brown is young adult writing at its best. Dealing with difficult themes and real teenage problems, it offers an inspirational and hopeful message. A must read.' We Love This Book

‘I loved Cherokee as a character. Her voice and her plight drew me in from pretty much the first page. She is immediately likeable, and as a self-depreciating underdog, she is incredibly easy to root for. Not all authors can successfully pull off a witty, fast-talking stream of teenage girl monologue, but Siobhan Curham manages to do so in style. . . The strong writing and characters combine to form a mixture that feels meaningful, and had me emotionally engaged with the story throughout . . .The original narrative elements simply add to the enjoyment of the reading experience. The vividness of Cherokee's voice brought to mind that of Lennie from The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.’ The Book Bag

‘A tightly woven, entertaining and moving story . . . Curham has met the challenge she outlines in a letter to the reader – Cherokee Brown is an ‘inspirational, interesting heroine’, a victim of bullying, ‘determined to fight back in her own original way…’ She is funny, resilient, but by no means perfect. She is never presumptuous, and always willing to fight back . . . A pleasure to read.’ The Nocturnal Reader

‘Anyone who is being bullied, has been bullied in the past, or is bullying someone should read this book. Cherokee is a very inspirational character and the book itself carries a powerful message. Overall, I loved this book! It is funny, poignant and really makes you think. 5/5!’ The Mile Long Bookshelf

‘I thoroughly enjoyed Siobhan Curham's debut 'Dear Dylan' which was published last year, so I've been looking forward to reading more from her ever since.  'Finding Cherokee Brown' is another great title which I read in one sitting because it was such a brilliant story. It centres on fifteen year old Claire Weeks who decides that she is going to write a story about her life after finding an old copy of a book called 'So you want to write a novel?'.  What starts off as an attempt to escape from her day to day life, soon turns into something even more powerful and life changing when she discovers a huge family secret which makes her question everything she thought she knew about herself. Claire aka Cherokee was a great main character.  Curham can really write people who you warm to instantly and feel enormous empathy for.  She has several issues to deal with in the book, one being the fact that she is bullied at her school.  This is something that a lot of people have faced at one point or another in their lives and I enjoyed seeing her finally decide to fight back and not let the bullies get away with it.  I thought it was interesting that one of her teachers fails to deal with the teens who are taunting her.  It shows that even adults sometimes suffer confidence issues, feel powerless and cannot stand up against other people. Claire feels like she doesn't fit in with her family, since her mother remarried and had twins.  Throughout the book she gradually learns that everyone has the power to change their own life and that wonderful things can happen when you take control of your own destiny.  
Anybody being bullied or bullying others should read this book because it features a truly inspirational heroine and has a powerful message to convey about the power of both the written and spoken word.  It is also moving, poignant and funny and is another great title from a fantastic author.’ A Dream of Books


You can find the new site here.

Fresh new posts include:

15 Things I've Learnt From 15 Years as a Writer

Dear Dare to Dream: How can I overcome my illness and become a speaker

An Exciting New Chapter for Dare to Dream

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