By Janie Crouch
I write romantic suspense. Best job in the world.
In every book I write there comes a moment when the main characters have to reach for an inner strength they didn’t know they had, to fight an evil bigger than they thought. It’s agonizing, but they prevail because they are heroes. And because my stories always get to have happy endings.
But what if the main character was fighting an evil no one could see, and the battle required a huge inner strength not just in one moment, but day after day for the rest of the hero’s life.
And the happy ending wasn’t guaranteed. The opposite in fact.
And the hero was a young, teenage girl.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic, life-threatening lung and digestive disease. It affects the cells that produce fluids in the body (like sweat, mucus, and digestive juices) and causes these fluids to become sticky and thick. They then can block airways and cause lung infections, chronic coughs, and even lead to death.
One my daughter’s best friends, Tia, suffers from CF. We have watched in the ten years we’ve known her as she has taken dozens of pills daily (mostly enzymes to help her digest food) and gone through daily lung and breathing treatments to help make sure her lungs stay as clear as possible. She’s had countless hospital and doctor visits, being poked and prodded in every possible way.
And I’ll tell you this: Tia has faced down this evil disease with as much courage and fierceness as any hero I’ve ever read or written about in a book.
May (the month I set this book up for pre-order), is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and Tia is the reason I’m donating 100% of the pre-order earnings of my upcoming book Survival Instinct to CF research charities. I’m so thankful that I’m now self-publishing so I can make that choice.
I wrote over fifteen traditionally published books before moving over to self-publishing in 2017. Taking over all the responsibilities and decisions about my books (editing, covers, release dates, marketing… the list seemed never ending) was daunting, to say the least.
But with those responsibilities and decisions also came freedom. Case and point, the ability to use Survival Instinct’s platform to raise money and awareness for a cause that is so near to my family’s heart. To set it at a price that would give it some buzz ($0.99) and also make it affordable for everyone. Those options wouldn’t have been available to me in a traditionally published book.
I’ve also been amazed as dozens of people and organizations in the self-publishing community (including the Kobo Writing Life team) have come together to back me in my endeavor to become a Tia Trooper and help fight CF, providing assistance, answering my countless questions, and the giving of their time and resources.
We’ve set up a Tia Troopers Facebook party for the months of May and June and a number of indie authors have hosted “takeovers,” providing opportunities for participants to win copies of their books, giftcards, and even more extravagant items like handmade blankets and jewelry. One indie author even provided a free novella to every participant in the party (over 500)! All to help the CF cause and to support a family they don’t even personally know.
I thought when I jumped into self-publishing I would be on my own. But instead I’ve found a supportive community wanting to help each other thrive. And because of that I’m able to raise awareness and funds to help make sure a young hero has a better chance to live and become an old hero.