Title: Walking by Faith
Author: A.M. Leibowitz
Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Length: 261 pages
Categories/tags: LGBT literature, Christian fiction, bisexual, genderqueer, romance, contemporary, disability
For Becket “Cat” Rowland, falling in love has never been easy. The summer he meets Micah Forbes, the intensity of his feelings brings back all the memories of eight years earlier.
Following a brutal attack that left him nearly dead, Cat is a mess inside and out. To cope with the trauma and with his view of himself that he’s nothing but an empty shell, he’s taken three vows: simplicity, chastity, and silence. His once colorful, trendy, and often feminine wardrobe has been replaced with jeans and t-shirts, and he’s sworn off men. He locks himself away from the world, using the memorized prayers of his childhood as his only speech.
Cat is lost to himself and everyone around him until another hospitalization introduces him to nurse David Simms. David takes Cat’s silence in stride, caring for him without pushing and slowly building Cat’s trust.
Outside the hospital, Cat discovers he has more in common with David than he knew, and they begin to build a friendship. As it slowly grows into love, David reveals his own need for someone to take him as he is. Cat begins to let go of his vows one by one, only holding onto the silence.
Despite how far he’s come, Cat’s increasingly severe panic attacks threaten to undo everything David has helped him build. Cat’s only hope is to break the final vow and tell the truth about the night of his attack. When David fails to keep a promise he made to be there for him, Cat has to stand on his own and prove to himself he’s strong enough to survive.
Prequel to Passing on Faith.
About the Author:
A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and their family.
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Cat thundered down the stairs, waved over his shoulder in case anyone was looking, and jumped into the car before he could change his mind—both about the meeting and his clothes. Too bad he had the entire drive to second-guess both of those decisions.
The meeting was in a small complex of medical offices. Cat snickered when he saw that one of them was a veterinarian. So the tiny town of Raccoon wasn’t all that different from Concordia, then—treating dogs and people in the same building. He parked and entered the door lettered with Delia Brenner, LCSW; she was the social worker who hosted the group. The outer office was eerily quiet, but he heard voices drifting from the back. He followed the sound, the door closing behind him with a thump. A sign on the inner door read: Ring bell for assistance, so Cat pressed the buzzer and waited.
“Be right there!” a voice called.
A moment later, a man with an open, round face, bright blue eyes, and a head full of long, loose curls peered out. For a moment, he and Cat stood there, staring at each other. It was David, the cute nurse from the hospital. A bolt of nerves shot up Cat’s spine, and he trembled as he unzipped his jacket. David was gay or bi or maybe, like Cat, identified as queer? Cat fiddled with the hem of his shirt, still frozen to the spot.
“Becket?” David’s eyes lit up. “Oh, my god. How are you?”
At Cat’s continued silent staring, David seemed uncertain, but he held out a hand and motioned to Cat. “Come on through. We were just getting started.” He eyed Cat’s shirt and a trace of a smile played on his lips, but he said nothing.
What inspired you to write this story?
People kept telling me how much they loved Cat in Passing on Faith, so I wanted to tell his story. But I didn’t want to simply re-tread his romance with Micah from his perspective. This was sparked by a quote in PoF where Cat’s sister says he’s in “shut-down mode” and won’t talk to her. I wondered why not.
Is there a character you feel especially connected to? Why?
To Cat, of course, although he is really only one aspect of my inner self. His questions and mental dialog about his gender mirror my own. But I also feel linked to Cat’s mom, as a parent myself.
What was the hardest part of writing this?
Getting the emotions just right. It is really hard to show the kind of gender dysphoria both Cat and I experience, and I also sometimes find it hard to pour feelings out on the page—as though I’m revealing too much of myself in them.
Tell us a little about any upcoming projects.
I’m working on several things: The next part of my Notes from Boston series; a young adult coming of age novel; and the last part of Cat and Micah’s story, Keeping the Faith. I’m always busy working on something.
Are there any types of scene you find hard to write (action, love, death, etc.)? I seriously hate writing sex scenes! There are only so many ways to describe sex acts, regardless of the focus on emotions and context. When I began writing, I included them as a rebellion against the taboos of my former fundamentalism. Now I’d like to move in the direction of not having them or doing a fade-to-black.
What do you do when you feel stuck (writer’s block)? Listen to music, read a book, hang with my kids, play a game. It helps to clear my head rather than focusing on the stuck feeling.
How do you handle a story that doesn’t go as you planned? I go with it! But I’m a semi-pantser anyway. I only plot so far. My characters often like to mess with me and say I’m telling their stories wrong. I figure they know themselves best.
- What’s on tap? Box wine—don’t judge
- What’s your wake-up routine? Grumble, stretch, and get up to help my kids
- Morning person or night owl? Night owl