STORIES ABOUT ‘SHOES’ TO KICK ABUSE

(This story first appeared in the West Bloomfield Beacon -MI)ERIC CZARNIK C & G Staff Writer  Published: March 2, 2011

To Desiree Cooper, a pair of blue suede shoes means more than fancy footwear or rock ‘n’ roll. The West Bloomfield author and former Detroit Free Press columnist joins three other female authors in releasing their fictional anthology “My Blue Suede Shoes” in late March. According to Cooper, each of the anthology’s four stories deals with themes of domestic violence and abuse, which are instigated by both men and women. Her contribution “Breakin’ it Down” is about a TV talk show host who abuses her 7-year-old daughter.

Cooper said fiction makes it easier to approach tough topics. “It’s easier when you’re talking about a character in a book,” she said. “People see themselves or someone that they know.” Writing a novella is different from writing a newspaper column because the former can be lengthier, and that means there is more room to work with the complexities of a narrative, Cooper said.

She said her story, like the others in the anthology, uses a pair of blue suede shoes as a symbol of awareness about domestic violence. And each story offers a path of escape from the female protagonists’ times of trouble – even if that doesn’t always happen in real life.

 “We did want to write from the point of view that there is hope,” Cooper said.

“My Blue Suede Shoes” is the second book of the four coauthors’ Sister 4 Sister Empowerment Series.

Cooper said she learned about her co-authors through writing groups and networking relationships. She said she was probably the last person brought aboard the project.

“The four of us have never all been in the same room together,” she said.

Cooper is not the only participant from Michigan. Elizabeth Atkins of Detroit said her story “The Wrong Side of Mr. Right” is about a woman who realizes that her apparently perfect fiancé turns out to be anything but, as his emotional abuse escalates to physical violence.

For instance, he exerts controlling behavior and belittles her appearance, clothing style and eating habits.

“She needs to get away from him as soon as possible,” Atkins said. “It’s so easy to get caught up in the romance and excitement of it that you really don’t want to notice those red flags.” Atkins said she has written more than a dozen books, and she explained that she creates realistic characters by drawing upon her journalism experience at The Detroit News and Fox 2 News. “It’s really easy for me, just by observing people and reading news all the time and watching interviews,” she said.

She hopes that her contribution to “My Blue Suede Shoes” will help women empower themselves with courage and knowledge. “It takes awareness and a plan,” she said.

Authors Tracy Price-Thompson, TaRessa Stovall, Elizabeth Atkins and Desiree Cooper will release “My Blue Suede Shoes” March 29.

To order your copy now, CLICK HERE.

You can reach Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586) 498-1058.

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