A warm welcome to author Avylinn Winter joining us today to talk about her new release “Toxic”.
Welcome Avylinn 🙂
The abusive story
Thank you for having me here at Love Bytes, I’m excited to start my blog tour here with you to talk about my new release, Toxic. This time, I’m actually going to tell you a bit about the novel and why I wrote it. No pink sheep for anyone.
I’m Avy, or Avylinn Winter if we’re formal. I remember the last time I was here with a blog post. I tried my best to keep it light and up-beat. I recall that I told you that Volatile, the first novel I published, was a sweet novel because Iíd written a darker one before. Well, as it appears, I swing back and forth. After Volatile came Toxic. I’ve never written a darker story than this, and it took me a long time to finish because it was heavy to deal with even for me,even if I held back.
Toxic is the direct result of the growing realization that teenagers on Wattpad, where I first wrote it, were exposed to countless stories that treated violence in a problematic way. That is, violence was not a problem at all, but rather something exciting that left few scars, if any, in its wake. I’m not judging people for reading stories with this type of theme, but I wanted to add a counterweight to even out the balance. Toxic is raw, too real for some, and not rosy at all apart from the ray of hope toward the end. Toxic is meant to show how fiction can touch upon reality and the other way around. It’s a novel that deals with domestic violence, emotional abuse, and survival.
Toxic in itself is abusive on the reader, even if I do not dwell on the violence. Why? Well, because I wanted readers to be so close to Adam that they truly felt what he went through. Not just the violence but the emotional turmoil. I wanted to understand how it was to be Adam, and I wanted the readers to feel the same, even if Adam’s story is merely a fictional portrayal among million others out there in the real world.
I call Toxic abusive, but what do I mean? I’ve seen it in comments on Wattpad, I’ve read it in messages, and I’ve noticed it already in reviews. You ask me one question that I deliberately refused to answer in the book.
You ask: Why did Gabriel abuse Adam? What happened to make Gabriel this way? Why did he turn from a friend to an abuser?
You want a reason. You want me to explain so that you can understand. It appears that we instinctively want to give a sliver of humanity back to a person we cannot grasp. Maybe we want to understand and even forgive abusers because we want them to be human,we want to attach attributes that make them more like us. Abusers are human and some of them deserve to be understood, but I wanted to shift the focus from the abuserís story to the victimís.
By not giving you a reason for Gabriel’s abusive behavior, I removed that possibility of redemption and understanding. I wanted to put you in Adamís shoes, because Adam never gets closure. He’s forced to live the rest of his life with that very question.
This is real. Many survivors out there have to live without that kind of understanding or knowledge,they live with the questions every day. So, Toxic is abusive because I don’t give you the luxury of an answer.
It was deliberate.
Some of you might back away from the novel after this blog post. Perhaps you wonder why you should read it at all. Iím not going to answer that either. Itís up to you to decide if you want to read a story about abuse that has been called accurate and compassionate by survivors. I will tell you that I put more emphasis on the emotional turmoil than the violence itself, and much of the novel is about finding a way forward and ultimately to love again. Adam isnít aloneóhe has friends fighting for him, and he has the support of Cameron who refuses to give up even as Adam pushes him away. Adam survives.
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 79,690 words
Treacherous Chemistry Series
Adam Webb spent most of his teenage years in love with his best friend, Gabriel Connor, only to be thrown out of their shared apartment when he finally found the courage to reveal his feelings.
Seven months later, Adamís effort to save their lost friendship finds him more than he ever asked for. After all, being thrown out has to be better than thrown into a wall. However, Adam isnít ready to give up. Trapped and isolated in a dangerous relationship, he falls deeper and deeper into Gabrielís world.
Despite Adamís attempts to push them away, his friends are determined to help, but the man who fights hardest is Cameron McCain, Adamís photography teacheróa man who treasures what Gabriel does not.
They say love should conquer all. But when passion breeds fear and love turns toxic, will Adam make the right choice?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of domestic violence and dubious consent.
Raised in one of the cold corners of the world, Avylinn spends her days either wrapped up in a blanket or basking in the precious sunlight. When she canít choose herself, sheís holed up in an office working with climate research that has little to do with the worlds and characters she creates in her vivid dreams.
Always the emotional one, she has found her outlet in writing, voicing thoughts, emotions and fears through her characters that feel very much alive to her. And, what began as a hobby soon took more and more time in her life until she realized that she had left her old life behind and entered a new one where her emotions turned into a super poweróready to launch at her poor readers.
She recharges with the help of coffee, cinnamon buns, popcorn and occasionally a healthier alternative.
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