Relish Media creates stimulating content, inspiring stories, and powerful events for young adults.
Breath to Breath
William is seventeen when he’s uprooted from his home and sent to live with his estranged father—someone he hasn’t seen since he was a little kid. When he’s unexpectedly dragged into a situation where he has no choice but to help an abused four-year-old boy, William’s world is rocked to the core as he discovers the truth of the boy’s experience of extreme sexual abuse. He and this boy are connected in ways William can’t even imagine. As horrible memories begin to flood his consciousness, William’s rage drives him to steal a neighbor’s guns, convinced he must stop those responsible for causing a boy so much pain and betrayal.
How William finds the love and compassion he needs to make the right choices is the heart and pulse of this riveting verse novel. Inspired by a true story, Breath To Breath explores what hurt and healing really mean: to survive you hold your breath, but to live you must exhale.
A Note from our Publisher
Relish Media emerged for two reasons. First, the audience of our first books grew up and required content to engage them. And second, this story found me and beckoned to be published as a young adult novel.
Several years ago as I was struggling in an unsafe relationship that was bringing up issues of abuse from my childhood, I sought the help of an energy worker named William. A close friend of mine had given me his name years previously, but as with many things in life, I wasn’t ready for help until I was in crisis.
According to William, he “put me back together” every time I came to see him until I decided to break the cycle and leave my husband. Having accepted responsibility for my own safety, and ever so slowly, William helped me to repair what was broken in me.
As we worked together, we became friends. William shared with me his own story, which is nothing short of miraculous. He is a survivor of profound sexual and emotional abuse. He was born with special gifts of perceptivity, which made his suffering greater. In many different ways, he tried to numb himself to his sensitivity to escape the pain. He was suicidal for most of his adolescence and young adulthood. But William’s path led him away from self-loathing and self-destruction and instead to self-acceptance and healing, and eventually to healing others. William can see, mend, augment, and pacify people’s energy fields. He can find deep fissures and wounds caused by life experience and repair them. His gift is amazingly powerful, and he has devoted himself to sharing it to benefit others.
One day after our session, he handed me a stack of pages that he had written about his life. He knew I was a publisher and wanted my opinion. I cried as I read his story. I cried for William for having to endure a childhood devoid of love, compassion, and belonging and instead marked by emotional and physical abuse. I cried for the damage the abuse caused and for the long path to wholeness it created. I identified with it as a survivor of repeated child molestation by three perpetrators. When the tears abated, I realized that I was holding the means to continue William’s own healing, my own, and many other like us. In that moment, I conceived the idea for what was to become Breath to Breath.
With William’s consent, in August 2013 just prior to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Annual Summer Conference, I posted what was essentially a Want Ad on the Little Pickle Press blog seeking an author for William’s story. Many talented authors presented themselves, and one emerged as the ideal candidate to write our title—Craig Lew, the recipient of the Nevada SCBWI’s coveted Mentorship Award and Ellen Hopkins’ mentee.
William connected with Craig immediately, so we commissioned the work. When I asked Craig who his first choice of Editor was, naturally he said, Emma D. Dryden, who also edits the work of his mentor. Emma accepted our invitation, and in the words of Theodore Roosevelt (made popular by Brené Brown) we endeavored to dare greatly together.
We have all contemplated, emoted, hurt, made ourselves vulnerable, grown, struggled, connected . . . and healed during the journey to bring this title to you. It is my heartfelt desire that within these pages our readers can find parts of themselves and feel seen, understood, redeemed, and hopeful that wholeness, and happiness, is a choice they can make for themselves.
With humility and gratitude,
Publisher, Relish Media