Exposure is the story of two high school seniors, Amelia and Anthony, who are deeply involved with each other over the objections of Amelia’s father. When Amelia’s father inspects her laptop computer and finds nude photographs of Anthony stored there, he becomes infuriated and calls the police. Anthony is soon arrested and the over-zealous prosecutor is determined to make an example of Anthony in order to illustrate the dangers of “sexting.” The story is a timely cautionary tale for parents and teens alike, inspired by the author’s actual experience with her son. It is also an engrossing tale of young love in the age of technology.
I reviewed Exposure and because I was so impressed by it, I invited Therese to be my guest author today. She not only graciously accepted my invitation, but, along with her publisher, Random House, has offered three copies of the book to be given to lucky readers selected at random. (Entry details below.)
Therese Fowler on Exposure
In an early review of Exposure, the reviewer said I’d done a brave thing in writing a story that was inspired by my own son’s arrest for what the media have dubbed a sexting crime. That word, brave, took me by surprise. Writing the novel had been necessary. It had been frightening. I didn’t — and still don’t — feel I’d done anything brave.
I’d been working on a different book when my son, who had just turned nineteen, told me a warrant for his arrest was being issued. That book was under contract, so although life became very complicated very quickly, I felt bound to keep working and meet my deadline — but I struggled with it; the story just wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do.
A few months after my son’s arrest, months in which his lawyer had urged us to stay silent about what was going on, the idea for Exposure came to me. I’m certain it grew from my horror and frustration with what was going on, and the effects events had on my son and on our family. I asked my son what he thought about my writing a novel inspired by the situation, and he was fully supportive. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise.
In some ways, the writing came easily because the scenario was so familiar and so close. In other ways it was hard, because even though Exposure is entirely fictional — the story inside the book is not my son’s, nor mine — I knew I was putting my son and myself in a position where we would be judged. All the while, though, I was telling myself, think of what books can do.
I grew up being influenced by novels, and I fully believe in the power of story. Whether invented or true, stories have been the vehicles of lessons and warnings and inspiration for as long as humans have had the means to tell them.
So to craft a novel that might prevent even one person, one family, from having to face a similar or worse crisis was not, to me, a brave act. It was an opportunity to tell a story that reminds us all, “To err is human” – which is especially true when deep emotions are involved. I felt obligated to set aside the other book and write this one, to give you Anthony and Amelia and Harlan and Kim, all well-meaning people whose actions and choices add up to a cautionary tale that I hope will give you, at the very least, many hours of good reading.
Everyone in Exposure makes mistakes — as we all have done at times, and no doubt will do again. It’s what happens afterwards that makes all the difference.
Therese Fowler says that she has believed in the magic of a good story since she learned to read at the age of four. She worked in the U.S. Civil Service, managed a clothing store, lived in the Philippines, had children, and sold real estate and used cars. At age thirty, as a newly single parent, she went back to school, earning a degree in sociology. She went on to earn an MFA in creative writing, and launched her successful career as the author of stories that explore the nature of family, our culture, mistakes, and desires.
She is proud to be one of fifty members of the Fiction Writers Co-op. Their collection of “Great Book Club Selections” is a resource that connects booksellers and readers with authors who enjoy talking about their novels with book groups.
With books published in nine languages and sold worldwide, Therese writes full-time from her home in Wake Forest, North Carolina, which she shares with her husband, four amiable cats, and four nearly grown-up sons.
Click here to read an excerpt of Exposure.
Enter to Win a Copy of Exposure
Three lucky readers, selected at random, will receive a copy of Exposure, generously provided by the author and her publisher, Random House.
To qualify, you must read my review of Exposure by clicking here. Then post a comment on this post, stating what aspect of the story — discussed in my review — you find most interesting and inspires you to want to read the book!
Be sure to include your email address (for notification and delivery purposes) in your comment. The book can only be shipped to a United States or Canadian address (no P.O. box).