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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Landon half-lifted him and sort of carried him to the door, where they slipped out around a few people coming in. It was warmer outside than inside, but the air was fresh, and Cat took a deep breath in a renewed effort to stay coherent. He let Landon guide him out to the parking lot, hardly registering where they were going until they were leaned up against a car. Landon didn’t make a move to unlock it or help Cat inside. Instead, he leaned Cat against the door and pressed up to him. Cat grunted in pain at the contact, but at least Landon was holding him up, and he was a little more clear than he’d been at the bar.
Cat took the opportunity to reach for his phone again, and he hit Zee’s number. While it was still ringing, Landon grasped it and tossed it aside into the dirt, and the sound stopped. He put his face right up against Cat’s.
“Glad I finally got you alone,” Landon murmured in his ear. “Didn’t think you really meant what you said earlier, not after I heard you in the bathroom. So hot. Should have been for me.”
“What?” Cat heard the slur in his own voice.
“I told you, I always get what I want.” He bit Cat’s earlobe, hard.
Cat’s head buzzed, and he pushed at Landon. “Stop…I can’t—”
His protest was muffled by the first blow, which caught him off-guard and knocked him to the ground. His phone lay next to his head, and he turned toward it when he heard Zee’s voice. “Zee?” he said. “Please! I need—”
This time, what cut him off was a foot landing a solid blow on his side. Landon was saying things to him, but none of them made sense—something about it being his fault. Cat gasped, trying to piece together how he’d gotten where he was and what the hell was happening. He never arrived there; something hit his head, and everything went black.
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.
How do you choose names for your characters? I desperately post on social media asking for help. I’m serious. Or I ask my kids. Sometimes I use baby name web sites or the Social Security database of popular names by year.
Where do you look for inspiration for new stories? People I’ve met, my kids, my own life. Anywhere it comes from. I love people-watching and wondering what their stories might be. I rarely draw on whatever happens to be the topic of the moment in my genre.
What else do you use to immerse yourself in the story (music, visuals, etc.)? When I’m deep into writing a story, I don’t need to try very hard—it’s always on my mind, turning scenes over in my head. Sometimes, I do like to have a playlist of songs my characters would find meaningful. For example, I wrote one novel fueled by a whole lot of 1980s Amy Grant.
- Do you enjoy watching or playing any sports? To watch, baseball; to play, none
- Do you have any body art? Nope, but I want some
- Do the people in your life know about your writing? Most do, yes