Brenda Youngerman writes about stories that matter. A southern California native coming from a very large family where she never felt like she fit in. “I was the youngest member of a huge family and I never really felt like I belonged there.”
Her first novel, Private Scars, was an expose of what happens to a victim of domestic abuse when they have never been exposed to it. From the moment the first review came out Youngerman realized her calling… that of the voice of the victims.. those who don’t have the strength to speak for themselves. Since Private Scars (2006), Youngerman has published a novel a year, each one exposing another social issue that those in power choose not to discuss. “If one person is helped by one of my novels, that is a good day.”
Skewered Halo takes a look at the filth behind sibling rivalry that goes unnoticed by inattentive parents. Brenda is currently at work at her eighth and ninth novel (simultaneously).
Characters make a story. You either love them or hate them, but one way or another you need to be able to understand them. Developing a character is one of the most difficult things about writing a novel. My biggest challenges come from coming up with a unique name and then being able to describe the way they look. I have found over the years that I enjoy reading other peoples work to see how they describe someone. For some reason I tend to create similar characters over and over again and I am trying to break that mold.
I think that people watching has helped me a lot! I love to watch how people walk and talk and use their hands to express themselves. If I see someone who has an interesting trait I try to remember it to incorporate it in one of my books.
I tend to use dialog to enable a reader to get inside the mind of my characters, using thoughts and expressions to help. Some characters are easier to work with than others. I find that developing a child and that personality is quite easy as they seem so much less guarded than adults.
In Restored Hope I spent a great deal of time developing the characteristics of a dog. She was a central part of the book and it took me a while to make sure I did her justice. Then the relationship between her and the main character was another whole ball of wax. You can’t pretend to know what a dog is thinking so you have to make the actions speak for themselves.
It is amazing to me when you sit back and realize Charles Dickens was probably the best author ever for developing memorable characters. And his books usually have no less than fifty characters each. That, to me, is the sign of a great author!
She slowly wound herself down the hall to the bedrooms. The first door on the right was her son’s room. Tyler had been an angel from the moment he was born. Nothing and no one could ever put out his light. Just watching his wonderment at life could crack even the hardest of shells. No one ever walked away from Tyler without a smile on their face.
When Kyle came along a year later, Tyler welcomed him with open arms, and the boys were inseparable. The room for one immediately became a room for two. Bath time became playtime. She crossed the hall to the tiny bathroom and could picture the two of them playing in the tub. Tears crept into her eyes, and she just let them fall.
She continued her journey to the next bedroom. The bed was made with a pink-ruffled spread, and there were animals waiting on the pillow. Those animals were going to have to wait for a very long time. Diane could see the tiny silhouette of her daughter drawing. “Look, Mommy, I made a pretty picture for you!” She had just smiled at her and said it was nice; she was too busy to take notice. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she went into the master bedroom and reminisced about the day they’d bought the house.
“I hate this bathroom, Gary,” she’d told him. “It’s ridiculous.”
“I know, hon, we’ll get it fixed right away,” he’d promised. That never happened.
Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, she said, “Gary Montrose! I hope you’re rotting in hell!”
Diane Newsome is the middle child born into a middle-class family. Her older sister, Brittany, has resented her existence from the moment she was born.
Unbeknownst to their parents, Brittany convinces Diane that she was placed on the doorstep as an unwanted child, and she dare not make a wrong move or her place in the family will be in jeopardy.
Years later, when Diane finally divulges this secret, her parents are aghast, yet her mother still sides with Brittany, even shunning Diane and her children.
Then one day Diane comes home to find her entire life has been a lie … and everything she held true was fabricated.
Skewered Halo tells an incredible tale of murder, mayhem and treachery that delves into the bottomless depths of hatred and jealousy.
Brenda Youngerman’s Skewered Halo is a convoluted tale of death, deceit and betrayal. Diane Newsome’s dysfunctional childhood and family haunts her as she moves through adolescence, college and marriage. Is there any way for Diane to escape her tragic past?
Growing up overshadowed by her attention-seeking sister Brittany, Diane Newsome is easily overlooked by her parents. Following her shocking revelation of the lies told to her by Brittany, Diane salvages her relationship with her father and leaves for college. Mysterious disappearances, suspected murders and untimely death mar her college years, but Diane graduates, begins her career and meets the man of her dreams, Gary Montrose. Married with three children, Diane’s life is not exactly a dream come true, but she is happy enough. Until an unbelievable act shatters Diane’s world and unravels an elaborate plot that might just destroy her.
The premise of Skewered Halo is intriguing, but I found the plot far-fetched and a little over the top. The characters are well-developed but I found it difficult to connect with them. I liked that Diane and her father overcame their differences and formed a close relationship. I thought Diane’s mother’s devotion to Brittany was unrealistic even though her guilt is understandable. I tried to feel compassion for Diane and the trauma she was experiencing, but it was not easy to overlook her more irritating traits. She has one particular habit that I thought would prove to be significant to the story, but unfortunately, that was not the case. Most of the storyline is neatly wrapped up, but there were a few unanswered questions. The ending is so abrupt that I thought I missed a few pages of the story.
Overall, Skewered Halo is an entertaining read. Brenda Youngerman draws the reader in and keeps the story moving at a fast pace. There are many surprising twists and turns and anyone who enjoys family drama and a good mystery will enjoy this story.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*
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