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Monday 18 July 2016

ℚ♫ invisible-i-am - Harriet Showman

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about invisible-i-am (, Harriet Showman, 79 pages).

“I can’t think of a more compelling book for teen readers than invisible- i-am...because it unpacks in real time the significance of bullying...

Showman’s art that evokes the passage of a bullied teen—from being erased by the hate of bullies to the articulate composition of a new self—teaches a lesson to students that goes beyond the walls of the classroom.

It’s the most important education a child can receive: they need to learn that they are not scripted by what is said or done to them; they are the creators of their own destiny.  They are the narrators of their own story.”
- Dr. Jennifer Fraser, author of Teaching Bullies (Motion Press, 2015)

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Trailer & Chapter 2  | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Harriet Showman; than you for joining us on BooksChatter!

To set the moood, I'd like to share here the music playlist for invisible-i-am - enjoy!
p.s.  also check out Everyone Belongs to Everyone Else 
by AK Rockefeller which is not on YouTube!

What was the inspiration for invisible-i-am?
"With respect to Stephenie Meyer and all Twilight fans, a 21st Century story about a teenage girl who falls for a blood-sucker promising eternal bliss frustrated me.  No doubt lost a bunch of readers with that one!"
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Gregg’s story speaks to my own struggle with feeling invisible in the midst of trauma.

How do we find the courage to overcome rage?   Can we turn away from revenge and find the strength to free ourselves?  As we begin to heal, can we embrace others who may not have the same resilience?  Do we move beyond ourselves and address social injustice?

Here’s what I learned through my own journey:

Life begins again and again. There is always more joy.

Gregg will discover this truth.

(sooner or later)"
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for invisible-i-am - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"A common Composition notebook -- the kind many teens still use for classes or personal use, contains the scrawlings of a sixteen year-old who feels an urgency about confiding an ugly, foundational belief-challenging sexual assault.

Gregg drew and scribbled over the cover in bold red ink -- eyes, lips, human and animal figures, and so on.  She also created startling art, featured in the book and online at, chronicling her passage toward a new sense of self.  Gregg always makes things her own."

Why should we read invisible-i-am and what sets it apart from the rest? 

"The World Health Organization estimates that “between 15% and 71% of women ever in a relationship experienced physical or sexual violence by their intimate partner.” Notice this data does not include sexual violence as an act of war or efforts by all too many culture-specific communities to control females through rape or mutilation.   Add in what happens to boys, vulnerable gender populations, the sex trade, and one must conclude that we live in a feral world.

Reading is immersive.   It takes you out of yourself and into another viewpoint, another life, another world.  invisible-i-am takes an unflinching, first-person look at bullying, sexual violence, and oppression from the victim's perspective.  If one finds the courage to engage, one may find the compassion necessary to insist on a comprehensive social response.  Here’s the thing to remember when delving into invisible-i-am: Gregg Davis may sink into psychological darkness but she rises above it stronger and more empowered than ever.  That is not often possible for those who are trapped in systematic abuse.

invisible-i-am takes a unique approach to storytelling.  In conjunction with the first-person text, the book features some of my art created from Gregg's perspective, so one gets a visual narrative of Gregg's journey as well.  I'm as much a visual artist as a writer, and I find that the experience of visual art strengthens the story because it appeals directly to the senses, bringing the reader into a more intimate relationship with Gregg as a character. (P.S. She doesn’t care much about grammar.)

I've also continued the story via social media -- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr with in-character reflections so that Gregg can respond to new, relevant events with her characteristic snark, deep empathy, and personal insight.  You can find links to all social media on the official website,"
Can you tell us something quirky about invisible-i-am, its story and characters?
"Well, the main character's first name is Gregg, and she's a girl! (haha)

The book overall is pretty quirky, featuring a combination of visual art with text, the unconventional plot twists that expand the book's themes, the social media presence of the book's main character.  To me, this was a story that couldn't be told through conventional means.  It needed to be bigger, more visceral, and more immediate."
Who would you recommend invisible-i-am to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"This book is PG-13 and comes with a trigger warning for sexual assault/violence.

It's not suitable for young readers. It portrays trauma, which may be upsetting to more sensitive readers, especially those who have been through similar trauma.  There's also some sex and crude language.

However, invisible-i-am is not about shock.  It's about realism, showing authentic experiences that are part of all too many teens' everyday lives.  Not all of it is pretty or ideal, but that's life.  Real people go through this sort of difficult experience but, with the right resources, they can also recover from and rise above it."
If you could / wished to turn invisible-i-am into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Oh man.  I don’t want to jinx anything."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"As a creative renegade, I’m all over the place.  Love making short Dada-esque films in conjunction with poets and singers (see the invisible-i-am youtube channel)"
What is your writing process?
What is in store next?
"Gregg must prevail!   Look for a sequel to invisible-i-am! "
Any other book news you'd like to share?
"Yes!  invisible-i-am received some prestigious indie book awards!

Over the past few months, it won a five-star gold B.R.A.G. Medallion award from indieBRAG and a Library Journal gold medallion.  It is included in the SELF-e digital book system, available to readers through participating libraries throughout the U.S., and in the official rotating collection of the South Carolina Center for Children's Books and Literacy."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Being from the southern US means I’m full of oddities.  Not sure they lend themselves to photos.  But! If anyone needs to witness my tendancy toward bizarre behavior, here’s a picture of me interacting with a mug . . ."

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