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Guest Post: Deborah DeMoss Smith (Light Fixtures)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Light Fixtures by Deborah DeMoss Smith
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Release Date: June 27, 2011

During the summer of 1963, everything is moving fast for 14-year-old Aurora, who’s spending the days with her grandparents in the northwest Louisiana countryside where her friend Chrissie and the cute Johnny Lee live. Her fast thoughts and actions can cause those around her to shake their heads in bafflement, especially when her spirits nosedive. But it’s no puzzle for the mystical Mr. Hematite and his tiny assistant, Mr. Dragonfly. Together, they guide her in understanding her bipolar moods and show her that as Light Fixtures, everyone has the potential to shine with balance and brilliance.

A coming-of-awareness novel set in the South in 1963, Light Fixtures focuses on 14-year-old (“I’m almost 15!”) Aurora who, with the help of two mystical friends, discovers her fast talk and actions are more than what they seem.

There are many nonfiction books on bipolar disorder, but rarely is the mood disorder addressed in fiction, especially YA fiction, though the number of teens with bipolar is expanding. And, as an author, that intrigued me.

Of course the challenge – and the fun – was writing a story that focused on a teen experiencing the onset of manic depression (as bipolar was called then) and yet not have the novel be dour. Enter Aurora’s budding friendship with two unique friends: the robed, wise Mr. Hematite who lived in the woods, and his helper Mr. Dragonfly. Through them, she learns about herself and that, as a Light Fixture, she has the ability to shine with balance.

I chose the title Light Fixtures—devices used to create illumination—as a metaphor for who Aurora, and all of us, are: beings who, no matter what our limitations, have the power to emit our true light.

The setting of Light Fixtures also demanded a strong component. The story plays out in the northwest Louisiana countryside in the early 60’s, where the culture of Aurora’s grandparents (whom she stays with), rich with its Deep South dialect and emphasis on manners, is distinctive.

Although I’ve written many TV documentaries and the nonfiction book Reflections of the Heart: What Our Animal Companions Tell Us published by Wiley, this is my first YA novel…though not my last. As Aurora goes through high school and beyond, I’ll follow her journey with her everyday teen experiences, with her special guidance and the blossoming bipolar moods.

1 comment:

  1. This book actually sounds great! I hadn't heard of it before but the time period, setting and the fact that the teen has a mood disorder definitely makes it intriguing for me.


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