Today I’m discussing my New Adult release The Disappearing Girl. Out of all my books, I get the most letters and questions regarding Kayla Marlowe’s struggles with an eating disorder. Here I provide some answers but BEWARE spoilers are posted.
What inspired you to write a book about eating disorders?
Eating disorders are a common problem that gets very little media attention. According to Anad.org, up to 24 million American suffer from an eating disorder with only 1 in 10 sufferers ever receiving treatment. Statistics also show that 95% of those who have an eating disorder are between the ages of 12 and 25.
Although you can find a handful of fiction books on eating disorders, I found many of them didn’t fully connect with me. I also hated that many of the books ended with one or more of the characters dying. Yes, you can die from anorexia and bulimia, but that’s not the only outcome. I had personal experience with an eating disorder and I wanted to translate those feelings I had in regards to food and weight onto the page.
Who did you model Kayla after?
Another thing I found bothersome about a handful of books I read was the unlikable main characters. Eating disorders can absolutely change your personality, but I couldn’t connect from the start with many of the characters. I wanted Kayla to come across as a normal college student who ends up succumbing to the pressures of losing weight.
What do you wish for readers to take away from The Disappearing Girl?
I really wanted to emphasize Kayla getting better on her own. Yes, Cameron inspired her recovery, but she walked away from the relationship to get treatment. I think it’s important to realize how important it is to rely on our own inner strength to get us through the hard times. Support is an important part of the process of recovery, but if Kayla went through treatment only for Cameron’s sake, she’d be more likely to repeat the same unhealthy patterns later on.
What would happen next for Kayla and Cameron? Will there be a sequel?
I wrote The Disappearing Girl as a standalone. If I did do a sequel, it wouldn’t be a story about Kayla relapsing. I just don’t want that future for her and although she would always be at risk for falling back into unhealthy habits, it was important to me as an author to give Kayla a HEA. If I did go ahead with a sequel, it would either by Lila’s (Kayla’s younger sister) story or a story featuring Cameron’s relationship with his birth mother.
What was the biggest challenge you faced writing the book?
Some of the things discussed in The Disappearing Girl can be triggering to people suffering from an eating disorder. There is talk of calories, beauty obsession and extreme dieting. Researching these things was hard for me. It brought back a lot of feelings I had tried to repress. As happy as I am about writing the novel, it was an emotional relief when I finished it.