Today on the blog I'm hosting Nicola Mar, author of Santa;
Spanning the course of several weeks, Santa; details the physical and emotional deterioration of June, a victim of severe bullying after she survives an attack by her classmates. With no one and nothing to trust but faith, she struggles with the idea that the human spirit may not exist.
When I happened to land on the Dr. Phil show while flipping through the TV channels two years ago, I saw a story that captured my interest in a way that not only brought tears to my eyes, but reminded me of memories I had suppressed for years. The guest on the show was a mother who was talking about the suicide of her teenage daughter. Her daughter was assaulted, bullied in school, and cyber bullied online to the point where she felt like she had no other option but to commit suicide.
The story touched me deeply and my heart went out to the family. I remembered that as a little girl, as young as four years old, I was severely bullied in school. I don’t remember a lot from those young years, but I remember the incidents when I was bullied vividly. I came home from school crying every day. I was tormented in class by a young girl who called me names and stole from my cubby. The feelings that were brought back from watching the show were actually ones that never left me.
However, there was no Internet back in those days. Even as a teenager, the Internet was just starting to become popular when I was 16. So, there wasn’t the danger of cyber bullying that we have today. Bullying back in my day was cruel and hurtful, but today it is deadly. Immediately after I watched the segment on the Dr. Phil show, I went online and started to research the statistics on teenage bullying.
The numbers I found were shocking. Approximately 2 million adolescents attempt suicide every year. According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24, resulting in approximately 4,600 deaths annually. There’s also a very strong link between bullying and suicide, with victims of bullying accounting for as much as half of suicide deaths.
I knew something needed to be done. How could I help? I thought. I decided to write Santa; to create awareness to this epidemic of bullying that is affecting our country. Our eyes and ears are not opened enough. There is currently no federal anti-bullying law, which allows bullies to continually torture and harass their victims, thinking there are no consequences to their actions.
My novel tells the story of June, a teenager who becomes so isolated and broken because she is constantly tortured and cyber bullied that she feels like she cannot escape the pain. Her hopelessness leads her to conclude that the only way out is suicide. This is the story that so many teenagers can relate to today but are afraid to admit. I want the book to show these victims that nothing they have done is their fault. Bullying happens to everybody. Do not be embarrassed or ashamed to speak up. The only way we can eradicate this disease is to share our stories and empower each other. Know that your life has meaning and purpose. Have the courage to speak up, to tell your family, teachers, or friends what is happening to you. Ask them for help. Do not fall into the trap that so many bullies rely on—making you feel powerless, helpless, and alone. There are people everywhere that want to help you; you just need to let them know what is happening.
Watch the book trailer
Nicola Mar is an author and poet who grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where she wrote her first short story at age seven. At eighteen, Nicola moved to the U.S. to continue her education, graduating from Rollins College with a bachelor's degree in anthropology and a specialty in creative writing. After spending many years in the fashion industry, Nicola chose to pursue her writing full-time. Her first novel, A Red Tale, was published in March 2014. In 2015, she published her second novel, Santa;. She currently lives in New York City with her two dogs. Learn more about Nicola at
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