As I wrote Just Beneath the Surface, I remember wanting to convey several things: the importance of communication, the importance of listening to our instincts, and dispelling the myths about domestic violence.
At the time of writing this book, I noticed that many people empathized with women who were being abused, but I also noticed that many people were harsh. I noticed that many people were judging the woman who chose not to leave, assuming that she was weak, or saying that she deserved to suffer, if she was not ‘smart’ enough to leave. In my opinion, through everything that happens in life, we have to remember to relate to one another; that is what inspired my novel, Just Beneath the Surface.
The things being said bothered me, but the fact that those ideas were a misunderstanding, more than anything, inspired me. If I could change just one point of view, I thought to myself. This is when I created the first main character: a strong, confident woman named Kendall, who stumbles into a relationship that literally brings her face to face with death. I wanted to show the gradual transformation from Kendall’s initial confidence, to her frequently questioning herself, second guessing her instincts, then eventually losing her voice, and the essence of who she is.
““Okay, Kendall. I understand,” she said, and she disappeared down the hallway.
She must have known from my expression that I did not want some popcorn eating, hair braiding slumber party. I wanted to be left alone. Spencer was my problem, not hers or anyone else’s. People – strangers – who gawked at us from the outside only made things more difficult. Because of neighbors and police officers, who thought they were helping or knew more than I did about my own safety, Spencer was in jail. But when he got out of jail, I had to go back to him.” – Just Beneath the Surface
I wanted readers to imagine her state of mind. I wanted people to empathize with her, and how distorted her world had become; no one could see her world through her eyes, and no should call her crazy or deserving of what was happening behind closed doors.
I am also deeply moved by teenagers and young adults who find themselves seeking love, attention, and affection, in all the wrong places. Kendall’s daughter, Diamond, is in a very lonely place after her parents’ divorce. Her father is distant, her mother is nurturing a new relationship, and the only person who seems to understand what she ‘needs,’ is a teacher’s aide with a dark side. I wanted to show how easy it is to go from knowing who you are, to losing yourself in loneliness. Young adults do not always appear to ‘need’ their parents, but an open line of communication is a necessity.
My hope and inspiration: to know that at least one person feels a shift in his/her thinking; through empathy and compassion, I hope at least one person finds it easier to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
Kendall Berkley never understood why women would stay in abusive relationships or allow themselves to be battered and humiliated. It would never happen to her. She had it all: two beautiful, intelligent children and a successful career. She knew she would never let a man abuse her, and if he did she would walk away.
She knew all this until the day she married Spencer. He treated her like a queen…until he’d had a bad day, or the house wasn’t spotless, or she looked at him wrong. No matter how much blood
was shed, or how many bruises had to be hidden, or how many lies she had to tell, she stayed for the sake of her marriage.
Sometimes a woman has to choose between broken vows and broken bones.
RH Ramsey is a military wife, mother of two and student. Over the course of eight years, RH has diligently researched topics ranging from but not limited to: relationships, addiction, abuse and mental illness.
RH has completed several novels, four novels near completion and five short stories. She has two self-published books: Just Beneath the Surface I, and Into the Atmosphere, with many more to come.
With a passion for people, helping and learning, she hopes to continue in her quest of learning from and inspiring others.
Website link: http://arirjames.wordpress.com
Character “thoughts” excerpt link: http://arirjames.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/900/
Link to book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kILQjDENfyk