Friday, March 12, 2010

Guest Author Blog Tour - Musical Chairs

Each Friday I will host a blog tour of authors who will share info about their recently published books. Many of them are authors from ATTM Press, my publisher, a small indie press in Maine. I'll also invite authors who live in my region or who I've met in my travels.  First, we have the very dedicated and highly talented, Jen Knox from Texas. 
I'm in the middle of reading her memoir Musical Chairs, which is an eye-opener every parent should read. It's a gripping, frightening and brutally honest story of a teen runaway and how she struggles with mental illness. Every parent read this book so they'll be mroe knowledgeable when they address the issue of running away with their teenagers.  The real facts will help negate their romantic notions of being on their own.  And for anyone who left home at a young age, this book will serve as a bonding experience. Those of us who never left the comfort of a normal life could never imagine what happens to vulnerable teenagers once they hit the streets. Musical Chairs offers the insights only a survivor can explain.

 Musical Chairs explores one family's history of mental health diagnoses and searches to define the cusp between a '90s working-class childhood and the trouble of adapting to a comfortable life in the suburbs. In order to understand her restlessness, Jennifer reflects on years of strip-dancing, alcoholism, and estrangement. Inspired by the least likely source, the family she left behind, Jennifer struggles towards reconciliation. This story is about identity, class, family ties, and the elusive nature of mental illness.


Throughout the summer of 2003 I repeatedly underwent what psychologists have since diagnosed as post-traumatic stress and panic disorder. A spiritually-inclined friend refers to the same summer as my rebirthing period. Still others, who claim to have had similar experiences, tell me that such episodes were probably a warning, my body’s way of telling me to adopt healthier eating habits, exercise more or quit smoking. At the time, all I knew was that the onset was swift.

Review: Alvah’s Book Reviews (to read the entire review, click here).
“[Musical Chairs is] well-written, which means Jen Knox knows how to string words together into comprehensible sentences. And her ‘voice’ is honest, unapologetic and – vital! – likeable. In other words, she’s like the Apostle Peter in the Bible. She’s a weak, frail, vulnerable human being, who makes lots of mistakes. Which means – thank God – that she is human. Which means that despite all her flaws and failures, she is not a fraud or a charlatan. She’s not pretending to be someone who has their ‘shit’ together.
Jen and most of her family are gloriously dysfunctional – just like most families. And they have a tendency toward mental illness. And – shockingly – she talks about it. Which is what makes her story and her book so wonderful. It’s downright refreshing to read a book that acknowledges what most people know is true, but are afraid to confess: Most people are one brick short of a load. Which is what makes them and life so interesting.”

About the author:
Jen Knox is a Fiction Editor at Our Stories Literary Journal, and works as a freelance writer, editor, and writing tutor. She grew up in Ohio, and lives in Texas, where she is currently working on a novel entitled "Absurd Hunger."

To watch the Musical Chairs Trailer, go to Knoxworx Multimedia.

To read Jen's blog: JenKnox at blogspot

For more information about Jen, go to

Musical Chairs is available at, ATTM Press and Barnes & Noble
For more information about ATTMP, go to or

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