Saturday, October 31, 2015

Nick S. Klaus - Katie Mettner Release Day

Today we are celebrating the release of Nick S. Klaus, Katie Mettner's new Christmas story! I asked Katie what her favorite part of the book was and this is what she told me. 

Nick S. Klaus on Amazon


My favorite part of Nick S. Klaus is the relationship that Nick builds with Mandy's son Ben and daughter Esther. As their principal, and next door neighbor, he's watched them grow up over the last five years and has learned who they are on the inside. Now that Ben is in middle school he's struggling with some issues about his father and the kind of man he is. Even while it makes Nick feel awkward to talk about Mandy's ex with Ben, he struggles through those moments because he knows Ben needs him. The relationship between Ben and Nick is fun to watch develop throughout the book as Ben learns to trust another man the same way Mandy has to, because he was hurt too when his father cheated. I think it's a rare man who can accept another man's children as his own without blinking an eye, but in Nick S. Klaus you watch Nick do just that. Blended families or stepchildren, or stepparents, whatever your choice term for it may be are still family, and in Nick S. Klaus I want the reader to feel those same emotions that Nick feels when he finds out little Esther is being bullied, or when he helps Ben walk through the feelings about his father. Each time they reach out to each other you see them gain more trust in each other. In the end, they all have the same fear, and that's losing each other. I wanted to pick a scene that would show a bit of the early relationship between Ben and Nick, so I went with the one where Ben is asking Nick if he really has to be at his dad's when he gets remarried...

Ben fiddled with his basketball, but slowly looked up to the sky. “I was just wondering if you thought I had to go to my dad’s wedding.”
“Well, Ben, it really doesn’t matter what I think. That’s between you, your dad, and your mom.”
“He really wants us to come.”
“You’re his kids. I’m sure he wants you there to celebrate that day with him.”
“What if I don’t want to celebrate that day with him?”
I felt like this was dangerous territory. On one hand, he needed someone to talk to, and on the other hand, I had to be very careful about what I said. Going or not going to his father’s wedding was something that wasn’t my decision to make. I switched into principal mode to sort this out. “Can you tell me why you wouldn’t want to celebrate with him?”
He turned to me then, and his face was beet red with eyes of fire. It reminded me a lot of when his mom got mad, and I tried not to smile. “Do you know what he did to our family?” he asked, his tone filled with anger and hurt. I nodded without speaking. “Would you want to go to his wedding and pretend to be happy about it?” I shook my head no. “Me, either.” He sank back into the chair and kicked his legs some more, anger still radiating from him.
“What part about him getting remarried is really bothering you, Benji?”
“Would you please not call me that? I prefer Ben.”
“Of course, I’m sorry, Ben it is.”
“Have you ever walked in on your dad naked with another woman before, Nick?”
I was taking a drink of root beer and nearly choked when I tried to swallow. I coughed a few times and finally held my hand up. “No, I can’t say I have. My father is dead.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” he answered looking down at the ground.
“It was a long time ago, Ben. What happened between your parents was a long time ago too, but it appears it still upsets you. You were very young when your parents broke up. How much do you really remember?”
“I was five and I will never forget what I saw that day, Nick, ever. Maybe at five I didn’t know why he was standing there naked with another woman who wasn’t my mom, but I understand it all very well now.”
“I suppose you do,” I said, trying not to be judgmental towards his father. I had to stay neutral. I had to be Switzerland.
“Does it make me a bad person for not loving him very much?”
“Whoa, Ben, I think maybe you need to talk with your mom about this. I will go with you, if you want.”
“So you do think it makes me a bad person.”
“I didn’t say that, but if you’re that upset about your dad then maybe you need to talk to someone to work through it.”
“I’m talking to you,” he said as though I didn’t have four college degrees.
“Okay, then I’ll answer. I don’t think it makes you a bad person. I think it makes you a hurt, angry, and sad person, at least when it comes to your relationship with your dad. My guess is you don’t trust him very much?”
“I don’t trust him at all, and I don’t understand why Tasha does either. He slept around on my mom, so what makes her think he won’t sleep around on her?”
I blew out a breath. “You’re asking very adult like questions here, Ben. Where are you hearing this? Your mom, your grandpa, or your uncles?”
He crossed his arms. “I have a brain, Nick. It doesn’t take more than first grade math to add one and one and get two. My dad is very…” he snapped his fingers clearly looking for a word. “You know he says one thing but does the other.”
His fingers snapped once and he pointed at me. “Yes! He’s hypocritical. He’s a minister, right?” he asked and I nodded. “Well, he stands up in front of people every Sunday and tells them not to sin, and to follow the Ten Commandments, but then he does the exact opposite. How is that cool?”
I took a drink to keep from laughing aloud at his verbiage. “It’s not cool, not at all. You’re right, he’s very hypocritical. We have a saying in Germany that goes, handlungen des Menschen werden Ihnen sagen, alles, was Sie wissen müssen.”
“Wow, you speak German?” he asked in awe.
“I was born and raised in Germany by a German father, so yes, I speak German. What I just said means ‘a man’s actions will tell you everything you need to know.’”
He sat swinging his feet for several more minutes and then stood, and picked up his basketball. “Thanks for the talk, Nick. That really helped.”
“It did?” I asked confused.
“You said a man’s actions will tell you everything you need to know. I could go home and tell my mom I don’t want to go to Dad’s wedding, and she wouldn’t make me, but it would cause a big problem for her and for my sister. It would also embarrass my dad if I refused to come, and it might ruin his day. I don’t have to like it, but I will go because that’s what the Lord put on my heart to do, and that is the kind of man I want to be.”
The kid absolutely nailed it and I would tell his mother what a wonderful son she was raising at some point, but first I raised my fist and he gave it a bump.
“Excellent work, son. I’m proud of you and your mom will be, too.”
“Thanks, Nick, but we all have to do things in life we don’t want to do. Look at my mom, she does all kinds of things she doesn’t want to do and doesn’t complain about it. I shouldn’t either.” He walked to the end of the driveway and turned back to face me. “Hey, Nick?”
I stood and walked up the driveway a bit, “Yeah, Ben?”
“What does the S stand for in your name?”
I laughed and shook my head, “I can’t tell you that. It’s too embarrassing.”
“If I were to guess it would you tell me if I was right?”
“If you managed to guess this name then yes, I would tell you, but you’ll never guess.”
“Give me time and I just might.” He started walking backwards away from me. “Mom said you and her are taking us to the fire hose competition on Saturday for Fall Fest. Is that true?”
“We did talk about doing that, before she hurt her leg, but if she’s okay to go then I’ll happily tag along.”

He didn’t hide the fist pump he gave as he walked away.

Those are the kinds of things that Ben wants to talk to Nick about, because he doesn't have a man in his life that he can trust to tell him the truth. He wants a father figure who believes in and can teach him things about life the way a father should. This relationship between Ben and Nick developed very much on its own as I wrote, but when I went back and read it again I was surprised to see how intricate their relationship had become. When you read the book you'll see exactly what I mean as you reach the end of the story. I've written several books about single mothers who are struggling to raise their children and still have a social life, but in Nick S. Klaus you see more than that. You see a family healing from a very toxic relationship and learning that they deserve so much more. They find all of that in one man, and with the help of a little Christmas magic, and the big man himself, they discover just how wonderful life can be. 

Nick S. Klaus on Amazon 0.99 through 11/02/2015

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting me stop by and talk about Nick and Ben! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!