Students often fall in love with their teachers. Despite warnings from her mother, that’s exactly what 16-year-old Caitlin Kelly does. But Daniel Benedetto isn’t just any art teacher. Not only is he more than twice Caitlin’s age, he rents the Kellys’ upstairs apartment and suffers from cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease. Caitlin watches in torment as other people, especially women, treat Daniel like a freak because of his condition. To Caitlin, Daniel is not a disease, not someone to pity or take care of but someone to care for, a friend, her first love. He, however, seems oblivious to her adoration. In a well-meaning yet naive gesture, Caitlin crosses the line and interferes with his private life, sparking a chain of events with devastating consequences. Neither of them will ever be the same again.
Laurie, how did you come up with the title for your book? Does it have any special meaning?
The title just flew up at me as I started writing. Artists. Cystic fibrosis. Drawing Breath. It felt perfectly perfect.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I adore Daniel, the art teacher. He inspires me. Given the hand life dealt him, it would be too easy to close up and grow bitter. But Daniel stands up for himself and pursues his passions, even though he’s been burned before, and hasn’t always made the “right” decisions.
Does your book have any underlying theme, message, or moral?
I didn’t really write it with a message in mind. But what came out was a hope that readers would see beyond a person’s illness to the person underneath, instead of making instant judgments or approaching them with pity. That we’re all worthy of love and kindness.
What would/could a reader or reviewer say about your writing that shows they “get” you as an author?
If they felt the emotions I felt as I was writing, whether it’s a more lighthearted story or a deeper one. This book was particularly close to the bone for me, and I’m moved when readers comment on the truth and reality of the characters.
Give us an excerpted quote from your favorite review of this book:
“….a beautiful and poignant story of love. I couldn’t put it down and was left with the feeling that I had been witness to something secret yet innocent, heartwrenching and sad, yet lovely and significant.”
Where can people learn more about your writing?