Glencoe teacher to publish her first book

Local teacher’s book will be released in late fall

Kimberly Gabriel, a middle school teacher in Glencoe, wrote a young adult novel entitled “Every Stolen Breath” that is currently available for preorder. The book will be released fully on November 5th.

“Every Stolen Breath” is contemporary with dystopian elements. The story is inspired by the 2011 flash mob attacks, where mobs of teenagers would emerge from a crowd to attack a single person, and nobody could really stop them. This topic is personal for Gabriel.

“I was living in the city when these flash mob attacks started occurring on the north side of the city in these proclaimed safe neighborhoods, and they were terrifying. I was pregnant with my second child, and every single time my husband left the house, I was worried that he was going to be involved or be near one of these attacks. For whatever reason, people who lived in the city during that time were just really scared by them. Even though there were only a small handful of actual attacks, the concept of it was terrifying, so eventually I thought that would be a great theme for a book,” said Gabriel.

In “Every Stolen Breath”, the father of the protagonist (Lia) was killed by a flash mob. Lia then sets out to prove that the attacks are premeditated. While this is the main focus of the novel, there is also an element of dystopian Chicago with regards to the lakefront.

All of the lakefront land is currently protected, which is why there are beaches, harbors, and a running path along the lake. While running along the lake, Gabriel started to think about what would happen if all the land was sold.

“That kind of brought politics into [my book]. Our city is kind of broke, but what if it was so broke that the only way to get itself back on its feet would be to sell off all of the property in front. I took that idea, and I combined it with the flash mobs that were going on in the city at the time, and I turned it into this contemporary novel. However, it does have a dystopia type feel to it. It wasn’t my plan to make it a dystopia setting, but it’s definitely there.”

While Gabriel doesn’t have a favorite part of the novel, she loves particular exchanges between characters.

“Lia’s best friend named Adam is my favorite character in the book, so anytime he’s in a scene, I really like that scene especially because Adam is uninhibited.

He’s that person who will say exactly what’s on his mind, and he has witty comeback that comes on time instead of thinking about it fifteen minutes later.

He’s a fun character to be best friends with, but also a fun character to write,” said Gabriel.

As a teacher, a mom, and a writer, Gabriel’s unique perspective informs her teenage characters.

“I would say that being a mom and also being a teacher helps me see the whole kid, so when I’m in the classroom, or I’m being a parent, I get to see the good sides of kids, the hard sides of kids, the things they struggle with, and also the things that aren’t so great about them—the bad decisions that they make. That makes for really interesting characters that aren’t one sided or one dimensional,” said Gabriel.

In order to balance teaching and writing, Gabriel focuses on compartmentalizing.

She said, “I wake up very early in the morning to write. I woke up at about 4:30 this morning, and I wrote before I came here. Sometimes I revisit it throughout the day, but one thing I try really hard to do is to be present in the moment. If I’m writing, I’m not thinking about teaching or being a mom (which is nice because in the morning, my kids are asleep). When I’m at my job, I try really hard not to think about writing. Then, when I’m with my kids, I’m not thinking about teaching or writing, I’m with my kids. You have to realize that every now and again, as you’re juggling, you’re going to drop the ball. If you’re ok with that, if you can pick it back up and keep going, you are going to be successful.”

Gabriel found the marketing side of writing a book to be one of the most challenging aspects.

She said, “The other hard part of writing that I never anticipated, that isn’t the writing at all, is publicizing the book. Social media is a big part of that. While social media can be fun, it can also be daunting staying on top of social media while trying to teach and be a mom.”

Through the writing process, Gabriel has also discovered an online writing community that she leans on for support.

“I am a part of several Facebook groups for writers, and in those Facebook groups, we share stories and talk about what we’re doing. There’s this whole part of writing a book where I need critique partners who are going to critique my work and help me make it better, but then, there’s also this part of marketing your book, and getting into the publicity stages, and even acquiring agents. It’s so nice to have other people that you can talk to about these experiences,” said Gabriel.

The book is up for preorder right now. You can order it at Amazon, or Target, or Indiebound. The Bookstall is also selling the book right now and accepting preorders.

Gabriel added that “If you preorder, you get a pre order incentive. I have an author commentary where I’ve gone through the book and I include all my thoughts: how I came up with characters, what the setting means to me, or what I was thinking as I was writing. I also have cute little pins that come in the pre order incentive package. Then, once it’s out on November 5th, you can get it anywhere where books are sold.”