Format: Kindle Edition
California is portrayed as some kind of paradise where everyone and everything is perfect, the reality is somewhat different to this Hollywood creation. Fractured Angels is all about the homeless in Santa Barbara, particularly a mother and daughter pair who are just trying to survive. Williams is a Santa Barbara author so this is a deeply personal writing and this really comes through in the book, you can really tell this is something he really, deeply cares about. After reading the book you will care about it too.
All too often the disparity between the haves and have not’s is swept under the carpet and hidden away. This disparity is oh so clear as people at the very bottom of the ladder are fighting for survival, not metaphorically, but literally, survival in what is one of America’s (and by extension, the world’s) most affluent areas. The characters are beautifully written; you really come to feel for them and want to actively help them out. I find it somewhat repulsive that there are people starving and living in the streets while not so far away there are folks with so much excess it is unbelievable.
The book is very well written and if you are interested in books about the homeless specifically or books about poverty in the western world, then you will love this. 5 stars and highly recommended from me.
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was AMAZING! [Ken Williams] tells the inside story of working with the homeless in the backyard of the rich and famous. In [Fractured Angel] he draws on his own experiences to create a fictionalized account of a social worker, a mother, and a fifteen year old runaway all trying to cope with their demons. [Williams] has a way with storytelling and the empathy he shows for all his characters shows through in his words.
Where you can find Fractured Angel:
Interview with Ken:
1. Tell me about your book and why you decided to write it.
FRACTURED ANGEL is the story of Lynne Swanson, mother, professional, middle class who is forced to visit the world of the homeless in Santa Barbara CA when her fifteen year old daughter, suffering her first psychotic break runs there. To access this alien world she is forced to seek the help of Kyle Wilson, a social worker for the homeless. Their interaction: mistrustful at first and eventually romantic drives the story as does the shock of the often brutal world Lynne’s daughter now finds herself trapped in. With the approach of the cold and wet winter, known as the “killing season” amongst those who serve the homeless the search takes a desperate and dramatic turn.
The seeds of this story was planted several years ago when a man from Silicon Valley was told by the police that if anyone in Santa Barbara could help him find his daughter, who had run there after suffering a psychotic break it was Ken Williams. The clashing life styles of this man and myself stood in stark contrast that day we met. He was refined and his clothes and mannerism spoke of wealth. The two of us would never have interacted in our respective worlds—except his daughter, with a wounded mind was somewhere out there who needed help. The sadness in his eyes, his being humbled with the need to seek that help from me was etched on his face. But the love of his daughter trumped all. He gave me a picture that day of his daughter. It was torn in half to protect the identity of other family members. I have that photo to this day. And sadly I have met many other parents looking for their mentally ill sons and daughters living on Santa Barbara’s cold and unforgiving streets.
2. What is your favorite genre to write and why?
I have written in literary fiction, urban fantasy and currently speculative fiction. Each one has its owns challenges and pluses. The novel I am working on currently is speculative fiction and I find that intellectually stimulating.
3. What do you hope to accomplish as an author?
I look to the writings of John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair and Harriet Beecher Stowe—Uncle Tom’s Cabin as leaders in how novels can change reality. President Abraham Lincoln is rumored to have said to Harriet Beecher Stowe when he met her: “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!” In my small way I hope to be part of a wave that will challenge how people view the poor, the mentally ill and especially the homeless and help end this national disgrace.
4. What would you like your readers to know about you?
Even from darkness light can emanate. My worldview and perhaps my sensitivity to injustice were born in conflict. My time served in Vietnam during the war had a profound impact on me, including having a novel I read while recuperating on a hospital ship setting my life’s course of working with the mentally ill. (I Never Promised You A Rose Garden). Then the streets, their brutality and the beauty of those who have nothing yet try to help someone in even worse dire straights taught me humility and well as humanity and how to keep things in perspective. We are not able to avoid pain. The only “free” choice we have is how we react to it. We can fall victim to racism, sexism, blaming the “other,” or use our intellect and heart to make things better.
5. Do you have any works in progress? What are they?
Since FRACTURED ANGEL I have completed two novels. HOMELESSNESS, A COMBAT VETERAN, MENTAL ILLNESNSS, A LOVE STORY is in fact a love story between a Marine combat veteran of Afghanistan and a mentally ill Vietnamese-American. The backdrop is an abandoned warehouse taken over by the homeless. GAIA’S REVOLT takes place twenty years in the future when global warming is having devastating consequences in California and throughout the world. It is a story of how the fabric of our society is brutalized by those events. Unending wars for natural resources, racial strafe, growing poverty of the middle class and rampant homelessness of the poor. Sort of reads like today’s headlines doesn’t it?
6. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?
Interesting question… Perhaps that we quit fearing the “other.” That we simply see everyone as equal in our collective struggle to bring dignity and meaning to our lives. Then again there is that brutal war in Syria. Suffer the poor children. Why?