Monday, May 2, 2011

Therese Fowler Bases Novel on Family Ordeal

Son's sexting charge spurs mother's novel, (Charlotte Observer, 5/2/2011)

Excerpt: In the hierarchy of dangerous teen activities - drinking, unprotected sex, reckless driving - the act of texting an explicit photo might not top most parental lists.

But in "Exposure," a new novel by North Carolina's Therese Fowler, two families are nearly destroyed when some naked photos prompt a sexting charge.

While the book is fiction, Fowler, who lives in Wake Forest north of Raleigh, was inspired by her own son's ordeal. He had recently turned 19 when he was arrested in 2009 for sending explicit photos to a 16-year-old girl who was a friend. The charge shook Fowler's family, as her son confronted consequences that could follow him for life.

As it turns out, the book's timing couldn't have been better. Sexting is in the national spotlight, as schools and law enforcement agencies struggle to deal with young people who "sext," sending sexual photos, videos or texts by cell phone. The New York Times recently gave the topic front-page coverage, with a story about an eighth-grade girl whose nude photo went to the cell phones of hundreds of other middle schoolers.

Prosecutors eventually dismissed the charge against Fowler's son. But she realized she had the premise for a riveting story. She persuaded her publisher to let her set aside a novel in the works to write another inspired by her son's experience.

"I realized," she said, "I had this unique opportunity to talk about this issue.

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