Writing for justice
Thornhill woman pens novel to spread positive change
When Thornhill resident Katie McDonald heard the story about Amanda Todd, a British Columbia teenager who took her own life in 2012 following months of online bullying and harassment, she was deeply moved.
“I remember I was at the gym when I saw her YouTube video,” said McDonald, referring to a video Todd posted detailing her battle with depression. “I just started crying while I was at the gym,” she said.
McDonald didn’t have a personal connection — an expectant mother, she spends her days working as a professional copywriter. But something about Todd caused her to have an epiphany.
“You don’t have to be affected by something personally to understand how terrible it can be.”
At that moment, McDonald decided to help the way she knew she could help best — through writing. “I decided right then, ‘that’s what I’m going to write about,’ ” she said, adding that others should be inspired to use talents that they have to make a difference. “I’m a writer and that’s my gift, so that’s how I’m communicating this message.”
McDonald opted out of writing a how-to or a dos and don’ts–style book and instead opted for a fiction piece. The now-complete work, Bystander No
More, is geared toward teens, tweens and young adults. It tells the story of two friends entering high school who grow apart amidst typical teen turmoil — gossip, pressures and tough promises to keep. As one falls victim to physical and cyber bullying, the other finds herself torn on how to help.”
“There’s so much more than just ‘bullying is wrong,’ ” said McDonald. “It’s really geared toward all kids because, if we haven’t been bullied, we all know someone who has been bullied. I wrote Bystander No More in the hopes that I might challenge thought processes, make someone think twice about their decisions [and] motivate a teen to stand up for a bullied friend.”
McDonald is still in the process of publishing the book and is raising money via Kickstarter to fund editing, the cover design and distribution.
Once it’s finished and available for purchase, she hopes to partner with anti-bullying and suicide prevention charities so that sales of the book can help fund positive changes for victims of bullying.
Katie McDonald hopes that her book will change young lives