Kevin Vought Author of I’m Supposed to Make a Difference. His story.

I'm Supposed To Make A Difference Book CoverI grew up looking like a very average kid. I lived most of my young life in the suburbs of Rochester, New York. That’s over on the western side of the state along the shores of Lake Ontario for those who aren’t familiar with the state.

My household included my parents, a brother who was about two and a half years older than me, and, of course, me. We almost always had a pet. At least one cat, two for a while, and a dog for a short time.

My parents weren’t rich, but they weren’t poor, either. We never went hungry, but we often didn’t have as many frills as some of my friends. For most of my childhood, my parents shared one car. We all shared a single bathroom with one sink. I don’t think either of those things were all that unusual back then, but seem relatively rare today.

My brother, Bryan, and I spent hours playing basketball at our hoop in the driveway and easily as much time throwing the football around in the backyard. We were closer than most brothers I knew and spent a lot of time challenging each other to be better athletes or just hanging out listening to music and playing games.

On the surface, it all looked very idyllic. If you threw in a white picket fence and a fresh baked pie every night, we would have looked like a typical 1960’s sitcom family.

You know that saying “don’t judge a book by its cover?” Of course you do. It never fit a situation better than it did with my family. The simple smiles flashed to the outside world were nothing more than a front to hide hearts as black as coal. Monsters barren of souls who were masters of covering their tracks to avoid discovery.

You may be thinking those sentiments are too strong. My own wife, Jill, didn’t believe me at first when I began digging up old memories. “Parents don’t do those things to their children,” she would say. “I’ve met your parents, they’re very nice people,” she would mistakenly add. Finally, in 2007, Jill pleaded with my father via email to reach out to me and help me through digesting some terrible memories I was having about my paternal grandfather. He simply ignored the email. That was also a turning point in my relationship with him. After that point, as the years went on and my memories filled in more completely, my father began making up more and more ridiculous lies in an attempt to cover his tracks. Between the 2007 snub and his subsequent backtracking on so many things he had already said, Jill finally began to realize just how evil he really is.

What did my father do that was so egregious? Did he molest Bryan or me? Did he beat us? No. He feared my mother far too much to do those things. Through his actions, things he would say from time to time, and an email he sent me sometime around 2006, it became clear to me that he wanted to. He “abused” his significantly younger siblings when they were growing up. “It’s what I learned” he emailed me. I’m certain he never “unlearned” it. My mother made it extremely clear to him, though, that she would come at him with absolutely everything she had, legally or otherwise, if he so much as looked at Bryan or me again the way he did one day. On that day when I was only about five, he was clearly ramping up to do a lot more than just yell at Bryan and me. She clearly wore the pants in the family, though, and she very well controlled most of his actions and kept him in line to the best of her ability.

What could my father do that was so wrong and so damaging under the iron fist surveillance of my mother? It appears that my father knew my mother’s strength and convictions from the beginning of their relationship. As such, he never told her what kind of person his father was. My father went to great lengths to hide his upbringing from my mother. Not only did he hide what kind of person his father was, he demanded that we spend every Saturday out there with them along with most holidays. When I say we spent the day, we went out there immediately after eating an early breakfast and we stayed out there until midnight or later. My father would typically spend the day alone with his father talking in the back work room or garage. Mind you, my grandfather is a well known violent pedophile who would go as far as threatening to kill my dad and his six siblings whenever they got too out of line. The first red flag: my father enjoyed this violent pedophile’s company and time to an extreme level.

There was more to my father keeping his past secret than wanting to visit with this violent pedophile on a routine basis. When I was still quite young, my father convinced my mother that Bryan and I should be sent to his parent’s place for at least two weeks to “have fun out in the country.” Had she known what my grandfather was all about, she clearly would never have allowed the weekly family visits, let alone leaving Bryan and me alone with this nut job. I have little doubt my father was delivering us to his father so he could live vicariously through his father’s actions. I also have little doubt that he got an earful about what happened during the two weeks we were trapped there on his Saturday visits.

You’re probably wondering now what in the world happened while we were there. It’s not even what you’re likely thinking. To me, it’s a lot worse. In the summer of 1980, I was seven years old. I have had nightmares indicating that my grandfather may have molested me, but I’ve never reconnected to those memories if he had. What I do remember is a lot worse. He abducted an eleven year old girl while I was alone with him. My brother was out of the house all day with my grandmother running errands. I believe the girl lived relatively close by and was a friend of Bryan’s and mine.

He attacked her and forced me to stay in the room with them. As she screamed, the guilt of doing nothing overwhelmed me. I knew helping her would likely end in my death, but I refused to stand there and do nothing. When I awoke from being knocked unconscious, she was gone. I’ve never been able to confirm whether she survived the attack or not, but I think I’ve found her with the help of a private investigator – alive and well today. She won’t respond to my emails or outreaches on Facebook. Presumably she’s not in a place where she wants to pick at that scab.

You at least had your mother to run to, right? Not exactly. My mother always looked out for me in the big things, such as keeping me safe from my father and worrying about why I came home with my face completely swelled up when I was seven. In other matters, though, I was pretty much her verbal punching bag.

My mother almost desperately wanted a daughter. She was convinced I was going to be a daughter. From the moment I was born, she became suicidally depressed. She never was able to move past the disappointment and lambasted me for everything I did. Even when I’d get 100% on a test, she would point out how lazy and stupid I was for only getting 95% the week before. After all, she reasoned, this 100% clearly showed I was capable of being perfect all the time. Talk about setting the bar high!

I knew she would blame me for the little girl’s death if I told her about it, so I kept my mouth shut. That wasn’t easy to do because she wouldn’t stop examining my swollen face for days. She even took me to the doctor to have it examined to see if my father’s excuse that I had been exposed to poison ivy in smoke was realistic.

All this and a lot more is described in much better detail in I’m Supposed to Make a Difference: A Memoir About Overcoming Trauma and Abuse. The book includes excerpts from emails I’ve exchanged with my father, greater details of all the situations described here plus more, and discussions of how this affected my mental health. The discussions on mental health include sections about suicidal feelings I battled from 11th grade through to about 2019. It lays out how I managed to work through the suicidal depression and anxiety with the help of a wonderful psychologist (who wrote a great foreword for the book) and an extremely knowledgeable psychiatrist (who wrote a wonderful afterword for the book). I’m hopeful the book will serve as motivation for others fighting with similar childhood traumas.

You can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09C3Z7XC5. Released on Tuesday September 7 in paperback and Kindle. The Audiobook version is being produced and will be available soon!

 

When Evil Calls Your Name #BookReview

  • Title:  When Evil Calls Your NameWhen evil calls your name: A gripping dark psychological suspense thriller (Dr David Galbraith Book 2) by [Nicholl, John]
  • Author: John Nicholl
  • File Size: 635 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publication Date: December 31, 2015
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0191ODNJK
  • Format:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Psychological Thriller

Synopsis

When twenty-nine-year-old Cynthia Galbraith struggles to come to terms with her traumatic past and the realities of prison life, a prison counselor persuades her to write a personal journal exploring the events that led to a life sentence for murder. Although unconvinced at first, Cynthia finally decides she has all the time in the world and very little, if anything, to lose. She begins writing and holds back nothing: sharing the thoughts she hadn’t dare vocalise, the things that keep her awake at night and haunt her waking hours.

Review

When Evil Calls Your Name is the second book of Dr. David Galbraith., and the title fits perfectly for the novel. The story is told by Galbraith’s wife, Cynthia, as she spends the remainder of her life in prison. Her prison counselor had suggested that she write a personal journal in order to help come to term with her past and future, and she does so in such gripping detail, it makes you really feel for her.

It’s a much easier read than its predecessor, White is the Coldest Colour. The storyline is smooth and free of plot holes. John Nicholl does, as he did in his debut novel, a wonderful job at weaving the story together. When Evil Calls Your Name is set at a very slow pace. We look into Cynthia’s  life as she was an innocent young girl, suffering from losses and pain. It only makes sense–and delving into Cynthia’s mind, we see exactly how it’s effective–that she was brainwashed and verbally abused. And that’s what makes this thriller scary. Looking on the outside, it’s not so easy to see why a young woman can be so easily manipulated  and molded to fit the image of an evil man. Only someone who has lived it and seen it can relate. As a former police officer and child protective services worker, Mr. Nicholl does well in explaining how it could be done.

After the halfway mark, when we begin learning about Cynthia’s relationship with Galbraith, I felt sorry for her having to go through what she went through. She was understandably a weak-minded young woman, who fell to the charms of a man she believed to be caring. It’s writing such as this that makes me love to read. It takes a natural writer to be able to grab your psyche the way Mr. Nicholl does.

I highly recommend reading White is the Coldest Colour first. It’s not easy to read, but still, wonderful story telling, and highly intelligent. I believe the first book is essential to truly appreciate the second. I can’t wait to find out what new novels Mr. Nicholl has in store for us next.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

John Nicholl

John Nicholl’s debut novel: White is the coldest colour, a chilling dark psychological suspense thriller, draws on the author’s experiences as a police officer and child protection social worker. The novel entered the Amazon UK top 100 bestsellers chart after just 15 days, and became one of the 25 most read books on Kindle, reaching # 1 in British Detectives and Vigilante Justice. It also reached # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological Thrillers in France, # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological & Suspense in Spain, and # 1 in British Detectives and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, where it reached # 10 of all books in the Kindle store. The gripping sequel: When evil calls your name, was published on the 31st of December 2015, and quickly reached # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Women in the UK, # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Criminals and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, and # 1 in Violence in Society in the USA.

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White is the Coldest Colour #BookReview

 

  • File Size: 728 KB
  • Print Length: 286 pages
  • Publication Date: May 1, 2015
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00VR8X45W
  • Format:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Psychological Thriller

From the author:
White is the coldest colour is entirely fictional, but draws on my experiences as a police officer, child protection social worker, manager and trainer. During my career I was faced with case after case that left me incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims. The book reflects that reality.

The story is set in 1992, a more naïve time when many found it extremely difficult to believe that a significant number of adults posed a serious risk to children.

The book includes content that some readers may find upsetting from the start.

It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

Review:
White is the Coldest Colour is a gripping, disturbing narrative of child abuse. Dr. Galbraith is a child predator and a character that appear so real within the pages of the story, it’s terrifying. The events take place in the early nineties, where, in the author’s words, many find it difficult to believe that children could be put at risk of adults.

A story such as this is one that can both make you want to throw the book across the room, yet can’t let you go. The scenes are welded beautifully, each as strong as the next. John Nicholl terrifyingly describes what’s happening in such vivid detail, it tugs at your heartstrings. The first chapter alone is one that would make you want to put the book down because you’re in the mind of a pedophile. However, it’s an essential part of the story, one that must be included. The next few chapters show the truth of how a sexual predator appears to the general public.

The characters, primary and secondary, stood out and you really feel for them. You get mad at them, but you can’t help but love them. The only one you don’t love are the ones doing the bad things, but they blossomed in the writing.

While reading novels based on child abuse is not my choice of an enjoyable read, I found that reading it helps raise awareness that anyone, even a well-liked child psychologist, married with children, could be a sexual predator. A lot of parents still, even to this day, believe that their children are safe. But the truth is, this is a dark world in which we live. And White is the Coldest Colour does well in reminding us of that.

The author, John Nicholl is a former police officer and child protection social worker, so he knows his stuff. He wrote this book to help his readers realize the pain and suffering children go through by sexual predators.

I recommend White is the Coldest Colour because as hard of a read it was, the story moved forward, the scenes and characters were strong, and it raised important issues, one that people just don’t want to discuss. I can only imagine how hard it is to write a book such as this one, especially when it’s based on the things you’ve seen in your career. I truly look forward to seeing more from Mr. Nicholl.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

John Nicholl

John Nicholl’s debut novel: White is the coldest colour, a chilling dark psychological suspense thriller, draws on the author’s experiences as a police officer and child protection social worker. The novel entered the Amazon UK top 100 bestsellers chart after just 15 days, and became one of the 25 most read books on Kindle, reaching # 1 in British Detectives and Vigilante Justice. It also reached # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological Thrillers in France, # 1 in British Detectives and Psychological & Suspense in Spain, and # 1 in British Detectives and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, where it reached # 10 of all books in the Kindle store. The gripping sequel: When evil calls your name, was published on the 31st of December 2015, and quickly reached # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Women in the UK, # 1 in Biographies and Memoirs of Criminals and International Mysteries and Crime in Australia, and # 1 in Violence in Society in the USA.