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Janna McMahan Book Signing

01/26/2013 1:00 pm
01/26/2013 3:00 pm

November 2012


Contact: John Koehler, Mobile: 757-289-6006

The Kids Aren’t All Right:
Psychological thriller about homeless youth draws emotional response

VIRGINIA BEACH – As major cities begin their homeless counts in January, a new psychological thriller will illustrate the reality of millions of young people with no place to call home. Anonymity, by national bestselling author Janna McMahan, is a hard-hitting account of the daily life of one girl alone on the streets.

McMahan was influenced to write Anonymity by a girl she saw whose face was a mask of intricate tattoos. “It was shocking and I carried her image in my mind for years. I kept asking myself why she would do that to herself,” McMahan said. “As a writer, I was even more troubled by the question of who would do that to a child. It was a mystery to me, so removed from my own life that I had to write about it.”

An idea for a story that would do the girl justice finally came to her and McMahan started research. “Gutter punks, street rats, worms are all terms used to describe the young homeless, but I found these kids to be capable and clever. They have to exist in an adult world with no resources and still keep their humanity,” McMahan said. “Readers tell me that they look at homeless people differently after Anonymity, how off their preconceived notions were. I know I came away from writing the story with a different perspective. It was a challenge, a dark story in many ways, but just like life, there are light moments too. There has to be levity for people to enjoy a book and for me to stay sane was an author.”

Anonymity is an action-packed drama about families—those we are born into and those we piece together out of need. Lorelei is a young runaway who works her way down the California coast and across the Southwest with a band of Travelers like herself. She lands in Austin, a hip city known to Travelers for a lively music scene, artsy alternative lifestyle and welcoming youth services. Lorelei meets Emily, a bartender who befriends her. Being anonymous is how Lorelei hides from her past, but Emily’s attention exposes her young friend and ends up calling forth the very danger from which Lorelei was trying to escape.

“Lorelei’s problems are very adult. She not only has to meet basic needs like food and shelter, but she has to deal with issues like sex, drugs and people who want to take advantage of her,” McMahan said. “She has serious trust issues and even well-meaning people have a hard time breaking through her tough exterior. The facial tats are to warn people away. Her survival instincts are good, but she let’s her guard down to Emily and that’s when things go bad fast.”

During her research McMahan turned to LifeWorks, a youth homeless shelter in Austin. “The folks at LifeWorks were amazingly helpful. They showed me where the kids hang out, explained how services worked, shared studies and experiences. These kids are not just runaways. The majority of them simply aged out of the foster care system,” McMahan explained. “These kids truly have no place to call home.”

Koehler Books will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Anonymity to LifeWorks. “We are pleased to contribute to LifeWorks,” said publisher John Koehler. “They do vital outreach and help America’s young homeless transition to a better, self-sufficient life.”

Anonymity releases January 1, 2013. It includes a Q&A section sure to spark lively book club discussions. Janna McMahan is the national bestselling author of three previous novels. For more information visit Look under the For the Media tab for headshots and cover images. To book an interview, email the author at For an advance reading copy contact the publisher at or 757-289-6006. To learn more about LifeWorks visit

Book List

Anonymity (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781938467233
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Koehler Books, 1/2013

She’s not just a random homeless girl. Lorelei is street smart, elusive and manipulative. She’s a survivor, always on the move. Always one step ahead of the danger in her past.

Emily’s a hard-partying bartender in downtown Austin with problems of her own. When she meets a handsome reporter looking for a photographer, Emily volunteers her camera skills. As she follows him into the sordid world of gutter punks, Emily finds an unexpected friendship that will redefine her life.

But Emily realizes too late that each of her attempts to help only puts her new friend in ever increasing peril. Can she unravel the mystery of Lorelei’s past and find a way to protect her? Or would the girl be better off unknown and on her own?

Anonymity is a gritty, harrowing account of young people who live life on the edge when all they really want is a safe place to call home.

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