By Julia Beauregard
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
Westwood native Meghan Joyce Tozer recently returned home to make a special stop at Westwood Public Library while on tour for her debut novel, “Night, Forgotten”.
The book is a psychological thriller that discusses themes of family trauma, generational trauma, and the aftermath of sexual assault. “The novel was inspired by my work as a feminist activist and sexual assault preventionist,” Tozer shared. She went onto say that this novel was very sensitively written, as she wrote this story being informed through her previous work with the Unslut Project.
Although this is Tozer’s debut novel, it is not her first published piece. The Westwood native had been previously published under the pseudonym of Emily Linden in 2016, with her book “Unslut”. This book was nonfiction, as Tozer explained that it was “my middle school diary, word for word, from when I was at Thurston Middle School,” with only the names changed to protect the identities of her peers.
The local author felt compelled to first publish snippets of her diary to the popular blogging websites Tumblr and Wattpad after reading a news story about a young woman who faced sexual harassment and slut shaming, just as she had during her time at Thurston. Unlike the author herself, though, this young woman took her own life.
This called Tozer to action. She wanted to share her story with young women who felt needed to read her words. “I just thought it would be a quirky blog where teenage girls who needed it would find it,” Tozer told the crowd. Her posts went viral, though, as she explained that it caused “people to realize that if you have been sexually harassed or assaulted, it’s not your shame to carry.”
She went on to make a documentary film related to this book to share her story, as well as the stories of others who had been affected by sexual assault and harassment.
Although, Tozer admitted, “It feels so much better to be writing as my legal name, and to show up here as myself!”
It was quite the night to celebrate the author’s accomplishments, both under her pen name and legal name.
Meghan Joyce Tozer’s debut novel, “Night, Forgotten”, started as a passion project during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), as the novelist had been struggling with postpartum depression. “I thought I would regain my sense of identity through writing,” she admitted to her crowd.
She wrote the entire first draft in a single month before posting it on the website Wattpad, seeking readership and critiques. She redrafted the book, per her followers’ feedback. After some time, Tozer was asked by Wattpad Books, to be a part of their first slate of published books in their adult genre.
Five years after writing her first draft, “Night, Forgotten” was published on November 1, 2022. It can be found wherever books are sold. For more information on Tozer and her published works, visit www.meghanjoycetozer.com.