Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined by Kilee Brookbank and Lori Highlander

About the Book:

Kilee Brookbank was a typical sixteen-year-old, thinking about school, soccer, her friends, and her boyfriend. But her last ordinary day erupted in an explosion that consumed her house, burning over 45 percent of her body and sending her to the very brink of death. After thirty-eight days of surgeries, skin grafts, perpetual physical therapy, and excruciating pain, she had to discover how to live again.

When Kilee returned home, she had to find a new “normal,” relearning how to tie her shoes, put on her makeup, and even turn a doorknob. In each moment of her long journey back to everyday life, she had to make choices that would define who she was and who she would become.

With unwavering support from her mom, Lori, and the rest of her family, Kilee faced her journey with determination, strength, and a positive attitude that inspired not only her community, but people around the world.

Told together by Kilee and Lori, Beautiful Scars is a story of recovery, healing, and hope, reminding us all that we’re never powerless, never alone, and that each challenge we face helps make us the people we are meant to be.

My Thoughts:

This story of 16 year old, Kilee Brookbank’s experience with skin burns and her positive outlook to fight back and live a fulfilling life is encouraging and inspiring. The idea to get her story out there, to teach people to love themselves in spite of how they look or the scars they bear is wonderful and I applaud Kilee for the same!

This book brings out the sequence of events from both Kilee’s POV and her mother, Lori’s POV, thus helping us to understand all sides of the story and the feelings of everyone involved. It is a scary thing that happened, but the way in which it was approached and dealt with, made a huge difference to the recovery.

How do you recover from the pain and shock of the burns to living a normal life again? How does someone accept that they no longer look the way they used to, they are different in many ways? All this is covered and shared in great detail. The strength and support of the family and the people around them is wonderful and this story of hope and healing tells us that we are not alone, as long as we do not hesitate to ask for help. There is always someone out there who has gone through what you are going through and there are support groups and help if we seek it out. This is a story of growth and healing of not only of Kilee but also of her family and her mother who stood by her and supported her. They treated her as a normal person, in spite of her burns and the difficulties she faced initially. She had to re-learn to do all the everyday things by herself and I think Lori deserves a huge amount of credit for her unwavering faith and support. The idea to help people deal with the trauma of burns and healing makes Kilee’s story worth a read!

Promo: The Angel at the Devil’s Gate

About the Book:


Troubled teen Eli Nunn is moved back to Kansas City following the aftermath of a violent drug deal. Returning to a school where his ruthless reputation still thrives, Eli encounters and instantly connects with Angel, a beautiful and mysterious black-clad orphan. Their flourishing romance begins to grow darker when Eli learns details of Angel’s chilling past. Conflicted with alarm and intrigue, Eli accepts a proposal from Angel that puts both their relationship and lives in danger.

The Angel at the Devil’s Gate is a psychological suspense about two teenage outcasts whose growing bond takes a twisted turn down a murderous path.

Interview with Mocha:

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Mocha was nice enough to do an interview with us about her interests and her book. Here is what she has to say:

Interview questions:

  • What/who inspired you to start writing?

I’m unsure as to what inspired me to start writing other than my imagination was very active, and I needed to get the images onto paper. My mother and her encouragement to write would be someone who inspired me to want to pursue a career in writing.

       2) Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Mocha, an avid reader and lover of makeup. I attended the University of Central Missouri for journalism with a minor in creative writing. I love horror movies and music; I’m currently listening to a lot of Hollywood Undead and The Pretty Reckless, yet I’m sure that’s going to change when Breaking Benjamin’s new album comes out next month.

  • What is your favourite genre?

I have always loved the horror genre. I love to be scared and admire an author who can actually scare me, because I’m pretty hard to scare.

  • Which is your favourite book?

Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice is one of my favorite books; I can go on and on praising it. Sharpe Objects by Gillian Flynn is a novel that I still think about a year after reading it.

  • Who is your favourite author?

Anne Rice is by far my favorite author. She has had a huge influence on me as a writer. She has an incredible way with her words, and she paints such a beautiful picture with them. Reading her works, you can tell she has such a love for all her characters. She also gives the reader interesting facts about the time period her novels are placed in.

  • What are your hobbies?

When I’m not writing, I’m reading. Reading has become something that I cannot do without. I also enjoy going out dancing and talking to strangers, it’s amazing how much a character can be developed just from conversations with strangers. I don’t watch much TV, but when I do, it’s a VH1 reality show, The Wendy Williams Show and American Horror Story.

  • Perfect holiday destination?

I’d love to take a long vacation to New Orleans. After reading Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, It’s been a dream of mine to see the city. It’s one of my goals to do so.

  • Describe a perfect writing day.

A fresh pot of coffee, a full pack of cigarettes, and silence. I’m still waiting for that day to arrive.

  • Which is the best part of writing a story?

For me, the best part of writing a story is knowing that something I created evoked a slew of emotions in someone. When I began looking for beta readers for The Angel at the Devil’s Gate, the reception I received from them was overwhelming and rewarding. They told me how they laughed and cried, how they were afraid to turn the page or how they were anxious to find out what happens next. Conjuring up all those emotions in someone is very gratifying.

  • How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences, with respect to plot, characters etc.?

There are a few things that I draw from real life experiences but not too much. I may describe an emotion I’ve felt or a facial expression a friend made; however, I may subconsciously add more real life experiences than I realize.

  • Who among the characters you created do you like the most and why?

Angel has been with me for about five years now. The character was originally part of another novel I began but never finished. When the concept for The Angel at the Devil’s Gate came about, I knew Angel would fit well into the novel. I think I like Angel the most because the character is so different from any other character out. You’re never really sure if Angel is good or evil.

  • How much do you relate to the characters or incidents in your story?

I can relate to how both Eli and Angel are outsiders. I’ve felt like one my entire life. When I was younger, I was more discouraged about it, even angry about it. Eli is a representation of that anger. Getting older, I am able to embrace and find beauty in how different I am from other people. I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of who they are nor should they let other people make them feel bad for who they are.

The Kickstarter project:


Kickstarter, is a site that helps raise funding for creative projects, in this case Mocha Pennington’s novel. Please take a look at the author’s page and show your support. Share the news and let us help bring in some donations. There are rewards based on the amount donated.

Link to Mocha’s profile and kickstarter project: