Kennedy Winger is a savvy 16-year-old with end-stage cancer, a leg amputation, and a lily tattoo. Driven by her gritty independence, she expects to die peacefully in her family's small home in a burly, well-worn Madison, Wisconsin neighborhood. Instead, K collides with family, friends, societal isolation, her aching heart, and a brutal secret from her past. Sometimes prickly, but always with a smart sense of humor, K feels like the caged lion cub at the zoo and declares cancer isn't the teddybear- angel society sells. She invents a way to help her younger brother and is tempted to restart cancer treatment. Angels Don't Get Tattoos is fi lled with anger, revenge, sadness, shame, fear, and love. Her pet dog, Beatles music, the hospice nurse, and the clumsy love of family, three best friends, and a neighbor kid carry K through dying and death. But K's story doesn't end on the last page.
"I was inspired to write Angels Don't Get Tattoos early in my career as a registered nurse. I met Natalie, a dying and gutsy, straight-talking teenager who helped her friends look beyond death with bravery and purpose. I've worked in Midwest and West Coast hospitals caring for many dying people like Natalie often more perceptive and more at-peace than their families. I didn't know then how those experiences would change me for life. For thirty years, I've been a university professor teaching nursing, receiving teaching awards, and writing book chapters, journal articles, and a book titled Becoming a Nurse Educator: Dialogue for an Engaging Career. This is my first work of fiction. I'm eager to learn and write more and hope readers of this novel, especially young readers, will want to read more. I live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with my husband Wayne and our dog, Oreo." - CeCelia R. Zorn