When Michelle Smith of Rochester Hills was a child, she saw firsthand the toll domestic abuse took on her mother.
"Seeing what my mom went through, I was 5 or 6 at the time, and my dad was kind of in and out of the house," she said. "Seeing my mom working a factory job and taking care of two girls on her own and (my dad) taking out his aggression, she didn't really feel she had anyone to turn to."
Smith, an English teacher recently laid off from her job near Detroit, decided to help other women in similar situations through her writings.
The Gospel According to Gabby, Smith's second novel, will benefit Haven, a nonprofit emergency shelter for women and children left homeless due to physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
"I'm trying to use my talents of writing to help out a local charity," she said.
The novel, geared toward teen readers, touches on the plight of a teenage girl dealing with the loss of her parents and an attempted date rape by a boy she had liked at her new school.
Smith describes the novel as a "fish out of water" story, where the teenaged high school sophomore adapts to life in her new Catholic school setting while being raised by a religious aunt and uncle.
"She's kind of a rebel, trying to fit in with friends and get used to going to a Catholic private school," Smith said. "Her crush, a boy in her algebra class at the Catholic school, isn't a very good person and goes against everything that she's learning about what it means to be Catholic and be religious."
Smith said she got the idea from her own experience growing up in Detroit, where she went to a private Catholic school. Her first book, Confessions of a Catholic Schoolgirl, also touched on the theme of growing up in a Catholic school system.
The novel, available as an e-book through Barnes and Noble and Smashwords, is $1.99 and 25 percent of the book's proceeds benefit Haven, which provides food, shelter and clothing for those displaced by abuse.