Archive for the ‘Author Feature’ Category
Do you remember yesterday when I reviewed Where It Began and promised you something completely awesome? Well here it is, that long waited deleted scene from none other than Ann Stampler! Grab your coffee and sit back because you are in for an absolute treat. If you haven't already check out the review for your chance to win a finished copy of Where It Began and/or a signed bookmark from Ann.
I rewrote Where It Began many, many times before it was done. Along the way, I both wrote a lot of new chapters and deleted even more old ones. This is the chapter that came immediately before the current final chapter/epilogue.
People who have already read Where It Began will immediately notice that this chapter feels a bit “off” relative to the rest of the book. This is because the final version of Where It Began is written in the present tense, whereas this chapter is in the past tense.
This scene reflects my desire to tie up loose ends neatly with a nice big bow, for characters to gain insight that isn’t necessarily realistic, and for lions to lie down with lambs. In retrospect, it is way too sunny and a bit slapstick to fit at this particular moment in the story.
Also, the chapter gives away something that works much better when it comes as a surprise in the final chapter/epilogue. The chapter would have undercut the impact of the conclusion.
Warning to people who haven’t read Where It Began: This chapter contains a spoiler. You might want to read Where It Began first! But if you’re a read the last page first, don’t care about surprises kind of a person and plan to forge ahead despite the spoiler, here’s some background so this snippet won’t be completely confusing:
Andie and Andy are a couple in a more exalted social circle than Lisa, Anita, and Huey. The narrator, Gabby, has straddled the two groups via her popular boyfriend. In this scene, all of the characters are sitting behind their high school, where a student’s caste or social standing determines where he or she will hang out. “The B’s” refers to several neighborhoods in Los Angeles where most of the students at the school live. And Mr. Piersol, the school’s headmaster, has used a great many clichés throughout the book.
“But you’re going to miss prom,” Andie said. “You’re going to miss mother-daughter breakfast and senior night! You’re going to miss senior bonfire!”
Weirdly, Andie was sitting on the ordinary people’s lawn with me and Lisa and Anita, having announced with uncharacteristic coherence several days before that now that she’d noticed that some of the people she knew weren’t nice, she figured that maybe some of the people she didn’t know were nice, and would we mind if she sat down? Anita looked as if she was going to choke on her icy pop, but she nodded as graciously as possible under the circumstances.
Andie said to me, as if when she wasn’t looking directly at Lisa and Anita they couldn’t hear her, “They’re nice, right?”
I said that they were. You could tell that Lisa was trying not to stare at Andie’s Hello Kitty earrings, and in her case, it was hard to tell if she was trying to figure out if the earrings were a fun joke or working up her nerve to find out where to buy them. Then Andy showed up, his hip uncharacteristically un-joined from Andie’s cute little hip, and looking extremely anxious about it, and he plopped himself down next to her.
Then Huey showed up and stood there behind Lisa, glowering at Andy, presumably to protect us from him.
“Aren’t you off the reservation?” he said to Andy
Andy started to get up but Andie held onto him. “No,” she said. “He’s with me. I asked and they said I could sit here. Anita Patel said.”
Huey snorted and continued to glare while Andy Kaplan looked longingly toward the Class of 1920 Garden where his fellow lacrosse boys were staring back at him looking as nonplussed by Andy’s geography as anyone that stoned can look.
“No one is a perfect person,” Andie said, in another pronouncement that revealed her secret, previously unrecognized genius.
I could tell that Anita was trying hard not to giggle and Lisa was still trying hard to work up the nerve to ask about where to buy the earrings, but only because I knew them both so well. I didn’t know Andy all that well, but I could tell that he was trying really hard to magically levitate back into the Class of 1920 Garden, preferably along with Andie. Andie, on the other hand, seemed to be trying hard to get to know new people who she hoped were nice.
Well, they were nice. Even I was somewhat nice. And I was getting my nice butt out of there. I was trying really hard to live through six more days of Winston School and the B’s after which I got to start taking intensive Italian, God help me.
“She’s really leaving!” Andie said. “She’s going to miss prom.”
“I would miss prom if I could be in art school in Italy,” said Lisa, who I realized would miss prom if she could be in art school anywhere. Who would give up anything to have what I had, and I just wanted to go smack her art-loving mother. Actually, I wanted to go smack a lot of people’s mothers.
Andie said, “Really? Well, I guess I would miss prom if Andy wasn’t going. We’re going, right?”
And I was thinking how I used to be a totally mindless love slave exactly like her, except that Billy was not a hopelessly devoted love slave back, not like Andy, who, with Andie’s hand on his leg, was suddenly happy on the ordinary people’s lawn apart from the not ungrounded fear that Huey was going to knock him over.
It still wasn’t clear what Mr. Piersol was going to do about me. I had to sit in his office and listen to an endless round of Quitters Never Win and Winners Never Quit, Get Back on the Horse, and You Can Run But You Can’t Hide. Which I shared after carefully determining that Mr. Piersol wasn’t stalking the cafeteria in search of an icy pop in earshot of us.
“Yeah,” Anita said. “But on the other hand, Quitters Get To Go To Europe.”
“That’s right,” said Lisa, “You can run, but you can’t run to Europe; you have to take a plane.”
“Or a boat,” Andie said helpfully.
I'm so happy to be featuring Christy Hayes during contemporary month here on Words at Home. Tomorrow I will be reviewing and giving away a copy of Christy's novel Angle of Incidence (which is awesome by the way!). I'm so thankful to Christy for sharing some of her thoughts on contemporary fiction here today. Please be sure to leave her some love in the comments (*giveaway hint*).
Contemporary Fiction by Christy Hayes
Take a look at the list of top 100 contemporary fiction books on Amazon and you’ll see a dizzying array of books, both in style and content. From Jodi Picoult to Vince Flynn to Stephen King to Nicholas Sparks. What the heck kind of genre is this, you ask yourself with a scratch to the head?
Contemporary fiction is a catchall phrase for fiction written in modern times. There are many subgenres as you can tell by the variety of authors I’ve pulled from the list, but the one thread of unity in these novels is the timeframe in which the stories take place.
What is the appeal of contemporary fiction as both a reader and a writer? For me, a romance and contemporary fiction author, the appeal runs along the lines of “Write what you know.” There is a lot of research that goes into writing a novel, no matter what the time period an author chooses for setting. Thank the good Lord above for modern technology and the Internet (I don’t even want to imagine doing research without it) because much of the research involved can be done at home.
As a writer whose stories focus mainly on characters (with enough plot thrown in to keep the story moving forward), I like writing about the here and now. Moving the setting of a book back as little as twenty-five years changes almost everything about character and plot. Twenty-five years ago, I didn’t have a cell phone or a personal computer or Facebook to keep up with all my friends. If I got lost in my car, I had to stop and ask directions, not look up an address on my GPS. A gallon of gas cost less than a dollar, the average price of a car was under ten thousand, and I could get a soda from a machine for 25 cents. Popular movies included Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee, the radio boomed with Billy Joel and Madonna, and on television we watched Hill Street Blues and The Cosby Show. Why am I taking this walk through the past? To illustrate how different a setting in any novel would be if not set in contemporary times.
Contemporary fiction is an all-encompassing category for novels that are written in modern times but can embody many genres in one. Take my book, Angle of Incidence, for example. This book is part women’s fiction, part romance, and part men’s fiction (which isn’t technically a genre and could be another post altogether).
Contemporary fiction is so popular because many readers don’t want a one-dimensional book and many writers don’t want to limit themselves to the strict confines of a subgenre. Readers crave complex books featuring complex characters in complex situations. As an avid reader, I crave books that incorporate parts of many genres. I love romance, suspense, medical drama, a little magical realism, and the perfectly crafted sentences one might find in literary fiction. When all or part of these features are brought together under one title, a contemporary fiction novel is born. Thus, contemporary fiction is a fascinating genre all it’s own.
A little about Christy (from goodreads.com bio)
I write romantic women’s fiction from my little basement office in the South. I’ve cooked up all kinds of trouble for my flawed characters when I’m not driving my kids to one sporting event or another or walking my pesky rescue mutts through the neighborhood.
Please note that a portion of the proceeds from each book sold will be donated to charity.
This guest post is being shared as a part of the Contemporary Month event being hosted by Evie at Bookish, Bonnie at Words at Home and Asheley at Into The Hall of Books. Click the banner below for full Words at Home schedule
I am thrilled that the Words at Home featured Indie Author for May is Jessica Crawford Vernold, author of The Keeper. I reviewed The Keeper last week and just loved it.
Being completely awesome Jessica has offered to give 2 ebooks away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post or my review of The Keeper to be entered (or leave a comment on both for 2 chances to win!).
Bonnie: Jessica thank you so much for taking the time to stop by Words at Home and chat! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself to start with? Who is the girl behind the pen (or computer)?
Jessica: I am a wife and mother of four and a former elementary teacher. I have a passion for stories and am a bibliophile.
Bonnie: Speaking of behind the pen, what do you write on? Are you an old fashioned pen and paper kind of girl or are you electronic all the way?
Jessica: I am a fan of efficiency so I use my laptop and, of course, I back everything up. I can’t imagine what it used to be like for writers before modern technology.
Bonnie: As a mother of 4 when do you find the time to write? Do you have a favourite place to write in?
Jessica: I am a night owl and am most inspired at night. That is also when my house is quiet and I have the most time. I like to write in bed on my laptop.
Bonnie: Can you talk a little about your writing process?
Jessica: Well, admittedly I think I suffer from ADD so I can’t proclaim to be organized. I don’t really plan anything out but instead like to start with an idea and see where it takes me. My writing tends to be character driven so I get to know my characters in my head first. This does make for a lot more editing, though and sometimes I have to completely back track and omit and entire portion and start over.
Bonnie: As a self-published author do you have any advice for other aspiring authors? Would you have done anything differently knowing what you know now about self-publishing?
Jessica: My best advice is to believe in yourself, be thick skinned and never give up. Trying to obtain an agent which is the first step in getting published is very difficult and feels down right impossible. It still has not happened for me and many like me. Being open minded to alternatives like self publishing is important. There are draw backs with that process and it may not be your first choice but you ultimately have to decide what is most important to you and take the initiative yourself. I will likely be self publishing the sequel to The Keeper as well as a third. That does not mean that I have given up sending query letters.
Bonnie: Ok, so let’s talk about your book! Where did your inspiration for The Keeper come from?
Jessica: I love a great ghost story, angels and a good romance. So combining those elements was the goal. My husband said it should be spooky and I wanted it to be romantic. My daughter was the inspiration for the main character.
Bonnie: And what about Zeke? Because he is definitely swoon-worthy! How did you come up with this perfect character?
Jessica: I love angels and I always have. Even though it is fun to read about dangerous monsters turned romantic hero, I wanted a classic romantic hero that also had a supernatural element. He is powerful yet fundamentally good.
Bonnie: One thing that I really appreciated about The Keeper was that Zeke wasn’t afraid to tell Kaylee when he believed she was being mistreated. Can you talk a bit about your decision to include this dialogue that so many authors choose to ignore? Do you have any thoughts as to why it is trendy for male characters to exhibit controlling and stalkerish tendencies?
Jessica: Zeke is an arch angel so he has to be good to the core. Aside from that he is her acting guardian angel. That was the drive behind it. I felt this was how a guardian angel would handle the situation. It was one more way to solidify his true intent and character. The reason I think there is a trend that seems to place the female protagonist in controlling relationships with controlling male leads is that it provides that element of danger. I enjoy reading those types of stories too. It’s that classic bad boy appeal. But I just was not going that direction with Zeke. Azza is another story and there will be more of him in the sequel as per my daughter’s request.
Bonnie: So what’s next? I’m not quite ready to leave Kaylee and Zeke yet – can we expect a sequel?
Jessica: The sequel is in it’s final stages and will likely be out in the fall. The working title is The Sender.
Learn more about Jessica and The Keeper at readthekeeper.com
Don't forget to leave Jessica some love in the comments!
As you may know, I have been featuring indie author Suzan Battah for the month of April. I started the month off by reviewing her novel Mad About the Boy and I think it is only fitting that I end the month off letting you know what else she has going on. And I don't know about you but I'm kind of diggin' that cover, no?
BaSatai: Outside In # 1
Seventeen year old, Armani Radnelaq a full blooded BaSatai is plagued by a curse in her blood. A curse created from hate and designed to break the divide between two parallel worlds of Earth and H-trae when Armani's blood is spilled in attack and she dies.
S'teuqoubs have been travelling back and forth across the divide for centuries without trouble. The BaSatai and Guardians monitoring activity and enforcing rules to ensure peace and harmony but if the divide splits and opens, a much greater number of supernatural S’teuqoubs will filter into earth destroying equilibrium which the BaSatai and Guardians will be unable to control. Humanity and the BaSatai will suffer and perish. The parallel divide must remain secure at all costs.
Armani has remained hidden on earth with her adopted father Elijah since her birth. She has been raised in the human way and fights her natural instinct to evolve into a BaSatai. The BaSatai in her requires her to evolve and shift, use her powers and strength. Yet Armani is freaked out by the need to shift. She smokes, has a bad attitude, must deal with aggressive bullies and control her natural BaSatai instinct. Her Guardian with BaSatai Warriors are coming for her. She refuses to accept her fate and doesn't believe any BaSatai should die to protect her.
The blood curse maturing in her veins makes her a target for her enemies. Her Guardian Karhl and an elite BasSatai Warrior Rafael are the first to arrive and prepare her for her crossing over. Her attraction to Rafael complicates her purpose to stay on earth even more. They both insist she fall into line and follow their lead but she is not ready to leave earth just yet…
I'm excited to share a guest post with Lisa April Smith, author of Exceeding Expectations, in celebration of her blog tour through Pump Up Your Book! Stay tuned tomorrow for my review!
Where do you get your inspiration?
People often ask me, “Where do you get your inspiration?” My books are generally inspired by media coverage of events and people, that I find fascinating. For example, in 1998, Florida television and newspapers were reporting a story of a local Palm Beach socialite (ironically named Fagan) arrested for kidnapping his daughters when they were 2 and 5 years old. The reason that it had taken eighteen years to locate Fagan was that he had successfully reinvented himself, using the name and social security number of a Massachusetts boy who died at six.
As William S. Martin, a handsome widower with two young daughters and no apparent means of support, he had met and married a wealthy Palm Beach widow. After their divorce, another widow vowed to take this man “for richer, for poorer.” Lucky for Martin, he was indeed poorer while the bride was conveniently rich.
Neighbors, friends and the teachers at the girls’ tony private school all described Martin as nice likeable fellow and “devoted father.” Throughout his arrest and subsequent proceedings, his third wife steadfastly stood by him, as did both daughters. Perhaps what most surprised people who followed the case was that the girls’ mother, a research scientist teaching at the University of Virginia, through the media and her attorney, repeatedly begged her daughters to meet with Intrigued, I found myself thinking that there’s an even juicier story behind this headline-grabber and set out to create my own. I started with a few core facts: A devoted father with an invented name and history. Twice married to wealthy widows, living in Palm Beach, and involved in a crime. Two adoring daughters unaware of their true identities.
Once given permission to fantasize, my brain happily stepped in and created fifty-five year old Palm Beach socialite Jack Morgan, (born Alan Fitzpatrick): lack-luster artist, gifted lover and irresistible rascal. I dropped the most current time frame back nearly four decades to 1961, so that I could set an earlier portion of the story in romantic Paris prior to WWII, and the tragic time under Nazi occupation. Having been handed Palm Beach, winter playground of the rich and famous, I could logically include a fabulous townhouse off Fifth Avenue and a sprawling estate in Virginia to shelter the family in the summer, spring and fall. The unnamed crime and subsequent menacing punishment that I imagined, is enough to convince Jack to stage his suicide to shield his precious girls from disgrace.
But my primary protagonist is self-deprecating droll daughter Charlotte (Charlie), an over-indulged 23 year-old with an impractical BA in Art History, struggling to cope with the traumatizing loss of her beloved father, her sister’s resulting mental breakdown and the shocking discovery that she’s suddenly penniless. Given that this is a mystery, not only will Charlie have to find a way to support herself and her ill sister, the grieving but irrepressible young woman soon realizes, that she won’t rest until she discovers what drove her father to kill himself. And that’s how Exceeding Expectations was born.
Author Lisa April Smith lives with her husband, He-who-wishes-to-remain-anonymous, in Eternal Playland, Florida, a delightful spot just off I-95. Ms. Smith describes Eternal Playland as: “a little piece of level heaven with occasional dampness, where the bugs are plentiful but respectful, and even the smallest strip mall contains at least one pizza place and a nail salon.”
Before discovering a passion for writing, Ms. Smith sold plumbing and heating, antiques, taught ballroom dancing, tutored, modeled, designed software and managed projects for IBM and returned to college multiple times to study anthropology, sociology and computer science, in which she holds degrees, as well as psychology, archeology, literature, history and art. Combine those widely diverse interests with a love of travel and a gift for writing page-turners and it’s easy to understand one reviewer’s unbridled praise for Exceeding Expectations, “She (Ms.Smith) has a brilliance for conveying characters, and the intellectual capacity to place them in historical settings that sparkle with glamorous detail. . . that make it fun to read . . . ” But it takes much more than lush settings, an eye for detail and a love of history to write a page-turner. Read what another reviewer said about Exceeding Expectations: “Lisa April Smith . . . has woven an intriguingly rich tapestry of delightful well-developed characters into a perfectly balanced plot bursting with riveting mystery, crimes of the petty and the horrible sort, suspenseful twists, and romantic tension complete with love scenes that sizzle and pop.”
For more about the author, her books, and upcoming projects visit her website: http://
About Exceeding Expectations
It’s 1961 and Palm Beach socialite, irresistible rascal and devoted father Jack Morgan
encounters genuine danger while staging his suicide to shield his beloved daughters from
disgrace. Next, meet his daughter Charlotte (Charlie), an over-indulged 23 year-old struggling
to cope with the traumatizing loss of her beloved father, her sister’s resulting mental breakdown
and the discovery that she’s suddenly penniless. Fortunately Raul, an admiring young attorney,
appears to offer assistance. As terrified as she is about daily survival, Charlie soon realizes that
she has to learn what drove her father to kill himself. With Raul’s much needed ego-bolstering,
the drive of necessity and unforeseen determination, Charlie finds a practical use for her
annoyingly lean 5’ 11” frame. In time, this career finances her hard-wrought independence, her
sister’s costly treatment and an emotional eye-opening journey to Paris.
Jumping back in time to romantic pre-WWII Paris readers meet young Alan Fitzpatrick –
aka Jack Morgan – lack-luster artist, expert lover, irresistible rascal, and the bewitching girl
who will become the mother of his children. Not even Charlie’s relentless detective work will
uncover all Jack’s secrets, but in a fireworks of surprise endings, she discovers all that she needs
to know and more: disturbing truths about her father, hew own unique talent, crimes great and
small and a diabolical villain.
Suzan Battah, author of Mad About the Boy was kind enough to stop by today and chat a little more about her life as a self-published author. Suzan, first of all thank you so much for taking the time to stop by Words at Home! It is a pleasure to host you for the month as our featured Indie Author.
- Could you start off by telling us a few things about yourself that we might not think to ask?
Thank you for having me Bonnie. Well my greatest fear is heights, sometimes walking up or down steep stairs scares me. I'm born in Australia and have a very eclectic taste in music in which I can listen to most types of music and still love it. I'm also a big animal fan and currently studying script writing.
- Who is your favourite author or your favourite book?
I have so many favorite authors, it's so hard to pick one because they all right in different genres. MY favorite Historical Regency author is Stephanie Laurens, my favorite Contemporary Author is Sophie Kinsella and my favorite Young Adult author is a equal place Stephanie Meyer and Richelle Mead.
- Do you prefer to read series or standalone novels?
Either but if it comes down to wanting to know more about the characters in one book a series is fantastic. Love both either way.
- When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? And what was the first piece of fiction that you remember writing.
I was 12 when I started writing for fun, fantasy stories but by the time I was 16 I knew I was going to pursue it as a professional career.
- Can you talk a bit about your decision to self-publish and your experiences during the publishing process?
It's been scary but very rewarding. I love being in control of every aspect of creating my novel. The stigma behind self-publishing is still ripe with a lot of people really not interested in learning about new writers that self-publish. Unfortunately there are a lot of bad writers out there but there is honestly a lot of great writers out there who wouldn't be getting their voice heard if they didn't self-publish. I am a writer and at 30 wanted to publish and waiting years to break into the industry. I also have to support myself so it makes it very difficult to be able to afford really great editors, I've spent a phenomenal amount of money on professionals and sometimes I think it is hit and miss. I however take this into account when reading other self-published books being in the same situation I have compassion for writers doing it tough, especially marketing. I do everything and the cost is extraordinary. I however don't regret going this way it has helped to improve my business skills.
- Do you have any advice for aspiring indie authors?
Follow your dreams, practice heaps, don’t take criticism to heart, listen to good advice, learn your craft, read lots and lots of books out there, don’t follow trends, write what makes you feel comfortable (if you don’t feel comfortable writing sex, it’ll show), love what you do, never give up, have fun, laugh lots, find positive fun people to share with and write, write, write and keep writing.
- What do you do when you are not writing?
I work fulltime as an Executive Assistant. In my downtime I love to be working out at the gym, studying script writing, going to movies and absolutely love to dance.
- Is there anything else that you wanted to share?
I love being a writer and hope you enjoy reading Mad About the Boy as much as I loved writing it. I also have a new release coming out April 14th BaSatai: Outside In #1 A Young Adult Urban Fantasy Adventure Romance.
Suzan Battah is the April featured Indie author and today she is sharing her experiences with self publishing! Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with self publishing in the comments!
My Experience as a Self-Published Author
by Suzan Battah
Nathan Bransford recently wrote a post about how there is not a right or wrong way to publish a book. I am in absolute agreement. Whether being traditionally published or self-published, a book in print or as an ebook is published. It's just two very different roads to walk down.
For me I've always had a passion for writing since my early teens. I knew I wanted to be a writer. It's not like I saw the success of Amanda Hocking self-publishing, JK Rowling with her Harry Potter series, Stephanie Meyer's success of Twilight and decided that's it, I'm going to be huge like them. No. For me I was born to be a writer because my imagination is wild, I can daydream amazing scenes and visualise a story from beginning to end. Writing is not hard work for me. I am blessed with the ability to create and develop characters, a storyline and plot and make them entertaining. So for me writing is in my blood, I was born to write these stories and share them.
I struggled, as life is not easy as a writer. I had to work to pay the bills and as a single woman supporting myself it was hard to keep up. Writing is a fulltime job and I was doing it hard trying to write part time. Exhausted with no social life, it was hard to see myself continuing on the road but I do. I won't every give up on writing. Once the first book completed, Mad About the Boy, I began entering into competitions and you must have a thick skin. I was shredded, gunned down, ripped apart with some comments being so snarky I was almost in tears. However, out of two competitions I had made it to the finals and managed to place and win two awards for my contemporary romance Mad About the Boy. So putting behind all the worst of the competitions I had experienced, I soldiered on. I went through 3 different editors doing complete edits of the novel and spent over $2500 just on editors to get my novel into top shape. Unfortunately, I still get feedback that the editing is sloppy but I have to move forward and correct the mistakes. I have met some wonderful reviewers who have been terribly helpful. One lady offered to be my Beta Reader and I'm so glad that she has offered her help. She points out all the obvious flaws and gives me advice. Despite some of the obvious flaws in the book this particular reviewer still gave me such a lovely review and a wonderful rating. I was over the moon. In saying that, I never expect reviewers to give me fantastic ratings, everyone has their own opinion of my work. Some love it, some hate it and they have their own personal tastes. As an author I don't mind getting a bad review which I have received and loved it as well, I expect the good with the bad. I just hope readers enjoy the book enough to overlook some of the tiny flaws that a struggling author has to deal with.
After years of writing, changing the story to suit agents and almost being offered representation, being ripped apart in competitions by my peers (One judge told me English was not my first language. Another judge advised me that an editor should work on Mad About the Boy because the grammar was atrocious. The same judge even gave me a name of an editor to use the services of, ironically, I had just had the manuscript line edited and paid thousands of dollars to get it done by that same editor before entering the competition), and finally it was the backing of my family and friends that walked me down the self-publishing road. I'm glad I took my writing career into my own hands. I'm really happy with the reviews I get both good and bad. And I'm so appreciated that bloggers like Bonnie welcome me onto her blog to share with you, the readers, my experience. I hope you enjoy reading Mad About the Boy as much as I loved writing it. I also have a new release out, BaSatai: Outside In #1 the booktrailer is available for viewing on youtube.
Keep the discussion going – do you have any experience with self publishing? Lets talk about it in the comments!
I'm so excited to be celebrating my stop on the Embrace Blog Tour with a completely awesome guest post by Jessica Shirvington! As I met my husband at 16 I completely identify with it and loved reading her thoughts!
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love … more complicated.
At 17, life is about new experiences. It is about self-discovery, friends, adventure, mistakes, career and university choices. And let’s be honest, there are not many 17 year olds out there that aren’t interested in falling in love.
But how many are truly interested in falling in love with THE ONE at 17?
I’m not sure I was. In fact, I probably wasn’t. I was planning to take the world by storm – solo. So when I met Matt, well, actually … it was pretty darn amazing. But it was a little frightening too.
When we first got together, it was sweet and young and … perfect. I was head over heels. But things became complicated quickly. He was an up and coming athletic star and I was working in hospitality. So basically he worked hard in the day, and I worked hard at night. His lifestyle demanded routine and healthy living, mine … not so much. But we were determined to make it work.
Falling in love so deeply at a young age made it difficult to be as reckless as our friends. We watched them coast in and out of short, fun, but meaningless relationships and it just seemed so different to what we had.
Writing the Embrace series has been an opportunity for me to pour some of the incredibly intense emotions of young love into Violet’s story. It has been important for me as a writer, and a person, to recognize that it’s completely realistic for someone at her young age to experience the full effect and heartbreak of love. Violet is one hundred percent invested with her heart. She makes bad choices, but we have to. She regrets many of her decisions, because we all do. And she fights for what she loves, because she is compelled to. Violet’s story is unique to her, I don’t pull on parallel scenarios from my own life, but I do pull on the emotion of intense love. Love that I think adults sometimes forget that 17 and 18 years-olds are very capable of feeling.
I often find one question helps a lot of adults, who maybe disagree with this view, to be more open minded: Do you remember you first true love? Do you ever wonder what your life would’ve been like if you had stayed together? For some, the answer is a resounding NOT INTERESTED, but for others … the pause says it all.
Matt and I celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary in March – I believe jewelry is in order
What do you think? Don't be afraid to leave some comment love for Jennifer!
Recently I had a opportunity to review KB Hoyle's The Six and I throughly enjoyed it. Now that we are approachin the April 5th release date I am thrilled to be participating in the blog tour to celebrate its release! What better way to celebrate than with a guest post from the author herself!
Stay tuned at the end of the guest post for the giveaway!!!
Inspiration for Alithea by KB Hoyle
I've always believed that an author should write what he or she knows, and in the case of Alitheia, this has been very applicable to me. When you set out to craft a fantasy world, you must be sure that it contains enough elements of reality that it allows the reader to successfully suspend disbelief. Alitheia is so realistic because it is real . . . in the physical sense at least, if not in the magical sense. Alitheia is based primarily on the upper peninsula of Michigan. Everything I describe, from rocks to trees to wildlife to flowers, exists in actuality in the upper peninsula. Perhaps it's just because I grew up going to summer camp there, but the landscape of the upper peninsula was always magical to me, and it only took a simple creative leap to make it into a fantasy land.
Because I made Alitheia parallel to the actual camp on which the story is based, it was very easy for me to picture and translate into words. There are places at the real camp at which I used to imagine fairies flitting through the trees, or gnomes peeking out from their rocky holes. There is one spot, in particular, where the light slants through the cedar trees at just the right time of day and catches dust particles on the air, making them shimmer like magic glitter. And behind this shimmering dust one can also see the sun glinting off the bay just through the trees.
How could a setting like this fail to inspire a writer like me? One needs only to traverse the woods of the upper peninsula of Michigan to find Alitheia.
And now for the giveaway!
The Swag, (from KB Hoyle)
-Skittles and Microwave Popcorn (my favorite snacks at the camp on which the setting is based)
-A packet of daisy seeds (because of the wild daisies that grow in the upper peninsula)
-A garden gnome (to represent the gnomes at Gnome's Haven in my book)
-A miniature composition notebook (to represent Lewis's notebook in the story)
-A candle (a sun-kissed leaves tealight candle with an Adirondack chair holder-for the Adirondack chairs at the camp))
-A eBook copy of "The Six" from TWCS
Learn more about KB Hoyle:
Biography (From Publisher's Website)
K. B. Hoyle is a wife to a wonderful husband, a mother to two rambunctious little boys, an expectant mother to baby number three, and has been a classical educator for five years. She always knew from a young age that she wanted to write stories that would inspire people. Her favorite genre to read and write is Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction, so that is where her journey began. K. B. Hoyle began writing her first fantasy novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be valuable experience and practice for the novels she would publish as an adult.
K. B. Hoyle is currently writing the Young Adult Fantasy series The Gateway Chronicles, but she never stops brainstorming and planning for all the stories she hopes to write in the future.
I have had the pleasure of hosting Dianne Greco for the month. In case you missed any of what has been going on around here here is a little recap:
Review of In the Hands of Grace (review from July 13, 2011)
Review of In the Heart of Grace
Interview with Dianne (and in the haze of sleeplessness I pulled a stellar move and actually posted this on 2 separate occasions. Yep. Wow… )
Dianne is currently working on third book in the Grace series, In the Home of Grace. She is in the process of writing it now, and hopes for it to be on the publishing schedule for 2013.
AND if you are going to be in New York in July you can check out her publisher's (TWCS) table at the New York Indie Book Event
Time: 8h00 – 19h00 July 15, 2012
Location: The New Yorker Hotel 481 Eighth Avenue New York, NY, 10001