121 posts tagged features
(I’m loving the creepy cover!)
The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto
Publication date: December 21st 2012 by Dreamscapes, Ink
Genre: NA Paranormal/Ghosts
“Be careful what you let in…
Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead.
The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. In order to escape, Jess and the others will have to open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that has welcomed them all.”
Check out The Haunting Season on Goodreads here.
Buy The Haunting Season on the web:
The Haunting Season playlist!
“Michelle Muto lives in northeast Georgia with her husband and two dogs. She loves changes of season, dogs, and all things geeky.
Currently, she’s hard at work on her next book.”
Find Michelle on the web:
Before You Go by Clare James
Published: April 1, 2013
“Forgiveness is the only option, but can she learn to forgive herself?
Paralyzed by the past and terrified of the future, Tabitha Kelly is broken.
After a public sex scandal at her college, Tabby moves to a new city with a new school, convinced she can start over. But she soon realizes the changes are not enough. Tabby must take action to help her heal and move on from the past.
And though it sounds crazy, she believes a one-night stand is the best way to take back what’s hers. If she can choose where, when, and most importantly, who … maybe she can regain control.
First, she needs a willing participant.
She finds more than that when she meets Noah Adler.
Unfortunately, she can’t go through with it. And when she tries to forget about the plan—and the guy—it becomes impossible.
Noah quickly weaves his way into her new life and her heart. But as he comes dangerously close to discovering her secret, Tabby’s at risk of losing it all.”
Check out Before You Go on Goodreads here.
Buy Before You Go on Amazon here.
Cover Reveal for the Companion Novel (Drumroll please):
(That is one hot cover! Cover designed by: Phat Puppy Art)
Moreby Clare James
Expected publication: June 20th 2013
MORE is the highly anticipated companion story to BEFORE YOU GO. It can also be read as a stand-alone novel.
One chance to forget the past.
One opportunity to make things right.
There’s no denying the heat between Jules Taylor and Foster Sutton. They are two wild souls with a fire burning inside. Together, they create a hot and dangerous mix of emotion and lust.
But after a terrible accident leaves one friend dead, Foster is bound by a secret that keeps him from getting closer to Jules. And he’s left with only one thing to offer her – friendship.
For Jules, her relationship with Foster is getting old. He falls down and she picks him up, but they never move forward. Their occasional hook-ups are no longer enough, and Jules vows that this is her summer to forget Foster and find love. If it were only that easy.
It seems fate is pushing Jules and Foster together at every turn. And it’s only a matter of time before they give up and give in.”
Check out More on Goodreads here.
“Clare James spent her childhood, writing, reading, and dancing. Not much has changed since then, except she can no longer get up on toe shoes like she once could. And don’t even ask her to go into the splits because she may never get back up.
A new adult and contemporary romance writer, Clare loves a happy ending. She lives in Minneapolis with her two leading men—her husband and young son. BEFORE YOU GO is her debut new adult novel.”
Find Clare on the web:
Every Little Piece by Kate Ashton
Publication date: May, 2013
Genre: Mature YA Contemporary
“Secrets never stay in the past.
The night before high school graduation changes everything. Lies are told. Mistakes are made. Secrets tucked away. Lives are changed in the span of a few hours.
A year later, Haley is still reeling, numb with the constant ache of guilt. She’s in a place she never expected to be: lost without her friends and Seth. Until he enters her life again, dredging up everything she’s trying to forget. Everything about that night.
Seth returns to his hometown determined to share his truth, his side of the story. He desperately needs to make things right with Haley, even if it means losing her forever. Because the truth will ruin any chance of her ever loving him again.
Except neither of them are prepared for the shock of what really happened the night before graduation.”
Check out Every Little Piece on Goodreads here.
Buy Every Little Piece on the web:
Is love forever?
Teenage relationships can be tense. After days or weeks of hallway glances and flirting in the lunchroom, a boy and a girl finally give in and admit they like each other. They start dating. For some teens, their high school sweethearts end up being just that, a short-term whirlwind romance. But sometimes, it’s meant to be forever.
If they give it a shot. If they can grow up together, especially after graduation and that first year of college. If they can be honest. Maybe a relationship can last.
I’ve seen high school relationships end badly after that first year out. I’ve seen some last forever. It’s a crucial moment in their lives as they break off from their families and decide who they want to be and what they want to do.
But is true love forever? I think it can be. It takes a lot of hard work, grace, and forgiveness. That’s what Seth and Haley have to figure out in Every Little Piece.
“Kate Ashton is the author of the contemporary YA, Every Little Piece. She writes about relationships and love, heartache and healing. And everything in between.”
Find Kate on the web:
Welcome to Interview Fridays!
This week’s interview is with Kasie West, the brilliant author behind Pivot Point, a young adult sci-fi debut that every reader of young adult fiction should pick up at least once in his or her life.
Kasie is one of those authors whose enthusiasm is clearly visible in her responses. Not only is she talented, but she’s also really, really nice!
Remember to check out Kasie’s links throughout her interview!
“Kasie West is a mother of four, an avid reader, and loves to write YA. Her novel, Pivot Point, debuted in February of 2013 and her contemporary The Distance Between Us will be out July 2, 2013.
She loves to connect with other readers and writers. You can find her on twitter or on her blog: Kasiewest.com”
Find Kasie on the web:
Most Recent Work:
Genres: Young adult, sci-fi, romance
Release Date: February 12, 2013
“Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier …
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through … and who she can’t live without.”
Find Pivot Point on the web:
Buy Pivot Point on the web:
1. I know that you are part of the Friday the Thirteeners group of debut authors of 2013—How has being part of this group helped you with your publishing process?
“It’s so nice to have a group of writers who understand exactly what you are going through.
This process can be stressful and nerve wracking and a little scary. So it’s nice to have people know exactly how you feel. Plus we bounce ideas off each other and share cool ideas.
I love those girls.”
2. I am super excited for the sequel to Pivot Point! What are some of the difficulties a writer may face when writing a sequel?
“A sequel is a different beast.
You have to know just how many “reminders” of the first book to put in without boring the recent reader of your first but enough to bring the reader who hasn’t read the first in a year up to speed. Plus, now you have to worry about reader expectations and there is just a lot more pressure with a sequel.
But on a different note, I like sequels because you get to delve more into the world and readers have more back story and investment.
It’s challenging but fun.”
3. If you could have one of the gifts the students possess in the Compound, what would it be? Why?
“As you can imagine, I get this question a lot and my answer changes weekly depending on my needs.
Just now, I had a really frustrating experience at the gym. Long story short, they wouldn’t let my daughter in because she hadn’t been entered into the computer yet and I didn’t have the “yellow slip” I didn’t realize I was supposed to bring until she was entered in the computer. It left me feeling helpless. So, a little Persuasion would’ve been a nice power to have in that moment. Because COME ON people, just let me and my daughter in the gym we pay for.
Ha. Wow, now I feel a little better for having vented. :)”
4. Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming contemporary novel, The Distance Between Us?
“I love contemporary novels.
They are what I pick up when I want to feel warm and fuzzy. They are what I write when I want to feel emotions. So yes, The Distance Between Us is my contemporary novel that comes out July 2nd. It’s a mash up of Pretty In Pink and Pride and Prejudice. It’s about letting go of first impressions and long held opinions and seeing someone for who they really are. It’s about friends and love and money. It’s about discovery.”
5. What difficulties did you find while writing a contemporary novel, as opposed to Pivot Point’s sci-fi genre? Also, what were some of the benefits?
“I think a lot of times when I write outside the contemporary genre I’m able to lose myself in a plot more and trying to discover how that plot needs to be structured. And I have to concentrate on world building and the rules of the world. Whereas contemporary for me focuses more on emotion and relationships.
I like writing in both. They both have their challenges and their benefits.”
6. Pivot Point touches on the subject of how our choices can have consequences. Can you tell us about a time when you had to face a choice similar to Addison’s situation, but wish you could have explored both sides of the choice?
“My whole publishing journey has been about facing choices and there were times where I wished I could let myself look in the future and see how things would work out if I went one way, versus the other—like, when choosing which agent I should go with, or which publishing house—but ultimately things worked out great.
If I had Addie’s power I’d probably abuse it. I’d use it for every little thing. :)”
7. There is so much romance in Pivot Point! What was the best and worst part of writing two different romantic situations with the same protagonist?
“Oh that was fun!
It was like letting her fall in love twice without the complications of a love triangle. I really enjoyed building up two separate relationships and seeing how she would react and interact with two guys that had such different personalities.
The hardest part was getting attached to both of them. There was a point in writing where I wasn’t sure who she needed to end up with and that scared me, because if there’s one thing I like to know when reading a book with two love interests, it’s who I’m supposed to be rooting for. I was glad I figured it out. :)”
8. What is your stance on the idea that a human’s brain is capable of near-superpower abilities?
“Isn’t that answer obvious. ;)
I think the human brain is a magical thing. We just have to figure out how to tap into all that power.”
9. If a fellow writer wants to create a complex world like yours, what steps would you suggest?
“Spend a lot of time thinking about it before diving into the writing.
There is so much simmering I do when I have a new idea. I just let it live in my head for a while. Let my brain work out some kinks and dive into different scenarios. Then once I know the world, I start writing like everyone else knows exactly what’s going on too. That way I can avoid big info dumps.
But everyone has a different way of writing so do what feels right for you.”
10. Do you ever wonder if we are all just a part of one path, like in Addie’s visions?
“Oooh, that’s a creepy question. I like it. :)
What if there are alternate versions of ourselves who chose different paths living in an alternate dimension?
Thanks so much for a fun interview, Dayla! :)”
Thank you for stopping by, Kasie!
I hope you guys enjoyed this week’s interview! Check back next week for another awesome interview!
Leah Konen, the author of The After Girls, has written a pretty awesome guest post for you guys!
Curing Writer’s Block via the Internet
It’s pretty much common knowledge that the Internet is the ultimate procrastinator’s tool. But while there have been lots of times where I’ve used it to distract me from writing, there are also times when I’ve used it to help me. While I was writing The After Girls[http://www.amazon.com/The-After-Girls-Leah-Konen/dp/1440561087], a YA friendship story that follows two teens who try to uncover the mystery of their best friend’s death, I actually relied on it a lot for inspiration. Here are some of my favorite ways to cure writer’s block on the Web.
Create an inspiration board for your story on Pinterest
I saw writer boards start to pop up as I was finishing a first draft of The After Girls, and I decided to make my own Pinterest board for the book [http://pinterest.com/leahkonen/the-after-girls-inspiration/]. My story was all about emotion and tone—I found images of friends, settings, and objects that figure prominently in the book, but most importantly, I found images that hit the tone I was going for spot-on. Ethereal, creepy and just a little surreal, I often went back to these images when I was stuck on a scene. I even used my Pinterest board to find the photographer whose images I’m going to use for my book trailer (coming soon!).
Search for writing quotes
Writing is solitary. It can be frustrating and lonely. And some friends will inevitably tire of hearing you complain about the process. Enter the writing quote. When I’m feeling a little lost, I do a quick Google search for quotes that will help me feel better. I know it’s silly, but it feels like getting a pep talk from F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Play with a plot generator
Archetype [http://www.archetypewriting.com/muse/generators/plot.htm] has a fun one, and this one [http://plot-generator.org.uk/] from the UK lets you choose your genre, then acts as a sort of Mad Libs for plots. While it’s unlikely that you’ll actually use any of the ideas, it does help with thinking of “What ifs?” for your own writing.
Sign up for Figment’s Daily Themes
When I’m stuck, I always find it helpful to set aside my project and free write for a bit. There are lots of places to find writing prompts online, but my favorite place is Figment. They have daily themes from teachers, writers and bigwigs like Aimee Bender and Curtis Sittenfeld. You can sign up here [http://figment.com/dailythemes].
“Leah Konen is a writer living in San Francisco. She is a graduate of The University of North
The After Girls
Release Date: April 18, 2013
Genres: Young adult, contemporary, romance
“Ella, Astrid, and Sydney were planning the perfect summer after high school graduation. But when Astrid commits suicide in a lonely cabin, the other girls’ worlds are shattered. How could their best friend have done this—to herself and to them? They knew everything about Astrid. Shouldn’t they have seen this coming? Couldn’t they have saved her?
As Ella hunts for the truth, and Sydney tries to dull the pain, a chilling message from Astrid leaves them wondering whether their beloved friend is communicating from the after life. The girls embark on a journey to uncover Astrid’s dark secrets. The answers to those questions—questions they never dreamed of asking—will change their lives forever.”
Did you enjoy Pivot Point?
Check out my interview tomorrow with one of 2013’s most promising debut authors, Kasie West!
Interviews are always posted between 7 PM & 7:30 PM on Fridays (Unless they are part of a book tour!)
Have you missed past interviews?
Check out Confession of a Book Addict’s interviews page here.
This sexy cover was created by MaeIDesign!
Maverick by Anna Cruise
Publication date: May 21st 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
“Kellen Handler is in deep.
Ever since he can remember, he’s wanted to be a professional surfer. And he made it, rising to the top of the ranks, traveling the world and riding every break he’s ever dreamed of. His good looks and reputation for living on the edge—both in and out of the water—have made him an international superstar. But when his best friend dies in a tragic accident, Kellen wipes out big time, spiraling so badly that everything he’s worked for starts to disintegrate.
Tour officials scramble to do damage control and demand he work with a public relations company to clean up his bad boy image. It doesn’t help that the person assigned to him, Gina Bellori, has her own demons associated with the surfing world.
Against her better judgement Gina accepts the job and concentrates on repairing Kellen’s tattered reputation, despite his protests and despite the pain it causes her. With her past colliding with her present—and Kellen in the thick of it—she begins to realize that some secrets can’t stay hidden.
And suddenly, Kellen Handler is no longer worried about losing his career.
He’s more worried about losing his heart.”
Check out Maverick on Goodreads here.
Enter the Giveaway!
What you can win:
$20 Giftcard for Amazon! (Open Internationally!)
“Anna Cruise has been writing and drooling over boys since middle school. Lots of years have passed but some things never change…
It Was You is her debut novel. She is currently at work on two Young Adult novels and two additional New Adult titles (including Tana’s story!)”
Find Anna on the web:
Is the singular “they” ever correct, or should it be avoided altogether?
Your question intrigued me and though we do use the singular “they” in everyday life (correctly too), the thought still made me pause.
In fact, it prompted me to look this up on the wonderful search engine that is google. This is what I found:
A very eye-opening, and kind of awesome, article about “they” in the singular form by Motivated Grammar.
P.S. This comment, posted on the website, is also pretty interesting to note:
“This situation is a perennial problem for those of us teaching composition sections — we (or at least, most of us) know there’s nothing wrong with singular ‘they’, but we also know some of our students will get marked off in other courses for using it. If we caution students to beware of it, we’re feeding the problem, but if we don’t, we worry about being responsible for the missing points. I just have students consciously practice switching away from it when they need to deal with someone who probably needs more bran in their diet.”
Do I endorse the singular “they”? Honestly, grammar is such a tricky thing that it’s hard to tell someone how to specifically say something, or write something because there will always be someone else there to tell you you’re wrong, but regardless, we tend to live on what we’re being taught in school.
My first instinct as a student was to write with the singular “they”—as I mentioned in my last Writing Wednesday ask—, but thanks to lower essay marks and constant chastising by my professors and fellow students (in creative writing), I decided to drop it. This is why the comment I’ve posted is so powerful, at least to me.
Everyone in school marks differently, but when it comes to writing beyond school, it’s all up to you—after all, neither s/he, he or she, nor “they” is incorrect.
What would recommend for imporving grammar/sentence structure?
Since your first draft is mainly a result of you just getting your story out, I know that your manuscript can get very messy with grammar mistakes, run-on sentences, and occasional unneeded streams of consciousness.
P.S. While most novels have near-impeccable editing, there are a few that have grammatical errors, just search for it as you read (but better not do that, or else it will be all you see, hehe), so don’t base your grammar knowledge 100% on what you read in novels.
My advice towards grammar editing:
- Read it aloud—does it sound awkward? Weak? Unusual? Antiquated? Is your tense consistent? (i.e. if you intend for your story to be mainly first person present tense, do you keep that voice throughout the novel, or are there unintentional discrepancies?)
- Ask a friend or fellow writer— You are obviously going to be biased towards your own work, so asking someone else to check your grammar will not only bring to light what you need to edit, but it will also show you where you need to improve.
- Check out pretty cool tips for Grammar issues on the web—I especially like Daily Writing Tips.
- Be wary of sentences that go on and on: Run-On sentences, or just as bad, comma splices. My professors used to tell me that if a sentence takes my breath away as I am reading it (not in a good way), then perhaps it is a run-on sentence. Keep in mind, however, that some authors use this writing term as a way of creating anxiety, or excitement, or some form of agitated behavior in the reader. Comma splices are where, you, use, too, many, commas, where, a, period, would, suffice, therefore, elongating, a sentence, that, is, really, two, or, more, sentences.
I have a few more tips in this list—though this is about more than just grammar, it gives you a gist of what to look for when you are finally editing:
Remember, however, that the most important thing is that first step: writing what need to write down. Whether it is an essay, a review, your novel, a short story, etc, your first “draft” will always be a mess. Editing is where you really need to become aware of your mistakes in your writing.
As you continue this routine of writing and editing, you will slowly learn what you need to improve on. It will eventually become automatic for you to write in a more correct fashion—without straining yourself or your mind.
For example, I had a huge issue with pronoun confusion—where I would start with a singular pronoun, then automatically jump to a plural (using “they” after introducing my character or person as singular and neither female, nor male). But after it was brought to my attention and I focused more on it while editing, it is now normal for me to write: The reader likes his/her (or the) book—rather than: The reader likes their book (reader is singular, but their is plural, resulting in pronoun confusion).
I hope my tips help and if any one else has any grammar advice, please feel free to add!
Our Souls to Keep by Gary Caruso
Release Date: April 25, 2013
Genres: Young adult (15+), Paranormal, Suspense, Romance
“After seventeen-year-old Wake Reynolds agrees to trade his life to prevent the damaged soul of his suicidal mother from the fiery tortures of Hell, Satan strips him of his humanity and forces him to become a demonic collector of souls. With no memory of his human existence, Wake preys on defenseless teenagers until they willingly end their own lives.
After many years of loyal service, something inside Wake is changing. Images of a forgotten life, lost human emotions begin to emerge. As Wake struggles to keep these new sensations hidden, Satan orders him to corrupt the soul of a pregnant girl, Annemarie. Beautiful, gentle Annemarie. From the moment Wake sees her, she brings lightness to his dense, blackened heart. If he chooses to defy Satan and spare the lives of Annemarie and her unborn child, his mother’s soul will writhe in pain in Hell’s deepest pit for eternity. Annemarie or his mother? It’s a perverse choice no one should have to make.”
Check out Our Souls to Keep on Goodreads here.
Enter the international giveaway!
“Gary Caruso lives in northern Virginia with his wife Jill, but their favorite place is in Ohio with their three beautiful grandchildren.
Although Gary is exhilarated when he sits down to write, teaching middle school science is his first love. He’s passionate about empowering students to make thoughtful decisions and positive choices in life.
Gary enjoys reading, especially fiction that blurs the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy. He never imagined becoming a writer until an ordinary car ride on a spring day jolted an unlikely thought into his head.
Gary’s early experience writing is a reminder that no matter how intimidating the challenge, action and determination are the foundations for fulfilling any dream. Gary has an insatiable love for writing, a blessing he’s excited to share with his readers.”
Find Gary on the web:
Welcome to Picture Mondays!
I know I missed last week, but hopefully this week’s beautiful covers make up for my missed Monday!
This week’s covers feature beautiful women expressing their most intense emotions—varying from conflicted love, hopeful happiness, and regretful despair.
These are all 2013 releases—so keep an eye out for the yet-to-be released titles!
This week’s picks are:
- A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison
- All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
- If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin
Cover created by Phatpuppy Art!
Losing Francesca by J.A. Huss
Publication date: July 1st 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
“Francesca Sabatini came to America to take in the sights, celebrate her high school graduation, and have fun wasting time before college starts in the fall.
That’s not what happens.
Fresh off the plane and barely on American soil more than a handful of minutes, Francesca’s face is recognized by TSA scanners to be a match for a child who was kidnapped twelve years ago.
Brody Mason remembers the day Fiona Sullivan went missing during a family vacation in Italy and it’s haunted him his whole life. So when Francesca shows up at the Sullivan farm down the road, he’s compelled to figure out if this girl really is his long lost friend.
But Francesca knows she’s not Fiona Sullivan. She knows exactly who she is. At least she thinks she knows – until Brody Mason relentlessly pursues her and she begins to have feelings for him. Maybe being Fiona isn’t so bad?
Reality becomes blurred, secrets are revealed, and life will never be the same when the final questions are answered: Is she Francesca or Fiona? And where does she really belong?”
Check out the original video on Youtube here.
Check out Losing Francesca on Goodreads here.
Enter the giveaway, for a chance to win:
Prize is a 25$ Amazon or Paypal gift card, open internationally!
“J. A. Huss likes to write new adult books that make you think and keep you guessing. Her favorite genre to read is space opera, but since practically no one reads those books, she writes new adult science fiction, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and books about Junco (who refuses to be saddled with a label).
She has an undergraduate degree in horses, (yes, really–Thank you, Colorado State University) and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology from the University of Florida. She used to have a job driving around Colorado doing pretty much nothing but shooting the breeze with farmers, but now she just writes, runs the New Adult Addiction and Clean Teen Reads Book Blogs, and runs an online science classroom for homeschoolers.”
Find J.A. on the web:
Welcome to Interview Fridays!
This week’s interview is with Scott Blagden, the author behind the fantastic young adult contemporary novel, Dear Life, You Suck. Scott’s debut is a beautiful interpretation of the world through the eyes of an orphan who has a high fighting record, but a powerful heart—whether he believes it, or not.
Remember to check out Scott’s links throughout his interview!
“Scott Blagden grew up in Foxborough, Massachusetts (Go Patriots!), the middle child of a five-child Brady Bunch fiasco. He moved to Cape Cod twenty years ago to get on the ocean. He has been writing since middle school and never imagined it would take forty years to get published. Life’s road is riddled with unpredictable detours
Scott is mostly self-taught, his college career cut short by a practical joke gone bad. During his junior year, his first job as an English department Work Study intern was to type a professor’s syllabus into the computer. As a joke, Scott added an additional deadline date: Last date to submit cash compensation to professor for final grade alteration. The syllabus was not proofread by the staff before being printed and distributed to hundreds of students. Teachers, parents, and the president of the college did not appreciate the humor, and Scott was given the proverbial boot. Since then, he has been self-employed in real estate.
Scott enjoys writing for young adults and is especially interested in exploring the Scott Blagden’s Familymotives and manifestations of troubled teens. As they say, write what you know!
His academic interests include philosophy, history, and religion, and those themes infuse his fiction. He enjoys cooking, boating, and being a dad to his teenage twins.”
Find Scott on the web:
Most Recent Work:
Dear Life, You Suck
Genres: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Release Date: March 26th, 2013
““The shrinkadinks think I have a screw loose. Ain’t playing with a full deck. Whacked-out wiring. Missing marbles.”
Irreverent, foulmouthed seventeen-year-old Cricket is the oldest ward in a Catholic boys’ home in Maine—and his life sucks.
With prospects for the future that range from professional fighter to professional drug dealer, he seems doomed to a life of “criminal rapscallinity.”
In fact, things look so bleak that Cricket can’t help but wonder if his best option is one final cliff dive into the great unknown. But then Wynona Bidaban steps into his world, and Cricket slowly realizes that maybe, just maybe, life doesn’ttotally suck.”
Check out Dear Life, You Suck on the web:
Buy Dear Life, You Suck on the web:
Scott’s launch party at Foxborough, Mass., Irish pub Waxy O’Connor’s drew 100+ attendees, including (far left) Betsy Groban, senior v-p and publisher of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group; Scott Blagden (second from left); Rubin Pfeffer, Blagden’s agent (back right); Connor Blagden (to Scott’s left). Front row left to right Riley Wigmore (Scott’s nephew); Tanner Wigmore (Scott’s nephew); and facing away Madison Blagden (Scott’s daughter); and Madison Durr (Madison’s friend)
Signed books and Dear Life, You Suck T-shirts guaranteed to get you kicked out of school can be purchased at:
1. Dear Life, You Suck encourages the use of journals, or letters, as a way of releasing stress, or finding oneself. How important do you think it is for a young writer to maintain a journal throughout his/her life?
“It can be useful, but it’s definitely not necessary.
I wrote sporadically throughout my teens, but I wasn’t consistent with it by any means. Everyone has their own ways of working through issues and stress in their lives. Writing can be therapeutic, and I know some writers who claim that writing literally “saved” them. It’s different for everyone. I do find it helpful though to get stuff that’s balled up inside me out on a page. There’s something about that release that helps me see the issue more clearly.”
2. I love that despite having a hard life, Cricket still finds a form of redemption. Was it difficult finding a way to save a character who didn’t believe he needed saving?
“That was one of the most difficult parts of the novel, probably because it’s one of the most difficult parts of life.
I wanted Cricket to realize that his life was worth saving and his future wasn’t completely hopeless, but I also wanted the ending to be realistic. His past will haunt him for the rest of his life. It’s a part of who he is and always will be. But that doesn’t mean he can’t move forward and have a hopeful future.”
3. Cricket is such a cool name! Where did you draw the inspiration for your protagonist’s name, and how does it add more character to him?
“Names are important to me.
I spend a lot of time researching names for my characters. I wanted Cricket to have a name that matched his personality – something unique, creepy, complex, and misunderstood. I also wanted his name to tell the readers something about his parents. I mean, what kind of adults with the last name “Cherpin” would name their son “Cricket”.”
4. Fighting is a huge issue in your novel. What is your personal stance on fighting in today’s society and schooling system?
“I’m more on Mother Mary’s side on the fighting issue than Cricket’s.
It’s not an appropriate way for young people to resolve disputes. But I also respect and understand Cricket’s philosophy about self-defense and his reasons for fighting. Of course, Cricket takes his fights well beyond the realm of self-defense, but he has his reasons.
As Caretaker says, “I know you’re fighting something a damn sight scarier than them little kiddlins getting picked on.””
5. Your novel is a fantastic portrayal of contemporary young adult fiction! What lessons do you hope your readers learn from Cricket’s misadventures?
“To me one of the main themes in the novel is about seeing beneath the scars.
To seeing the “why” of people and being open to giving them second chances. Or in Cricket’s case, three thousand second chances.”
6. What was the most difficult aspect of writing Dear Life, You Suck?
“As I mentioned, the ending was difficult.
I wanted Cricket to discover that there were people in his life who genuinely cared about him, people he could trust. I also wanted him to recognize that he doesn’t have to be controlled forever by his past, that he can move beyond it. But I didn’t want the ending to be fairy-tale happy, because that wouldn’t be realistic for a person with a past like Cricket’s. Achieving that balance was difficult.
I’ve heard from readers who think the ending was too neatly wrapped up and others who think the ending needed more detail about Cricket’s future. You can’t please everybody.”
7. What was the first thing you did once you completed the first draft?
“The first thing I did after completing the first draft was to start on revisions.
The first draft was crap. I didn’t send it out to agents or publishers until I was through about a hundred drafts and even then it needed a ton of work.”
8. What are your thoughts on writers who write one or two manuscripts just for fun, before they write one they want to publish?
“That makes a lot of sense to me.
I think most writers need to write multiple manuscripts before their writing is ready for publication. For me it took four novels. But writing for fun is also a good strategy for novels you want to publish.
We should write about things we’re passionate about, things we enjoy writing about. Dear Life, You Suck is an example of that. I wrote it completely for myself, never imagining that this crude, irreverent, foul-mouthed character would ever find a home with a publisher.
Cricket is the funniest, most philosophical character who’s ever entered my head. It was a ball to write his story – in his own words.”
9. I love Cricket’s narrative voice. How did you manage to get such a relatable voice into your novel?
“That’s a tough question.
One day this character just appeared in my head and started ranting and raving about all kinds of things like life, death, adults, parents, religion, love, girls, art, God. It was weird. The voice was a jumble of emotions and moods - mad, sad, desperate, scared, insane, confused. When he couldn’t think of the right word for what he was trying to express, he’d just make one up. It was heart-wrenching and hilarious to listen to.”
10. How important is it to write the story we, as writers, want to write, as opposed to what we know is popular (right now) in literature?
“It is absolutely the most important thing for writers.
We can’t write truly engaging stories if we’re not truly engaged in the story. We can’t create characters with heart if they don’t come from our heart. We can’t create characters with depth if they don’t come from deep inside us. We can’t create characters with unique, authentic voices if we don’t write them in our own unique, authentic voice. Every time we tweak a character because of something going on in the publishing world, we chip away at the authenticity of the character. Instead of being who he truly is, he becomes what we think others think he should be.
Our allegiance should be to our characters, no one else. We have to write with blinders on, uncensored and unafraid.”
Thank you for stopping by, Scott!
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview! Check back next week for another awesome interview!
I’m loving this week! It’s a very sexy cover week!
Amazingly Broken by Jordin Williams
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Expected Publication Date: June 20th, 2013
“Life threw Elana a curveball…
Her mother died in Iowa and was left to fend for herself with an abusive and drunken father who could care less about her well being. After years of heartache and pain she graduated from high school and moved to Florida to go to college with her best friend Tiffany.
A new beginning…
That’s where she met Jaxon. He was everything she didn’t need. He was a cocky, tattooed, and a beer drinking musclehead. He was the type of guy that she normally would have avoided given her circumstances but when he offers her a bed to sleep on she can’t say no.
She never thought that she would discover they weren’t much different from one another and that he had his own secrets and scars he didn’t want revealed to anyone…”
Check out Amazingly Broken on Goodreads here.
Can’t wait to read Amazingly Broken? Enter the giveaway!
You can win:
$75 Amazon GC + 3 x ARC copies of Amazingly Broken - Ebooks / International
“Jordin Williams is a 26 year-old ghostwriter turned author.
She lives in Iowa and has always loved to sit down and read a good book. When she started ghostwriting books they would become popular even though she was never given any credit, so she decided to write her own book, Amazingly Broken.”
Find Jordin on the web: