Today I’m pleased to welcome author Audrey Rich to the blog. I hope you enjoy getting to meet Audrey and don’t forget to check out her Stonehaven High Series.
1. Hello Audrey and welcome to my site. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
Honestly, I didn’t know I would become a writer until the moment I began writing and I say it was an answer to a prayer back in 2008. It happened one night without any thought. Too wired to sleep, I went to check out FB and emails but instead I opened Word. My fingers flew across the keyboard. The story poured out of my fingers the entire night. The next morning I had written thirty pages. When I showed my husband, he read the first six pages and encouraged me to continue. For the next three months, I couldn’t stop writing. Every single moment I could find in a life full of two children, volunteering at school, and holding the position of Treasurer in my Homeowner’s Association was spent on this story until I finished.
2. What made you decide to write for teens instead of another age group?
The characters picked me. But I like the innocence of the age and that they don’t have the usual adult baggage. While teen characters do have their own pains, issues, and problems I love how their internal fight is bigger than anything else and revolves more around them. Presenting their internal struggles is one of the things I love about writing teenage characters.
3. Your debut novel, Masquerading Our Love (A Stonehaven High Series Book 1), features two characters in love but forced to hide their relationship due to their feuding families. Was the story inspired by Romeo & Juliet? If so how are the stories similar and how are they different?
Deep down I do believe that Romeo and Juliet played an influence in my subconscious. The obvious similarities are that it’s about the two teen’s parents who haven’t spoken to each other in over a decade. These two teens aren’t allowed to even talk to each other much less form a romantic bond. The difference is that Thalía wants to obey her parents and Christopher is pushed by this constraint to hatch out a plan if he wants to hang out with her and, of course, there is a happily-ever-after.
4. How did you come up with the names of your main characters, Thalía Reynari and Christopher Cooper?
The names just came to me as I wrote late that night. I would stop as each new character entered the scene and I could see who they were with their unique names.
5. What was it like to go from studying literature (to get your B.A. in Comparative Literature) to writing?
I read the great writers not only from England and America but from all over the world for my Comparative Literature degree. It allowed me to read the world classics, which helped me to learn the structure of how novels work from so many cultures. Once I learned how the great writers structured their stories, it helped me to follow similar paths.
6. What is the best advice you would give to young writers?
Besides reading and writing as often as possible, young writers should also live life. It’s harder to write about pain if you haven’t experienced pain, love, joy, friendships, etc., should be experienced to be able to write about it. Not that you have to experience everything that a character experiences but a writer needs to know what it is to have butterflies in your insides when that special person touches your arm or gives you a certain look.
7. What can readers look forward to from you next?
My second and third books cover the romance of Thalía’s friend, Trina Weber and her romance with Stuart Grant, Mr. Perfect. Thinking About Love, Part 1 is already available for sale and the second part will be released either in the late summer or early fall.
About the Author:
Audrey Rich is a New York City transplant living in South Florida, who writes sweet YA and NA Contemporary Romances and is an avid reader of novels where love conquers all.
She’s married to her own happily-ever-after Hero, is an inactive CPA, and a stay-at-home mom homeschooling her teenage daughter.
Audrey enjoys volunteering with children of all ages at church and teaching the Junior Achievement curriculums at local middle and high schools. She also loves to travel with her family.
About the Book:
Can faith trump love?
Seventeen year old, Trina Weber has the world at her feet: beautiful, part of the in-crowd, and with almost enough college credits to earn her AA while only a junior at Stonehaven High School.
With her whole life planned, all she needs to complete her perfect world is a boyfriend.
But not any guy will do.
She’s searching for a partner, who will accept her goals and all the studying that goes with becoming a family doctor.
When the gorgeous, equally ambitious college freshman Stuart Grant blazes into her South Florida paradise, he fits right in. He’s everything she dreamed of and more…except he doesn’t agree with the most important part of who she is.
Today I’m pleased to welcome author Leila Tualla to the blog. I hope you enjoy getting to meet Leila and don’t forget to check out her book.
1. What is one weird fact about you we wouldn’t find in your biography?
I have a strange obsession with feet pictures. In every new place, I’ve ever visited – the zoo, museums, a restaurant, a new park, etc – I have to take a picture of my feet. No worries, I’m wearing shoes. Mostly. My first blog was titled, “Misadventures of Lei’s little feet,” and it would be pictures of where my feet have been. That blog doesn’t exist anymore and I still do take feet pictures but now, it’s mostly of my children’s feet.
2. What inspired you to start writing?
My grandfather was the story teller in my family and his stories were about people, and their fears, whether real or imagined. He could spin a tale! For a long time, I believed his story about being a cook for the Japanese army during the battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II. It turns out he went into hiding with his entire family in a bunker. But his stories seemed so believable. I think he wanted to sound braver than having a story about hiding. I didn’t look at him any differently, though. I wish he was alive today so I can write down his stories! Stories with faith, and the human spirit, motives, and the truth behind people’s characters are inspiring to read and that’s what I want to do. I want to write about something a little more real.
3. You have a YA Christian romance novel, Love, Defined, and were a part of an anthology to raise awareness for mental health issues, Letters of May. What is it like to write different genres?
It was fun and interesting! For Letters of May, I had written a letter for a mom with a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I had written something similar for a girlfriend of mine about a year ago whose baby was born at 26 weeks and was just beside herself. I lived in a different city and wanted to comfort her but when you’re in a situation where everyone tries to comfort you, you kind of get sick of these “I’m sorrys,” and “it’ll be okays.” I wrote her a letter saying that I don’t know what will happen to you or your baby, but this is what I know. It’s scary. It sucks. You’re going to cry a lot and you may not be okay……and that’s okay. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help, or ask to be left alone. I wanted her to know that I’ll be here no matter what she decided. There was a lot more tears doing Letters of May than Love, Defined.
4. What is your favorite Disney movie?
Aladdin, hands down….. well, the Lion King is a close second!
5. If you could go on an adventure with one fictional character who would it be?
This is a hard one!! I’ll say Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s the Dresden Files only because my husband is practically in love with the guy (both the fictional character and the author). I’d like to go on an adventure with Dresden just to know why he’s ‘the man.’
6. What is the best advice you would give to young writers?
Find a mentor and then, be one! This writing community is huge and you can easily get lost in the crowd. Find someone that you can talk to about being in the community, and try to help each other as much as you can. It’s easy to read and review someone else’s work. It’s easy to do a tweet or share something of theirs on your Facebook page. I believe in karma. Your success may not be what you pictured but to someone else, you’re already living their dream. So, be nice. Be kind and when you can, help another writer buddy.
7. What can readers look forward to from you next?
I’m in my editing phase of my memoir. It’s a collection of journal entries and poems about my experiences with preeclampsia, premature babies, the NICU journey and my bout with postpartum depression. It was a healing project and somehow I ended up with all these poems for a collection. I don’t know when it’ll be done though.
I’m also editing another Christian YA novella called, Letters to Eleanor. That one, I hope to release in the fall.
About the Author:
Leila Tualla is a Filipino American writer, poet, and Christian author. She is a preeclampsia survivor and advocate, and blogs about “life after preeclampsia,” at www.tuallaleila.blogspot.com. After her second baby, Leila had postpartum depression. She is thankful that her family and those who supported her, stood with her and helped pull her out of her darkness. Her faith in Christ was, and continues to be, her daily lifeline. Leila is humbled daily by God’s saving grace.
When she’s not writing about her preeclampsia or postpartum journey, or chasing after her tiny miracle bosses, she can also be found buried in books. Leila reads various novels throughout the year and her book reviews can be found at www.leilatualla.com.
About the Book:
In their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends expect an uncomplicated transition to adulthood…but learn they all still have some growing up to do.
Alex Makapulo is facing a crisis of faith.
Raised a Catholic, Alex is considering becoming a member of her best friend Jack Page’s church—against her family’s wishes—but she can’t quite take the final step of baptism. Jack loves Alex and doesn’t understand her hesitation, and Alex wonders if Jack’s love is a blessing or a distraction to test her religious conviction.
Lori Hanson embarks on the trip of a lifetime.
For her twenty-second birthday, Lori’s grandfather presents her with a summer vacation in England. While preparing for her adventure, she meets British musician Colin Watson online and quickly falls for him. They plan to hook up when she lands in London, but her grandfather forbids it. Due to complicated family dynamics, Lori must regretfully comply with his wishes, though she vows never to forgive him.
Andy Taylor is looking for love in all the wrong places.
When Andy runs into an old crush, she decides she wants a more meaningful relationship with sexy Miles Webber. But when she confides in Alex, her friend warns her Miles only wants her for sex. Andy becomes angry and devises a reckless plan to distract Alex’s attention from her relationship. Things don’t go quite as she expected, though, and Andy is left facing a crushing moral dilemma.
As the summer unfolds, three young women learn love and faith go hand in hand, not everything is black and white, and sometimes in a fast-paced world you have to slow down, breathe a little, and find your own definition of love.
Today I’m pleased to welcome author Lisa Manterfield to the blog. I hope you enjoy getting to meet Lisa and don’t forget to check out her book and giveaway at the end of the interview!
1. What made you decide to start writing?
Writers often talk about the idea that won’t leave them alone. I had one of those and knew I had to do something with it. It was a topic I was exploring in my real life and writing seemed to offer some answers, or at least a way to explore ideas. I wrote it as a screenplay first, but could never get it to be the story I needed to tell. Eventually, I tried it as a novel and I knew I’d found the perfect outlet. I wrote a lot of other things in between, including two non-fiction books, but that original idea eventually became my first novel, A Strange Companion.
2. Do you prefer series or standalone books?
Standalone. I like to explore new worlds when I read, so I don’t tend to stick with a series for more than a book or two. Harry Potter is the only series I’ve ever seen through to completion. I love writing stand-alone novels because each one is a fresh canvas and a whole world of possibilities. That’s both the fun and the challenging part of writing standalones.
3. In your fiction you often cover serious themes like death and grief, how do you balance these themes in your work?
In real life, I’m quite a cheerful person, so it’s sort of funny to me that I explore death and grief so much in my writing. Fortunately, I’m also a sucker for a good love story, so even in the darkest stories, there’s still room for a flicker of love to burn. And my supporting characters often bring lighter moments to my books. Without them, I think my stories could be very sad. Instead, they’re hopeful.
4. Can you give us one fact about The Smallest Thing we should know?
The nugget of trivia is that it’s a contemporary novel inspired by the true story of the plague village of Eyam, a village that voluntarily imposed a quarantine on itself back in 1665. A little behind-the-scenes detail about my updated version is that Aiden, who plays an important and juicy role in the book, was born out of a one-sentence writing prompt. All of a sudden, this character marched onto the page and took my main character—and my writing group—by storm. His arrival changed the whole trajectory of the novel and I’m so glad it did.
5. What is one wish you have for your book?
You always hope that people will love the book and tell everyone, of course. But I also hope that readers will take away the message that even the smallest of good deeds can make a huge impact on other people’s lives. With so much going on in the world right now and so many calls to protest and take action, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that one small gesture of kindness can change a person’s entire day, maybe even their life.
6. Do you have any other creative hobbies?
I love the theatre and I love to dance. I like to cook, garden, and knit, too. But the truth is that these hobbies have taken a back seat recently as I’ve thrown all my creative energy into writing. Now that The Smallest Thing is out in the world, I hope to get back to some of those other outlets. I took my first tap dancing class earlier this year. It was so much fun (not to mention great exercise) and I’d like to pick that up again.
7. What is the best advice you would give to young writers?
Write for yourself first. Write the stories you want to tell and then figure out where they fit in the world. Because publishing has changed so much, almost any kind of story can find readers who will love it. I think it’s also important to find a community of writers to grow up with. Whether you go to a writers’ conference, find a local group, or join an online community, you need to find people you can trust to give honest and useful feedback, and to support you through the hard parts as well as the celebrations.
8. What can readers look forward to from you next?
I have a collection of short stories that will come out later this year. I’m also in the early stages of a new novel. At the moment, I’m still playing around with several ideas, including one set partly during World War II and featuring a character from A Strange Companion. This might be as close to writing a series as I ever get. But I don’t want to make too many rash promises at this point, as my novels tend to evolve into something quite different to my original idea. I’m in the very early stages right now and anything could happen.
About the Author:
Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author of A Strange Companion and I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today. Originally from northern England, she now lives in Southern California with her husband and over-indulged cat. Learn more at LisaManterfield.com.
About the Book:
The very last thing 17-year-old Emmott Syddall wants is to turn out like her dad. She’s descended from ten generations who never left their dull English village, and there’s no way she’s going to waste a perfectly good life that way. She’s moving to London and she swears she is never coming back.
But when the unexplained deaths of her neighbors force the government to quarantine the village, Em learns what it truly means to be trapped. Now, she must choose. Will she pursue her desire for freedom, at all costs, or do what’s best for the people she loves: her dad, her best friend Deb, and, to her surprise, the mysterious man in the HAZMAT suit?
Inspired by the historical story of the plague village of Eyam, this contemporary tale of friendship, community, and impossible love weaves the horrors of recent news headlines with the intimate details of how it feels to become an adult—and fall in love—in the midst of tragedy.
Follow along with the tour:
- July 18: Interview with Rebecca Lacko
- July 19: Guest Post at A New Look on Books
- July 20: Interview with Heather Sunseri
- July 21: Interview at Booked for Review
- July 22: Interview with Michael Raymond
- July 23: Interview with Farah Oomerbhoy
- July 24: Review by Mixed Bag Mama
- July 25: Guest Post at History in the Margins with Pamela Toler
- July 26: Review at YA Book Divas
- July 27: Review at The Reading Wolf
- July 28: Review at For the Novel Lovers
I am so pleased to be partnering with five other top fantasy authors to bring you a mega fantasy book bundle giveaway! This giveaway is open internationally and ends on June 30th, 2017.
The prize includes:
- Air and Ash (ebook) by Alex Lidell
- Waters of Salt and Sin (ebook), Fever (ebook), and Plains of Sand and Steel (ebook) by Alisha Klapheke
- The Alchemists of Loom (hardcover) and a swag pack by Elise Kova
- The Last of the Firedrakes (hardcover), The Rise of the Dawnstar (hardcover), and book swag by Farah Oomerbhoy
- The Retreat (ebook) by Kelly St. Clare – all those who enter will get this ebook!
- Paladin (ebook) by Sally Slater