Interview with Jennifer Parr, Author of “Tortuous Shadows”

Jennifer Parr is the author of  the enthralling novel Tortuous Shadows. This is what she has to say on reading, writing, and being a independent author.

What inspired you to become an author?

Growing up, I never had the desire to write, though I’ve always been a creative person, but that all changed when I started reading the Twilight saga some four years ago. I’d finish one book and start writing my own version of its sequel in my mind. I was hooked instantly.

How did you first get the idea for Tortuous Shadows?

Trying to fall asleep, believe it or not. I was sick and it was one of those nights that sleep was too distant a thing to achieve, and I just started thinking about a set of twins and what kind of life they would have if they were the first twins ever born and what would cause a thing like that to happen. I immediately had the names Aria and Aaron and it was like I already knew everything about them. I already loved them.

In what ways do you relate to Aria Morgan?

Aria is such a shy, inverted person when she’s around people she doesn’t know, which is me to a tee. If you know me, really know me, then I can be myself, just like Aria. She knows who she is, but she keeps her true self hidden, shining only for those who really embrace her, those who love her.

What are the benefits of being an independent (indie) author? Are there any major drawbacks?

Honestly, I haven’t found many benefits of being an indie author, aside from the fact that I decide my own deadlines. My life has been hectic the last ten months or so since I moved from California, and if I had been stressed with deadlines I probably would have cracked. Then again, my second book would have been published by now, but hey, what can you do? The major drawback in my opinion is a lack of guidance. Everything I’ve done has been on my own accord, without any support from an agent, editor, publisher, anything. It’s been difficult, but I believe that one day I’ll find the agent that’s right for me.

Do you have any other series in the works in addition to the Avalon Valley books?

I do, actually. It’s a sci/fi adult series that I am very excited about. I wrote the first book The Purifier rather quickly, inspired by the freedom I found in writing with fewer restrictions (being that the Avalon Valley series is set in an older type of setting, before modern technology). It’s set in New York and the main character is a guy, and I found it very entertaining to write from the male perspective.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors/writers?

Just keep writing. If you love it, do it. It doesn’t matter how bad it is when you start out. The more you write, the more you grow. If you learn to push yourself and rethink the way you arrange words, you can discover that there is beauty hidden within you that you never thought you had.

And last but not least, what are you favorite books and/or authors?

My favorite author is Maggie Stiefvater, who brought us the beautiful and haunting Scorpio Races, a standalone novel about deadly water horses and the brave riders who back them every November for the even deadlier Scorpio Races. This novel is so near and dear to my heart, as is the author – I’d probably die if I ever met her. 🙂

 

Thanks Jennifer!

Happy Reading,

Kayla

I deal with writer’s block by lowering my expectations. I think the trouble starts when you sit down to write and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent—and when you don’t, panic sets in. The solution is never to sit down and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent. I write a little bit, almost every day, and if it results in two or three or (on a good day) four good paragraphs, I consider myself a lucky man. Never try to be the hare. All hail the tortoise.

~ Malcolm Gladwell

Interview with Jaime Guerard, Author of “Awaken”

Jamie Guerard is the author of Awaken, a fantastic novel full of mystery, romance, and suspense. This is what she has to say on reading, writing, and everything literary!!

 

Hi Jaime! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

Hi Kayla, I would like to first say thank you for hosting this interview! Your support means the world to me!

 

What inspired you to become an author?

Wow…how do I answer this question? I know a lot of people say they were inspired by reading or they always knew that they wanted to be an author, but for me, Awaken came to me right after I read the Twilight Series! I was drawn to the writing style and the emotion, characters and how a book can suck you into another world. It was then that I knew writing stories and creating a fictional world was something I was destined to do.

How did you first get the idea for “Awaken”?

Oh I love this question because I remember the exact day/hour it came, as if it was yesterday! It was October 14, 2008 when the entire Awaken Series (all three books) filled my head with mystery, suspense, love and a storyline that just had to be told! I’m not sure why it came. I’d been searching for my “purpose” in life and at the time I was a stay-at-home mom that didn’t do much but provide every waking day to the care of my family. But I knew there was more for me! So the next month (September 2008) I sat down at my computer and started to write!

In what ways do you relate to Bre Davis?

I think the main trait that I have (that Bre struggles with throughout the series) is faith in the unknown. What I mean by this; Bre has so many obstacles in her life that force her to trust in herself. She has to have faith that, even when the odds are stacked against her she has the strength and power to overcome anything. She has to believe everything will turn out okay even in the bad times. So many times in my life when I didn’t know what was going to happen, and it didn’t seem like things would get better, I had to believe that everything happens for a reason.

What is your writing strategy?

My writing strategy is a little different than most authors. Some authors have word counts per day that they want to achieve, others have storyboards so they can visualize how their story needs to flow and what needs to happen. For me, I write when the chapter comes to me. When I started writing Awaken I already knew the major scenes that needed to happen in the novel and the elements (between each character) that needed to take place. So from there I would work up to those big scenes and only wrote when I was inspired (which was most of the time).

What is the best part of being an independent (indie) author?

There are a lot of things to be thankful for in this industry, but if I had to choose one it would be the connections I’ve made with other indie authors! There’s no way I could’ve done this and published my novel without the help and support of my fellow authors. I love you all!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors/writers?

My advice for aspiring authors is to sit down and get your thoughts out of your head and don’t worry about making your MS perfect.  Editing will happen later! When I first started writing Awaken I was taking a lot of time trying to edit my MS. I would spend months on one chapter and it wasn’t getting me anywhere. But one day my husband gave me some great advice and that was to just write it out and then go back and edit. I’m so glad I listened to him because Awaken probably still would’ve been unfinished.

Do you have any favorite books and/or authors that you would recommend?

Some of my favorite novels are: Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer, Divergent Series by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Colins, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Bitter Angel by Megan Hand, Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki (to name a few).

 

Thanks again Jaime!!!

Happy Reading,

Kayla

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.

~ James Baldwin

 

“The Murder Complex” by Lindsay Cummings – REVIEW!!!!

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The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings is a gripping novel that questions the boundaries of the human conscience.

Taking place in what was once the Florida Everglades, sixteen year old Meadow Woodson has never known a world without violence. The Shallows have a murder rate of three hundred victims per month, and anyone could be next. The Initiative seems to have no concern what so ever for their citizens, and harbor no qualms about flaunting their superiority.  To prepare her and her siblings for this gruesome world, Meadow’s father has created The Fear Trials, a harsh training program constructed to build their mental and physical strength while eliminating their fear and teaching them to trust no one. Meadow has never experienced the love of a parent through anything but pain and suffering for “her own good”.

Seventeen year old Zephyr James is a ward of the state. He is the clean-up crew of The Shallows. He and the rest of the orphans are ordered to complete the jobs that no one else wants – disposing of the deceased left lying in the streets, cleaning up the bloodstains, and much worse.

But Zephyr has his own burden to carry. He never wants to kill, but he just can’t deny the desires of his brain- even though his vicious actions completely conflict with his own morals. To add to his torment, Zephyr can’t seem to get these fluxing numbers out of his head… or his moonlit girl.

The Murder Complex is full of emotionally frustrating twists that kept me fully engaged for the entire book. The plot was completely unpredictable, making novel one of the most suspenseful books I have read in a long time. I particularly recommend The Murder Complex to fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maximum Ride.

Happy Reading!

Kayla

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald