Blog Tour + Book Review + Author Interview: This Love by Nazarea Andrews

This Love Button

This Love

Title: This Love (University of Branton #1)

Author: Nazarea Andrews

My Rating: 3.5-4/5 Stars

Source: I received this book in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

She wants a summer job and a ride to a wedding.

He wants an assistant and a distraction from the mess his life had become.

They didn’t know they needed each other.

Avery Emili needs two grand. Two grand and a plane ticket–her sister is counting on her to get to Jamaica for her wedding. But the semester is over, and tutoring college freshman and high school students has dried up until the fall.

Atticus Grimes needs help–the messy split with his wife left the twenty-eight year old professor scrambling to keep things together as the semester winds down. Now he’s got a research grant he has to actually do research for and all he wants to do is drown himself in a tall bottle of bourbon.

When Avery sees his ad for an assistant, all she’s thinking is a summer job. But as they spend time together, in the office and out, both of them begin to realize something is there. Something that can’t happen–he’s a professor and she’s a student. And both of them have histories, pasts that won’t let go. Can two broken people pulled apart by expectations find a way to be whole?

This Love by Nazarea Andrews is one of those books that made me giggle, made me swoon, made me blush, and made me root for two characters who I so desperately wanted to be together. Told in alternating point of views, This Love gets us in the heads of both Avery and Atticus, making us fall in love with the both of them.

When we first meet Avery, she is this determined and smart college student. She always does the right thing, follows the rules, and stays out of trouble, boy trouble in particular. Even though Avery’s strives for success was something to admire, there seemed to be something a bit off about her; there was this distance to her. However, once the story progressed and I learned more about Avery’s past, that distance made more sense. Watching her come out of her shell, learning to be around someone again, to allow herself to feel all of those feelings again, the good and the bad, was one of my favorite parts of this book.

Atticus, another character with a broken past that dictates a lot of his actions in the beginning of this story, also showed a lot of growth. Atticus is a lot more up front with his problems and he deals with them in a completely different way than Avery. He started off heartbroken and a hot mess in pretty much every aspect of his life but I was able to see just how much he grew as a person throughout the book. With the help of Avery he was able to get his life together and learn to love again.

All of these life changes were not easy for the two. Their relationship starts off with a few huge problems, one being that their romance is forbidden, and another being that there is a limit on their time together. These two major issues coupled along with all of the other minor problems, make it hard to believe they could ever turn out together in the end.

Despite the obvious hazard signs flashing all over Atticus and Avery’s relationship, there were still parts of it that I loved to absolute pieces. First and foremost was how they helped each other to be better versions of themselves. Atticus taught Avery how to trust and love again while Avery taught Atticus much of the same. Secondly is their utter nerdiness towards everything history. While this never really appealed to me in high school, I loved that these two were able to connect over something like that. Lastly is the oh la la moments! There is this obvious chemistry between them from the very beginning of the story but neither one really wants to be the first person to make a move. What makes it so much more enjoyable is the fact that it is forbidden and they both try to fight it so hard in the beginning. There’s just something about a forbidden romance that makes this girl oh so happy!

Overall, This Love proved to be a really enjoyable romance. Atticus and Avery were two characters that I could easily picture. Their relationship had its fair share of problems, some of them minor, most of them HUGE, but despite everything they had to work through to be together, their feelings for one another proved to be strong. This Love is the perfect book for a good day out by the beach, or snuggled up on the couch, or you know…basically whenever!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired Avery & Atticus’ story?

Forbidden romance is a favorite trope of mine, and nothing is much more forbidden than student/teacher relationships. But I wanted it to be natural and not gross—I promise it’s not. And Atticus—he showed up more fully formed than Avery did, which isn’t surprising considering Avery’s got a lot she’s hiding—was pretty insistent that his story be told. Avery would describe him as a frat boy, all grown up—and it’s the perfect description.

What was your favorite part about writing This Love?

Lol, the sexy scenes. I’ll own that—I LOVE writing kissing scenes, and I got to go a bit farther than that, so it was a lot of fun.

This Love is a New Adult book; what is it about the New Adult genre that pulled you in?

There’s a lot of freedom in the genre that isn’t offered in YA, so that’s a plus. But I think that a lot of it is, even though I’m 28, married with three kids, a lot of times I’ll stop and panic—HOW AM I DOING THIS? Am I doing this adult thing right? Cuz a lot of time, I feel like no.

And college was some of the best memories I have. So there’s that.

I understand that you also write Fantasy; what was it like switching it up and writing a Contemporary Fiction?

It was a lot of fun!! I love writing fantasy, but it was nice to have just a simple story, without worrying about worldbuilding elements and all the other stuff. It was almost relaxing. :)

This Love is one book that I was so excited to put on my summer reading list. Are there any books you are excited to pick up this summer?

YES!!! I have Storm and Siege, which I’m really excited to read, and Tuesday Subject to Change (another NA contemporary) came out that I can’t wait to read at the beach this weekend!!

A big thank you goes out to Nazarea for answering all of my questions! I absolutely LOVED having her on the blog today! Make sure you all take a second to check out all of the important linkys at the bottom and of course, thank you for stopping by!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nazarea Andrews

Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog.

You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Author Interview: The Russel Middlebrook Series by Brent Hartinger

Geography Club  The Order Of The Poison Oak  Double Feature

The Elephant Of Surprise

Book #1: Geography Club

Book #2: The Order Of The Poison Oak

Book #3: Double Feature

Book #4: The Elephant Of Surprise

Author: Brent Hartinger

I am absolutely THRILLED to have Brent Hartinger on the blog today. Brent is the author of The Russel Middlebrook series starting with The Geography Club, a soon to be feature film starring Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise), Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray), Allie Gonino (The Lying Game), Ally Maki (Ten Things I Hate About You), Justin Deeley (90210), and Alex Newell (Glee), and it continues on through the latest book, The Elephant of Surprise, book #4 in the series. The series follows Russel, a gay teen as he learns that he is not quite as alone as he first imagined. He meets a series of people at his school and they form the “Geography Club” a place for them all to hang out without causing any unwanted attention. Throughout the course of the series, Russel makes friends, learns some things, and has a few adventures along the way. In celebration of Brent’s newest release, The Elephant of Surprise (March 2013) and the upcoming release of the movie version of his first book, I have put together an interview with Brent. I freaking LOVED learning all about Brent, his books, and the movie and I hope you guys will enjoy it all as well. Without further ado, let’s “meet” Brent!

Brent Hartinger

You can’t get much more generic than this question, but I am dying to know: What inspired you to write Russel’s story?

It was as simple as the fact that I thought it would make a great story. Who doesn’t love the story of an underdog? And who’s more of an underdog than a gay teen – especially in the 1990s, when I was writing the first book in the series, Geography Club? I just thought it would be good drama, good humor. And back then, there just weren’t very many other stories like it.

There are four books in the series now, and with each new book, I’ve tried to do something new and different. In The Order of the Poison Oak (the second book in the series), Russel and his friends go to work at a summer camp for burn survivors. In Double Feature (the third book), they get jobs as zombie extras working on a horror film (and you get to see the same period of time from both Russel’s and Min’s POV – and they’re totally different, of course).

Well, for The Elephant of Surprise, the latest book, Russel is bored and wants more adventure in his life. So he begins a passionate romance with a mysterious guy he first meets scrounging food in a Dumpster. The guy’s a “freegan,” someone who’s voluntarily choosing to be homeless. He and his friends eat roadkill and squat in houses and explore abandoned buildings. He’s got this whole, fantastic philosophy worked out.

Okay, so “romance” and “Dumpster diving” are not themes you usually see associated together, right? And that was exactly the point! I wanted to do something really unusual and attention-getting and different — not like any other YA book, especially gay YA, that you’ve ever read before.

In The Elephant of Surprise, you focus on the idea of life never quite turning out the way you expect. Looking back at your 17-year-old self, what has turned out differently than you expected?

That’s a great question!

You know, I wasn’t that far off. I always imagined I’d live in a cool house, and I do – an eco-cottage right near a lake in the heart of Seattle. Once I came to terms with being gay, I imagined I’d be with a great, handsome guy, and I am. And I always wanted to make money doing something creative, and that’s what I do now – I write plays and novels and screenplays for a living.

But the reality of being a writer isn’t nearly as romantic as I thought. First, it’s really, really hard work. I mean, it’s exhausting! And you’re alone most of the time, sitting at your computer. And the rejection and set-backs are non-stop. Seriously, every writer I know, even the wildly successful ones, knows the never-ending frustrations of the business.

But I guess the part of that I didn’t expect is how great is it to have fans who actually care what I write. It’s so much better than I imagined, having people write to say they were touched by something I wrote. It just never gets old. And, weirdly, despite how much time I spent alone, I don’t ever feel alone. I feel way more connected to the world now than I did when I was 17 years old.

If you could be ANY character from your books for a day, who would you pick and why?

Oh, I’d pick the character who has special powers – Zach in Shadow Walkers. He can do astral projection! Then I’d travel into outer space, just like he does.

When you first started the Russel Middlebrook series, did you have any idea that one of the books would be made into a movie?

None! Honestly, the book was really, really hard to sell. This was back in the 1990s, like I said, and gay themes were a much bigger deal, especially in YA. Lots of editors wanted to buy it, but their publishers wouldn’t let them. They thought it would flop!

After a while, they started to convince me they were right – that the book didn’t have an audience, that it would never sell. (In the end, it went into a third printing the second week after it was released, so all those publishers were totally wrong.)

I’ve written lots of other books, and screenplays too. Some have come close to getting made as movies (in fact, a screenplay I wrote will hopefully go into production as movie this spring). I would have expected one of those other projects to become a movie before this one. Some of them are a lot more commercial!

It just goes to show: write an honest, personal story, and people will connect.

I understand that you’ve had the chance to see the film already. What were some of your initial thoughts?

Brent Hartinger & Cameron Brent Hartinger & Nikki

Well, mostly that it’s good. That was the most important thing. First, the better it does, the more attention it brings to me and my books. And second, my name is on the thing, in big fat letters – even though I didn’t really have anything to do with it (I didn’t write this screenplay). I know my readers are going to go to the movie, and I don’t want them to be disappointed.

But apart from that, it was enormously validating. I mean, someone spends millions of dollars making a movie based on a story you wrote? And hundreds of cast and crew work on it? There were crowd scenes with over a thousand extras! My God, seeing that, I felt like an Egyptian Pharaoh watch people building him a pyramid. One of the top experiences of my life, absolutely.

Now the plan is to do it all again a couple more times before I die.

What was your initial reaction when you learned that Geography Club was being made into a film?

Disbelief. Seriously, it had taken sooo long. The rights were first optioned right after the book came out, in early 2003. And then it went through a whole series of producers. First, it was going to be a studio film, then a micro-budgeted indie film, then a TV series. In the end, it’s a modestly budgeted indie film, which is probably what it should have been all along.

But after all the starts and stops, I kept thinking, “This isn’t really going to happen.” Even on the way down to Los Angeles to visit the set, I was thinking, “Something is going to go wrong.” And when I was flying home, I thought, “I sure hope they’re backing up their files, because I can just see someone accidentally deleting the whole thing!”

I was expecting the worst because of all the disappointment before. But it got made, the movie’s good, and I couldn’t be happier.

Whether it is from reading the books or watching the movie, what is it that you hope fans take away from Russel’s story?

It’s not a message so much as I just hope they’re entertained, that they smile or cry or laugh. Or maybe that they feel validated – some kind of connection to me, or to people, or to the world at large.

Look, I know these books aren’t Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings. I love those movies, but my books are much quirkier.  I wrote characters who are weird and smart and dorky and funny, oh yeah, and a couple of them are also gay and bisexual. That’s a niche audience, by absolute definition. And I am so okay with that.

I have an extremely loyal readership — enough to make it more than worth my while to keep writing these books — and it seems to have slowly grown over the years. With the movie version of Geography CLub coming out, maybe even more people will discover me, but if not, that’s okay too.

Honestly, I have the best of all possible worlds: I get to do and write exactly what makes me happiest, and people pay me to do it. What’s not to love?

WHERE TO FIND BRENT:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOKS:

The Geography Club: Goodreads // Amazon // B&N

The Order of the Poison Oak: Goodreads // Amazon // B&N

Double Feature: Goodreads // Amazon // B&N

The Elephant of Surprise: Goodreads // Amazon // B&N

WATCH THE MOVIE TRAILER FOR GEOGRAPHY CLUB:

Geography Club

Blog Tour + Author Interview + Giveaway: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Suddenly Royal Blog Tour Button

I am all sorts of excited to have the lovely Nichole Chase here on the blog today! Nichole is the author of the newly released Suddenly Royal as well as several other already released books. I had the chance to read and review Suddenly Royal just yesterday and holy smokes people it was full of adorableness. Oh, and there’s a swoon worthy prince rightfully dubbed Prince Yummy! There was the whole fairytale aspect, there was a great cast of characters, and I absolutely adored the romance. If you want to check out my review of Suddenly Royal you can do so right here. As part of the Suddenly Royal blog tour, I had the chance to interview Miss Nichole. Check out my interview with her below to find out all about how this book came to be, which princess Nichole would like to be, why she would like to be Sam from Suddenly Royal, and much more!

Suddenly Royal

Title: Suddenly Royal

Author: Nichole Chase

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.

Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.

While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

I’ll admit, as a little girl I wished I would wake up one day only to find out I was part of some royal family. Considering I find this whole idea fascinating, can you let us know how it came to be?

I’ve always been intrigued by royalty. I think it stems from my love of history—royalty played a large part in shaping the world we know today. The idea for Suddenly Royal really started with Samantha. A character that wanted absolutely nothing to do with fancy clothes, public scrutiny, and tea parties, thrust into the world. Only I had to know what would force her into accepting that life. That got the wheels turning in my head and the idea for Suddenly Royal was born.

Were any of the things your characters endured throughout the book, experiences you’ve dealt with or did you find your inspiration elsewhere? (i.e. Have you ever found out that you were an heiress to some royal estate in a faraway country?)

Unless you count all of the emails I’ve received from Nigeria telling me that I’m inheriting millions of dollars and I all I have to do is send them my bank account number, then no. LOL! There may have been smaller things that happened in the book, like tripping on a fancy gown, or accidentally saying something I didn’t mean to, but not any of the larger stuff. I have seen how the media can twist things, or not report accurate facts, but the rest all came from my imagination.

You also write paranormal so I must know, what made you decide to write a contemporary?

I wrote the story in my head. While the majority of books I read are paranormal, I also love contemporary stories. Especially those with romance and humor. When I had the idea for Suddenly Royal I never really thought about the fact that it was another genre. The characters certainly didn’t care that I’d been writing paranormal! They just wanted me to get their story out for others to read.

If you could be any character from one of your books for an entire day, who would it be and why?

Hm. Considering that Samantha gets to spend so much time with Prince Yummy, er, I mean Alex, I’d have to say her. She also has a little more freedom to say what she is thinking, which would be nice.

Every girl I know wants to be at least one Disney princess throughout her lifetime. Which one would you want to be if given the chance and why?

Well, you already know that I write paranormal, and one of those books is Flukes, which is about a mermaid. Needless to say, I’d be Ariel, but I’d want to be able to switch back and forth between legs and a tail.

If you found out you were “Suddenly Royal” (and crazy-rich!)  what are the first three things you would do?

I’d laugh. Really. I tend to laugh when I’m surprised or freaked out. Then I would panic and worry what that all meant, how much I had to pay in taxes, and if I was going to have to change my whole life. After all of my panicking, I’d probably do a little shopping. ;)

About The Author:

Nichole Chase

Nichole Chase is a daydreamer. No, really, just ask any of the math teachers that had the misfortune of seeing her name appear on their class schedule.

For years she has had story lines and characters begging for attention, but she resolutely pushed them aside to focus on more normal (read, boring) jobs.

Well, no longer! She is currently heeding the voices in her head and frantically writing their stories. Ms. Chase is the author of the Dark Betrayal Trilogy, Flukes, and Suddenly Royal (including several short stories).

Nichole resides in South Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, dog, tortoise, and two cats. When not devouring novels by the dozens, you may find her writing, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Suddenly Royal’s Goodreads Page

Nichole Chase’s Goodreads Page

Pinterest

Purchase Suddenly Royal:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books a Million

Smashwords

Check Out The Giveaways:

There are two giveaways going on right now for Suddenly Royal. The first is a Rafflecopter giveaway in which you can win a signed copy of Suddenly Royal along with some AMAZING swag. You can enter by clicking this link! The second one, hosted by Nichole, is one in which you can nominate someone to be a princess for the day. You can find that giveaway by clicking this link!

Follow The Blog Tour:

April 21st

I Read Indie-Dream Cast
Globug and Hootie-Excerpt

April 22nd

A Life Bound By Books-Guest Post
Dear, Restless Reader-Interview

April 23rd

RELEASE DAY LAUNCH (See bottom of this post for participating blogs)

April 24th

Novel Thoughts Blog-Interview
Kate’s Tales of Books & Bands-Interview

April 25th

Seeing Night Reviews-Guest Post-Sam’s POV
Book Addicted AA-Playlist

April 26th

I Heart Big Books-Character Interview-Cathy
Kate Tilton-Guest Post

April 27th

My Not So Vacant Shelf-Excerpt

April 28th

The Autumn Review-Review
Roxy Kade-Excerpt

April 29th

Book Bitches Blog-Character Interview-Sam & Alex
Every Free Chance Reader-Review

April 30th

Parajunkee-Guest Post
Defiantly Deviant-Guest Post

May 1st

A Good Addiction-Interview
Ladybug Storytime-Guest Post

May 2nd

Magnet 4 Books
The Howling Turtle-Guest Post

May 3rd

Indie Ignites-Interview
TarHeel Bibliobabe-Interview

May 4th

Stuck in YA Books-Excerpt
Whirlwind Books-Guest Post

May 5th

Literati Literature Lovers-Interview
T’s Bookish Moments of Escape-Guest Post

Ink Slinger Button

This Or That (19)

This or That

Gae Polisner!

Hello readers, bloggers, authors, and generally awesome people (who happen to love books!) and welcome to This Or That! This Or That is a feature posted every week and it works like this: each person is asked a series of This Or That/Would You Rather-type questions, some serious and some funny, and by doing so we get to learn just a bit more about our favorite bookish people!  This feature is currently scheduled through June 2013 but if you would still be interested in signing up, please check out this post and fill out the form!

After taking a small break from This Or That, I am so excited to bring it back this week with a supremely awesome person & author! Gae Polisner, author of The Pull of Gravity (my review) and a forthcoming YA novel, is, as stated above, and awesome person who knows how to keep the giggles coming. Her humor not only shines through on her blog, her twitter, and her Facebook, but it is also evident in her books (even if the subject matter is not all that humorous. On a sidenote though, The Pull of Gravity is full of amazing so if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do so like right now!) I am sure you are just dying to know more about her so without further ado, let’s meet Gae!

Gae Polisner

About The Author: Gae is the author of The Pull of Gravity (now out in paperback from Square Fish!) and a forthcoming YA from Algonquin Young Readers. When she’s not writing, she’s a practicing attorney/divorce mediator, and when she’s not doing that or watching her two awesome boys do their stuff, she can be found in water, the pool off-season, or the open waters of the Long Island Sound spring through fall. Last summer she swam her first five-mile swim and is still waiting for her wetsuit to turn her into a superhero.

Do you prefer reading paperback or hardcover books?

I prefer reading from paperbacks (especially when reading in bed) but prefer hardcovers on my shelf which means I have been known to repurchase a hardcover I’ve loved, just to have it on my shelf.

You MUST pick one: reading or writing?

Writing. Reading only makes me realize where my writing falls short. . .  ;)

If given the option, would you want your books turned into movies or turned into a TV show?

Well, supposedly, someone is working on a movie of The Pull of Gravity and I shouldn’t jinx that, so MOVIE. However, if one of my stories got made into an HBO series, I probably wouldn’t cry.

Do you outline your books like a crazy person or do you just start writing down whatever pops into your head?

Woe is me: whatever pops into my head. . .

You’re forced to be your main character for a week; do you pick to be Nick or Jaycee from The Pull of Gravity?

Easy peasy: Jaycee! She is the bold, quirky teenage girl I wish I’d been brave enough to be.

Dessert time: cookies or cupcakes?

CUPCAKES!!!

Do you listen to one specific type of music or mixed genres?

Definitely mixed. In my next life, I will be more music-hip than I am in this one, though.

Would you rather type out your entire book using only your pointer fingers while blind-folded or only using your toes?

Really? REALLY?!?! Um, if I could possibly type an ms using my toes that would be cool, but for now I’m going with pointer fingers.

Are you a Coke person or a Pepsi person?

Black cherry cola (this might not surprise you if you’d read TPoG.) Neither Coke nor Pepsi cross my lips. Ew. They taste like sugar and plastic chemicals.

If you had one day to be a super hero or a super villain, which one would you pick?

Superhero. Preferably in water, with super watery powers.

When it comes to your reading tastes are you a bigger contemporary fan or a fantasy fan?

Contemporary.

A year without books or a year without your favorite food?

No.

Would you rather read outside in the sun or inside all snuggled up with a book?

In my hammock in the backyard in the sun. . . though often I fall asleep. . .

When writing do you have to be in complete silence or utter chaos?

Usually silence, though my husband is taking piano lessons (cue: “Aw’s) and I’ve gotten a little better at writing through his endless nightly scales. . .

Do you keep your books on bookshelves or random spots throughout the house?

Bookshelves. I love bookshelves.

What are your favorite parts to write: world building or character building?

Characters.

Cover talk: Do you like people on the covers or a design?

Definitely design. However, in YA, people on the covers still seems to be the trend. . .

Swimming or Walking?

Hahahahahaha! You’re kidding, right?

Are you one to sing along or dance along?

Both, badly.

Would you rather be stranded alone on an island with endless amounts of books or be surrounded by people but you only have one book to last you for forever?

Which people? Do I like the people? Okay, fine, people. One book. I can rewrite the ending. ;)

See! I told you people she was full of funnies, obviously I wasn’t kidding! So what did you guys all think? I for one, loved all of her answers. I may have been slightly kidding on the swimming or walking question but come on, this lady loves to swim! Also, I am a fan of all sorts of cherry flavored pop. I drink that over Coke & Pepsi every single time. And when it comes to Miss Jaycee, I totally want to be her too! Her spunkiness is what I strive for every single day…even if I don’t quite reach it. A huge thank you for Miss Gae for agreeing to participate in this week’s This Or That. I so loved having her on the blog! Please leave a comment below letting us know what you thought of this week’s This Or That and be sure to check out the links below to stalk…err follow/like/be-friend Gae throughout the internet!

Author Website

Author Goodreads Page

The Pull of Gravity Goodreads Page

Forthcoming YA Novel Goodreads Page

Twitter

Facebook

Blog Tour + Author Interview + Book Playlist: Abby Road by Ophelia London

Abby Road

Title: Abby Road

Author: Ophelia London

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Touted by the tabloids as the biggest rock star of our generation, Abigail Kelly is used to being in the spotlight. But beyond the glam of Hollywood, her world is falling apart. Still reeling from the death of her brother and wilting under the iron fist of Max, her manager, Abby banishes herself to the secluded beaches of Florida for the summer, thinking some anonymity and sunshine are just what she needs. What she finds, instead, is Todd, an ex-marine eager to embrace life after war. Together, Abby and Todd find the balance Abby’s life has been missing.

That is, until Max resurfaces, demanding Abby return to Los Angeles to record her band’s newest album. As the pressures of public appearances, paparazzi, and late-night recordings start to mount, Abby will have to risk everything or lose the life she always dreamed of.

Ophelia London’s ABBY ROAD is a love letter to music—both the kind you cherish and the kind you create—as well as a beautiful love story that proves even when everyone in the world can recognize your face, the only people who matter are those who can see inside your heart.

I am so excited to have author Ophelia London here on the blog today! Her book, Abby Road, sounds like an absolutely WONDERFUL book! First off, it features a female rock star. How many books out there feature male rocks tars? Too many to count! How many feature female rock stars? Well, we’ve got at least one now! Next, there is Todd. Do I know yet if Todd is everything my little heart desires? Well, no not exactly considering I haven’t read the book yet, but he is an ex-marine! I guess, what I’m excited about is what Todd promises, and that is some sort of romance. You guys should probably know something: I love me some romance! And finally, there is the music! If you haven’t guessed by my blog title, music is a huge plus ESPECIALLY when it is featured in books. This book obviously has some sort of Beatles influence and after interviewing Ophelia and looking over her book playlist (both down below), it is easy to see how much music plays apart in this book. So I guess you could say I am all sorts of excited to read this book.

To help tide us over until Abby Road’s March 26th release, we’ve got an awesome post for you today! Ophelia ever-so-kindly-and-awesomely answered all of my questions regardless of how crazy they were. She also compiled some songs that helped influence Abby Road, and let me tell you, it’s full of awesomesauce. So without further ado, my interview with the one and only Ophelia London!

I’ll admit it is a tad bit unheard of to see a female rock star and ex-marine paired together. So can you tell us a little bit about how Abby and Todd came to be?

Oh, fun! Great question. After I decided to write about a rocker chick, I knew I needed to give her someone that would be a perfect equal; equally ambitious, world traveled and tough. Someone that would be able to understand her and keep up. Around that time, there was a lot happening with the troops in the Middle East, which gave me the idea that Abby should fall in love with a military man. And there’s nothing quite as sexy as a Marine.

Were any of the things your characters endured throughout the book, experiences you’ve dealt with or did you find your inspiration elsewhere? (Basically, have you ever been a rock star who just happened to be fed up with your crazed manager among other things, and decided to escape it all by running away to Florida?)

Hahaha. I wish! I joke around a lot that I’m not all that creative, and that a lot of what I write about are things that have happened to me. Like actual conversations and dates and arguments. I change the names and tweak them, of course, but people who know me pick up on those scenes every once in a while. But, as far as me being a runaway rock star…er, no. Which is exactly why I wrote this story. It was a blast living in Abby’s world for a while.

If you could be any character in any of YOUR books, who would it be and why?

Well, Abby, of course! Not only is she totally awesome, but she gets to kiss Todd. And I made Todd really dreamy. Abby deserves that.

Do you have any strange writing quirks? If so what are they?

I write the best when the rest of my life is in order. Like when my dishes are clean and my running shoes aren’t in the middle of the hall. I’ve also been known to have cupcakes close by in case of writerly emergencies.

What were some of your favorite parts to write about in Abby Road?

The “meet cute” was my favorite part, when Abby and Todd first see each other. I spent a lot of time writing that, and then I rewrote it about a million times. It had to be just right. That scene still makes me smile. It takes a few chapters to get there, but it’s the beginning of everything!

Obviously music plays a pretty big role in this book. Has it been a big part of your writing? If so, can you please elaborate?

Yes! Without fail, I make a soundtrack/playlist for the stories I’m writing.  Abby’s got really long, because not only does it have songs that match the plot, but also songs that I thought Abby’s band, Mustang Sally, would sing. And then, there are all the Beatles songs. Abby’s kind of a Beatles junky. So am I. What a coincidence!

Can you share with us one of your favorite music-related memories?

Music has been a huge influence in my life, so this is a tough question. But here’s one. The first concert I went to was Debbie Gibson. I was sixteen and she had been my music idol for years. I saw her first in Sacramento, then I drove up to Portland to see her a few weeks later. It was insane. I cried and sang along and had no voice the next day.

Thank you SO MUCH to Ophelia to take the time to answer all of my questions! It certainly has made me even more eager to read all about our rocker chick, Abby and the oh so swoony Todd! As stated before, Ophelia put together one heck of a (partial) playlist for Abby Road! I have the Spotify playlist as well as YouTube videos (for those songs in which I could not find on Spotify)  below. Take a listen and let us know what you thought about the interview and playlist in the comments section!

Few Days Down by Mandy Moore

Golden Slumbers by The Beatles

In Two (The Lament) by Jennifer Knapp

 Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da by The Beatles

WHERE TO FIND THE AUTHOR:

Website

Twitter

WHERE TO PURCHASE THE BOOK:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Author Interview + Book Playlist: In The Band by Jean Haus

In The Band

Title: In The Band

Author: Jean Haus

When family problems push Riley Middleton into giving up a percussion scholarship in another state and attending college from home, her friends push her to try out for a local rock band. Of course, Riley makes the band. She rules at the drums.

Riley soon finds out rock bands have a different dynamic than marching bands, especially when each of her male band mates has a major ego and is a major player. Two of them relentlessly flirt with her. The other—a dark, sexy rock god she can’t help being attracted to— is a total jerk and pushes her to quit. She becomes determined to ignore his rudeness and his hotness. Even if she was interested in jerks, a hook up would probably get her booted out of the ego-ridden band, and playing keeps her sane. Behind the drums, the world and its troubles evaporate.

If she wants to stay in the band, Riley needs to ignore the growing sparks between her and her band enemy. But as she gets to know the man behind the stage persona, ignoring him proves to be more difficult than flowing through a time sig shift.

I recently read and reviewed In The Band by Jean Haus, and let me tell you, I LOVED that book! It was raw & real, it had sad parts as well as the swoony parts, AND it included music (plus a hot guy or two); basically, you just couldn’t go wrong! When Jean mentioned an interview/book playlist, I jumped at the chance. I just couldn’t wait to find out more about her, her book, her characters, and the music! Check out what Jean has to say below and of course feel free to check out my review for In The Band right here!

The main character, Riley, goes through so much throughout the entire story. What was the inspiration for her story?

I never realized this until I read your question, but I suppose her issues were inspired by real life. Over the last several years, I’ve witnessed several divorces. Unfortunately, real people helped create Riley’s parents. And more unfortunately, I’ve seen too many kids have to deal with parents too wrapped up in themselves. I’m not saying every parent deals with divorce poorly, but I’ve seen too many that do.

Romeo is certainly one character that stood out to me. Despite the fact that he is oh so dreamy, he is also a very complex person. He has his struggles, the skeletons of his past, ect. I am dying to know, how did he come to be?

While I was beginning to outline the story, the school I work at had a presentation about suicide, which of course was heartbreaking. Without a doubt, that presentation inspired Romeo. I wrote the first two chapters soon after, but I didn’t come back to the story until months later. During that time, his character grew in my head. I like male romance leads that are strong yet vulnerable. So while puzzling him together, I thought of ways to even out his self-esteem issues—which are deep due to his past—and immaturity with some maturity(like his view of sex) and his dedication to music.

Riley has a huge passion for drumming. Was this a shared passion between you and her? If so, how long have you been playing for & what is your favorite part of drumming? If not, how did you research drumming? Because the details, the feelings she felt, EVERYTHING made it seem as though you really knew what you were talking about!

I did play piano years ago, but have only messed around on the drums a few times. So I did do a lot of research about drumming and I had some help, especially with the tryout scene. I posted for beta readers on a writing forum for help with that particular scene. Three musicians answered and each told me what I expected, the scene read like someone who researched drumming. They all helped me whip that scene into shape, and I will be forever thankful. As far as the ‘concert’ scenes, I just listened to each song over and over while I wrote it, describing what I heard from the perspective of the drums. I’ve also been to a number of concerts, so that helped too.

Obviously music plays such a large role in this book. Has it been a big part of your writing? If so, can you please elaborate?

Strangely, until In the Band I never listened to music while writing. I found it distracting. Now I listen to music all the time while writing. But from the start, I decided that if the story was about a band, I wasn’t going to shy away from writing about music or performing.

This book brought out so many emotions in me. There were the swoony moments, the moments where I wanted to punch certain people in the face, and moments that really sort of broke my heart. How were you able to switch back and forth between writing the gushy stuff to the tougher stuff?

Huh? That’s very perceptive. I’ve never thought about switching like that. When I write, each scene has a goal or several goals. I suppose I use the goal to dictate my writing and the atmosphere. So I don’t think of it as switching, rather more as sticking to what’s going on at the particular moment in the story.

A lot of real songs, bands, and musicians were mentioned in this book with everything from We The Kings to The All-American Rejects, and even Mumford & Sons (you get an A+ for including lots of songs/groups I ADORE!) so I must ask, how did you pick which ones to mention? Where these all songs/bands you listen to?

I like every song listed or referred to in the book, but they don’t all regularly show up in my listening list. I kind of went with the idea that Romeo would be eclectic in his choices rather than finicky. As a businessman, he’d choose things he’d thought that would work well live. So I went with things I thought would pump up a crowd. That was usually how I decided on a song. But certain songs, like Remember Everything went with the plot. I imagined Romeo picking that song for sentimental reasons along with the big song at the end. When I ran into I Will Wait, I did a happy dance. Not only did it fit the scene perfectly, I fell in love with that song, which I don’t think was officially out yet.

Now I am dying to know about Luminescent Juliet, the band in which Romeo & Riley play in. First, if you could compare them to any REAL band (sound wise), who would it be? Second, how did you come up with their band name?

The real band thing is a hard one because Luminescent Juliet played (still are in my next book:) a lot of covers. But since they like punk like Green Day and Chemical Romance along with Romeo’s folk influence, I Goggled Folk Punk and the first band labeled with that mix was the Violent Femmes (you can listen to them on Spotify here!), and you know what? I can totally see that. Well if we’re not considering age or anything. But I love, love the Femmes first album.

As far as the band name…

Naming people or things can make me crazy, and take forever. So after deciding the band would have Juliet in it because of Romeo, I found a band name generator on-line. When I put in Juliet, the best choice it came up with was Luminescent Juliet. To save time and brain cells I just went with it.

Now I don’t normally ask authors to put a real face to their fictional characters, but Romeo and Riley seemed so real to me. Who would you have play them if say, In The Band were to be made into a movie?

This one was so hard. Well at least Riley was. I write so much, I rarely watch TV or movies, but after searching forever, I think I’ve found the perfect Riley.

Drum Roll…

Hannah Marks it is. She’s cute enough and short enough and just the right age.

Cute Riley

Hannah Marks

Stage Riley

Hannah Marks 2

As far as Romeo, from the start I used a couple of pictures (the second one especially) of Eugen Bauder for my inspiration, so I’m sticking to him. According to Wikipedia (I know so reliable), this hot model is trying to break into acting. Not sure he can do an American accent, but I don’t care!

Swoon

Eugen Bauder

Double Swoon

Eugen Bauder 2

Book Playlist:

Jean has compiled a playlist for In The Band that includes a short description on why she chose it. You can check out the Spotify playlist below but I’ve also added the YouTube videos for you to watch. Enjoy!

Teenagers by My Chemical Romance

Energetic, great for an opening.

Gamma Ray by Beck

Funky and different. A bit like the band.

Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones

Awesome classic song that would sound great live.

Check Yes Juliet by We The Kings

Um… it has the name Juliet in it, and its cute.

Remember Everything by Five Finger Death Punch

Romeo would feel a connection to this song and he plays it acoustic. You can’t go wrong with acoustic.

Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects

Well, it fit the scene perfectly, and showed Romeo’s immaturity.

Bullet In My Hand by Redlight King

Energetic, lots of dynamic shifts in music, would sound great live.

Helter Skelter by The Beatles

Classic rock song that’s loud and in your face. Great for a Halloween show.

Sweet Sour by Band of Skulls

Funky and different. A little punk. And I wanted to include some ‘unknown’ stuff.

Holiday by Green Day

Fit New Year’s Eve. It’s loud and energetic and I love Green Day.

Sabotage by Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys were getting into this book no matter what.

I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons

Fit the scene so perfectly, I almost fell out of my computer chair when I heard it.

A HUGE thank you to Jean for taking the time to put this together for me!! I loved her answers to my questions as well as the playlist, to absolute pieces. I hope you guys enjoyed!

Author Interview: The Steel Inferno by N.B. Pettibone

The Steel Inferno

Title: The Steel Inferno

Author: N.B. Pettibone (Pen name for Nicole & Brittany Pettibone)

Lost and oppressed by fear, a foreign species attempts to survive in the human realm after fleeing their decaying world. The humans call this species Inborn and since their arrival, earth has mutated into a domain of monstrous creatures, deadly plant-life and toxic air. As human and Inborn battle for existence, earth spirals rapidly into a world doomed to extinction.

Bordering the battleground, in a city where tyranny and treachery are widespread, an Inborn girl faces a conflict of her own. She finds her mind erased of all memory and must discover the unknown enemies that surround her while evading detection by the humans who hunt and conduct barbaric experiments on her kind. As she uncovers the secrets of her lost memories, she realizes that her very existence may be more catastrophic than the war itself.

I am so very excited to have the brilliant sister duo known as N.B. Pettibone, on the blog today! Nicole and Brittany recently released their debut novel, The Steel Inferno and it is sure to be an epic book! The summary alone was enough to capture my attention. I have not read much, if anything at all, from the Steampunk genre but everything about it seems to fascinate me. A crumbling city, lots of secrets, and a foreign species invading the world…how could you not be excited by that!?!

When Nicole and Brittany contacted me about this book, I knew I just had to get inside their heads to figure out where all of these crazily awesome ideas for The Steel Inferno came from. I received a super pleasant surprise when they responded to my questions in video form! Not only are both ladies so lovely and very well-spoken, but their answers were every bit as awesome as I could have imagined. So take a look at our video interview below, be sure to check out their book, and of course leave a comment below letting us know what you think!