Friday, July 27, 2012

Authors Around the World


Welcome to my leg of the Authors Around the World blog hop! Today we are getting to know Jennifer Laurens, author of the fantastic book Grace Doll.

Synopsis:
Grace Doll had everything a girl could want: Fame. Fortune. Beauty.  
 
Everything except her freedom. So when a powerful movie producer forces an experimental treatment on Grace--one that's purported to make beauty immortal--she stages her own death to escape him. With the help of trusted friends, Grace slips into hiding. She's forever flawless. Forever young, and forever pursued by herpast. 
 
But when a stranger arrives on her doorstep, holding the key to a life she thought she'd left behind, Grace must decide between the safety she's known...andembracing the role she was born to play.

What gave you the idea for the book? 
After college I worked in the entertainment business. I met some fascinating people, saw some interesting human behaviors and learned a lot about the business having an on-set view.

Who are your main characters? Grace Doll, Brenden, Rufus Solomon, Oscar, Jonathan and Judy.

Who is your favorite character and why? Oooh Grace was challenging to write because she’s lived 80 years but she’s in a teenager’s body. I loved the complex nuances of her.
Share one quirky trait in one of your characters. Grace lived through the depression, so she can’t throw anything away.

What was your biggest challenge writing this book? No question—Grace’s character having lived a lot of life but having been immortalized at seventeen made her a challenge. Also, the entire book takes place over 3 days – making the love story bloom in a believable manner was also a challenge.

Spill a secret, mystery or hidden thing in your book: I do these ‘taylor swift-ish’ secrets in all of my books. In Grace Doll, the Vanity Fair article is ‘written by’ a fictitious character after a nickname given to me by my step father, L. Duvall. He passed away this year, and he’d have gotten a laugh out of that.

Where do you live? Utah.

What's a cool, unknown spot? Bear Lake – but every natural place here is well-known. Utah is an outdoors-man paradise.
Tell us a little about an interesting landmark in your country. 
The USA is diverse, and I’ve been lucky to travel to most of it. I adored the swamps of Louisiana and the mystic mood of New Orleans.
What’s the most well known city in your country and why? 
I’m from SoCal, so I have to cheer for Los Angeles. Hollywood. I think those two words say it all.
What's a little known fact about where you live? 
Utah is a very safe state. People leave their doors unlocked. Not me, because I’m from Los Angeles, haha.
Name two famous people who’ve been sighted in your corner of the world. 
Robert Redford and Donny Osmond.

What is the one thing tourists must do? 
See Temple Square in Salt Lake City. It’s the center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and it’s beautifully done, and the heart of the state and why Utah is here today. A must see.

What's your favorite thing to do? 
Travel away from Utah.

What's your favorite restaurant and what type of food do they serve? 
Utah does ice cream better than any other state.

What are you giving away on your blog? 
An ARC of Grace Doll.

Who is the author you are highlighting on your blog?
Courtney Vail, author of Kings & Queens

Where can readers connect with you? www.jenniferlaurens.comhttp://www.jenniferlaurens.blogspot.com. @jenniferlaurens on Twitter and on my Amazon author page.



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Friday, July 6, 2012

Kindle INDIEpendence Book of the Day

Synopsis: Kings & Queens is a gritty, twisty Young Adult mystery thriller. When 17-year-old tomboy Majesty Alistair can't budge police in her sleepy, rich town after overhearing two fellow students planning a church massacre, she aims to ID the nutjobs herself before they act. But, their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and she becomes the centerpiece in a ruthless game that casts even her closest friends under suspicion.

Buy link: http://amzn.to/LWaqXa

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always loved writing and majored in Jornalism Advertising, so I was aiming for a copy writing and design carrier. But I got bitten by the novel bug through my husband. He wanted to start writing short stories for publications and received all these query packets and he also took a remote writing class through the Stafford Institute and received a few of the books in the Write Great Fiction Series. I read them and was inspired with an idea for a novel and wrote away. After reading more and more books on craft, I realized my first book had major issues, so I wrote another one, Kings & Queens. I poured everything I had into this book and polished it up with the help of some awesome reviewers at thenextbigwriter.com. I now know, novel writing was what I was always meant to do. I am so glad my characters found me!

Why do you Indie publish?


I was shopping Kings & Queens to agents, and though I got some great feedback and some requests for partials and fulls, no bites. My book is good, but on the surface it doesn’t have that oooo concept right up front. The best part of it is the surprises that come in along the wild rollercoaster ride. And that’s a hard thing for an agent to sell to publishers. There’s no juicy sound bite, so to speak, there. I had some early readers asking me how my characters were doing and I wanted to know too. So, I wrote a sequel Sapphire Reign for fun, which opens ten years later, but after receiving some love for it, I decided it was too weird and different and good to get possibly stuffed because it doesn’t hit the same market. When a Big Sixer offers you a 2 or 3-book deal, it’s for one imprint and market. And I didn’t want SR to end up being just a self-pubbed companion book with a different cover and layout. So, my vision of success changed, being that I craved to go traditional through all the lovely gatekeepers, but that just didn’t work for this series. There was too much risk in that direction. So, I set out to find a smaller publisher that would give me more flexibility in doing what I wanted to do with the series. Me and my book are happily with Little Prince Publishing. I have creative control, flexibility and cool authors to support me. Oh, and I get all my royalties!

What inspired you to write your book?


The three main characters came to my mind first. I just pictured this girl named Majesty as a manager of a baseball team on which her two best friends, Alec and Derek, play. And each one commands her attention for different reasons. But, that’s all I had. Those three weirdos just stumbling around in my brain. That wasn’t enough plot for me. I needed plot. I crave plot. Something suspenseful preferred. But I had nothing. Then one night I dreamt I was running for exercise and overheard these two guys planning a church massacre and I escaped them in this little town. Boom! That gave me exactly what I needed and the location too. And then my story grew and grew into something totally unexpected and awesome. I’m kind of glad I had all that time to get to know and ponder my characters first. When the plot came to me, I was able to just write fluidly, with them popping off the pages.

What are three things you want people to know about you or your book?

Kings & Queens is a twisty, complex, gritty read. It is not for the faint of heart nor for those who prefer simple, breezy beach reads. It requires some mental thought and will take your mind on a whirlwind trip and back. If you’re looking for a read that doesn’t feel like anything you’ve ever read before, that’s suspenseful and weird, then this is the book for you.

What advice do you have for parents to encourage their kids to read more?

To study genres, skip around to some MG and YA blogs and look for what’s hot and interesting to other kids of that age. If your kids see you taking a vested interest in books and know that you’re on the look for cool books, rather than telling them what they can and can’t read, then you can engage on a new level and be excited about books together. Website: www.courtneyvail.com Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kingsandqueensnovel Twitter: www.twitter.com/cvwriter

Kindle INDIEpendence Day Giveaway

Win a Kindle Fire for your kid...so they'll leave yours alone!


It is time for the second annual Kindle INDIEpendence Day giveaway. This year we have even more authors and prizes. Contest begins July 1st and ends July 7th!

Grand Prize: 1 Kindle Fire
1st place: 1 Kindle with special offers
2nd place: a choice of 20 free ebooks from the 29 participating authors
3rd place:  a choice of 15 free ebooks from the participating authors

There are tons of ways to enter including tweeting about the contest, following the authors on facebook or Twitter, blogging about the contest and even purchasing the participating books. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below!
This is also a blog hop. Be sure to visit the other blogs on the list and learn more about Indie authors of YA and MG novels. You can add your blog and get extra entry points as well!

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