How are we doing today? Hope all is well. Today I want to introduce you all to an author. Please wave and say "Hi!" to Beth Fred.
Beth has written a book I've recently read called A MISSING PEACE. It's about angry, seventeen-year-old Iraqi war refugee Mirriam Yohanna. Stuck in a military base populated by spoiled army brats like Caleb Miller. And when she gets into a heated debate about what life was like in Iraqi versus what Caleb thinks her life was like, sparks fly and they end up doing an assignment together.
Of course Caleb volunteers to be Mirriam's partner in order to win a bet, so he can regain his pride which Mirriam crushed the moment she didn't fall for his charming lines. But working together so closely not only opens up their hearts to each other, it also reveals secrets about their pasts. Uncovering the truth has the potential to ruin lives--- and possibly their futures.
Mirriam has a great heart and so does Caleb. And when their together it's sweet. I really enjoyed the chemistry between these two. I like her relationship with her brother although you don't see much of it. And I kind of wish you did. But when you get some glimpse of it, it's nice. However, I didn't really feel a sense of a forbidden love going on here. Mirriam isn't supposed to date, and she's definitely not supposed to date white boys, but doesn't come off as strong as I would like. Her mother at the hospital doesn't seem so, how would I put this, Going Crazy and in Overprotective mode when Mirriam is with Caleb in the hospital. Yes, she sneaks out a lot, uses the project for reasons to see Caleb, but it's basically lightly touched on subject. All in all the concept is different and a good read.
Now here is a little about the author herself.
1. How did you come up with the story?
I had some personal connection to a romance threatened by culture clash, because my husband is from India and I'm from Texas. I'd wanted to write something about a soldier and a Muslim girl for a long time but couldn't figure out how to make it YA. I was brainstorming concepts for a writing class and my husband suggested the son of a fallen soldier and a war refugee without knowing this. The rest was history.
2. Did you plot the story out? Or do you not use outlines?
For the writing class, Nova Ren Suma made us write the query before we started the novel. I'd just had success with a query that centered around the seven plot points of the three act structure. So I came up with seven plot points and that was my outline. But the outline grew the more I wrote. So I started with a one page synop and as I wrote ideas came to me for scenes further in the book. I started keeping notes.
3. For writers, what kind of advice can you give them, what do you think is the most important thing you learned?
The most important thing I learned was hands down the three act structure, but other lessons that I think are vital for writers are to be true to yourself. Find your voice, nurture it and use it. Don't mimic. And don't be afraid to take risks. Know that the industry is changing and don't ignore one option chasing after another.
4. What is your favorite character in the book?
Oh this is a hard one! I love lots of characters for different reasons. I'm sorry I can't pick just one. Mirriam is a strong female lead, and I love her for it. But Morgan is so okay with who she is I wish everyone could have a piece of that confidence in high school. And Gade--he's not my favorite character but I have to love him for the role he plays in the book that no one else could quite play. The decision he makes changes everything.
LOL. Sorry I got carried away. I think I answered that above.
6. What kind of novels do you generally write?
I don't know! It changes every time. A Missing Peace is almost suspense and before it I'd never written anything like this. I'm currently working on a novel with a definite Nicholas Sparks feel and you guessed it. Before this I've written nothing like it.
7. What kind of novels do you read?
YA Romance. Clean Romance. And YA not romance occasionally. Every now and then I can enjoy a cozy if it has a strong romantic subplot and every now and then I like a Nicholas Sparks book whatever genre that is.
8. What are you working on now?
Oh--wouldn't you like to know. LOL. A book about a boy, a girl, and some dark secrets.
9. What is your favorite scene out of A Missing Peace?
I don't know! There are a few. Mirriam and Caleb's first kiss for one! I don't want to give anything a way so I'm going to be vague, but there is one scene in the book that is so different from what I usually write and kind of edgy that I love it. Not because of the event that happened (that was horrible) but because of what it meant, and what it said. And because early reviews are telling me people got it.