Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Missing Peace

Hello Bloggers,

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.

5.    Why are they your favorite?
 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.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

'Cause it's facts, Jack!

Ten Fun Facts about me:

1. I want to own a koala bear. (a live one. Not a stuffed animal)

2. I love flowers but I've got a black thumb (meaning I kill plants) Sorry!

3. I went to the University of Akron, home of the zips. (It's a kangaroo. I'm not sure why he's named Zippy)

4. The people who name roads I believe some of them are bored, sarcastic, or just way too high to care. (You know some of the names you've seen. They are either really funny, stupid, or just make you wonder what the hell the person was thinking)

5. When I was little, there were only boys in my neighborhood to play with. Okay there were two girls but one was super weird, and the other really stuck up, so needless to say I was a tomboy most of my childhood.

6. Music is my one and only vice against chaos. (I sing all the time without care)

7. I've got a black belt in Tae Kwon Do

8. My eyes change different colors, sometimes it's burnt orange or turns caramel and then green.

9. I didn't like books until I was in seventh grade and needed an escape from my dysfunctional family.

10. I write because there are stories that are in my head and need to be told.

Tell me something about you?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Postpone the matter ...

Usually, I can write a novel without a gentle push or shove in the right direction. Especially if the story is solid in my head. But this is for one story. I'm writing two at the same time. Equally annoying, and all this cluttered chatter in my head, sometimes I sigh audibly because one of my characters are doing exactly that.

Now as crazy people run around in my noggin, I must find a way to get them all out. So how would I do this? I divide up my days, my writing days half the day is dedicated to one story. The other half is dedicated to the other story. Seems simple enough. But I know what you're thinking, well how the heck do you keep them separate?

I outlined both stories. It's been a beast, but it's working. Also, with the outlines you'd think my writing days would be easier. Or that I could get my book done faster, but for some reason since the leg work or really hard part is done. The lay out, plot points and basically the Map from beginning to end it seems I've turned into a lazy writer. I'm only getting about 500 words down when on a normal write day I get about 1.5k to 2.5 K.

Thank goodness for my back-up or I should say my writer support. My writing friends Mandy and Courtney have decided to push each other on Sunday's we have a reach it or break it writing goal day. Every Sunday we tell each other what our goal is. We even do a how many words can we get an hour. And you will not believe how great it is writing on Sundays. I mean the push is exactly what I need.

How do you reach your goals?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

And that's awesome

I'm up at 4:00 am. Why you ask? Well in about an hour I'm supposed to be up, getting things packed in order to go this Triathlon. Fun stuff.

My friend keeps trying to talk me into doing one of these things. And I just laugh. Not because I think it's the most ridiculous thing ever. No. I laugh at the image of me running distance. HA HA HA that's so funny I could just pee my pants. I can swim distance fine, that was my thing in HS. Did it in college for fun. I can bike forever. But running, yeah ... I'd die. I can Sprint around a baseball diamond, but if you asked me to run a mile, ha ha ha, I wouldn't make it. I fail at pacing.

Now, I told people this, and some actually said well if you can swim distance you can run it too. Because they think it's the same thing. I try to tell them it's totally different. For me at least it is.

But this got me thinking, When people try to compare writing different novels in different age groups and genres and how it's all the same. And again, I beg to differ.

Just because someone can write a great MG novel doesn't mean they can write a great YA. Reason being this: Voices and actions must match the ages of the character, right or wrong? MG- you're writing for junior high 5th and 6th grade audience. They still think things like Farts, Burps and Turds are funny! YA - This is the older junior high student possibly ready for HS, or just getting out of school forever. All the way up to 17-18 years old. (But even adults read it, like me) We're not finding humor in belches, passing gas, or crapping. (maybe a smidge) but not so much in books. They want to be adults. Do adult things. Explore adult things, without letting go of they're youth totally. They're more into Drinking, Driving, Parties, Exploring bodies, figuring out things, and Life, from living on the danger to being so stressed about your future.
Adult- We've got way different sets of problems from youth. So the novels are going to be different. The language right down to the whole plot line. Why? Because we're not teens. We've got different things going on like house payments, rent, car payments, possibly kids of our owns.

Each genre is unique, and the same voice will not work with all genres. So when switching genres, remember research, and keep it as real as possible.