Day 3 of the WordCrafter “Hope for the Tarnished” Book Blog Tour

Hope for the Tarnished Book Blog Tours

You don’t choose who you love, it just happens. Follow young Abbie Raymond as she traverses concentric rings of tragedy, hope and healing.

It’s Day 3 of the WordCrafter Hope for the Tarnished Book Blog Tour. Today, I’m pleased to bring you an interview with author Ann Chiappetta. Hope for the Tarnished is her debut novel and I get the feeling that she’s mighty proud of it, as she should be. This touching young adult novel sees a small girl grow into a young woman, in spite of the adversities life throws her way, and she is left with hope for a brighter future.

Let’s Meet Ann Chiappetta

Ann is an artist and often refers to her love of words as a natural compensation after losing her vision in 1993. Once a designer of acrylic displays and furniture, Ann trained her creative senses to flow over from the visual to the literary arts. Years later, she has become a poet and author, honing her talent in various mediums, including web content for nonprofits, regular bylines for online literary publications, poetry, anthologies and guest editing in online literary journals.

Ann possesses a master of science in Marriage and family therapy from Iona College and an undergraduate degree from the College of New Rochelle, both located in Westchester County, New York. A guide dog handler and advocate, Ann volunteers her time representing people with visual impairments and guide dog users on various National, State and local boards of directors. A consultant and guest presenter, Ann visits schools promoting awareness and equality for people with disabilities. She is the 2015 recipient of the WDOM Spirit of Independence award and the 2019 GDUI Lieberg-Metz award for excellence in writing.

Interview

Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Ann: When I was a kid I would read a book and if it was a really good book, I would think about how they did it. My love of books grew with me and in seventh grade, after writing my first poem, the teacher said I could now call myself a poet. It was just a matter of time and education after that. I was always drawing, singing, dancing, imagining – it was a matter of creative discipline and eventually my talent emerged as I practiced.

Kaye: Is there anything unique or unusual about your writing process?

Annie: I do have one part of my creative process few authors utilize and that is text-to-speech technology on my computer because I am blind. I actually listen to the words as I type. I think it helps me craft stories and poems that also sound good when read aloud. I also tend to write down the bones, then return to the idea later after it has cooked a bit in the creative oven.  I also use my dreams to write scenes and shorter pieces of fiction and poetry.

Kaye: What time of day do you prefer to do your writing? Why?

Annie: I like to write in the morning and sometimes catch an hour’s worth of editing work in the afternoons. I rarely write at night, that’s for reading, family and TV. I do record notes when I am out and need to recall something like overhearing a conversation or a feeling about something I’ve heard or explored. I will listen to the recording and then write a piece. The recording brings me back to the moment and strengthens the piece.  

Kaye: Would you share the story of your own publishing journey?

Annie: I’ve been published for years in journals and even once in Reader’s Digest. Poetry was first, followed by nonfiction articles and a few bylines. I didn’t consider a book until 2015.  My first book, Upwelling: Poems, was published in 2016. My Mom was my biggest fan and supporter of my talent and was a poet herself but did not let us read her work. After she died of cancer in 2015, I wanted to honor her memory and belief in me by finding a way to self-publish my poems. I had almost given up, losing faith that despite being blind and unable to use desktop publishing software because of my disability, I stumbled across DLD Books after reading another blind writer’s memoir. I emailed the address and Leonore Dvorkin wrote me back and the rest is self-publishing history. I dedicated my book to my Mom, Mary, and have since dedicated each book to her. Interestingly, as we went through her belongings, we found a poetry journal and I have some of her writing.   

Kaye: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Annie: I read and listen to audio books with my husband. We like to cook and watch baseball and football together.   I listen to music, from classical to pop tracks. Our adult daughter lives nearby and helps us out all the time. I record my poems and perform them for others. I volunteer my time in blindness organizations in my county as well as Nationally. I sit on local, State and National boards of directors representing artists who are blind, guide dogs as well as writers with disabilities.  We have two dogs and three cats that keep us busy.  

Kaye: Your new book is Hope for the Tarnished, a sweet Y.A. about a young girl who overcomes some very difficult life obstacles. What’s the most fun part of writing this novel? What’s the least fun part?

Annie: The most fun part about writing Hope for the Tarnished was developing the relationship between Abbie and Augie. I wanted their attraction to grow as they matured. The hardest part of the story was finding the right set of circumstances to separate them and then keep them apart. There was also times when writing the traumatic scenes were difficult and I needed breaks because I got all weepy or verklempt.

Kaye: Your book, Hope for the Tarnished, recently came out. Would you like to tell us a little about that?

Annie: It is my first novel and I was apprehensive about sending out into the world. The novel was released in March 2022, a great month and not just because it is my birthday month, 😉 It is my first hard cover book and also the first book to also be offered through the Library of Congress catalog. My sister, Cheryll, provided the book cover photo, which is the third cover she helped design.  Marketing a book is the tough part and doesn’t always feel successful, especially in terms of sales. I tell myself it is the readers who make it better, the ones who take the time to tell me what they thought of the book, how it effected them and even the criticism is important to me, it helps me want to become a better writer. It’s hard to hear the negative feedback but in the end, good and bad helps me push ahead and want to achieve more. 

Kaye: How did you decide on this title?

Annie: My editor, Leonore Dvorkin helped me by researching variations of the title. I picked Hope for the Tarnished mostly because it encapsulated the overall arch of the book and it didn’t generate an over-used title.

Kaye: What kind of research do you find yourself doing for this story?

Annie: I researched the book title to make sure it wasn’t over-used. I brought in my knowledge of boating but did have to research the cars and other vehicles being used in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I also had to research the clothing styles. I was very happy when I was able to weave in the 1977 premiere of Star Wars, 😊 That movie was a key component of what generated my love of science fiction and fantasy.  

Kaye: What’s the hardest part of the story for you to write: beginning, middle or end?

Annie: The middle, what I refer to as the doldrums. I often get stuck even after the outline is completed. Sometimes I stay awake at night thinking, “what comes next?”.

Kaye: How much of the story do you know before the actual writing begins?

Annie: I know the main idea, sketch the outline, make brief plot notes, maybe even a brief character sketch or two is done prior to the first chapter. I used to be a writer of discovery and now I am an outliner and planner. I’ve found outlining or developing a short synopsis crafts the story better and helps me avoid over-writing scenes. I’d much rather add to something than remove it, though a novel ends up shifting in both directions as it is written and edited.

Kaye: What do you think is the single most important element in a story?

Annie: Characters. If I don’t develop an emotional response for them, I don’t feel even the best theme or plot will help me through the story — both as a reader and author of a story.

Kaye: Have you created any of your characters based on people who you know in real life?

Annie: Who hasn’t? 😊 Seriously, though, my characters are most often composites of people I’ve known or characters I’ve admired from other books or stories. I do like to develop characters with realism and imagination.

Kaye: What is something your readers would never guess about you?

Annie: I love to go fast, used to race street cars in California. I’ve ridden horses in Lake Tahoe, Nevada and love riding motorcycles.

Kaye: What time of day do you prefer to do your writing? Why?

Annie: I am a morning writer. I like to awaken and listen to the sounds around me, find the flavor of the day and let my mind determine what to work on. Sometimes it is a poem or a deeper discussion over email about a project, at other times it is prepping a script to record. Though I like the quiet of night, I am often too tired to write. I am not the kind of person to write in a coffee shop, I’d be the person in the corner of the library with the laptop instead.

I like to write early in the day when my mind is most agile. Sometimes I edit and finish tasks like a blog post or something simple but keep the creative work for the mornings.

Kaye: How much do you read? What do you like to read?

Annie: I am eclectic when it comes to answering this question. Genres include science fiction and fantasy, some horror and suspense, memoir, nonfiction, literary fiction collections and short stories and crossovers. I also listen to poetry selections but I am picky about the poets I read. I get through about fifty books a year, give or take.

Some of my favorite authors are Rudyard Kipling, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Brandon Sanderson, Larry Correa, Michael Connelly, John Irving, Kahlil Gibran, and I have read dozens of the books based on the Star Wars universe. I love to read poets Billy Collins, Joan Myles, Mary Oliver, Joy Harjo, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, Wordsworth, William Blake, and many others.     

Kaye: Which author, dead or alive, would you love to have lunch with?

Annie: Anne McCaffrey, author of the science fiction Dragon riders of Pern series.  

Kaye: What is the one thing you hope to teach your children?

Annie: My kids are adults now. They both grew up while I progressed through my vision loss journey. I know this has helped them develop a high level of compassion for others and people with disabilities. I also know it was hard for my kids to cope with a Mom who is blind. We had tough moments and we got through it.  Whenever I hear my daughter helped a neighbor or a Mom comment on how she helped someone, my heart is happy. I say to them that the world is a kind place if you believe it and be part of the kindness.

Kaye: What’s your favorite social media site for promotion? Why?

Annie: Face Book is my social media site of choice because it is robust and fairly easy to navigate.?

Kaye: What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Annie: In order to be a good writer, you need to  be a better reader and keep reading — as much as possible and in as many genres and styles as possible — and this and practice will hopefully help you become a great writer.

$11.50/3.99 Purchasing links: Amazon/Kindle Smashwords

If you are only joining us now for the first time, and would like to learn more about Ann or her novel, you can follow the rest of the tour and check out the posts from the first two blog stops on the tour:

Day 1 : Writing to be Read – Welcome and Review

Day 2: Patty’s World – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta

I do hope you will join us for the rest of the tour. See you there. 🙂

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Welcome to the WordCrafter “Hope for the Tarnished” Book Blog Tour & Review

Hope for the Tarnished Book Blog Tour

Welcome to the WordCrafter Hope for the Tarnished Book Blog Tour. On this tour you’ll learn about a touching new young adult novel, Hope for the Tarnished, with guest posts by the author, Ann Chiappetta, as well as reviews and an interview. I hope to see you all at each tour stop. Here’s the tour schedule so you don’t have to miss any of the stops:

Day 1: Writing to be Read – Introduction and Review

Day 2: Patty’s World – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta

Day 3: Writing to be Read – Interview with Ann Chiappetta

Day 4: Roberta Writes – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta

Day 5: Zigler’s News – Guest Post by Ann Chiappetta and Review

About Hope for the Tarnished

Young Abbie struggles to cope with the traumatic experiences in her life. Ripped from everything familiar after her parents’ divorce, she is dropped into a strange neighborhood and is emotionally abandoned by her unstable mother. Abbie is caught up in the cruel nature   of one sister’s addictions and often rescued by her other sister’s sense of familial responsibility and love.

The story takes place in the 1970s, revealing family secrets   and the shift of cultural norms as Abbie leaves her doubts in the past, embracing a bright future.

My Review

Hope for the Tarnished, by Ann Chiappetta is a young adult novel about a young girl who triumphs over the adversities of life to find a chance for happiness as a young woman. It’s a story of tragedy and triumph. It’s a story of hope that will tug at your heartstrings.

Growing up as a latch-key kid, before it was ‘thing’, with a mentally unstable mother, who is indifferent to her daughters’ needs, and sister who is an addict, Abbey faces loss and tragedy head on. But as she grows into a young woman, love complicates her life and makes her doubt her own decisions. With time, social norms and personal situations change, making Abbey dare to hope for happiness once more.

A touching story of love and hope, with the message that nothing ever stays the same, Hope for the Tarnished leaves you with an overall good feeling. I rooted for Abbey all the way through.

$11.50/3.99 Purchasing links: Amazon/Kindle Smashwords

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“Disappeared”: A novel that hits home on multiple levels

Disappeared, by Lucienne Diver is a Y.A. novel that deals with real life issues. This story was well written, easily attaining the suspension of disbelief in the reader. This book appealed to me because the characters and the situations are relateble for young people on so many levels.

This is the story about what two teenage siblings, Jared and Emily, do when their mother disappears without a trace. People disappear every day, and many of them are never heard from again. This happened with a woman in a community near to me, who disappeared last May. As I’ve watched the story unfold in the local and national media, I’ve often wondered often how the family could deal with the not knowing and all the questions left unanswered.

Disappeared gives a realistic portrayal through the eyes of the two teens of what it would be like, to have that missing person be your mother, to feel the need to uncover the truth, no matter what the cost, and to internalize feelings too painful to deal with on a concious level. This book deals with real life issues which young adults today may find themselves dealing with. Divers jumps into the sensitive issues of families on rocky ground and teen depression with both eyes open, handling them in a kind and caring manner. These are issues that can be only too real for today’s teens, making the subject matter easily relatable within a Y.A. audience.

Filled with surprises, complications and plot twists, this story is crafted to keep the reader guessing. I give Disappeared five quills.

You can purchase your copy of Disappeared here: https://www.amazon.com/Disappeared-Lucienne-Diver-ebook/dp/B0875K2V3J/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2Q75CDGNWKDJD&dchild=1&keywords=disappeared+lucienne+diver&qid=1601589693&s=books&sprefix=Disappeared+Divers%2Cdigital-music%2C279&sr=1-1

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


“The Freedom Conspiracy”: A delightfully entertaining Y.A. science fiction adventure

Who hasn’t dreamed of going to the moon or another planet, or living the adventurous life of an undercover agent? Emmerse yourself in the fictional world of The Freedom Conspiracy, by Nathan B. Dodge and you can virtually do both. This Y.A. novel has all the elements of a good space opera or spy thriller, with a teenaged hero who most young people will relate to. But you don’t have to be young to enjoy this adventure; this exciting tale may even make you feel young for a while. Its a really fun story to read; once you’ve started reading, you may not want to put it down.

Joel is a typical teenager, and life on the Moon is fairly routine, until he gets a coded letter from his father, who was on a government assignment on Earth. Before he and his friend Cary can make sense of it, they find themselves on the run from men who seem intent on killing them. With the help of a mysterious guardian angel, who appears out of nowhere in a nick of time, and no other choice, they borrow Cary’s dad’s Ziviano time jump ship and escape to Earth in search of his father’s friend Derek Wilson, who helps them to unravel the mysteries contained in his father’s message, but it isn’t good news. Joel’s dad has uncovered a conspiracy that goes all the way to top government officials. Now his dad is in trouble and it’s up to he and Derek to find and rescue him.

A hero’s journey that young readers will love. I give The Freedom Conspiracy five quills.

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.

 


“Keeper of the Winds”: A Classic Hero’s Journey

Keeper of the Winds
Keeper of the Winds

Keeper of the Winds, by Jenna Solitaire with Russell Davis, is not your typical story written by an author under a psuedonym. Davis writes this hero’s journey as Jenna Solitaire, in first person, present tense and nails the teenaged heroine’s persona. If you are an author yourself, you may realize that this is not an easy feat to pull off. Davis has created a character that young adult readers can relate to, making this powerful magical fantasy journey sure to be a hit with YA audiences everywhere.

Jenna lost her parents and grandmother early in life and knows little of her family history. Now she is burying the grandfather who raised her and he last living relative. When she finds a strange board hidden in her grandmother’s things and tries to use it, she awakens forces of power long dormant, setting off a chain of events that will lead her to her ultimate destiny. But, there are those who would steal the board and the power that it holds, and they will stop at nothing to eliminate all obstacles in their way. Can Jenna discover who she really is and master her newly discovered abilities before they can gain control of the board, and either take her captive or eliminate her?

A classic hero’s journey written with a compelling voice that makes Keeper of the Winds a young adult fantasy journey to remember. I give it five quills.

Five Quills

Keeper of the Winds is available on Amazon.

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


“In the Shadow of the Clouds”: A Steampunk Romance

In the Shadow of the Clouds

In the Shadow of the Clouds, by Jordan Elizabeth is book 4 in her Return to Amston series, but it works equally well as a stand alone novel. It’s a top rate steampunk adventure with a dash of romance. I’m familiar with the steampunk worlds of this author, and always find her steampunk tales engaging and entertaintaining. (See my review of Runners & Riders, the first book in the series.) This story is no exception. 

For Bianca, life hasn’t been easy. After being ignored by her indifferent mother, being turned out into the streets by the madame of the brothel where her mother makes her living, and being sold off by her grandparents to be the bride of an oppressive man, it is no wonder she trusts no one and feels as if there is nowhere where she really belongs. But when her husband dies unexpectedly, she inherits his airship company and sees a way to provide a living for herself, if she can straighten out the mess he left it in. And she’s just headstrong enough to do it with the help of her handsome young pilot.

Charlie hired on as pilot in hopes of one day regaining the air ship company, which once belonged to his family, who were killed by cloud pirates when he was just a boy. He flies every trip with an eye out for an opportunity to exact revenge on those who attacked his family’s air ship so many years ago. He denies the feelings developing for his boss, but when cloud pirates capture Bianca and Charlie rescues her, he learns what truly happened to his family and why, he gets an unexpected surprise that could change his entire life.

In the Shadow of the Clouds is an exceptional YA tale of young romance and adventure. Thoroughly entertaining. This is one of those stories that leaves you smiling. I give it five quills.

Five Quills

In the Shadow of the Clouds is available on Amazon.

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Seeking Out Children’s & Young Adult Fiction in November

Children's & Y.A.

In November we’ve been seeking out children’s and young adult fiction on Writing to be Read. There are a few differences in writing for our younger readers from writing for adults. As authors, we are in a position to shape young minds, and that’s a big responsibility.

Fiction for adults relies on our words to paint a visual image for the reader, but stories for beginning readers rely heavily on illustrations to enhance our words for youngsters. Authors who have the ability to illustrate their own books may be at an advantage, because illustrations can be a sizable expense for authors like myself, who do not possess such abilities. (Long time Writing to be Read followers may be aware that I once tried to have the first book in the My Backyard Friends series published, but a halt was put on the project after a five year publication process, when the arrangement for illustrations fell through. So, I speak of this added obstacle for children’s authors first hand.)

My interview with author and artist Judy Mastrangelo talks about her Portal to the Land of Fae series and her other works, and shares several of the author’s bright and colorful illustrations. I found her work to be delightful in both text and illustrations in my review of Flower Fairies, and I’ve no doubt that her stories are enjoyed by both young and old.

Young adult authors are faced with a different dilemma, because the audience they write for still have the curiosity of children, but they are beginning to deal with adult issues in their lives, although they are not yet adults either. Controversial topics must be handled with sensitivity and finesse, because the Y.A. critics can be relentless, as is illustrated in this NY Times article about Y.A. author Amélie Wen Zhao.

On Writing to be Read, we looked at how Y.A. fantasy and science fiction author Carol Riggs deals with issues that might be frightening for adolescents in her Junction 2020 series on “Chatting with the Pros“, and saw how Jordan Elizabeth handles a dark fantasy story which deals with the controversial and often taboo topics of teen suicide, cutting, and depression in my review of Tabitha’s Death. Jordan also talks about the inspiration behind her fantasy novel, The Goat Children, which deals with the issue of Alzhiemer’s disease, on “Writing for a Y.A. Audience“.

Also in November, Robbie Cheadle also looked at the pros and cons of classic vs. contemporary children’s fiction on “Growing Bookworms“, and Jeff Bowles took a look at Disney’s new video streaming service, Disney+, on “Jeff’s Movie Reviews“, where we can find all the great tales of the Disney classics. What a great way to introduce our children to them, (or just re-watch them ourselves to indulge our own inner children).

In addition, we said goodbye to a great author, who was known and loved in the online writing communities in my “Tribute to Tom Johnson“. Tom was originally a pulp and science fiction author, but in recent years, he’s been writing children’s stories for the Wire Dog story collections. He will be greatly missed.

November has been a great month and we’ve explored a lot of children’s and young adult fiction. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself as much as I have. There is no theme for December, as I’m taking this time to breathe before the next round. I’ll be updating you about the changes that will be coming for 2020 on Writing to be Read,  reviewing a couple of books which didn’t fit under this year’s themes, and throwing in a few surprises. I do hope you’ll all drop by and check it out.


“Writing for a Y.A. Audience”: Are they real?

Writing for a Y.A. Audience

SPOILERS AHEAD

I was at a book signing in October. A woman came up to my booth and asked for a quick synopsis of each story. I was happy to oblige, and when I got to GOAT CHILDREN, the woman teared up.

Goat Children

I wrote GOAT CHILDREN based on my experiences taking care of my grandmother when she suffered from dementia. This woman’s mother was diagnosed with dementia. She went on to share a few examples, and I could identify with all of them.

The woman bought the book for her daughter, who feels alone while helping her grandmother. The other kids in high school don’t understand.

I went through the same thing when I was in college and high school.  My grandmother was “weird”. I was a “freak” for trying to take care of her. She was “scary”. Okay, the unpredictable moods were scary, but she was still my grandmother. Fear goes hand-in-hand with dementia.

After the woman bought the book and moved onto the next book at the fair, my mind kept returning to GOAT CHILDREN. It was one of my first books published and one very dear to my heart. Now come the spoilers…

The Goat Children are a mythical warrior class who the fictional grandmother, Oma, believe to be true. The main character, Keziah, can’t figure out if they are real or not.  The story provides glimpses into the truth behind the female warriors.

My grandmother believed in little people living in her fireplace and dancing in her basement. When we asked her if she was scared of them, she said no, they comforted her. The Goat Children comfort Oma too.

firewood burning in fireplace

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

At the end of the story, the grandmother and Keziah both leave Earth to live with the Goat Children. They are together and strong, and immersed in a world of magic both of them longed for. I decided to make the Goat Children real because I always wanted the little people to be real too, taking care of my grandmother, keeping her safe.

Jordan Elizabeth currently lives in the house her grandmother lived in. She’s still looking for the little people in the fireplace. You can connect with Jordan via her website, JordanElizabethBooks.com.


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Chatting with the Pros: Interview with Y.A. author Carol Riggs

chatting with the pros

My “Chatting with the Pros” author guest today writes young adult fiction in the fantasy and science fiction genres. Her debut science fiction novel, The Body Institute, is currently being developed into a television series by NBC, which I think, is pretty cool. I met her when I reviewed Bottled three years ago. Since then, I’ve reviewed her science fiction novel, The Lying Planet, and she was a member of the author panel for the first round of the “Ask the Author” blog series in 2018, right here on Writing to be Read. Let’s find out what she has to share. Please help me welcome author Carol Riggs.

Carol Riggs author_smaller

Kaye: Please begin by telling us briefly about your author’s journey?

Carol: I began writing in the 1990s, took a 10-year break, and started up again in 2009. I met my agent at an SCBWI retreat and signed with her in 2011 for my 2015 debut, THE BODY INSTITUTE. Since then, I’ve published 7 more books.

Kaye: Why do you choose to write for young adults? Why science fiction and fantasy?

Carol: I enjoy writing about teens as they experience the road to individual growth and becoming an adult—navigating independence, romance, tests of courage, etc.  Sci-fi and fantasy appeal to me because I love making things up. Speculative genres give me the most room to be creative and use my imagination.

Kaye: What is your biggest challenge in writing for a young audience?

Carol: Keeping in touch with how a young person thinks and talks, sounding like a teen. My editor at Entangled Teen nails me on that, and makes me rewrite things that don’t sound authentic.

Kaye: Is there anything unique or unusual about your writing process?

Carol: Nothing too unusual. I don’t listen to music or other distractions. I draft novels moderately quickly (3-5 months), and I write 1 or 2 books a year. I also keep my novels “clean,” with no profanity, gory violence, or sexual scenes. I prefer to make up my own slang and swear words, which don’t become outdated like modern teen lingo/slang/cussin’.

The Body InstituteKaye: NBC is developing your science fiction novel, The Body Institute, into a television series. That must be exciting. Tell us a little about the story.

Carol: THE BODY INSTITUTE is a dystopian sci-fi novel where the main character gets a job losing weight for other people—by having her mind downloaded into their bodies. It’s set in the near future where society is ultra health conscious. The TV series is using the book as a jump-off point rather than being a direct replica of the novel, which is okay with me. It’ll be fun to see where their creative minds take it.

Kaye: How much say do you have in the development process of the television series? Are you involved at all?

Carol: I don’t have any say at all, but that honestly doesn’t bother me. I’d rather spend my time developing new novels! Readers have the book if they want to explore what I’ve developed; the TV show will be a different experience entirely.

Kaye: Do you have a date yet for the series premier for The Body Institute to air?

Carol: As of yet, I don’t; the filming of the pilot show hasn’t begun yet. I’ll announce on my newsletter, Facebook, and Twitter (@CRiggsAuthor) as soon as I find out any developing news.

Junction 2020

Kaye: Most of the books in your Junction 2020 series have scary sounding titles: The PortalNightmare RealizationVanishing FearsSilent Scream, and Future Terrors. Is this fantasy series scary?

Carol: Some people consider these books “horror,” but it sort of depends on your tolerances. If you can’t stand spiders, for instance, don’t read THE PORTAL. Nothing is hyper-bloody in the series, though…no slasher-type nightmares or anything overly gory. I chose each characters’ fears to manifest in a way that would lead them to personal growth, a challenge to overcome rather than sheer horrible nightmares.

Kaye: How do you approach scary subject matter when writing for young adults?

Carol: I try to keep it emotional but real to each character, and I don’t make things gory. Depending on the teen, that could be totally un-scary, or it could be very unsettling. I try to hit somewhere in the middle, for the average reader.

Kaye: Are there certain subject matters that you wouldn’t tackle for a young adult audience? Why?

Carol: I don’t write sex scenes, gory violence, or profanity. I think there’s plenty of that going around nowadays in society (books, movies, etc.), and not having those things in my novels jives with my personal morals and my feelings about what I would want to (or not) read in a novel. I wouldn’t write about demons or the occult, either—too creepy and real.

BottledKaye: My favorite book of yours is Bottled, which I reviewed a few years ago. It is a fun and entertaining fantasy story. What was your inspiration?

Carol: Long ago, I used to watch “I Dream of Jeannie.” While BOTTLED isn’t that similar in plot to the show, I was inspired by the fun, magical atmosphere of the TV series. It’s my tribute to the show.

 

The Lying PlanetKaye: I also reviewed The Lying Planet. Tell us a little about this science fiction story.

Carol: I was lying in bed one night years ago, and heard a noise in the living room (it was probably the refrigerator). That became the germ seed for TLP, a teen boy on the planet Liberty who one night hears a noise in the living room and gets up to investigate…and then wishes he hadn’t. He uncovers an evil that rocks his world in the worst way possible. I’ve found that teen guys really seem to like this novel. It has lots of danger, adventure, and a degree of creepiness.

Kaye: The other thing I loved about Bottled was the fantastic cover. And the vibrant colors used for Lying Planet cover and those used in the covers your Junction 2020 series are eye catching, as well. The colors are wonderful and the designs fit what the stories are about. Do you design your own cover art or hire it out?

Carol: I’ve been incredibly lucky to get awesome covers for my traditionally published books. The JUNCTION 2020 series covers I developed myself in Photoshop, with the tips and suggestions of a writer friend who is also a graphic artist. I have a BA in Studio Arts, so I think that helps me have a bit of an eye for what looks good.

Kaye: What do you enjoy doing when not writing?

Carol: Walking, reading, working jigsaw puzzles, watching sci-fi and fantasy movies, going to the beach, and listening to all kinds of music.

Kaye: Writing organizations can be of great value to writers of all genres. You’ve been a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for many years. Would you talk a little about the organization and how you have benefited through membership?

Carol: Back in the 1990s when I first joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), it was super helpful. Submissions were sent to editors at publishing houses by postal mail rather than email (talk about slow!). There wasn’t the wealth of information on the internet that there is now, so the SCBWI was invaluable for honing one’s work to make it ready for editor eyeballs. I learned a lot.

When I returned to writing in 2009, an agent was almost mandatory to submit your work, and the SCBWI retreat I went to offered manuscript critiques for a fee. I actually met my agent-to-be during one of those brief, one-on-one meetings. SCBWI conferences are also great places to network with other writers, learn about the craft of writing, meet industry professionals, and talk about books all day. Some regions offer scholarships to attend if finances are tight.

Kaye: What is your best piece of advice for aspiring authors of young adult fiction?

Carol: If you love it, never give up. THE BODY INSTITUTE was the 13th book I wrote, after 350+ rejections and 11 years of writing and trying to become published. Surround yourselves with supportive writer friends to share the ups and downs. Keep learning your craft, persevere, and enjoy the journey!

Kaye: What can your readers look forward to in the future? What’s next for Carol Riggs?

Carol: A deal has just been signed for THE BODY INSTITUTE for an audiobook version, which is cool. I’m also working on a sequel to the novel, called SPARES. Ideas are springing into my head for a fresh YA novel, and I’m excited to begin imagining a whole new world for readers to explore.

I want to thank Carol for sharing here and answering all of my many questions. And thanks to all of you readers for joining us. You can find out more about Carol Riggs and her young adult science fiction and fantasy books on her website, her Amazon Author page, or her Goodreads Author page.

Next month, there will not be a “Chatting with the Pros” segment. In December we’re wrapping up 2019 and giving you a rundown of what’s in store for 2020. I plan to run this blog series again next year, so check back after the New Year for the first 2020 segment in January. I hope to see you all then.


You can catch the monthly segment “Chatting with the Pros” on the third Monday of every month in 2020, or you can be sure not to any of the great content on Writing to be Read by signing up by email or following on WordPress. Please share content you find interesting or useful.


“Tabitha’s Death”: a Y.A. novel that dares to journey into taboo realms

Tabitha's Death

Tabitha’s Death, by Jordan Elizabeth is a dark fantasy journey into death and beyond. This book is masterfully crafted to present the often taboo subjects of depression, cutting and teen suicide. Speaking as someone who has lost a son to teen suicide, I thought the subject matter was handled with sensitivity and tact. Even as a work of fiction, Tabitha’s Death carries messages many teens may need to hear.

Tabitha thinks she wants to die and tries to take her own life, but she finds it’s not that easy.  The Grey Man snatches her away from death and won’t let her die until she completes certain tasks for him. As she journey’s through the strange realms beyond death, she learns that there’s more going on beyond death’s doors than she’d realized and her life maybe wasn’t so bad.

A truly inspirational approach to Y.A. fiction, resulting in an entertaining, yet thought provoking story. I give Tabitha’s Death five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.