Random Acts of Publicity Week - Blog Tag Party


 

Do you remember that old game of tag back when we were kids? Well this is a different kind of tag. Today, as part of Random Acts of Publicity Week, we're going to outline a work in progress, and then send you to other blogs, where other authors have done the same.
1.    What is the working title of your book?

Take Chances
 
2.    Where did the idea come from for the book?

One of my kids freaked after the Virginia Tech shooting and asked me why. I couldn't answer, but I sure wanted to. I needed answers so I turned to the one thing I've used in some way on all my work – research on the subject. Slowly, as I read through reams of information on school shootings, and compiled the information into spreadsheets to understand it, my characters started talking to me. Their lives popped out in spurts, and I took tons of notes. Then I had to sit down and figure out what I'd use. Take Chances began in 2005, but I didn't catch the flavor of the story until I entered NaNoWriMo last year, and the whole thing poured out in fifteen days.
3.    What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary Young Adult – Social Issues.

4.    Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, that's a hard one. Let me see????

Michael is older than most of the other teens. He graduated two years earlier and took off to view the world through the lens of his camera. During this time, he became a famous photographer, but his roots are in Landry, Georgia – my fictional town. He has his own style, and he knows what he wants – and he hides the fact he came back to Landry to get to know Julie better. I think Josh Hutcherson is best for Michael, the hot pirate guy who has my girl's interest.

Julie is all confidence on the outside. She's an honors student who is also a great swimmer. But she also has a lot of insecurities, especially about her mom. She tries very hard to please her mother, but Julie also hangs the nickname (said only to those she trusts, of course) WWE, for World Wrestling Entertainment, on her mom. Lilly Collins would make a fine Julie – conflicted but able to take charge when needed.

 5.    What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Julie Bond never thought lightning in the form of school violence could strike twice … but it did.
6.    Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither. I'll be looking for a publisher interested in this book.

 7.    How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The evolution of my first draft took about six years to find a story that satisfied me.

 8.    What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The closest I can find is One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf. The subject matter is the same, but there are enough differences to draw much the same audience.

9.    Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Reading through all the incidents of school violence in the US from 1764 to present gave me the idea. But it was looking at how many books were already out there about school shooters who are teens who were bullied or ostracized by their peer group, and yet most of their victims were just like them. In Take Chances, the top students who are the victims are also athletes. They're the targets, and it's not by another student but by an adult, who claims he wants his glory days back. Later in the story, other motivations come out, from sources Julie suspected but wasn't sure about.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Julie seems like a teenager who is totally in control of her life. She's a military brat, and she spent most of her childhood in Europe. (Side note: I'm a veteran, and all but one of my children are military brats. I drew on their experiences as we raised them in Europe for five years.) She moved to a small northwest Georgia town right before her first year of high school, and is now only days from graduation – a first she never had the chance to do in Europe while moving from base to base with her parents. Underlying tensions, from the teens around her and adults who care for themselves and their lives more than their children's, distract her at a time when she should be enjoying herself. Added into the tension are memories of an invasion of her kindergarten classroom by German terrorists – images she can't shake, and words that haunt her as she prepares to finish school.

The personal lives of her best friends entrap Julie and show her the comfortable world she's wrapped around herself is fraying. Two – Heather and Lukas – are part of what they all call the Cosmic Triplets, three teens born on the same day and at the same moment, but to different families. Heather is about to disappear after graduation, but she can't let her controlling father figure this out. Lukas wants to announce a secret he and Julie have hidden from everyone by being a couple – in name only. This hero quarterback, who threw the regional championship touchdown in the last seconds of the game, is homosexual, and he's about to not only announce this at the class picnic two days before graduation, but also introduce his boyfriend. Julie's not so sure about all this – she hasn't lived here long but realizes the other students, products of strict, church based upbringing, will not only hate Lukas, but they'll also crucify him. Then there's Tom, the class clown, who has a streak of loyalty to his friends that makes him take a massive chance, and he saves lives. And Hugh, the bullied, abused teen who would have made the perfect school shooter, if not for the fact he'd never do anything to hurt his mom or little sister. Their lives intertwine with adult issues that keep them from taking any of the warnings before them seriously until an adult bully pulls a gun in their classroom.

11. It wouldn't be a blog tag party if I didn't have someone to tag, and I have six other writers delighted to have you visit their blogs. Our wild and crazy characters have us held tight to our work, and we're willing to share!

            Jessica Tornese: www.jessicatornese.com

           Ramey Channel: http://rameychannell.blogspot.com/


Andrea Buginsky: www.andisrealm.blogspot.com

Hope everyone has fun at our blog tag party. If you like what you read, keep an eye on these blogs. We'll surely be singing our releases at the top of our voices. For the rest of this week, I'll be posting about three fellow authors at Solstice Publishing. Don't miss the rest of the fun.

Comments

Ramey Channell said…
Your book has grabbed my attention already! And I really love your title. I think this is going to be a winner, and on a subject that will speak to and help many.
KC Sprayberry said…
Thanks, Ramey. It has taken a long time to get it just right. But I think this one will do it.