Karen stopped by today to share a little bit about her writing rituals. Make sure you read to the bottom for a chance to win a gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble! She's also giving away one of her back list. To enter leave your email address in the comments.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is creating characters and then listening to them talk. It may sound silly, but my characters talk in my head all the time. A lot of what they say doesn’t wind up in the actual text of the story, but it helps me get to know them really well and I love that process. It’s like getting to eavesdrop on a really good conversation at a restaurant….all the time, in the privacy of your own mind. I love that.
Is there music that coincides with your books?
I don’t do playlists for writing like a lot of my author friends do but often times while I’m writing a particular book I’ll notice that lyrics to a particular song will make me think of the book. They’re not always even songs I’d normally listen to, just random things that will come on the radio or a song someone will mention in passing. When I was writing Meant To Be the song “Everybody” by Ingrid Michaelson seemed to come on whenever I turned on the radio and it fit so well with what I was writing “everybody wants to love, everybody wants to be loved.” When I was writing Holding On the Jason Mraz/Colbie Caillait duet “Lucky” always made me think of Daniel and Marienne---the lyrics are so fitting “lucky I’m in love with my best friend.”
Where did you get the idea for Holding On?
When I finished writing Meant To Be and was submitting it to agents and publishers I couldn’t get the characters out of my head. Everyone says you shouldn’t write a sequel until you’ve sold/placed the first book, but I couldn’t help it. I had more of Daniel and Marienne’s story to tell so I wrote it, for me. And for them.
Meant To Be is the story of how Daniel and Marienne meet. Holding On is the story of what happens once they’re together. I loved writing them as a married couple. Having the chance to watch them experience the ups and downs of child birth, moving, having both new and old people interfere with their lives, gave me the opportunity to explore so much of their relationship. I can’t imagine not having written Holding On.
I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to say I’m “done” writing about these characters. I have another book coming out in January 2014. That novel, Just In Time, will delve into Justine’s story (she’s a secondary character in Meant To Be and Holding On but there’s a lot to her that you don’t get to see in those stories. Although she’s the woman you love to hate in the other books Just In Time will show readers a much more complete picture of Justine and she’ll change and grow in a lot of ways. I’m in the process of writing it and it’s a blast to work on her story.
Daniel and Marienne will have a significant role in Just In Time even though they’re not main characters. They will also appear in a short story in an anthology (due out in June 2013) and I wouldn’t rule out another full length novel for them either. Plus there will be free reads of them, in the form of short stories, emails, IM conversations, etc debuting on my blog sometime in the next few months. Stay tuned!
When you have everything you’ve ever dreamed of, the hard part is Holding On.
British NYU professor Daniel Gardner thinks life can’t get better than the day his three-year-old stepdaughter, Ella, calls him Daddy for the first time. Then his wife Marienne tells him she’s pregnant. Daniel is thrilled, but worried about Marienne’s health. Not wanting to cause her stress he turns to writing to calm his nerves. He pens a screenplay, thinking it’s nothing more than a mental health exercise, but when a colleague reads it and hands it to a producer, it turns into a production contract. Daniel accepts the offer and transfers to a teaching position at Dartmouth, hoping that small town living and a shorter commute will simplify his life.
As he attempts to juggle his new responsibilities he gets an unexpected letter from Roger, the father he never knew. For the first time since they met, Daniel and Marienne are at odds; she wants him to give Roger a chance but Daniel wants nothing to do with the man he thinks abandoned his mother. As Daniel and Marienne struggle they must contend with interference from Daniel’s sexy ex-wife, who appears to want him back,and a handsome, all-too-helpful single dad who desires Marienne as more than a play-date pal. They must both confront deep-seated issues with trust and acceptance if they’re going to find a way to make their marriage work and hold on to the love they share.
My Review: I loved this book. From the beginning you are pulled into the relationship and love that Daniel and Marienne share. I do wish I would have read Meant To Be before I read Holding On. By no means do you have to, HOLDING ON is easy to follow and a great read without it. But more time spent with Daniel and Marienne is counted as a win for me!
The tension from the moment Marienne learns she's pregnant carries through the book. Since their relationship is already in place, this tension was great to keep you from feeling like it was a story of every day life. It's not all happy, there was more than one time I was frustrated or worried for both Daniel and Marienne. You'll definitely stay on the seat of your chair as you read their story of making a marriage work and overcoming the roadblocks.
I would definitely recommend this book! Karen Stivali has a way with words that carries you away into another world.
GIVEAWAYKaren is giving away a $20 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Don't forget to leave your name and email address in the comments to enter to win a back list from Karen.
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January 21: Black Raven Reviews
January 22: Jessy's Book Club
January 23: What's On The Bookshelf
January 24: Literati Literature Lovers
January 25: Manic Readers
January 26: A Little Fiction of Every Flavour
January 27: Guilty Pleasures
January 28: Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books
January 29: My Life Beyond Labels