Interview | Julie Otzelberger | “The Cat That Went to Homecoming” + Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to present an interview that author Laura Kennedy (“Double Take”) conducted with Julie Otzelberger in regards to Julie’s February release “The Cat That Went to Homecoming.”

First, a little about the book:

The Cat That Went To Homecoming is the coming of age story of Ellen Jones, an overweight teenage girl from a single family home. She is under constant attack by her peers, bullied because of her weight and her family’s poverty. Through volunteer work with her cat, Hershey, Ellen finds her self esteem and the courage to stand up to her bullies. Along the way, she discovers what true friendship and forgiveness are and tells us how Hershey became The Cat That Went To Homecoming.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Laura: Ellen tells us she’s dreamed of a summer transformation for several summers. Why don’t you think she was ever successful?

Julie: Loneliness can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, and Ellen was lonely for many years. Ellen lives in a suburban neighborhood where most of the residents are upper-middle class families. She is bullied over the fact that her clothes and shoes are not designer brand. Her Mother doesn’t receive child support on a regular basis from her ex husband, and her income alone is not enough to support a healthy diet so she and Ellen eat a lot of high-carb foods like Ramen Noodles and Hamburger Helper. A poor diet can lead to obesity, and unfortunately, Ellen is overweight. Combining her weight with her poverty, Ellen is a perfect target for a bully. After years of being insulted, she built a wall around herself that Hershey helped her break down.

Laura: Do you think that the fact Ellen comes from a low-income, single parent family enough reason for her to have low self esteem? Do you think that a teen with one loving parent can be happy and secure?

Julie: Coming from a low income, single parent home is not the only contributing factor to Ellen’s low self esteem. Teens growing up in single parent homes have every opportunity to be happy and secure as teens in two parent homes do. Their changing hormones, new relationships and new experiences can bring about feelings of insecurity. A parent or parents can only help their child cope with these insecurities if the child communicates with them about the issues. Statistics show that 64% of the victims of bullying never tell their parents that they are being bullied. Ellen happens to be one of those 64 percent.

Laura: What do you think would have happened to Ellen if she hadn’t had Jane in her life? How does Ellen’s cat Hershey help her?

Julie: Jane is the director of a volunteer group of therapy animal teams. It is with Jane’s help that Ellen is able to take the Pet Partners online course and train her cat, Hershey, for work in animal assisted therapy. Jane not only gives Ellen a laptop, she also offers her a summer job to help pay Hershey’s registration fees. Once Hershey’s registration is finalized, Ellen and Hershey become a part of Jane’s team of volunteers.

Ellen could have used the library or found another way to get online to take the Pet Partners course, but since Jane gives Ellen her old laptop, the process is much easier for her. However; without Jane in her life, Ellen may never discover the joy of animal assisted therapy.

Ellen’s work with Hershey creates a relationship with a woman she otherwise would not have gotten to know, and that person will teach Ellen valuable lessons about life.

I like to say that it is BECAUSE of Hershey that Ellen finally goes to homecoming. Ellen’s work with Hershey gives her confidence, and more importantly, a purpose in life.

Laura: What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied?

Julie:TELL SOMEONE! Don’t just take it and let all the insults and abuse pile up on you until you can’t climb out from underneath it. Your parents will not be ashamed of you. Your school guidance counselor is another person with whom you can talk. He or she can direct you to the proper channels to resolve the bullying. Schools are obligated to address bullying and harassment when the behavior violates federal education anti-discrimination laws.

Laura: What would you do if you encountered someone who is bullying someone else? Have you ever bullied someone?

Julie: I would point out the behavior to the offender, asking them how they would feel were the roles reversed. I taught my daughter to be compassionate and respectful of others and made my expectations of her very clear. When I found out she was being bullied, I went to the school personally and spoke to the principle, teachers, and I even called parents to bring their child’s behavior to their attention. One Mother wasn’t so kind on the phone and made me realize why her child was a bully, but one Mother actually made her son write my daughter an apology letter.

I can’t say I haven’t bullied anyone, bulling is everywhere. It’s in the schools, in the home, in the workplace. I’m ashamed to say I have laughed at jokes made at someone else’s expense. But my experiences as a victim have turned me into a “people pleaser” for the most part. I do not go out of my way to hurt anyone’s feelings and I’m always as polite and as careful as possible given the situation. I do not discriminate against race, religion, political beliefs, appearance, or sexual preference. I won’t discuss politics or religion. To me, FAT is the “F” word, and gay means happy.

Laura: Have you ever been bullied and if so, how has if affected you?

Julie: I had a “Darcel” and a “John” in my life, along with others who followed their lead. To this day I have self esteem issues, there’s no denying that. I will never be satisfied with my appearance, but I have found a way to live with that and hopefully I can help someone else combat their bullies.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About Julie Otzelberger

My name is Julie Otzelberger and I am no stranger to bullying. I grew up in a small suburb in Wisconsin and was overweight for most of my life. The comments made by classmates still haunt me after over thirty years. I admit I’ve had self esteem issues all of my life because of the bullying I underwent, and in an effort to overcome it, in January 2010 I underwent gastric bypass surgery.

Anyone with pets will tell you how special the bond between a pet and owner is because of the he unconditional love pets offer. I’ve had many cats during my life, all of them special and dear to me. I currently have four cats, one of whom I am a registered animal handler of through Pet Partners. My cat Bear and I currently volunteer for Heartland Hospice and Health Heelers, and I find this to be the most rewarding experience of my life. Gastric Bypass surgery may have changed my appearance and the way some people treat me, but my work with Bear has changed how I feel about myself and has given me the self esteem I’ve been lacking.

Hershey is a combination of each cat God has blessed me with over the years. My life was similar to Ellen’s, but I did not find anything like Pet Partners until very recently. I hope I help a young girl finds her way to Pet Partners and follow her altruistic path with her best friend.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ladyhawk1967

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About Laura Kennedy

LAURA KENNEDY lives in Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge fishing town on the West Coast of Florida. She grew up in Minneapolis where her mother was a romance writer who helped her father support the family. By the time she was twenty-two, she lived in Southern California, was married, had a baby, and was broke, the perfect Petri dish for the beginning of a writing career. Encouraged by her mother’s writing success, Laura borrowed her mother’s portable typewriter on which she concocted her first story that sold for the staggering sum of $225.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

GIVEAWAY

Have you ever been a victim of a bully?

Leave a comment below and be entered to win a free ebook copy of “The Cat That Went to Homecoming” by Julie Otzelberger.

A winner will be chosen via Random.org on or soon after April 9, 2014.

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win the $10 Amazon gift card as well over on THIS post!

Interview | D. G. Driver | “Cry of the Sea” + Giveaway

Erin Elliott, author of the upcoming fantasy series. “The Sword of Lumina,” stopped by to interview the oh so talented D. G. Driver about her new novel “Cry of the Sea.”

Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average seventeen-year-old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so “out there?”

Her feelings on the subject are changed when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she finds out that these aren’t humans at all. They’re mermaids!

Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Erin: Where did you get the inspiration for this story or when did you get the idea for it?

D.G.: When I originally wrote this book, I was in a writing frenzy, coming up with more ideas for books than I had time to write. I had been working on screenplays, novels and doing articles. The 10 year anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill was all over the news, and the idea just kind of sparked into my head. It took a long time to go from there to the finished product. Interestingly, I originally called the oil company in the novel Effron, but I was told that was still too similar to feel safe, so I changed it.

Erin: Is conservation something that you personally feel strongly about?

D.G.: Yes. I like to keep my personal footprint small by conserving water and electricity. I don’t litter; I do recycle. I use a refillable water bottle. Stuff like that.

Erin: Everyone has a different image when they hear the word mermaids, what made you choose the description for yours in your book?

D. G.: In this book I wanted to represent mermaids as if they were real creatures, not those of fantasy. If mermaids had actually evolved under water, they wouldn’t be white-skinned girls with beautiful hair, wearing shells over their breasts. They would be a lot more like fish, I think. I also decided that they wouldn’t be able to talk. That would hardly make sense, would it? So, I made my mermaids communicate more like dolphins with a touch of telepathy.

Erin: Are there plans for a sequel?

D. G.: I’m toying with it. My original plan was to create a series where Juniper Sawfeather encounters a different kind of mythological being in each book, rather than sticking with further adventures with the mermaids. I kind of liked the idea of it being an X-Files, Fringe-ish series for teens.

Erin: When did you decide that writing was something that you wanted to pursue?

D. G.: I’ve been writing since I was a child. I did it only as a hobby, as I really wanted to be an actress. I majored in Drama and was a professional actress and singer throughout my twenties in Los Angeles. I still do community theater here in Nashville. I wrote my first book, a horror novel, when I was in college and took both a playwriting class and a short story class in school. Soon after college I was asked to write a play for a children’s theater, and that sparked my interest in writing for kids. I began seriously submitting my work after that and eventually started selling some. Once I turned thirty, I decided to focus on writing more than performing.

Erin: Is this your first published novel? If not, what are some of your other works?

D. G.: I published 3 middle grade novels around the turn of the century under my maiden name Donna Getzinger. That very small press was located in Florida and suffered some major losses after hurricanes in 2006. They couldn’t recover, and those books are now out of print. Still in print are 3 of the 5 award-winning biographies I co-wrote about classical composers Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel and a nonfiction work called The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. I have also published a couple plays, many short stories, articles, and I’ve had 4 of my plays produced. Cry of the Sea is my first Young Adult novel and the first one I’m publishing as D. G. Driver.

Erin: Do you have other stories in mind for new books along the way? If so, care to share any blurbs about it?

D. G.: I have more ideas than time to write. Currently I am cleaning up two novels. One is a middle grade fantasy novel about a young surfer who encounters a dragon hiding in a cave on the North California shore. The other is a novel about a girl who is mistaken for a boy when she goes to visit her grandmother in rural Tennessee. She is invited to go along to the annual camp-out on an island in the middle of a vast lake. She gets lost trying to get there and then finds out that the boat she is in might be haunted. I originally wrote this as an upper middle grade book for boys, but I am reworking it to a younger end young adult and changed the main character from a boy to a girl to make it more interesting.

Erin: What advice would you give a new writer just starting out in this adventure through the publishing world?

D. G.: My main advice is to read a lot of the kind of book you want to write. Read the blockbusters as well as the little books to see what makes them different and try to evaluate why. I’m a big supporter of joining Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators. They have lots of resources, wonderful support and great conferences both locally and nationally. I highly recommend Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing and Stephen King’s On Writing. These books were very motivational for me when I first started out. Most of all, write. Write junk. Write quickly and blast those stories out. Then put what you’ve written aside and go back and fix it later when you have fresh eyes. I’m doing a blog about rewriting on my web site. It’s just started up, but I will be adding ideas, advice and examples of how to do it every week or two. www.dgdriver.com

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About D.G. Driver

D. G. Driver grew up in Southern California only 30 minutes from the beach. As a girl, she used to dream that magic would change her overnight into a beautiful mermaid. Alas, that never happened, but her love of the ocean never diminished. Even though she is landlocked in Tennessee now, she still only needs one whiff of sunscreen to bring her imagination alive. Thanks to the support of her husband and a sweet drawing of a mermaid done by her daughter that was taped on the wall above her desk to keep her motivated to finish, Cry of the Sea is now her first published Young Adult novel. A dragon picture hangs there now, so we’ll see what happens…

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donnagdriver
Website: www.dgdriver.com
Twitter: @DGDriverAuthor 
Tumblr: d-g-driver.tumblr.com

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About Erin Elliott

I’ve been a preschool special education teacher for the last ten years. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and started writing stories and “books” when I was in high school. I have three books coming out, The Sword of Lumina series. I love spending time with my family, reading, summer and the sun. My lifelong dream is to live in Hawaii someday.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment below and you’re automatically entered to win a free ebook copy of “Cry of the Sea” by D. G. Driver!

Winner will be chosen on or soon after April 6, 2014.

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win the $10 Amazon gift card as well over on THIS post!

Interview | Laura Kennedy | “Double Take” + Giveaway

Alice J. Black will be releasing her paranormal novel “The Doors” from Fire and Ice in the fall of 2014. She took some time to read Laura Kennedy’s brand new release “Double Take” and ask Laura some questions. Read on to get the inside scoop on “Double Take” and leave a comment to win a free ebook copy of “Double Take!”

When sixteen-year-old Brooke Bentley’s green convertible and cell phone conk out during a tropical rainstorm, she believes it’s just bad luck. But when she darts through the dark to a dilapidated Victorian she thinks is the home of a friend and is invited in by a butler in a faded black tux, Brooke knows it must be karma. Because how often do you meet a reclusive 1950′s movie star who thinks she’s actress Terry Moore? And how often does someone as charming as eighty-year-old Laura de France insist on transforming you into a movie star, too? How can something as simple as a dress control your life? It can if it’s the famous green toga worn by actress Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and you’ll do anything to wear it.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Alice: What inspired you to write Double Take?

Laura: Two things.

First is the movie Beneath the 12-Mile Reef that was filmed here in the sponge diving town of Tarpon Springs, Florida in 1953. Starring Robert Wagner, Gilbert Rolland and Terry Moore, it’s a Romeo and Juliet love story I weaved into the plot.

Second is my friendship with the sister of ninety-year-old actress Sharon Randall who became my inspiration for Double Take antagonist Laura de France. I was fascinated with stories of Sharon’s years as a child star. Known as Janice Chambers, she was signed to MGM during the 1930s where she worked with other child actors such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

Alice: Your main character, Brooke, refers to her friends as The Sisters. Which of the Sisters would you say you’re most like and why?

Laura: To begin, the Sisters label came from the fact all four girls in Double Take work at Surf’s Up, the coolest surf shop in Coral Cove. I am definitely Brooke, the novel’s protagonist. Brooke is basically positive and happy, and always tries to do the right thing. She screws up, of course. As she says in Double Take, “Why does everything have to happen to me? I’m a good person, sort of.”

Alice: Do you think you would have liked to wear that stunning green toga yourself?

Laura: Of course I’d like to wear it!

Alice: Was the toga based on a real dress?

Laura: The green toga is real. When writing Double Take, I rented the film Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, then viewed it carefully. Ms. Taylor wore a dozen or so gowns in the film. I chose the toga because it was one of the more modest, making it a realistic probability that Miss de France could own it.

© IMDB

© IMDB

Alice: Who was the easiest character to write?

Laura: When is writing easy? Just kidding. I’d have to say Brooke. Actually, all of my characters were relatively easy since they’re so real to me. Charles Dickens said that sometimes when he wasn’t writing, his characters would tug on his coat sleeve, begging him to get back to work.

Alice: Who was the hardest character to write?

Laura: I wouldn’t say James was hard, but I thought about him a lot. He is a complex character in a complex world.

Alice: Do you know anyone like Laura De France in real life?

Laura: Even though I modeled Miss de France after Sharon Randall, it was only because of her background as an actress. Sharon is far too sweet to be controlling. As for controlling people, we all know a few.

Alice: Do you think all/many girls of her age would do something like Brooke does just to get to wear that dress?

Laura: We all do things to get what we want. And it isn’t just teenage girls. Brooke was guilty of making poor choices. Her parents knew about her relationship with Miss de France, they just didn’t know about the Patent Leather Room.

Alice: Do you know any teenager who would give up so much time to be with someone like Miss de France?

Laura: At present, I don’t know many teenage girls. Guess I’ll have to hang around the Tastee Freeze more.

As for spending so much time with Miss de France, I think there are girls who would. Remember, Brooke initially went to Miss de France’s every day after school out of a sense of guilt because she felt responsible for Miss de France’s heart attack. Miss de France then created enticements so she’d continue to come. For Brooke, it’s all a matter of vanity, beginning with the Cleopatra dress. What girl isn’t vain? “But I wanted the dress!”

Alice: I felt sorry for Laura and James not really being able to strike up a relationship, how did it make you feel to write about the differences in the way people view different races?

Laura: The relationship between Miss de France and James was both beautiful and sad. Obviously, they loved each other very much, but as James told Brooke, “We live in an unforgiving world of black and white.” James met Miss de France in the 1960s, an era when interracial relationships weren’t just frowned upon, they were often illegal as demonstrated in miscegenation laws in many states that prohibited marriage.

Alice: Nick seems like a genuinely nice guy despite what he did with her mother. Do you think Brooke is really in love with him?

Laura: Nick. Nick is genuinely a nice guy. He’s made his mistakes and regrets them. He’s twenty-four now and is maturing.

Is Brooke really in love with him? As much as a sixteen-year-old going on seventeen can be. However, Brooke is also a realist. She knows that for the present, there’s no chance of a romance between them.So being ever hopeful, she’ll move on.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About Laura Kennedy

LAURA KENNEDY lives in Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge fishing town on the West Coast of Florida. She grew up in Minneapolis where her mother was a romance writer who helped her father support the family. By the time she was twenty-two, she lived in Southern California, was married, had a baby, and was broke, the perfect Petri dish for the beginning of a writing career. Encouraged by her mother’s writing success, Laura borrowed her mother’s portable typewriter on which she concocted her first story that sold for the staggering sum of $225.

Fire and Ice Page: http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/laurakennedy/index.html
Blog: http://laurakennedy17.wordpress.com

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About Alice J. Black

Alice J. Black was born in the Northh East England and even as a child had more fascination with books than the outside world. She writes in the supernatural young adult genre and likes to experiment with other genres. She’s an avid writer on her second home, writing.com. Her debut novel, The Doors, is due for publication in September 2014 from Fire and Ice YA Books. She has had other short works published previously in the Writing.com Anthology 2013.

Giveaway

Leave a comment below and you’ll automatically be entered to win a free ebook copy of “Double Take” by Laura Kennedy!

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win the $10 Amazon gift card as well over on THIS post!

New Books || March 26, 2014

So many great new books for you today! (AND the chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!)

I’m personally excited for all of them, but especially “A Strange There After,” which is the sequel to “Happily Never After” and the second book in Missy Fleming’s Savannah Shadows series. It’s a modern day Cinderella…. with ghosts!

Fans of contemporary fiction will be interested in “Love You to Death” by Melissa March about a young woman running from her stalker – just reading the prologue has me excited to start reading this one.

For the contemporary romance fans, check out “Finding Hope in Texas” by Ryan T. Petty. Can Hope find love and acceptance after the loss of her entire family? I know I’m dying to find out.

Another contemporary fiction release is “Double Take” by Laura Kennedy. When Brooke’s car breaks down and she seeks refuge from the rain, she meets a reclusive woman who believes she’s a movie star from the 1950’s.

Finally, for the historical fans, we have “White Pine: My Year as a Lumberjack and River Rat” by Caroline Akervik. When his father is injured it’s up to Sevy to take his place with the Lumberjacks in the white pine forests of Wisconsin. Will he have what it takes?

Keep reading for more info on each book.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A Strange There After

(Savannah Shadows #2)

by Missy Fleming

Ghosts exist. Quinn Roberts knows this because she is one – kind of. The spirit of a dysfunctional ancestor, Catherine, has evicted Quinn from her own body, forcing her to live in a world with the paranormal. No one can see, touch or hear her, except the ghosts she grew up with and the bane of her existence, a self-centered paranormal investigator named Boone.

Forced to watch the growing bond between her boyfriend, Jason, and the body snatcher, Catherine, Quinn delves deeper into the history of her family in search of a way to reverse what’s been done. What she finds is a dangerous entity more terrifying than anything she’s encountered before. He’s willing to grant all her desires…for a price.

As Quinn faces painful decisions and makes unlikely alliances, she learns how far she will go to get her life back. Desperation is a wicked thing and she soon realizes that recovering her body may only be the beginning of her end.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Love You to Death

by Melissa March

Seventeen year-old Arden Elliot is alone, barely surviving life on the streets. All she wants is a place to call home, somewhere she can be safe.

After meeting Det. Cass Bateman, surviving is exactly what she will need to do. He dominates her world, steals her spirit and breaks her body. All in the name of love. She knows if she stays, one day he will love her to death.

On the run she meets Gideon, a Kentucky cowboy. She tries to resist the power of her heart, knowing she doesn’t have the luxury of falling in love, but just when she thinks her life is finally secure, her past comes calling. Now she will have to decide whether to confess everything to her new family or leave them safely behind to run again.

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Finding Hope in Texas

by Ryan T. Petty

How do you move on in your life after a horrible tragedy?

That’s what Hope Kilpatrick must ask after losing her family in a horrible car accident right before Christmas. Unable to deal with the pain, she leaves the haunting memories of her New York home behind and escapes to Texas with an estranged aunt that is her only family.

Still reeling from her loss and the culture shock of her new home, she must also deal with a school bully that has set her sights upon her. Hope’s only solace is the quiet girl at the vacant lunch table, an eccentric history teacher, and the introverted handsome young man she meets at a Texas parade. Finding Hope in Texas deals with the tragedy of loss, the sardonic struggles of teenage life, and the sanguinity in finding a special someone that will help her discover the strength to live again.

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Double Take

by Laura Kennedy

When sixteen-year-old Brooke Bentley’s green convertible and cell phone conk out during a tropical rainstorm, she believes it’s just bad luck. But when she darts through the dark to a dilapidated Victorian she thinks is the home of a friend and is invited in by a butler in a faded black tux, Brooke knows it must be karma. Because how often do you meet a reclusive 1950’s movie star who thinks she’s actress Terry Moore? And how often does someone as charming as eighty-year-old Laura de France insist on transforming you into a movie star, too? How can something as simple as a dress control your life? It can if it’s the famous green toga worn by actress Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and you’ll do anything to wear it.

“Reading ‘Double Take’ reminded me of my teen years at MGM studios where I had the good fortune to go to the Little Red School House with such young talent as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.”

– Sharon Randall, formerly Janice Chambers, ninety-year-old singer/actress.
 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

White Pine

My Year as a Lumberjack and a River Rat

by Caroline Akervik

After Sevy Anderson’s father breaks his leg in a sawmill accident, the fourteen-year-old must take his place with the rough and tumble lumberjacks and river rats who harvest the white pine forests of Wisconsin. The men of the Northwoods live hard and on the edge, and Sevy must prove his courage and his worth in the company of legends.

Will he become the man he so longs to be?
Will the other men ever accept him?
And will he even survive his first winter in the Northwoods?

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Giveaway!

Enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
It’s so easy, simply sign up to receive blog updates by email and fill out the form below. By being a subscriber to our blog you’ll also have a chance to win a free ebook (or other prize) every month simply by being a subscriber!

Interview | Nancy Pennick | “Stealing Time”

Hi, Caroline Andrus here, web designer/cover artist/acquisitions editor for Fire and Ice. I’m here with Nancy Pennick today to have a chat about her “Waiting for Dusk” series. Just this week we’ve released “Stealing Time,” the third book in the series.

What inspired you to write a book series about time travel?

Visiting National Parks became a recent passion. My husband and I had just returned from the Grand Canyon. A PBS series about National Parks was going to air and we decided to watch. My mind drifted to another place. I began thinking about the recent park visit, the history I just watched on that show and how fun it might be to have a young girl move between the past and present. I had no intention of writing a novel. So it literally happened overnight.

Waiting for Dusk slowly grew and changed into a time travel novel in my mind. My original idea included a dream world and reality. As I continued on, I thought, “Why not make this real?”

Which character in the series is most like you and why?

Katie. I used things that happened to me in the past when I was her age, embellishing them, of course! Tyson is based on someone I dated; Anna and Lindsey are very much like my best friend all rolled into one. I think we are all a little self-centered at that age and are just learning about ourselves. Hopefully everyone will see how she changes in Stealing Time.

How did you come up with the series title, “Waiting for Dusk” and the title for your newest release “Stealing Time”?

Waiting for Dusk was the only title that came easily to me. Searching for a title is one of the most difficult things for me. Katie had to wait until the sun set for the book to work and take her back in time. Maya tells her she has to wait for dusk. The title jumped out at me before I started writing the book.

For the other two books, I began writing them before I had the titles. Call of the Canyon came about when Drew revealed he was having dreams about the Colorado River. He said it seemed to be calling out to him as if he had unfinished business at the canyon.

Stealing Time was the hardest of all. It wasn’t until I had Anna jumping around in her boardinghouse bedroom saying she felt like a thief in the night that it came to me. Traveling through time was like stealing time. You return to the present the exact moment you left but you’ve had all these wonderful adventures.

Aside from your book series of course, which book is your favorite about time travel?

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

Daughter of Time: A Time Travel Romance by Sarah Woodbury (Self-published)

What about your favorite movie about time travel?

Somewhere in Time –Christopher Reeve plays the main character, Richard, who hypnotizes himself to go back to 1912 to meet Elise (Jane Seymour) again. This movie was also based on a novel. I remember watching the movie a long time ago and it always stayed with me.

I can’t wait to see A Winter’s Tale that was released this month. There appears to be time travel from Victorian to Modern times.

Do you have a favorite scene from “Stealing Time”?

Yes, I do. My favorite is one I can’t reveal because it would be a spoiler. It’s at the end of the book. When you read the book, here’s a clue. It has something to do with Drew and his family. I also give a shout out to Doctor Who (for those of you who watch the BBC series) in a fun way after those scenes, too. I’m interested to see who notices.

Another scene that I can tell you about is when Kate and Drew go to New York City in 1927 to visit his parents.  During that journey, Kate’s eyes are opened for the very first time. She learns life is not always perfect; there are bumps along the way. At that moment, she grows up.


Do you think you’ll write more about Kate, Drew and the rest of the gang from the Waiting for Dusk series?

I want to and would love to know who or what readers would want to know more about. I’m playing around with an idea- a novella about Lucinda and Anna. It would be historical romance- no fantasy.

The “Waiting for Dusk” series takes place much of the time during 1927 at the Grand Canyon. How did you choose the location and year to travel back in time to?

The generations in my family are very spread out. My grandmother had children in her late thirties. My own mother didn’t have me until forty. So I grew up with lots of pictures from that time period. Pictures that didn’t get lost through generations. They went directly from my grandmother to my mother to me. My grandparents emigrated from Sweden, went through Ellis Island and had Swedish accents. They were raising their family in the 1920s.  I didn’t hear stories about great-great grandparents like most people did.  I had people in my life that actually had those experiences.

The Grand Canyon was in the right place at the right time. I had just visited and learned so much about it. It seemed like the perfect place. There’s something magical about it, especially when you stand on the edge taking it all in.

Which character has been the easiest to write and why?

I actually have two. Lindsey and Anna. I split my best friend’s characteristics between the two. The sense of fun was given to Lindsey. She shows up ready to break into Maya’s house dressed in black, hoodie pulled over her head. Anna has the forgiveness and compassion of my friend. Anna realizes everyone has flaws, even herself. She accepts people as they are.

Which character has been most difficult to write and why?

Tyson has been the most difficult to write. I find many people either love him or hate him. He’s the antagonist in all three novels. I wanted to write him as a flawed sixteen year old boy who is spoiled and always gets his way. He grew darker as I wrote. I didn’t want to go too far that I couldn’t use him in the future. In Waiting for Dusk he became a stalker. In Call of the Canyon he steps over the line. In Stealing Time he tries to redeem himself, but can a bad boy ever really do that?

What do you want readers to take away from your book?

I hope they take away a sense of loyalty and love. Keep your friends and family close. I want them to see there’s always a way out of things, to rely on yourself but don’t ever think you have to do everything on your own.

If the “Waiting for Dusk” series was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing Kate and Drew?  Do you have anyone you imagine playing any of the secondary characters?

Good question. I’ve thought about this a lot. It’s harder than you think to choose. I’ve finally came up with these two actors.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-steven-mcqueen-mtv-movie-awards-gibson-amphitheatre-universal-studios-hollywood-june-los-angeles-ca-picture-paul-smith-image30078181

Steven R. McQueen ~ © FeatureFlash @ Dreamstime.com

Drew would be played by Steven R. McQueen – Jeremy on the Vampire Diaries

Kate would be played by Emma Roberts – We’re the Millers, Nancy Drew and many other movies

Secondary characters?

When I began writing Katie’s dad, I pictured Alex O’Laughlin who plays Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O. I felt he could easily go between the centuries as Jack Woods the twenty-eight year old in 1927 and the forty-something father, Jackson Roberts, in the present.

The older Maya was always Alfre Woodard. I hope she has a daughter that can play the younger Maya! She’s been in many movies and TV series- most recently 12 Years a Slave and the HBO’s True Blood.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-emma-roberts-image26490914

Emma Roberts ~ © Carrienelson1 @ Dreamstime.com

Tyson, Katie’s one-time friend and nemesis in the present, would have to be someone like Alex Pettyfer (I am Number Four).

Emma Watson (Harry Potter) would make a great Lindsey, but she’d have to lose the accent!

For one of Katie’s best friend in the present – Jordyn- you may have to Google Zhang Ziyi (China)

 

Now let’s pause for a moment and pretend that your characters are real. I mean, as I read the series, they became real to me!

 

Drew, what is the hardest adjustment from living in 1927 to living in the present?

Since I came directly from 1927, I missed many decades of history and technology. Still playing catch up. Not getting to see my brother and sister grow up is tough but I can go back in time to see them whenever I want. They’ll just always be fifteen and eleven in that never-ending year of 1927, but it’s better than never seeing them again.

Kate, how scary was it waking up in 1927 that first morning after reading The Book?

I wasn’t as scared as confused. The dream was so real I had to convince myself it was just a dream. When I continued going back night after night to the same time and place I felt as if my world was spinning out of control. I had no one to talk to and if I did, would they believe me? That part was the scariest.
And now just some fun, random questions for Nancy.

Are you the type of person who makes their bed in the morning? Or are you like me and feel that it’s pointless because you’re just going to sleep there again the next night.

I partially make it? I straighten the bedding and pull up the comforter but leave the shams and decorative pillows stacked on the floor.


What is your favorite part of the publishing process?

I love when I get my cover. It makes it all seem real. The cover artists at Fire and Ice are great and open to working with the author to get just the right look.

Have you done any book signings? If so, how was the experience? If not, do you plan to do any soon?

I haven’t done book signings but have been invited to book club meetings. People brought their books to be signed. Still learning the ins and outs of promotion. Would love to do a book signing in the future.
Are you a part of any writers groups? If so, what does your group do at the meetings?

No, I’m not. I do have people that read my first drafts. I want critiques.

 

What do you do when you get writers block?

I do something else, even if it’s still writing. I have a blog and other story ideas to work on. Rereading what I’ve already written helps, too. Reminds me of where I was going and gets me back on track. Sometimes I have to leave the writing alone for a day or two. Listen to music, have a cup of tea, clear my head. Most of my stories swirl around in my head so that’s a little hard to do!


What book are you reading right now?

 

I just finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

 

 What was your favorite book or book series when you were a teenager?

 

I loved so many books, it’s hard to pick one. I read To Kill a Mockingbird and also Animal Farm in school. Those books and their message always stayed with me. I loved Little Women and anything written by Beverly Cleary. Her Henry Huggins series and Ramona books are timeless. Then there was The Incredible Journey, the story of three pets trying to find their way home.

 * ~ * ~ *

And now, for your enjoyment, a few excerpts from the books in the series.


Waiting for Dusk
(book 1)

Katie glanced over at the hotel, and leaning against the wall in the shadows was a boy about her age. She got up and walked toward him. She’d show him. Who was he to laugh at her? Look at all the eggs in this basket. She didn’t break one during her getaway.

The closer she got to him, the more clearly she saw him. He wasn’t a boy but almost a man. The cliché “tall, dark and handsome” fit him. His dark brown, wavy hair was long on the top, and shorter on the sides. A strand of hair fell into his eyes. His eyes sparkled and locked onto hers. Her legs felt like mush, and she stumbled. He reached out and caught her.

“Are you okay?” His voice was kind, concerned.

Katie tried to gain her composure. “Yes, yes. Are you one of the vacationers? Because if you are, I shouldn’t be talking to you. It’s against the rules.” Rules? What am I thinking? It’s my dream after all.

“No. No I’m not. I work here at the park doing an internship. My name is Andrew, by the way. Andrew Martin.”

“I’m Kathryn, but everyone calls me Katie.”

Andrew’s brows crossed. “Katie doesn’t seem to suit you. I think I shall call you Kate.”

Katie thought Andrew was a little full of himself, deciding a new name for her.

“Then I shall call you Drew.” She shot back.

“Drew, it is then!”

Kate found him charming. He had a strong laugh and a beautiful smile. It was hard not to stare at him—something she was good at, according to her mother. She felt she would never get tired of staring at him. She wanted to reach out and brush back the piece of hair that fell over his forehead.

Katie blinked and brought herself back to earth. “I need to get these eggs into the kitchen.”

“By all means, don’t let me hold you up. It was very nice to meet you, Kathryn, Kate.”

“And you, too, Andrew…Drew.” Katie started for the door.

“Kate. Are you staying at the boarding house by chance?”

“Yes. Yes, I am.” She blushed and went inside.

  * ~ * ~ *

Call of the Canyon (book 2)

Jack’s voice interrupted Drew’s thoughts. “Before we head to the boardinghouse, I want to make sure this is what you want to do. There’s no turning back once everyone’s informed you were lost to the river. Your timeline ends right now in 1927 just as it always has. There’s still time to change your mind and live out your life here.”

“If Kate’s in the 21st century, then that’s where I want to be.” Andrew shook Jack’s hand. “Take me to her.”

  * ~ * ~ *

Stealing Time (book 3)

“Senior prom,” she said aloud to the empty room. “Who thought my date would be someone I met in 1927?”

There had been no tears in weeks. She knew she shouldn’t have kept things to herself, but she wanted the family to think she was okay after what happened at the canyon. At times she had trouble shaking the feeling she didn’t exist. No one would remember a Kate Roberts lived on this earth…because she hadn’t. She told no one about the episodes, deep dark depressions that swept over her. Her heart would pound, and her stomach clenched into a tight ball making it impossible to eat. Dreams sent her back to that time and place more than once. Drew’s cabin at the Grand Canyon. 1927. The last day of the year. The dreaded clock ticking in her head. She’d dream she was in a room, and no one could see her. She’d call out to people. They’d look right through her, as if she didn’t exist. She’d wake, crying and have to convince herself she was safe at home with Drew and her family.

   * ~ * ~ *

Stealing Time (book 3)

Kate’s head spun from the shock of it. She felt Tyson’s arms slip around her, pulling her close. It reminded her of her dream, when he was kissing her. For a second, she kissed him back almost like a reflex. Coming to her senses, like in the dream, Kate pushed him away. He wasn’t Drew. This was Tyson being Tyson.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Tears filled her eyes as she struggled for control.

“Showing how much I love you. I’ll never get another chance before we go our separate ways.” He stepped toward her, and Kate took another step back.

“No! Don’t start this again. I thought we had things settled. We’re friends.”

“Yes, we’re friends.” Ty wrapped her in a bear hug and kissed the top of her head. “Friends…for now. One day, you’ll come to your senses.”

He let her go and headed back to the dance. She stood motionless, trying to regain her composure. The last few months had been just a scam so he could lure her into his trap. Kate hoped she wouldn’t always be that naïve.

  * ~ * ~ *

Nancy Pennick

About Nancy Pennick:

After a great career in teaching, Nancy found a second calling as a writer. Her debut novel, Waiting for Dusk, was a surprise to her as much as it was to her family. Watching a PBS series on National Parks, her mind wandered to another place and that is where the characters of Katie and Andrew were born.

Nancy’s called Ohio her home for all her life but loves to travel the U.S. She enjoys reading and writing young adult novels with a good cup of tea nearby.

Visit Nancy online:

Fire and Ice Author Page: http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/nancypennick/index.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nancypennickauthor
Blog: http://nancypennick.wordpress.com

  * ~ * ~ *

Caroline Andrus

About Caroline Andrus:

Caroline is a web designer, book cover artist, Kindle formatter, acquisitions editor, wife and mother of 2. She has recently finished the first draft of her first young adult novel, bringing her that much closer to her goal of being published before the age of 30.

Visit Caroline online:

Website: http://candrus-designs.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolineAndrusDesigns

  * ~ * ~ *

Giveaway

 

Leave a comment on the blog and you’ll automatically be entered to win the “Waiting for Dusk” book of your choice, plus 3 runners up will receive a “Waiting for Dusk” bookmark.

Winners will be chosen on March 7, 2014.

Waiting for Dusk Bookmark

New Books || Feb 24, 2014

Welcome to the brand new Fire and Ice blog. This has been a long time coming and we hope that you’ll enjoy it and subscribe.

Watch out for brand new author interviews complete with giveaways.

For now, let’s kick things off with this weeks releases!

~ * ~ * ~

"Cry of the Sea" by D. G. Driver

Cry of the Sea by D. G. Driver

Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average seventeen-year-old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so “out there?”

Her feelings on the subject are changed when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she finds out that these aren’t humans at all. They’re mermaids!

Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.

~ * ~ * ~

Stealing Time by Nancy Pennick
(Waiting for Dusk ~ Book 3)

Drew from the past… 
Kate from the present…

Two worlds collided.

As senior year comes to a close, a promise of new beginnings is on the horizon. Kate longs to head to Arizona and college until her former friend, Tyson, does the unimaginable forcing her to stay in Ohio. Her family has to pull together to keep their secrets safe. Anna wishes to return to the canyon in 1927 once more and Kate’s determined to make that a reality. Summer’s filled with wonderful memories and little warning of things to come. Kate’s world grows darker and she must be the one to conquer the demons and save the world that is most precious to her.

~ * ~ * ~

"The Cat That Went to Homecoming" by Julie OtzelbergerThe Cat That Went to Homecoming by Julie Otzelberger

The Cat That Went To Homecoming is the coming of age story of Ellen Jones, an overweight teenage girl from a single family home. She is under constant attack by her peers, bullied because of her weight and her family’s poverty. Through volunteer work with her cat, Hershey, Ellen finds her self esteem and the courage to stand up to her bullies. Along the way, she discovers what true friendship and forgiveness are and tells us how Hershey became The Cat That Went To Homecoming.

“The Cat That Went To Homecoming addresses many serious social issues including family separation, bullying, homophobia, social isolation, and depression. The compelling story is also about fun, friendship, and forgiveness.”

—Paula Scott-Ginn, Pet Partners Marketing Coordinator

~ * ~ * ~

Scarecrow on Horseback by C. S. Adler

Humiliated by an experience with her stepsister’s horse Mel refuses to become a rider, but she loves horses. When her mother gets an office job on a dude ranch, Mel is happy to scoop poop and do other scut work just to be near her favorite animals.

The trouble is every time she bonds with a horse something bad happens. It seems she is jinxed, that is until she develops a relationship with a mustang that rich Mr. Jefferies has bought. Then Mel risks everything to make that wild horse her own.