Monday, April 20, 2015

Suman Saxena, Shifting Faces




AUTHOR: Suman Saxena           
BOOK TITLE: Shifting Faces
GENRE: Non fiction memoir
PUBLISHER: Indie


Please tell us about yourself. 

An optimist and a Can Do personality, Suman has done some serious soul-searching, and courageously put an important bit of her life squarely in the public eye. Suman has taken her love of writing to a new level with her latest novel, Shifting Faces. This is a poignant true story of a boy born in India, in the nineties, who migrates to the U.S. at four months of age, who has been dealing with a dangerous, initially life-threatening cranio-facial genetic disorder, since his birth. This is an amazing and inspiring story that catalogs this boy’s fight for survival in his early years, his development over the years till now, and his wins as well as losses along the way. The story is narrated in a light, conversational, sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching way, and includes many writing excerpts from the hero of this story himself and his sister in arms, in the form of essays and stories written by them at different ages. Suman has shared her love of wild life and her close encounters with them, and even mixed some philosophical meanderings in this saga, as she ponders the bigger picture in which we are barely a speck.

Suman aspires to bring this story in front of all families who adore children, and who may be facing unsurmountable challenges. She hopes that this true story of a brave boy fighting the big bad world on the one hand, and dealing with his ever-changing face and growing pains on the other, will inspire parents, care-takers, and youths who are living with genetic disorders.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? 

I work full time as a Technology Director, and write on the weekends or long holidays.

When and why did you begin writing? 

I love writing and have always wanted to write full-time. This is my retirement plan.

What inspired you to write your first book? 

My first novel is a crime fiction story called “Shot in the Dark: A Dark Steel Novel”, and is an ode to all the multitude of fiction authors that I’ve read growing up, who have taught me everything I know about life.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing? 

I hike, and travel to wild life sanctuaries and wondrous locations. The world is a beautiful place, and so much to see.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment?

You can’t win ‘em all. Some people like what you write and some don’t. All feedback is good. It can help you grow, but you have to take the bad with a grain of salt, and not get dissuaded. An author’s voice is his/her own. Once you find what works for you, that gives you satisfaction, that should be it. If you are writing full-time as a livelihood, you have to be more cognizant of the reader, and what they would like to read.

Did those change how or what you did in your next novel? 

Some...

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it? 

I’ve never had writer’s block, but it’s extremely hard for me to find time to write, with a full life of work, home, kids and friends. It takes me years to finish a novel.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?

My first publisher was through query letters, but this book I’ve self published on Create Space.

What is your marketing plan? 

Social and multi-media marketing is part of my plan. Any way to get your book out there is good :)

What are your current projects? 

I’ve started the sequel to my first fiction novel.

What do you plan for the future? 

I hope to retire at 55 and be able to write full-time.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

I'm in the process of building a website.

Any other news you’d like to share? 
Shifting Faces has been accepted by the Cleft Palate Foundation as a resource for parents and teenage kids alike: http://www.cleftline.org/parents-individuals/books/#teenadult

Tell me a little about your book. 

It’s a memoir that involves around my son, who was born with a cleft lip and palate. This story in a light-hearted vein takes the reader through the trials and tribulations of this boy from birth to eighteen years of age, and what he goes through with his genetic defect, and what as a parent, I, the mother goes through as well.

What gave you the idea for this particular book? 

I wanted to write it as an inspirational story for all kids and parents going through similar experiences.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book? 

Hope, and some strength to face their own lives a little more bravely.

What types of writing do you prefer, and why? 

I as a reader prefer to read pure fiction, because like everyone my life if neither perfect nor without its challenges, and I want to read to get away to a make-believe world where I don’t exist, but the characters make the story come alive. I personally like series of novels so that my characters have continuity. Which is why my fiction novel is the first of its series as well. I do read a few non-fictional books that are inspirational and may touch on an aspect that I can relate to in my personal life, that I can learn from. Food books are such since I like eating but not cooking so much.

What is the toughest part about being a non-fiction writer, and how do you get past it? 

The toughest part is how deep you want to go into the psyche and the experiences of the character you are writing about. There is a sweet spot, but with memoirs it’s all about how much you and your loved ones are okay revealing to the world.

What draws you to non-fiction writing? 

As a writer, it is perhaps the easiest kind of book to write since it is reporting on actual events that transpired, but it requires a lot of research and fact-checking, and has the added challenge of making the story interesting enough for the readers to pick it up.

What kind of research did you do for this type of book? 

I dug a lot into my own past and what transpired.



What about your book makes it special?

It’s a light read in day-to-day language, but with a strong message of hope that kids with genetic diseases can go on to lead very healthy and satisfying lives; and strife sometimes builds character.

Where can people learn more about this topic if they want to pursue it further?

My book has reference links at the end.

What are your views on self-publishing versus traditional publishing? 

Self-publishing is the new way to go, but traditional publishing has its own benefits. You have to choose what’s right for you.

Do you have an agent and do you feel an agent is necessary for non-fiction?

I don’t have an agent, and don’t think it’s necessary.

Any tips for new writers hoping to write non-fiction? 

Just write and read as much as you can. Don’t over-think it and don’t wait too long to publish it. It’ll never be perfect, since writers are their own worst critics.
What seven words would you use to describe yourself?
Fun-loving; opportunist; planner; strong; wild-life enthusiast; smart; young-at-heart

What was the first book you published? 

It was a crime fiction novel called “Shot in the Dark: A Dark Steel Novel” under a pseudonym Sum Saxworth. The author website is http://sbpra.com/sumsaxworth/ and has a video trailer that’s pretty cool. Check it out…

Monday, April 13, 2015

AD Starrling, Soul Meaning







AUTHOR: AD Starrling
BOOK TITLE: Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book 1), King’s Crusade (Seventeen Book 2), Greene’s Calling (Seventeen Book 3)
GENRE: Supernatural Thriller, Action-Adventure
PUBLISHER: AD Starrling

Please tell us about yourself.

I was born and bred on the small tropical island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and have been a writer since age 12. I came to the UK at age 20 to study medicine and after specializing in Pediatrics and working in that field for a number of years, my first love came calling once more and I started writing again. My first novel, Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book #1), was published in summer 2012.

Please tell us your latest news.

I am currently working on the fourth book in the Seventeen series and a series of short stories based in that world.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I am a part-time writer and part-time doctor at present. I hope to be able to write full-time in the future. I currently write on pretty much all the days I’m not working at the hospital.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been a storyteller for as long as I remember but did not officially put pen to paper until I was twelve. Following a scathing review of a fiction essay I wrote for school by my father, I decided to write a few short stories in an attempt to defy him. I enjoyed this process so much I started my very first novel later that year.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Soul Meaning was inspired by the number 17 written in dripping red paint on a black marker stone, on a sandbank in a lagoon off the shores of Mauritius. When I was trying to decide what to write for the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition several years ago, I came across this number in my “story ideas” notebook. I decided to write about a man who could die seventeen times. That short story made the finals of that competition.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?

Likely working in my other day job or sleeping!

What are your thoughts about promotion?

It’s part and parcel of the writing career. You cannot write in a vacuum. With the advent of self-publishing, there are more books hitting the market today than at any other time in publishing history. Therefore, promotion and marketing are aspects of the business writers need to deal with. But what I would say from my own career to date and the advice of many experienced authors is that it’s probably best not to devote too much time, money, and effort to promotion until you have several books under your belt.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment?

I think the toughest criticism I ever received was from a reviewer who said that all my positive reviews were from friends and relatives. It was evident from this review that the reviewer in question had not actually read the book. My first reaction was anger. Then I shrugged it off; I never responded to that reviewer’s accusation. Most authors I know are happy to tell their friends and family about their books. I always insist on impartial reviews if they wish to post one and tell them that they should be very honest about what they like and dislike about my writing so that I can learn and grow as an author. I think it’s very harsh to ban friends and family from posting reviews when they may have supported you through the writing and publishing process. It’s a bit like some review sites insisting that authors should not review other authors’ books. I was a reader well before I became a writer.

The biggest compliment I’ve ever received is when people tell me they could not put one of my books down. I can’t think of a bigger compliment that that! 

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. The reason is that by believing in it, you make it a reality. If I reach a point in my writing where I don’t know where to go next with the plot, it’s usually because I’ve taken the wrong path earlier in the book or something about it is bugging me unconsciously. By retracing my steps and correcting what felt wrong, the story usually flows again. This happened with Greene’s Calling (Seventeen Book #3).

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

I learn something from each and every book I write. Usually it’s better plot flow, better dialogue, and overcoming little writing tics. I also learn a lot from reviews. For example, what I think is my favorite book in the series thus far, or even my favorite scenes within the books, are never my readers’ favorites! 

What genre do you write in and why?

The series I’m currently writing is in the supernatural thriller genre, although it crosses over heavily into the fast-paced, action-adventure genre. I fell into this genre accidentally would you believe it! I never in a million years thought I could write in this style; I started out in the humorous fantasy genre.  When the short story I wrote for an international competition made the shortlist, I knew it could become a book and I decided to embrace the challenge. That story became Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book #1).

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process?

I am what author James Scott Bell describes as a “tweener” in his book Write Your Novel from the Middle. This means I’m halfway between a serial planner and a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants type of writer. I normally start with characters and plot, figure out how to start and end the story, think up a few pivotal and usually explosive action scenes, and then start writing. I started using Scrivener from Book 4 in the series and I love how I can keep all my character profiles, pictures, research articles and links, and even storyboard in one place. I also use a large dry-wipe board for mind mapping and find Evernote crucial for those moments when I get a great idea and I’m nowhere near my computers.

What comes first: the plot or characters?

Characters usually.

How did you decide how your characters should look?

I usually have an actor or actress in mind when I visualize my characters. If I don’t immediately know what face to put to that character but have a general idea of what I want, I look at pictures of actors and actresses until I find the one that “fits” best.

Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind?

All my books have necessitated days of research to date. The Seventeen series being very much globetrotting and action-packed adventures, I wanted to keep the non-fiction aspect of the plot as accurate as possible. This meant making sure I described the locations, the science, the organizations, and the weapons featured in the novels as accurately as possible. I am too fond of the research process and can spend hours reading up on the most fascinating of subjects. Some of this research may never actually feature in the books but I like that they add to my overall general knowledge nonetheless.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

Something that captivates me within the first page, usually a tense or suspense-filled scene, an action-packed one, or dialogue that makes me laugh. I love to lose myself in a book.

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?

Perfectionist. Obsessive. Leader. Kind. Generous. Humble. Cautious.





Book Summary:

‘My name is Lucas Soul. Today, I died again. This is my fifteenth death in the last four hundred and fifty years.’

The Crovirs and the Bastians. Two races of immortals who have lived side by side with humans for millennia and been engaged in a bloody war since the very dawn of their existence. With the capacity to survive up to sixteen deaths, it was not until the late fourteenth century that they reached an uneasy truce, following a deadly plague that wiped out more than half of their numbers and made the majority of survivors infertile.

Soul is an outcast of both immortal societies. Born of a Bastian mother and a Crovir father, a half breed whose very existence is abhorred by the two races, he spends the first three hundred and fifty years of his life being chased and killed by the Hunters. One fall night in Boston, the Hunt starts again, resulting in Soul’s fifteenth death and triggering a chain of events that sends him on the run with Reid Hasley, a former US Marine and his human business partner of ten years. When a lead takes them to Washington DC and a biotechnology company with affiliations to the Crovirs, they cross the Atlantic to Europe, on the trail of a French scientist whose research seems intrinsically linked to the reason why the Hunters are after Soul again.

From Paris to Prague, their search for answers will lead them deep into the immortal societies and bring them face to face with someone from Soul’s past. Shocking secrets are uncovered and fresh allies come to the fore as they attempt to put a stop to a new and terrifying threat to both immortals and humans. Time is running out for Soul. Can he get to the truth before his seventeenth death, protect the ones he loves and prevent another immortal war?  


Author Bio:

A.D. Starrling was born on the small island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and came to the UK at the age of twenty to study medicine. After five years of hard graft earning her MD and another five years working all of God’s hours as a Pediatrician, she decided it was time for a change and returned to her first love, writing. 

Released in July 2012, Soul Meaning is her debut novel and the first in the award-winning supernatural thriller series SEVENTEEN. The second novel in the series, King’s Crusade, was released in May 2013. The third novel, Greene’s Calling, was published June 2014.

She lives in Warwickshire in the West Midlands, where she is busy writing the next installment in the series. She still practices medicine. AD Starrling is her pen name. 

For a limited time, you can download Void by AD Starrling FREE: http://www.adstarrling.com/free-download-offer/




Monday, April 6, 2015

Danielle Girard, Everything to Lose




AUTHOR:        Danielle Girard
BOOK TITLE:  Everything to Lose
GENRE:            Mystery/Suspense
PUBLISHER:    ePublishing Works

Please tell us about yourself.
I am the author of nine suspense novels, including the bestselling Rookie Club series, Chasing Darkness, which won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and Cold Silence, winner of the Barry Award.

Please tell us your latest news.
My 10th book, Exhume, is due out in May.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
Full-time. As for organization, I’d like to say that I’m one of those marvels like Stephen King or Michael Connelly who rises, grabs a cup of coffee (black, I’m sure and with no sugar) and sits down to pump out a few thousand words before lunch. Alas, no. I try to start writing by 10 a.m. It usually takes me an hour or two to settle in. After all, there are all sorts of fun things to check on Facebook and Twitter. And it’s essential that I know if there are new reviews…I mean, you can’t start writing until you know that. 

I’ve got school age children, so I have a hard stop at 3 p.m. That helps, I think. It means by noon, I’m starting to think ‘Uh Oh. Better get writing.’ I have a 1,000 words/day self-imposed goal. If I don’t get them done while the kids are at school, they have to be completed in the evening. I miss some days, but I tend to feel pretty lousy when I do, so it doesn’t happen too often.

When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote a little in college, but “writing” was not an acceptable career choice in my house, so it was always pushed to the side by “important” things like organic chemistry and calculus II. I was working in finance and met a woman who wrote romance novels. She inspired me to sit down and just start something. I had no idea what it would turn out to be until (on page five) someone got shot. I’ve been writing suspense ever since. 

What inspired you to write your first book?
I read a story in the New York Times Magazine about a police officer who had an accident and lost the use of his hands. The officer reflected on how his inability to shoot his gun was one of the hardest parts about the injury. Casey McKinley, protagonist of Savage Art, was born from that story. 

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I love to be with friends and family and I also enjoy curling up with a good book or an episode of something fun on TV, like Sherlock. Mostly, my time is occupied by being mom to two teenagers. I sometimes joke that when I’m not writing about murder, I’m thinking about it. But truly, I’ve got great kids. (Not the I’m-not-realistic-that-they’re-perfect type but good ones. Inquisitive, compassionate, and interesting as well as combative and determined. All the things that will serve them well in life.) We are an active family (them more than me), so we’re always on the go. This time of year, mostly skiing—downhill or cross-country.

What are your thoughts about promotion?
I think promotion is important but it can never replace the time that must be spent writing. So, I do it when the words are done. I still think a good book will find its readers.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment?
My first novel was called Murders & Acquisitions. It didn’t sell, but I sent it out to a lot of agents. One response came back, “The title of this is great, but the rest of it sucks.” In hindsight, I’m sure he was right, but it certainly wasn’t very kind.

The biggest compliments I get come from readers every day who reach out and tell me that they enjoyed a book. Or ask, ‘When is the next one out?’ That’s just wonderful for an author to hear.

Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
I’m sure the criticism did, but not in a way that I can recall specifically. I think every rejection I got (and there were lots) made me a little more determined to publish a book. So, in the end, I guess I should be grateful to that jerk who said my writing sucked. I may have to think about that one a while….

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
Mostly, writer’s block seems to be my brain saying one of two things: 1) you need a break from writing or 2) you’re moving the story in the wrong direction. Either way, I usually try to do something else like using a toothbrush to scrub tile or dusting every picture frame in the house. Something mindless and physical that lets my brain do the work on the problem in the background.

Oh, and I try to be patient, but I’m really not very good at that part.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
I love to hear from readers! So please come find me!!

What genre do you write in and why?
Mystery/Suspense/Thrillers
I don’t know that I consciously chose mystery/suspense. More like the genre chose me; I started writing and there was the dead body. But I think the reason they appeal to me is that stories about life and death create the highest possible stakes. Everything is on the line for the protagonist. There is something very compelling about how people handle situations where everything is at stake.

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?
I have a soft spot for broken characters. I think we’re all damaged in some ways. Some of us do better at hiding it, but it’s these little cracks in our plaster, these little breaks that make us interesting and also real. Jamie Vail, protagonist of Dead Center and lead member of the Rookie Club, is like this. She’s quite angry and a little self-destructive, but when push comes to shove, she’s also fiercely loyal and protective. I love this about her.

Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind?
I love discussing research with fellow writers and friends. For instance, Lisa Gardner researches every tiny detail before she starts writing. Harlan Coben, on the other hand, jokes about how he does zero research. I know this isn’t true, but he basically argues that research just gets in the way of the writing. I am somewhere in the middle. I am currently writing a protagonist who is a medical examiner, so “winging it” is out of the question. But I also work hard to reign myself in. I believe my readers are there to read about the human aspects of Annabelle Schwartzman more than they are there to learn how she draws vitreous fluid from a victim’s eyeball to get a more exact read on time of death.  

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The beginning takes the longest. I feel like the first 10% (40 pages-ish) has to really hold together before the story can take off. I usually spend almost a month on that. After that, the rest of the book is usually written, edited, and prepared for publication in another 4-6 months. The end is always the easiest because it’s been teasing itself out in the back of my brain for so long.

What advice would you give a new writer starting out?
Write. Read. Repeat. Try to clear out the background noise. It isn’t easy, of course. Find a good critique group and supportive writing friends. (Note: I said writing friends. These are different than other friends because they understand the inherent insanity of the process.) On the other hand, make sure to have some good “other” friends because being in your writing world all the time isn’t healthy either. That, and good luck!

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?
Passionate. Loyal. Creative. Determined. Compassionate. Tough. Sensitive.

Describe your writing space.
It’s an absolute mess. I have a sign that says, “Genius is a messy process.” I swear it’s a quote I found somewhere, but my husband is convinced I made it up to explain my office. I don’t like to admit that he might be right.

At the same time, it’s a beautiful space. The walls are painted kind of a light sea green, the one behind my chair a little bolder. My husband and kids have framed all my covers, so they hang on the walls along with art done by my brothers (who are both artists) as well as art done by the kids and pictures. On one wall is a case with all my taekwondo belts in it, from the white one all the way through to my second degree black belt. These remind me that good things take a lot of time and effort. Not to mention sweat and blood and a few tears.


 Everything to Lose:
When the daughter of San Francisco socialites Gavin and Sondra Borden is brutally assaulted, Jamie Vail makes it her mission to find the attacker. A seasoned Sex Crimes Inspector with the SFPD, work is what Jamie does best. She isn’t distracted by the fact that her adopted son and the victim go to the same school.

Jamie can almost set aside that the man caught on tape with the victim is a man she’s been wary of for years, her son's biological father. At home, her son is performing poorly in school, becoming more reclusive, and nothing she does can draw him out. Every piece of evidence seems to bring her closer to home.

Desperate to be wrong, Jamie must find Charlotte's attacker before her son lands behind bars, or worse…

Purchase Links:

Awards:
Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for CHASING DARKNESS
Barry Award for COLD SILENCE

About Danielle Girard:
As one of four children, Danielle Girard grew up in a house where the person with the best story got heard, and it's probably no surprise that fast-paced suspense stories have always been her favorite. Girard's books have won the Barry Award and been selected for the RT Reviewers Choice Award. Two of her novels have been optioned for movies. Visit her website at www.daniellegirard.com.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Doug Solter, Rivals




AUTHOR:  Doug Solter
BOOK TITLE:  Rivals
GENRE: Young Adult           
PUBLISHER: Indie published

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

Unfortunately, I have to keep a day job to pay the bills so that forces me to be a part-time writer. I write four to six hours a day on my three days off. But on my ten hour work days I can only write for about two hours or do my promotional and/or author business tasks during those days.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment?

A review on Amazon said I wrote like a child. Given I write young adult fiction, I should take that as a compliment.

The biggest compliment was from a female reviewer who thought I wrote the inner thoughts of a teenage girl very well. Being a man in my forties, I took great pride in that compliment.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

I don't personally believe in writer's block. There are times when creativity is higher or lower on any given day. Yet, you still must force it out. In my opinion, writer's block is a resistance to something. You must drop all of your resistance and go where the muse is telling you to go. You can evaluate and judge it later on, but when you're writing, all that matters is getting something down on paper.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

I learned not be afraid when things go off the rails during the writing process. This novel was originally 156,000 words and I faced a big decision. Gut the middle of it to bring it down to a reasonable word count. Or rewrite the structure of the story arc and turn it into two books. I decided to rewrite the structure and I'm so happy I did. Rivals feels like a complete book in terms of its own story structure, yet it feeds nicely into the next book of the series Legends.

What are your current projects?

I'm working on Legends the third book of the Skid series which will finish the story arc created in Rivals. The book should be out by the summer of 2015.

What do you plan for the future?

I plan to return to my paranormal romance series My Girlfriend Bites and write the next two books of that series together to finish it off. Then I have some exciting new book projects I want to work on in 2016.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

You can find out a lot by going to www.dougsolter.com. There you will find links to all my social media platforms. My twitter handle is @DougSolter.

What genre do you write in and why?

I write in young adult fiction because I love the fresh point of view of teens. They see the world differently. As an adult, the genre stirs me out of my complacency about the world that most adults fall into and never climb out of. To me, that complacency can kill your creativity as a writer. I also want to help teens cope with this crazy period in their lives as best they can. For me it was hell.

What influences your writing?

Movies are a big influence so I like writing big, epic stories full of escapism. The more a story strays from reality, the more I'm attracted to it. I want teens to read my books because they want to escape from their own situations and connect with characters who show them life from a new angle.

What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?

That no matter how talented a person is, they still need help from others. We all need a support system of friends and family to keep us grounded and focused on what's important. Success can be bitter if one has no friends to share the glory with. And difficulties can be made far worse when one has no friends to lean on.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Thinking of a satisfying ending after I chopped the original story arc into two books. Legends received the original kick-but ending, but then I had a problem with the ending of Rivals. The mid-point of the main story arc wasn't strong enough to support the ending of a book. So I decided to strengthen the romantic sub-plot of the story arc and make the ending of that sub-plot the actual ending of Rivals. When I did that, I found it fit perfectly with the main-story arc continued in the next book Legends.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process?

I always outline. I find it essential for me getting through a first draft. Without a guide that prompts me forward, I tend to get lost in my own story, writing in circles and getting absolutely nowhere while becoming very frustrated.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

I look for an intriguing story concept. A setting or a subject that interests me. Now having said that, there are certain sub-genres like spy novels which I love and will generally pick up even if there's nothing particularly unique in the author's approach to them. But then the main character becomes more of a factor. But if I love the character, I'm hooked.

What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel?

Exposition done poorly. Information dumps are particularly annoying. I read one novel which did a great job sprinkling necessary bits of information throughout the book...until I ran into three entire chapters composed of info-dump. It dragged the novel to a screeching halt and I had to stop reading.



Synopsis for Rivals:

Last season seventeen-year-old Samantha Sutton shined as the hottest new racing star of Formula One, but her rise to the top takes a hit when her boss steals her arch-rival Emilio Ronaldo away from Ferrari and makes the sexist jerk her team's number-one driver. This sends Samantha's perfect life into a tail spin that threatens to destroy everything she's worked so hard for. 

Besides her six wins last season, the best thing Samantha won was Manny, the cute German boy who saved her from herself. But Manny chafes against the self-absorbed racing star rising above the ashes of the simple girl he fell in love with. Can he save that simple girl from destroying herself again? 

While Samantha's performance on the track suffers and her status on the team plummets, Emilio rises within striking distance of another championship. Is this the final wake-up call the girl needs to beat Emilio and win the world championship? Or will the pressure break her.