Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jessica L. Brooks, If I Speak True, plus #giveaway

Book Title: If I Speak True
Author Name: Jessica L. Brooks
Genre/Keywords: magical realism, romance, fantasy, flora
Age: YA
ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-1494308926
            ISBN-10: 1494308924
Page Length: 456 (paperback)
Publisher: Jessica L. Brooks
Release date: 1/27/14

Please tell us about yourself.

Hi! My name is Jessica L. Brooks, and I’m a YA author. I’m not too tall, not too short, love coffee, and have blue eyes. I also adore owls.

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

Hang out with my family and reading. I also love to connect with my friends on the internet. 

What was the toughest criticism for you?

Hmm. So far I would say perhaps the toughest one would be that some couldn’t finish my first book, because of the slower pace. Though I knew that the storyline was that way going in, so it wasn’t a surprise.

What was the biggest compliment?

Probably that they liked the writing/characters. You put a lot into making a character’s thoughts and feelings genuine, and really want readers to *get* where the character is coming from. So when it works, and they connect with the characters, it makes you feel great.

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

In regard to negative reviews, no, because If I Speak True is different than Pity Isn’t An Option in almost all aspects, and definitely faster-paced. The Flora series (If I Speak True being the first in that series) is more about action, whereas the Cozenage series (Pity Isn’t An Option, also out now and first in that series) is much more about a specific timeframe and characters struggling to find hope within that infrastructure.

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

Ya know, I do, but not to the degree of what I’ve seen some writers have. If I don’t have something to write, or am stuck in the plot, I move on to something else. I have no patience. Plus, I write completely out of order, so it’s easier to just go back and forth. And usually, once I’ve moved on to a different book, it’s not long before things pop into my head again.

How can we find you? Website, Twitter, blog, ect.?

You can find me on Twitter (@coffeelvnmom), Tumblr (coffeelvnmom.tumblr.com), and my blog (coffeelvnmom.blogspot.com), where I also have links to connect at other places like Goodreads, Pinterest and Instagram.

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.

I’m promoting If I Speak True, first in the Flora series, which came out on January 27th. It’s YA magical realism and starts out with sixteen year-old Dahlia receiving a flower on her porch for the tenth time in the same amount of years.  

I had a lot of fun writing it and incorporating details about trees, flowers and such into the storyline, and can’t wait to get back to working on book two!

Book Summary:
Dahlia Kennedy's sixteenth birthday marks a decade of mysterious dahlias arriving and strange, lonely dreams of being in a forest. The only difference this birthday, however, is that for the first time, someone is there with her. And he's practically from a whole other era. 

The more often Dahlia visits Rowan in his land of Ambrosia, the stronger their connection grows. But... is Ambrosia real? Is he real? What is going on between the two of them, exactly, and why does he insist that she keep it to herself? 

As secrets usually go, however, it's only a matter of time before everything comes out. And when Dahlia finds out the truth of who Rowan is, who she is, and how he really feels -- it’s beyond anything she could have ever imagined.

What genre do you write in and why?

I write young adult, with the subcategories of that genre being dystopian and magical realism. The “why” I write those categories is simple: those were the stories came to me. 

What is your experience working or being around children or teens?

Well, I have three teenagers, so I’d say that’s my experience! I love this age, because boundaries are pushed, learned, earned, and received; personalities are blooming; and they are learning not only how to deal with and accept others, but how to deal with and accept themselves.

Why do you feel qualified to write a children’s or teen novel?

I would say this answer goes somewhat with the previous one. I have firsthand experience with how they think, behave, respond to things and vary in interests. Plus, to be honest, I still *feel* like a teenager myself, in many ways!

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

It required a bit, yes. There’s a coat of arms in it, so I wanted to learn about them and understand what the items symbolize in order to make the one in If I Speak True as realistic as possible. (There are soooo many options for everything -- mottos, shields, crests, wreaths, and more!)

The other thing I researched a lot was plants. So many of the characters are named after flowers and trees that I wanted to correlate those names/meanings to their personalities as much as possible.

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

Great characters, a bit of tension, some mystery, and, most importantly, at least a little humor.

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

This might sound weird, but what bugs me more than anything is when a character says a word that doesn’t seem right for their personality. I’ve only had it happen two or three times the past few years, and it’s always when the book is written in first person. But, when it happens, it pulls me right out of the story because I’m like, for instance, “What the??? Billy would never say that!”

Here are the links to be entered into the giveaway:

Author Bio:

Jessica L. Brooks resides with her husband of over sixteen years, three awesome daughters, and a plethora of pets in Central California, where fog, frost, triple-digit heat and various items of produce arrive bountifully, depending on the season. She has an affinity for both coffee and owls, and loves to connect with fellow readers and writers on most social networks like Goodreads, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also connect with her on her blog, Let Me Tell You A Story.

Jessica shares reviews for her favorite books on Afterglow Book Reviews, spreads writing and author love for independently-published authors at Indie Ignites, and salutes all writers (no matter what stage in their writerly journey) at Operation Awesome.

IF I SPEAK TRUE, the first in the Flora series, will be available 1/27/14. PITY ISN’T AN OPTION (Cozenage, #1) is her debut novel.

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