So happy to have Holly on the blog today. Her wonderful new book, Kingston Court, was just released on September 10th. Here's the summary:
What happens when you take middle-aged, stay-home-moms, and throw them back into the workforce and dating? A modern twist between Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City, Kingston Court follows the love, lies, and friendships of two wealthy Southern California women.
Samantha and Natalie are at a crossroads. Gorgeous, over-the-top Samantha, hangs her status and her happiness on her “perfect” husband. That is until she learns his secret.
But she’s not the only mother on the block struggling. Natalie, nurturing and careful, is thrust back into the workforce after her husband barely survives a horrifying car crash. However, it isn’t just her new job co-hosting a national morning news show that keeps her busy. Alik, the hot young production assistant, does everything in his power to seduce the woman he loves.
Death and misfortune in the span of a single year force these two women to find their inner strength and make life-changing choices.
Now on to the interview!
Me: Kingston Court looks like a seriously juicy read! So fess up: How much of your own life and experience working as a journalist is in there? Are you more Sam or Natalie?
Holly: You got me. There is a LOT of my own life observations throughout Kingston Court. Working as television journalist gave me an insider's look into the sights, sounds, and intense energy of a newsroom, plus all the scandalous behaviour. I knew exactly how Natalie felt the first time she stepped inside Today L.A. I also knew all of the possibilities for trouble.
How did this book come to you? Was it a character, a setting, a line of perfect dialogue?
Oddly enough, it was a name. Several years ago I was visiting a friend at her community pool and a group of teenage girls were standing around gossiping about some fabulous "it" girl named Sophia Chase. I loved the name and wanted to write a book about her. Turns out, in my book, Sophia Chase is a minor character. She is Samantha's oldest daughter, but it was Sophia that started it all. In an unusual twist of fate, my good friend's daughter ended up becoming best friends with the real Sophia Chase. I see Sophia often and I can't wait for her to be old enough to read the book.
I absolutely adore the cover: the colors, the mood, which is both dark and uplifting. Were you involved in the design, or did you just hit the cover jackpot?
Thank you so much! I feel the same way. Sometimes, when I'm sad, I look at the Kingston Court cover to cheer me up. I was very involved in the design. I picked out the colors and was adamant it include a classic Southern California sunset with palm trees. The first draft of the cover made me want to cry it was so awful, then I thought of a good way to express what I was looking for. I asked the book designer if he could make my readers feel like they had just walked into an Anthropology store.
So you've worked for years in broadcast journalism. Any good gaffe stories?
So many. I was such a goofball, always trying to pretend like I wasn't and then outing myself in the worst ways. One of my most embarrassing stories is the time I dropped a pen while I was sitting on the anchor desk in Palm Springs introducing my story. Instead of letting the pen go, I dove over to pick it up. Live on camera, it appeared as though I had just sunk my head into the lap of my anchor, Sally Sherry. The worst part was having to lift my head back up and go on with the story about back-to-school shopping deals.
I loved to travel too – PK (pre-kid). What's your most unforgettable trip?
My trip to Istanbul. It is a stunningly beautiful city full of history, culture, and incredible food. I'm so grateful I went during a more peaceful time.
So what's on your bedside table right now, book-wise?
Two books, one is Brooke Shield's new memoir, There Was A Little Girl. I'm about a third of the way in and enjoying it. The other is Catcher in the Rye. I wanted to reread it as an adult.
You can visit Holly at her website, hkammier.com. She's also on Twitter and FB and has a site on Pinterest with lots of pictures of how she imagines people, places and things in Kingston Court.
Buy a copy on Amazon – paperback and Kindle, Barnes & Noble – paperback and Nook, or Get it on iTunes, Kobo Books, Inktera, Oyster, and All Romance
So I'm really thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL. It's a new anthology of creative non-fiction pieces by authors living in the four Atlantic Canadian provinces, who tackle issues surrounding body image, self-discovery, suicide and fitting in.
One of the authors, Jo Treggiari, stops by to talk about why she writes YA and the raw emotions that fueled Love You Like Suicide.
What is the story about?
A time during her teenaged years when she was dealing with drug addiction, changing friendships and a sudden desire for a different kind of life.
Who will read it?
Anyone 14 + who loves reading dark, gritty creative non-fiction. The full anthology goes on sale September 23, but you can pre-order it here.
And without further ado, here's Jo's post:
I draw from my life in everything I write. How better to capture honest emotion than by remembering — reliving — how it felt to me? So many things happen for the first time during our younger years, which is why writing for teens and about teens is so exciting. First love, first heartbreak, first freedom, first brush with death, first everything.
Although it is only a short piece, Love You Like Suicide was by far the hardest thing I have ever written. Even after all this time, looking back on those young adult years was like taking a knife to an old wound which had mostly healed but not quite. Scars like that fade but never disappear from your heart. Sometimes it feels as if your heart is mostly made up of scars.
I didn’t want to go back there. I struggled against it, I raged and railed because I knew it would hurt. And it did because I also knew that I had to tell it true. No short cuts, no avoidance. I had to face it all again, a complete immersion into the fierce joy of that friendship, that all-encompassing love, and that unbearable pain when it ended.
I had to be brutally honest with myself so that my readers would feel it too — the grimy concrete underfoot, the rank smells, the thrill of living on our own, the tribe we made, the loves we forged, and those we lost.
You can learn more about Jo on her website and follow her on Twitter at @JoTreggiari
Today we welcome the amazing Kat Kruger, whose final book in the Magdeburg Trilogy is coming out July 22 from Fierce Ink Press.
Super-cool cover, right? Here's the synopsis:
When they tried to kill a prince, they made a king
In the aftermath of his pack leader’s assassination Connor Lewis is ready to take control. Rodolfus de Aquila’s plan before he died was to unite the European werewolf packs against their common enemies: the Hounds of God who make the laws and enforce them ruthlessly and with questionable motives, and the Luparii, an intergovernmental group of werewolf hunters now bent on the extermination of his kind. The uneasy alliance between these two factions has fallen apart, and now a battle wages leaving the pack werewolves scrambling to escape bio-chemical warfare on one side, and total domination on the other.
After hearing rumors of a union between the American packs Connor returns with Amara to his home city of New York to learn how to bring the Old World packs together. Werewolf society in the New World has taken a very different course from that of Europe, but when Connor meets the American leaders he begins to question if their ways are, in fact, the path forward.
A world away from Madison, Arden, and all those that he is trying to protect, Connor must discover the secret to uniting and leading the packs under one final charge, or else risk extinction for their entire species in the epic conclusion to The Magdeburg Trilogy.
You can buy it on Amazon and iTunes, or add to Goodreads. And one lucky reader will win all three books, just enter below.
So I asked Kat how she approached writing a trilogy, and if she's a plotter or pantser. Here's what she said:
Writing a supernatural trilogy is definitely a challenge. The books each need to be self-contained in a way, with their own story arcs and resolutions, but as a whole they also have to work into the bigger story arc and toward the larger resolutions. A trilogy doesn’t exist in a vacuum and each book needs to serve its own purpose. As an avid reader myself, I certainly didn’t want my second book to be just in-between filler the way some trilogies go. So “stuff” always has to happen.
Being a pantser rather than a plotter meant I did had to at least have a loose outline to go by. Also, the world of the Magdeburg werewolves had to be completely built — the rules by which they’re all bound set in place and the science adequately explored.
Although my trilogy takes place in the real world, I wouldn’t call it straight-up urban fantasy. Everything in the world is grounded in science. That said, as much as any writer needs to keep within the confines of a world there were certain liberties I simply couldn’t take because I was bound by science (fiction).
That means sometimes a bullet is just a bullet. A silver one or otherwise will kill a werewolf. The full moon has some sway over them. That’s just science. I mean, it’s the reason why tides work, right? Alright, it’s a leap of science to say that a full moon would have an impact on when some werewolves shift but that’s what sci-fi is. It’s a mashup of reality and reality-based speculation.
What changed over time for me over the years was mostly the characters. It’s what I love about being a pantser. The people who populate my world have grown organically. They lead the story. I could put them in situations but their reactions were always their own. I couldn’t force an outcome. And sometimes, tragically, I couldn’t stop them either. Whenever I cried the most was usually when I knew I’d done the right thing.
Overall I’ve invested years into these characters, seen them evolve, their relationships rise and fall. It’s bittersweet knowing this is the last of the series, but I know they’ll live on in my memory and in the eyes of readers who pick up the books. That makes them immortal, right?
Here are the first two books, highly recommended!
The Night Has Claws (Book Two)
What happens when you’re the thing that goes bump in the night?
Connor Lewis and Arden LaTène are experiencing a reversal of fortunes. Arden, once a prominent werewolf, has been cured against his will. As a result, he’s now considered dead by his former pack and has lost his longtime girlfriend in the mix. Connor, a newly created werewolf whose DNA has inadvertently led to the creation of the cure, now has to make some important decisions about his future and is not sure who to trust. Should he join a pack or try to go it alone?
When Connor is summoned by the Hounds of God to testify against the human scientist who developed the cure, he’s forced to choose sides. Comprised of humans bitten by werewolves, the Hounds have been the lawmakers and enforcers for hundreds of years, ensuring werewolves don’t endanger the lives of humans and exacting justice upon those who do. On the other hand, the pack werewolves have been persecuted for centuries and are seeking to tip the balance of power. Adding to his confusion is Madison Dallaire, the girl Connor has complicated feelings for, who has embarked on a path of corporate espionage.
In the second book of The Magdeburg Trilogy, Connor’s loyalties are pushed to the limits as he faces the challenges of being a modern werewolf caught in the grip of an ancient feud.
The Night Has Teeth (Book One)
Seventeen-year-old Connor Lewis is chased by a memory. On his first day of kindergarten he bit a boy hard enough to scar the kid for life. Since then he’s been a social outcast at a New York private school.
Through an unexpected turn of good fortune, he lands a scholarship to study in Paris, where everything starts to look up. On the first day he befriends two military brats, and he may finally get a taste of what it’s like to be a normal teenager.
It doesn’t last.
His host family — an alluring young tattoo artist and her moody, handsome boyfriend — inadvertently introduce him to the underworld of werewolves where there are two types: the born and the bitten. Those born to it take the form of elegant wolves, while the latter are cursed to transform into the half-man, half-beast creatures of horror movies. The bitten rarely survive. Unfortunately, Connor is on the wanted list of a four hundred-year-old bitten human who’s searching for both a cure and a means of wiping out werewolves for good.
Connor’s loyalties are tested as he becomes embroiled in a conflict where werewolves, mad science and teen angst collide.