Young Adult Fiction

Q and A with Author Whitney L. Grady

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Whitney L. Grady at the Book ’em NC Book Fair and Writers Conference and thought you might enjoy getting to know her as well.

whitneyheadshot2015Q: As an author, what are your favorite events?

As a former middle school English teacher, I thrive on school visits when promoting my YA series. The students are who I write for and I am always intrigued by their questions and ideas!

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

Often, when I visit schools I am asked where the idea for my series originated. I tell the students that The I Am Currency series was born from one single tag line (one that came to me in the middle of the night that I scribbled down on paper beside my bed to save for the morning): Knowledge is power…but what if it were currency?

The next day (and then weeks and months that followed), I became engrossed in the concept of a future in which technology no longer existed and humans were forced to learn to survive on what they know. It took a lot of research, but I was able to find a plausible event which could terminate technology and alter the way of life for civilization drastically.

Q: What makes the characters in your series special?

I wanted my main character to have a superhero power that could be realistic, and so Nevel was given a photographic memory during a time when knowledge was so key.

I have a son and a daughter so I also wanted to be sure there was both a strong male (Nevel) and a strong female (Quinn) character. This makes it interesting for both male and female readers. Don’t expect the typical from my characters, though. Book one begins with Quinn chasing Nevel into the wild…and he is afraid for his life!

bothbooks1and2Q: What can we expect from the I Am Currency series?

The I Am Currency series is a run-from-the-government, code-discovering, survivalist adventure that is sure to keep you truing the pages! Book 1, I Am Currency, begins with a chase across the Australian outback. Book 2, Pass of the Crow, takes us to Papua New Guinea on an adventure riddled with mystery and missions. The 3rd and final book of the series will be released in fall 2016 by Amazing Things Press!

Q: Where can we find your books/find out more?

All books are available anywhere books are sold (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million and more)!

There is a book trailer on YouTube and several links below for more info!

 

Links:

Amazon Link

Author website

Book trailer: 

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Flash Fiction – Night Runners

 

droneTrying to keep to the shadows,  Flint hurried through the streets, desperate to make his escape.  He glanced over his shoulder—no drones in sight—but, they were coming.  They were always coming.  It was just a matter of time before the incessant hum of their motors filled the air.   He darted down an alleyway, dove into a dumpster and covered himself with garbage.   The foul stench was a small price to pay for concealment.

Closing his eyes, he took a shallow breath and willed his racing heart to calm down.  Now was not the time to panic.  Now was the time to regroup, to prepare for the next phase of his mission—to get back to base camp with his precious find.  His hand moved to the pocket of his jacket, feeling for the pack of batteries.   The relief flooding his body was short-lived as the dreaded humming drew closer, echoing in the alley.

He lay still, waiting for the drones to leave.  After what seemed an interminable wait, the hum drifted away.  It was time to go—he knew this—but something in his gut warned him to stay put—so he waited.  Two minutes.  Four minutes.  Five minutes more.

And then it happened…

The sound of a drone as it started up…  He stopped breathing – his attention focused on the mechanical whining as it receded down the alleyway.

The operators, he realized, were getting smarter—powering the motors down—operating in a stealth mode, waiting for their prey to expose themselves.   Cautiously, he exited the dumpster.  He crept down the alleyway, hugging the building walls.  The going was slow but slow was good when it meant the difference between freedom and captivity.

The first rays of sun painted the morning sky as Flint entered the compound.  Quiet voices welcomed him.  He looked at the worried faces.  “Where are the others?” he asked.

They shook their heads, unable to answer.  But it didn’t matter—he knew what it meant.  The Community wasn’t safe.  They had to move and move quickly.  The Guard were masters of extracting information and considering the missing Night Runners—nothing needed to be said.  They gathered their meager possessions and separated, hoping that smaller groups would offer a better chance at survival.  With any luck, they’d find each other again.

Note:  This is a piece I wrote several months ago. After reading it last night, I tweaked it a bit. It’s one of those stories that keeps tickling the back of my mind and on occasion, I find myself checking in with Flint – just to make sure he’s still alive and well…  And he is. At last check, he had met up with his buddy, Clem – but that’s a story for another day.

Book Tour – Disemblance by Shanae Branham

I’m pleased to welcome Shanae Branham to my blog.  Her novel, Disemblance, is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours.
 
Meet the Author:
I am a professional writer with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in grammar. I have also attended several years of classes and workshops in screenplay writing at the Los Angeles Screenplay writer’s Expo.
I love suspenseful, action-adventures and clean, young adult, romance stories. I was born and raised in a small town in Idaho. I am the second out of six children. When I was in my early 20’s my mother was killed by a drunk driver. This one incident drastically changed my life. I have always had a passion for reading and writing fiction. Owing to a life long struggle with Dyslexia, early teachers discouraged me from pursuing a career in writing.
As I have spent over twenty-five years transforming my language disabilities into professional writing skills, God has honed my insatiable passion into an incredible vision.
 
 
Clean YA Suspense/ Fantasy
Date Published: 8/8/2012

Jason Tanner lives between two worlds. Problem is, only one is real.

Inside the hologram machine 17-year-old Jason has everything his heart desires, including a digital simulation of his dead mother. While outside the machine, he’s forbidden contact with everyone. Living within the shadow of a serial killer, Jason is captivated by the beautiful girl next door, Boston Manning. Disobeying his father, he secretly cultivates a relationship with her.

For Boston life is divided into those that have and those that have not. Displaced in a new high school, she is determined to have the life she’s always wanted. But will her choices hijack her dreams and plunge her into the treacherous clutches of a serial killer?

As an action-packed romantic thriller, DiSemblance is sure to keep you guessing until the very end.

“A Marvelous, fast-paced thriller, sure to appeal to teen science-fiction aficionados and the uninitiated alike.”  ~ Jill Allen, Clarion Review

 

Excerpt:

Jason (This section is first person through Jason’s point of view.)

Friday, October 31st, night

 

Boston steps through the hole she created in the alder brush onto a patch of grass between a straw-bale wall and the woods.

“Who’s there?” a girl calls from a blanket a short distance off to our right.

I shut off the flashlight and step through beside her, waiting for her instructions.

“Don’t worry, honey.” The male voice is coming from the same direction. “Whoever it is can join us. We’re just getting started.”

Boston drops the machete and bolts back into the woods heading down the trail. I switch on the flashlight and shine it at the voices. The creep that attacked Boston last night and a pretty blonde girl are sitting together on a blanket spread out beside the straw-bale wall. The girl is frantically buttoning her shirt. Hard-edge squints against the light. He’s getting around well, with a cast on his leg.

I pick up Boston’s machete and her backpack and trail her to the car, where she’s trembling in the driver’s seat. Confused by the sudden change of plan, I throw her stuff in the backseat, climb into the passenger side and wait for her to explain herself.

She stares out the front window for the longest time. Then she tosses her mask in the backseat and starts the engine.

“What are you doing?”

Her face is pale as a ghost when she looks at me. “That’s Candice with Ricky.”

I know that her statement is supposed to mean something to me, but it doesn’t. “Who’s Candice?”

“She’s the girl I was going to warn about Ricky.”

“You can still—”

“What?” Her tone is acid. “Tell my friend that the guy she’s making out with tried to rape me last night?”

“Yeah.” I don’t understand what she’s afraid of. If I were Candice, I’d want to know that I was hanging out with a rapist. “Wouldn’t you want to know?”

“But what if Candice doesn’t believe me? What if Ricky says those horrible things about my mother and calls me a slut, again?”

I’m not aware of any horrible things about her mother. “You’re not a slut.”

“Thanks.” She lowers her chin. “If that’s true, then why’d your brother take pictures of me?”

“Because he’s messed up and doesn’t understand people need to be respected.”

Her voice cracks when she speaks. “Why’d your dad let him?”

“Because he doesn’t know how to fix Isaac so he only focuses on his invention, hoping that we’ll be all right on our own.”

She looks at me. “Why didn’t you stop him?”

She’s accusing me of being the bad guy? I feel my pulse throb in my neck as I try to keep the anger out of my voice. “I saw the pictures of our neighbors that you threw away in your room. You didn’t take those pictures because you thought they were sluts, did you?”

Her body goes rigid. “Of course not.”

“My brother likes you.” I touch her hand and her muscles relax. “I should have stopped him, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t want to upset him. Just like you don’t want to upset Candice.”

She draws her hand away from me. “So you’re saying I should go back!”

“Only if you really believe I should have stopped Isaac.”

She glares at me and turns the radio up so loud that the music destroys any chance of further conversation. After several minutes, she grabs the machete from the back seat and shuts off the radio. “I’m not scared!”

“I know.” But I don’t know. My heart is racing like I’m riding a fifty-foot wave.

Switching the headlights on, she presses on the gas pedal and speeds down Daemon’s driveway. Nearing the back of the maze, she turns onto the grassy section and plows through the edge of the woods moving towards Ricky and Candice. Branches crack and break against the windshield and scrape the side of the car until she stops in front of her targets. Bursting from the vehicle with the machete in one hand and the mini recorder in the other . . .

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My Review of There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos

I don’t even want to admit how many books I’ve tried to read lately only to close the cover/shutdown the Kindle.  As I walked around Barnes and Noble, I wasn’t holding out much hope of finding anything intriguing. And then I stumbled across There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos.There-Will-Come-a-Time

This isn’t your typical young adult novel.  The main character, Mark Santos, is struggling with the death of his twin sister.

Arcos delivers a solid, character-driven story.  She delves into the emotional depths of grief – presenting an all too believable tale of the anguish survivors often feel. There are times, your heart breaks for Mark; other times, you want to smack him.  But through it all, you’re pulling for him.  You want him to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I loved the author’s writing style.  I loved the characters as they were well-developed and had distinctive voices.

I loved the cover – particularly the lights.  A light in the darkness represents hope and ultimately, that’s what this book is about.

5 stars

Writers Workshop – “Lions, Witches, and Wardrobes…”

The Hampton Roads Writers Group offers a monthly workshop through The Traveling Pen Series.  I was fortunate to be able to attend Saturday’s session – “Lions, Witches and Wardrobes…Oh, My! – Writing Paranormal and Fantasy” presented by YA and Paranormal Author, Vanessa Barger.  The 2 1/2 hour workshop was $20 for non-members ($10 for members) but was well worth the price.

As a writer of young adult fiction, I am always looking for fresh ideas.  Nothing against vampires and werewolves, mind you, but in my humble opinion, they are a bit overdone.  Barger presented each participant with a mythical creature, complete with the general description and instructed us to make the creature our own.  I received a Wendigo.  For those unfamiliar with this beast, he appears in Algonquian legends and seems to discourage cannibalism (apparently, those individuals who consumed human flesh were at risk for turning into the monster).  For the exercise, I decided that my wendigo would indeed eat people but only those that were evil and needed to be eaten…  He/She would prefer to live in solitude, in order to minimize chance encounters with said evil people.  Just by changing a couple of details, the possibility of a new story emerged.

Downtown, Suffolk, VA

Downtown,
Suffolk, VA

As the workshop ended at noon, my husband and I drove over to Suffolk, VA. We visited the downtown area and had some amazing she-crab soup at a little place called The Baron’s Pub and Restaurant.

With the sun shining and a nice breeze, we did a little sightseeing.

This particular church caught my eye.  I love the windows and the ornamental details.

And I couldn’t help but wonder what stories this church would tell if it could only talk…