Category: Books

Fiction Friday: Interview With Leslie Welch

Leslie Welch is the author behind “The Goodbyes”, a novel that is equally heartwarming and heart-wrenching. I caught up with her to find out more about the beautifully moving book.

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1) Tell us a bit more about yourself

I’m the person at the grocery store who holds up the checkout line because the cashier is telling me her life story. I’m only half-joking. I’m a listener, a connector, and an intense observer of life. But I’m also a textbook Leo: a little wild, dramatic, and a natural leader. It’s probably a strange combination for an author, but it works for me. I love being on the water–especially in a sailboat. I’m a huge foodie. And I’ll drink coffee until my jaw clenches from caffeine intoxication. 

2) How did you come up with the idea for “The Goodbyes”?

I was driving to my childhood home in Pittsburgh. If you don’t live where you grew up, going home can be a surreal experience, at least it is for me. A lot of people that I grew up with still live in the area. Anytime I go back, I end up seeing someone from high school. Sometimes it’s amazing, and other times? Not so much. 

It’s a four hour drive from D.C. to my mom’s house. After the first two hours of the drive, I started to get lonely and bored, so I decided to do some creative exercises. I started daydreaming that I was a rock star going home. I made the fantasy a little more interesting. I was going home to see the guy who inspired all my songs. And then, I brought in the big conflict–he was dying. I couldn’t wait to start writing! I decided to write the story from a male perspective to challenge myself.

3) What sort of research did you do while writing “The Goodbyes”?

Some of the situations in the book are inspired by real-life events. Before I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a musician. I even dropped out of college for a semester to focus on music. 

I’m lucky to know people who do really cool things. I interviewed my friends who have toured with their bands. I went backstage at big shows. I sat in on recording sessions.

I also did a lot of research on celebrated musicians; I watched interviews and read memoirs. And, although I’ve been to Glen Hope and the surrounding coal towns, I spent a lot of time on Google Maps “driving” my little yellow Google guy around.

4) What was the best part of writing “The Goodbyes”? Was there a specific scene or an aspect of writing the book that was particularly memorable?

I loved writing the ending. The original ending was good, but, as Charlotte would say, it didn’t “make my scalp shiver.” The night before I was supposed to turn the manuscript over to my editor, I had a last-minute bolt of inspiration. I stayed up all night rewriting the ending. It’s my favorite part of the book now. I can’t imagine Webb’s story ending any other way.

5) Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?

I used to imagine that when writers typed “the end” they were done. In reality, that’s only the beginning. Pristine prose doesn’t flow out of our fingers on the first try. It takes a lot of work to get it right after the first draft. 

Writing is a partnership between creators and editors. Most writers are not masters of the English language. We struggle with punctuation (seriously, let’s not talk about my comma issues). We get to take credit in the byline, but we don’t create the magic alone.

6) What sort of books do you usually read?

Right now, collections of short stories are filling up my Kindle. I try to read a lot of different genres. For a while, I was obsessed with biographies about actresses from the golden age of Hollywood. I love Young Adult novels. There’s something comforting about tapping into a time of life that seems full of possibilities–where you’re not assaulted by the mundane details of adulthood like interviewing contractors to replace your roof. 

7) Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

I can’t take credit for this wisdom, but here’s some of the best advice I’ve collected over the years:

• Don’t edit until the first draft is done. Make notes if you must. The first draft is supposed to be a disaster. If you get bogged down chasing perfection, you won’t finish. Embrace the mess–fix it later.

• If you’re writing for insta-fame, you’re doing it wrong. 

• Write something you want to read. If you think it’s too weird for the world, you’re doing it right.

• Connect with other writers. Follow them on Twitter. Build your community; you’ll need them. 

• Eliminate passive voice with a vengeance. Search your document for the verb “to be” in all forms. Analyze each sentence and rewrite as many as you can.

• Read your dialogue out loud. 

• Reject the rejection, but consider the criticism. If someone’s telling you there are issues with your story, take a step back and try to see it from their perspective. 

• Throw in a 180 degree twist if you don’t know where else to go.

8) The characters in “The Goodbyes” are very real and flawed. Personally I’d love to see more of them. Do you have any plans for a sequel?

(*blushes) I’ve been thinking about writing Charlotte’s story. She’s my favorite character in this book and was so much fun to write. One piece of trivia: TempFive makes a cameo in my next book. 

9) What can we expect from you in the future?

I have four books in different stages of chaos. Currently, I’m rewriting my first novel–a YA Urban Fantasy that I wrote with my best friend. The working title is Tandem. 

It’s the story of a rebellious auto heiress who discovers she’s half extra-dimensional. When she starts her junior year of high school, her family declares bankruptcy and the guy she loves becomes a monk—literally. On top of that, she has to worry about trying not to blow things up with her emerging powers and it’s really getting in the way of her social life. We’re aiming for a late 2017 release. 

As soon as the final draft of Tandem is in the hands of our editor, I’ll tackle another Women’s Fiction project that I started a few months ago about a Congressional staffer who quits her job and leaves her boyfriend of four years (because he can’t commit). I’m really excited to see where her story goes.

You can order a pre-order copy of “The Goodbyes” from Amazon or Barnes and Noble

How to Get Over a Book Hangover

The first time I ever got a book hangover, I was 13 and the book was “Breaking Dawn”. I was young so I had no idea why I missed the book so much and my feelings made no sense to me (or anyone else). Now I’ve gained more book-hangover-experience and can deal with it (sort of). Here are my tips for dealing with a book hangover:

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1) Have a back-up book(s): Always have a book or books that you want to read once you’re done with your current read. This way you can easily jump into another book-world instead of sitting around and moping when your book is finished.

2) Binge-read an entire series: For me I find a sure way to NOT suffer a book hangover is to read an entire series. This is especially helpful if you’re reading work by an author who is known for giving her readers hangovers.

3) Write about it: Writing about your feelings on the book may help you feel better. I usually go on a Twitter or Facebook rant about my latest read and my friends and followers have accepted this small bit of strangeness.

4) Check the internet and social media for fan-art and fanfiction: This is great if you’re reading a really popular book or series. Tumblr is great for fan-art and other genius pieces of work by fans.

How do you get over a book hangover? What was the last book that gave you a hangover?

Fiction Friday: Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

Fairytale Beginnings
Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book really was like a fairytale. I adored it! There’s romance, mystery and if it were a Disney movie there would be more than a few catchy songs. This book is dream for anyone who enjoys fairytales. There’s a curse, there’s references to Disney movies (um, have you SEEN the quote from Frozen? Love is an open door?)
I was incredibly sad when this book ended as the characters were so colourful and creative. This book is interesting, well-written, gripping and funny. This would also make for a great series.

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A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Still reeling from the horrific deeds of book one, I was glad to return to this world (what? You thought I was going to talk about Feyre? No. I’m scarred for life from what she did to save Tamlin. And apparently so is she).
Feyre is suffering the after-effects of the horrors she has faced to save Tamlin. This ruins what should be her happy ending. After all she and Tamlin can now be together for eternity. But before that happens, Feyre has to face her demons. And deal with Rhysand and the bargain she has made with him.
I think that the tone of this book was much different from the first one but I really did enjoy it even more. My only problem was with the ending. While it isn’t exactly a cliffhanger ending, it is an ending that leaves the reader waiting more. This book took me too long to finish so eventually I woke up at 3AM one morning just to see how it ended. And then I said some very bad words. So be warned- this book is great, it has the darkness we know and love, it has romance but it also is very long with an ending that will definitely make you long for the next book.

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Purchase a copy of A Court of Mist and Fury from Readers Warehouse

Book Buzz: 5 Must-Read Books That You’ve Probably Already Heard Of

Sometimes a book that has been talked about isn’t that great. It’s just a book with a huge marketing budget. But sometimes a book really does live up to it’s hype. Some of those really popular books that I’ve enjoyed are listed below.

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1) The Wrath and The Dawn series by Renée Ahdieh- Great writing, a strong female protagonist and incredibly world-building are just some of the aspects of this series. There’s a beautiful romance as well as fairytales that I adored.

2) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas- A fae retelling of Beauty and The Beast, I was gripped by this book (and it’s sequel). I’m so thrilled with this book that I now spend my days searching the web to find people currently reading the series so that I may cheer them on with over-enthusiastic comments about how amazing this book is. Like The Wrath and The Dawn series, this has a strong female lead with excellent world-building. Unlike The Wrath and The Dawn, this is a much darker story but I loved every second of it.

3) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas- If you read A Court of Thorns and Roses, this is what it’ll be like on steroids. A Court of Mist and Fury is unbelievably better. I don’t know how that’s possible because the first book was my everything but this one just blows my mind. It’s darker and more intense with surprises at every turn.

4) The List by Siobhan Vivian- another book that I’m obsessed with is The List. Every year a list is released of the prettiest and ugliest girls in the school. Their reactions are recorded in this book. As a girl who had something like this done (in primary school!!!), this novel is especially close to my heart.

5) Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn- Mercedes has an unusual after-school hobby. She helps young males learn how to give their girlfriends a perfect “first time”. Mercedes sees this as a favour to the other girls because she wants them to have the special experience she never did. This book was mysterious and thrilling (I cannot say more on that) and I enjoyed it immensely.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Do you think there’s a book or series that I missed out? I’d love to know (I’m soo behind on my book news). Feel free to leave a comment below.

Fiction Friday: More Than You Know (The Harrisons #1) by Jennifer Gracen

More Than You Know (The Harrisons, #1)
More Than You Know by Jennifer Gracen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know you’ve picked up a jewel when you pick up a Jennifer Gracen novel. This book had a beautiful blend of romance, drama and dysfunctional families (the latter two being two of my weak points when it comes to romance novels). Dane is looking for a singer for his new hotel. When he finds Julia she is perfect. Both for the job and for him. However Julia has a dark past of her own that refuses to let her get close to anyone. I loved that this book had two characters that were so alike in such different ways. This book is well-written and interesting. The characters are real, there’s enough tension to keep you constantly turning the pages and there’s a beautiful ending.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Bay of Sighs (The Guardians Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts

I have a weakness for Nora Roberts books that have characters that need to save the world or else. It’s a storyline that she’s used over and over again (in The Circle Trilogy, Three Sisters Island and others) but she does it so well. I’m especially taken with this series because the characters are so interesting. They’re a group of six people but they all seem to have their own secrets that are hidden both from the reader and the other characters.

Release Date: 14 June 2016

Official Synopsis from Goodreads.com:
To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…
 
Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star. 
 
Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground…
 
And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled—the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human

Serpentine by Peter Parkin and Alison Derby

Serpentine
Serpentine by Peter Parkin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nate has a talent for creating terrifying rollercoasters. This book opens with the release of his latest creation, the Black Mamba. But for the first time in his life, one of Nate’s innovative designs fail him and 24 people die in a horrific crash. Shelby remains the sole survivor thanks to her wits and Nate’s quick response. What follows is an intriguing and complex mystery. Shelby knows exactly what happened on the ride. Nate knows he has tested the rollercoaster beforehand. So what went wrong? I enjoyed this book immensely however there were several mention of physics and engineering terms that, while related to the book, I found them incredibly boring. Apart from that I found this book great. It’s a compelling thriller that proves how you really can trust no one.

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Book Review: The Goodbyes by Leslie Welch

The GoodbyesThe Goodbyes by Leslie  Welch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a heartbreaking book. Webb and Bree have always had a very destructive relationship as teens. They were always with other people but somehow inexplicably drawn to one another. Their relationship consists of a consistent pattern of passion and destruction. Eventually Webb escapes his small town and becomes famous. This story tells the story of their past as well as Webb’s frantic journey back home to see Bree before she dies. Honestly at first glance I expected this to be a cliché read because I’ve watched so many movies with a similar story. The Goodbyes, however, is a realistic and heart-wrenching read. The characters are as destructive as Catherine and Heathcliff but the reader can’t help but sympathise with them while simultaneously wanting to bash them over the head for their stupidity. I especially enjoyed how unexpected, fitting and beautiful the ending was.

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Fiction Friday: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9
November 9 by Colleen Hoover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story has a sweet idea but falls flat towards the end. It seems like the characters are dragging out their romance simply because November 9 is a special day for them. If you look past that obvious flaw this is an amazing book, well-written with intriguing characters.
Fallon and Ben have an instant connection and because she is moving away, decide to meet every year on November 9. However life gets in the way and as they grow, they struggle to keep to their arrangement.

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