Posted in Felicia

Author Interview – Erin Hahn

I’m so excited to be back with another author interview! This time I was able to interview Erin Hahn, the author of You’d Be Mine and More Than Maybe. You’d Be Mine was released in 2019 and quickly became one of my favorite contemporaries. More Than Maybe definitely became one that I was excited about even before I knew what it was going to be about.


Congratulations on the publication of your second book! How has your publication journey been? How has this past year been in relation to your debut year?

Thank you! My journey to publication has been wild. It was three years of writing book after book and getting something like 300 rejections from agents before hitting home with my debut, “You’d Be Mine” and publishing it in 2019 with Wednesday Books. Writing sophomore books is always tricky… so many more expectations and opinions rattling around in your creative brain, but I’m so pleased with how “More Thank Maybe” turned out. It’s the music nerd book of my heart. Publishing amidst a pandemic has been something else! I think on every level of publication, from author to agent to editor to marketing… we’re all trying to figure out how this new normal looks. So much has been moved online and done remotely. 

What inspiration did you have for More Than Maybe?

I’ve always wanted to write a YA about working teens. Obviously, the story is so much more than that. It’s a romance and it’s got gobs and gobs of music in it, but also, at its heart, this is a book about two kids who are trying to save their workplace (a beloved dive bar) and figure out their futures after high school. Additionally, I’ve always been an enormous fan of the 90’s cult classic “Empire Records” and have dreamed about writing a book that had its own soundtrack throughout. 

How was your experience writing More Than Maybe? Did it differ any from that of your time writing You’d Be Mine?

Hahahaha. YES. So different! “You’d Be Mine” was such a joy to write and it just flew out of me. It was really the story I wanted to read, myself. I had zero expectations or concerns (maybe foolishly) while I drafted that book. 

I was far more hesitant about “More Than Maybe”. I wrote and sold it before “You’d Be Mine” released, so I wasn’t yet sure how my stories would be received by readers. I had all this built up-pressure to please my new readers and was just getting accustomed to strangers reviewing and commenting on my words and characters. I expected people to critique my writing, I was less prepared for them to critique my characters! I’ve come a long way since then, but that journey of writing “More Than Maybe” was a LOT. ☺

I personally feel that your stories deal with some tougher topics in the midst of amazing romances. How do you balance it all while writing your books?

I work at being as true as possible. The fact of the matter is real life is especially messy. No one who falls in love is perfect or unblemished by their past. We all have scars and sharp edges and I’ve always been committed to reflecting that in my stories. I’ve joked with my editor that my stories aren’t so much rom-coms as rom-mads. Just like in real life, my characters have their own self-growth to face on their way to being ready to love someone else in a healthy way. 

Music is such a huge part of both You’d Be Mine and More Than Maybe. Can you share about your relationship with music and why you chose to have it heavily be a part of your books?

Music nurtured me. The honest truth is that I didn’t need to look up a single song or lyric for this story because I’ve been collecting them in my brain for decades. I’ve just always been obsessed with music. As a teen, I spent hours in my bedroom, making mix CDs (because I’m old) and writing lyrics in notebooks. I worked multiple jobs in high school and college and spent all my money on CDs and concerts. I wanted to write a love story for the teens who are like I was

The playlist for You’d Be Mine is amazing in my opinion! Is there one for More Than Maybe as well?

Sure is! It’s up on Spotify for anyone to listen along as they read. If an artist or song is mentioned in the book, I put them in the playlist. Look up “More Than Maybe” a novel by Erin Hahn!

Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?

I always know the ending AND the characters have to figure out how they’ll get there. ☺ 

With your books being dual perspective, did one give you more trouble over the other?

Vada was a little quiet early on. It took me a few drafts to get her to completely come out of her shell. Actually, once I got to know her best friend, Meg, Vada really started talking. 

Without any spoilers, can you share a favorite scene from More Than Maybe?

My very favorite scene is the end, but since that is a total spoiler, I will say I love, love, LOVE the silent disco “not-date”. It’s the first time Luke and Vada really have a chance to recognize their attraction for each other and it’s super adorable and awkward. 

I personally think your characters are some of the most relatable ones that I’ve ever read. Do you think you’ll ever revisit characters from your stories in future books? 

That’s very kind! Thank you! You will definitely get to know Meg Hennessey more in my third book “Never Saw You Coming”. She gets her own spin off and love story and I can’t wait for you to read it!

What 2020 releases are you excited for and think we should have on our radar?

Oh jeez. So many. I’ll just focus on my favorite coming of age romances I’ve been reading…

“Date Me, Bryson Keller” by Kevin Van Whye 
“More Than Just a Pretty Face” by Syed Masood 
“My Eyes Are Up Here” by Laura Zimmermann
“A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow” by Laura T. Namey

What’s next for you? Can you spill anything about your next book?

Like I mentioned a few questions ago, my next book is Meg’s story. Meg finds out that her entire ultra conservative childhood has been based on an epic lie. Rather than taking a gap year to find herself, she decides to travel north to meet the family she never knew existed. While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former Pastor’s kid who has his own conflicted feelings about the Church, as his dad is in prison for swindling his congregation. The two battle their fuzzy and complicated pasts while trying to forge a solid future together. With kissing. Lots of kissing. ☺


Thank you so much to Erin Hahn for allowing me to interview her! Her book, More Than Maybe, is out on July 21, 2021 and I can’t recommend it enough.

https://www.erinphahn.com/
Goodreads
Spotify Playlist

More Than Maybe can be purchased from:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
IndieBound
Powells

Posted in Felicia

Meet Me at Midnight Blog Tour – Interview with Jessica Pennington

Last year I was able to read an advanced copy of Meet Me at Midnight and instantly fell in love like I have done with both of Jessica Pennington’s previous books. I am so excited to have been able to interview Jessica Pennington for the blog tour to celebrate her book!


What inspired Meet Me at Midnight? 

This book was inspired by my own summer vacations! From the time I was 10, my family has rented a lake house, and the layout in Meet Me At Midnight is almost identical: two small rental houses on a hill, with a large house behind them, where the owners live. Unlike in Meet Me at Midnight, I didn’t have a cute, snarky boy living next door, I just had my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Not nearly as much fun!

All three of your current releases feature some similar locations. With any future releases, do you think you’ll carry on that trend of them being centered in similar locations or do you think you’ll venture elsewhere?

I’m honestly not sure. As far as contemporary romance goes, I do really love writing beachy summer stories. But I also have some ideas that take place during the school year, so who knows! But my current work in progress is actually a romantic fantasy, so that setting is VERY different, and it’s been a fun change of pace!

There are many pranks in Meet Me at Midnight. Were you a prankster when you were younger? What was your favorite prank in the book?

Oh my goodness, I wish I had been bold enough as a teen to pull pranks like Sidney and Asher, but I definitely wasn’t. They were so fun to write, though! It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think it’s probably when Sid makes Asher think he’s wet the bed, and that’s mostly because I love the scenes leading up to that prank and what caused her to do it. But the cherry Kool-Aid would be a close second!

Your books feature a variety of commonly used tropes. Is there a trope that you haven’t used yet that you want to write about?

I love tropes, and I think the one I haven’t done yet that I definitely will in the future is “fake dating.” It’s one of my favorites, it’s actually hard to believe I haven’t used it yet!

Where did you vacation when you were younger? Did you have a favorite location?

My family’s lake vacations were definitely my favorite, and a lot of the locations in both Meet Me At Midnight and When Summer Ends are inspired by actual locations in that area. The cherry-themed restaurant and River Depot in When Summer Ends, and the old-school drive-in movie theater in Meet Me At Midnight are all based on some of my favorite places in northern Michigan (there’s a little tour in my saved IG stories!)

Were you a swimmer? If so, did you compete?

I swam for a few years in early middle school, but that’s it. I grew up down the street from Lake Michigan, though, so swimming was a big part of my life growing up, which is why lakes and lake towns tend to play such a big role in my books. The morning swims in Meet Me At Midnight were actually inspired by a fellow vacationer I met one summer when I was about thirteen—she was a competitive swimmer and her dad would take her out in the mornings to swim across the lake.

How has releasing Meet Me at Midnight been compared to your prior releases?

It’s been strange, since this book released just a few weeks after Covid-19 really started shutting things down. I had to cancel my launch party, and a few book festivals and conventions I was scheduled to attend in March and April. It’s been sad not getting to visit bookstores and see readers like I’d usually get to, but sometimes life is just weird and you have to roll with it, and this is definitely one of those times!


Website: http://itsjess.jpennington.net/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45043589-meet-me-at-midnight
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250187664
Forever Books (Jessica’s Local Indie!): https://www.foreverbooks.net/book/9781250187666


RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY


Jordan @ The Heart of a Book Blogger (Interview)
Belle @ Belle’s Archive (Creative Post)


Thank you so much, Jessica! I can’t wait to read more from you in the future!

Posted in Felicia

Only a Breath Apart Excerpt Reveal


Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with contemporary books and that one of my absolute favorites is Katie McGarry. I requested an ARC as soon as I saw it available and then waited patiently to find out if I was going to be able to read it early or not. I may have screamed a little when the email came up on my phone and I saw the approval email.

I’m even more excited that I get to be part of the tour and excerpt reveal for Only a Breath Apart. I got to meet Katie McGarry several months ago when she was in Ohio and I loved listening to her talk about her inspiration behind all her books and all the research and work she puts into all of them.

Would you dare to defy destiny? Are our destinies written in stone? Do we become nothing more than the self-fulfilling prophesies of other people’s opinions? Or can we dare to become who we believe we were born to be?

 

“A gorgeous, heartfelt journey of redemption and love” (Wendy Higgins), ONLY A BREATH APART is a young adult contemporary novel from critically acclaimed Katie McGarry. “Haunting, authentic, and ultimately hopeful” (Tammara Webber), ONLY A BREATH APART will be available on all retailers on January 22, 2019!

About ONLY A BREATH APART:

Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most.

Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done.

Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no.Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.

 

Amazon | Kobo | Google Play | B-A-M | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

 


Gritty and real, Only a Breath Apart is a story of hope conjured from pain, strength drawn from innocence, and love earned from self-respect. Beautiful, poignant, and fierce.”
―Kristen Simmons, critically acclaimed author of the Article 5 series


 

Add it to your Goodreads today!

Excerpt:

SCARLETT

I’m defying my parents by attending a funeral. Reckless and adventurous teenage behavior, I know. Most seventeen-year-olds lie to their parents so they can go on a date with a forbidden boy or attend a party where there will be questionable behavior. Me? I’m outright lying to my dad, and it’s because Jesse Lachlin’s grandmother died.

The entire way here I’ve questioned my sanity, but I don’t know how I’d live with myself if I stayed home. Jesse Lachlin used to be my childhood best friend. We were inseparable. We had the type of friendship people strive to have, and then, a few years ago, he cut me so deeply that I still bleed. But ten-year-old me would have never abandoned a hurting Jesse. So today I’m not only honoring the memory of Jesse’s grandmother, but also the memory of our dead friendship.

On my way to the funeral, the high grass of the field swats at my legs, but I don’t mind the sting. I love walking barefoot in grass, I love the smell of the earth and I love that brief feeling of freedom open spaces can provide.

It’s the dog days of August. The type of hot that starts when the sun rises and makes you sweat through your clothes within minutes. While my skin and palms are on fire, the pads of my feet are cool against the dirt. The heat is unwelcome, but the sky is deep blue and the sun is bright, and for that, I can be grateful.

Walking out of the field, I stop short of crossing the one-lane road to slip on the flats that dangle from my fingertips. My mother would be mortified if she knew I was entering a church in a cotton daisy-print sundress. It’s not one of the dresses with stiff fabric and impossible back zippers she would have picked for me at an overpriced department store. It’s the type that’s machine-washable and breathable. The type of dress Jesse’s grandmother would have given her stamp of approval.

I can practically hear my mother heavily sigh and mumble my name, Scarlett, as if it were her personal, private curse word. Mom believes there’s a certain way to dress and behave, and I’m breaking all sorts of her rules today. Watch out, world. I’m officially rebellious.

I smile to myself because I’m the opposite of rebellious. For the last few years, I’ve followed every rule. I’m the teacher’s pet and the girl with straight A’s. I’m the poster child of perfection, and have earned every snarky ice princess comment Jesse’s friends whisper about me in the school hallways because he and I no longer speak.

There are only six cars in the parking lot of the white church, and that makes me frown. I thought more people would have wanted to attend. Jesse’s mud-covered pickup is there, and so is an unnaturally clean black Mercedes that belongs to his uncle. This ought to be interesting. Jesse and his uncle have a mutual hate for each other that runs deeper than any root of any tree.

Movement to my right and I slowly turn my head. Shivers run down my spine at the sight of Glory Gardner. Even though I’m seventeen and too old for ghost stories, I still can’t shake the ones regarding this woman. Girls would whisper over lunch boxes that Glory was a witch. As I grew older, I understood that witch meant con artist. She claims she can read palms, tarot cards and “sees” spirits from beyond the dead. All for a glorious fee.

She’s a beautiful woman—long dirty blond hair that’s untamed, even in a bun, and she has an eclectic taste in clothing. Today she wears a white peasant shirt and a flowing skirt made of material that shimmers in the sun.

Glory watches me like I watch her, with morbid curiosity. I knew her as a child, back when Jesse and I ran wild in the fields near her home, but we haven’t talked in years.

She stands under the shade of a towering weeping willow. There are lots of those trees around here. Mom says it’s because there is too much water in the ground. I say it’s because the people in this town have cried too many tears. Mom doesn’t like my answer.

I tilt my head toward the church, an unspoken question if Glory will be joining me. She shakes her head no. I’m not shocked. According to rumors, Glory will go up in flames if she enters the house of God. But who knows? Maybe I will, too.

The church is one of those picturesque, historical, one-room school buildings squeezed between a cornfield on one side and a hay field on the other. A huge steeple with a bell attempts to reach the heavens, but like anything created by a human, it falls tragically short.

The foreboding wooden door makes no noise as I open it, and I’m able to slip in without a huge, squeaking announcement. Orange light filters in through the dark stained glass windows, and its struggling beams reveal millions of dancing particles of dust.

On the altar, there’s no casket, but there is an urn. My heart dips—Suzanne is dead. I used to wish she were my grandmother, and many times, she treated me as if I belonged to her. Suzanne was the epitome of love, and the world feels colder now that she’s gone.

Choosing a spot in the back, I drop into a pew, and as I scan the church my stomach churns. How is it possible that this place is so barren?

Besides the Funeral Brigade, or the FB, as I like to refer to them, there aren’t many people here. The FB are the older group of woman who attend every funeral in our small town even if they didn’t know the person. Attending funerals isn’t my idea of fun, but who am I to judge?

The FB sit directly behind the one person the town believes to be the lone sane member of the Lachlin family, probably because he isn’t blood related—Jesse’s uncle.

On the left side of the church is Jesse. Only Jesse. And that causes a painful pang in my chest. Where are his stinking friends? The anarchists in training who follow Jesse wherever he goes? Where is the rest of the town? Yes, Suzanne was polarizing, but still, where is any respect?

Quietly, so I don’t draw attention to myself, I slip from the right set of pews to the left. Someone should be on Jesse’s side, and it’s sad it has to be me.

A door at the front of the church opens, and the pastor walks out from the addition the church build on as a small office ten years ago. I would have thought any pastor assigned to this place would be as ancient as this church. Sort of like an Indiana Jones Knights Templar scenario where he lives forever as long as he stays inside. But no, he’s the youngest pastor from the main, newer church in town. His name is Pastor Hughes, and he’s a thirty-something black man with a fit build who is just cute enough that he should be starring in a movie.

The pastor looks up, and he flinches as if startled. I peek over my shoulder then sigh. Clearly, he’s surprised to see me. Flipping fantastic.

His reaction, and the fact he won’t stop staring, causes every person to turn their heads. Lovely. I’ve had dreams like this where I enter a room and become the center of attention. Only in my dreams it’s at school, it’s my classmates and I’m naked, but still, this is disconcerting.

Eventually, the FB and Jesse’s uncle return their attention to the front, but Jesse doesn’t. He rests his arm on the back of the pew, and it’s hard to ignore that he’s made me his sole focus, but I do my best to act as if I don’t notice.

To help, I concentrate on what my mom taught me as a child—to make sure the skirt of my dress is tucked appropriately so that my thighs don’t show. I then fold my hands in my lap and straighten to a book-on-head posture. I can be the ice princess people claim me to be.

Five pews separate me and Jesse, and it’s not nearly enough. My cheeks burn under his continued inspection. Jesse has done this a handful of times since our freshman year. Glance at me as if I’m someone worth looking at, someone worth laughing with a little too loud and smiling with a little too much. Then he remembers who I am and snaps his gaze to someone else.

But he’s not looking away now.

 

Katie McGarry Bio:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

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Do you plan to pick up Only a Breath Apart on release day? I know I am!
Felicia