Tuesday, 13 August 2013

BLOG TOUR! Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross + INTERVIEW

At the Other End:
Her family may be shattered, but her dreams aren't...

From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest series

A Mature YA contemporary set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics. Grief, love and pursuing dreams are at the forefront of this emotionally powerful coming-of-age story.

Seventeen year old Karen Campbell has just lost both her parents in a tragic car accident. Grief stricken and alone, her gymnastics coach opens his home to Karen, providing her a place to live while she continues to train, working toward a spot on the world championship team.

Alternate Cover
Coach Bentley’s only child, seventeen year old Jordan is good-looking and charming enough to scare away a girl like Karen—someone who has spent ten times more hours on balance beams and uneven bars than talking or even thinking about boys. But the two teens share a special connection almost immediately. It turns out Jordan has a tragic past of his own, grief buried for years.

As Karen’s gymnastics career soars, her nightmares and visions of the horrible accident grow in strength. She can only avoid facing her grief for so long before it begins to surface and ultimately spin out of control in a very dangerous way. Can discovering love and lust (simultaneously) help with the grieving process or will it only provide a temporary distraction while waiting for reality to hit full force.

Shhh....... Don't Tell:
Jordan adjusted the hat on my head, folding up the bottom to keep it from covering my eyes, then he plopped down next to me on the bench. “Give me your hands.”

I put both hands in front of him and he held them in his, blowing warm air on them. “That’s very boyfriendly of you,” I said. “So what’s up with the girls you’re avoiding?”

He shrugged and moved his thumbs over the backs of my hands, rubbing them gently. “It’s not anything bad. Lindsey, the taller one with overly-perfect teeth, started bugging me about not going out with anyone, like not having a serious girlfriend. I think it was her way of trying to get me to ask her out.”

“But you don’t want to ask her out?” I couldn’t blame him for that. She seemed very annoying and fake.

“Correct,” he said right away. “The problem is, when you turn a girl down and you’re not dating someone else, you’re basically saying that something’s wrong with her. I hate getting into that shit.”

I smiled. “Oh, so you’re secretly nice underneath all your shallow comments and observations of the opposite sex.”

“If I were nice, I’d just be honest and say no, but I’m too chicken to tell a girl why I don’t like her. I mean, who wants to create a complex for someone, right? And your fingers are about five degrees away from frostbite.” He quickly stuck my hands under the front of his shirt, pressing them to his bare stomach.

My heart immediately started pounding. “Uh . . . is this your way of getting me to feel your abs, because I’m pretty impressed? You have nice hamstrings, too,” I blurted out.

“I think I would blush if it were someone besides you saying that.” His brown eyes swirled with reflected color from the fire. “But I have a feeling your compliment will be followed by asking me what type of core conditioning I’ve been doing.”

Maybe . . .

Because I was pretending to be someone’s girlfriend, it was easier to be bold now, kind of like wearing a costume. I pulled my hands from beneath his and gripped his fingers, sliding them under the bottom of my sweater. “Let’s compare. But I’m sure you’ve got me beat.”

Jordan jumped, his gaze zooming in on his hands under my shirt, which I quickly realized meant something completely different than my hands under his shirt. He swallowed hard, his gaze lifting to meet mine.

My face flared up like an oven. “I’m sorry.”

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Author Bio:
I live in central Illinois with my wonderful husband and three kids currently between the ages of 7 and 12 (the kids not the husband). My writing journey began in May, 2009 with a short story in a notebook.

Within a year, I had written seven (some good some God-awful) young adult novels. Not being a college graduate and having spent the previous fifteen years teaching gymnastics and working as a YMCA Program Director for Recreational Gymnastics, professional writing wasn't in my plans. Not even close. But ever since the day I started that short story, I haven't been able to stop. It was love at first sight.
After about a year of writing, I had a three book deal with St. Martin's Press, and a film option with Summit
Entertainment. Crazy, right? I know. It wasn't until August of 2011 that I quit working full time in order to be at home with my kids more and of course, write more. My young adult time travel debut novel, Tempest, released on January 17, 2012. The rest of my personal story remains unwritten.

Handy Hinty Links:

Goodreads:                            Letters to Nowhere                            Julie Cross
Website                              Facebook                                Twitter

Take A Seat. Get Strapped In. Let's Go For A Ride:

1. Where have we seen you before? (previous projects/works)
In addition to Letters To Nowhere, I’m also the author of the YA sci-fi/time travel trilogy, the Tempest series. Right now, the first two books in the series (TEMPEST & VORTEX) are currently available wherever books are sold. The third and final book, TIMESTORM, will release in the US on January 28, 2014.

I also have a co-authored New Adult contemporary series that just recently sold. It’s not announced yet so I can’t give too many details (though it might be out in the open by the time this blog tour happens), but it’s called HALFWAY PERFECT and my co-author is Mark Perini, who happens to portray, Jackson, my main character in the Tempest series, on the book covers. You can get more info about that on our joint blog

2. What goes through your mind after your novel has been on sale for the first week?
Usually, I’m reading reviews, doing lots of promo and interviews and of course thinking about what’s next. There’s always something next.

3. What inspired you to write this novel?
Letters To Nowhere is inspired from my former job as a gymnastics coach and program director. It’s truly the book of my heart because it combined my two greatest passions—YA literature and gymnastics.

4. What do you think about when getting/seeing negative reviews?
Negative reviews are only negative to the reviewer. By that I mean that often what one person hates about a novel, another person might love. Negative reviews have a number of benefits to authors starting with the simple fact that they prove to consumers that someone who isn’t on the author’s “team” has purchased and read the novel and felt strongly enough to review it online. Right now, Letters to Nowhere has only 4 and 5 star ratings on Goodreads and this actually makes me a bit nervous that it looks like I’ve staged these reviews or something (I swear I haven’t…lol). The most important thing for me, as an author, is to evoke strong feelings from readers through my writing and I realize sometimes that may be dislike, hate, or anger. You have to let bad in with the good if you want to put yourself out there as a professional in the field.

Of course I do incredibly elated with each positive review and especially when I can really tell that a reader “got” what I was trying to say through my book. And I get frustrated when reviewers get actual facts wrong in a review. Not like character names or anything along those lines, but stating something that isn’t in the book or misrepresenting major plot elements or character traits but I think most people reading reviews are wise enough to look at more than before allowing themselves to be influenced.

5. How long was the writing/planning process?
In January of 2012, I wrote about 30 or so pages of Letters To Nowhere and then because of my current contract for the Tempest series, I didn’t have time to write the rest for a while. In fact, I wasn’t sure that anyone but me would be excited about the concept since it was so different than Tempest novels. So months and months went by and the characters kept speaking to me, the scenes kept playing out in my head and when I finally got a chance to write the book, the rest of the 92,000 word novel was complete in 14 days. That was last August, just after the Olympics finished. And yes, I was inspired by the games

6. What was your reaction to the cover art when you saw it for the first time? Did you have any ideas from the days of writing/inspiration?
My husband actually made the cover. I chose the stock photos and he did the rest. So, I saw every stage of it. We created several versions until finally resting on the current one. I’m happy with it. I think the emotion in the novel is conveyed very well through the picture.

7. Any plans for future writing projects? Any being worked on now?
I have a couple of releases this fall that I can’t mention in detail quite yet, but soon. They are all YA/NA contemporary stories. And then of course I have the two HALFWAY PERFECT books with Mark Perini which are New Adult stories set in the world of NYC models and the fashion industry. I also plan to write two more books/novellas in the Letters To Nowhere world.

8. Top 5 books
*I have way too many all-time favourites so I’m going with recent favourites
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  • Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
  • Alienated by Melissa Landers (not out until 2/14)
  • Anything by Tammara Webber (my favourites are Easy and Good For You)

9. What book/s from other authors do you wish you had written?
Hmm…I don’t think I’ve ever had this thought or feeling…? I’ve had moments where I read brilliant writing and think, holy cow that’s amazing. And then I’m immediately glum and calling myself a loser…lol.

10. Why read your novel?
 Letters to Nowhere is truly written for a wide variety of readers. Whether you’re a gymnastics fan or sports fan at all, it doesn’t matter. The story has so many elements outside of this one. If you’re aren’t a fan of the insta-love/obsessive love often found in YA/NA novels than I know you’ll appreciate the slow growing, emotionally based romance that develops between my two main characters, Karen and Jordan.

 Want MORE of the Tour? Check out these stops:  

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