SST: Jennifer Walkup Interview

A few months ago, I signed up for Sunday Street Team, a street team where we support a different author each month. This month we are promoting Jennifer Walkup’s book, The Ordinary Life!

1. What is your book, The Ordinary Life, about?

The short version: A teen with big dreams of making it in radio, struggles to hold her family together while dealing with her brother’s epilepsy, her mother’s alcoholism, and her own broken heart.

The back cover copy (long version):
High-school radio host Jasmine Torres’s life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep Jasmine from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything, not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health, not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but Jasmine may just discover that what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

2. What inspired you to write The Ordinary Life?

Jasmine came to me first – a strong main character who loves working at her school radio station and works hard for her ultimate dream – to be a real radio dj someday. But I knew she’d have struggles – a cheating ex boyfriend, an alcoholic mother, an absent father. Her brother’s epilepsy was central to her character. I wanted at least one character who is struggling with epilepsy. It’s a subject that’s important to me, and something I wanted to represent. When I wrote in Wes, the love interest, also with epilepsy, I wanted to show how characters are people first, disability second, and way more than the sum of their disabilities. Wes is a really great guy, and they quickly become good friends, and maybe more… Plus, Wes gives her support, attention, and love she hasn’t had before. But he also gives her the hope she needs to keep following her dreams and caring for her family.

3. How did you come up with the title of your book?

It’s funny how difficult titles can be. With my first book, I went through what felt like millions of titles. But with THIS ORDINARY LIFE, the title came to me almost as soon as the book did. Jasmine, the main character has lots of challenges in her life. She often wishes things were easier and simpler, but through the course of her struggles and chasing her dreams, she realizes that sometimes “ordinary” is found where we least expect it. And sometimes ordinary is more than good enough.

4. Which character(s) can you relate to most in the novel?

I can relate to most of the characters in the novel, in one way or another. Like Jasmine, I take care of someone with epilepsy and understand the unexpected struggles this sometimes bring. Like the Mom character, I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed. And like Ms. Hudson, I know what it’s like to believe in someone so much and be proud of someone else’s accomplishments as if they were my own, doing what I can to help them on their path.

5. Who was the hardest character to write about in your book and why?

The mother was probably the most difficult for me to write. As a mother myself, I can’t imagine making some of the choices Jasmine and Danny’s mom made. It was necessary for the story, but man did I get mad at her in some of those scenes.

6. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Creating characters and new worlds and putting my imagination on paper is pretty great. And when I hear from readers, that is truly one of the best things ever!

7. Did you always want to be a writer? If not, when and how did you realize you wanted to become one?

I did! I always wanted to be a writer. I have the first book I wrote in fourth grade, about a mouse who runs away and gets stranded on a desert island. It’s bound with duct tape and illustrated by yours truly. Hopefully my stories have gotten at least a little better since then.:)

8. Do you have a specific writing style?

Not really. I’m a pantser (meaning I don’t plan or write from an outline). This style of writing can be really exciting when the words are flowing, but frustrating when they’re not. For the most part, when I’m in the middle of a project, I write daily, at least a few hours at a time. I also take a good amount of time off between books.

9. What advice do you have to give to new authors or people who want to become authors?

Write. Read. Write. Read. Write. Read. Seriously. Write a ton, read a ton, and don’t ever stop writing. Also, grow a thick skin. Rejection stinks, but getting through it is the only way to the other side.

10. What would you like to say to your readers?

Thank you so very much to everyone who reads my books. I appreciate every single one of you

Mini Review: Bloodlines by Lindsay Anne Kendall

Bloodlines by Lindsay Anne Kendle was our bookclub’s recent read. I found Bloodlines to be extremely enjoyable. The characters were likable and well written. I especially loved Lily because she kept Kiera grounded. Another thing I found unique about this story was that the book made you feel every emotion. Lastly, I enjoyed was how action packed and fast paced this read was.

Despite my likeness of the book, I did find several faults. The first error I encountered was that the story felt it lacked editing. There were parts in the story that had noticeable grammatical errors. Also, I found a lot of not necessary scenes that were mentioned in the plot. Lastly, certain parts of Bloodlines felt too predictable. Usually, I am oblivious to plot twists but I found this book easy to foretell.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this read and would highly recommend to fans of Supernatural (TV show) because of the many similarities they share. I cannot wait to read more of Lindsay Anne Kendal’s work.

Comparing and Contrasting Fahrenheit 451 to The Hunger Games

(I POSTED THIS BECAUSE THIS WAS MY SUMMER READING PROJECT)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is about Guy Montag, a firefighter who is living in a futuristic society. In this dystopian novel, forms of self-expression through literature are almost extinct. Guy Montag’s primary job as a firefighter is to terminate books and the places that they are hidden. Being that reading was always disapproved of in society, Guy never had any doubts about the damage he was inflicting upon the future generations. His life is bland until he meets Clarisse. Clarisse helps Guy realize what he has been doing. Guy’s minds began to realize the wrongness of his actions when his wife had attempted suicide and Clarisse vanished. Guy Montag starts to hide books in his house and begins to rebel against the government.

In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Katniss Everdeen is forced to fight to the death with twenty-four other adolescents for the government’s enjoyment. When Katniss and the other teenager from her District, Peeta Mellark, are reaped to fight in The Hunger Games, the two District 12 citizens had to find a way to survive. With this in mind, Katniss had to get the public to like her despite how sickening the games were. As Katniss and Peeta embark on their journey in the games, the more they rebel against how the government wants them to live.

Fahrenheit 451 and The Hunger Games obtain various similarities and differences. When reading both books, I had found a large number of distinct similarities. The main similarity I had found was that they were both set in futuristic dystopian worlds. Another similarity is that both books show the possible negative effects of giving a massive amount of power to the government. Both books show remarkable character development for their main characters. In Fahrenheit 451, Guy began the story burning books but ended the book by reading a book to the public and rebelling against society’s beliefs. In The Hunger Games, Katniss begins the story by participating in the reaping but in the end she threatens suicide in order to prevent a victor. A good example of katniss’s character development is the passage where she decides to take action against the Capital, ‘Yes, they have to have a victor……… “The count of three,” he says.’ (Collins, 344).

The main difference between Fahrenheit 451 and The Hunger Games was the citizens. In Fahrenheit 451, the citizens were fine with their lifestyle. However, the citizens in The Hunger Games disliked the games that killed children. Another difference is that the government in Fahrenheit 451 is a democracy and the government in The Hunger Games is extremely corrupt.

Overall, I enjoyed both books immensely. Despite their differences, both books share important messages and are worth reading. Both books set great examples to dystopian authors.

The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag!!!!!

Thank you to Carlisa for tagging me to the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag! I had fun participating in this tag!

A POPULAR BOOK OR SERIES THAT YOU DID NOT LIKE

tog Matched An_Abundance_of_Katherines-cover

I don’t know why I disliked Throne of Glass. Throne of Glass felt boring in the beginning so I did not finish it. Matched felt like a knock-off brand of The Giver. Though Matched did copy The Giver in some aspects, it did not copy what made The Giver good. An Abundance of Katherines felt too quirky for me. I forced myself to read a chapter a night to guarantee that I would finish the book.

A BOOK THAT EVERYONE HATED, BUT YOU LIKED

shatter me series

I do not care what anyone says, I am a hardcore Shatter Me fan! Yes, Juliette is annoying in the beginning but she matures. I am aware that it features more drama than action, but the drama was well written.

A LOVE TRIANGLE WHERE YOUR SHIP DID NOT SAIL

lesmis

I completely agree with Carlisa! Eponine (I do not know how to put the accent on the e) and Marius were my OTP. I have no idea why Cosette won Marius (I am not basing my opinion on Eponine’s unfortunate fate). EPONINE AND MARIUS HAD A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF CHEMISTRY!!

A POPULAR CHARACTER THAT YOU DISLIKED

Peeta

Do not get me wrong, I did enjoy Peeta’s character at times, but he still had a tendency to annoy me.

A TROPE YOU DISLIKE

I have two. The first one is the obvious instant-love. Also, I hate when the damaged bad boy falls in love with the sweet, innocent girl.

A POPULAR GENRE THAT YOU NEVER READ

I dislike non-fiction because I read to escape reality. Unfortunately, when reading non-fiction I still feel tied down to my life.

AN AUTHOR WHOSE BOOKS YOU DO NOT READ

Richelle-Mead-fantasy-author Sarah Dessen

It is not that I dislike Sarah Dessen’s writing style, but I do not favor her stories. Richelle Mead’s writing style is not my favorite. I have read an ARC of her upcoming book, Soundless, and the story felt dragged.

A SERIES THAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING

va

I bought one book from the series but had no interest in reading it once the time came. Plus, I did not enjoy the movie.

A MOVIE THAT YOU ENJOYED MORE THAN THE BOOK

Divergent

I nominate Stella MarieSydsaurusNovaThe Petite Book Blogger, and Mia in Narnia!

TTT: Top Ten Character You Just Didn’t Click With

Hey everyone!

Yes, this is a day late but I really wanted to post my picks for this topic. For those who may not know Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Anyway, here are my top ten five characters i did not like.

Talia from the Talented Series by Sophie Davis

Talia could not make up her mind whatsoever. Not only was the character a tad bit annoying, but the love-triangle she was in made her character more dislikable.

Luke from The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Luke was the most annoying and misogynistic character I have ever encountered. Luke made me cringe every time he did something.

Every character in An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

All of the characters were slightly dull and annoying. If I had to hear one of them say fudge as an alternative for profanity again I would have freaked out.

Earl from Me, and Earl, and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

There is nothing I despise more in a person then when they think they are so high above everyone else that they can say whatever they please to people. Not only did Earl possess that trait, Earl also had a tendency to be angry over nothing.

Bianca from The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Bianca holds the same trait that I stated I disliked in Earl. Bianca was horrible to people. Bianca would be a bitch to everyone and had no reason behind her actions.