Wednesday, February 4, 2015

CHARACTER AND AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Flynn Hendrick from Reclaiming the Sand by A. Meredith Walters:Q&A **GIVEAWAY**

1.It's lovely to have you with us, can you tell us a little about yourself? 
Well, first and foremost, I’m a wife and a mom to a fabulous 8 year old girl. For almost 10 years I worked with children and teens, first at a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program and then later as a counselor for children with mental health and behavioral issues. In 2012, I moved with my family to England and stopped working. This was about the time my writing started to take off so I decided to become a fulltime author. I’ve enjoyed every moment, though I do miss working with kids and their families

2. You write YA/NA and have an element of pain/angst and emotion especially with Flynn and Ellie, can you tell us what made you write that genre?
I have always particularly loved readings stories that take place during those formative years of our life. So as I began to write more and more books, I found myself focusing on the emotional challenges and changes that occur in the late teenage years/early 20’s. The events that transpire during that particular time in our lives impacts so much of the person we become. So I have found that my stories focus on this emotionally charged period of a person’s life.

3. Who inspires you to write?

My mother who was always my biggest and loudest cheerleader. And my daughter who inspires me every single day.

4. What is the first book you ever wrote? 

Well, my very first book was this horrible vampire book that I wrote when I was 14. And when I say it was horrible, it was HORRIBLE! But the first book I self-published was a paranormal YA called Irresistible Fear. I’m actually in the process of re-editing this book and adding more content in order to re-publish it.

5. What kind of music do you listen to?

I listen to anything and everything. Though I think my favorite band of the last few years is Placebo. I’ll listen to anything they put out.

6. What's your biggest pet peeve? 

Fake people. I can’t stand someone that will smile to your face and then destroy you behind your back. I don’t have the time or the energy to deal with people like that.

7. What can't you leave the house without?

My phone. My entire life is on that thing, lol.

8. What's your favourite desert? 

Probably Crème Brule. Though I also love anything with custard.

9. Can you recommend a book that has stayed with you and you can't forget?

I read a book recently that I have yet to move on from. Thicker than Blood by Claire C. Riley and Madeline Sheehan is absolutely amazing. It takes place during a zombie apocalypse but that’s just the backdrop. It’s about friendship and survival and is just so eloquently written.

10. We've heard authors say the characters have a voice in their heads that guide the direction of the story. How did the idea of Flynn and Ellie come alive for you? 
Actually the idea for their story came from my husband. We were watching a documentary about skateboarding legend, Rodney Mullen, who is autistic. My husband looked at me and said, “You should write a book about that.” I was confused at first…I mean why would I write a book about a skateboarder? But it wasn’t the skateboarding that intrigued me. It was this man’s ability to overcome his disability. He focused his talent and rose above his perceived limitations. So I decided to write a story about a young man who everyone dismissed. Who everyone put down. And I wanted to show that everyone deserves love and understanding. Flynn and Ellie were two sides of that spectrum. Blunted and numb to emotion for very different reasons. Ellie was created as an amalgamation of my numerous clients over the years, particularly one little boy who was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (just like Ellie). I worked with him every day from the time he was 4 years old until he was 10. This little boy really was Ellie in every way, but because he had a supportive family, he overcame so much. Ellie was the representation of the child that wasn’t so lucky.

11. Where you nervous about writing Flynn and Ellie’s story? If so why?
Most definitely! My main concerns were in portraying Flynn’s POV. I was terrified that as I wrote from the perceptive of someone with high functioning autism, that I wouldn’t do it correctly. It was incredibly important for me to treat Flynn’s character realistically but with sensitivity. I had several people who both have children with autism and work in the field read his chapters to make sure I was doing it right.

12. What inspired you to start writing professionally? 
Well, I started writing full time after moving to the UK. At first it was because I took time to get settled before looking for work. During that period I wrote Find You in the Dark. After it did so well, I decided to try writing as a career. And it’s worked out pretty well.

13. Bullying is such a tough subject and I could connect to Flynn in many ways cause words can be so heartbreaking at times especially in school, If you could give any advice to young adults what would it be? 
A victim of bullying often feels completely. They feel alone and vulnerable and unable to talk to friends or family about what they’re going through. I used to tell my clients that the most important thing they can do is talk about what is happening. Because even if they feel alone, rest assured, others have been there and want to help. Bottling up feelings is so detrimental, so find someone you trust and talk about what is happening. Sharing your experiences is the first step in taking control of the situation.
14. How do you see Flynn and Ellie’s future, in that do you think they'll be good parents? How do you see Flynn reacting to his own children? 
Honestly I think it would take Ellie and Flynn a while to be ready for parenthood. Where I left them at the end of Chasing the Tide, while very much on the right track, still showed they had a long way to go. Ellie would need to get help for her issues before she could even think about being a mother. But I like to think that one day, far down the road, they could be great parents. I have a feeling that for Flynn, the experience would be incredibly overwhelming. Being as rigid as he is, it would take a lot of work on his part to acclimate to being a dad and it would require Ellie to be even more patient and understanding. But both he and Ellie have a lot of love to give, so I think they would be great parents.

15. What do you do to celebrate when you finish a book? 
A big glass of wine and a movie with my husband.

16. And lastly can you tell readers anything about what's coming up for you?
I have so many exciting things coming up! I have a special release in the near future that I haven’t really spoken about yet and can’t give up any information. But it’s something very different than what I’ve done before. Later in the year, I have the release of Follow Me Back on June 2nd, which is the sequel to Lead Me Not, which was published by Gallery Books last August. There will also be the release of the 4th and final book in my Bad Rep series as well as another project slated for the end of the year that I will announce very soon.

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary and Paranormal romance including The Find You in the Dark and Bad Rep series as well Reclaiming the Sand, and the Twisted Love series (Lead Me Not out in 2014 and Follow Me Back coming in 2015) from Gallery Books.

A. Meredith spent ten years as a counselor for at risk teens and children. First working at a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program and then later a program for children with severe emotional and mental health issues. Her former clients and their stories continue to influence every aspect of her writing.

When not writing (or being tortured with all manner of beauty products at the hand of her very imaginative and extremely girly daughter), she is eating chocolate, watching reality television that could rot your brain and reading a smutty novel or two.

Genre~ Romance, Young Adult and Chick Lit. 

(Follow Meredith by clicking on the buttons)

Reclaiming the sand (Reclaiming the sand #1)

Bully and victim.
Tormenter and tormented.
Villain and hero.

Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable.

Particularly Freaky Flynn.

Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger's. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.

But then Flynn and Ellie grew up.

And moved on.

Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.

When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other.

And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds.

But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.

(Katy's review~Click on the picture)

(Buy the book)

Chasing the tide (Reclaiming the sand #2)

The powerful continuation of the story that began in Reclaiming the Sand- a tale of love and forgiveness and learning to move on from a past that has come to define you.

Bully and Victim

Friend and Lover

Past and Future

Ellie McCallum and Flynn Hendrick’s story was as painful as it was devastating. But they were able to find within each other an unlikely yet beautiful love. Despite the obstacles that tried to keep them apart.

And together they rose out of the ashes of their tragic history.

Now years after their life changing reunion Ellie is back in Wellston, having just graduated from college and ready to start her future with the man who taught her how to love. However, returning to a town that held so much bitterness and anger was the last place she wanted to start over.

But for Flynn, who is now an art professor at the community college and firmly rooted in the place that gave them their beginning, she’d do just about anything.

Yet it’s difficult building a life when you’ve only just learned how to live.
And love, no matter how strong, doesn’t always conquer all.

Ellie and Flynn must learn how far they are willing to go to stay together. Or whether the ghosts of the past will consume them both.

Because finding a happily ever after is harder than it seems. Particularly when you’re fighting against the one thing that could destroy you.


(Katy's review~ click on the picture)

(Buy the book)

(Click on the covers to buy)
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Enter to win 1 Amazon kindle copy of either Reclaiming the Sand or Chasing the Tide (or gift it to a friend). Open Internationally. 
Enter by clicking on the picture. 

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