Category Archives: Author Interviews

Class of 98: Interview & Giveaway!

Class of 98-tour banner

Today’s the first day of A.L. Player’s blog tour for her new book Class of ’98, and I’m thrilled to help kick things off!

I love this book for a lot of reasons.  But one of them is the way it reminds me of all the crazy highs and lows of being a teenager.  Some things that, as an adult, I’ve boxed up and tucked away in a dusty little corner of my mind.  Amber strikes a wonderful balance in her story, and tosses off the rose-colored glasses we often use when looking back.  I remember the great friends I made and the wonderful times we had.  But I also remember the social politics, the bullying and hormone-fueled drama associated with being a teen.  And just trying to figure out where my place was, or where it would be, when I finally became an adult.


In biology class, senior year

Amber and I both spent our teenage years in the 90s, and we recently had a chat about the experience.  By the time our conversation was over (I couldn’t print it all here as it was a bit lengthy and may have included more than one Newsies gif), we discovered we both still know all the lyrics to “You Were Meant For Me,” owned some of the same shirts (including the one I’m photoed in above), had a mutual crush on Alan Rickman’s Colonel Brandon (and still do), and perhaps most importantly, that we definitely would have hung out in high school.  So if you feel like taking a walk down memory lane, complete with platform Mary Janes, Delia’s catalogs, and YM magazine quizzes, read on.  Information about the giveaway and a peek at a scene from ’98 will come after.

Amber & her friend David

High School Amber! (with her friend David)

But first, here’s the book summary from GoodReads, in case you missed it in my last post:

Jackie Dunn and Matt Stewart barely knew each other in high school, back when she was a blue-haired alterna-kid and he was a preppy jock. High school rules dictated they’d never hang out, or sit at the same lunch table, or God forbid, date.

But when a weird storm transports them from their ten-year reunion back to senior year, they have to work together to figure out a way to get back to 2008.

Stuck in high school, Jackie and Matt agree to tough it out. They agree to do everything exactly as they remember, even though that means staying with the boyfriend Jackie knows will betray her, or playing nice with the girl that will someday be Matt’s ex-wife. Soon, they come to rely on one other, even become friends.

Jackie’s just starting to get used to curfews and term papers again, when Matt hits her with the biggest surprise of all: he’s fallen in love with her. He’ll change the past however he has to if it means a future with Jackie. But Jackie’s terrified they’ll not only alter their lives, but the lives of everyone around them.

Diana: Why did you want to write a story like Class of ’98?

Amber: I didn’t know when I started writing it that it would be a comedy, but I’m sure it became one because of how much I love comedies.  And everything I write has to have romance in it.  I also thought it was funny that if Bailey [Amber’s husband] and I had met in high school, we would have hated each other.  And here we are, married.

Diana: It is interesting, considering you two probably wouldn’t have been in the same social circles in high school.  Those were always so concrete.  At least, in my experience.

Amber: We definitely would not have been, lol.  He was Mr. Preppy, but not a jock.  I was quite Goth.

Diana: So did you have blue hair, like Jackie in Class of ’98?

Amber: I did not.  The closest I got was this burgundy-purple-ish color.  Mostly it was black.  Or red.

Diana: So why did you decide to make blue Jackie’s hair color of choice?

Amber: Because if I could dye my hair weird colors now and get away with it, that’s what I’d start with.  Which is weird, because my favorite colors are purple and green.  But my first choice would be blue–go figure.

Diana: Did you have to deal with the same peer scrutiny over your hair that Jackie does in the book?

Amber:  No, it was more my clothes and behavior that I caught grief for.  My peer issues were more about me being a weirdo.

Diana: In Class of ’98, Jackie’s psychologist father explains that Jackie dressed differently and dyed her hair as a way to rebel against the norm and show her peers that she wasn’t willing to conform to their expectations.  Was your motivation to look different in high school the same as Jackie’s?

Amber: It’s funny, I think it was the same motivation, but I didn’t understand it like that then.

Diana: At the time, did the things others say to you really bother you? I know I was picked on just for being myself, which was pretty tough.

Amber: Well, when I was thirteen I really got picked on.  Bullied, I guess.  And so when I got to 9th grade, I sort of wanted to display with my clothes and attitude that I liked being different.  I wanted to freak people out.  That mostly only lasted through tenth grade, though.  As my friends liked to say, in 11th grade I “fell into the Gap”.  But I still dyed my hair a lot.

Diana: That’s so cool that you embraced who you were.  Did it still bother you when peers said mean things about you?

Amber: I cared, it still bothered me.  But I leaned into it.  The bullying didn’t hurt as bad as it did in middle school.  It helped that a lot of the people around me were pushing the boundaries, too.

Diana: And I’m sure you probably see some of the same things going in high school these days, as a teacher.

Amber: Definitely.  That’s so hard, to find your footing.

Diana: As a teacher, being in that environment every day, what would you say are the main differences between being a teenager in the 90s and being one today?

Amber: Social media, #1.  I point out in ’98 that Jackie’s able to hide from her boyfriend and best friend because you could go a few days without talking to someone outside of school.  Now you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of class to text.

Diana: Whereas, back in the 90s, you could go home, and maybe call your friends or something, but otherwise you weren’t “connected” 24/7.

Amber: Right.  The school environment follows them home in the form of Facebook, etc.  And in the 90s you’d get in trouble for staying on the phone too long, lol.

Diana: What are some other differences?

Amber: I think being a teenager is pretty much the same messy, wonderful, awful experience no matter when you live it, 13th century or 30th.  Even though it feels like it’s not the same when you’re living it.  It’s too easy for adults to say, “Enjoy it! You don’t have bills to pay!” or whatever.  But the fact is, all of the stuff that makes the teenage experience what it is is real and true.  And anyone who says different remembers it wrong.

Diana: I think you captured that really well in ’98, using the whole premise of a 28 year old trapped in an 18 year old’s body.  You had an adult perspective looking at the teenage world.

Amber: I tried to tell a very true story of how I would feel if I had to go back to high school for a while.  Because in some stories, they’re like, “Ooh, I’d give my algebra teacher the finger and go out with that super hot guy!”  No, no you wouldn’t.  You’d do your homework and be terrified.  Because living it is totally different than imagining it.

Diana: Yeah…but then you’d also be able to have a more adult perspective when it comes to dealing with peers, which, as we see in the book, has it’s pros and cons.

Amber: Right.  Jackie has that moment where she thinks, “Wow, this doesn’t bother me, but it would have.”

Diana: I love those scenes when Jackie confronts bullying and could care less about what they’re saying about her.

Amber: Haha!  That’s a little bit of wish fulfillment.

Diana: Okay, let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about some of the 90s references in your book.  Were there any in particular you wanted to make sure you included?

Amber: It’s funny, most of them snuck in without my permission.  And I just want to point out, I was committed to my research.  I looked up exactly which game Jackie and Matt would have been able to watch after they went ice skating!  I looked up the MTV schedules for fall ’97!  I love the internet.

Diana: Sometimes I wonder what we ever did without it.

Amber: When I was telling them about ’98, one of Bailey’s students asked if I’d rather live back in the 90’s or now I said, now, no question.  Because of Google.  Although I have really started to miss the 90s fashions…

Diana: Me too!  The flared jeans, the clunky shoes.  Delia’s!

Amber: I’m just going to start rocking baby doll tees and chokers and dark lipstick.  Platform Mary Janes.  Jellies.

Diana: Okay, so let me ask you this pretty boring, generic question, but with a 90s twist: if you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one movie, one CD, and one book from the 90s, what would they be

Amber: Oh man, that’s tough.  CD would have to be Peter Gabriel’s Us.  Just because that’s my favorite, and I listen to it endlessly.  Book from the 90s–I Know This Much Is True.  Second book choice: Bridget Jones’s Diary.  Movie choice is actually really hard.  I’m going to have to pull a Tommy Nine [one of Class of 98’s characters] and say Tommy Boy.  Because I think I would never get tired of that movie.

Diana: Excellent choices.  Oh, wait.  You also get one 90s outfit.

Amber: Okay.  Super wide-leg jeans.  That yellow baby doll t-shirt with the daisy on it.  Big, gigantic-soled black boots.  I had this cool choker that had a flower pressed in glass in the pendant.  And, of course, the “Rachel” haircut.  Which I had.  Dark, dark red lipstick and nails.  I think the color was called “Vamp”.

Diana: Perfect!  Clothes nostalgia.  Now I want to grab the latest issue of YM or Seventeen.

Amber: I was so bummed when they stopped making YM.

Diana: I know!  How am I supposed to know what the hot new nail color is?  Or how to properly approach the boy I liked?

Amber: Right!  Or whether you even liked him at all??  I need a quiz!!

Diana: Exactly!  How else will I know if we’re even compatible?

Amber: That’s the tragedy.

Diana: Those were some good times.  And now I want to go back to the 90s like Matt and Jackie, lol.

Amber: Let’s go wait on the porch for lightning to strike us, lol.  Free trip to the 90s!

class of 98

Be sure to pick up a copy of Class of ’98 today, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  And be sure to check out Class of ’98’s GoodReads page!

Giveaway!  Enter here for your chance to win one of 4 copies of Class of ’98, as well as $10 iTunes gift card, so you can download some of your favorite 90’s hits.

And here is an exclusive peek at a scene from ’98 (one of my favorites):

Jackie typed “Catherine the Great” into the library catalog computer and watched as the green block cursor sluggishly deposited the letters on the black background. The two biographies she had picked up at the county library had not yielded quite enough information for her to complete her paper for history, so she decided to use her free period after English to check the school’s library. More than anything, the last month reminded her how glad she was after graduate school, when research papers had become a thing of her past. Well, for a while, anyway.

Two book titles popped up on the screen and she jotted down the call numbers. She picked up her bag and walked to the nonfiction section, where two girls tittered behind her as she scanned the shelves. She tried to ignore the laughter, but the girls at the other end of the aisle were determined to make their presence known. Without turning, Jackie knew it was Danielle Farber and Meghan Daly, two friends of Christy’s. Tiny and blonde, with perfect curling-iron curls, Danielle could have passed for Christy’s sister. Meghan, on the other hand, was a tall, thick-legged soccer player with a stick-straight black ponytail. Just being near them in the hall back in high school had been enough to send Jackie racing in the other direction. But now, with ten extra years of perspective under her belt, she held her ground.

“Hey, Jackie,” Danielle said.

“What’s up, Danielle?” she said, still browsing the stacks.

“Um, it’s really rude not to look at someone when they’re talking to you,” Meghan said as Danielle nodded her assent.

“Is that right?” Jackie pulled one of the books she was looking for from the shelf.

“Yeah. It’s pretty tacky, you know?” Danielle said.

The old nickname. She was one of two Jackies in her grade, the other a plain dishwater blonde with a nearly inaudible voice who dressed exclusively in neutral tones. Around ninth grade, in an effort to better distinguish about which Jackie one was talking, a few students had put together the nicknames: for blue-haired Jackie, Tacky Jackie. For the invisible woman, Khaki Jackie.

“Noted,” Jackie said, finally turning to the two girls. “Anything else?”

“I just wanted to tell you something,” Danielle said, strolling toward Jackie with Meghan in tow. Both girls wore baby doll dresses, which suited Danielle but looked ridiculous on Meghan’s tall, strong frame.

“So, tell me,” Jackie said, not dropping her gaze from Danielle’s narrowed brown eyes.

“I’ve been meaning to say how much I like your hair,” Danielle said

The memory of a thousand interactions of this kind stung Jackie. The punchline was coming. “Okay, thanks. See you around, Danielle.”

Meghan could not stifle her giggle. “Yeah, where do you get it done? Like, at the circus?”

Jackie stared at the two girls. “Yep, at the circus. Clown discount.”

The girls howled. “God, you are so weird. Don’t you ever want to be just, like, normal?” Danielle said.

“Not if it means being anything like you two bitches. Are we done?”

Danielle and Meghan stood open-mouthed as Jackie breezed past them, book in hand. Though the stupid comments did not really faze her now, she burned to remember how upset she would have been ten years earlier. She was so deep in her memories she did not even see Matt in front of her until she almost crashed into him.

“What was that about?” he asked.

“Oh, you heard that?” Jackie studied the We Love Reading! poster on the wall as Matt watched the two girls walk away.

“Yeah, why were Danielle and Meghan being so mean to you? They’re really nice to me,” he said.

Jackie snorted. “Of course they’re nice to you, Matt, they’re teenage bimbos and you’re a cute football player.”

“Yeah, but….” He narrowed his eyes. “I don’t get it. So your hair is a different color, so what? You’re still really cool.”

“Please don’t tell me you’re just now having this epiphany,” Jackie said. “High school ‘cool’ has nothing to do with real-world cool.” She started for the circulation desk and Matt fell into step with her.

“You seem like both kinds to me.”

She smiled a little. “That’s sweet. But the fact is, I was different. Different is scary.”

“So it doesn’t bother you then?”

Jackie handed her student ID to the librarian. “It used to. Not anymore though. Not, you know. Now.” She eyed the librarian warily, but the woman’s slack features said she had long since lost interest in student conversations. She returned Jackie’s ID and Jackie and Matt walked out to the hall.

al playerAbout the author:

A. L. Player teaches middle and high school English in Atlanta, GA.  She lives with her guitar-playing, English-teaching husband and their three crazy rescue dogs.  Her last name gets about the reaction you’d expect.

CLASS OF ’98 is Amber’s first novel.

Author Links:

Click to check out the other stops on Amber’s blog tour, hosted by:
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Featured Writer Friday: Angi Black

Angi Black

This week’s featured writer is Angi Black, who is also a freelance editor for Wise Owl Words and a literary intern.  She took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about her craft!

About Angi (in her own words): Originally a Mid-westerner and professional dancer-singer-actress, I now teach dance and theater in Southern Louisiana at a Performing Arts school. I volunteer way too much and make treats for people to bribe them into loving me. I’m quite good at it, so it has a great success rate. I also mom and wife and write words as often as I can squeeze them in.

About Angi’s writing: Angi writes both New Adult and Adult fiction.  She loves a slow burn romance and writes in a very realistic style. Especially important are the little daily details that make up relationships (not just romantic ones).  She explores what happens after the traditional happily ever after moment. You’ll never find insta-love in her books and there’s always a best friend. And usually, you’ll find her characters loving coffee or cupcakes.


Diana: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Angi: I’ve always written, but I was a dancer. I was that girl with a notebook and pencil at all times. Scraps of paper with things jotted down in every pocket and bag. The collector of quotes and words. When I was 21 I suffered a serious injury in the show I was doing. While I was laid up healing, words like ‘never dance again’ got tossed around. Obviously, I did dance, but in the lag time was the first time I considered being a writer. I didn’t really think about it again as a profession until I chose to stay home with my kids after they were born. I sat down and put a bunch of words and ideas into a story. After that, I couldn’t stop. I knew it’s what I wanted to do.

Diana: What drew you to write New Adult Fiction?

Angi: It’s what I’ve always written, it just didn’t ‘exist.’ haha. It’s such a funny thing to me that plenty of books were on the shelves about high school and plenty about adults but there wasn’t anything about the college years, the in-between. It was almost like the literary missing link. That age has so many firsts. It might not be your first love, but it’s usually the first love that could last. You live on your own. Maybe your first house even. Buying a car without your parents. The laundromat, grocery store, trusting yourself to make it to school and work. For some, paying your bills.

It’s a time where so much of what you’ve been exposed to growing up takes hold and shapes you into the adult you’re going to be. I love it. I wasn’t a fan of high school, and though I do love YA fiction, I really love that time in your life after Prom. And I love living those moments over and again.

Diana: What do you like to do for fun when you aren’t writing?

Angi: Create things. I love to craft and paint and draw and dance. I read. I watch certain TV shows and movies. And music. Music is my happy place. And baking!!

Diana: What do you find to be the hardest/easiest part about writing?

Angi: The hardest part about writing is letting go of my characters once the story is done. I get really attached. Because of that, sometimes I have a hard time moving on to the next book because I’m still stuck in the last one.  The easiest? The easiest part of writing for me is the drafting. I hate revision (although I see its value and I do it willingly) with a passion. The next new shiny is always there, waving at me to come write it. But I can draft like the wind and I love it.

Diana: Based on your experience, what advice would you give other writers?

Angi: Three things. 1)Don’t quit. And if you’ve revised ten times and someone says “It’s almost there”, don’t think “I suck!” Get in there and revise again. 2) Don’t rush. This industry is one of patience. 3) Don’t write to make money. Write because you must, because you need the words, because you love it.

Diana: If you could spend the day with a fictional character, who would it be and why? And what would you do?

Angi: I have two, because you know, reasons. The first is Lestat. I want to pick his brain because he’s seen so much and experienced everything. plus, for a vampire that will rip your throat out, he’s still pretty dreamy.  What would we do? I’d probably spend part of the time convincing him not to kill me, but after that, walk around NOLA or Paris and let him tell me how it was back in the day. Then I’d ask him to sing to me.

The second is Turtle Wexler from The Westing Game. She’d be all grown up now. I’d like to see what she did with her money from Westing and how life had been since then. I’d like to think we’d hang out at the old Westing place talking about the mystery she lived through and I’ve read a hundred times. It just seems like a great day.

Diana: Do you plan out your stories, or do you sit down at your computer and see where your story takes you? 

Angi: Yes. haha. I’m a pantser, but I’ve been plotting more and more. And I admit, the plotting does help alleviate plot holes. But sometimes I just sit down and let the words fall out of my head. I feel like the story needs to be organic and I have trouble achieving that at times with a plot in front of me. Too much of a rigid outline makes it hard to move where the story takes me. So that answer was clear as mud. I do what the story calls for. (pantser!)
Diana: Thanks so much for the interview, Angi!  Lots of great advice for writers out there.  And I loved your take on the New Adult genre.
Angi: Thanks so much for interviewing me!
You can learn more about Angi Black and her work on the web:
Angi is also a member of The Writer Diaries, a leader for #Writeclub with @FriNightWrites and a blogger at All The Write Notes.
Links to  Writer Diaries:
All the write notes:


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Featured Writer Friday: Abby Cavenaugh

Even though I typically don’t read romance novels, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to interview fellow NC writer Abby Cavenaugh.  Before I get to my chat with Abby, here’s a quick look at her book Going Home Again (published by Swoon Romance).

Review: It’s not every day a girl gets a second chance with a high school crush.  But that day finally arrives for Alyssa Jones twenty years after she first set eyes on Michael Day, who went from popular guy in school to pop star sensation.  He’s returned to Wrightsville Beach, NC, and Alyssa is assigned to interview him for Wrightsville Magazine.  The old feelings bubble back to the surface when she lays eyes on Mike, and Alyssa is surprised to find she’s still carrying a torch for him after all these years.  But there’s one big obstacle standing in her way: Michael Day is married.

After an awkward meet-cute, the sparks begin to fly between Mike and Alyssa.  During his interview Mike admits he’s escaped to Wrightsville Beach to get some space from his marriage.  Alyssa learns that things aren’t always what they seem and finds out the truth behind Mike’s career and marriage to Tina.  The two bond over failed relationships (Alyssa is divorced), and while Alyssa tries to help Mike navigate his way through his crumbling marriage, she finds it impossible to keep her own feelings out of the equation.

The story is told from both Alyssa and Mike’s point of view, and takes place partly in Wrightsville Beach and in New York.  By telling both sides of the story, the reader is able to see exactly how Alyssa and Mike feel about each other, and how their decision to be together will impact their lives.

Interview with Abby:

Diana: What made you pick the setting of Wrightsville Beach for your novel?

Abby: I grew up about half an hour from Wilmington, which neighbors Wrightsville Beach, so when I went “out” as a teenager, I’d often go to Wilmington, and when I went to the beach, I’d go to Wrightsville sometimes. Plus, I worked at the newspaper and magazine in Wrightsville Beach from 2004-2007, and it was such a positive experience for me. I loved going to work at the beach! All of my stories are set in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. It’s just such a beautiful, interesting area.

Diana: What’s the story behind your story?

Abbby: I know it may sound kind of crazy, but in all honesty, my first encounter with my favorite New Kid, Jordan Knight, inspired the story. I am a huge New Kids on the Block fan, or Blockhead. In October 2008, there was an insane “mutual attack” between fans and Jordan Knight and Donnie Wahlberg after the concert in Charlotte. Somehow during the madness, I happened to get a quick hug from Jordan, and I remember how he looked me right in the eyes and said “Hey!” and I was just amazed because back in the day, I could never get his attention at concerts or anything. After that, I got to thinking how awesome it was that Jordan finally knew I was alive (at least for those few seconds) after 20 years of me crushing on him. I never even got close to meeting any of the New Kids back in the day. And then I thought wouldn’t it be amazing if that unattainable guy you crushed on in high school was suddenly attainable 20 years later? From there, the idea just grew.

Diana: Tell me a little about Going Home Again‘s journey from your imagination to publication.

Abby: Wow. It’s definitely been a journey! I’ve been working on this manuscript since late 2008. I finished the first draft late in 2011, and it was WAY too long. After more rejections than I’d like to admit, I decided it was best to cut a lot of the story. There’s an epilogue that readers will never see, and a lot more detail to Alyssa’s history of crushing on Michael, but I had to delete those things in order to make the story stronger. Several agents were interested, but ultimately passed on it. I was ready to give up, and I shelved Going Home Again for a few months while I wrote a new, completely different story– a YA paranormal. I happened to see on Twitter one day that Swoon Romance was taking pitches, so I thought, “What the hell? I’ll give it a shot.” I pitched this: “Reporter Alyssa always dreamed of pop star Michael Day. But is he worth her name in the headlines rather than the byline? #PitchSwoon” Swoon requested a partial and just a few hours later, asked for the full manuscript. After that, things went fairly quickly and I received an offer. Next thing I knew, Going Home Again was being published and my dream finally came true!!

Diana: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Abby: I think I was about 12 years old. I read a book by Dean Koontz, and I wanted to create characters as wonderful as his. Although, obviously, I ended up writing a completely different genre from the man who inspired me to become a writer!

Diana: What do you find to be the hardest part about writing?  The easiest?

Abby: The hardest thing for me is not to use adverbs and passive voice. I’m an adverb addict but it’s something I’m working on. 😉 For me, creating realistic characters and dialogue comes easily. It’s the story part that I sometimes struggle with.

Diana: Based on your experience, what advice would you give other writers?

Abby: Do not EVER give up. I often quote legendary N.C. State basketball coach Jim Valvano, who said, “Never, ever, ever give up!” Also, don’t compare yourself to others. Their success isn’t yours. Your success will be different; it just might not come as quickly as you’d like. Believe me, I know. I’m one of the most impatient people on the planet.

Diana: If you could spend the day with a fictional character, who would it be and why?  And what would you do?

Abby: I think it would be Michael Day in Going Home Again, because I created him and I know he’s awesome. 😀 I think I’d spend the day at his house on Wrightsville Beach!

Diana: Do you plan out your stories, or do you sit down at your computer and see where your story takes you? 

Abby: I am a total pantser!!! I wish sometimes I could be more of a planner, but I just can’t work that way. I sit in front of my laptop and figure it out from there. I may know what’s going to happen in the middle or the end, but I hardly ever know the in between until I write it.

Thanks so much for the interview, Abby!  You can learn more about Abby by following her on Twitter (@abswrites) and checking out her blog:

And if you want to get your own copy of Going Home Again, you can find it at the following places:

And be sure to check out what others are saying about it on Goodreads!

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Featured Writer Friday: Caitlin Greer

I’m excited to launch my new series: Featured Writer Friday!  And Caitlin Greer was kind enough to volunteer as my guinea pig.
Caitlin Greer

About Caitlin (in her own words): I write Young Adult and New Adult stories that range from sci-fi and fantasy (because I love making worlds and things up), to contemporary (because I kind of sort of fell into it and discovered I’m not half bad). I read voraciously as a kid, and still do whenever I can. I drive a Jeep, love the outdoors, take pictures of everything I can, and write every chance I get. I’m also a member of the YA Misfits.

Eyre House cover

About EYRE HOUSE:  When eighteen-year-old orphan Evan Richardson signed up to work at Eyre House, on the sleepy tourist getaway of Edisto Island, SC, he never expected to find himself dodging ghosts. But Eyre House seems to have more than its fair share of things that go bump in the night, and most of them surround his employer’s daughter.

Back from her freshman year of college, Ginny Eyre is dangerous from word one. She’s a bad girl with ghosts of her own, and trouble seems to follow her everywhere she goes. But living or dead, trouble isn’t just stalking Ginny. When her ex-boyfriend is found murdered in the pool, Evan knows he’s got two choices – figure out what’s going on, or become the next ghost to haunt Ginny Eyre.


Diana: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Caitlin: About ten years ago. I’d written a lot as a kid, and then kind of let it fall away. I’m not sure what prompted the renewal of my writing desires, but I just realized one day that I wanted to craft the kinds of stories I read all the time. So I did.

Diana: What’s the story behind your story (which sounds like a really cool concept, by the way!)?

Caitlin: Ah, well, Eyre House is a retelling of Jane Eyre. I’m not sure what sparked the original idea, or what really spark any of my ideas (which are all brilliant, of course). But I was talking over the beginnings of the idea (which, if I remember right, involved an old house on the beach with a lot of secret passages, and some crazy person using them to do all sorts of things) with one of my CPs (Kat Ellis), and she made an off-hand comment that it could even be a Jane Eyre retelling. Obviously I told her she was the most brilliant and smart person in the world, and immediately started working it out.

Diana: Why did you choose Edisto Island as the setting for your story?

Caitlin: When I first got the story idea, I knew it would be in the South, on a beach. I spent a long time on Google maps looking at coastal towns and islands. Growing up in Virginia, I have a real soft spot for the Charleston/Savannah areas. Edisto is right outside Charleston, and the more research I did on it, the more perfect it became. Quiet island town, the tourism is laid back, and a very rich history. It really just fit the story I wanted to tell.

Diana: What drew you to write New Adult Fiction?

Caitlin: When I first started writing, I LOVED YA (still do), but I wanted the same feel with an older protagonist. Which, at the time, was pretty much a no-go. So when NA came along, I jumped at the chance. The college years are just as confusing and formative a time as the high school years, and the added dimension of a time where you’re supposed to be an adult, but you’re not really, and you’re struggling to figure out how all that works is something that really speaks to me.

Diana: Tell me a little about Eyre House’s journey from your imagination to publication.

Caitlin: Oof. Hahaha. It had an interesting one. Eyre House was originally written as YA. I wrote it in 3 weeks, which is probably the fastest I’ve ever drafted anything. I also plotted, for the first time in my life, but I realized to do a redux, I had to. After months of revisions, I queried it widely (as you do), and got a lot of requests, even a few R&Rs, but they all came back as no’s in the end. It was a really rough road, until Leigh Ann Kopans suggested I try self pubbing it as NA. I’ll confess I fought the idea for a while, until I realized that NA would fit the story so well.

Diana: What do you like to do for fun when you aren’t writing?

Caitlin: Wait, you mean there are things to do other than writing?? o_O I’m actually an outdoor nut and a photographer.

Diana: What do you find to be the hardest part about writing?  The easiest?

Caitlin: All of it. No, seriously. Some days it’s all so easy. Some days just opening a manuscript is the hardest thing in the world.

Diana: Based on your experience, what advice would you give other writers?

Caitlin: Don’t give up. Writing is something I live for, and I haven’t really met a serious writer who doesn’t feel the same. It can be hard and heartbreaking, but it’s always, always worth it, even when it seems like it would be so much better to quit.

Thanks so much for the interview, Caitlin, and for being my guinea pig for the first edition of Featured Writer Friday!

You can find out more about Caitlin on the web:

Blog: http://writerswanderings.blogspot.com


Filed under Author Interviews