Friday, June 14, 2013

Inerview with Parker, star of INSOMNIA by J.R. Johansson

Have you heard about this awesome book yet? Keep reading--there's an awesome prize opportunity at the bottom. If you're a writer, you'll want it....

I first met Parker when he was still a bit rough around the edges--his author, J.R. "Jenn" Johansson was in my writer's group and I had the pleasure of critiquing INSOMNIA before she got her agent. I was so amazed at her talent, I told her she was going to be published very, very soon. Once again, I have proven my prophetic prowess.

'Cause it's all about ME.

Ahem. Anyway.

Parker is one of those heroes who could also turn out to be the villain in his own story. As such, I sat down with him recently and had a little heart-to-heart. He had some 'splainin to do....
Me: So, Parker, you know stalking is a crime, right?
Parker: You're kidding, I hadn't heard... aren't you supposed to read me my rights or give me a phone call or something?
Me: No, this is just a friendly conversation: you're not in custody, and you can leave at any time. Do you WANT to be arrested? Is there some reason you SHOULD be arrested?
Parker: No reason that I know of. I can handle friendly, as long as it stays that way.
Me: Good, good. So tell me about this girl you... like.
Parker: Girl? What girl?
Me: The girl you're stalking, Parker. The girl who tells me you're always just around every corner, waiting for her. Ring a bell?
Parker: I walk around a lot of corners. Daily really...I kind of thought everyone did.
Me: Sure, sure. What's more unusual is when the same person is waiting behind each. And. Every. One of them.
Parker: This is feeling less friendly...
Me: I'm guessing she feels the same way about you, Parker. Just what exactly is she supposed to think when you keep popping up?
Parker: That we go to the same school? Live in the same town? Look...I don't want to hurt her and I never would.
Me: Really? Then why are you sending her threatening emails?
Parker: I wasn't. I wouldn' that.
Me: Uh-huh. So these emails from your email address aren't from you. Really.
Parker: My email? They can't be from my email...
Me: Fine, deny it. The evidence speaks for itself. Just do yourself a favor and stay away from her, okay?
Parker: I'll do my best.
Me: Somehow I'm not struck with a real strong confidence after that reply. Is doing your "best" the same as staying away from her?
Parker: Sure, like I said. I don't want to hurt her.
Me: So she's not going to be running into you anymore?
Parker: We go to school together, I can't avoid her completely. But I'll try to bother her as little as possible. Are you satisfied?
Me: And you'll stay away from her after school?
Parker: I think I already answered these questions. My mom's probably worried. I should get going...since this is just a friendly chat and all.
Me: Does your mom know about your interest in Mia?
Parker: I don't know, maybe we'll have a chat about it when we get home. A friendly one... like this one.
Me: You know, I think that's a good idea. In fact, I think it'd be even better if I came along. Just in case she had any questions.
Parker: Nope. That's fine. I'm sure I can handle this conversation without your help.
Me: Fine, but just remember, I'll be watching you.
Parker: Seems fitting. Thanks for the chat. Have a nice day.

Okay, so Parker's a bit squirrely. You might have to read the book to find out what he's up to. On second thought, you DEFINITELY want to read the book to find out what he's up to.

Here's the cover description:
Her eyes saved his life. Her dreams released his darkness.
After four years of sleeplessness, high school junior Parker Chipp can’t take much more. Every night, instead of sleeping, he enters the dreams of the last person he’s made eye contact with. If he doesn't sleep soon, Parker will die.
Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that’s utterly addictive. But what starts out as a chance meeting turns into an obsession; Parker’s furious desire for what he needs pushes him to extremes he never thought he’d go. And when someone begins terrorizing Mia with twisted death threats, Parker’s memory blackouts leave him doubting his own innocence.

Awesome, no? Here's what other awesome authors are saying about it:
“The perfect blend of everything I love in a story. I hope a sequel comes soon!” –James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of THE MAZE RUNNER
“Completely unputdownable. I’ve decided to nickname Johansson: Scary McScarypants, because she spooked me in all the best ways.” –Carrie Harris, author of BAD TASTE IN BOYS
“Cleverly written and dangerously dark, Insomnia will take you to the brink of insanity. A must-read for thriller and romance fans alike.”—Elana Johnson, author of POSSESSION
“A riveting story of terror and despair that will keep you up long past your bedtime.”—Jennifer Bosworth, author of STRUCK
You ready to win? Excellent. Just follow the widget:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I've been in Jenn's critique group (have I mentioned that?) so I can tell you--you WANT her to look at your story. She's amazing.

Now get to know her. Stalking is encouraged. It's only fair....

J.R. JOHANSSON is a young adult thriller author published with Flux & FSG/Macmillan. Her debut, INSOMNIA is coming June 2013. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. When she's not writing, she loves reading, playing board games, and sitting in her hot tub. Her dream is that someday she can do all three at the same time. She has two young sons and a wonderful husband. In fact, other than her cat, Cleo, she's nearly drowning in testosterone.

In case you were wondering (and I know you were) INSOMNIA is available now:

Are you excited? Scared? Excited to be scared?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Jori's Interview for the A CHANGE OF PLANS Blog Tour

One of the best things about being part of the writing community is that, inevitably, your friends start publishing. Donna K. Weaver has been my friend for a long time, and is one of the nicest, most giving writers out there. I'm proud to be part of her debut. (Make sure you enter to win free ebooks and swag, at the bottom of the interview.)

Blog readers will have seen this cover already, but it's pretty enough to show again:

*sigh* I love that cover.

Today, I'm pleased to share an exclusive interview I was able to obtain with Jori Virtanen, one of the hunky side-characters in A Change of Plans (hunky enough for his own book, as it turns out...). As you'll be able to tell, getting this interview wasn't easy, but I hope you'll be pleased with the results:

Me (quietly): I'm sneaking into Jori Virtanen's hospital room, where he's been recuperating from the pirate attack that has shocked the world. Rumor has it he was friends with the four young people still missing, so we'll see if he can tell us anything about them.
 Jori? I'm sorry to bother you...
 Jori (eying Robin suspiciously): What do you want? Haven't you taken enough blood?
 Me: No, no... I mean, yes, I'm sure they have. I mean... I just wanted to check to see if you're okay.
 Jori (with a you-can't-be-serious glare through his one exposed eye, before turning to stare at the wall): Do I look like I'm okay?
 Me (sighing, sitting on chair by bed): I can't imagine what you've been through. Who would have thought pirates would attack a cruise? I think you're so brave.
 Jori's face turns even blotchier, the pale sections turning whiter and the bruises, showing under the huge bandage covering half his face, darken. His mouth works but nothing comes out.After an awkward moment, he grimaces. Jori: I wish people would quit calling me a hero. I'm not hero material.
 Me: Well, you have to admit that there's a lot of evidence for the hero theory, right? You did what you did, put yourself in danger, and all because you cared about your friends. That seems really heroic to me.
 Jori: I was the only one stupid enough to get plowed in the face.
 Me: (laughing): I thought stupidity was a prerequisite for heroism. I can't think of a single fabled hero who carefully planned his exploits.
 Jori: (tries not to smile): All right. Point taken. Are you from the psych unit?
 Me: (smiles): Why? Are you crazy?
 Jori: I'm not talking to any shrink.
 Me: (grins) Then it's a good thing I'm not a shrink.
 Jori: If you're not a shrink, who are you?
 Me: I'm sorry, I know you're probably resting. I just wondered if you wanted some company. Sorry. I'll leave if you want.
 Jori: Are you really assigned to keep me company? What, am I on a death watch or something? Afraid of what I'll do if the Coast Guard calls off the search?
 Me (with a sympathetic sigh): You must be frantic. Did you know the ones who are missing well?
 Jori: Yeah. I did. That Jimmy is really going places. (Jori's eyes widen) I do know them.
 Me (winces): Sorry. I'm sure they're okay. Jimmy is a musician, right?
 Jori: Actually, he's supposed to be a rancher. Just graduated and is expected to go help with the family business. But you have to see that guy on stage. He's wasted in Texas.
 Me: What about the others? Maria? What is she like?
 Jori: She's Jimmy's fiancée.
 Me: His fiancée? When were they going to get married?
 Jori: They haven't set a date yet. He still has to break it to his mother. (Jori rolls his eyes.)
 Me: (laughing) And Braedon and Lyn? Are they engaged, too?
 Jori: Engaged? Are you kidding me? They're barely talking. Well, Lyn's barely talking. But Braedon and me, we got a plan.
 Me (leans in, intrigued): Do tell.
 Jori: I don't know a lot of the details, but Lyn got burned bad a while back. And she's afraid of fire, if you get my meaning. And she saw Braedon as fire.
 Me: Well, I've seen pictures, and that man is sort of hot. And he's a surgeon, right?
 Jori: I don't know about hot. I'm hot. Or I was. But Braedon is so approachable. He must have an amazing bedside manner. It was something else to watch the two of them before she got scared off, like something special was happening right in front of me. Man, that sounds sappy.
 Me: No, it sounds sweet. Did they meet on the cruise or come together?
 Jori: They met on the cruise. And hit it off almost from the beginning I think, from what Elle says.
 Me: Elle’s Lynn’s best friend, right? So you were friends with both of them?
 Jori: Will you quit talking about them in the past tense? Yes, I was friends with both of them. All of them. I AM friends. Now you're making me do it.
 Me: Sorry, I'm so sorry. I just meant, you know, before they went missing.
 Jori: Yes, they're my friends. The first real friends I've ever had.
 Nurse: Jori, time to change your dressing! (Stops, stares at Robin.) Who are you? You can’t be in here.
 Jori: I thought you were with the hospital. Who are you?
 Me: I’m just… a fan. I’ll be going. (Runs away before Jori can throw his water mug at her.)
Le sigh. Men with scars are sexy. Doncha think?

As if that's not enough, behold the Rafflecopter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you also order your own copy of this awesome book:

In closing, let me leave with the blurb about the actual main characters in A Change of Plans. Jori is awesome, but this ain't his book.
When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive. 
However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he's navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship--on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer.
Their confusing relationship is bad enough, but when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions in American Samoa things get worse. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn's fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.
Have you read it yet?