After getting involved with Dylan, the bad boy of the Dixon High Swim team, Charley decides to stay close to home for college. It’s just safer that way. Later, she realizes it’s a mistake, just like dating Dylan. She decides to put the past behind her and leave the small hick town of Grassy Pond. There is only one problem; she makes this decision three weeks before the fall semester begins. Charley packs up her Honda and heads to Southern College. On the morning she’s about to leave, Cash walks back into her life. He has been her best friend since they were four and is the only one who knows the REAL Charley. She leaves her farm in Grassy Pond with all kinds of “what if” questions. Charley decides to live her college career to the fullest. She finds a great group of friends, joins the swim team, and meets a guy named Joe. He’s got eyes that make ya wanna melt! At college, she encounters a new problem. Charley has been away from home for only forty-eight hours before she breaks the two promises she made to herself. Will she be able to overcome her past? Find new love? What will happen with Cash now that he is back in her life? Will she find what she is wanting in Jackalope Joe? How will her first semester of college end? Joe, Cash, or alone?
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- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I am a wife, mother, book blogger, special education teacher, country music lover, and the proudest dance mama you will ever meet! I love spending time with my family, seeing Luke Bryan shake it for me, and feeling sand between my toes.
- What do you do when you are not writing? When I’m not writing I’m wearing the many hats of a mom. You can find me blogging at Hardcover Therapy, singing loudly in the car, or enjoying the sunshine with a cold beverage!
- Do you have a day job as well? I’m a special education teacher. I teach high school students who are working toward being job ready once they graduate.
- When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book? I started writing NTB in April 2013 and finished it in August 2013.
- How did you choose the genre you write in? That is a very tricky question. I <3 New Adult as well as Young Adult. I know that college is a time in your life for growth, mistakes, and doing a bunch of stupid s***! I began to think that would make a great basis for a story. Currently, with teaching high school, I don’t feel I can cross certain lines as an author. NTB can actually go either way, NA or YA, but it’s a pretty “clean”read.
- Do you listen to music while writing? Sometimes, just depends on my mood and if I’m in the groove. If so, you can guess it will be anything country! My personal favorites are Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert, or ANYTHING country!
- Bacon or chocolate? Bacon! Hands down! Chocolate covered bacon could be the best of both worlds!
- Do you ever experience writer’s block? It’s more like time issues. With teaching, blogging, and running my sweet little girl to dance, I’ve really had to learn how to balance my time between the writing world and my family. Needless to say, my family always brings me back to reality! ;)
- Do you work with an outline, or just write? I outline. I have tried to just write, but then I just ramble.
- Is there any particular author or books that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? Honestly, growing up I hated to read and write. I was a student who read what was required and wrote the minimum. My senior year of high school I read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston, and I fell in love with the book. I realized that once I found a type of book I enjoyed; I enjoyed reading. As an adult, there are several authors who have influenced me. Amanda Bennett has to be #1. She actually helped me through the self-publishing process due to our blogger/author relationship. Tiffany King would be #2; she is a phenomenal writer and I’m always awaiting her next release! Finally, I would say Jamie McGuire & Aleatha Romig because I aspire to be like them one day! They are living a dream that I’d love to be a part of as well!
- Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? The biggest challenge was formatting. I honestly did everything myself with the help of my betas and a few close friends. The week before publishing I thought I was going to throw it out the window due to Microsoft Word going non- responding… I was like a hamster in a wheel! Working over and over!
- If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? Not one thing… except the hamster in the wheel issue!
- How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? I market by blog tours, giveaways, street team, posts from friends, bloggers, and people sharing how much they <3 NTB!
- Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? No, that’s what I love about being Indie.
- Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? Well, NTB storyline is completely fictional, but the places are not. Like I said, when I was in college we did some stupid s*** and I actually asked my friends if it was okay to use those experiences. Some characteristics are based on people I know, but it’s more of just my way of giving them a shout out for their impact on my life. Sorry to say but there is no Dylan, Jackalope Joe, Cash $, or Charley in real life. I will have to say that Hank’s Tavern is a real location, but from what I understand from readers is that anyone from the South has a Hank’s Tavern!
- What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? Chapter 12 Let the Meets Begin is my favorite chapter because this is where Charley’s life in Grassy Pond and Southern collide. All of the people she cares about are in one location.
- How did you come up with the title? Basically, with everything Charley is given in life, she decides to leave home and not turn back. It’s about independence.
- What project are you working on now? Currently, I’m working on Finding Charley (Full Circle #2) that will release in April 2014. I’ve found that country music is a great inspiration for novels! I have two that I have floating around in my head just dying to get out!
- Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with? Yes! I can say for sure that there will be a novella from Tessa’s POV! I believe her insight into what goes on while Charley is away would be quite interesting! I also love the idea of a Piper, Joe, or Cash as well!
- What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Toughest criticism is when someone gives you a one star review, but doesn’t even finish the book. Being a book blogger first, I would never give a one star to something I couldn’t finish. I feel that is an injustice to an author. Best compliment? There are so many! One does stand out in my mind. One of my mother’s students got NTB off her desk one day, because of course, Mama’s gotta brag! That student doesn’t like to read, but she couldn’t put it down. I just hope I can continue to inspire YA to read. I was just like that student, but it only takes one book to change that outlook!
- Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Thank you! Readers are what make it all worthwhile! I never knew the impact that my book would have on people locally or international. It has been amazing! Support has been overwhelming at times! One thing that readers can do that might not know the impact is to write a review. Your words are an inspiration to others just like mine as an author! Tell the world if you love a book!
Excerpt: As we make our way to the door, Georgia slips on the gravel. She starts laughing and the rest of us do as well once we help her up. “Y’all, I think the ground and curbs are out to get me. I mean they come out of nowhere. The next thing I know, I’m on my ass again!” Georgia is a hoot. She always makes light of situations. Hank’s Tavern is not exactly what I pictured. It’s an old, worn down, wooden shed. There are five parking spaces in front of the restaurant section of the place. The rest of the parking is located across the road in a gravel lot. It’s gravel, no pavement anywhere. The bouncers are dressed in jeans and Hank’s Tavern t-shirts that fit just a little snug around their arms showing off their muscles. They ask for our IDs, take a brief glance, and in we go. I will have to say, the guys don’t get in quite as easy. They get patted down and driver’s license checked. Sometimes it pays to be a female. We enter through another set of glass doors and immediately cigarette smoke and stale beer hit my nostrils. The room is open except for a few pool tables and the bar. It is dark, lights are flashing, and the music is bumping. We do exactly what any group of girls would do, walk straight to the restroom. You have got to kidding me! No door really! There is no freakin’ door on the last stall. After taking a few minutes to get over the negative stall door and freshen up, we walk out and head straight to the dance floor. I have to say that this is exactly redneck meets ghetto fabulous. Whoever thought a place like this would play Mystikal, Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, throw in a little “Downtown” by Lady A and Old Crow Medicine Show? We have the best time just dancing in a big group. I notice Crystal and Lucas on the floor; she smiles and waves before continuing to do things she should be embarrassed to be doing in public. I am so thankful that I don’t have to deal with that in my room. That is one benefit to her dating a Resident Assistant… he has his own room. By midnight, Hank’s is packed. I decide to grab a bottle of water, and as I’m about to pay, I hear that oh so sexy voice. “I got that.” “It’s okay, Joe. I got it.” “No, I insist. I was an ass earlier. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad. It’s the least I can do.” “Damn straight! I’m proud of who I am and where I’m from. I just hate when damn Yankees come down here and then try to make us look like hicks. You don’t like the way we live, then don’t cross the Mason-Dixon,” I say as playful as possible. It did tick me off earlier, but I don’t want him to think I’m a bitch. “I swear I won’t do it again, and nobody is gonna pick on you eating squirrel but me,” he says with a smile. “Okay, I’ll give ya that.” “So Squirrel, you wanna dance?” “Mr. Scaredy Cat, I’d love to.” He takes the water bottle from me and leads me to the dance floor.
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