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Hi Sara. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. I love visiting readers and other writers out here in the blogosphere.
Q: What was your inspiration for Undertow?
I began writing Undertow shortly after my mother unexpectedly passed away. I’d wanted to write novels since I was a child, and her death reminded me that we don’t have forever to pursue our dreams. Around that time, the Twilight DVD was released. Since portions were filmed at various locations nearby, I was eager to watch the movie and relished the lush cinematography. Afterwards, we visited the Olympic Peninsula and stayed in Forks, which has become a tourist destination for Twilight fans. Never having read the novels, I bought the series and devoured them quickly. I became intrigued by the idea of this girl sacrificing her life to join a vampire, and thought: What if Bella was mentally ill, and Edward existed only in her mind? I wanted to write a story which would show how one young woman overcomes a painful past and meets her future with hope and strength. With my love of the Oregon coastline, I knew that had to be the setting for my novel. Thus, Undertow was born.
Q: Did you have any hurdles to overcome while writing Undertow?
Two huge hurdles. The first was my challenge to believe that I could actually finish the novel. I wrote the first draft by hand, in bits and pieces, over a long period. Revisions upon revisions followed, and then edits. But until its publication date, it still didn’t seem real! The second huge hurdle to overcome is just the finite amount of time in a day. I work full time at a very demanding job and have a family to care for. Making time to write is definitely my biggest challenge.
Undertow by Callie Kingston
Publisher: Carolwood Press
Publication Date: January 01, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author website: http://calliekingston.blogspot.com
Summary: Marissa can’t wait to leave behind her mom and the traumatic life they shared. With Drake, she has it all figured out--until she discovers his betrayal. She flees to a desolate beach on the wild Oregon coast hoping to escape her pain where, overcome with exhaustion, she dozes off beside a log. When the first icy waves strike her, it is too late: a rogue wave drags her out to sea.
Somehow, she survives. Perhaps that gorgeous merman she dreams of each night rescued her? Determined to discover the truth, her obsession deepens until she again risks her life in the unyielding sea. Will the creature Marissa seeks save her? Will she be lost forever in the eddies of her mind, or will Jim, her new boyfriend, keep her from falling into the abyss?
Review: When I set out to read this book, I was going into it thinking it was a contemporary romance involving a merman, and really looking forward to read it. Boy, was I unexpectedly surprised - and excitedly so! This story has so many layers that go way beyond the surface - romance, breakup, breakdown, recovery, and so much more. Everything was revealed slowly, with little hints dropped at opportune times. Because the author did not reveal everything all at once, I found myself tied to the book, eagerly needing to know more. The pacing was phenomenal - Callie Kingston is a master! Can this really be her debut novel?
Marissa and the rest of the cast of characters are so believable - honest reactions to what is happening. I found myself easily stepping into Marissa's shoes while I was reading. I felt her pain, her yearning, her relief. Her friends responded just as I could imagine many of my friends responding to my life - well done!
It is so obvious that the author either is very familiar with the setting of this novel, or she has done some deep research. The descriptions of the scenes are so vivid and detailed. You could find yourself actually in the locations. There were times I was envious at Marissa being on the beach, and at other times, I was thoroughly scared of the beach.
This is a novel that will stick with me for some time. The emotion was so real! I want to thank Callie Kingston for asking me to read her novel & to be part of the book tour. This is now my favorite so far this year!!!!
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