Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Pages/File Size: 198pages/473KB
Formats Available: Paperback, E-Book
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When the past and the present collide…
Hailey Kent knows how she wants to spend the summer before her junior year in high school: hanging out at the pool with Jenna, her BFF; riding her new trail bike on Vermont’s country roads; and flirting with Jenna’s hot older brother, Cody.
Hailey’s plans are shattered when a post-graduation accident puts her brother into a coma. Feeling guilty for not stopping him from going out that night, she seeks solace in exploring an old house and its overgrown gardens.
A mysterious correlation of events propels her back in time to the Vietnam War era, where she realizes she can use her knowledge of one boy’s fate to save his life.
But first, Hailey needs to convince him of her sanity.
Mia Grace is my pen name. I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and have lived in Vermont for the past forty years.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
While I have always been interested in writing, I also had a love of biology and chemistry and pursued that as my college degree. I currently combine my interest in writing with my interest in science, in that I write and edit nutrition information for consumers as my profession.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I have been writing “seriously” since the 1980s, but first made the effort to publish in 2011. In between, my writing often took a backseat to family needs.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Correlation: Time-traveling teenager seeks to redeem herself for previous tragic mistake by saving a young man from going to Vietnam.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self publish?
Red Adept Publishing is my publisher for Correlation. I have also self-published Found Days.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Found Days was easier. I knew exactly where I wanted it to go, and it moved along quickly. Correlation had its fits and starts and required a significant rewrite before I was happy with it.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have two different books coming up. One is another young adult time travel. The other is historical fiction.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
So far, all of my ideas have come from experiences in my own life. The genesis of Found Days was a near-fatal accident on a turnpike. In Correlation, it was my own experience in discovering an abandoned house that inspired all kinds of ideas about the stories it might tell.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
To date, I’ve self-published four books, three of them under another name. Correlation will be the first published with a publisher. While my books have not generated a lot of reviews, the ones I have received have been extremely helpful in giving me information about what readers find most appealing and most annoying. One of my books also was fortunate enough to inspire an online discussion group which provided me with insight into what the readers liked and disliked. It was great.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Would anyone actually do this? A review is meant to be a service to the public, and it needs to be honest. As long as a review is based on the right things, a tough, but fair, review is the most useful for the writer who wishes to grow. Five-star reviews are nice, but if they don’t offer information about why the book rates a five, that doesn’t tell me much. Likewise, I do have to chuckle at the low-rated review that is based on the reader not liking the character’s behavior. If the reader finished the book, I assume it couldn’t have been that bad. Very few people profess to love Scarlett O’Hara, but they still read Gone With the Wind from cover to cover.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I’ve done both. Correlation had three previous titles. It started out as On Borrowed Time, became The House on Redemption Hill, then just Redemption Hill. The final title was the publisher’s choice.
Do you decide on character traits before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Character traits are defined before I start the book. My stories are very character-driven, so I need to know my characters before the story starts.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I rarely know where my stories are going. I take strong characters and put them into a situation, then let them take the story where they will. I may have a basic idea of what I think is going to happen, but stories generally reveal themselves as the characters take over. Once, I tried writing a out of sequence and found that didn’t work. The later chapters that I had pre-written no longer fit by the time I reached them. The characters inevitably take the story in their own direction and things change.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I’ve had stories get to a point where I can’t see my way out of a dilemma. When that happens, I accept the fact that it may take a while, but the answer will come to me. And so far, it always has. I spend a lot of time thinking about my writing as I travel to my day job. So far, my answers have come on that drive, and I just have to have faith that it will happen.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
My characters are based on “types” of people I’ve known—the older generation of no-nonsense women who are the mainstay of a small town’s church suppers, for instance, or a good person who’s lived a hardscrabble life but has never lost his sense of humor. I’m always careful to change details enough so no one can point to a character and identify an individual, but I often have someone in mind when I start out.
As for events, absolutely. As I mentioned before, my stories are based on my own experiences and also on stories I’ve heard about unusual circumstances faced by others.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I have several books I’ve read more than once. I absolutely love Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson and reread it every couple of years. It literally transports me to a snow-covered island off the coast of Washington state. I’ve read A Tale of Two Cities more times than I can count. It’s a fascinating story. I also reread Thomas Hardy books periodically. I love his use of language.
Did you have a favorite author as a child?
I read all of Louisa May Alcott’s books, starting with Little Women. I also read every book in the Anne of Green Gables series. I loved The Boxcar Children, and I remember reading The Twins series by Lucy Fitch Perkins.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
Mia Grace is a pen name I use for my young adult books. I like separating them from my contemporary women’s fiction, which I write under my own name, Rosemary Fifield.
Where can readers follow you?Twitter: @MiaGrace_author.
“I can’t believe how bad we were!” Hailey Kent stood on the sidelines of the sunny playing field and brushed the loose dirt from the front of her Fenton High T-shirt. On the expanse of trampled grass before her, the two remaining pairs of sophomore girls moved in perfect synchrony toward the finish of the three-legged sack race.
Hailey swiped sweat from her forehead with a gritty forearm as she watched the lead couple. “Look at Lexie and Jess. They’re speed demons.”
“They’re coordinated,” Jenna Wells answered. “And they have a system.”
“We had a system. You just don’t know your right leg from your left.” Hailey rubbed the grass stains from her knees. “We’re going to have to hit your pool after this.” She stood up and shaded her eyes with one hand, peering toward the baseball diamond in the distance.
A familiar figure stepped up to bat in the softball game in progress between the seniors and the faculty. Cody. He stood poised over the plate, his practice swings confident as he faced the faculty pitcher. Her heart flip-flopped. “Is that Cody?”
Jenna followed the direction of Hailey’s gaze and scrunched her cute little pug nose at the sight of her older brother. “Yep. The weirdo was all psyched this morning about this game. Is David playing?”
Hailey’s delightful vision of Cody at the breakfast table faded at the mention of her own brother. “No, he’s skipping school today.”
Jenna’s chocolate brown eyes went wide in mock disbelief. “Skip a field day? His last one ever?”
“Don’t remind me.” Hailey turned back to the grassy field in time to see the last of her sack-racing classmates lurch across the finish line. “I have to give up my birthday so we can celebrate his stupid graduation. He’d skip that, too, if my parents would let him.” Just talking about it made her teeth clench.
Jenna picked up the sweatshirt she had tossed on the grass. “What did your mom say about the taco party?”
“I can do it next weekend.” Hailey mimicked her mom’s voice, “‘David’s only going to graduate once, but you can have a birthday party any time.’ Like turning sixteen is no big deal.”
“Maybe it’s for the best. More kids’ll be able to come next weekend.”
Hailey couldn’t resist smirking at her impish friend, who’d recently dyed a streak of ruby red in her long blond hair against her mother’s wishes. “Plus maybe you won’t be grounded by then.”
Their classmates were coming in from the sidelines to meet at the finish line, a clump of rowdy teenage girls in short shorts and Fenton tees celebrating the end of the school year with cheers and high-fives.
As she and Hailey strolled across the sunny lawn to join them, Jenna asked, “Do you think your folks’re going to get you that off-road bike?”
“I hope so. We’ve got to stay in shape so we can kick butt next year.”
Jenna gave her a playful grin. “Uh, we?”
Hailey grinned back at her. “Yeah, we—you and me, sister. We’re biking every day this summer. And next year, we’re smokin’ this race.”