Read on to find out more about the two books and the author’s writing process. Karen will also be giving away one of her backlist at each tour stop and a grand prize of a $20 Amazon or B&N gift card.
HOLDING ON Blurb:
When you have everything you’ve ever dreamed of, the hard part is Holding On.
British NYU professor Daniel Gardner thinks life can’t get better than the day his three-year-old stepdaughter, Ella, calls him Daddy for the first time. Then his wife Marienne tells him she’s pregnant. Daniel is thrilled, but worried about Marienne’s health. Not wanting to cause her stress he turns to writing to calm his nerves. He pens a screenplay, thinking it’s nothing more than a mental health exercise, but when a colleague reads it and hands it to a producer, it turns into a production contract. Daniel accepts the offer and transfers to a teaching position at Dartmouth, hoping that small town living and a shorter commute will simplify his life.
As he attempts to juggle his new responsibilities he gets an unexpected letter from Roger, the father he never knew. For the first time since they met, Daniel and Marienne are at odds; she wants him to give Roger a chance but Daniel wants nothing to do with the man he thinks abandoned his mother. As Daniel and Marienne struggle they must contend with interference from Daniel’s sexy ex-wife, who appears to want him back, and a handsome, all-too-helpful single dad who desires Marienne as more than a play-date pal. They must both confront deep-seated issues with trust and acceptance if they’re going to find a way to make their marriage work and hold on to the love they share.
GUEST POST BY KAREN STIVALI
HOLDING ON is the sequel to MEANT TO BE, but can be read as a standalone novel. Meant To Be tells the story of how Daniel and Marienne meet and fall in love and Holding On is the story of what happens once they’re a couple. If you choose to read Holding On first you could easily go back and read Meant To Be as a prequel to find out how they got together. Personally I prefer to read stories in chronological order, so my recommendation would be to start with Meant To Be.
My writing process is fairly simple. I see stories play out in my mind, like a movie, and I write down what I see. In the case of Meant To Be the idea had been floating around in my head for over eight years before I finally sat down to write it. Once I started, I saw the story so clearly I wrote the entire thing in just a few months. After I finished Meant To Be I submitted it to agents and editors and I couldn’t get Daniel and Marienne out of my mind. I’d spent an entire novel watching them fall in love and become a couple and I knew I needed to write a second book about what they were like now that they were together.
Some writers will tell you they have to be in a particular place, or mood, or setting in order to write. I am lucky that I can write with pretty much anything going on around me. Usually you can find me writing on my laptop at my kitchen desk, which is conveniently located in the center of my house. I like to be able to cook dinner, answer the phone, get the door etc while I’m working. Most of the time the chaos serves me well.
That said, when I really need to crank through a lot of story, I get more work done at night. That’s in part due to the fact that the house is quieter then, but it’s mostly because I’m naturally a night person so I think clearer after dark. If I’m really immersed in a story and seeing it clearly it’s not unusual for me to write 3-5k words in a day. Of course that’s not always the case. Some days I feel lucky if I can manage 500 words. Once I see a scene in my head, though, I know I’ve got it. It’s waiting for certain scenes to get to that stage that takes some time.
I’ve been told by my writing group and my beta readers (first readers) that my first drafts read like most people’s 3rd or 4th drafts. I think that’s largely because I don’t write until I see things so clearly. I don’t ever plot things out on paper, but I do let them play out in my head. By the time they get typed the thoughts are fully developed and in near final form. It definitely cuts down on the number of rounds of edits I need (although, trust me, I still do several rounds of edits).
The most important thing for me when I’m writing is to listen to my characters. I listen to what they say and watch what they do. And I know how they’ll react to pretty much any situation they encounter. If I don’t know a character well enough to know that, then I’m not ready to write that person yet. Luckily my characters tend to be very chatty and like to tell me everything, which is good. There’s nothing I like better than knowing secrets. Even if they’re about fictional people.
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And don’t forget to follow the rest of the Tour!
Black Raven Reviews
Jessy’s Book Club
What’s On The Bookshelf
Literati Literature Lovers
A Little Fiction of Every Flavour
Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books
My Life Beyond Lables