Monday, November 19, 2012

A Part to Play by Jennifer L. Fry - Virtual tour and giveaway

Please welcome author Jennifer L. Fry on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions today. We're featuring information about her YA book, "A Part to Play". The author will 2 of each 8x10 autographed print of an original illustration of one of her characters to randomly drawn commenters on the tour, and a grand prize of an 11x17 autographed set of all three main characters in the book. (US/Canada only) using the Rafflecopter entry below, so comment here and follow the rest of her tour to increase your chances of winning!

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

Some of my most favorite books of all time come from my youth! A Wrinkle in Time, Twenty-One Balloons, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Superfudge, Where the Red Fern Grows, and my number one pick, Anne of Green Gables. The thing I loved about books then, which I still do, is that they took me some place new. They captured my imagination, and made me want to tell my own stories. I thought of the characters in the book as my friends. To this day, they live on in my mind as friends and adventures from childhood.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

I'm kind of a sweets addict, so it's hard to go wrong with just about any dessert for me. In the summer, I adore fresh strawberries with whipped cream, and in the winter I love to cozy up with a really good cup of hot chocolate. Dark chocolate must be in my house at all times – not just for the occasional indulgence but also because it also keeps me sane (just ask my husband).

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I was sick pretty often as a child so I was determined to become a pediatrician. I wanted to find new ways to perform uncomfortable medical tests so kids wouldn't have to be afraid to go to the doctor's office. But my talent and passion for writing presented itself early on, and there was a time when I couldn't imagine doing anything else. All of my high school friends expected me to become a professional writer. I found I didn't have an interest in journalistic writing, so when it came time to pick a college major, I decided to pursue graphic design, which was another interest of mine. I never expected to be an art major because I had a negative experience in a junior high art class that had me convinced I had no artistic ability, but that just wasn't true. I even put my writing aside for many years while I trained as a designer, and then as an art teacher. And now, I'm back to writing, where I've always felt completely at home.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

My debut novel is basically a letter to my teen self – it explores so many of the themes I struggled with during adolescence. Themes such as courage, self-belief, taking risks, confrontation, and moving forward. We can't go back and I don't want to, but it's amazing what life experience does in terms of giving us perspective. Awkward as I was, the character traits I had as a teen were ones that will serve me throughout my life, and the rest of it doesn't matter.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

Growing Pains was the best! I think I loved that show so much because the family seemed "perfect". My own family life was nothing like the Seavers so I often imagined myself as one of them. I wanted a close-knit family, for my older brother to look out for me the way Mike did for Carol. I wanted my parents to have the same sweet, affectionate relationship, and mostly I wanted the normalcy they seemed to have. Now I realize of course that normal is a relative term and families are as diverse as the people that make them up. But I still feel nostalgic whenever I see a rerun of Growing Pains.

What's your ideal summer vacation?

One to two months traveling in England, Ireland, France, Italy, and Switzerland with my husband. This has been a dream of ours for many years but life always seems to get in the way. I would love to create a series of home exchanges and hunker down in someone's house for a week at a time in each country, living as a local does. I would explore the non-touristy areas, eat amazing food, take photos, and write.

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?

I would meet Isa because she's just the sort of friend I want – she's spunky, she's got style, she's honest, she's funny, and she's loyal to her friends. I love that she doesn't care what people think of her and she doesn't pretend to have all the answers. Not everything in her life has been easy, but she manages to roll with the ups and downs. She would be a good balance for me, as she is for the main character, Lucy.

When fifteen-year-old actress Lucy Carter loses her older sister in a car accident, her mother shuts down and her father can’t hold the family together. Their only choice is to ship Lucy off to the Edmond School for Performing Arts. But boarding school is no cure for Lucy’s grief. With failing grades, wooden stage performances, and curfew violations, Lucy is threatened with expulsion. For the once talented Lucy, it feels as though she has nowhere to turn.

One night, Lucy hears mysterious music drifting through the school’s old heating system. The music leads her to a troubled but passionate songwriter whose brilliance gives her the strength to perform like never before. Yet their intense relationship puts Lucy in a precarious position: if she follows her muse, will she lose herself? And if she breaks it off, can she stand on her own again?

As Lucy sat down in the graveyard against an aging oak tree, she caught her breath and thought of all the ways Kate had helped her to be stronger. She thought of how hard her sister pushed her to go to ESPA because Kate believed in her so much. Lucy knew she'd disappointed her sister when she decided not to go to the school. She told herself it was because it was too expensive for her parents and she would miss her friends and family too much to go, but deep down, she knew it was because she was afraid that she wasn't talented enough and she would embarrass herself and her parents.

Imagining her life going forward without Kate, all she could see was a vast emptiness ahead. A throbbing pain started in her head, her stomach, everywhere all at once. Lucy hugged her knees to her chest and let the tears come as hard and fast as possible. She stamped her feet and pounded her fists into the moist dirt at the base of the tree. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair!

Her life came down to a before and after. Before accident, the bright world full of laughter, and after accident, the muted world through fogged up glass. Just when the glass started to clear up, something reminded her of all that she'd lost.

Jennifer L. Fry is a writer, artist, and teacher in Marin County, California, where she lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable dogs, and orange tabby cat. Though she has been writing since she was young, A PART TO PLAY is her first novel.




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  1. Thank you to the hosts at Books in the Hall for showcasing my novel today.

    A PART TO PLAY is also available as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes.

    I discussed a few of my favorite books above. Please leave a comment to let me know your favorite childhood book.

    1. Thanks for stopping by today! Re: books from my youth -- I loved fantasy and read the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander and the Narnia books about a million times. :-)

  2. I read "Black Beauty" about a hundred times growing up. I was very "horsey" so I was also a huge fan of anything Marguerite Henry wrote, and of course the entire Black Stallion series. :-)

  3. I didn't read the Narnia books until I was an adult, but I sure think they are fantastic! Black Beauty is also a wonderful book.

    It's difficult to recall every book that made a difference for me as a kid because pretty much all I did was read. My mom was reluctant to buy me a new book because she knew I'd finish reading it by the end of the day.

    My grandmother had a collection of Nancy Drew mysteries, so I was very into those as well. And when I ran out of my own books, I borrowed from my brother, who was very into the Hardy Boys. Needless to say, when Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys came together for a special book, I was thrilled!