Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Little Red Gem by DL Richardson - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award to one commenter at every stop a prize consisting of one ebook, a bookmark and a laminated pass (the passes relate to the storyline). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to Books in the Hall!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I hope your readers enjoy finding out a bit about me. I hope they can leave comments so I can find out a bit about them, too.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

The first books I fell in love with were Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitte and The Trumpet and the Swan by E B White. Tuck Everlasting was the story of a young girl who went on an adventure that resulted in her finding the elixir to eternal life, yet she turned down the chance to live forever. I think that was the start of much of my philosophical musings. What would I have done in her place? Eternity sounds grand, but to watch the world grow old while you don’t age could become a drag. A few years later I read The Outsiders by S E Hinton, and that was the book that really connected me to the characters. It was like “Wow, I’m not alone. There are people out there who aren’t rich yet who have values.” I think these books prompted in me a desire to question why we do things, and they also showed me how connecting characters with readers is important. These books were the building blocks for why I became a writer.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Hunger Games. There is something terrifying, more terrifying than vampires, about a world where kids are forced to kill kids for entertainment. It’s that pushing of the envelope humanity is so tempted to do, and the true test of humanity is whether we take that plunge into doing what’s wrong. The sad truth is that we often do. We see it in the news every day, how poorly humans treat each other and everything else whether through lack of education, money, or conscience. Animals are subjected to cruelty for entertainment! I can’t get understand it. Horse racing, dog racing, elephant riding, bear fighting, I could go on and on about this subject. None of these forms of entertainment are necessary nor are they right. The Hunger Games is like a mirror being held up to show humanity’s dark side. We’ve developed a culture where we’ll do anything for our entertainment despite the outcome. I think it’s good to step back and say to ourselves that some things are just not necessary nor are they right. We know right from wrong, yet many people make the decision to look away and say that right and wrong are for the lawyers to decide, but that’s not the case. It’s for us to decide what’s right and wrong, and if we can stand up for what’s right then we should be free to do so.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

I grew up watching American TV shows. Mork and Mindy. Happy Days. Brady Bunch. Six Million dollar Man. The Bionic Woman. Wonder Woman. Space 1999. MASH. The Muppet Show. I loved them all. These shows were entertaining (yes, we can be entertained without being cruel). These shows were vibrant, colorful, funny, poignant. But if I had to pick a favorite from this list it would be The Bionic Woman. Jaime Somers was smart, she was beautiful, she was kind, and she was strong – with or without the bionic implants. She was also one of the nice girls. She never bitched or back-stabbed or ridiculed anyone, even while they were trying to kill her or blow up the world. If my female characters end up half as decent and strong as Jaime Somers, then I’m a happy writer.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

Oh, please don’t tease me. I would love t win a million dollars and I’d know exactly what I’d spend this money on. I would also, not for a second, contemplate staying at work because “I’d be bored” like I’ve heard some people say. I’d never be bored. I would build a house with a library and buy millions of books to stock it. In this house would be a conservatory with a black grand piano taking center stage. Outside the conservatory through a set of French doors are gardens that I would sit in to gaze over the mountain and lake views. In the garage is a red 1963 Corvette. I guess because I’m not allowed to save any of the winnings I’d have to buy lots of tinned food, chickens and goats, plant vegetable crops, and install water tanks and a solar energy system so I don’t have to worry about having no money in the bank. I could live like a hermit, not a problem.

Playlist for your current book.

There was a special song I listened to while writing the ending to Little Red Gem. I was stuck on how to end this tale of a girl who drives herself crazy in order to find out how much her boyfriend loved her, when she only needed to know how much she loved herself. On the radio came Katy Perry’s song “Roar.” As soon as I heard the lyrics, I knew I had my ending. Little Red Gem is a love story, but it’s a love story with a difference, the main character goes on a journey of self discovery. I think all boys and girls, men and women benefit from going on such a journey. There’s a great line in the book where she says, “My life. My choice.” Sure, we all make mistakes. Some we learn from. Some we regret. But the path to happiness is acceptance of the choices we make. I hate that we’re always looking to blame everyone else. I like to do like my dog, and scratch some grass over that business and move on.

Now let's learn about your book!

Love can make you do crazy things as Ruby Parker discovers when she dies and returns from the grave to unearth how much Leo Culver loved her. With the aid of bad advice from a ghost who is trapped by a curse, a little bit of magic courtesy of her unsuspecting half-sister, and a televised music talent show coming to town to hold auditions, Ruby Parker makes more of a mess in death than she ever did in life. Can she fix everything before it’s too late? Or will she spend eternity as a ghost, haunted by the unknown depths of love? Either way, one thing Ruby learns is that while love can make you do crazy things, it can make you do amazing things too. But at what cost?

Enjoy an excerpt:

…“I’d know if I was dead.” While I watched my two best friends walk with arms around each other for emotional support, I wrestled with accepting Audrey’s version of the story. To do so meant I was dead. And dead meant I would never again speak with Leo. And there were so many words left unsaid, so much business left unfinished.

The final nail in my coffin came when a customer walked out and Audrey pushed me directly in front of the customer’s path. Instead of bumping into him, I fell through him, landing on my hands and knees. My skin tingled with pins and needles from where the body had passed through me. A loud noise filled my ears, similar to water flowing from a dam. For a split second my vision blurred. Then I watched in absolute horror as my hands and legs split into millions of tiny fragments.

Audrey might have been capable of delving into her mother’s magic bag to produce this neat trick, but I wasn’t.

I crawled into the gutter because it seemed the most suitable place for a reluctant spirit to bawl her eyes out. Audrey was kind enough to sit beside me with her hand resting on my shoulder; although we were both apparitions the contact still registered. I forgot about being angry with her and welcomed her company.

“Okay, I’ll admit this has been a rather extraordinary morning so you may be right.” I sniffed back the tears and turned to face her. “How did I die?”

“Your car slid down an embankment. You weren’t wearing a seat belt. Leo dragged you out of the car but it was too late.”

I jumped up. “Leo!”

Music first captured the creative interest of young adult author D L Richardson. From choir, to her first acoustic guitar at age ten, to singing with the school band and performing in school musicals. When she left school she helped form her own rock band where she sang lead vocals, played bass guitar, and wrote all the lyrics. At age 26 she sold her equipment and focused on writing instead. She now has three novels and one short story anthology published.

Little Red Gem is a tribute to her former life as a musician and contains some of the author’s actual experiences, though she has never entered a national singing competition to capture the attention of the boy she loves. It is also a tribute to those brave young women who charge forward in pursuit of their dreams.

She lives in Australia on the NSW South Coast with her husband and dog. When she's not writing or reading she can be found playing her piano or guitars, renovating the house, or walking her dog.

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