Interview + Promo Post: Angella Graff (Author of Alexandra Fry, Private Eye)


Hey guys! So, I’ve been a little busy and haven’t been able to write the review for the book I just finished, That Ghoul Ava and the Queen of Zombies, but I will have it ready in a few days. I promise! In the meantime, I have an interview with an amazing author, Angella Graff who is the lady behind the book, Alexandra Fry, Private Eye. There’s also a promo post following the interview where Angella talks about her book and the Tucson Alliance for Autism. Hope you enjoy!

INTERVIEW

Hi Angella! Welcome to That Artsy Girl’s Book Blog. I’m so glad to have your here. 🙂 Why don’t you give us a little intro about yourself?

Hi!  Thanks for having me, I really appreciate it.  Well I’m a pretty simple person.  I’m married to a wonderful man and we have three gorgeous kids.  I work as an editor for a publishing house by day, and when I’m not doing stuff with the kids, I’m usually writing (or at Zumba!) or spending the evenings digging away in my garden.  Nothing extraordinary, but I definitely feel like I hit the ground running from the moment I wake up!

Your book, Alexandra Fry: Private Eye sounds like a supercool book. Tell us what the book is about.

Well Alexandra Fry, Private Eye is a young adult series about a girl, Alexandra, who has a very unique gift.  She can see ghosts.  The ghosts who visit her are some of history’s most famous, and they come to her for help in finding items that used to belong to them that have been stolen.  She gets into a lot of sticky situations trying to recover these items, but with the help of her friends Penelope and Jack, they get the job done.

Alexandra is your typical twelve-year-old girl dealing with Middle School, too.  She experiences things like bullies and embarrassing moments, and her first sort-of crush.  Her best friend Penelope is pretty quirky, and Jack has his own, very interesting secrets.

Fifty percent of the book’s proceeds are also going to my local Autism Alliance, so every purchase of the book is a donation.

What inspired you to write the story? Was it a sudden spark or something that has been on your mind for sometime?

Actually my ten-year-old daughter inspired me.  She was joking around, playing pretend, and made up a rhyming name for her pretend character.  It was something like Melanie Proctor, Future Doctor, or something, and I started brainstorming on what would be catchy and cute.  Then my daughter and I started coming up with plot ideas on what kids would like to read, and that’s how Alexandra was born.

Who is the lead character of your book modeled upon?

She’s a compilation of many things, really.  I draw a lot of her experiences from my own from middle school, and I try and take inspiration from my daughter and her friends, watching them interact with each other, paying attention to the trends they like and don’t like.  I like to think Alexandra is her own, very unique person, but my kids are definitely in there as well.

What is the very first story you wrote and when did you write it?

The first story I wrote was this 700 page epic fantasy about dragons when I was about sixteen.  That’s not counting a lot of the short stories I had been writing since I was in first grade.  I’d always wanted to be a writer, so trying to track down my first ever is tough.

What is your artistic muse?

Oh that depends because my muses are all over the place.  I’m three books in to an Urban Fantasy series for adults, also with a bit of detective mystery and mythology thrown in there, so it really depends.  A lot of time a phrase, sentence, song lyric, almost anything, will spark my interest and I’ll just sit down and write for hours.

Favorite authors and books?

Oh this is always such a tough question for me because I don’t read a lot of fiction books.  I have a degree in Medieval Theology, so I read a lot of theology theory books.  My favorite is Elaine Pagels, who wrote the Gnostic Gospels, one of my favorite.

I will give a shout out to Phillip Hall, who wrote Memories of the Dead, which was the first “vampire” book I’ve read in years that I actually enjoyed.

To you, what is the best thing about writing?

For me, writing is so many things.  It’s a way to unwind after a hard day, it’s a creative outlet, and sometimes it’s a way to escape.  Writing for me is like reading for a lot of other people, where I can just get lost in another world, and sometimes I forget where I’m at until one of the kids comes up to me and drags me out of it.

What do you do when you don’t write?

Oh a ton of things.  Right now since it’s summer, I spend a lot of the day trying to entertain my three kids who are on their break, which isn’t easy since where we live it’s boiling hot outside.  I edit during the day, so I spend a lot of hours in other people’s manuscripts.  In the evenings I’m usually out in my garden, and three or four nights a week I do Yoga and Zumba just to throw in some “me” time.  Late nights the hubby and I try and spend an hour or two together after the kids are asleep, but it always feels like there’s not enough time in the day.  Sometimes I wonder how I actually find time for writing!

You mentioned that half the proceeds from the sales of your book will go to your local Autism Alliance. What made you take this decision?

Well truthfully, it was always something I wanted to do.  I moved to Tucson in 2004 when my son was three.  He’d been at several doctors and we’d spent over a year trying to give him a proper diagnosis.  His pre-K teacher was the first person to notice some of his symptoms, and once he was diagnosed, the Tucson Alliance for Autism was invaluable in their help when it came to parenting techniques, coping mechanism, and peer therapy for him.  The information I got there really helped relieve a lot of the stress caused by trying to parent an Autistic child without knowing what steps to take.

He’s an amazing kid, at the top of his grade and with the coping skills he’s learned from the Autism Alliance, he’s been able to be more social, and even joined the band this year which is something I never thought he’d do!  I felt like giving back to the Autism Alliance was the least I could do for them.

If your book was turned into a movie, who do you think would be apt choices to play the lead characters?

Oh gosh that’s also a tough one.  I hadn’t even thought about it that far, which is probably terrible.  I’m sure if I gave this question to my daughter, though, she’d have the entire cast-list written out in five minutes!

And finally, what is the one thing that you would change in the world if you could?

In all honesty, I think that people are way too focused on forcing other people live up to other’s values.  I believe strongly in freedom of choice, as long as the choice you’re making doesn’t take away the choice from another person, and doesn’t cause them harm.  If more people participated in a live and let live philosophy, I think there would be a lot more peace and tolerance in the world, leading to happier, and more productive people.

PROMO POST

Alexandra Fry, Private Eye: The Curse of the Lion’s Heart will be free on Amazon.com/Amazon.Co.UK starting June 26th and June 27th .

As 50% of the proceeds are being donated to autism, the free books will not count toward any donations.  If you download this book for free and enjoy it, and want to make a donation, please do so here at http://angellagraffbooks.wordpress.com/donate-to-the-tucson-alliance-for-autism/

$1.00USD will go toward the donations for the Autism Alliance. 

Alexandra Fry is just your average seventh-grader.  Or is she?  Starting a new school, Alexandra hopes to leave her old life, and old reputation of “Loopy Lexi” behind.  But it’s not so easy when Alexandra is the kind of girl who sees ghosts.  And not just any ghosts, but history’s most famous.  They come to her to solve mysteries, when things from their past life fall into the wrong hands.

Desperate to be normal and make some friends, Alexandra is devastated to be visited by none other than Queen Elizabeth the First during a lesson in school.  But Queen Elizabeth doesn’t just have your average, run of the mill problem.  The thing that was stolen was a locket– a cursed locket, and if it’s not returned to the museum, the entire world will be in danger.  It’s up to Alexandra and her new friends Penelope and Jack, to find out who took the locket and why.  Ducking security guards, breaking and entering, and finding out someone isn’t who they said they were is just your average day for this seventh grade girl.

Fifty percent of the proceeds for Alexandra Fry, Private Eye series will be donated to the Tucson Alliance for Autism.  The Tucson Alliance for Autism is a wonderful organization helping parents and kids with all levels and types of autism.  They provide services, counseling and peer support.  My twelve-year-old son is Autistic, and when he was younger, I wasn’t sure what to do.  But the Tucson Alliance for Autism provided me with so much material and support that my son is now a flourishing sixth-grader with friends, activities, and he’s even joined the band at his new middle school– something I thought he would never do.  I’m thrilled and excited to help give-back to my community and this wonderful organization that has helped so many people here in Arizona.

Thank you in advance for your purchases and support of this amazing cause, and for any information please visit their website at www.tucsonallianceforautism.org

To make a flat donation to the Tucson Alliance for autism click here.

COVER REVEAL: Naturally, Charlie by S. L. Scott


Title: Naturally, Charlie

Author: S. L. Scott

Release date: Re-launch June 25, 2013

Genre: Contemporary romance

Age Group: New Adult/Adult

Cover designed by: Jada D’Lee of Jada D’Lee Designs

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15821735-naturally-charlie

NEW Naturally Charlie Front Final1 5-28-13

Book Description:

Twenty-five year old Charlotte “Charlie” Barrow is caught between her old life, and the one she is beginning to build, when she crosses paths with a handsome stranger on the subway. Not looking for romance, she closes her heart off to the possibilities of love. With a knack for mishaps, Charlie maintains her sense of humor while befriending the kind stranger who seems to be there at all the right times.

New York freelance writer, Charlie Adams, is forging his own path beyond the expectations of the society circles of his childhood. Rejecting family money, and fast-lane friends, he is snubbed by his family as he follows his own compass to a life more extraordinary.

Through a coincidence of events, they come to rely on each other for comfort. This is the tale of two Charlies learning to trust again while fighting their fates to create their own destiny.

About the Author

Crop 3S.L. Scott has a degree in Journalism and is the author of the novel, Naturally, Charlie, and several novellas, including Sleeping with Mr. Sexy and Morning Glory–all currently available on Amazon. Pursuing her passion for telling stories, she spends her days escaping into her characters, letting them lead her on their adventures. She is a Contributor to Huffington Post as well as writes for her own blog along with several other popular sites.

Travelling, music festivals, and surfing are a few of her hobbies she loves, but she doesn’t get to enjoy on a regular basis. She has an obsession with movies, a varied taste in books, and collects Fitz & Floyd teapots. With a memory full of useless trivia facts, and a Keurig addiction, she loves a fun night in with her family as much as a loud night out with her friends.

Scott lives in the lively city of Austin with her husband, two young sons, and two Papillons, enjoying life in the beautiful hill country of Texas.

She welcomes your notes at sl@slscottauthor.com.

Author social media links:

Blog: www.slscottauthor.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/slscottauthor ; @slscottauthor

FB: https://www.facebook.com/slscottauthor

FB Authors Page: https://www.facebook.com/slscottpage

Amazon Authors Page: http://www.amazon.com/S.L.-Scott/e/B009L9SPDK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Huffington Post Contributor Page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sl-scott/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/Slscottauthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/slscott1

Book Review: The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram


The Avery Shaw Experiment

When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

Rating:

https://thatartsygirlsbookblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/3stars.jpg

Review:

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Have I suddenly got too picky with books? If this was me a couple of years ago, I would have totally loved this book. I mean, it has all the elements I usually like in a book – a superhot guy, an imperfect girl and steamy romance. So, why am I not gung-ho about this book like I want to be?

Okay, I’ll be fair. The premise of this book is refreshing. It’s fun. It is in the format of a series of journal entries written by Avery and Grayson as part of their science project which they are doing for a science fair. It was different and I liked it when I started reading it. But as I went deeper, I didn’t. This is my second Kelly Oram book and I have to say that I liked the other one so much more. I think the problem I had was that the book was predictable. I knew what was going to happen at least twenty pages away. Also, Oram’s characters seem to be a bit obsessed with looks and popularity. I mean, they are important too, but I didn’t like that Oram made it seem like the answer to all high school problems is popularity. I had the same problem with the other Oram book that I read too, V Is For Virgin. And then, there is Avery. I know she has social anxiety and all that (oops, is that a spoiler), but still, all her blushing and hiding behind her hands got to be a bit too much for me. What wouldn’t I give to read a book with a strong female lead, who doesn’t turn into mush the minute a gorgeous guy looks her in the eye? And, Grayson. Um… Grayson was hot. Yes, definitely. But he was a little too cocky and sure of himself. He is just so sure that Avery will fall for him like he did for her. In the end, he does get a little insecure about their relationship, but it seemed as if his insecurity was added as a last minute thought to make it look like Grayson was not perfect after all. I just would have liked to see him grow as a character. Like how Mr. Darcy does in the end of Pride and Prejudice (Sorry, I just had to put it in there. I am a complete P&P junkie. J)

That said, there were some enjoyable moments in this book too. The shower scene was touching and sexy at the same time (strange combo, I know). I liked Aiden’s character and Owen’s too. Avery and Grayson’s family were great. The book was just the right amount of sappy. Avery and Grayson had chemistry so hot that it literally smoked the pages. The execution of the whole story was smooth and without a hitch, but like I said, predictable. Maybe my brain has been so oversaturated with YA books that I can’t like a book now unless it is really, really original. Is that such a huge thing to ask?

(I’ve changed my review format, in case you noticed. My busy college schedule hardly gives me time to write reviews, so I’ve cut down on the pros and cons. 🙂 )