Saturday 20 June 2015

Blog Tour Interview - Downcast by Cait Reynolds

Author: Cait Reynolds
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Book Description:
What would you do when faced with an impossible truth? Written with heart and passion, Downcast by Cait Reynolds is ripe with twists you never saw coming and love that defies the odds in this intense new Paranormal Romance retelling one of mythology’s greatest love stories.

It’s the start of Stephanie Starr’s senior year of high school, but sadly, this is no life of the prom queen. Stuck at the bottom of the high school social totem pole, Stephanie is forced by her domineering mother to wear lumpy linen dresses and eat organic tofu for lunch in a world of mini-skirts and pizza.

What Stephanie doesn’t anticipate is gorgeous and cocky Haley Smith who breaks social convention and pursues her with a determination that is both terrifying and flattering. Afraid that Haley is simply trying to set her up for massive humiliation, Stephanie does her best to push him away. But the more attention he pays to her, the more she runs, and the more everyone else begins to notice.

Instead of a loving family to support her as the mean girls make their play, Stephanie’s mother begins to unravel mentally, her possessiveness of Stephanie spiraling to new and frightening extremes. Stephanie is forced to grow up, find herself, and learn the truth about her past in order to save her mother, her friends, and her town. When the truth is revealed, nothing can prepare her for the outrageous reality of her existence…and nothing can save her from her fate.

Except Haley.

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Author Interview

1. What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always been inspired. It seems like my first memories are of telling stories and writing. This isn’t the first book I’ve written, not by a long shot. But, this is the first book to come this far and tell a story I think is worth telling.

Growing up, Mom always encouraged me to be creative – writing, drawing, reading, playing music. Dad had absolute faith in my abilities and told me that no matter what, I would become a writer.

This would get under my skin sometimes when I had gotten a promotion at work, and his congratulations always included: “Just remember, you are meant to be a writer.” But, now, I am so grateful for his support and just wish he could be here to see just how right he was.

2. Do you have a specific writing style?
I have two styles of writing, depending on what stage of the book I’m at. For the first 60,000 words or so, I write socially. I love doing writing sprints on Twitter, and when I’m hardcore into the writing phase, this is where you will find me. It’s steady production, and I like the competition and the company.

However, as I approach the final 25-30,000 words, I get a little slap happy and hysterical. I go into this manic phase of thinking everything I’ve written is crap, so whatever, I’ll just power my way to the end because it doesn’t matter because itisallcrapandhelpstoplaughterhahahahahahahaa.

Ahem. Yeah. So there’s that. That’s about an 8-day intensive phase, and I’m just a little nuts during that time.

3. How did you come up with the title for your book?
I didn’t.

Ha! No, seriously, I didn’t. I had some God-awful placeholder like “Underworld Queen” while I was casting about, trying to find my anchor during the first draft. I owe “Downcast” and “Olympus Falling” to one of my best friends and beta readers -  Britt Behm.

Britt just gets me and my words on a fundamental level that few other people ever do. She’s my fiercest critic – in fact, she drove me to start Downcast over at one point because she felt I could do better…and she was right. And, she’s my fiercest cheerleader (if, by cheerleading, I mean slapping me around a bit when I start whining).

But, once she said, “Downcast,” it was like everything clicked. It was magic, and it simply couldn’t have been anything else.

4. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are actually two messages in the book.

The first is that high school sucks, especially if you’re a geek, nerd, or general member of the Snub Club. And, frankly, nothing any grownup does is going to make it better. It’s suck-it-up-buttercup time because, guess what? High school ends! It’s over, done forever, and you are free. A little teeth-gritting and playing of the game now will get you through – and prove to be excellent life skills in the future. Just hang in there. It does get better.

The other message is that real change will only happen when you are ready to be the change. Don’t look at anyone else to do any of it for you. Yeah, you can have friends and family, and even supportive teachers. But, at the end of the day, both the hard work and the reward of change comes down to you being ready to take charge of your life.

5. How much of the book is realistic?
Hmmm…apart from the gods, the dog/s, and the whole mess with almost blowing up the town? Pretty realistic, all in all.

My characters all have elements of people I know in them – but they’re tossed in a blender and so nobody is any one character specifically. A lot of the high school dynamics I describe are things that I observed during my own time in school. I spent a lot of time watching from the sidelines, and I got a lot of amusement out of following the drama and the plots of the popular kids. Looking for clues and tidbits of news, while watching for small changes in dynamics and behavior taught me a lot about what it is to show a character moving through a story.

6. What book are you reading now?
Right now, I’m reading “Out of the Flames: The Remarkable Story of a Fearless Scholar, a Fatal Heresy, and One of the Rarest Books in the World” by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone.

I tend to read mostly at night before bed, and fiction is just too exciting for me. I will forgo sleep for finishing a book, and I’m not any good for anything with a book hangover. So, I usually have a non-fiction book I read at night to calm me down.

Because fiction is so engrossing for me, I save it for vacation or days off when I can binge read. I packed six books for five days in the Dominican Republic back in March, and I was finished before we got home.

7. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m slow to the Gillian Flynn party, but I’ve arrived. I’m looking forward to reading more of her stuff over the summer.

I just finished a hilarious Chick Lit comedy called “Miss Adventure” by Geralyn Corcillo – I identified so much with that book because I’m such a wanabee tomboy when it comes to sports and outdoor adventuring.

I am trying to figure out what kind of beach time I’m going to have this summer, and that will dictate how many fiction books I get to read. Hopefully, I’ll get through 8-10 at least.

Finally, I’m really jazzed to be part of an amazing YouTube channel with upcoming authors SJ Cairns, K.N. Lee, Kim Alexander, and Daphne Lamb. These chicks are not just freaking hilarious onscreen, but they can crank out some amazing prose. I love, love, love getting sneak peeks into their work!

8. What are your current projects?
For the rest of this year, I’ll be focusing on finishing “Thunderstruck” and “Sunkissed,” books 2 and 3 in the Olympus Falling series. I have a teeny tiny little side project that I would to see if I can push ahead, but we’ll see.

I’ve got my business plan and book plan laid out for 2016 and 2017, and they include a series for each year and a non-fiction project. It’s pretty ambitious, but I think the hardest thing is just getting the roll started.

9. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That’s an easy one! I will never, ever, ever, ever again try to patchwork together three manuscripts and new content, especially if the content spans several years. I feel like I ought to add “scruffy-looking nerf herder” to my resume after pulling Downcast together!

No, from now on, it’s one draft at a time, start-to-finish.

10. What were the challenges (research, psychological etc) in bringing your story to life?
I joke to myself that “Downcast” is the book that just didn’t want to get written. It took me four and-a-half years from the first notes to the final proofing.

I glanced off it, danced around it, denied it, embraced it, fought with it. As awful and frustrating as it was, it turned out to be the rock of my dreams I could hold onto when my dad died, moving two states and six apartments in two years, miscarriages, kidney transplant issues, you name it.

Through it all, though, it was this tiny little bright thing in my dark night sky. It was the hope of Downcast coming to life. I feel like I have run a marathon, and haven’t even had a chance to catch my breath because it’s time to run the next marathon – faster and better.

But, I’m willing to work hard, and I’ve learned the power of sticking to my dreams, no matter what. With that kind of conviction, I feel like I can do anything…and I hope I will!

About the Author
Cait Reynolds lives in Boston area with her husband and 4-legged fur child. She discovered her passion for writing early and has bugged her family and friends with it ever since. When she isn’t cooking delicious meals, running around the city, rock climbing like a boss, or enjoying the rooftop deck that brings her closer to the stars, she writes. Reynolds is able to pull from real life experiences such as her kidney transplant, and her writing reflects her passion for life from having to face the darkest  places and find the will to laugh.

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