Monday, January 9, 2017

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: The Life Group by Maura Jortner @maura_jortner @lakewaterpress @yaboundtourspr

The Life Group
Genre: YA Thriller
Release Date: January 9th 2017
Lakewater Press



Every day since her sister vanished, Rachel has visited the radical church where Leah was last seen. There are still no suspects or leads, but Rachel’s positive clues lie in that church somewhere.

Thirteen days on from Leah's disappearance, the pastor introduces Rachel to Tim, a devout worshiper of his Lord. To avoid dealing with his own demons, he agrees to spend the day helping Rachel search for her sister.

It’s Saturday, March 14. Maybe today will be the day. Maybe today Rachel will be reunited with Leah. Or maybe today will change Rachel’s life forever.

For fans of GONE GIRL, this gripping Young Adult thriller will keep you guessing until its explosive climax.

'...a truly original storyline and taut pacing that pulls the reader relentlessly toward the devastating conclusion.' USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Stormes Hawker

'Teens and adults alike will devour this rollercoaster story...' Emily Bleeker, author of WRECKAGE and WHEN I'M GONE

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Guest Post:

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

Perhaps because of my background in theatre, I always cast the characters in my head before I begin to write. Most often, I select people I actually know—former students; members of my religious congregation; old friends from high school; someone, perhaps, that I didn’t interact with much but that made a strong impression somehow. I do this because I have to have a clear picture of the character to be able to imagine how he or she would respond to various situations or dangers. Because that’s what I do, after all: type out what I’m day-dreaming.

With this said, at times my characters surprise me. Sometimes they become far feistier than I originally thought they would be, or perhaps they turn out to have a far greater lurking, dark secret than I knew they had when I began writing. As the narrative evolves, each character comes into clearer focus. Thus, often, I have to go back to the beginning and read the book with an eye for character consistency because over the course of writing I’ve grown to know them to a greater degree. They’ve changed since I first sat down at my computer; they’ve become who they need to be for the narrative.
Likewise, for technical reasons, characters sometimes need to change as well. For instance, in the early drafts of one of my novels, the main character was a petite, thin, young woman. But then the ending altered from my original plan. And for very specific technical reasons, I needed her to change too—to grow about six inches. So, after a loud and pronounced sigh, I got down to work; I had to go through the script and alter her. Not only physically, but emotionally too. She was suddenly one of the tallest girls at her private boarding school for gifted kids—and that has emotional ramifications as well as physical ones.

So what’s the bottom line? Ultimately, I believe it’s a good idea for a writer to have a strong notion of who she’s dealing with when she starts her book. After all, characters and who they are—life-like people with aspirations, griefs, sorrows, past mistakes, faults, goals, and dreams—must drive the narrative. That must be what creates the tension, the problem, the complications and forge the ultimate outcome. Who they are. What they want. What drives them. What propels them or pushes them away. Those are the things that make a book believable or not, that make a character seem real or not. On the other hand, a writer also needs to be open to change and a skilled technician as well. A writer has to be able to ask herself, “If I change the character in this particular way, what will it do to the narrative? How will the book—as a whole—need to change to accommodate that alteration?” and then be willing to go with it, buckle down and rewrite the whole dang thing, if necessary. Because character is at the heart of it all.

So . . . do the characters all come to me at the same time or do some of them come to me as you write? Yes, and yes.

About the Author
Maura Jortner grew up in New Hampshire and now lives in Waco, Texas with her patient husband, two amazing daughters, and one unruly cat. She teaches literature and writing classes at Baylor University. A lifetime ago, she used to direct plays and put on puppet shows for kids, which led to a Ph.D. in Theatre History. Currently, when Maura’s not writing, she’s spending her time like every native-born Texan: worrying about how many chiggers might be hidden in the grass outside her house or if she put enough sunscreen on her kids.

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