Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Imperfections by Ann Chiappetta @Anniedungarees @GoddessFish

 

IMPERFECTIONS

Ann Chiappetta

GENRE: YA Contemporary Fiction


BLURB:


For Lainie, feeling unwelcome is only the beginning of her struggles. Her mom is addicted to painkillers, her stepfather is a felon, and her dad traded her in for a new family.

So what if she’s kicked out of high school? Determined and attractive, Lainie sets out to make her own path.

Shane, the young man she begins dating and believes is trustworthy, transforms into a possessive and cruel boyfriend. When Efren, Shane’s older cousin, enters her life, Lainie grasps onto a shred of hope, falling in love. Shane’s obsessive and abusive treatment of her, however, casts a deep shadow over Efren and Lainie’s chance to find safety and a future free of the fear of Shane’s sadistic retribution.

Will their love persevere, or will Shane’s pervasive and negative influence push Lainie and Efren apart, forcing them to love secretly?

 

 

Excerpt:

Shane wasn’t who he once was, and I needed to do whatever I could to help her feel safe. Witnessing the abuse and shame she’d endured because of his sick obsession twisted me, and I wanted nothing more than to pummel his snotty little face until he begged for mercy. How could anyone abuse someone like Elaina?

She strode past Shane and into my suite with the final armful , ignoring him.

I’m done,” she said.

I hope she doesn’t disappoint you in bed,” said Shane.

The anger boiled, but I kept myself in control. “Enough of that. This isn’t the time to rearrange your face, you snotty wanker,” I said, my voice thick with anger.

I waited until Shane dropped his gaze, then I said, “I hope that day comes soon, cousin. I hope you step over the line so I can make some improvements to your complexion.”

He retreated to his room. I heard the lock engage, and I permitted myself to feel a little regret at not defending Elaina’s character with direct contact of my fist against that arse’s face.

I entered the room. Elaina had stacked her belongings, her life, into a corner of the sitting area. It saddened me to know that a few cases and boxes were all that remained after Shane had stolen and sold the rest to get high.

There was so much about her that I wanted to know. Why her father never helped her. Why she didn’t ask for help from her relatives in New York. I knew her mother was an addict and that she and Elaina did not speak. She was enrolled in East Bay Community College and was close to earning an associate’s degree. She wanted to obtain a bachelor’s degree in kennel and stable management. So focused, and yet she seemed sad.

The fair gowns hung on a hook in the closet. Her fingers caressed the pewter and black one.

The gesture brought me a sense of gloom, as if she were saying goodbye. After I had crept into Rita’s box and listened to her sobbing, the moderate measure of guilt I felt for punching Shane, the wanker, then asking Rick to assist in throwing him over the fair gate, had been assuaged. Shane should have gotten a sounder beating, but he was still blood kin. That was the only thing that had saved him from my rearranging his mug.

Listening to Lainie’s sobs, I realized I wanted to pick her up off Rita’s back and be the one to absorb those tears. I needed her to trust me. She was so vulnerable and isolated that I wondered if she would ever take a chance on sharing the abuse I knew she had endured during her time living with Shane. I hoped when she finally decided to trust me, I would be able to handle it.



Interview with Ann Chiappetta

    Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

    John Irving’s novels are very different from my usual reading choices and I like the sweep of his storytelling style and character development. He expertly triggers discomfort in the reader with the gritty and ugly part of the human condition. I admire his confidence in himself. I like the way the novel is written like a screen play but not so similar to a script.


    How do you select the names of your characters?

    I sometimes get names from the news or sitting in the doctor’s office and overhear a name. I add it to my names list. It can take months to find the right name for a character or it may be easy. I never know when it will be simple or especially difficult.


    Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

    Not on purpose but often a reader will call attention to something . I don’t expect a reader to connect with the deeper symbolism of a chosen character, situation or location. That said, I do like it when a reader asks me why I chose a location for a scene or points out a seemingly mundane thing and wants clarification. To me it means the reader connected with the story and is curious.


    What was your hardest scene to write?

    The most difficult scenes were the sexual abuse scenes. I included two. I wrote each one in one sitting. I didn’t sleep well after writing them.


    Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

    The answer is yes and no. Each novel is a standalone, but I discovered, thanks to a very astute reader and fan of my writing, that each main female character advances in age and complexity. My third novel, as yet unnamed and unfinished, carries on with a female main character who is in her late twenties and the storyline weaves in much more intense thematic material and will be longer.


    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    I think I achieved most of the goals and the main goal was to improve my storytelling, which I believe was accomplished.


    What inspired you to write Imperfections?

    I have a very interesting story and I wanted to fictionalize it. I found one book wasn’t enough. After finishing my first novel, I started it for a NaNoWriMo one year and the plot fizzed out and it didn’t get finished. I dusted it off after my first novel, Hope For the Tarnished was released. Can you tell us a little bit about the next books in (Insert name of book or series) or what you have planned for the future?

    I am finishing up a few longer short stories, one is soft science fiction and the other is urban fantasy. I am working on a poetry collection and a second nonfiction book on the therapeutic connection of humans and service animals.

    I am also in the beginning of revising my third novel. It will be written with an outlining strategy to help it along and strengthen it. It lacks the structure for the plot elements I intend to write and develop, so I think it will be a great story to use with an outlining method.


    Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Imperfections?

    Lainie, the main female character, is young and na├»ve. After the sexual and emotional abuse by Shane, she becomes angry and doubting of herself and others. She doesn’t see herself as beautiful or strong. Believing in herself is hard for Lainie to recognize until someone who she respects points it out and invests in her talents.

    Effren is the sexy, confident Irish guy who falls in love with a broken girl. He is the antithesis of Shane. He might be a bit ignorant of Lainie’s inner struggles. Maybe it is because she hides some of her struggles from him. Effren is grounded and set in his ways.

    Shane might have had a chance once, as a young kid, for a better life if one of his parents wanted him but his luck card ran out when his mother ran off and his father barely cared enough to make sure he went to school. Shane is a victim of circumstance and the worst result of neglect and abandonment. What made him a sexual predator and abusive person? The reader’s imagination can fill it in, he is everything sad and violent and he views the world to be used and trashed.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The romance within the ugliness was a challenge; it was satisfying to balance these elements. I didn’t want it to be a formula romance and I didn’t want it to end at the hospice care center, either. I wanted to give a gift of a hopeful ending to the reader and the characters. Lainie and Effren deserved to be offered a chance to be happy and proud of what they overcame. The best scenes were in the Renaissance fair. It presented a perfect bubble of all the elements I wanted to show. The shift of Lainie feeling free and then being stalked by Shane at the fair bridged the drama and connected it to the final scenes in a way the regular location of the story couldn’t. I immersed myself in the fair scenes and it was hard to stop writing.

I loved your questions, thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my words with you and your readers.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Ann Chiappetta, M.S. Poet and author

Ann’s award-winning poems, creative nonfiction, and essays have appeared internationally in literary journals, popular online blogs, and print anthologies. Her poems have been featured in The Avocet, the Pangolin Review, Plum Tree Tavern, Magnets and Ladders, Oprelle, Western PA Poetry Review 2024and Breath and Shadow. Ann’s short story, The Misty Torrent appeared in the Artificial Divide anthology published by Renaissance Press (2021).

Ann is the recipient of the 2019 GDUI Excellence in Writing award and the WDOMI 2016 Spirit of Independence award.

Independently published since 2016, the author’s seven volume collection includes poetry, creative nonfiction essays, short stories and contemporary fiction.

Diagnosed in 1993 with a rare form of progressive retinal disease, Ann accepts vision loss as part of her life but doesn’t let it define her as a whole person.

The author resides in western Pennsylvania with her husband, retired guide dog pet dog and cats, striving to develop a mutually-beneficial relationship with her assistive technology.


Contact Ann by visiting her website

Subscribe to Ann’s blog

Follow Ann on Facebook 

 



Giveaway:

$25 Amazon/BN GC



Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


7 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Marcy Meyer said...

I enjoyed the excerpt. Sounds like a good YA story.

annie said...

Hi it is hot and humid here in PA. Thanks for hosting me. Stay cool I look forward to reading your comments!

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Sherry said...

Sounds like a good read.

annie said...

I really enjoyed creating the characters.

annie said...

I hope it gets you to read more! Thanks for posting your thoughts.