Saturday, 16 August 2014

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEW, REVIEW & PROMO - Drops of Rain by Kathryn Andrews


Title:  Drops of Rain
Author:  Kathryn Andrews
Release date:  11August 2014
Purchase Link:   
 SYNOPSIS
Ali Rain
Sometimes I think to myself, “How did I get here?” Then the pain hits and I remember…it’s because she’s gone. I now live in a new town, go to a new school, and I’m supposed to be moving on with my new life. Only, I no longer know who I am anymore. Dancing is all I have left and every day I feel completely alone. Silence has become the theme song to my life. She said to find some joy and light, but I don’t know how. Mostly, I feel surrounded in darkness…that is until I meet him.

Drew Hale
I have only one goal, in 298 days I’m going to drive away from this small beach town and never return. People are always watching me closely, too close, and I’m tired of wearing a mask. I need to be free. Swimming is my ticket out of here and I remind myself daily to fly under the radar, stick to my routine, and under no circumstances let anything distract me. I’m not as perfect as they think, most days I am drowning in guilt. I’m not sure I will ever be able to escape the feelings of shame, worthlessness, and just being unwanted…that is until I meet her.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22046210-drops-of-rain?from_search=true
 EXCERPT
"Ali?"
Her eyes flash to mine and neither one of us says anything.  I can see and feel her broken heart and it makes my chest feel weird again.  Her chin begins to tremble and slowly more large tears drip from her eyes.  I'm not sure if I should touch her or not, but I can't help myself.  I let out a sigh and reach over to wipe them away with my thumb.  She leans her head against my hand and closes her eyes.  I wasn't expecting that from her.  At this moment, this girl owns me and I would give anything to make her stop crying.
I move and sit Indian style next to her on the towel.  She still hasn't opened her eyes, so I pull her onto my lap and wrap my arms around her.  Her skin is cold.  She shivers again, and lays her head on my chest.  Her arms find their way around my body and she hangs on while silently crying.  I've always known that she has a sadness in her that follows her around, but this kind of sadness is more like pain and grief.  It reminds me of the time I saw her crying when she was dancing.  Maybe I should have gone in then?
She takes a deep breath and then lets it out slowly. 
"It's been seventy-eight days, and every day just gets further and further away."
 
TEASERS









AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Ok, I read the back credits in the book and I know you have been writing your whole life and your husband is your biggest supporter and I loved your note - Find something that you love and tell yourself, "I do therefore I am."

So how did Drops of Rain become your debut novel?

Two summers ago I stopped working, and believe it or not, after so many years there really is an adjust period.   It took me 18 month just to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. I dabbled off and on with writing and it wasn't until after last November's writing challenge that I thought, you know I should do it!  (the writing challenge my husband found a few years ago for me. It is a non-profit called www.nanowrimo.org.  Every November they have a 30 day 50k writing challenge.) So New Years rolled around, and I said this is my year!  Writing this novel was my only resolution.  Ideas are always popping into my head and it was the high school girl who just lost her mom and dad made her move... that's what started it all.  I wrote every single day, even days I didn't want to. Some days, I wrote thousands, others I just wrote a sentence.  Drops of Rain took me 72 days.

Does Drops of Rain have a special meaning to you? Does the dragonfly hold a special place in your heart?

Really, the special meaning is that it is my first completed novel.  I do believe the one that will mean the most is going to come after the Hale Brothers Series.  Nope, no special significance to the Dragonfly either.  The first year I participated in the November writing challenge, my husband who is always super supportive and encouraging, he got into the challenge with me and once a day would give me a key word prompt of something that he wanted me to add into my writing that day: dainty spoon, blade of grass, a strawberry, a thunderstorm... a dragonfly. One day, while I was staring at my computer drawing a blank, his prompts popped into my head and I looked up the dragonfly to see what the symbolism was and that's how it found its way into Drops of Rain.

How do you draw out your characters so well, they are so believable and real I felt like they were friends of mine?

I don't know. I love description, in fact several people have called me wordy, but I just don't care. I love wordy "flowery" books. My husband and my friends have all said that since we talk about these characters so much, in many ways they are real to us too.  I think maybe that's part of it. Talking about them with others has definitely helped develop them more.  I'm gaining other people's perspectives on situations where I am in the moment and they are the outsider looking in.  Helps me see the full picture of how they are feeling, what they are thinking, etc.  My friend Author Elle Brooks is good at this.  She challenges me when she thinks there should be more or if something feels like it is lacking.

Obviously writing comes easy for you, tell me how often you have ideas and what is your process of getting your ideas from your head to the paper?  Are you a writer that is constantly having conversations with themselves about different characters and stories?



I do have ideas alllll the time. Currently, on my desktop I have seven projects started. It's hard because I want to let my mind wander, but now, with Beau and Matt's book on the horizon, I'm trying to focus only on their stories and possible scenarios. I am always having conversations with them in my head. Tossing around ideas and how things might sound. All ideas that I think might have potential land on paper (a Word doc). Usually, they are fragment thoughts, but they are ones I don't want to forget.



What is next for you?  When will Starless Nights (#2) and Unforgettable Sun (#3) be released?  I am really looking forward to these by the way.

Finishing Starless Nights is next up for me.  While I am jotting down ideas for Matt's book, I really want to get Beau's done.  Not only for the readers, but I am so excited about the way his is unfolding, that I want to see it done LOL.  I am hoping to have it done and in the readers hands before the end of the year.  The mockup for the cover has been made and I am on the calendar with the editor in October.  So, once school is back in (next week), I will be hitting the cave!  Ideally, I would like to have Matt's book out by April or May of next year.  Who knows, maybe the words will just pour themselves onto the pages. :)

How much of the story is based on real life, how much is fictional?



I would say that 98% of it is fictional. Anna Maria Island is a real place that we visit. The café and school, fiction. My dad died 15 years ago but my parents were divorced and I didn't know him that well, and no my mother did not remarry and she was not abusive.  My boys both swim, pizza is my favorite food, and I love dancing. I am not a trained dancer, but I love to watch it.  My best friend lives just outside of NYC and she was married in the West Hamptons where Drew proposes.



How many "stories" do you have in the works besides the two above?  Will you ever release any of your early writing works?



Besides the two above, I have 7 others. Not all of them will make it to publishing, but the ideas are there in case I want to keep them going. The first story that I wrote is sitting around 60k words and incomplete. I'm glad that I have held onto it because although it was originally going to be a stand-a-lone, I'm now thinking about making it 2 books. There is enough of a difference for the two characters that I feel it can be turned into a Her POV and a His POV. I'm certain that the readers will be angry, but I don't care, I love this idea. I have loved these two characters for so long, and so much of their backstory, the first third of each book, would have nothing to do with the other character making them uniquely different.  It is currently written in a duel POV, but I'm thinking just maybe it could be two.  This is the project that I want to work on after this series. 



Who is your "author inspiration"?  Or who do you admire in the author world?  Who would you fangirl over?

I've never really had a specific author inspiration.  To me, for so long, I was inspired by them all.  They said, "I'm going to write a book." and they did.  I know that there are a lot of books out there, but big picture, not a lot of people can say they've written a book. I found the ebook world a couple of years ago. I bought Rule and then read Jay Crownover's story.  I'm pretty sure she said she was a waitress in Colorado, and I thought to myself, "if she can do it so can I."  I completely fangirled over E.k. Blair after her Fading series... and then discovered she lives in my neighborhood LOL. I love Charles Martin, Karen White, Natasha Boyd, Jessica Park, CoHo, the list is endless.  I've also come to realize that my mindset is changing.  It's not so much who is your favorite author, it's more what are your favorite books.  Does that make sense?


What does writing bring to you?

Writing is an outlet for me. I can't help the ideas, the thoughts, the emotions, the creativity... it just comes and stays until I let it out. My best friend up north doesn't understand.  She read the Prologue to Drops of Rain and asked how long it took me, my response was, "I don't know... twenty minutes." She's like that would have taken me a year.  It also brings me satisfaction in achievement. I want to show my boys that when I say I'm going to do something I do it. I'm not a quitter. They are all so proud of me, in the end, that was all I needed.

How do you find the time to write with a busy household?  Or how do you juggle a young family and being an author?

It's hard. I find that I can get most done right after I drop them off at school, or right after I pick them up from school. What worked really well for me in the beginning part of the year and I am about to pick back up for Beau, is one thousand words a day.  It's not really as hard as it seems and most days I end up writing more.  But this takes the pressure off of me and makes writing fun, and not a chore. Inspiration does strike in random places though: car line at school, the baseball field at one of their games, etc. And then I just type myself an email on my phone.  Another thing to know about my writing is that I don't start at page 1 and work my way to the end.  I write scenes as they come to me and then slowly fill in the holes. My mood changes daily, so does my thought process.

What type of books do you like to read and why?

I like to read romance books.  Preferably contemporary romance. I don't read paranormal (except for Twilight), other than FSOG I don't read erotica, and only on occasion will I read historical.  I have read a few post Pride and Prejudice fiction books, and all of Philippa Gregory's books. But, mainly just Cont Rom. Why, I love a good romance story.  To me, there's more meat to these books, more story.  Which if you haven't seen, a lot of bloggers have posted lately "less sex, more story" and that is me.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good love scene and in all of my books moving forward the characters are older so there will be more detailed descriptions (I just couldn't do it in a YA book - to many of my friends have teenage daughters).

What do you like to do to relax or wind down?

If I'm not reading, then it is spending time with my husband and boys. We live on a golf course and my next door neighbor put in a large brick patio under a big tree and often my husband and I find ourselves with a glass of wine, sitting out back, and watching the sunset. Now, if the husband and kids aren't here: cleaning (a clean house and the bed made makes me relaxed), running (I run a lot), and taking a looong shower.  Lots of great story ideas are born in the shower. LOL

A couple of random ones



What is your favorite flower and colour?

Peonies would be my favorite flower and if you ask my kids they will tell you pink or yellow. As a kid, I picked orange because my feelings were hurt that it was always left out, no one ever picked orange... LOL. Really now, I just love them all. 



Will you ever travel to Australia?  We have a couple of events here in Australia, we would love to see you.

Traveling to Australia isn't anything that we have ever considered. At this phase in our lives, it's all about the kids.  Any thoughts that we might have had about traveling overseas, it was always assumed when they are older and could enjoy it.  Should I ever become a best seller... you can count on it!



What is your favorite holiday destination?

Anna Maria Island, FL but, I do love the mountains too. :)





Oh, and just to give you an idea... the blue words that are the answers to your question, 1,717 words.  See how quick that came.  :) I hope you like these answers and if you have any others, don't hesitate to ask.  Thank you again for picking me for the promo. xoxo
 

Connect With Kathryn




REVIEW
 (by Trish)




5 STUNNING & HEARTFELT STARS


Wow, just wow…Kathryn Andrews really brought to the forefront what some young adults deal with on a day to day basis.  Whether it good or bad, it can be hard doing it alone.  


When you feel like you are all alone, sometimes things get a little tough.


Drew and Ali…. Two young adults who have been handed their own horrible cards in life need to find a way to make things work for themselves and maybe with each other.


Dragonflies are known to live their lives to the fullest.  Whenever you see one, I want you to hear me saying, It’s time to let go.”  Seek out some happiness because you, my darling girl, deserve to live each day smiling with not only your eyes, but your heart too.


Their story was so believable.  The issues they faced, the circumstances they were in.


The struggles they both go through were heartbreaking.


The peace they found in each other was beautiful.


Ali is having a hard time dealing with the loss of her mother and the absence of her father and the fact that she has moved to a new state and a new school just puts that added pressure on her.  The grief she feels is heartbreaking.  She is counting the days of the loss of her mother, like it will bring her solace.  She feels so alone and tries to move on, but her feelings of loneliness are always present.  But she holds her head up high and is smart, witty sassy and funny. 


Ali

"Two words.... eight letters that have forever changed my life."


Drew is living a dual life.  One completely different from the other.  His home life is deplorable and traumatizing.  His school life as Mr popular doesn’t feel real to him.  Girls love him, he is gorgeous and sexy being on the swim team keeps him fit.  Drew keeps to himself, even though he is popular, he doesn’t want people to know him, to know what he’s going through or his secrets.  He feels bad enough about himself as it is, he doesn’t need his friends to feel sorry for him.  He carries his secrets heavily in his heart and his mind.  He’s just counting down the days until he’s out of there.  College can’t come quick enough.


Drew

"Ninety-five percent of the day I have to wear a mask to cover up the truth. No one really wants to know the truth. The truth is ugly, and every day I feel ugly."


His self-worth is completely broken as he has constantly been told he is “good for nothing” and “worthless” by his sickening and repulsive father who I just wanted to kick upside the head and get rid of him.


Drew

"No one. I'm no one."


The way these two meet and their ongoing connection was really surprising.  Drew’s struggle with his feelings and resistance to let someone in and Ali’s battle with her grief and loneliness.  I loved the friendship and the angst between these two.  I loved the confusion and surprises they both went through with each other.


Drew

She’s drawing me in and she doesn’t even know it.  Ugh, I need to stay away from her.


Ali

I take a deep breath, not believing that Drew was here in my room twice in one day.  I throw the pillow off and sit up.  I was so caught up with the sight of him in my room that it wasn’t until just now that I even register the smell of him lingering in the air.  Closing my eyes I breathe in the fresh cleanness of him.


How will these two heal each other?


Will Drew find his worth?  Will Ali be that person he can turn to?


Will Ali begin to heal the grief in her heart? Will Drew be the one to heal her heart and be there for her?


I laughed and I cried for both Drew and Ali as well as Beau, Drew’s brother who plays a big part in this story.  I loved Beau, his relationship with Ali was so delightful that it made me smile every time they were together.  All the side characters within this story all felt so real within their circle.  It was so uplifting to see friends stick together no matter what.  I’m looking forward to reading Beau’s story so much, that I’m hoping I don’t have to wait too long.


I have to add here and admit, I read Promises Hurt by Elle Brooks before this and it has some similarities, even though the storylines are different, and yes this was a little predictable at times, but I still loved it.  I loved that it made me feel.  I loved that it had me connected with each character and their story.  


A story of finding true love, and the person who is your soul mate.  The one person worth fighting for and knowing they will fight for you – no matter what you have going on in your personal life, true love will always find a way.


I’m a sucker for a beautiful story of love, friendship, heartache and happily ever after.


“Love you.”


The meaning here for me was friendship and love is the most valuable thing one could ever have in their lives.  Having that is priceless.


Congratulations Kathryn Andrews on this beautifully written, beautifully emotional story that had me riding the emotional rollercoaster the whole time reading.  I love the emotional rollercoaster.


I’m glad you “Found something that you love and told yourself, “I do, therefore I am.”  Just beautiful and so true in so many ways.