Well today is special. This is my first stop for Nightly Reading Book Tours! My blogger friend Heather has now started hosting her own tours. So Congrats Heather and all your helpers 🙂 I’m so glad to work with you guys!! 🙂 Yay!! Now, you can check out the NRBookTours’ site if you click on the banner above! Lemme show you what we’ve got. 🙂 And you can click on the cover below to go to the goodreads page.
Seventeen-year-old Anya Preschnikov wants to become a famous actress but she’s faced with two problems. Her father ignores her and doesn’t have any money to support her. At school, she’s bullied on a daily basis, yet she believes that she will gain her stepping-stone to stardom if she’s accepted by her peers.
All of this changes when Maria Hernandez–an immigrant from Spain–comes to Peach Valley Senior High. Maria knows what it takes to fit in. She’s assertive, confident and she dresses suggestively, characteristics that all of the popular kids admire. Yet she sees in Anya what no one else sees: beauty and talent.
When Maria extends her hand of friendship, Anya is elated. Her rise to popularity is about to become a reality, but it ends at a house party when a boy’s rude comment sends her into a rage.
Desperate to belong somewhere, Anya and Maria seek new friends outside of school. They meet Alex and Marissa, a young couple who eagerly welcomes them into their world of parties and drugs. Anya and Maria soon find out that Alex is a drug dealer, but they are so lured by his wealth, good looks and aggressive confidence that they can’t resist his friendship. They don’t know that Alex’s gang is at war with a rival gang–one that’s run by Anya’s older brother, Adrik–until one incident puts their lives in danger’s path. To make matters worse, Alex won’t let Anya and Maria out of his sight. The two teens are forced to make a decision that’s a matter of life or death.
Today, I would like to welcome the author over for an interview! WELCOME!! 🙂
First, tell me a little about your book ….
To be Maria follows the story of Anya and Maria–both aged seventeen–who, in their quest for popularity, befriend Alex and Marissa, a twenty-something couple. They find out that Alex is a drug dealer, but they do not know that his gang is at war with a rival gang– one that is led by Anya’s older brother, Adrik–until one incident puts their lives in danger’s path.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
I’ve always loved writing, ever since I was a child. I know it’s because I have an immense imagination that needs to be released, but also because I find it easier to express my emotional state on paper than verbally.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
My love, interest and passion for the French Revolution inspired me to write Day of Revenge, my first novel. The inspiration for To be Maria came to me when I was seeking out an idea for another story set in a historical setting. For a while I couldn’t place an explanation on what exactly that inspiration was. But now I realize that it came from my own personal desire to write about bullying, peer pressure and the yearning for acceptance–the very things I experienced as a teen.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The things my protagonists experience in To be Maria aren’t based on someone I know, although, when it comes to the “gang” issue, I’ve based that on what I’ve seen on the news. Most of the events that transpire in my novel are based on my own personal experiences.
How do you chose when/which characters die in your books?
I honestly don’t decide when a character is going to die, or who is going to die; it just happens as the story moves forward.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
I look up to Ken Follett because I think he’s such a fantastic writer, and thorough. I don’t want my writing to be just like his, but I do strive to keep improving on my writing and storytelling skills.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I realize that not everyone who reads To be Maria is going to like it. And few people will wish I did this or that with my novel. And it won’t matter how well the writing is, there will always be someone who won’t think the writing is good for any particular reason.
Like I said before, I strive to be the absolute best writer I can, but at the end of the day, I’m only human. Nothing that I do will be completely flawless. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing in To be Maria. I’m content with the way the story is. I truly hope readers can relate to the characters and take away an important message, but I simply cannot please everyone. Because it’s impossible.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The most challenging thing I’m facing right now is finding the time to sit down and write. It’s especially hard when I’m stressing out over things. And that’s the biggest challenge I must overcome.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
I’m currently reading A Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain by Chris Lowney and Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spainby Joseph F. O’Callaghan. I should have mentioned before that I’m also a history buff.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
In the two years of being an author, I’ve learnt so much from the people who have given me constructive feedback on how I can improve my writing skills.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
I’ve put my protagonists through so much suffering that I wouldn’t want to be any of them. And I certain don’t want to be Alex, the gang leader, or his girlfriend.
Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
There’s one book that I recently read and LOVED: The List by Siobhan Vivian. This book deals with the same issues my novel deals with: bullying, insecurity, self-image and popularity, minus the gang issue. This book is a must read for sure.
More books we should read? I’d really like to see more literature that deals with the same issues To be Maria deals with. Actually, the one issue that gets ignored severely is the ‘gang’ issue. While it’s mostly a male thing, girls have gotten involved via relationship with gangsters. It’s a real problem in our society whether we like to admit it or not, and it’s not hard for kids who are bullied/rejected in school to seek out this alternative opportunity for acceptance. By shedding light on this issue–as well as the other issues teens and young adults face everyday–maybe the whole idea of “being popular and pretty” won’t be touted as a Must Have in our culture.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Popularity isn’t glamorous and looks are skin deep. Inner beauty, intellect, dreams and long-term goals are gold. I encourage each and every one of you to be unique, creative, imaginative, and strive to live beyond the boundaries of your lives in high school. For those of you who are bullied; it gets better. Trust me. But it’s also up to you to make that positive change happen when you emerge from high school into the real world.
The best things you can do for yourselves while you’re in high school is to set goals for what you want to accomplish in your future; seek out clubs and other activities outside of school that you are really interested in. You don’t necessarily need to be good at that activity, you just need the passion for it and the desire to master a new skill. Friendships blossom when like-minded people meet.
I would like to thank the author for stopping by! And here’s where you can find her 🙂
About Deanna Proach:
Deanna Proach is also the author of Day of Revenge (Inkwater Press), a historical fiction set in 1793 France, and she’s an avid reader and blogger. When Proach is not writing, she’s actively involved in her local theatre community as an actress, and she’s learning the art of Medieval sword fighting. You can learn more about her at http://desstories.blogspot.com.
Links to Purchase:
Here’s the others sites for the Tour:
October 1- YA Book Addict Promo Post, http://youngadultbookaddict.blogspot.com.au/
October 2-NightlyReading Promo Post, http://nightlyreading.wordpress.com/
October 3- Up All Night Review & Character Interview, http://upallnightreviews.blogspot.com/
October 4- Happy Tails & Tales Promo Post & Author Interview, https://magluvsya03.wordpress.com/
October 5- A Bibliophile’s Thoughts on Books Promo Post, http://bibliophilesthoughtsonbooks.blogspot.com/
LovLivLife Reviews Review & Promo Post http://www.lovlivlifereviews.com/
I hope everyone had a great day today 🙂 I wish you all happy reading! Later Gators! 🙂