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Hi there, and thanks to Andye and the Reading Teen team for having me on the blog today!
I'm excited to talk about my new book Radiant, a YA romance with some paranormal/sci-fi flavors. It's about a seventeen-year-old girl named Mary who nearly gets killed in a freak accident on the way to school one morning. But a guy who also goes to her school, Carter, saves her life and nearly dies instead. Mary doesn't normally talk to Carter because he's a monumental jerk, but she feels horrible about putting him in the hospital like that.
However, Carter is back at school within a matter of days, like nothing had happened. Although, he is a little "glitchy," and he's developed a sudden and intense interest in Mary. Mary thinks he's suffering from major brain trauma from the accident. Or that he's been possessed. As it turns out, he really is possessed, and the thing controlling him is having a great time learning to be human.
Like with all of my books, I included some "Easter eggs" from my own life in the story of Radiant. Not necessarily the exact same things that happened, but little reflections. One of those is a part where Mary remembers a time when Carter called her a "damn chink." Mary's part Vietnamese, so that derogatory doesn't even fit her. However, it bothers her enough to remember it and hold it against Carter for a long time.
That reflects something that happened in real life to me. I was in college at the time and out with some friends one evening. We were meeting up with a bigger group at a restaurant, but the restaurant was in the same place as a movie theater, and the parking lot was really packed and kinda hard to maneuver around.
As we drove around looking for a parking space, I guess I pulled out in front of an old pickup truck without meaning to. There were two young Caucasian guys in the truck, and they started honking at us and calling us "damn chinks" and "f---ing chinks."
Well, not only were they beyond rude, they had it all wrong. I'm Vietnamese, one of my friends in the car was Indonesian, another was Filipino, and the one sitting in the front passenger seat next to me was Caucasian. They most likely didn't see us clearly because it was dark and I'm pretty sure they were drunk. They even followed us for a couple of rows, still cussing at us and honking, before they finally went away.
Anyway, that real life episode didn't hurt me, though it did surprise me because it was the first time I'd been berated for my ethnicity. To me, it's a funny (not haha funny) memory, but I could see how something like that would make a bad impression on a more sensitive person. And Mary in my book is very sensitive, which is both her strength and weakness. There are several more Easter eggs in Radiant, as well as in my other two books Seranfyll and Eligere. But I'll save those for another time :)
Thanks again to Andye and everyone at ReadingTeen for letting me be here and chat with y'all. And be sure to check out Radiant, which went live on February 12, 2013!
(Ages 13+) Mary is part Vietnamese. Carter is a complete jerk. Normally, they don't talk much.
But when Mary's in an accident on the way to school one morning, Carter nearly dies saving her life. The doctors say his chances of living are slim, and Mary's feeling the full weight of survivor's guilt.
However, Carter's back at school in a matter of days, as if nothing had happened. Although, he is a little "glitchy," and he's developed a sudden and intense interest in Mary. She thinks he's suffering from major brain trauma from the accident. Or that he's been possessed.
As it so happens, Carter really is possessed. And the thing controlling him is having the time of its life learning to be human.
Featuring a diverse cast of characters, RADIANT is a funny and heartfelt story about being human, being in love, and being healed.
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