Google+ Reading Teen: "Novel Ideas" by Patty Blount and a $50 Amazon GC Giveaway

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"Novel Ideas" by Patty Blount and a $50 Amazon GC Giveaway

Today we're joining with Barclay, Sourcebooks and Patty Blount to talk about her new novel THE WAY IT HURTS. Patty has graciously shared with us how she gets some of her ideas for writing, and make sure you scroll to the bottom for an excerpt of TWiH and a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Novel Ideas
by Patty Blount

The first question authors like me are usually asked is where do our ideas come from. Many authors will tell you they’re surrounded by ideas, that they have more ideas than they can ever possibly write.

It doesn’t work like that for me.

For me, ideas strike sporadically. Sure, ideas are all around us, but a compelling story has to be more than just the idea. You need spark or interest – both artistically, as the author, and professionally, as the consumer of the eventual product the idea must become. “I’ll write a small town romance.” That’s been done a thousand times – what makes this one spark?” Well, I don’t know.

Then it’s not a fully formed idea yet.

I work on my ideas, watering them, putting them in sunlight, until they take root. Take Some Boys, for example. This is a book about rape. It was inspired by the Stuebenville, Ohio rape case, which so completely angered me, I decided I wanted to write a book that did the same thing – made people so mad, they are compelled to want change.

I let the idea steep for a while. I’d read Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK and knew this book would be different. For one thing, it would have dual points of view. Hers and whose? I wasn’t about to make a rapist the hero of a novel. So that’s when the idea of making his best friend the hero took root. The more I thought about it, the more this idea appealed to me. It would be a real he said/she said story and I’d get to show the best friend’s struggle to choose a side as it unfolded. A serendipitous side effect to thinking about ideas like this is they have the time to build momentum and excitement. I couldn’t wait to start writing it.

My latest work in progress, still untitled, didn’t start out in my brain, it started in my editor’s. I’d wanted to write a sequel to Some Boys, but she saw instead, a companion story, one that still tackles rape and rape culture but from a different perspective. Jokingly, I made an off-hand remark about nothing upsetting me as much as Stuebenville did and she asked, “What about the Brock Turner case?”

Bells and whistles went off.

Oh yeah, that did make me angry. So angry, I contacted representatives and wrote letters and contributed money to RAINN.

We have the beginnings of an idea. Let’s start adding water and sunlight and see what takes root. We talked about the dual point of view technique. I love writing it and my readers seem to enjoy reading it. But who would the male POV be? When my editor suggested a sibling rather than a romantic interest, more bells and whistles rang for me.

That’s unique. It lets me, as a romance author, explore a different sort of love. The sibling relationship can be rocky, loving, erratic, and even resentful. (I should know; I have a sister.)

Okay, so we have a hero and heroine, and only the barest sketch of a plot. It needs more. I spent months letting it steep and marinate and when I reached the point when I couldn’t wait to write, I knew I had it – a fully-formed idea.

This is the part of writing that nobody gets to see. It’s also why I get my dander up when people say they won’t spend X on a book – weeks if not months of effort go into developing these ideas so your reading experience is fulfilling. We don’t just pull ideas off a roll, like paper towels, and deserve to be paid for those efforts.

The idea for my latest novel, THE WAY IT HURTS, (August 1, 2017) came from one of these slow-to-form ideas. I was at a book event in New York City a few years ago. The event chairperson hired a DJ to entertain us and this man made a huge impression on me. He had presence and swagger and just oozed confidence.

I started imagining him as a teen. Had he always been so confident? If so, how did he get that way? Instead of a DJ, I saw him as a lead singer in a rock band.

But there was no story here. All I had was a great character. So I put “Elijah” aside for a while.

In my real life, I wear many hats. Mom, wife, full-time corporate employee. Sometimes, real life likes to color outside the carefully drawn lines we have for all those roles and they get mixed together. It was during an online discussion about call-out culture that had gotten rather heated and personal that a root shot off from “Elijah”. If you’re active on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you’ve probably seen these exchanges.

Somebody – usually someone famous – says something bone-headed. And then a few thousand people that person has never met lose their collective sh*t over that comment and call out the person who said it.

War is waged, only instead of bullets and bombs, it’s with tweets, comments, and memes.

It ends in one of three ways – 1) the person being said Bone-head apologizes for the earlier bad form, 2) the person deletes his or her accounts, or 3) some completely new third party does something even more bone-headed, giving the internet a new target to strike.

I began imagining this happening to Elijah. I’d already decided he had a rock band and was Mr. Smooth and Cool. After this real-life debate about the merits of calling out people online, I decided this has to happen to him.

But it still wasn’t enough to make this idea fully-formed. I had to give Elijah more. Ironically, it was every time I thought about “more” that the answer finally came. Elijah’s this hot teen guy with a band. He plays guitar, he sings, he’s got girls literally throwing themselves at him. What “more” can I do?

I can make it real.

I can give Elijah something he’s never had before… someone who sees right through him and isn’t impressed by the swagger and the attitude and the band.

Those bells and whistles suddenly turned into sirens and I knew it was time to start writing.

While it’s true that idea seedlings are all us, it takes a lot of effort for writers to coax those little seeds into a crop of tough plants worthy of hours of your reading time.

Title: The Way It Hurts
Author: Patty Blount
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 352 pages
Format: Paperback and Digital
Print ISBN: 978-1-492632-788
Digital ASIN: B06XR172ZD
There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there's only one way to set things right...

Music is Elijah's life. His band plays loud and hard, and he'll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he'd rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town...until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother's. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program--and being the star in her high school musical isn't going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can't take his eyes off of Kristen's performance, and snaps a photo of her in costume that he posts online with a comment that everybody misunderstands. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don't stay online...they follow them into real life.

In Patty Blount's THE WAY IT HURTS, two teens’ quest for fame goes terribly wrong when a single tweet goes viral and the online backlash follows them into real life. Fans of Gayle Forman's If I Stay will like how main characters Elijah and Kristen bond over their music in this edgy, real world contemporary young adult read that examines the impact social media has on the lives of today's youth.

Patty Blount is offering one (1) lucky winner a $50 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

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Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

Advanced Praise for The Way It Hurts:

"Blount writes authentically; both protagonists’ voices are distinct. The author explores the rapidly consuming world of social media and how it affects relationships online and in real life. A relevant read and must-have for all YA collections." – School Library Journal

"THE WAY IT HURTS draws our attention to the joy, heartache and confusing contradictions that arise as we try to find our place in the real world and the virtual one." – Kimberly Sabatini

“Elijah and Kristen’s personal evolutions through the novel, along with their chemistry, feel as authentic as the conflicts they face. A genuine plot filled with steady tension that will keep readers hooked.” – RT Book Reviews

“This book sensitively covers topics such as sexism, handicapping conditions, communication, and ageism. Agency is also shown when Kristen says she wants to pursue studying in a conservatory rather than continue in the band and the three young men acknowledge her wish. Talking about what bothers us rather than trying to guess another person’s feelings is demonstrated through the actions of the characters. The characters’ issues are eventually resolved through hard work and understanding, making this an interesting and informative read." – School Library Connection


Elijah took my hands. “Okay, look. Maybe you’re right. Maybe these people are taking this whole battle thing way too seriously. If you’re scared, then we’ll stop. No more posts except for appearance information.”

“So no more battle of the sexes, no more make Kris scream?”

He held up his hand. “Swear to God.”

“Okay.” I sighed in relief. “You’d really do that?”

He leaned closer and repeated the vow. “I promise, Kris.”

And just like that, I forgot why I was mad at him. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t even blink because I was afraid he’d let go. This was the part of him I adored. I clung to him for a long moment, and when his gaze drifted to my mouth, I wondered if—hoped—prayed—he’d finally kiss me.

And then, Etta’s voice suddenly spoke inside my head. “Well, my God, darling, it’s the twenty-first century. What on earth are you waiting for? You can kiss him.”

I could. Yes. Yes, I could just lift my head and lean in and kiss Elijah Hamilton like it was a normal, ordinary occurrence.

Right. Like kissing Elijah Hamilton would ever be ordinary?

I’d watched him kiss that girl at the mall and was sure I’d memorized all the steps in his routine. He’d move in, grip my face between his hands, run his thumb along my jaw, and finally, glide his arm down around my body, pulling me against his own, all the while, peeking through his lashes to see if I enjoyed it.

I wasn’t sure when I decided—even what made me decide. I just touched my lips to his and waited.

It took a second or two. But then there was a sudden, tiny squeak from him, and I felt the pulse in his wrist leap under my fingertips.

And then, his hands were in my hair, angling my head just the way he liked it, his tongue brushing against mine, so soft it might have been my imagination...except imaginary kisses were never so intense. He kissed me like I was a song he wrote, lips wrapped around every word until it hummed with hidden meaning and promise, and his hands held me the way they held his guitar—like the music would stop if he let me go.
Copyright © The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount 2017

About Patty Blount:

Native New Yorker Patty Blount is the award-winning author of several critically acclaimed internet issues novels for teens as well as a few adult contemporary romances. She is inspired to write by such greats as Judy Blume, JK Rowling, and Gayle Forman. In fact, Judy Blume is the reason Patty elected to write under her real name…so she’d appear on shelves next to her idol. Patty adores writing; she’s written everything from technical manuals to song lyrics (see THE WAY IT HURTS, coming August 2017). Patty wants you to know she loves chocolate…really, really loves chocolate.

When not crushing on actors Gilles Marini or Sam Heughan, Patty can be found sitting in traffic somewhere on the Long Island Expressway, listening to audio books or talking wildly to herself about plots and characters. Prone to falling madly in love with fictional characters, Patty suffers frequent broken hearts when they all invariably prefer the heroine to her… go figure. When she’s not writing, Patty loves to watch bad sci-fi movies and live tweet the hilarity, and scour Pinterest for ideas on awesome bookcases. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that, sadly, lacks bookcases.

Connect with Patty:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  BookBub

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