Saturday, September 28, 2019

Get Ready for Mystery, Adventure, and Love in this #YoungAdult #PNR #NewRelease

Please allow me to introduce you to debut author, Jennifer G Edelson. She's written a young adult paranormal novel about discovery, loss, adventure, uncertainty, and young love. Check out the interview and the excerpts below! Enjoy! 

Amber: First of all, thanks for joining me on the blog today, Jennifer. I know you're busy with book launch madness and I'm happy to showcase you and your work. Because this is your debut novel, how are you feeling right now? 

Jennifer:  Before I published, people in the know told me publishing would be like birthing a child. But it’s more like after I had my first son and brought him home from the hospital; when I sat in the backseat with his tiny little body as we drove, alternating between terror, elation, wonder, hysteria, protectiveness, and extreme anxiety. It’s cliché, I know, but the whole drive really felt like that first apex on a roller-coaster just before it drops you; I was paralyzed with excitement and uncertainty. I remember thinking, what if missed something? Or I miss something in the future. Or I did something wrong? Or don’t do enough? Or he turns out to be a monster? That basically sums up how I’m feeling now. Though thankfully, I’m also an optimist. So part of me knows that no matter what happens, ultimately, it’ll have been an excellent ride (for the record, my son grew into an amazing, not-even-remotely-monster-y young person!).

Amber: I'm happy he's not monster-y! I completely understand all of those mixed emotions. Now it's done, your baby is taking its first breaths, enjoy basking in the glow. Tell us what inspired your storyline?

Jennifer:  I fell in love with the Glorieta Pass and the Pecos Pueblo — which are both magical places — after exploring the area, and desperately wanted to write a story that took place there. I’m a place-centric person, and often fall for scenery, land, and the feel of a location, and end up wanting to write novels about an area long before I figure out the plot or story. In that way, my story’s setting is often as much a character as the people, which is definitely the case in Between Wild and RuinBetween Wild and Ruin’s actual plot though, the short answer is that it initially evolved over a sleepless night. I’m an insomniac, and like a lot of writers, tell myself stories about things that interest me in order to turn off my mind and fall asleep. I hate being boring, but plot-wise, this was one of them. The longer answer is a little more mystical and would probably take a couple of blog posts to explain.

Amber: Oooo...I love mystical, but we'll let the readers pick up your book to see what you mean by that. As for the setting as a character, I love that. This is the first book in a series, how many subsequent books do you foresee?

Jennifer:  I originally intended to write a stand-alone novel but knew when I finished Between Wild and Ruin there could be more. In my mind, Ruby’s story continued; I’d sort of plotted out her future. After my beta-readers commented that they couldn’t wait for a sequel, I realized I was also pretty eager to complete Ruby’s journey. Now that I’m almost finished writing the sequel, I’m also surprised to find I may not be quite done after all. So two books for sure, but there may be a third. No more than that though. 

Amber: Between Wild and Ruin is an interesting title, what about the story inspired it?

Jennifer: On its face at least, Between Wild and Ruin is a bit of a Beauty and the Beast story. I initially gave the book a title that played with that idea, but my editor and manager worried the title was too obscure. So I winnowed down a list to four other titles and then threw it out to the masses, who essentially chose one of them for me. Between Wild and Ruin fits well, because the book is as much about wild spaces, feelings, and people, as it is plot-driven. Plus the plot involves an old pueblo ruin. Ruby and Ezra are also caught between choices about their lives and each other that could literally lead to ruin. Ultimately, I got to keep the word ‘Wild,’ which sums up the kind of world the book’s characters live in, and still play with words AND sport a more telling title. 

Amber: Sounds fascinating. I understand that New Mexico is a special place for you personally. What about the place itself inspires you and/or draws you to it?

Jennifer: There are obvious things, like the amazing scenery, light, sky, smells, culture, people, and food. Not to mention all the many summers I spent exploring its lesser known nooks and crannies before actually moving to Santa Fe. But it runs deeper than that. Honestly, I wish I knew. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the magical or maybe universal forces that lured me here. It’s all very enigmatic, which in itself is a draw, and I’m perpetually fueled by the mystery. All I can say for sure is, New Mexico really is The Land of Enchantment! 

Amber: Speaking of enchantment, if you had to pick a spirit animal, what would it be and why? 

Jennifer: I used to love whales and went through a period where I was really into panthers and jaguars. After I found a natural Buffalo-shaped piece of serpentine in a stream in the Pecos Wilderness, I also wondered if maybe a Buffalo was my spirit animal. But for a while now, I’ve been all about Cuttlefish. If you haven’t seen one, Google it immediately! Cuttlefish are masters of camouflage, have a unique internal shell (soft on the outside tough on the inside), communicate using color and pattern signals, have three hearts, are present all over the world except America, and are among the most intelligent invertebrates. For many odd reasons they really resonate with me!

Amber: I must admit I wasn't excepting you to say Cuttlefish. Fascinating. What is the most adventurous thing you have done?

Jennifer:  I took a once-in-a-lifetime ‘adventure tour’ with my husband and two boys on the North Island of New Zealand. Scaling up two underground waterfalls to get to a subterranean cavern the size of an outhouse about two hundred feet underground, and then army crawling through a subterranean river in a very long, very dark underground tunnel maybe only twice the size of my body, all to float through a tube-sized tunnel of glowworms, is probably the ballsiest physical thing I’ve done. It’s probably close to the most immediately mentally/emotionally challenging thing as well (but worth all the panic and hyperventilation!).

Amber: I'm impressed! What is one of your most embarrassing moments?

Jennifer: I’d call it a tie between the time I stood up to answer a question in one of my law school classes and lost my wraparound skirt to the ground, and that time I fainted in the law school library maybe two months later and had to be wheeled out of the building on a stretcher (despite my very vocal protests). Law school and me, we weren’t always compatible.

Amber: I'm loving your answers! That's a definite wardrobe malfunction. Let's switch it up again, I like keeping you on your toes--or maybe it's just because my mind jumps in random directions. Deep breath...back to being serious... How do you feel that your personal life inspires your writing?

Jennifer: I wish I had some deep answer for you, but the truth is, for me writing is mostly about escapism. I can’t live the thousand different lives I’d love to, or travel the world, or be an astrophysicist or spy, so I write to get away and appease my own curiosity and wanderlust. I get lost in myself when I write, so it satisfies all that romantic and adventurous yearning. Though I also get A LOT out of imagining that my writing touches other people. I love humans and am all about connecting on fundamental levels.

Amber: What were you like as a teenager and do you feel those experiences have shaped your current work? 

Jennifer: I was a difficult teenager. As in really, really, really difficult. I was also super sensitive; like many teens, I felt misunderstood, and alienated, and just very lonely in this ‘who am I really, what’s the meaning of life’ way. Because of that, I spent way too much time looking for ‘answers’ and ignoring consequences. There’s this quote by Albert Camus that goes:You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” Though I take it with a grain of salt, I’ve also taken it to heart, so though I still spend a good amount of time thinking about meaning, I don’t let it interfere with having a productive meaningful existence. Still, the stuff that’s lingered, knowing those feelings are not only part of the human condition, but a condition (maybe rightfully) endemic to teenagers, really informs everything I write. It’s also why I love writing in the YA genre. Most adults don’t give kids and teens enough credit for being the smart, savvy, sensitive, and super creative people they truly are. I acknowledge that, and like writing stories that both resonates with them AND respects those feelings. 

Amber: I like that quote, especially the part of "you will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life." I need to take that to heart. Thank you for sharing. Switching it up again...What is your favorite word and why?

Jennifer: Just one? Ugh! I love words. Narrowing it down is torturous. For now, let’s go with debrisdiscipline, and ubiquitous, for no other reason than I really love the way they feel in my mouth and head when I say them.

Amber: Yes, I love the way certain words feel when saying them, too. My favorites are euphoria, scintillating, and savage. Getting back to your series, what can readers expect from Between the Wild and subsequent books? What is the overall message you’re communicating and what is it that you would like a reader to take away from the experience?

Jennifer:  I’m not sure I’m trying to communicate a message as much as a feeling. That exciting, sometimes breathless moment that comes from experiencing ‘firsts’ and facing the unknown.  Of connecting over unexpected emotions, and backgrounds, and alliances, not to mention the rollercoaster that comes with being in love. A few reviewers mentioned how sensory and atmospheric Between Wild and Ruin’swriting is, that they could see, smell, and hear everything as they read, and that because of it, were right there in the Glorieta pass with Ruby throughout the story. I agree and hope readers find themselves immersed in a story that wholly transports them both emotionally and intellectually to the heart of La Luna, New Mexico and into Ruby’s unique world. But if people just walked away feeling like they’d spent a few fun hours reading something enjoyable — if all the book is for people is super effective escapism — I’d still be really happy.

 Amber: I've always said that we as writers are in the entertainment business. Our books may find their way into the hands of someone sitting vigil in a hospital or to someone longing for connection. If we can transport the reader into another place, make them smile or laugh, or cry or shift in their seat with anticipation, we have done our job. It sounds to me that you've done your job, Jennifer. I'm sure many people will be thoroughly satisfied with these stories. Let's take a look. I know you gave me two excerpts to choose, but I have decided to showcase both. I will name them Excerpt One and Excerpt Two. 


Fresh sap and damp earth assault my nose. Under bright sunlight, large, rough-cut slabs of glittery rock blanket the otherwise bare field. Some lie stacked on top of each other like the crumbling remains of a building. Awestruck, I circle the structure, running my fingers over what looks like a ruin. 

“Incredible, isn’t it?” 

A voice behind me sends my heart racing toward my throat. I jump, whipping around to find a young man leaning casually against a pine near the clearing’s perimeter, looking off to his left as though listening for something. 

Even in the shade, his face glows. He smiles, showing off teeth that gleam like snowflakes between perfect lips. Hair as dark as Liddy’s French roast coffee falls around his face in unruly waves. His features are angular but refined, and his high, rounded cheeks soften the striking juxtaposition. 

I blink, then blink again. Ruby. I rub my eyes. You’re hallucinating. But he’s still there, staring at me. 

While I gawk, he pushes himself off the tree. “Not many people make it up here.” He smiles broadly. 

A soft, purple-hued halo circles his golden irises, catching fire in the sunlight. They settle on me, and my heart stops, completely paralyzed by his faultless storybook features. 

I exhale, trying to swallow inconspicuously. “It’s definitely a hike.”

“Who are you?” 

“Who am I?” I sputter. “Who are you?” 

“Leo.” He grins. 

“I’m Ruby.” 

“Ruby.” My name rolls off his tongue with a smooth “R” and a musical lilt. Somehow, he even manages to make it sound appealing. “First time up?”

“Yes. We just moved to La Luna.”

“La Luna,” he repeats. “Welcome.”

“Thanks,” I mumble. Earth to Ruby, I mentally smack myself. Since when has any boy made you senseless?

“You okay?” He smiles like he knows I’m not. Like he knows why I’m not. “Do you want to sit down? The altitude can be a bitch if you’re not used to it.”

“No. I mean, yes, I’m fine. No, I don’t want to sit down. You just really startled me. You should announce yourself next time.”

“Next time?” 

“Next time you sneak up on somebody.” 

Leo raises a perfect dark eyebrow. “But then it wouldn’t be sneaking, would it?” 

My cheeks flush, and I suddenly want to drop through a hole in the ground. I choke out, “Ummm,” and something incoherent and then stare at my toes like they hold the keys to my future. 

           EXCERPT TWO OF 

 My head hums as I stand up, brushing pine needles and dirt from my jeans. Scratching at my ears, I toss my stumpy charcoals into my backpack, wishing Mother Nature had it in her to grant me just one more hour to sketch the ruin. Pre-twilight transforms the plateau into a fairyland. I want to draw the ruin in shadows, but I’m afraid of looking more like mountain lion meat than Ruby Brooks once twilight sets in.

Sunset turns the mountainside golden, igniting the dried flora covering the forest floor. As I lean over to collect an escapee drawing, a patch of crimson pine needles catches my attention. The needles spread out in a piecemeal path that leads me toward a maroon mess near the center of the ruin, to the rock Leo claimed was once an altar. Against the drab ground, the patch looks like dried blood. I pick up a pine needle, scratching at it, watching curiously as a crusty substance flakes off its root, like rust crumbling between my fingers. 

A faint metallic scent fills the air, popping my imagination into overdrive. Turning in circles on the empty plateau, I suddenly feel exposed, and maybelittle afraid of being something’s dinner. 

As I stare at the rock, the humming grows louder, vibrating between the ruin’s crumbling walls. I paw at my ears, then rub my eyes, waiting for my head to explode as my vision turns the forest into blurry chunks of light and outlines. Off to the side, between the trees, something moves. Startled, I whip around, squinting to see better. 
In the shadows between two tall pines, I see my mother.

Already unnerved, I close my eyes, trying to forget Daisy’s haunted forest stories. My mother died ten months ago. It’s got to be the altitude. There’s no way she’s standing there like an ephemeral stump near the ruins. Still,my mind takes off running, moving from ghosts, to demons, to being sure I’m about to face down another mountain lion. 

Shaky and suddenly mindful of Leo’s story about Ottomundo, not to mention just about every news report about mysterious animal attacks I’ve ever seen, I rush to my backpack. Quickly gathering all my art materials, I turn toward the sloping hillside, refusing to look back before running at breakneck speed down the mountain to the creek. 

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About the Author
Jennifer G. Edelson is a writer, trained artist, former attorney, pizza lover, and hard-core Bollywood fan. She has a BFA in Sculpture and a J.D. in law, and has taught both creative writing and legal research and writing at several fine institutions, including the University of Minnesota. Originally a California native, she currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, kids, and dog, Hubble after surviving twenty-plus years in the Minnesota tundra (but still considers Los Angeles, the Twin Cities, and Santa Fe all home). Other than writing, Jennifer loves hiking, traveling, Albert Camus, Dr. Seuss, dark chocolate, drinking copious amounts of coffee, exploring mysterious places, and meeting new people—if you’re human (or otherwise), odds are she’ll probably love you. 

For more information, please visit Jennifer’s Author Page at:
You can also find Jennifer on:
Twitter: @JGEAuthor
Instagram: @JGEAuthor

What are you waiting for? Get your copy today! 

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