Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In the Fields - Author Interview & Giveaway

Not too long ago, I mentioned how I met author Willow Aster at a book signing for her newly released novel True Love Story.  She's so nice, humble, and delightfully unique.  It was like we had known each other for years...

WELL. She just came out with her second masterpiece, In The Fields!  I had the ultimate privilege of reading it in advance.  Super-crazy-cool, I know.

At some point in this whole process, I totally landed Willow Aster's phone number (creeper alert).  And then I texted her in an emotionally compromised state after reading chapter 24 to tell her that I was weeping, that I loved the book SO much, and that one precious character makes my ovaries ache.  Ok, maybe I didn't use those exact words, but close.  She responded very kindly, thank goodness.  She probably gets messages like that all time.

I don't always have such strong reactions to fictional people and their circumstances, but it definitely happened with this book.  The characters and their relationships go deep and seem so real.  I was not ready for their story to end. OMG!  I just had an idea for a sequel...texting that to Willow now!

I enlisted in In the Fields blog tour and snatched an interview with the author herself.  

About the book:

Where did you get the idea/inspiration for In The Fields? 
I know a lot of the characters in this book. The good and the bad. Some are my family, some are my friends, some are people I've met along the way and tried to avoid running into ever again. I've cringed my whole life about the ways people think and talk about others who aren't like they are. 

How long had you been working on this book? 
I've worked on this book—on and off—for seven years. Eek.

You tackle some heavy subjects in both True Love Story and In the Fields.  Is there a specific motivation behind the topics you choose? 
I don't know why I'm compelled to write about the uncomfortable subjects. I'm not a confrontational person at all. That old saying 'there are two sides to every story'...I just seem to be driven to delve into those. For now anyway. Maybe next year, I'll write about rainbows and jellybeans. I think maybe it's simply that I want to write the truth, and the truth can be ugly and gross and beautiful. 

In what ways do you identify with the main character? 
I identify with Caroline a lot. I gave her my hair, for one thing. It is a wild beast that cannot (usually) be tamed. Her independence. The way her mind never stops running. I identify with her relationship with her grandparents, in particular. My grandpa is basically Grandpaw. And for my formative years, I grew up in a small southern town. A lot of my family still lives a few hours away from there. I LOVE so much about the south~the food, the beauty, the culture—so I tried to have that woven throughout the book.    

Was there a character or scene that you struggled to write?
Oh yes. Chapter 12 and 16 nearly did me in, for completely different reasons. And I bawled while writing a later'll know which one when you get there. I don't usually do that while writing, but I couldn't stop. Sometimes it's like these characters just have a mind of their own. :) I couldn't stop typing, even though I didn't like where it was going. 

What made you switch genres from New Adult to Southern Romance?  What can we expect of your future projects?  (Steve is hoping for Fantasy.)  
Ha! Steve will have to teach me a few things then! I will be writing more of both New Adult and Southern Romance. I have one brewing in each genre right now, that I've already started. Southern Romance is probably where I'm most comfortable, but I still want to tell the New Adult or Contemporary Romance stories too. I've always been a square who can't fit in a round hole. 

About Willow:

When we met, you were rocking a fabulous, retro look.  How would you describe your personal style in real life?

Ooo, thank you! That means a lot coming from you of the awesome fashion-ness. In real life, I don't stick with just retro, but am drawn to it a LOT. I like the funky. Mixing old and new, things that shouldn't go together, but making them somehow work. 

If you could live someone else's life (past or present) for a day, who would you choose and why?
That's a great question. I'd pick lots of people if it were just a day. But the first one who comes to mind is Johnny Depp when he's in the middle of an intense movie. I'd like to see how far his mind really IS the other character. I'd need another day of him too, I guess, so I could live in his Johnny mind too. :)

If you could have any super-power, what would it be?
Well, she's not exactly a superhero, but I wish I had Jeanie's powers from I Dream of Jeanie. I'd love to disappear the dirty dishes in the sink and disappear myself when I wanted to take a nap. But as far as superheroes go, if I could just have all their tools, I'd be set...I mean, Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth? Yes, please! 

I know you're a music junkie.  Who are you into right now?
I'm deep into Justin Timberlake. And The Civil Wars. Two extremes. Welcome to my brain. 

Items on your nightstand?
I just so happened to rearrange it last night! I have a fairly large table by my bed, so this will sound like a ton, but it works. :) I have a pretty box that holds earplugs, chapstick, notepad, pens, small flashlight and fingernail file. A frame of my husband and me. A lamp. A candle. And a list of books that I make myself keep down to no more than three. 

Guilty pleasure(s)?

See above: Justin. Ahem. Anything involving chocolate and peanut butter. And reading during every crack of time possible...

Now that you've fallen madly in love with Willow and are dying to read In the Fields, here's a giveaway for you!

a Rafflecopter iPad Mini giveaway

Buy it:
Barnes and Noble
CreateSpace (paperback - I had to have it too!)

*** The details described in this book may not be suitable for readers below the age of 18 as descriptions of rape, alcoholism, child neglect, and abuse are depicted.


elaina said...

I can't wait to read this book! I love Willow Aster!!!

elaina said...

I just bought the Kindle AND a print copy!