Tip of the Day: Leave a comment every day this week to enter the daily giveaway. Tell us where you linked to author2author.blogspot.com for a second, bonus entry!
I have a Valentine’s Week confession to make about love.
I don’t present myself as a lover of material possessions. I don’t have a secret name for my car. I’ve never missed a utility bill because I couldn’t resist splurging on new shoes. Life, I tell my nine-year-old repeatedly, does not revolve around accumulating things. But I lie! Because there’s one big, big exception to this rule: I love my iPod.
You recall the classic dilemma “if your house was on fire and you could go back in to save one thing, what would it be?” Well, it wouldn’t be one of my personalized, signed books. It sure wouldn’t be any sappy photo album of my children’s babyhood. Really, the only question in my mind would be how I got out of the house without my iPod in the first place.
I love my iPod! I listen to my iPod while writing, while at work, and while in the car. I have playlists for my characters, my settings, and my plots. I know what music my characters love; schizophrenic as it sounds, their tastes in music have expanded my own. My first novel was set in California. Now I’m the station-wagon-driving, upstate New York suburban Mom blasting Daddy Yankee on my way to the supermarket.
Which brings me to my pick for our Share the Love Giveaway: Caridad Ferrer’s It’s Not About the Accent.
In both this novel and Ferrer’s earlier Adios to my Old Life, she includes many references to modern, popular music. The main character in Adios is a musician, but in Accent, we find out the romantic lead’s music tastes because … oh, come on, how could you not want to know? Could you date a man after discovering he loves Toby Keith? Isn’t telling the man you love about the music you listened to in junior high school a touching act of revelation and trust? And there’s something so wonderful about my husband, when I pull up to the elementary school singing along to Wisin y Yandel or Dashboard Confessional, admitting proudly, “Yes, that’s my wife.”
Ferrer’s leading men have strong ethnic identities, which, along with great taste in music, is very attractive. It’s the attachment to something bigger than one’s self (like the musician to his art) combined with the love of the history of who came before you, a theme in It’s Not About the Accent. It’s also lure of the unfamiliar setting, if the main character doesn’t share that culture. Think Kardik in Libby Bray’s trilogy, or Jamie in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Romantic fantasy has this lure; in Stephanie Meyer’s books, Bella sure falls for Edward’s vampire history.
I’ve been writing Middle Grade lately, but my next NaNoWriMo novel will be older YA and I’m already planning to “borrow” these attributes for my main character’s competing romantic interests. In Accent, the leading man is very close to his family. I don’t find that to be an instant turn-on. Lots of great people come from nutty families. But a guy watching out for a younger sibling, I think, has a lot of punch. So while I’m at the character building stage: Anything else you think I should build into my leading men?
I definitely learned a lot about “the guy you want your main character to be with” in It’s Not About the Accent. I wouldn’t call this a RomCom. There are heavy emotional trials in store for the main character, Caroline. Ferrer skillfully writes two love interests for Caroline—the one we’re rooting for and the one we’re not—and lets us see why Caroline makes the choices she does. Her bad boy isn’t a cardboard villain. Eric and Paul are real people, with pasts and futures beyond the pages of the book. As in many YA romances, this novel isn’t all about the romance and doesn’t follow a formula. Like most 17-year-olds, Caroline wants a different life than the one she’s led to date, and, like most 17-year-olds, she finds that’s a pretty easy goal to accomplish … if only she had defined it better because “different” turns out to be way too vague a goal to aim for without shooting yourself in the foot …
Have I intrigued you? So enter already! Leave a comment, either here or on our LiveJournal feed, and you’ll be entered in my drawing to win It’s Not About the Accent. Link to author2author.blogspot.com in your blog/website/little piece of the internet and tell me where in your comment, and you get two entries. Emily will announce the winner tomorrow in her post—a fantabulous interview with Shana Norris, author of her giveaway novel, Something to Blog About!
By the way, right now my husband is blasting America’s “A Horse With No Name.” *Sigh* I swear, he hid this tendency from me until after the wedding. But I love him anyway. Now isn’t that romantic?
-- Kate, Miss Apprentice Writer