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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Indie Fall Fest: K.B. Nelson Guest Post, Interview, Review, & Dream Cast

Today I am very excited to welcome the author of Carnival, K.B. Nelson to my blog! Apart from answering some interview questions, there is a review by another fellow author as well as a dream cast for Carnival and a wonderful guest post. Stick tight! 

Don't forget to drop by the kick-off post and enter our HUGE giveaway!
Over on Pretty Little Pages, Heather Letto is being featured today! So don't forget to stop by!

Strong Characters (And Bad Decisions) In New Adult Fiction by K.B. Nelson

Through the ages, our favorite stories are defined by the characters who populate them. I don't think that's an opinion. I believe it to be fact. Through every medium (fiction, television, films), the stories that we remember, the same stories we always go back to, are marked by the weight of great characters. 

New Adult fiction is still in its intimacy. We've only just begun to uncover the vast potential of this emerging category, but in this short time I've discovered wonderful stories brought to life by amazing characters (and the brilliant authors who write them). But these aren't your mother’s characters. 

The best characters are flawed. The best characters fuck up, sometimes a lot. The best characters are the ones who are remembered because they stood for something, even if no one could reasonably say they were doing the right thing. Within the confines of the New Adult category, these characters shine, because they are still in that time in their lives where they aren't expected to have all the answers. 

I'm a New Adult author and I'm doing it all wrong. That's the perception of some readers. Right or wrong, some readers have expressed disdain for the choices my characters make, but nobody has ever said they weren't honest depictions of the choices college-aged students are making in today's landscape. My characters have unprotected sex, and they do drugs. Two huge no-no's for any responsible adult, but these kids are aged fresh out of high school. 

The span of my first book, Carnival, takes place in a matter of weeks. There isn't enough time for an honest realization that what they're doing, perhaps, isn't in line with what they should be doing. They're still in that time of their lives where everything is new, and danger brings a sense of euphoric joy. I could never rob them of that. 

In the course of the first book, they face consequences for their actions. Both Charlie (the girl) and Blue's (the boy) lives are turned upside down. They go through the motions of cause and effect, sometimes grievously so. They are faced with these massive choices they shouldn't be forced to make, but they also understand that their actions had some bearing on these impossible decisions. 

There's a little bit of learning, but no preaching. From the outside looking in, the reader has the distance to understand that these lovers are barreling down a dangerous path. But within the context of the story, the characters aren't in on that knowledge. They're young and stupid. They're real, raw and honest and to me, that makes them amazing characters. 

There will come a day, in the books that follow, that they'll become wiser to the consequences of their actions. They'll grow up a little and they'll be forced to make even more impossible decisions. But most of all, as the pages turn, they'll come to understand responsibility. And spread through the course of three books, I couldn't ask for a better gift to show this kind of evolution. 

It's an evolution that I think is rare in any genre, but the NA category gives me that room to breathe. Unlike most categories of romance, there's a little more room with how the endings play out. HFN's (Happy For Now) endings are welcome within the confines of the series, with each volume leading to that final, beautiful HEA. 

I owe my writing career to the New Adult category. It's a wonderful corner of the literary world where I can write about characters who are the same age as me. As the years go by, New Adult will continue to branch out into other genres, and that's a day I look forward to. Despite popular belief, New Adult isn't about sex. It's about an entire time period in life, a time period we all experience. A time in each of our lives where we truly begin to understand three things; who we are, what it means to be alive, and who we're going to be. 

For me, I'm able to write those stories in a genre I love, which just so happens to have lots of action between the sheets.

I want to start by saying thank you for allowing me to read your book. I really enjoyed it.

Your descriptions are amazing. I could see and feel everything in this book. You are so good at painting the scene for the reader. The characters felt real and relatable.

I could feel all Charlie was feeling throughout the book. And there were a lot of different emotions to feel. You had me laughing out loud at one point to having tears streaming down my face at another.

I really wasn't expecting what happened to Dillon. So just like Charlie I was caught off guard. He seemed like such a good guy and as much as I loved Blue. I felt for Dillon from the time we met him. I could feel how much he still loved Charlie.

Now to Blue. I know he has some crazy problems but I want my own sexy blue eyed carnie. LOL. I absolutely loved him at times and wanted to slap him at others. I loved how much he loved Charlie but I hated the lies. Still at the end he hadn't been completely truthful about things. I just wanted him to come clean.

Also it bugged me how easily Charlie would just let it all go. She says how adamant she is about not being lied to and knowing the truth but lie after lie she would just let go. She wouldn't even get the full story or full truth and would just let it go. I know, I know I would probably do the same if I was staring at those sexy blues too.

All in all I really enjoyed this read and can't wait to read the other books in the series.

1. If you could have coffee with any character from your novels, who would it be and why?
The fans of Carnival might question my sanity with this answer, but I'd have to say Dylan. He's kind of the perfect guy. He's emotional, caring, and loving. He has flaws and he has issues, but in an ideal world, he would have been the perfect choice for Charlie. There's a lot more going on under the surface than he lets on. 

2. At what age did you decide you wanted to pursue a writing career?
I've always wanted to do something creative with my life, but there were a lot of false starts along the way. Initially, I wanted to be a television writer, so I really polished my screenplay skills for a few years. Things in life got complicated and I had to leave those dreams behind. It was almost a year ago today that an idea popped into my mind. That idea was to write a book and I was twenty-four.

3. Do you remember the first book you ever wrote? And if so, what was it about?
Carnival is actually the first book I wrote. It's kind of surreal that I set out on this journey about a year ago and have this book published (as well as the second in the series). The fact that I went from being unemployed without direction, to where I'm currently at boggles my mind daily. I still can't wrap my head around this entire journey. 

4. Are you an outliner or a pantser?
I think other authors and readers alike would shake their heads at my process. My outlines look something like this; Chapter one – Girl gets drunk at bar, Chapter Two – girl meets guy at a bar, Chapter Three – Guy takes girl home, Chapter Four – Girl clumsily escapes through the bedroom window. 

And that's the extent of my outlines. I find them restricting, a total distraction. My characters frequently go off and do shit they're not supposed to do, and I find that these decisions almost always enhance the story. 

5. I see that you just released Carnival Nights. Congratulations! Can you give us a brief description of the novella?
Thank you! 

The premise of Carnival Nights is not spoiler-friendly. So, I'll just say that all actions have consequences and the novella bridges the space between the first book, Carnival and the third, Amusement. The core of the story is that Charlie is turning nineteen years old, and there are these huge correlations to her life now compared to the year prior. Are her and Blue able to live with their choices? I'm very proud of what the story accomplishes in the context of 80 pages. It tells a complete story that carries a heavy weight within the overall narrative of the series. 

6. What is your favorite social media site and why?
Probably Twitter. Facebook has made it so difficult to interact with fans. It's to the point where you have to pay Facebook to deliver your posts, and I think that kind of betrays the idea of social media. 

7. I absolutely LOVE your covers, who designs them?
Thank you, again! 

Books are judged by covers, and that was something I was very aware of when looking for a cover designer. There were a lot of designers who specialized in romance, but I wanted something that stood out so I went with Clarrisa Yeo of Yocla Designs. We went through a round of drafts for Carnival, but none of them were working for me. She was stellar in dealing with my huge expectations and I even dedicated the book to her (among others). After a few weeks, I received a new draft of a cover in my email, and I knew from that moment, THAT was the cover for Carnival. I think the cover says a lot, it sets the mood and clearly defines the setting. 

Due to financial constraints, I actually had to design the Carnival Nights cover myself. I have no experience in graphic design, so that cover is actually a combination between luck and well over twenty hours playing around in Gimp (a Photoshop alternative). Not only was I surprised, I was thrilled, with the wonderful feedback about the cover. 

8. What is your writing process?
It varies. I'm very erratic in everything I do. I've always been hyper and unable to sit still, so I find time to write in the quieter moments of my life. Unlike many authors I know, I'm a complete extrovert. I find energy being surrounded by others. A revelation that might make some folk gasp in horror is that I don't do second drafts. I edit as I go, and I've been blessed with having a great sense of structure so my first draft is relatively clean. If there is one sentence on a page I'm not happy with, my head literally will not let me move forward. It's a blessing and a curse, but it works for me, and we all have to find what works for us. 

9. What would you say has been your biggest success since you began writing?
I think writing in and of itself is a huge accomplishment/success. So that would be my answer. Again, to this day I remain unconvinced that this is my reality. I'm a published author, and I tell every new author I talk to the same thing. There is literally NOTHING in this world that can take that away from you. It's the most rewarding, beautiful thing I've ever experienced. 

10.   What gives you inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. News stories, personal stories. Sometimes, I'll just be sitting in my chair and these ideas will come to me. I have a list of 96 books to write, so it's not the imagination I'm lacking. It's the time. For my next book, which will be a serial, I found inspiration as I waited at a stop light, watching a funeral procession leave a church. I didn't know the deceased, but I felt something inside and it stirred up my next romance.                                                     
Willa Holland as Charlie
This one is a little bit of a cheat. While I never visualize actors playing characters in my book, it's always in the back of my mind who could do the role justice. Inside my own mind, the characters are hard to see – but I can see them faintly. So when it comes to casting, it's difficult for me. Kimberly Matula, of Bold and the Beautiful fame was always my first choice since I first thought about doing a dream cast. But something changed when I sat down to write this guest post. I had an epiphany and Willa instantly came to mind.

Theo James as Blue
Choosing Theo James in a dream cast is straight up cliché, but it's not his fault he's the sexiest thing on this side of the galaxy. I don't know where he came from, but I would love to wake up next to him every morning. 

Nico Tortorella as Dylan
I'll admit: this one is based purely on looks. He's very comparable to who I see in my head on that front. But I think Dylan O'Brien of Teen Wolf fame could easily nail the part, if only he was a little more hardened. 

Katie Findlay as Summer
A recent discovery. This girl is an up and comer, and I can see the fire in her eyes. I haven't seen her play a Summer-like character, but am convinced she could. As a disclaimer, I am literally obsessed with the new tv show, How To Get Away With Murder, and she's on that show. 

Colton Haynes as Joey
Cocky. Pretty. Still able to play layers. Colton would be the perfect Joey. 

Dean Geyer as Tyson
This is another one that is based on looks, but I don't actually think he's a terrible actor. The second Never Back Down is a guilty pleasure of mine. 

Jack Falahee as Cookie
Another How To Get Away With Murder cast member, and this one knocks me in the knees. He's not conventionally handsome, but he has the skills to make girls (and guys) swoon with just a furrow of his eyebrow. 

Monica Potter as Mrs. Scott
Always robbed at the Emmys, Monica Potter is a powerful actress. She's not always subtle, but she's an absolute emotional powerhouse. She's able to play strength and vulnerability within beats of each other. 

Jesse Hutch as Rake
Guilty again. This is a looks kind of thing. I probably spent the longest searching for someone to play Rake, so to speak. Despite what the book says, Rake isn't all bad. He had a rough past, and I think Jesse Hutch has an innocence in his face that is easy to overlook.

K.B. Nelson grew up on a farm in Ohio, but that’s not very interesting, is it? When she’s not writing you can find her doing one of two things; getting lost on highways or getting lost in the lives of fictional characters. If her heart had two feet, one foot would be in romance and the other solidly in geekdom. She hopes you’ll all follow her on her journey through this carnival they call life. She promises there will be a happy ending.

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