Shawn McGuire

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ATO- Shawn McGuire part 2

#ATO Tuesday is here again lovelies! And I’ve got a special treat for you today. This author kicked off the ATO this year and now she’s back again for part 2 of her takeover. Welcome back Shawn McGuire with her fantastical amazing The Wish Makers series and her AWESOME SAUCE covers! Take it away Shawn.

First let me shout out a big “THANKS!” to L.H. for letting me do a second ATO. These are so fun. I love reading about other authors. While I was pondering what to talk about this time, Mandy and Crissy took over my take over! (They’re the main characters from STICKS AND STONES and the soon-to-be-released BREAK MY BONES.) They have a tendency to do that to me. “We’re going that way, girls,” I’ll say and point. “Um, no,” they’ll say, “you need to follow us this way.” Then Crissy will give me an eye-roll or Mandy will try to tempt me with something yummy from her kitchen. So, Mandy and Crissy, have at it!

Mandy: Shawn, you get to talk all the time.

Crissy: Yeah, the books are about us so we should get to talk about them now and then.

Mandy: The story is about your wish this time.

Crissy: Yep.

Mandy: Shawn, why did you decide to give Crissy a wish this time?

I didn’t decide. The universe decides what wish gets granted. At least that’s what Desiree claims. And don’t you think that Crissy was deserving of having a wish come true? I mean, her home life and that boyfriend of hers?

Crissy: I think I was deserving. So, thanks. Or should I thank Desiree? Either way, things are going better now.

I know and I’m really glad.

Mandy: Like mine, you wishes journey wasn’t exactly smooth sailing.

Crissy: That’s kind of the thing with wishes though, isn’t it? They get granted, things go sort of carppy for a while, and then it ends where it’s supposed to.

Mandy: Carppy?

Crissy: My little sister repeats what I say so I’m trying to keep it clean.

Okay, I have to say something here as the author. Drama, tension, conflict, being mean to the characters makes for a better story.

Crissy: Really mean.

I’m sorry. But if you would’ve just skipped off into the sunset it would’ve been a really short and supremely boring story.

Mandy: I agree. Sorry, Crissy.

Crissy: We already knew that Desiree has a nasty side. Apparently Shawn does too.

I’m a very nice person. You know that. Sometimes, though, a person has to hit rock bottom before they can start climbing their way out of the pit.

Crissy: Whoa, that’s deep. *rolling my eyes* You’re just trying to justify your deep-seeded need to take out your frustrations on poor, unsuspecting wish makers.

Mandy: Nice, Crissy. Maybe you should be a psychiatrist instead of a photographer.

Just doing my job.

Mandy: I heard a rumor.

Crissy: I try not to listen to rumors.

Mandy: I know, but I heard Desiree is getting a wish in book #3! Shawn, is this true?

It is, but let’s focus on Crissy’s story for now, okay?

Crissy: She’s going to take a shot at Desiree? Oh, I’m so there. Payback is a bit—not nice thing.

Focus, Crissy. We’re talking about you right now. You know, one of my writer friends told me that she thought your story could save lives.

Crissy: Really? That would be sort of awesome.

Mandy: I read BREAK MY BONES. I agree. It’s kind of intense in places, but the way you learn to defend yourself against Brad…

Crissy: Are you crying?

Mandy: Maybe.

I cried.

Crissy: So why do you think this could save lives?

Mandy: Duh! You totally learn to defend yourself, as in fought off an attacker self-defense. And you learned that it’s okay to say no even after you’ve already said yes. And that it’s even okay to say no to your boyfriend.

Crissy: Is it okay to say no to my best friend?

Of course it is.

Crissy: Cool. But I was kind of joking.

It’s important for girls (and guys) to protect themselves physically and sexually. But it’s also important to stand up for what you believe in. I’m proud of you for doing both, Crissy.

Mandy: I like in the story how you decide you don’t want to live your life the way your mom and sister expect you to. Everyone should be able to decide what’s important and right for themselves and then fight for it. I’m proud of you too, Crissy.

Crissy: Thanks. Couldn’t have done it without you. And a few other people in my life.

We’re taking up a lot of space on L.H.’s blog. Maybe we should wrap this up.

Mandy: Okay. But there’s more we could talk about.

We’ll talk more later. Maybe you two can take over my blog sometime.

This was a lot of fun but seriously, BREAK MY BONES deals with some topics that I feel very strongly about. Things like living your life the way that you want to live it. Deciding for yourself who and what you are, what you stand for, and what you want to do with your life. (I know, that’s hard for a kid. It’s hard for adults sometimes too.) The other really important topics in this book are dating abuse and rape. Everyone is the ruler of her or his own body. No one should ever be pressured into doing things they aren’t comfortable or ready to do. No means no even if yes was already said. And it keeps meaning no until yes is said again. It’s a huge topic and my ultimate wish is that this book touches the life of kids and maybe, yes, saves a life.

Here’s a short excerpt from BREAK MY BONES. I hope you read it. And if you do, please, tell me honestly what you think of it.

Shawn

BREAK MY BONES – Chapter 1

A car with a loud muffler pulled into the parking lot of the Lakeside Drive-In. Only one car in town sounded like that. Brad’s 1980-something Camaro. His baby. I slouched way down in my seat and watched out of the corner of my window as he pulled into a spot across the lot from where Mandy and I were parked. I’d told him I’d be home all night tonight. If he saw me here, he’d be mad. Accuse me of lying to him.

He and his cousin got out of the Camaro and went up to the order window. Brad knew the cook and always ordered at the window so he could say hi. Then he’d let one of the rollerbladed serving girls bring the food to his car. He stayed at the window this time and waited for his order—almost certainly a triple bacon cheeseburger, no onions, and monster-size chocolate cherry malt. Good. That meant he was taking his food to go. A few minutes later with bags in hand, they went back to the car and Brad peeled out of the lot. I watched him drive away and only sat up once he was far out of sight.

I felt Mandy staring at me the whole time. If I had looked, I would’ve seen that frown. The one she wore every time the topic of Brad came up. This time all she said was, “Good thing he doesn’t know my car, hey?”

“Yeah,” I exhaled and closed my eyes, listening for the sound of that engine. Even though I couldn’t hear it anymore, I couldn’t relax. He could come back. I’d left instructions with Mom to call me immediately if he stopped by the house. Lakeside wasn’t that far away, Mandy could have me home in less than five minutes if he was there waiting.

One of the servers rolled up to the car with our food and attached the tray to Mandy’s window. The smell of French fries and deep-fried cheese curds swirled in the air around the car and my stomach rumbled.

Mandy smiled as she handed me my mug of root beer, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes. She was waiting for me to say something, to defend myself. The last thing I wanted was to get into yet another discussion about why I should break up with Brad. I’d heard it many times. Her vote had been registered.

My throat practically cried with relief as the foamy, vanilla and licorice goodness slid down. I pressed the icy mug against my neck. Hottest freaking June in years and our A/C was out. Again. When Mandy called, asking if I wanted to get a root beer at Lakeside, our dinky-town Minnesota version of a Sonic, I jumped at the chance. The ride in her chilly car felt like a reward for being shackled to two five-year-olds and a baby all week.

She held her mug out to me in a toast. “To your first week of babysitting. How was it?”

BOOK BLURB:

Untitled Everyone makes mistakes. Crissy’s just might kill her.

Seventeen-year-old Crissy Sheets was so sure Brad was the one, she believed him when he swore the first bruise was an accident. She believed him when he told her he loved her after the second. Now trapped in an abusive relationship with no idea of how to get out, she’s all but given up on ever having the life she dreams of. With little to lose, Crissy wishes for a better future.

She’s told her wish has been granted, but nothing has changed. Her house is still a dump, her mother is still drinking, and Brad still wants to control her every move. Then Lance moves into the house across the yard. He’s hot, chivalrous, and wants to help Crissy break free. Will standing up for herself push Brad too far?

AUTHOR BIO:

Shawn McGuire started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that’s episode IV) as a kid: she couldn’t wait for the next one so wrote her own episodes. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then. She grew up in the beautiful Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota, the small town that inspired the setting for Sticks and Stones and Break My Bones. After graduating college she moved to the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!) where she lived for many years. She and her family now call Colorado home and when not writing or reading, Shawn enjoys cooking and baking, crafts, interior decorating, and spending time hiking and camping in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3231214.Shawn_McGuire

https://www.facebook.com/shawnmcguireauthor

Love the teaser chapter and I love Crissy and Mandy. Such fun characters and most certainly on my TBR list! Come back for next week’s ATO!

Later lovelies  <3 always LH

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ATO-Author Takeover Shawn McGuire

Hey lovelies! I am so thrilled to be starting a new project today on my blog! I’m calling it ATO or Author Takeover. Here’s how it will work: every Tuesday until the end of the year one author will drop by every Tuesday and “takeover” my blog. They may do author interviews, character interviews, or any number of unique posts that relate to the book they are sharing with us. (There are some pretty amazeballs posts coming) I wanted to really showcase a variety of different authors across the Young Adult, New Adult and Middle Grade genres so I put out an invitation and so far the response has been Fan-Freakin-Tastical!

I am still looking for authors for the end of the year so if you see this and are interested, hit me up 🙂

Now to the good stuff. We are kicking off the ATO with a pretty fantastic author, Shawn McGuire, and her debut book: STICKS & STONES. To tell you a little more about herself and her book, here is a fun interview I did with Shawn:

  1. Were you good at English in high school?

I was good at English. In fact, I got my best grades in English. I remember thinking always thought sentence diagramming was fun – although I’m not sure I could describe what dangling participle is anymore. I remember a creative writing class I took. The teacher would give us free writing time now and then. Sometimes she’d give us a topic, other times not. There was one day we were on our own and I sat there for the half the period and couldn’t come up with a topic. I ended up writing about not knowing what to write about. I got an “A!”

  1. What inspired you to write Sticks and Stones and what can you tell us about the main characters?

I actually wrote the very first draft of S&S about eight years ago so I honestly don’t remember what the initial inspiration was. It was a middle grade novel then and it was a hot mess. The story focused on three girls – Mandy, Brooke, and Crissy – and how their friendship was falling apart. I put the story away and it would speak to me periodically. I finally took it out again about three years ago. The same three girls are still in the book but the story has grown up a lot. Mandy is the main character and she wants what everyone wants, to simply be a happy person. She thinks that she’s unhappy because her friendships with Brooke and Crissy are falling apart. As the story progresses she realizes that it’s normal for friendships to change and that the thing that’s really making her unhappy is something that goes much deeper.

Lexi is another central character. She is Mandy’s childhood imaginary friend who comes to life to help her deal with this deep-buried secret Mandy has been carrying around. There’s also Desiree, the genie/wish granter, and she has a small storyline that we follow as well.

  1. Your cover is fantastic! Who designed it and do you think a good cover is vital to getting readers attention?

Thank you! I am so, so, so in love with my cover! Karri Klawiter (www.artbykarri.com) is the genius designer I was fortunate to be working with. I sent her the blurb, a description of how I envisioned Mandy, and some links to covers I love and she went from there. Yes, absolutely, a good cover is crucial. This past weekend I attended the UtopYA conference (www.utopyacon.com) in Nashville. I brought postcards with my cover on one side and the blurb on the other. Not many people know my name yet, but many of them said that they remembered seeing my cover on various blogs. I was thrilled every time I heard that! Karri will be designing the cover for book #2 in my series soon. I can hardly wait to see what she comes up next.

  1. As a writer, we have to do a lot of research to make sure our stories are rooted in facts. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever researched?

I was just talking with someone about that this weekend. Most recently while working on book #3 (Never Hurt Me) I needed to know how to get a fake passport and how much one would cost. After I’d found my answer I realized how that could look and sincerely hoped I didn’t end up on some government watch list! I swear, it’s just for the book.

  1. If you had to choose one author as your idol who would it be?

It will probably sound cliché but easily J.K. Rowling. I remember reading one of the Harry Potter books and being so completely absorbed in the world of the story that at one point I looked up from the page and seriously could not figure out where I was for a good 10-20 seconds. I’ve been a writer and a reader for as long as I can remember, but that was the first time I’d ever been that immersed in a story. Right then and there it became my goal as a writer to give a reader that kind of total immersion experience.

  1. And finally, what is your favorite quote AND scene from Sticks and Stones?

Great question! It’s easier to choose my favorite scene. It’s chapter five where Mandy finds out that her wish has been granted and meets Desiree for the first time. I had a lot of fun writing all of the scenes where the two of them were together, but the first one is my favorite.

As for the quote, that’s an amazingly hard question! I’m not sure I can choose a favorite so instead I’ll give one that kind of sums up Mandy’s situation.

Compared to some people, my life was far from horrible. I knew that. Still, I wasn’t happy. When was the last time I had been?

With Brooke and Crissy? Yeah, but I’d always had to do what they wanted. I’d played the games they wanted to at recess. Watched the shows they wanted to watch when we had sleepovers. I’d spent my golden birthday at the party they wanted to go to.

And then it came to me. The last time I’d been happy was when Lexi was here. Oh my God, how pathetic was that? My last truly happy time had been with an imaginary friend.

Like a lot of us, she’d been expecting happiness to come from something external when really it had been inside her all along. She just needed to find it and let it out.

BOOK BLURB/AUTHOR BIO

Everyone has a dark side. Mandy’s just moved in with her.

The last time sixteen-year-old Mandy Matteo broke a rule, her sister died. Since that day she has done only what is expected of her, but life as a goody-goody has made Mandy so boring her friends have all but abandoned her. And she’s given up on ever getting Ethan, the boy she’s liked forever, to notice her. Desperate, Mandy makes a wish to simply be happy.

Her wish is granted and happiness arrives in the form of Lexi, her childhood imaginary friend come to life. Magical wishes have conditions though: Once started, the wish cannot be altered or stopped. And once Mandy is truly content with her life again, Lexi must go back to where she came from. But Lexi loves being alive and she’ll do whatever it takes to stay that way.

 

Shawn McGuire started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that’s episode IV) as a kid: she couldn’t wait for the next one so wrote her own episodes. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then. She grew up in the beautiful Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota, the small town that inspired the setting for Sticks and Stones and Break My Bones. After graduating college she moved to the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!) where she lived for many years. She and her family now call Colorado home and when not writing or reading, Shawn enjoys cooking and baking, crafts, interior decorating, and spending time hiking and camping in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3231214.Shawn_McGuire

https://www.facebook.com/shawnmcguireauthor

So what did you guys think? Pretty cool right? And this book sounds amazing, it’s definitely on my TBR list! Leave us a comment and tell us you opinions and enter in the giveaway!

Drop by next Tuesday to see our next author on the ATO and what she has in store for us!  HEHE No spoilers will be given 😉

Later lovelies!

<3 always LH
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