Sunday, September 15, 2013

Giveaway and Interview: I Want to Hold Your Hand by Stephanie Blackburn

I Want To Hold Your Hand
I Want to Hold Your Hand by Stephanie Blackburn
On a frigid February night in New Hampshire the car Penny is riding in loses control and crashes passenger-side first into a tree. When she wakes up the next morning she can’t understand why her mother and sister are ignoring her, until she accidentally sticks her hand through her mother and remembers the night before.
A town away, Will is going about his senior year of high school on autopilot. He can’t work up the courage to tell his overbearing father that he doesn’t want to go to Boston College and study Business, his ex-girlfriend doesn’t understand the concept of being broken up, and he’s tired of feeling like his life is all an act.
Thinking she’s dead and wishing for a respite from her family’s grief, Penny is drawn to a house party where she meets Will, who miraculously can see her though no one else can. In the off-limits living room at the back of the house, with music thumping and their peers making fools of themselves nearby, Penny and Will begin a relationship that will make both of them question the decisions that have brought them to where they are and force them to jointly take a leap of faith



interview with Blkosiner's Book Blog
Interview with Stephanie Blackburn (“I Want To Hold Your Hand”)

--How did you get the idea for the story?
I have a complicated relationship with sleeping/dreaming. Most nights I get startled awake about an hour after I fall asleep (I blame my cats). My eyes think they see things that aren’t there and it takes a minute for my brain to compute that it’s not a person standing there, but actually my shoe rack, dresser, curtain, etc. Needless to say, I am almost always tired in the morning.
About four years ago I woke up three nights over the course of a week and swore there was a guy standing in my apartment. Each night he got closer to my bed until the third night he was hovering over me. Now I know you’re thinking. Holy crap, how did you not have a heart attack?! This sounds crazy, but I never once felt scared. I told a friend and we named him Rupert and made up a story about him and I never “saw” him again. But then I started thinking about the experience and wondered if it wasn’t just my sleepy eyes playing tricks. What if I had been visited by a ghost? Why would he visit me? What would he be trying to tell me? And the idea of a relationship between two people, one of them being a ghost, bloomed in my brain and Penny and Will were born!

--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
I don’t think I’d want to have dinner with Penny’s step-mother, Alexa. That’s probably immature of me, but I’d absolutely take Penny’s side on that. After writing half the book from Penny’s perspective it’s hard to separate her feelings from my own.
As for who I’d want to have dinner with… it’s a tie between Will’s classmate, Nessa and Penny’s half-brother, Shaun. I could see Nessa and I having a heated conversation about the environment and global warming and I’m sure she could teach me a thing or two and I’d walk away thinking, That’s one smart girl!But Penny’s half-brother Shaun is just the cutest little kid and I’m sure I’d spend dinner trying not to laugh as he made a complete mess of his food.

--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
I wrote a book before “I Want To Hold Your Hand” that I haven’t looked at in about four years. It’s contemporary YA and when I wrote it I felt like I was pulling a fiber of my heart out. It was an emotional journey and I’d love to share the story with readers. You know Taylor Swift’s song “You Belong With Me”? Well that song was a major catalyst for this book, along with an entire Boy’s Like Girls album (think “Hero/Heroine” and “Thunder”) and Matt Wertz’s “Sweetness In Starlight”. So I’ve been thinking lately about revisiting that storyand hopefully publishing it in the early Fall.

--What book(s) is your book’s “cousin”? (Similar kind of read,set-up or style)
In all honesty I haven’t read any YA Paranormal books so I don’t know of any that might be similar in subject matter. I think the relationship between Penny and her father is slightly similar to that of Ronnie and her father in “The Last Song”, but that’s where the similarities end. There are a fair amount of books with similar characters to Penny and Will, where they come from very different places (economic, social, etc.) and despite their differences, or maybe because of it, they fall for each other. As a reader that always appeals to me, to imagine myself as the female character falling for someone so different from myself.

--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
I read on my way to and from work on the T (Boston’s subway system). So that’s only about forty minutes a day. If a book really hooks me then I might decide to skip out on sleeping and plough through late into the night, but that’s only with a rare book.
Garth Stein’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is in my top five. Reading about a family from the dog’s perspective just reached into my gut and twisted. I couldn’t put it down.
I’m obsessed with Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series. Obsessed. Jamie Fraser is my dream man and I can’t wait to see the series next Spring on Starz!
I adore Lauren Oliver’s writing. I got sucked in with “Before I Fall” and I was ecstaticwhen I heard “Delirium” was being made into a tv show, so when I read it didn’t get picked up for a full season I was really bummed. Really, really bummed.I can’t wait until “Panic” comes out!
I recently read “The Fault In Our Stars” and it was so brilliantly done. I laughed and cried, often at the same time, and I’m still thinking about Augustus and Hazel today. That’s when you know a book was really good, when it lingers in your mind and pops back up at random moments.

--If a fairy godmother told you you could be put into the world of your favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
Without question – put me in “Outlander”! It would be such an adventure to live in the 1700’s for twenty-four hours. No modern technology, just Jamie Fraser in a kilt. A girl can dream, right? And then when I came back to present day I would be so thankful for modern plumbing and Egyptian cotton sheets.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
The first two manuscripts I wrote each had playlists and the songs absolutely set the tone of the books. But for some reason with “I Want To Hold Your Hand” I needed absolute quiet. It just worked that way.I like to write in bed with the curtains pulled back so the room is nice and bright. And typically one of my cats is draped across me.

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love going to the beach with friends, especially to surf. That’s what I’ve been doing most weekends since the weather has been nice. Sundays are my favorite days to stay in bed late and read or just cuddle with my cats. I don’t need an excuse to bake (my usual method of procrastination when I should be writing/editing).

--What is one thing you would tell your 15 year old self?
Stop trying to hide your curls! There’s this amazing product called mousse. Go buy it. And stop pulling your hair into a bun.

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?
I love when people comment on my blog and give book suggestions so please write me your thoughts!

Lightning round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate?              100% Chocolate
Edward or Jacob?                   Edward
Hockey or soccer?                   I played both in school, but I guess if I had to pick one, I love soccer more.
Ebook or paper?                      Paperback. Maybe I’m weird, but I love the smell of a new book and the sound the binding makes when it’s first opened.
Salty or sweet?                        Salty.
Beach or mountains?               Beach
Phone call or email?                I definitely email more than I call people, but there’s nothing quite like hearing a person’s tone and inflection when they are retelling a good story. A lot gets lost in email and texting.
Early bird or night owl?          Night owl
Dog or cat?                             I have two cats (and I’m obsessed with them) but I actually consider myself to be more of a dog person. Once I saw Fang in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone I wanted a Neapolitan Mastiff. Ginormous, pounds of wrinkles, excessive drooling – it doesn’t deter my insane desire to cuddle with him.
Messy or neat?                        Neat. (That’s a lie. I wish I was neat.)

Ninjas or pirates?                    Pillage and plunder all the way!

Blkosiner's Book Blog Giveaway
-two ebook copies of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" 
-Fill out Rafflecopter to enter
-Ends on 10/13/2013 11:59 pm EST
-If you win a review on your blog and/or amazon is appreciated but not required.

*If, for whatever reason, the Rafflecopter widget does not appear, you can click on the link where it says rafflecopter giveaway and it will show up, sorry for the inconvenience.b

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  1. I like the interview! I especially like the "book Cousin" question. I haven't seen that before in your interviews. Or I missed it. It's a good question!


  2. Sounds interesting, I like books where someone is hurt/dead and can't be seen except by one person.

    Katy @ a blighted one


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