Friday, March 24, 2017

Chirp by Ann Everett | An Interview, Excerpt, + Giveaway

Chirp on April 4, 2017
Goodreads

A woman hiding from her future…..

Heiress to the largest steel company in America, twenty-year-old, socially awkward Blaze Bledsoe hides out at Dessie Bishop’s farm. For the last three years, Blaze has eluded one investigator after another, but just when she thinks she’s safe, a PI closes in. Her luck is about to run out in more ways than one.

A man running from his past….

Rance Keller, a tough, hard-living ex-con, fresh out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit, arrives to claim the house his grandmother left him. Finding a strange girl living there, his plans for a solitary life take a turn. Her lack of modesty, no filter, and word-of-the-day fetish baffles him, but those big green eyes and sweet mouth have him losing sleep.

Welcome to Bluebird, Texas

Where two damaged people with secrets, discover trust can lead to passion.

 


“My word of the day. I didn’t use it.” Her heart sped up. “Never mind. How was your day? How is the building going? Can I help with anything? Are you interested in going to a banquet?” The last question squeaked out because her mouth had gone dry. She reached for her glass of water and gulped.

He laid down his fork and half-smiled. “What’s the word?”

She looked away. “Uxorial.”

“Hmm. What’s it mean?”

“Befitting of a wife.”

“Can’t help you there, but even if I could, it wouldn’t count, would it? I mean you have to come up with the sentence on your own, right?”

“Yeah.”

“They got the john working in the new bathroom, so I won’t have to use yours anymore. As for you helping, maybe when the rooms are ready to paint, I’ll let you pitch in. And this spaghetti is delicious.”

He took another bite, and she thought he was finished talking. Better he ignored the banquet question. She shouldn’t have listened to Hanna.

He leaned back and rested his hands on the chair arms. “Hey, look at me.”

She raised her eyes to his and braced.

“Is talking to me making you uncomfortable?” he asked.

She wanted to answer but couldn’t get the words out, so she nodded.

“You’re not afraid of me, are you?”

That was a good question. She had been when he had the nightmare. But not since then. She lowered her head. “No, but talking is hard.”

He reached over and placed his finger under her chin and tilted it up. “I want to understand, so explain it.”

His gentle touch and the tenderness in his tone surprised her. A little jolt of electricity caused her cheeks to warm. “I don’t always say the right thing.”

“Well, you can say anything around me. If I don’t get it, I’ll tell you. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“Now, about this banquet.”

“It’s a work thing. Golden anniversary.”

“And the dress code? Date? Time?”

“Oh, it’s not a date. It’s a plus one.”

He laughed out loud. “I meant the date of the event.”

Blaze’s face flamed, and she turned away again. “See what I mean?”

“I wasn’t laughing at you. Your answer was cute.”

“Oh,” she said. “Two weeks from Friday. Dressy casual. Seven in the evening.”

“I’ll have to check my social calendar.”

“All right.” She scooted her chair away, but before she stood, he caught her wrist.

“That was a joke. You know I don’t have a social calendar.”

She pulled her hand free. She appreciated his attempt to let her down easy, but she’d been right. This was a bad idea. “I know you don’t like me, so you don’t have to go.”

“Whoa. I’ve never said that.”

He frowned, and an odd sensation churned in her stomach. Longing. Desire for his approval. What was that about? She searched for something to say but came up short. An awkward silence hung between them until finally she found her voice. “I’m not dumb. I know I’m odd, and people don’t like different.”


I had the privilege of interviewing Ann Everett. It was a joy to learn from her and to hear her responses. Be sure to check out her book, Chirp, if you haven’t already done so! – C


Was there any scene or aspect of the book that was particularly hard to write?

Man was there! I got all the way to the end and then couldn’t write it! I’ve never had that happen before, but for five weeks I stared at the computer screen with no idea. Finally, I told myself to just write something. So, I did. It was awful. However, after much help from my beta readers, I rewrote the ending three times before I got it right. Turns out, I was in the wrong POV. Once I figured that out, I came up with an ending I was happy with.

I think the problem came from writing several interwoven story lines. This was my first attempt at doing that. The main plot focuses on Blaze and Rance. A secondary plot line belongs to Hanna and Seth. Then there’s the third element of the story, which is the mystery. I even gave private investigator Tom  a love interest. I had a lot of balls in the air and had to resolve everything. As challenging as that was, I discovered I enjoyed writing that type of story.

 

Are there any characters in your book that are inspired or loosely based on a real person?

Every character I write is influenced by people I know or have known. Most of the male characters will have bits of my husband woven into their personalities. I’ve had people ask if I put myself in my stories, and the answer is yes. There will be a little of me in just about every character. Bad characters are always based on someone I dislike. It’s my own private way of getting back at them!! I know. I’m evil. Of course, I never reveal who they are and believe me, friends try to guess!


What lead you to choose this particular genre to write in?

My most successful book has been Tell Me a Secret, the first book and new adult romance I wrote. Even though I wrote it in 2005, I published three books prior, not getting it on the market until 2014.

However, since my fans have liked it best, I decided to stick with the genre. My next two books will be companions to Chirp. I’m already working on the next one. They’ll all take place in the fictional town of Bluebird, Texas, and some characters from Chirp will make appearances, but each book will be a stand-alone with a HEA. In most cases, just like in Chirp, there will be more than one HEA.

 

Did outlining or story mapping play a big role in your writing, or are you a more write as you go kind of author?

The answer to this is…I’m both. In the beginning, I don’t outline, but I do make a list of scenes I’d like to include. Sometimes, a whole chapter is based on just a sentence I want to use, then I’ll construct the chapter around that. One example in Chirp is chapter 15. I’d pictured in my head how I wanted Blaze to reveal her “real” self to Rance. I knew they’d be in his truck. And, there would have been something that happened to show  more of his troubled past that could go either way…scare her or cause her to trust him more. Once I had those elements in place, I constructed the chapter around them.

Same thing with the Muttly scene. I knew I wanted the reader to see kindness in Rance. The chapter grew from that.

 

What was your favorite part of the book to write?

Oh, this is so hard to answer. I truly love writing every character’s part because I fall in love with them.

I love writing the build up/conflict until the main characters sleep together. Once that happens the story loses a little of the energy for me. It’s all that tension that I love. The back and forth. How does he feel? How does she feel? Should they be together? Should they not? Will it work? I love the angst.

Maybe I  should say what my least favorite is to write. It’s the ending. Why? Because these characters I’ve lived with for months are about to be gone out of my head and I’ll start concentrating on characters for my next book. On the positive side, I get to fall in love all over again!


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