Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Interview with Heidi Loney, Author of Love and Cola Wars + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

I'd like to welcome the beautiful Heidi Loney to the blog today to celebrate the publication of her newest novel, Love and Cola Wars. Stick around until the end for a fabulous giveaway that you don't want to miss!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Heidi! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a quick bio with us?


Heidi Loney is a Toronto based Young Adult author. Her dystopian novel, Ravenous is currently available in both Kobo and Kindle eBook formats. Heidi’s satirical Upper MG/YA novel, Love and Cola Wars, is now available on Kindle and Kobo. She is currently writing Ancestor, the sequel to Ravenous, to be released later in 2014. Before becoming a novelist, Heidi studied theatre and worked as a costumer for 15 years in many of Toronto’s theatres.

Heidi’s other passion is politics, and you can find her tongue-in-cheek posts on the Toronto city politics blog, leftwingpinko.ca.

Heidi lives in the city with her husband Jack and two (mostly) darling children.


Readers, here's a bit about Love and Cola Wars!

Love and Cola Wars

In a parallel world, the city of Toronto has privatized all aspects of public life, including schools, where the ultimate rivalry is between the two biggest cola corporations in the world.

Sixteen year old Coco Caro is a good girl from a good Coca Cola home. Just as summer is closing, she meets Vincente Moreno, an up-and-coming Olympic fencer who attends her rival high school, Pepsi Co. At first, Coco has no idea who Vincente is or where he comes from. But when she discovers his identity, Coco must choose her loyalties: avoid Vincente at all costs or see him in secret.

Enter into the picture Cody Warwick, handsome Microsoft college junior and fencing aficionado. Cody has the world eating out of his hands, but Coco knows there is more to him than meets the eye. When her father wants her to entertain Cody at his annual Coke barbeque, Coco must play the dutiful daughter against her better judgment. And when a group of student activists challenge the status-quo at Coke High, Coco questions her own core values.

Meanwhile, Vincente has troubles of his own. Coco’s cousin, fencing star Silvino Rodrigues, challenges Vincente to a fencing bout, for which Vincente forgoes because of his personal set of principles. Eventually, Vincente must use his training skills and daring to defend Coco’s honour in an ultimate fencing blow-out.

Filled with swoon-worthy romance and kick-ass sword fighting, Love and Cola Wars is a satirical love story set in a parallel world of cola and corporations.

How did you arrive at writing romance? Are there any other genres you’d like to try your hand at?

It’s pretty natural for me as it’s my favourite genre to read, although I tend to prefer paranormal romance or thrillers with a hint of romance. Everything else I have written, such as dystopian or sci-fi always has some seed of a romance growing from within it.

The one genre that I’m currently plotting is a gothic novel that I’m very excited about. It’s going to be very different than anything I’ve ever written since the themes are more from internal conflicts as opposed to external conflicts, which I typically tend to write about.


What was the inspiration for the book?

I didn’t actually start out with the Romeo and Juliet love story for the book. That came much later. My original inspiration for the book came to me through me through my own experience as a parent. What if everything was privatized and controlled by the corporations? Sounds frightening, but I wanted to convey it in a much subtler, satirical way. What I like about the feedback from my readers is that they see a sweet love story in Love and Cola Wars, but they might sense, maybe on another level, something more. I really didn’t want to beat my readers over the head with this concept.

As a huge fan of first lines, I’d love to hear the first line of Love and Cola Wars. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?
Vincente Moreno was a Pepsi in a Coke world.
I wanted to set up the entire premise of the story with that line. The readers hopefully will understand that Vincente is an underdog right from the get go. As a Pepsi, he is already at a disadvantage, kind of like how somebody is born into a life of poverty versus a life of affluence. And Coco, born into a Coke world, is unattainable, just by the mere fact that she is a Coke.

Are the characters from your books based off anyone you know in real life?

I don’t think anyone in the book is based off someone I know, but I definitely use bits and pieces of myself and others. Social activist Echo is probably the most like me in her world view, but I was never like her in high school.


Which character from Love and Cola Wars was most difficult to write?

I think that the antagonist Cody was really difficult for me. He’s really despicable, but I didn’t want him to be a cardboard cutout bad guy, and when I began to dig deeper into his character, it started to get uncomfortable. That’s when I knew I was creating someone who was real.


Isn't it jarring to realize even villains are frustratingly, wholly human? How do you react to a negative or harsh review to your books?

This is probably the most difficult part for anyone who is creative, not just a writer.

I think the most important thing to remember is to take it all with a grain of salt. I have learned a lot from my readers, and I often use their advice when it is offered in a constructive way. That being said, I think that it’s only human to want everyone to like what you’ve put out there into the world, but not realistic to think that everyone will like it or get it.


What’s next for you?

Ancestor, the second book in my Ancestry series will be published at the end of the year and I also have two other manuscripts in the works.

Where can you be found on the web?


Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you'd like to ask our readers?

Are you a Pepsi drinker or Coke drinker?

It was an absolute pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Heidi! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!

Giveaway!

Books à la Mode is giving away an autographed copy of Love and Cola Wars and a copy of Enrique Iglesias's "Greatest Hits" CD—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is answer Heidi's question:
Pepsi or Coke?

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the author—a huge thank you to Heidi!
Giveaway ends June 25th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US/Canada residents only. Sorry, rest of the world! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently-running giveaways that are open internationally.
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!