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Friday, July 12, 2013

Author: Jennifer Echols Interview and Giveaway!

Read my review of Dirty Little Secret, a "sophisticated young adult novel with a side of sweet, heart-melting all-American romanceby clicking here!

 Brought to you by Itching for Books...

Dirty Little Secret
Jennifer Echols

From the author of the "real page-turner" (Seventeen) Such a Rush, comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

Bailey wasn't always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey's were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie's debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey's antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey's fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again...

I awarded 7 out of 10 hearts to Dirty Little Secret at the blog earlier today. Be sure to check my review out! Jennifer, would you share a brief bio with us?

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. Her romantic novels for young adults have been published in seven languages and have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Aspen Gold Readers' Choice Award, the Write Touch Readers' Award, the Beacon, and the Booksellers' Best Award. Her novel Going Too Far was a finalist in the RITA and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults.

Simon & Schuster debuted her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more of her teen novels scheduled for the next few years.

She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.

What inspired you to write about the implications of fame and the blood, sweat, and tears—both present in the country music industry?

I grew up with my dad listening to country music and teaching himself to play banjo, and I love true stories about musicians struggling to the top. This is a topic I've been writing about for a while. My adult romantic comedy about a country band, Playing Dirty, is coming out on October 29th. I wrote a proposal for a YA version of the idea that made the rounds of publishers in 2007 or so and wasn't picked up. When I love an idea, I do have a tendency to beat my head against the wall until somebody says yes.

And we readers are lucky you did or else I wouldn't have had the chance to read your fabulous new book! What's your character-development process like? Do you have distinct personalities for each characters from the start, or do they grow—and in turn, affect each other—as you write them?

At the beginning, I have a basic idea about what types of characters I'm dealing with, and how they dovetail—how they complement each other perfectly and simultaneously drive each other crazy. But the details of those characters develop as I write the book, and I think it's those details that make a delicious read.

SO agreed. What's the greatest thing you ever learned?

Most of the things we worry incessantly about never happen. (This is coming from an incessant worrier.)

Readers, click "Read more" to learn what kind of kid Jennifer was in high school (I found it hilariou!), her best advice for aspiring writers, and a little bit of yummy Sam boy advice straight from the book. If you missed the giveaway from earlier, here's another opportunity to enter, as well!

Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Write the book you want to read.

What kind of kid were you in high school?

I was a squeaky-clean teen who did everything I was supposed to. I was valedictorian, drum major of the marching band, editor of the newspaper, and so forth. But I had a problem with authority that led me to talk back to teachers—possibly a more serious violation in the South than it is in the North. I spent a lot of time in the principal's office. Time has not changed my attitude. Good thing I work as a novelist.

Love that about your personality! And finally, the question I've been dying to ask... how can I find myself a guy like Sam??

Wouldn't you rather date an engineering major? I know the answer, but I feel it's my duty to at least try to talk you out of Sam. He is going to cause you a lot of trouble.

Good call, Jennifer, good call... I guess I've already fallen for him, which is why I can't even think straight—that's how much Sam is messing with my head *dizzy eyes*

Where can you be found on the web?

I'm so glad I got the chance to chat with you today, Jennifer! Your responses are so insightful, and it was awesome learning a little about your writing process. Thank you for joining us, and best of luck with your future endeavors!


Want to read Dirty Little Secret yourself? The tour is giving FIVE finished copies! This is the same giveaway and Rafflecopter form from my review so if you've already entered, you're all set!
Don't forget the terms and conditions!
This is a third-party giveaway hosted by Itching for Books, so please make sure you read the terms and conditions there.
Giveaway ends 16 July 2013 at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only. Sorry, international! You can still enter the giveaways I'm running that are open worldwide; check those out in my sidebar.
I will not be selecting the winner, and 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 ❤ Plus you get extra entries! ;)
Good luck!