Friday, January 24, 2014

Tell Me When by Stina Lindenblatt: in 3 Songs

Tell Me When (A New Adult Title) by Stina Lindenblatt
Carina Press, Available Now
The sisters say: Edgy, New Adult romance. (Sexual and violent situations make this book at 17-and-up read.)

Amber Scott should be enjoying life as a college freshman. She should be pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She should be working hard to make sense of her precalculus math class. 

She shouldn’t be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn’t be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn’t be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid. 

But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she’ll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she’d never be able to again. 

When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her. And Amber is determined to protect Marcus…even if that means pushing him away.

Sarah: For a fun author interview for this book, I chose three popular songs which have themes which mesh with the story.

Song #1: Daughter by Pearl Jam

"Don't call me daughter, it's not fit to be..."

While a good New Adult book is always primarily about the budding romance--and understanding--between the two main characters, often a parenting fail is hovering in the wings. We always hope that in times of intense trauma, our parents will be there for us, but they're only human too. In your book, Amber's mother has totally dropped the ball. What made you want to go there with Amber's mom?

Stina: I wanted to show that parents aren’t always as strong as we would like them to be, especially when faced with a traumatic situation. It depends on their ability to cope with stress. Some people thrive on it. Others don’t cope well and the family unit falls apart, which only makes 
the situation worse. If the parent feels guilty about what the child is going through, that adds to the stress level. The outcome is that the child is left to flounder on her own, and this delays her ability to heal—if she ever does heal. 

The other reason for Amber’s mom dropping the ball is it shows that we need to address the issue of trauma in not just the victim herself, but also with her family and loved ones. No matter what the traumatic situation, everyone is going to be affected at some level. In the case of Amber’s mom, she tries to deal with her pain by turning to alcohol and burrowing herself in her career.

Song #2: She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5

Sarah: Whether or not you enjoy Maroon 5's pop sound, this song fits the book so well! "Look for the girl with the broken smile, ask her if she wants to stay awhile." Perfection. I could have chosen any line from this song to find a perfect fit. But this line was especially haunting: "I know where you hide alone in your car. Know all of the things that make you who you are."

Chills, I tell you!

So I have to know, have you ever had a flat tire out on a lonely road? It's such a powerful image for this book, and I wondered where it came from. (Note: Maroon 5's Adam Levine was just announced as People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive for 2013. And your character Marcus is pretty sexy too. Coincidence?)

Stina: That line gives me chills, too. 

Before writing the book, I did a lot of research on stalking. That was enough to give me nightmares. Some stalkers (and rapists) puncture their prey’s tire so that the air slowly leaks out. The stalker then follows the victim and waits for her to pull over because of the flat tire. If the stars line up in the stalker’s favor, the victim will end up in an isolated area and he can attack her. Scary, huh? That’s why it’s always a good idea to circle your car before getting in and check for signs of an impending flat. You also want to check the back seat of your vehicle to make sure someone isn’t hiding there. I used to think that scenario only happens in movies. Unfortunately, that’s not true.

And Marcus has no complaints at being called sexy. LOL!

Song #3: Be Okay by Ingrid Michaelson

"I just want to know today, know today, know today. Know that maybe I will be okay."

Sarah: In your book, Amber and Marcus have to work through their own issues separately before they can really be a couple. Even from page one Amber knows she has to pull it together, but she doesn't yet have the tools. The reader just aches for her! I know that in writing a novel, you're supposed to put your character up in a tree and throw proverbial rocks at her. But was it hard to do that to someone you love?

Stina: Would it sound bad if I said no? When I plotted the story, I was able to separate myself from what I was going to do to Marcus and Amber. It was just an outline without the emotion that makes a story what it is. But I did ache for what I put them through while writing the book. There were a few places where I would tear up or started crying. I usually edited those scenes when my family wasn’t home. I was a mess every time.