Friday, February 26, 2016

Interview with YA author Charity West

Today’s special guest is Charity West. We’re chatting about her YA contemporary romance novel, The Boyfriend Deal.

During her virtual book tour, Charity will be giving away a $10 Evernight Teen gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below.

Charity West is a young adult romance author who has always had her head in the clouds. She had her first crush when she was four, and it lasted for six years. Then she quickly fell head over heels for another boy, until she had to move away and leave him behind. Jumping from one boy to another, she finally found a keeper when she was twenty, and she’s been married to him ever since.
By the time Charity was twelve, she was sneaking her mother’s Harlequin romances and reading them in secret when she was supposed to be asleep. Teased throughout middle school and high school for the bodice ripper covers on the books she openly read in class, she knew that one day she wanted to write her own happily-ever-afters.
Welcome, Charity. Please tell us about your current release.
The Boyfriend Deal is a contemporary young adult romance set in a small Tennessee town. Hadley, the band geek, has wanted the attention of Tyler, the star football player, for as long as she can remember. So when he suggests the boyfriend deal, where he’ll pretend to date her, how can she possibly refuse? But the more time she spends with him, the more she wants it to be real.

What inspired you to write this book?
The Boyfriend Deal came to me in a dream, but Hadley’s character is based loosely off my daughter. I’d wanted to write a contemporary YA romance for a while, but had just never gotten around to it. The day I sat down to make a few notes on the story, I ended up writing several thousand words. Then one turned into two, and then three… Before I knew it, I’d written the entire story.

Excerpt from The Boyfriend Deal:
Seeing Hunter head my way, a determined, slightly psycho look in his eyes, made me panic. I did the only thing I could think to do. I grabbed the first boy I saw and kissed him like my life depended on it, but as my body pressed against my unsuspecting target and my lips crashed against his, three things became very apparent to me. One, the boy knew how to kiss; his lips were divine and the hands going around my waist weren’t so bad either. Two, I was slightly in over my head, as he pressed me back against my locker. And three … well, I was still reeling from one and two. Three would have to wait for later.
“If you wanted me to kiss you, Red, all you had to do was say so.”
My eyes popped open and I stared in open-mouthed shock at the boy who had just made me melt with his kiss. Tyler Robbins. The one boy I should avoid like the plague. The only boy who had the power to completely devastate me, rip out my heart and stomp on it, and do so without any true effort on his part. I’d had a major crush on him since pre-kindergarten. Perhaps crush was too tame a word. When you’ve obsessed over a boy since the age of four, it escalated things beyond crush level.
He winked at me and moved along down the hall, as if the earth hadn’t just moved, as if lightning hadn’t just struck, as if … well, you get the point. He was everything I’d ever wanted, and the one thing I’d never have. Tyler flitted from one girl to another. He didn’t have a flavor of the month; he had a flavor of the day. Or maybe it was a flavor of the hour. Except for Alicia Thompson. She was his on again off again girlfriend for the last two years, and she was a total witch. The last time they’d broken up, she’d egged the car of his next conquest.
It took me a moment to realize Hunter was standing beside me, looking both livid and hurt all at the same time, but really, the entire thing was his fault. If he hadn’t cheated on me, then turned stalker, my lips never would have touched Tyler’s. Then again, maybe I should be thanking him. Now I could cross off a major item on my wish list. I’d been dreaming of kissing Tyler Robbins since the first time I saw him, on my very first day of school. Of course, that was before he started crushing on the snotty girl in our class, then I just wanted to pelt him in the face with a mud pie at recess.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I actually have several partials I’m toying with at the moment. I have one about a baseball player, one about a girl who’s home life is less than desirable, and another geeky girl type story. I’m not sure which one I’ll finish and submit next. It just depends on which one is talking to me the most.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Before this story, I wrote adult romances. So I guess I’ve considered myself a writer since my first story was published in 2008. I’d written stories for myself off and on all through middle school and high school, but I was in my twenties before someone convinced me to have something published.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, I write full-time, but my schedule is a little strange. My husband works the night shift, so I sleep during the day with him while the kids are in school, then get up when it’s time for the kids to get out of school. I pick them up, help with homework and check social media, then I make dinner. After dinner I have to take my husband back to work, because we only have one car, and then when I come home I make sure the kids get showered and ready for the next day and get them tucked into bed. Once they’re asleep, I write until either the words stop flowing or when I feel I’ve reached a decent word count for the night.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write best when I have a cat curled up next to me. I have six of them so I usually have at least one furbaby nearby.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I jumped from job to job, first wanting to be a vet and later wanting to be an engineer (yeah, I know…HUGE difference). It never crossed my mind to be a writer because I was always told you couldn’t make a living by being an artist of any kind.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Being an artist of any type isn’t easy, but it is so worth it. I’ve had a lot of jobs over the last twenty years, but writing is my true passion and I know I’m supposed to do. So, no matter how many people tell you that you’ll never make a living in the arts, don’t listen to them. Do what you’re passionate about and everything else will work itself out.


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Thanks for being here today, Charity! Happy writing!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!