Thursday, June 13, 2013

Featured Author: Andrea Baker

Tess is back today to talk to Leah Clinton from Andrea Baker's paranormal romance, Worlds Apart: Leah, published by Taylor Street Books.   

About the book:

Nightmares are just dreams, aren’t they? They cannot hurt you. They are just your mind playing tricks...

Or are they?

Leah knows that her mother died in a car accident when Leah was small and that her father, who used to be the gentlest dad in the world, has  become increasingly controlling and occasionally violent.

She also knows  that her recurring dreams are telling her something more about how and why her  mother died, and why her dad turned nasty, but they are becoming progressively more disturbing and confusing.

When Leah meets Ben, she is excited to  have a friend she can confide in and have fun with, but is he what he  seems?

The voice of Leah’s mother repeatedly tells her to rely on her instincts, but when Leah is run over in a freak accident and Ben’s family take over her welfare, are they protecting her or using her?

And why would anyone, good or evil, bother with an ordinary girl just about to go to university?

About the character:

Leah’s mother died when she was just fourteen, in a horrendous car accident. Since then her father has become more and more possessive over her, being paranoid about any boyfriends and, most recently, moving them both to Kenilworth so that she can stay at home rather than going away to University. Leah resents this a little, because she had always planned to go away to university with her best friend, Jen.

Leah doesn’t have much self-confidence; her father’s bizarre behavior and bad temper, plus a bad experience with a boyfriend have knocked that even further, so she is quite vulnerable and tends to keep to herself in order to avoid being made to look a fool.  Highly intelligent, she spends her time reading, listening to music, chatting to Jen over the Internet, and exploring the ruined castle in her new hometown.

There’s a lot more to Leah than we see in this first book, but she needs to experience what happens in order to make her the person she becomes. To a certain extent, because of having lost her mother at such a young age, she’s a little na├»ve when it comes to life, but that soon disappears as the series unfolds!

Tess talks to Leah Clinton:

Leah, how did you first meet Andrea?

I’ve known her for a few years now, although it took me a while to get her to recognize me and really listen. I think she thought she was going mad to start with, listening to my voice in her head all the time – but then again, she might be right...

Want to dish about her?

That wouldn’t be fair, because I still need her to finish my story...oh, go on then... (“DON’T YOU DARE!” shouts Andrea from the kitchen.) She’s pretty normal really, with a wicked sense of humor when you really know her. She’s quite shy though, and REALLY busy all the time!

Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?

No, not really, and it’s odd to think that people can read all about me, and think they know me simply because of what they have read so far.

Your life is like an open book, right? LOL. Ahem. Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

My favorite scene – that has to be some of the ones with Ben, and it’s hard to pick just one...

Did you have a hard time convincing Andrea to write any particular scenes for you?

Yes, when she was writing about my nightmares. Not so much the writing of them, but asking me about them, and trying to get them right. I think she was worried she’d upset me. Now that I know what they really were though, they don’t affect me like they did back then.

What do you like to do when you're not entertaining a reader?

I go back and tell Andrea a little more. This last few months, since the book came out, it’s been harder to find the time to tell her the rest – matching my time with hers has been a bit of a problem, but we’re almost through the second book now, thankfully. 

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?

I’d like to go into more depth at the end, but then that all appears in book two, so would it have spoiled it? That’s a really hard question to be honest – I think my readers need to know the rest of the story, but it was too long for a single book, so knowing where to end one, and start the other was hard.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?

I don’t think anyone needs me to describe how I feel about Ben, so let’s leave that one to the side, shall we?
Well, if you insist...
Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, Ben’s parents. I know they looked after me after the crash, and Eloise helped me find the truth, but I really struggle with the way they treated Ben and I, and acted as though we were doing something wrong. I still don’t think I’ve seen the true them, only what they want me to see, and I can’t stand people that hide behind things.

Me either. The stories I could tell you about...oh. Sorry. This is your interview. Please continue!
As for the others, well I could get Andrea to write another book on that front, so I’ll leave it there for now.

Do have any secret aspirations that Andrea doesn’t know about?

Oh yes, there are a few things that Andrea doesn’t yet know, and I think they might just surprise everyone. If I let them slip though, the story won’t come out right, so I’m keeping her in suspense!

And us too! Hmmm...I'm thinking you're very mysterious. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

People think I’m a bit strange I suppose – I’m quite quiet, and after a bad experience in Clifford, where I grew up, I tend to avoid large crowds so that I can’t make a fool of myself. So it’s hard to get to know people really.

How about after they've known you for a while?

Once they know me, and I trust them, they usually quite like me  -  I’ve got a wicked sense of humor, although it’s hard for people to see that in this story, and I like all the things that most girls my age like. I’m quite intelligent though, and sometimes people don’t like that.

What's the worst thing that's happened in your life?

That’s got to be Mom dying, going out on a normal day, being cross with her because I couldn’t get what I wanted, just a normal day, at first...

Tell us about your best friend.

Jen’s fantastic – she’s everything I’m not. Lively, bubbly, and outgoing, you can always rely on her to know what it going on, and who is involved. She’s also beautiful – long chestnut brown hair that seems to shimmer in the sunlight, and the most beautiful blue-green eyes, her appearance masks how smart she is though.

How do you feel about your life right now?

My life is...interesting right now.

What, if anything, would you like to change?

I love interacting with my readers, and seeing what they make of my story, how they see things as they read what Andrea has written. There’s a lot of other stuff going on though, that if I told you, would both ruin the story for you in future, but also you probably wouldn’t believe!

What do you like best about Andrea's writing style do you like best?
I love how she understands me – how she’s written the book almost as though I were telling her direct, and she gets how I was feeling at that time.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?

That’s a really hard question, as they’re all so much prettier than me! It needs to be someone around my own age, so she’d need to be under 25, really. I’m only 19 at the start of the book, but that was a couple of years ago now. If it were an English actress, the first one that springs to mind that fits would be Emma Watson, but I’m probably too boring for her to be interested in playing me!

Describe the town where you live.

Kenilworth is quaintly British – it’s quite an old town in many ways, and there’s the Castle at one end (with all the magic that goes with it), and Abbey fields, with the swimming pool, tennis courts and remains of the old Abbey at the other. There’s a lot of history there, and not too much to do for anyone our age, but my university is only a couple of miles away, so you don’t have to go too far!

So you and Andrea are writing a sequel?

I think I’ve already given that one away! Yes, we’re working on a sequel as we speak, and I’m trying to convince her to write more – but I guess that depends on how my surprises work out...

Good luck, then, and let me know when the next book is out!

About the author:

I am pretty ordinary really - daughter, wife, and mother to a wonderful little girl. I am fortunate to live in the beautiful English county of Warwickshire, where my first book is based.

Worlds Apart is a series of romantic fantasy books, the first of which, entitled Leah, was released on October 11th 2012.

The first thirty thousand words were written within a matter of weeks. The idea for Leah had been running around my mind for several months, in pieces, but I couldn't find a way of bringing them together. Then one day I was driving home from work through the lovely little town of Kenilworth, in Warwickshire, England. It was stormy, and as I drove down Castle Road, lightning lit up the Castle. It was a tremendous sight, and suddenly all the pieces fell together.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Connect with Andrea:

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