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October 27, 2017

Blog Tour: Sparked by Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous – Interview and Giveaway

 

Hello Readers!  Welcome to our Tour Stop for

Sparked by Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous!

We have both authors on the blog today for a quick Q&A.

Follow the rest of the tour by clicking on the banner above,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

 

Fifteen-year-old Laurel Goodwin wakes up to find her older sister Ivy missing from their Airstream trailer in the Oregon redwoods. A recurring nightmare convinces her that Ivy was abducted, but no one takes her dream seriously, including her mom. Laurel, a loner, has to learn to ask for help, and Jasper Blake, a mysterious new kid who shares her love of old books, quickly becomes her ally. Together they find their quiet town holds a deep secret and is the epicenter of a dark prophecy.

Laurel soon learns that her worst enemies, mean girls Peyton Andersen and Mei Rosen, are developing powers that she needs to find and save Ivy. With time running out, Laurel realizes that power doesn’t always take the form that you expect. And once she learns to look beyond her snap judgments, she develops an unexpected gift of her own.

Sparked by Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Geek & Sundry

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N

 

Thanks so much for taking the time and spending time with us here at Chapter by Chapter!

Collaborating on this book was so much fun because we wrote to entertain each other. We competed to make each other laugh and shudder. Our relationship as adults is the closest thing in our lives to the kind of giggly friendship we both treasured as teenagers, and we wrote the book for the teens we used to be—for anyone who loves suspense, horror, a little comedy and a dash of romance!

 

 

Describe your book in 140 characters or less (like a Tweet)

15-year-old Laurel has one week to rescue her kidnapped sister Ivy—with the help of the mean girls at school and their superpowers.

 

 

What was your inspiration for writing this book?  Was it in a dream? A thought while taking a walk?

Malena:  I was the one who had the original idea, and it had two inspirations. First, when I was a kid, I had a recurring dream that I could move things with my eyes.  The feeling was so real that I always woke up feeling disappointed I didn’t have a power after all. When I had the dream again as an adult, I started thinking about a teen character who wants to have a power but doesn’t. How would she feel if everyone around her was getting a power—including the mean girls who torment her at school? Laurel is a girl who feels that she’s always second best and I think many of us secretly feel this way.

The other inspiration was the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth was abducted from her own bedroom aged 14, a bedroom she shared with her younger sister. I was fascinated at the time. How could someone be abducted from her own bedroom, and without her younger sister raising the alarm? What would it feel like to be that younger sister—the one left behind?

Helena: We went out for a drink one rainy evening a few years ago—Friday the thirteenth, as it happens—and I told Malena I was tired of writing adult fiction. She told me  she had an idea for a book she wanted to write, but wasn’t sure how to develop it into a story. She told me the idea and I was hooked. I started riffing. What about a love interest? Let’s throw in an ancient prophecy! I grabbed a pen and took furious notes. We dreamed up the entire plot that night.

 

Tell us about the main character(s).

  1. Laurel Goodwin has always felt second best to her beloved older sister, Ivy. And Cascade High’s mean girls constantly remind Laurel how lame she is. The only thing she feels semi-decent at is writing. But when she turns in stories for sophomore English class, her teacher returns them covered in red ink. Laurel can always rely on Ivy to take her side, so when Ivy goes missing, Laurel is distraught, especially when the mean girls spark powers and she stays as ordinary and useless as ever. But maybe, just maybe, if she stops listening to the voice inside her head that says, “You can’t do it,” she’ll discover a power of her own.

 

  1. Jasper Blake, the good-looking new kid in school, certainly sticks out among the thick-necked jocks at Cascade High. Laurel’s convinced a guy that hot has to be a jerk—or at least an idiot—until he starts bantering about Hemingway and Mary Shelley. When he helps to jumpstart her car, without any battery or jumper cable, she realizes that his green eyes are able to do more than light a metaphorical fire in her belly. But even though he soon becomes her ally in the quest to save her sister, every secret she learns about him is like a tunnel branching into deeper, darker tunnels, until she’s not sure if she can trust him at all.

 

  1. Ivy Goodwin wants to be a fashion designer. But living in an Airstream, there’s no room for a sewing machine in the tiny bedroom she shares with her sister, Laurel. They’re super close, but Ivy has a secret. This summer at camp, something freaky happened. She started being able to move things with her eyes. Ivy wants her weird power to go away. But it’s like an itch that needs scratching, and sometimes she moves things with her eyes without realizing it. She’s threading a needle in mid-air when Jasper Blake, the new kid at school, catches her at it. Turns out he’s got a gift of his own, and he offers to help her learn to control hers, saying it might be dangerous if the wrong person spotted her. Too bad his warning comes too late.

 

 

Do you have a favorite quote or specific part in the book that you really love?

We have a soft spot for the dedication: “This book is for anyone who has heard the self-doubting voice that says: you can’t write, you’re not good enough. Silence your inner critic and find the spark inside you, waiting to ignite. “

 

 

Was there a specific part in the book that you had an especially difficult time writing?  If so, why?

Jasper, the hero and love interest, was the hardest character to write. In the first draft, he was a total cliché: a standoffish Mr. Darcy type, complete with leather jacket and constantly “flashing” eyes. After we’d written that draft, we had an epiphany where we realized we both kind of hated him. Why was he always being so mean to Laurel, and why was she such a doormat? It took a lot of work to make him into a well rounded and appealing character that Laurel could fall for, but once we decided that he’s a huge reader and aspiring writer too, their relationship totally clicked.

 

What sort of projects do you have going on right now.  Any new books coming out?

We’ve been lucky enough to have readers request the sequel, which has inspired us to start writing. This one will focus more on Ivy, the older sister, than on Laurel, though we’ll still include both their points of view. If any reader would like to receive the first chapter once it’s written, please email us at sparkedwriters@gmail.com

 

 

It was great having you on the blog today!  We hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday, and we wish you much success!!

Thanks for having us. We are thrilled to be on the blog!

 

 

 

 

Hello! We are both novelists, but if you’ve ever tried to write anything, you know that writing can be a lonely, angst-filled business. So one night over a cocktail or two, we came up with a solution: write our next book together. Malena already had an idea: a girl’s sister is kidnapped and she has to rely on mean girls with superpowers to get her sister back. We couldn’t resist seeing where that story would take us – a wild ride that includes a loner girl who wants to be a writer and a gorgeous boy who can shoot fire from his eyes but also loves to talk about books. And an ancient Zoroastrian prophecy. And pie shakes. (OK, so maybe we got a little carried away.)

We’ve both published solo novels (check them out here and here) and had no idea how co-writing would work out, but we pounded out the first draft in a white-hot frenzy of inspiration we called “the Vortex.” One of us would write a scene and send it to the other with a note: “My apartment is a pigsty and I haven’t eaten all day. #inthevortex.” We wrote the book we wanted to read as teenagers: a supernatural thriller with healthy doses of horror and humor. Oh, and of course there’s romance. You have to wait a long time for the only kiss in the book, but isn’t that the case with all the best kisses in books?

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