Thursday, July 9, 2015

#Book Blitz - Xpresso Book Tours Presents - Fractured Memories by Jo Schneider

Series: Jagged Scars # 1
Published by: Just Add Peril
Release Date: May 20, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Post-apocalyptic


Sixteen year old Wendy never knew the world before the Starvation. She’s learned to put her trust in her knives, and her confidence in her fighting ability. When the Skinnies attack her compound, she's the lone survivor.

Injured and near death, Wendy is rescued and nursed back to health by mysterious strangers. Her saviors offer her a place among them, but trust has never been one of Wendy's strengths, and suspicion soon leads to evidence that these people might be the group who killed her family. 

The decision to get her revenge, and take the settlement down from the inside out is easy. Keeping her distance from those she must befriend in order to make it happen proves to be much more difficult.

This is actually the Q&A with the author! 

17. Top five favorite titles (Not just books)

In no particular order:
Star Wars, the original trilogy. It's nostalgic, I can't help it.
Ender's Game. I still love that story so much. It has to be the book, not the sorry excuse of a film they made.
Ever After. I don't know why, but this show never gets old.
The Walking Dead-the TV show. I've never read the comics. Whole. E. Cow. I shouldn't watch it, but I can't stop!

The Elenium series by David Eddings. Not the most spectacular writing, but they drew me into fantasy as a teenager, and his characters are brilliant. It's like going on a road trip with all of your favorite people.

18. When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?

Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Either adult or YA. Whichever I find first. Although if there is a cafe, I might get a snack before I start. Looking at books is both exhilarating and exhausting.

19. Describe yourself in four words.

Evil and easily amused.

20. Top ten snacks while writing.

Soda Stream Cola on ice. I can't get enough
Pretzel Thins, they go great with the cola
Cold Water
Junior Mints
Those little Cadbury crack eggs
Rice Cakes-Carmel Corn is preferred
In-N-Out Burger or Pace's Dairy Ann, whichever is closer
Any innocent chocolate that doesn't get hidden

In reality, if there are snacks, I'm not writing, so usually I keep water or cola at my desk and that's it. Mostly cold water.

21.When did you first start writing, and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing when I was a young teenager. Maybe 13. If you read the dedication in Fractured Memories, it mentions my dad watching Aliens with me. Once I recovered from being too terrified to move off of my yellow bing bag, I started writing myself into the tale.

Don't judge, many a writer has started with fan fiction.

Those were awful, and after college my writing waned a little. Then a friend wanted to start a writing group and asked me if I would help her. A few months after that a member of the group mentioned something called NanoWriMo. I'd never heard of it, and I was sure anyone who tried to write 50,000 words in a month was completely insane.

Two days before the month started, I scratched a loose plot on a scrap of paper while I was waiting to see the doctor about my knee that I almost took out in my Kempo class. That was the  year I joined the insanity. I finished that novel and have done NanoWriMo for a good 10 years. It took me three years to finish the initial story that I started. After that, I just kept writing. Most of the early stuff is craptastic, but all the suckage has to go somewhere, right?

22. Where do you get your ideas? Where did the idea for this book come from?

My brain is a bizarre place. I've gotten book ideas while driving on the freeway, while in church (and not light, fluffy ideas, which is strange), while at dinner, while trying to work on something else (that's just mean, by the way) and in dreams.

The very first shadow of Fractured Memories that I had was while I was in college. Too many years ago to count. I had this dream. In it I woke up and found myself on a round bed in a cave. I had no idea where I was or who I was. There was a man sitting at a desk trying to do some paperwork by candle light.  He looked like the guy who plays Goose in Top Gun. I said something and scared him half to death. When he turned to look at me, he asked if I was okay.

And that's when I woke up.

The scene isn't in the book. As a matter of fact, the only thing left of the dream in the story is Wendy (who is not me--I'm not nearly that cool or traumatized) waking up and not knowing where she is. The part that remains is the feel of the dream. It was dark and cold and felt so alone. Wendy gets all of that. Poor kid.

23. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I'm an outliner. The more I wade through the story before I start, the less times I have to rewrite it. I have a whole list of things I go over as I plan, including plot points, a theme, the characters needs and desires, the main conflicts and as many other little things that I can think about before I actually begin writing.

However, things always, always, always change. It's taken me a few years to realize that it's okay to rewrite a story. Six times. It just takes a while. My process is getting better, but I suspect that I will always have a throwaway rough draft that ends up only getting about 20% of it into the final manuscript.

I've tried the "just write" approach, and for me it always ends in a spectacular temper tantrum by me and a shopping spree.

24. Can you tell us about your upcoming book? Why should anyone read it?

Fractured Memories is a kick a**, YA Post-Apocalyptic novel that 's one part action, one part horror, and one part fun. 

I once heard an author say that when you tell people about your story, you should look and act as if you are telling them about the first time your baby said "ma ma.". I totally feel this way about Fractured Memories.  Wendy is a character that's been rolling around in my head for a lot of years. Her friends have been lurking as well. They all have hopes, they all have dreams, they all have faced sorrows and horrors that hopefully none of us have to face. They're scarred, but they're still people, and they still care about others.

The world in the book has changed, but the ever-present need for friendship and trust will never die. That's what this book is about. Wendy is alone, on a mission to avenge her family at any cost, when these pesky teenagers befriend her. Hard to plot revenge when someone is trying to make you laugh.

25.Will you have a new book coming out soon?

Oh goodness, I hope so.

Right now I'm writing some short stories that go before my first novel, New Sight. (New Sight is not the same story as Fractured Memories) Those should be out this summer. I'm pretty excited about these, they're origin stories for the characters of that series. Then New Sight 2--oh how I hate finding just the right title--will be out in the fall. Barring a disaster in my life, the second book of Fractured Memories should be out early next year.

26. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Like all good stories, there's a character that's just a jerk. Think Malfory in Harry Potter. In FM, his name is Dennis. Wendy takes him down in a fight the first time they meet, and he's pissed about it. In the middle of the book, he tries to extract his revenge, and what he does to Wendy is pretty terrible. But what Wendy does in return is bad enough to make me both flinch and let out an evil laugh at the same time.

It wasn't in my original version of the story, but all of my beta readers felt as if Dennis had gotten off too easy. That is no longer the case. I honestly didn't know I would get as much glee out of Wendy hurting him as I did.

27. What made you want to write a book about a girl with PTSD?

Okay, so I'd written the story twice before I figured out that Wendy had PTSD.

Let me go back a bit.  A few years ago, I was on my way to a writing retreat with two other writers. We're driving on the freeway, and my sister calls. This is what came out of her mouth.

"I just finished Mocking Jay, and if you ever write a character like that, I will kill you."

"Uh, hi, how's it going?"

"Disown you."

"I haven't read it yet."

"Don't. I hate her. I hate the author. 'l'll disown you then kill you."

"Uh, okay."

After I read the story, I had to agree with her. Suzanne Collins is brilliant, and she totally got her point across, but I didn't like the characters in the last book. This is not the reaction I want from my readers.

Fast-forward a few years, and I'm at a writing retreat. At the same place, coincidently. My friend runs it, and she was short a few people, so I'm pretty much there for moral support and to be a warm body. Plus, she's a chef. Hello, delicious food? Yes, please.

There was an agent from New York there who was going to review whatever we sent her. I sent the first chapter of Fractured Memories, which I wasn't really working on at the time. Not because I cared about what she said or thought about it, but because my friend told me to.

Well, it's a good thing I didn't care, because she ripped it to shreds. Most of her analysis was spot-on, the other part of it was complete B.S. Mostly because she'd skimmed it and missed stuff. I think she took my dispassionate reaction to her rant as offense, so she backpedaled and asked me a few questions about the story.

I told her about Wendy's compound getting completely destroyed and Wendy waking up with strangers, alone and with a memory full of holes. She seemed interested in that, so I went on and told her that Wendy didn't remember the attack and therefore didn't know who betrayed them. She has flashes of memories, but nothing substantial.

This editor, bless her heart, look at me and said, "Have you read the Hunger Games?"

"Uh, yeah."

"I hate the third book."

"Me too."

"Good, then you won't be offended by this. Your character has PTSD. Katniss had PTSD, but the author didn't do a good job of explaining it to the reader. Please don't do that. Do your research and make sure your readers get it, or they'll all think your character is as bad as Katniss."


New Sight, my fist series, has undertones of addiction. I don't have a history of mental illness, but lots of people around me do, and I think it's an area that a lot of people deal with. It kind of fascinates me, and that comes out in my books.

AUTHOR Information:

Author of Babes in Spyland, New Sight-YA fantasy out April 2014, wearer of a black belt in Kempo and always in search of the next cool place to visit!

Author links:

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