1. What inspired you to write Lacey's Character?
Hi Amy! Thank you so much for hosting the authors of the Crossroads Tour! We are thrilled to be with you.
Lacey is directly modeled after a few people that I know. My niece, my friends, and others are always used as inspiration for characters. The best way to write a characters mannerisms is to know them first hand, after all!
2. What was the first book you read that made you fall in love with reading?
The very first book that I loved and hooked me in reading is Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. It’s an amazing story of a girl that has a beautiful, popular twin. It’s about finding yourself and your place in your family. It’s a beautiful story. If you haven’t read it, pick it up today. It’s still available on Amazon.
3. What paranormal author are you currently addicted to (past or present writer)?
I’m seriously addicted to Shannon Delany right now. I swear it feels like I’m stalking her right now. I check her blog every other day; I’ve read 13 to Life many times and I follow Shannon’s tweets. I feel like such a fan-girl. Writers are Rockstars.
4. What band or artist currently tops your play list?
Hands down: Framing Hanley. I have many other artists that come and go, but Framing is always in my ‘most played’ list.
5. Do you have any projects you are currently working on that you are able to share? And can you give us a little teaser?
I’m always working on something else. Always. I have several novels in the works right now, but I’ll give you a teaser of the one that is nearest to me: Benches
LaurenMy parents and I arrive in California a month into my sophomore year. We’re moving to save my parent’s marriage, I guess. We’re running away from my hometown of Fairview, Illinois, where everyone stared at my mother like she had a giant A on her chest, no, not for adultery—for arson. Dad should have a giant red A for adulterer. Yup, after twenty years of seemingly perfect matrimony, my father “allegedly” cheated on my mother, and she “allegedly” burnt our house down. It’s hard to believe either story is true considering dad still brings mom red roses every Sunday and she still bakes him an apple pie before games; although, now he watches games on TV instead of on the sidelines. Dad was fired from his coaching job at the High School and the insurance company refused to rebuild the house… I guess both stories hold some truth… no matter how much they suck and I refuse to believe them.
Summer taught me one very painful lesson: small town people talk about any disaster they can because they have nothing better to do. Even people that said they were our friends gossiped about us. Luckily, my older brother and sister didn’t have to endure being shunned by their friends since they were already at college by the time everything fell apart.
I’ve changed clothes more than twenty times for my first day, trying to look cooler and skinnier than I actually am. Even though I’m fifteen, Mom is hovering by my bedroom door to inspect my clothes and make up to make sure I’m not trying to mirror my older, popular, sister. Her presence is making my mission of looking awesome almost impossible. The sound of her heels on the carpet outside my door makes me forget which shirts I’ve already had on and which ones are still options.
My parents might see California as an opportunity to start their marriage over again, but I see it as a chance to reinvent myself. No more being teased for being Lynn and James’s chubby kid sister. This is my chance to step out of the shadows and finally be popular instead of the tag-a-long. I hated being called that by my sibling’s friends, even though it fit since I’m five years younger than them and never had really close friends of my own. Or a boyfriend because all the boys in town hung out with my brother and wanted to date my sister… they barely gave me a second glance. But that’s o-v-e-r. I’m done with it and that life. My mother and sister were both cheerleaders and popular in school. My father and brother were on all the sports teams and just as popular…this is my chance to have the life I’ve always wanted. Today is just the beginning. So, I have to get this right. You only get one chance to make a first impression—and I’m going to knock it out of the park, or, at least I hope I do. If I can channel half of Mom or Lynn’s charisma, then today will be a breeze.
Mountain View High looks more like a college than a high school. Getting lost on the way to the office for my schedule is zero fun. The map they give me doesn’t really help anything either. Then again, I’ve always been directionally challenged. Rushing to get to my Theater Tech class, I run straight into a short blonde girl with heavy make up and a crazy short denim skirt on. I drop my backpack and she drops all her books. So much for not looking like a fool on my first day.
“I’m so sorry!” My skin lights on fire. This certainly isn’t the way to meet new people.
“Oh hey, are you new here?” She gives me a wide grin.
“Yeah.” I let out an uncomfortable laugh and start picking up the scattered items from the sidewalk; some hers, some mine. There’s no way to salvage today. Maybe I can get a do-over tomorrow.
“Thanks. Where you heading? I’m Allison. But, my friends call me Ali.”
“Umm… the Theater Arts room. I’m Lauren.” Oh man. Where is my charisma? My charm? If I’m going to redeem myself, I need Lynn—not Lauren. She’d know exactly what to say in this situation.
“Cool. I’m going there now. Come on.” She grabs my hand and goes the opposite way. “So, where are you from? Did you just move here?”
“How did you know?” Paranoia fills my gut that the word outsider is tattooed on my shirt for the whole world to see. Talk about uncomfortable. I’m going to have to avoid this girl for the rest of the year.
“You have a funny accent.” She smiles again. Her kind eyes give me hope that I can still salvage my bad first impression. “So, you’re from another state?”
“We just moved here from Illinois. My older brother and sister are still at college there.” Mentioning Lynn and James makes me homesick and angry at myself for sounding like the mousy-tag-a-long sister again.
“Oh. Why did you move then?” she asks, ending my inner search for my cool alter ego.
“That’s a really long story...” Full of a past I have no intention of sharing… with anyone.
“Well, then you can tell me over lunch!” Ali stops in front of the door to the Theater Arts department and introduces several girls. The only names I remember are Mandi and Jamie, but only because they’re wearing cheerleading outfits. An honor I hope to get soon. If not this year, definitely next, after I have a long talk with my mother and lose some weight, that is.
Just as Mr. Claymore calls the class to order, the theater doors fling open and quench the darkness with perfect rays of glowing sun. I swear the boy that cuts through them is walking in slow motion. He’s at least five eight, not too tall or too short, with light brown hair and dark brown eyes with a football jersey on. My heart goes into hyper speed and my head is cloudy.
With my eyes wide, I lean over to Ali. “Who’s that?”
“Ahhhh—that’s Josh Miller. He’s on the football team, shortstop on the baseball team, forward on the soccer team; all around he’s high school royalty.”
“Yeah, pretty much everyone’s crushing on him.”
“Is he a senior?” Oh man. Pllleeassse say no! He has to stick around long enough to fall for me.
“He’s … he’s just…”
Ali giggles. “I know.”
“You have a crush on him, too?’ I ask without thinking, feeling instantly possessive over number nineteen—Josh Miller.
“No, I don’t date high school boys. They’re too immature.”
“Are you a junior?” I hope she’s not since she’s pretty much the only person that’s talked to me since we moved here.
“No. I’m a sophomore. Are you?”
I don’t answer, my eyes lock onto Josh’s. He’s sitting across the aisle, less than five feet from us, with a smile that is growing inch-by-inch revealing the most perfectly straight, white teeth I’ve ever seen. I feel faint when he asks about me. “Who’s your new friend?’
He asked about me? Oh my god! Breathe Lauren, breathe!
“This is Lauren. She just moved here from Illinois.” Ali’s voice is distant as she gives him the play-by-play on her new dorky, mouth-half-open friend. Chills are competing for space up and down my spine as he leans in to introduce himself.
“Hey, Lauren. I’m Josh.”
“Hey.” I can’t manage to say anymore. If I believed in love at first sight, I’d say this is it. Harps and angels singing reverberate in my ears. I have no idea what the teacher even says during the next forty-five minutes; I’m too busy planning my honeymoon. Lynn would be so mad if I get my fairy-tale before her. Then again, Mom’s going to be pissed if I ask to date a jock… I’ll call in Dad for back up, that’s for sure. I’ll do anything to make #19 mine.
I agree to meet Ali at my locker after lunch since I have no idea how to get to hers. Mandi and another girl are waiting at my locker instead.
“This is Jenn,” Mandi says.
“Hey. I’m Lauren.”
“I know. I heard all about you this morning from Mandi!” Jenn smiles and hooks her arm through mine.
Loud laughing and screams from the tables in the grassy area behind my locker catch my attention. Teenagers are lounging all over the tables and benches eating lunch.
“Don’t look over there. That’s bad news,” Mandi cautions.
“What do you mean?” I stare even though she warned me not to.
“They’re a bunch of losers. Criminals, drug users and alcoholics.” She lists them like she’s listing what’s for lunch—casual and dismissive. She leans close with a secret, “Ali has been trying to hook up with this guy that hangs out there. Sometimes I don’t get her, out of all the available guys she picks a slacker.” Mandi laughs.
“I know a few of the people over there. They aren’t all bad, but I try to avoid most of them.” Jenn look at Mandi and me.
“Oh. Okay.” I stare again at the blurry scene of bodies. The girls are draped all over boys. They don’t seem to care that everyone can see them making out in broad daylight. Fairview High’s proctors never would have allowed it and I’m almost embarrassed that I’m staring at it. But in all the mangled mesh of bodies, the bluest set of eyes piques my curiosity and holds every inch of me hostage. Even with dark purple bruising, his eyes are magnificent and captivating. He sits on one of the tables with his feet resting on a bench. His dark brown hair is messy and his gray t-shirt hugs every muscle in his arms. The allure of his eyes holds me in his stare much longer than I’m comfortable with, but I can’t help it. I’ve never seen anything like him in my entire life—so at home on the benches, yet, so obviously out of place in high school. Curiosity definitely trumped Mom teaching me not to stare.
“Ooooh no no no- don’t look at him.” Mandi grabs my arm, swiftly breaking the trance and yanks me towards the quad.
“That’s Danny. He’s dangerous. He’s been suspended like a million times, and he’s always getting in fights. I heard he was in Juvie last year.” Mandi says like she’s spilling international secrets. I look back and another boy with bruises to match Danny’s is standing with him. The second boy is rougher around the edges than Danny. It’s almost like Mandy is describing him rather than Danny, or maybe I’m hoping she is because Danny still hasn’t taken his eyes off of me.
Jenn looks back at the benches, “That’s Brandon, Danny’s best friend. Now if you want to talk about trouble…”
“Ali said she might invite you to sleep over on Friday. Do you think you can go?” Mandi asks, stopping Jenn from dishing the dirt about the mysterious boys. Even though they warned me, my eyes drift back to him; he’s still staring at us as we round the corner heading into the quad.
“Lauren?” Mandi yanks at my arm again; displeased she has to share my attention with someone she obviously feels is beneath her.
“I’ll have to ask my mom.” They both laugh at me. I kinda laugh, too. But not really.
HOW THE TOUR WORKS:
Each day of The Crossroads Tour, a new research question will be revealed on The Crossroad Blog Tour main page, and each day the answer to that question will be found within one of the 16 different blog posts by Crossroads Tour authors. Your job is to get the question, read the blog posts, and collect all 16 answers by the end of the tour, on Halloween.