Many thanks to author CJane Elliott for stopping by today to help us celebrate our 5 Year Blogiversary. CJane is here to talk books and is also giving a few lucky readers the chance to win an e-book from her backlist. Check out the details below.
Hello All! Thank you to Lisa for including me in The Novel Approach’s 5th anniversary! Congratulations on being a top-notch book blog! Your support of authors and readers is amazing. I am grateful to Lisa for her friendliness when I did my very first blog tour for my first novel, Serpentine Walls. I pretty much had no idea what I was doing and she made the process much simpler with her calm kindness. My meeting Lisa and The Novel Approach all started with Serpentine Walls, so I thought I’d talk a bit about the Serpentine Series today.
I love writing characters that span in age from 18 to about 24, or from the end of high school through to finishing college, because they’re still finding their way and the possibilities seem endless. In literature, this genre is called New Adult. The Serpentine Series consists of three New Adult contemporary novels that take place in part at the University of Virginia.
Even though they are grouped into a series because of recurring characters and settings, each novel is unique and can be read as a stand-alone. I even wrote each one in a different style, as far as points of view and character voice.
Serpentine Walls is told in the 3rd person POV of Pete Morgan, a junior at UVa whose parents have just split up. Pete deals with his sorrow and anger at the breaking up of his family while also engaging in various sexual liaisons which he’s trying hard to keep in the “not interested in love or commitment” zone. The trouble is his heart isn’t going along with his head. But it takes him most of his junior year to realize what and who he really wants and he has to grow up and be honest with himself in order to win his man. His path to true love is serpentine, indeed!.
Aidan’s Journey is told in the 1st person POV of Aidan Emery, the glamorous senior that Pete becomes enamored of in Serpentine Walls. Aidan seems to have everything going for him: looks, talent, money. But he’s entangled with one of the university professors in an emotionally abusive relationship. Even after he breaks away and goes to Broadway to pursue his acting dream, Aidan is shackled by past hurts and self-destructive habits. I tackled mental health issues, both Aidan’s and his mother’s, along with lots of other things in this VERY long novel. I included some of Aidan’s therapy sessions after he finally gets treatment for his depression. His journey is a long and often bleak one, but with redemption and a happy ending waiting for him. It was the hardest thing I ever wrote, but I love Aidan and was so glad to get him to his happy ending.
Sex, Love, and Videogames is told from dual 3rd person POVs, following the MCs Jed Carter and Charlie Ambrose from young adult to their college years, when they finally meet. This novel is perhaps the most “coming of age” of the three and the biggest stretch for me, because Charlie is African American and his closest companion, cousin Morocco, is a trans woman. Their family is a longstanding part of the Charlottesville African American community, rooted in the church, and with a formidable matriarch, Granny Myrt. I loved giving voice to Charlie’s whole family as well as Jed and his struggles to be his own person in the shadow of his outgoing older brother.
Before I go, I just have to include the cover and blurb for my latest book, All the Way to Shore. It’s a cruise ship story with loads of fantastic tropes and will make you feel good all over!
What happens when a cruise ship romance fantasy crashes on the rocky shores of reality?
Jonathan Vallen has never felt good enough. A gentle musician who loves to garden, he’s woefully unsuited to running Vallen Industries, the family business. When his father hires a hotshot executive, Marco Pellegrini, to save the company, Jonathan moves away and leaves his humiliation behind. A year later and forty pounds lighter, Jonathan runs into Marco on an LGBT cruise. Marco doesn’t recognize him, the sparks fly, and Jonathan pretends to be someone else for the week—Jonah Rutledge—someone good enough to be loved.
Marco Pellegrini has always been driven. He rose from poverty to the pinnacle of business success, and he’ll do anything to protect his reputation—including hiding his bisexuality. Having saved Vallen Industries, he’s weary of the rat race and ready for a more meaningful life. When Marco meets his soul mate for that new life—Jonah Rutledge—on an LGBT cruise, he prepares to stop hiding and start living.
Back on land, the romance crashes when Marco discovers his perfect man is not only a lie but the son of his boss, Frederick Vallen. Jonathan resolves to win Marco back, but Frederick takes vengeful action. Jonathan and Marco must battle their own fears as well as Frederick’s challenge to get to the future that awaits them on the horizon.