Writer Wednesday – Meet Author Julie Young

This week on Writer Wednesday, I’m stepping away from romantic suspense to feature Julie Young, writer of the young adult novel Fifteen Minutes of Fame. Take it away Julie.

Synopsis:
SHE SOLD HER SOUL TO ROCK AND ROLL
FMOFame           It was the story that rocked the music world. After five years, four Grammy Award-winning albums, numerous Number One singles and outselling every other act in the music industry, entertainment icon MonAmi was a walking case of burnout. When her plans for rest and relaxation were derailed on the final night of what was supposed to be her Farewell Tour, the enigmatic singer took matters into her own hands running away from her career, her manager and the mysterious identity that made her into a superstar.
            Now a rocker gone rogue, MonAmi returns to her hometown of Kentwood, Indiana where as 15-year-old Megan Taylor she was plucked from obscurity and molded into rock and roll royalty with a new name, a lucrative recording contract and a carefully crafted Hannah Montana-like image. However, what started as a teenage dream, quickly turned into a living nightmare as her label gradually controlled every aspect of her life telling the singer: what songs to write, what to wear, when to tour and who to date. “The Suits” know that MonAmi has a short shelf life as a music sensation and they are determined to get everything out of her before her fifteen minutes of fame are over.
          Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a  fictional memoir told by MonAmi/Megan that offers fans (and readers) the behind the scenes reality about manufactured fame and all the trappings that come with it. Geared for YA fans of Meg Cabot, Robin Benway, Rachel Chon and Jen Calonita, Fifteen Minutes of Fame chronicles MonAmi’s discovery, her rise as a rock idol, the pressure to perform, her failed romance with drummer Denim Rhodes, the well-publicized disappearance and the events that forced her out of hiding and caused her to make peace with her alter ego once and for all.
Excerpt:
 
      No matter where I go in the world, I am always asked about what happened. I can be doing the most mundane thing like eating dinner or visiting a museum and someone will approach, tell me how much they like my work, but invariably-the conversation works its way around to the Incident for which I am best known. Never mind that it has been over a decade since it happened, everyone is still fascinated by the saga as if there is some part of the story I didn’t divulge; that I still have something to hide.
     I get it. I really do, but it’s how they ask that throws me. Something happens to people when they come face-to-face with a celebrity and I don’t know if it’s nerves or if they just say the first goofy thing that comes to mind, but people sure know how to put their foot in their mouths sometimes. Thank goodness I have a thick skin because in this business, you have to take the adoration with the scorn. Anyone who can’t really isn’t cut out for the gig, you know?
      “Were you just freakin’ nuts back then, or what?” a cab driver asked when he realized who he had in his back seat. Of course, he didn’t really say freakin’ and it did not prevent him from asking me for an autograph for his three kids in the next breath.
       I scrawled my name on the back of a business card from a local veterinarian’s office and handed it to him over the back seat. It’s always the same. In London, the locals are unfailingly polite when they query. They pepper their sentences with a lot of “rah-thers” while the Chinese resort to crude sign language when they try to make contact. I can’t speak Mandarin of course but it doesn’t matter. I am all too aware of what an index finger moving in circles near the temple means. It’s a gesture that requires no translator.
     Americans however, are the only ones who add the salty expletive. You know which one I’m talking about. The one that’s not freakin’.
     Sure I was a little crazy at the time. Who wouldn’t have been? I lived a double life that was hardly the best of both worlds however; my story is far from unique. I don’t know the statistics on the subject, but the list of rock stars that cracked under the pressure could read like a Who’s Who list of the industry if it were actually compiled. If I had the inside track on which performers would adjust well to the madness and which are train wrecks waiting to happen, I would go find another singer somewhere and become her manager.
     It’s not as though I planned to run. It was a spur of the moment decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I won’t be a bit surprised if it’s etched on my grave after I’m dead. Over the years fingers were pointed and blame was cast on my parents for being greedy and opportunistic, my manger, for pushing me and even my record label for child exploitation. Stories were written and books were published, some written by people who knew enough details to manipulate the facts and others by people who didn’t know me from Adam. It seemed that everyone was willing to sell his or her own spin on the tale that rocked the music world no matter how inaccurate.
     After years of trying to ignore it, I decided that the time had come to tell everyone the truth, to lift the veil and let everyone see what really happened. My career is not without its controversies, but I survived in a world where some fall by the wayside and others think they are one hit song away from a comeback. For better or for worse, this is my story: the behind the scenes reality about manufactured fame and all of the trappings that come with it from the girl who sold her soul to rock and roll.
What others are saying: 
“This is a fun and quick read. I highly recommend it!” – Sherri Emmons
“Love the way this author writes. She tells a tale that won’t let you put this book down.”- Sandra Denton.
“When a young library regular said she loved Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries, I picked them up. I was charmed! I felt the same way about FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME by Julie Young. ” P. Powis
“Young had me sucked in the moment I began reading.” -Elizabeth (Amazon Review)
In the interest of disclosure, I asked Julie what age the book targets, and this was her response:
The book is from…I would say, junior high on up, but as a parent myself, I didn’t want to write a lot of graphic scenes and did not feel that they were necessary to get the story across. There is occasional language, which makes sense considering the Rock and roll world we are dealing with, but I tried use it sparingly (I feel it packs a bigger punch that way.) There are few bedroom scenes because the story really  focuses on her journey on the rock and roll roller coaster rather than a romance…however it is in there. Anyone who has handled Twilight can easily handle my book…a dear friend of mine who happens to be a Catholic Sister read the book, loved it and didn’t have an ounce of problem with any of the content.
There you go… Sounds like a winner to me. If you want to rush out and buy this one, you can find it here:

Fifteen Minutes of Fame – Kindle

(It’s also available as a download in the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime program)

Fifteen Minutes of Fame – Amazon Paperback

Fifteen Minutes of Fame – Barnes & Noble Paperback

About the Author:
Julie_Julie Young is an award-winning writer from the Indianapolis area whose work has been featured in a number of local, regional and national publications including: The Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis Monthly, The Indianapolis Business Journal, Michiana House & Home, IN Michiana, South Bend Tribune, ADVANCE for Nurses Magazine, Catholic Teacher Magazine, National Catholic Reporter, Evansville Living, and INTents Magazine. As a former writer with the Associated Press, her work has been seen globally including the online juggernaut CNN.com.
She is also the multi-award nominated author of six local history titles. Her first book, A Belief in Providence: a Life of Saint Theodora Guerin was a finalist in the Best Books in Indy awards as well as a nominee for Foreword’s Book of the Year award. She followed that up with Images of America: Historic Irvington, Eastside Indianapolis: A Brief History, A Brief History of Shelby County, CYO in Indianapolis and Central Indiana, Famous Faces of WTTV-4. She has completed two books for the Idiot’s Guide Series including Catholicism (January 2015) and ASMR (coming May 2015) In addition, she has written the manuscript for the Indiana Historical Society’s Youth Biography series entitled From Local to Legendary: a Life of Michael Jackson.She has earned a reputation as a guest speaker and a mentor at schools throughout the state and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She lives in New Palestine with her family and plays in a rock and roll band. For more information about Young, please visit www.julieyoungfreelance.com or e-mail Julie@JulieYoungfreelance.com
Social Media: 
@julieYoung14 
Official Fifteen Minutes of Fame Tour Diary (Written by MonAmi)https://fifteenminutesmonami.wordpress.com

Writer Wednesday – Meet Author Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra

The Coin

Who ever thought a coin could get you killed?TheCoin_small-2

A DANGEROUS FIND

For artist Gabriela Martinez, life has become complicated:  she suspects her mentor and friend wants her as his mistress, her husband is neglecting her, and her latest illustration is ruined.  Seeking peace, she visits her favorite thinking spot in La Marbriére, the mountain overlooking her home in the Côte d’Azur.  Distracted, she winds up in an unfamiliar clearing, where she discovers a 1945 French coin half-buried in the ground.  Delighted with its beauty, she has it set on her favorite bracelet.

TREACHEROUS KNOWLEDGE

Richard Harrison, an American intelligence officer, is livid.  A simple favor for his boss has turned his vacation in the French Riviera into a hellish assignment.  Now, not only does he learn the truth about the coin, but he must also protect Gabriela from a cunning killer who will stop at nothing.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

Together with Maurice Nôret, from French intelligence, Richard attempts to discover the madman’s identity, except his budding love for the beautiful artist is turning into a dangerous handicap.  Every one of his moves is thwarted with brutal countermoves.  Soon, the psychological games to terrorize Gabriela escalate beyond his control.  If Richard doesn’t find a solution, it may be too late for them both.

Set in the exotic French Riviera, The Coin is a story of hatred, betrayal, love and duty—of terrible and painful choices that, nonetheless, bring about personal triumph.

 The Book of HoursTheBookOfHours-200x300

For artist Gabriela Martinez, psychopaths do hit twice.

A LOVE IN JEOPARDY

In 1993, artist Gabriela Martinez almost lost her life to a sociopath’s twisted vision.  If not for Richard Harrison, the operative sent to protect her, she would have ended up dead.  The dramatic showdown pushed them together, but there were too many obstacles temporarily pulling them apart.

A NEW THREAT

After catching a glimpse of Gabriela’s new work, The Book of Hours, Arnold Wickeham has been like a man possessed.  Now, he will do anything—anything—in order to claim it, and nothing, especially not Gabriela, will stand in his way.

THE PAST IS CATCHING UP

Richard Harrison has never given up his true love, Gabriela.  Now someone new is threatening her life, and he will risk everything to protect her.  But the stakes are now higher, and there is much more to lose.  And, if he doesn’t stay one step ahead of the danger, her life, but especially, their future, may very well go up in flames.

A LOVE TESTED

In The Coin, Gabriela and Richard were cruelly used by fate—and destiny isn’t done.  In the shadow of this new threat, their choices may not just save their lives, but also their love.

The Coin Buy Links

The Book of Hours Buy Links (Pre-order for Feb. 12 release)

Giveaway

Maria was generous enough to offer a rafflecopter giveaway. Just follow the instructions in the box to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet the Author

OMaria Elena Alonso-Sierra is a full-time novelist based in North Carolina. With Cuban roots, she has lived in many countries, including France, the setting for her first novel, The Coin. She speaks English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German, and reads Latin, Middle English, and old French. She holds a Masters in English literature, specializing in medieval romances, and is currently an active member of the Carolina Romance Writers. She loves to hear from her readers, and always hopes to open a dialogue with her fans.

 

 

 

Social Media Links

Interview questions

These blurbs intrigued me, so I thought I would ask the author a few questions.

The Coin is set in the French Riviera. This is definitely a romantic location, steeped in James Bond lore. Tell our readers about your affinity for the Riviera.  (Did you travel there? Live there for a while, etc.)

Funny you should mention James Bond.  I always thought of my character, Richard, in The Coin, as a mixture between James Bond (worldly, sophisticated, drop-dead gorgeous, but with no gadgets) and Rick Blaine in Casablanca (cynical, noble, with a capacity for self-sacrifice).  But to answer your question, my affinity for the Riviera is simple:  I lived there for five years and those years were absolutely wonderful ones (wish I could afford a home there like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt).  Apart from the fact that the area is gorgeous, the architecture magnificent, and you can rub elbows with the rich and famous while walking the streets of Nice, Monaco, or Cannes, the area is also steeped in history–and I am a fan of history, especially ancient and medieval.  What more can a person ask for?

The main character is an artist who gets pulled into a world of spies and international intrigue. What called to you about that profession?

A lifetime of loving art and not being able to draw but stick figures!  I have always wanted to be a Raphael, a Da Vinci, or a Michelangelo.  I have a good amount of art books in my library and, whenever I have the chance, I go to museums.  Why not give my character, Gabriela, that profession?  That would also complement her personality with her career–a woman who creates beauty, but is drawn into a world that is the opposite.  Great conflict point.

What can readers of The Coin expect?  

Thrills, a window into the Riviera not many have seen, a unique love story, and moments of humor.  And did I mention a unique love story?

Does this series end here, or do you envision it continuing into a third book?

The series ends with The Book of Hours, which I set half in Monterey Bay, California and London, England.  I never planned for a third book about Gabriela’s and Richard’s lives. They have come full circle, overcoming everything I threw at them.  They have earned their rest, but you never know.

 


 

I hope you enjoyed this romp around the Riviera with Maria. Follow my blog to meet more romantic suspense authors. I am almost ready to send out my January newsletter, and I’ll be doing a drawing of my subscribers for a $10 gift card, either to Starbucks or Amazon. So sign up for my newsletter today. I send out emails no more than monthly, and usually I have fun recipes, and heads up about my book projects. You can sign up here. The list is run by mailchimp, so no spam ever.