Thursday, February 20, 2014

Merp Squad Blog Tours & Giveaway: Under Zenith (Shannen Crane Camp)

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Displaying UnderZenith.jpgPaperback
Published February 11th 2014 by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

It was the most important day of her life, and for 21-year-old Isla Edison, graduating from college with a useless degree in vocal performance was all part of her master plan. Dying in a car accident only hours later wasn't part of that plan. Yet there she was, standing over her own lifeless body and panicking about ruining the truck her parents had bought as a graduation present. Talk about a bad way to repay them.
If coming to terms with the hereafter wasn’t enough to deal with, Isla suddenly finds herself stuck with Hayden, a gorgeous Brit with a bad attitude and a penchant for throwing her off cliffs to keep her in line. Worst of all, Hayden is her Guide, and until she completes six impossible and totally random tasks to reach her mysterious Destination, she's stuck with him. Isla's major problem, though, is that she doesn't know what reaching her Destination actually entails, and soon the mystery surrounding her new afterlife seems more ominous than any purgatory she could possibly imagine. Now Isla must decide if she'll trust her dark and brooding Guide despite his "bad boy" act, or if she'll risk failing her tasks and facing the unknown alone. 

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Shannen Crane Camp was born and raised in Southern California, where she developed a love of reading, writing, and anything having to do with film. After high school, she moved to Utah to attend Brigham Young University, where she received a degree in Media Arts and found herself a husband in fellow California native Josh Camp. The two now live in either California or Utah... they still can't decide.

Author Links:

Goodreads  * Blog/Site * Twitter * Pinterest


1.This is your first NA book. What was different about your writing process this time around? (ie. Did you go into it with a different approach?)

I feel like I had different things to think about with this one. Normally I’m thinking about high school and relationships in that context. With this book I had to focus more on things like what my main character wanted to do with her life as far as a career goes. I had to think about a job for her, her financial situation, her relationship with her family as an independent woman. It was definitely a different character building process. I also had to think about how she would relate to a roommate or an older brother who she didn’t live with. That kind of thing.

2.Now I'm guessing it's because you've always wanted to  explore the afterlife with a hot Brit, but tell me about your inspiration for Under Zenith?

You’re actually pretty spot on. I wanted to write a scenario where I could do anything I wanted to without it being out of place. I wanted this space where literally any creature or situation could arise and my character could stop and think it was weird, but it wasn’t necessarily surprising. I loved the freedom that afforded. The Afterlife just seemed like the perfect space for this odd little dreamscape. And hey, if a hot psychotic Brit was involved, that’s always a plus! I do love my hot psychotic Brits… I may or may not be writing another hot psychotic Brit right now!

3. What's the first thing you do when you start a new story? (ie. names, places, find pictures for characters?)

I make a folder on my computer for the book. I create one Word document for the actual story, and one for everything else. I write out the plot, story details, and most importantly, character descriptions. I’ll fill the folder with pictures of people who would “play” the characters and write out descriptions of their age, physical appearance, weird ticks, personality details, and their likes and dislikes. Honestly, it kind of looks like an online dating profile. Plus I’ll make a playlist of songs to listen to throughout the day to get me pumped to write when I get home from work. I even dress like my characters a lot of the time. So if you ever see me in fifties clothes, I’m probably working on a June book :)

4. Are you the kind of writer who eats/drinks while she writes? If so, what's your "writing snack"?

A giant glass of ice water and something super salty :) I kind of live on salt. It’s a bit of a problem.

5. You've already hit up a variety of genres, from Contemp to Dystopian! What genres would you like (or are going to) to explore in the future?

I’m actually in the middle of writing a paranormal New Adult novel about a bunch of ghost hunters :) So I’d say that’s definitely a genre I want to explore lol. I’d really love to write a murder mystery but I’m not sure I’m clever enough to do that. I think people would guess my murderer every time! I’m also going to focus more on YA contemporary some more. I feel like lately I’ve been drifting away from that to do more sci-fi/fantasy type of books. As much as I love those, it’ll be nice to get back to my roots.

What gave you the inspirations to write this book?

I wanted to write a crazy story. I should probably try to reign in my imagination or not let it run wild so often, but I just wanted one book where I did whatever I wanted. I didn’t worry about genres or what fit into a category and I just wrote. If I wanted to put a zombie into this book, I did it. And that’s exactly why I wanted to write this. I wanted to just write the most bizarre blend of spaces and scenarios and somehow make it all fit together in one odd little package. It was a fun challenge to make every scene so different while still connecting together in the long run.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Hayden. By a long shot! I love Isla, and I love how stubborn and hard headed she is. But I LOVE Hayden. I know a lot of people might have a hard time with him because he’s pretty mean sometimes, but I tried to also make him endearing. He’s a little on the unstable side, but I just love his snark and he was a blast to write because he’s so unpredictable.

Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel came first. Although the title was actually something my friends and I came up with in high school. We wanted to think of a band name for our non-existent band and so we tried to think of something totally bizarre. So what better than “Under an imaginary point on the horizon”? It just so happened that it worked out perfectly for this novel since you aren’t really sure where Isla is the whole time.

What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I think Isla’s very last task is my favorite scene, mostly because it’s so creepy. I’m hoping it came across as unsettling as it was in my head. The whole water tunnel was something I’d had a nightmare about and when I woke up I thought, “That was just way too creepy to not put in a book” and so I fit it in. If I did succeed in portraying just how scary that dream was for me, then I’m definitely proud of that scene! I wanted people to feel ask panicked as I felt. Maybe that’s mean. But it’s also kind of awesome right?

Thinking way back to the beginning, what's the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

Writing should be fun, because if you’re not having fun and you don’t love your characters, it’ll show in your writing. That doesn’t mean it can’t be hard to write difficult scenes (in fact it probably should be hard), but you have to love what you’re doing. If you don’t love it, how are other people supposed to love it?

What do you like most about the cover of the book?

I love that it’s pretty but still slightly unsettling. I wanted it to reflect the feel of the book, and so many of the possible pictures I saw were either creepy or pretty. This needed to be both. I love that it’s kind of whimsical and cold all at the same time.

What new release book are you looking forward to the most in 2014?

I can’t wait to read “The One” by Kiera Cass! I’m completely hooked on that story.

What was your favorite book in 2013?

I know this didn’t come out in 2013, but that’s when I read it. I LOVED “Falling” by Jolene Perry. It was a simple Contemporary Romance but seriously, so cute. Plus I just love her writing.

What's up next for you?

Too much! I’ve got “Rose Tinted” (the sequel to “Sugar Coated” coming out in May and “Catching June” (the third book in the June series) coming out in December. Plus I’m in the middle of writing about four books! I need to focus on one thing at a time… but that’s not really my style :)

Is there anything you would like to add?

I hope you guys like “Under Zenith”! Be prepared… because it’s weird. It’s what happens when I let my imagination do whatever it wants. But it’s worth it. And I hope you love that psychotic British boy Hayden as much as I do! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today and thanks to the Merp Squad for setting it all up!

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  1. Thank you so much for the giveaway and the new book looks outstanding!!!

  2. Congrats to Shannen on the new release! Sounds intriguing :)