Friday, March 14, 2014

CLP Book Tours, Interview, Guest Post, & Giveaway: Becoming Mrs. Walsh (Jessica Gordon)

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Shoshana Thompson is 26 years old, miles from home, and engaged to Andrew Walsh, the last single Walsh brother of one of Washington, D.C.'s wealthiest families. Throughout her engagement she becomes enamored with the Walsh lifestyle. 
Life in the fast lane comes to a screeching halt when Shoshana develops feelings for another man. When she discovers the feelings may not be one-sided, things are about to get a lot more complicated. This man is not only part of her fancy new world, he is also completely off-limits.

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Jessica Gordon is a Johns Hopkins University alumna for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She received her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the Writing Seminars program and her master’s degree in communications.
After working in the corporate world for several years, Jessica decided to return to her first love: creative writing. Jessica takes her readers to the prominent Washington, D.C. area where her characters navigate through the complex world of family, in-laws, and love.

1. Becoming Mrs. Walsh is a story about love, life, and family. I am fascinated by how these topics are related and I love looking at the dynamics within family and extended family. These core concepts have always been interesting to me. Then a few years ago I met my husband and the experience of being newly engaged and meeting my future in-laws led to the spark of an idea. My husband is the youngest of three boys so I was particularly fascinated by his dynamic with his older brothers and their wives, my now sisters-in-law. This experience combined with my love of writing family dynamics and juicy tales led to the beginning of what is now Becoming Mrs. Walsh. Shoshana's steep learning curve has her facing several obstacles. Where do your loyalties lie when there is conflict: with your soon-to-be new family or your current family? Some people are closer with their in-laws than their own family, others do not get along with extended family. You get to see all different dynamics play out in the book. I wanted to take relatable, everyday feelings, but put my characters in the most extraordinary of situations. While my own experiences joining a family sparked the original inspiration, the rest of course is fiction.

2. My favorite character is Rachel because I like how she is a keen observer and calls it like it is. I love watching the friendship between Rachel and Shoshana blossom. While I like "Sho" (Shoshana) as well and she is my leading lady, she is not my favorite because I don't always agree with her and raise an eyebrow at times at her decisions, but I think she is human and relatable so she will always have a special place in my heart. Rachel, however, has a 'girl next door' personality and I would love to be her friend in real life! I think she would make an excellent friend. She doesn't seem judgmental, she gives good advice, she's a good listener, and her own life seems to be on track.

3. This is an interesting question! The title came at the end, for sure. I knew I loved the story from the minute I started writing it. I had many titles I was considering, pads full of titles, and then Becoming Mrs. Walsh came to me. I had two others I toyed with but in the end Becoming Mrs. Walsh won out because to me it tells the whole story without giving anything away. It sums up her journey because it really is all about the trials and tribulations on the road to becoming Mrs. Walsh in this case, but really "becoming Mrs. anyone." Becoming Mrs. Gordon was a journey albeit a good one, but a journey nonetheless! ;)

4. The scene on the Metro. Readers will know which one I mean, it is within in the first few chapters, Chapter 3. I love this scene so much for so many reasons. I will not give away what happens, but I can describe why it is my favorite. First off, I woke up in the middle of the night to write it. Completely sat up in bed, grabbed the nearest pad and wrote feverishly. The scene sums up these two characters so well. It is such a human moment and a moment that really magnifies the electricity between two people. I feel that scene is a really special moment and you can feel the emotion, longing, curiosity, and conflict leap off the page. Sometimes the smallest of moments mean the most, more so than pages of words.

5. The most important thing I've learned is the simplicity of writing. Write simply. That's it. Communicate your ideas clearly and concisely. Don't bog readers down with useless prose, tell a good story and tell it well. How you communicate the story is just as important as the story itself. I think all great writers are actually gifted story tellers that managed to write them down.

6. The simplicity of it. Similar to my answer in question 5. Simple story telling, simple cover. My book is about Shoshana's journey to becoming Mrs. Walsh. I love that particular hue of blue and the white writing. The only image is the engagement ring and I think the engagement ring is the one item always with you, a guiding light through the treacherous waters of being a bride, newly engaged and attempting to plan a wedding.

7. Good question! To be honest, I'm not sure. There are so many good ones and with the popularity of e-books they are so many new amazing authors bursting onto the scene it is hard to tell! I love to read but when I am working on a book I really choose to focus only on that. I like to hear my characters voices and not get too distracted with other character drama.

8. I loved Tracey Garvis Graves On the Island, though it came out in 2012, I wanted to mention it here because it was the last book to really get me excited where I found myself recommending it and followed that story all the way through from beginning to end.

9. Up next is hopefully a sequel to Becoming Mrs. Walsh. It is officially in TBD status because I want to really publish something that makes sense and feels authentic to the characters. I am working on it though, so we will see! I'm excited. :)

10. The only thing I would like to add is a thank you to all my readers and bloggers and potential readers and bloggers. I really appreciate the wonderful feedback I've received on the book and all of the people who have featured, mentioned, commented, blogged, tweeted about Becoming Mrs. Walsh. I love seeing the comments and please feel free to contact me at any time. I love hearing from you!

I wanted to talk about endings and sequels. I want to discuss them in general, but wanted to take a minute and discuss Becoming Mrs. Walsh. The ending has been inciting some provocative insights and feedback. I've received so many e-mails about this ending! It's funny because I didn't set up to write an ending that would in any way be a jumping off point to a potential sequel. I felt the ending was a good conclusion for these characters. It felt right for them. When I think about the course of a story, I think a lot about the characters and how they would handle the situations thrown at them. I don't like to write a specific beginning, middle, end, but rather a journey for the characters. The book ends but their journey doesn't. Using that as my mindset, without their lives ending at a finite point, what would be the right path for every character involved? This fueled how I arrived at the conclusion. To me, these are choices these characters would have made if I met them in person. Readers, please feel free to write me and we can discuss further. Just don't want to give anything away! But I did want to explain my thoughts on endings. :)

As far as sequels, I think a sequel is a great thing if it is not forced. When you are so invested in characters it is nice to know that you can see how they continued on with their lives. I think we would all like it if we could check in on our favorite characters all of the time, but all good things do come to an end at some point and books have to end. What I like about sequels is the ability to keep reading on so that if you are glued to a book and when that final page is turned or you reach 100 percent on your e-book device you know you can keep going. You don't have the empty feeling that it's over. And a lot of the time the sequel concludes the story in a way that feels finished and hopefully satisfying. There is of course the other side of the sequel. This is when the sequel doesn't live up to expectations, stay true to the characters, and is generally uninteresting and dissatisfying. For me, it leaves a bad taste for the entire series. If you loved the first book, I don't think it ruins it forever, it just makes the series and perhaps those characters potentially feel less desirable or interesting. A sequel has to be as good if not better than the first book because you can't disappoint readers! If they are connected enough and invested enough in your story to want to read on you must deliver. I think it is so important to do right not only by the readers but your characters too! This is why I tell people Becoming Mrs. Walsh is in TBD sequel status because unless I feel it does the book and characters justice, I don't think I could ever publish it. So we will see! But so far, I think it is headed in a good direction. As always, thanks for reading the book and following along the blitz!

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