Books

Author Q & A For: Lifeline To Marionette

A Q&A with Jennifer Waitte

Author, Lifeline to Marionette

 

Question: You have a journalism background, why did you choose to move into fiction?

Jennifer Waitte: My interest in creative writing actually predates my journalism career. When I was in grade school, I was always writing short stories and poems. In college, I originally majored in architecture because I loved architectural history and design, but I failed miserably in anything mathematical. I switched to English, and I loved English lit but worried about my career options as an English major. I switched again to journalism after deciding I wanted to focus on editorial and feature writing for magazines, and eventually be a magazine editor. All through college and my early journalism career, I continued to write fiction, mostly short stories. Overall, I just loved writing features about interesting people. As a result, my novels are character-driven stories.

 

Question: What themes in Lifeline to Marionette do you most want to highlight and why?

Jennifer Waitte: The effects of societal pressures, the hopeless trap of drug addiction, and the damage caused by exploitation are the primary themes that are the backbone of the story. It is also a love story, albeit a dark one.

 

Question: What character do you hope most resonates with readers and why?

Jennifer Waitte: Definitely Alaina Michelle Sekovich. I want my readers to sympathize with her and cultivate compassion for her as they come to understand the disparity between what she is (a celebrity) and the pressures she faces, and who she is, which is a lonely and misunderstood young woman. Ultimately, I want readers to find her damaged yet endearing.

 

Question: Please describe your writing process.

Jennifer Waitte: I spend a lot of time thinking about my storyline and my characters’ personalities, motives and actions before writing. I develop an outline first, so I know where the story is going, and then I go back and work on different sections solely based on what I feel like working on. I don’t write beginning to end. Lifeline to Marionette takes place over a short period of time, which is two weeks. The sequel, The Fifth Language, also takes place over a short period of time, which is about a month. In both books, readers learn about my characters’ lives, but the actual plot unfolds over a short period of time. 

 

Question: Are there any writers or specific books that influenced you as you were writing Lifeline to Marionette?

Jennifer Waitte: There is one book that truly inspired me to start writing again, and that was The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, by Cherise Wolas. It’s a brilliant, well-written story about a writer resurrecting her writing career. What influenced me while I was writing Lifeline to Marionettewas not another novel, but music. I have a Lifeline to Marionette playlist, and each scene/situation in the story is a certain song or a collection of songs. The main character was inspired by a song. 

 

Jennifer Waitte is an award-winning journalist, editor and author. She is a graduate of California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

For 15 years, Waitte worked as a writer and editor for numerous lifestyle, equine and equestrian sporting magazines. She has won many awards for her writing, editing and editorial direction.

 

Waitte is an avid equestrian. She competes in the sport of long-distance horse racing and dressage. She lives in Napa, California, with her husband Barry. They own Tamber Bey Vineyards, a boutique winery located in Napa Valley.   

Connect with Jennifer Waitte at JenniferWaitte.com, Facebook.com/jenniferwaitteauthor and Instagram.com/JenniferWaitte.

 

Lifeline to Marionette will be available at Amazon.

Book Review · Books

Let The Willows Weep

What’s it like to have your own mother hate you? Birddog knows. Her mother always favored her older brother, Denny and other brother, Caul. The one solace she has is her dear father. He’s a miner who works hard, but shows love even harder, giving Birddog the sense of safety her mother won’t. Thankfully her brother, Denny is her protector and one of her best friends.

When the unthinkable happens to their father, Denny is forced to grow up sooner than he’d probably like. The challenge is he gets the same kind of work his father did. This doesn’t go over well with their mother. With miner work comes the comfort of the bottle and Denny starts to pull away from Birddog.

Birddog try’s her best to warm up to her mother, but any praise from her is fleeting, often filled with caustic words. After she doesn’t have the safety of her father, Birddog gets sick and the local town doctor asks her mother to comfort her. There is no comfort provided in their shared grief. Birddog’s mother’s hate just seems to gather more intensity like a storm brewing.

One day while visiting her father’s grave she happens upon Samuel and Dig. They both befriend her. Samuel is the local caretaker of the cemetery. Dig is his special needs younger brother with a heart of gold. Dig gives Birddog a new nickname. Daisy Girl. Daisys are the flower of choice for her father’s grave. The new nickname is a pleasant change. While getting to know Samuel her broken heart begins to heal. Will Birddog ever discover a love of her own?

This novel is lyrical, gut wrenching and powerful. I can’t fathom my parents hating me as deeply as Birddog’s mother does her. She’s a tomboy while her mother is all about appearance and the finer things in life. As soon as I started this novel I was transported back in time, when your station in life isn’t always easy to move on up from.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Let The Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell from TLC Book Tours and the author. The views are of my own accord and at will. Go grab a gorgeous copy off Amazon and to connect with the author, check out her website. This novel is a top favorite of mine this year. If you’ve also, read this novel I would love to discuss it.

Book Review · Books

Let Them Be Kids

This book is great for parents or childless couples. The theme of this book is about how we need to allow kids to be kids and not burden them with adult worries. Kids today seem to be more acknowledgeable about topics that are too, grownup for them. The author, Jessica breaks down the sections into different categories from manners, to age appropriate activities for your kids, to writing your own family manifesto and more. Jessica gives examples from her own life and family as well, which I found quite reminiscent of my own childhood.

Even though I don’t have any children this book brought back my own childhood memories and how I was raised. It makes you think on how we raise today’s kids shapes how they will be in the future. It’s interesting to see how each generation is raised so differently. I like how Jessica brings it back to the basics, not the prehistoric kind.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Let Them Be Kids by Jessica Smartt from Thomas Nelson, care of TLC Book Tours and NetGalley. The views given are mine and my choice. To grab an inspiring copy via Amazon and to find out more about the author. This book is not boring. It’s refreshing and hopeful to know that there are parents out there who are determined to raise kids who know how to fully be kids and not mini adults.

Book Review · Books

Amelia Unabridged

Amelia’s life comes crashing down the day her dad leaves her and her mom for a younger woman. In her distress Amelia goes to the local bookstore to just window shop. In her glazed over pain she doesn’t notice Jenna until Jenna asks if she’d like to come in. Amelia discovers a true fellow book lover in Jenna when she offers to purchase a book for Amelia. This purchase tumbles them both into the exciting world of N.E. Endsley’s books.

With Jenna’s friendship comes a set of surrogate parents: Mark and Trisha. Jenna’s parents take Amelia into their lives in stride, treating her like the second daughter they never had. For their high school graduation gift they gift the girls tickets to a big book convention where their beloved author will be. They are so stoked to go on a trip out of state and BFF time as brand new adults.

The book convention ends up being a disappointment when N.E. Endsley’s time slot gets canceled. Amelia is crushed, hopping mad. The worst part is that while she was using the bathroom, Jenna gets to meet THAT author. Amelia has mixed emotions. Jealous doesn’t quite cover it.

After Jenna goes off on a trip overseas. Amelia misses her best friend. At least they have their college plans mapped out. Life can resume when Jenna gets back. Unfortunately Jenna comes back in a box. Amelia is thrown for a loop. Jenna was the captain to their BFF ship and now Amelia has to navigate their plans solo.

One day Amelia gets a call from the bookshop where Jenna used to work. A mysterious gift is waiting for Amelia. Who sent her this mystery gift? Inside is a limited fancy edition of their favorite book by their favorite author. Awkward thing is the local bookstore has no clue why this other bookstore shipped the book to their store instead of directly to Amelia. Was it Jenna’s surprise gift from the grave? Does this other bookstore have any clues? Amelia wants to find out.

This novel is my top favorite for 2020, so far. The characters come across like real life friends you want call up and hang out with. The depiction of grief is varied and true. This story is for those bookworms who have that one favorite author they squeal over at a book signings. This is for those that have that one nerdy best friend who understands their love of reading and actually enjoys reading by their side. This novel does have some magical realism in it. Other topics it tackles are social anxiety, death, people pleasing, family and what family loyalty looks like. I already want to reread this book, buy a physical copy when it comes out, so I can highlight my favorite lines and recommend it to all my book loving friends.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher from St. Martin’s Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my full choice. This book is so magical, lovely, gut wrenching, perfect. For a devout novel I’ve discovered a new favorite author. Thank you Ashley Schumacher for writing this novel from the heart. It is a gift that will become a classic.

Book Review · Books

Burn Our Bodies Down

Margot’s life is within the walls of the place she shares with her over worked, emotionally closed off mom. Her mom always tells her to keep a candle burning. Margot thinks this is a tad weird, but any time she deviates her mom gives her an earful. Margot’s life consists of her, her mom and school. No one else.

One day to be thoughtful to her mom, Margot decides to go to the local pawn shop to buy back an item her mom pawned. While trying to find the special item she discovers her mom’s childhood Bible. Inside she discovers a message she’s not expecting and proof her mom had a childhood. She purchases the Bible. The proof contains the name of a place and number. Does she have extended family?

While her mom is at work Margot decides to risk calling the number. Will this family member answer? Do they know she exists? As a person answers the phone her mom appears at the phone booth and demands her to hand over the receiver. There are words exchanged and Margot’s mom slams the payphone down. What’s so terrible about possible family?

Margot decides she has to find out. With the money she skimmed from her mom she hitchhikes to the town referenced. Will Margot find a long lost, loving family member? Can she ever gain the home life she yearns for that her mom seems unable to provide? Why is her mom keeping Margot from family? What could her mom be hiding?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power from Delacorte Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel is a whirlwind of different emotions. It’s a roller coaster that keeps you hanging on till the end of the ride wondering what the heck just happened. I’m still trying to mentally wrap my brain around Margot’s story. This novel captures the challenges of family and what family means. If you enjoy YA suspense with a dash of surrealism jump on to this hair raising ride.

Book Review · Books

Winter Of The Wolf

Bean’s best friend is her older brother, Sam, who named her back when he was two. He was that thrilled to be getting a little sister. Bean also, has her long time BFF, Julie. High school life seems fairly mundane and normal until the night of Sam’s best friend, Skip’s party. Sam hasn’t finished his paper, so their mom grounds him from going. He’s ticked off and fuming.

Julie and Bean were supposed to have a BFF sleepover, but that night their parents have company over. Bean gets their mom to ok Sam to quickly take her to go pick up Julie since Bean is only a freshman. That night a bad storm is ragging and the conditions are awful. The conditions were ripe for what happens next. The accident is horrific with a deer running out in front of the car and a tree stopping them.

Sam is gutted by the accident. Julie and Bean watch him go in the pouring rain to briefly lay himself over the dead deer. They get him to stumble home where his parents realize that he has a big gash down him and he’s bleeding a lot. His mom cleans him up and he retreats to his room to work on his paper. Bean and Julie go to their room.

Awhile later they hear a horrific scream. They rush to find Bean’s mom staring into Sam’s room. Bean can’t erase what her eyes are seeing. The paramedics are called and they all race to the hospital.

The end result is Sam is gone. Bean can’t fathom life without her brother. The cause of death is ruled one thing, while Bean determines it can’t be that. Sam loved his life. She determines to figure out the reason for his passing, to dig deep behind the supposed cause of death. Will Bean ever figure out the true reason?

I received my complimentary copy of Winter Of The Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler from Greenleaf Book Press, care of FSB Associates. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel tackles the heavy topic of death and how Bean and her family each handle Sam’s passing.

Book Review · Books

How Do I Feel?

For little kids emotions can be overwhelming and seem to appear left and right, making you feel like you are on a roller coaster. This little picture book talks briefly about the range of emotions you might have: happy, sad, angry or proud. It would be a nice beginner book for a small child.

The drawings in this children’s book are adorable, simple, colorful and expressive. I think this book would make a great addition to your child’s book collection. I received a complimentary digital copy of How Do I Feel from DK Children’s Books from NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice.

Book Review · Books

Resurrecting Rain

Life seemed all set until her husband, Martin lost out on his property deal. Now Deena and her family have downgraded to a small apartment. Her husband is withdrawn and their son, Elliott and daughter, Lauren are both secretive.

When Deena meets a visiting professor where she works she can’t fathom why he’d be flirting with her. It’s nice to finally get some attention and appreciation. The professor wines and dines her. Finally she crosses the bridge and has an outright affair. Knowing he is moving away for his next job soon Deena knows her life will be able to resume back to boring normal. Until it’s revealed her secret isn’t such a secret.

With one swoop Deena is homeless. Martin has moved out and her son has started serving his country. Lauren is off living her life in a different state. Deena has no where to go. Until is she rings up the professor to see if he’ll let her stay with him.

This novel handles the subject of an affair from inside the eye of the storm with honesty. Deena’s challenge being homeless brings to light how our lives can seem picture perfect and within one decision be turned upside down. We think we’ll never be the other person till our own pride and choices become our downfall. Deena’s story is one I think each of us can relate to in some way.

I received my complimentary copy of Rain by Patricia Averbach from Golden Antelope Press, care of TLC Book Tours. To grab a copy go here and to find out more about the author. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice.

Books

The Depth Of Six Feet Under (SPOILERS)

Last night I pretty much finished my fourth round of watching Six Feet Under all the way through. Each time I do a different character stands out to me. This round didn’t disappoint.

If you haven’t ever watched this highly popular HBO drama, then you are missing out. The only warning I have is there is a hearty dose of colorful language, nudity, violence and of course different death scenes at the start of every episode. If you find funeral homes fascinating, then do proceed.

A quirky family that owns a funeral home in Los Angeles. You’ve got the three offspring. One is following in their father’s footsteps (David), the elder son who escaped before getting sucked into the family business (Nate) and the youngest, Claire whose moody, artistic and still in high school. Their mother, Ruth is a repressed woman who secretly is having an affair with her hairdresser. Their father, Nathaniel, Sr. is engrossed in his family business with occasional time with his kids. When the father is in a fatal accident his sons have some big choices to make. It doesn’t help that it happens on Christmas Eve.

This show delves into the psyche of the different characters. This fourth watch had me change my angelic like view of Nate and how the character Brenda gets royally screwed over ultimately after she worked through her own issues, to focus on staying true and present with Nate and his young daughter, Maya. I saw the realistic representation of a person off their antidepressant medication through Billy’s character. Seeing Ruth’s character blossom after she grieves her husband’s passing is epic. Not only does she deal with deep grief, but menopause. David’s character is very adolescent like at the start when he’s still coming out to himself and learning his self worth and confidence. I still can’t say I’m a fan of Keith. Claire is one of my favorite characters. She’s moody, but how she comes into her own throughout the show is inspiring.

This time around the character that stood out to me most is Brenda. She’s a complex character whose always been thrown into the motherly role with her brother since her academic parents are too, obsessed with their clinical work. Billy is a ball of ranging emotions he helps curb with medication and having Brenda at his beck and call. When Brenda attempts to create her own life without Billy being front and center it doesn’t go over well. Brenda loves Nate, but commitment feels foreign and scary, so she acts out different fantasies. After a turn of events she chooses Nate and they marry, but sadly things aren’t as they seem.

This show deals with topics that are very adult. The subject of death is the central theme with other topics that range from suicide, marriage, divorce, domestic abuse, mental illness, coming out, children and more. I don’t know why I love this show so much. It never fails that anytime I hear the end finale song I’ll bawl my eyes out. I think I love how deep each character is in their own weird, twisted way. This show can be challenging to stomach at times, but to me the end result shows just how important family relationships are and that dynamic can be varied.

Book Review · Books

You And Me And Us

What would you do if you were given terminal news? Tommy Whistler has this quandary. Of course his significant other, Alexis wants him to fight his illness the best he can, to give him more time with her and their daughter, CeCe. Tommy prefers to have quality over quantity. What’s the point of prolonging the end result if you are too, sick to enjoy time with your loved ones? With time ticking he decides he wants to spend his last few months in his hometown.

Alexis is not thrilled to return to Tommy’s hometown. She doesn’t want to risk his past coming back into their lives, or giving their daughter food for thought. The past has to stay the past. Yes, Tommy loves and is committed to Alexis, but there are certain people she doesn’t want to share her family with.

CeCe is mad she’s missing out on acting camp. Just when her high school experience was coming together after participating in their play of, “Romeo and Juliet.” CeCe’s lead costar seems to be smitten with her supposed ‘best friend’ instead of her. Maybe her time away won’t be so awful.

Will Alexis and CeCe put aside their frustrations to help make Tommy’s summer the best it can be? This novel explores what it’s like to deal with a terminal illness and how the choices we make regarding to do treatment or not affects our family members and friends. What would you do if you were in Tommy’s shoes?

I received my complimentary copy of You And Me Snd Us by Allison Hammer from William Morrow, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are of my own choice and mine. This debut novel is a sweet, thought provoking story that will have you wishing you could hug these characters. To go grab a gorgeous copy click here to help support the publisher and to find out more about this fantastic author. Thank you TLC Book Tours for helping me discover another wonderful new favorite author.