Cover Reveal – WHY I LOATHE STERLING LANE

I was honoured to read an early version of STERLING LANE, and today I’m thrilled to share the cover. It’s a fantastic contemporary romance featuring twins, pranks and steamy kissing, with enemies-to-lovers drama and humour aplenty. I highly recommend it to anyone stocking up fun summer reads! And now, without further ado…

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Title: Why I Loathe Sterling Lane
Author: Ingrid Paulson
Release date: June 6 2017
Publisher: Entangled TEEN
ISBN (if available): 9781633757004 

Per her 537 rules, Harper Campbell keeps her academic and social life tidy. But when Sterling Lane transfers to her tiny boarding school, her twin brother gets swept up in pranks and schemes nearly to the point of expulsion. Harper knows it’s Sterling’s fault, and to protect her brother, she vows to take him down. Worst of all, he’s charmed the administration into thinking he’s harmless, and only Harper sees him for the rulebreaker he absolutely is.
 
But as she breaks rule after precious rule in her battle of wits against Sterling and tension between them hits a boiling point, she’s horrified to discover that perhaps the two of them aren’t so different. And maybe she doesn’t entirely hate him after all. Teaming up with Sterling to save her brother might be the only way to keep from breaking the most important rule: protecting Cole.
ingrid-paulsonIngrid Paulson does not, in fact, loathe anyone, although the snarky humor and verbal barbs in Why I Loathe Sterling Lane might suggest otherwise (and shock those who think they know her best). Ingrid lives in San Francisco with her husband and children and enjoys long-distance running, eavesdropping, and watching science documentaries. She has always loved books and writing short stories, but was surprised one day to discover the story she was working on wasn’t so short any more. Valkyrie Rising, a paranormal girl-power story, was Ingrid’s first novel. Expect another humorous contemporary romance to join the list soon.

New First Draft

WOOOOOP! Get the kazoos and streamers out because I just finished a new first draft!

MORE LOVELY THAN A CABBAGE PATCH (as it’s currently titled) is the YA Contemporary I blogged about at Christmas. The girl who’d rather sabotage the family business than brave her tyrannical father.

Yes, it really did take me that long to write it. I shelved it for the winter due to major overhauling on Drina’s story (79k and sticking, by the way), and took it to CampNaNoWriMo in April. ~42,000 words were written that month; then exams demanded my full attention till the end of June. I was computer-less most of July, and busy, as I have said, all August. So in the past five days I’ve pumped out the final 14k and met my target for finishing the first draft before the Autumn term.

Whew! To avoid tying myself up (because I have SO much to say about this MS) I’ve compiled a few questions for myself to answer (affected, I know).

Where did you get the idea?

I was in the shower (all the best ideas come through those pipes), contemplating my strictly-not-being anorexic, and how ill I’d felt the previous night when I tried to eat tea. I thanked my stars my computer isn’t in the kitchen as it was at the old house, and that I didn’t have to associate with food all the time. But what, I thought, if the family business were a bakery and it was my duty to knead dough and pipe cream simply for my self-respect? After the concept, the plot wrote itself.

How easy was it to write?

Because it was predominantly a NaNo project, I wouldn’t say ‘easy’ as much as ‘necessary’. But, in truth, I’d plotted so thoroughly it wasn’t a big deal. I’d stop writing in the middle of an intense scene so when I carried on the next day I wouldn’t have to build up the emotion in the writing again. It also meant I was turning the scene over and over in my head all night and all day at school, so I knew with what tone I had to resolve the chapter.

What do you love about the story?

SO much! I love how symmetrical the plot is; it’s like a parabola, where the y-axis is the place/event and the x-axis the changing role of Flavie, my MC. I love how the antagonist died before the story opens, and you don’t find out all her lies until the final few chapters. I love that family dynamics compose the body of the story; romance really isn’t the top of teenagers’ list of concerns, and Flavie’s still exploring it.

Flavie looking at life

Flavie looking at life

Which character was most fun to write?

Fran! Fran is the seventeen-year-old daughter of Flavie’s uncle’s neighbour. She’s unpredictable, cheerful in her own hypocrisy, finds wacky humour everywhere, and has a palpable effect on Flavie. Because at first she’s Flavie’s foil in terms of size and shape, she has the power to invert Flavie’s presumptions by proving they have the same problem, but Fran is the hero in terms of acting on it. Plus, she plays ukulele. 😉 So Fran’s the ideal me, and Flavie is the inclined me.

Now lose that kazoo! Remember I have to edit this manuscript sometime.

 

Music in YA

Perhaps my last post till August. Four trips are lined up for July, and the ten days I’m at home are all schooldays. Fortunately I’m feeling fairly organised about it all (except the financial side!).

So, without further ado, Alex once again gave me a great post topic. Here’s her tweet:

 musicstoriestweet

Anyone keeping up with the big YA Contemps of recent years might guess, like me, that this trend is at least in part caused by Gayle Forman’s fabulous If I Stay, due for cinema release this summer. As a sidenote, I don’t follow the American bestseller lists, but somehow I snagged a copy of this great book early after its release before many people in the UK had heard of it, so in a way I feel connected to its fate.

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Anyhow, as a musician myself I watch this trend with equal pleasure and trepidation. Music is such a wide aspect of culture that often I see it abused, generally out of ignorance. It’s good to see the participation in the act of making music recognised (fun fact: musicians on average live eight years longer than non-musicians, so it’s not like you’re wasting time!).

You don’t have to be famous to make music; all you need is dedication. I’m not musical myself, besides adoring the mathematics behind it, but I passed my Grade 8 last week. I’ve practiced an hour a night for months, gone to school for aural lessons at half eight in the morning on Saturdays for a year, spent two years learning these pieces, spent eight years learning the instrument…you can see how huge this is for me.

However, also due to being a musician, it worries me to see non-musicians writing about music, either misusing terminology, overusing what’s commonly-known, or not using any of it. Had I never played an instrument there’s no way I’d appreciate music as I do now: I wouldn’t hear harmonies, or criticise the sound balance at concerts, or know a good song from a mediocre one—even now, I’m doubtful I could do any of these things properly. Playing in a band is especially valuable: for four years I’ve spent ten hours a week playing in ensemble, and I can pick out and accord my own part to individual parts in an orchestral piece.

Now, I’m not saying a non-musician can’t write a good book about musician-ing, and I’m not making prejudicial assumptions. Yet the very lack of brass fandom in writing suggests exactly what I fear. Carnegie Hall is bandied about as if only genius musicians are worth writing about with reference to music. ‘The bow was like an extension of her arm’ is the worst string-player cliché out there, and you’d certainly never catch a musician saying it in but the cheapest of sarcasm. Always it is strings, or clarinet or flute!

Our family collection, predominantly brass. (since added a ukulele)

Our family collection, predominantly brass. (since added a ukulele)

The brass are rowdy and lively, and I freely admit my bias, but I feel we have the most distinct section identity. We are the smallest (except the percussion, who are too busy tuning timpanis to socialise) but the most tightly-knit, with pub-nights and unmatched banter. We can also do the coolest things with our instruments. Just about everything you say about the trombone sounds dirty, we put the mark in marcato, we put the issimo in fff. I am convinced that every other musician cherishes a secret wish they became a brass player (Freudian penis envy, as I think of it). Sure, maybe all this buoyancy doesn’t suit your character or your story, but in my opinion the brass are the most versatile section of them all. We can do soaring tear-jerking solos – that’s what euphoniums are for, even! We can be warm and raucous, bad-ass or gentle. All we want is recognition!

That’s truly all I have time for. Live the good life till I get back to ya on the 9th!