Welcome to December’s version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day.
In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.
This month we're pleased to highlight debut YA novelist, Shannon Grogan and her novel, From Where I Watch You. Kara dreams of becoming a professional baker. When her teacher selects her to participate in a competition for a national baking competition, she realizes her dreams could become reality. The prize – a full scholarship to a prestigious culinary school in California. But her past, including the death and betrayal of her dead sister casts a shadow on a bright future.
As a special holiday treat, our debut novelist, Shannon Grogan has offered to give away one copy of her novel! All you have to do is leave a comment below with a way for us to contact you (Email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). If you mention this contest on social media (mention this in the comments), we give you an extra entry. Leave a comment no later than December 11, 2015. We will pick a name out of our Santa hat and the winner will get the gift of an awesome book! Good luck!
1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?
Dave – There is a memory, a single event that is playing on Kara’s mind. I believe this passage is spot-on in describing what those feelings have done to her.
Time has moved on. Kellen died, unforgiven, but I’m still thirteen, stuck in that memory. I’ve forgotten so much about that period of my life, but not that day. Not that night. It’s still razor sharp. Every detail, like it happened yesterday.
Marcy – At this point, I feel like Kara is changing. She is hesitantly peeking out of her shell when it comes to Charlie. She realizes her dreams and doesn’t want anything to get in her way.
I lean against a wall, deciding if I should go back in because I’ve been such a bitch and Charlie’s been nothing but kind to me. But really, what does he know about problems? I mean, his parents always had money, and if they can afford Kennedy then he definitely still has it. If I had money I’d move far from here and find a way to get into La Patisserie.
2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?
Dave - There are quite a few great chapter endings that left me dying to know what happened, but in the end I chose one from earlier in the novel, the tension it left me with unmatched by any other.
I can’t see the color, but I know the shapes of bloody droplets and the careful writing of my name. Two in one day.
Marcy – I won’t ruin this cliffhanger with any spoiler backstory.
But one memory is all it takes. “You know what you did. Leave me alone.”
In her place, a blue-gray envelope with droplets of purple and bloody red fibers sits on top of my counter.
3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?
Dave – I went back and forth about who to pick as my favorite secondary character because I liked so many of them. In the end, I chose Charlie because he has gone through so much in his life and handled it so well. This particular line of dialogue shows how he uses his lighter side to deal with tension. He has caught Kara, whom he nicknamed Sprinkles, smoking a stash of her sister's marijuana.
“God of thy glorious grass, we offer you back your wares, in the coffin of a tampon box, and ask your forgiveness. Sprinkles no longer requires the fruit of your weedy goodness, as I will show her the way to get high on life itself. For this we pray, amen.”
Marcy – Justine works as a cashier with Kara and definitely tells it like it is in a hysterically, sweet kind of way. Below is a conversation between Justine and Kara at the store.
There’s just something I want more than anything in the world, and I know my mom’s going to say no.”
“Tell me,” Justine leans over. “What? A piercing? A tattoo? Bigger tits? Not that yours aren’t just precious.” With that she cups both of hers, frowning and shaking her head at them.” Good Lord, what’s a girl to do with these? Love to get me down a cup or two.”
4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?
Dave – I chose this particular passage in part, because it rang true with me from when I was little, and also, because it describes well the fear Kara feels at being pursued.
When I was little, I used to stand in the doorway to my room and estimate the spot on the floor I needed to jump from to get on my bed without the imaginary monster grabbing my ankles and pulling me into his giant maw under the bed. Now there’s a real monster, and he waits for me around every dark corner.
Marcy – Loved this paragraph and this is so Kara’s mom.
I feel a pang, albeit a small one, of missing Mom. If she was here now, and I had her blessing, she’d close her eyes and raise her hands to heaven before she’d wave them over my station. I can almost hear her, asking for the Holy Spirit to come down and bless my butter.
5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?
Dave – My favorite line of dialogue is from Justine, one of the minor characters in the novel.
“Don’t apologize for being the way God made you.”
Marcy – Charlie catches Kara smoking her sister’s stash of pot. There were many lines that are hysterically funny, but this one takes the cake (pun intended).
“So you’re writing about baking stuff while you’re baked?
To read more about Shannon Grogan and her debut novel, From Where I Watch You, please go to:
Don't forget to leave a comment below. Shannon has generously donated one book for one of our readers. Good luck!