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Friday, February 5, 2016

First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day

by Dave Amaditz & 
Marcy Collier

Welcome to February’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 novelist, Ann Jacobus and her novel, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light. Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year after being kicked out of four boarding schools. Her inheritance is at stake if she doesn’t graduate from college by the age of 22. While she is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve all of her problems, it only complicates her life more.

And we are super excited!! Ann has offered to give away her book to one lucky reader! Please either leave your email address in the comments section below or tag @MarcyCollieron Twitter with #Romancing the Dark in the City of Light.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Dave – I had so many interesting lines to choose from throughout this novel, but in the end I chose to take this particular section because I thought it was one of the earliest times in the book when Summer seemed genuinely happy.

What’s interesting is that when she’s with kids, she feels like things will be okay. It’s always a fair exchange, too. She teaches them how to float and then do the breaststroke; they give back in respect and real growth and laughter. Like that kid who was dying to share the Robot Hamster story with her. She smiles. When she makes an effort, they make one back. That’s more than she can say for most people.

Marcy –  This one action plays a huge part for Summer’s growth and development. The first step is realizing she has a drinking problem, then making a conscious decision to stop. Having Moony in her life makes her want to quit drinking.

Summer pulls out her water bottle as soon as the door is closed, and pours all the vodka into the toilet.

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Dave - This particular chapter ending involves Summer’s dark romance partner, Kurt, but I could’ve chosen any of a number of endings where he happened to appear because I sensed the danger of what was to come and couldn’t wait to turn the page.

Before this particular encounter with Kurt, Summer had just spent time with a boy with whom a romance is beginning to blossom. After a taxi ride home, and acknowledgment that Kurt is a bad influence on her, this is what she sees.

As she enters their apartment building, Kurt’s leaning against the corner of the building across the street.

Marcy – This is such a sweet, touching moment in the story. I won’t give the details of “who” away. You’ll have to read the book!

He turns his head around. At the same moment she leans forward. Their helmets clunk and their noses brush. They both freeze. Then he kisses her on the lips.

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Dave – I have to choose Moony. He is so supportive of Summer despite, or should I say, because of what he has gone through. This line, I believe, gives a perfect example.

Brave enough to die, then you’re brave enough to live.” He grips her hand. “Have the freaking courage to get help, to get better.”

Marcy –  No question, Moony. He is a three dimensional character with so many sides. He is good and caring and true. And funny. Like in this exchange between him and Summer.

“What about your dad?” she asks.

“Divorced post accident.”

“That sucks.”

“Reembraced Islam, lives in Kuwait with new wife and kid.”

She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “But he can marry a second wife and still be married to your mom, right?”

“Over Mom’s dead body.”


4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Dave -  I chose this particular passage because I think it gives a pretty accurate description of Summer’s outlook on life.

Kindness is like hope. It feeds hope. Which just keeps us around to suffer more, she thinks, anger rising.

Marcy -  Summer is talking with Moony and finally confides in him about a terrible experience in her life. It’s the reason she doesn’t let anyone get close to her.

She’s glad he’s still listening. “One evening we, um, hooked up” – she glances at Moony – “then I was scared and avoided him for a couple of days. He duped me kind of…publicly.” She’s never told anyone the full story and won’t get into all the details now. It’s more complicated. The dickhead posted a horribly unflattering fat photo of her, eyes half-closed, clutching a vodka bottle, with the caption at the top, DRINKING TO FORGET… At the bottom it read, I’M A SLUT. He shared it with 743 friends. At least he got in trouble. But so did she. And at the time, it smashed her to an unprecedented low.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Dave - Two lines. Both from Kurt, and… scary.

“You know as well as I do that you are the one to be afraid of. I have the answer to all of your problems.”

And, when Summer tells him she is going to San Francisco…

“To get away from me. But you stupid, stupid girl, you know that’s not possible.”

Marcy – This line made me giggle. It’s a conversation between Summer and her mom and so very teenlike.

“I am not Sylvia the Psychic!” Summer explodes, throwing up her hands.”

Congratulations to Ann on her debut novel, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light!

To read more about Ann Jacobus and her debut novel Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, please go to:


  1. Thank you so much, Marcy and Dave, for having me on Route 19 Writers! I love your picks for favorite things.

    1. Thanks, Ann. We loved your picks too! Thanks for sharing and taking the time to share your five favorites!

  2. Thank you for this chance ! :)


    1. We have you entered! The lucky winner will be announced on Valentine's day. Best of luck!

  3. All of these favorite lines have definitely made me want to read this book.
    k3kdpv at gmail dot com

  4. We're so glad that you enjoyed the list of favorites. There were many more we could have chosen. Good luck!