“Caly knew her mom would punish her; in fact, she'd planned on it. But a late-night ride in the backseat of a cop car wasn't part of that plan.
Seventeen-year-old Caly Monroe has one passion: graffiti. Her mom hates it. And that's precisely why Caly decides to spray paint a barely dressed portrait of her mom in the middle of town, hoping to change her perspective―or maybe it was just to piss her off.
After Caly's mom picks her up from the police station, she banishes Caly to Gemstone Beach, the run-down bay beach where they used to live each summer. The last time Caly stepped a bare foot onto that beach's crusty sand was five years ago, before her mom opened a bakery and permanently ended their vacations. When Caly returns, she is tasked with manual labor at the boardwalk as punishment; though, she soon discovers the real punishment is facing the people she once cared most about, including her first love, Aden.
While Caly continues to contemplate her artistic future, she has to let her heart choose what, and who, is worth fighting for.”
Tell us a little about yourself.
I probably shouldn't admit this, but I just might be the only author who didn't like to read as a kid. Every author interview I've read states that they loved books at an early age. Not me. If I were to go back in time to hunt my younger self, I'd find her playing football with the boys, eating ants off the sidewalk,* or diving head first into some new hobby like unicycling (seriously, I begged and begged and finally got one for Christmas one year. I was decent, but I gave it up because I didn't stand a chance at winning any bike races).
My grown-up self is married with three children--only one is of the human variety. I've flown in an F-15 and raised lion cubs, both are highlights from my previous day jobs.** I now get to sit in front of a computer screen and stare at a cursor for hours on end while I dream about writing and search the internet for funny cat pictures.***
What inspired you to make the main character of Caly's Piece a graffiti artist?
I've always been intrigued by graffiti, just like Caly. Some of the murals I've seen are extremely beautiful, some beyond words. In that respect, I think graffiti was an automatic answer. I needed her to have a talent/hobby that was beautiful and that she was extremely passionate about. I also needed that hobby to have a stigma associated with illegal activity. That's why graffiti seemed the most natural choice.
What sort of romance do you like to read about? The real slow burn, drawn out type, or do you prefer love at first sight, or maybe a mix between the two? What kind of romance would you say Caly and Aden have?
I think I like a mix, though I do tend to lean toward the drawn-out type. I need to feel that initial heat, but when something is in the way (conflicting emotions, a current relationship, etc.), it keeps me hooked and waiting, wanting more. Caly and Aden have the drawn-out type for sure! They were together when they were younger. So it's been a few years and all of the feelings are practically brand new. They want to rediscover each other, but they have something/someone interfering and that makes it a slow burn!
What do you hope readers will take away from Caly's Piece?
Most of all, I hope that readers enjoy the story. If they take anything away from it, I would want them to take away the courage to fight for what they want out of their life. And (this might sound cliché, but it's the truth) sometimes when you feel stuck, the only way to move forward is to take a step back.
What is your favorite line from Caly's Piece and why?
I'd have to say that it changes all of the time. I guess it really depends on my mood. Tonight, I'll go with this one:
“Even if the end outcome is negative, the beauty always makes the effort worthwhile.”
* Yes, I really did this; however, it was really a dare. I don't really recommend trying it. They really aren't fulfilling and they probably hold no nutritional value.
** Yes, I really did these, too! And I'm completely serious. I have pictures, though that might not mean as much as it used to.
*** Yes, I really do this, though lately the cats have all been grumpy.
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