Oct 16, 2014

Blog Tour - Ruined - Stratford High Series, Book One by Marian Cheatham



Ruined - Stratford High Series, Book One
by Marian Cheatham

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

When your life has been ruined by lies, do you seek justice … or revenge?
 
Blythe Messina spends her senior year focused on her studies and college, and not on
her ex, Stratford High's lacrosse star, DB Whitmore. At least, that's what Blythe keeps telling herself. But her younger cousin, Bonni, knows otherwise. Same goes for DB, who swears to be over Blythe and their breakup, but his teammates aren’t fooled.

When scandalous photos of Bonni and the team captain are texted around Stratford, Bonni's virtuous reputation is ruined. She professes her innocence, but no one believes her. No one, except Blythe and DB, who come together to uncover the truth. But, will they stay together?  

Ruined is a modern twist on a classic Shakespearean romance. 

"Deceit, loyalty, honor, and romance--Ruined has it all! A teen version of Much Ado

About Nothing that Shakespeare aficionados are sure to savor!”

Kym Brunner, Author of Wanted: Dead or in Love & One Smart Cookie

All books in the Stratford High series will be modern retellings of a Shakespeare classic. Ruined is inspired by Much Ado About Nothing.

Excerpt

JON PRINCE

I headed for the Sports Arena, Sly and Slash trailing behind like the obedient lackeys they were. “The idea of that fool, Cory, dating Messina money makes me wanna puke.” I stopped in front of the Basketball Throw and swiped my card in the slot. “I’d love to find a way to bust Cory and Bonni up.” Four balls rolled down the shoot into the pocket in front of me. 

“I could beat the crap out of him for you,” Slash offered.

“That could make them even tighter. Bonni would feel sorry for Cory. Want to nurse him back to health.” I took my first shot. “No, what I need is a way to humiliate them.” The ball circled the rim and then dropped off to one side. “I want to ruin their spotless reputations.” 

“Like that Facebook incident,” said Sly, “that happened to that Maggie chick I dated freshman year. Some of her friends posted some embarrassing pictures of her. Mags was so ashamed, she missed two weeks of school.”

“I saw those pictures.” I took another shot. “Hysterical. Especially that drunk one of her puking in her dad’s Escalade.” The ball bounced off the backboard and forward over the rim. “We need something more damaging, like photos of Bonni hooking up with another guy.”

“How we gonna get those?” asked Slash. “When she’s all over Rash?”

I took my third shot. The ball hit the outside of the rim and dropped like a boulder to the floor. “What if we got Cory to think she was cheating on him?”

“That would kill him.” Sly sniggered. “His good girl gone bad.”

“And what if the guy turning the good girl bad is my brother? That would get Paolo into hot water with his tight buddy, Leo Messina.” I spun on Slash. “Can you get your hands on some Roofies?”

“The date rape drug?”

“You got a problem with that?”

Slash shook his head. “Nope. I’m your guy. But those pills cost.”

“Don’t sweat it. I’ll front the money. In fact, there’ll be some serious cash for both of you if you help me pull this off.” I raised my last ball and released. The ball slipped right through the net. “Slam dunk.” Slash and Sly jumped up to shoulder bump each other. “Let’s do this. First chance we get.”

“When will that be?” Slash asked.

I wandered past the sporting games. I wasn’t in the mood for baseball or golf. I wanted to pound something. “When the opportunity presents itself, I’ll know.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Marian is a full-time writer of contemporary and historical young adult fiction. A native Chicagoan and a graduate of Northern Illinois University, Marian taught special education and worked in the business world before pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. She would rather be at her desk than almost anywhere else, but of course, that isn’t always possible. So when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, walking the dog, travelling with her husband, and researching new projects. Not necessarily in that order. 

She adores anything Shakespeare. An avid reader of Shakespeare biographies, she has travelled the world to see his plays, visiting Stratford, Canada as well as Stratford-Upon-the-Avon, Great Britain, and the new Globe Theater in London. Her latest YA novel, Ruined, Book One in her new Stratford High series – modern retellings of Shakespeare’s plays - is inspired by the Bard’s classic romance, Much Ado About Nothing. Book Two, inspired by the Merchant of Venice, is due out fall 2014.

Her debut YA, Eastland, came out in February 2014. Based on the real-life story of the 1915 Eastland boat disaster in Chicago, Marian lectures about the Eastland to schools, libraries, and book clubs, as well as co-hosting haunted Chicago tours of Eastland disaster sites. She writes a post on the subject on the Tribune’s Chicago Now blog site. Visit her at:
                             


Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your characters’ lives / lifestyles?
For Ruined, since it’s a contemporary novel, I didn’t have to do much research. Mainly learn how to play lacrosse because the male protagonist plays lacrosse for Stratford High. I also had to research some technical stuff with cell phones and information on high school curriculum. For my first novel, Eastland, which is YA historical based on a real-life disaster in Chicago in 1915, I had nearly a year of research to do. It was very involved, but terribly interesting. I loved every minute of the work and learned so much.   

Who inspires you? I’m inspired everyday by my hard-working husband, Tom, who never fails to encourage me even on those dark days when ideas don’t flow. Plus, he makes me laugh – a lot!
Do you have strange writing habits? When I’m trying to sort out a problem, I can just sit and think. It looks like I’m doing nothing at all, when in fact, my brain is engaged 100%. Einstein used to do this. Not that I’m comparing myself to him – LOL. I’m just saying that like that wild-haired genius, I can sit and do nothing and still accomplish something. Like work out the kinks in a difficult plot twist.  
Where did you grow up? In Elmwood Park, IL. A western suburb of Chicago.

What do you consider your best accomplishment? Finishing my first novel, Eastland. As I mentioned above, writing that novel involved extensive research, more so than I ever expected. I’m happy and proud that I never gave up and continued the project to the ultimate end – publication.

What is your favorite quote? One of my favorite quotes comes from that wild-haired genius, Albert Einstein. ”There are only two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle.”

What sacrifices have you had to make to be a writer? I’ll get so bogged down with work that I’ll miss fun times with family and friends. I’ve made a pledge to myself to try and make time for breakfast or lunch get-togethers or just a great night out with girlfriends to catch up on everything in their lives. 
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? OMG, yes! The cover design is the first impression a reader has of a book. I know as a reader myself, I’ll stop to check out a book with an eye-catching cover. That old adage, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ really doesn’t apply to reading. Of course, we’re drawn to appealing covers.

As an indie author, a great deal of time and effort goes into designing just the right cover. For Ruined, my book designer, D. Robert Pease of Walking Stick Books, and I went back and forth over the girl on the cover. He wanted someone else or that same girl in a different pose. I wanted that girl in that pose. We both had our reasons, and they were all valid. So I questioned writer friends and family, and my choice won out. Dale Pease and I then went over the colors, the school in the background, and the font. We ended up using lettering from Shakespeare’s First Folio, an old English font that we’ll use throughout the whole Stratford High series. No one may notice, but I know it’s authentic for Shakespeare. There’s a lot of thought and work that goes into cover design, but it’s all fun. For a writer, it’s the reward at the end of a long manuscript writing process. Our own private icing on the cake.

What do you think of “trailers” for books? I think they’re awesome, but maybe not worth all the expense and time. Do those authors get sales from those trailers? Enough to out-weigh the cost? Not sure. I’m also not sure I’d ever make a book trailer. I say that now, but in a year …
How did you come up with the title? Names? For me, the title is a difficult part of the writing process. I don’t begin a project with a title. That usually flows from the writing as the story progresses. Some time it’s a line that really sticks. Other times, it’s an overall feeling. It all just depends.

Character names are an entirely different matter. I always begin a novel with names firmly in place. I create character cards for my main characters, so I know them fairly well before I even type a word. Often a character’s name gives personality to that character. In Ruined, DB Whitmore, seemed like a DB to me. But my critique group didn’t like the name. We went back and forth about different possibilities. I tried changing the manuscript, but it was hopeless. DB Whitmore had developed on the pages of Ruined, and there was no going back. He was who he was, and I couldn’t change his name. And now, I’m happy I didn’t make that change. I like DB just the way he is. 
What’s the worst job you’ve had? I’ve been very lucky with jobs my whole life, but I did have a part-time office job a few years back that didn’t last very long. The office manager ran a tight ship – no talking of any kind to any one for any reason. I was waiting at the copier for some report to print, so I asked a young man who sat near nearby how things were going with his new baby. He picked up a picture of his baby girl and that’s when the manager exploded. NO TALKING. I questioned her about this. Told her we were having a quiet conversation, not disturbing anyone, but that wasn’t the point. She didn’t want us to talk because that would lead to friendships developing and that led to fraternizing and possible chit-chat. And that meant that work might not get done. Didn’t matter that strong friendships build better communication and make for happier, more productive workers. No! There was no talking and that was that. I left at the end of the day and never came back. 
              
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