Welcome to the Heart In A Box Blog Tour. To see the full tour schedule, click on the banner above.
My promotional post today consists of the book summary and buy links, an Author Q&A, and a Giveaway. Be sure to enter!
Heart in a Box by Catherine Stine
Publication Date: December 20, 2015
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Each heartbeat leads Joss closer a shocking truth that will change everything.
Joss Olstad wins the fight to switch from her private school to a public high to “find her pieces” she lost when the Indian artist father she never knew died. There, Joss struggles with a slutty friend, who flirts with her new love; Indian Culture Club girls who press her on her past, as well as her stoner mother’s lies back at home. Armed only with her handmade heart boxes that hold private messages, Joss’s search for identity leads her to a scary industrial section of Queens, and a shocking family secret that changes everything.
Welcome to Cover2Cover and thanks for taking the time out for a quick Q&A!
Hi, Cover2Cover and dear readers, I’m thrilled to be here.
Could you describe your book for the readers?
Sure, it is YA romance. Joss Olstad has finally talked her stoner mom into springing Joss from her stifling private school and into a prestigious Brooklyn public high. Searching for “a way out, a way in, and something I can’t even put into words, yet” Joss longs to find missing pieces of herself she lost when the father she never met died on a faraway road in India. All she has of him is a painted box he made. Joss is also itching to escape the hippie hell of her mother’s bong shop, and the hypocrisy that is her life. With her honey skin, and long brown hair, Joss passes for white, even though she’s half Indian. This culturally diverse school will be her chance to find out who she really is.
Day one, and Joss is terrified by how different things are. Has she made a horrible mistake? Before long, she gets into the pace. Her sights are set on her own “Bobcat in black denim”, the tall, handsome Will Torres. She’s met Katya too, a popular glam queen, who’s a blast to hang out with. Life is perfect!
Or is it? Her friend, Katya starts acting like a royal slut, her mom’s flinging insults and lies at her, and other girls are pressuring Joss to reveal her sketchy pedigree. Joss finds herself spinning stories about her past to fill in the holes. Even Will becomes leery of her. And the Personal Iconography class that Joss signed on for because kids claimed the teacher was “nuts in a good way” is the toughest class she’s ever taken. In it, Joss starts to make her own, heart-shaped boxes, with private messages in them. They help guide her forward. Not only is she forced to figure out who she is beyond the “nice girl” she always hid behind, her search leads her to the fringes of the outer boroughs, to a scary industrial section of Queens, and a shocking family secret that changes everything.
How did you come up with the idea for Heart In A Box?
It was a combination of things. I lived in New York City’s East Village for a while and there were a bunch of import-export shops there that also sold bongs and paraphernalia. I started to wonder what it would be like to have a hippie-come-lately mother who smoked a lot of weed and owned this type of store. And then I kept asking “what if” questions. What if the mom also had a side to her that was very overprotective and so the daughter, Joss had to sneak around? And what if Joss had a biracial boyfriend, who the mom was leery of? This led to a series of mom-daughter landmines they had to figure out ways to navigate through. And of course, I wanted to write a really sweet romance between Joss and Will.
Tell us about the main characters.
Joss is seventeen. She is a seeker with an artistic soul, as her father had. She has long brown hair with a light streak in it. She’s biracial: half white and half Indian (her dad was from India).
Will, her boyfriend is kind, tall, handsome and loves Joss. He is also biracial: half white and half Puerto Rican. His mom is a high-powered agent for NYC actors, and his dad was a famous actor in soap operas.
Katya is Joss’s new friend. She is very pretty and quite a flirt. She tempts Joss to do some activities that are a bit shady.
Trenton is Will’s best friend. He is a big jokester and incredibly tall. He has a crush on Joss, as Will does, which creates some tension.
Joss’s mom owns an import/export shop that also sells bongs. It is called Bodhisattva Beach. Joss worries about her mother because she smokes way too much weed and is addicted to it.
Do you have a favourite character? Who and why?
Well, I do love my lead player, Joss. She’s strong yet vulnerable, rebellious yet she loves her mother, and Joss has an artistic streak. She is not afraid to seek out and demand answers to dark family secrets.
Could you share a favourite quote from the book? Why is it your favourite?
The following lines are from a “heartbeat” poem that Joss wrote. I love it for its lyricism and courage:
Lost, frightened and struggling.
You find a celestial map on an invisible highway.
It will lead you back to your truest self.
Did you have difficulty writing a particular part or character? If so, why?
Getting the dynamics just right between Joss and her mother was a challenge but one I feel happy with. Joss is terribly frustrated with her mom’s self-destructive ways and also her overprotectiveness of Joss. Yet they do find a way not to drift totally apart and reconnect in new, important ways.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Yes, always! I am working on book three of my Fireseed series, an Amazon bestselling futuristic thriller trilogy. I also have novel launching in 2016 called Witch of the Cards. It will be published under my pen name, Kitsy Clare, so make sure to subscribe to my newsletter for launch details! (at www.catherinestine.com). This novel is set in 1932 on the Jersey shore, and the lead heroine, Fiera, hails from a powerful sea witch dynasty, but she has no idea of this until it’s almost too late!
I enjoyed having you on my blog today and I wish you success with your future writing.
Thanks so much, Cover2Cover, it was a blast! And a huge shout-out to all the booklovers out there. If you do read Heart in a Box, I look forward to your take on it, and I hope you like Joss and her adventures as much as I did in writing them.
Catherine Stine writes YA and romance. Her novels span the range from futuristic to supernatural to contemporary. Her YA sci-fi thrillers Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire are Amazon bestsellers and indie award winners. Her YA, Dorianna won Best Horror Book in the Kindle Hub Awards. She also writes romance as Kitsy Clare. Her Art of Love series includes Model Position and Private Internship. She suspects her love of dark fantasy came from her father reading Edgar Allen Poe to her as a child, and her love of contemporary fiction comes from being a jubilant realist. Visit her at catherinestine.com and subscribe to her newsletter for news of releases, workshops and appearances.
Giveaway Information: Provided by the Author
The prize pack includes
- A $40 gift card
- 2 hand-painted heart-boxes with secret treasure inside
- a signed paperback of Dorianna by Catherine Stine
- a signed paperback of Heart in a Box by Catherine Stine,
- a great YA ebook pack of novels: Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec, When Sorrows Come by Katie M John, and Time Runs Away with Her by Christine Potter.