Author Interview with Aimee L. Salter

Okay guys, about a month ago, I posted a review for Aimee Salter’s Breakable and I found her writing style and story so intriguing that I asked her if I could interview her right here on CoffeeShopReader! She graciously agreed, and I was so excited to see that Aimee has a huge personality! If you haven’t had a chance to check out her book, you can read my review here.

Hey Aimee, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some of my questions!

Oh, no problem at all. I’m happy to!

Okay, so I’m going to start with the most dreaded question: what is your favorite book?

My favorite book is THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay. I think her writing is incredible and even a year after reading it, I’m still desperately in love with Josh Bennett. *Drifts off into romantic reverie…*

What are you the biggest nerd for?

Um…if I’m completely honest, my closet geek has recently been unleashed by the fantasy card game called MAGIC: THE GATHERING. I’m nuts for strategy games, and that one’s the ultimate. If I let myself I think I could get completely obsessed with it. But if you’re looking for something bookish, well, all my favorite authors. Whenever they talk to me on social media or we email, I’m working hard the whole time to try and sound normal because inside I’m like a giddy twelve year old.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always loved books and stories. I set a goal for myself at a very young age that I was going to get published before I was twenty-one. That didn’t happen and I lost sight of writing for a long time. But I kind of fell back into it in my thirties after falling in love with Harry Potter and the Twilight books. I just kept getting ideas and they wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote them down!

You cover some pretty relevant, tough issues in Breakable. Is there anything in particular that has given you a passion for writing a story like this?

For whatever reason, I’m wired that way. I’ve always written stories that touch on the hard side of life – when I was in high school I got a short story published in the year-end magazine that was about a girl whose father abused her, so she murdered him and committed suicide (I was a bit of a morbid teenager). Nowadays I don’t like to write stories that are pure escape. I like to write stories people feel they could actually inhabit (with a little bit of escape mixed in).

In terms of BREAKABLE itself, I was bullied in high school and the experience of the bullying, and the process of overcoming how it molded me was a natural theme to explore. I wanted to write about it in a way that wasn’t a “moral of the story” approach, but instead, if it was picked up by a girl going through that, that she’d be able to tell that I knew how she felt. That she’d know I hadn’t forgotten what it was like. And maybe it might give her a little hope that she could move past it too.

Were the bullying sequences in Breakable based on real stories or events or are they more of ‘realistic scenarios’?

It’s a little of both. I haven’t depicted “actual events” from my life or others, but I definitely drew on my own experiences, and a little from my nieces (who’ve attended high school in the technology age). I’ve always kept up with the issue because it felt personal for me, so I had an understanding of how bullying had changed in twenty years, and how it hadn’t. So I took flavors of what I experienced and the things I’d learned, and mixed them together to suit the story.

There are moments when the teenage me comes through, though. When Stacy cuts loose on Mark and finally tells him what she goes through on a daily basis, she describes some of my personal story.

Now, I don’t want to give anything away, but I must say I am impressed with your ability to keep the reader guessing, unsure whether Stacy is crazy or not. Who is Stacy to you?

Stacy is a combination of who I was when I was about 16 (the good, and the bad), and just a bunch of character stuff that the story needed. As a writer I start a story with a character in my head, but as the plot progresses and issues have to be ironed out, the character becomes defined by the story they need to tell. So, the first draft of Stacy was almost purely 16 year old me. The Stacy that’s in the book is very different, but still has some of me at her core.

Okay, now for some completely random, fun stuff to get to know you as an author!

Yay! I love this stuff!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Either taking a canal cruise down the Seine in France, or taking a donkey-walking tour of B&B’s in the Burran region of Ireland. And yes, I did say Donkey-walking. You pack your stuff onto a donkey every morning and wander to the next place. Wander. Tug. Whatever.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure? (type of sweets, TV show, movie, books, etc)

Food. Especially homemade popcorn, fried chicken, creamy mushroom and chicken pasta, and Pavlova topped with blueberries (the best dessert ever to come out of New Zealand).

That said, I embrace food, so it doesn’t really feel “guilty” to me. My guilty pleasure(s) are regency romance books by Julie Anne Long and Tessa Dare. They’re actually very good, well written books. But the covers make them look like something Fabio would pose for, so I always live in fear of someone picking up my kindle and flipping through the icons…

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Oooooooo, fun question. I would have mind reading. I think so many times people aren’t honest out of fear. I’d love to know when I could reassure someone so they could be themselves. And I’d also love to know exactly when to kick the bad guy in the baubles to make the most impact.

Thanks so much for having me, Angie. This has been fun!

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Book Review: Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Publisher: Atom

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Series: Night School

Pages: 454

Release Date: January 1st, 2012

Rating: 3.5/5

Summary from GoodReads:

Allie Sheridan’s world is falling apart. Her brother’s run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she’s just been arrested.

Again.

This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends.

But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret group of elite students.

When she’s attacked late one night the incident sets off a chain of increasingly violent events. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she finds out that nothing at Cimmeria is what it seems to be.

And that she is not who she thought she was.

__________________________________

Characters—

Allie: I loved the growth I saw in her over the course of this novel. I almost put the book down due to her angst and immaturity at the novel’s start, although I’m glad I didn’t. The author gives Allie great opportunities in which to shine. Her defining moments don’t feel forced or awkward in the plot at all, which I enjoyed. That said, she is kind of…forgettable. Hopefully she will really make an impression and becomes a stronger lead in the next book. I would have liked for the author to explain her OCD and trauma from her brother’s abandonment in more detail. It seemed like Allie only brings it up when convenient. I did, however, love her normal-ness! She’s not crazy insecure (like Bella from Twilight), but she’s not completely careless about her appearance (like Katniss, whom I still love dearly).

Jo: Jo is pretty close to the epitome of a spoiled, rich, elite heiress. Her life is beautiful and tragic. She is full of life and the perfect best friend for Allie. Sadly, she hides a dark secret that everyone seems to know about except for Allie. The author does a great job sculpting her to be a wingman to Allie but nothing more.

Sylvain: The name “Sylvain” sounds like “snake” to me. He waltzes into Allie’s life at a vulnerable and desperate time and is too perfect. His suave act is way too suspicious and he is way too aggressive physically. There is a fine line between whisking a girl off of her feet and tripping her. There’s a difference between pulling her into a secret romantic kiss in a corner and forcing her into something she doesn’t want. I do love when an author keeps me guessing about a character—predictability can be tedious. Sylvain, to me, is anything but predictable. He is sometimes creepy and definitely untrustworthy but those very things are what makes his character so intriguing.

Carter: Every romance novel must have the swoon-worthy hero. Well, hello Carter! From the very beginning of the novel, you will be counting the pages until he finally takes off the apathetic mask and confesses his undying love for Allie. Well…you’ll at least be hoping for it. A bit predictable, yes, but the author does a fantastic job of building their relationship. I’m practically squealing right now! Carter is definitely that guy who can’t handle the depth of his emotions as he’s insanely passionate about everything. You will be pleasantly surprised about his character. He, over any other character, makes the novel for me.

The World—

Conspiracy theorists come one, come all! If you’re into secrets behind secrets, this is the book for you. While some aspects of the novel might be ultra-predictable, the sub-plot is not. The overall plot to Night School contains many layers and the core layer will keep you guessing for the majority of the book. The boarding school is well-described and I get a clear visual of the campus, which is unique and timeless.

Final Thoughts—

Would I read it again? Probably not, unless I found myself without other books to read. Did I enjoy it? Definitely, for an easy read and limited options. I bought this book for almost double the price at an airport because I was desperate for something to read on the long, eight hour flight that awaited me. It thoroughly entertained me, as it is mostly outside of my usual genre and it had Carter in it. I have a character crush on him, without a doubt. I probably wouldn’t pay $17 for it again.

Memorable Quotes—

I found no quotes memorable enough, a fact that pains me.

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