Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Passages by Emily Ward

 Kindle Price: $0.99

 Available from: Amazon , Smashwords , Barnes and Noble 

 Author's Website:

A brother and a sister dealing with their uncertain circumstances. A girl deciding whether to confess about her involvement in her friend's death. A mother and daughter talking over pasta, both of them holding secrets. These are just some of the images from this short story collection. Centered around young adults from all different walks of life, Passages is about the struggles we all go through during one of the more important transitions of life.

This collection includes Melanie's Secrets, Death of the Sun, You Remember, and The Prodigal Daughter, and brand new stories Together, Fettuccine Alfredo, and The Rowe Boys. It's 13,000 words or about 52 pages.

Bio: One of my first stories featured a young girl whose doll came to life. The rest is history. I spent years writing mainly fanfiction (thank you, J.K. Rowling!), but have since ventured into originality. When it comes to fiction, I write mainly young adult, contemporary, and fantasy. I also write nonfiction, ranging from stories of my travels to thoughts on the Bible. Aside from writing, I love reading, traveling, learning about God, sociology, religion, and Reeses sticks. Currently, I live in Salem, Oregon with my husband Chris and our cats.

Excerpt  (from The Rowe Boys)

Moments like this, when his world revolves around him and not his brother, are rare. Mom is holding back tears, and Dad watches with pride. Friends and acquaintances he has known for years, most of them wearing matching blue gowns, gather around to give him hugs, phone numbers, and smiles. This is the last day they will step foot in this building as students.

Ethan scans the crowd for Mya, wondering if she’s seen Brian yet. He doesn’t want to see their reunion. His brother has been in Boston for his freshman year of college, and it’s been the best year of Ethan’s life. Brian’s been back two days, and Dad has already commented on Brian’s higher high school GPA and Ethan’s disappointing community college choice.

Mya finds them as Ethan is taking a picture with his Health teacher. She watches with a smile, and when Mr. Greer walks away, she hugs Ethan. Their large graduation robes separate them, and the scent of her perfume fills his nostrils. “You know what I was just thinking about?”

“That time Mr. Greer tried to make us run a mile for passing notes?”

“Yes!” Mya exclaims and laughs. She motions to the people around them, her sleeves billowing out. “I can’t believe we made it.”

“It’s a great feeling,” Ethan says.

Mya turns to Brian. “Long time, no see, Brian.”

Brian gives her a smile, small but affectionate. “Congratulations.”

“How’s college in Boston?” Mya tucks her hair behind her ear, takes a step closer to Brian.

He shrugs. “It’s good. Good football. Probably a better team than Hartfield Community.” He glances at Ethan, who thinks he should have stayed in Boston, if it was so great. “No offense.”

Mom must notice the jibe because she steps in and beams at Mya. “Hey, Mya!” she says. “Get together, I’ll take a picture!”

They pause, glancing at each other. “Go on, you three, get together,” Mom persists.

Mya stand in between the two of them. She wraps her arm around their waists. Ethan puts his arms around her shoulders, smiling at his mom’s camera. After Mom snaps the picture, they pull away slowly. She shows them the picture. Mya, as usual, looks stunning, her dark curly hair falling over her shoulders. Mya and Brian have taken so many pictures together, they naturally gravitate towards each other, and Ethan looks like a strange growth attached to Mya’s arm.

“I’ll see you at the party tonight?” Mya asks, touching his arm.

Ethan meets her eyes for a moment, nodding, and she disappears into the crowd of people.

Interview Questions with Emily Ward

What will readers like about your book?

It's a good collection of young adult contemporary stories. Some are about family, others about friends, some about romance. The characters are going through things we've all been through.

Why did you self publish?

At first, I tried to find magazines and literary journals for my short stories, but it's a very small market for young adult short stories. I heard about people self-publishing their short stories, and I put a few up on Smashwords for free. I had positive feedback, so I bundled seven of them and put them on Amazon. I have a novella coming soon and a fantasy novel in December. I love the creative control I can have and the knowledge that others are reading my stories.

What is your writing process?

For short stories, I try to have a scene in mind with a few characters and a conflict. I throw them together and start writing. The plot usually changes a few times while I'm writing. By the end, I try to bring some kind of resolution to the characters, whether large or small.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

Short stories are obviously much different from longer works. It can be anywhere from a day to a week. One short story actually took me a few months, but that's because I stepped away from it for a while because I didn't know what I wanted to do with it.

What inspired you to write these particular stories?

These short stories have various inspirations. A few were written for a fiction writing course in college (The Rowe Boys and Death of the Sun) some were inspired by a prompt (Fettuccine Alfredo and Melanie's Secrets), one was a contest entry (The Prodigal Daughter). A lot of my inspiration comes from wanting to explore humanity through fictional characters and situations. I love fiction because it gives us a different lens through which we can view our world.

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