Girls*Heart* Books: Tammy's Two Cents: Interview, Review & Giveaway with Jessica Dragon Cheramie

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tammy's Two Cents: Interview, Review & Giveaway with Jessica Dragon Cheramie

When trying to find out who you are, you may just get more than you bargained.
Meridienne Drake thought she had it all figured out, but her parents had other plans for her. Thrown on a plane to Portland, Oregon to spend the summer with family she never knew existed, Meridienne realizes she didn’t know the people who raised her at all. More than that, strange things are beginning to happen to her.
Meridienne wants to be anything other than strange especially when her summer begins to take a turn for the better because of Will, the mysterious new boy. But the strange and unusual just keep occurring until she discovers an even bigger secret. Magic. Her fourteenth birthday reveals secrets and realities that Meridienne had only dreamed about, literally. Will Meridienne accept this secret life and face what comes with that? Or, is all this heat too much for her?
"Secrets of the truth. It felt like my entire life was suddenly full of secrets." 

Let me start by saying that Cheramie has captured the heart and soul of most teenage girls perfectly!  Meridienne (Meri) is the perfect balance of hormones, angst, confusion and courage..  it makes the book seem more biography than fiction.  We are taken on Meri’s journey to spend the summer with her Grandfather and Uncle that she never knew existed since her parent’s have kept that part of their lives a secret from her.  She has no idea this revelation is only the tip of the iceberg of secrets, lies and hidden truth’s her family has kept locked away these last 13 years. 
Handsome stranger Will makes life at her Grandfathers bearable as she begins to experience strange things that make her doubt her sanity.  As Meri learns the truth about herself, her family and her best friend Kate along with Kate’s brother Daniel will the secrets be more than she can handle?  Will she embrace her destiny or turn away from it?  Everyone in Meri’s life has kept something hidden from her, some still are… will she become the person she’s meant to be, or will she walk away from her destiny?
What a cute little story!  Well executed, well written, great background and superb character development.  A book I can honestly recommend for younger readers and adults alike as it is suitable for the younger audience as well as having the depth to keep the adult audience interested.   A great balance of storytelling, action and just a tidbit of romance. 

So, of course, I had to request an interview with Cheramie and she humbly obliged!  Yet another openly honest interview with one of my new favorite authors guys... Ms. Jessica Dragon Cheramie (giveaway details to follow)

*Tell me a bit about yourself. About me? Hmm. I’m thegirl you see singing at the top of her lungs in her car, drinking coffee orwine depending on the time of day, holding her knitting needles while watchingSaturday flag football, dancing in the middle of the dance floor or room, if noactual dance floor, and reading in her hammock on beautiful, sunny days. I havethis crazy, mad urge to get the mini movies playing in my head on paper in themiddle of the night and live on a Vampire’s schedule when writing a book. Ilive in a world with my Prince Charming and a furry, ferocious dragon, alsoknown as Brie(my 8lb Shih Tzu).

*Where were you born and where do you call home?  I was born in NewOrleans, La and raised 15 minutes from Bourbon St. (You bet that got me intotrouble.). Because of that witch, also known as Hurricane Katrina, I now residein Houma, La about an hour south of New Orleans.

*What was your inspiration for Meridienne Drake?   Having the nameJessica Dragon for 23 years, naturally, dragons were a big part of my life—realand fictional ones. hehe However, dragons were easy to write about, but I beganwriting it when I first found out I was pregnant in 2008. It was put on hiatuswhen I lost the baby at 5 months into my pregnancy. And last year in 2011, Irealized the first book was done.
*Was there a particular person that was the inspiration forMeri?  I draw a lot from myown experiences at that age, but she isn’t really like me. I was a nightmare.Meri just likes to push boundaries, but retains a certain respect forauthority. And like me at that age, her mouth and careless nature tend to gether in trouble.

*I simply must know, how did the idea for your history/story ofthe Drake Family come about; Research or just a Fantastic idea?  A little of both Iguess. Like for Meri, I drew upon my experiences. The feud between father andson was inspired by the feud between my father and grandfather, though neitherwould’ve admitted there was one. Unfortunately, that didn’t have quite thehappy ending, so I gave one in the book, because I know they both loved eachother dearly. Emery and Aditi having the first interracial (meaning magicalraces) marriage was drawn upon my brother’s nervousness to bring home his Asiangirlfriend to my parents. (They will be getting married in a few short weeks.YAY!) Then, everything being kept hidden from Meri is something I had alwayswished. I’m still convinced that there really is a secret passage to DiagonAlley, a middle earth where Frodo lives, and one day I’ll have magical powers. heheA girl can dream.

*For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; Meridienne Drake,how would you introduce it?Meridienne Drake isjust like any normal girl about to go into high school. She wants to hang outwith her friends, check out boys, go shopping, and check out boys. But herparents ruined her summer when they sent her to Portland, Oregon to meet familyshe never met—never knew existed.  Her own parents were hidingsecrets about her family and even bigger ones about who they were—whoMeridienne was. It turns her life upside down. She is forced into a differentworld within our own, while trying to maintain her normalcy.

*What are the Pro's and Con's to being an Indie Author?  Pro’s: Indie communityrocks especially the Indie Community on Twitter. So many authors and readersare willing to help in any way possible. This is different for every author,but most likely my royalties are much higher with self-pub, even with POD. Thebiggest draw for me is that I love, love, love the creative license I’m able toobtain with self-pubbing. If I feel this character needs to stay in the book orfeel this scene is relevant and needs to stay in. Then, it stays. My bookssuccess and failure is all mine. I control every aspect.  
Con’s: Controllingevery aspect. You want what’s best for your book and you want it to be perfect.You need to know what that is. You don’t have the million professionals tohelp—not that they always help, but again success/failure is on your shoulders.It would be nice to use Traditional pub connections. I always hit that roadbump that I don’t know the right people to get attention. It gets expensive toself-pub the right way. 
All in all, I wouldn’ttrade it for anything. It is all worth the squeeze when you get that first fan.<3 my fans.

*Whom in your life would you say has influenced you the most?  Ah, you, trickster,you. This is a tough one because I’ve been blessed with such an amazing supportsystem. My husband supports me through all my endeavors. Of course I have toinclude my daddy, he was the first person to tell me I should be a writer. (Ofcourse, this probably had a lot to do with the elaborate stories I concocted inattempts to get out of trouble.) and sells the heck out of my books in NoLa.What’s funny is he has never read my book, which doesn’t offend me because I’venever seen him read a book. My mom is my harshest critic, and I love that abouther. I can always depend on an honest answer from her and respect her opinionsso much. My brother always seems to show me my next great read, movie, or videogame, which has opened the doors to my imagination. My in-laws and Nick alwaysboost my ego, and I’m so lucky to call them family. I could go on and on, but I’llstop. I’m just really lucky. :o/

*What has been the most interesting comment (or review) aboutyour book?  I get really greatletters from fans through email and even a few letters that have been sobeautiful. I think what I found most interesting was the first time someonetold me they couldn’t put my book down and stayed up the entire night to readit. I’ve read books like that and to hear it about my own: Wow! Just Wow! Thereisn’t a feeling in the world to describe it.

*Who is YOUR favorite Author?  I have many Authorsthat I love and respect. To me, my favorite would have to be Jane Austen. Ihave read everything she has written and love every story just as much as herother.

*What are you reading right now?  I cannot read nearlyas much as I want to right now, so I try to fit it in with my workouts. I justgot finished reading The Forever Girlby Rebecca Hamilton yesterday. Pretty good read.

*Tell us your latest news.  My latest news. Hmm. I’mbusy editing like crazy right now. Holed up, not doing much else. Argh! I’m soboring these days. But, oh, a few days ago, my pool did flip over. You know,the store-bought kind(not a kiddie pool). I guess it was a bad storm. So weird.I have a pic on my blog. Crazy!  *update from Jessica... today I found out some great news. Secrets of the Truth won honorable mention for this year's 2012 Beach Book Festival. YAY! 
*Sequel??  Most def. I’m working on getting it out atthe end of summer. The Meridienne Drake Series will contain about 6 maybe 7books in total. Meridienne has plenty growing up to do until she becomes afull-fledged Draco Protector.
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  1. Omg! Favorite summer vacay! I've been blessed with so many, but I will choose my 28th birthday we went to Disneyland and I wore the birthday pin everyday I was there and I must've had hundreds of people wish me happy birthday...I felt like a birthday princess! Lol

  2. so many amazing summer vacations in our family. we always traveled. i think my favorite would have to be going up to Canada for a month, camping and traveling all over. It was so much fun

  3. My favorite summer vacaation was our first trip to Australia to decide if we could see ourselves settling there from the UK. We've been here almost 2 years now - the best move ever!

  4. My favorite summer vacation... Well, I don't think I've ever gone out for summertime. Except when I moved to the US, so it wasn't really vacation, it was more the fact that I was meeting somewhere new and different. It was kind of like vacation, cause my boyfriend did take some time off work, I didn't start working right away and me and his siblings went places and stuff. So yeah, I think that'd be my favorite as of now. --MookyJ.

  5. My favourite summer vacay will be the one I'm leaving for in 10 days!! ;) I've never been more excited :D

  6. My favorite vacation was when i went to disneyworld in florida for the first time last year!

  7. My favorite vacation is just staying home and relaxing with my family.

  8. My favorite vacation was DisneyWorld, although I suspect that the Darien Lake trip coming up in a couple of months will be great too!

  9. I've never really been on a summer vacation that I can recall. :(

  10. My favorite summer vacation was the year we went to a cottage in Canada that my grandparents had rented. Right on the lake. It was beautiful.

  11. My favorite summer vacations were the weekend getaways my husband and I took to Niagara falls each year. It was great to get away just the 2 of us.

  12. Just got back from TX and MS....it was a blast!


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