Monday, April 14, 2014

Blog Tour!: Always by Amanda Weaver (Inspiration for Always and GIVEAWAY!!!)

Posted by BookGroupies

Title: Always 
  Author: Amanda Weaver 
  Genre: Contemporary romance-age 20-30. 
  Publish Date: April 15, 2014 
  Publisher: Independently Published Cover by: AngstyG/
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.  

~ Book Synopsis ~
From the moment they meet, their connection is perfect in every way but one. It’s New Year’s Eve, 2006, and Justine James is fronting her dead-end band for a less-than-adoring crowd. But there’s one person there who sees what she could be—one person who changes everything for her. Dillon Pierce clawed his way up from the LA streets with no one to count on but his best friend, Ash. Their years of struggle finally pay off when their band, Outlaw Rovers, gets signed and their single takes off. With Ash as the magnetic lead singer and Dillon as the band’s musical soul, they’re destined for greatness, provided Dillon can keep Ash from self-destructing first. Dillon might not be fronting Outlaw Rovers, but he’s always been the only one Justine sees. She’s followed his career from afar and when he shows up at her crummy New Year’s Eve gig, nothing will stop her from meeting him. They forge an intense connection, rapidly moving from friends to musical soul mates. Justine wants much more, but she’s not willing to climb over groupies and industry bottom-feeders to make it happen. Dillon becomes a fixture in her life, but she has to figure out how to keep him out of her heart. Outlaw Rovers begins to implode as Justine’s star is on the rise. The years that follow bring equal parts fame and ruin. For Justine, a new love supplants her old heartbreak, and Dillon has to reboot his life after losing nearly everything that matters. Despite the odds, Dillon and Justine remain devoted friends and musical collaborators. After all the missed chances, wrong turns and painful detours, can they finally find the happiness together that seemed destined from the start?    
Purchase Links:
Amazon | Smashword

About the Author
Like many writers, Amanda Weaver spent her childhood constantly telling stories. College steered her in a different direction and into a successful career as a designer. Several years ago, she picked up writing again strictly as a hobby, to blow off some creative steam. One thing led to another, National Novel Writing Month happened, and here we are. Amanda Weaver grew up in Florida and now lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, daughter and two crazy cats.

The inspiration behind Always:

For a long time I’ve wanted to write a story about a friendship mixed with unrequited love. I liked the idea of a girl in love with a guy and then getting over him. Like, really over him, and still preserving their friendship. And then he falls in love with her. That dynamic had been dancing around in my mind for quite a while. 

I’ve always had a soft spot for artists of all kinds. I’m an artist myself, and I love the idea of people bonding over what they create together. It’s powerful and the work exists outside of whatever personal dynamics people might be dealing with. The art can tie them together even when everything else might be pulling them apart. Mix that together with this theme of badly-timed love and Always slowly started shaking out. 

Brushing my teeth is golden writing time for me. I can’t tell you how many story-telling problems I’ve solved while brushing my teeth before bed. That’s exactly when Always started. Imagine me, toothbrush still in my mouth, toothpaste dripping off my lip, while I furiously typed an exchange of dialogue into the notes function on my iphone before it slipped away from me. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve started a story that way and hopefully it’s not the last. Anyway, that first bit of dialogue, which came before there was any kind of plot or characters, is still more or less in the book, at the tail end of Part 1. Let’s hear it for toothbrush inspiration.

Creating chemistry between Justine and Dillon:

One of the big challenges in writing this story was to create tangible chemistry between the two main characters when the relationship remains unrequited for most of the book. Without a traditional romance or sex to ignite the story, I focused on their friendship, imagining an emotional intimacy and creative partnership that acted as a stand-in for a romantic relationship. That’s not to say that sex never comes up! Dillon and Justine are attracted to each other from the start. It’s suppressed for a variety of reasons, but it busts loose at several key moments in the story. The question is—what do they do about it? 

Deleted Scene:

This used to live somewhere in Chapter 6. In the end, it didn’t serve to move the story forward so it got the axe. But I really did love the scene. It said a lot about the dynamics of the characters at this point in the story, Dillon and Ash sharing this intimate creative moment together onstage while Justine watches from the wings every night and falls in love with Dillon over and over:

Justine took a long swig from her water bottle. One of many lessons she’d learned on the road was that if she didn’t get serious about hydration when she came off stage, she’d be sorry the next day. Playing a concert every other night, sometimes every night, had been an amazing trial by fire. She’d learned how to play to crowds of all kinds, ones who wanted to hear her and ones who had no interest at all. She’d figured out how to draw them in, seduce them, own them. It was a pity she didn’t have better music to offer them, but she did the best she could with what she was singing. Sometimes it was all in the delivery. 

In those back-to-back dates, she’d also figured out how to survive on the road. Her voice was less fragile than some, but she was still prone to overuse and exhaustion. She figured out the hard way to avoid smoky rooms and not to over-exert herself off stage. And water. She could never drink enough water to replace what she lost on stage. She’d also learned that drinking and drugs were a death sentence for her performance. She was no good for singing if she did either one. She’d lost her taste for both after watching how it owned Ash and Dillon.

Her good sense told her she should be resting in her dressing room or on the bus, unwinding after her set. Instead, she was hovering in the darkness of the wings, just to watch something she’d seen dozens of times at this point. 

She rarely watched Outlaw Rovers play their whole set, but she never missed Valley of the Years. Dillon wrote it, of course. He wrote all their songs. At its heart, it was a rock ballad, but he’d written an acoustic guitar intro for two that he and Ash played together. For the audience, it was a bit of a stunt. Ash, who sang and never played, would strap on an acoustic, and Dillon would trade his electric for an acoustic, too. The crowds ate it up. But Justine heard it for what it was—a lovely composition, so nuanced and layered it almost sounded classical. Dillon played the meaty part; Ash’s abilities lent themselves to a strictly supporting role. But they were so good together, perfectly balanced. 

When they played the duet, she could feel the weight of the long years of their friendship. Facing each other onstage, spinning out the delicate, interlocking chords, it was like watching them speak without words. Every performance found Justine in the wings, holding her breath as it unfolded, watching them exchange glances, sly smiles and silent cues.

Most of the time, though, she couldn’t take her eyes off Dillon. He was born to play the guitar. It seemed like an extension of his body. Watching his hands on the strings was hypnotic. Listening to the way he made the song rise and fall, the notes wrapping around her and moving through her, was something that never got old.

When the duet began to wind down, a roadie came out to take Ash’s guitar and he made his way to the mic. Dillon wrapped up the intro, bringing it to a heart-rending end, before another roadie came to trade off his acoustic for an electric. The song opened up into a surging rock ballad then, good in its own way, but in Justine’s opinion, the opening was the magic. The opening was when she fell in love with Dillon night after night.

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