Today I'm thrilled to welcome Jill Alexander author of Paradise, a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Read my review here. Jill stopped by to discuss Paradise with us and she brought along a signed copy of her first novel, The Sweetheart of Prosper County for one lucky winner. Details below.
Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town.
Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas.
With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true.
1. Paradise is the story of a small-town country rock band. It conjures up images of pasture parties, hot summer nights and sweet Southern romance. When Paisley, the band’s drummer develops a romance with the group’s new lead singer, it leads her to question if what she wants is really what she needs. If you had to choose one song to sum up Paisley’s personality, what would you pick and why?
It’s so hard to pick one song to sum up Paisley because she is many things – passionate yet cautious, fearless but sensitive. I have to go with the song that first came to mind and that is Cowboy Take Me Away by the Dixie Chicks. The song is about a girl loving her rural country home and the cowboy beside her. In PARADISE, Paisley struggles at times with the tension between those two loves.
2. Paisley dreams of a career in country music and a ticket out of small-town life into the bright lights and big city world of country super stardom. You’ve mentioned how you grew up in rural East Texas so I have to ask, what were you like as a teen? Did you share Paisley’s desire to leave small town life behind in the dust?
To me, Paisley’s desire is not to leave anything or anyone behind. There’s a difference between “venturing out” and “leaving behind.” I think she’s reaching toward a future and experience with one hand while holding onto home with the other. Like Paisley, I’m a rural-route country girl. Wherever this life takes me, I’ll always be that girl and proud of those roots. In the novel, Paisley finds that it’s her connection to home that keeps her strong. We have that in common.
3. What was the most challenging aspect of writing Paradise and conversely, what seemed to be the easiest?
I loved writing this story, and I hope readers will feel the passion in the music and relate to the intense love Paisley has for her family and band mates and home. I don’t think writing is ever easy, but the storytelling can be smooth. And for me, PARADISE poured like honey.
4. Your debut novel, The Sweetheart of Prosper County, is about Austin Gray, a fifteen-year old girl who will do anything to become the coveted FFA Sweetheart, including raising a farm animal, hunting or fishing. What is it you enjoy most about writing for teens?
When I sit down with the laptop, I don’t think I’m writing a book for teens. I’m writing a story for me. Deep down, the teen girl in me needs to both heal and be celebrated. I’m so humbled by the mail I receive that teens relate to my stories. We can heal and celebrate together. *Hugs*
5. What can we look forward to from you next? Any upcoming series or new projects in the works?
I’m always writing and am currently finishing a third novel. And yes, there will be small-town teens keeping it real.
Sweetheart of Prosper County.
To enter to win, just leave a comment for Jill below, along with your email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. Contest is open to entrants with a valid U.S. mailing address and must be 13 years or older to enter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jill S. Alexander is the author of The Sweetheart of Prosper County. A Texas native, she taught high school English and Spanish before turning to writing full-time. She lives in Tyler, Texas, with her husband and son. You can visit her on the Web at www.jillsalexander.com.
Be sure and check out The Teen Book Scene for more of Jill Alexander's tour stops. Her next stop will be on Friday, June 24th where with Danielle at There's a Book.