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Favorite Paperback – Unabridged, April 1, 2011
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A Q&A with Karen McQuestion
Question: Your path to becoming a published author has been anything but traditional. You became an overnight success after self-publishing your books on Kindle, and a publishing contract with AmazonEncore followed shortly thereafter. What finally made you decide to take matters in your own hands by self-publishing your books? Was that a difficult decision?
Karen McQuestion: No, it was an easy decision! For years I tried to get published the traditional way. When I learned that anyone could self-publish an ebook (for free!), I decided I had nothing to lose. I’m very glad I took the plunge.
Question: What advice do you have for struggling writers out there who find themselves in the same position you did years ago with no publishing contract, but stories to share with the world?
Karen McQuestion: If you’ve gotten feedback from others, and are convinced your writing and stories are solid, take advantage of the new opportunities for writers today. Between blogs, online publications, and ebooks, writers can get their work in front of readers faster and easier than ever. And of course, keep writing, because that’s the only way to improve.
Question: Your first book, A Scattered Life, was a huge success--a Kindle bestseller (reaching #5 in the Kindle Store) with more than 100,000 copies sold and over 150 days in the top 100. What has this success been like?
Karen McQuestion: It’s been unbelievable. I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, appeared on ABC's World News Now and America This Morning, and the novel was optioned for film by an L.A. production company. But the best part? After years of having the novel languish on my hard drive, people were finally reading it and enjoying it.
Question: A Scattered Life is an adult novel. Your two new books, Favorite and Life on Hold are young adult novels. Have you always wanted to write for teens and young adults?
Karen McQuestion: I think young adult fiction has gotten smarter and better than when I was a teenager. When my daughter started reading YA novels, she’d recommend books to me. I found that I loved them and started to get ideas for YA novels I wanted to write.
Question: Life on Hold is about 15-year-old Rae Maddox who has spent her entire life on the move thanks to her mother. To protect herself, she’s decided to put her life on hold until she turns 18 and can make her own decisions. This is a really sad concept. Do you think a lot of teens out there can relate to Rae? If so, what do you hope they take away from this book?
Karen McQuestion: I think everyone can relate to the feeling that something in life is holding you back. If only you had a different job, or lost weight, or were done with school, or owned a car, things would be better and you could finally live the life you want. But the truth of the matter is that today is all we’ve got. A person could wish their life away if they don’t find things to appreciate in the here and now.
Question: Favorite has a mysterious element to it. Part thriller, part coming-of-age, it is about a young girl in search of her mother who went missing years before. Nothing--and no one--is quite as it seems in this book. Was it fun for you to write a story that has elements of a mystery/thriller in it? Do you think we’ll see more of this from you in the future?
Karen McQuestion: I loved writing the book, but since I don’t outline I had no idea how it was going to go. More than once, I wrote myself into a corner, which was a little scary. I’d love to write another book in this genre, but next time I’ll think it through beforehand.
“At first glance Favorite is a story of a girl and her family learning to cope with loss. But at some point it morphs into a psychological thriller. It’s an unexpected but welcome turn that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.” —Jessica Harrison, Cracking the Cover
- Publisher : Skyscape; Unabridged edition (April 1, 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 172 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1935597256
- ISBN-13 : 978-1935597254
- Reading age : 12 - 18 years
- Grade level : 7 - 12
- Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #110,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Favorite was an easy read, fast paced as the reader is taken on a journey with many twists and turns. I was able to finish the story in one day as I could not put it down. Every time I tried to find a good stopping point, something would happen to fuel my interest to find out what happens. I did not see the ending coming! There were hits and misses with the characters. I enjoyed Angie who acted and behaved as someone who has been through a traumatic event. Her family, despite being concerned for her when she was in the hospital, seemed to focus on their own desires as Angie raises her concerns. While I enjoyed the book, I feel the target audience of young adults may enjoy it more. I recommend Favorite.
Favorite is available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook.
This read more like a middle-grade novel. While I enjoyed it, the tension built expertly, I found the pacing really slow. Also the protagonist Angie (Angel) felt immature most of the time. While she was ingenious and had a never-say-die attitude that was admirable, I failed to connect with her.
You get a sense very early on in the novel that there is a twist coming. And maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I did not guess the actual twist. I had many scenarios lolling around in my head, some close to the mark, but none with the exactness of how this book unfolds. Which was a pleasant surprise. I like being out-manoeuvred by a well written novel.
I was also wanting more complexity – the novel is very simple – in fact it felt a bit sparse… which considering its length is not a flattering attribute. But I can forgive that considering it was only Karen McQuestion’s second novel. I’ve really enjoyed her later releases and you can see how she had grown as an author. Persistence and practice really pay off.
I feel her writing style needed some embellishment – I wanted a richer painting of the surroundings, sights, smells, feelings. And I think that was why I did not connect with Angie and felt the pace was slow. With engaging prose, I would have whipped through this novel in a matter of hours.
The characters have single motivations and although you get a sense of how the past has shaped them, there was no growth from the events in the novel. It was great realistic fiction though.
I don’t think I would have purchased this other than filling in McQuestion’s back catalogue from becoming a fan after reading ‘From a Distant Star’ and adding The Edgewood collection to my Library and TBR list.
Some strong story-telling elements, but tone and pacing could be improved. A great effort for this wonderful little novel.
The plot pulls you in right away because the action starts immediately. While I was reading I could feel the building anxiety and plain creepyness and had a hard time putting the book down. There never was a good stopping point because it was all going so fast. Needless to say, this is a very quick read. The problem I have with the book is the characters are pretty flat. I know it is a YA novel but it would be nice to have a little more background on all of the characters especially the Bittner clan. I also think the book was tied up a little too neatly. I was left wondering about what had happened with some of the characters.
Favorite has good parts and bad but all in all it was a pretty good book. In my opinion, if the author can get me to start feeling the characters emotions then it is at least a 3 star. There are definitely much better crafted YA novels out there but this one was creepy and fast. 4 stars.