Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill [Book Review]

Hello Lovelies!

I have another book review for you today so lets get started!

WTL18I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I fell in love with it from page one. This book broke and repaired my heart only to then break it again moments late. It’s a beautiful and moving piece of fiction by Stephanie Morrill. I have to say that I simply adore how this book not only navigated a beautiful, precious and tedious relationship between an Italian-American girl and Japanese-American boy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. A time when racism and injustice against the Japanese living in America occurred. I just loved this story of Evalina and Taichi. Two young people in love in a time where it was illegal in most states for them to be married, a time where they were both at risk because of their relationship but still they pushed through.I was rooting for them the whole book! Just couldn’t put it down because I NEEDED to know what happened next .

Looking at the characters I loved Evalina’s heart and passion in this story. Her heart for the injustice inflicted on many people. Her heart for the one she loved and the passion she put into raising awareness for what was going on that so many people were blinded to. Seeing this passion and this heart in Evalina, I found that I related to her very much in that sense as I saw myself in her.

This book is an absolutely amazing piece of fiction you should not skip out on getting for yourself.

5stars

 

About Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie-Morrill-Low-Res-227x300Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. Since 2010, Stephanie has been encouraging the next generation of writers at her website, GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in the Kansas City area, where she loves plotting big and small adventures to enjoy with her husband and three children. You can connect with Stephanie and learn more about her books at StephanieMorrill.comInstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

 

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My Bookstagram Tips + Tricks

I have had many Instagram messages asking me if I have a post like this…so here we are! I would like to say I have some magical formula on how I grew my bookstagram account (Books + Instagram = Bookstagram) but alas, I do not. And honestly my account isn’t all that large compared to some out there but one of the things I’m going to talk about is just working hard no matter the followers… but more on that later!

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Photo taken by me and can be found on my Instagram @TheLibrarianFiles

I really want to focus on the tips and tricks I’ve discovered and learned from other people to help other Bookstagrammer’s who are just getting started or looking for fun ways to switch up how you do things on your accounts!

So, First Things First!
As I’ve already said, ‘Bookstagram’ is simply Instagram Accounts dedicated to books and run by bookworms from all over the world! It’s such an amazing community to be a part of and is the sole reason my TBR (‘To Be Read’) List is spiralling out of control!

Now! On to some tips and tricks I’ve learned in no particular order…

 

1. You’ve gotta do it because you love what you do

This applies to anything in life. If you love what you do or, in this case, take photos of that should always be your main priority and I find that when I focus too much on likes and follows I lose my drive, passion, and excitement for what I do.

 

2. ENGAGE! ENGAGE! ENGAGE!

for me when following other accounts, whether they respond to comments left and are a decent human being honestly says a lot if I’m going to keep looking at a page and going back to it and following posts. So don’t be a petty human and think you are above everyone else. Just have fun with it! I promise bookstagram is an amazing place and you will definitely make some friends on the way. So just engage with people in your posts. A good way to do that is to put a question of the day in your caption that people can answer. Like ask people what their favourite book is, why they like a certain book/series, their favourite fandom merchandise. Even ask a favourite holiday or season. Cause bookstagrammer’s are people too 😛

 

3. Comment Loop Groups are your Best Friend

The IG algorithm SUCKS sometimes. It’s horrible. So comment loop groups are an awesome way to keep up with your friends and other bookstagrammer’s page by spreading the love to their posts and them to yours all while kicking the algorithm in the butt a little bit

 

4. Instagram Stories? 10/10 would recommend

Instagram stories is such a fun way to connect with your followers! You can film un-boxings of your orders, book hauls, every day life videos, ask questions/post polls, show off your amazing book/fandom merch, shoutout all your friends accounts and SO much more! It’s a fun and more personal way to connect and invite your followers into your real life a bit! ( Stories Tips: Use hashtags in your stories as well as your posts! People will find your stories more)

 

5. Create your own style. Do what you love!

This is your baby. Your thing! Be creative. Come up with a theme or general look if you want. For me, I started off using just a plain white background (I’ve recently switched to a wooden panelling background) and if you look, my photos are pretty simple. I use very few props and items but for some people, they use lots of props and items! For me, I find that, because I don’t currently have as much time as I would like in a week to take photos I go the more simple route so I can get photos taken but something that is practical for me is also what I love! Like, I have seen some photos where people have multiple books in their photos and multiple props and I love them but that just isn’t for me! So find out what your theme/style is and go for it! Experiment with it. But also don’t constrain yourself to one kind of photo.

Decided you don’t like the background you are using? Change it up! Be you!

Want to go from shelfie photos to flatlays? Go for it!

Only want to post photos using the same 5 books and nothing more? Go for it!

Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Don’t work yourself up and stress yourself out!

 

6. Hashtags!

So you might be sitting there thinking ‘Duh. Of course I would use hashtags’ but seriously. This is super important if you want to get your photos out there! There are some accounts on Instagram that have either feature hashtags or feature accounts! This is an awesome way to get your photos out there. Use that hashtag in every photo. You also want to make sure you find some hashtags that work for you. For me, I have created my own hashtag to track my photos using my username and then a second one with my username with the word ‘reads’ at the end. (e.g @thelibrarianfiles @thelibrarianfilesreads )

My advice for hashtags, is to make sure you use the same or similar hashtags for all your photos and then, on top of those hashtags, you add more based on the theme/book(s) featured in your photo! This sounds confusing but it’s not. Let me give you an example here using one of my posts as an example:

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So, my usual hashtags that I have found work for me, (you have to find what works for you! But feel free to swipe my technique 😛 ) are listed there in the caption, and then as you can see I added some hashtags based on the book features in the photo! It’s really just that simple. Just find what works for you (might take a few posts to find what works best for you) and go for it! But hashtags are super important if you want to get your photos out there.

 

And those are some of the tips and tricks I’ve discovered! Did I miss anything? Is there anything else you want more information on? Comment, Send me a message (through my contact page), or find me on social media! I love helping people pursue bookstagram and doing what they love!

Thanks for tuning in! If you liked this post and want to see more like this let me know!

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Girl Wash Your Face – Book Review

Hello Lovelies! I’ve got another book review for you and trust me, this is a book you do not want to pass up.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion]

girlwashyourfaceI will admit that I was on the fence about this book. I had heard so many amazing things and nearly gotten a copy so many times and let me just say I will be purchasing my own physical copy of this book!

This book is AMAZING and something all women, both young and old, should read! Although it is more directed towards mothers and wives in some chapters, the takeaway can be for anyone. The way this book was written is for both married or single, old and young, as the chapters all have their own point. For example, I did start to read the chapters directed towards motherhood but found I just couldn’t relate so I skipped them but the nice thing about this book and some of the chapters is simply this: If it doesn’t apply to you it’s made in a way that you can either read it or just move on without missing crucial information or points!

Right from the start I knew this book was going to be amazing. How? Well I encountered a quote like this in the opening letter:

            “The truth? You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are. That’s the takeaway.”

I just love that! Getting right to the point before the book has officially started! The way Hollis has structured the book and the chapters is brilliant! I love the whole approach of ‘here is a struggle that I, and many other women, have but this is how to deal with it!’ and at the end of each chapter she provides ways that helped her or would have helped her in these moments in her life!

4stars

 

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Open the Eyes of My Heart

So recently I did a ‘How to’ post on how to survive a modular course in college, but today I wanted to talk about a more serious side of my Modular course where my eyes were really opened to God’s work in my life. This really impacted me when my eyes were opened to an absence in my life.

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So the week of February 28th/March I took a modular course called Hebrew Poetry and Wisdom and through it, God opened my mind and my heart to the realization that I didn’t and don’t know as much of the bible as I thought.

That hit me HARD.

I mean, in the first place, I’ve never really been someone who has boasted on their knowledge of the Bible and perfect relationship with God but I definitely thought I knew more than I did.

This course I took went over Old Testament Hebrew Poetry and Wisdom Literature (hence the name.) which were the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon. Taking this course made me realize how little I knew in general but out of the five books of the Bible we looked at I have only for sure, as far as my memory serves me, read ONE of them to completion.

ONE. 

Up until coming to school I realized how much of the Bible had gone unread by myself. Even now there is still so much of the Old Testament I haven’t read and even more of the New.

With this realization I was left shocked. I, someone who grew up in a christian home and attending church regularly thought I knew all there is to know about God and the Bible but I was proved wrong.

Put in my place.
Hit in the face by my own lack of knowledge – my own ignorance to this fact.

From there I realized how much I’ve been missing these hints from God that I need to be spending more time with Him and in His word. That being at Bible College is going to teach me things bit if I don’t know God and what His word says, then what is the point?

I strongly encourage you to sit back and take time with God. Talk to Him. Ask Him to reveal to you what you know or don’t know. Grow in Him. Grow in His word. Run to Him with arms wide open and dive into His love -gain knowledge and understanding in Him.  It’s not always going to be easy and there may be days where it’s not going to be easy or you won’t want to take that time in your schedule to dive in God’s word (trust me, I know. I get that sometimes) but in the end I assure you it will be SO rewarding.

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Dear Body, I’m sorry

Dear Body,

I’m sorry for the way I treated you.

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I’m sorry that I hate you, that I blame you for the reason I hate myself. Why I can’t look at you in the mirror. I’m sorry for blaming you for my pain.

It’s not your fault, because for almost 21 years you’ve kept me going and kept me moving. Yes, sometimes I’m in pain and I don’t love you the way I should but it’s not your fault. You are doing what you do best. What you were designed and created to do and I have not been treating you kindly.

From here on out I’m going to try my best. I’m going to take care of you this time. This year is going to be a learning curve for me but I’m not going to treat you the way I have anymore…. Why?

Well, because you are beautiful, you keep me living, moving, and breathing.

You were designed perfectly and I’ve neglected you.

No longer am I going to look on you as my worst enemy when I look in the mirror.

I’m not going to shed tears anymore because I hate you… because I don’t.

I love you.

 

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How to Survive a Modular Course

For those of you who don’t know, Modular Courses are essentially a semester long college course condensed into five days of classes. So instead of taking a reading week break I decided I’d be one of the crazy people who would take one of these courses. Because I took one of these courses I wanted to make a list on how to survive one of these courses and get the most out of it!

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I also want to note two things before I start. 1) In regards to Mod courses, the one I took was easier in workload (assignment and reading wise) than most. and 2.) All professors teach different and approach mod courses differently so I will talk specifically about some things in my class that may not happen in your course should you take one.

NOW. With that said, lets start the post!

How to Survive a Mod Course in 7(ish) Steps

  1. Take time beforehand to do any prep work

It is SO important to make sure you do any required reading needed before classes start (if any) and any assignments that might be due the first day of classes. On top of that take a few minute to look over the course syllabus and familiarize yourself with what will be required of you in the course.

 

        1.5. But also be sure to take some downtime you are going to need before classes start.

This is also important. Give yourself time to do any preparation work, of course, but also take time to relax before your mod course if you can because if you are taking a mod it is a semesters amount of material in a week so that means LONG days in a classroom and lots of learning to be done. So don’t exhaust yourself before the course even begins!

 

2. Make sure you show up to class prepared!

Obviously you will need some pens or pencils as well as paper or a laptop to take notes (i personally find it better for me to focus if I’m writing my notes on paper) Though even if you do write notes on paper bring your laptop if your professor has made the powerpoint slides they will be using for the class available to you so you can follow along that way or if you are slower at writing it will be great to keep up with the slides and note taking while going at your own pace and not being too rushed either. This also is solely dependent on the class but you may also need to bring your bible with you. I attend a bible college and this course was specifically studying books of the bible so thats kind of important. Which leads to a quote from my roommate and her words of wisdom: “Bring your bible. Even if it’s not a biblical course, because you need to pray to Jesus to make it through.”

 

3. Bring Munchies and a Water-bottle

For my mod course we were in class from 8:30AM until 4-4:45PM daily (with a 1 hour lunch break) and I’m someone who loves her snacks so if you are like me make sure you bring something to munch on. The healthier the better but I mean whatever you want, go for it. But yes. Snacks and water are a must because its a long day.

 

3.5. Also coffee/tea and energy drinks will be your friend

On top of bringing water every morning to class I had either tea, coffee, or a red bull with me to keep me awake… which leads me to my next point.

 

4. SLEEP IS IMPORTANT

This is solely going to be a case of “do as I say, not as I do.” because honestly I was up until around 1-2AM each night this week watching Ouran High School Host Club so please don’t do that and PLEASE get sleep. Sleep is going to help you so much with being attentive and awake during your classes.

 

5. Dress Comfortably

I cannot stress this enough! You will be in a classroom ALL day and not moving much so dress comfortably.

 

6. Take Time to Study

I know, I know. I’m sure the last thing you want to do is study after being in a class all day but if your class was like mine where at the beginning of each class there was a quiz on the last day’s lecture then you are going to want to study for that quiz.

 

7. Have fun!

Think of it this way, the course only lasts a week and even though it might be a lot of work just have fun with it! Enjoy the opportunity to learn! I found that not allowing myself to stress over the course that I came to really enjoy the course and learn so many things I didn’t know before.

 

Sometimes You Gotta Refocus…

Rethink.

Refocus.

Move Forward.

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So I have some more guest posts coming in the next week or two but I thought I should pop in and share some thoughts with you as well as a verse of encouragment. As I’ve mentioned a little bit here and there, this year I really focused on upgrading some high school courses so I could attend college this fall and I have arrived! But with that, I want to talk about focus and priorities.

Reaching your goals takes a lot of doing what you don’t feel like doing and also hard times. And when that happens, sometimes you’ve gotta refocus. I really learned that over the last year as I had to buckle down and do work I didn’t want to do and meet deadlines that feel almost impossible to meet. As I sit here at college having survived the first week of classes I’m realizing that it’s all the same as before. Slightly harder work and lots of it but still the same. And in those moments of stress and frustration when I feel like I’m drowning in all I have to do I’ve had to learn to stop, take a minute or two to just breathe and then reflect about why I’m doing this all and what it’s for. – What the point is behind all this paperwork and daily readings for classes the next day.

Refocus on my goals then move forward knowing that this is not pointless. That there is a plan and final goal in mind.

A long-term plan.

So just remember that if you feel exhausted, or swamped with homework, studies, work or even just life to stop and take a minute to breathe and reflect on what will come from what you are doing right now.

11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

Mrs. Potato Head

Oh, Mrs. Potato Head, tell me, is it true that pain is beauty?

 

Melanie Martinez album titled Cry Baby is one of the best albums I’ve listened to. Not only for her unique sound and lyrics but the message in a lot of her songs. One of those impactful songs is called Mrs. Potato Head, which I quoted above. The approach this song takes is eye opening in the way that she shows what society defines as beauty or that if you don’t have anything going for you, you can just pay thousands of dollars to fix whatever you hate about yourself.

We see this daily in the celebrities so many people idolize. It’s a common thing in our society and I think it says so much about how messed up and confused our society is and it’s actually sad. The media is telling us we have to look or act a certain way in everything we do, say, like, wear, and what we look like and it’s heaIt’sreaking. It’s heartbreaking because we are all made to be ourselves and not one of us is the same in appearance, personality, likes, talents or whatever!

We were not all created to fit in and be the same but to be ourselves and stand out!

Because of society and its ideas of what beauty should be, I know some amazing women who don’t believe that they are beautiful. Even I don’t always believe I’m beautiful even though I know that everyone is unique and different and that in itself is beautiful. There are days where I look in the mirror and wish my tummy was smaller or my thighs weren’t as ‘jiggly.’

I know a girl who I feel hasn’t been told enough times that she is beautiful…and because of it, she covers her face in layers of makeup and always changes her hair (whether cut or style) Even though she is stunning with or without makeup, dressed up or in sweats and a t-shirt, she doesn’t believe it because society gives this image of beauty that she doesn’t ‘fit’ into and through her 19 years of life not many people have told her she is beautiful just the way she is.

So I just want to encourage you and say: Don’t define yourself by society’s definition of beauty. Embrace you and your body and be beautifully and unapologetically you!

 

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Loving People Like Jesus

Hello there!

I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. My priorities have been to focus on my upgrades for college and now that those are done it’s a waiting process to get my marks back. Since that’s done I’m hoping to be able to put a bit more of a priority on my blogging and novel writing. But today I’m gonna work on writing up some posts and finishing up ones I started so today my friend Cori has written another guest post so I’ll let her share what she’s written.

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Growing up I learned that people are not always the easiest to love all the time. I was taught that you have to love everyone, even if you don’t like them.

One of the most important commandments is to love your neighbors as yourself. God said that himself. Treat others the way you would want to be treated is something my youth pastor would say often. Although not always the easiest route, it is the way that Jesus lived himself.

Jesus hung out with people that you wouldn’t really expect. He made friends with the liars and cheats. The outcasts. The people nobody wanted to be. I think He did this to set an example for us today. He didn’t have to love on those people. But he chose to show them the love and respect every person needs.

Now that doesn’t mean that Jesus took crap from people either. He would correct them when they were wrong, in a very polite yet clever way most of the time.

Don’t think I’m telling you to hang around a murderer and be best friends with them. But I am telling you to love that person no matter the sins they struggle with because, in the end, his sin is the same as mine. Even if mine seems minuscule in comparison God sees all sin as the same.

When I was in grade school the teachers would always pair the new kids or the weird kids with me because In my house you treated everybody the way you would want to be treated, therefor I was always the nice one in class, even when I didn’t want to be I was paired with them. Now I was a very shy kid. It was pretty hard for me to do this. But I felt the call that God put on my life to follow him at a young age and I knew it was the right thing to do.

There was this one kid who nobody got along with. I’m not gonna share her name but she was a nice kid. Just a bit strange. Once one of my friends asked me why I hung out with her so much. I simply told them that she deserved to have friends too. At the end of the school year, we went our separate ways but her mom came up to me and thanked me for being so nice to this girl. She was a bit hyper and talked A LOT but I did enjoy her company and learned to love her very much.

I wish more kids would give each other a chance rather than judging a book by its cover. It’s so hard for me to see all the bullying and abuse that goes on In schools these days. It’s sad.

I learned pretty young that it’s honestly so rewarding and worth getting to know a person no matter how much they annoy you.

Now I know we aren’t all in grade school here. That was just one example. I have another. Take homeless people for example. I have worked and served homeless people for as long as I can remember. But some people won’t even look in their direction. Some Christians don’t even see them as people.

I’ll never forget the day that I went up to a homeless man and gave him some food and he looked at me with tears in his eyes. He said nobody would even look at him that day. He searches in his bag for a ring he had made and he gave it to me saying that he wishes there were more people like me in this world.

I’ve given people on the streets Christmas presents that haven’t gotten anything for 25 years and they’ve broken down and asked me to watch them open it. It wasn’t much just some essentials and little things and a book but he was so thankful for his gift. He said that maybe there really is a God that loved him all because I treated him like a normal person for a few minutes.

I love these experiences. Ones with people who think they don’t even deserve it anymore. Broken people. I see them as a beautiful creation of God and it’s almost magical seeing these moments.

If people could just open their eyes and see them as people in a bad circumstance the world would be a much more beautiful place. But let’s move on to another example.

Now we’ve all had that one neighbor that everybody hates right? I have anyways. Those people are one of the hardest to love. Just the meanest most annoying people you’ve ever met right? Well God calls us to love even them. I know crazy right?! Well, I know for a fact that Jesus would have gone up to that guy and said: “I love you no matter what the sin you are struggling with.” So we are called to do the same. That’s not always the easy thing to do but sometimes the hard choice is the best choice.

So many times in the Bible the Pharisees would scold Jesus for hanging out with “that guy” like why would a guy like you hang out with a guy like them? Love, that’s the answer. Unconditional unfailing love.

I know these words aren’t really something easy to read but it’s very important. So next time you just can’t stand someone, pray for them. It not only changes them but it changes your heart towards them. I’m not saying you have to like them, but you must love them.

“Lord help me to love like you do. Help me to love my enemy’s and pray for them. Help me to go up to the weird kid and be their friend. I thank you for your love and grace on us. We don’t deserve it but you made us deserve it by dying on the cross for us. Help me to spread love through out the world and shine your light through me. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen”

Interview- Laura Anderson Kurk

Hello Readers! I am still here, I promise. I apologize for not doing any writing posts as of late but I have been a crazy busy person and especially now with my cousins visiting and thanksgiving this coming weekend!  (I’m in Canada Y’all 😉 ) I am also gonna see if my cousin want’s to do some sort of discussion/review of a movie or book while he is here…cause I think he would be all for it. Anyways, This is me trying to apologize for my absence and mention that I will, in fact, start posting very very soon but until then, here is another interview from author, Laura Anderson Kurk 🙂

LAURA ANDERSON KURK, author of Contemporary YA laura1Laura Anderson Kurk is one of those lucky souls who gets to live in a college town. In fact, it’s her college town—College Station, Texas, where she drove in under cover of darkness when she was way too young and proceeded to set the place on fire. (Actually, she stayed in the library stacks for the majority of her tenure as a student at Texas A&M University, but in her imagination, she was stirring things up.) She majored in English for the love of stories, and due to a massive crush on F. Scott Fitzgerald. She continued on to receive an advanced degree in literature. She writes contemporary books for young adults, a genre that gives her the freedom to be honest. Her debut novel Glass Girl is an unconventional and bittersweet love story, and its sequel Perfect Glass makes long-distance love look possible. She’s crazy about her husband and her two ginger-headed kids. Laura blogs at Writing for Young Adults (laurakurk.com). On twitter, she’s @laurakurk.

                 1.Could you tell us a bit about your novels?

Glass Girl

new2 Glass GirlGlass Girl is a story about all the ways grief changes us. When Meg Kavanagh finds herself in the unthinkable role of grieving sister, she discovers some harsh truths—parents aren’t perfect, life’s not always sweet, and the dead don’t write back. Her famous artist mom grieves by slowly disappearing, and her dad copes by moving them to a small town in Wyoming.   What she finds in Wyoming blindsides her.   His name is Henry, and he’s a rancher’s son who pulls Meg into his larger-than-life world and shows her that being sensitive is not an excuse to sit this one out. Meg learns that the best things in life—like falling in love and finding mercy—require uncommon courage. And with the help of a strange set of friends, a locker room disaster, and a trip she’ll never forget, she finds that the things she thought would break her—school violence, loneliness, and separation—can be overcome.

Perfect Glass

new Perfect GlassThe sequel, Perfect Glass, follows Meg and Henry through the next stage of life as they learn what they’re made of. Things get messy when Meg gets involved—first with Jo Russell, the eccentric old artist, and then with Quinn O’Neill, the intriguing loner who can’t hide how he feels about Meg. Her senior year doesn’t turn out like she planned it, but sometimes the best parts of life happen in the in-between moments. Henry has committed to one year in an orphanage that needs him more than he ever dreamed. Thousands of miles from Meg and the new punk who has fallen for her, and absent from the ranch that’s in his blood, Henry finds out what it means to trust. When you’re so far from home, it’s terrifying to realize you’re not who you thought. But the perfect glass of calamity makes the best mirror.   An identity crisis, long distance love, new temptation, and growing pains teach Henry and Meg how to hang onto each other and to what really matters.

  1. I loved both novels, so I now have to ask, what inspired you to write Glass Girl and Perfect Glass

I was curious about survivor grief, especially sibling survivor grief, in a culture of school violence that seemed to be occurring more and more frequently in the U.S. I had watched the siblings of some of the Columbine victims as they moved numbly from interview to interview and it made me wonder about their emotional landscape and the kind of grief that had to be peculiar to these kids. When I released Glass Girl, I never really thought I’d write a sequel, but I knew that there was a story behind Henry’s perfection in the first book. We had so far only seen him through Meg’s weary eyes and he stepped in as the hero in so many ways. The second book gets real and shows what happens when the All-American boy is stripped of all his crutches and must rely on himself in a foreign land. And I wanted Meg to grow and mature and share her deep-water compassion with someone who truly needed it.

  1. Did you write an outline before writing the novel?

I don’t typically outline novel-length works. I often wish I did. I kind of start with a beginning, middle, and end in mind and then attempt to write in a linear way. Although my chaotic brain ends up skipping around a lot more than it should. An outline would help. But I feel like a book that begins with a skeleton framework but builds in lots of room for surprises and organic realism is the only kind of book I can write. An outline might force me to ignore interesting tangents that make all the difference in the end.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing both Glass Girl and Perfect Glass? 

Writing is the easy part for me. It’s all the nonsense that happens after writing that is difficult. If I had to pick one thing that’s hard during the creative process, it would be finding enough consecutive hours in a day to get into a true state of flow.

  1. What is one way you relate to your main character(s)?

I relate to Meg’s over-sensitive nature and her inability to turn off her empathetic radar even when she needed to for her own survival.

  1. Thats how I related to her as well! I am very much like that. So, Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That help is all around. That we all struggle at different moments in our life with things like anxiety and depression and grief, but that help comes from all kinds of places if we’re willing to accept it. That it’s okay to throw your whole heart into loving others.

  1. Did you learn anything from writing Glass Girl and Perfect Glass and what was it? 

I learned a great deal in the process of writing both books. I learned about storytelling and craft. I learned that there’s no need to fear honesty in writing. That I’m not alone. That some stories will gnaw at your soul until you tell them. That young adult readers are some of the most open-hearted, soulful people in the world.

  1. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Laura L. Smith is definitely one of my writing mentors because we are able to share so much of this journey with one another and we keep it real and relevant. She’s a true gift to my writer’s soul.   I also consider certain writers to be mentors even though I’ve never met them. Sara Zarr, Deb Caletti, Jandy Nelson, and others whose work I adore and who are open enough of their own process that I feel like I can sit at their feet and learn a lot.

  1. Yay! So I’m not the only one who would choose Laura L. Smith 🙂 What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

I’m deeply connected to Jesus and I feel like my work has a role to play in a larger scheme. I’m not sure how that all comes together or what exactly is happening behind the scenes, but I trust that He is using me for a purpose and that he’s given me words and love for story for a reason even if it’s just to touch one life in a meaningful way.

10. Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?

  Read constantly. Read great literature. Read short stories and poetry. Read about craft. Follow writers on social media who love words and meaning. Follow Anne Lamott. Read Toni Morrison. Find stories that stir something in your soul and figure out what it is that makes that so special. Then practice. No one is born a writing prodigy. It’s a skill that is earned through hard work and patience and keeping your eyes open for meaning. You’ll find the story you were meant to tell.

11. Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodread, FB, Blog etc etc.)

  website/blog: laurakurk.com.   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Anderson-Kurk-Writer/215071391875250   Twitter: @LauraKurk   Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorlaurakurk/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4092458.Laura_Anderson_Kurk   Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Anderson-Kurk/e/B003FGA86W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1412087043&sr=8-1