Book Review & Giveaway: Crossroads
By: Mary Ting
Published by: World Castle Publishing
Release Date: July 29, 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Paperback provided by publisher
Audience: Young Adult
I was originally hesitant to read Crossroads because, let's face it, fallen angels have become the new vampire lately. However, some of my favorite books are about fallen angels and I was curious about a new fallen hero. Crossroads did not disappoint. Mary Ting was able to weave a fresh, exciting, and very romantic tale that drew me in from the beginning. Claudia is easy to identify with, and her relationship with her grandmother is beautiful and heart warming. (I have to admit that I loved this relationship just as much as I loved the one between Claudia and Michael.) Michael is brooding and selfless, protective and swoon-worthy. The forbidden love between Claudia and Michael, and the friendship between the characters kept me reading.
A story for me is much more about the relationships than it is about the action, but Mary delivers both beautifully. The love is tangible and the action is exciting. Her writing is crisp, with a relaxed feel that readers can sink into. It's easy to picture the world she creates and I wanted to just settle down and stay for a while. If you are a fan of paranormal romances such as The Twilight Saga, The Fallen series, and The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, then you'll want to pick up Crossroads today.
Summary from Goodreads:
Claudia Emerson has a good friend who shares the same first name and last name. That friend unfortunately dies in a tragic accident during homecoming dance. Claudia is distraught at the loss of her friend, but is even more disturbed by her dreams, which seem to take her to another place called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth. It is where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. Where, Claudia meets Michael, a nephilim, a half angel, half human, whom she often meets in her dreams. It turns out that this isn’t her first visit to Crossroads, which is an enigma for no human can ever travel there until Claudia.
Now the fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special and it is up to Michael and the other nephilims to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed, about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should?
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Continue reading for an interview with Mary Ting and the Crossroads book trailer....
An Interview with Mary Ting...
I had the pleasure of e-mailing back and forth with Mary for a bit, before I even started reading Crossroads. I have to tell y'all, I love her! She is warm, friendly, and open. Look for more of Mary on Reading Lark in the future. I will gladly read anything she writes!
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing about 3 years ago when my grandmother passed away. It was a way for me to heal the loss of her. Once I started writing, I stopped crying. I poured my heart and pain into this book. I didn’t have a plan, nor did I think that I had so much to say. I had so much fun writing that I couldn’t’ stop. I wrote any spare time I had. I would type a sentence here and there…while I was cooking or even while I was brushing my teeth…lol!!! I began to care for my characters as if they were my friends and knew that even though I may never publish, I had the need and the want to continue this story.
Do you have a specific writing style?
This is my first novel. I don’t think I have a particular writing style yet. We shall see…lol!!!
What inspired you to write Crossroads?
Crossroads was inspired by a dream I had in high school-chapter one. I also have to thank Stephenie Meyer for inspiring me. I knew that Twilight was based on her dream so I thought why not do the same with my book.
Do you have a favorite character?
I love all my characters, but I would have to say that I favor a little bit more of Michael. I love that he is mysterious, romantic, protective, and not to mention he can fly you anywhere you please…lol!!! His character was inspired by my husband…hehe!!!
Which of your characters are you most like?
Though I don’t like to admit it, Claudia is a lot like me and shares many experiences I did in high school…too bad there was no Michael…lol!!! Her first death, her friend who had the same name, the church she attended, her first car, her first job, camping, her relationship with Gamma, it all came from my experiences.
Is there an underlying message in your story?
Yes, there are several. Claudia’s mom says, be good to those who are alive because what good is it when they are dead. I believe this to be so true. I regret not making more of an effort to visit my grandmother while she was alive. I told her that since I wasn’t working in the summer, we would have that time together. But we didn’t. She passed away the last day of school. I was devastated. Also, I’m going to sound like a parent, but… don’t forget to call and visit your parents and grandparents. Sometimes we get so busy with our lives that we tend to forget to call or visit. You may one day wish you had done it more often. Another underlying message is that life is precious so don’t take it for granted. Also, I believe we all have a destiny, a purpose in life. Embrace your destiny and let fate take its place.
What was the hardest scene to write?
There were two chapters that were the hardest scene to write because it happened to me, chapter one and chapter….. spoiler!!!! These were the funeral scenes. I cried so much when I wrote it. When my friend told me she cried, I knew I had fulfilled my purpose.
Which book(s) have most influenced your life and/or writing career?
I can’t give you specific names because I read many books recently, mostly young adult novels. There are so many talented authors with great stories. They all have influenced my writing. But, I do have to mention how Stephenie Meyer has connected so many people around the world. I am at awe with her on her influence on so many people’s lives. The facebook sites, websites, blogs and reading clubs, just because of Twilight. My friends and I created a website called www.inspiredbytwilight.com I make jewelries too.
Do you bring any of your experiences or parts of your personality (or those of people you know) into your writing?
Are you ready for a long list? Lol!!! Claudia is based on me and my experiences. Michael is based on my husband. Claudia’s friend who passes away in a car accident is a true story. My friend had the same first and last name as me and she passed away as I described it in the book. Patty is also a friend of mine; she’s a social butterfly. Davin’s character is based on my friend who passed away as well. He was loved by many of his friends. Agnes, Margaret and Phillip are based on people I know. Gamma is inspired by my grandmother who passed away. She was one of my inspirations to write this book.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes I have writer’s block. I think all writers do. When the dreadful moment comes, I take a break. I reevaluate the situation. What do I think the readers might want to read about? How would this make them feel? Since I like to help promote other author’s book(s), this is a great opportunity for me to start their novel. Sometimes, I get really involved in another novel that it helps me clear my mind of my own. Then I get a fresh outlook and start typing. I don’t like to go more than a week without writing. I start typing even though I’m not sure which direction to take. I let my fingers do the thinking for me…lol!!!
If you had to choose, which author would you consider a mentor?
Though I consider many authors to be my mentor, I would have to say Stephenie Meyer because she gave me the idea to start my book from my dream. Also, Twilight was my first young adult novel I picked up to read.
Are there any new authors who have captured your interest?
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Immortal Embrace by Charlotte Blackwell, A Job From Hell by Jayde Scott and Marked by Kim Richardson. Nicholas by Kathi Barton-not YA novel and currently I’m reading Moon spell by Samantha Young.
Outside of family members, where do you find your biggest source of support?
I used to be the PTA president of where I teach. I got involved ever since my two little ones attended there. I created my own Twilight Moms group…hehe, but now they are Crossroads Moms. Also, I have three wonderful talented friends who have helped me on my journey, Linda, Kristina, and Jennie. They have dedicated many hours giving me feedback and encouraging me when I thought this idea was ridiculous.
Can you share a little bit about your next project with us?
I am currently working on it. More angels on earth. I’m hoping to make it more exciting. More romance, action, and I love books with a bit of humor.
Thank you so much for having me.
Join us for a live chat with Mary on Late Bloomer Online!