The SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS column on Mondays and Wednesdays is a place at Shannon Muir’s author website showcasing books from a variety of fiction genres, with an emphasis on interviews and guest posts from other authors. One thing Shannon firmly believes in for readers not only to learn about new books available, but about those who craft the tales behind them. As its name implies, SHANNON MUIR’S INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS weekly column features writers from all genres of fiction who want their potential audience to get to know them, and their works, better.
The FALL INTO READING BLOG TOUR event brings together several days of looking at books – with features this Monday through Wednesday – before leading into the site’s newest feature, BETWEEN THE PAGES, coming this Thursday!
Today, we look at 15 DAYS WITH YOU.
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15 Days With You
by Ara Grigorian
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: September 24th 2019
“Filled with tumultuous emotions of grief, romance, guilt, secrecy and anger, 15 Days With You is an accomplished work of drama sure to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.” 5-Star Review, K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
A mother’s dying wish. A son in search of answers. A fifteen-day surf odyssey with the California girl who will dare him to rethink everything.
Alone after his mother’s unexpected death, seventeen-year-old Shep leaves Texas to crash with his uncle’s family in Malibu. Before he can hang his cowboy hat, Shep learns something that blows his mind—in her youth, his hard-working single mom was a gifted surfer on her way to international fame. And her dying wish was for him to recreate the surf tour she completed when she was eighteen—the summer she got pregnant with him.
Along with his cousin Carmen (the red-blooded competitive surfer) and her best friend Samantha (the opinionated and mildly annoying beach goddess), Shep hits the road for a surf trip up and down Pacific Coast Highway. Armed with his mother’s ashes and fifteen sealed envelopes—each containing a page from her high school diary—Shep will discover a new side of the complex woman he’d only thought of as Mom, and might finally learn the identity of a man he’s never met—his father.
But each time he paddles out into the waves, a nagging question haunts him—the one he may not be ready to answer: Is he learning to surf because he wants to honor his mother’s dying wish, or running from the real reason he can’t go back to Texas—his own terrible mistake?
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Interview with the Author
What initially got you interested in writing?
My grandfather. He was a relatively famous writer (and actor) in the Armenian community. When I was ten, I recall being in awe of the fact that he’d spend hours every day writing and then months later, hundreds would show up to hear him talk. I remember thinking what an amazing life it is to write a truth that’s been placed in your heart.
What genres do you prefer to write in?
My first two novels (Game of Love & Ten Year Dance) were both contemporary romance. My third novel is Contemporary YA. I guess you could say I like to write Contemporary. Is that a genre? J In reality, I love all genres. But the types of stories I’m drawn to are stories of second chances at life. Whether it’s about a star athlete on the road to redemption (Game of Love) or two childhood friends who are looking for a shot at happiness during their ten year high school dance (Ten Year Dance), or a young man who wants to know about his deceased mom and the father he never met (15 Days With You), these are the stories that get me going.
Are there any authors you prefer to read and why?
I love Neil Gaiman. I wish he loved me too J John Green, Nick Hornby, Anita Shreve, J. K Rowling (and her alter ego Robert Galbraith), Ruth Ware, Michael Robotham, and Stephen King are among my favorites. All these authors are just amazing storytellers. If they wrote nutritional information on a cereal box, I’d read it.
How did you make the move into being a published author?
It was my wife’s edict. She told me to stop talking about “one day when I retire” and just do it. So I did. I wrote every day from 9 pm until 1 or 2 am. I did this for nearly three years until my book finally took the form it needed. I wrote many manuscripts (some were burnt because they were so bad) but with each book, I got better. There was a magical moment that I knew my book was solid. That’s when I got multiple offers of representation. Then multiple offers for publication. It’s been an amazing ride.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Talking to readers. When they tell me how the story touched, moved or inspired them… I can’t explain how wonderful it feels to know that something you wrote in secret made a difference to a complete stranger.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Honestly, after each book, I begin to doubt if I have another story in me. The first blank page of a new story is the most daunting. I have spoken to hundreds of writers and in a moment of weakness and honesty, they agree. Each blank page is an open question of doubt. Can you do it again? I personally never think I’m good. So I work at it, every day. I never assume I’m done. I don’t think I will ever be “there.” So I write. And write.
Do you have any tips for writers who find themselves experiencing writer’s block?
I don’t believe it’s ever a creative block. For me it’s distractions, it’s Instagram or Facebook. It’s about motivation (or lack thereof). It’s procrastination or a spirit of laziness. So I remind myself how lucky and blessed I am to have an opportunity to entertain readers. I remember who I am and why I do this. Then I just plant my butt in the chair, lay my fingers on the keyboard and tell the story the best way I can.
What advice would you give to people that want to enter the field?
Learn the craft. Read books, talk to authors, go to conferences if you can. Read as much as you can in every genre. Everyday write. Every single day. 100 words, 1,000 words, 10,000 words, or 10 words per day. Read and Write every day. We only get better by practice. Never stop learning. Never assume you’re good enough. We never are! This is a long and hard process. Understand that from the start and the disappointments won’t hurt. They’ll just strengthen you. Writer’s believe in their heart that they have a story to tell. If you believe you have one, then it’s your job to learn how to tell it.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I want my readers to believe, deep in their heart, that we all can get a do over. We can still have a shot at happiness and completeness. Some tell me I’m too optimistic – I say, the alternative is being pessimistic. Life gets dark on that side of the camp. I like light and hope.
Is there anything else about you that you think readers might find interesting?
When I write, my two cats hover all over me. One on my lap and the other on the keyboard. I’m sure they think they’re helping me, but the one on my lap (Leo) is so heavy that blood circulation gets cut off. And the other dude (Pete) is always in the way. It’s a good thing they’re beautiful… otherwise, I’d complain 😉
About the Author
Ara Grigorian is the international award-winning author of GAME OF LOVE, his debut novel. He is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. He earned his Masters in Business Administration from University of Southern California where he specialized in marketing and entrepreneurship. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later). Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories targeted to adult and new adult readers.
Ara is committed to helping writers tell better stories. He is the co-founder of the popular Novel Intensive seminar. Also, he is a workshop leader for the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and the Southern California Writers’ Conference (both Irvine, CA and San Diego, CA). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.
He is represented by Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group.
Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook
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