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Today I welcome a wonderful author who I’ve had the privilege to get to know. Meradeth Houston is the creator of the new novel, Colors Like Memories:

 Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of. 

(I also had the privilege of creating the cover for Colors Like Memories, so it’s a special treat for me to interview Meradeth. )

So happy to have you on the Mind’s Eye Meradeth. Can you tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.

I’m really not that interesting of a person, but here’s one random tidbit that I don’t often share: I don’t eat veggies, or at least as many as I can possible avoid :). I know, I know, this isn’t healthy, but I’m just not a fan!

Lol. I’d rather eat cake too. ;-) So, what was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

I had a lot of favorite books when I was younger! As a teen, specifically, I read a lot of adult books (YA wasn’t as big then, sadly). One that still sticks with me is The Thorn Birds, which I read and loved as a Junior in high school. It was so rich, and lovely, and sad! One of those books that I still carry around in my head.

I love a book that grabs you and won’t disappear from your memory. Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

I write YA, on the older end of the spectrum (more for the 16/17+ crowd). I write for this group mainly because that the age reading most helped me out. Escaping into a good book during that time really helped me relax and find some peace, and I hope that by providing something fun and interesting to read, I can allow others the opportunity to do the same!

Now the exciting part. Tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.
My book, Colors Like Memories, came about because of a song. I had already written several books set in the same world of the Sary, but then I was driving home one night and heard a Linkin Park song on the radion (Shadow of a Day—an old song now, I know!), and it just kind of hit me, the plot, the characters, the whole thing. And I had to sit down and write it out!

Here’s a little tidbit from the opening: “I greeted his tombstone the way I always did—with a swift kick. The release of frustration was more than worth the sharp pain in my toes. The polished marble tilted to the left because of all my visits; a crooked tooth in the rows of pearly white graves.”

I can’t wait to read it! How has writing affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?

Writing is such a big part of my life I have a hard time imagining what it would be like without it! Writing provides me with a release and an escape that I need, especially when the real world just gets too overwhelming. My favorite part of writing is being swallowed by the page, or falling into the story so much I forget that I’m actually writing it, but living it instead :).

What advice can you give regarding the writing process?

Keep writing! Always, just keep getting words on paper. They don’t have to be good, but eventually they will be!

Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?

Hah! I’m stumbling around in the dark on this one, it seems. I guess, just be friendly. And open to trying new things!

I know you’ll do great with your book, but I’m wishing you all the best with this beautiful novel. How can your fans find, follow or friend you?

I’m all over the web!

www.MeradethHouston.com
meradethhouston.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/#!/MeradethHouston
www.goodreads.com/book/show/13030422-colors-like-memories
http://www.facebook.com/ColorsLikeMemories
http://pinterest.com/merbear95695/

I also have a contest running for my blog tour—all commenter’s are entered into a drawing for two copies of my book, and one person will win a $25 giftcard to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. There are more details on my home blog, if you want to check it out!

A bit about the Colors Like Memories:

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

Release date: May 11th 2012 from MuseItUp Publishing.
A bit about Meradeth Houston:

Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

* She’s a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and use "like" a lot.
* When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
* She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she’s so happy to get to share her work!
* If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.


Thanks for joining me today Meradeth! And for our readers, be sure to check Meradeth’s web page to be included in her great giveaway! Who wouldn’t want a $25 gift card?

C.K. Volnek


 
 
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Day 2 of the MuseItUp MG/YA Blog Fest brings Meradeth Houston, Author of upcoming YA novel, “Colors Like Memories.” I’m extremely happy to host Meradeth here today and anxious to find out more about her. And like yesterday, be sure to leave a comment. One lucky person will win a FREE copy of “Colors Like Memories” when it debuts  in May.

Hi Meradeth. Can you tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.

Hi, C.K.! I’m not exactly the most interesting of people, but I do have kind of a cool job: I’m a molecular anthropologist, which basically just means I sequence dead people’s DNA. I spend a whole heck of a lot of time in a lab doing that J. My characters are a little more interesting, I think, and I’d have to say my favorite character is Julia, the narrator for my novel Colors Like Memories. She’s been through a lot, but she’s become a much stronger person for it all!

What an interesting position. I can say I know my own kind of CSI person. So, tell me, what was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person. Something must have touched you to choose the sort of day job you have.

I read so much as a teen that I think I had a new favorite book every week! Some of those that stand out in my mind are The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans (probably because I wasn’t supposed to read it due to “adult” themes, but I did anyhow), Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (I was a bit strange as a teen—what can I say?), and Franie and Zooey by JD Salinger (all the nuance in this book still blows my mind—I even have two goats named Frannie & Zooey, haha!).

The one book that had the most influence on me, however, was A Wrinkle In Time and the other books by Madeline L’Engle. I still love reading them.

I too found A Wrinkle In Time to be quite the unique story. Now, tell us why you chose to write YA?

I write Young Adult books, because I remember all too clearly how important reading was to me as a teen, and I want to give back a little. (That, and I just never really grew up, so writing for adults would just be strange…)

Can you tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.

My book, Colors Like Memories, will be coming out in May 2012 (I’m a little early on getting the word out, I know). It was one of those stories that just came to me and wrote itself. I wish I could say the same for revising it, though J. Anyhow, my favorite scenes are the opening and the second to last chapter—the first because I really like how it sets the mood for the book, and the last because it was just a whole lot of fun to write!

I don’t think it’s ever too early to start bragging about your book. It’s exciting to see your creation come to life. How do you feel writing has affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?

Writing is a big part of my life—it’s the way I relax, and the way I express myself. Because I’m a scientist by day, it’s given me some balance by allowing for more creativity in my life. My favorite part of writing is falling into a new story, and getting to learn about the world and characters as they come to life on the page.

What advice can you give regarding the writing process?

You’ve got to find the strength to believe in your own voice and your own writing. You’ll always have doubts (and if you don’t, can you tell me how?), but having some faith in yourself goes a long way. It’s taken me a helluva long time to figure that out!

Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?

Haha, I should be asking other people this! Ummm, I guess my best advice would be something along the same lines as my previous answer—believe in yourself, and stick with it!

How can your fans find, follow or friend you?

I can be found at my blog (http://meradethhouston.blogspot.com/), my website (www.MeradethHouston.com), as well as facebook and google+ (links for both of those are on my website). I’m always happy to meet new people!

Book: Colors Like Memories by Meradeth Houston

Description: Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of. In order to save her best friend's life, she's going to have to face her past, but her ghosts won't make it easy. Especially his.

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

When Edison arrives at school, Julia's plan to focus on her work is thrown into chaos. Somehow, he knows way too much about her past. To make matter worse, Edison sparks more than just her curiosity. But he's one more distraction, and Julia has no time, especially when she accidentally reveals her true identity to her assignment. To help her grieving friend, she'll have to face her past—it’s the only way she, and her best friend, will heal. But to do so she’s going to have to return to the scene of crime and relive every vivid detail of what happened the day of the accident. If she can’t accept what happened, she’ll be forced to leave the Sary and lose any chance she had at saving her assignment’s life. It’ll take learning to trust Edison, and herself, to face the true color of her memories.

Excerpt:

I greeted his tombstone the way I always did—with a swift kick. The release of frustration was more than worth the sharp pain in my toes. The polished marble tilted to the left because of all my visits; a crooked tooth in the rows of pearly white graves.

I folded my legs under me, shuddering as the chill of the damp grass seeped through my clothes. “I keep hoping one of these days you’ll be here waiting for me.” The words were tradition. Some small part of me still clung to the hope I’d come over the hill to find him leaning over his grave, wearing a sly smile. He died so very long ago, but I couldn’t stop wishing.

Leaning forward, I rested my forehead against my knees and closed my eyes, longing for a few minutes of rest. A few minutes to pretend it was someone else buried beneath me. I tried to explain this to him, but tonight I didn’t have the will to pretend it was more than starlight that listened.

It took a long time to notice, building imperceptibly until I finally looked over my shoulder. Someone was there, watching me. It hadn’t been a sound that alerted me so much as the feel of their gaze, heavy in the darkness. After so many nights spent here, I knew the difference.

Contest: If you’re interested in a copy of  "Colors Like Memories" when it comes out, please leave a comment here or any of the other blogs I’ll be visiting this month. Or leave a comment at each of the blogs, for more entry chances! I’ll draw a winner from comments and announce it on my blog at the end of the month. Please leave me a way to get in contact with you!

Thanks for joining me today, Meradeth! And remember her contest folks. Leave her a comment for your chance to win!
C.K. Volnek