Guestpost: Everybody Loves Eric by Jill Sorenson + Giveaway

Filed in Giveaways , Guest Post , Jill Sorenson , The Geeky Lover Posted on July 13, 2011 @ 7:00 am 16 comments

Today we are very happy to welcome back to Book Lovers Inc. the wonderful Jill Sorenson, author of the romantic suspense novels Stranded with her Ex, Set the Dark on Fire, Crash Into Me and Dangerous to Touch just to name a few.

Jill is here today to share with us some behind the scenes inspiration for her latest release The Edge of Night and how she incorporates some of her real life experience into her novels.

Please give a warm welcome to Jill and read on to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Jill’s latest release: The Edge of Night!

The most common complaint about The Edge of Night is that Eric Hernandez, a secondary character, steals the show. Eric is a 20-year-old gang member who sells drugs, stocks groceries, and tags walls with artistic graffiti.

I didn’t plan for this troubled character to take over. But a lot of readers fell hard for him and I can’t blame them! As I was writing, I realized that I was giving Eric almost as much page time as Noah and April. It happened that way because Eric’s story intersects with each of the other character’s in a significant way. He’s interrogated by Noah, the gang unit cop hero. He becomes infatuated with Meghan, Noah’s sister. He cares for April, his brother’s ex, and Jenny, his niece.

Noah disapproves of Meghan’s crush on Eric and is jealous of the younger man’s popularity with the women in his life. At one point, he muses unhappily: Everyone love(s) Eric. It is an uncomfortable moment for him and it sums up my feelings on the situation. I want my main characters to shine above the rest. When they don’t, I haven’t done my job properly.
And yet, I can’t regret any of the decisions I made in The Edge of Night. I couldn’t tone down Eric or make him less devastating. I also couldn’t give him the happy ending that so many readers felt was necessary.
Let me explain. I love my YA characters and it feels very cathartic for me to write them. They are dark, and difficult, and they often make tragic mistakes. Some of them need years to work through their problems before they can live happily ever after. I’m not saying that Eric doesn’t deserve his HEA—he does. I’m saying that his story isn’t ready to be over yet.
I think that Eric stands out because he’s the most dynamic character. We see him become a hero when he beats the crap out of Meghan’s attacker. That kind of shift or growth is always interesting. Boy to man, criminal to savior, gang member to Good Samaritan.

The scene I’m most fond of, however, is the car crash sequence. I really connected to that chapter because I was in a similar situation as a teenager. I got in a car with a drunk, out-of-control driver. It was a terrifying experience. I thought I was going to die. The ride ended predictably: we crashed. The car flipped over and was totaled. For reasons I cannot fathom, no one inside was seriously injured.

I wish I could say that this close call changed me for the better, but it didn’t. Years later, the driver of that car was killed in another vehicle accident.
The point I’m trying to make is that my YA characters are a reflection of my teen self. I am writing about my issues, my memories, my feelings. And, like me, these characters don’t always get an easy or an early HEA.
How do you feel about happy endings in YA? What about gang member heroes? Do your experiences growing up impact your reading choices as an adult?
Here’s an exclusive excerpt (“Eric survives the crash”) from The Edge of Night:
After a few seconds, the dizziness passed. His head was throbbing, his neck wet. Brushing the pebbled safety glass from his clothes, he fled, forcing his way through the thick brush, hopping tree trunks.
Soon he was stumbling onto a dark sidewalk.
Instead of running, he flipped up the hood of his sweatshirt and strolled at a leisurely pace, his heart thumping against his ribs. He had no idea where he was, so he concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other, distancing himself from the scene.
Now he was a block away. Then another. And another.
Finally, when he felt sure that stopping wouldn’t result in his immediate arrest, he collapsed on a bus bench on a deserted street. Although the cut on his scalp still hurt, it was no longer bleeding. A deeper laceration on his calf probably needed stitches, but he didn’t dare go to the emergency room.
Fighting back tears of pain and exhaustion, he leaned against the bench and closed his eyes. He couldn’t believe he was alive. Alive, and relatively unharmed, and free. He’d walked away from the accident.
He wasn’t in jail.
It occurred to him that he didn’t want to live this way. He didn’t want to die this way. He was lucky to have escaped and grateful for this second chance. For the first time ever, he felt as if his life was worth something.
He took the crucifix out from beneath his T-shirt. “Gracias a Dios,” he whispered, touching it to his lips. Tears streaming down his face, he looked up at the night sky, seeing an endless expanse of stars.
You can reach Jill at her website, blog, Facebook or Twitter account.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~*~*Giveaway*~*~

Jill generously offered a signed paperback copy of The Edge of Night to one lucky commenter.


All you have to do is answer Jill’s question:

How do you feel about happy endings in YA? What about gang member heroes? Do your experiences growing up impact your reading choices as an adult?

(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please leave us a way to contact you.
(Email address or twitter name – no way to contact you – no entry).

This giveaway is open worldwide!

Giveaway ends on Saturday July 23rd and we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

About Susi


Susi is a geeky vegetarian from Gemany. She just finished university and now works as a civil engineer in steel construction. Besides her reading addiction she also knits like a maniac while listening to audiobooks. Susi also blogs at the Secret HEA Society.

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16 Comments

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  • debbie July 13, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I like them sometimes, if they aren't too cheesy. If I really like the characters, even gang members, I want them to have a good ending.
    I think my experiences as a child, really effected my reading choices now. I usually pick books that are more realistic and darker, even in fantasy.
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

  • Birgit July 13, 2011 at 7:41 am

    How do you feel about happy endings in YA? It really depends on the whole story, sometimes a happy ending is perfect and sometimes it just feels wrong.
    What about gang member heroes? Well, like I said it depends on the plot, but if a gang member makes the right (good) choices I am all for a happy ending.
    Do your experiences growing up impact your reading choices as an adult? Hmmm, I honestly don't know, with me it seems like it all comes down to a matter of taste and preferring certain genres.

    danaan at gmx dot at

  • RK Charron July 13, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Hi Jill :)

    Thank you for the very interesting post.

    THANK GOODNESS you survived that crash!

    All the best,

    RKCharron

  • Beverly July 13, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Nice post – sorry about the accident – glad you came out of it~
    *on to the questions:
    How do you feel about happy endings in YA? I always love a happy ending! What about gang member heroes? I like the idea of gang member heroes. I think that there are kids out there who need a gang member hero. Do your experiences growing up impact your reading choices as an adult? I don't think so. I read a lot of animal adventures and chick lit growing up and now I read almost anything, but I no longer read much chick lit.
    Thanks for hosting.
    Please enter me – old follower.
    bevsharp@desch.org

  • Na July 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I have no qualms about happy endings in YA, or in any other genre. What really matters to me is the journey and sometimes the happy ending isn't what is needed, though I would like to think that should always be the case. I think YA it's probably more important, for a young reader reading is an escape or perhaps a chance to get to know a character who could be facing the same situations they have. It's about identity realization and reading does play a role in shaping that. I don't mind reading about a hero who is a gang-member as along as he is redeemable and it shows this. I read everything and I do think my own experiences have influences my reading decisions, but if a book has a great cover and blurb I will try it.

    GFC follower,
    Cambonified[at]yahoo[dot]com

  • Ju Dimello July 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I'm usually a little way of happy endings that magically resolve itself into HEA.. I tend to believe the Happy for now ending…most of the times…

    And growing up affecting reading tastes..I guess it's a yes.. Since I tend to get bored of books if it's too close to "real life" in terms of plots…
    But bring me a gang member hero and redeem him, I'll take him anytime ;)

    Thanks for the giveaway.. judimello AT gmail DOT com

  • Chele Blades July 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    i enjoy the HEA, a hero who we have to discover his redeeming qualities are always more emotional & i prefer that

    i have to many genre and misc books that i do not think anything influences me but my mood

    seachele71@hotmail.com

  • Jen B. July 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I can accept gang members as heroes if the situation/story is well written. Jessica Andersen had a gang leader as a hero in her last book Storm Kissed. I fell in love with Dez! I like HEA ending but not every book needs them . Of course, the same holds true for YA. Thanks for the giveaway.
    jepebATverizonDOTnet

  • marybelle July 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I want a satisfying ending, it does not have to be a happy ending. I had the happiest of childhoods, but I enjoy reading dark stories, so no influence there. Unless it's because I feel secure enough to dive in deep.

  • Maureen July 14, 2011 at 5:02 am

    I think life is ever changing for young adults so a happy ending where the characters overcame difficult situations and seemed to be headed on a good path is something I enjoy. Writing a gang member into a story must be tough since they obviously made a big mistake when they joined the gang and now they are stuck with the consequences. I don't know a lot about gangs but I don't think a happy ending is too easy for anyone in them.

  • Maureen July 14, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Oops! I forgot my e-mail
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  • Tore July 14, 2011 at 6:50 am

    I love happy endings even for gang members as long as they aren't bad and are trying to change for the better. I honestly don't know if my childhood influenced what I read. It is very possible. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

  • ClaudiaGC July 14, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Even gang memebers need an HEA! :) But only when they deserve it. There have to be some coditions like he/she was forced to be a member or something likt that.
    Thank you for the great post!

    claudigc at msn dot com

  • Kaetrin July 14, 2011 at 7:15 am

    I don't read very much YA at all. I don't mind it as a secondary romance in a novel but I don't usually read YA. I'm probably missing something but there are just so many books and so little time!

  • JenM July 20, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I don't really believe in HEAs in YA fiction because it just seems so unrealistic to me. The things/situations that make a person happy tend to change pretty significantly as they get older, so an HFN seems a lot more realistic for a teenager.

    As for gang members as heros, I'm only okay with that as long as the character recognizes that the gang way of life is wrong and wants to get out.

    jen at delux dot com

  • JessS July 25, 2011 at 2:54 am

    I won the first giveaway here for The Edge of Night and I just wanted to say I loved it! And thank you so much. Eric was really interesting, but I still would say I liked April and Noah's story more.

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