Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Patch Up By: Stephanie Witter Interview And Review

Hey ya'll. So I know I keep saying how I am working on really getting posts up more often, and I know I've been bad about it lately, but for the past couple weeks I was pretty sick and just didn't have the energy or motivation to even a pick up a book (Weird I know, I mean I must have been dying for that to happen right lol) I actually wound up with bronchitis and an upper respiratory infection so I spent the better part of 2 weeks sleeping. Well trying to sleep, the coughing got so bad I wasn't even able to do much of that most of the time. So after going on enough drugs to open my own pharmacy hehe, I am finally feeling better, and now trying to catch up on everything. 

I was given the opportunity to read Patch Up by Stephanie Witter from Xpresso Book Tours and I have to say based on the synopsis I was really excited to get it. I'm not sure if any of you have read Easy or Breakable by Tammara Webber, but I just recently finished Breakable, (right before my mini plague hit) and had been stuck with a mother of a book hangover. So of course what way to end said book hangover? With a book that sounds like it may be in the same ball park as the one your pining over. So here I am browsing their list of books up for review and bam! the perfect book.
And let me just tell you, as great as this synopsis is for Patch Up I was really blind sided by this book. In a good way though. As I will explain in a bit I really did enjoy this book. There are definitely a few things about it that I wasn't 100% on but by far it was a great read and I suggest you guys go get a copy of it.

And I scored an Interview with Stephanie Witter. She is a really amazing person and I hope you guys really pay attention to her answers. I asked some pretty personal questions this time, and she gave me some beautiful answers that really tell it like it is. I hope you all find her as lovely as I have :)



Overview:
Skye followed her long time boyfriend to Seattle for their first year of college, but he dumped her after only a week. The relationship brought only pain and destruction in Skye's life, and yet, she can't bring herself to open up and live her life.
"What if I am already broken into pieces?"

She hates to be touched, hiding under her oversized shirts and behind her wild frizzy hair. Even her bubbly roommate can't reach her. And yet ...

"I'm the guy who knows how you can hurt so much that your insides feel like they're cut and bleeding."

The tall, handsome, and tattooed TA in her psychology class changes everything when he literally collides with her and confronts her. For the first time in a long time, she wants to try and open up to this guy whose dark, intense eyes can't hide his own pain despite his dazzling smile getting to her.

However, just when she's starting to live again, her ex-boyfriend comes back, breaking her time and time again, making it all the more complicated.

She wants to fight for herself and for this building thing with the TA, even when he pushes her away, but can two broken people patch each other up?

"I never thought colliding with someone could change lives, but it is possible."



* Due to some shocking scenes, this novel is for readers of 18 and up.



So here is my interview with Stephanie and then my review of Patch Up follows bellow. 
Hope you guys enjoy :)
  •  So I wanted to start with some more basic questions and then really get into some of the more specific ones. So lets start with something fun. Who is your favorite   book boyfriend at the moment? I know right now mine has been a tie between Lucas from Tammara Webbers Easy series, and Jax from J Lynns Stay With Me.

Oh, youre not starting this easy. Let me think for a minute
I have many, many book boyfriends. After all, authors out there are creating some swoon-worthy, drool inducing guys so its hard not to fall for them. ;)
One of my all time favorite is Travis from Beautiful Disaster. I know, hes a mess, but I always have a soft spot for bad boys and characters with flaws. I also love Rule.
  • What was the process like getting your book to become a reality? Getting an agent, signing with a publisher if you have one, etc

I started writing a few years ago when I was still in college. English isnt my mother tongue and its quite weird how I came to writing in English, but Ill keep that for another time. ;)
I tried sending Patch Up to a few agents and editors and while a couple of agents seemed interested at first, it never went very far. At one point an author friend referred me to an indie publisher and they published three of my books and Im under contract for two more. At the time when I signed with them I knew nothing about the industry and was very frightened to even dare to think about self-punishing my books. Now, Im ready for a new adventure. Next year I will self-publish one of my books for the first time. Its a New Adult Contemporary Romance standalone novel and the longest one I wrote.
  •  Do you have an author you completely fan girl over? If so who? I know I totally freak out when it comes to anything Wendy Higgins.

I love Wendy Higgins too! Not only shes an amazing author, but shes also very sweet. I fan girl over many authors to tell you the truth. To name one, Colleen Hoover. I swear I have a never-ending list of authors I fan girl whenever I see an announcement for a new book. Its almost embarrassing!
  • What made you decide to write a book dealing with abuse and the emotional toll that losing a loved one can bring? I know that these are very emotional topics, and Im glad authors like you are willing to bring them to light through your writing.

Thank you. I know its quite a risk to write a story with such topics and I was very afraid for a while, but I had to do it. The characters and the story itself came to me and I couldnt ignore it. I know many women who went through an abusive relationship, either when married or younger with a boyfriend. The scars left, some visible, some not, cant be denied and while I wanted to write a love story, I wanted above all else show the turmoil victims are going through. And to be totally honest even though its something I denied and mostly still do, I was in an abusive relationship and its very difficult to find yourself once youre out. In Patch Up I wanted to show that someone else can help, that a new love helps, that family is there to help too, but I didnt want to write a story that would show that path as easy. In life, its not easy to get better, to leave the memories, the guilt, the fears behind. I find it amazing to show the slow process toward happiness and how sometimes you take several steps back before youre able to walk forward.
As for the topic regarding losing someone you love, its not something I had to go through, not with a lover at least, but losing someone is always difficult. If that person is close to you, you have to grieve and I wanted to explore that. Somehow, I think you lose a little of yourself when someone you love dies. It can be a piece of your heart, a piece of yourself, your plans for a future and often a mix of those things and much more. Most of all, I introduced this topic because I wanted to show that no matter how youve been hurt, that pain, the depression isn't something youre the only one experiencing. Other people can relate to a certain extent, but this is not what should define people. What defines them is how theyre dealing with these feelings and emotions.
Duke and Skye have a hard time finding their footing. They hurt and are afraid to hurt even more. Their heart had been broken for different reasons, but the result is there: their heart is broken. They are broken.
I love exploring intense emotions in my stories. :)
  • What was the hardest scene to write in this book? I know there were some very emotional ones and I can only imagine the writing process for them.

It was emotionally draining. Really. Writing from Skyes POV was hard because, as weird as it sounds, I could still feel that pain while writing. Its a fiction, but the emotions are very real somehow. As you point out, many scenes are emotional, and I needed to take breaks sometimes, even right in the middle of writing one. But the hardest one was probably the one near the end when Skye is with Sean. I dont want to spoil anyone, but lets say that scene is one I will never, NEVER, write again. At first it was tamer, shorter, but my beta readers thought that we didnt feel the horror of it all, so I rewrote it one night. I think I will always remember how it made me feel.
  • What was your favorite character in Patch Up to write? Personally my favorite was Skye because of how strong she became as the story progressed. She really showed what it is to be a fighter.

Definitely Skye for me too. Im really happy that you love her so much. It also means a lot that you can see how truly strong she is. Maybe its not easy to see, but shes a fighter. After everything she went through, shes still standing and going on. I love that inner strength, but also her weakness and her doubts. Shes very human with everything that goes with it. :)
Now, I can also add Duke though. In Fix Up there are a few scenes from his POV and its been quite the experience, both because its my first time writing a male POV, but also because he loves with everything that he is, the good and the bad. He feels a lot.
  •  Tea? Or coffee?

Coffee and tea. lol
I drink both, but usually coffee before writing and tea once Im finished.
  • While I was writing my review for Patch Up I actually went online and looked up some statistics on abuse so that I could make my readers realize just how many people the topic affects. I know that I was shocked seeing the actual numbers and stats. What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Was there any personal situation that played a part in the book, even from a friend or family member? (You do not have to answer this question if you do not wish. I know I am getting extremely personal, and I dont want to make you uncomfortable or for you to feel like I am prying)

The stats are incredibly frightening when you take the time to think about it. We all know someone who had been in an abusive relationship or who had been abused in any way. And still, many victims never talk about it.
I know many women, some of which are in my family, who have been in an abusive relationship, some for years, some for a few months. All of them have had or still have a hard time trusting other people, opening up. Many have never been in a stable relationship ever since. As a research I talked with them, trying to understand more of what and how they felt. Fear was ever-present for them, guilt too because their abuser made them believe that its their own fault if they were violent. One thing I didnt really put in Patch Up though its that they still have a hard time trusting men now. They also test a lot their partners.
But I never actually put any real events in Patch Up. Some little things are loosely inspired from my personal life, some of Skyes reactions and thought process for example, but nothing is coming from what the women I talked with told me or what happened to me.
  • Would you rather read a scary book? Or go see a scary movie?

Both! But I must admit that I used to be pretty into scary movies at one point. Dont judge, but these movies never scare me. Instead, when other people are frightened I laugh. I know, Im pretty weird sometimes. I have many quirks. ;)
  •  Most books that I read tend to deal with only one problem per book, like divorce, abuse, death, that sort of thing. But in Patch Up you tackled both abuse and lose. Both main characters were dealing with some pretty bad demons, and while this allowed them to help each other and get a better understanding of the other it made for a more complicated plot. What made you decide to take on two problems like this? Im glad you decided to though because it really adds a sense of depth to the book, to make it all the more real.

Wow! Thank you a lot. :D
Well, at first I thought about only broaching the abuse Skye went through, but while I was plotting Patch Up, I envisioned Duke as a broken young man, lost in most ways while trying to live his life, but not actually feeling. I hesitated for a little while, but in the end I could see how hopeful it would be to have two broken characters helping each other, patching up each other. Somehow, I wanted to use their pain and hurt to bring some hope. I thought that having them both dealing with the awful things that happened to them would be challenging and fulfilling for me. And, that makes it more beautiful in a twisted way to think that their issues brought them together and forced them out of the life they settled in, a life that didnt bring happiness to them.
  •  If you could go back and rewrite anything from Patch Up would you? And if yes, what would it be?

Hmmm I do believe that maybe I could change a few things because a book can never be perfect, but I cant really find something I want to rewrite. Should I have shown more things regarding Sean? Maybe. Should I have spent less time with Skye and Duke fighting against their feelings because of their fears and doubts? No. In the end, I wrote this book as I thought I should, as I thought this story needed to be told and while maybe its presumptuous to say this, Im rather proud of the end result. And thats something I never say!
  • Ok last question. Are you working on anything new right now? If so is there anything fun you can or would be willing to share from it?

I have a few things Im working on actually. Im keeping myself very busy!
I have a New Adult Contemporary Romance standalone ready to be beta read. I think Ill start working with my beta readers in December. I dont plan on releasing this one before March or April of next year. Its a dual POV story, set in a small town, its supposed to be emotionally intense but probably less than Patch Up. What else can I tell you about this book Theres a six years age difference between both characters and theyve lost touch for years before they finally see each other again. Im very excited to know what my beta readers will think about it. Hopefully theyll like it. Fingers crossed!
Im also working on an Adult Contemporary Romance novel. Its a standalone and my first Adult novel. I started a few other adult novels, but I never actually finished them, but I believe this one will be different. Im very obsessed to begin with, and thats a good sign. My street team is very excited about it since I asked them if its a story theyd like to read. Now, I have to finish it!
I started writing it this month and if Im serious with it, I should be finished with the first draft in December. Maybe earlier.
All I can tell you is that this story isnt about a taboo love story, but almost. Expect some more steam in this book, but the emotions will be ever-present. Some scenes are going to break my heart if Im honest.
  •  Is there anything else that I didnt ask about that you would like to share?

No, all I want to say is thank you. Thank you a lot for reading Patch Up, for connecting with Skye, and for asking me for this interview. :)




Review:

Ok I'm just gonna tell ya'll straight up, this book has a real bad violent side. There is a lot of things in it that I feel might make some people uncomfortable, but in my opinion this book does justice to something that we all try to pretend never happens. SO I want to start by giving you guys a little information.

Did you know that last year there were an estimated 960,000 domestic violence incidents reported?

How about that 85% of attacks are on women?

I bet you really didn't know that 20% of high school females have reported being in physically or sexually abusive relationships.

60% of people attacked were either attacked in their own home or at a home of a friend or relative.

The most startling of facts was the number of American women assaulted each year by men. 2,100,000. 
That's over 2 million, that's 25% of the woman in our population. That is some really scary stuff. Especially as a 21 year old female where the typical age of most victims is 20-24, that number is frighting.

We as a population turn a blind eye most of the time. If we don't think about it, it isn't happening. And that is the thing I love most about this book. It makes a statement. It shows what it is like to be a victim of this terrible thing, and that it is possible to be able to over come it.

HOPE.

That is the most important aspect of this book. It shows you that even when you are going through something as terrible as assault there is hope, a way out and to make things better. 

But this book also deals with grief and its lasting effects. It really is multidimensional and I really liked it.

Skye Walker *pun intended* is not your typical heroin. She starts off as very closed off and broken. But when the sexy Duke comes into her life everything is flipped upside down. The presence of Duke's character is by far one of the most important aspects of this book. He not only wants to help Skye but brings to light a completely different topic of discussion. While he helps Skye to become strong and overcome her demons he is fighting his own too, and this leads to the bulk of what takes place in the story.

Now I will admit it, this very basic of this story line we've seen before. We've seen the 2 broken people coming together to heal before. But what I liked so much about this one in particular was how real that story line was this time. More than not we get a book where the characters use sex as a means to overcome their deep seeded issues. That leads to a romance, which leads to a relationship, and well you get the drift. But Patch Up, while still a romance, takes things to a different level. A more real one. Just because the hot TA finds you interesting doesn't mean its all rainbows and unicorns from there. And that's the thing I love. Witter writes it like it is, there are problems between Skye and Duke and it takes both of them time to reject and push away the other to realize that actually all of that pushing away has made them closer. By trying to help each other they really helped themselves and were able to deal with their internal daemons. And then if we just so happen to get all that steamy romance in all the better hehe.




I did have an issue at the beginning of reading this book. Witter's writing style was different from what I normally read. It actually reminded me a lot of the way I write when I have tried to write in the past and that really threw me. I felt that every now and then there were just phrases or something that didn't quite flow right, or too much detail was being given. But these are just personal nit picky things and while I didn't like them at first by the time I was close to the halfway point I either didn't notice or just didn't care any more because the story had dragged me in. Did I mention I read this book in a night. Literally I stayed up all night reading it lol

One of the other great things about this book were the secondary characters. Skye's roommate Kate is awesome. She helps Skye the best way she can and her bubbly outgoing personality brings a spark of light to a story fighting the dark. While she does add a bit more drama to the bunch with her own family issues Kate brings the light hearted humor and teasing that every book needs. Also the addition of Duke's friend Derek to the story makes a difference. Not only is he a way into Duke's past but he makes up the support system for Skye. A character not introduced till later in the book , he worms his way into the everyday life of the 2 girls and maybe even farther into Kate's. He is the big brother every girl wants and the cutie every girl looks for. With a moral compass pointed in the right direction he is a key player in keeping Skye safe. While in a frat he moves past the stereotypes and proves that he will not stand for the unethical behavior presented in front of him, which was pretty refreshing. As a 21 year old in college it was a nice change. I went to FSU for a few years and you can bet a big party school like that had some pretty big crazy frats, and they get pretty bad reputations. But with a character like Derek maybe there might just be a chance to change that stereotype if all those crazy dudes acted like him.

I know that this review probably seems like it goes in circles sometimes. There is a lot I want to say, and I am trying extremely hard not to give too much away, so I feel like that is making me sound a bit unorganized. Some times I have a hard time expressing what I am trying to say. The words just don't come out properly (yeah I know, how can I blog when I can't type coherent things. It happens and some days are just really off days) this might just be one of those off days. The thing I want everyone to understand though is that this book is amazing and you all need to read it. NOW!!!!

*****I give this book 5 stars*****




Seriously, go get a copy of this book ya'll ;)

And coming October 14th, the much anticipated sequel Fix Up