Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, August 17, 2015

nothing easy is worth winning… or keeping - Pepper Jones Series by Ali Dean

Are Jace and Pepper strong enough to withstand the pressure from those who want something from them? It won’t be easy fighting for her title and her boyfriend, but nothing easy is worth winning… or keeping.


Pepped Up:
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).

That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.

When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.

All Pepped Up:
Pepper Jones knew that being Jace Wilder’s girlfriend wouldn’t be simple. But she didn’t predict just how many complications would arise from his past. Jealous girls? That she expected. Family secrets? Not so much. At least Pepper can always hit the trails to clear her head… except when it comes to racing. The high expectations from her phenomenal cross country season haunt her, and she can’t seem to get psyched up for track season. Pepper’s junior year at Brockton Public is full of challenges on and off the track, but she’s not afraid to face them.

Pepped Up & Ready:
Pepper is finally a senior, and she’s determined to defend her national cross-country title. Although Jace is busy with the demands of college football, he’s still at Pepper’s side, supporting her goals. But is she taking her renewed enthusiasm for training too far?

As Jace and Pepper focus on their athletic ambitions, they discover that Jace’s social status has followed him to college, despite his attempt to keep a low profile. With her boyfriend as an idol on campus, Pepper discovers that she might just be a target to those who find Jace threatening.

Are Jace and Pepper strong enough to withstand the pressure from those who want something from them? It won’t be easy fighting for her title and her boyfriend, but nothing easy is worth winning… or keeping.

How a series starts? 

I’ve actually found it’s hard NOT to make a book into a series. Aside from Pepper Jones, I’ve started several other books, which I intend on making standalones, but I get so invested in the characters that it’s hard to limit myself to one book about them. I’ve got their entire lives planned out in my head, so the real difficulty is keeping the stories within a series manageable. For example, I know what Pepper does with her life after college, but I’m not sure I’ll ever write a book about it because the genre crossover would be too crazy. It starts out as a young adult series (she is 16, a junior in high school), and follows her into college, bringing it into the new adult genre, so it’s already a little bit of a genre headache. 

Another tricky thing about a series is keeping the main character(s) growing and evolving, because you don’t want the series to go flat. This can be a challenge, especially because readers become attached to the characters, and don’t like seeing these characters emotionally distraught, or hurt, which is often the mechanism used for character development.

With a series longer than three books, it’s important to find a balance between new plots and consistency. Readers who continue with the series do so because they have certain expectations about the type of book they will be reading, so they don’t want that to change too much. Still, readers don’t want the exact same story told all over again, so new storylines are important. It’s hard to get it right! Same characters, but with character growth, similar type of plot but new and different enough to keep readers interested, and keeping it all in the same genre… it’s a fun challenge 

I will say, though, that my characters seem to know exactly what to do, and I try to follow their lead. I sometimes find myself a little surprised with the direction a book is going, and then I realize that the earlier books actually set this one up pretty well in terms of foreshadowing and keeping it consistent. There’s rarely a moment when I have to stop myself mid-sentence and wonder if what I’m writing makes sense with what I wrote in an earlier book. It’s kind of crazy how the characters sort of take over and lead the series for me. When people are unhappy with something that happens in a book, I tell them to blame the characters, not me. They made me do it!

About the author:
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

Author's Giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway


Audrey Stewart said...

I just have to read this book. It is on my TBR list.

Unknown said...

Sounds like an interesting series :) Thanks for the How a series starts extra. I always imagined it would be harder to write a series than a standalone because you have to keep all the plots and characters straight.

Patrick Siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

Natalie said...

I can so relate to this book because I was in cross country running myself!

Jan Lee said...

This might be a good book for my teen niece to read :)

Juana said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds like a story that I could enjoy reading over and over.

Karla S said...

Sounds great,thanks for the chance!

Unknown said...

I use to run track and cross country so I think I would really enjoy this!

Arf2-D2 said...

The synopsis does make it sound like the story gets repeated over and over. However, the author is clearly aware of that trap so, I am assuming that the books are not actually repeated stories. Would be fun to find out!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the giveaway . :)

Julie Waldron said...

Thank you for the giveaways.

Ally Swanson said...

I enjoyed learning about this book series and reading the guest post. Looking forward to checking out this book series!

Stephanie LaPlante said...

Sounds like an interesting love triangle

Anonymous said...

thanks for the chance!

Bridgett Wilbur said...

This sounds like a great book and I would love to read it. TY

Sharon E said...

Sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway.