by K.K. Weil
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GENRE: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Griffin Stone knows the stats. Sons of abusers become abusers. This is his single fear.
After witnessing firsthand his parents’ tumultuous marriage, Griffin worries that he, too, harbors an explosive dark side. Can he escape from his father’s rage-fueled ways or is he destined to become part of the cycle?
Unable to persuade his mother to leave and wrestling with his resentment towards her for staying, Griffin volunteers at Holly’s House, a safe haven for abused women. Through sculpture, Griffin gives these women pieces of themselves they’ve long forgotten. Holly’s House is the only place where Griffin finds peace and purpose.
Until he meets Frankie Moore.
Frankie is an aspiring photographer, finding beauty in things most people miss, including Griffin. Griffin is attracted to her free-spirited, sassy attitude but fears Frankie will trigger the most intense part of him, the one he must keep buried.
Frankie’s got to get her act together. Her anything-goes behavior is leading nowhere fast. She’s hopeful that her latest hobby will be a building block for the future. But when a stranger appears on the other end of her camera, looking as complex as he is handsome, Frankie thinks this might be just the change she needs.
When Griffin’s father strides out the door, I involuntarily suck in a gasp. Approaching us is possibly the most handsome man I’ve ever seen, especially in his sharp button-down shirt, slacks and designer shoes. He’s almost Griffin’s clone, except as he smiles to say hello, some soft lines surround his mouth and fiery brown eyes. His dark hair has the same slightly reddish tint as Griffin’s but it’s short, with not a single strand out of place. He’s got Griffin’s high cheekbones and deep dimples indenting his cheeks. These two could be twins born a couple of decades apart.
A small guttural sound spurts from Griffin, who practically has smoke coming out his ears, and two things occur to me. One: I cannot be thinking about how beautiful this man is. I have to hate him the way Griffin does, because, for God’s sake, he’s an abusive asshole. And two: even though he has explained it to me, I’m grasping for the first time why Griffin keeps his appearance the way he does. Morally, he is the polar opposite of his father, yet their physical features could make them identical.
“Frankie,” his father says, revealing a smile matched in beauty only by his son’s. “I’m so glad to be meeting you. I’m Evan.” He extends his hand.
Griffin is absorbed by his father’s manicured hand grasping mine. Definitely no tattoos on those knuckles. He releases me and turns to Griffin.
“Hello, my boy,” he says, but doesn’t reach for his hand. Maybe he knows Griffin won’t shake it and doesn’t want to make things awkward. Instead he gives Griffin a playful slap on the back. Griffin straightens.
“Why aren’t you at work?” Griffin snaps at his father. Griffin’s hands quiver and he crams them in his pockets.
“I was.” His father ignores the tone. “But when your mother mentioned you were bringing a date for dinner, I decided to cut our meeting short. Why don’t we go inside? Your mom said everything’s almost ready.” He tries to escort me by placing a hand on my spine. Griffin pulls me away and steps between us to walk.
Dinner should be interesting.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing K.K. Weil, author of Shatterproof.
Hi Kelly, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Thanks so much for having me here today! Right now, I’m happy to say I’m a full-time writer, working out of my house. Before I decided to stay home with my children, I was an elementary school teacher, which I also loved. I was trained in teaching writing, which became my primary focus in the classroom. I live in New Jersey, but am originally from New York and will always be a New Yorker in my heart.
What were you like at school?
In school, I was generally shy. I always had a few great friends, but preferred small gatherings to big crowds. As an adult, I’m more comfortable with big groups than I used to be, but my favorite times are still those spent hanging out with my closest friends and family.
Were you good at English?
I always loved my humanities classes. Reading, writing and the social sciences where the classes I excelled in and enjoyed the most.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I love writing books that touch on tender subjects and make you think about life a little differently. I hope to keep creating these kinds of books, to continue working on my craft so my writing improves with each novel I publish and to get my books into the hands of more and more readers who enjoy reading as much as I do.
Which writers inspire you?
There are so many, but I love writers who can weave layered stories together that stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Writers like Ayn Rand and Margaret Atwood will always be among my favorites.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does Griffin do that makes him special?
Griffin’s entire life has revolved around trying to help his mother leave a bad relationship, and in the absence of being able to do that, he dedicates his life to helping other abused women instead. He’s reflective and brooding, terrified of becoming his father. When he meets Frankie Moore, his defenses come down. She’s free-spirited and looks at the world through a different lens. She reminds Griffin of the way his mother used to be. Griffin decides to take a chance and be with her, but he worries she might trigger him, the way his mother triggers his father. Everyone in Griffin’s life assures him he is nothing like his father, but Griffin fears that only time will reveal the truth.
What are you working on currently?
My current work in progress is about a young woman who owns a small creperie with her grandmother. She has a special interest in helping the homeless and uses her creperie to do so. When a gorgeous, mysterious stranger comes into her store and starts leaving her songs on napkins, she’s not sure what to make of him. Because of certain family issues, she’s reluctant to enter into anything complicated, but she can’t seem to stay away from him. The more time she spends with him, though, the more she fears he’s not what he seems.
Which actors would you like to see playing the characters in Shatterproof?
I’d love to see either Liam Hemsworth or Charlie Hunnam play Griffin. For Frankie, I picture someone who can be wide eyed, yet strong at the same time, like Emma Stone. Griffin’s mother would be elegant and beautiful, along the lines of an older Cate Blanchett. And Griffin’s father would have to be hot! How about Rob Lowe?
What made you decide to sit down and start writing?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I always had notebooks filled with stories surrounding me. Short stories, children’s stories, you name it. When I got the idea for my first novel, At This Stage, a couple of years ago, I ran with it.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Right now, I am writing full-time. As soon as my kids are off to school, my computer goes on. My coffee sits next to me and if the weather is nice, I either work outside or open all my windows. Fresh air inspires me. Usually, I take care of any “business” first, like social media or communications with other authors – or blog posts ;). After that, I dive into writing. What that means depends on the day. It might be picking up where I left off and spewing out tons of words or maybe I just go over what I did the day before and tweak it. Of course I find the days when I get more pages out to be more productive, but both kinds of days are necessary. I work until the kids come home and again after they go to bed, which often means losing track of time and neglecting everything else that needs to be done. So on any given day, laundry might be piled to the ceiling and my family might be near the brink of starvation. But if I put more words on the page, it’s all worth it.
Where do your ideas come from?
A lot of the time, my ideas come from conversations I have with people. My husband and I like to talk about hypotheticals, and one of those conversations gave me the idea for At This Stage. While I was writing that book, Griffin’s character emerged into someone I hadn’t planned. I fell in love with him and knew I had to give him his own story and find out what made him tick. Shatterproof was formed entirely around him.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m definitely a pantser. In fact, often, I don’t even start at the beginning of the story. I write down (yes, write – old school – with a pen and notebook) random scenes, out of order, as they pop into my head. Then, after I’ve compiled a bunch of them, I sit at the computer and start from the beginning. A lot of the notes get thrown away, but they give me an idea of where I want to go and who my characters will be.
What is the hardest thing for you about writing?
I tend to write about sensitive topics. I always want to make sure to handle the subjects properly. Much of Shatterproof revolves around domestic violence. Since the book is written from Griffin’s perspective, it had to reflect his feelings toward both of his parents. I wanted to make sure it was clear that his opinions about his mother’s decisions were his and not mine, while at the same time giving his voice as much power and validation as possible. It can be a fine line.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.
I read constantly. There are so many authors I love, in all different genres. A few that are popping into my head right now are Margaret Atwood (she first got me hooked on all-things dystopian society), Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged is one of my all-time favorite books), C.M. Stunich (love her New Adult stories), Veronica Rossi (her Under the New Sky series is amazing) and Tolstoy (because there will never be another Anna Karenina). But really, I could go on all day.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
When e-readers first came out, I swore I’d never get one. There is nothing in the world like the smell of a new book, or the way it feels to open the first page, or to close the cover after the last page, for that matter. I’m one of those people who has her books arranged on the shelves according to genre, with the most powerful ones sitting directly in my line of vision. Then my husband bought me an e-reader. I’m ashamed to say that almost immediately, I became a convert. There’s something addictive about being able to have a new book in my hands the second I finish an old one. It fits in my purse, no matter how long the book. And even if it’s windy on the beach, I can still read. But I have to say, I think I’ll always carry a certain amount of deserter’s guilt around with my e-reader.
What book are you presently reading?
Right now I’m reading Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline. It’s excellent. Everyone should check it out.
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
Debbie Taylor at The Wild Rose Press is my cover artist for Shatterproof. I am so grateful for the work she did for me. I knew I wanted the mood of the cover to be somewhat ominous and dark, because I thought that would fit the book well. She captured exactly the tone I was looking for, while the bright NYC buildings make it pop beautifully. I loved it as soon as I saw it.
Do you think that giving books away works?
I would have to think it does. I’m always looking for book recommendations from friends. When someone tells me they love a book, I’ll often go out and buy it that day. Word of mouth can give life to books like nothing else. So if someone gets your book for free and then recommends it, and that person recommends it and so on…well, you get the idea.
How do you relax?
When I was working out of the house, I actually used to write to unwind. Now, since that’s what I’m doing full-time, I unwind with other people’s books. I also love to listen to soft music, like Nora Jones or Alicia Keys, light some candles and chill out by a fire. I’d say that brings me to one of my happy places. Conversely, when the weather is warm, nothing relaxes me like sitting on the beach.
What is your favorite quote?
That depends on what’s going on in my life at any given moment. Today, I like this one…”Everything, in the end, comes down to timing. One second, one minute, one hour could make all the difference” – Sarah Dessen
What is your favorite movie?
Again, it depends. I’m really not a person who has one favorite color, book, etc. But here are some of my consistent favorites: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, Bulworth (I love the satire in both of those), The Sting (the original), In Her Shoes, Love Actually and definitely The Princess Bride.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I’ve got some silly and embarrassing facts about me on my website, where readers can sign up for my newsletter to get updates about me and what I’m working on. Also, on my contact page, they can message me to request a live Q&A if they’d like to use one of my books for a book club discussion.
Here are my links:
Any final words?
Again, thanks so much for having me. It’s great to be able to connect with readers this way and let them get to know me a little more!
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this interview. I can’t wait to get my head into your book, Shatterproof!
K.K. Weil grew up in Queens, but eventually moved to New York City, the inspiration for many of her stories. Weil, who attended SUNY Albany as an undergrad and NYU as a graduate student, is a former teacher. She now enjoys writing her own dramas and lives near the beach in New Jersey, where she is at work on her next novel.
K.K. Weil will be awarding a $20 Amazon/B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.