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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Interview: Help Me Move On by Angie Hemmings

What inspired you to become an author?

This is easy for me to answer. My first book came from a dream that I couldn't shake. Every single day that passed the story became more and more clear until I couldn't deny it anymore. I can still remember that day because it changed my life. I only sat down at my computer because my husband told me to do something with this story that I kept telling him about. I started writing that day and I didn't stop until I was done. I realized as I sat there looking at this manuscript that I wasn't going to show anyone that I was doing what I was meant to be doing.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I'm ridiculous when it comes to my style of writing in the sense that I want everything a certain way. I want it lined up perfectly and if it's not right then I'll start all over. More than one time I've deleted half sometimes all of a manuscript simply because it didn't feel right but at the end of the day when I have that book in my hand and I've nit picked it to death I'm happy and that's why I write.

Do you write in different genres?

I'm pretty much a romance junkie so I doubt I'll be outside the romance genre.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

The title for Help Me Move On came to me at the end of the first chapter when she's being carried from the grave. We don't know who this man is that's carrying her away from Eric's grave but he has to help her. She needs help moving on with her life and as much as Isaiah may try he can't do that.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

It all depends, I've written 7 books that are to be released and some I had a title within the first few chapters whereas others I had the title before the book even started. The second book in the Southern Ties Series is Isaiah's Story. That's about as simple a title of a book that you could come up with and it came before I even wrote his story.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

Every single book that I write has a message and they all correlate. I write about women who are flawed and yet they're strong and they all want what a lot of women don't believe is out there anymore. True Love does exist, happily ever afters can happen, and it is possible to meet your soul mate, to feel that shock when you touch someone. I say this because to this day, after over 10 years of marriage I still believe that I am with my soul mate and that love has fueled every single book that I've written.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

Every book, every characters spawns from someone I know. A characteristic that sparks my imagination, a love story between a couple that I decide to manipulate into a story that I'll want to read over and over again.

With Help Me Move On I added a scene that came from something my brothers did the day I got married. See, we were having this big reception and my brothers opted for checking out early on the reception for a...mud bog! I could've been mad but if you met my brothers you'd understand this was not surprising and the craziness that happens at a mud bog was a driving force when it came to Ally and Colton's relationship. It's also a rare moment where we get a glimpse of Alexis Williamson who is the woman that will change Isaiah Atwood's life in the next book to be released- Isaiah's Story.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

Nicolas Sparks started my love for romance because I loved/hated his books. I loved the romance and I hated the fact that I would almost always cry at the end.

The Twilight Saga was the first series that I read multiple times and I didn't read it until after the first 2 movies came out and only then after I watched the first 1. I didn't want to be sucked into that frenzy and yet after watching the first movie I was just like every other preteen with a kindle and I dragged my poor husband to every single movie after that. With Twilight I loved watching this girl go from weak and dependent on everyone to defend her to this strong, fierce woman. Something else I loved about this series was the fact they waited until after they were married to progress their relationship. Marriage can really make everything better and a lot of people don't realize that...which is something else I tackle in the third book that will be released from The Southern Ties Series-Coming Home.

Fifty Shades of Grey taught me not to be embarrassed by pushing my limits. Now will I ever be quite as daring as EL James? Probably not, but that's okay because when reading Fifty Shades I was able to open my eyes to a world I never really thought about and it did help me expand my concept of sexuality when it comes to my writing.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

Most definitely Stephanie Meyer and not because she writes about vampires but her books have a moral base and when I started writing I didn't have that. Somewhere along the way I found myself on a path of self discovery with this series. With each book that I wrote I began to see a change in not just how I wrote but how my characters behaved/believed.

What book are you reading now?

I'm rereading Worth the Fight and I'll admit it's not because it's so intellectually stimulating. That book's just hot and sometimes a girl just needs some heat in her books.

What books are in your to read pile?

I'm mixing things up a little so I've added Burned-Tara Sivec to my pile and once I've finished that I have Twist of Fate. I'm big into firefighters and the college experience right now for some reason. Plus I like the heat.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

I'm finalizing Isaiah's Story right now but as far as a work in progress I have the last of the Atwood boys that I'm working on. I have a habit where I'll put a book to the side when I'm afraid that I'm straying from where I want to go and I did that with Charlie Atwood. His story is unlike any I've written so I'm taking my time with getting it right.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Sometimes I'll get so into my writing that I can't think of anything else and if I'm not careful I'll go off on a tangent that's not where I intended on going.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Nicolas Sparks. I hate to admit it but he is. The fact that he can make me cry so much that I literally have to put the book down says something about his writing. When I read The Choice my husband had to make me put the the book down because I'm sitting there sobbing on my Kindle. Not many authors can do that so I have to respect that.

Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?

I go to all the areas that my books are focused around. With Help Me Move On the book is based in Pilot and I spent a lot of time in the small town when I was writing along with Pilot Mountain which is one of the most unique mountains you'll ever see. In Isaiah's Story there's a pivotal scene that happens in Stone Mountain State Park and I spent more than one weekend up there walking the trails to get a feel for the area that I was writing about and in the end it did make that part of the book even better.

Who designed the cover of your latest book?

Richard Hill. He's a very gifted photographer who gave me what became the cover for this book and he's actually helped me with the covers for all the books I have coming out so far and I'm lucky to have him.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never, ever, give up. No matter what anyone says, no matter how negative people may be don't give up. If writing makes you happy then you should do it and you should have no regrets.

Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?

Song List for Help Me Move On:
1)   Angel-Sara McLachland
2)   I Grieve-Peter Gabriel
3)   Breathe Again-Sara Bareilles 4) It Takes Two-Kay Perry
5) Holding Out for a Hero-Ella Mae Bowen 6) Be Still-The Fray
7)   Epiphany-Staind
8)   Dressin' Up-Katy Perry
9)   I Don't Care-Fall Out Boy 10) E.T.-Katy Perry
11)   Sad-Maroon 5
12)   I Can Barely Say-The Fray
13)   Break Your Plans-The Fray
14)   Choose Your Battles-Katy Perry 15) Rainy Zurich-The Fray

Help Me Move On
The Southern Ties Series
Book 1 
Angie Hemmings 

Genre: Romance      
ISBN: 978-1502871800 

Number of pages: 248 
Word Count: 81079 

Book Description: 

Ally Dunn is a small town girl with big dreams planning a wedding that would never happen. Ally’s life revolved around being Eric’s wife…until she watched his best friend Isaiah step off that plane, his arm in a sling and Eric's casket behind him. Her grief consumed her, their last conversation not one filled with love but an argument over her favorite flower. He knew her favorite flower, he was just busy…fighting for his country. Isaiah made a promise to Eric, he would keep Ally safe even if that meant saving her from herself. Isaiah takes Ally away when her grief becomes too much but their return brings about something she never expected.  

When Ally meets Colton Walker she knows her life will never be the same. She never planned to move on from Eric, the mere idea of moving on would send her into a panic. How do you move on from the man you loved, the man who shared your dreams, who made your heart feel whole? But Colton doesn’t push her, he doesn’t pressure her, he gives her everything she ever needed and he does it effortlessly.

Falling in love with Colton was like taking her next breath; she didn’t have to think about because it came naturally…only a cloud hangs over Ally. Isaiah trains her in Krav Maga, Eric trained her in gunfire. Colton sees all of this, asking the one question she can’t answer, why? Why would a woman who lives in such a small town need to know such aggressive self-defense? Isaiah vows to keep her safe, going so far as to track her every move…but why?  

Surviving Eric’s death almost killed Ally, the hole in her heart never truly healed until Colton. Falling in love with Colton was easy, fighting for her life when everything she thought she knew was wrong…that was a completely different story.

Available at Amazon
About the Author:

Angie Hemmings is a self-proclaimed romance addict.  Her love for romance began at an early age but after years of reading romance novels she found herself wanting more which led to her first novel.  She's originally from Mount Airy, a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and she loves the art behind creating a new story.  Getting lost in the romance, the struggle between her characters is what makes Angie Hemmings continue her work and writing is what she loves.