Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bookaversary Contests for THE ART OF LAINEY!

Today marks exactly one year from the day The Art of Lainey was released. As you probably know, although I wrote a work-for-hire trilogy for Penguin/Paper Lantern Lit, LAINEY was the first book I wrote where I had the copyright and creative control. I thought I'd share why I wrote it.

Lainey Mitchell isn't me and her breakup isn't my breakup, but her pain was my pain after it didn't work out with a guy I really liked. I did actually meet a coffee shop rocker guy, and although we didn't engage in nefarious Art of War strategies or ever become more than friends, this guy showed me there are truly amazing guys out there. He reminded me I deserve to be treated well, that sometimes letting go of what you think you need is the first step to realizing what you really need is completely different.

That was one of two major reasons I wrote the book--to comfort people who had gone through a painful breakup. At its heart, The Art of Lainey is about opening yourself up to the possibilities. Not just romantic ones, but life possibilities. Lainey starts out desperate and floundering, but gradually begins to recognize she's been brainwashed by her friends and boyfriend into becoming someone she doesn't want to be. She doesn't trade Jason for Micah. She trades Jason for herself. I realize not everyone read the book like that, but that was my intent.

The other reason I wrote it is to show that we all hurt the same. I used Lainey, a sort of clueless "love-to-hate popular girl" because I was friends with girls like her in high school. And even though it's easy to look at them and think their life is perfect, really they have all the same issues and insecurities as everyone else.

I remember this article in Cosmo where teenage Britney Spears was listing all of the physical attributes about herself she didn't like. I read it thinking, "She's rich. She's famous. She's gorgeous. She's talented. Everyone loves her. If she's not okay with herself, then who is??" And so yeah, some of Lainey is inspired by that.

Obviously I'm not trying to compare Lainey's struggles to people living in poverty or under oppressive regimes or anything. But I do believe that the Lainey Mitchells of this world are insecure and scared like every other kid in a similar school/life situation. It's a fallacy to assume that someone has it way better because they are prettier, more popular, etc. I believe we are all more alike than we sometimes think.

I've read the reviews that laud this book as feminist fiction and I've read the other ones who think Lainey is an affront to girls everywhere, and for most people the truth is probably somewhere in the middle (though hopefully closer to the first one :D). I wrote her to be a girl with inner strength who has lost herself, a girl who wants to be better, but has to screw up repeatedly to find her way. My books are (and will continue to be) full of characters who start out flawed and end up still flawed, but in a better place than when they started. So, you know, if that's not your thing, caveat emptor ;-)

But if it is your thing, maybe you know someone who needs a little LAINEY (or Micah!) in his or her life. Perhaps it's someone going through a tough breakup, or someone who is worried about college, or someone hungry for a story with great family and friendship subplots. Maybe it's just someone who would enjoy a story about a girl who finds herself while engaging in win-back-your-ex shenanigans with a hot mohawked baker ;D I am giving away one copy of The Art of Lainey, but here's the catch. You can't win it for yourself. You can only win it for someone else by tweeting:

I think @pstokesbooks should #SendLAINEY to [my friend/sister/mom/roommate/neighbor/etc.] because [reason.]

What if you want a copy of the book for yourself? I guess you'd better find a friend who will tweet for you ;-)

This is open international, but people outside the US will receive a book from The Book Depository so make sure the country is listed as one they will ship to. You don't have to use a twitter hashtag for the person you think should receive the book, but you can. Be sure to use the #SendLAINEY hashtag so I can find your tweet. I'm going to pick a winner based on your reasoning on Monday morning 5/25 so you have until Sunday night your time to tweet. (If I can't choose--like usual--I will select randomly from my top favorites.) I will also send the winning tweeter a little surprise for their kindness in trying to win a book for someone else.

Speaking of kindness, maybe check out blogger Nova's Kindness Project at Out of Time Book Blog, if you'd like to express your appreciation for an author or blogger who has brightened your day.

Oh, and what's better than a contest? TWO CONTESTS :D And so here's a Rafflecopter for everyone (again, open INT, ends Sunday night) where you can win an amazing Art of Lainey book charm (made by Tabitha from Bows and Bullets Reviews), plus bookmarks, buttons, and a postcard signed by the main characters. But I'm going to make you work for it :)

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Questions? Put them in the comments. Happy reading. Happy spring! Thanks to everyone who read, reviewed and pushed The Art of Lainey on friends <3 #BookPushersRock And thanks to Eli Madison for the cool Half a Heart graphics </3