It all began last year with a group of eighth grade girls. My fifth hour class was almost entirely girls, more than twenty of them, and they were voracious readers. Nearly everyday, one of them asked, "Mrs. Murray, will you help me find a book?" Since you can't really recommend a book if you haven't read any, I was reading at least one young adult novel per week, and since science fiction/paranormal is my favorite genre, many of my own choices were that genre with small scatterings of realistic or historical romance.
One common trait in many of these paranormal romances was the power distribution. In most of these novels that I was reading and recommending the female character may have been the narrator, but the male character had all the supernatural power. He--the male character--was a vampire, werewolf, angel, etc. The female was at the mercy of the male character's rescue ability. She--the female character--was kidnapped, attacked, threatened, etc. and forced to wait for some guy, who was consistently absent in her time of need, thus creating the need for said rescue.
THAT began to piss me off. Why was I telling these girls they could be strong, independent women then recommending novels that show women as victims? Couldn't you still have a romance if the female was strong? Don't get me wrong! I love some of those books. I am a romance novel kind of gal, but I'm also already a woman with, as my husband often reminds me, a dominating, demanding personality. My character is already shaped. Theirs was not, and here I was showing them example after example of needy women.
It really bothers me when people don't live what they preach, and I just couldn't sit back and do nothing to try and remedy the problem. So, in the spring of last year when the school year was beginning to become less hectic, I started to write. I did (and still do occasionally) the whole query letter thing, trying to get an agent and a big-name publisher, but patience isn't my strongest virtue, so I decided to e-publish. That way, my girls could read Vivid this school year and know that they inspired me.
Andrea Murray is the author of Vivid, a YA paranormal romance.
Blurb: When Vivian Cartwright was five years old, she witnessed her mother’s death.
Now, sixteen-year-old Vivian only wants a normal life—hard to accomplish when you possess the power to control energy. Her entire life she has feared her power and its connection to her mother’s murder. She has kept her ability a secret from everyone except her guardian, Charlotte, who has hidden Vivian from the man responsible for her mother’s murder.
Her secret is safe until Vivian subconsciously defends herself at school using her power. After this first use of her gift in many years, Vivian’s power seems to take on a mind of its own, increasing in strength and demanding to be used. This increase in power also brings dreams of her mother’s death and the mysterious man connected with it. When she is assigned to tutor the would-be boyfriend of Trista Parmer (a.k.a. the biggest diva in school), Vivian cannot deny the electrifying connection that she feels for the boy, Easton Garrett. In her desire to get Easton away from Vivian, Trista doubles her efforts to humiliate Vivian, forcing Vivian to use her supernatural gift over and over. With each use, Vivian fears she is losing control and discovers her powers are growing—maybe too much—bringing her unknowingly closer to the man who murdered her mother.
Review: If you think you may have had it bad in high school, try living a day in Vivian's life. She's a misfit, somewhat a loner. She doesn't belong with the popular crowd- and they DONT let her forget it! I shudder when I think of the cruelty high school kids use on one another. Vivian and her best friend struggle to get through the day without the "Mean Girls" starting their drama. Vivian also has a few secrets that if ever exposed, would make her even more of an outcast.
I feel for Vivian, and Abby. I've heard of such cruelty in life and it's not pretty. High school is hard as it is, to find your place, and with people being so horrible it doesn't make it easier.
Vivian's story gets pretty intense, as things start spiraling out of control. It may be about time to confront a few ghosts, and a past she's tried to keep hidden for so long.
The beginning of the story lagged a little bit, but quickly picked up the pace after the first few chapters. I couldn't put the book down after that. It's a great paranormal story and I enjoyed Vivian's connection with Easton. She deserves a good guy in her life,.
I'm anxious to see what happens nest, and what else Andrea Murray has to offer.
Andrea Murray has been teaching English for longer than most of her students have been alive. She has taught everything from junior high language arts to concurrent credit freshman composition. She lives in a very small town in Arkansas with her precocious daughter, energetic son, and racecar-driving husband. When she isn't writing or reading novels for her students, she's probably watching reality television or cheesy science fiction movies. In addition to Vivid, Andrea has also written Vicious, the sequel to her first novel.
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Until next time,