Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What Makes a Hero in YA? In Stone by Louise D. Gornall

It's a real pleasure to have one of my favorite persons at my blog today. Welcome, Louise D. Gornall and her release, In Stone, a young adult novel with a twist of paranormal and greatness! If you haven't heard about the #gargoyleinvasion (known as Jack) you HAVE to read this!

Title: In Stone
Author: Louise D. Gornall
Publisher and Imprint: Entranced Publishing, Blush
Genre: YA paranormal romance
Release Date: July 1
Length: 120 pages

Beau Bailey is suffering from a post-break-up meltdown when she happens across a knife in her local park and takes it home. Less than a week later, the new boy in school has her trapped in an alley; he’s sprouted horns and is going to kill Beau unless she hands over the knife.

Until Eighteenth-century gargoyle, Jack, shows up to save her.

Jack has woken from a century-long slumber to tell Beau that she’s unwittingly been drafted into a power struggle between two immortal races: Demons and Gargoyles. The knife is the only one in existence capable of killing immortals and they’ll tear the world apart to get it back. To draw the warring immortals away from her home, Beau goes with Jack in search of the mind-bending realm known as the Underworld, a place where they’ll hopefully be able to destroy the knife and prevent all hell from breaking loose. That is, provided they can outrun the demons chasing them

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As a general rule, nobody walks the Switch on account of the overgrown nettle bushes, a pungent aroma of foot infection, and a collective fear of encountering something feral. However, the Switch shaves at least ten minutes off my journey, and lately I don’t trust the dark. I blame my encounter with the almost-corpse, two nights ago. Before then the dark was just a natural progression; something to be slept in, a different color in the sky. Now, shadows make me jump, and the dark carries a silence that makes me think of funerals. It breathes life into creatures that had always been safely contained behind a TV screen. I make my way down the Switch, striding over vicious flora and trying to ignore the occasional nip that sinks straight through my jeans.

Hey, Beau!” A voice from behind startles me. When I turn, Gray is jogging in my direction, thwarting thorn bushes with his bare hands. “I was looking for you.”

The hairs on the back of my neck bristle. My hand is in my pocket, and my fingers are wrapped around a slender cylinder of pepper spray as he reaches me.

Well you found me. What’s up?”

There’s something I need to ask you,” he says sheepishly. He hammers his toe against the ground, grinding it nervously into the dirt and crushing several stems of dandelion into gold dust. He giggles; it’s a soft, sweet sound that suffocates my hostility. He reminds me of Mark moments before he’d asked me out on our first date. Maybe this guy could be the one to liberate me from my social network sabbatical. Maybe my slightly-too-heavy eyeliner and my reputation as the mortician’s daughter hasn’t freaked him out.

Really?” Surprise raises my pitch. “What’s that?” The pepper spray is abandoned in my pocket.

Where’s the knife?” he replies, snatching my throat and slamming my back up against the concrete wall. It’s so forceful, so hard, that my spine ripples. Red flashes across my vision. The muscles in my neck go slack, and my head flops forward. He stabs his thumb up under my chin, forcing me to look him in the eye. His eyes are like the moon; cold, giant circles of icy-silver. But a change in his eye color is nothing in comparison to the change happening on either side of his head. I don’t understand it. It makes me wonder, briefly, if what I’m seeing is a side effect of the migraine pills Leah slipped me at lunch. Gray is growing horns. Giant grey horns that slide out of the side of his skull and then curl like springs around his ears. They’re animal.

Review Snippets:

Straight away I was drawn in by the story and Louise's fantastic writing style, and I really struggled to put it down.”

If a story can have me so invested that it brings out those kind of emotions in me - whether happy or sad - then I know I've found another to add to my favourites, and In Stone was one of those books.”

The plot was perfectly executed and delivers a thrilling ride filled with adventure, trails and an unexpected end.”

What Makes a Hero in YA?

When I first saw this question I was all like, a hero should have a rockin’ bod, a smile that melts muscle into mush, hair that would cut it in a L’Oreal commercial...BUT then my brain kicked into gear and a shallow siren started sounding in my ears. I’m not shallow. Honest. It’s just when I imagine a hero -- in that split-second after hearing the word -- a devastatingly chiseled guy is the first picture that pops into my head. Then I started thinking about Jack. Jack is a gargoyle, and when he has his tail out, or he’s using bulbous fingers to scale buildings, or he has horns protruding from the side of his head, he doesn’t slip so seamlessly into the category of gorgeous. But that doesn’t stop him from being a hero.

It doesn’t matter how grotesque Jack gets, he’s still brave and selfless. He still cares and wants to protect.  He’s considerate and kind. Fearless and funny. These are the things that make Jack a hero.

I think a hero is the kind of guy who’s standing by, ready to save you, but doesn’t assume that because you have a couple of  X chromosomes, you’re incapable of saving yourself. Emotionally and physically. He’s not the guy that’s always flouncing in first; junk thrust forward, hands on hips, exclaiming Ta-dah! Beau, my female MC, would eat that kind of guy for breakfast, and then pick her teeth with the flaccid remains of his manly-manness! Seriously, Beau is independent. She very rarely needs Jack to save her, and when she tells him she’s got a situation under control, he doesn’t second guess her. He just stands back and lets her do her thang. He never considers her inferior. She’s always his equal. That’s sexy, right?

Even before I gave Jack twinkly blue eyes and a face that belonged on billboards I decided I wanted to make him funny. I’m just sat here, going through my ex-boyfriend inventory, and it would appear that funny guys are my favorite. If I was to compare the guys that I’ve crushed on in the past, the only similarity between them would be a sense of humor. So I guess a great hero for me is a guy that doesn’t take himself too seriously. Brooding guys make great heroes, sure, but after spending six months inside Jack’s head I prefer a guy that can still smile when he’s been to hell and back. I also love how cool Jack remains in a crisis, and I love that Beau can’t help but get sucked into that state of mind when she’s around him.

Oh! And my heroes have to be smart. Brawn is lush, but I don’t think heroes necessarily need it to help get them out of a tricky situation. Jack uses his brain more than he uses his fists.

That’s pretty much my hero checklist. At least that’s what I think. I guess everyone has a different opinion on what makes a good hero though. So if there’s something missing off my list, that you love to see in YA heroes, feel free to let me know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Louise is a graduate of Garstang Community Academy. She is currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English language and literature with special emphasis on creative writing. YA aficionado. Brit bird. Film nerd. Identical twin. Junk food enthusiast. Rumored pink Power Ranger. Zombie apocalypse 2012 survivor. She is also an avid collector of book boyfriends.

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This giveaway is open only to residents in the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

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