#IndieFallFest: Joy Penny

Today I'm so excited to have Joy Penny on for Indie Fall Fest!
Don't forget to drop by the kick-off post and enter our huge giveaway!

On Kira Adams' blog, she's featuring Crystal Perkins today!

By Bridie Hall
1. Tell us a little about A Love for the Pages.
A Love for the Pages was born from my own love of reading, and my tendency to get too obsessed with the fictional words I love. I wanted to be able to incorporate plot elements from June’s favorite books, so they all had to be in the public domain. My top three favorite classics are Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Wuthering Heights. They all have Byronic heroes in common, so I decided to make that the focus. I did think about only “rewriting” one in a modern setting, but that’s been done a lot, so I tried to tackle all three at once. June’s story is also a coming of age story. Not only is she learning to stop obsessing quite so much over her favorite books, she’s deciding to stand up for what she wants to do with her life.

2. What is your writing process like?
On a good day, I can shut off the Internet and write for an hour or more. On a not so good day, I’ll struggle to get the words out and find myself peeking at social media far too often. I do best writing every day or nearly every day for several months and then taking a break for several months to refresh the creative juices.

3. Do your characters ever surprise you? Or do you always manage to keep them in check?
They definitely surprise me all the time! I only recently learned the value of outlining before writing. (I used to be a strict “pantser.”) Now I feel more confident I’ll finish a draft having that outline on hand. But more often than not, my characters take me off-outline as the story evolves.

4. Your new adult novel, A Love for the Pages, is a sort of homage to the old classics, like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. What is it that you love about them so much that you based your story on them?
The Byronic heroes! I’m a sucker for terrible fictional boyfriends, just like June is. While I don’t think this relationships are something people should emulate, I find them very romantic, whether I’m reading the stories or watching a TV/film adaption. In JE and P&P anyway, at least the terrible boyfriends become much better people by the end. Sadly, that’s not usually the case in real life. (And Heathcliff from WH demonstrates that!)

5. What do you like best about your main character June?
I love how June isn’t lonely even though she spends a lot of time alone. She derives great pleasure from reading, and although she loves to be with friends, too, she doesn’t need to be to feel content. At the same time, she’s willing to put herself out there despite her introversion when she needs to get work done.

6. What do you like to do outside of writing? To relax and re-charge your batteries?
Reading—it’s always helpful to a writer to see what other writers are up to, and what works in a good story. I also love watching TV and going to the movies; the library has a lot of great stuff you can rent for free. I’m happier indoors than out.

7. What are you working on next?
I started a NA story about a college student with superpowers who used to date the town’s resident (college-aged) supervillain. It’s more comedic than serious. My protagonist is the only superhero in town, and the big baddie isn’t happy that she also wants a normal dating life, so her dates often wind up in need of rescuing.

8. Where do you get inspiration for your characters? Do you base them on people you know?
I try to come up with original characters, although I’m sure they’re informed by my favorite characters in other works of fiction, the types of characters I love to see and read. (I have a soft spot for villains who aren’t 100% evil and jerks who aren’t 100% jerky in fiction.) I definitely avoid basing them on people I know IRL, although they probably all have a little bit of me in them.

9. What has been your best experience as a writer?
Hearing feedback from my lovely readers! It just makes me happy that people not only take the time to read my book, but to let me know what they think and to share their opinions with friends.

Tasked with dream casting A Love for the Pages, I decided to cheat a little with the ages. Most everyone here is slightly older than their novel counterpart, but how many TV shows and movies employ twenty-somethings as high schoolers? Here are the people I think could make the characters come to life on screen.

June Eyermann: Emma Stone
June tends to be quiet and demure, but she’s not such a wallflower you wouldn’t notice her. The Jane Eyre, Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights). June is mostly modeled on Jane Eyre, down to her short stature and blonde hair, but she’s not as resilient and calm as Jane; she has a bit of Elizabeth (P&P) and a dash of Catherine (WH) in her, too.

novel is about her learning to stop relying on her favorite books as an emotional crutch and to deal with the realities she doesn’t like to face. June learns to define her own expectations for her life, and that includes opening her heart to romance—hopefully a romance with a guy who’s nicer than her three favorite fictional heroes (Rochester from
Most of what I’ve seen Emma Stone in, she’s spunky and outspoken, but I think she could build to that after first appearing more resigned.

Everett Rockford: Nicholas Hoult
Rockford is standoffish, wealthy, and blunt, bordering on rude. Like Edward Rochester (JE), his primary inspiration, I like to think he’s handsome, but in an unconventional way—that it might take a woman a little bit to find him irresistible. He’s also got a bit of Darcy (P&P) and Heathcliff (WH) in him. I guess Nicholas is conventionally handsome, but I like his acting range. And let’s be honest, most TV/movie adaptations forget that Rochester is supposed to be not stunningly gorgeous anyway.

Sinjin Ravi: Shahid Kapoor
Sinjin was loosely based on St. John Rivers from Jane Eyre in that he’s another contender for the main character’s affections. Like St. John, he offers June a completely different life path, and he’s nicer and more polite than Rockford/Rochester, but he’s not as passionate in his pursuits as his classic literary counterpart. He also has a slight mischievous side to him, and he’s supposed to be quite handsome. To be honest, I’ve never seen Shahid in anything, but he’s got the look down, even if he’s pushing the age-thing.

Margot/Deana Ravi: Freida Pinto
Maybe we can employ some Parent Trap-technology to have the same actress play identical twins, but now that I think about it, I never outright said they were identical, so two young actresses could easily play the pair. For the purposes of this dream casting, though, I’ll stick with the double-take. Freida could take on the challenge of playing both the sweet but seemingly oblivious Margot and the blunt and rude Deana. The twins are loosely based on Mary and Diana Rivers (JE), but there didn’t wind up being much connecting them, other than being St. John/Sinjin’s sisters and June/Jane’s friends eager to find another way of life.

Owen Eyermann: Josh Hutcherson
June’s laidback, teasing brother has no immediate classic literature counterpart. But he’s needed to forge the connection between June and Sinjin and to have someone else on the receiving end of June’s parents’ lectures. I think Josh could play the laidback brother; he’s not too dissimilar from Laser in The Kids Are All Right.

Addy: Mackenzie Foy (if she was younger)
Addy’s last name is never said in the novel, since it it’s sort of a spoiler. The precocious 5-year-old loves dogs, reading and her uncle Ev. She’s modeled off of Adèle from Jane Eyre, although I like to think Rockford treats her nicer than Rochester treats Adèle. To be fair, I don’t really keep up with the actresses that young, so the closest I can come up with is more than twice that age!

Isla Blane: Emily Browning
Isla is a sort of amalgam of all of those haughty “rivals” for the main love interest’s affections, particularly Blanche Ingram (JE) and Caroline Bingley (P&P). Her purpose is to always look like she smells something foul in the air, to flirt with Rockford/Rochester/Darcy, and to seem like the better match for the wealthy, snobbish man on paper. Emily sort of naturally has the haughty/pretty look I’m looking for.

Blake Blane: Ian Somerhalder
Blake, Isla’s brother and Rockford’s best friend, is sweet as can be and incredibly handsome, the perfect mixture of Charles Bingley (P&P) and Edgar Linton (WH). He makes a sane woman wish she were in love with him instead of with the jerk who’s captured her affection. Blake doesn’t have much to do but be ice and look pretty, so I’d cast Ian if he’d dye his hair blond.

Cooper and Morgan: Aaron Eckhart and Elizabeth Banks
June’s step-dad and mom, last name not identified, love their daughter but don’t properly show it. Cooper seems to have warped June’s mom ever since they got married; he introduced stability into the Eyermann household, but also strict expectations. Cooper, and therefore Morgan, want June to be practical and not waste a single minute of her time, but they hope that means someday she’ll be working an impressive job they can be proud of. They have no classic literature counterparts, although in the loosest sense their obsession with June’s career could prove similar to Mrs. Bennet’s obsession with marrying off her daughters.
I think Aaron’s got that sort of rugged handsome look that might have Morgan under his spell, and Elizabeth is just a fun actress who’d make kowtowing Morgan more amusing to watch. I forgot they were already in a movie together, too.

Kaitlyn Rockford: Emilia Clarke
Rockford’s step-sister and Addy’s mother makes a brief appearance that’s sort of a mixture of Catherine Earnshaw (WH) and Lady Catherine de Bourgh (P&P)—a weird combination perhaps, but it works. She’s supposed to be fiery and gorgeous, so I think Nina makes a good fit.

“About our date tonight…”
“I was just going to text you.” Matt cradles his phone against his shoulder as he types with both hands. He had to move the conversation online after Becca’s call interrupted his texts. “My mom’s here. It’s a last-minute thing.”
“Oh?” asks Becca from the other end of the line. “Then should I come over? I’d love to meet her with you.”
Matt pauses his typing for a sneeze. Love U2, babe. Can’t wait til tonite, he types. “No,” he says, at last remembering the girlfriend on the other end of the line. “It’s too early for that.”
“We’ve been dating six months.”
“I know,” replies Matt. UR so fine, he types. “But you don’t understand my mom. A girl has to have a ring on her finger before she should get anywhere near her. She’s been dying for grandbabies.” UR naughty. Daddy wants 2 spank U.
Becca clears her throat. “I thought we did plan to get married. You’re going to pop the question as soon as—”
“I get that promotion at work, I know.” Matt stops typing long enough to grab the phone and stretch his neck. His muscles ache from the strain of keeping the phone tucked between his ear and shoulder. “But you know Carson. First he promises me a promotion within a month, then it’s before the summer’s over, now it’s not until next year—”
“That’s not what you told me last week!” Becca sighs audibly. “And I don’t understand what that has to do with me meeting your mom, anyway. You could tell her we’re planning an engagement, just as soon as you can set some money aside.”
“Becs, chill. Trust me. You don’t want to meet my mom yet.” How hot am I? U no u get me horny. Send more pics.
“She seems like a nice enough woman to me.”
Matt’s fingers freeze over the laptop keyboard. “I haven’t talked about her that much—”
“I know. But I met her this morning.”
Matt straightens his head again. The bones in his neck crack. “Right. You met my mom. Who’s in Florida.”
“Your mom, who’s in Florida? I thought she dropped by.”
“She did—I mean, she lives in Florida—”
“Hi, sweetie.” Matt practically drops the phone after hearing that sickeningly-sweet voice. “Are you coming over yet? Becca invited me here. It’s my birthday, remember?”
“Of course. Birthday. Mom, I—” Matt stops speaking, his eyes drawn suddenly to the screen.
Busted, types “Cherry411.” You left your chat session on on my computer last week. Exactly how many online “girlfriends” do you have?
“Matt? Sweetie?”
“Uh, Mom, uh…” Matt can feel the sweat pouring off of his forehead.
I was going to surprise you with your mom’s visit, types Cherry/Becca. But maybe I’ll just surprise your mom instead.
“What’s that, dear?” says Matt’s mom. “Oh, Becca wants to show me something—”
“Mom, mom, wait!”
Someone needs to wash your mouth out with soap.

Joy Penny is a pen name for a writer who adores books. She also writes YA under a different name. A Love for the Pages (June 2014) is her new adult romance debut.

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