SemiViral: Book Review and Q&A with author Jax Anderson

SemiViral

          by Jax Anderson

“SemiViral tells the story of cage fighter Mathew Stemp is known as a hero to some, a criminal to others, and a legend to all who live in northern Utah. As a cannibal virus spreads internationally, the world is torn between Exterminationists and Curists, and Mathew leaves his prostitution business to repair his relationship with his brother and his God. But his journey becomes even more difficult when he meets Shaylee, the victim of both the virus and his brother’s bullying. While battling his ongoing depression, Matt fights to protect his friends from his past.”

-from GoodReads.com

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Q&A with author Jax Anderson

 

What inspired you to write this book?

My original inspiration to start writing SemiViral came from a dream I had one night. It was about a high school girl with many social discomforts who obsessed over her good friend. Although the details of my dream are not in line with SemiViral, this dream put me in front of the computer.

The most powerful inspiration for the story was my own depression and social anxiety throughout my childhood. I worked hard to express the battle within myself while trying to develop and sustain friendships with my peers.

How much of this book is drawn from your own life?

Almost all the relationship experiences and fights in SemiViral were inspired by actual events throughout my life. Each character’s personality, as well as their relationships with others, were inspired by my own relationships.

Was the relationship between Matt and Garrett hard to write?

The relationship between Garret and Matt was one of the most difficult to write. Inspired by my own relationship with my brother and what it could have been, I tried to use real experiences with my brother to give it an authentic feel. However, I also chose to influence the experiences in ways that I had wished I had done and write about what could have been. While writing in the relationship, I had the responsibility to show the influence that an older brother can have on his younger brother.

When you meet Matt and Garret in the beginning, the two are not close. When Matt makes the effort to change and create a relationship with Garret, the two find that they don’t get along easily. One of my most important goals with SemiViral was to express the importance of the relationship between brothers and the power of influence brothers have on each other.

In your own words how would you explain SemiViral?

The book begins with Mathew Stemp leaving his partner in crime, Porter, after one last job to kill a man who is infected with an STD that is causing people to become blood thirsty cannibals. Afterwards, Matt leaves his partner, their gang, and his prostitution business behind as he attempts to find his Christianity and pursue a career in mixed martial arts.

It’s not as easy as he had hoped when he finds his younger brother, Garret, bullying a young girl, Shaylee, at school because of her mother’s cannibal infection.

Matt finds that his brother’s behavior was a result of his own influence. To help his brother change, Matt must now befriend a girl who many fear is infected and stand against his old gang to show his brother and community that you can’t judge others without getting to know them.

In SemiViral, you will follow Matt and many others as the world falls apart in civil war between people who believe the virus can be cured, Curists, and those who believe the infected should be exterminated, Exterminationists. Read as Matt trains a team of outcasts to battle bullying and intolerance while the virus affects each of their lives differently.

On the other side of the story, you’ll read as Matt’s ex-partner, Porter, accepts leadership of their prostitution ring. Porter promotes the extermination of all those suspected of infection and those helping them hide. The business leadership is broken and being reconstructed. Porter fights to keep the same high standards of prostitution and extermination that Matt had, but his new partner believes that Porter’s respect for Matt is not violent or powerful enough.

Did you always wanted to be a writer?

I first wanted to write when I was twelve years old. I was asked in counseling for my depression to write in a journal. However, writing the truth was embarrassing and intimidating. Instead, I changed the truth into fiction and created stories out of my real experiences. I used the writing as an outlet for my depression and fell in love with the stories.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on a few projects. I am typing the sequel to SemiViral, as well as a few short stories about common social struggles that teens suffer from. I have about four additional story lines for novels that I hope to have done by 2020.

A Little Something About The Author:

Jax Anderson got his start in writing when he began keeping a journal as a kid. After finding his life was pretty embarrassing, he switched to fiction. SemiViral began when he discovered many individuals in his personal life were intolerant people. Without calling them out individually, he wrote a book with cannibal style living flesh eaters, prostitution, drugs, and Mormons to address what he had been seeing his whole life in a neutrally opinionated manner. Anderson resides in Utah with his wife and young daughter.

 What I Think…

Okay, this book was really easy to read. I actually went through it pretty quickly. Although the language kicks it out of the YA genre a bit,  but it’s still pretty good. The story has a lot of action and relationship drama. Plus brotherly-problems. I don’t agree with everything in the book (like with almost every book I read lol), but it’s a really fun interesting book and you should definitely read it.

SemiViral is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Green Ivy Books.

“Continue to follow the SemiViral blog tour tomorrow at

 Lori’s Reading Corner!”

For more information, please connect with Jax Anderson on Facebook and Goodreads.

This book was given to me by Smith Publicity in exchange of an honest review.

 

Kookabuk Shares His Shovel: Blog Tour/ Q&A + Book Review

Kookabuk Shares His Shovel

by Kevin Howard and Jesse Howard

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Book Description:

“Welcome to The Kooky Adventures of My Friend Kookabuk, a wonderful collection of social stories created as a guide to help you and your special child approach new experiences and challenges in a positive and enriching way.

In this story, Emily helps Kookabuk learn how to share one of his most prized possessions. Most children are inherently very protective of their toys. While Kookabuk’s reluctance to share his green shovel is very typical, his reaction is elevated and prolonged. Fearful that Emily is confused and afraid to play with her son, Kookabuk’s mom steps in to guide their social interaction.”

-From GoodReads.com

Review/ Book Talk:

Kookabuk Shares His Shovel is a really great book that I think is going to help a lot of parents, teachers and children deal with this types of situations. The pictures and the poem are just beautiful.

I really love how this book was made. I think it’s going to be a really great series of books. This is definitely a most have for every parent and teacher. The book has great tips for parents and kids to help them navigate through these situations. The book also highlights the friendship between them and the need of the parent’s involvement when children are playing. I found it really great how the book shows the importance of parents guiding their children on this types of situations.

Q&A with the authors:

  1. What is your biggest challenge when it comes to writing?

KEVIN

In many ways the challenges I faced in writing this book were similar to those I’ve experienced in the past. The usual excuses and customary distractions repeatedly presented themselves throughout this process. The biggest hurdle, as with any of my previous undertakings, was finishing. I have learned over the years that persistence, perseverance, and determination are not just words, but rather instructions to live by. I did not allow time, money, family, or work-life deter me from my goal. Anytime I felt overwhelmed and wanted to stop, I referred back to one of my favorite quotes: “The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.” Accepting some “roadside assistance” every now and then, I managed to stay on course. Now equal to my other accomplishments, the first installment of The Kooky Adventures of My Friend Kookabuk is finalized.

JESSE

Personally, my biggest challenge is starting. I often have many ideas that I consider before I begin to write, and can become stuck in that brainstorming stage. I am definitely a harsh self-critic and many times will eliminate an idea before its even fully formed. This is something I constantly aim to improve upon. I need to just write, even if I am not fully sold on the idea.

  1. What advice do you have for budding authors?

KEVIN

The advice I would share with budding authors is: Be true to your work. Do not let self-doubt or the doubt of others interfere with your creative thought. In the end, it will be your name next to the title and you don’t want to have any regrets.

JESSE

Simply keep at it. I now realize that I did not publish anything until I reached the advanced age of 36 because many times I would have an idea, start writing, get frustrated, and give up. Having a great idea is a huge first step, but dedicating time and energy to see that idea through to completion is the challenge for me. But if I can do it, so can you. That’s just the truth. Also, you really have to deeply believe in your ability to write and be true to your writing style. Your level of education and training don’t matter as long as you have a unique voice.

  1. Why should people read your book?

KEVIN

I believe this book has all the ingredients of a classic children’s book: stunning illustrations, adorable characters, a fun meaningful storyline, and a memorable name. Additionally, this book has the unique combination of being entertaining and instructional. Included at the end of the story are strategies that provide helpful suggestions to guide parents/caregivers through challenging situations.

JESSE

It’s truly unique. There are thousands of social stories for children—pretty much all children’s books are social stories. However, our book has the combination of being entertaining and fun while also sharing a positive message for all children (be patient, kind, and understanding and you can play nicely with anyone). Also, we add tips and suggestions for parents and caregivers at the back of our book. These suggestions are from our personal experiences and are intended to help parents to begin to think in terms of behavior management strategies. For parents of children with Autism, behavior management can be a particularly daunting challenge, so we hope our advice provides some relief.

  1. What kind of impact do you hope your book will have on readers?

KEVIN

I hope readers recognize that embracing similarities and accepting differences makes the world a much better place for everyone. And, random acts of kindness turns ordinary people into heroes.

JESSE

I hope children reading the book who have Autism themselves come away from the book with increased self-confidence and a greater desire to share when playing with others. For neurotypical children, I hope they recognize how much fun can be had playing with a child with Autism or any child who is different from them. With a little patience, understanding, and kindness, they can forge a friendship with someone who may seem different from themselves.

 

About the authors:

Jesse Howard is a special education teacher in Westchester County, NY who received his Masters in Education (Childhood/Early Childhood/Students with Disabilities) from Manhattanville College. Raised in a family of special education teachers who embraced their passion to live a life devoted to the well being of all children, his career has focused mainly on early childhood and students with disabilities. He made learning creative and experiential for his students and developed a strong connection with parents.  Realizing the importance of the role of the parent as “First Teacher,” Jesse encouraged parents that time spent reading with children was a critical as well as a rewarding experience.  From these experiences, plus his love of writing, grew the foundation of his philosophy surrounding the Kookabuk series. 

 

Kevin Howard graduated twice from the University of South Florida, receiving both a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Education. He spent the first 14 years of his early professional life in private industry, and is now approaching his 20th year as a public school teacher, trainer, and coach. While his resume is packed with a wealth of experience and education, Kevin confesses that his most rewarding experience has come from fatherhood and being the parent to a child with Autism. Kevin created and co-authored The Kooky Adventures of My Friend Kookabuk to share the knowledge he gained raising his son. The Kookabuk series is a collection of social stories that serve as a source of information, inspiration, and guidance for parents and children alike. 

 

For more information, connect with Jesse and Kevin on their website, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Continue to follow the Kookabuk Shares His Shovel blog tour tomorrow at BookMarketingBuzzBlog!

This book was given to me by Smith Publicity, Inc. in exchange of an honest review.

Q&A With Jeanne Ryan

I’m so excited to be hosting my first Q&A ever! (Yayyy… lol)

 Nerve by Jeanne RyanCharisma by Jeanne Ryan

Jeanne Ryan has lived all over the world, and was raised in a family with eleven brothers and sisters. She spent her early childhood in Hawaii and the rest of her growing-up years trying to get back there, with stops in South Korea, Michigan and Germany along the way. Before writing fiction she tried many things, including war game simulations and youth development research. These days she lives under the “moody skies” of the Pacific Northwest.

Jeanne Ryan is the author of Nerve and Charisma. The movie adaptation of Nerve comes out this weekend and I can’t wait to see it.

This is probably the most asked question (lol) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Did you want to write when you were little?

The first time I decided to be a writer was in fifth grade. It was shortly after I realized I would never make it as a professional football player. (Because, scrawny, short, and not particularly good at football.) However, I didn’t follow up my writing dream with actual writing work until many years later.

Where do you get your inspirations to write? What motivates you?

I get story ideas from everywhere, mainly the news since I like to write about things that are just barely possible. At this point, I need to write. Too many days without writing makes me cranky, so motivation is rarely a problem.

How hard was it to publish your first book?

At the time, it seemed really difficult, but it’s probably average for what most writers go through. Once I decided to take my dream seriously and write regularly as well as study the craft of writing, it took eight years and five manuscripts before I was published.

What’s your writing process? Was the process to write Nerve different from the process to write Charisma?

My process is to write four or five hours a day during the school year. During the summer, I fit it in where I can unless I’m under deadline, in which case I maintain the same four or five-hour schedule. Writing Nerve was much different than writing Charisma because I wrote the whole book first before submitting it. Charisma was sold on proposal, which meant only fifty pages and a synopsis were complete at the time it went under contract, i.e., I had to get busy and draft like a fiend to meet my deadline.

What was the inspiration behind Nerve?

Three things primarily. 1) Watching my niece on her phone, and how she could maintain her real-world and virtual conversations simultaneously. 2) Seeing how much information people were sharing on Facebook, and 3) Noticing how contestants on reality shows were engaging in increasingly extreme behavior, to the delight of viewers.

At the end of Nerve, you left us wanting more. Is there going to be a sequel?

Ah, the question I hear most often. I wrote the book as a standalone, and was happy leaving it at that. (The slightly open ending is intended as a metaphor for the fact that once you put something online, you can never totally delete it.) Last year, however, I had a lightbulb moment of how the story could continue, and have been playing with that idea here and there. However, there’s nothing officially in the works.

What are you working on now?

Something completely different. However, I’m too early in the process to talk about it, since it could evolve into something totally different at any moment.

To get your hands on this awesome books click the links below.

Nerve

Charisma

Also check out my review on Nerve

 

To find out more about Jeanne Ryan go to www.jeanneryan.com

Click here to see the official movie trailer of Nerve.