Saturday, January 11, 2020

Interview with David Jemal and Kara Leigh Miller about their new book Warped Remains

Can you tell me about the book, share the blurb

Emily Sheffield’s parents are the worst. Okay, maybe Emily has been erratic and her behavior a little reckless lately, but shipping her off to live with her grandparents in Alaska is so much worse than she deserves. At least she gets to spend her layover with the cute boy on the same flight. If she has to leave everything and everyone she knows, she might as well make some new–and cute–friends, right?

For Aiden Cohen, life in Alaska is perfect—good grades, great friends, an awesome church, and work he loves. There’s just one thing missing: his mom. Desperate to know her, Aiden sets out to find the woman who abandoned him at birth. But a disastrous first meeting with his birth mom, leaves Aiden stunned and ready to go back to his ordinary life in Alaska. And with fate finding Aiden and Emily on the same flight, he couldn’t be happier. If only he can convince her that God is real, everything would be perfect.

Everything seems to be going well—until a confusion on the runaway prevents the plane from landing. Circling the runway should have been simple, but when the plane hits a bad patch of turbulence, throwing it off-course, the pilots lose control.  The plane crashes, leaving Emily, Aiden, and two dozen other passengers stranded on a creepy island. Surviving and hoping for rescue are their primary goals, but the least of their troubles. They aren’t the only ones on the island, and it’s now a race against time for someone to find them before the island’s inhabitants do. But there are people willing to do anything to keep the island’s true purpose a secret—even if it means sacrificing the lives of the survivors.

Where did you grow up and attend school? Are there any other authors in your family? 

David: I grew up, went to school, and currently live in Brooklyn, NY. My uncle wrote a book on law, as he was finishing up law school. Even though there are no formal authors in my family, I certainly got my creative knack from them!

Kara: I was born, raised, and educated in a small town in Central New York called Mexico. It has less than 2,000 people in it. I had an aunt who wrote and published short stories and personal memoirs. My mom is also an avid writer, though she does it for her personal enjoyment and has no desire to ever be published.

How did you get started writing? How old were you? What made you want to start? What did you enjoy reading as a child?  

David: My journey to publication differs from the norm. After being politely rejected for a book (if we can even call it a book!) that had no right being subbed out, I asked the editor, Kara Leigh Miller, if she could give me guidance on how to become published — my ultimate dream. After going back and forth, I asked point blank: “I have a great idea that will be a winner. I can’t do it myself, so would you like to co-author it with me?” To my disbelief, she said yes. The rest, as they say, is history.

Kara: During school and college, I always took all the English and writing classes I could, but it wasn’t until about 10 or 12 years ago that I started writing fiction—and I started out of boredom. LOL. I was a stay at home mom, and my oldest two had started school, and my son slept a lot as a baby, so I figured it was as good a time as any to start writing something, so I did. I haven’t stopped since!

How and when did you and your husband / wife meet? Was it love at first sight? What does he think about your being an author? 

David: I met my wife through someone setting us up. Was it love at first sight? Absolutely! She really brings out the best in me—after all, when you spend so much time with someone as good as her, it tends to rub off!

Kara: I met my husband in college via mutual friends. Was it love at first sight? Bahahaha. Not even close! The very first time we met, it was in the college library. He had this terrible mustache that I hated it – he’s since shaved it. And I was bundled up in sweaters, and when we hugged, he commented that I wasn’t as “chunky as I looked.” He’s since apologized, and I’ve forgiven him, but it definitely wasn’t the best first meeting. However, our first “I love you” did come quickly after that. We’ve been together for 17 years and married for 11 of those. He’s very supportive of me being an author, which is just one of the many reasons I love him so much.  

How old are your children? Do they read your books? Have any of them got the writing bug, as well?

Kara: David doesn’t have any children (yet), but I have five! Ages 20, 18, 16, 14, and 11. Four girls and one boy. Sadly, none of them have been bit by the writing bug, and even sadder—none of them are even avid readers! *sigh*

How do you research the communities and people you write about? Do you find yourself having do a lot of research? 

David: It begins with a question. Either a who, what, where, or why. From there, the story begins to develop, and the research follows within that mold.

Kara: Because I write primarily contemporary, I don’t often have to do a ton of research, but when setting a book in a different location I’m not familiar with, I do use Google maps a lot.

Which is your favorite book? Do you have a character in your books you identify with the most?

David: Hmm… that is a tough one to answer. If I had to choose, I grew up reading the Hardy Boys. I identify with Frank and Joe Hardy, in the sense that as a writer we are always curious about what comes next. What the next plot, the next chapter, the next book. Without that curiosity—it’s hard to become a YA writer.

Kara: My all-time favorite book series is the Twilight Saga. Believe me, I realize it’s faults, but I’m completely taken with the story behind the story—a stay at home mom writing with a child on her lap…it’s exactly how I started! I try to keep as much of myself out of my characters as possible, so I don’t necessarily identify with any of them.

Share your bio

David: After graduating college with a major he created in finance and culture, he jumped into the world of sales and thus began crisscrossing North America. When he's not selling people stuff, he's busy writing new stories.
Kara: Kara is a full-time wife; stay-at-home mom to 5 kids, 4 pit bulls, and 6 cats; writer, and the Editorial Director at Anaiah Press. She's previously published two adult Christian romantic suspense books. Warped Remains is her first young adult book, but it won’t be her last.
You can follow Kara on her website and blog, Facebook, Twitter, and for the most up-to-date information, sign up for her newsletter.

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