Gail Pallotta talks about her newest YA, Stopped Cold.
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Welcome! Gail is giving away EITHER a PDF file OR a coupon to purchase the version of your choice from Smashwords to a commenter of her book. Drawing will be held on Saturday.
Gail, what was the inspiration for Stopped Cold?I wanted to write a fun-to-read story. As a teen, I especially liked Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mysteries. The amateur sleuths in Stopped Cold are reminiscent of them.
As far as the plot goes, over the years I’ve seen quite a bit of pain in some children and young people when they can’t be number one. Whether the pressure comes from within, peers, siblings or parents, not winning often hurts and sometimes leads to destruction. When I was in college a student on my hall tried to commit suicide because her grades weren’t as good as she or someone thought they should be. The agony she must have felt gnawed at me. Then the message in the book started rattling around in my head. We don’t have to be number one for God to love us.
Young people face lots of problems today, but I chose to write about steroid use. Reasons teens give for using steroids range from simply wanting to look better to attract a girlfriend or boyfriend to wanting to build muscles to enhance athletic performance, which indicates a desire to be “number one.”
Today’s society throws a lot at young people, in some instances giving mixed signals about right and wrong. This makes it more difficult to make good choices than it ever has been. It’s inspiring to see so many making decisions that lead to rewarding, fulfilled teen years and set them on a happy path.
How did you research?For information about steroids, I read quite a bit of material from library books, the Physicians Desk Reference and the internet. Also, I interviewed an undercover detective and a narcotics officer as well as an administrative policeman.
As for swimming, my daughter was a high school and U.S. swimmer, so I had lots of experience as a Team Mom doing everything from timing to serving as a team coordinator. Still, it’s been a while, so I consulted a coach and a director of summer league swimming about the technicalities.
Share a funny life moment. Hmm. Recently, I was asked to tell something romantic my husband, Rick, did when we were dating. It’s been so long. My mind went blank. Then I thought of our first date. Rick had offered to come over and grill a steak.
When he arrived, I showed him to the patio with the grill then went to the kitchen to check on my baked potatoes and chop lettuce for a salad.
“Could you bring some water?” He called out to me.
Thinking he was thirsty, I filled a glass.
Then he hollered, “Could you hurry?”
I rushed out and gasped. Flames shot from the grill. I hurriedly handed him the water and dashed back to the sink with my heart beating like a jackhammer. I charged outside with a pitcher in my hand and a large pan of water wedged under my armpit, splashes sloshing on my living room carpet. On the patio the blaze nearly scorched the plywood ceiling.
From the street below a passerby yelled out, “Hey buddy, I think it’s done.”
Only a couple more trips, and the grill sat smoking.
Perhaps, not romantic, but certainly exciting and what one would call a “hot” date.
Could you introduce us to your heroine, Margaret?
Margaret’s a good student and competitive swimmer at Meriwether Christian High School in Mistville, N. C. She’s known as Maggie Butterfly to her swimming buddy, Tammy, because butterfly is Margaret’s favorite stroke. She’s enjoying life going to swim meets, hanging out with friends and flirting with Jimmy Wilmore. Then her older brother, Sean, has a stroke from taking a steroid. Suddenly the deep heartache cuts her off emotionally from her friends and the life she knew. She resents her dad for pushing Sean and her in sports. Maybe if he hadn’t Sean wouldn’t have taken the drug. She’s overcome with hatred for the drug dealers who sold Sean Winstrol V and won’t rest until she finds them. Her goal is to report their whereabouts to Detective Joe Garrett, the cop on the case. She’s a believer and prays for God to heal Sean while she and her friends launch an investigation. She just wants to have her brother and her life back and to heal the hate inside.
What do you hope your audience gains from this book?
I hope they enjoy the story as they experience the excitement of Margaret’s swim meets, her closeness to Sean, Jimmy and Emily and the scary search for the drug dealers.
They’ll know why not to take steroids, and hopefully will benefit from the message that they don’t have to be number one for God to love them. There’s a huge difference in using one’s God-given talent to the best of one’s ability and having to be better than everyone else.
Book Blurb for Stopped Cold
Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay. Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean. Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate and open her heart to love.
BioAward-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen book, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance eBooks. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Readers can find her on the internet on the staff of Clash ofthe Titles, at her blog, and on her website.
Buy Links for Stopped Cold:
Front Porch Romance
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My book review:
Front Porch Romance
c. April 10, 2013
From the publisher: Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.
Pallotta’s high school drama could take place anywhere. Pressure from all sides: parents, teachers, coaches, and peers take their toll, no matter the size or type of school. Margaret McWhorter and her brother Sean attend the exclusive Meriwether School, one which is targeted by drug-trafficking creeps who have infiltrated the very place that’s supposed to be a safe and supportive environment.
It’s not enough to be talented in the world of high school athletics. Margaret and Sean’s parents unwittingly push their son over the edge as new competition for Sean’s quarterback position comes in and takes over. Sean is pressured into taking steroids and body-building, and suffers a stroke and subsequent coma. Even though the pressure for Margaret, a champion swimmer, is eased by Sean’s condition and the resulting parental guilt, she can’t stop her own consuming desire for vengeance against those who hurt her brother.
But Margaret is only a freshman. She’s just learning about life in high school, what can she do to find the bad guys? And who are they? Who can she trust, besides her mother’s faith that God will make everything right? And Dad—he was the one who pushed Sean too much to begin with.
Detective Garrett, the one assigned to the case, is moving way too slow for Margaret’s taste. He won’t figure things out until someone else gets hurt, and Margaret isn’t about to let that happen. She finally confides in her best friend Emily, who agrees to keep her eyes and ears open around school and their fav hangout, The Grill. Life changes in many ways as Margaret is forced to learn who to trust and what to believe in. Emily is a Buddhist, and a boy Margaret secretly admires, Jimmy, wants to hang out and help find the people behind the drugs. Is Emily’s faith stronger than Mom’s? And what does Jimmy really want?
Find out in this great new read. Told in first person, follow Margaret’s journey to discover the depth of true character and faith not only in school and friends, but family.