Title: Lost In Thought
Author: Cara Bertrand
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance (psychic abilities)…with a contemporary flair
Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours
Lainey Young has a secret: she’s going crazy. Everyone else thinks she has severe migraines from stress and exhaustion. What she really has are visions of how people died—or are going to die. Not that she tells anyone that. At age sixteen, she prefers keeping her crazy to herself. When doctors insist she needs a new and stable environment to recover, Lainey’s game to spend two years at a private New England boarding school. She doesn’t really think it will cure her problem, and she’s half right. There is no cure, but as she discovers, she’s not actually crazy.
Almost everyone at Northbrook Academy has a secret too. Half the students and nearly all the staff are members of the Sententia, a hidden society of the psychically gifted. A vision of another student’s impending death confirms Lainey is one of them. She’d like to return the crappy gift of divining deaths with only a touch, but enjoys spending time with Carter Penrose—recent Academy graduate and resident school crush—while learning to control it. Lainey’s finally getting comfortable with her ability, and with Carter, when they uncover her true Sententia heritage. Now she has a real secret.
Once it’s spilled, she’ll be forced to forget protecting secrets and start protecting herself.
It started innocently, but isn’t that always how things start? My Aunt Tessa and I were shopping at a local antique store, pretty much my favorite way to spend free time. I picked up a heavy candlestick that looked classic, expensive, and at least a hundred years old. As I turned it over to check, I suddenly felt dizzy. I set it down, so I wouldn’t drop it, and sat on an antique bench I probably shouldn’t have. The dizziness passed, as quickly as it came, and I reached for the candlestick again.
This time I did drop it. When my fingers touched the tarnished silver, I had the oddest vision. In my mind, I saw a crying woman in an old-fashioned dress, complete with petticoats and a corset, looking down at a man in a similarly old-fashioned suit lying on the floor.
And bleeding from his temple.
I knew instantly that the man was dead and the woman, with the help of this candlestick, had killed him. I blinked and found myself right where I’d been, on the bench I shouldn’t have sat on, with the murdering candlestick dented on the floor. We bought the candle-stick, and its match, and I told my aunt that I got dizzy and needed to have some lunch. By the time I’d finished my sandwich, I believed it too. But that wasn’t the truth.
The truth was far stranger.
Cara is a former middle school literacy teacher who now lives in the woods outside Boston with: one awesome husband, two large dogs, one small daughter, and lots of words. LOST IN THOUGHT is her first novel and was one of three finalists for the 2011 Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award in the Young Adult category.
Thank you for dropping by today to share your story with my readers and agreeing to do an interview. Let's jump right in...
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Dreamed of it? Since I was kid. Realized I could do it? Here’s how it happened: One day during a car ride to somewhere, after I finished telling him about something I’d been reading, my husband said to me, “I’m surprised you never wrote a book.” I immediately responded, “I don’t think I could finish one.” I’ve always been great at not finishing things. But later I got mad at myself. I’d never actually tried to write a book. How did I know I couldn’t do it? So, I set out to prove myself wrong. And I did.
How long did it take you to write your book?
The fateful car conversation was probably in July. This was 2010. In August, I wrote a character sketch that would become the scene of Lainey and Carter’s first meeting. In September, I started writing a book in earnest. By about November I thought maybe I was writing something at least readable. By the end of December, I believed I would finish the book. That’s when I finally told my husband I was writing it. Around then, I made it my firm goal to enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, and that was a fortuitous choice. I cut it close, finishing the draft less than a week before the entry deadline the first week of February, and had one friend read through it before I had to enter. So, all that is to say about six months. (Many months of editing came after that.)
What genre is your book? What made you choose to write in that category?
YA Paranormal Romance (though I’ve always considered it not heavy on the paranormal). Why did I choose it? Because it was the idea that came to me, but that’s probably because I adore YA PNR and read it with great passion :) In this case, I wrote what I loved.
What was your work schedule like when you were writing?
Ah, that blissful time. It so happened that when I wrote Lost in Thought, my only real job was gestating my daughter. I learned I was pregnant shortly after I started writing and had some health concerns. Never enough for strict bed rest, but I was on pretty light duty during the majority of my pregnancy. I had vast amounts of time to sit with my laptop.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know how interesting this is, but anyway :) Before, I’d always play music from my computer, rotating between a small selection of albums I’d put on repeat. It’s shifted since my daughter was born, probably because in the early months she’d be sleeping nearby and I had to learn to work in quiet. Now I absolutely cannot tolerate music coming from the computer, even when I’m alone…But if it’s from further away from me, it’s okay. It’s weird.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Anywhere and everywhere. Lost in Thought started with a handsome kid who was a cashier in my liquor store and grew from there. Dropping down rabbit holes on the internet to see where they go. Dreams. Life.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Complete books, two. Actively in-process books, three. Additional book ideas with a few hundred to thousand words, five or six. Maybe more. None of them is a favorite—they’re my kids, and I love them all for different reasons :) My second book is a YA SciFi featuring a male protagonist, which was so much fun to write, and I expect to release it later this summer or early fall.
Are you currently working on another book? If so, is it part of a series or something different?
Oops. See above. I’m currently working on three, maybe four books. The sequel to Lost in Thought is nearly complete, and Book 3 is also underway. The third is a completely separate YA Contemporary that’s about a quarter complete. And I’m pretending not to write a fourth book, but it won’t leave me alone.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Read. That is and always has been my hobby. Books inhabit me. If I want to write, I don’t get a lot of free time, but I make time for books. Other than that, you can find me at the race track with my husband, cheering on our drivers (www.facebook.com/bertrandmotorsports).
What does your family think of your writing?
They are supremely supportive, for which I’m so grateful and also incredibly lucky. Without my husband’s encouragement, I’d never have started at all. It took me a long time after that to share my writing with anyone, family/friends/loved ones being the most difficult to show it to, because at the end of the day, you are deeply affected by their reactions. So far, they’ve been nothing but huge fans and I couldn’t ask for more!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in creating your books?
Honestly, the most surprising thing was that I could do it at all. The next most surprising was that maybe I wasn’t half bad at it either. More recently, I’ve been surprised by the sheer number of ideas I collect and the different directions I’ve taken my work.
Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Yes! Everyone writes differently and comes to writing by her or his own path, but there are three things I firmly believe will improve any writer’s work: 1) READ. Widely and often. (And by this I mean BOOKS, just books, not books ABOUT writing.) 2) WRITE. As much as possible. And a very distant 3) LEARN to take criticism and, where appropriate, apply it to your work.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say
I do sometimes! Most frequent comments are about wanting to know what happens next :) Readers tell me how they love Lainey and Carter, and Amy too. Amy’s very popular.
What do you think makes a good story?
Oh, boy. “Good story” is such a complex concept, but for me every good story has: characters I love and a need to know what happens to them.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A dog breeder. No, really. :) When I outgrew that, a teacher. Now, a writer. I did the second one for a while and am on to the third. Also, I think “growing up” never really ends.
Are you self published or do you have a publisher? If self published, what made you decide to go that route?
Funny you should ask… I’m very excited to announce officially TODAY that the entire Sententia Series, including a reissue in hardcover of Lost in Thought, has been signed by Luminis Books! They are a small, independent publisher founded in 2008 and are an author’s dream in terms of personal support and enthusiasm—they’re as excited about bringing Lainey and Carter’s journey to readers as I am! And while this new venture is the future of the series, the really good news is Lost in Thought will remain available online until the re-release in the spring! I’m so excited to share this news with readers for the first time today. You can follow up on my blog for continued news about release dates, promotions, and all the good stuff.
Do you have a website, fan page, blog or twitter we can pass on to your fans?
Yes! I can be found online at: www.carabertrand.com, @carabertrand, and carabertrand.tumblr.com and LOVE to interact in these places. (I don’t have an author Facebook page, sorry.)
Where can your books be found? Please list Your author page from amazon and links to your books anywhere else they can be purchased. thank you