Happy Release Day to Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall!! I was lucky enough to get to do a Q&A with the author and a giveaway at the end of the post!!! So make sure to check out the post!
by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Deirdre Riordan Hall’s young adult fiction gets to the heart of universal issues that many readers can relate to, such as self-worth, body image, substance abuse, addiction and the need for acceptance from others. Her debut novel Sugar, about an obese girl who breaks free from her family’s emotional and physical cycle of abuse, Hypable called “one of those books that sneaks up and hits you in the gut with its powerful truth.”
Now, Hall introduces a new compelling young heroine in PEARL (Skyscape: publication date: March 1, 2016: hardcover: $16.99 / paperback: $9.99), a novel that tackles thorny questions of identity, friendship, love, and the ties that bind — both the good and bad — one to family.
Pearl Jaeger is caught in a trap of codependency with her mother JJ, a washed-up rock star who is hopelessly addicted to drugs and desperate to hold onto her last scraps of fame. Getting her latest fix is more important than providing a stable, healthy home for her smart and artistic teenage daughter, who has aspirations of a better life for herself — and for her mother. But when an abusive boyfriend sends JJ to a women’s shelter with Pearl in tow, it’s only a matter of time before she lands back in rehab or worse—and Pearl ends up alone on the streets.
A way out for Pearl presents itself when her rich uncle offers to pay her tuition and expenses at an exclusive boarding school. But she soon discovers that her privileged classmates, who have no idea of her background, care more about breaking the rules than making the most of their opportunities, and she’s pulled into their maelstrom of underage drinking and drug use. Soon, she finds herself on the same tempting and dangerous path towards addiction that destroyed her mother’s life. Pearl looks to a budding romance with shy and sweet fellow student, Grant, for salvation, but even he can’t protect Pearl from her inner demons and a future she fears is inevitable.
Pearl realizes that to avoid her mother’s fate, she has to end the cycle of recklessness and broken promises on her own terms—and find the strength to make peace with her troubled past and her mother’s legacy. Readers will discover that PEARL works as a modern-day fairy tale, in that it features a young woman who rescues herself not with the help of a prince, but with her own determination and strength of character.
Deirdre Riordan Hall explains, “Through story-telling, my intention is to convey to girls and women, readers everywhere, that despite our experiences—however painful they may be—what we look like, and where we come from, we still have the choice to accept and celebrate ourselves. Even if we don’t directly relate to a character’s narrative, we, as people, share this crazy and joyous human experience, and can empathize by recognizing the threads that join us together.”
“This is an accurate depiction of addiction, peer pressure, and temptation from a teen’s perspective. VERDICT: A read for mature teens looking for realistic fiction dealing with the struggles of addiction, love, and identity.” —School Library Journal
“Hall writes with confidence as she delves ever deeper into her character's portrayal, just as Pearl tries to paint her own portrait… A character-driven book for readers who like their fare on the intense side.” —Kirkus Reviews__________________________________________________________________________
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deirdre Riordan Hall grew up in New England. During her teens, she traveled throughout the United States and Europe, developing a love for stories and a desire to connect with worlds—imagined or real—on the page. She has written Sugar and the Follow Your Bliss series. She now lives in Southern California. When not spending time with her family, writing, or traveling, Hall is at the beach, pretending to be a mermaid.
Q&A with Deirdre Riordan Hall!
1. You write about some pretty serious topics in your books. Do you do research prior to writing? Is it difficult to write about these topics sometimes?
The source of the content of my books comes from three places: it's part personal experience, part observation or things borrowed from the lives of others and reimagined through a fictional lens, and it's part research and my imagination.
It can be incredibly difficult to write about some of the topics, but what's worse, is people living alone and isolated in their truths. It's my hope to push through the darkness and bring some light into all our lives.
2. What is your writing process? Do you outline or jump right in?
Each book is different (and I have twenty complete manuscripts under my belt now). Usually I outline. For fantasy, it's often a sizable document. The longest outline to date was 30,000 words (and the books average around 95,000). But I recently (for fun mostly) "pantsed" it. When I go to revise, I'll let you know if it was successful.
3. What do you do to get past writers block?
I'm always hesitant to answer this question because I'm afraid I'll jinx myself, but maybe the better way for me to look at it is sometimes I get "stuck" and have a tough time getting around a situation or scene. For the most part I'm very, very lucky in that my ideas for books, characters, and themes are plentiful (whether they're any good is another question entirely). If I am stuck though, I often shift gears and work on something else for a while, procrastinate on social media, or just get my butt out of the chair and do something completely different. Often movement (like a walk or dance break!) helps.
4. How do you choose your characters names? Some have been unique thus far.
In all honesty, the main characters names are often born pretty quickly, when the idea for the novel is taking form. But secondary or ancillary characters? Forget it! I'll be so hung up on a name or change a name five times. Then I'll forget what their new name is. It's the worst. The other tricky thing about naming is being careful not to use the names of people I know or reuse names. If your name is in one of my books, it's not personal! Unless it's an awesome character ;-)
5. Are there any authors that have or do inspire you to write? If so who and why?
There are so many. All the authors! Anyone dedicated to seeing a story, character, or theme through until the end. But among my absolute favorites are: J.K Rowling because she creates worlds like nobody's business, but also Maggie Stiefvater, Jandy Nelson, Rainbow Rowell, Heather Demetrios, Leah Bardugo…I could go on and on!
6. Do you read much if you have spare time? If so, what genres and authors do you enjoy? What are you reading now?
I read every chance I get. In fact, I'm very guilty of losing sleep (and a lot of it!) over books. I mostly read YA contemporary and fantasy, but I'll also jump into new adult from time to time. Right now, I'm reading THIS RAGING LIGHT by Estelle Laure. It's beautiful!
7. Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy when you're not writing?
I have tons of hobbies and not enough time. I surf, practice yoga, have a salsa garden…and recently tried to pick up crocheting, but that was a big failure involving lots of knots.
8. Did you have any other jobs before you were an author?
I ran the gamut: waitress, barista, long time student if that counts, lactation counselor, yoga teacher…
9. I love the cover for Pearl. How did you go about choosing it? Were you part of the process?
Thank you! My amazing publishing team at Skyscape get full credit along with the designer, Shasti O'Leary Soudant. I got to chime in the early stages, but they were the genius behind it.
10. What inspired you to write Pearl?
I recently answered this in long form elsewhere, but the shortest answer I can give is I wrote PEARL for girls like me who grew up in families with alcoholism and drug addiction, for people who feel alone and isolated, and for all of us to remember that our lives are ultimately our own stories to write.
Favorite food? Chips and salsa!
Favorite candy? I'm allergic to sugar! (I know, sad.)
Favorite book? Ahhh!!! Today my favorite book is Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, but it changes weekly.
Favorite season? Summer when I don't have to wear a wet suit to surf.
Coffee or no coffee? No coffee…I'm such a weirdo!
Favorite restaurant? Ooh… tough. I'll say family-style Mexican with homemade salsa and guacamole.
Manicure or pedicure? Pedicure for mermaid toes. I know, that doesn't really make sense, but they're the closest to scales that I can get ;-)
Visit deirdrehallriordan.com and follow her on Twitter: @DeirdreSpark.
PEARL: A Novel by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Skyscape | March 1, 2016 | Ages 14 and up
Price: $16.99 hardcover, $9.99 paperback, $5.99 eBook
Paperback copy of Pearl:
1. This giveaway is US only. You may choose either paperback or ebook. Whichever you desire.
2. Must be 13 or older to enter. Please have parents permission otherwise.
3. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.
4. I am not responsible for items lost or damaged in the mail.