This story is inspired by the Author’s true-life experience, and because there’s a lot of murders involved, it makes it for a tense reading. The cover is pure perfection. Because of the nature of the story, I’m particularly happy to have Carissa here with me today.
The story is Magnetic by Carissa Miller, a Contemporary, Young Adult novel.
When Elle Christiansen’s rebellion leads to her father’s expulsion from a parsonage in small-town Ohio, the forlorn pair is forced to move to Oklahoma to live with an aunt neither of them has ever met. Here she encounters her aunt’s neighbor—Maverick Mason, the quietly confident son of a wealthy oil tycoon who infuriates her as much as he inexplicably draws her in…
Maverick slowly gains Elle’s trust and coaxes her out from the seemingly impenetrable walls of self-protection she erected around her heart when her mother was murdered. He convinces Elle to confide the secrets of her tortured past: that she saw her mother’s murder before it took place, and she was the one who found her, bleeding to death at the end of a lonely dirt road. Together the unlikely pair begins to unlock the secrets of not only Elle’s sordid past, but her mother’s and grandmother’s as well, to uncover decades of greed, corporate corruption, lies, and murder. Quickly, the sobering realization hits: if they do not solve her mother’s murder, Elle will undoubtedly suffer the same fate. As she continues her journey toward truth alongside the boy she is magnetically drawn to in a way both frightening and uncontrollable, Elle finds the road she is most afraid of going down—that one lane dirt road where her mother was murdered—just might be the only place she can truly find redemption.
Magnetic tells of the enduring pain of living with unsolved violent crime. Inspired by debut author Carissa Miller’s true-life events, it’s a haunting account of a young girl’s struggle in the aftermath of shattering loss. With an unraveling love story, puzzling mystery, unexpected twists and turns, and a gripping pace that will keep you turning pages, our heroine takes you on her journey as she learns one of life’s great lessons: facing your fears instead of running from them, is the only way to truly find freedom.
And here she is: Carissa! So, we know the story is based on real experiences, can you tell us a little bit more about it?
When I was ten years old, a man hid in the back of my mother’s mini-van with a knife. When she turned onto a road less than a mile from our house, he came out from his hiding spot in the back of the van and plunged his knife into her chest repeatedly. He tried to rape her and he stabbed her multiple times, then left her lying in a ditch on the side of a road in McAlester, Oklahoma, naked and bleeding to death. The man who tried to murder my mom was never apprehended and was never brought to justice. I grew up with the pain of an unsolved violent crime, and that is what inspired me to write this story about a young teenage girl struggling to cope in the aftermath of her mother’s murder. And perhaps, I wrote this story as well because although my mother’s attempted murder will never be solved, I realized I could heal by writing a story where a young girl is able to solve her mother’s murder.
Well, it takes guts to face your story head-up like you did, so hats off to you! Did you have to do some research do to write this book?
I researched the Osage Indian Murders that happened in the early 1920’s. These are the murders that are highlighted in David Grann’s book Killers of the Flower Moon. At this time in Oklahoma history, Osage Indians were being murdered for the headrights to their oil. These murders largely influenced the mystery that I wrote into my book.
Let’s step outside the heavy questions and let me ask you this: if your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?
I love playing this game! I have had so many people send me pictures of who their Maverick and Elle are. I think my favorite is Shay Mitchell from Pretty Little Liars for Elle, and Liam Hemsworth with his hair dyed darker for Maverick.
What soundtrack your story would have?
There is a brand new song from Phillips and Phillips called Magnetic! But other than that I have a whole soundtrack list and here are some of my favorites:
Issues – Julia Michaels
Bad at Love – Halsey
Fix You – Coldplay
Scientist – Cold Play
Four Walls – Broods
Skinny Love – Bon Iver
Unsteady – X Ambassadors
Adore You – Miley Cyrus (yep Miley Cyrus. This song is just too perfect for this book)
Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your story?
That facing your fears instead of running them is the only true way to find freedom.
Is there a funny thing about writing your book?
I wrote the notes for my book on a crumpled piece of QuikTrip paper and I still have it in the night stand by my bed! Also, I never expected anyone to read it and told no one I wrote it. My daughter and son found it on my computer and started reading it and loved it! They told me I had to finish it and publish it. If they wouldn’t have found it on my computer, no one ever would have seen it.
What are you working on now?
The sequel to Magnetic.
Do you have a day job?
Yes! My husband and I design, build, and remodel houses in the Midwest and I blog about our experiences over at www.ccandmike.com. I am a full-time lifestyle and design blogger who writes on the side and hopes to be able to write full-time one day!
What started you on the path to writing?
I have always enjoyed writing. When I was a child, I won several writing competitions. I just never realized until adulthood that it is something I would like to pursue as a career! I started writing again as a way to cope and heal with unsolved violent crime—my mother’s attempted murder—but I realize now I would like to write for the rest of my life!
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I divide my day between writing, blogging, and designing. Often, I have to go to job sites and client’s homes and it can be hard to carve out time for writing. I am learning that I will have to wake up at 5 am to write for two hours before my kids and family wake up if I want to continue to pursue being an author
How do you keep from resenting your duties when you have to stop writing to take care of them?
This is a good question and is something I’m still struggling with to be honest. It’s so hard to “turn off” your brain when you are in the zone of writing. I think carving out a specific time to write (like I said, 5-7 am in the morning) can help with this because you know you have to stop at a specified time.
Has your environment or upbringing colored your writing?
Absolutely! I was the youngest of three preacher’s daughters from a small town in Southeastern Oklahoma. My experiences growing up have definitely influenced my writing!
What do your friend and family think about your being a writer?
They have been so supportive. Some of my best friends are really the reason Magnetic ever came to being published. They begged and begged me for chapters and when I finally let them read it, they couldn’t put it down. They gave me the confidence to continue moving forward with Magnetic!
The biggest surprise you had after becoming a writer?
I was surprised by how much work it takes after you are done writing and publishing to market your book!!! It’s ongoing and you are by no means done when you launch your book!
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
The healing I found while writing. During writing Magnetic, I was able to forgive the man who tried to murder my mom.
The toughest critic that’s ever been given to you as an author?
I had my first one star review this past week in which someone ripped apart my writing and said that my Amazon rating being so high was ridiculous. I was actually surprised at how I didn’t take it personally in the least. My book isn’t for everyone but I’m so proud of myself for having the courage to write it and publish it. No one can ever take that accomplishment away from me and I refuse to allow critics to cheapen it.
What are your top three favorite books of all time?
Hunger Games, ACOTAR Trilogy, and The Lord of the Rings
Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead).
Oprah. Because she’s Oprah and I would love doing Oprah’s Favorite Things and just having so much to give to people and also because I could then choose Magnetic for her book club. Haha!
If you were an animal, which one would you be?
Wait can I choose a unicorn?
If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, which would it be?
A pet peeve.
People touching me with their feet, especially if they have long toe nails. GROSS. Gag me out.
What bill do you hate paying the most?
Cable. Because it’s just ridiculous how much they charge for cable these days.
What errand/chore do you despise the most?
LAUNDRY. I repeat, LAUNDRY.
Thank you, Carissa!
If you want to know more about Carissa or her book, follow the Tour.
You can find the schedule here (http://xpressobooktours.com/2018/02/01/tour-sign-up-magnetic-by-carissa-miller/).
You can follow along with Carissa and her family on Instagram – ccandmikecreative, Facebook – CC and Mike, Pinterest – CC and Mike, Twitter, or by subscribing to their blog – http://www.ccandmike.com/.