Monday, February 17, 2014

"Perfect Opposite" by Zoya Tessi

Perfect Opposite
by Zoya Tessi

Perfect Opposite is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please make sure you visit the other tour stops as well.

Their wishes were simple and modest. Fate had other things in store though, and she can be a real bitch sometimes.
All he wanted was to get the job done and somehow to endure those long months playing nanny to a spoiled little rich girl. Without strangling her with his bare hands in the process. Well, it is going to be much easier said than done.
All she wanted was to escape the past and live like any other nineteen-year-old girl. Her plan definitely didn’t include the arrogant, tattooed savage, with his awful Mohawk hair and lack of social graces, whose only mission was to stick real close and mess up her life.
But, people aren't always what they seem to be, are they?

Book Trailer

“Oh God,” I gasped.
Dumbfounded, I studied his eyes, which seemed to be some color between green and blue. Gray, I decided.
Even though his nose was slightly crooked, as if it had been broken few times and his features were too harsh for him to be anyone’s idea of cute, this was definitely the most attractive man I’d ever seen.
“Close. But, not quite right,” towering over me, he replied in a husky voice “Guess again”.
“Well, you said Oh God… Try again.”

I am completely blown away by this book. Sasha's father tells her she needs a bodyguard to keep her safe cause he is in trouble with the Russian mob. Then comes Alex covered in tattoos has a Mohawk, he is big, mean and scary. He is a total beast, like kicking doors down, throw you over his shoulder sexy hot. She is so funny and they drive each other crazy. It just gets better and better. He is also a gentle giant and I really did not see that coming. This was such an amazing love story. I finished last night and I am already re-reading it. I want everyone I know to read it, like right now. Best book I read in a long time, it left a huge impression on me. <3

Interview With the Author
Hi Zoya, thanks for joining me today to discuss your debut novel, Perfect Opposite.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I would say 17+ due to harsh language, alcohol use and some violence.
What sparked the idea for this book?
To be honest, I have no idea where that inspiration came from. I’d had the idea for the story rolling around in my head for some time, but at the start I didn’t plan to write it in book form. In fact, when I started writing, I was doing it for myself and wasn’t planning to publish it. Writing the story was mainly for my personal satisfaction. And when I started – I just couldn’t stop.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
The character’s story, definitely. You can have the best story ever, but if your characters are shallow and readers can’t connect with them - it’s all in vain. When I’m reading a book, I need to “feel” those characters, to experience what they experience, to be happy when they are, to cry when they are sad. Without that, the book will never “suck me in”.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The hardest part was definitely the rewriting. When I decided to publish Perfect Opposite, I had to go through the whole story again and again. When you write for your own pleasure, you don’t pay attention to certain details, like providing explanations as to why a particular character acts in certain ways. In my mind, I knew my characters inside out, and already knew how and why they would act in a given situation, but readers couldn’t possibly know any of that. Therefore, I had to add some scenes or conversations … extend certain descriptions and add some conflict, so that readers might understand the characters better. The second-hardest part was choosing the title.
It's a great title! How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope they will laugh. I hope they will cry. I hope that they will find themselves surprised and shocked in some parts. If I manage to make them feel any emotion towards Alex and Sasha, be it anger, sorrow, love, excitement or frustration, I would be happy.
How long did it take you to write this book?
More or less, one year. If you add editing and publishing, it would be a year and a half.
What is your writing routine?
There isn’t one. Sometimes I write for days, every day, and sometimes I can’t write a single sentence for a week. It depends on inspiration. I never use character sheets or notes. The story flow is already in my mind, as are the main characters. In my head, I already know what they look like, what they love or hate, how they will act in certain situations, and the only thing I need to do is to find time and put that in writing.
How did you get your book published?
After I finished it and sent it for editing, I self-published on Amazon Kindle. I’ve just published it through Smashwords for all other platforms. I think that, even if some traditional publisher approached me (in some crazy dream, I mean), I could never sell my baby. You know, take the money and just give my story to them.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
First of all, find a really good editor, and not some charlatan. I learned that hard way. This is the thing that can make difference between 2 star review and 5 star review. Then, find a professional cover artist to design your book cover and let him do his job instead of asking him to make something that you consider “a bloody great cover” (because, it usually won’t be). When I approached DDD guys, I insisted on a photo-based cover that would show a young couple in embrace (you know, some ordinary NA cover design). When I received the mail from them, saying that they don’t agree with my proposition, I was so mad. “Who do you think you are, telling me how MY book cover should look like?” I wanted to shout. And then, I opened the file they attached. It left me with my mouth hanging open. It was completely different, unique, eye-catchy and absolutely perfect. Now, I couldn’t imagine my book with any other cover.
Those two things, editing and professional cover design - are not expenses. They are investment.  
I do love the cover! What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I don’t have much free time (I have an ordinary everyday job), but when I do, I usually hang out with friends, watch movies and, of course, read.  
What does your family think of your writing?
Well, they have never been kind of supportive to be honest (with my sister as only exception). When I announced that I’m going to publish a book they were like “What? You? Yeah, sure.” But, when I showed them the numbers after the first month ... well, that shut their mouths.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
Oh, I was a terrible child, always ready for some mischief. Constantly in some kind of trouble. One sentence that could describe my childhood would be “Holy crap! She fell from a tree? Again?”
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Yeah, I’ve been a serious book addict since I was six. And, it only got worse since then. I’m afraid that my addiction is incurable.
Not a bad addiction to have! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wouldn’t call myself “a writer” considering that writing is something I do in my free time. A passionate reader with writing tendencies might be a better term.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Childhood experiences – no. But some later experiences, very much so. In fact, Alex is based on someone I once knew and who meant a lot to me.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I can’t name any particular writer that influenced me, because there are so many I admire. I love Katja Millay’s ability to make unique characters. I worship Sherrilyn Kenyon, her imagination and talent to create complex stories and tie them to mythology. I adore Susan Ee and the way she manages to make such a dark, gory story and fit a romance inside. There are so many talented writers there and every one of them can teach you something. The more I read, the more I learn.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I love hearing from my readers and do my best to answer each and every piece of mail I get. Sometimes they ask “What are you planning next? Can we expect the sequel?” (the sequel, no, but maybe Alex’s POV story), or “Do you speak Russian?” (yes, I do), or “Where the story takes place?” (wherever you want it to). Sometimes I get some really angry mail from readers who haven’t finished the book yet, saying “How could you do that? I hate you!”, but I just reply “Keep reading”, and smile.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
For now I’m working on another book which will be a paranormal YA romance. The main story’s set in the present, but flashbacks are going to take us back a few centuries. And no, there’ll be no vampires or angels, if that was your next question. The story is, once more, about a far from ordinary young couple, unique in their own very special way. I’ll admit to being a little concerned about how readers will accept the main hero in this book, when they learn about his very troubled and, let’s say, bloody past. But, we’ll see. That’s all I can say for now.
Sounds intriguing. Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Zoya.

About the Author
A teenager in an adult’s body. A rebel in the guise of an ordinary citizen. A lady with very unladylike language. A dreamer with a rational mind. A woman born into the wrong era, she still believes that chivalry’s a feat to define the perfect man.
Zoya spent years doing volunteering work all across Europe, from cleaning school basements in Northern Russia to excavating Stone Age artifacts in Euskadi (the Basque country) and renovating castles from the middle ages in Southern France. She always dreamed of working with ‘Doctors without borders’ somewhere out in Africa, but ended up doing an ‘ordinary job’.
Her greatest passion is devouring each and every book that comes within her reach.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of Perfect Opposite by Zoya Tessi.