Thursday, October 5, 2017

"Carry Me Home" by Jessica Therrien

Carry Me Home
by Jessica Therrien

Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien

Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Carry Me Home is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for "white girl", and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs.
Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.
They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.
But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.
Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.
Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.

Chapter 1
For the most part, I remember my childhood as dry weeds and dirt roads, warm sun and birdsong. The silky coat of a mare and filth of pigs in mud. Eighty acres of ranch land is an endless playground for any kid. And in those na├»ve years it was easy to ignore the beer on my father’s breath as I skipped off to fetch him another. My mother’s weepy eyes were nothing to question, because I didn’t know any better. But time chisels away that purity until there’s nothing left but truth.
Neither one of my parents is happy.
At seventeen, I’m ready to leave. The ranch of my youth is a wasteland of empty, overgrown pastures and rusting barbed wire fences. Much like their marriage, it’s tired and used up. There’s nothing left to give.
Tonight, the air feels heavy. I can smell the tension in the ever-present cigarette smoke. At first the rising pitch of their voices doesn’t bother me. I’m used to them fighting. But my heart seizes when I hear him yell, and when Dad’s words become a throat-scratching, red-faced shout, my sister, Lucy, sneaks into my room.
My bedroom has always been a sanctuary for her on nights like these.
She doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t have to. We just listen to the rage as it filters through the walls.
“I’m going out there,” she says.
If she were younger I’d stop her. I’d take her little-girl hand and lead her into the quiet closet like I used to, but she’s fifteen now, and there’s no stopping Lucy from doing anything.
My only choice is to follow her.
I find her frozen in the hallway, stiff-legged as a terra-cotta soldier. Mom is just as still, back pressed against the far wall of the kitchen. Dad’s bloodshot eyes are wide and crazed. Wispy pieces of thinning, grey hair have come loose from his short ponytail.
He’s pacing our living room, whisky glass in one hand, a rifle in the other.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"A riveting page-turner ... Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces - and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page." ~ Kat Ross, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea
"Carry Me Home is far and away one of my favorite new novels. This beautifully written novel may reduce you to tears, and will absolutely leave you feeling uplifted and inspired." ~ Holly Kammier, best-selling author of Kingston Court
"... a heart-filled story between three women and the challenges of being a family. Be prepared to tear up through their struggles and their hopes." ~ Christa Yelich-Koth, best-selling author of Illusion

Interview With the Author
Jessica Therrien joins me today to discuss her new book, Carry Me Home.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
16 and up.
What sparked the idea for this book?
It’s based on a true story. It’s about my sister and her experience with Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles when we were teens. She was my inspiration for this one.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
My sister experienced some really difficult and violent things. Having to re-hash them out in detail was tough for both of us.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it inspires people to be grateful for and love their families.
How long did it take you to write this book?
About two years. My sister started and I took over.
What is your writing routine?
I have two boys (ages 2 and 4) ... which means there is absolutely no routine at all. I write amidst complete chaos.
How did you get your book published?
I met my original publisher at a writer’s conference in Los Angeles. You can read about my full publishing journey here.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Read. Write. Go to a writers conference.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
What does your family think of your writing?
They are all very encouraging, although I had to villainize the father character in this new one, which made me feel bad, but it was necessary for the story. He was still really supportive, though.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up on an eighty acre ranch in a town of 108 in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I went to school with the same kids since preschool and my graduating class was about 30 total ... small town life. It was nice.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I hated it until I found Harry Potter at about age sixteen.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I got a boring desk job and found myself writing to pass the time ... but even as a kid I remember narrating in my head. I feel like it’s always been in me.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
My mom is an English teacher, so I think that really influenced my writing.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My Children of the Gods series is published in France, and I’d say I hear from them the most. I get all sorts of broken English emails from readers who love my books. Those are my favorites. To reach out in a different language to an author means you really have to have loved the book! I’m so grateful to all of my readers.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m co-writing a YA suspense-thriller called Disavowed with a screenwriter named Joe Gazzam. It’s about a 23-year-old ex-marine who finds out her dad is in the CIA. He gets into trouble and so does she ... it’s like a YA girl version of Burn Notice (the TV show).
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Jessica. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Jessica Therrien
Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).
Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.
Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an adult novel and a middle grade fantasy series.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of five prize bundles of 10 books each (ebooks and at least 1 paperback per bundle) OR a signed hardcover copy of Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien OR a signed hardcover copy of Oppression by Jessica Therrien (US only).