Thursday, May 30, 2019

"Within and Without" by Deborah Maroulis

Within and Without
by Deborah Maroulis

Within and Without by Deborah Maroulis

Within and Without by Deborah Maroulis is currently on tour with Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author and an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Some people go to great lengths to fit in. But how far is too far?
After her parent’s divorce, sixteen-year-old Wren Newmann is forced to move from a small California town to her grandmother’s vineyard, where she’s convinced she’ll die a shriveled, wine-country virgin. Her dad’s gone AWOL, her mom’s hooking up with anything in pants, and her best friend has found the love of her life. Apart from the annoying but cute Greek farmhand Panayis, who doesn’t appear to notice her awkwardness or thunder thighs, Wren’s life has hit an all-time low.
That is until her own dating life improves unexpectedly when Jay, Wren’s long-time country crush, notices her. Yet it’s as if people don’t want her to be happy, with their warnings and advice that perhaps Jay isn’t the right guy for her. But they don’t know, and Wren’s done being Beached Whale Girl. She’s determined to become social, skinny, and sexy, because Jay wants her - every part of her.
Though her anxiety and secret purging sessions sing another warning that she finds hard to ignore. And when a series of personal tragedies strikes, Wren’s life is flipped upside down and she’s left to pick up the pieces of her broken relationships. Now, she must find the inner strength to decide if the illusion of being loved is worth sacrificing her health, and maybe even her life.
Described as “unflinching and authentic”, Within and Without is a stunning debut that touches on a teenage girl’s emotionally haunting journey to self acceptance “that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.”

The boy I’ve secretly loved for the last three years is parking in Granny’s driveway. The tires of his blue 4x4 roll to a stop, and warbled song lyrics promising a good time boom over the vineyards.
Dear fashion gods, now would be the perfect time to send me something flowy and flattering.
I sink into the porch swing as my heart matches the thump of the beat echoing against the wrap-around porch. I suck in my gut and lift my heels so my legs won’t smoosh against the bench—a trick I learned to instantly look a size smaller. My hands smooth over my jeans in the hopes the fashion gods might reconsider.
Again, no such luck.
The driver’s door swings open, and Jay leaps to the ground, sauntering up the graveled driveway to the porch. To me. Now all that’s separating us is a white picket fence and sixteen years of my inability to be normal in a social setting.
I’ll take Dying Alone for $200, Alex.
He’s abandoned his usual work boots and flannel for a tank top and canvas slip-ons. He’s obviously not supposed to be working—so what’s he here for? Probably been in town with his friends doing friend-ish things. As he works the gate latch, the muscles under his fair skin flex, sending the hundred-degree temperature up another ten. He’s easily the most attractive being on the planet I wish I had the nerve to talk to. I did try once. But we don’t discuss The Dark Days.
“Jay!” his dad calls from the path by the garage. “I’m back here.” Jay stops and turns. They meet at the gate and his dad nods to me. “Hi, Wren.”
“Hi, Mr. Dressler.” He runs the part of Granny’s business that makes wine.
Jay glances my way, every brown hair crowning his head and freckle sprinkling his nose exactly where they should be.
“Hey,” I say to Jay. To my horror, my voice cracks.
He nods in my direction, staring a second too long before turning back to face his dad. Probably thinking the awkward is strong in this one.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Unflinching, authentic, and the perfect mixture of bold and sweet, Within and Without is a story readers will lose themselves in more than once. A debut both heartwarming and heartbreaking from an exciting new voice in YA literature.” ~ Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts and Last Girl Lied To
“A moving portrait of first love, friendship, and the pressures we put upon ourselves daily. Maroulis tackles the delicate subject of eating disorders with a realistic pen, all while maintaining a humorous and hopeful tone. Within and Without will stay with you long after you turn the last page.” ~ Samantha Joyce, author of Flirting with Fame
“A heartfelt and moving story of friendship, first love, and finding yourself. Maroulis isn't afraid to tackle tough topics to show that finding love requires learning to love yourself.” ~ Kelly deVos, author of Fat Girl on a Plane
“It is such an important book.” ~ Eliza, Goodreads
“A heartfelt new voice.” ~ Hannah, Goodreads
“Well-written, engaging, and thoughtful.” ~ RJ, Goodreads

Guest Post by the Author
If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Writing
If I were writing this post in my early years of learning the craft, I would start by slowly opening my eyes, then roll out of bed, examine myself in the mirror and narrate my features, grab a piece of toast on my way to my hand-me-down car and the first day of school. In the hallway, I’d probably see my crush and forget to let out the breath I was holding.
After my first draft, John Hughes called and wanted the 80s back.
When I first started writing seriously, I wrote with a mixture of what I’d read in other books, seen on TV or in movies, and a dash of my sense of humor. I tried to mimic the formatting I’d noticed in other books and relied heavily on my academic knowledge of MLA. It took me forever to be able to use contractions and fragments - all my characters sounded like Data from The Next Generation!
After working with a developmental editor, I realized how many filter words I relied on and how my dialogue tags were so long and random, readers had a tough time following along. One of the revisions I did for Within and Without was to change the original past tense to present. Yes, it was tedious. Yes, I got tired of it. But it was the best way for me to search the story for all the problematic phrasing and make it better.
Here’s what I did. (Bear with me, it’s a little crazy.) I took all the clunky sentences and pasted them into Twitter like I was preparing a tweet. Something about isolating the sentence made me able to make them better. Not that every sentence makes the character limit, but reducing the red as much as possible made the sentences as simple and as powerful as I could make them.
Now that I’ve been through the major revision process a couple of times, my writing is a little cleaner than when I started. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to dig out the fine-toothed comb when it’s time to turn something in. But at least I’m not spending weeks (or months!) doing it anymore.
It’s like Taylor Mali says in his famous poem, and I’m paraphrasing - in math, we’re instructed to show all our work, but in English, we must hide it. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of all the John Hughes in my work. Some things are embedded forever. But now I’m in control of how much I show. Just like Andie and her prom dress.

About the Author
Deborah Maroulis
Born and raised in a small town in Northern California, Deborah Maroulis is lucky enough to surround herself with the things and people she loves. She teaches English and mythology at her local community college, studies myth and depth psychology in her Ph.D. program, and writes contemporary Young Adult novels. She lives in a slightly bigger town than the one she grew up in with her husband, newly-adult children, and her daughter’s very spoiled, semi-retired service dog.


Featured in this post: