Series: The New Pioneers, Book One
Author: Deborah Nam-Krane
Published: March 29th, 2013
Word Count: 85,000
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit
Content Warning: Brief references to adult situations and minor adult language
Recommended Age: 14+
Synopsis: Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she's going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily's ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She's going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn't the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she'd cross the line for would do the same for her?
Title: The Family You Choose
Series: The New Pioneers, Book Two
Author: Deborah Nam-Krane
Published: September 10th, 2013
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit
Synopsis: Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough? The Family You Choose is Book Two in The New Pioneers Series
About the Author:
Deborah Nam-Krane was born in New York, raised in Cambridge and went to school in Boston. You’re forgiven for assuming she’s prejudiced toward anything city or urban. She’s been writing in one way or another since she was eight years old (and telling stories well before that). She first met some of the characters in this story when she was thirteen years old, but it took two decades- and a couple of other characters- to get the story just right. In 2012 she wrote the History section of her sister Suzanne Nam’s Moon Thailand (Moon Handbooks). A blogger since 2006, she can be found in a number of places. Please check http://writtenbydeb.blogspot.com for more information and to join her mailing list.
Interview between Keira Kroft and Deborah Nam-Krane
Welcome to Keira’s Corner, where there is always chocolate, and lots and lots of coffee.
Keira: You have a story out entitled The Smartest Girl in the Room. What is that about?
Nineteen year old Emily is ambitious with a capital A. She wants her college diploma ASAP, and she's going to get it. But while Emily can handle getting kicked out of her mother's house, a broken heart and a lying boyfriend, when the person she cares about the most is hurt, suddenly she's more than a little ruthless. Emily's doing a very good job convincing everyone that she can get everything done on her own, but aren't smart people supposed to know when it's okay to ask for help?
Keira: What made you choose that title?
I have somehow convinced people that I'm very intelligent, which in a lot of ways is great but in other ways exhausting. It seems that smart people- and especially smart women- aren't allowed to like things like soap operas or romance. When we read and when we write, we're supposed to be deep.
The title is relevant to the book- Emily is very intelligent- but it's also a wink to all of the other smart women who like to read romance and chick lit.
Finally, it's a reference to a saying a small-businesswoman once said to me: "You never want to be the smartest person in any room." The corollary: if you're the smartest person in the room…go find another room.
Keira: How many books have you written?
As of this writing, I've written five books, and two of them I feel so good about I'm actually letting other people read them. The Smartest Girl in the Room was followed by The Family You Choose, and my editor has both The China Doll and Let's Move On… in her queue. I'm working on the fifth installment in The New Pioneers series, but in between that I also drafted…wait for it…a guide to homeschooling in a city on a very limited budget. (Which, I know, doesn't exactly scream Romance or Chick Lit, but that's how I roll.)
Keira: We have a special place for unpublished writers in our hearts, here at Keira’s Corner. So what advice would you give to an unpublished writer?
· Your stories are all about your characters. Spend your time "getting to know them" and it will make your job much easier.
· Keep reading, keep writing and keep editing.
· Don't worry about your story being perfect; get it out onto paper and then perfect it.
· Find an editor you can work with, and know that there are a lot of them out there, and at many different price points. We may scrimp on a lot of things (like marketing!), but an editor should be the thing we plan on spending money on.
Keira: What do you wear, to write?
I know there are people who think writing in your pyjamas is the best thing ever, but I need to do things like shower and change my clothes to get into the groove. Otherwise it feels like I haven't really begun my day. Having said that, I would prefer to wear something like yoga pants or soft jeans to anything structured.
Keira: Is writing your only talent?
I've been told I can carry a tune by most people, but if you ask my musician daughters, they might not agree.
Keira: What time of day, do you write best?
First thing in the morning and last thing at night are a little too stressful for me; between my children and my husband, something's bound to drag my attention away. I feel like I hit my groove best between 11 and 2 or 3. I'm fully awake and my creative brain has had a couple of hours to kick in.
Very specific, I know, which is why I usually take whatever time I can get.
Keira: Please share a particular detail about one of characters, please.
Richard Hendrickson is the quiet, dependable big brother everyone's always dreamed of having, particularly Emily. She can tell almost immediately that he's had to bear more than most men his age, and that's something she can relate to. But he's just waiting for the right person to help bring out his lighter side, and the person who does so isn't the one you think it's going to be when you first meet him.
Let’s get personal…
Keira: Are you married?
I have been married to the same man for over twenty years. We had a whirlwind courtship. We knew each other for two years, but either he was dating someone or I was. We finally started dating in March of 1993, and by April we were married.
Keira: Do you have children?
I have four children, two girls and twin boys (whom we were sure were going to be one girl).
Keira: What is your motto?
Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who don't.
Keira: What do you think you will be doing five years from now?
Writing my fifteenth book!
Keira: What is your ideal vacation spot?
Hawai'i! I went there when I was six years old, but the night before I was badly burned on my thigh. Obviously I lived and I'm not that scarred, but that meant that I couldn't go into the water. Still, I remember the beautiful beaches and scenery. So my goal is to go back- and this time actually go for a swim.
Keira: Scary Movies or Happy Endings?
Happy Endings, Sad Endings, Cliffhangers- anything but a Scary Movie! I'm still traumatized by having to sit through Pet Semetary when I was in high school. *shudder*
Keira: What is your favorite food?
I love creamy pasta with mushrooms and broccoli. Unfortunately, I'm a wheat-intolerant vegan. On top of that, one of my children was recently diagnosed with soy, sesame and tree nut allergies- all things which vegans sometimes use to make a cream sauce. So basically I'm down to the broccoli and mushrooms, maybe with some rice.
Keira: What is your guilty Pleasure?
Watching Days of Our Lives or The Bold and the Beautiful!
Keira: If you could change one your physical feature? Would you? What would it be?
I used to want to have wavier hair- my hair is very dark and very straight- but in my late twenties my sisters finally talked me out of it by telling me what a pain in the neck it could be to get their hair to "even out". Which just goes to my lazy nature- unless something is affecting my health, I'm happy to let it be!
Keira: What are you reading?
The Oracle of Delphi series by Diantha Jones. I'm not usually into speculative fiction, but I make the exception for Greek myth fan-fiction.
A little something plucked from...The Smartest Girl in the Room
Short Excerpt from The Smartest Girl in the Room by Deborah Nam-Krane:
"Is there some reason you want to keep me jacked up tonight?"
He leaned forward and put his face in his hands. "I like talking to you, and I want to do it as much as I can."
She held his eyes for a moment. "Alright, but you can’t expect anything I say in another hour to make any sense."
An hour and a half into their conversation, she indeed lost her train of thought and stared at him. He made a goofy face and she laughed. "You caught me."
"What were you thinking?"
"That I didn't enjoy myself this much the last time I stayed out this late."
"The last time? How late did you stay up?"
"At least until two."
"Then we're staying until three, for sure."
"Only if you get me another cannoli."
"Consider it done." He took a deep breath. "And who were you with?"
"Another girl." She paused. "Another heterosexual girl."
"Hmm. And how old were you?"
"I can’t picture you up past your bedtime at that age."
"At that age, I could have done anything I wanted to as long as I didn’t get picked up by the police."
"Ah, you were one of those lucky kids with permissive parents."
"Just one. My parents were divorced by then, and the psychotically strict one left me with the pathologically lax one."
"Sounds like a good deal."
"I thought so too, for the most part. Of course, I did question it when there wasn't any food in the house."
Mitch laughed, but Emily's expression didn't change. "I'm sorry," he said, sitting up. "Food was always readily available in my house."
"Well, I never starved."
"That must have been rough."
Emily shrugged. "Even when there was food, I tried to avoid being around my Mom that year. That was when she married my stepfather, and it didn't matter if I was there or not. I was a non-person."
"No, you weren't." He took her hand. "And you're not now."
She squeezed back, and he held on tighter. "I wish I could trust you, but you're sort of exhausted and tired and who knows what you're going to say?"
"Then you're going to have to let me say these things when I'm awake."
"Yeah? Sorry, but I'm not going to believe you about anything until you get me that second cannoli."
They talked until the café closed at three. The charm of an early fall evening was over. It was just cold now. Emily leaned against a building next to the restaurant, rubbing her hands together. "Okay, buddy. It’s three o’clock, there are no trains for a few hours and we’re out in the cold. What do you have in mind now?"
Mitch leaned over her and put his hands on her shoulders, then gently rested his chin on her forehead. She put her hands on his chest, just to keep warm, of course. "Better?" he asked.
"Oh, much." She tilted her head up to look at his smooth neck then hugged him. "But I don’t think anyone is going to let us stay here all night."
"Are you always like this?"
"Talkative? Yes, it keeps me amused."
"You seem like you’re worried someone’s going to send you to the principal’s office."
"And I suppose that’s served me well, because even during my darkest hours that never happened."
"Hmm. And I'm sure that made you a lot of friends."
"Some friends aren't worth having."
"So were you friend-free or just friend-less?"
"Mmm hmm," he started playing with her hair. "And were all of them girls?"
"Once I grew out of my gnome-state, I did manage to acquire a few friends of the Y-chromosome persuasion."
"Just a few?"
"And most of them were just friends."
"How many weren't?"
She looked up and he backed away. "Why do you ask?"
"Typical insecure guy stuff. I like to know who I'm being measured against."
"I think you're projecting. How am I doing in comparison to everyone else?"
"You are in a class all by yourself." He cleared his throat. "What about me?"
She took his hand. "Suffice to say, my taste in high school was so bad that, for the most part, Joe Welles would have been a better boyfriend."
"The most part," he repeated. "So who's my competition?"
She looked down for a moment. "He sort of doesn't count. Really, he was just a friend, and in some ways he wasn't even that."
"Oh, that's so much worse."
She shook her head. "It's not."
"Then why does he even get considered?"
"Because he was there for this one moment when everything seemed like it was as it should be and I wasn't alone." She smiled at the memory. "The starry night."
"There were a lot of stars?"
She giggled. "No, but I saw them anyway."
He came closer. "So how am I stacking up so far?"
"I haven't questioned my place in the world once tonight."
"So I'm the male version of Zainab. I guess that's a start."
"Zainab's great," she whispered, "but she doesn't make me see stars."
He moved in closer still. "Em-"
She put her fingers over his lips then smiled impishly. "No. This is sort of perfect right now."
"Anyone ever tell you you're a tease?"
"Anyone ever tell you you're impatient?"
He put his hands around her hips. "So how long do I have to wait?"
She suddenly remembered Drew. "Someone from my favorite class is having a party on Friday. Or he knows someone having a party-"
"Oh, it’s a he. Your favorite person from your favorite class?"
Emily started giggling. "No, I don’t think so. He’s kind of a dork."
"I write some legislation with Joe and suddenly you think I’m all about dorks?"
"Ah, but if you come to the party, you’ll also get to be with me. And, sorry, I cannot promise the same if you choose Joe."
"Then I would love to come to your friend’s party next Friday."
"It’s a date then."
"It’s another date."
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
- $10 electronic Amazon Gift Card
Giveaway is International.