Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review, Interview & Giveaway of Candid by Michelle Pennington

From Goodreads:  Life is simple for high school senior, Sienna Whitfield. With a few good friends, a camera, and a dream, she has everything she needs to be happy. But when Jordan Rubio, the most popular girl at Haskins High, makes her mad, she decides to use the power of photography to right a few social wrongs. As if that doesn’t cause enough drama in her life, she realizes she’s falling for the new guy, Lee Franklin. Strong and protective, he’s just what she needs to survive the craziness she’s stirred up at school. If only she didn’t have to keep her feelings for Lee a secret from her mom…

So happy that Michelle Pennington asked me to take a look at her book, Candid.  One of the best things about the book blogging world is meeting new authors and discovering new books you might not otherwise have had a chance to pick up.

Sienna is in the middle of full blown high school drama. It really took me back to the days. (and honestly made me so glad I wasn't there anymore!) Sienna is a photographer and a blogger, two very awesome things. She is also a kind girl (mostly) who tries hard to please her teachers and mother. I enjoyed watching Sienna grow outside of herself to include others. She took a journey to self awareness and it was fun to watch.

So, honestly, the whole situation between Sienna and her mother was entirely frustrating to me.  I think that is saying something because I myself am a mother of both a teenage son and a teenage daughter.  My protective mother instincts often surface and I have to tamp them down to some degree, knowing that my kids need to make their own decisions.  I'm always hoping and praying that they remember the things we've taught them and make good decisions.  Sienna's mother is totally NOT like this.  She is controlling and yes, I think a bit crazy.  Good thing I had the chance to ask the author a bit about this.  (see interview below)

I really enjoyed reading Candid.  It was well done and had me invested in the story and characters.  I read it in warp speed, I think.  My teenage daughter will enjoy reading it too.  We are both hopeless romantics and if you want a knight in shining armor, it would have to be Lee.  He is seriously the sweetest hunk of Haskins High.

You can buy Candid here.

Michelle, I'm so happy to be able to ask you a few questions today. It's awesome getting to know authors better.

Okay, first question.  Is Candid your first published novel? No. I self-published another novel, Aglow, in October last year. It’s a Christmas romance, and interestingly, is still selling in June. It kind of cracks me up, but I’m not complaining.

What finally gave you the push to get the story in your head onto "paper"?
Well, honestly, the rewarding experience of publishing Aglow really motivated me to get something else started. I chose Candid because it was the story that was currently burning brightest in my head. Finishing the first draft is one of the hardest parts of writing because it takes so much dedication to get it all done. It’s also the most fun though – at least for me.        

Was there something specific that inspired you to write Candid? 
 Candid was inspired by the avalanche of photos I had to sort through when I was in yearbook in high school and a very vivid dream that followed me into real life.

I love photography and I love blogging so those two things really helped me connect to the main character, Sienna.  Do you have anything in common with Sienna?
I love photography too, but I’m not as focused on it as Sienna – so she’s way better at it than I am. I do tend to watch people like she does and see them differently than other people do. People watching is an important obsession to have if you’re going to be a writer. I call it being perceptive, but it’s probably just being nosy!

Describe your ideal writing environment. (Do you write early in the morning?  Late at night?  Food, no food?  Music playing or peace and quiet?)
I write best in the early morning at my kitchen table  when my kids are asleep or at school. I’m having to dig for writing time right now because it’s summer and my kids won’t sleep in. It’s driving me crazy! Even crazier than usual!

I'll admit I wasn't feeling the love for Sienna's mom.  I think calling her overprotective is an understatement.  After reading the character interview you did with mom on your blog (click HERE to read this), I realized that perhaps my frustration comes from not understanding mom's life and struggles.  Why didn't we get that information in this book and will we be learning more about this in a future book?
I really underestimated the reaction people would have to Sienna’s mom. It was probably because I knew her whole story so I cut her a lot of slack when she was crazy. I didn’t develop her character much in Candid because her story, so to speak, wasn’t important yet. The impetus for Sophia’s (Sienna’s mom) growth and change comes at the end of Candid. Luckily, we’ll get to learn more about her, along with Sienna, in the next book in the series.

I too am a hopeless romantic.  I love a good love story.  This book was the kind of story I feel good about handing to my teenage daughter because it isn't full of swearing, profanity or sexual content.  I thank you for that.  My daughter thanks you as well because she is the second generation hopeless romantic in my house.  :)  Was writing a "clean" book a conscious decision for you?
  I will never write anything else. Writing clean stories is a life time commitment for me. It isn’t easy to do because the balance between clean and realistic is a difficult one to find. So many people think that it is too unlike real life for characters to have morals and clean language because it is uncommon to them. My job is to give them a clean story that is so engaging they never miss it.

I'm looking forward to reading more from you.  Can you tell us what we can expect from you on the writing front and when?  (no pressure)
I plan to have Focused, the next book in the True Images Series, out this Fall. Over this summer, if my kids cooperate, I will also be completing some YA romantic short stories so look for those. I have so many projects I’m dying to get to, but I hope to start on a new twist on paranormal that I’m currently brainstorming. What could be new in the heavily saturated paranormal genre, you ask? Well, I’ll just say that my idea came from a plan to do a parody of some of the more popular story lines. It switched from a parody to flipping it on its head for an awesome new idea. 

My thanks to Michelle for participating in an interview and also for being willing to provide for a giveaway of Candid.  She's awesome, right?

So, the giveaway is for an e-book copy of Candid.  Therefore, it is open internationally for ALL followers.  :)  happy, happy, joy, joy.  Just fill out the entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Michelle Pennington has a BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. To attain this degree, she studied Literature, Rhetoric, History, and Art. She married her sweetheart, Ethan, while still in college and developed a new penchant for skipping class to spend more time with him. Despite this distraction, she still managed to graduate Magna Cum-Laude.

Her love for the written word began at a young age. At four years old, she followed her mother around all day asking how to spell things. Her teen years were spent hiding in trees, on rooftops, and anywhere she could escape her chores for a while to read. Despite this aggravating behavior, her parents always encouraged her love of literature and her dream to write. Michelle is a hopeless romantic and an insatiable people watcher.

Currently she is a stay-at-home mom where she cares for her three children, who are at once adorable and exasperating. In the midst of the domestic whirlwind that is her life, she enjoys crafting, cooking, art, and reading. Visit her at http://novels-and-novelties.blogspot.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/MichelleLPennington


  1. I was in choir ..but I just blended in. I really can't sing well by myself. :D
    --Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. I was in a little bit of everyhing...band, dance team, beta,.


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