Thursday, June 21, 2012

Candid (True Images, #1) and Interview by Michelle Pennington

Interview with Michelle Pennington
Q: Was this story based on a real life situation?
A:  Candid was inspired by my work in yearbook when I was a junior and senior in high school. We only had film photography at that time and we had to go through hundreds of photographs at a time. I ended up dreaming about photographs. The girl who took them emerged in my dream and fascinated me. Since I have very vivid dreams and remember them for a long time, I thought about her story a lot. Once her love interest showed up, I knew I had to write it someday. The technology has changed a lot since then, but the original idea remained the same.

Q: Do you do photography?
A: I love photography, and I finally own a nice camera. I have not invested the time in it to be an expert, but I have a good eye. I’m actually planning a photo shoot for the cover of a paranormal I’m currently brainstorming. I’m really looking forward to it.

Q: Can you give us a "sneak peak" of Focused?
A: The following excerpt is from the first chapter in Focused, which is being told from Lee’s point of view. (I’m so excited to let the readers into his head!) I jumped right back into the story, and this takes place only a few hours after Candid ends:
“Finally able to run, I took off into the grey world around me. The sky was the same color as the pavement beneath my feet as night fought to hang on a few minutes longer.
I kept my pace slow for a while to ease my body into the run, but with the even, familiar rhythm of my steps came thoughts I wanted to keep blocked out. In my mind, I relived the torment of helplessness and fear that had clenched me when I’d first seen the photo of Sienna being loaded onto an ambulance. Trapped on a bus an hour away from her, I’d had nothing to do but wait.
Just like now.
My steps unconsciously picked up speed. It was a while before I realized that I was running without pacing myself and going faster than I’d intended. I recognized some of the landmarks around me and wondered how I’d come so far so quickly. I forced myself to slow down and focus on my music to keep my mind from straying again.
Usually, running was a fluid, almost unconscious exercise for me. Now, each step was jarring and the cold air burned in my lungs. I refocused on regulating my breaths and fought to ignore the protests from my muscles. I began to realize how stupid I’d been to run this far. I’d played a basketball game only 10 hours ago and I hadn’t slept or eaten since. But running had always helped me control my stress, so I’d pushed myself to do it. Now I had run far enough that it was going to be hard going to get back home. Still, I would make it and maybe I’d be so exhausted that I’d finally get some sleep before I went to see Sienna.
In the struggle against my body, I’d let down the wall that blocked off my thoughts. I saw Sienna’s white, bloodied face in my mind again. It had kept me from sleeping and now it flamed the heat of my anger to scorching once more. It gave me the energy I needed to push for home, but the whole purpose of this run was to control my temper – not let it consume me.
As I ran, I ceased to exist as I drowned in a sea of red thoughts. No longer bound by the pain of my body, I flew down the empty streets towards home. If I breathed, I never knew it. If I touched the ground, I never noticed. I didn’t see the houses I passed, the driveways, or the street lights. I only saw Caleb’s face, sneering and taunting me with my decision.”

Q: If you were stranded inside due to a blizzard, what 2 books would you want with you?
A: I’ve never been stranded in a blizzard, but I have been trapped in my house for five days by an ice storm without electricity. Not fun, although I cooked some awesome meals at the fireplace and felt like a real pioneer woman. To stay with the theme, I’d have to read These Is My Words and all the Little House on the Prairie Books.

Q: What's the best advice someone has given you?
A: The best advice that can be given to any writer is to write what you know. I used to think that this wouldn’t apply to fantasy, science fiction, or other genres and stories where you couldn’t possibly have any experience. Then I realized that I was looking at it from too broad of a scope. If you narrow this idea down to everyday human experiences and emotions, it will always apply.

Q: What's your guilty pleasure?
A: I would have to say Bollywood movies and old Harlequin novels where men always wear suits, the women always where cardigans and linen skirts, and they finally kiss and confess their love on the last page. I buy them by the box load at the local thrift store for a quarter a piece!

Q: Name a few books that have helped you in your writing career.
A: The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer taught me how satisfying a romance can be that starts naturally and grows over time, with added zest from some outside conflict. Actually, if I had to list all the things I’ve learned from Georgette Heyer, I’d go on all day. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak reminded me of the power that one word can have.

Q: Describe yourself in 5 words.
A: Candid, Focused, (hehehe) Capable, Clumsy, and Perceptive

Candid (True Images)
Published April 17th 2012
Series: True Images 
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...
My thoughts:
Candid was simply fantastic!! There are so many reasons why I say you should dive into this book. One reason would be that I LOVED the fact that Lee was such an outstanding guy. He isn't the typical male in high school who is out to be a player and get all the ladies. He was such a gentleman. The author did a fantastic job writing this character as well as the others, but he really stood out.
The story is about Sienna Whitfield, who uses her love of photography to stir up the social status of some not-so-friendly people, and students she feels deserve more recognition for their good qualities and the true characters they are. Sienna has never had a relationship due to her mother's hate of guys. Her bad experience during her high school days, trickles down into her parenting and won't allow Sienna to be anything other than friends with any male until she's in college. She's over-the-top, but her intentions were good. I can't imagine having a parent that strict.
That all changes when Lee, the new student sets his eyes on Sienna. This was such a cute story and one that brought out lots of giggles and also a little frustration. I absolutely must mention Lee's parents. I loved his mother, she's a handful of Southern hospitality, but when you read this, you will understand why. There was a specific scene where they were having dinner with Sienna and her mom that had me just cracking up due to their reasoning why Lee will never cross the line. I can't tell you anymore about it because I don't want to spoil the experience for you, but It was perfect! There are some major swoonworthy guys in Candid, but Lee tops them all. I love how Sienna is a strong protagonist. I think the author did an outstanding job writing Sienna.
The characters were great. The chemistry was great. The story was fantastic.
Sienna is changing people's lives, one Candid photo at a time.

We would like to thank Michelle for the opportunity to review this enjoyable story.

4 Snowflakes
About the author:
Michelle Pennington 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 and and

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