Today we have the lovely S.R. Johannes visiting the blog, to talk about her debut YA novel, Untraceable, as part of her promotional blog tour. She has also graciously offered a giveaway so make sure to check it out!
Shelli’s doing all of her promotion for Untraceable with bloggers and we’re delighted to be a part of this exciting venture.
You can get the full schedule for the blog tour here.
Welcome to Tynga’s Reviews, Shelli! Would you mind telling us a bit about yourself?
I have am MBA in marketing and worked in corporate America for over 15 years doing marketing, communication, and training. I walked off the job in 2006 and have been doing freelance marketing ever since. I own my own marketing company and have worked with Spanx and Goody Hair. I have a hubby from England, 2 kids and a Goldendoodle. I’m actually very boring, which is probably why I write thrillers. I love being at home, doing yoga, reading and playing with my kids. That’s my everyday.
What was your inspiration for Untraceable?
I wanted to create a contemporary thriller. I loved James Patterson growing up and there are very few young adult thrillers out there that aren’t paranormal or dystopic. I wanted to create a “stay up late and read” sort of book with a strong girl character who could take care of herself in the real world with no magic or special powers.
How would you describe Grace as a character?
Grace is independent, caring but awkward. She connects with nature more than she does with people. She’s a total introvert and would be happy alone for days at a time.
I will say she is impulsive and annoyingly reckless. Exactly like I was as a teen. I didn’t think about the effects of any cause. I didn’t think of consequences, I just did dumb stuff and got lucky. That is Grace. She acts and then thinks.
But no matter what she does, her heart is always in the right place.
And now for some Christmas questions! What's a typical Christmas like in your household?
It’s actually very quiet. My husband’s family lives in the UK and we don’t go there much esp. for holidays. So it’s just my family. We don’t have the problems most people have in juggling families. Well except for the bickering, burnt food, and turkey blahs.
We have Xmas eve together. My hubby and I eat alone that night just to get some time together before we get gifts ready. Then we start to fight about how to assemble toys, then he goes out for midnight battery runs and last minute things (that were on his list not mine). Then he gets mad at me for forgetting stuff and I get mad at him for making me do all the shopping. Then we finally calm down and laugh about how we fight at the same things every year.
Then “Santa” comes and we drag in all the gifts from the yard. Kids think he leaves them in the yard b/c we don’t have a chimney.
The kids wake up early and squeal, having no idea how late we stayed up and what we had to do to make the “magic” happen.
We have banana bread or coffee cake and open our family gifts. Then we take a walk or hang together until my parents come over. Which kicks off a whole other set of dynamics.
This year we will head to my brother’s and have a late afternoon Christmas dinner. Every year, we usually end up watching some kind of trilogy – either Star Wars or Indiana Jones. Maybe A Christmas Story or Blazing Saddles where we all recite the words. And see who can say it the loudest.
So we’re boring and strange and crazy – kinda like the Griswold’s in Christmas Vacation.
What's your favorite Christmas memory?
Well there was the time my brother and I got tons of Star Wars stuff - Especially Hans Solo's Millennium Falcon.
But my most memorable and cherished was in 2007. My hubby had to go to Germany for about 4 weeks to have a rare back surgery. I have an infant at the time so I have to stay here with kids while his mom met him from Wales.
I hated being here during that time while he was going through everything. He missed Thanksgiving and was in the hospital in Germany. He came back in mid December and it was the best holiday ever b/c we were together. It was the first time I really realized how much he meant to me and what an essential role he plays in our family.
This is where you all get your tissues and sigh an “awwwwwww.”
What would Christmas be like for Grace?
Wow. That’s hard. I have not spent a holiday with her.
She and her dad would probably chop down their own tree. They would have a huge breakfast. He would give her a huge box of Moon Pies (her favorite) while her mom would fuss over a turkey that Bear the dog would eventually steal.
Then Grace and her dad would bundle up and take a hike into the woods where it would probably be snowing. He would bring back fresh wood for a fire and a flower for her mom.
Later, Tommy would come over (since his wife is dead) – he would have something carved for Grace and would eat dinner with them in front of the fire as a family.
What is your favorite Christmas movie?
I love movies so it would be hard to choose. It’s a Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, and Christmas Story are all up there on my list. I also love the old classic cartoons like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, The Year without a Santa Claus, and Jim Carrey’s Grinch.
Do you have any special holiday wishes you'd like to share?
I don’t because I don’t’ really need anything. I know it sounds totally corny and sappy. But I have everything I need so instead of wishes, I give thanks.
My only wish is that my family is happy, healthy, safe and together.
Here’s the scoop on Untraceable:
16 year old Grace was reared in the wilderness. Her first pet was a bear named Simon. Her first potty, an oak tree. And, her first swing, a forest vine. Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her everything he knew about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.
When Grace's dad goes missing on a routine patrol, unlike everyone in her sleepy mountain town, she refuses to believe he’s dead. After finding a Cheetos bag and stolen government file, Grace is convinced she’s one step closer to proving all the non-believers wrong.
One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from imminent danger by Mo, a hot guy who has an intoxicating accent and a secret. Grace has never felt a connection like this before, certainly not with her ex-boyfriend, the adoring, but decidedly unrugged, Wyn.
After a few run-ins with the town's police chief, her father's partner, and some new evidence, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness that has always been her refuge only to learn that her father's disappearance is not a mere coincidence.
Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to emerge from an epidemic that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.
Shelli is offering one (1) copy of Untraceable.
(Format is reader’s choice – ebook or paperback – but the paperback won’t be available until after Christmas.)
To enter, follow the Rafflecopter instructions.
Ends January 4, 2012.
S.R. Johannes lives in Atlanta Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. You can find her hanging out online and visit her at srjohannes.com.