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Monday, July 28, 2014

 

Bethany Harar launches her WOW blog tour for her debut YA, Voices of the Sea


& giveaway contest!

Nobody seems to fit in during high school, but being a Siren who can enchant men with your voice can really cause some teen drama! It also gives you a unique way to get even with the school bullies.

But seventeen-year-old Loralei Reines has more to worry about than who’s sitting with who in the cafeteria. While keeping her true identity a secret to protect their species, Loraleigh is honing her powers for when she will claim her birthright as the next clan leader. Life is normal—or as normal as it can be for a Siren—until the Sons of Orpheus, a vicious cult determined to kill all Sirens on Earth, begin exterminating her people.

Add to that the confusion of Lora’s abilities strengthening whenever she is near Ryan, a human boy. She knows she shouldn't be with a human. Yet, she can't resist her attraction to him, or the surge in power she feels whenever they're together. And the Sirens are running out of time. If Lora can't unlock the secret to defeat the Sons of Orpheus, she, along with everyone she loves, will be annihilated.

Paperback: 285 pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing  (July 22, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1937178544
ISBN-13: 978-1937178543

Twitter hashtag: #VoicesoftheSea

Voices of the Sea is available as a print and e-book at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, as well as your local independent bookstore.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Voices of the Sea, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, August 1 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:

Bethany Masone Harar graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Secondary English Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has enjoyed teaching high school English ever since. As a teacher, Bethany is able to connect with the very audience for whom she writes, and this connection gives her insight into their interests. As a writer, she wants to make her readers gasp out loud, sigh with longing and identify with her characters. Bethany also enjoys posting on her blog, bethsbemusings.blogspot.com, is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and is an avid follower of literary-driven social media. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two beautiful children, and her miniature poodle, Annie.

Find out more about the author by visiting her online:

Bethany Harar’s author website:
www.bethanymasoneharar.com

Bethany Harar’s blog:
http://bethsbemusings.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethanyhararauthor

Twitter: @bethhararwrites

-----Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Where did the idea for your debut novel Voices of the Sea come from?

Bethany: My idea came from a dream! In the dream, a young woman was wading into the ocean with outstretched arms. She wore a long dress, and I could only see her from behind. For some reason, I knew she was connected to the ocean, and could speak to it. When I woke up, I wrote down the idea. At the time, I was teaching The Odyssey to my students, and connected the dream to the Sirens from the epic poem. I thought it would be a really cool idea to have Sirens in our modern world.

WOW: Voices of the Sea is for a Young Adult audience (although I loved it and I'm only young at heart!). Do you always write for a younger audience or was it just this particular plot that called for the YA genre? Will you continue writing for the YA audience or are you planning to branch into other audiences—middle grade, adult?

Bethany: I think I’m exclusively a Young Adult author. I have three manuscripts (two unpublished), and all of them are YA. My newest manuscript-in-progress is also YA. I love it. Writing for young adults comes naturally. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

WOW: I always imagine that YA writing has added challenges simply because of your audience. Their language, activities, music...well, just about everything changes at the speed of light. How did you manage to keep your characters feeling current and not dated? Do you spy on teenagers to get your dialogue and other aspects correct or have teenage beta readers?

Bethany: I have a secret YA weapon: I’m a high school English teacher. My entire world revolves around young adults. I’m with them from 7:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. every day (minus the needed eight weeks in summer), so it is safe to say I’m immersed in the culture. I’ve been teaching long enough that I can separate myself from all the drama, but am able to witness and observe it from a distance and use the information I acquire to my advantage. Plus, they correct me if I say something archaic and put me in my place immediately. I take the criticism like anyone would: with grace, dignity, and a hand up followed by a “whatever.”

WOW: (Laughs) But how do you get into the teenage mindset? For instance, throughout the book 17-year-old Lora refers to the two love interests in her life as "men." Of course, as someone who has been looking at 17-years-old in the rear view window for decades the word didn't sit right with me. Every time I read it somewhere in my brain someone said "Men!? They're boys!" It wasn't until about halfway through that I realized that to a 17-year-old girl they were "men." I would have called them boys and had the audience rolling their eyes. How did you get it correct? How do you manage to think like a 17 year old?

Bethany: This is an interesting question. I think the answer is that I spend enough time with these young adults to realize that they are in this horrible state of in-between. They aren’t quite adults, but they certainly are not children either. And the reality is that they want to be adults, so will, by nature, veer in that direction. To treat them otherwise is, quite frankly, insulting to them. The more we treat them like adults, the more they will rise to the occasion, and we owe it to our future generation to do just that. When I was a teenager, I read adult novels and enjoyed that I could read them without feeling like someone was “talking down” to me. That is the biggest complaint I hear among my students, a huge reason they rebel against authority, and the primary reason I write my YA novels with an adult “edge.” If we give them age-appropriate content without making them feel like children, they love it. And I think that is the most important thing to remember: teenagers don’t want to be kids. They want to be treated with respect and maturity, and appreciate that same courtesy in what they read. I keep that in mind whenever I write.

WOW: Do you feel being a teacher helps you? Do you get ideas from your students? What do your students say about your being a writer?

Bethany: Oh, being a teacher is like getting a “cut the line” pass at Disneyland. I’m up on all the latest trends, problems and goings-on. Oddly enough, however, except for the slang, not a lot has changed. My students do give me ideas, and sometimes events at school provide me with fodder. My latest manuscript-in-progress, in fact, developed directly from an event this past year in our high school. But I won’t go into more detail, so don’t ask.

As for what my students say about me being a writer, most of them are extremely supportive and enthusiastic! I’ve had kids I’ve never even taught stop by and ask for advice on writing and getting published. Many ask me for updates, and some made me promise to sign their book. They will, no doubt, be my toughest critics, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

WOW: What is the most rewarding and/or difficult thing about writing for this audience?

Bethany: The most rewarding thing is seeing kids who generally aren’t excited about reading tell me they plan on reading my book. That is the biggest compliment I can receive from a student. Reading is SO important, and if even one kid reads my book who normally would not read for pleasure, I’ve succeeded. I’ve also loved YA lit for my entire life, and to contribute to the genre is an amazing feeling.

The hardest thing about writing for young adults is that EVERYONE is doing it. I feel like one of a million off-key singers at an American Idol competition. I see and read about all the amazing authors out there who write for young adults, and am both excited and super-annoyed. It is great that so many people want to inspire teenagers to read, but the competition is brutal! However, I remind myself that I’m honored to be a part of YA Lit, and just keep plugging along with my new book.

WOW: Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication? Did you consider traditional publishing, self-publishing, an e-publisher, an agent? How did you end up with WiDo Publishing, a small press?

Bethany: I won’t sugar-coat this: The publishing world is brutal. I tried for some time to find an agent, and had several agents who expressed interest, but they didn’t pan out. I didn’t send out hundreds of queries. Fifty was enough for me to feel disheartened and discouraged. Self-publishing was not something I was interested in, and I hadn’t really thought about approaching small presses before, but read an article about how they could be a good option and decided to go for it. WiDo was one of the first I approached, and I received a positive reply within the first few weeks. Eight weeks later, they offered me a contract. I’m so happy I did!

WOW: What's up next for you?

Bethany: I mentioned before that I’m working on a new book. It is a paranormal thriller, and different from Voices of the Sea. However, it is still for young adults! Being in the beginning stages, I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll tell you that it deals with real-life struggles, only with a paranormal spin. It is going to be quite scary at times, but I think teenagers will really like it.

WOW: I have a feeling we will too!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, July 28 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with Bethany Harar and a chance to win Voices of the Sea!
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

Tuesday, July 29 @ The New Book Review
Need the perfect summertime book for your teen reader? Read a review of Voices of the Sea by Bethany Harrar.
http://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 30 @ Musings from the Slushpile
Bethany Harar shares why she thinks "Every Good Writer Should Have an Unpublished Manuscript" and gives you a chance to win her debut YA Voices of the Sea.
http://blog.juliealindsey.com/

Thursday, July 31 @ Book Talk
Does the teen reader in your life need something to read when they're hanging out by the pool? Stop by to learn about Bethany Harar's debut YA Voices of the Sea.
http://barbarabarthbookblog.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 1 @ Bibliotica
Want an ocean-themed book for this year's beach read? Don't miss a review of Voices of the Sea by Bethany Harar.
http://www.bibliotica.com/

Tuesday, August 5 @ Chapter by Chapter
Learn what YA author Bathany Harar's Top Favs are and enter to win her debut YA paranormal Voices of the Sea.
http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/

Wednesday, August 6 @ Writer with Dogs
Dogs can be many things to writers: muse, beta reader (or listener), companion, distraction when writer's block rears its ugly head. Meet YA writer Bethany Harar and her furry friend.
http://writerwithdogs.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 7 @ Escaping Reality Within Pages
Learn how YA author Bethany Harar balances family and writing and enter to win Voices of the Sea, about a sea siren balancing saving the world and saving her love life.
http://escapingrealitywithinpages.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 8 @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews & Interviews
What makes an author tick? Learn more about YA author Bethany Harar today and enter to win Voices of the Sea, a tale of love, bravery and discovering the unexpected.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 12 @ Me and Reading
Why are dreams so important? Bethany Harar, author of the YA novel Voices of the Sea, has some thoughts on that. Stop by and share your dreams.
http://www.ingasilberg.com/

Wednesday, August 13 @ Katherine Hajer
Bethany Harrar, author of the YA Voices of the Sea, shares her thoughts on making your setting a character.
http://www.katherine-hajer.com/

Thursday, August 14 @ Words by Webb
Save some time for a quick interview with Bethany Harar, author of the YA fantasy Voices of the Sea.
http://jodiwebb.com/

Monday, August 18 @ Deal Sharing Aunt
Looking for a new author? Read this review of Voices of the Sea, the debut by author Bethany Harar..
http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 19 @ The Lit Ladies
Don't miss an interview with Bethany Harar by a fellow YA author, Margo Dill. You can also enter to win a copy of Bethany's debut YA novel Voices of the Sea.
http://www.thelitladies.com/

Thursday, August 21 @ All Things Girl
Despite those devilish gray hairs appearing Life Doesn't End at 35! In fact for debut author Bethany Harar it's just beginning. Don't miss a post about growing older and better!
http://www.allthingsgirl.org/blog/

To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved!
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com.

*****BOOK GIVEAWAY*****

Enter to win a copy of Voices of the Sea by Bethany harar! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the rafflecopter widget this Friday, August 1!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 Comments:

Blogger Carl Scott said...

This sounds fun, ancient mythological beings in a contemporary high school. It also sounds like it would make an interesting movie or TV series. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Beth Harar said...

Carl, if this was made into a movie, I'm pretty sure all my dreams would be complete forever. :)

10:31 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Fantastic interview, ladies! I LOVE the premise of this book and have always considered myself half mermaid because I have to live by the sea. ;) Bethany, it's true that YA lit continues to be the fastest-growing genre out there and extremely competitive. Do you think that played a part in your quest for an agent? And do you think you'll try to find an agent for your next book now that you have a published book under your belt?

12:37 PM  
Blogger Beth Harar said...

Angela - To answer your question, I DO think it is much harder for YA writers to find an agent because of the extreme competition. I actually had one agent tell me that she loved my writing but had two other similar projects, which is why she had to pass. But I have every intention of trying to find an agent for my next book. I'm hoping I'll have a better chance! Plus, my new book is a very original idea, which might help as well. Sirens/Mermaids appear to be the new thing!

1:23 PM  
Blogger HilLesha said...

What a fantastic interview!

7:58 PM  

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