We interrupt this A-Z challenge for . . . a blog tour! (Nether Bound by Bonnie Rae Louwerens – Interview & Review)

Hi everyone!

Yes, there really is a double post today.

That’s because my fellow #writemotivation participant, Bonnie Louwerens, published her first book last week!  Let’s find out some more . .

Hi Bonnie! Thank you for being here today!  Will you tell us a little about who you are and why you write?

I started reading at a very young age. I have my grandmother to thank for that. She was always buying me books as a kid and from that my imagination took off. I remember Reading Rainbow was my favorite show when I was little. I would write down the names of the books the show covered and then beg someone to take me to the library so I could check them out. So essentially you could say my love for writing came from the love of reading. For me, writing was always my greatest escape. I moved around a lot as a kid so my cat and my books were my best friends. It was a natural rite of passage when I wrote my first novel at sixteen.

What were your very first ideas for Nether Bound?  How much has it changed, or stayed the same?

The idea for Nether Bound came to me while I was at a writer’s conference. I didn’t dream it up, it just came to me while I was trying listening to a wonderful agent speak about YA books. Needless to say, I didn’t hear a word that agent said because once the muse was there I let it take over. When I got home that night I started penning it out into a short story. After entering it into an online contest I realized I was totally in love with the characters and wanted more than anything to make it into a full-fledged novel. I decided to use it as my NaNoWriMo project, and the novel version of Nether Bound was born. So, you could say it’s changed a lot. It went from an idea to a short story, then a novel, and now a trilogy. Funny how books are formed. The plot has changed as well. In the beginning the book had an entirely different approach. I realized early on that although the characters were great, but the story wasn’t personal enough. So I changed some things around and now I can say it is definitely a big part of me in many ways, and not just by writing it.

Have you always wanted to write for young adults? What about that audience appeals to you?

My best friend was the one who decided I was a YA writer. I’ll say I was always a “closet” YA writer. I wanted to break into the adult sci/fi industry, but she pointed out that in all of my books the characters weren’t over the age of eighteen. Plus, most of the stuff I read is YA. I’m not sure why I never considered my work YA before. Let’s just say I was really new to the industry and all the different genres.

Beyond this being your first book, does the story have any special meaning for you personally?

Wow, this book is very personal to me on so many levels. My main character Ava basically relives a lot of my teenage past. The hardest topic for me to discuss and write about is the abuse I expose the readers to in the first few chapters. It’s very personal because I lived that life. There is a scene with Ava and her mother that was so incredibly hard for me to write. I actually had to tone it down a notch, simply because I couldn’t get through writing it without breaking down.

What’s the next project on your plate?

I am currently outlining and summarizing the second book in the Nether trilogy, Nether World. I will pen out the first draft in May. I am super excited about writing this second book because it takes place in Nether World, which means I get to do a bunch of world building. I didn’t get to do a whole lot of that in Nether Bound. I can’t wait to introduce some new characters and “creatures”, plus shed some light on older characters from the first book.

Thank you, Bonnie, and best of luck with your book!

So, as my blog post title says, there’s also a review!

Nether Bound by Bonnie Rae Louwerens
Nether Bound (Nether Trilogy, Bk 1) ~ $2.99

Seventeen year old Ava Walker has everything a girl could ask for. She’s captain of the cheer squad, has tons of friends, and could easily have any guy she wants. Being popular is easy.

Lying about her entire life, on the other hand, isn’t.

Since she was little, Ava has had a connection with the dearly departed. She knows seeing dead people is abnormal, but they never try to communicate, so she does her best to turn a blind eye. The older she gets, the worse her visions become. With more and more ghosts showing up, her secret is on the verge of driving her mad.

The only person Ava ever trusted is her best friend, Devon. Only, she hasn’t really talked to him in years and lately he hasn’t been acting like himself.

To make things worse, her evil stepfather, Mark, is hitting the bottle harder and harder. Ava hates the alcoholic psycho her mother married a few years ago. To him, beating women is a sport. Lately, the beatings are getting worse. Ava fears it won’t be long before her mother is among the ghosts invading her life.

She wishes Mark would just die. When he suddenly does, her life changes forever.

Just when she thinks her family is safe, Mark shows back up.

Not all ghosts are silent, and dear old Daddy wants some serious revenge.

Be careful what you wish for …

Bonnie was kind enough to give me an advance copy of Nether Bound, so I was able to read it over the weekend, in-between write-ins, awards ceremonies, etc.  I amazed myself this weekend.

Nether Bound was so easy to read, though.

Ava is living through every teenage girl’s nightmare – Mark, her stepfather, is abusive, and her life seems like it’s straight out of hell.

Then she discovers that it really is.

The plot is intriguing, and it seems like it can go some predictable ways, but it doesn’t.  This is paranormal, and there are religious themes touched on, but it’s not overpowering (not that I would personally mind, but I know some do).

The main character, Ava, is a little hot-headed and thinks she can take care of everything herself.  She’s had to for a while, though, and so she doesn’t realize when and how to let go of certain things.

She kind of reminded me of me, lol.

There’s some touches of romance in this story, but most of it is an underlying theme than a vital part of the plot. Some of it is vital, and people’s hearts are going to get broken.

Even though this story is set in the supernatural, I found the characters believable and likable.

The main plot gets wrapped up, but the book does have a cliffhanger ending.

The good news is that I know the author.  And I call dibs on beta-reading the next one! 😉

So the verdict is: Nether Bound is excellent.  You must read it, especially if you enjoy YA paranormal.