Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Rancher and The Rock Star Book Tour: character interview, giveaways + review

Presented by Goddess Fish Promotions

Book summary: There comes a time in every independent woman's life when she has to step aside and let a White Knight do his job.

Abby Stadler has fought to carve out a quiet, independent life for herself and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Kim. She may need a White Knight, but she doesn't want one. Especially when he shows up in the form of a superstar with a missing son and vindictive paparazzi on his tail.

To the world, Gray Covey is a rock god. To his teenage son, Dawson, he's simply an absent father. When Gray is forced to track a runaway Dawson to Abby's struggling horse farm in small town Minnesota, he finds far more than a widow and a ranch with a silly name.

Faced with one teen who despises him, one teen who worships him, and a woman who flips his heart on its axis, Gray must learn not just how to be a father, but how to be real superstar.

An Interview with Gray Covey


Thanks so much for inviting me to join you on Reader Girls today. What an awesome site! I love that you’re all family and are so passionate about reading. I can’t think of a better place for an artist like Gray from my debut novel “The Rancher and the Rock Star” to do an interview!

“The Rancher and the Rock Star” is a fun romance about what happens when rock superstar Gray Covey shows up unannounced on a small horse farm in Minnesota looking for his runaway son. The “rancher” is Abby Stadtler, a single mom (whose daughter, Kim, has a huge crush on Gray, btw) and she isn’t at all ready for the chaos of a rock star’s life to invade her quiet world.

But let me have Gray answer some questions about that and give you a little insight into his life.

I was very excited that he had time to come along today and chat with everyone at Reader Girls.

So without further ado, let me introduce Gray Covey.

Liz Selvig: Welcome Gray! I want to start by asking about your music. We know you’ve had hit after hit on the Billboard charts, but you came to rock music in a very unusual way. Can you tell us about attending Juilliard? How did that happen, and why did you choose rock rather than the classical music you were studying?

Gray Covey: Thanks for inviting me to come with you. I’m happy to be here. I was kind of a music nerd when I was young. Nerd because I started in the school band playing clarinet and took piano lessons as well. Believe me, when I figured out how many guys played clarinet—that would be zero in my junior and senior high schools—I tried hard to quit. Fortunately, between my taskmaster mom and an inspirational band director, I stuck with it. Piano was easy for me and by the time I finished high school I’d won some major competitions and learned to play a few other instruments, like the guitar and the trumpet. I wanted to be a performer, so I applied to Juilliard and was accepted.

After that, it was more like rock music chose me than vice versa. I roomed with Buzz Jackson, who is my band’s lead guitarist Spark’s brother. (Buzz and Spark, great names right?) The three of us started a band just for kicks and had so much fun we just kept doing it. I graduated from Juilliard, but played rock gigs to get by while I waited for Carnegie Hall to call. They never did, but the rest of our success happened overnight (aka about fifteen years).

LS: Who are your musical influences and your favorite musicians?

GC: My teachers got me interested in jazz clarinetists to keep me playing when I was young. Most people know the legendary Pete Fountain and he’s amazing. But I really liked a guy named Peanuts Hucko who played with Benny Goodman. Man, he could coax beautiful sounds from a clarinet. As for my rock influences, I have to go with the gold standard—the Beatles. They paved the way for all musicians to follow their dreams and try things that aren’t the norm. And there are some amazing musicians and voices today too – can you say Adele? Bruno Mars? And groups like Dashboard Confessional.

LS: What’s your favorite instrument?

GC: I know I’ve talked a lot about the clarinet but my favorites have to be piano and guitar. They’re so versatile and you can make endless varieties of sounds with bothr of them. I own maybe twelve guitars, but my two favorites are my blue Ovation acoustic and my gray starburst Les Paul. They’re old friends and I’ve got them well broken in!

LS: You said your mother was a taskmaster. Are you uncomfortable talking about her?

GC: No, not at all, although it is sad. Mom has Alzheimer’s, and even though she’s young, only sixty-four, the disease is progressing too quickly. I miss the taskmaster in her. She was very big on me following through with my commitments. But she was also kind and loving. A rock. The days when she’s lucid and knows us, she still loves to give advice. She loves Abby, too, and I’m really glad she’s gotten to know her.

LS: Ah, yes, Abby. Your jealous fans think she must be some kind of lady to win your heart.

GC: She’s some kind of lady, all right. She saved my life in a lot of ways. Made me look beyond my career to what was important in life. She’s so smart and organized and has a work ethic like you wouldn’t believe. She’s such a survivor, sometimes I have to remind her to relax and just enjoy life! She has so many talents. You should see her ride a horse – it’s like watching two lovers dance. And she’s a terrific mom. She won over my son, Dawson, and her daughter, Kim, is a beautiful young woman. Plus, she loves me – that makes her a candidate for sainthood right there.

LS: Let’s talk about Dawson. You’ve said your son is the one truly responsible for where you are today. Can you explain?

GC: Dawson, my little juvenile delinquent. He’s the one who put the ultimatum out there: “Prove you love me more than you love your career.” It was true. I was an absentee dad for a long time. If he hadn’t challenged me and I hadn’t cancelled those concerts in the middle of my last tour—none of this would have happened. He’s still a young pistol, but I’m forever grateful.

LS: Yeah, about that. What was going through your mind when you decided to walk out on six concert dates?

GC: Oh, man, you have no idea. I was scared to death. It was really a dumb move from a career perspective and there are a few people who still haven’t forgiven us. But, something told me it was time to do something drastic. I needed to reconnect with my family—something I hadn’t realized until I met Abby. She says it’s all God working His miracles. Could be. All I know is, I’m very glad I ignored my better sense.

LS: How are you getting along with the other new girl in your life? Abby’s daughter was a little uncertain about you as a father figure wasn’t she?

GC: Kim is wonderful. She’s one of the happiest, most grounded kids I know. She keeps Dawson in line and helps me remind her mother not to get too serious. It’s true we had to work on the little—okay, big—crush she had when I first arrived. That was interesting to say the least.

But it was an honor, too. The book tells more about how I learned to deal with those emotions.

LS: We’re nearly out of time and space, Gray, but one last question. How do you like living in a small town after spending the last twenty-five years in L.A.?

GC: Kennison Falls, Minnesota is an amazing place. And, as you saw in the book, the people have a lot to overcome since the disaster in August. But I’m doing all I can to become part of the community, and the people are great to me. It’s small town, USA and nobody has time for big-headed celebrities. So, I’m just a guy. I still maintain my offices in LA, but I’m very happy in Kennison Falls. I invite everyone to come and visit.

LS: Thank you so much for answering my questions, Gray. I wish you many more number one hits in the future. If any of you have questions for Gray, or for me (Liz), please ask. We’ll be around all day. Otherwise, just stop by and say hi. Tell us about your favorite kind of music.

In addition to the gift certificate Avon/HarperCollins is giving away to some lucky Virtual Book Tour visitor, Gray and I would like to offer a special gift to someone who comments today here on Reader Girls. If you leave a comment by March 2 at midnight, you’ll be in the running for a copy of “The Rancher and the Rock Star,” as well as some other goodies. 

Thanks so much, everyone, for coming by to visit!

Website
About the author: Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota with three brothers and no sisters definitely shaped my personality. Even though my girl friends were great, I was much prouder of the fact that I was the only female allowed into the neighborhood Boys Only club. Girlie stuff (with exception of the occasional Barbie play date) was simply a waste of time. Baseball, climbing trees, begging my parents for a horse, and avoiding wearing dresses at all costs were much more fun--and seemed much more fair. After all, girls simply didn't have any fun in life.

Imagine my surprise when, after years of my tolerant mother putting up with me wanting to BE a guy, like one of the Beatles or the Monkees, I looked up at a picture of Paul McCartney on my wall one day--and fell in love. Like a doggone proper girl.

Making up stories was second nature to me. As far back as I can remember I told myself tales when I went to bed. As I got older and competent enough, I started writing them down. When most girls were reading themselves to sleep, I was writing until the wee hours.

After the momentous epiphany over the poster from Tiger Beat Magazine, all my written tales were romances. At first, they were romances about Davy Jones and Bobby Sherman and Paul. Then I discovered my own characters, and writing became more than a bedtime activity, it became a passion.

It took lots of years, fantastic adventures, the raising of two children, and a real-life love affair that is still going on, to get my stories ready-for-prime time. Suffice it to say--girls, I've learned, have ALL the fun.

And my love affair with romance novels has never died.

GIVEAWAY: Lizbeth and HarperCollins/Avon will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Also Lizbeth will be awarding one eBook or Print copy of “The Rancher and the Rock Star” (
print book is US/Canada only) to one commenter at EVERY stop. 

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. 

Tour dates: The tour dates can be found here.

I thank Lizbeth Selvig and Goddess Fish Promotions. 


OUR REVIEW:
My thoughts: I will immediately say I'm not a fan of this book's title, it sounds kinda cornball to me, but after laying eyes on the cover ART, who cares about the title? On the serious side, I LOVED this story. I was drawn into Gray and Abby's worlds, however drastically different they are. Lizbeth Selvig's writing style is very effortless, I felt as if every scene was happening right in front of me in real time. I could smell the grass from Abby's farm, hear the fans clap for Gray, watch the swoosh of a horse's mane in a summer breeze and taste the pie inside that Main Street restaurant. When I had to stop reading, the characters remained with me until I was able to continue and wrap myself back into this romantic story.

The main characters were interesting and well written and the secondary characters were well crafted and had a purpose (even down to the pair of birds). I especially liked Abby, her heartbreak, her fierce desire to take care of her daughter, Kim, and keep her farm, and I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes in the darkroom or when she had her camera in hand. Gray was sexy even if there were times I wanted to hit him over the head with a microphone or drumstick. His lack of understanding his son, Dawson, was typical of a traveling music man, and I found myself cheering them on whenever their attempts to patch things up hit a bump.

The Rancher and the Rock Star just has so much good going for it: realistic characters and true to life dialogue and situations, two adults so opposite there's only one place for them to be (and that's in each other's arms), two teens whose essence was truly captured in each scene they were in, laugh out loud moments, tension, surprise twists and turns, and a town full of residents who brought a bunch of smiles to my face and warmed my heart.

Abby's a little bit country, Gray's a whole lot of rock'n'roll, and I believe Ms. Selvig has a hit on her hands with The Rancher and the Rock Star.

Rating: As I said earlier, I LOVED it!

Cover comment: Mmm, really liking the cover photo here.

Book source: Received from publisher for my honest review during a book tour.

50 comments:

  1. I would like to ask Grey what is his record as far as just how many pushups in a row he can do, and, what is Abbey's favoritie song he sings for her, and why?

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    1. Maxine,
      I've heard from Liz how obsessed you are with that push-up scene. I'd say I'm sorry I let Abby share it, but how can I be, really? Even as a guy I found it surprising and, well . . .

      As for records, I can tell you what my record in the gym is but you might not believe me. I'm pretty good at push-ups. I'll just say the number exceeds Liz's ago. I don't even try to break records around Abby anymore. It's hopeless.

      Abby's favorite song, she says, is the one I wrote for her when we first met, dancing in the thunderstorm all covered with hay mush. We call it "Dance in France" of course. It's official title ended up being "In From the Storm" and, as you know, it's done well on the charts. My first number one in about five years.

      She also likes Love Potion No. 9 and the old Billy Joel song Uptown Girl. I still don't understand WHAT it is about that guy, everyone asks me to play his stuff. Good thing he's a nice person. But the thing I love is that she doesn't ask me to play my own songs to her--unless I'm working on something new, then she's my best, what do you writers call it? Beta tester! She says she likes the songs best that don't belong to the world yet.

      Nice to see you here, Maxine. Hope that answered your questions!
      Gray

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  2. Which rock band is Grey's band most like? And what songs or kinds of songs does he play just to unwind?

    The book sounds great and thanks for the fun interview!
    sophiarose1816@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Sophia Rose. This is Liz. Defining Gray and his group, self-named the Lunatics for reasons that only become clear when you know them, is tough. I've heard him compared to great singer-songwriters like Elton John and Billy Joel, but with the smoothness of a crooner. And his music, think maybe Bon Jovi meets the Eagles meets Aerosmith meets the New York Philharmonic. LOL. It's really cool at one of his concerts to hear him play something classical and then let the guys just rock out on Bach or Rachmaninoff.

      Gray here - I have to jump in and tell you that Dawson has been trying like crazy to pull me out of the 80s and 90s. He's a budding music engineer and he's always trying to add new beats and sounds to what I write now. He likes everything from Bruno Mars to Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, so we experiment with some crazy fun stuff these days.

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  3. I'm so impressed that you not only have the gift of music, but writing as well. Okay, impressed & a bit envious.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Hi Marybelle-
      Thanks so much for the compliment. I don't know that I'm much of a writer -- except for a good lyric now and again! But, thank you for that. However artists get across good emotions is wonderful--it's a matter of finding out how you best express what's inside yourself! Thanks for stopping by today!
      Gray

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  4. I love the interview with Gray. Nice switch and much fun.

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    1. Hi MomJane,
      I'm so glad you enjoyed it. The idea was Meg, Caitlin and Laurie's here at Reader Girls and I loved the idea too. So, I asked Gray if he was willing and we just ran with it! Thanks for coming by and checking it out!

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  5. Love the idea of interviewing the hero. Very fun idea! I love this book and now feel like I know the hero even better.

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    1. Hi Stacy!
      What a very nice thing to say--thank you so much! Gray's a pretty fun guy. And he's a good man. He went through his hard-rockin' days, but he got out of them and I'm really proud of how he's grown as a person and a dad! Glad you stopped by!

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  6. Great interview. I love getting the hero's perspective on things. I just started reading the book last night. You're a master at descriptive narrative, Liz.

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    1. Awww, that's a great compliment from you, my friend, considering how good your own book is ("Heart of the Druid Laird" everyone). I love the hero's perspective too -- in fact, most of the time I know my heroes better than my heroines. But maybe that's why we write -- to get those heroes on paper! Thanks, for coming by!

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  7. I have to repeat what everyone has said, great interview and fun getting to know Gray. I'm beginning to think I need to get the e-pubbed copy to read now, but I'd still buy the print version for my keeper shelf.

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    1. Hey Jods -- now that's what I call offering super support. But I shouldn't be surprised, of course :-) Glad you enjoyed the interview; it was fun for me and I think Gray enjoyed it. I hope whenever you read the book you'll enjoy it--and, man, if I made it onto someone's keeper shelf, that'd be as good as a bestseller list. Maybe better! Hugs! Thanks for following me around :-)

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  8. What a cute interview with Gray, he sounds like a heck of a guy. I think this is definitely one to pick up.

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    1. Hi Patricia -- I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview. I don't tell him to his face much because he's not always convinced he's as good as he should be, but I agree with you -- he is a heck of a guy. I've had a great time hanging out with him while we tell his and Abby's story. I hope when you pick up the book, you enjoy it too!

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  9. Liz,
    I love, love, LOVE your hero. He sounds well-rounded and perfectly awesome, and I can't wait to read the book!
    What a fun interview and great way for us to get to know Gray better.

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    1. Hi Kimberly--thank you so much. Isn't that what every romance author longs to hear: I LOVE your hero. That means a lot coming from another writer sister! Glad you liked the interview -- I was happy to have him share a little more of his background and thoughts :-P Thanks for following me here today too -- your support means a LOT!

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  10. I have to agree with Maxine. The push-ups scene is pretty, um, memorable. No questions for Gray, but I firmly believe that Liz is one of the best storytellers I've ever come across. Congrats on your fabulous debut!

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    1. MORGAN! Coming from you this is a huge compliment since you write such amazing love scenes in your own books ("Courage To Live" and "'Til Death Undo Us" among many others, everyone!) Plus you read so much and so widely, if you like the scene--then I tell myself it must be good! Thank you so much for such an amazing compliment. Again, consider the source. Love you, my friend. Woudn't be here without your help!

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  11. I'm in love with Gray now. Does he have a brother? Cousin?

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    1. Hi Ana!! Sadly, Gray was an only child. He has a few cousins on his mother's side, however, and lots of step cousins on his dad's (step-dad, but he never called Neil Cooper anything but Dad) side. He's close to several of them, but doesn't get to see them often.

      Glad you're in love with Gray. I am too. Thanks for checking out the interview!
      Liz

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  12. Great interview, Liz. He's the man of any girls' dreams! Can't wait to get back to Chapter 5 to find out what happens next. See you on tomorrow's stop. :-)

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    1. I'm so happy you're enjoying the book! Thank you so much for following me around -- I love having you stop in. Yeah, I've had a crush on Gray a while now. It's good to be sharing him with everyone.

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  13. Wonderful interview, Lizzie!

    I agree with Ana, but instead of a brother or cousin, does Gray have an uncle? Maybe even a great-uncle? LOL

    I wish you all the success in the world, dear roomie! (Now to go download my copy of THE RANCHER AND THE ROCK STAR.

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    1. LOL Lynda! C'mon you're not that old -- you don't need no stinkin' GREAT uncle!! I know how old we are and we wouldn't even be considered cougars for Gray's cousins. He does have a step-uncle, and a biological uncle on his birth father's side--but he's only told me about them. I haven't met them. I've seen pics of his dad, but no-one else. It's clear where Gray got his looks from!

      LOL - Am I getting into this way too much?? Thanks roomie--big hugs!

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  14. Gray sounds like the type of guy who makes a gal's heart skip a beat, no matter what age you are. Fun interview.

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    1. Hi Georgia! Welcome back - glad you came to check out the interview. And glad Gray makes your heart skip a beat -- now you know why I wanted his story out there!

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  15. How fun to learn more about Gray. Truly a white knight and well grounded! I'm loving the book more and more as I get through it again.

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    1. Since you said "again" that means you've read it in an early phase and I'm one of YOUR biggest fans. This is either my mom or a CP either of which gets a huge hug, an I love you and an I can't thank you enough!! :-D

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  16. Hi Liz and Gray,

    Gray, what is your favorite kind of food and why?

    Looking forward to reading the book!

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    1. Hi Lynn-
      This is Gray. I'm so glad you asked about food. What guy doesn't love food just for food's sake? Abby knows I learned how to cook the basics from my mother because she had no time for a helpless male. So I can boil water and cook a hunk of meat. My favorite recipe of hers, though, is one of five I learned for survival--and that's thick, juicy pork chops with my grandma's spice jerk sauce. With big old baked potatoes -- that's my kind of man's meal! But I'm not a fussy eater. I like macaroni and cheese out a box -- any comfort food that isn't like hotel fare. Being on the road and eating out makes even a can of Beefaroni taste like heaven. As Abby found out!

      So--thanks for asking. Liz said you've read a lot of the book already--didn't you kind of help it on it's journey? I hope you like the final version -- I thought it came out good!

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    2. Hi Gray, yes I did get to see early drafts but the success is all Liz's. :-)

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  17. I love it that gray is a trained musician, then chose rock. He's now learning about real life, out of that celebrity fishbowl. Hope all works out well for everyone - I'd love to read a bout how they all get thru their challenges.

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    1. Thank you, Di! I'm so glad you're "getting" Gray--he's a unique musician for sure. I hope you enjoy the story. And, we're just in talks about a next book. With luck we'll see more of Kennison Falls, and I think probably Gray and Abby will get a cameo or two! Hugs for stopping by!

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  18. I liked the interview with Gray! You lucked out in the cover department as well, I love this one :)

    lyra.lucky7ATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Hi Lyra! That is so nice of you to say. I love my cover too, but I wasn't sure about it at first just because I'd always pictured (while writing the book) of something more sedate. I'm so very glad the marketing experts at Avon took me by the hand and said, "there, there, we know best, just watch!" It's really rather magical what they do. I'm so glad you like it--hope you enjoy the book.

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  19. Liz...You will so laugh (and maybe scratch your head) when I tell you that I thought of you today when I heard on the radio that Davy Jones of the Monkees died. It seems like during the last two days we've been talking about those music crushes from our teens and Davy was certainly one from my early youth.

    I am a Classic Rock kinda girl...although I went to a Jazz concert last night that was awesome.

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  20. Catherine -- oh, I just heard about Davy not an hour ago and I'm still in shock. He was definitely one of my huge, huge crushes, and I had countless pictures of him on my walls -- right along with Paul McCartney. I'm glad to meet another Davy fan. And it was fun that you thought of me--I'm glad we have that connection through the book now. And my weird Davy thing is that in one interview I did that's coming up next month, I was asked very specifically ABOUT Davy Jones. When's the last time I mentioned his name? Strange, huh? Anyhow--I love classic rock and now alternative rock since my son plays in a band. Some Jazz is really really amazing! Glad you found some you loved!

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    1. MMM...That will be strange next month when that interview is released/published. I turned 50 VERY recently and it seems like such passings hit so much closer to home.

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  21. Fabulous interview! I thought I knew Gray Covey after reading his story (more than once) and watching him grow, but I guess there's always more to learn about a person, real or imaginary. :)

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    1. Hey Laramie -- critique partner extraordinaire! You have watched Gray go through all his growing pains, haven't you? But I'm glad he still had some surprises for you - it was fun for me to interview him too. Thanks for everything!

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  22. Wow the book sounds amazing and the interview with Gray was great! I'm adding this book to my TBR list! As for favorite type of music I like....honestly I listen to a little bit of everything but lately Adele is my go-to for music.

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    1. Hi Brandi--so good to meet you! That's such a nice compliment -- I really hope you enjoy the book. And can I say, I think Adele is one of the best singers to come along in ages. I love her! So--we have good taste together, imho! I'm so glad you stopped by -- find me online anytime and let me know how you like the story:-)

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  23. High five to all the clarinet players out there ;)
    Happy leap day! Thanks for another interesting interview and chance to win!

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    1. Hi again Gwen! Yay, a clarinet player. I played the flute, but my daughter was a good clarinetist in high school. Abby's daughter, Kim, plays in the book, too, and I based her a little on my Jennifer. I have great respect for you -- it's not that easy an instrument! Thanks for stopping by--I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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  24. I love Adele and the group Train. Another wonderful interview. Can it be March already? Deb P
    r.d1@myairpoint.net

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    1. Thanks Renald! I do lover her too. And there are a lot of Train songs I think are awesome. So happy you enjoyed the interview!

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  25. That was a fun interview. I've definitely got to get the book and read more about the characters.

    jen(at)delux(dot)com

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