Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Kiss-n-Tell with Julianna Scott!

click here for info on the tour!
17-year-old Becca has spent her whole life protecting her brother - from their father leaving and from the people who say the voices in his head are unnatural. When two strangers appear with apparent answers to Ryland's "problem" and details about a school in Ireland where Ryland will not only fit in, but prosper, Becca is up in arms. 
She reluctantly agrees to join Ryland on his journey and what they find at St. Brigid's is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together information about their family's heritage and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they've been waiting for. However things are not as clear as they once were, and everyone is in for a surprise that will forever change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.
I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for THE HOLDERS! My dear friend, Julianna Scott, sent me an ARC of THE HOLDERS several months ago. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect at first, only because I'm not a huge fantasy fan. But THE HOLDERS was different. It was like Julianna took a contemporary story (lots of family drama, romance) and wove fantasy elements into it. The world building wasn't complicated or confusing. Julianna kept it simple, without skimping on the necessary details.
THE HOLDERS came out yesterday (woo-hoo!) and is now available at all major book retailers and online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
One of my favorite things about the book (among many) was the the swoon-worthy romance. For those of you who don't like a heavy romantic element, don't worry, it is not the center of the story and actually takes a back-seat to the main premise. But for those of you who do like the occasional toe-tingling scene, well, let's just say Julianna Scott delivers. Don't believe me? Check out this excerpt:
He tilted my head up with his thumb and kissed me so tenderly that my embarrassment drained away instantly. I felt my neck flush and my pulse start to race and I realized it suddenly felt way too hot out for November. His lips continued to move slowly - so slowly - just barely touching my own, teasing me until my insides were screaming. After a few more seconds, I couldn't take it any longer; I needed more. I brought my hands up to his neck and grabbed two handfuls of his collar and lifted myself up, moving my lips hungrily against his. With a gruff sigh, Alex grabbed my hips, and pulled me up against him. One of his arms wound its way around me, holding me tight, while the other hand slid up my back and neck, burying itself in my hair. The blood in my veins turned to molten honey as he opened his mouth and-

Ahem . . . *fans self*. . . Now that the "kiss" is over, it's time for the "tell." Julianna was kind enough to answer a few questions about writing those get-your-blood-pumping romance scenes ;)

It seems like writers either hate writing romantic scenes, or they love it. Which camp do you belong to?

Actually, I think I'm somewhere in between. I look forward to them and I always think I will like it, but then it usually ends up frustrating me. It may not seem like it, but it is actually really hard--and for the record, about the least sexy thing there is. There are only so many words out there (particularly romantic ones), and while being original is key, it's not always possible. In that case, the trick is to not let your readers realize you are being repetitive.

What do you think makes a good kissing scene?

Descriptions that readers can relate to without describing things that are... well... gross. :-) For instance, I have seen sweat used several times in different books lately, and I don't get it. As in 'the salty taste of his sweat', etc. I know it's supposed to be hot, any maybe there are some out there who think it is, but I'm not one of them. I don't care how much you love someone, tasting their sweat is nasty. Blah!

I know you also write adult fiction. How does writing a scene for the YA audience differ from writing one for the adult crowd?

The only real difference is how much you are allowed to describe and in what detail. Adult can obviously be more racy while most YA romance will be more innocent in nature--though there are of course exceptions. However, this really isn't a problem for me because my adult stuff isn't detailed. I don't think I could ever get overly descriptive with a sex scene, not because I'm embarrassed or anything like that, I just really wouldn't know what to say. I enjoy reading adult romance, but it's not something I could write.

Any advice for writers who struggle with the romance elements of their story?

First off, don't expect it to be a sexy experience, cuz it won't be. Just accept it, and you'll have a better time.

Second, remember your audience may not have your preferences, so try to keep things appealing to the general populace. Perfect example is the sweat thing; the author clearly thought that was sexy, but I for one found it disgusting, and having read reviews of that book, I know I am not alone. Just because you find something hot doesn't mean everyone else does, so be ready to alter things after a few critiques.

Last, and most important, is doing your best to keep your descriptions unique. In the literary world, YA in particular, romantic scenes abound. Almost everything has been described countless times, so you want to try and give readers something they haven't read before. For instance . . .

"His lips met mine, sending my heart racing in my chest like I'd just run a marathon."

Yeah, okay that is serviceable, and it gets your point across, but it is also made up of terms and analogies you have heard a thousand times over, right? Better might be...

"His mouth met mine, sending tingles up my neck like champagne bubbles up the side of a glass." 'Lips' to 'mouth' and an analogy you may not have heard before, and the sentence--which says basically the same thing--has a totally different feel. Keep it fresh and don't be afraid to think outside the box. One of my favorite descriptions ever if from the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward. The description came from a man talking about a woman he liked. He described her as being, 'lean-forward-in-your-seat gorgeous." Not a common description at all, but you know exactly what it means and can even picture it in your mind. That is the sort of thing that will stick with readers and keep them coming back.

Awesome answers, Julianna! Thanks so much for stopping by! Oh, and I totally agree--there is nothing sexy about writing sexy scenes ;)

In honor of THE HOLERS release, Julianna is doing a giveaway of EPIC proportions! Enter to win some amazing prizes!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Julianna was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spent the majority of her educational career convinced she would be a musician. However, after receiving her music degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, she realized that she'd been born in the wrong era for her dreams of singing jazz to adoring fans clad in zoot-suits and flapper dresses to come true, and began to wonder if her true calling might be elsewhere.

While Julianna had always excelled in writing throughout school, she'd never considered it a career possibility until about three years ago, when she'd gotten her first story idea and decided to go for it. She grabbed her laptop, started typing away, and has never looked back.


  1. (sorry about that blank comment, my computer got stuck)

    *swoon* :)

    I loved this book! I really didn't know what I would think because I bought it because I remember Julianna/Marian(and you too) from QueryTracker, but didn't think I would like heavy fantasy. But it turned out it wasn't heavy fantasy, and I didn't realize that the romance woulbe so great! I loke the scene you picked, and I like the one at the end too! Great interview!

    And I saw your mention at the end! So cool! I would totaly be showing off. :)

    1. Hi Nikki! Thanks for stopping by :) Yes! I felt the same way! It's actually what I would consider a "light" fantasy, and I loved that it had a very contemporary feel to it. I'm looking forward to book two!

  2. Hi girlies!! *waves*

    I LOVE everything about this post. The book, the people involved, and most of all our shared DISGUST of sweaty boys! BLICK, BLICKITY, BLICK, BLICK!!

    Well done, ladies

    *scampers off to search for some champagne that will send tingles up her neck*

    1. Hey, lady!
      Thanks for poppin' in :) Yeah, in no way is sweat sexy, unless it's Damon Salvatore after a work-out or something (YUM!) ;-)

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