Yay! Women Who Rock Wednesday is back! Did you miss it? I know I did :) Today I'm shining with WWRW spotlight on an incredibly talented writer who I admire greatly and had the privilege of doing a signing with this summer: Kelly Parra!!!
But before you meet Kelly and learn all about her fabulous new release, INVISIBLE TOUCH, we've got some business to take care of. First, I must announce the winner of the signed poster from my Metro reading with Irvine Welsh, and that lucky gal is Kay from blogger!!! Kay, please send your mailing address to stephanie at stephaniekuehnert dot com so I can send out your prize.
Also you have two chances to win copies of I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE today! Melissa Walker is giving it away on her blog as part of Win It Wednesday. And then, our fabulous guest, Kelly has been hosting the Secret Fates extravaganza all month long with tons of authors spilling their secrets and giving out their books and today it was my turn. I shared a dark and painful secret from my teen years in the hopes that it may help other teens. I won't say anymore about it, just go read it here and leave a comment to be entered to win a signed copy of IWBYJR.
Now on to the star of our show, who of course will be giving out a signed copy of her book at the end of the interview! The reason that Kelly Parra has been hosting the Secret Fates extravaganza is to celebrate the release of her brand new book, INVISIBLE TOUCH. Kelly will tell you what the book is about below, but I got to read an Advanced Readers Copy of it and immediately fell in love. So much so that I wrote my first official blurb. So here is what I had to say about it:
"INVISIBLE TOUCH is the kind of book you'll stay up way too late to finish and then wake up the next morning hungry for a sequel. Kelly Parra combines elements of mystery, romance, and the supernatural that will keep readers turning pages and ultimately leaves them with a story that rings true for anyone who felt like they had to hide their real feelings in high school. INVISIBLE TOUCH may have a paranormal premise, but it still showcases Parra's talent for nailing the raw, real emotions faced by today's teen."
So now that you are all hyped about her book, let's meet Kelly!
Kelly Parra is the author of GRAFFITI GIRL, a double RITA nominee and a Latinidad Top Pick, and the contemporary paranormal, INVISIBLE TOUCH . When not pulling her hair while writing her current novel, she likes to play with her abundance of websites and feed a serious television addiction. For excerpts visit, www.kellyparra.com or follow the Secret Fates blog.
Q: Your latest book, INVISIBLE TOUCH, came out earlier this month. I completely and totally adore this book, but instead of me enthusiastically explaining it to the blog readers, I'd like to ask you to tell them all about it! We want to hear about the basic plot of course, but if you can also share how you got the idea for the book, which is certainly a lot different from your last book GRAFFITI GIRL, we'd love to hear about that too.
Kelly: Hi Steph! Thanks for having me, and double thanks for your kind words!
Invisible Touch is about Kara Martinez. Kara was in a tragic accident at eleven and lost her father, yet also gained something else--visions. Or "signs" that she sees on individual's torsos. She must piece these signs together like a puzzle and do her best to stop unfortunate fates. Because of the pressure and mystery of the events, Kara keeps an anonymous blog called Secret Fates. When she sees the sign of a gun on a fellow classmate, the latest mystery takes her into dangerous territory that only increases with a new relationship with a boy from the wrong side of town. Invisible Touch has mystery, romance, and family drama, and I'm hoping I give readers an entertaining read.
I've always believed in intuitive vibes and repetitive signs and thought wouldn't it be cool to have a girl who really saw visions and have to piece the signs together to help others? But it wouldn't be easy, not with a logical mom who wouldn't understand, and with the family dealing with grief of losing their father. I wrote up a proposal and I was so glad MTV Books thought Kara's story was worthy of publication.
Q: Tell us a little bit about how you came to be such a fabulous writer. When did you first get the writing bug? Were there specific people (parents, teachers, friends) who encouraged your talents? And who were some of your influences and inspirations (since this is WWRW we are particularly interested in hearing about the women so we can discover more women who rock, but feel free to name guys, too!)?
Kelly: In school, I was a total art kid, even though I'd always excelled in english lit and wrote poetry in my free time, it never dawned on me to become a writer. Art was how I expressed my inner feelings. Pretty words were harder for me. But as an adult I started to read again and once I read Nora Roberts aka JD Robb, I never stopped. Yes, Nora writes commercial fiction and that's what I hope to write for a long time.
The people who have been with me through the beginning have been author Tina Ferraro (How To Hook a Hottie) and Dianna Love (Phantom in the Night) and a few years later, Anne Frasier (Garden of Darkness). Not only are these ladies talented storytellers, they are my friends and always there to listen to my ups and downs in this business.
Q: Kara from IT has psychic talents and Angel from GG's talent is art, do share either of these talents with your characters, if so, please tell us about that talent. If not, what is one of your other talents besides being a fabulous writer of course!
Kelly: As I mentioned, being an art kid helped me to write Graffiti Girl. I also had a group of friends who were into the urban artistic style. I do not have psychic visions, but believe everyone has an inner instinct or voice that helps them make decisions so it was cool to embellish that talent in Invisible Touch.
Q: Even though IT and GG are very different books, they share one thing in common: strong, unique teenage girl narrators who are trying to navigate their way in the real world and stay true to who they are. A lot of my blog readers are those types of teenage girls, can you share some advice with them on how to survive high school and pursue their dreams?
Kelly: I am the first to admit high school was incredible hard. If I had the choice to do it again, I wouldn't. :) But I do wish I had the knowledge of the real world to get me through it a little easier. My advice is that high school is just one stage in your life, don't let the social set effect you in negative ways. The social set is history once you graduate and you can do anything you set your mind to no matter what anyone says, no matter what anyone does. Its you, who's going to live your life. All you have to do is believe in yourself.
Q: I know IT just came out, but as soon as people devour it, I know they will already be wondering, what's next for Kelly Parra?
Kelly: I wish I had a set date for a new release, but I am currently working hard on my next project, a sci-fi YA. Its a whole new challenge for me to write. I also have another urban teen book in the works after this one. Like in television, please stay tuned...
Q: I have two questions that I always ask my Women Who Rock, the first is a two-parter. What was the first album you bought and the first concert you attended? Be honest, we don't judge, we like to see the roots of our women who rock!
Kelly: The first album had to be Michael Jackson's "Thriller". I was enamored by him as a young girl. I watched MTV (back when it didn't even have commercials!) like it was going out of style. My very first concert was not of my own choosing, so don't hold this against me...my mother took me to an Eddie Money concert. Eddie who? *wink* The last concert I attended was a reggae concert and I couldn't see through the smoke. haha.
Q: Tell us about your biggest rock star moment, perhaps it's a moment of real success in your career, a time when you met someone super cool and had that Wayne's World "I'm not worthy" moment, or just a time where you felt like you got the rock start treatment. I get a huge variety of answers for the questions, so it's pretty much whatever "rock star moment" means to you!
Kelly: My first "rock star" moment was my very first book signing. Family and friends who had supported me since the news of my sale all attended. It was a big hit and I felt like a real writer. It was one of those moments, you'll never forget. I have not encountered my "I'm not worthy" moment yet with my idol Nora Roberts. I had two chances and couldn't bring myself to introduce myself to her. The first time I saw her I wasn't published and she was always busy. The second time I saw her, I was published but again she was swamped. I'd brought the first book I'd read by her that had brought me into the glorious world of books again. I wanted her to sign it, but I never got the chance. One day I will again. :)
Q: And since tis the season, there's a bonus question this week. What are you doing for Halloween?
Kelly: Since I'm a parent, its all about the kids. But I'll definitely join the festivities with colored hair and Halloween make-up. What are YOU doing on Halloween, Steph?
Thanks for having me on your ultra cool Women Who Rock!
Well, Kelly, I just came up with my Halloween plans and costume on Monday, but I will blogging all about them on Halloween, so everyone should stay tuned for that.
Thank you for coming on WWRW and also for agreeing to give out a signed copy of INVISIBLE TOUCH to a lucky random commentor. So comment away guys! Since it's Halloween and fits the theme of Kelly's book, you could tell us about any paranormal or psychic experiences you've had! Trust me you want to comment about something and win this awesome book. As usual, I will choose the winner via random number generator next Wednesday when I host, Brenna Red, frontwoman of the amazing band, The Last Gang USA. This is a band I discovered via MySpace where I get a ton of friend requests from bands and it's pretty rare that I find one I really love. So you'll definitely want to come meet Brenna next week!