Perfect Pitch by Alex Hayes ***Interview with the Author: Find out who the Author's favorite character is and why -- Giveaway***
by Alex Hayes
Publication date: August 6th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
All Dean wants is to escape…
But he can’t leave his younger brother, Ty, in the care of their alcoholic mother. And when their abusive father shows up, Dean has to get Ty out. Which means joining Shri — his best and only friend — in taking a job out of state and breaking the law by stealing his brother away.
Cadi’s life is almost back together after Dean blew it into a million pieces. She’s come to terms with her life as a shape-shifter — well, almost. She’s still trying to wrap her head around the fact that a vicious enemy is out to destroy the remnants of her people.
As if Cadi doesn’t have enough to deal with, Dean’s about to land on her front doorstep, forcing her to decide whether to let him into her secret world or slam the door in his face.
The Chameleon Effect series, starring shape-shifter teens with extraordinary superpowers, is sure to appeal to Young Adult and New Adult readers who enjoy romance with a paranormal twist.
An Interview with the Author
Meet Alex Hayes
Welcome to Character Madness and Musings. Please, tell us about your newest book.
Perfect Pitch is the second book in the Chameleon Effect series. In addition to continuing Idris and Cadi’s story — which centers on protecting the crystal tree needed to create a Livran community on Earth — Perfect Pitch brings back two minor characters from the earlier book, Dean and Shri, the story’s new romantic couple.
Perfect Pitch completes Cadi’s hero’s journey. The part where she returns to her “normal world” as a new person. Only in this case, the normal world is brought to Cadi in the form of Dean and Shri, who arrive in the Adirondack Mountains where Cadi now lives.
Our new hero, Dean, is conflicted over leaving his brother, Ty, in the care of their alcoholic mother. When their abusive father returns to the family fold, Dean is forced to leave, and takes Shri and Ty along for the ride.
Accepting a job carries Dean into Cadi’s world, a place far more intriguing and complicated than he ever imagined.
While Dean deals with his mom’s threats and his quasi-obsession with Cadi, the girl in question struggles with her conflicted feelings over Dean. Cadi knows she loves Idris and that she cannot trust Dean — whatever Shri might tell her about how much he’s changed — but if only her feelings for the guy who kissed her under the mistletoe last Christmas were that cut and dry.
Figuring it’s easier to deal with Dean by not dealing with him at all, Cadi tries to shut him out of her life. But the more she pushes to keep the door closed, the harder he shoves back, determined to crack it open.
Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing Perfect Pitch?
I love to dive into the character arcs and messiness of relationships, so maintaining a balance with the action plot was probably my biggest challenge with this story. I relished working through Cadi and Dean’s conflict.
I also struggled with Idris’s role in the story. He wasn’t a main character, and I found it tough to let him take a back seat. Also, because Idris gets himself into a heap of trouble in Book 3, I wanted him to be a really great boyfriend in Perfect Pitch, but my first attempt backfired, and I lost a lot of natural tension between Cadi and Idris as a result. It took me a revision to get that right.
Tell us a little bit about your writing career.
I started writing somewhere between age ten and twelve, often writing my own characters into existing stories, like the Chronicles of Narnia and Doctor Who. I wrote my first novel at eighteen, which I rewrote a couple of times over the next decade, between going to college, working and voraciously reading romantic mysteries. After publishing Ice Cracks, a romantic mystery, I worked on a couple of similar novels which await further attention.
After Ice Cracks, I spent a year researching the science behind what I expected to be a middle grade novel. I loved writing the story, but it didn’t seem to work so well as middle grade, so I overhauled the whole thing and added a prequel. This series is under development and now a planned trilogy. I also have a dystopian science fiction series in the works.
They say Hind-sight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?
My advice to a first-time writer would be to learn plot structure and character development well. Reading other books in your genre of choice is important, too, but you have to learn the elements that make a well-balanced and satisfying story.
Also, join a critique group or an online community like Scribophile. Even the best writers need people to critique and beta read their work, and they should critique other writers’ work. I cannot emphasize enough how much you can learn from reading other people’s stuff, both from their strengths and their weaknesses.
What was your most difficult scene to write?
In Perfect Pitch, the biggest challenge was writing the set of scenes that comprise the climax. There are a number of protagonists, each of whom had to pull their own weight, as well as secondary characters to either keep safe or put in danger, so it took solid planning to choreograph those scenes.
Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
Love this question. Themes are my stories. Not that I always know what they are when I start out, but ultimately, a good story must have a solid theme.
The Beauty and the Beast theme — Never judge a book by its cover — takes on an interesting twist in Silken Scales (the first book in the Chameleon Effect series) because that metaphorical “cover” has the ability to shape shift. In this story, Idris turns into a monster. Or so he thinks.
The theme for Perfect Pitch relates to defining family and friendship as Cadi prepares the foundation for a new home for her people, the ultimate extended family.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just completed Book Three of the Chameleon Effect. I’m working on a few books concurrently; these include the fourth book of the series, of course, plus two tie-in novellas.
Is there a release date planned?
Book three of the Chameleon Effect is slated for release October 2019.
The two tie-in novellas are also planned for release in 2019.
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
Idris is my favorite character. When I conceived the Chameleon Effect series, I wanted to create a guy who was sarcastic and funny, outwardly confident but inwardly unsure, egotistical, highly talented, and at times, downright stupid. I absolutely love him, and it’s a joy to keep him coming back to each book in the series.
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
My mother had a small library she read during her childhood, all of which I devoured. When I was small, I had a set of Ladybird fairy tale books I’d sneak into bed with me at night. My mom had C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series and many books by Enid Blyton and Mary Stewart. A few of my all-time favorites are Beauty and the Beast, Saving Grace and Escape to Witch Mountain.
What are your plans for future projects?
I’m planning two other series to follow Chameleon. One is a dystopian science fiction series, the other is an urban science fiction/fantasy trilogy. I also have a psychological thriller in the works.
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?
Only to thank you for inviting me to talk about the art and profession of writing, my experience as a writer and my new book, Perfect Pitch, the second book of the Chameleon Effect series. I’ve had so much fun answering your questions.
Good luck with your newest release, and thank you for being with us today.
Alex Hayes wrote her first fiction story when she was twelve. Inspired by her mother’s storytelling, she began work on her first novel, Ice Cracks, at eighteen.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. In her twenties, she moved from Marin County, California to Boston, Massachusetts, where she built a career as an IT professional in database engineering. In 2004, she self-published Ice Cracks, which became a semi-finalist in the 2005 IPPY Awards.
Alex splits her time between Grand Junction, Colorado and Guanajuato, Mexico. When she isn’t writing, she’s helping her partner, Lee, renovate a 450 year old hacienda. She is mother to one beautiful daughter and many wonderful cats.
GIVEAWAY!a Rafflecopter giveaway