I have a very special post for today. It's special not because this is my first ever post this 2015. It's not also special because it's a part of a blog tour (which you all know, I only do for books I'm really excited for and/or books I love). No. This post is special because it's about a book unlike any other. It delves deeper than your average suspense thriller and I'm very happy to have J.R. Johansson here for an interview.
Title: Cut Me Free
Author: J.R. Johansson
Publisher: Farrar, Strous & Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
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Seventeen-year-old Charlotte barely escaped from her abusive parents. Now she's trying to start a new life, but while she can erase her former identity, she can’t rid herself of the memories. And her troubled history won’t let her ignore the little girl she sees in the park. The girl with the bruises and burn marks.That’s when Charlotte begins to receive the threatening notes left in her apartment—without a trace of entry. As the messages grow more menacing, she doesn’t just need to uncover who is leaving them; she needs to stop whoever it is before anyone else she loves ends up dead.
About the Author:J.R. Johansson is the author of Insomnia and Paranoia. In researching for this novel, she found several stories about human trafficking which fueled her conviction to join the fight against it. If you'd like information on how to help visit notforsalecampaign.org or enditmovement.com. J.R. Johansson lives on the foothills of the Utah mountains with her two young sons and a wonderful husband. Visit her online at jennjohansson.com.
1. What makes Cut Me Free different from your Night Walkers series, aside from their genre?
Cut Me Free is darker in theme and topics and set in the real world. They both have a similar pace and thriller tone, but I'd say that Cut Me Free is a little scarier.
2. What are Charlotte's greatest strength and her weaknesses?
Her greatest strength is her resilience and her ability to never give up. Her greatest weakness is her inability to forgive herself and her struggle with letting anyone help her or get close to her.
3. While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story. If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?
I never doubted this story, but I did struggle with it. Abuse of any kind is a very difficult subject to talk about...but at the same time, it's very important that we do talk about it. That fact drove me forward. I read stories of kids who've been abused and many never really tried to hide it, but still no one ever asked them if they needed help. I wanted to write the story of a victim who wasn't only a victim. I want us to be more aware of the world around us. There are kids out there that need help and it is important we be able to see and be ready to help.
4. Everything has an origin story. It might started out as a thought, a dialogue or news you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite some time. So tell us, what's Cut Me Free's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?
Cut Me Free actually started as a writing prompt in a critique group. Someone suggested that I should write a story about an attic with a creepy puppet in it. At the same time, I had been reading about child trafficking and how it's far more common than many realize. Somehow I ended up blending those two stories together and the puppet took on a different meaning. The moment I wrote the first page (which is still the first page) and had Piper in the heart of Philadelphia and how differently she saw everything than the people around her--in that instant, I knew I had to write this book.
5. What are the things you learned or discovered after writing this book?
I've already had readers reach out to me who were victims of abuse. They were grateful to see a victim who struggled with terrible things, but it didn't somehow make her weak. It took her a long time to get out and the ramifications of what happened to her never went away, but she didn't let her abusers steal her whole life. It's been really gratifying to see the book touch people. I'm so happy to be a part of that.
Follow the TourEach of the tour stop is giving away one copy of Cut Me Free so feel free to visit them for more chance to win JR Johansson's newest book.
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