Thursday, August 21, 2014

SP Library: A Look into SHAMELESS by Nina Lemay (Plus an author interview)

You know how I love a gorgeous cover, right?
And the color pink?
Naturally, you KNOW I'm going to jump all over a gorgeous cover featuring some gorgeous pink hair.

What's best about SHAMELESS is that it's a talk-about-the-taboo New Adult read. How can you not be intrigued?

by Nina Lemay

Book Blurb:
~New Adult Contemporary Romance -- recommended for mature readers~

Girls like me don’t get happy endings.

I know what I am. At worst a cliché, at best a cautionary tale. I put an international border between me and my past, only to wind up working in a low-end titty bar. Even my excuse is as lame as it gets: I’m paying for college, getting my art degree from Montreal’s most prestigious school. Although some days it becomes confusing: am I just a student who moonlights as a stripper, or a stripper who masquerades as a student?

But the inevitable happens and my two lives collide. And now there’s one other person who knows both the quiet, antisocial Hannah and the sensual, shameless Alicia. One person who keeps my secret.

He’s beautiful, he’s sophisticated. He comes from the other side of life, the one where I’m not wanted or accepted. But he calls me la petite Américaine, and his hot, hot hands on my skin promise me things I long ago gave up on.

The problem? He teaches my Classic Photography class.

Interview with the author: Nina Lemay

1. Can you give us the Twitter pitch (under 140 characters) of SHAMELESS?
Story as old as time: cute French guy walks into my club, I give him a lap dance... next day, I see him at the front of the classroom. Oops.

2. Can you describe Hannah in three words? And Alicia?
Shy guarded artist. 
Tattooed blonde pinup.

3. How would Hannah's alter-ego Alicia describe Hannah?
Slob, coward, nobody.

4. What is the first thing HE notices about Alicia/Hannah?
That her smile doesn’t reach her eyes…

5. What inspired the story behind SHAMELESS?
There were a lot of things, but mainly, it was a story I read online about a young woman who worked in the sex industry being outed by her dumb, judgmental classmates. (The story didn’t end as happily as SHAMELESS does though…) I love controversial subjects, and I’ve wanted to write about a student doing sex work since forever. I wanted to do something different from all the other books on the subject, something not sensationalist, something that took an objective approach to it. Maybe—GASP!—even portray sex work in a more positive light. But I wrote YA at the time, so that clearly wasn’t going to happen… then I said to myself, why don’t I make it a New Adult story?

6. How would you describe your writing process?
In the words of Brandon Sanderson—butt in chair, hands on keyboard. The most important thing is to get it down onto paper, word file, whatever. If it sucks, you can fix it. And you can’t fix what’s not there. 

7. What do you think readers find so intriguing about forbidden romances and rendezvous?
It’s the moral grayness that really grabs people, I think. We all have a list of things we wished we had the guts to do, but were afraid to. Sometimes they’re downright illegal things, sometimes they’re morally wrong, sometimes they’re just a little daunting but we didn’t go forth for whatever reason. Forbidden romance is an outlet where you can dream without having to take any scary leaps. 

8. If you're trapped on an island and can only have three books for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Tough one! I’d say bring three Kindles filled to capacity, but then again, what would I do when the batteries ran out? So maybe the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I could re-read these books a million times and not get bored. 

9. How is the process of writing NA different from writing YA for you?
There are fewer restrictions. In YA, I noticed I self-censor right from the planning phases. How will this go over? Nah, too controversial, too sexy, too violent, etc. And with me, it often is. I like dark themes and morally ambiguous characters. (People say you can’t (or at least shouldn’t) have those restrictions in YA because guess what, teens are people and they deserve honest books. I agree wholeheartedly but oftentimes it’s not the case when it comes to trying to get a book published.)
But I’d be lying if I said New Adult doesn’t have its own set of unspoken rules, especially when it comes to heroines. The standards NA heroines are held to really are ridiculous. A lot of my favorite books have been criticized because the heroine doesn’t fit the “helpless, pure virgin saving herself for that one special stalker douche” archetype. And I’m already getting criticism because apparently, the hero in SHAMELESS isn’t enough of an a**hole. *sigh*. 

At the same time, New Adult offers flexibility in a way YA doesn’t. New Adult is still dominated by indie authors (yay!) so you can go against tropes and trends and no one is to stop you. I believe that for this reason, New Adult will eventually evolve beyond just college-set erotica. Indies made it happen once and we will again!

10. Most important question ever - who's your favorite book boyfriend? 
There are lots! But I’ll go with Evan Wilke, from Unteachable. Swoon-worthy, older, sexy as hell, and a good guy underneath it all. Perfection! 

Thank you for having me Kristen!

About Nina Lemay

Nina Lemay is a YA writer by day and author of sinfully twisted New Adult…well, also by day. She loves all things dark and edgy and never tires of tormenting her characters. While Nina is a fan of all things scary, Gothic, and fantastic, she doesn’t shy away from a gritty contemporary romance when the muse strikes. She lives in Montreal, a city that never fails to inspire, with her partner and her dog.

Kristen is the co-founder of Pen and Muse Press, and mostly writes YA + NA.  You can find her at Twitter (likely discussing author marketing, bacon or book boyfriends), Facebook, or her website

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