Monday, 15 July 2013

Review & Author Interview: Limits by Steph Campbell & Liz Reinhardt

Title: Limits
Authors: Steph Campbell & Liz Reinhardt
Author Info Steph: |Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Author Info Liz: Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: New Adult
Series: Lengths #3
Source: Purchased by myself
Publication Date: 10th June 2013

Tell Me About It
Genevieve Rodriguez is less than thrilled when her older brother’s best friend, Deo, runs off and marries Whit, the girl who doesn't even deserve him. At least that’s what Gen believes. And so what if everyone thinks it’s just a stupid crush? She’s had a thing for Deo for as far back as she can remember.

Freshly heartbroken and downright annoyed, Genevieve is also one ‘D’ away from getting kicked out of school. In other words, life could be better for the rowdy, youngest Rodriquez sibling. Her only hope of passing physics is her quiet, nerdy tutor, Adam.

Adam isn't her type at all. He’s too quiet, too polite, and he’d rather stare at lab charts than bother to notice the bustier top so sexy, it turned the head of every guy in a five-mile radius.
When Adam tells Genevieve that he won’t be back after winter break because his visa is about to expire, the words drop out of her spontaneous, heartbroken mouth before she has the time to think...

“Marry me.”

Thinking it’s a joke, Adam gives Genevieve a firm no. But when the joke turns into something more, all bets are off and all limits are broken. Adam may not notice a perfect bustier, but he can’t resist a good argument. And Genevieve has been arguing to get exactly what she wants her entire life.

My Thoughts
I have loved this series from the moment I first read Lengths and I impatiently await each new book that these amazing authors write, wanting to see which characters will be next and what happens next.  Lengths is the chance for Genevieve, Cohen's little sister, and Adam to have their say.

Genevieve is still unhappy about Deo marrying Whit, and Cohen and Maren getting engaged.  Everyone has what they wanted, her brothers are happy and live alone, her sister is happy, and Genevieve is stuck at home, failing hard at school and still looking for that one person who she can fall in love with.  Adam is her tutor who is trying to get her grades up and make sure she passes the class, he knows she is smart and clever, and he tries so hard to make her believe in herself.  When Genevieve finds out that Adam will be sent back home the only solution she can think of is marriage, and quickly.
"Marry me, Adam."  Genevieve looks at me, her hands come up to either side of my face and grip it hard. "Marry me and be my tutor."
[Kindle location 91, Genevieve to Adam]
I kinda failed at keeping notes for my review while reading this book.  After the first few notes I made I could to pause to make a note, I had to keep turning pages.  Adam and Genevieve don't have a traditional relationship, they go from tutor/student to husband/wife in such a short space of time, and we get a front row seat at watching them learn how to love each other, live together, and learn all about each other all while keeping up the front of a married couple that had been together years rather than days.
While I had doubts about this relationship actually working, I am happy to say I shouldn't have had any doubts at all, this couple works together amazingly well, they are one of the most perfect fictional married couples I have read about.  They take the time to make things perfect for the other and spend quality time together learning about what makes the other tick.  Yes they have disagreements and fights, but this makes them more real, what marriage or life with a partner goes without its squabbles?
If you find that one person who believes in you, helps you combat your doubts, lifts you up when you are ready to lay down and say 'screw it'?  If you find that person, grab tight.  So tight.  Never let go.
[Kindle location 46, Marigold to Genevieve]
I loved getting to see some familiar faces from previous books, Deo and Whit, Cohen and Maren.  While Genevieve may not think a lot about Whit and Maren, they are friendly and welcoming towards her, and even give her some words of advice.  They all accept Adam into their lives, although being older brothers or males in the 'family' they initially give him a hard time and make their point about how they feel if Genevieve got hurt.

I read Limits in a few hours, but I felt sad once I had finished.  I loved the book, there was not one thing I would change, but by finishing it, it makes it more real that I am coming closer to the end of an amazing series, and I really don't want the end to come.  Steph and Liz have consistently published amazing books together, books that have a way of not only drawing you in, but also of crawling under you skin and making you addicted to these characters and to the world they have created.  I own every book in this series on my kindle but I intend to buy physical copies of each one to sit among my most treasured books on my shelves.


Steph and Liz both took time out of their busy author lives to answer a few questions for me, below are the questions and answers.  Since both authors answer, their answers will be colour coded.  Liz is mauve, and Steph is blue.

I want to thank you both for taking time out to not only read my email, but also to answer some questions for me. I promise I won't take up too much of your time.

1. How did you make the decision to collaborate with each other?
It started when Steph and I were reading each other’s books and reached out to fan-girl gush at the same time. I don’t even remember who suggested co-writing...I know I was so incredibly excited and was kind of like, ‘Don’t tease me. Is this for real?’ Steph sent me this beachy picture and said that the main guy’s mom was this crazy hippie...and so Marigold was born! I sent a chapter, slept like crap, jumped up in the morning, and STEPH WROTE A CHAPTER BACK!! It was like the coolest choose your own adventure book ever.

It was definitely a tiny spark of an idea that grew (literally) overnight. Liz and I sort of ran in the same indie circle and happened to each be reading one of each other’s books at the same time. One of us messaged the other to gush and I think Liz said, “we should write a book together someday!” and it went down just like Liz said. I sent her this single picture of a hippie surf shack and she wrote the first chapter of Lengths that night from that tiny bit of inspiration.

2. How do you go about picking the genre and getting ideas together to make the books work?
When we started writing LENGTHS, New Adult was a baby genre. Steph and I were writing from a really fantastic place--we were writing the kind of book we wanted to read, but wasn’t out there. We had very specific ideas about embracing this time in your life when you have these crazy freedoms, but are also so confused and freaked out.
As our books progressed, we modified how we write, what we focus on, and we learned from past mistakes and successes. We are extremely open to having new writing experiences, and neither one of us ever lets ego get in the way of trying something out of our comfort zone. We both read constantly, so we’re always analyzing writing as a craft, and we’re consistently focused on trying to stretch and grow with new projects.

3. Did you have a set plan in mind of how many books you wanted to write and who they would feature, or has it evolved as you have written each book?
It’s definitely been an evolution. We truly fall in love with our characters. One thing Steph and I love so much about the books is taking a character you know and love in one book, and showing a whole new angle in another book. For example, in LENGTHS Cohen is Deo’s funny, goofy sidekick. When we started developing him for DEPTHS, it’s still Cohen. He still banters with Deo and it’s great. But he’s also in a romantic relationship with Maren, and some of his sexy alpha tendencies come out. In LIMITS you meet Cohen again, but this time as over-protective big brother. We love doing that: showing different angles of a certain character by changing the lens of who is narrating the interactions.
Steph always says our books should be like Sweet Valley High...the cast of characters can get into trouble and have a great time for a whole long series of books. Honestly, there’s this crazy excitement every single time we start a new book. And we’re always secretly going back and forth saying, “What’s her story? Why is she so cold?” or “Wouldn’t it be amazing if he wound up that that one’s sister?” So, I think Steph and I will one day write geriatric romance from our rocking chairs. Or, you know, that’s my dream.

4. Do you each take a character and write their point of view, or do you split the characters between you?
We have always had total open veto power since day one. We are very admiring of each other’s work, but we are also dedicated to writing a book that flows well and doesn’t feel like two people wrote it in a negative way. We want the smoothest interweave of our styles. So in LENGTHS, it was more like I wrote Deo and Steph wrote Whit. In DEPTHS, it was way more back and forth, where one would just write until she was out of ideas, then pass the torch. In LIMITS it was way more structured, with a very controlled outline and these scenes that one or the other of us would work in either character’s voice.
There are pros and cons to every system we’ve tried. As we write more together, we get more of a handle on what we’re doing, and we can try more challenging techniques.

We’ve tackled this differently in almost everyone of our projects so far. One book, we were strict about sticking to, “I’ll write x point-of-view and you write y,” another we wrote on each chapter until we just weren’t sure where to go and then the other picked up and did the same, so we each wrote parts of every chapter. We’ve even tackled writing a single pov in A Toast to the Good Times and (hope) we pulled it off in such a way that you can’t tell when reading which one of us wrote Landry’s voice at any given point.

5. Out of the whole series, including Ties, who has been your favourite character and why?
I tend to go back and forth on this. I’ve always got a soft spot for Whit because she was the first character I wrote in the series, and people had such a love/hate relationship with her. I hope we’ve molded her as the series goes on so that readers understand her a lot more. Also, Cohen, because he is so multi-dimensional. He’s the loyal best friend in Lengths, he’s this sex-pot alpha in Depths, and he’s the protective older brother in Limits. I love that we’ve been able to show our characters in so many different facets, so at one point or another, I think they’ve all been my favorite!

I loved writing Deo. People say he’s very charming. That’s because I was totally using him to make Steph fall in love with me while we were writing. I wanted to make sure she was too charmed to say, “Nah, I don’t wanna write with her anymore.” Deo was my love note to Steph, so he has a very special place in my heart. But I love them all. So much. I feel like they’re our Cali Mexi-Jew hippie family, and we can go out there and see them all anytime if we want.

6. Do you have any plans to write another book in this series after Ties, or do you have any other books planned together?
We do ;)! We have some exciting stuff coming up soon, and we promise to keep you all posted. Steph and I are giggly with excitement, and have already started plotting...

7. Which is easiest to do, write a book by yourself, or work as part of a collaboration?
Honestly? For me, right now with four small children at home, collaborating is the best thing that ever could have happened to me career wise. Not only because I’m not going at it alone, but it definitely holds me more accountable for making sure work gets done when I need it to be done. I’d never (intentionally) let Liz down or pile more work on her,so the schedule co-writing affords is super beneficial to me.

I absolutely love both. When Steph and I finished LENGTHS, I was immediately pressuring her to do another book with me, because I was so scared it was a one time deal. I am in a nice position right now, in that my girl just started school. My husband and daughter are both out the door by 7:30 AM most of the year, and I have a silent house to write in until 4 PM. I KNOW how lucky I am, and I try to make use of all that time and write like crazy.
I’m a very, very firm believer in writing like it’s your job. I need to write when I don’t feel like it. I need to write when it’s painful because I just think every word sucks. Writing is, for me, like exercise. I need to do it every day to keep up. If I skip one day, it avalanches. I love balancing both my own books and our collabs, because there’s always something to work on when I get stuck. And I agree with Steph: on our collabs, I don’t ever want to be a slacker or disappoint Steph, so I work very hard on them. Accountability is crazy good for work ethic.

8. Except each other, what other author would you like to work with and why?
I’ve actually co-written another book with Jolene Perry called MY HEART FOR YOURS. Apart from that, one day, I’d love to wrangle Christa Desir (Fault Line, releases November 2013) into writing something with me. I have mad respect for her as an author and a human being, and adore her gut wrenching stories and writing style.

This question is blowing my mind! Let me answer it like this: there are many friends of mine I admire SO MUCH. And I love co-writing. But you have to have a certain disposition to co-write. So, if any of my friends want to talk co-writing, I’d encourage them to come whisper to me about it and maybe we can make magic!

9. How do you decide on the covers (which are all gorgeous) for your books?
Liz found our cover artist, Todd Maloy and he’s done an amazing job creating the cohesive look to our Lengths series covers! Liz and I both just start emailing pics that we find back and forth to each other until we both ‘know’ we’ve found it. Limits, I think gave us the most trouble in finding a couple that looked like Adam and Gen, but we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

And we are very open to changes. If we find a new design or picture that we love, we go for it. Traditional books often have new versions of covers, and we love switching things up! Steph is especially rad at culling through thousands of pictures until she finds just the right one.

10. What was the last book that made you cry or laugh?
Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight made me cry. And laugh. And gasp. I love reading out of my genre when I’m writing, because I always want to read, but I don’t want to feel like I’m writing anything too close to what I’m reading. These books were so amazingly gorgeous and rich and they’re paranormal. Amazing, world-rich paranormal.
I also read Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park while on vacation and got really super sucked in. I definitely laughed, and I definitely lost a lot of sleep. It was worth every eye booger. Loved. It. It was an incredibly raw, real teen love story. Very unexpected.

OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys. The story was heartbreaking, and the characterization is top notch. Ms. Sepetys writing is stellar and it’s the second book of hers I’ve read that left me in tears.

11. Do you have any plans of visiting the UK soon, I know a good place in the North West?
It’s definitely something Liz and I have on our bucket list! Some of our biggest supporters have been in the UK and we both have books published with traditional houses there, so someday, we’d definitely love to make the trip to connect with readers! :)

I would LOVE to! And we better be able to hit you up to have a pint with us, Michelle ;)! My college is doing an alum trip to England and Scotland in a few weeks, and I can’t tell you how tempted I was to hock some stuff and jump on a plane. (Answer: VERY tempted!)

This or That

Tea or coffee?

Summer or winter?

Ebook or physical book?
physical book

Chocolate or candy?
I seldom eat sweets! *hides*
Chocolate (but Steph MAKES the most amaaazing desserts and candies!! fun Steph fact ;)!)

Cats or dogs?

Lefty or righty?

Facebook or twitter?
Facebook, I’ve been told Liz and I both fail at Twitter ;)
Hahahaha! I’m barely any good at FB, and I operate Twitter like a ninny. A pure ninny.

Sleep in or wake up early?
Oh, good lord I’d love to sleep in!
SLEEP IN for sure!!

Thank you ladies for an entertaining interview, I am looking forward to seeing what else is in the works and I am beyond excited for Ties, the next instalment for this fantastic series.

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