Wednesday, November 20, 2013

JASMINE - April McGowan - One Free Book

Readers, here's another author who is new to this blog.

Welcome, April. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I think a bit of me shows up in each one simply by pulling them on for size when writing them. Their circumstances and personalities are clearly not mine, but I’m sure I show up here and there because as I learn about them in the writing process, I’m also learning about myself.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I started playing the drums at age 41.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve written off and on most of my life, my first story being a picture book called Skits Spooky Halloween at age ten. But it was about fifteen years ago that I started to work seriously at it, and once I did, I was hooked. Even when I’m not at the keyboard, I’m writing in my head.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love to read inspirational fiction, contemporary fiction, and the occasional sci-fi and fantasy novel. And young adult fiction. Pretty much … fiction. All sorts. I’m a voracious reader.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I live with a chronic illness that has forced me to take huge steps back in commitments. I try to prioritize by what I can do every day, knowing that if I do too much one day, then I won’t be able to do much the next. My having to do this has helped my kids learn how and when to say no to activities, too, so the whole family has learned we don’t have to do it all and be it all. Doing nothing here and there is perfectly okay—in fact, I recommend everyone try it!

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I try to get to know my characters pretty well before deciding on a name. This involves my talking to them over a period of days and asking them deep questions. Then I research name meanings and see what fits.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I love being a mom. As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted children. I’m a homeschool mom, too, which allows me the opportunity to spend loads of time with them and get to know them on a deeper level.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An orca. They’ve always held a mystique for me. They’ll interact with us, but just as easily eat us. They’re powerful, bold, graceful, and demand respect. Although … I really don’t like the taste of fish. So, a steak-eating orca. I mean, if we’re going to fantasize, I’m going to eat steak.

What is your favorite food?
Um … see number eight?

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Honestly, my biggest road block is my health. I have CVID a primary immune deficiency disease that makes it so my body doesn’t build antibodies to colds or infections. Because of this illness and its associated severe fatigue, I can’t write every day. So I have to find ways to cut in my writing time the best I can. I’ll plan for a week with no activities so I can get to the computer and tap it out, and I’ll inevitably come down with a cold. So instead, I’ve learned to take each day as it comes and get in an hour or two or six as best I can and be satisfied with that.

Tell us about the featured book.
Jasmine is a survivor. She’s lived through the abuse from her father, running away at age fourteen, and living on the streets. Now she counsels at-risk young women—giving them a second chance at life. But when her mother dies, can Jasmine go home again and face all she’s forced herself to forget for the last twenty years? Or will the past she has long forgotten take over her present once again?

Please give us the first page of the book.
The cold from the linoleum floor cut through Jasmine’s jeans as she sat with her back braced against the hospital wall. Her eyes sagged closed as her mind whirred from exhaustion and worry. Sleep beckoned, and strange images flitted through her mind, flashing in odd synchronicity with the flickering fluorescents overhead.

Someone jiggled her shoulder, pressing down, squeezing. Survival instincts kicked in, and she reached back to draw her knife from the waist of her pants. When her fingers came up empty, her other hand came around and snatched the throat of her attacker. Her foggy mind engaged as her assailant choked out her name.


Jasmine’s eyes widened in recognition, and she released her grip. Officer Banner sank back on the floor, scooting away from her, rubbing his throat, and coughing. She ran her fingers through her hair and avoided eye contact, hoping he wouldn’t ask for an explanation. There wasn’t one—none worth giving. He should know better than to touch someone who was asleep.

“What’s going on?” Jasmine stood on shaky legs, glancing toward the hospital room door. She tucked a loose strand of black hair behind her ear and stretched.

Open mouthed, Officer Banner stared at her. “I was going to tell you she’s awake.” He continued to rub his throat.

“Good.” Avoiding his stare, she hurried toward the room. Before she could enter, his partner came out.

“Officer Gerry.” She greeted the female officer with a nod.

“Jazz. Did you see what happened?”

“No, I found Misty outside our complex. I’d just finished a late dinner when I heard her scream, and I ran out. She’d been beaten, and by the time I got out there, she was unconscious. I called an ambulance, and we’ve been here since waiting for treatment. What time is it, anyway?”

Ned Banner glanced at his watch. “Zero-four-hundred.”

“Has Misty said anything about the attack?” Jasmine caught the look Gerry shot to Banner.


“She’s probably been raped. That’s what the doctor thinks. But she denies it and won’t let them test.”

Jasmine swallowed away the anguish. “I’ll see if she’ll talk to me.” As an at-risk women’s counselor, she’d faced this situation many times, but it never got any easier.

Leaving Banner and his partner outside, she walked into the room. Misty lay on the hospital bed, shivering, her arms pulled tight against her chest. She stared out the window but didn’t appear to see anything. The rails of the bed were up, reinforcing the appearance of her helplessness.

“Hi, Misty.” She moved around to the other side of the bed. At least they’d given the girl a private room. Jasmine put her hand on Misty’s shoulder, causing her to jump. “It’s okay, it’s me, Jazz.”

“Jazz.” Misty focused on Jasmine for the first time.

They’d met when Jasmine visited the jail a year ago. Back then, Misty appeared older, more sure of herself. Today, without the hardened look in her eyes and gaudy makeup, she seemed much younger than her eighteen years. Tears streamed down her bruised cheeks and over her split lip.

“It’s okay, you’re safe.” Jasmine held her tight, feeling Misty’s body shake in her arms.

Powerful! How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can follow my blog at, follow me on Twitter at @aprilkmcgowan or find me on Facebook at

Thank you, April, for spending this time with us today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Jasmine - paperback
Jasmine - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Unknown said...

April, I have not read any of your books yet but enjoyed this post. Jasmine seems like a good read. Your characters drew me in just from the introduction and the book trailer is very well done.
I plan on adding this to my reading list Thank you

susan said...

Hi April, I really look forward to reading your book. Thankyou for sharing about your life and your book with us I enjoyed reading this blog , I am putting your book on my Christmas list for Santa,can't wait to read it. :) Susan from Oregon

April McGowan said...

Hi Jackie! Thanks so much. I'm glad. Jasmine feels so very real to me! I hope you enjoy reading her story.

April McGowan said...

Hi Susan! Thanks for your comment. I hope someone sticks a copy of Jasmine in your stocking :) I'm in's wicked cold this morning! I'm hoping for snow this year, what about you?

Melanie Backus said...

April, your book sounds so thought provoking and I am sure some heart stings pulling will be going on. I want to know more about Jazz. Thank you, Lena for introducing April.

Melanie Backus, TX

April McGowan said...

Thanks, Melanie. I have to say I did my share of crying as I got to know Jazz. :) The best stories connect to us emotionally, and she really got to me. I hope she connects to you, too.

Britney Adams said...

Thank you for sharing this interview, excerpt and book trailer. JASMINE sounds like a powerful, emotional book! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Britney Adams, TX

April McGowan said...

Hi Britney, thanks for stopping by:) I hope you get a chance to read it. Jasmine, the girls she helped, and the community/family that supported her inspired me. I hope they inspire you, too.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed reading about April. Bummer on the disease. Looks like you are taking what you have and making the best of it. I too am a homeschooling mom. I agree that doing noting from time to time is a good thing -- I think everybody I know is just too darn busy -- it's sickening. Anyway, God bless you with your writing.

Mary Preston said...

Jasmine does indeed sound like a survivor. I'm looking forward to reading this.

Mary P


Judy said...

Wow..I can't wait to read this book! Jasmine is a survivor through her trials as well as a lot of us right here! I would love to win a copy of this book. I can relate to your chronic illness April. There are days and then there are DAYS!

Judy B from Indiana

Jackie Tessnair said...

This book sounds very interesting.I would love to win and read it.Thanks so much.Jackie Tessnair from N.C.

April McGowan said...

Renee Barry--God provides strength and grace every day--I just have to remember to ask on those super low days for an extra measure! Blessings on your homeschooling life. There are so many opportunities out there, it's hard to keep the 'home' in homeschooling some days, isn't it?

April McGowan said...

Mary Preston. What I love about Jasmine is that she's tough, but she's not afraid to let down her guard--when the time is right--and be empathetic to others. Thanks for reading :)

April McGowan said...

Hi Judy B--I'm equally sorry and glad we can relate with chronic illness. It really changes our view of things, doesn't it? It also makes me appreciate the little things--which are some of life's biggest blessings :) I hope you enjoy reading, Jasmine. Let me know what you think!

April McGowan said...

Jackie Tessnair thanks for leaving a never know, you might be the winner :) Thanks for reading!

Cindi A said...

Sounds like an intense novel. Please enter my name in the drawing to win a copy.
~Cindi in PA

Jean said...

Thank ou for this opportunity.

Jean Kropid
West Palm Beach, FL

April McGowan said...

Cindi and Jean, thanks for stopping by. I hope your mornings went/are going well :)

Mama Cat said...

This sounds like a very interesting book, one that would be difficult to write. Blessings to you, April, and may the Lord protect you from flares of CVID colds/ flu! Jeanie in Phoenix

Unknown said...

I have RA so I completely understand living with a chronic condition. You book sound really good.
Tonja (VA)

April McGowan said...

Tonja--RA is such a huge challenge. I have CVID--a rare immunodeficiency disease--genetic condition that makes it so I can't create antibodies to colds and infections. Loads of fatigue, so get that, I'm sure. HUGS! Thanks for commenting and reading :)

Unknown said...

I am a Summer girl. I don't Like the cold..No Snow!!

sam said...

I'm interested in a book about an abused girl who moved on in her life. Love to win your book. sharon , ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lourdes said...

Enjoyed the interview, loved that she is a survivor, which I can relate to having experienced a load of things too heavy to get into but I am so looking forward to reading this books. Thanks for the chance to do so.

Lourdes, Long Island NY

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

rubynreba said...

Jasmine looks like a book I would enjoy. I enjoyed the interview!
Beth from Iowa

Anonymous said...

would love to win. Angela in KY