EVERY LAST WORD Blog Tour & Giveaway: Introduction with Tamara Ireland Stone
Today we are so thrilled to welcome Tamara Ireland Stone to the blog to kick off her blog tour for Every Last Word! Guys, we absolutely love this book (stay tuned later this week for our review), and we’re so excited for Tamara to introduce it to you now. Make sure to enter to win a copy for you and a friend below!
Introducing the Tour & Every Last Word
Welcome to the blog tour for my new novel, Every Last Word. This story is close to my heart for a number of reasons, and I’m excited to tell you more about it.
Before we start, I have to say a big THANK YOU to the bloggers who are hosting me this week! Here’s what we have in store:
- Monday — An introduction to Every Last Word
- Tuesday — An Inspiring Mind: On writing a character with OCD
- Wednesday — Friends vs. Tribes: A Look Back at High School
- Thursday — Words, Walls and Wonderment: Welcome to Poet’s Corner
- Friday — An Every Last Word exclusive excerpt
- Saturday — The “In The Deep” Playlist Reveal: A Guest Post by the Teen Who Inspired Every Last Word
To kick things off, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the book and the inspiration behind it.
Every Last Word
Every Last Word is a story about sixteen-year-old Samantha. On the outside, Sam appears to have the perfect life: She’s a top-ranked athlete. She’s pretty and popular. She’s had the same group of best friends since kindergarten.
But Sam isn’t perfect. She has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries she can’t turn off. Because the disorder takes place entirely in her mind, it’s relatively easy for Sam to keep it a secret. And it is, without question, her biggest secret. Her friends would never understand.
Everything begins to change for Sam when she meets Caroline, a quirky girl a few lockers away who wears snarky tees and openly shares her opinions. She introduces Sam to an underground poetry club hidden beneath the school theater and its members: a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large.
In this room they call Poet’s Corner, Sam finds herself in a judgment-free place where she doesn’t have to question what anyone’s thinking—she doesn’t have to. The people there read poetry aloud, wear their hearts on their sleeves, and care very little about things like clothes and makeup. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially an adorable guy named AJ with an acoustic guitar and a gift for verse.
But now she’s keeping another secret from her best friends, and living a life divided. She can’t tell anyone about Poet’s Corner—not even her therapist, Shrink-Sue, and she tells her everything.
Eventually, in the safety of this room, Sam begins to tap into this obsession she’s always had with words and song lyrics. And she discovers the writer within, this part of herself she never knew existed. For the first time in her life she starts to feel “normal”, more accepted than she ever has as part of the popular crowd.
When Sam makes a startling discovery, she’s forced to question who she really is and what she truly wants. Will she keep moving forward with her new friends, or go safely back into hiding with the old ones?
An Inspiring Mind
I first became interested in telling a story about a teen with OCD when a close family friend was diagnosed four years ago, at age twelve.
It was heartbreaking to hear how the disorder affected her. She couldn’t sleep. She felt powerless to a stream of negative, often terrifying thoughts. And her group of friends unknowingly made things harder. I couldn’t imagine dealing with something so intense, especially at such a young age.
I’ll tell you more about her and how she inspired Every Last Word tomorrow, but suffice it to say she was integral. Her involvement helped me craft a realistic story, but because of who she is and how she’s learned to manage her mental health over time, she helped make it a positive one.
And that was incredibly important to me. From the beginning, I wanted this to be an uplifting novel. And I had some important things I wanted to say in its pages:
- I wrote it in first person to show readers the inside of a unique and very special mind. Sam often feels as if her brain is broken, but it isn’t; it just works differently.
- I gave Sam a psychiatrist she could trust and medications that worked, because I firmly believe it’s okay if you need one or both.
- I made her a competitive swimmer to address the popular misconception that people who struggle with their mental health “just need to exercise.” Elite athletes struggle with depression. Exercise doesn’t cure mental illness.
- I played with words like “normal” and “crazy”, because we tend to throw them around, but they’re so dangerously subjective. One person’s “normal” is another person’s “boring.”
- Writing in my journals saved me when I was young. I couldn’t wait for Sam to fall in love with words and discover their healing power like I did when I was a teen.
- I wanted to show the impact of bullying from both sides, and to use it to talk about mistakes, forgiveness and second chances.
- And I wanted to talk about the pressure teens feel to be perfect, as seen through the eyes of a teen who appears to be flawless on the outside and feels exactly the opposite on the inside.
Every Last Word isn’t a story about a girl with OCD.
This is a story about a girl who finds an underground poetry club and a group of people who change her life in some unexpected ways. It’s a story about accepting who you are, flaws and all, and surrounding yourself with people who get you.
I can’t wait for you to meet Sam, Sue, Caroline, AJ and the rest of the cast.
Thank you for hanging out with me this week. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about my research process, “Pure-O” OCD, and the inspiring teen behind Every Last Word.
Blog Tour Schedule:
Follow along with the EVERY LAST WORD blog tour for guest posts from Tamara Ireland Stone:
- June 15: AliceMarvels.com – Introducing the tour and EVERY LAST WORD
- June 16: ForeverYoungAdult.com – An Inspiring Mind: On Writing a Positive Character with OCD
- June 17: Fangirlish.com – Words, Walls and Wonderment: Welcome to Poet’s Corner
- June 18: TheDailyQuirk.com – Friends vs. Tribes: A Look Back at High School
- June 19: Hypable.com – Exclusive Excerpt: EVERY LAST WORD Chapter 2
- June 20: GoneWithTheWords.com – The Final EVERY LAST WORD Playlist: “In The Deep”
About Every Last Word:
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
Learn more on HyperionTeens.com
READ AN EXCERPT
About the Tamara Ireland Stone:
Tamara Ireland Stone (www.TamaraIrelandStone.com) is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us, which Melissa Marr praised as a “beautifully written, unique love story,” and has been published in over twenty countries. A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco.
CELEBRATE YOUR UNIQUE SELVES prize pack
One (1) winner receives:
- Two copies of Every Last Word for you and a friend;
- plus a $50 Visa gift card to enjoy a day out celebrating your friendship!
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney Hyperion.