Title: The Reason
Author: Jen Andrews
Zoey James is in a funk. She has been through more in her twenty-three years than most people have experienced in their entire lives. After her ex-husband tries to take everything she’s worked so hard for, she makes one rule: Never date someone she works with.
When her father’s newly hired mechanic moves into the apartment above their family-run business, Zoey’s lonely life is flipped upside down.
As a teenager, New Zealand native, Andy Tate’s family is tragically killed in an accident, and he is taken in by his aunt and uncle. Andy is pulled away from the only place he’s ever known as home, and moved halfway around the world to Northern California.
Ten years and one failed marriage later, Andy finds himself living in a new city, with a new job at James Racing, and living in an apartment next door to Zoey, his new boss’s beautiful and damaged daughter.
After an interesting chain of events over one weekend, Andy and Zoey form an unexpected bond. Even though he’s the only one who can get through to her, she will do all that she can to keep him at a distance and not break her one rule.
Will Andy be the reason for Zoey to start living her life again, or will she continue on her downward spiral, until she finally hits rock bottom?
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When and why did you decide to be a writer?
I never intended to be a writer, but I have always been a reader. When I was a teenager, I wrote a few poems, which I promptly balled up and threw away. I was more into drawing, really. My grandfather, whom I never met because he died a couple years before I was born, actually self-published around five books, so I guess, technically it’s in the genes. I’d considered writing several times over the years, but just never did it.
At the end of summer 2012, I was listening to my iPod and the song Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol came on. I was having a bit of an ADD moment while working (I work at home) and the lyrics kept distracting me. I put the song on repeat, and memorized the lyrics, all while this story brewed in my head. My mind sort of went into overload and I knew I had to write at that moment. Two months, and a pack of 6x9 lined note cards later, I had my story lined out and began to write.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I am my own worst critic, constantly feeling like my story isn’t good enough, and that people just won’t get it. The best compliment has been from the people who support me and tell me that my story IS good enough and their encouragement is the biggest compliment and what kept me going.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just do it! Any thoughts you have for your story, write them down. Don’t ever throw anything away, or delete. If you have part of a story that just isn’t working out, put it in a separate document and go back to it later. Your mind will constantly change, therefore, you need to keep everything because you may use it later once you’ve figured out what you want to do with it.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, because you can. Find people that will encourage and be honest with you. Get yourself involved in groups on sites such as Facebook. Ask questions, Google the hell out of how to better your craft. Use beta readers, editors and people you can trust to give you their honest opinions.
How many drafts did you have to write for The Reason ? Any scenes that were cut from the original that you want to share?
There have been a few different drafts for The Reason. Zoey and Andy have a three part series for their story that was actually one very large book. When I typed ‘the end’ on their story, it was 196,000 words. That is a very big book, and even I wouldn’t want to read something that big. I toyed with the idea of splitting into two books, but they were lopsided size-wise so I made the very tough decision to split it again, into three books.
There are a few scenes that were cut from The Reason to make room for the first chapter, that was actually written a year after I finished the book!
What inspired the idea for The Reason?
As I said before, the song Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol inspired the original story and was the original title of the book. But since I had to split the original book due to size, I needed two new book titles to complete Zoey and Andy’s story. Enter the song The Reason, by Hoobastank. Once again, I was listening to my iPod while working and the first few notes of the song began to play. It had been months since I’d heard the song and as I listened to the lyrics, I knew it would be the new title for book one. As soon as I was off work, I wrote it into my book.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write in 'The Reason and why?
Zoey’s birthday is my favorite part of the book. It was also the most emotional and difficult part to write. It’s where Zoey’s life comes crashing down around her and she realizes she needs help. I will end my answer here so I don’t give away too many spoilers.
What is your favorite snack/treat or drink while writing?
A Cocomo coffee from Dutch Bros! Those suckers are addicting. Normally when I write, it’s just after work or after dinner while I am relaxing, so honestly I don’t snack much.
What are you currently reading?
I am just finishing up on With This Heart by RS Grey, which I highly recommend everyone read! Such a beautiful story.
Who is your fictional character crush?
Ohhh, that’s a toughie.. I have MANY. I am a huge Cherrie Lynn fan, so any of her tatted up characters would be a good choice. I particularly like Ghost. I am also a huge Rosalind James fan, and adore her Escape to New Zealand series. Lots of super sexy rugby players in that series! I am a HUGE rugby fan and her stories happen to be about my favorite New Zealand team, the All Blacks.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just THANK YOU. Thank you for reading my book. Thank you for supporting a self-published/indie author. I am sorry for the cliffies, but I had no choice to split the book so it would not compromise Andy and Zoey’s story, by cutting huge chunks out of it. Since books two and three are written already, I will work my butt off to get them out all in 2014!
About The Author
I live in a small town in Northern California with my husband and all of our rescued pets. Like the main character, Zoey, in my upcoming book series, I come from a family of mechanics. My father is a mechanic, all of his brothers are/were mechanics at one time or another. I have never NOT been around hot rods! My husband is a mechanic as well, so we have a few of our own classic Chevys. I have always been an avid reader, and finally decided to try my hand at writing after I heard a song. Yes, a song! It may sound silly, but that one song stirred up all of these ideas and emotions, that I began writing the ideas down so I would maybe, someday, actually DO something with it. I started writing my "Just Say Yes" series in October of 2012 and have completed three books for Andy and Zoey, hopefully to be released soon!