Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for the Exit Stage Right by Jennifer Willcock, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
Title: Exit Stage Right by Jennifer Willcock
Publisher: Word Alive Press
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: November 30, 2019
She wants to dance, and she’s willing to sacrifice everything, everyone, to get it.
Coco Bradley is a talented ballet dancer, and when an opportunity arises for her to audition for the prestigious Spencer School of the Performing Arts, she’s not about to let anyone stop her— including her parents, her friends, and any of the prima donnas of the art school. A pastor’s kid, Coco has grown up serving God and people, but gaining entry to Spencer means leaving behind all the expectations that come with growing up in the pastorate, as well as the dead-end town of Wyattsville.
Coco lives by the creed “Ballet First,” but she’s about to find out in a painful way that there’s more to life than dancing.
Opportunities, fame, and love all come calling as Coco chases her dream. But in going after what she wants, will she lose the things that matter most?
influences that have shaped my writing
by Jennifer Willcock, author of Exit Stage Right
I had to stop and think about the people, books and characters that have influenced my writing but once I did I realized I have been really blessed. Most of these people I have never met in person which exemplifies why the written word is a very powerful tool.
Ann Voskamp really influenced me a number of years ago when One Thousand Gifts was published. I was in a tough spot and her story about how gratitude changed her life impacted me greatly. I began to keep a photo diary of what I was thankful for on social media. That daily practice of finding something that blessed me helped me to slow down. I stopped running around in circles and instead, began to experience the life going on around me, whether it was the squirrels chattering on the fence or enjoying time with my boys without checking my To Do list. Life became much more enjoyable.
As a writer, I appreciated her unique way of writing and it challenged me to find my own voice. In a way she gave me permission to be myself as a writer.
Anne of Green Gables and Jo March fed my imagination and inspired me to pursue writing and telling stories. I identified with them as writers and as independent girls/women. As a young person, I looked at Lucy Maud Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott as examples of what I could do when I grew up – which was tell stories.
Other influences that have shaped my writing career have been YA authors. I’ve read a lot of YA fiction from romance and fantasy to sci-fi. These authors have inspired me to find my voice and tell the stories I want to read. Their books fueled the desire to sit down and write my own novel. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing some of these authors speak and their honesty about their struggles writing made me realize I’m not alone in the challenges I face as a writer.
My writing partners have also impacted me as a writer and person. We meet once a month and as I watch them tackle their own struggles and see them succeed, it gives me the courage to try new things and persevere. They challenge me to become both a better person and a better writer. I honestly wouldn’t have written Exit Stage Right if they hadn’t encouraged me to try my hand at fiction writing.
Finally the other huge influence has been the non-profit organization NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s an international writing challenge that happens every November. The goal is to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. I wrote Exit Stage Right during my first NaNoWriMo. Their philosophy of getting a first rough draft down on the page was freeing for me. No editing is allowed. The idea of not having to be perfect really inspired me to just write. Because I have some journalism in my writing background, I like the structure of a deadline. The whole experience of NaNoWriMo has really shaped my writing process and career over the last three years.
As you can see, no one person has inspired me. It’s been a community.
Jennifer Willcock grew up telling herself stories in the middle of the night to keep away the monsters that lurked in the dark. Once she realized there weren’t any real monsters, she kept telling stories. A voracious reader, Jennifer reads many different genres, but she never outgrew young adult fiction. A degree in English Literature enabled her to keep her love affair with reading and writing alive. A blogger, speaker, and writer, she belongs to the MOPS Network of Speakers and the Word Guild of Canada.
Jennifer studied ballet through the Royal Academy of Dance during her teen years and into adulthood. She has taught in private and community settings and choreographed productions for her church over the years. In 2017, Jennifer decided she was brave enough to try and write fiction and joined NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. She “won” it, writing 50,000 words in thirty days. The result is Exit Stage Right, a dream she thought was impossible to achieve. In 2019, the novel made the shortlist of the Word Alive Press fiction writing contest.
Besides being a mom to two sons, she is married to Mark, a pastor. She works part-time in the local library, where she’s inspired every day to write a book that will one day be on the shelves. The family’s pet dwarf rabbit, Whiskers, is her muse as he sits at her feet while she writes. She’d love for you to connect with her online.
(1) winner will receive a copy of Exit Stage Right and a $25 Amazon gift card!
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 16, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on January 23, 2020. US/CAN only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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What about you? What interests you most about Exit Stage Right and/or Jennifer Willcock’s writing influences?