Author Guest Post
Obsessions, Survivor, and Fiction
In July of 2000 I was finishing up grad school and getting my master’s degree in education. I had also just moved in with the man who is now my husband, and I was about to start my first fulltime teaching job. In addition to all that, I was in a comedy-improv group, and we were performing a lot that summer.
So I had a lot to think about.
But do you know what I spent most of time on? Watching, reading about, and obsessing over the new reality TV show, Survivor. Sure, the show is now a dinosaur, but at that time it was the newest, shiniest object on television. And I was transfixed.
I remember going online to read the message boards about it. I was putting off writing the “thesis” I needed to complete to get my degree. This was before the internet was used for much for research, and my topic wasn’t one I was particularly crazy about - male versus female performance in math classes. (I’m an English teacher. What was I thinking?)
So every morning, my boyfriend would leave for work and I would force myself to sit in the tiny second bedroom in our new place, which we were using as an office. I would stare at my computer, and then I would log on, not to write or do research, but to visit the chat-rooms. “Just ten minutes” I would tell myself, “and then I’ll get to work.”
The chat-rooms I visited, but never commented in - they were all had theories about who would win. There were also some spoilers that turned out to be false. After all, Gervaise DID NOT WIN. Richard did, and I still haven’t gotten over that.
So yeah, I was consumed. It was all so new, and nobody had any idea what would happen. I was totally rooting for Gretchen, because she was so strong, likeable, and competent. And as for Richard, who was such a jerk, every episode I waited for him to get voted out. But he never did.
The concept of the show fascinated me. Every week a new person was voted out, so only the strong shall survive. Right? What I didn’t realize at the time was Survivor would redefine strength, and that in reality television, what’s just is not necessarily what is right.
Now, thirteen years later, I still watch Survivor, though I have skipped a season or three. And now my eight year old son watches it with me, but he talks a lot, so I’m constantly missing important moments.
But I still like to pontificate over how I would do on the show. Probably not very well. While my endurance and strength are okay, most of the challenges are about speed and skill, and I would be awful at those. Plus, I like to stay hydrated, and I don’t know if I could survive on the little drops of water they get out there. Still, I like to think I could play the social game, and that the group dynamics wouldn’t get the best of me.
But I know I’m never going to be on Survivor, which why I wrote The Holdout instead. It was a lot of fun to create a character who could succeed if only she’d find her inner strength – one who could kick some ass in ways I’ll never be able to. People have said my book is a romance about justice, and that’s true, I guess. But it’s also a tale of self-discovery, about what happens when we need to find our voice amidst a group of people.
Survivor is all about group dynamics, and really, so is life. And that’s where the fun comes in.
The tribe has spoken.
About The Author
The Holdout by Laurel Osterkamp
Publisher: PMI Books
Publication Date: September 8, 2013
Format: Paperback - 236 pages / Kindle - 4205 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: The Holdout
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
But Grant was only using Robin as they competed for a million dollars. Once home, Robin wants to hide from the humiliation as episodes of The Holdout are aired, and she worries her family was right all along; she's not a survivor.
Yet she could surprise everyone, and have the last laugh.
Besides, Robin now has jury duty. And as she forges ahead, confronting her demons about bravery, justice, and romance, Robin will come to decide which is more important: the courage to stand alone, or the strength to love again.
My Book Review:
What more could a reader ask for than to have a story that includes a Survivor like Reality TV show with a journey of self-discovery and a little romance added into the mix? Well ... author Laurel Osterkamp does just that in her latest novel, The Holdout!
Author Laurel Osterkamp weaves an entertaining tale that is set in two places: Des Moines, Iowa and the Philippines, and told in the first person narrative with an alternating past/present timeline. The reader follows thirty-one year old Robin Bricker's journey as she competes on a Survivor like Reality TV show called The Holdout, where she competes against fifteen other "castaways" to be the last holdout to win the million dollar prize.
The reader gets to know Robin as the storyline switches from flashbacks of the past with the taping of her time on the Reality TV show, and the present time where Robin is trying to deal with the public humiliation as the show's weekly episodes are currently being aired. Robin tries to get her life back on track and does her best to blend in and not be recognized by fans of the show. Robin is selected for jury duty on a Federal Court civil case, where she will embark on a journey of self-discovery as she compares her time on the island with that of being on the jury, which will help her discover who she really is, grow and learn from her actions and the consequences from both life experiences.
I really enjoyed reading The Holdout, I think author Laurel Osterkamp did a wonderful job of cleverly interweaving the two storylines (Robin's time on the Reality TV show and as a juror in the Federal Court case), it kept me intrigued and turning the pages. The reader is provided with an entertaining behind the scenes look at what goes on in a Reality TV game show coupled with the realistic inner workings of the legal judicial system. The story is filled with humor, family dynamic issues, drama, romance, tension; trust and betrayal, and life lessons.
With a quirky and realistic cast of characters; quirky dialogue and dramatic interactions; a richly detailed description of the Philippine island and Reality TV game setting; and a cleverly well-written multi-layered storyline that easily draws the reader into the complexity of Robin's story; The Holdout is a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read!
RATING: 4 STARS ****
The Holdout - Book Trailer
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January 9 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
January 13 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
January 14 – The Book Fetish – Review
January 14 - The Book Fetish - Excerpt
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January 16 – A Blue Million Books – Q&A & Excerpt
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January 20 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
January 21 – Traveling With T – Guest Post
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