Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Leaving Eva by Jennifer Sivec (Author Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Leaving Eva by Author Jennifer Sivec!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Jennifer!

Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself. 

I’m Women’s Fiction Author, Jennifer Sivec, and I live a very full and busy life, sometimes going about a thousand miles a minutes without a free moment in the day. My mind is always racing and I’m always looking for that “one thing” that happens in my day that will inspire a story or a character. I took some years off from writing and during that time, I always felt like there was a little person in my head, narrating to me throughout my day. But when I started writing again, that little voice went away and suddenly it all made sense. Writing keeps me sane and focused, and it balances out a little bit of my mania because when I’m writing, I’m not thinking about or doing anything else. But more than writing, I love my family. They are the most important things and I focus on keeping my priorities straight so that I can enjoy my life with them, above everything.

How long have you been a writer? 

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember, always journaling, writing short stories, and poetry. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career? 

I do have a day job, which makes it challenging to write sometimes due to time constraints. But I’m fortunate that I’ve worked for the same company for almost sixteen years, and I love my job. I get to work with fun, incredible people, and my job is challenging and interesting. I have no complaints. I love that I get to do both.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer. 

I’ve always been a reader and writing was a natural transition. The more I read, the better I wrote and the more I wanted to write. I used to write short stories and gradually moved on to poetry and song lyrics. I wish I would’ve kept everything that I’ve written over the years, but a lot of it got lost with various moves. Now I just have what I’ve written in the past five years or so. I wish I would’ve kept some of the poetry I had written when I was younger, but I love the stories that I get to write now. They are fuller and more complex and they take on a life of their own. I think my writing is more interesting now than it ever was, due to my own life experiences and my own maturity as a woman and as a person.

Please give a brief description/storyline about Leaving Eva

Leaving Eva isn’t an easy read, but it’s a fulfilling one. There are so many elements that begin with the birth of a baby, named Eva, and a young mother who desperately struggles with her own demons. The story follows Eva through her abandonment and eventual adoption as she lives a life wrought with emotional and physical abuse. She resorts to self-mutilation to ease her pain, and eventually finds comfort and love with a boy who is willing to follow her wherever she goes. They grow up, marry, and as they grow older, their relationship takes on the typical struggles of most adult relationships, and Eva/Brynn must finally come to terms with herself and her inability to trust and love. The storyline follows Eva and her birth mother Ellie, and explores the dangers of addiction, alcoholism, and abuse. There are many other elements such as friendship, kidnapping, and murder that weave their way throughout Leaving Eva and make way for the sequel, Losing Eva.

What was the inspiration for this story?

I was abandoned around the age of two and adopted around the age of three. I started out wanting to tell a story about abandonment and adoption unsure of which direction I would end up going in. Eventually the characters took over, and Leaving Eva became something else entirely.

How did it feel to have your first book published? 

It felt serendipitous, as though it was meant to be and I had finally figured it out. For a split second, it truly felt magical.

And then suddenly, it was unbelievably horrifying and I felt like I was about to stand naked in Madison Square Garden in front of thousands of people who were going to examine every word, every thought, every character I had written and judge me with a microscope.

And then it felt magical again.

That’s how it feels every time. :D

Do you write books for a specific genre? 

I’ve mostly been writing women’s fiction, but I have a fantasy novel (the first of a series) waiting to be edited and proofed.

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why? 

I write what I read, so I absolutely love chick lit, women’s fiction, and fantasy novels. When I was a girl, I read a ton of mythology and when I was a young adult I loved the classics, Stephen King, and anything interesting. It didn’t matter which genre it was in, which is still my philosophy. If it’s interesting, I’ll read it. It doesn’t matter which genre it’s in or who wrote it. One of my favorite books is The Time Travelers Wife and I will always be in love with Shel Silverstein books. I love the Perks of Being a Wallflower and anything by Anne Rice. I just read Killing Kennedy, which I found to be interesting and am currently reading Alabama Skye by my Booktrope proofreader, J.C. Wing. I’ve been behind on my reading, but I have a vacation coming up soon and am hoping to catch up.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing? 

No, I don’t have a place right now. But I envision a sunroom with a lot of light and flowers, and plants, at some point in my life. I write anywhere and everywhere I can grab a few spare moments no. I can’t really afford to be too picky because I have to write when inspiration strikes and when I have extra time to do so.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books? 

I make a lot of notes, so usually if something inspires me; I write it down for future reference. I pick up the storyline from there.

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes? 

I write when I can, whether it’s for twenty minutes or an hour. It’s the most challenging part of being a writer at this point in my life, now.

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most? 

I love that there are no limits to what I can imagine or write. I love that when I begin to think, “You can’t write that!” that I can stop and tell myself that there is no reason why I can’t. The challenge is when I’m writing fantasy and the story needs to be fantastic, yet believable. I question the authenticity of the characters all of the time because they have been completely fabricated in my mind. It’s a love/hate relationship when I’m writing fantasy, but I love it. It’s so much fun.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing? 

My favorite thing to do is anything that involves my husband and children. We love to play sports, and just hang out together. I’m pretty low-key when it comes to my down time, which doesn’t happen too often. But I have two boys and they challenge me physically and mentally, so any time spent playing sports with them is time well spent.

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received? 

The first piece of writing advice I ever got was to write the stories that I want to read. I always keep that in mind when I’m writing.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer? 

It is incredibly humbling and gratifying when someone writes to you or tells you that they love your books. I always have to read it a couple of times and have to refrain from saying, ”Are you sure you messaged the right person?!”

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans? 

I usually communicate with my readers through Facebook and Twitter, any kind of social media.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination? 

I think I put a lot of things in that are in my sub-conscious, but I don’t purposely create any of my characters or any of my storylines from real life. There are elements of my books that I have no personal knowledge of, and only know from research, so that has come directly from my imagination. The fantasy novel, The Lost Children, is 100% imagination, with the exception of the relationships that intertwine throughout the story.

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer? 

I would definitely say that in my younger years, it was Anne Rice. I loved how she could weave a story and create such strong, yet flawed characters. I have always adored and related well to characters that struggle with their own demons. I have always wanted to be a writer and one day I woke up and I realized that the only person holding me back was me, so I decided that I wasn’t going to get any younger and the time to do it was now. I haven’t looked back since.

What is your definition of success as a writer? 

I think that my definition of success is anytime someone chooses to read anything I’ve written. I’m always so amazed when someone reads and loves any of my books!

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us? 

I’m currently writing the third and final novel in the Eva Series. This is technically my fifth book, though the fantasy novel isn’t published yet. I’m in process of republishing all of my books with Booktrope Publishing, so my schedule for releasing books has been delayed. Which secretly, is a very good thing because I’m less than ¼ of the way through the first draft of the final book in the series, Saving Eva. After that, I’ll revisit the fantasy series and write the second book in that one.

I can’t share much with you from Saving Eva, other than to tell you that the third novel will be a standalone, so that you can read it even if you haven’t read the other two. Here is a short unedited excerpt:

“You stupid bitch, you stupid bitch,” Thomas haunts me in my prison, his words echoing cruelly in my head. Even though I try to rest, I can’t, and when I get too upset the machine gives a little blip and reminds them that I’m still here. Still suffering, still wishing and praying for death. The only comfort I have is when Eva comes to visit and I can hear her beautiful voice, telling me about her day, her life, and her love. She talks me as though she knows I am in here, even though she doesn’t really believe that I am.

For her, I wish I could live. For her, I wish I could do so much more than lie dormant and helpless. It was only for Eva that I was able to survive the accident that nearly ended me. I knew that if I didn’t live, she couldn’t live, and I couldn’t let her down like I let Sophie down. Eva wasn’t ready to meet her sister, yet, and I wanted so much for her to live.

Jennifer, thank you for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and sharing with us a bit about yourself and your writing career!

About The Author

Women’s fiction writer, Jennifer Sivec, has always found an escape in books and beautiful stories. In writing, she has discovered refuge and sanctity her entire life, which quiets the chaos while giving her perspective and peace of mind. She finds inspiration in the balance of beauty and tragedy, which is something she has experienced personally. 

Jennifer was born in Seoul, Korea and then abandoned at a very young age. At the age of three, she was adopted and has lived in Ohio for most of her life. She is married to her best friend, Jeff, and together they share two incredible, funny boys. 

Jennifer is the author of The Eva Series and the standalone novel, I Run to YouLeaving Eva is her first complete work and was originally released in April of 2013. Losing Eva is the sequel and continuation of Eva's heartbreakingly beautiful story. The Eva series is an intense journey into abandonment, abuse, alcoholism, and cutting, with numerous twists and turns that will keep the reader holding their breath until the very end. 

You can stay up to date with Jennifer by visiting and signing into her website:


Book Review

leaving eva

Leaving Eva by Jennifer Sivec
Book 1: The Eva Series
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: April 8, 2015
Format: Paperback - 222 pages
               Kindle - 1586 KB
               Nook - 529 KB
ISBN: 978-1620158326
BNID: 2940151321914
Genre: Women's Fiction

Buy The Book: 
Barnes & Noble

Buy The Series: The Eva Series
Book 1: Leaving Eva
Book 2: Losing Eva 
Book 3: Saving Eva (Publication Date: TBA)
Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

There is a secret pain lurking within all of us, waiting to consume us if we allow it.

On the outside, Brynn Michael seems to be living the perfect life. She’s a successful businesswoman married to a handsome and devoted husband. But nobody, not even her husband and childhood sweetheart, Adam, knows the true depth of Brynn’s horror. Abandoned on the side of the road by her young drug addicted mother, then abused by her adoptive father, teenage Brynn turns to the only solace she can find in the sharp end of a razor. She spends her lifetime hiding the scars, both physical and emotional, until she has no choice but to face what she has been running from her entire life. Brynn must figure out a way to confront her past or risk losing Adam, the only true love she’s ever known, forever. But in spite of it all, Brynn may not have the ultimate choice, as the past eventually seeks her out.

Leaving Eva is the heartrending story of one woman’s battle to overcome her tragic childhood and the abandonment and abuse that haunt her.

Caution: Eva’s story is contains graphic violence, strong language, drug abuse, domestic abuse, and child abuse. In this dramatically dark novel, Jennifer Sivec, author of women’s fiction, delves into the selfishness and depravity of human nature, and begs you to question whether happiness can ever truly be attained once you have been deeply scarred.

Book Excerpt:

Excerpt Two: Brynn’s Secret Scar

Brynn took the razor out and her hands were trembling. She held it up to her side and held the cool metal against her skin for a brief moment. Ouch! So sharp! She saw a tiny bubble of blood rise up, and she stared at it for a long moment. She slowly drew the blade across her side making a long line from the middle of her stomach to around her side as far as she could. She didn’t feel the pain at first as she just watched the blood pop up in a perfect thin line, fascinated. She thought about making another line, but she hesitated. She wanted to enjoy this one first. She wanted to think about this one for the rest of the day.

I can’t believe how brave I am! I can do it! She was proud of herself.

She blotted up the blood with a tissue until it stopped bleeding. She was careful not to go too deep, even though she knew that she could go deeper. She didn’t want to keep bleeding all day and give away her secret.

She didn’t want anyone to know, not even Stacy. She just wanted to keep it to herself.

She got dressed after she bandaged her cut and she went to school. All day, she could feel it stinging as she moved, as she sat in class, as she ate lunch with Stacy in the cafeteria. She thought about the scar that must be forming by now and felt strangely happy.

Stacy never saw Brynn happy. It was something they had in common. She thought that she even saw Brynn smiling to herself, and she was curious.

At the end of the day, Brynn realized that she hadn’t thought about Thomas once. She was so obsessed with her secret scar that she didn’t feel choked up as she usually did. She almost felt free as her mind was distracted with her secret.

She didn’t know how she survived up to this point without something else to occupy her mind. How have I lived this long without doing this.

She couldn’t wait to do it again.

The next day she found herself with the razor blade in hand staring at the girl in the mirror again. Do it again! Cut somewhere new! She stared at herself naked, focusing only on the smooth skin of her stomach, and her cut from the day before. She cut a perfect straight line above the other one. She took her time, savoring the feel of the blade against her skin. She hoped that this could be her salvation.

At thirteen, she already knew that without this, she would have nothing, and that she would be nothing. Without this pain, that she could control and find her peace in, the other pain would overcome her, overtaking her. The pain of her birth mother leaving her, and her father hating her, would consume her, and she knew that she would die.

She knew that this tiny sharp blade would save her.

My Book Review:

Oh my goodness! If you want to read a powerful and compelling women's fiction novel that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride, then Leaving Eva is that novel!

In Leaving Eva, author Jennifer Sivec weaves a haunting dark tale that engages the reader to follow the tragic life story of Eva/Brynn Michael. This heart wrenching story follows Eva/Brynn's life through her childhood and adult years dealing with abandonment, adoption, and living a life wrought with emotional and physical abuse. To ease her pain, she resorts to self-mutilation, until she finds comfort and love with Adam, her childhood sweetheart. Brynn and Adam marry, and while dealing with the struggles of normal adult relationships and issues, Brynn is forced to face the demons of her traumatic past, and come to terms with herself in order to get over her inability to trust and love.

Leaving Eva is not an easy story to read, it is the kind of dark story that draws the reader in and takes them on an roller coaster ride where they will experience the gamut of emotions as Eva/Brynn's life story unfolds.

The author weaves a well written and compelling story that intertwines the issues of abandonment, adoption, addiction, alcoholism, emotional and physical abuse (domestic and child abuse), self-mutilation (self abuse), friendship, dysfunctional family dynamic, overcoming past demons, forgiveness, and survival.

Leaving Eva is a multi-layered story that tugs at the heart strings and stirs the soul as it explores the depths of the human spirit. It is a riveting story that will easily captivate the reader's attention and make them become emotionally invested. It is a deeply moving story that will make you will hold your breath at the traumas and dark secrets that Eva/Brynn endures in her life, and with the cliffhanger ending, it will leave you wanting more!

Leaving Eva is the first book in The Eva Series.


Contest Giveaway

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Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

June 8 - A Love That Can’t Be Stopped - Novel Spotlight
June 10 - The World As I See It – Review & Excerpt
June 10 - Mallory HeartReviews - Review & Excerpt
June 15 - Polished and Bubbly – Review
June 16 - Chick LitGoddess – Excerpt
June 16 - A Bookworm’s Point of View – Review
June 19 - Chick Lit Plus – Excerpt
June 22 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Q&A & Excerpt

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