Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Liberty!
Of course! But first of all, let me say thank you so much for having me! I love your blog and I’m thrilled to be here.
Okay, about me. Well, I just turned 40 years young (three short days after Release Day! Way to send my 30s out with a bang, hey?!). I’ve been married to my hunky hubby for 18 years and we have three boys, ages 15, 13, and 7. Adding to the madness is a 17-year-old cat that acts like a teenager and a bunny whose incredible fur makes velvet look scratchy.
How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been a writer since grade school, drafting stories about homeless Christmas tress and French foreign exchange students. I wrote my first novel in 2006 and that’s when I KNEW I had to be published some day.
Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?
Since what we speak about, we bring about, I’ll say that YES, being an author is my full-time career. But, I also moonlight as a freelance marketing copywriter to keep my skills up. ;-)
What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.
Storytelling, no question, chose me. I have a degree in Marketing so I’ve always had jobs that have allowed me to write in some way – be it sales brochures, newsletters, whatever. It didn’t take long for me to realize that kind of stuff was my favorite part about my jobs. Once the characters for my first (still unpublished) novel came to me, I just HAD to write for them. In the meantime, I started building my freelance career so I could make contacts and build my skills. It’s been a long road, but a lovely journey. Now hopefully the REAL fun is just beginning.
Please give a brief description/storyline about All Access.
ALL ACCESS is what happens when a 30-something fangirl’s fantasy comes true – warts and all.
What was the inspiration for this story?
After attending a concert given by my own rock star crush, I stared thinking (okay, obsessing) about what it would be like to become friends with him. Niles and Kallie stepped up as tributes to tell the story and they kind of took things to a whole other level. It was super fun to live vicariously through them.
How did it feel to have your first book published?
Surreal. AMAZING. Surreal. MIND-BLOWING. Truly, when you cross Bucket List Item #1 off your list mere days before you turn 40, you feel All. The. Feels. A week later, I’m still hella excited, but I’m also full of profound gratitude that this dream has actually come true.
Do you write books for a specific genre?
ALL ACCESS is my first published book – and it’s the first in a series – so I’ll be sticking with the romantic women’s fiction/romantic comedy genre for a bit. I do have a supah-fun series idea for Middle Grade readers, so if/when I get the time to work on that, I’d love to.
What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?
I love romantic comedies, of course, but I sometimes find it hard to read in my genre while I’m writing (which I am right now). So when that happens, I read a lot of nonfiction books, and writing and yoga magazines. I like to learn and be inspired by what I read.
Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?
I LOVE to write outside in the sunshine, but being a Michigan girl, those days are pretty limited. So if I can’t be outside, I’ll write wherever. From my office to the couch to the car while I’m waiting in the school pick-up line, if I’m totally immersed in the story, I can write it anywhere.
How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?
My stories get their start from characters that have burned themselves into my mind. Then a storyline starts to take shape and my characters blow things up from there. Clearly, I’m a very character-driven writer and I basically just watch as they do their thing. Sometimes I have to rein them in, but usually I just write down what they do and say and layer some themes in as I go along.
When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
I WISH I could stick to a schedule, but I’m not that disciplined. I sneak in time whenever I can and I tend to get so obsessed with the story that I’ll write every spare second I can. And that worked fine for ALL ACCESS, but I am definitely planning to make writing a top priority for this next book. I’m on a deadline this time around so “fitting it in” isn’t going to work anymore.
What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?
For me, spending time with the characters is the very best part. Seeing them find themselves and come to life is so fun. And it’s gratifying when they open themselves up and grow and change. I just love becoming “friends” with them. If I could have them over for drinks, I totally would!
I sometimes struggle with scene descriptions because I write in first person and you have to be extra careful about being “telly.” And I also use a lot of dialogue, so there isn’t always an appropriate way to describe a room or setting while the characters are in a back and forth. So that can be tricky, but I’m slowly figuring it out.
What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?
I am a budding yogi and love the feeling of those deep stretches. So, so good! I also have a hubby and 3 boys, so that keeps me plenty busy. Otherwise, writing in the sun with a beer or coffee nearby (and water. Always water!) is my idea of a great time.
What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?
It’s all about the backlist. You might have crazy success with Book One but if you can’t follow it up with something new, all those fans will look elsewhere. And quickly. The best thing to do when you finish one book is get to work on the next one.
What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?
Oh, there is SO MUCH FUN STUFF that can go along with being an author, but by far the best part has been the messages from readers. They get so passionate and I love that so much. It’s just the most humbling thing to know that *my* words affected someone in some way. It’s so, so awesome.
How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?
I have a pretty engaged Facebook community and I plan on working hard on a very fun (yet very informative) newsletter. But really, anywhere readers want to find me, I’m happy to chat. Happy readers = happy author.
Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?
I tend to write with my heart and so, definitely, some real-life influences made it into this story. All the way. Characterization more so than plot, though. I took some pretty distinct characteristics from a couple of real people and then Niles and Kallie blew them up from there. It made for a story that felt very close to my heart and I hope readers can pick up on that, even if subconsciously.
What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?
Well, no one really influenced me to become a writer. That was kind of decided for me, as I mentioned above. But now that I am a writer, I am influenced by a LOT of people. I am constantly watching how authors are growing their empire (because that’s what a lot of the super successful ones are doing, right? Girl bossing their way into one heck of an empire!). I watch how Lauren Layne does her incredible newsletters, how Meg Cabot is the queen of productivity, how Emily Giffin and Colleen Hoover interact with their readers, and how JK Rowling inspires, like, everyone on the planet. I think there is so much to learn and I am so grateful for all of the authors who are forging the way.
What is your definition of success as a writer?
At this point, I am defining success as what I have right this second. A debut novel that has very respectable rankings, is capturing attention from some pretty awesome influencers, is making many readers happy, and is paving the way for future books and growth. I am THRILLED with how my journey is unfolding and couldn’t have asked for a better debut experience.
Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?
Yes, I am! I’m writing Book Two in the Fangirl series and it’s tentatively titled STARS IN OUR EYES. Again, since my characters lead the way, I’m not totally clear on the entire plot yet, but you can plan on more larger-than-life dreams coming true and lots of swoon and spice. I’ve also completed a holiday novella that checks back in with Niles and Kallie. So lots of fun stuff to come!
THANK YOU AGAIN!!
Thank you, Liberty for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and sharing with us a bit about yourself and your writing career!
About The Author
Liberty Kontranowski is a romantic women’s fiction author who adores all things lovey-dovey with a pinch (or more) of hubba-hubba. When she’s not at the keyboard, she’s taxiing around her three boys, knocking back craft beers with the hubs, blogging, fangirling, and dreaming up more fake people. She also spends an inordinate amount of time drinking coffee and dreaming of the day she can bid adieu to far-too-wintry Michigan and move to a place where she can write with her toes in the sand.
Liberty loves to hear from her readers (and otherwise cool people) so give her a yell. You can find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/libertykontranowskiauthor; on Twitter at https://twitter.com/liberty_k; and through her blog at www.PurdyandWordy.com.
Author Blog / Website
All Access by Liberty Kontranowski
Book 1: The Fangirl Series
Publisher: Marching Ink LLC
Publication Date: June 22, 2016
Format: eBook - 242 pages
Kindle - 891 KB
ISBN: 978-0997532715ASIN: B01GGN07K2
Genre: Romantic Women's Fiction
Buy The Book:
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.
Though she’s a single mom wedged firmly into thirty-something territory, author Kallie Reagan’s devotion to rock star Niles Russell knows no bounds. To pay homage to her muse, Kallie writes a smokin’ hot novel featuring a hero who looks and acts an awful lot like Niles — and a heroine who may or may not have a smattering of herself thrown in for fun.
When Niles learns about the book and surprise-texts Kallie, the two deliciously complicated creatives become fast friends . . . and so much more. But trying to define a relationship that’s laced with closeted skeletons, half-truths, and constant question marks proves harder than making it big. If they’re going to progress from Fangirl Infatuation to The Real Deal, these two need to give each other All Access to the most important place of all: their hearts.
Text Me, Maybe
Ever been on the receiving end of a text from your celebrity crush?
Yeah, neither have I.
At least, I don’t think I have.
I stare at my phone, where all kinds of letters are lined up to make sentences that would normally be pretty benign. But when I see they’re from a number I don’t recognize (with a New York City area code) and they say, “So is it true? Did you write your book about me?” they go from benign to what the hell?! in a hurry.
Because my book was written with someone very specific in mind—as in Niles Russell, the lead singer of my favorite band—and it’s highly unlikely he’s at the opposite end of this texting conversation.
God, Kallie, get a grip. Of course it’s not him. No question this is just a prank and I should definitely ignore it. But, not gonna lie, I kind of have the flutters here. And I’m a little intrigued. So, I take a deep breath and type, “?? Who is this?” and hit send.
Oh, God. Did I just do that? Seriously, why am I engaging with someone who A) seems to know they’re talking to someone who wrote a book and B) also seems to know said book was inspired by someone real? I must be a special kind of crazy. I roll my eyes at myself and toss my phone back on the coffee table.
An instant later, my mystery texter’s response comes in.
“You’ve written books about other people?” it says, complete with a winky face.
Uh, no. No, I have not.
I shake my head and laugh because, duh, I get it now. This is obviously Sara, my “best friend,” clearly taking pleasure in messing with my head. She knows that even though I’m wedged firmly into thirty-something territory, I become a complete and utter fangirl whenever I talk, think, or speak about Niles. Sara’s a total goofball and she must be bored, so, hey, why not borrow someone’s phone and pretend to be Niles, just to blow my mind? Awesome.
“Sure, I’ve written tons of them,” I respond.
Let’s see how long she’ll play this out before coming clean. Hopefully not long. I have laundry to do.
“Aw, then I’m sad. Thought I was the only one.” Another winky face. “Saw a lot of myself in the Nash character and was kinda flattered. Just wanted to let you know.”
My eyebrows pop up and I look around to be sure there isn’t a hidden camera somewhere, capturing this terrible joke. She’s starting to be a little convincing, which is honestly kind of mean. You know what I would give to hear from the real Niles? I sigh and, against my better judgment, keep playing along.
“Okay, you got me. Now send me a plane ticket so I can come manhandle you and we’ll call it a day.”
Ha! If that doesn’t make her squirm, I don’t know what will.
My phone stays silent for a minute, maybe two. Yep, I got her. She has no idea how to respond.
Bloop. “So . . . about your book . . .”
Oh, okay. This is how it’s going to be? She’s going to keep going? Blerg.
“What about it?”
Sara, more than anybody, knows all about my book—the book that started out as an outlet for the fangirl crush I have on Niles and totally took on a life of its own. When I finished the thing (Shocker #1, because writing a novel is hard and takes a long time!), I reached out to my dream literary agent, who loved my book as much as I did and signed me fairly quickly (Shocker #2). The next thing I knew, she was shopping my novel to some of the biggest publishers in New York City and ultimately secured me a deal that slightly squelched the monetary fears I was having as I navigated my way through the dissolution of my twelve-year marriage (the book deal was Shocker #3; the ending of my marriage was of my own doing).
“It’s creepy,” the mystery texter says. “And awesome. Good job. But weird.”
Okay, that line twists my stomach. Sara doesn’t speak like that. She would never, ever start a sentence with “and” or “but.” And she really wouldn’t do it two times in one text. For a minute, I let myself believe it really is my muse.
Okay, minute over.
“Hey, Sar. You’re super hilarious, but quit playing with me, k? Aren’t you supposed to be heading to dinner with Jack?” Sara is going through a divorce, too, but instead of swearing off men for the next six lifetimes like me, she’s diving right back in with a guy from high school. From high school! Ack!
The next response is instantaneous. “Sara? Uh, nope.” A few seconds pass, then, “It really is me. –NR”
Okay, if my stomach had the flutters after that very first text, it’s hosting an entire community of butterflies, hummingbirds, whatevers after this one. NR. NR. NR. No freaking way! It cannot be Niles Russell! I feel woozy. If this is a game, I am so done with it. My hands shake as my fingers slowly type, “Okay, if you really are NR, then where are you right now? I know . . . but do you?”
This will definitely bust Sara—or whoever is yanking my chain. Niles and his band are on tour right now, not too far away from me. I know this because in five days I am going to see them live. Again. I know every single stop on their tour, and if I somehow can’t remember where they are on a particular day, I dash straight to their website to check. I am like a high schooler who knows every class her crush has, what halls he goes down, the drinking fountain he stops at before each period, everything. If Niles is doing it, I know about it. It’s become like a game.
“Just sound-checked in Chicago. Barely made it in time. They’re starting to let people in. Oops.” Another smiley face.
Whoa. Niles is in Chicago. I was thisclose to going there myself, but chickened out on driving alone. Nobody knows that. Not even Sara.
“Hang on. Sending you a pic.”
As I wait, my stomach flops, my heart races, and my lips hurt from clenching them so tightly together. If this really is Niles, what in the world does he want with me? How would he have gotten my number? Yeah, he was the inspiration behind my book, but it’s not like I actually called him out in there. How would he know? Why would he care?
My phone blips and my shaky hands raise the screen to eye level. The air leaves my lungs as I focus on those funky blue/green/gray eyes that have lured me in during every music video, those lips with the perfect bow, and those super white teeth that are a bit too big for his slender face. This can’t be real.
My eyes travel up to his hair—that telltale floppy brown hair that’s short on the sides and all crazy on top. It is the exact same hair I’ve seen in a million pictures and subsequently fantasized over. I want to reach through the phone to touch it.
He’s not smiling, but he’s also not not smiling. He looks exactly as quirky as I expected him to. I’m smitten all over again.
“See? Told you it was really me.”
I can’t even feel my fingers as they type, “Holy shit,” and then press send.
My Book Review:
What's a fangirl to do when her fantasy dream of finding love with her favorite rock star comes true?
Author Kallie Reagan is fangirl obsessed with rock star Niles Russell. She is so obsessed that she wrote a book about him! And guess what ... he read it! When Kallie receives a text from Niles asking if she wrote the book about him, she had no idea that her fantasy was about to become true, when he asks her if she wants to meet him. What starts out as a fangirl obsession leads Kallie and Niles on an all access journey that will take them from friendship to love.
All Access is an entertaining romantic women's fiction that follows a modern day Cinderella type of romance story that will keep the reader hooked from beginning to end. Author Liberty Kontranowski weaves a delightful story told in the first person narrative by fangirl author Kallie Reagan, who takes the reader along for the ride when her fantasy of meeting and befriending rock star Niles Russell comes true. As their relationship develops, it becomes clear that the story in her book is now coming to life, as Niles surprises her with the romantic things that Nash did for Emily. But their blossoming relationship is complicated by trials and tribulations like a jealous ex-husband and ex-girlfriend, and personal issues / struggles that makes them decide to give an all access pass to each other's lives in order for their relationship have a chance to grow.
The author weaves an enjoyable story that the readers can relate to, especially when they have a fangirl crush on their favorite celebrity, who just happens to be their fantasy object of desire. I really enjoyed following the development of Kallie and Niles' relationship, from their witty banter and swoon worthy connection, to how they dealt with the variety of trials and tribulations that came up along the way, the interweaving of fantasy and reality made their story that much more compelling and left me wanting more. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I loved that the storyline featured a romance between an author and a rock star, what could be hotter than a mixture of literature and music to make the story that much more enticing!
All Access is a well-written romantic women's fiction that takes the reader on an enjoyable and emotional roller coaster ride, and leaves them wanting more. I can't wait to read the continuation of Kallie and Nile's story in the next installment of the series!
All Access is the perfect beach read to wile away on a sultry summer day!
All Access is the first book in The Fangirl Series.
RATING: 5 STARS
Virtual Book Tour
June 28- LivingLife With Joy – Q&A & Excerpt
June 29 – Ai LoveBooks –Excerpt
June 30 – Chick Lit Plus – Review & Excerpt
June 30 – Shannon’s Bookish Life – Review & Excerpt
July 1 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Excerpt
July 1 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
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