Saturday, June 1, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Guest Post by Ellen Harger

Welcome to my stop on the Ellen Harger Strong Enough blog tour, hosted by Vade Mecum. Check out Ellen's awesome guest post below & enter to win a copy of the book:

Release Date: February 25th 2013
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Starting over is hard. 
And sometimes, you have to burn a few bridges to do it.

Whitney Brown is average--average intelligence, average height, average weight--but she wants to be someone new. To kick-start her rebirth, she wears formal mourning, a black veil and vintage dress, to a wedding in her hometown, Woods Cross, a community that treasures family values. Is it an attack on marriage or has she just gone bonkers?

Emboldened but lacking a plan, she forces her foot in the door of a radio station in Sundown. A small metropolis of nearly 150,000, Sundown is a notch of urban flair along the Midwest's Bible Belt.

Getting in proves to be the easy part and the anonymity of being a DJ suits her well. But off air (and in person), Whitney must stand up to Sadi, an angry feminist and the bane of her college years while an old friendship with her former roommate, Leah, devolves around a guy. 

It's 2002 and the Midwest radio scene is changing. Just as Whitney hits her groove, the radio station undergoes its own identity crisis. But what rocks Whitney to her core is the moment the condom breaks. Her abstinence only background leaves her embarrassed and facing a difficult choice.


Guest Post

Inspiration behind Strong Enough

Unlike some of my early short stories, Strong Enough had no particular author I wished to emulate. This work began brewing after I earned my English degree. Determined to be original, I wrote blindly, wildly chasing emotional snapshots. One hazy concept was destined to be the setting of the novel.

After graduation, I worked part-time as an administrative assistant for the local arts council in Springfield, MO. My job was very traditional in its duties but gave me a chance to participate in a community concerned with local art.   
The arts council office was located in old downtown, at the heart of the movement. Here restaurants and stores were raised from nothing by hard work and vision. Historic buildings sold their souls to remain useful, begging for government handouts until ingenuity asked what an endowment could do to transformation icons back to glory. Some endeavors fell down quickly replaced by the next effort, but a few became pillars of the area, holding up the core so the rest could continue trying. 

My own perception of Springfield, MO transformed. After seeing downtown in action, I wanted to show the coasts, maybe even the world, that the Midwest/Fly Over Country/Heartland was more than just farms and churches adorned in last year’s fashion faux pas. 

Eventually, I moved to the east coast. Once there I wrote my first draft of a novel that featured a downtown at its heart. All the characters would interact in this small square of originality. There was no plot, just character desires and a setting. I wrote scene after scene until I had a terrible first draft. The original plot ploy, shaped to fit the characters and location, fell to the cutting floor, as those often do, once the draft was finished. A few characters were also denied callbacks.

Old downtown stayed on as the essence of the underappreciated Midwest. Who inhabited this world was obvious to me: a bookstore owner, a realtor, a chef, a business dreamer, and a DJ. Small businesses/jobs with roots employed people who cared about a city center and its success.
However, I was derailed in my ambition to write a tribute. Instead, early versions were apologetic with minor character caricatures as I processed through my own stereotypes. It took living on both coasts, life slapping me around, and returning to the Midwest before I could finish Strong Enough. Once back, I rediscovered my original intent--celebration of the Midwest for its deeper individuality. 


About the Author
Ellen Harger
Ellen Harger was born at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. As a military brat, she moved often during her childhood--something she never resented and continued as an adult. The constant starting over influenced her first published novel, "Strong Enough." 

At 14, her family settled in Missouri as civilians, permitting Ellen to attend one high school. She stayed in the Midwest to attend a small liberal arts college, studying creative writing and art. After 11 years, she moved to Boston. While there, she continued to study creative writing in Cambridge. Ever willing to explore new places, she moved next to the San Francisco Bay area. After 11 years away, and loving the symmetry, she returned to the Midwest to finish "Strong Enough." She has published a poem, "Guidelines," and released her novel as an e-book.


1 comment:

  1. This book sounds interesting! From the synopsis, it's intriguing me. Too bad your giveaway is sending out ecopies! I can't read off eCopies! But I hope if it ever goes into paperback or hardcover, that I would have an opportunity to read it. ^^

    Thank you for sharing, Shane! <3


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