By Loni Flowers
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: March 1st, 2012
Number of pages: 382
Word Count: 86,000+
At age twenty-three, Alex has had a hard life. His parents died when he was quite young, leaving his grandparents to raise him. Right before his high school graduation, his grandparents passed on too, leaving him all alone.
After losing everyone he’s ever loved, Alex turns to the streets in a self-destructive pattern until he finally ends up in Springhill, where he tries to make a new life for himself.
Clair’s childhood was normal until age thirteen, when her father left the family and she never heard from him again. Consequently, her mother went into a deep depression, forcing Clair to grow up quickly.
After finishing high school, Clair’s heartache over her father’s absence as well as her unbearable mother drive her to strike out on her own. But having nowhere to go and no family to speak of, Clair wanders aimlessly from town to town, homeless, and without purpose. Looking for work wherever she goes and living hand to mouth on the streets is tough, Clair discovers, but living with her mother is worse.
Now twenty-one years old, Clair has found her way to the last place she and her family took their final vacation as a family–Springhill. While in town, she crosses paths with Alex and their ensuing relationship grows faster than expected. Soon Clair wonders if coming back to Springhill and meeting Alex was the best decision or the worst decision she ever made.
Anyone who has ever been to my blog knows I do not read very many contemporary novels. It has to really grab my attention. I’m so happy I had the opportunity to read Taking Chances. It was a great read, and hard to put down.
Clair and Alex have had a few bad things happen to them. Clair finds it hard to trust people and believes all guys are the same. They lie, use her, then bail. Even worse, she feels abandoned after her father left their family when she was 13. Alex has had his heart broken in the most terrible way, but can’t stop thinking about Clair.
I loved these characters. They are stubborn, but their individual weaknesses is what made me fall for them.. I haven’t gone through the same things as Clair per say, bu some I have. I can remember being confused and wondering what the hell I was going to do. It’s a pretty scary time, especially at 21. It was also nice to see a confident male character that has a vulnerable side. While things moved quickly they weren’t instantly in love upon first meeting. They both had insecurities to work through.
It didn’t take me long to finish Taking Chances. There is romance, heart break, love, loss, and a little twist thrown in. I was in tears off and on while reading, going through their joy and pain.
Thanks so much for having me here today. I’m so happy to share with you and your readers an exclusive interview with Clair from my debut novel, Taking Chances. She graciously joined me over a glass of sweet tea and willingly answered some questions a few of my readers had been asking.
Loni: Thanks for sitting down with me today, Clair. How are things going?
Clair: *sighs and smiles a big goofy grin* I’ve never been better. Which is a lot coming from me.
Loni: Oh that’s great to hear. I know your childhood after your dad left was rough, what did you dream of your life being like when you were growing up when he wasn’t there?
Clair: Dream? What’s that? Sure, I had hopes. I wanted my dad to come home and realize the error of his ways. I wanted him to apologize for what he put me and my mom through, but I didn’t allow myself the luxury of dreaming about it all the time. No point in doing it if it was never going to happen. Reality stared me in the face every day, everywhere I went. I didn’t have time for dreaming.
Loni: You spent quite a while on the streets. Can you tell us the worst part of being homeless?
Clair: The never knowing part. Never knowing when my next meal was going to be, where I was going to sleep that night, or who to trust for help. Not knowing what to do next when you have nothing is a bad feeling.
Loni: I couldn’t even begin to imagine what that was like for you. What about moving from place to place? What did you fear most?
Clair: Going from place to place was what I wanted. I never bothered to stay in the same place for more than one night. I always had this feeling my mom would find me somehow and drag me back into her world, with her problems. So I just kept moving. What did I fear, you ask… being attacked while I slept or ambushed in the middle of the night. And then having my body chopped up in tiny little pieces and tossed down a sewer drain. Who would miss me? I was already considered a runaway and of legal age to make my own decisions. No one would look for me or miss me.
Loni: Yes, I think murder would be listed at the top of my list of fears also. Okay, next question. Springhill. Did you feel specifically drawn to go there or was it a randomly chosen town?
Clair: I had no intentions of ever stepping foot inside of Springhill. Too many childhood memories to have to deal with. At the time I thought it was a complete coincidence that the kind family dropped me off there, gave me a few bucks and wished me well. But now, I like to think of them as fate intervening. I didn’t want to be in Springhill, but I neededto be in Springhill.
Loni: I agree. After witnessing your story, Springhill was were you needed to be. Now speaking of Springhill… *grins* What was your first impression of Alex? Honest answer please.
Clair: Answered prayers. I needed someone to help me, literally. I screamed for it even. And even after I got to know him, it still took a while to realize that he sincerely only wanted to help me. He wasn’t offering his help only to get something from it in return. After everything I had been through up until that point in my life, trusting in a man, any man, was something I considered extremely hard. I needed him to earn my trust and that took time.
Loni: Aww, he was your guardian angel. Literally. I also get the feeling you needed him in more ways than one. Care to elaborate on that?
Clair: *rolls her eyes* I think if I read your story correctly, you seemed to do a pretty good job covering all the details. What were you, a fly on the wall? Everywhere we went?
Loni: *Sly grin* Hey! I only told the story you told me to tell. And stop asking the questions, this is my interview!
Clair: *Laughs* Okay, okay! To answer your previous question, if anyone reading this interview wants to know more, tell’em to pick up the book. You pretty much covered it. Even the details that I didn’t approve of!
Loni: Haha! Did you write the book? No, you didn’t. That’s why I get the final say… even if it is your story. Okay last question. Is there anything about your past that you would change or do differently if given the chance?
Clair: That’s really a hard question. I mean, I could have done without the attempted rape but then, would I have met Roz or Alex and the other wonderful people in my life if that hadn’t happened to me? I don’t think so. It was a horrible experience, I still think about it. But on the flip side, I think about Alex and everything he did for me in that moment. It’s hard to say I’d want to change that. You can’t keep all the good things that happen in your life and throw away the bad things. You can’t have one without the other. If I look at my life today and think about all the good that has come out of the hell I went through to get here, it’s hard to say I would change a thing and risk my life turning out any different.
Loni: When you put it that way, I see your point. You’ve got to take the good with the bad. That’s life. It’s all about taking the chance that everything will work out in the end.
Thanks for giving us some extra peeks in that brain of yours. I think I can speak from everyone who has read Taking Chances that we hope you have a happy, healthy, wonderful life to come. You sure do deserve it.
Clair: Thank you. I sure am working on it!
Thank you Loni & Clair for stopping by! Clair you’re such a strong woman! A pretty big inspiration for those young women who are lost. 😀
Loni Flowers lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband; two wild toddlers, who never slow down for a second; and three couch-potato dogs, who only raise an eye when foods around. She spends her days working full-time for a well-known bank. When she’s not playing on the internet or chatting on Twitter or Facebook, she spends her free time with friends and family waiting for the next big idea strike.
She enjoys reading most anything, but is a sucker for a good romance story. Contemporary romance is her writing genre of choice but isn’t opposed to writing something different should an excellent idea hit.
Some of her favorite authors include: L.J. Kentowski, Stefne Miller, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Karen Marie Moning, Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult… just to name a few.
An ebook copy of the Taking Chances is being given away on each stop.
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