Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother - studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing - and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn't have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn't know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn't helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it's time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she's stepped back in time.
When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes - he's unlike anyone she's ever met before, the kind of man she didn't even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don't always need a plan - sometimes life steers you where you're meant to be.
Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it's time for her to help Nicholas the way he's helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.
This is a great coming of age novel that many teens and newly-twenty-year-olds can relate to. I enjoyed Emma as a character and was sympathetic to her uncertainty of the future- not everyone knows what they want to do with the rest of their life at nineteen, and on a personal note: who says that you have to decide to be or do one thing in your life, am I right? :)
Emma has always worked hard and kept her nose in the books throughout high school, and in turn, missed out on a lot of social aspects that your teen years have to offer: first party, first kiss etc. But I think the point or moral rather, of this story, is that we shouldn't live in the past or with regrets all we can do is live in the present and look forward to the future. Am I sounding corny right now haha?
Nicholas is a one of a kind, no seriously, please tell me if you have ever known a man more perfect than him. He has a lot to deal with, but he always remains positive and appreciates the life he has been given. It's impossible to be in a bad mood while reading this character. He's just so amazing inside and out, and I think that Emma was lucky to find him :).
Speaking of, the romance between these two was so special and sweet, it reminded me of the couple from The Notebook, the way their innocent love bloomed. They compliment each other so well to the point of not knowing which is the "better half".
There were a couple things that irked me about this book though. Nothing major, but I couldn't fully understand the relationship (or lack there of) that Emma and her Mom shared. I didn't really appreciate the way Emma put her Mom down, especially to her younger sister. It just didn't seem right to me and I actually found myself sympathizing with Tilly. The second aspect that irked me, and you all may laugh at me cause this is a completely subjective pet peeve of mine and I see it done in lots of book- YA and Adult, is that Emma referred to her Dad as "Daddy" I mean come one seriously your nineteen and you're calling your Dad, Daddy- It creeps me out! :) Haha, but like I said before, this is a subjective thing, I just think if you're over nine-years-old, you should stop calling your father, Daddy.
With all that said, this is a great and fast read that will leave in you in the best possible mood, because no matter what curveballs life throws at you, there will always be "Blue Sky Days" ahead.
And now folks, will you please join me in welcoming Marie to the blog today!
1. How long did it take you to write Blue Sky Days?
When I first wrote it seven years ago, it took me a month. When I brought it back out in 2011 and decided to work on it (it was only about 34,000 words, and needed a lot of work), it took me another month to rewrite it, then several months to do revisions and editing.
2. What inspired you to write Blue Sky Days?
A lot of little things, and because it was so long ago, I can’t remember which came first. I know I had the idea for Emma’s character, and then Nicholas’s character, and they were very clear in my mind. The cancer storyline was something that was probably inevitable since my dad had leukemia when I was little. I think the ideas really came together when a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, because it wasn’t long after that that I started writing Blue Sky Days.
3. If you could describe Blue Sky Days in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
A lost and lonely girl searching for her place in life, and finding it in the most unexpected places.
4. What character from BSD do you relate to most? Why?
Definitely Emma. Unlike her, I had a wonderful mother and a few great friends growing up, but I was also a little lost and lonely and unsure. Like Emma, I put a lot of pressure on myself in school, and sometimes wondered what I had to show for it other than good grades.
5. Do you plan to keep BSD as a standalone?
I had always intended for it to be a standalone, but once it was finished I got a few ideas for a companion novel. Not necessarily a sequel, although that’s a possibility, too. I’m not going to say anymore than that…except that if it did happen, it wouldn’t be for a while, because I have several other projects on the go.
6. What challenges did you face with self-publishing?
For starters, the whole stigma that still surrounds it. It used to be that only hacks and wannabes self-published, but now there are a lot of people with real talent doing it. Still, there are those who write a book, don’t give much thought to plot or character development or all the other important aspects of storytelling, and then don’t bother having their work edited before publishing it. That’s why the stigma still remains, and those people give us all a bad name.
It was also difficult doing it all on my own - finding beta readers, proofreaders, and an editor, going through the book dozens of times myself, designing the cover and book trailer, doing the formatting, and then doing the marketing and promotion. It’s a ton of work, and it’s a good thing I’ve always been the Jack of all trades type, or it would have cost me a fortune to have someone else do it all for me.
7. Do you have any advice to offer those just starting out in the publishing industry?
Work hard, find a support system, and never give up. Writing isn’t easy; it’s a long, solitary process that can make you crazy. There are a lot of obstacles for many people, but if it’s something you love and something you’re passionate about, don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The indie community as a whole is very supportive of each other, so make friends and connections, ask for help, and if you really want to do it, give it all you’ve got.
Thank you for having me here today Hayley, it’s been a pleasure!
Thank you so much for stopping by Marie, and thank you for introducing us Emma and Nicholas!
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