Thursday, February 20, 2014

Porcelain Keys Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway


Today I'm pleased to welcome author Sarah Beard to the blog as part of the promotional tour for her new contemporary young adult romance, Porcelain Keys. Sarah was nice enough to answer a few questions about the book, writing, and her love of music, so I hope you all enjoy the interview. Be sure and check the bottom of the post for all the details on a fantastic giveaway!

To help those of us who have yet to meet Aria get to know her a bit better, and because music plays such a significant role in Porcelain Keys, please choose either a set of lyrics or a song title that you feel describes her well.

What a great question! It would probably be a toss-up between two different songs: The Light by Sara Bareilles, and Dreamer by Jewel. Dreamer would best describe Aria at the beginning of the story, and The Light would be her at the end. Since there’s probably not room for both sets of lyrics, here are the ones for Dreamer by Jewel:

Don’t want to hear no sad songs
I say to the darkness
But it doesn’t respond
I ask if I sing a new one
Will I always sing alone?

For so long I have known only sorrow
How could I fail to hear?
The sound of all the sleeping hearts
The timid hopefuls
Waiting for a path to be clear

I can hear a sweet melody beneath it all
It says brave dreamer, dream anew
You won’t always dream by yourself
You won’t dream by yourself
Everybody’s gonna sing along

Loneliness has bit my heart
I know its wounded your heart, too
But our longing is our revolution
Its gonna bring a world anew

I can hear a sweet melody beneath it all
It says brave dreamer, dream anew
You won’t always dream by yourself
You won’t dream by yourself
Everybody’s gonna sing along

Well is it possible?
I say, yes, it’s possible.
Is it possible?

I can hear a sweet melody beneath it all
And it says be a brave dreamer, dream anew
You won’t always dream by yourself
No, you won’t dream by yourself
Everybody’s gonna sing along


If you and Aria were to swap roles and she was to pen a story that detailed a small portion of your life, what would the title of the novel be?

She might pen a dramatic story about my adolescence with a cryptic title like, “Quiet Storm.” Or maybe an epistolary-style novel with all the emails I exchanged with my friends during college, entitled, “Barefoot Love on a Rocky Shore.”

Let’s say Thomas was not in the picture for Aria. What character from another piece of young adult fiction do you think would make a good romantic match for her and why?

This is a hard one to answer, because going through my list of YA books made me realize that I read a lot of stories about bad boys. A bad boy definitely wouldn’t work for Aria. She needs a genuinely good and selfless person, and someone who appreciates music, because that’s who she is. So Trevor from Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett would do, or maybe even Adam from If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

If one of your characters was given the opportunity to interview you, who do you think would be the first to jump at the chance and what would they most want to know?

It would be Vivian, and she’d probably ask me for my favorite dessert recipe. She’s always on the lookout for new ones to make for the neighbors. Either that or it would be Thomas, demanding to know why I put Aria through so many hard things. He’s very protective that way.

Were there any other titles for Porcelain Keys that you could share with us, or was the title set from the very beginning?

There were many, many, other titles before I settled on Porcelain Keys. And they were all pretty terrible. I’m awful at titles. In fact, when I used to write articles for a campus magazine in college, my editor would always change my titles because mine were too lame. Some of the working titles for Porcelain Keys were Home to You, Snow Angel, and Winter Song. None of them stuck because they were either too sappy, generic, or irrelevant.

The final title didn’t come until I’d finished my book and was ready to start sending it out to literary agents and publishers. I knew I needed a unique title that encompassed the themes in my story. So I sat down with my husband and we had a serious brainstorming session. We listed all the themes and objects that were relevant to my story. Among the words we wrote down were “porcelain” and “keys.” Porcelain, because there is a porcelain music box in the story that is key to the plot, and Keys, for piano keys. But keys also unlock things, and in this story, many things are unlocked. Secrets of the past, and other things as well. The word porcelain also took on a double meaning, because my character starts out her journey very vulnerable and fragile. We put the two words together and tried it on for size. Porcelain Keys. It had a nice ring to it, and the more we said it, the more perfect it sounded.

In addition to writing fiction, you also compose music. How does the creative process for each compare or contrast?

Since music is mostly a hobby for me, I generally don’t put too much thought into my piano compositions—I just sort of let my heart lead the way. Whatever I’m feeling or thinking about comes out as music. Once I get a melody down I’ll usually add some depth to the piece, but for the most part they’re just simple, heartfelt compositions.

I guess the first drafts of my books are that way too. I just write what I feel without thinking too much about whether or not it’s going to work. Then once I have the story down, I go back and analyze it to death. I tear it apart and rework it over and over until I get everything just right—plot, characterization, pacing, setting, dialog, conflict, tension, etc. And each element has to be considered separately, then together as a whole.

A book could be compared to a symphony or concerto. You have all the different instruments playing different parts, serving different purposes, and when all put together you have something grand and beautiful. I don’t compose musical concertos, just little solo piano pieces, so it’s simple and easy. My books, on the other hand, are literary concertos. And if one instrument (pacing, plot, etc) is out of tune, it sours the entire work. Only when all the instruments work together and complement each other can a literary concerto become a moving masterpiece.

Just for fun: You, Aria, and Thomas decide to cut loose and go to a karaoke bar for a night of laughs. What’s the first song each of you would choose to perform?

Since Thomas, Aria and I are all a bit emotional and introspective, the “night of laughs” would probably quickly turn into a “night of joyful weeping.” Thomas would sing Jon Mclaughlin’s I’ll follow you to Aria. Aria would sing Sara Bareilles’ The Light. And I would probably sing something highly sentimental to my husband, like Sarah Mclachlan’s Answer.

Thanks so much for stopping by Sarah!

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PORCELAIN KEYS
(available now from Cedar Fort, Inc.)


Aria's life is full of secrets--secrets about her mother's death, her father's cruelty, and her dream to go to Juilliard. When Aria meets Thomas, he draws out her secrets, captures her heart, and gives her the courage to defy her father. But when tragedy strikes and Thomas disappears, Aria is left alone to transform her broken heart's melody into something beautiful. Porcelain Keys is a captivating love story that will resonate long after the last page is turned.


• • • • • • • • • • •

SARAH BEARD


SARAH BEARD is the author of Porcelain Keys, a YA contemporary romance. She has a degree in communications from the University of Utah and splits her time between writing and raising three energetic boys. She is a cancer survivor and a hopeless romantic. She enjoys reading and composing music, and lives with her husband and children in Salt Lake City, Utah.


• • • • • • • • • • • • 

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

30 comments:

  1. I loved Adam from If I Stay!! Great interview. I really need to add this book to my TBR pile now because I really want to meet these characters!

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    1. I still need to meet him Ali! I can't believe I haven't read If I Stay yet:(

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  2. thank you for this amazing giveaway!!

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  3. I really like the cover on this novel and I absolutely love that there isn't a bad boy romance within this book. I enjoy those love stories, but sometimes the sweet guys need their chance to shine as well. (And any guy remotely like Adam Wilde has got to be SWOON.) Wonderful interview, Jenny, and thanks for sharing! I hadn't heard of this one before but straight onto the TBR it goes!

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    1. Isn't the cover gorgeous? I love it:) I'm excited that Thomas is one of the nice guys, I love a good bad boy, but like you said it's nice to have a little variety now and again!

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  4. I like the way this book sounds. and YAY for giveaways!

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    1. I'm so glad! I hope you get a chance to read it soon:)

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  5. Wow - a writer AND a composer?! That's some serious talent! I really enjoy the sound of this book (a rarity in this day and age), which definitely intrigues me, too! Jenny, you ask the BEST interview questions ever. It's amazing! Lovely feature :)

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    1. Right? I feel very untalented at the moment:) So glad you enjoyed the interview!

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  6. Jenny, how do you always come up with so many awesome interview questions. Reading author interviews on your blog is a thrill for me.
    This book sounds like such a sweet story and I'm excited to meet Aria. Thanks for sharing this! :)

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    1. Awww thank you so much Nick! I have fun coming up with questions:) Hope you get a chance to read this one!

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  7. This sounds like an great emotional read. Love the synopsis and interview. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  8. Oh Adam! *Swoons* I wish he was real! That boy can melt anyone heart. I really like how music plays into the writing and the cover is just beautiful. Thanks for putting this one up on my radar!

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    1. I MUST MEET HIM RUMMANAH! I've been so nervous to read that one because everyone raves about it, but I just need to suck it up. I know I'll love it:)

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  9. Awesome interview Jenny and now I am curious about the characters in this novel. Beard sounds very talented :)

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  10. Lovely interview. The idea of an epistolary novel about your college year emails sounds hilarious. You should write it :-)

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  11. That's a beautiful song. Beautiful answer to a beautiful question :) ADAAAAAMMMM!!!! Even though he is so meant for Mia, obviously, he can really work with anyone. He is so diverse and great in everything he does and says. I can't get enough of him:) I used to play piano in a music school so I totally get these references. That's awesome that you compose music, Sarah! Great interview as always, Jenny:) ALSO WHY IS THIS COVER SO PRETTY??? *pets her screen*

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  12. Gotta love a character that wants desert recipes. Love the cover of this one.

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  13. Both of those songs are beautiful! And I hadn't heard of this before, but now I'm really curious about it!

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  14. This sounds like a book I would pick up easily. You have characters being creative and I just want to snatch it up. Love the sound of it. Oh and also LOVED the way the author compared the symphony with writing. Creativity FTW! :D

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  15. Ooh I have a feeling I'm going to like Thomas if Adam from If I Stay would be a good alternative to him! I love the songs she chose to describe Aria as well. Can't wait to meet Thomas and Aria! Wonderful interview :-)

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  16. I love stories that revolve around music. There's something intrinsically pleasing about a character who loves music, especially when that character is written from the author's heart.

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  17. Oh, that is a beautiful cover! And we rarely find stories that revolve around music, so I'm really intrigued by this one! Great interview, Jenny!

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  18. I like stories where the main character has a hobby. I find that lacking in a lot of stories.

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  19. Jenny your interview questions slay me!! I don't know if I will ever do one again. How amazing that interview was!! You definitely have made this book memorable to me and I really want to know more about these characters. And my wallet. You slay my wallet as well. Every time!

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  20. I love a good story where a musical instrument is part of the story. Thanks for the giveaway.

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