Thursday, October 13, 2016

Blog Tour - Guest Post: Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly


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Hey guys! Today, author J.M. Kelly is on the blog with a guest post on promises! Find out what it means for her and her writing and make sure you check out her debut novel, Speed of Life!
 
 
Speed of Life by J.M. KellySpeed of Life
by J.M. Kelly
October 11, 2016
352 pages


Goodreads Summary:
Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to raise the baby together. It’s not easy, but between their after-school jobs, they’re scraping by.

Crystal’s grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor, who tells her about a college that offers a degree in automotive restoration, perfect for the car buff she is. When she secretly applies—and gets in—new opportunities threaten their once-certain plans, and Crystal must make a choice: follow her dreams or stay behind and honor the promise she made to her sister.



Guest Post

Promises, promises by J. M. Kelly

I've recently noticed a trend in my writing. I'm apparently very interested in promises.
Speed of Life has this in common with my first Middle Grade novel, A Month of Mondays (2017, Joëlle Anthony), and the book I'm working on right now also explores the issue of keeping your word. Except for my first marriage, I've personally never really been in a position where I've had to make a big promise and then needed to, or wanted to break it, but the idea fascinates me because people generally make promises in good faith. So does that make them a bad person if they break one?

I had a friend whose grandmother told me: Never make a promise because you don't know what life will deal you, and the worst thing you can do is break a promise. Her idea was you can promise to do your best, or you can tell someone that you'll try, but promises, whether big or small, were best avoided because your word is not something to go back on lightly.

That got me thinking about promises in modern days and their value. We like to think of the old days fondly and say things like, "back then, you could borrow money from a friend on a handshake deal" and that's true. Now we generally think it's smart to draw up contracts, even (or maybe especially) between family members, let alone strangers or friends. Have we decided as a culture that promises aren't as important as they once were? Are we less trustworthy? Or have we learned from past mistakes?

In all three of the books I mentioned above, one character has made a promise to another and then they were given an opportunity, something they really wanted, something life-changing that would require them to break their promise. Or at least renegotiate it. In Speed of Life, twin sisters Crystal and Amber have promised each other to raise baby Natalie together. They've pooled their earnings, supported each other through school and sickness and other challenges and they count on each other. The bond between them is particularly strong because they are twins and also because their home life is so unstable. So when Crystal is given an opportunity to go to college which would mean going back on all these plans they've made together, is she doing the right thing, or the wrong thing?

One could argue for both sides. She's playing the long game if she learns to restore cars and can make a career out of it. But what kind of a person does it make her if she won't keep her promise to her sister? And if breaking her promise disrupts her sister's plans and dreams, are her desires valid anyway? Or more important in some way?

While I write every book with the idea of telling a compelling story, I don't think it hurts anything to ask a compelling question of your readers. Sometimes that question is, "Could you be as heroic as Katniss?" or "Are you as brave as Harry Potter?" or in this case, "Are you as good as your word?"

I think there are definitely legitimate times to break a promise, no matter what—if you're in the wrong relationship, for example. Or someone will get physically hurt if you don't speak up.

But generally, I try not to make too many promises because I don't know what life will throw at me. As a writer and as a person, my word is important to me. When I leave the house and the cat looks at me like, "Don't go!" I always say to her, "I promise to return…to the best of my ability."

What about you? I'd be interested to hear if the words, "I promise" flow easily? And how important is your promise? Or is it a copout for me not to make promises? While I hope people read
Speed of Life for the story, it might be kind of great if it gets people thinking about promises, too.

Promises are always tricky. What one person means may not be interpreted in the same way to another person. I definitely don't make promises easily but when I do, I make sure I mean it. Like when I promise my cats treats, I always deliver ;) Thank you so much to J.M. Kelly for sharing your thoughts with us today!

Check out the rest of the blog tour stops!
 
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4 comments:

  1. That cover is amazing! Thanks for putting this on on my radar!

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  2. Thank you for having me on your blog! It was fun to write this piece for you.

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    Replies
    1. Thank YOU so much for writing this guest post and being on the blog!!

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Thank you for visiting my blog and reading my posts! I read each and every comment I get and will reply as soon as I can :)

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