About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Interview with Young Adult Author Tracy Kauffman & Review of "Southern Attraction"

Young adult author, Tracy Kauffman, stops by Moxie Girl Musings today with her latest story, "Southern Attraction." Stay tuned for my review, which follows the interview. Welcome, Tracy! 


Thank you for taking the time to stop by Moxie Girl Musings today.  I really appreciate your time.  Can you tell us a little bit about your newest release?

Southern Attraction is a young adult romance book about a self absorbed teenager.  She is highly esteemed by her peers and thinks she has it all.  Suddenly in one day her life is turned upside down.  She loses her parents in a car crash.  Then after she thinks nothing could get worse, she is forced to live with an uncle she doesn’t know.  There she meets two guys that she is captivated by but they don’t seem to like her too well. 

What inspired this novel in particular?  I wanted to give a romance book a try.  Once into the story, I looked for things that could bring some conflict into Heather’s life.  Hearing about the hurricane Sandy disaster, I remembered the tornadoes that tore through the south in April of 2011.  I brought that into the story to make it more interesting.  

Who is your favorite character in this novel and why?  I believe I like the uncle better than the main character.  He is country all the way.  He talks like he doesn’t have any education but he is down to earth and really cares about his niece. 

What comes first--characters or plot ideas? I believe you have to have an idea first before you can develop characters.  You must mold your characters to fit the story in some degree.


How important is setting? Does it play an integral role in this story?  Of course the setting is the main part of the book.  Living in the south is what changes Heather.  She no longer has the big city influences that make her so prideful.  Clothes and fancy cars don’t matter in this small town.

What motivates your main characters?  First Heather is motivated by riches but then she learns that after tragedy strikes, money doesn’t seem to matter too much.  Shawn comes from money but he doesn’t use it to win the girl.  Jake is poor but he is more arrogant than his friend.

What is the central conflict?  Even though there is the conflict of tragedy, Heather’s inner conflict is the central focus.  She fights her inner voice telling her that money and status means everything.

What is your favorite aspect about being a novelist? The writing itself is what I enjoy most.  I think I would write even if I never published a book.

What draws you to this particular genre? Young adult is the time when teenagers are realizing who they are.  I want to edify, encourage and inspire the youth of today.

Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not? I wrote a book called: Richard the Lionheart.  It is more for adults.  It is a historical fiction book.  I really enjoy things dealing with the Medieval Period so that is why I wrote it.

What’s your goal as an author? By that, I mean...why write? Why is it important to you? Writing is a way to express my thoughts, feelings, desires and beliefs.  It relaxes me and gives me a way to help others.  Books are what has helped changed our society in one way or another.

If you could snap your fingers and transport yourself anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?  I would enjoy exploring Europe.  The thought of seeing castles, royalty, and country-sides would be amazing.

Tea or coffee? I really enjoy tea, grew up with it.

Night person or early riser? I love to sleep in.  I can stay up all hours of the night.

Tell us a little known fact about yourself. I am a registered nurse for the state of Alabama. 

You can learn more about Tracy on her website: http://tracykauffman.com
Her  literary site is: http://literary.yolasite.com


Novel's blurb: 

Southern Attraction is a young adult romance book about a girl who loses her parents and is forced to live with a redneck uncle  from Alabama. There she has to choose between  two young men that she likes. Will she choose true love or a lifestyle that she is accustomed to.

Heather has everything she ever wanted; money, clothes, friends, popularity and parents that adored her.  Until one terrible day, she loses it all.  She is uprooted from a place she loves to a small town in Alabama  with a uncle she doesn’t know.  The small town of Huckleburg was nothing like Manhattan.  Country rednecks owned the town and no one accepted Yankees from New York.  Heather didn’t think things could get worse until a tornado comes and blast through the small town.  Heather has to lose herself to rediscover what life is all about.  She meets two guys that she can’t decide between who she really wants.  Join Heather as she discovers that there is more to life than  money and fame.  Will Heather ever fit in and find true love or will she stay an outsider living in the  south? 


My review of "Southern Attraction"

Tragedy strikes Heather, only a teenager, when she loses her parents suddenly. She's ripped from the big city to a small Southern town that's foreign to her in every way imaginable. Her parents were in debt, leaving her with nothing and needing to rely on an uncle she doesn't know. She goes from being one of the 'haves' to one of the 'have nots'. 

The foundation of this story is a good one. Money isn't the most important thing in life and that's what Heather is forced to learn. I will say that I found it challenging to like Heather--even after her parents' deaths, I couldn't sympathize with her snotty attitude. I think a deeper exploration of her internal thoughts would have helped me feel something for her.

Keeping in mind that this is a young adult story, I think the audience for this book would enjoy seeing the perspective of tragedy through Heather's eyes. I must point out, however, that because of the youth oriented bent to the story, the audience may have some issues with certain things Heather does. For example, Heather writes letters to her friends back in New York. In today's world, it would be more realistic for her to tweet, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or text. There were a few technical things like that that stuck out to me as a reviewer (and as a parent of two teenagers).

Also, because the setting is in a beautiful region of the country, I'd like to have seen more description. This also would have stood out in contrast to where the story begins and added more ambience to the scenes.

The uncle in the story is someone I'd like to see more of because he seemed to have more depth than the main character. Perhaps a story done from his point of view in the future? I'm rating this story 3 out of 5 stars.

The author provided a copy of her novel for my honest review. 


Buy link for Southern Attraction: http://amzn.to/ZXZLCW

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