Sunday, July 28, 2013

IVY LEAGUE BLOG TOUR - Author Interview, Character Interview and Review!

I am so excited that this day is here! As you know we had a week of Christopher Waltz a while back.  Well now he is doing a tour for Ivy League! So I hope you stay with me because I have a lot for you! You see Christopher Waltz is ONE of my many favorite people! I hope you want to pick up your copy of Ivy League after the tour is over! 

“Within a few months, everything changed for me, and as anyone could probably guess already, not for the better. Life, itself, began to fall apart...

But I guess that’s what happens when you become a teenage drug-dealer.”

Jamie Brewer has just gotten the one piece of mail he’s been waiting for his whole life: his college acceptance letter. But when a series of unfortunate events makes paying tuition to one of the most prestigious universities in the country practically impossible, Jamie makes a decision that will not only provide him with the cash he needs, but may also get him killed in the process…

Selling drugs starts out well for Jamie, but things quickly begin to spiral out of control: his best friend and girlfriend are weary of his career choice, a local police officer is determined to catch him in the act, and worst, his partner in crime, Gabe, may be more dangerous than anyone ever imagined.

What begins as fun and games is about to become much more serious, causing Jamie to question just how far he will go and who’s lives he will risk in order to become Ivy League.

Christina's interview with Christopher Waltz: 

Every writer I've come across, and befriended, has been in the process of writing their first book or about to release a book. When I (Christina)  first met Chris Waltz, through a friend, I found out that he had a book out. And what a better way to know more about your new friend than to read their book and interview them right?
So, I'm excited to bring you a little more about Mr. Christopher Waltz.
*Laughs* Hey Toph, thanks for taking time to let me interview you.
Are you ready?

I was born ready. (I hope everyone out there reads that in a very serious, action-movieway.)

What was your inspiration to becoming a writer?

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I remember being in the second grade and writing a sequel to my then-favorite movie, Jumanji. I wrote it in a wide-ruled notebook and used half of each page for illustrations. I gave it to my teacher,Mrs. Fields, to read and she returned it with a note attached that said “I can’t wait to buy your books in a book store one day!” I knew then I would continue writing the rest of my life.  

Do you haveanything you  "must have" forwriting?  Like coffee, candy, music?
I usually have a glass of Mountain Dew with me while I’m writing, but I’m trying to break that habit. Sometimes I pretend to be a health nut and Mountain Dew does not fit into that category, unfortunately. I definitely cannot write while listening to music because I get distracted too easily. Usually when I write, it’s just me and a quiet room.  

What inspired you to write Ivy 
League? And how long did the process take from when you first started?
I had a very good friend who I tell everyone is my brother. A few years ago, he got into some shady habits (much like Jamie in Ivy League) and the two of us lost touch until very recently. He cleaned up his life, something I’m so proud of him for, but I would be lying if I said he wasn’t an inspiration formy novel. I took one thing about him and exaggerated it into this novel about a teenager who sells drugs to pay for college. I was initially very worried he’d be mad at me for using a darker period of his life for inspiration, but when I told him, he thought it was awesome!

 Who was your favorite character to write? And were any of your characters modeled after any friends in your life?
I want really badly to tell you the main character, Jamie, was my favorite to write, but he wasn’t. In the story, Jamie meets another high school student, Gabe, who he assumes is from the wrong side of the tracks because people in their school have stereotyped him as this “bad guy.” Gabe was my favorite to write because he is very, very different from me.He has this attitude and whit about him I wish I could incorporate into my daily life; he is completely unfiltered and generally just doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks about him, and I loved writing him.
I use a lot of my friend’s names in Ivy League, but I wouldn’t say any of the characters are actually based on them. A lot of the people in the story are just generally bad. I took my friend’s names and turned them into horrible people, which was a lot of fun.

Jaime hassuch a wide range of friends, that sit with him at the table. From hisfriendship with Airic to his partnership with Gabe, what all do you think they have in common?
That’s a tough question to answer. I think Jamie’s wide variety of friends (especially at his lunch table) shows how forthe past four years of high school, he’s really just been going through the motions. He admits none of these people, aside from Airic, really care about him, but hopefully you notice he doesn’t really care either. I feel his partnership with Gabe really opens him up to who he really is and has been hiding from the rest of the world and his friends for his entire life.

When you first hit that publish button and then saw your book for sale, what did that feel like? 
I was completely terrified. All I could think was “I’m not ready! I’m not ready!” but at the same time, I’d been working on Ivy League for two years and was honestly ready for it to be over. I had also been advertising through my Facebook page and Twitter account that it would be available for sale on12/12/12, but Amazon went ahead and released it early, so that was shocking as well. I had to go back and post updates to the release date, something I really wasn’t expecting to need to do.

If I remember right you said there is a book 2 in the works?  When can we expect that out?
Ideally, I’d say it will be ready December of this year. My goal is to kick it up a notch with the as-of-yet-untitledsequel and have it ready as soon as possible, but at the same time, I don’t want to rush it. Every chapter is planned and I’ve written about fifty pages of the story, but I’m just going to let it run its course naturally. It’s ready when it’s ready. Hopefully the people who read Ivy League (I’m looking at you, Mom) will like it enough that they’ll be okay with waiting for the perfect sequel.
Is there anything else you are working on that you'd like to share with everyone?*pretends like I don't know*  
I constantly have new ideas popping into my head, and I’d love to work on all of them at the same time, but that’s tough,what with working two jobs, plus writing, plus trying to maintain some form of a social life. However, I came up with the idea of a story called Nineteen, about an eighteen-year-old who is convinced he isn’t going to live to see his nineteenth birthday. The notes are just forming on this one, but it’s going to be about him trying to reconnect with people he’s left behind in his life and doing all the things he wants to do before he dies.
Okay, shallwe play a game? I'm going to give you a few words and you say what they makeyou think of, or your favorite of each.  

Candy: SourPatch Kids
Music: Chiodos
Friends: Uhhh… is it weird I can’t thinkof anything for this one? Or I have too many thoughts?
Food: Hummus
Vacation: Chicago
Writing: Life
Ice cream:  Vanilla (I’m boring)

Thank you so much for sitting down and answering my questions! This was fun! Now let's go get a red velvet milk shake shall we?

Woooo! I’m buying!
And here we are enjoying a post interview Milkshake! Thanks Toph! :)

Now, Here's the interview with Gabe, get to know him a bit more here:

Wow, so I can't believe that we get to interview you Gabe. I'm sort of intimidated. *laughs* I'm Christina by the way, and this is Dani Thanks for taking time to sit with us and answer a few questions. Well, you should feel lucky. I don’t do interviews often and I kind of like to keep a low profile. I’m not sure how I got talked into this actually. I’m thinking there was money involved.

Okay so let's get to a few questions.
What did you think when Jamie approached you with this business idea?

 *laughs* So, you know about that? He’s not the best at keeping secrets. I guess since you know, it won’t kill me to talk about it. My first thought was “who does this kid think he is?” I’d never talked to him before, and here he was, approaching me about selling drugs with him. I had to admit, he had balls for even mentioning it, so I decided to hear him out. 
What was the deciding factor that made you decided to go into a partnership with Jaime?

I like to take chances, and this seemed like the biggest gamble I could take at the time. I had no intentions of it working out or lasting more than a week or two, but I jumped at the opportunity to teach someone what I know. Growing and selling Weed is my thing… so why not pass on my talents?

 You seemed kind of a loaner at school. Did you choose that or did it just happen?

I was never the ‘popular’ guy at school, but I’d never want to be either. Plus, when you’re in the business I’m in, you learn not to keep many close friends. When you’re breaking the law, everyone is an enemy. Life is just easier that way.

 You mentioned to Kip that he and Jaime can go into a family business, Is that how you got started?

Yes. Without giving too much information, my brother taught me everything I know. I don’t know if I’d call it a “family” business; my father is a prosecutor and my mother is a typical trophy wife, and neither of them know anything about my business path.

Knowing now what you know, would you if given the chance, go back and never start?
 I have no regrets in my life.

 You had to know the 'arrangement' was going to end badly right? I mean the deal seemed too good to be true. 
I wouldn’t say it ended badly. It took an unexpected turn and things worked out differently than planned. But was it bad? I don’t think so. Wow… with that answer, I should look into becoming a politician.

What's your ultimate opinion of Jaime? Was he a good business partner in dealing with the contacts?

Jamie is more of a people person than I could ever hope to be. He made friends with the contacts and made them feel like he was really doing them a great service. However, that’s a double-edged sword. You can’t get too close to people you’re selling drugs to. Life doesn’t work that way.

Do you regret involving him in the deal?

Jamie came to me, wanting in. He knew the risks and consequences; we both knew what we were getting ourselves into. I stand by me previous comment of not having any regrets in my life.

What would you have done with your share of all that money? 
Oh, I love investigative reporting. I won’t say now, but Jamie has a big mouth. Maybe you’ll learn one day.  
If you could tell Jaime one thing, something that you keep hidden under the angry charade, what would it be and why? 

What makes you think my anger is a charade? I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not, and anything I’d ever tell Jamie, I’m more than willing to say to his face.

Tell me something about yourself, something that you wouldn't normally want to share. We promise to keep it a secret.  
 Oh, I’m not falling for that. I’m not one to put my guard down like that. I don’t normally keep secrets, but I guess one thing I can tell you is that I love what I do. I wouldn’t want to grow up to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a business executive. That’s not the life for me. I live by the motto of life fast, die young, and I plan to do that until my very last day on Earth.
Gabe, thank you so much for taking time away from your "stuff" to talk with us.
It was my pleasure, or whatever.

Now Christina's Review of Ivy League:

In Ivy League, Christopher Waltz had written, issues that are true to life.  They are issues you and I might not see, because it  does happen. What would you do if you had forgotten to apply for financial aid for college and  your parents were getting a divorce?  Jamie Brewer did Just that.   All it took was someone joking around about selling drugs to pay for college and Jamie ran with it.  He ran right into the toughest guy at school, Gabe.  Jamie’s best friend Airic warned him off of this but Jamie thought he could handle it, and just jump back out.  But can he?  Jamie’s brother Kip, is suspicious, and wants to know more about what his big brother is up to.  Jamie seems to have it all together, until he loses his best friend instead of giving up selling the drugs.  He has to sneak around school, answer Gabe’s texts, avoid other people, and potentially lose all the friends he has.  Through it all he manages to work on a relationship with a girl named Riley.  She knows what he is doing, doesn’t approve but encourages him to end it after graduation.  When a few deals go down and the police are on their trail, will Jamie give up his plans and work with the cops?  During this time Gabe informs him that a major drug lord wants to buy their whole stash, this would set Jamie up for most of college.  Graduation day arrives and it all goes down, what will happen, who will be caught up in all this mess?  Seriously you want to read to find out.

My favorite Character has to be Gabe.  I think under his tough exterior, there is a guy just wanting a friend.  We see glimpses of remorse and a slight tender side sometimes when Jamie is talking to him.  I think Chris Waltz did an amazing job it giving us a full view of all his characters.  Even though Jamie was the main character I felt that Gabe, Airic and Kip all played front and center.  This book read like someone talking to me and in essence that was true because Jamie was telling us his story.  I recommend you read this book. It was so different than most books I have ever read, In the best way possible!
- Christina - 

Thanks for hanging with me... now introducing this amazing author :

Author Bio
Christopher Waltz was born in Indiana in 1987 and promptly began writing once leaving the womb. While this is a complete lie, Christopher did begin writing around age eight at which point he penned and illustrated a sequel to the film "Jumanji."

Since that time, Christopher has continued writing and obtained a degree in secondary education from Indiana University's School of Education. He currently works with a non-profit organization and writes, hoping to one day be a famous and influential author.

He has recently published his first novella, "Come as you are" on the Amazon Kindle Store and

Want to Follow the Tour? Check these other blogs out.

Tour Schedule

July 29
Christina –Review/Interview
Christopher Chapman –Review

July 30
Rachel –Review/author interview

July 31

August 1

August 2 
Emma Snow –Review/Playlist

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