{Excerpt/Interview/Giveaway} LETTERS TO NOWHERE Series by Julie Cross


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LETTERS TO NOWHERE is current on sale  for 99¢! 
The sequels are currently only $2.99 each!

Snatch them up while the sale lasts!


I really enjoyed reading LETTERS TO NOWHERE by Julie Cross. 

Check out my review for why!!!

When I heard that the sequel, RETURN TO SENDER, was out and that a third book, RETURN TO YOU, was about to release (now out!), I was really excited! 

The series has very romancey covers, but I bet you wouldn't know at first sight that they're about gymnastics! 

Intrigued?

Keep reading for a gymnastics-themed excerpt, facts about the series, and an interview with the author, as well as a chance to win a copy of LETTERS TO NOWHERE!



In the novel, main character Karen Campbell writes letters that are never sent—to her parents, who have just died, and also to the people around her. Some letters are more funny:


Jordan,
Can you please not drink out of the milk carton? I know it’s your house but seriously, it’s so gross. Also, you have really nice abs. What kind of core conditioning are you doing?
Your bathroommate, Karen

or more sweet...


Dad,
I know you said a long time ago that teenage boys are not likely to have a clean thought in their head and I should stay far, far away from all of them, but what about Jordan? Sure, he’s a little bit of a playboy, but he’s not just that. Are all boys like him? Were you like him? So far, I’ve talked to Jordan more about stuff that actually matters than anyone else. What if he’s done the same with me? What does that mean?
It doesn’t matter. I know he’s not bad. Not perfect either, but not bad.

Love, Karen       

And many are very emotional...


Mom and Dad,
Did it hurt? Who was driving? If I had been in the car, would it have changed anything? Please don’t answer this. I don’t want a concrete reason to believe in ghosts.

Love, Karen          

Here's an excerpt now!


EXCERPT from 
LETTERS TO NOWHERE

            “So…you were a gymnast?”
            He was silent for several seconds and then shook with laughter. “Yeah, I was. Nice transition, by the way.”
            “I can only take so much at once, you know?”
            “Believe me, I know.” He jumped to his feet, grinning down at me before sticking out a hand to help me up. “Bet you can’t throw a triple back off the end of the tumble track?”
            “And you can?” The tumble track was a long trampoline—eighty feet to be exact—that landed into the foam pit. It helped with training tumbling runs for floor routines.
            Jordan kicked off his shoes and socks, emptied his pockets onto the mats beside the tumble track, and then took off his long-sleeved white uniform shirt. He stood at the end of the trampoline wearing only his khaki pants and a leather belt. “Let me warm up with a double first, okay?”
            “You’re not going to kill yourself, are you?” I asked wearily. “At least stretch out a little.”
            “Stretching is for wimps, Karen.” With that he took off at a run, then jumped into his round-off, which was a little slow and sloppy, plus he didn’t even do a back handspring first. Coach Bentley would never let me train a triple back from just a round-off. If I did that, I’d never be able to actually perform it on the floor. Not that I planned on adding triple backs to my floor choreography anytime soon.
            Despite the rusty lead-up skills, Jordan managed to fling himself pretty high in the air, and with stuntman-like air sense, he found his way around the double flip. I clapped loudly, then attempted to whistle with my fingers in my mouth, but quickly decided that wasn’t a good idea, considering the fact that he was topless. At least he wore pants today instead of just boxers.
            He walked over to me after climbing out of the pit and fake-fell onto the carpet. “I’m so out of shape. No triples today.”
            I jumped to my feet, the rush of adrenaline I had earlier returning. “I’ll give it a shot for both of us.”
            “Wait…have you done these before?” he asked.
            “Um, technically no.”
            He grabbed my ankle, causing me to fall over. “Don’t do it. You’ll get hurt before the first meet and it’ll be my fault.”
            My skin warmed in the places he touched, causing goose bumps to spread everywhere. I got up again and laughed at him. “I’m not going to get hurt. I’m safe and boring, remember? You said so yourself the other day.”
            “Well, you were safe and boring. Maybe you aren’t anymore,” he conceded. “I take it back. Karen Campbell is a wild-ass risk taker. She should be riding a Harley through downtown St. Louis.”
            I hopped onto the end of the tumble track, grinning down at him. “Jordan Bentley is a great big ass-kisser with the cardiovascular endurance of a ninety-year-old man.”
            He glared at me. “I had no idea you were such a vindictive person. Go ahead and hurt yourself then. Fine with me.”
            My head was already wrapping itself around the idea of yet another new skill. This one was more fun and less practical, but why the hell not? Seriously. In a last attempt at safe training, I called over my shoulder to Jordan, “Yank me out if I end up doing the ostrich in the sand move.”
            “I’ll think about it.”
            I took off and lunged into my round-off back handspring, before setting myself up high enough for the triple back. Halfway through the second flip, I got a little lost and was totally shocked to end up feet first in the foam pit. Jordan had jumped up, cheering loudly. “That was awesome! So awesome!”
            “Karen!” a loud voice boomed from across the gym. “What the hell are you doing?”
            I crawled out of the pit, landing on the mat beside Jordan. Coach Bentley and several of his staff were heading our way.
            “What’s going on?” he snapped at Jordan, who had already reached for his shirt and was buttoning it up. “I asked you to take Karen home.”
            Jordan scowled at him. “Try checking your cell phone once in a while, Dad. Glad I wasn’t choking or in great need of a guardian to sign off on medical procedures.”
            “His car broke down,” I said.
            Coach Bentley turned to me, eyes narrowing. “You know the rules, Karen. Nobody trains skills without a coach in the gym. What were you thinking? And triple backs?”
            I shrunk back, not sure how to react. Bentley had never yelled at me before. Stacey was right behind him, arms crossed, glaring at me. “This is something I expect from the little girls.”
            “This is something I expect from my irresponsible son,” Bentley said, “but not from you.”
            The six or eight other coaches stayed back, watching this exchange from a distance. Coach Bentley strode over to the pit bar and yanked down my chart, which had already been marked up quite a bit in the last two days. My heart pounded, not knowing what was coming.
            “We’re taking layout Jaegers off the bar training program for now. I thought you were mature enough to understand how to weigh the risk versus reward, but I guess I was wrong.”
            “Come on, Dad,” Jordan argued. “She was just playing around.”

            I shook my head at him, not wanting any help with this. It was already bad enough. “I’m sorry,” I said with a sigh, then left them to go and grab my stuff from the locker room. 

~*~

FIVE FACTS ABOUT 
LETTERS TO NOWHERE:

1. Since I started writing the book, I've envisioned my main character, Karen, as a red-headed McKayla Maroney even though I tried my best not to picture her as anyone specific.


2. I've been around the world of competitive gymnastics for at least 15 years and therefore have depicted elite level gymnastics as true-to-life as possible in this book.


3. The romance in LtN is not your typical "insta-love" or "fall in love then break up" format. This will please some and disappoint others.


4. My main character, Karen, has just lost both her parents in a tragic car accident prior to the book's opening however, I don't consider this a typical book about death either because there are so many other elements intertwined and Karen is a fighter, she's constantly driven by one goal or another. It's about rising up after a fall.


5) LtN is truly the book of my heart because I wanted, for so long, to find a way to combine by two greatest passions - YA Literature and Gymnastics.

  ~*~

An interview with 
Author Julie Cross

Do you have a favorite character from Letters to Nowhere? Why is he (or she) your favorite?

Karen, my main character, is my favorite to write mostly because I’ve wanted to write a book narrated from the point of view of an elite gymnast since my author journey first began. I absolutely love capturing that socially sheltered mindset and pairing it up with a level of maturity and discipline that most adults don’t have. That’s the essence of women’s elite gymnastics. Young girls carrying big loads of responsibility and self-awareness. They have it completely together, there’s always a plan for what’s next. With Karen, I gave her all of those qualities and then I pulled the rug out from under her by taking away her parents in a car accident before the book opens. Then: *Enter cute boy* whom she is forced to share a bathroom with. Who has a tragic past of his own. Who may be the only one that can help her heal.

Were you nervous when you decided to venture outside of your Sci-Fi series and write a contemporary novel? Did you have any reservations at first?

I wasn’t nervous to write the book, but I was super super nervous to tell people about it. Especially online to Tempest series fans. I honestly figured I’d finish the book so the characters would stop tormenting me inside my head, which I know it sounds a little schizophrenic, but it’s the truth and probably never publish it. And just hearing you say that it paid off means that it totally has. I’ve pleased at least one reader. Mission accomplished. Thanks so much for that ^_^

Gymnastics is a huge part of this novel and your website says that you were a former gymnastics coach. How excited were you to combine your passions for writing and gymnastics into one project?

It was like Disney World, Universal Studios and a house right on the beach all packaged into one trip that didn’t even require packing or travel time. I enjoyed every phase of creating this story so much, I felt guilty calling it my job.

There are some pretty heartbreaking scenes in the book. Do you get extremely attached to your characters? If so, how do you feel when you have to write a scene that is going to be particularly hard on them?

Normally, I struggle with getting all the tension I need in a first draft because it becomes so difficult to put characters I love through all this emotional trauma. Often I have to step away from the story for a while and then I raise the stakes in the next draft. But with Letters to Nowhere, I had no problem shoving the characters into flaming fire after fire because I knew that in order for Karen (and also Jordan and Coach Bentley) to properly grieve and begin to heal, there was only one way to get past the fire—run straight through it. And the whole time I was writing this book, I knew Karen was a bomb waiting to go off. I knew she’d need to have that moment of realization about her future and what losing her parents really meant. And I wanted to get her there so I could see that she was okay.

What was the hardest part of writing LETTERS TO NOWHERE?

Nothing was really hard to write, but I worked the hardest at making the gymnastics element “user friendly” in the sense that I wanted this to be a book for the widest audience possible while still showing a true portrayal of the sport.

What was your favorite part?

The evolution of “Jaren” hands down. The relationship between Karen and Jordan is built in a way that I hadn’t done before in novel. Not exactly. I rarely do the insta-love thing but what they have is so much deeper than romantic love. Not to spoil anything in the book or future books in this world, but I truly believe that Jordan and Karen will always have a tie that can’t be severed no matter where their paths lead them. They could never hate each other. Many people look back on their first love and the relationship and drama often seem silly. It won’t be like that for these two. Their relationship will always represent a hugely important part of their lives.
  ~*~


O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: LETTERS TO NOWHERE
Author: Julie Cross
Release Date: Aug. 2, 2013
Publisher: Julie Cross
Received: For Review
SUMMARY:

From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest Series... 

Set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics...

I've gotten used to the dead parents face. I've gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I've even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son. Dealing with boys is not something that's made it onto my list of experiences as of yet. But here I am, doing it. And something about Jordan--being around him, talking to him, thinking about him--makes me feel like I can finally breathe again. That's something I haven't been able to do lately. He knows what it feels like to be me right now. He knows what it's like to wonder--what now? I think about it constantly. I need answers. I need to know how to get through this. In the gym, if you're struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning. How do I work hard at moving on? At being on my own? And what happens if I might be...maybe...probably falling for Jordan? I mean we live together now. That can't happen, can it? But kissing him...well, let's just say it's not an easy activity to forget. 
~*~

Julie Cross is the International Bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes TEMPEST, VORTEX, and the final installment, TIMESTORM (St. Martin's Press). She's also the author of LETTERS TO NOWHERE, a mature young adult romance set in the world of elite gymnastics, as well as several forthcoming young adult and new adult novels with publishers like Entangled, Sourcebooks, HarperCollins, and St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books. 

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She's a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She's a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credibility's, Julie Cross is a committed--but not talented--long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict. You can find her online via twitter, her personal website, email, facebook, Goodreads, or co-moderating the YAwriters section of reddit.
Visit Julie on her website and follow her on Facebook,  Twitter, and YouTube!
  ~*~
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Comments

  1. Great interview I'm looking forward to reading this!

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