Monday, July 4, 2011

Review/Writing Challenge/Giveaway: In Transit by Kathleen Gerard

In Transit

Kathleen Gerard

Genre: Adult Suspense

Pages: Hardback, 283

Publisher: Five Star

Can a rookie cop survive the men who cross her path in the NYPD?

When a psychic in a shopping mall tells Rita Del Vecchio that she is "destined for greatness," and she will "marry a man in uniform," the restless, wet-behind-the-ears, 22 year-old decides to finally take control of her life. Rita sets out on a quest to become a New York City Police Officer. But can a spry, feisty, single woman thrive in the gritty world of New York's Finest?

Leaving behind the suburbs of New Jersey and a job as an under-tipped waitress, Rita Del Vecchio hangs up her apron and ballet slippers for a bullet-proof vest. But will she wear it? And if she does, will it protect her on the mean streets of Manhattan? Can it also protect her from Cupid’s arrows if they should land amiss?

Rita is assigned to the New York City Transit Police Squad and gets more than she bargained for. Riding the Lexington Avenue Subway Line, Rita winds up meeting not one man in uniform, but many. Whom will she love?

Rita Del Vecchio is probably one of my new favorite characters. She’s a tough as nails girl who goes through the craziness life offers her and winds up finding herself in one of the least likely places... herself! This fast-paced novel kept me on my toes the entire read and I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Multiple points of view tell us the story and that was great because we are able to see all sides of the story. There were parts where I wanted to scream at Rita for things that I as a reader knew about and that is a testament of great writing!

Being from the south, I don’t know much about the NYPD and this book definitely taught me some. Although there are many things that are particular to NY it was refreshing to read a plot that gives us insight into something we all probably know is there and yet don’t discuss: corruption, abuse and power. These topics are gracefully addressed though Kathleen’s plot and resolved within it. Kathleen’s fresh writing brings many things to light while keeping readers on their toes to see what is going to happen next with Rita. All in all, a great read that I am sure you will enjoy too!

I am lucky enough to have Kathleen herself today with a guest post and even a writing challenge!! Make sure you check out the bottom too. Without further ado…

Celebrate Independence Day Through Writing

You never know how a writer is born or where a story will come from...

Are you familiar with the work of suspense/thriller writer Mary Higgins Clark? She has had a long career and has written more than 40 books that have gone to become International Best Sellers. She used to live in my town. I was ten years-old when her first novel was released, Where are the Children? She set the book right in our hometown - even used the local lake as the crime scene. It was so exciting to know that this woman, who lived only a few blocks away, had followed her dream of becoming a published author and had shaped that dream into a reality.

Her success encouraged me to keep writing stories of my own. For more than 20 years, I have written and contributed short fiction and essays to magazines and anthologies and several of my plays have been staged and performed regionally and off-Broadway. Recently, my first novel was published, IN TRANSIT. It's a woman-in-jeopardy story about Rita Del Vecchio, a rather naive 20-something girl from New Jersey who feels stalled in her life. When a psychic in a shopping mall tells her that she is "destined for greatness" and she will "marry a man in uniform," it sets her on a course to take the NYPD exam. She ultimately becomes a New York City Transit Police Officer, patrolling the subway system. She does meet a man in uniform--she meets many men, actually--but will she marry the right man in uniform? You'll have to read the book to learn more...

Real life has always served as a springboard for me in writing fiction. Rita, the protagonist of IN TRANSIT, is very loosely based on a friend I've had since high school who did become a New York City Transit Cop. When she was in her early 20s, she sat for the New York City Police Exam and when she passed, she gave up her job as an early childhood educator (and her second job as a waitress) and completely transformed her life. I found her story so amazing that I took that premise and used it as a launch pad for my novel, IN TRANSIT. I took the preliminary facts of my friend's life and skewed the variables until I created a fictionalized, much more dramatic world than the one my friend was actually living.

That's what writing is - it's paying attention to the stories of peoples' lives...and everyone has a story. If you listen to people, really listen, they will tell you their stories. And your job, if you're a fiction writer, is to try to give meaning and form to those stories - by taking creative liberties. In the case of my novel, IN TRANSIT, I let my imagination lead me into a story that snowballs into something much more ominous and harrowing than Rita ever expected... innocence gone astray; secrets, lies and double lives; and how sometimes the choices we make have life-altering consequences.

Writing Challenge: Think about the people in your own life. What do you know about them - are they courageous, successful; are they heroes or are they riddled with failure? What stories have they told you? What stories have you heard about them, even through the grape vine? What don't you know about them that you wish you did? If you mine that terrain, there might be a great story waiting to be told. Start by writing what you know about a person or place and then let your imagination fill in the gaps of what you don't know...You'll be surprised at where things might lead.

To learn more about Kathleen Gerard and the story-behind-the-story of IN TRANSIT---and Kathleen's writing process--be sure to tune in to the cyber-book tour, stopping daily at different book blogs throughout the month of July... Check it out here!

Copyright 2011 by Kathleen Gerard. All Rights Reserved.

Now that you have a challenge, don’t you need somewhere to start writing? I think so!! Fill out THIS FORM to be entered to win a classy notebook created by yours truly to keep all of your thoughts in. Leave comments too and let me know who popped into your head as you read Kathleen’s challenge. They will be bonuses!! Good luck and happy writing!!


Kathleen Gerard said...

Hi Jennie: Thanks for giving IN TRANSIT such great real estate on your blog today...I appreciate your sharing your impressions of the novel and featuring my guest post. I trust your readers/followers will take on the writing challenge and discover the great stories they can dredge up, inspired by people and places in their own little corners of the world. Have a Happy Fourth of July and Happy Summer Reading! :) Kathleen

Lynette said...

Great to read your views on In Transit. My review will be up tomorrow for the same book. I also love that you are looking at a writing challenge for us as well as a book to record our thoughts in or start our challenge in too. Pretty good set up lady.

Tribute Books said...

Jennie, I agree with Kathleen & Lynette - what a fantastic idea to offer a handcrafted notebook as a giveaway to coincide with the idea of writing about people in your own life. Love it!

Jennie, I'm so glad that you enjoyed the book and for hosting Kathleen on Random Chalk Talk. We appreciate your support of "In Transit."

It's a treat reading through what Kathleen has to say because you learn so many great tidbits - like Mary Higgins Clark lived in her neighborhood and inspired her to become a writer and that the character of Rita in "In Transit" is based on one of her real life friends. Great stuff!

Baby Mama said...

I love the writing challenge. So much about what we write is based loosely on people we know.

Alicia C. said...

I loved reading your review. And the writing prompts you've given in the writing challenge are all very good ones - I could think to write a few PAGES (at least) on each!

Laurie said...

great review-great giveaway!

Dana West said...

Great review and these are great writing prompts. I write all of the time about people in my life because that is what I am most familiar with. I try to get my daughter to do this as well. She is just beginning to be really interested in writing and wants more and more challenges. Thanks!

Gianna said...

That is a beautiful notebook!

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