VBT: DRAWN TO YOU by Janel Rodriguez Ferrer

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Janel will be awarding Winner's Choice of a $25 gift card to iTunes (music) or, Capezio (dance), or Utrecht (art supplies) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Please click on the tour banner to see the other stops in the tour.

I write on my laptop. So while sometimes I write notes by hand, say on subway rides to and from my day job, for the most part I do my creating straight from keyboard to screen. You’d think with the kind of flexibility that comes from using a laptop and living in New York City that I’d cart my laptop around with me to interesting places--like a park, or an artist’s studio, or at least to a local coffeehouse—but no. For the most part I end up writing at my desk at home. Okay, sometimes for a change of scene I take the laptop into the—gasp!—living room, or even to the kitchen table (particularly if I want to snack while I'm writing), but the bulk of my writing is done in the perfect-size writing pocket that is the corner of my bedroom, at my simple, honey-colored, Parsons-inspired desk.

If you take a look at the photograph, you might notice that around my desk I have arranged a few personal items for decoration, fun, or inspiration. Included are: a statue of St. Michael the Archangel on the shelf above (similar to one mentioned in Drawn to You); an unfinished painting on canvas propped against the wall; and (this will only make sense to you if you are familiar with the world of Doctor Who) a little TARDIS on my desk from which an action figure of the Tenth Doctor beckons an action figure of Sarah Jane Smith to join him inside and travel the stars.

I have pumped out many a page from that little corner, so it is truly my writing space. However, there is one thing about the photograph that is untruthful about my reality: It is neat. I usually have piles of paper or books on top of my desk (near the TARDIS), but I didn’t like the way that looked in the photo, so I moved them before taking this snap.

As you can see, the view outside my writing space isn’t terribly exciting--especially in the winter when I am left with just the black skeletons of trees to gaze upon. Also I usually have the curtains drawn in the winter, anyway, as it is often too grey and cold out to have them open. When I do have them open, though, I basically just have a view of my fire escape and the back end of another building to look at. But in the warmer months, when the birds return and stop by to rest on the branches of the trees, I enjoy spotting the odd cardinal or blue jay and listening to the haunting sounds of a pair of mourning doves (they are always in pairs) as they coo back and forth to each other. When those moments happen, I feel a bit like I’m in the country instead of a city.

Rock Your Destiny!

Gina Santiago is a thirteen-year-old "Nuyorican" with rock star dreams, so when she's accepted into the prestigious New York Academy of Arts and Talents for art instead of music, she's crushed. To make matters worse, the student body at the Upper East Side school is divided into "schollies" (students on scholarship, like her) and "dollies" (rich kids with "dollars"). But Gina discovers that there is one thing that brings schollies and dollies-and dancers, singers, actors, artists, and musicians-together: music! Maybe she can make her dreams come true after all....

Read an excerpt:

I began entertaining thoughts of becoming an art school dropout when I remembered Angel Dominguez and felt inspired to explore the halls a bit. Maybe I can find a classroom he actually studied in, I thought, feeling the smile return to my face.

Jogging slightly, I headed for the staircase when I remembered the song about Angel that I had started earlier. Humming it to myself, I began adding more lyrics in my head.

I will find you even though you aren’t really here

I’ll find you standing by my side

Hear you whisper in my ear….

And then, almost as if someone did whisper in my ear, I stopped short at the bulletin board in the lobby. A flyer had caught my eye. It read:


Your favorite rock band,


is searching for their next great guitarist/vocalist

Could that be YOU?????

Listen to our sound, and then come see for yourself.

Saturday, September 15th.

Please call Nick at 917-555-7654 for more information.

I drew in a deep breath. Then I giggled. Then I laughed out loud. If my mother thought that that she was going to keep me away from music, she sure was wrong. My first day at NYAAT wasn’t even half-over, and I was already had an idea of how to make my dreams—and her nightmares—come true.

About the Author:
Like her main character, Gina Santiago, Janel is a Nuyorican who attended a Manhattan high school of the arts as an art major.

Unlike Gina, she isn’t very good at guitar and doesn’t have a rock band to call her own.

Truth be told, she never dreamed of becoming a guitarist. Instead, from the time she was a tween she dreamed of becoming a published author of a book series. And since you're reading this, you can see that her dream has come true!

Her first hint of an idea for the Arts-Angels series began way back when she received a pendant of St. Michael the Archangel for her sixteenth birthday.

She lives with her twin sister, Jennifer (who got a pendant of St. Joan of Arc that same birthday but hasn’t written any books about it), in New York City.

Website: www.theartsangels.com
Blog: http://janelrodriguezferrer.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JanelRodriguezFerrer
E-mail: janelrodriguezferrer (at) theartsangels (dot) com.


Lena said…
Sounds wonderful, how do you go about creating a plot?

lennascloud at gmail dot com
Thank you for hosting today.
Gala said…
Great excerpt!What was the best advice you were given about writing books?

Lana A said…
The book sounds fantastic! Who organizes your books promotion, the publisher?

anzuazura at yahoo dot de
Ami said…
Very intriguing excerpt. What does it mean to you, being a published writer?

Anzu said…
This sounds lovely, how do you come up with the names of your characters?

anzumerlin at mail dot ru
Anonymous said…
Hi Lena!
When I go about creating a plot, I first try to imagine a situation that I would be interested in exploring. Since DRAWN TO YOU is the first book in a series, it had to be a life-changing turning point in the main character's life and I thought it should effect her on all different levels of her life: friends, family, identity. I think teens definitely want to find out who they really are and what they are about.
Thanks for asking. :-)
Anonymous said…
Hi Gala!

The best advice I was ever given about writing books was to keep writing the story until the story is done, and to not worry about correcting or perfecting it until then.

I used to be one of those people who would write and rewrite a first chapter to death (because I wanted it to be perfect) but then I would never go on to Chapter Two.

It turns out a book will be rewritten and edited and changed and perfected many, many times before it sees print. Sometimes entire chapters get tossed out, even! So it's not worth it to write a perfect first chapter if the rest of the book ends up never seeing the light of day!

Anonymous said…
Hi Lana,

No, I have created the imprint, Brushstroke Books, under the small publisher, Wyatt MacKenzie for this particular series, so while they give me tips, I am basically in charge of my own promotion.

A fellow author, Deanna Roy, author of the Troubled Tweens series recommended Goddess Fish promotions to me.

Truthfully, I've been traditionally published as well, and authors are often left to do most of their own promotion these days (unless they are a big name).

So here I am, spreading the word. I sent the book out to real tweens all over the country (and some overseas). I've been getting real feedback (e-mails and notes) and that's been fun. Plus Book 2 is out in April, so perhaps the series will pick up then.

Plus the Kindle version is on sale for 99 cents for the duration of my blog/review tour (the end of the month).

Thank you!
Anonymous said…
Hi Ami,

Since I've wanted to be a published writer since I was about nine years old, I would have to say it feels "natural" and "right" to be a published author. I remember the first time I saw my name in print, I didn't feel like, "Woooo! I made it!" as much as I felt, "Well, ...yeah." Because I felt it was supposed to happen.
I hope I answered your question! Thanks!
Anonymous said…
Hi Anzu,

Actually, the names have basically stayed the same since I first thought up the story when I was basically out of high school. I pick names that I like the look AND sound of. Not necessarily for their meanings. (Although I love Baby Name Dictionaries because you can find some many cool names in them!)

I remember just liking the name "Gina" when I was in High School, but now I wonder if it had anything to do with reading "Ginnie and Geneva" books when I was a kid. "Gina" just sounded kind of cool, capable, and rock-n-roll to me.

Sage was originally Jade, but there are just so many Jades in series fiction that I changed it to something with a similar "feel".

For a while I had changed the name Craig (the heartthrob lead singer)
to Finn to make it more modern, but then GLEE came out, so I changed it back to Craig.

Anyway, you get the idea. Do you have any favorite names?
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Judy, and thank you, Goddess Fish, for getting the word out on The Arts-Angels Track 1: DRAWN TO YOU.
bn100 said…
Nice writing area.

Thank you, bn 100. I wish I got more sunlight (I LOVE sunlight) so I painted my walls yellow to give it a "sunshiny" effect.