Monday 5 December 2011

Stealing Kevin's Heart by M. Scott Carter (Author Interview, Review & Giveaway)

Title: Stealing Kevin's Heart
Author: M. Scott Carter
Publisher: The RoadRunner Press
Date Published: October 12, 2011

Synopsis: Their small town saw Alex Anderson and Kevin Rubenstein as the most unlikely of best friends, but that is just what the handsome athlete and the artistic Jewish brainiac are: inseparable buddies since childhood. Then Kevin dies in a motorcycle accident, and his parents blame Alex. And Alex blames himself. His grieving derails both his studies and his football, and he is sent away to a camp for troubled youths in the wilds of southeastern Oklahoma. Borderline suicidal, Alex finds his way back to sanity among the pine trees and clear lake waters thanks to a girl with a secret, a group of misfits, and the most unselfish gift a person can give another.

Review: First off, I'd like to thank The RoadRunner Press for getting into contact with me to review Stealing Kevin's Heart. I read the synopsis of the book and was more than thrilled to read it! I very much enjoyed reading this book- I think that there are some serious "true life" issues that are brought up and the author, M. Scott Carter does an excellent job with balancing real life troubling issues and making them into something more meaningful. 

Death is a topic that almost every person has had to deal with either directly or indirectly; the feelings that come with loss is even harder- and for some people, like the main character in Stealing Kevin's heart, Alex has such a hard time overcoming loss that he is made to get treatment away from home.

Alex looses his best friend Kevin to a tragic accident, not only does he grieve over him, but he watched him die. Definitley not an easy thing for a teenager to overcome. M. Scott Carter takes you through a remarkable story of Alex's transformation through his journey after Kevin's death. Alex experiences loss, confussion, anger, self pity, blame- the reader can feel what Alex feels and that's what I enjoyed while reading. The author writes with a sense of "self" in Alex's point of view at times, therefore the reader can connect with Alex on different levels and get a better understanding of what he's feeling. Alex is a teenager- and I thought that the writing style reflecting the way a teenager would thing and feel at a time like this! 

Twist and turns down a truly heartbreaking, but honest book in the beginning... and Alex finally begins to see the light when he meets a girl named Rachel. They meet at a recovery camp- each has their own reason for being at this camp; and Rachel's reason may eventually connect her and Alex together forever. I think ever reader in one way or another could relate to Stealing Kevin's Heart. And if not, I do believe each person will take away something from it :-) I know I did. 

This book had me in tears... tears of sadness, tears of anger, and tears of joy. But I would recommend this to anyone- especially teens!! Its an adorable, quick read.

 Dark Readers interviews M.Scott Carter!

Dark Readers:  How did you get into writing?  Was publishing a book something you’ve always dreamed of doing?
M. SCOTT CARTER: When I was a little boy – maybe 6 or 7 – my mother found an old Underwood typewriter at a garage sale. She bought it for me and I started my own newspaper; that was my first taste of putting words on a page.  Later, when I was 13, my first job was working at the little weekly newspaper in my hometown. After that I was hooked. As far as writing a book, yes, being a novelist has been a dream as long as I can remember.

DR:  Were you influenced by any authors growing up?
CARTER: Yes. Many, many writers influenced me. I read Sherlock Holmes very early. I read and re-read Mark Twain when I was 10. Victor Hugo, Edgar Allen Poe and Dumas. Beverly Cleary was a huge influence as was Bertrand R. Brinley and Norton Juster. Later, when I was in high school, I read A Confederacy of Dunces and that had a profound influence on me, both as a person and creatively.

DR:  What do you enjoy doing in spare time—apart from work and writing?
CARTER: I’ve always loved photography and reading and music. Music is a huge pastime. I love old, B-grade sci-fi and fantasy movies. But anything that takes me away from the ordinary will do. I like being outside and I like watching my kids grow.

DR:  Explain a little about your characters—are they based on anyone in your life personally?
CARTER: I’ve worked in the newspaper industry for many, many years. During that time, I’ve interviewed thousands of people. And, often they show back up in my fiction. There are several characters in Stealing Kevin’s Heart that come from my past. Rachel is a combination of several girls I knew in high school and college, and Kevin was composed a couple of kids I went to Career-Tech school with in Oklahoma.

DR:  To expand on the previous question, this novel gets into some deep topics:  was your life experience something that you added into this novel?
CARTER: As a kid, I’ve had my share of struggles and some of that is reflected in my writing. I also have family members who have experienced some of the same health problems that I wrote about: my youngest son, Zach, has had the same French surgical procedure that Rachel has in the story. So, yes, you could very easily say that my life experience has been put into this novel.

DR:  If you could be one character from any book of your choice—who would it be and why?
CARTER: I think it would be fun to be Ronald Weasley from the Harry Potter books or Sherlock Holmes. I’ve often thought of what it would be like to be Tom Sawyer or even young Milo from the Phantom Tollbooth.

 DR: Stealing Kevin’s Heart is a published book—are there other projects you are currently working on? Maybe a spoiler or two?
CARTER: Well, since you asked…my next book is The Immortal Van B. It’s the story of a young girl named Josie Brunswick who accidently clones Ludwig van Beethoven and drops him smack dab in the center of 21st Century Vienna. I don’t want to reveal too much, but I will tell you that Beethoven learns a great deal more about music, including how the play a Fender Flying V, electric guitar. Thanks so much for having me on DarkReaders.


Open to USA & Canada only.

To win a copy of Stealing Kevin's Heart by M. Scott Carter, all you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this post!! Remember to add your email address so we can get a hold of you if you are randomly selected as the winner :-) 

Ends 12-12-11 at midnight EST USA time. 


Patrice said...

This book sound very interesting.

Kaleidoscope Vixen Princess said...

I would LOVE to read this book!!

Br. Jack+, LC said...

Great book! Thanks for the review and interview of my dear friend's book.

Vivien said...

Thanks for the honest review. Sounds like a good one.

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Danielle B! said...

This books sounds great. I like it when authors write books about real issues that many people have gone through or can relate to. Thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

First of all, the publisher provided this book so that I could review it.

Since I am a transplant recipient myself, I had no choice but to read this (meaning I would have read it even if I had not been given the book to review), even though it is a YA book and I am in my, shall we say, 'mid-life' – if life ends at 60-something!. It starts off G-R-E-A-T. This author obviously remembers what it was like to be a teenage boy. This is all before the first chapter.

As the book progressed and I flew through it I had to remind myself 1) that teenagers sometimes say stupid things (ie; it wasn't the author writing poorly!), 2) that the story is fictional (ie; my factual transplant experience is not the same as in the book), and 3) that the three times of tears filling my eyes may be due to the very personal note this has taken for me, despite the different circumstances and organ.

It is no wonder that this was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award! I definitely recommend this book. It is not 'preachy' or pushy. It is simply a great work of fiction that happens to include organ donation, another segment of real life that rarely gets talked about. I love the fact that it has been included, and it comes across fairly naturally, which can be difficult to do. The story captures your attention and the journey you walk with the main character is tough and well worth it.

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