I’d like to welcome YA author, Lana Long, to the blog today as part of the celebration for the launch of her debut novel, Finding Favor. Read on for info about prizes as well as a special launch week eBook sale! Check my Facebook for any regular features not posted here this week. — Jamie
Finding Favor was just published—congrats! How do you feel now that your first novel is out there for the world to see, read, and enjoy? Are you more excited or terrified?
A little of both. I’ve spent so much time with Favor, Ethan and Tom that I’m excited for them to be out in the world but also terrified that no one will like them.
Finding Favor is a modern take on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. What have the works of Austen meant to you as a reader, and why did you decide to pay homage to this great writer in your first published novel?
Austen’s novels reinvigorated the love of reading I’d lost during my college days of studying, working and hanging out. As my love of reading took off, I was inspired to give writing a try. I started off writing purely original works and experimenting in different voices, perspectives and tenses. Over time, I began to notice similarities between Austen and the Yong Adult genre of today.
Mansfield Park is one of my favorite Austen books. The story of a young girl coming of age away from her immediate family, required to uphold expectations but never to be rewarded for doing so, and loving a boy, her best friend, who was falling in love with someone else, and by all of society’s rules unattainable, felt ripe for a modern Young Adult novel.
Besides Jane Austen, who are some of your other favorite authors? If you had to pick just a single answer, what is your all-time favorite book, and why do you love it so much?
My other favorite authors include Sarah Dessen, Maggie Stiefvater, and Emily and Charlotte Bronte. I adore E.M. Forster’s Room with a View. It has similar themes as in Austen’s works, but is set 100 years later than Austen’s novels with Florence and England serving as the backdrop. I could read the scene when Lucy steps through the bushes, onto into the hillside covered in violets, and George kisses her, over and over again.
What was the writing process like for you? How long did it take to complete this novel from start to finish, and what kind of research was involved?
Finding Favor is the second novel I wrote. I spent a year writing four novels without editing. I had a few ideas and wanted to get them on paper. Then I chose Finding Favor to focus my energies. I participated in workshops, joined a group of writers for critiquing and attended conferences. I spent three years off and on working on the novel. I’d already read Mansfield Park multiple time so no research there, but I did research gardening, orchids and the northeastern sea coast to better write the characters and scenes.
Although I certainly sympathized with Favor and found Tom to be charming as all-get-out, my favorite character was the old gardener Mr. Rushworth. How did you go about developing his larger than life personality? Was he based on anyone you know in real life?
Honestly, he just came to me. I needed his character to be the antitheses to an earlier character, Grandmother Brown. Her condescension and cruel nature didn’t make it to the final cut, other characters fulfilled that role, but Mr. Rushworth’s kindness and charms did.
What activities do you enjoy outside of writing? What is your day-to-day life like?
I love reading and music. I go to three or four concerts a year, download countless songs, and read at least five or more books a month, not including the scenes I tend to read over and over in some of my favorite books.
I spend a lot of time with my kids and volunteering at school. My kids are six and eight and busy little people. I’m involved with their elementary school’s PTSA and other volunteer opportunities at school. I also work at a local church as the treasurer one day a week.
Finding Favor is priced at just 99 cents as part of its special launch week sale. Pick up your copy on either Amazon US or Amazon UK now, and don’t forget to stop by and participate in the special release week contests.
Our big launch week prize basket includes: Journal with a cover inspired by Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (as is this novel), note cards with an orchid design (Favor’s favorite flower), a hard cover edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (Ethan’s favorite book), and a cool pen (who doesn’t love cool pens?). CLICK HERE NOW TO ENTER!
About Finding Favor
In the eight years since seventeen-year-old Favor Miller’s father died, she’s had to endure her reluctant, self-righteous guardians the Browns. Every day for eight years, they’ve reminded her that she doesn’t fit in, that she’s not one of them. Every day for eight years, she’s eagerly awaited the day when she’ll finally be free to live her life her way.
On the eve of high school graduation, Mr. Brown ambushes Favor with the offer of college funding and a to-die-for summer internship–with the one stipulation that she must discontinue her friendship with his son, Ethan.
Accustomed as she is to sharing everything with her best friend, this is one secret Favor must keep in order to protect Ethan. The distraction of his new girlfriend, her growing friendship with his older brother, and her need to understand her family history, add in further complications.
As Favor debates signing the contract, she must decide if she’s willing to give up her best friend in order to pursue her dreams. Will she have to stay in the place she’s so desperately wanted to escape in order to make the right decision and get what she really needs?
About Lana Long
As a devoted fan of young adult novels herself, Lana Long is thrilled to be gracing the YA world with her first novel, Finding Favor. Many years of daydreaming and several writing classes and workshops have contributed to the development of Finding Favor as well as to her inevitable future books. Through her experiences at Lighthouse Writers in Denver, the Big Sur Writing Workshop in California, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference, she has learned an amazing amount about writing novels.
Although writing serves as a relaxing process, Lana is also grounded by her family, by her work as a church treasurer, and by volunteering at her kids’ elementary school.
She hopes that her books provide readers with the same entertainment she herself finds in YA novels. If you enjoy a good coming-of-age story featuring enthralling characters, check out Finding Favor and read more of Lana’s thoughts at www.lanalongbooks.com.