For What It's Worth

Monday, February 10, 2014

Heartbreakers Blog Tour: Day 2 – B.A. Binns & Denise Jaden

Who can resist a heartbreaker?


Welcome to day 2 of the Heartbreakers Blog Tour - hosted by the lovely Judith Tewes.

Check out the kick off post and yesterday’s interviews here

New to the Heartbreakers Tour? All this week I’m featuring YA/NA authors – from self-published and small press to traditional publishers, debut authors to bestsellers. Get swept away with these tales of first love, melting kisses and of course – heartbreak.

There’s a great variety to choose from so I hope you enjoy discovering these authors as much as I have. I have lots of reading ahead!

Please follow along and be sure to enter the the awesome giveaway for a FREE KINDLE + EBOOKS from the Heartbreakers Blog Tour Authors!

Follow the tour on Twitter

Rafflecopter form is at the end of this post!

B.A. Binns: Minority of One (All The Colors Of Love, 2014)


The brick walls of Farrington High School in Chicago feel like a prison to Sheila and a sanctuary to Neill when they end up in the same class, one taught by Sheila’s mother.

Being black, teenaged, and gay leaves Neill a virtual outcast. His life is controlled by a man who acts more like a parent than a big brother. Neill has many enemies, but he is unprepared for the level of animosity Sheila exhibits when they meet.

Sheila is a former poor little rich girl, now just poor, and facing an unknown future with a mother she barely knows. She gave up hope of a loving family after her father’s suicide. She recognizes Neill as the brother her mother’s former lover and is appalled to find her mother trying to throw her and Neill together.

Invisible ties bind Neill and Sheila together, ropes that tighten when Neill's brother is arrested for the murder of Sheila's mother. These two outliers have to work together to uncover the truth and make futures of their own while they uncover the past they share.

Karen: Diversity in literature is a passion of yours. The readers I talk to are clamoring for more, especially in YA. When do you think publishers will take notice and really do something about it and have diverse protagonists - and not just the token sidekick?

B. A.: Unfortunately there is a chicken and egg situation. For a long time publishers have believed that kids of color don’t read books and white kids will only read about other kids like them. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I knew enough to start looking for books for my daughter before she was born. Good thing, because I did need years to amass a supply of multicultural stories for her.

In order for publishers to put out more books with diverse main characters readers have to buy the ones that exist now. Unfortunately, that means readers have to FIND the small supply intermingled with the thousands of MG and YA books that are printed every year. The numbers are so small they get lost in the shuffle to get the blockbusters. My first publisher tried to publish multicultural books and ended up going out of business.

But others are still trying. In addition to my own Indie publishing company, AllTheColorsOflove, I want to note both Lee and Low books and Cinco Punto press. Both focus on diversity and multicultural books. Check out books from these publishers; buy from them and from AllTheColorsOfLove. Other publishers will notice, they care about numbers.

Note that teachers and librarians are pushing for publishers to give them more diversity. I spoke on the subject of diversity and getting young readers back to books at the Indiana Library Federation and the American Library Association last year. This year I will be making similar speeches at the Illinois Reading Council and Connecticut Library Association.

Karen: B.A. has a great list on her blog of “Books Outside the Box – characters with physical disabilities”. It’s a good starting off point to find books that feature more diversity in YA.

Karen: Heartbreaker question: The love of your life has left you heartbroken. What BIG gesture can he/she do to win you back?

B.A.: If he has broken my heart I’m not sure there is anything he can do to make that go away. Not that I don’t want him to try, but while I do forgive, I don’t always forget.  As they say, fool me once… Or, as I had one of my characters say to the guy who claimed he was willing to do anything to get her back, “I forgave you a long time ago. But I can’t let myself forget. That wouldn’t be smart. ”

Karen: Thank you for joining us today B.A. I downloaded a few of her books when I signed up for this tour. I’m hoping to be able to read and review them soon!


Denise Jaden: Never Enough (Simon Pulse, 2012)


From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship —and her sister—before it’s too late?

Karen: Both Losing Faith and Never Enough are about sisters. What about that dynamic interests you?

Denise: I never had a sister growing up, and I think I’ve always been secretly jealous of girls who have sisters, especially close sisters where they share a lot with each other. One of the things I love most about being a writer is that I get to explore these new worlds and experiences that I never actually had in real life. The sisterly relationship and bond has always intrigued me, and even though I’ve explored the lives of two sets of sisters, I think there is still so much left to be explored in that unique type of relationship.

Karen: Do you believe in love-at-first-sight, or soul mates?

Denise: I believe in strong-attraction-at-first-sight, and yes, I do believe that two people could be “meant for each other” as soul mates. But I also believe that love is something that grows over time and takes work and it’s more about actions than about a swoony feeling. I believe it’s about planning to grow old with someone and knowing all the worst stuff about them and loving them more deeply, not in spite of their flaws, but because they are fully human.

Karen: Thanks for stopping by today for the tour Denise. Never Enough Stories - A Never Enough Companion Anthology, including companion stories and deleted scenes from Never Enough, is available for free on Smashwords.

Follow the tour! & don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Participating Authors:

B.A. Binns: Minority of One (All The Colors Of Love, 2014)
Tina Bustamante: As Waters Gone By (Leap Books, 2013)
Eileen Cook: The Year of Mistaken Discoveries (Simon Pulse, 2014)
D.G. Driver: Cry of the Sea (Fire & Ice Young Adult Novels, 2014)
Christine Duval: Positively Mine (Bloomsbury Spark, 2013)
Laurie J. Edwards: writing as Erin Johnson. Grace and the Guiltless: Wanted Book 1 (Curious Fox, 2014)
Janet Gurtler: 16 Things I Thought Were True (Sourcebooks Fire, 2014)
Sara Hantz: In the Blood (Entangled Teen, 2013)
Brenda Hiatt: Starstruck (Createspace, 2013)
Denise Jaden: Never Enough (Simon Pulse, 2012)
Jenny Kaczorowski: The Art of Falling (Bloomsbury Spark, 2013)
Jen McConnel: The Secret of Isobel Key (Bloomsbury Spark, 2013)
Jeri Smith-Ready: This Side of Salvation (Simon Pulse, 2014)
Judith Tewes: TBA (Bloomsbury Spark, 2014)

Participating Bloggers:

For What It's Worth
Judith Tewes
A Life Bound By Books
Ashley Poston
A Simple Love of Reading
Little Library Muse


  1. I can't say I have heard of these before...I think, my memory sucks, lol

    1. B. A. Binns is new to me but I do know of Denise Jaden. She also wrote Losing Faith - you might have heard of that one.

  2. The world is diverse. I've never understood the whitewash of so many books and love to see a variety of people and backgrounds -- it makes the whole story richer, when done right (and I mean not just throwing in some random Hispanic or African American person to add "diversity". That's not diversity. That's pandering.).

    1. I don't get it either. Diversity is usually reserved for sidekick status.

      I would recommend Swati Avasthi (contemporary) Chasing Shadows and Tom Pollock (sic-fi/fantasy) Skyscraper Throne trilogy. Both have diversity and it's a non issue. Just characters - who happen to be from diverse backgrounds.

    2. I agree with you Mary. The world is diverse and that can and should be used to increase the depth and richness of stories. That's why I try to have integrated casts in my book where ethnicity or sexual orientation is an issue, but not THE issue. I deal with family issues, the kinds of problems that everyone faces. I want any teen to be able to see a part of themselves and their lives in any of the characters in my books. I plan on presenting a workshop and on using diversity not stereotypes (or pandering) at a writer's conference later this year and hope that will encourage attendees to do what Karen says, create characters who happen to be from diverse backgrounds.

  3. Thanks so much for hosting us! I love the questions, especially about love at first sight and soul mates!

    1. Thank you Denise!

      "But I also believe that love is something that grows over time and takes work and it’s more about actions than about a swoony feeling. I believe it’s about planning to grow old with someone and knowing all the worst stuff about them and loving them more deeply, not in spite of their flaws, but because they are fully human."

      I loved this answer - so true too!!

  4. I don't know how to interpret that some pubs would correlate color to reading. That's ignorant first and foremost which is ironic for an industry who makes millions out of selling books. This is why I prefer the underdogs, indies and such, they're not restrained. Great feature and interview, Karen!

    1. Unfortunately that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Publishers look at numbers and make interpretations. Most think the only readers of books about kids of color will be those kids. (Not true btw, I have seen that personally in my visits at schools all over the country)

      If a book doesn't sell and it features diversity (not just the token character), some publishers will say that is the reason. I do talks to teachers and librarians about reluctant readers (and they do come in all races and genders).

      There are kids, especially kids of color (especially boys) who don't read the books from traditional publishers because all they see around them are books especially geared to attract girls--white girls--I don't think it's surprising to find them turning away from books. But all kids are born loving to hear stories, and if you present them with something that interests them they will read and devour it. I have seen that myself during school visits, where kids open up when they hear about some of the books that are available.

  5. I agree! We need more diversity and it is a self-fulfilling prophesy. At least they are out there and it is easier to get a hold of these books. This looks good and I think I'll go snag myself a copy.

    Oh and Unbreak My Heart is my fave song of that kind. :)

  6. I definitely agree that we need more diversity! I'll have to be sure to go check this book out.

    I love Denise Jaden and love books with sisters! And the whole love at first site thing is something I've been back and forth about. I do think that a relationship takes work and really, love isn't enough. So you might fall in love, but it's a matter of staying in love by making things work.

    1. Denise is awesome. I did fall for my husband almost immediately. I just KNEW he was the one. But lasting 25 years has taken more work lol