Monday, June 20, 2011

FLOAT by Sterling Rose

I'd like to welcome young adult author PK Hrezo to the blog today.  Most of us know her from her cool blog.  But did you also know she wrote an intriguing book called FLOAT under the pen name Sterling Rose?  Yep, she sure did.  And the journey she took in developing, writing, and then finally publishing her baby is quite intriguing.  Talk about kicking in a window when the front door didn't open! I love this story.

Here's more about PK:

How long have you been writing young adult novels?  Why young adult?  

The first novel I wrote was YA, and I wrote its sequel directly after. I had a great concept, but little did I know at the time, I had a lot to learn about craft. So I set those stories aside and wrote a short YA / NA romance. Once I realized I could put a story together pretty quickly, I set out learning all I could about the craft. During that time I wrote a thriller (that I'm reworking this year) and then about a year and a half later I wrote FLOAT. I've since written another contemp YA and just finished a sci-fi MG.

Why? I love writing for teens and young readers. It's such a vulnerable time in a person's life, and at the same time so full of possibilities. My teen years were filled with so much emotion, and I think remembering those intense kinds of emotion provoked me to capture its essence in stories. That's my goal anyway.  

What was the inspiration behind FLOAT?

I'd been wanting to write a story about a waitress for a long time. I wanted a main character who was learning about life through customer contact, and Sterling (my MC) has just finished high school and has no idea what to do with herself yet. She's running away from her hometown, basically, and struggling with self-esteem issues. I wanted a character that young readers could identify with and kind of learn along with her throughout Sterling's journey. So, in a sense, FLOAT is kind of my if-I-knew-then-what-I-knew-now legacy for teens. It's purely fiction, but Sterling goes through a lot before she discovers her self-worth. It's my greatest hope that in some small way, FLOAT can help teens learn to find their own self-worth through Sterling's struggles. 

PK Hrezo
The acronym FLOAT stands for FOR LOVE OF ALL TEENS. It came to me a few years ago in a dream (and yes I know that sounds terribly cliche) but it did, and the message and feeling behind it in my dream was so powerful that I knew I couldn't let the idea fade. Sterling's character was perfect for the FLOAT concept. So after about a year of character building and plotting, I wrote the first draft of FLOAT in three months. Then spent the following year revising.

FLOAT is also a campaign that's available for schools and communities. You can learn more at the FLOAT website http://floatforteens.org/ and learn how you can promote teen self-esteem and anti bullying locally. That's what Sterling's story is all about. 

Why did you decide to self-publish FLOAT?

I set out seeking traditional pubbing. There was some agent interest, but in the end, the vision for FLOAT did not meet my own. Plus, it takes about a year and a half before traditional pubbing can get the book out there and in the hands of readers. So after much deliberation and many many beta readers and CPs, I decided the best thing for FLOAT was to get it out there now. I'm still seeking traditional pubbing for my other stories, and plan to query later this fall. But FLOAT isn't about me as an author trying to sell books. FLOAT is about the message of self-esteem. And ALL proceeds of eBook sales go to fund the FLOAT campaign. Try finding a traditional pubber who's on board with that... um, nope. Not gonna happen. So I took matters into my own hands and did what I thought best for the book. This is why it's not my name as the author on the book. It's Sterling Rose's story, not mine. And it's out there so readers can connect and discover. 

Regarding self-publishing in general, what have been some of the most valuable lessons learned?

I'm still pretty new to the whole thing. This is the first month FLOAT's been on sale so I'm sure I'll have plenty more lessons to learn. But as advice, I'd say authors need to read and research everything they can on self-pubbing before deciding if it's right. There's a wealth of info out there, and you have to do it right. I paid to have FLOAT formatted for eBook and had a cover made. I followed all the guidelines from other self-pubbers and learned from their experiences. I knew I needed careful editing, proper formatting, and a  catchy cover above anything else--other than a great story, of course. So now it's up to me to do all the promotions, but FLOAT is something I strongly believe in, so I'm okay with that.  

What’s next for you after FLOAT?

I'm still writing away. Like I said, I'm seeking an agent and traditional pubbing for my other stories, so nothing's changed there. Who knows, though?! I don't rule anything out at this point. Publishing is changing faster than anyone ever realized and I love the idea of running the show myself. Still, I'd love to find an agent who I can consult with professionally. I'll be doing what I've been doing: writing new stories and learning more about the craft. I blog regularly too, and I love new visitors. 

FLOAT:

 The past is in the past ... except when it haunts your present.

Sterling Rose has been bullied by her high school’s resident mean girls for the past four years. Right before graduation, a devastating encounter in the girls’ locker room, makes life in her small hometown a living hell. So Sterling runs away to Houston in hopes of anonymity in a big city. There, she finds work in the airport coffee shop, and enjoys real friendship in a cast of quirky characters. But Sterling can’t help but feel she never stood up for herself back home, and the cycle of bullying will never end. The more she thinks about it, the more she wants to go back home and give those girls a piece of her mind, expose them for what they are, put an end to their reign. Only problem is, Sterling has never had real self-esteem and they’d see right through all the grandstanding. So she retreats to her life in Houston until she can get up enough courage to return home. A happenstance meeting with a super cute Australian during an airport lockdown boosts her confidence for a while, but when he returns to the other side of the world, everything Sterling was starting to believe about herself is lost. Down in the doldrums and short on luck, something happens to Sterling that alters the course of her life forever.

Buy links:

Amazon
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble

Thanks for being here today, PK! And best of luck with your book!

P.S. Anyone who wants to add the FLOAT, Stop Bullying icon above to your blogs, please feel free!

35 comments:

Pk Hrezo said...

Thanks so much, Liz! Love being here!

And if anyone would like a free eBook of FLOAT please leave your email in the comments and I'll get one out to you. Offer is for this week only! :)

Liz Fichera said...

Awesome! So glad to have you here, Pk!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Wonderful post, and thanks to Liz for hosting you.
Didn't know about the book Float. that seems a good book to read. Can one get them here in the UK?

Have a good day.
Yvonne.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Hi again I didn't see your offer Please may I have a copy of your book float?
email address is: englishrose64@live.co.uk


Yvonne.

Nas Dean said...

Hi PK, Hello Liz,

Lovely to see PK here and read about FLOAT.

Thanks for hosting her, Liz. Float sounds an interesting read!

Kelly Hashway said...

Float sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

Tracy said...

Goodness, I've gotten so out of touch the past couple months...I had no idea about FLOAT. I definitely want to check it out.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for cute Australian boys!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Pk, I'm sorry! I need to add your book to my author page as well.

Pk Hrezo said...

Thanks, guys!

Yvonne, I'll get one out to you asap. :)

Nas, Kelly, Tracy, thanks so much for stopping by!! :)

And no worries, Alex! It's brand new! :)

Jen Daiker said...

PK this is awesome! I love the sound of the novel and would love to read it (jenniferdaiker@gmail.com) Talk about an awesome title and the hidden meaning!!!

I love the name Sterling Rose!

Look at all the secrets being revealed! Thanks for having her here Liz!

Trisha said...

PK, this novel sounds brilliant and hey it's got an Aussie in it! hehe

I'd love to read it, my email is tay [dot] sedai [at] gmail [dot] com. I also promise to review when I'm done reading. But can't promise a quick read as I have sooooo many books on my TBR shelf.

salarsenッ said...

PK, I am in awe of you right now. I so admire your answer about the reasons you chose to self-publish: the agent's view for Float wasn't the view you had for your story. Wow! Proud of you.

Maria Zannini said...

Considering the bully problem we have in the world today, this book sounds like a must-have.

Congrats, PK. Well done!

Kittie Howard said...

Thanks, Liz, for hosting. Super interview! Hope it's okay to put your cover on my sidebar, PK. I think what you're doing is fantastic. (I've got a replacement Kindle as the other died of unknown causes - but I'm definitely getting your book.)

Karen Walker said...

PK, I think what you are doing with FLOAT is amazing and would love a copy. My email is karen@followingthewhispers.com
I have a young friend I'd like to share it with. Plus I am still working on self-esteem issues at 62. Wonderful interview and wonderful story.
Karen

Old Kitty said...

Thank you Liz and Pk for such a fun and enlighting interview! HUGE congratulations with FLOAT, Pk!!! You kept that pretty quiet on you blog!!!! Now I hope you shout out loud and strong about your novel! Also I love your pen - it sounds so romantic!! Well done you!!! Take care
x

Lizz said...

Hey Liz and PK! Float sounds awesome!!!!

Beth said...

Congrats on FLOAT Pk
bethfred.com

Talei said...

Wonderful PK! Congrats on Float, I love hearing the inspiration behind a book. And well, you know I love ya! ;-)

Please do email a copy to: taleiii@gmail.com

xx

Catherine Stine said...

PK, great concept and story synop! Excellent cover art too! I'd love to know who did your cover...
Best of luck with it, and I'll order a copy. Thanks, Liz, for presenting PK's work.

Catherine Stine said...

Oh, here's my email, PK: kitsy84557 at gmail dot com.

Tara said...

FLOAT sounds like an incredible story. Can't wait to read it :)

Pk Hrezo said...

Thank y'all so much! I love and cherish all your comments so so much!! Cant wait to send out your book coupons!

And BTW make sure to follow Liz's blog because she is awesome with a dash of fabulous! :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Teens so need a boost when it comes to self-esteem!! That's why my YA series is uplifting and positive. At the roughest point in their lives, teens need to know they are worthy and valuable as human beings.

ali said...

Great interview Pk and Liz!

I've got FLOAT cued up on my Kindle (which arrives tomorrow!) and can't wait to read it!

Congrats Pk!

Shari said...

Hi PK and Liz! Great interview. I didn't know you wrote FLOAT! Have I been in the dark ages or what. I have been very excited to read it, though. And I love the whole idea of esteem for teens!

M Pax said...

Yay for PK! Awesome, indeed.

Shelley Munro said...

What a great post. FLOAT sounds like a great book, and I wish you well with your venture.

J.L. Campbell said...

This is a worthwhile project. Wishing you success with Float. Great acronym by the way. Adding it to my list and will tweet this article.

fOIS In The City said...

Hello PK ... go to see you here and more than happy about your new book ... You have put yourself on the fast track and I know it's only a matter of time before you get representation.

Can't wait to see what you do next:)

Jeigh said...

How awesome! I love the idea behind FLOAT. My sister was bullied in high school, and now I'm raising three girls, so this subject is close to my heart.

I would love a copy.

jeighmeredith@yahoo.com

Theresa Milstein said...

I'd love to know if she returns to stand up to the bullies. Interesting premise teetering on YA/New Adult. Great cover too.

kmckendry said...

PK the book sounds great! I'm looking forward to reading it. I love your thoughts on how important it is to get the story out there! Way to go girl! Thanks Liz for hosting PK, great job.

Jennifer Hillier said...

How did I miss this post? This book sounds amazing... and brave! Great interview, guys!

Lori M. Lee said...

Wonderful post! I loved reading about FLOAT and the story behind it.