Author Chat with Barbara J. Hancock (After Always), Plus Giveaway!

Screen-Shot-2018-10-10-at-7.05.28-AM

Today we're excited to chat with Barbara J. Hancock, author of After Always. Read on for more about Barbara and her book, plus a giveaway! 

 

Meet Barbara J. Hancock! 

 
 

Barbara J. Hancock lives in a cabin in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her many rescued pets and the guy who lured her into the wilderness with promises of lots of peace and quiet for writing. To this day, the Appalachian wildwood is the best gift she’s ever been given. Her favorite pastime (besides animal rescue) is bringing darkly romantic stories to life by firefly light. 

 
 
 
Meet After Always!
 
 

Lydia Li’s life ended when Tristan died. At least, that’s how it felt. Sure, they had problems and he could be a little...intense...at times, but he’d loved her. He was the Romeo to her Juliet... And now he was gone.

When her parents get her to agree to a summer across the country with a music

teacher who runs an inn, Lydia agrees. But it’s different than what she expected. There’s something else there. Something that feels a lot like Tristan. But that’s impossible, right?

Then there’s Michael Malone, the quiet guy who’s Tristan’s opposite in every way. And Lydia can’t help but be drawn to him...and whatever the house is hiding. 

 
 
 
A Chat with Barbara J. Hancock:

1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I always knew I would write the core story of After Always because it’s my story. I survived an abusive relationship as a teen and I’ve thought about how I walked away and who I was and who I’ve become since then. I’ve experienced a destructive, obsessive love and that’s how the idea for After Always began. Since I’m also fascinated with ghost stories, it was natural to combine the two. What if I’ll love you forever was a dark promise kept from beyond the grave?

 

2. Which came first, the title or the novel?

Originally, After Always was called Heaven so Fine taken from a line in Romeo and Juliet. A truth people often don’t understand about abusive relationships is you can love your abuser even after you realize they’re obsessive and dangerous and often that’s because of the qualities that drew you to them in the first place. No one is all bad. In After Always, Tristan is passionate, brilliant and artistic. It’s easy for Lydia to imagine him becoming stars after his death. But he was also other things--moody and violent. Lydia has to deal with a loss of love and survivor’s guilt while also admitting to herself that their relationship was darker than anyone imagined. Oh, yeah, and the whole Tristan might not be gone after all. Lots of us have experienced the chill of a guy not letting go when he should. I took that idea and ran with it.

 

3. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

It’s okay to explore the shadows. Take your readers into the dark or join them there because not all of us live in the sunshine. But bring a flashlight. Take them through the darkness to a triumphant resolution. Life is hard. One of the aspects of writing dark romance I most enjoy is the deliverance of a happy ending. For a long time as a young writer, I shied away from the darkest corners. I go there now. I don’t hold myself back. And I think that makes the pay off of the HEA ending that much more satisfying.

 

4. What do you like most about the cover of the book?

There’s nothing I don’t like about this cover. The artist nailed the book, but what I love most is the passion of it. The storm clouds, the waves, the way Lydia stands, the sweep of the wind in her hair—the cover portrays the dark obsession of her violin playing and the seduction of the ocean that claimed her “soulmate’s” life. But the gulls in the air...I feel like they convey hope. And that’s what the story is really all about.

 

5. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?

Without specific spoilers, there was a flashback scene that I wrote, then cut, then put back in. I’m a storyteller. It can be strange because you’re always telling your own story and also never telling it. I’m an introvert who hides behind my characters--my artists, musicians, and warriors—the make believe helps me to share what I want or need to say. After Always is my Me Too. That’s why I ultimately kept Lydia’s flashback. It was incredibly hard to put it on paper, but afterward I felt lighter and much more connected to what Lydia was going through. I reminded myself that there was nothing to be ashamed of. Many of us have been bruised—whether physically or emotionally. We go on from there. Looking back I think I’ve always been determined to go on from there. I want to share that determination with others.

 

6. Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

Michael Malone was the hardest. In fact, I didn’t get to know the heart of him until deep in the editing process. I’m a dramatic artist. So those kinds of characters I experience an immediate connection to. I understand the way they think and the deep feels that drive them—both good and bad. Michael is the guy next door. The handyman. The dependable person who always has the tools to fix whatever is broken. It sounds superficial—fixing things. But it’s also a drive that’s full of emotion for Michael because he wants to help people. Especially the people he loves. Michael carries a multi- purpose tool in his back pocket and he often takes it out and fidgets with it when he’s thinking or talking to Lydia. That tool is like his heart in his hands and once it came to me I knew him. Once I knew him, I loved him, and the rest of his and his family’s story flew onto the page.

 

7. What would you say is your superpower?

I want to believe. So I do. Sometimes it takes superhuman effort, but I always get there. Believe in what? In everything. A long time ago, as the daughter of an alcoholic and after the negative impact of one of my first romantic relationships, I could have easily embraced cynicism. Jaded is always never more than a blink away for me. But I hold it at bay. Because I want to believe. In love. In light. In happily ever after. In hope. So I do. If that isn’t a superpower, I don’t know what is.

 

8. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?

Animal rescue! I have three cats and two dogs. All of them were strays. Four came from the humane society. One—my black cat—I found on a rainy street at twilight in October several years ago. I saw her only because another lighter- colored kitten had been run over. It must have been her brother or sister. What a little feral miracle Lucy was, all wet and pitiful! It took us weeks to tame her. So my cause is...spay and neuter your pets and consider adoption. The life you save might be your own!

 
 
 
 
 
 

After Always

By: Barbara J. Hancock

Release Date: October 1, 2018

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

One winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card (International).

 
 *Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
Rate this blog entry:
Teen Read Week 2018: Author Chat with Lydia Kang (...
Waiting On Wednesday ~ October 10th, 2018

Related Posts

 

Comments 4

M.A. Briones on Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:04

*SQUEALING NOISES* this looks so good and totes right up my alley!!!!

0
*SQUEALING NOISES* this looks so good and totes right up my alley!!!!
Marisa Fort on Tuesday, 23 October 2018 18:41

The cover is beautiful! The synopsis sounds amazing!

0
The cover is beautiful! The synopsis sounds amazing!
Dianna G. on Saturday, 27 October 2018 21:04

Sounds like a creepy, mysterious book. Count me in. Love that cover!

0
Sounds like a creepy, mysterious book. Count me in. Love that cover!
Renee Moore on Saturday, 10 November 2018 17:53

Beautiful cover, and the synopsis sounds compelling!

0
Beautiful cover, and the synopsis sounds compelling!

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Mend A Story of Divorce
Sophia, the fourteen-year-old author and protagonist, tells the heart-wrenching story...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dungeons & Dragons: Into the Jungle: An Endless Quest Book
Welcome to the Forgotten Realms Endless Quest books, where you...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Dungeons & Dragons: Big Trouble: An Endless Quest Book
Welcome to the Forgotten Realms Endless Quest books, where you...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Clink A Story of Cyberbullying
Click is the heroic story of a young girl who...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stay Sweet
Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
On Blood Road (A Vietnam War Novel)
The last place on earth Taylor Sorenson wants to be...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Courageous
Aiden is the son of a fisherman on the south...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler
Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party is gaining strength and becoming more...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
New Kid
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Watch Hollow
Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Giant Days
Based on the hit graphic-novel series from BOOM! Studios, the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Unteachables
The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Tales from the Inner City
Tales from the Inner City is a collection of incredibly...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Gamer Army
After Rogan Webber levels up yet again on his favorite...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Eventown
The world tilted for Elodee this year, and now it’s...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Mend A Story of Divorce
 
3.0
"What worked: Explores one teen's experience of dealing with the divorce of her parents. For those going through a similar..."
Courageous
 
4.0
"Aidan lives in a fishing village in England. His one brother has died in the war, but George is still..."
Tom Gates Is Absolutely Fantastic (at Some Things) (#5)
 
5.0
"The big event in Tom's world is the upcoming School Activity Trip, but he might not be going! He forgot..."
Bravelands #3: Blood and Bone
 
4.0
"Thorn, a baboon, Sky, an elephant, and Fearless, a lion, have been friends since childhood. Due to the evil influence..."
On Delicate Wings
 
4.8
"‘On Delicate Wings’ is the story of Mia, who struggles with her reputation as a nerd at school. When beautiful..."
Dungeons & Dragons: Into the Jungle: An Endless Quest Book
 
3.7
"Consider this a sort of D&D primer for intro-level youth. Told in second-person present-tense, this fantasy is styled after..."
Dungeons & Dragons: Big Trouble: An Endless Quest Book
 
3.0
"Told in second-person present-tense, this fantasy is styled after the beloved choose-your-own-adventure books of yore. It also features a vast..."
Tales from the Inner City
 
4.0
"In this heavily illustrated short story collection, Tan explores the interconnectedness of humans and the natural world. Using animals to..."
The Unteachables
 
5.0
"Mr. Kermit is entering his 30th year of teaching, and he's already put in for early retirement. He started his..."
Parasite Life
 
4.7
"Jane is stuck in a creepy old house with her invalid mother. She has no idea why her mother is..."
Clink A Story of Cyberbullying
 
3.0
"This is a graphic novel adaptation of a real teen's experience of being bullied online. What worked: This is..."
When Fall Breaks
 
3.8
"Kaitlyn is living the perfect country life with her family in Northern California. She is a great student, swimmer, and..."
Hearts Unbroken
 
N/A
"There are a lot of entry-points to the storylines in Cynthia Leitich Smith's Hearts Unbroken. I recommend this book especially..."
Ray Vs the Meaning of Life
 
4.5
"Ray must figure out the meaning of life in order to be the beneficiary of his late grandmother’s will. At..."
On Blood Road (A Vietnam War Novel)
 
5.0
"Taylor Sorenson is a typical rebellious teen of 1968, sneaking out of his posh apartment to hang out with friends..."
Right as Rain
 
3.0
"Rain's family has experienced a tragedy-- her older brother was killed in a car accident. The mother thinks that the..."
Eventown
 
3.0
"Elodee's family is struggling for reasons that aren't clear, and she and her twin sister Naomi are not getting along...."
With Malice
 
5.0
"I loved this book, it kept me thinking afterwards for days. "The truth is how you tell it," take that..."
IF I FIX YOU
 
5.0
"The book is more like a 4.5 but I am going to give it a 5 star read because the..."
Scream and Scream Again
 
5.0
"I found some stories to be a lot more scary or interesting than others but the whole book was enjoyable...."