Author Chat with Felicia Farber (Ice Queen), Excerpt, Plus Giveaway! ~ (US/Can Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Felicia Farber author of
Read on for more about Felicia and her book, an excerpt, plus a giveaway!
Meet Felicia Farber!
Felicia Farber is a writer and lawyer in New Jersey, but most importantly, a mom. Over the years she’s learned a few things, like social media has taken over and teens’ online behaviors can get them into serious trouble. In her debut novel Ice Queen, the author uses a captivating and suspenseful story about an ordinary high schooler who ends up in a sexting and cyberbullying scandal to warn today’s teens that modern laws aren’t so modern.
Meet Ice Queen!
How can an innocent high school junior get caught up in a sexting scandal? Blair Evans learns that it’s pretty easy. Getting out of it is the hard part. Even worse, Blair discovers that the very laws that are meant to protect her end up turning her into a criminal.
All the while, Blair endures the relentless bullying of the Ice Queen and her obnoxious friends, which escalates to new heights when she falls for the Queen’s ex-boyfriend. She desperately tries to escape the Queen’s wrath, but a nasty chain of events lands her in the midst of a cyberwar.
When Blair is finally making headway to get her life back on track, mysterious new cyberattacks threaten both her freedom and her future. Blair and her closest friends must race against time to figure out who is behind them before her entire world comes crashing down.
~ Excerpt ~
Sitting in a stark interrogation room, I tap my feet and fidget in my seat while I wait for my mother or father or lawyer. Whoever comes first.
My gaze is fastened on the door as I press an ice pack to the side of my head and try not to do any more damage to my pitiful fingernails. They’d looked so pretty for the first day of school, all shapely and smooth, coated with my favorite dusty mauve polish, but now I’ve gnawed most of them down to their nail beds, and they’re red and raw and ugly.
A different detective—not one of the ones who’d arrested me—sits across the table, and I shift my body so I don’t have to face him. He doesn’t seem very interested in me anyway, his shaved head bent over his lap as his thick fingers tap away at his cell phone.
They did allow me to call my parents, and thankfully, Rachel had already gotten through and broken the “news.” I was surprised that my dad didn’t scream and curse at me as I’d expected, since he’s not known for handling family crises very well. Instead, he was calm and composed: “Don’t say anything until Uncle Marv and I get there.”
My mom is the first to arrive, bursting into the small interrogation room in a frenzy of high-pitched shrieks. “Oh my God, are you okay? What’s going on here?” She envelopes me in a protective bear hug, her arms squeezing me like a nutcracker.
The detective barely glances up, but I guess he must realize this woman is my mother from the way she looks. We have similar facial features and the same pale blue eyes. The only major differences are that my strawberry blonde hair is a few shades lighter, and my skin is much fairer.
She releases her wrestling hold and points at the ice pack I’m holding above my right ear. “What happened to your head? Did the police do that? And what’s this Rachel told me about child pornography? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!”
I look her straight in the eyes. “I don’t know what these charges are about. They must’ve confused me with somebody else.”
My mom eyes the stern-faced detective across the table, flashes me a warning look, and drops into a chair. “Let’s just wait for Daddy and Uncle Marv to get here.”
We sit in silence for several minutes, the detective completely ignoring us. He’s so focused on typing his message, he probably wouldn’t notice if we danced on the table.
It feels like an eternity before my dad enters the room, my criminal defense attorney, Marv Sherman, at his side. Whenever they stand together, I’m always struck by how opposite they appear even though they’re the same age. My dad is a very handsome man, his dark wavy hair still full and rich in color, his body in pretty decent shape. Uncle Marv, on the other hand, has a shock of white hair that matches a curly mustache and long beard, and an ultra-wide midsection. He’s also rosy-faced with twinkling brown eyes, making it hard not to look at him and think of Santa Claus.
Uncle Marv is my dad’s best friend from law school, and my older brother Brett and I have always known him as our jolly, fun, wise-cracking honorary uncle, so it’s super weird that he’s here now as my lawyer. He wastes no time, setting his briefcase on the table and sliding up a chair. He directs his focus at me and gets right down to business. “I just learned why you were arrested. It seems the charges against you stem from a relatively new crime known as sexting.”
“Sexting,” my mom repeats in a shrill voice. “What’s that?”
My brand-new defense attorney clears his throat and raises his eyebrows. “Sexting is when people, typically teenage girls, send sexually explicit material over their cell phones, tablets, or computers. Usually, they send nude or partially nude photos of themselves, and since they’re minors, it’s considered by law enforcement to be child pornography. More charges get tacked on when they transmit the sexual material to other minors.”
I almost fall off my chair. “Nude photos? I’ve never taken any nude photos!”
With that declaration, Uncle Marv spins toward the detective. “I need a few minutes alone with my client now, please.”
Once the detective steps out, Uncle Marv grows more serious, his normal congenial demeanor turning dour. “Blair, tell me the truth. There’s an attorney-client privilege that now exists between us, which means that anything you tell me is confidential. If I’m going to represent you, I need to know that you’re telling me the absolute truth. You have to tell me everything you’ve done on your cell phone, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social networking sites you’ve been on. I need to know about emails, instant and direct messaging—everything.”
I hinge forward, knowing my face must reflect the frustration I feel, hoping he can see my sincerity. “But I haven’t done anything, so I have nothing to tell you.”
Uncle Marv narrows his gaze at my statement of innocence. “You have no idea how much trouble you’re in, sweetie. I don’t think you realize how serious this is. If you get convicted on all of the felony counts against you—creation, distribution, exhibition, and possession of child pornography, contributing to the delinquency of a minor—you could go to jail for the next thirty years and be registered as a sex offender for the rest of your life. You’ll be getting your GED and taking college courses from prison. You’ll be getting out when your friends are having grandchildren.”
Stunned into silence, I stare at him as though he’s just announced the end of the world. In fact, he’s just announced the end of my world. All I can do is shake my head.
My mother’s complexion has drained to a pasty white. She grasps Uncle Marv’s forearm and says, “Are you telling us that if she posted a nude picture of herself on the Internet, then she’s going to be prosecuted the same way as a rapist?”
“I didn’t post any nude pictures!” I wail.
“Let Uncle Marv answer,” she chides.
He continues. “Unfortunately, this is a nationwide problem that state legislators across the country are grappling with—”
“So the answer is yes!” my mom shrieks. “She’s going to be prosecuted like a rapist!”
Uncle Marv covers her hand with his and speaks with a slow, confident tone. “No, she’s not being accused of rape. The charges are for child pornography crimes. Yes, they are sex crimes, but they don’t rise to the level of rape. And the good news is that there are pending bills in the Assembly and Senate to decriminalize sexting done by teens so they can avoid prosecution.”
This time my dad breaks in. “But you just said pending bills. How does that help Blair?”
“This is ridiculous!” I holler, jumping to me feet. “I am not a child pornographer! Why am I being accused of this?”
“Let Uncle Marv talk!” my mother snaps. “And sit back down.”
Uncle Marv rubs his fleshy temples and adjusts his glasses. “The good news is that most legislators are recognizing that these teens aren’t really child pornographers—they’re just kids who need some education and counseling about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. The bad news is that right now these teens are still being charged with criminal offenses. Some under federal law.”
My mom turns to Uncle Marv, her face crinkled in bewilderment. “How can this happen in our country? Teenagers who don’t fully understand what they’re doing—acting like typical adolescents—being prosecuted for adult sex crimes? Why isn’t there a huge outcry about this?”
“Because it’s still under the public radar. Most people don’t know this is happening. School administrators want to keep it quiet, parents quickly cut deals to make it go away, policymakers are working hard to change it...and by the way, it’s not just a problem in our country. Now that technology has exploded, every country has to deal with it.”
My dad takes this all in, leans back in his chair, and speaks in a low whisper. “Marv, what exactly is it that they have on her? I know my daughter, and she’s telling the truth.”
Thank you, Dad!
Slowly, without another word, Uncle Marv fishes a manila folder from his briefcase, slides it across the table, and fastens his gaze on me.
Fingers trembling, I flip up the cover. There are sharp gasps from my parents and me as we view the large color photo.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I was shocked when I heard the story of what happened to my son’s friend “Bob.” Apparently “Bob”- who was 13 - sent a girl a picture of himself with no shirt on while he was at the local lake and it looked like he was nude even though he had on a bathing suit. The girl showed her parents the photo and they called the police. Since the phone plan was in Bob’s dad’s name, the police showed up at the dad’s business to arrest him for sexting. The dad ultimately straightened out the situation, but it sparked my interest in how ridiculous our laws can be regarding common sexting behavior.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Blair. No, David. Wait … it’s Frankie. Since he doesn’t go to Westberry High he sees everyone clearly and provides the comic relief that keeps everything in perspective.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. Then there was really only one title that this book could be.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I have too many! But if you give me something crunchy and salty like Cheez-Its I will eat the entire box.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love how captivating the girl’s eyes and expression are from behind the sheet of cracking ice. The cover is symbolic of how my main character Blair tries to break free from the Ice Queen’s influence over her life
YABC: What’s on your TBR pile?
One Of Us Is Next; This Is My America; The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes; They Wish They Were Us
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m working on a funny children’s chapter book series and a paranormal suspense novel. They’re two very different but very fun projects.
YABC: Are there any film adaptations, tv shows, audiobooks, or other adaptations in the works for this book?
Not yet but my beta readers all told me they see Ice Queen as a movie!
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
As much as I love to really polish a piece, there’s nothing more satisfying than starting with an empty screen and creating an entire new world
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
To get into my characters’ heads and understand them. Sometimes I wish I could type faster to get down everything they’re saying and thinking
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
All of the ones that help rescue and take care of animals, domestic or wild
By: Felicia Farber
Publisher: Pyramid Press
Release Date: August 1st, 2020
Two winners will receive a signed copy of Ice Queen (Felicia Farber) ~ (US/Can Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*