Reading List (& Giveaway): Kissing Frogs by Stephanie Blackburn [CLOSED]

Being a city girl means lots of brunches, exploring the world and barely managing a work-life balance. For Elliot Roux, the main character in Stephanie Blackburn’s new novel Kissing Frogs, her city girl experience is no different. Except maybe a little bit.

What's better than reading a fun book from a cozy hotel room?
What’s better than reading a fun book from a cozy hotel room?

Keep reading for a sneak peek of this story & how you can win a copy of your own!

Much like the start of my twenty-somethings, Kissing Frogs opens with the main character, Elliot, on a very bad date. From bad dates to roommates, the story follows Elliot and her friends through many of the same familial, social and romantic struggles that I know all too well.

As Elliot Roux proves, being a city girl is a full-time job.
As Elliot Roux proves, being a city girl is a full-time job.

Elliot and I have a lot in common other than being almost the exact same age. We both love weekend outings with members of our family, the Boston Public Garden & keep the faith that eventually we’ll meet someone fantastic who can hold a conversation, a regular job and has no tendencies to taser themselves just to get an adrenaline rush. We also both have rescue kitties, close friends who are expecting and acquaintances who have made controversial choices about hook-ups at apartment parties. (Doesn’t everyone?!)

This is what a real-life city girl/ Bostonian/ twenty-something/ Young Adult author looks like.
This is what a real-life city girl/ Bostonian/ twenty-something/ Young Adult author looks like. (Photo credit: Stephanie Blackburn)

Through receiving this book straight from the author in exchange for my review, I was able to interview Stephanie. You know, just in case I wasn’t sure if we were alike enough already…

Q:Have you always known you would be a writer?

A: When I was little I wrote short stories and poems and I kept a diary. In high school I started writing songs (I had this dream of being a pop star, except I had horrible stage fright so it wasn’t meant to be) and then I took a creative writing course my senior year and pretty much just fell in love with the art of story-telling. But I didn’t really think about writing a novel until the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I was bored, I’d read all of the Nicholas Sparks books that were published at the time, and I thought, why not write my own story? And so, I started writing.

Q:When did you decide to become a writer?

A: I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision for me. I just started writing with the goal of completing a novel and seeing where it would go. From there, I just kept writing and have now published three novels, two YA and now my first adult fiction novel, Kissing Frogs.

Q: What have you learned about yourself since you began writing?

A: I’ve learned that I am a professional procrastinator. There’s always something else I could be doing instead of writing, so I have to give myself positive reinforcement – If you write two thousand words then you can watch Scandal or bake something. I’ve also come to realize that there’s no right or wrong way to write a novel. As the author you can do anything – there are no rules. It took me a while to realize that but now it’s an amazing feeling writing a story and feeling like there aren’t any constraints.

Q: Where do you enjoy writing most & why?*

A: It’s been different with each book, but with Kissing Frogs I wrote the entire thing (including editing) in my bed. I’m pretty much obsessed with how cozy my bed is, so writing on it, with my cats curled up beside me or on my lap, just felt like the place where I could be completely relaxed and therefore get into the emotional spaces I needed to for Elliott’s mindset. And any excuse to wear PJ’s for an extended amount of time is okay in my book.

Q: What motivates you to write?

A: For me it’s an obsession. I feel like I have to get these stories out of my head and written down. With Kissing Frogs, I had been talking to my girlfriends about the storylines and characters for so many years and I’d kept getting the response, “Just write the story already so I can read it!” So with this series I’ve been motivated by their desire to read what I’m writing. They have been great motivators and their chomping at the bit for me to finish the first draft of the second book so I’d better get on it.

It's safe to say that, I've never found a book that captures my love for my city, being a twenty-something & having adventures so well....until now.
It’s safe to say that I’ve never found a book that captures my love for my city, being a twenty-something & having adventures so well….until now.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world to get more inspiration, where would you go & why?

A: Well for the Elliott Roux series, Boston is a main character, so I wouldn’t need to go very far for inspiration. However, I went to the UK last year and came back feeling incredibly refreshed and excited to get back to writing so I think if I could I would go to Scotland for a week (maybe just for the excuse to wear my wellies, sweaters, knit caps and tromp around in the highlands), get some fresh air in my lungs, have tea and sticky toffee pudding and then come home feeling renewed and ready to type another ninety-thousand words.

Q: Who is your style icon & why?

A. Emma Stone always looks stunning on the red carpet and then she saunters around NYC in adorable footwear and crush-worthy coats. She takes fashion risks without overexposing herself and keeps it classy, which is something to applaud in today’s world of overexposure. Whether she’s been professionally styled or is just going out for coffee she manages to always look so put-together and timeless. I want to be best friends with her and raid her closet.

Q: What is your favorite piece of clothing?

A: I have this Michael Kors sweater that I got on sale a few years ago at TJMaxx. It’s big and slouchy with a removable neck piece, goes with pretty much any sort of pant and it’s so soft. To me it’s the epitome of being comfortable while looking stylish.

Q:What is the best and/or worst thing about being a twenty-something?

A. I think the answers are actually one in the same. The best thing about being a twenty-something is that the world is at your feet. You can do anything, be anything, you just have to have the drive to make it happen. But I think that’s also the worst because it can sometimes feel overwhelming to have so many options, especially if you haven’t found your passion.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is trying to find their passion?

A: Try everything you can. Taking adult education classes can open your eyes to things you never knew you enjoyed or never had the opportunity to try before. And then when you think you’ve found something you’d like to pursue farther, whatever that may be, just keep at it no matter how difficult it might get. I queried 30 agents for my first manuscript. For my second manuscript I queried 128 agents. I could easily have taken those rejections as a sign to stop writing. But I just had a feeling that someone would read my novels so I found other ways to publish my work. If you want something enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

If Elliot, or Stephanie, sound like the kind of girls you’d want to be friends with, you definitely need a copy of this novel to curl up with for the holidays. To sweeten the deal, I’m also giving away a #KissingFrogs tote. A book to enjoy alone or a bag to carry a bottle of wine to a friend’s apartment? I can’t think of a better way to treat yourself before the holidays!

Enter here: A Rafflecopter giveaway

For some gift-spiration, what I’m wearing and other things I’m loving, follow me on Polyvore, Tumblr & Twitter!

xo, Vanessa

This post was inspired by:

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Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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Vanessa M. Gatlin

-Blogger, dancer, fashionista -Self proclaimed "political junkie" with a strong interest in international affairs -2011 graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston

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