I am excited to welcome award winning children's book author Ava Lynn Wood to Passion Between the Pages! Ava and I discovered each other on Facebook and our mutual love of suspense and romance made us fast fans of each other's stories. Ava writes under two pseudonyms - Ava Wood, her young adult pen name and Ava Lynn Wood which she uses for her Adult Contemporary novels.
I'll be sharing my review of Ava's In A Dream today, along with an interview with the author herself.
1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What aspect of writing do you enjoy the most?
When I was about eight years old, I loved writing poetry, albeit quite juvenile, but I’ve always had a great love for writing. It is as if it has always called to me. I was an only child growing up living in the “middle of nowhere” and began creating worlds early on to entertain myself. So I guess it was only natural that I found my way to creating “friends” in my books.
In writing, I most love creating those relationships that speak to people. I love bringing characters to life that people want to root for and identify with. When I bring a character “to life” I want them to seem like someone that you could meet just walking down the street, someone that you would truly want to be friends with.
2. What kind of writer are you? Plotter? Panster? Where do your ideas tend to come from?
I am definitely a plotter. When planning my first novel, I actually had close to 300 notecards with story ideas on them. Since then, I’ve condensed the process to about a paragraph of planning per chapter, but I typically have a story all mapped out before I begin writing. It helps to keep the story moving along and keeps me from getting tripped up on finding that perfect ending.
My ideas can be inspired by any number of things; a movie I’ve seen, a song I’ve listened to, a current event, a reality show, or even a friendship that my child has. I take my inspiration from the life that happens around me. There’s no telling where my next great story idea will stem from.
3. Heroine Emma Potter of In A Dream is incredibly strong, in spite of the horrific tragedies she's endured. Was it difficult to write about the darker parts of Emma's past? Were any of the events in this story inspired by real life?
Writing Emma’s story actually felt pretty natural. I think a little bit of all of my heroines comes from inside me. I’ve never experienced loss like Emma did, but her characteristics and her willingness to fight for another day are things that exist deep inside me. There was really no one specific thing that brought Emma to life, no events or great inspirations that created her story. She was just a story that came to life in my mind and wanted to be told.
4. Your books contain strong female protagonists who are at vulnerable points in their life when they cross paths with their potential knight in shining armor. What story do you aim to tell your readers? What do you consider the most important element of romance?
I feel like there are people who believe that you have to lose a part of yourself in order to fall in love and I don’t believe that to be true. I think it is so important to know who you are before you fall in love. Because if you don’t know and love yourself, you shouldn’t try to give yourself to another. I want my characters to be strong and to know who they are and to be capable of being whole without relying on another, but finding that while they are whole alone, they can be doubly whole with another. When you find that perfect someone, you become an even stronger version of yourself. You find inspiration to be the best you that you can be.
The most important element of romance (while my mother says sex) is the actual connection between two people, the relationship that exists. When two people feel comfortable enough to show their true self and are completely honest and open to their significant other, there is true beauty in that. Feeling comfortable enough to be vulnerable with someone is so powerful.
5. You've written 3 titles so far. Which one is your favorite and why?
Of my released work, my favorite is Irreplaceable. I love that Anna and Will get to experience a second chance. They’ve had time to grow up and really find themselves, but that great love still exists between them. I really enjoyed writing their story.
6. Who are some of your favorite authors? What stories have influenced your own writing?
My favorite authors are Katy Evans, Rebecca Donovan, Colleen Hoover, Sylvia Day, Christina Lauren, and Autumn Jones Lake just to name a few.
As far as what stories have influenced my writing, I would have to say that after reading the Harry Potter series and Twilight as a young adult, I was inspired to put conscious effort behind my writing and to study the craft so that I could put out a product worth reading!
7. What's next for you?
In December, I’m releasing my next book, Silver. It’s a contemporary romance with a rock star who wants to run away from fame and all of the fake people he’s surrounded by. This story was a bit different for me as it is told from the female and male point of view, alternately. But this story has, without a doubt, been my favorite thus far. I experienced my first “writing hangover” after completing this book. I definitely fell in love with these characters and can’t wait to share them with the world.
8. Where can readers find you online?
The best place to find out about my books and upcoming events would be my webpage – www.avawood.net. You can find my newsletter there to stay up to date on my upcoming releases and giveaways as well.
You can also follow me on any of the following sites:
In A Dream blurb:
Emma Potter has led a tragic life, witnessing her parents' murder at the tender age of five then being swept away to the Texas Hill Country to live with her grandparents. By the time she enters college, her uncle Peter is the only relative she has left and, while he's a bit unconventional, she treasures the familial bond they have.
But that familial bond is tragically ripped away when her uncle is killed in the night and Emma mysteriously witnesses the whole thing in a dream. While she's trying to sort reality from her nightmares, she finds solace in the arms of Aiden, her unexpected knight in shining armor. But Aiden has secrets of his own.
With Emma’s tendency to put up walls and keep secrets, she is hesitant to trust. Yet Aiden persists, even when Emma continually pulls away. She’s drawn to him; to his charm, his compassion, his smile, but she’s scared. She fears that falling for Aiden will only result in heartbreak once again.
While Emma fights to find her uncle’s murderer and decode the dreams that have become a nightly nuisance in her life, she must decide if she can accept the love she spent years trying to avoid, or if she’s willing to throw it all away to hide what she envisioned In A Dream.
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0755TYFC7
Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-a-dream-ayla-wood/1117024176;jsessionid=DCFFDC93E624756A44E58BAABB67AEEF.prodny_store02-atgap06?ean=2940154890530
My Review of In A Dream:
This was my first read by author Ava Wood and it definitely won't be the last! In A Dream is a suspenseful romantic mystery that keeps you guessing right up until the end. We have a strong heroine in Emma Potter. She keeps going, even when her loved ones are murdered one by one and seems a fitting match for hero, Aiden, who naturally has secrets of his own. Aiden is very charming. I greatly enjoyed the chemistry between these two!
I also love the dream angle as it is played out in this story - one of my favorite elements in fiction, but in romance in particular. Ms. Woods puts a great twist on this theme. Her tale is emotionally gripping and you will find yourself fighting right along with Emma and Aiden as things begin to play themselves out. These two never give up, and they left me feeling both determined and thoroughly satisfied after reading their story.