by Melissa Pearl & Brenda Howson
Mica and Lexy have been best friends and next door neighbours since they were eight years old. They share everything and have no secrets from each other until… Tom arrives on Mica’s doorstep – a gorgeous exchange student from England. And Lexy is smitten.
Suddenly both girls are keeping secrets. Mica is hiding news about Tom’s English girlfriend and Lexy hasn’t got the heart to tell her best friend that her brother Eli, the guy Mica is mad on, thinks of her as only a friend.
After a massive fight, the girls decide the best way to mend their friendship is to spend some quality time together. And what better way than to go camping away from their parents and why not invite along the guys they are crushing on.
So the four teenagers embark on a geo-caching expedition into New Zealand’s native bush expecting a long weekend filled with flirtatious fun; instead secrets are exposed as they stumble across a hidden marijuana crop and its gun-wielding watchmen. Forced apart they spend the next forty-eight hours racing blindly in opposite directions as they fight to find each other before the hunters do.
Today I talk to the brains and the beauties behind this new YA Adventure Novel: Melissa Pearl & Brenda Howson.
Melissa and Brenda are two best friends who have co-authored this YA debut set in the spectacular location of New Zealand. The book is filled to the brim with adventure and prove that girls can get up to as much mischief as boys can and live as many adventures. But enough from me. 🙂 Make yourself comfortable and get a little behind-the-words look at the world of Forbidden Territory and the friendship that inspired the friendship and bond of the two main characters: Mica & Lexy. There is even a sneak peek or two from some included excerpts.
1. Where did this story come from? What inspired it?
Melissa – We were out geo-caching with our husbands. We were hunting around the bush, looking for the hidden treasure when one of us said, “This would make a cool story.” That little statement sparked a plethora of ideas and by the end of the day we had each created two characters and come up with a basic storyline.
2. The story is told in two very distinct voices. You each chose a character and co-wrote the plot-line.
a.) What were the 3 aspects of co-authoring a story that you most enjoyed?
Brenda – 1) spending time with my bestie, 2) creating a story together meant two brains coming up with ideas, which is so much better than one, 3) did I mention spending time with my bestie? She is so awesome and sharing this love of writing is the cherry on top!
b.) What were the 3 aspects of co-authoring a story that you found most challenging?
Brenda – 1) we live an hours drive away from each other and both have kids, so that makes it harder to find time to actually get together, 2) because there are two writers we needed to make sure we knew the other authors character inside out but sometimes we get it wrong, so rewrites are needed (so not a big issue though), 3) this is a future challenge, my bestie is moving to CHINA…. Soooo much more than an hours drive away!!
3. Geo-caching is what sends these two girls on an adventure into Forbidden Territory.
a.)What is Geo-caching?
Melissa – Geo-caching is basically modern day treasure hunting. There is a website with hundreds of different cache locations listed. You type the co-ordinates into your GPS then go searching. It is so much fun. You find little trinkets and swap them out for other trinkets. There have been some little badges and things that have made it all the way around the world. SO cool!
b.) Have either of you experienced Geo-caching before?
Melissa – Yes – Ben got Pete and I into it. I’m not sure how he found out about it… Brenda?
Brenda – My husband Ben bought a GPS for sailing and when he was looking for instructions on how to use it, he came across a website about geo-caching. The first cache we tried, we accidentally put the wrong coordinates in and ended up walking soooo much further than we needed to, heh heh, but we eventually found the cache and were hooked. Treasure hunting is awesome!!!!!
Melissa – We’ve found quite a few caches throughout NZ. It’s a really fun thing to do when you’re away on holiday or if you have nothing to do on a sunny afternoon 🙂
4. Are either of you anything like your characters in nature or are they personality opposites to your real-life personalities?
Brenda – Lexy is not based on me but she does share a few of my characteristics, we are not opposite in nature. We look nothing alike however, she’s much hotter than me, but I did give her the career dream I wanted as a teen (Architect).
I would say that Mica and Melissa’s personalities are opposite though. Mica says things that Melissa never would (out loud anyway)
5. This book is about the bonds of best friends and is co-authored by best friends. What is the funniest thing you can each tell us about one other?
Melissa – oooo – tough one!! One thing I love about Brenda is the occasional contradiction in her personality. She is an incredibly strong and motivated woman… very talented and goes about making things happen. Yet if it comes to complaining about something in a shop or having to question something in a public setting, she always hides behind me!! What’s with that 🙂
Brenda – Heh heh… you are so right. I’m a total contradiction. Melissa is WAY braver than me and I take advantage of that. Hmmmm something funny about Melissa would be, she puts mayonnaise on EVERYTHING! This is only a problem for me because I hate the stuff, but Melissa has a love affair with it and I can’t think of anything she wouldn’t have it with… ok, maybe not with chocolate 😉
Totally! How embarrassing. Thanks for not mentioning my addiction to ketchup as well. LOL!
6. I know that Melissa has mentioned that this book might be first in a series of Mica’s and Lexy’s adventures…Can you tell us if this is just a rumour or is this only the first of their adventures?
Melissa – I’m very happy to say, it’s not a rumor. The next book, “Forbidden Waters” is due out next year and is already planned out. We just have to write it now 🙂
The book after that is tentatively entitled “Forbidden Liaisons”. We have some ideas for that story, but haven’t nutted out a firm plot yet. There is much fun to be had… she laughs evilly! Can’t wait to see how Mica and Lexy will deal with the mayhem we are going to dump them in 🙂
7. If you could pick a favourite guy in the story, which would it be and why?
Melissa – I am totally in love with Eli. Whether it’s because he’s my creation, I’m not sure, but I just find him delicious. I also love his quiet strength and the way he is with Mica. I love those two together.
8. If this book were a movie, who would play the lead characters?
Brenda – Agh that’s so hard. I’d actually love some unknown actors to play the leads, as I find over time, popular actors play their characters all very similar and that takes away from the story. I’d love some New Zealand actors to come out of the woodwork and rise up to the challenge. I actually think it would make a really cool movie too!!!!
9. Can you each give us an excerpt of your favourite scene in the story and tell us why they are your favourite scenes?
Melissa – I have so many scenes I love and I don’t want to give away spoilers, but one of my favourite little interactions between Mica and Lexy is…
“Mike,” I could hear Lexy forcing her voice to be gentle, “you told me it was just a scratch.”
“I lied.” Sniffing at the torrent of tears, I kept my head turned away.
Grabbing the side of my face with a gentle tenderness, she wiped at my tears and placed a little peck on my forehead. “I know,” she sighed, “you stubborn little shit.”
I think those few little lines show the depth of Mica and Lexy’s friendship. They are so confident of their friendship they can say anything to each other.
Brenda – This is probably my fave scene, and I’ve pulled a few sentences out so it doesn’t spoil anything, but basically Mica has just called Tom (Lexy’s crush) weedy. This excerpt is written from Mica’s POV:
I looked up at my best friend. Standing in front of me was a determined looking brunette and hanging by her side was the gun we didn’t want to use. Breathing hard, she looked up from the crumpled body and shook her head. “Weedy?” Her eyes narrowed.
“What?” I crouched towards the ground and grabbed the unconscious man’s hands.
“Tom’s not weedy!” Lexy bent to join me, whipping off the man’s belt and wrapping it around his wrists.
“He’s a little weedy.”
“No he’s not! He’s gorgeous!”
“I didn’t say he wasn’t gorgeous. I said he was a little weedy.”
“He’s not weedy!”
I tried to quell my laugher. This was ridiculous, we were probably in the most fatal situation of our lives and we were having a whispering argument about whether or not Thomas Williams was skinny!
“He’s wiry,” Lexy finished with a superior tone and a tip of her chin.
I just love the way Mica and Lexy interact. They have such a deep friendship and know each other so well and sometimes they just have the funniest conversations. Love those two girls.
Melissa – CLASSIC! I nearly chose that scene myself 🙂
10. Thank you ladies for giving us a behind-the-words insight into Forbidden Territory and sharing a little of your own friendship with us. But before I let you go, tell me where can readers buy Forbidden Territory?
Melissa – the book comes out on July 1st and can be purchased digitally from Amazon stores and Smashwords. It can also be purchased in paperback from Amazon.
Here are the links:
Melissa Pearl and Brenda Howson have been best friends for about 12 years. Both mothers of two young children, both married to school teachers and both lovers of writing, they have a lot in common. Having spent many vacations away together, they have become as close to sisters as two girls can get. It was on one of these holidays away that the Mica and Lexy Series was born.
Melissa is the author of the Time Spirit Trilogy, which was published at the end of 2011. She is a fully trained elementary teacher, but is lucky enough to stay home and watch her kids grow. She is also spending every spare moment trying to turn writing into a full time career – and loving the process.
Brenda was the one who encouraged Melissa to start writing in the first place. Once Melissa got started, Brenda caught the bug and she has been writing for ten years, in between motherhood and working at a local high school in the computer department. She has won two short story competitions and been runner-up in another. Forbidden Territory is her first published novel.
** This is what you could win on Melissa and Brenda’s YAlicious Blog**
And now for the giveaway. Please spread the word far and wide. The more, the merrier.We are giving away 3 prize packs, which include:
– a digital copy of Forbidden Territory
– a friendship necklace like the ones Mica and Lexy wear
– Forbidden Territory and Time Spirit Trilogy bookmarks
We are also giving away a Grand Prize, which includes:
– a paperback copy of Forbidden Territory
– a friendship necklace like the ones Mica and Lexy wear
– a digital copy of Golden Blood (Bk 1 of the Time Spirit Trilogy by Melissa Pearl)