Friday, February 23, 2018

{Character Interview} Brooke Flanagan of 'Survivors' Dawn'

We’re thrilled to be talking to Brooke Flanagan from Ashley Warren’s Survivors’ Dawn. It is a pleasure to have Brooke with us today at Pimp That Character!
Thank you for your interview, Brooke.  How old are you and what do you do for a living?

I’m twenty-four and a regional director for the A Campus Aware movement, which promotes awareness of the crisis of sexual assault on college campuses. Our organization has a similar vision to that of It’s On Us. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two groups merge someday.

What would I love the most about you?

That I’m alive. Two days after I was assaulted, I tried to commit suicide by walking in front of a speeding car. Luck and the driver’s quick reflexes saved me from being killed. With the help of my mother and some great friends, I went on to become a voice in the war against sexual assault on college campuses.

Where do you go when you are angry?

I run at a nearby track, a habit I picked up in high school. Something about running in loops, the repetition of my feet hitting the ground, and the strain on my muscles and lungs, forces the anger and stress to shrink. The anger never goes away completely, and I know it will return again in its ugly form, but after running for an hour, I can make it through the rest of the day.

What makes you laugh out loud?

My boyfriend, Adam. Adam has a corny sense of humor, but he has great delivery and laughs so loudly at his own jokes that I have to laugh with him.

What is in your refrigerator right now?

Not much. Hey, I’m twenty-four. Some almond milk, blueberries, carrots, leftover stew that my mom made, and a bottle of wine that Adam and I opened last weekend but never finished.

What is your greatest fear?

Not hard to guess this answer, right? I’m afraid of being alone or in the dark or around strange men. I fear being touched suddenly by another person. I’m afraid that tonight I’ll have a nightmare of being assaulted. I’m afraid I will sink into a dark place again.

But despite those fears, I’m better. I’m much better.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

There is the before me and the after me. Ashley did a great job of portraying me before Colin Jordan assaulted me. But as Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You” implies, non-victims can never truly know how it feels to be assaulted. Clearly, Ashley did a ton of research before writing Survivors’ Dawn, and it she got a lot of the feelings right, but there are depths to the darkness that a person cannot know unless they’ve been there.

What are three must haves when shopping at the grocery store?

Bananas, cereal, and pie with whipped cream. That sounds like four items, but pie and whipped cream are incomplete without each other.

Who is your best friend?

Lauren Le. When we first met, we had little in common. Lauren was into cosplay and partying. I ran for exercise and attended church regularly. I was a virgin, and Lauren—well—she was not. But without her, I would never have made it. She saved me, literally, and I will love her forever.

Do you like to cook?  If so, what is your favorite thing to cook?

To be honest, I haven’t yet learned to cook. I hope to be a good cook someday, but so far, the most I can manage is making brownies from a box. On the other hand, my mother is an excellent cook. She makes the best blueberry pancakes. After I was assaulted, my mother moved to the college town to be close to me. She provided a shelter for me and Lauren away from campus. It meant so much to be able to get away, eat delicious home-cooked meals, and then lounge around and watch movies and not have to pretend to be anything special.

That was a really big deal, to just be ourselves and forget all the other stuff for a while.

About the Author
The unending accounts of sexual assault on college campuses compelled me to write Survivors’ Dawn.

My goal in writing the novel was NOT to focus on the act itself, but instead, to write of the victim’s journey, to tell a story about the strength, courage, and determination of survivors, to describe the difficulties they face in their pursuit of justice, and finally, to offer hope for a future where students can pursue their dreams without fear of being attacked.

As Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You” implies, non-victims can never truly know how it feels to be assaulted, but we can try to empathize, and we can try to help. Awareness is key to reducing the incidence of sexual assault on campus. Please do your part by taking the It's On Us pledge and contributing to organizations that are fighting on the front lines.
Thank you to readers who give me encouragement. It means so much to me. Word of mouth is an incredible thing, so thank you also for telling your friends about Survivors' Dawn. 



About the Book:

A heroic story of three college women’s fight for justice

At first glance, Brooke Flanagan, Lauren Le, and Nikki Towers have little in common: a churchgoing
virgin, a party girl, and a resident advisor. But they all have their own dreams, dreams that can be shattered in a single night.

When freshman Brooke Flanagan first arrives at the university, she’s excited to escape her sheltered life in a Southern town. Lauren Le, a scholarship student, likes to have a good time, but she never disappoints her hardworking, single mom. Nikki Towers always goes her own way. Confident, poised, and wealthy, Nikki’s biggest problem is what to do with her future.

Into these girls’ lives walks Colin Jordan. Colin is the son of a private equity titan, captain of his club basketball team, and a brilliant pre-law student. He is also a sexual predator.

Survivors’ Dawn relates a journey of heroes: the strength, courage, and determination of the victims as they fight to survive; the obstacles they face in their pursuit of justice; and finally, with its conclusion, hope for a future where students can pursue their dreams without fear of being attacked.
A contemporary novel, Survivor’s Dawn wrestles with issues of privilege, sexual assault, and the responsibility of academic institutions to protect their students.



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

{Character Interview} Jenny Ungerman of 'Abuse of Discretion'

We’re thrilled to be talking to Jenny Ungerman from Pamela Samuels Young’s Abuse of Discretion.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Pimp That Character!

Thank you for your interview, Julie.  How old are you and what do you do for a living?

I’m in my early thirties and I’m a juvenile criminal defense lawyer. 

Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features?

My long legs. I attract attention when I walk into the room.

What would I love the most about you?

I love kids and I fight hard for my clients.

Where do you go when you are angry?

I walk outside and take a long walk. The fresh air calms me down.

What is your greatest fear?

Not being able to save an innocent client, especially a kid accused of distributing child pornography arising from sexting. It’s tragic that our kids face life-altering consequences because of childish behavior.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Yep, she got it right. I’m usually pretty aloof until you get to know me. Then you find out that I’m a lot of fun.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

A workout at the gym, a long massage, a manicure and pedicure, followed by a good movie with lots of buttery popcorn.

What are three must haves when shopping at the grocery store?

Cheese popcorn, Diet Coke and strawberry Twizzlers.

What is your favorite weather?

I love the sun. A southern California day of about 75 degrees is my heaven.

What’s your idea of a perfect meal?

Turkey lasagna, garlic bread, red wine, and lemon meringue pie.

About the Author

Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. She set giant-sized goals and used her talent, tenacity and positive outlook to accomplish them. Pamela consequently achieved success in both the corporate arena and literary world simultaneously.
An author, attorney and motivational speaker, Pamela spent fifteen years as Managing Counsel for Toyota, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of the absence of women and people of color depicted in the legal thrillers she read. She is now an award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers, including Anybody’s Daughter, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction, and her new release, Abuse of Discretion, a shocking look at the juvenile justice system in the context of a troubling teen sexting case.
Prior to her legal career, spent several years as a television news writer and associate producer. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and earned a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University and a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of teen sexting, child sex trafficking, self-empowerment and fiction writing.



About the Book:

Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery

A Kid’s Curiosity … A Parent’s Nightmare

The award-winning author of "Anybody’s Daughter" is back with an addictive courtroom drama that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile criminal justice system.

Graylin Alexander is a model fourteen-year-old. When his adolescent curiosity gets the best of him, Graylin finds himself embroiled in a sexting scandal that threatens to ruin his life. Jenny Ungerman, the attorney hired to defend Graylin, is smart, confident and committed. She isn’t thrilled, however, when ex-prosecutor Angela Evans joins Graylin’s defense team. The two women instantly butt heads. Can they put aside their differences long enough to ensure Graylin gets justice?

Unbeknownst to Angela, her boyfriend Dre is wrestling with his own drama. Someone from his past wants him dead. For Dre, his response is simple—kill or be killed.


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{Character Interview} Rosalyn of 'Searching for Gertrude'

We’re thrilled to be talking to Rosalyn from D.E. Haggerty’s, Searching for Gertrude.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Pimp That Character!

Thank you for your interview, Rosalyn.  How old are you and what do you do for a living?

Thanks for having me. I’m 23 years old. I’ve trained as a teacher, but I’m currently working as a nanny.

What makes you laugh out loud?

I’m currently the nanny for a family of four children. The oldest of the four, David, is constantly giving his younger siblings looks of exasperation even though he’s only eight. I can’t help but giggle
out loud whenever he sighs at them and shakes his head as if he were an old man. It’s adorable.

What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is that Hitler will destroy the world before the allied forces manage to stop him. He’s a monster. 

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

She tried her best. She constantly checked my vernacular to ensure my language was accurate for the time period – the 1940s. She also spent a lot of time researching Jewish traditions as I’m Jewish and she’s a gentile. 

If you could change one physical thing about yourself, what would that be?

My hair. It’s long and curly, and most days I’m unable to keep the curls under control. Although my unruly hair annoys my mother, so perhaps I wouldn’t change it after all.

Who is your best friend?

My two sisters, Alice and Irene, are my best friends. If I’m perfectly honest, I’m closer to Alice as she’s only a few years younger than me, but Irene would have a temper tantrum if I ever said that out loud.

Do you have children?

Gosh no. Between fighting my family to get an education and somehow managing to dodge my mother’s matchmaking tendencies, I haven’t had a chance to find a husband, let alone have children. I do care for the children in my position as a nanny, though, and I’m loving it.

What’s your idea of a perfect meal?

I’m currently obsessed with Turkish meze. Meze are basically cold appetizers. The waiter arrives at the table with a large serving tray filled with small dishes of various meze. You then point to the ones you want. For example, I love haydari. It’s a yogurt spread with garlic and spices.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A doctor. I’m inspired by the stories of Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale and how they changed the medical profession. Unfortunately, my father is conservative and getting him to agree to allow me to attend college at all was a battle. He only relented when I agreed to attend a local women’s college.

Do you like to cook?  If so, what is your favorite thing to cook?

I’m not much of a cook, but I find baking fun. For Hanukkah, the kids and I tried our hands at making sufganiyot. It’s a round jelly doughnut, which is deep-fried and topped with powdered sugar. During Hanukkah, we eat fried foods in commemoration of the miracle of the Temple oil.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

I’d spend the day with my family in New York City and my adopted family in Istanbul. I don’t know how I’d manage to get the two families together considering the journey to Istanbul from New York City was dangerous and arduous, but that’s my dream.

About the Author

Dena (aka D.E.) grew-up reading everything she could get her grubby hands on from her mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When she wasn't flipping pages in a library book, she was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories, which she is very thankful have been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along and robbed her of any free time to write or read, although on the odd occasion she did manage to sneak a book into her rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, she went back to school and got her law degree. She jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into her legal career, she was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. She quit her job and sat down to write a manuscript, which she promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t her thing, so she quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t her thing either. She polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where she decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from her adopted home. She packed up again and moved back to the Netherlands (The Hague to be exact) where she's currently working on her next book. She hopes she'll always be working on another book.

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About the Book:

Author: D.E. Haggerty
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 250
Genre: Historical Romance

While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices, but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position as a consulate worker in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago.  

How far would you go to find the woman you love?

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