New Release: Guarding Aaron by amazing teen fiction author T. M. Gaouette

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Guarding Aaron front cover

Book summary:

Guarding Aaron by T. M. Gaouette (Faith & Kung Fu ~ book 3)

When the struggles of the world and his devotion collide, he must choose between his own desires and the will of God.

The world continues to press in on Gabriel Livingstone’s quiet life when fifteen-year-old Aaron Buckley enters Yeung’s Martial Arts Studio looking to learn kung-fu. Gabriel knows there’s a desperate secret behind the boy’s bruises, and secretly vows to be his guard, with the help of his friend Christian.  But when Tanner Rose pressures him for strength and direction, and Faith’s continued rebellion send him and his friends to the hospital, jeopardizing Tanner’s career, Gabriel is forced to reexamine his decisions. Is he called to the priesthood or is life behind the monastery walls merely an escape?

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11 RSVCE)


My Review:

Author TM Gaouette is really onto something with her Faith & Kung Fu series! A master in the martial arts must be disciplined, possessing inner strength along with physical ability. And isn’t this what we Christians need too? This story shows the need for not only knowing right and wrong but also for the self-control and discipline to pursue it, without acting on impulse.

Gabriel, with his steady faith, always has a Scripture verse at the ready and sound advice for others, but inside he’s not sure what God is calling him to. He meets a new kid, Aaron, whose bruises make Gabriel concerned. When Gabriel discovers that the boy is bullied at school, he secretly becomes the kid’s guardian and guides him not only in kung fu but in important life lessons that will strengthen him spiritually and morally. This thread in the story has a strong message about looking out for others who might be the victim of bullying, getting involved, being a friend, and the right way of standing up to bullies.

Meanwhile, another main character, Faith, finds her affections for Gabriel growing and allows her jealousy of actress and friend Tanner Rose to spiral out of control. She justifies treating Tanner cruelly because Tanner had once treated her badly. And when Faith’s best friend doesn’t share her negative attitude toward Tanner, she pushes her best friend away too. This thread shows well how jealousy has a way of bringing out the worst in us.

This story has some lovely scenes, like one with Gabriel and Tanner praying before the Blessed Sacrament. And it has some tense scenes, too. With kung fu action, high emotions, and themes that we can all relate to, Guarding Aaron is a powerful story that teens are sure to enjoy. I highly recommend it!

Buy the book here:

Kindle and Paperback.

Connect with T. M. Gaouette:

Facebook author page

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TMGaouette

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037114.T_M_Gaouette

Instagram: @t.m.gaouette

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Blog Tour: The Siege of Reginald Hill

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As one who enjoys dystopian fiction and faith-filled stories, I am so happy to announce this next book Corinna Turner’s I Am Margaret series!


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An odd surge filled my heart as I looked at him, sitting there in that chair: so old; so evil; so broken; so… alone. A warmth. A caring. A… love. I loved him. Just another poor sinner who need my care…

SAFETY IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF DANGER, BUT THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

Fr Kyle Verrall is living a quiet life as a parish priest in Africa when he’s snatched from his church one night by armed assailants. He’s in big trouble—his sister’s worst enemy is hell-bent on taking revenge on the famous Margaret Verrall by killing her brother, just as slowly and horribly as he can.
What could possibly save him? The humble young priest is defenceless—or so Reginald Hill believes.
But Kyle has a powerful weapon Hill knows nothing about. And he’s not afraid to use it. Is Reginald Hill really the hunter? Or is he the hunted?


I’ve read every book in this series, and I’ve always liked the character Kyle Verrall (Margaret’s brother) and hoped to get to know more about him. This story fulfills that wish. Readers get to go deep into his head and see what makes him tick, and what we find there is beautiful.

The Siege of Reginald Hill is a powerful story of sacrificial love—the kind very few are ever called to. Kyle is faced with unbearable pain and suffering, but he handles it in an amazing, almost unfathomable way. This story made me think about the true meaning of love . . . of God, of neighbor, and even of enemy. And it also made me think of God’s love for each one of us, and the way He tirelessly pursues us, no matter how far we’ve fallen from the straight and narrow path.

I love the intensity of Corinna Turner’s characters, the story world, and the profound moral messages each of her stories contain. Turner writes in such a way that readers feel what the characters feel, whether they are over-worked and tired—like Kyle at the beginning of the story—or whether they are going through an intense trial or an amazing victory.

Having recently gone through robotic surgery myself, I was able to identify with so much of what Kyle goes through in this story. The surgery was a horrible experience, the pain at times unbearable, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything—this is hard to explain but Turner’s story does shed some light on it. And this story brought back reminders of the intensity, pain, and joy of those days.

If you’ve enjoyed the I Am Margaret series, you will love this story.


ISBNs and Buy links:

Paperback ISBNs:                                          ePub ISBNs:
UK: 978-1-910806-78-4                                 UK: 978-1-910806-79-1
US: 978-1-910806-80-7                                  US: 978-1-910806-81-4

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Bi7Rmg

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2BKiTRH

Barnes & Noble UK Edition

Barnes & Noble US Edition




VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ~ BLOG STOPS

Dec 1 – Stop 1 – Corinna Turner – Author of the I Am Margaret series including new release The Siege of Reginald Hillwww.IAmMargaret.com

Dec 2 – SUNDAY

Dec 3 – Stop 2 – Steven R. McEvoy – Blogger and Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer Steven R. McEvoy on “Book Reviews & More” – www.bookreviewsandmore.ca

Dec 4 – Stop 3 – Erin McCole Cupp – Blogger, Contributor to Catholic Mom and Author (Jane E. Friendless Orphan series, etc.) – http://catholicmom.com/

Dec 5 – Stop 4 – Regina Doman – Award-winning Catholic teen fiction Author (The Fairy Tale novels, The Angel in the Waters, etc.) – http://reginadoman.blogspot.com/

Dec 6 – Stop 5 – Theresa Linden – Award-winning Catholic teen fiction Author (Liberty series, West Brothers series, etc.)

Dec 7 – Stop 6 – Sarah de Nordwall – The Catholic Bard! – http://sarahdenordwall.blogspot.com/

Dec 8 – Stop 7 – T.M. Gaouette – Writer, Blogger, and Author of Catholic Fiction (Faith and Kung Fu series) – https://tmgaouette.com/

Dec 9 – SUNDAY

Dec 10 – Stop 8 – Carolyn Astfalk – Author of coming-of-age romance Rightfully Ours, etc. – www.carolynastfalk.com/

Dec 11 – Stop 9 – Leslea Wahl – Award-winning Catholic teen fiction Author (The Perfect Blindside, An Unexpected Role, etc.) – http://lesleawahl.com/

Dec 12 – Stop 10 – Elizabeth Amy Hajek – Blogger and Author of The Mermaid and the Unicornhttps://elenatintil.blogspot.com

To learn about more great books, check out Carolyn Astfalk’s “An Open Book” and CatholicMom.com

 

Blog Tour: Where You Lead

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I am excited to be part of the Virtual Book Tour for Leslea Wahl’s newest Christian young adult mystery, Where You Lead! Please check out my post so you can not only learn about the book but find out about a treasure hunt and discover author Leslea Wahl’s favorite Washington DC sites. Note: these sites are also mentioned in this story!


where you leadTeen Eve Donahue’s lonely existence changes in an instant when visions of a mysterious stranger haunt her. Certain God is calling her for a mission, she bravely says yes and begins her quest to meet this young man. Thousands of miles away, Nick Hammond has been dealing with his own unusual experience, an unwavering certainty to convince his father to run for political office. When these two unlikely teens finally meet, their belief that God has called them to work together sets them on a journey of faith to untangle a web of deception involving international trade agreements, lost confederate gold, and a blossoming romance. As they follow century old clues, they realize God can call us all in big and small ways. We just need to listen.

Available in Kindle and paperback. Buy the book here.


Wahl is one of my favorite authors of young adult fiction. But she is also the favorite of a lot of readers! I want to congratulate her on the Gold Medal The Perfect Blindside recently won from Readers Choice! This book was also the 1st-place winner of the 2016 Catholic Press Association book awards, in the teen fiction category. Another one of her books, An Unexpected Role, was a Gold Medalist in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Her books have also received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. You can check out other awards her books have won here. Or on her website. And if you ask me, Where You Lead is another winner!

My review:

This is an incredibly fun mystery with a great combination of action and adventure and tension that builds throughout the story. The main characters, Nick and Eve, are well-developed and likeable. She’s romantic, talkative, and has a style all her own: Eve doesn’t try to be like everyone else; she’s comfortable just being herself. Nick is level-headed, resourceful, and charming. Plus, he comes from a big and very interesting family.

I enjoyed the attraction and interactions between these characters and following along as they tried to solve this unique mystery. As a history lover, I enjoyed the tidbits about the Civil War and the “virtual tour” of Washington D.C., visiting museums, monuments, cemeteries, and other historical places with the characters.

Several wonderful messages are weaved through this story, too, like trusting in God even when we can’t understand His plan and realizing that the smaller missions from God are just as important as the bigger missions. With her sharp writing style, ability to develop a riveting mystery, and the way she weaves faith into her stories, Leslea Wahl has become one of my favorite authors.

I highly recommend this story for teens and adults. In addition to the bits of history and positive role models, this book is just plain fun!


Leslea Wahl’s 10 Favorite DC Sites

“As a reader, I’ve always enjoyed books where the setting of a story comes alive through the eyes of the characters. I certainly hope I that I was able to accomplish that feat in my new novel, Where You Lead. This adventurous mystery is set in a city that is near and dear to my heart. A place that I lived for four years, right after I was married – Washington DC. I loved every moment of our time there and had so much fun including some of my favorite spots in this story. Here are 10 of my favorite DC sites that are part of this book’s adventure.”  ~Leslea Wahl

1. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

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2 – Embassy Row

 

3 – Georgetown

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4 – The Smithsonian

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5 – The National Cathedral

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6 – The Tidal Basin and cherry blossoms

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7 – The Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument

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8 – The C&O Canal

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9 – Oak Park Cemetery

10- Arlington Cemetery

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treasure huntClick here for the treasure hunt!


bookLeslea Wahl is a Colorado native who loves to travel with her family. She considers herself blessed to have found a way to intertwine her two passions by creating adventurous stories with positive Christian messages for today’s youth. She hopes to inspire others to find their gifts as well. Her first book, The Perfect Blindside, was awarded a 2016 Illumination Christian Book Award silver medal and was a first place winner at the 2016 Catholic Press Association Book Awards.

Available in Kindle and paperback. Buy Where You Lead here.

Contact Leslea Wahl:​

The Fun of An Audiobook!

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Children love being read to. Do you ever grow out of that? My boys are all teens now, but I loved reading to my kids when they were younger and they loved being read to. My son who has autism wanted specific stories read over and over, so I’ve got many memorized, even to this day.

I also enjoyed being read to as a kid. Actually, I love when my kids read to me now!

There is something about listening to someone read a story that transports you right into the pages. A good storyteller can bring characters to life, deepen emotions, develop tension, and enhance the overall experience.

ACX BattleBecause of this, I decided to have my supernatural Christian fiction Battle For His Soul turned into an audiobook. Not sure what to do, I sought advice from other authors who’ve turned their books into audiobooks. (More on them in a moment.) Then I joined ACX, searched for and found the perfect narrator. (More on him in a moment, too.)

First, let me continue to promote the benefits of audiobooks! Audiobooks allow you to have your hands free so you can drive, work in the yard, do dishes, or even take a walk… all while enjoying your favorite story. They are perfect for that long ride into work or on vacation.

Readers, you can enjoy stories constantly, not just when you are free to hold a book in your hands and turn pages!

When I decided to turn Battle for His Soul into an audio book, I wanted the perfect narrator. I listened to several on ACX and asked a few to audition before finally choosing Keith McCarthy. Something about his voice just felt right. Plus, he is able to do different voices, male and female, and convey various attitudes and dispositions. He also seems to know just when to pause and what words to emphasize to really bring a story to life.

At the completion of the project, I was so excited to hear the final product and so amazed by Keith’s skills that I wanted to tell everyone about him.


Interview ~ Keith McCarthy

How did you get started as a narrator for ACX?

Keithheadshot (002)In addition to acting, I also teach theater and English. A couple of years ago, to help with my students’ comprehension of the books they read, I posted videos of myself reading the books aloud on YouTube. The videos quickly took off and as my subscriber list grew and grew, I wondered if there were a way I could do this professionally.  It turns out, there was.

How many audiobooks have you narrated?

It depends on which books we are counting. I have an ongoing contract with Rosen Publishing, a large publisher of educational materials, to create audio books of their nonfiction books that are used in kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms. Those are only available to students in schools that have purchased this program, and the books themselves are very short…. 24 to 48 pages, but thus far I’ve done about 35 of those, with more to come. As far as books available on Audible,  I’ve done about 20. And I’ve done about 10 in my YouTube channel.

You have an incredible skill with creating voices. What other forms of acting have you done?

Mainly theater. I’ve acted in a variety of venues across Boston’s North Shore… on average a play or two every year. I also direct my school plays… about 55 of them over the past 20 years.

What are your favorite voices to do? 

I like the villains most… and anyone cocky or arrogant….those are the fun ones. I also enjoy narrating history. My dream job is to narrate a Ken Burns style documentary for PBS.

Which character in Battle for His Soul did you like doing best?

Jesus! A close second was Selena. I hadn’t done a lot of Spanish/Mexican accents in the past, so I practiced quite a bit before I started and I think it came out pretty well.

My note: Keith’s portrayal of Jesus in this story had me spellbound. As I listened to him performing this scene, for a moment, I was no longer the author and I could think of nothing other than the words he spoke. He did an amazing job!

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

I would just add that it was a joy working on this book. After narrating lots of not always terribly interesting, at least to me, informational text on everything from Poker Strategy to the JavaScript programming language (try narrating lines of computer code for two hours and see how sane you feel) it had been my goal to narrate more books for young adults and kids, so it was refreshing to work on such an entertaining and well-crafted book. 

Follow Keith McCarthy on his Youtube channel and check out other books that he’s narrated by clicking here.


And now, a bit about the authors who inspired me to embark upon this journey: Susan Peek and Carolyn Astfalk.

Susan’s passion is writing stories of little-known saints and heroes. She has several books for children and several more for teens, and she has turned two of them (St. Magnus the Last Viking and A Soldier Surrenders) into audiobooks. She is presently working on the audio book for The Kings Prey.

Carolyn writes inspirational Christian romance. She has two adult titles: Ornamental Graces and Stay With Me. And one young adult story: Rightfully Ours. All of her books are available as audiobooks.

Both of these authors are featured on CatholicTeenBooks.com, along with several other amazing authors.

If you are an author and interested in turning your story into an audiobook, check out Carolyn Astfalk’s blog post “Tips for Turning Your Novel into an Audiobook Using ACX.” Carolyn recently presented these tips at a writers’ conference. She has a second article which is just as helpful, once you’ve decided to create an audiobook: “Tips for Marketing Your Audiobook”

If you like audiobooks and are a fan of Catholic teen fiction, here are a few more books you might enjoy:audiobooks.jpg

 

Christian YA fiction #Giveaways!

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Summer is a great time for books and free books are even better! If you enjoy Christian young adult fiction, here are two GIVEAWAYS for you!

THE PERFECT BLINDSIDE – Fresh off a championship medal, Jake Taylor’s parents have dragged him to a middle-of-nowhere town in Colorado, far from where he wants to be. Smart and savvy, Sophie has spent the summer before her junior year of high school avidly following Jake Taylor in every article she can find, but now she sees the “truth” behind the story — he’s really just a jerk. When the only thing they can see is each other’s flaws, how can Jake and Sophie work together to figure out what’s really been happening at the abandoned silver mine? Follow Sophie and Jake into secret tunnels as they unravel the mystery and challenge each other to become who God wants them to be.


AN UNEXPECTED ROLE – The devastation of a ruined summer.The gift of a second chance. Can Josie learn the lessons she needs in order to discover her true self? After a humiliating event and overwhelming peer pressure, 16-year-old Josie flees her home to spend the summer with her Aunt on a South Carolina island. Her fresh start turns into the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms, and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. However, when tragedy strikes someone close to her, Josie realizes there are more important things than her reputation. As she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers who God wants her to be.


Click here for a chance to win both of Leslea Wahl’s books. Winners will be selected August 7th!


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RIGHTFULLY OURS – Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side by side to uncover what could be lost treasure. Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake?

Themes include premarital chastity and overcoming temptation.

“When a young man or woman recognizes that authentic love is a precious treasure, they are also enabled to live their sexuality in accordance with the divine plan, rejecting the false models which are, unfortunately, all too frequently publicized and very widespread.” Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Young People of Rome, Sept 8, 1997

Click here for a chance to win an AUDIOBOOK of Rightfully Ours! All you need to do is comment on the blog post here.  The winner will be selected on August 15th!


Happy reading and have a wonderful summer!

Contemporary Catholic Teen Fiction

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The Goodreads GIVEAWAY for my contemporary Catholic teen fiction Standing 3DStandingStrongCoverStrong ends soon. If you haven’t had a chance to check out my books, here is an opportunity to get one for free. This is the fourth book in the West Brothers series. Many of the same characters are in each book, and they take place chronologically, but you can still enjoy them out of order.

“Another chapter in Theresa Linden’s masterfully-developed series for teens that will resonate with everyone who has struggled to find his place in the world, been tempted to take the easy way out, or doubted the work of God s hand in his life.”    ~Carolyn Astfalk, author of Rightfully Ours

“After reading STANDING STRONG your own spiritual life cannot but be strengthened, making you also want to stand strong for God.” ~Susan Peek, author of The King’s Prey

“This is an excellent book by an incredible author so check it out. Her handling of faith in her fiction is masterful. ~Steven McEvoy, reader extraordinaire

You’ll have another opportunity to win this book and much more on November 17th (which happens to be my birthday!). Along with 5 other authors from www.CatholicTeenBooks.com, I will be hosting a Pre-Christmas Virtual Facebook Party.

Check out the video invitation for a bit of inspiration! The party will be from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. It will be packed with games, prizes, and wonderful gift ideas.

We’ll have a winner every ten minutes and an amazing Grand Prize. Follow the FB page for details. Beginning November 1st we will post prize images and other fun details. Here are the prizes I’ll be contributing:

Standing Strong is available as a paperback and eBook. You can learn more about it and my other books on my website.

New YA book: Playing by Heart

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New Young Adult Historical Fiction

Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the “second sister” means she’ll likely be sent to a convent instead. Emilia’s only hope is to prove her musical talents crucial to her father’s quest for nobility. First, though, she must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. Too late, Emilia realizes that her success could threaten not only her dreams for her future but her sister’s very life.

Playing by Heart is inspired by two amazing sisters who were far ahead of their time—one a mathematician and the other a composer. At its core, the novel is the story of two teens struggling to follow their true calling, even when it conflicts with their father’s goals. It’s a clean historical romance suitable for ages 12 and up.


I am so happy that author, Carmela Martino was willing to share a bit about her new release. Please enjoy this author interview:

I love the amazing setting details in Playing by Heart. Did you go to Milan to do your research? If not, how did you create such realistic and lovely details?

I have been to Milan only once in my life, long before I decided to write Playing by Heart. As a result, the research for this story almost did me in! I’m a stickler for detail and if I couldn’t verify some aspect of the story, I wouldn’t include it. Even though it’s a work of fiction, I wanted the details to be true to the time and place.

For the events of the story, I relied heavily on the research materials I found about the two Milanese women who were my inspiration: Maria Gaetana Agnesi, a child language prodigy who later wrote an acclaimed math textbook, and her younger sister, Maria Teresa Agnesi, who was one of the first Italian women to compose a serious opera. But the biographical information I found gave me few setting details.

So, I looked for primary documents describing what life was like in Milan during the early 1700s. One of my greatest research finds was an account by someone who had witnessed Archduchess Maria Theresa’s visit to Milan in 1739. The document had been scanned into the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. I was able to download and print the pertinent pages. The document gave me wonderful details that I incorporated into my novel, such as the description of the crowds that lined the streets waiting to greet the archduchess and how she participated in the Ritual of the Holy Nail.


Can you tell us more about the Ritual of the Holy Nail? Is it still performed in Milan?

While researching Milan’s history, I learned that the Cathedral of Milan houses a holy relic purported to be one of the nails used to crucify Christ. I’d had no idea the relic even existed. It’s housed inside a crystal case set in the center of an enormous gold cross that’s suspended high inside the cathedral’s dome. The cross can only be reached by means of a mechanical, cloud-shaped lift called the Nivola, which was supposedly designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself.

Yes, the ritual of removing the Holy Nail from its place high within the dome is still performed annually in Milan. The tradition began in 1576, when Saint Charles Borromeo, then archbishop of Milan, carried the relic in procession during an outbreak of the plague. Originally, the ritual was conducted on May third, the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross in the old liturgical calendar. At some point, the date was changed to September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. There are numerous videos on YouTube depicting the event—they were a huge help to my research. Click here to watch a brief one narrated in English. And click here for one that is a bit longer, but narrated in Italian.


You mention in the Author’s Note to Playing by Heart that you couldn’t find any book-length biographies of composer Maria Teresa Agnesi, only ones about her older sister. How then did you research her life?

Yes, that was a difficult challenge. Maria Teresa is mentioned briefly in the biographies of her sister, but that wasn’t much to go on. While investigating possible sources, I found an analysis of one of her compositions in a book of essays on Italian music of the 17th and 18th century. The article’s author, Professor Robert L. Kendrick, had also co-written an entry about Maria Teresa in an encyclopedia of music. With a little digging, I learned that he was a professor of music at the University of Chicago. He was kind enough to answer many of my questions about what Maria Theresa’s life had been like and to also point me in the direction of additional research resources.


Even though there are book-length biographies of the older sister, Maria Gaetana, you say in your Author’s Note that there are still many myths surrounding her and her family. Can you elaborate?

Gladly! First, some background. Playing by Heart grew out of my research for a nonfiction biography of mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi for young readers; The only published biographies about her are for adults. I first came across Agnesi’s name in an article about little-known women of note. Even though I have an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, I’d never heard of her before. But when I started to research her, I kept finding conflicting information, both in books and online. For example, some references said that Agnesi wasn’t allowed to enter the convent as she wished because after her mother died she was left in charge of the household and the care of her twenty siblings. In actuality, Agnesi was 13 when her mother died and she had only six siblings at the time. Maria Gaetana may have helped out with those siblings for a while, until her father remarried less than two years later. The reasons for her not entering a convent had nothing to do with her mother’s death. Interestingly, it is true that she was the eldest of 21 children—her father married a third time after his second wife died. But many of her siblings died young.

I encountered so many myths about the Agnesi family that I created a website to dispel some of them. You can read more at www.mgagnesi.com .


How did writing Playing by Heart compare to working on your first novel, Rosa, Sola?

The process for the two novels couldn’t have been more different. My middle-grade novel, Rosa, Sola, began as a short story I wrote as an exercise while I was working on my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. The exercise was to write a story based on an event from my own childhood that still evoked strong emotion in me. The emotion I wrote about was the fear I felt at age ten when I thought my mother might die. I called the short story “Rosa’s Prayer.” The feedback I received from classmates and instructors encouraged me to expand that short story into a novel that was eventually published by Candlewick Press.

I have to say, it was much easier to write a novel set during my own lifetime than one set two centuries earlier. For Rosa, Sola, I still had to research some of the setting details, such as the popular songs of the time, to make sure I got them right. That was easy compared to the extensive research I had to do for Playing by Heart. Still, it was an amazing experience. I’m thrilled to see all my work finally come to fruition.


As you can read in my review, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. And I am glad that you shared this fascinating background information with us. Thank you!

Thanks so much for hosting this interview, Theresa. I hope your readers will visit the other stops on the Playing by Heart Blog Tour. I invite them to go to my website for the complete list of tour links and enter for a chance to win a copy of the novel:

http://www.carmelamartino.com/blog/posts/2406

I’ll also be hosting a Facebook Launch Party on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 7-9 p.m. Central Time, where readers can win not only copies of Playing by Heart but other great books and prizes.

www.facebook.com/events/1926037200756000


My review:

Filled with beautiful scenes and heart-wrenching moments, PLAYING BY HEART by Carmela Martino is an absorbing story of perseverance, the pursuit of excellence, and of sacrificial love.

This story shows the dreams and trials of two talented sisters. Emilia excels in music. But her father’s and the maestro’s attitudes lead her to feel inadequate. So she finds herself envious of the praise and attention given to her older sister. Maria, the older sister, is humble and faith-filled. And while she loves studying languages and philosophy, she longs to enter religious life and serve the poor. But this is an age where the father chooses the vocation of his children. Emilia and Maria’s father, driven to gain the title and status of a nobleman, makes choices that move him closer to his goals but farther from theirs.

The characters were inspired by two historical sisters who lived in the eighteenth century, so I appreciate the author’s faithfulness to research and time-period details. The engaging prose brings the scenes to life in full color! I especially loved how the descriptions took me into the heart and mind of Emilia, a talented young musician who “heard music everywhere—in the whispering of the wind and the rustling of the trees.” I also appreciated the way faith is weaved into the story.

For more early response to Playing by Heart, click here.

Click here for the Amazon buy link!

Author biography:

Carmela_martino-smallCarmela Martino is an author, speaker, and writing teacher. She wrote the middle-grade novel, Rosa, Sola (Candlewick Press), while working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. The novel was a Booklist “Top Ten First Novel for Youth” and received a Catholic Press Association Book Award in the “Children’s Books” category. Her second novel, the young adult historical romance Playing by Heart, will be released by Vinspire Publishing September 30, 2017. The novel took first place in the Young Adult category of the 2013 Windy City RWA Four Seasons Romance Writing Contest. Carmela’s credits for teens and tweens also include short stories and poems in magazines and anthologies. Her articles for adults have appeared in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Catholic Parent, and multiple editions of the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market. Carmela has taught writing workshops for children and adults since 1998, and she blogs about teaching and writing at TeachingAuthors.com.