REMEMBER WHEN I stayed up all night reading that book by @TTorrest?

Several months ago, I noticed that these cute little swimsuit-clad fannies kept popping up in my “Also Bought” list for The Bed She Made on Amazon. In the spirit of scoping out my competition, I downloaded Remember When by T. Torrest to my Kindle. I’ll admit it sat in my digital library for a couple of months before I got around to opening it. But when I finally did, I couldn’t put it down!

Before I tell you what I thought, here’s a little bit about this brilliant book:

REMEMBER_WHEN_COVER

Remember When

Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.

This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from Northern New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone, himself included, could even dream he’d turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you who Trip Wiley is. But on the off chance you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, just know that these days, he’s the actor found at the top of every casting director’s wish list. He’s incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.

And not just to casting directors, either.

I can’t confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was famous, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a new concept.

I should know. I was one of them.

And my life hasn’t been the same since.

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I read Remember When in SIX hours. I couldn’t put it down. And as a mother of five children, I assure you that checking out to read for that long is quite a daring feat. When I neglect my parental duties, stuff burns down. Thankfully, my house was still standing at 2:37 AM when my Kindle finally died while reading the second book in this trilogy.

I laughed. I cried. I wanted to smack some sense into people…

For a few hours, I was 17 again… reliving the good parts of being a teenager: best friends, major crushes, and first loves.

This book is an absolute gem. Check out the reviews on Amazon… almost 500 5-Stars!

AND YOU CAN READ IT FOR FREE RIGHT NOW! No joke… it’s FREE on Amazon. Get It Here.

 

I loved the book so much that I reached out to the author, T. Torrest, like a total fangirl. Someday, I’m going to interview her in person, preferably over beers on the Jersey shore, but for now I must settle with having my burning questions answered via email. Here’s a peek at them:

Me: Being a child of the 90’s myself, the nostalgic feel of Remember When is one of the things I love most about the story. So in the spirit of 90’s pop-culture fandom, I’ve gotta ask about your 90’s favorites.

T. Torrest:

Favorite band? I love everything that came out of Seattle in the early 90s. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden… The list goes on.
Favorite song? This is impossible to answer! Can I say the Singles soundtrack? Is that cheating?
Favorite movie? True Romance (1993) and Boogie Nights (1997) are still in my Top Ten of all time.
Favorite TV show? 90210, Melrose Place, and Party of Five.

Me: Of course you can say the Singles soundtrack!!! But before I take off after that conversational rabbit (I can talk about that movie for hours) I must force myself to stay on task…

Several times in the story, you mention one of my favorite books (and movies) of all time, The Outsiders. Is it safe to assume this is among your favorites as well? And if so, what do you love about it?

T. Torrest: Oh, absolutely. It was the first “teen” book I ever read that didn’t focus on THE PROM. (I specifically excluded that high school milestone from RW in tribute.) I loved being transported to a different time and place; 1960s Oklahoma is a far cry from the 80s Jersey of my teen years. These were kids that had an entirely different set of circumstances than I grew up with. The Curtis boys had no parents. Darry was just trying to keep his family together. Dallas was a criminal. Johnny was constantly trying to survive, first from his abusive upbringing, and later in that hospital bed. All of it was so incredibly intriguing. As far as why I loved the movie… Two words: Cute boys. LOL

Me: Cute boys. For real! How hot was Rob Lowe back then? Speaking of cute actors…

Remember When’s leading man is Trip Wiley, a Hollywood superstar, though the story focuses on his days as a commoner growing up in New Jersey. Is Trip inspired by an actual superstar? Do you dare tell us who?

T. Torrest: Heh heh. Truth is, the entire story was based on a dream I had about an actual Hollywood actor. I never say who, only because I don’t want to impose my vision of Trip onto readers’ imaginations. I should say that even though Trip’s personality was initially influenced by this person, he has since evolved into his own character, so I promise I’m not just being a tease. I sprinkled many, many clues throughout the trilogy that basically scream who he is, though, if anyone cares to figure it out.

Me: Oh man. This has now become a personal challenge to figure out who that dream was about! Ha!

Shifting gears, you have other books aside from the Remember When Trilogy. Tell me a little bit about those…

T. Torrest: Gladly! I have two standalone romantic comedies on the shelf that both tie into the REMEMBER WHEN world. DOWN THE SHORE stars Layla’s cousin Jack as a musician in a struggling bar band down at the Jersey shore during the summer of ’95. BREAKING THE ICE is a reader-generated, second-chance love story about (Layla’s next door neighbor) Zac, an ex-NHL-star-turned-bar-owner whose world is turned upside down when straitlaced event planner Avery walks back into his life. I’m currently working on A WAY TO GET BY, a story based on Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” Essentially, it’s about a breakup. It’s pretty excruciating, and a bit of a departure from the romcom genre of my other books. After that, I’ve got three other half-written manuscripts waiting to be completed, and a bunch of other vague sparks that need fleshing out for future works. I don’t see myself quitting this job anytime soon. 🙂

BIG THANKS to T. Torrest for tolerating my giddy questions. I hope everyone enjoys this story as much as I have! I’ll be hiding from my family on Thanksgiving to finish up the trilogy! I can’t wait to see what happens down the road for Layla and Trip!

You can find this author on the WWW at the following links:

www.ttorrest.com
Amazon
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

The Number ONE Rule for Writing

The NUMBER ONE rule for being a better writer is to READ.

Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. — Stephen King

The best way to learn how to write is to study under those who have already done it really well. Reading is a free university accepting anyone who aspires to put pen to page.

Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window. — William Faulkner

Here’s what I recommend:

Start with the genre that you enjoy writing. Read the classic masters of the genre and the current ones.

Like Fantasy? Read The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. Read Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Read The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. Read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

Want to write Historical Fiction? Read anything by Philippa Gregory (The Constant Princess is a good one to start with.) Read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. Read Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I also recommend you do even more reading of historical NON-FICTION under this category too. The foundation of this genre is thorough research of history!

What about ChickLit? Throw a stone, pick an author.

Are you getting the idea?

NEXT get out of your comfort zone and read some classics. A few years back, I challenged myself to read everything that I was assigned in high school because back then I usually opted for just the Cliff Notes! In one year, I read Faulkner, Dickens, Hemingway, Kafka, C.S. Lewis, Salinger, and Steinbeck.

Then, step out of fiction entirely!

Read plays to learn how to write dialogue and action.

Read poetry to learn to craft metaphors, similes, and imagery.

Read Dante’s Inferno to learn about world building.

When you read, read like a writer. Pay attention to scenes you really connect with, then dissect them to figure out why you connected. Notice how other writers use verbs and adjectives. Bank new words into your own vocabulary. Feel the pace of what you’re reading. Read passages aloud to hear rhythm and flow. Read bad literature to learn what the writer did wrong!

Read. Read. Read.

And before someone asks (or thinks it)…

Can I watch the movie? or, I saw it on HBO, does that count?

NO. JUST, NO.

Never judge the book by its movie. — J.W. Eagan

So… WHAT ARE YOU READING??  (Let us know in the comments!)