You all know how much I enjoy guest authors mainly when they agree to an interview. It’s a great way of knowing authors better and K. K. Weil is a delightful guest in that aspect. Her answers are witty, thoughtful, and fun. Is there a better way to introduce one’s own work than being an awesome interviewee?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, K. K. You’re a star! And just so you know, I’d love to meet Cleo as well. hehe PLUS, I was named after Elizabeth Taylor because my mom loved the movie… how cool is that?
Now, please help me welcome — K. K. Weil!
What are you currently reading?
Right now, I’m reading Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline. It’s keeping me on the edge of my seat. Great read.
Do you have a favorite author? Who is it?
There are a ton of authors I’d put on that list and every day I think of different ones. A few of my favorites today are Margaret Atwood, who first introduced me to dystopian society, Ayn Rand, who gave me one of my all-time favorite novels, Atlas Shrugged, Amy Harmon, whose writing is just beautiful and Christopher Buckley, because he’s hysterical.
When did you start writing?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I always had a work in progress in a notebook somewhere close by. I recently found one of my earliest stories about kids who were in a sleepaway camp and got into all sorts of trouble. I have many of my old notebooks stuffed in a duffel bag in my basement.
Why do you write?
There are so many things I love about writing. The rush I get from writing a crucial scene is exciting. Creating characters and storylines brings me into another world, where anything I choose can happen. And then there’s the fact that if I didn’t write, I wouldn’t know what to do with all of those stories that bounce around in my head.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
I’d recommend Shatterproof to anyone looking for a real-life love story about two flawed twenty-somethings searching for meaning in their lives. Shatterproof looks at things from a different perspective. Instead of hearing from a victim (or someone who rescues a victim), we’re seeing things from the point of view of a young man who has been a witness to his mother’s abuse his entire life. His conflicted feelings of love and resentment toward his mother aren’t usually portrayed in fiction, but are very real for people who’ve grown up in these households. His only solace is that he can help other women in similar situations, even if he can’t help his mother. Griffin’s terrified of repeating the cycle, which is why he keeps women at an arm’s length, until he meets Frankie. She’s got her own unique take on the world and Griffin’s situation, which makes the book different as well.
If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be? Why? What would you say to them?
I think I’d like to meet Cleopatra. I’ve always been fascinated by anything to do with Ancient Egypt and specifically, her power at the time. I’d love to hear her point of view about her world, her relationships and her death.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Griffin was a character in my first book, At This Stage. I never intended for him to take on the life that he did in that book, but the more I wrote about him, the more I fell in love with him. I decided then that I’d give him his own story and explore what made him tick. There had to be a very good reason that he was as serious and brooding as he was. Something must have happened to someone he loved, not just to him, because he’s the type of guy who’d always put himself second. And who could he possibly love more growing up than his mother? That’s how Shatterproof came alive.
Tell us about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
Debbie Taylor at The Wild Rose Press is my cover artist. I am so grateful for the work she did for me. I knew I wanted the mood of the cover to be somewhat ominous and dark, because I thought that would fit the book well. She captured exactly the tone I was looking for, while the bright NYC buildings make it pop beautifully. I loved it as soon as I saw it.
Who would you cast for the main characters if your book became a movie?
I’d love to see either Liam Hemsworth or Charlie Hunnam play Griffin. For Frankie, I picture someone who can be wide eyed, yet strong at the same time, like Emma Stone. Griffin’s mother would be elegant and beautiful, along the lines of an older Cate Blanchett. And I think Rob Lowe would be perfect for Griffin’s father.
How about an excerpt from your book meant to capture our imagination and make us want to read more?
Sure! This is an excerpt from Frankie’s perspective. She’s about to meet Griffin’s parents for the first time and Griffin has been on edge about it all day.
When Griffin’s father strides out the door, I involuntarily suck in a gasp. Approaching us is possibly the most handsome man I’ve ever seen, especially in his sharp button-down shirt, slacks and designer shoes. He’s almost Griffin’s clone, except as he smiles to say hello, some soft lines surround his mouth and fiery brown eyes. His dark hair has the same slightly reddish tint as Griffin’s but it’s short, with not a single strand out of place. He’s got Griffin’s high cheekbones and deep dimples indenting his cheeks. These two could be twins born a couple of decades apart.
A small guttural sound spurts from Griffin, who practically has smoke coming out his ears, and two things occur to me. One: I cannot be thinking about how beautiful this man is. I have to hate him the way Griffin does, because, for God’s sake, he’s an abusive asshole. And two: even though he has explained it to me, I’m grasping for the first time why Griffin keeps his appearance the way he does. Morally, he is the polar opposite of his father, yet their physical features could make them identical.
“Frankie,” his father says, revealing a smile matched in beauty only by his son’s. “I’m so glad to be meeting you. I’m Evan.” He extends his hand.
Griffin is absorbed by his father’s manicured hand grasping mine. Definitely no tattoos on those knuckles. He releases me and turns to Griffin.
“Hello, my boy,” he says, but doesn’t reach for his hand. Maybe he knows Griffin won’t shake it and doesn’t want to make things awkward. Instead he gives Griffin a playful slap on the back. Griffin straightens.
“Why aren’t you at work?” Griffin snaps at his father. Griffin’s hands quiver and he crams them in his pockets.
“I was.” His father ignores the tone. “But when your mother mentioned you were bringing a date for dinner, I decided to cut our meeting short. Why don’t we go inside? Your mom said everything’s almost ready.” He tries to escort me by placing a hand on my spine. Griffin pulls me away and steps between us to walk.
Dinner should be interesting.
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“You need to grow up, Griffin,” my father spat at me. “Life isn’t perfect. You need to get over it and move on. Your mother can. She’s happy with me and whatever we have between us is our business, not yours. Grow the hell up, and start acting like a man instead of a petulant child.”
Heat shot through my body at lightning speed. “Act like a man—like you?” I shouted. “What should I do, go pick some amazing woman who’s full of life and beat it out of her until she can’t even recognize herself any more, until she can’t even differentiate between love and pain? Is that what a man does, Dad? Is that what I should do?”
My father broke into a smile. An evil, condescending, terrifying smile. “You think you’re so different from me?” He hovered over me. His tone was sinister, as if he was trying to cut through my skin with nothing but his voice. “Get up.” He yanked my arm and pulled me by the elbow into the bathroom. He grabbed the back of my head and forced me to face the mirror. “Look at yourself, Griffin. And look at me. Everything about you comes from me. You may deny it now. You may put yourself on a pedestal, thinking you’re above being human, but just know that the fire inside you, that’s my fire. That passion, it’s mine. And when you have an uncontrollable desire to love, to hurt, to possess a woman, it’s from me. Nothing is yours alone. Even this face.” He snagged my chin between his strong fingers. I tried to yank it away from his grasp, but he held on too tight. “It’s mine. And there’s nothing you can do about it. You can try to mask it in this mess of hair and clothes and tattoos you have going on, but know that every time a woman falls in love with that face, every time she says she can’t resist you because of it, every time she can’t walk away from you…it’s because of me. It’s because you are me. We. Are. The. Same.” He released my chin with a shove and left the bathroom.
Griffin Stone knows the stats. Sons of abusers become abusers. This is his single fear.
After witnessing firsthand his parents’ tumultuous marriage, Griffin worries that he, too, harbors an explosive dark side. Can he escape from his father’s rage-fueled ways or is he destined to become part of the cycle?
Unable to persuade his mother to leave and wrestling with his resentment towards her for staying, Griffin volunteers at Holly’s House, a safe haven for abused women. Through sculpture, Griffin gives these women pieces of themselves they’ve long forgotten. Holly’s House is the only place where Griffin finds peace and purpose.
Until he meets Frankie Moore.
Frankie is an aspiring photographer, finding beauty in things most people miss, including Griffin. Griffin is attracted to her free-spirited, sassy attitude but fears Frankie will trigger the most intense part of him, the one he must keep buried.
Frankie’s got to get her act together. Her anything-goes behavior is leading nowhere fast. She’s hopeful that her latest hobby will be a building block for the future. But when a stranger appears on the other end of her camera, looking as complex as he is handsome, Frankie thinks this might be just the change she needs.
K.K. Weil grew up in Queens, but eventually moved to New York City, the inspiration for many of her stories. Weil, who attended SUNY Albany as an undergrad and NYU as a graduate student, is a former teacher. She now enjoys writing her own dramas and lives near the beach in New Jersey, where she is at work on her next novel.