When not writing, Peyton is a full time teacher. Inspired by the individual spirits, heartaches, and triumphs of her students, Peyton has developed characters who resemble real world teens dealing with real issues: relationships, jealousy, bullying, and depression. Her newest novel, Sublime Karma, is a contemporary story filled with emotion, depth, wit, and suspense. Sublime Karma was published in the fall of 2016 as an ebook by Soulmate Publishing. The print copy was released in 2017.
When asked if she actually involves her students in her stories, Peyton answered that her stories are completely fictional, but then admitted to an activity in which she does involve them. "One quirky, fun thing I like to do with students who have read my book is develop a dream cast for my characters. That all started when a group of girls were arguing over which actor they thought best fit the character Four in Veronica Roth's novel Divergent. They then turned their efforts to my manuscript. I've since added those dream casts to my website."
When she's not teaching or writing, Peyton enjoys traveling. The Caribbean Islands have become a favorite vacation getaway for Peyton and her husband. "Nothing is better than sitting on a beach, in front of the crystal sea, enveloped in the warmth of the tropical sun with a frosty piña colada and a good book that I just can't put down."
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Sublime Karmaby Peyton GarverPublish: Nov 30, 2016Contemporary Romance Teen & Young Adult
The American Lieutenantby Peyton GarverPublish: Feb 18, 2014Historical Romance
I was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland. After my father served in the army he worked as a civilian for the Department of Defense. Because of his DoD career, we were stationed in different countries in Europe. When I was two my family moved to Orléans, France, from there Italy, and then Germany. I remember Germany most vividly because my brothers and I were old enough to explore on our own. Summers were the best when school was out. We would take the trolly downtown to the pool complex, or the Rat (the Rathskellar). The Rat was the town hall, but it had a restaurant in the basement. We would get a wurst with brochen and spezi. Sometimes my brothers would get a beer. I don't think there was a set drinking age. At the time, my oldest brother was only 13!Since how many years you have been living in Maryland?
When I was twelve we returned to Maryland. In Germany we attended a school for American dependents. It was a transient school where students came and went all the time. Fitting in and making friends was easy. When we moved back to the states, I started back to school in a middle school. There were established cliques, and it was difficult finding my niche. This served as some inspiration for my book Sublime Karma where the MC has to transfer to a new school where she ran into a group of jealous girls.Where is your favorite place to go for a coffee?
My favorite place to go for coffee is Cafe Nola, a quaint yet trendy coffee bar on Patrick Street in Frederick, MD. You may wander how could it be quaint yet trendy. You really need to go there to get the feel of it. It's located in the historic district of Frederick, MD. Interested in checking it out? Catching the vibe? http://www.cafe-nola.com/ They also host music events featuring local and regional bands. Cafe Nola inspired a scene in my book. I've grown to love Frederick, mainly because of the historic district, and that's why I selected Frederick as the setting for my book Sublime Karma.Which is your favorite memory from earning your degree in education at Towson State University?
My favorite memory of earning my degree in education was my student teaching experience. I completed my rotations at a middle school and a high school. This gave me a window into what teens go through and brought back my painful experiences of trying to fit in when I was an adolescent. I was in my final year at Towson State University and nearly switched majors to go into counseling. But, I didn't. I stuck with my education major because of the job market. I had previously attended The University of Maryland Baltimore County campus intending to major in biology, but then in my junior year I changed my major to education and transferred to TSU. The job market outlook for science teachers was promising, so I put all of those science credits I earned at UMBC to good use.How often do you visit The Caribbean Islands? Is the beach an ideal setting for you to write?
I go to the Caribbean every year. My favorite islands are St. Croix and St. Lucia. My husband and I first traveled to the islands on a cruise and thought it would be nice to stay in one place long enough to enjoy it rather than go island hopping. We love the peaceful serenity and the white sand beaches lapped up by the crystal clear sea. Ideal setting to write? Not really. The beach is an ideal setting to read. I devour books on the beach. I can't imagine trading my Kindle for my laptop while I'm lounging in a hammock or on a beach chaise. I always say readers are escape artists, and that's exactly what I like to while at the beach. When I get home? That's another story.How do you come up with the idea for your characters who resemble real world teens dealing with real issues?
As a veteran teacher in a secondary school I'm exposed to real teen issues and adolescent drama every day. I don't need to look far for an idea to spark. But it is important to note that my characters never represent one particular student that I've taught. I just note patterns of behavior, speech, themes, typical situations, and emotions. The characters face the tough issues of jealousy, bullying, isolation, relationships, trust, loss, and depression. Familiar issues that so many teens deal with every day. Coming-of-Age contemporary stories, although fiction, are relatable and often come with life lessons.What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
The YA genre is near and dear to me most likely because I am a teacher and an advisor to teens. My students are an inspiration to me every day. There are so many subgenres for YA literature: fantasy, dystopian, science fiction,adventure, horror, historical fiction, steampunk, paranormal and many more, all of which readers must rely on their imagination and world building of the author. And, there is nothing wrong with that. It’s easy to get absorbed into stories that sweep us away and allow us to escape into a world of imagination. I enjoy reading YA dystopian and science fiction. I loved the Divergent dystopian series, while Ender’s Game is my favorite science fiction. But, with contemporary YA the story is relatable and the issues are real. My book, Sublime Karma, is a coming-of-age story where my characters grow and change because of their real-life experiences.How did you come up with the idea of writing a contemporary story filled with emotion, depth, wit, and suspense, "Sublime Karma?"
Well, Sublime Karma started out with emotion, depth, and wit...and all the drama that comes with being a teen. When my editor said, "This a sweet but placid read." I thought placid? Really? There are a lot of sweet, placid reads out there, so I decided to take it to the next level and bring in the suspense and tension. Sometimes I second guess myself for doing that. By bringing in the element of suspense I feel maybe a lttle focus was taken off of my central theme of teen mental illness and advocating for others. I've come to realize the truth in the age old addage, "You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time." Anyway, looking back at my reviews, it seems that I was able to get my message across and give insight without judgement or glorification of suicide and cutting while also showing how others can advocate even with adding a suspenseful subplot.How much did you research to address real teen issues such as fitting in, cliques, bullying, self harm, and suicide in your book, "Sublime Karma?"
I reasearched the self harm and suicide aspect by interviewing an RN who worked with adolescents at residential hospitals. She is the one who described patterns of suicide and cutting behaviors as well as treatment. She also told me how naloxone is used in an emergency to treat a narcotic overdose. I used that information in a scene where paramedics are treating an attempted suicide by overdose of opioids. I also did a lot of internet research, reading accounts of cutting as an addiction. The teen issues of fitting in, bullying, and cliques was something I had first hand experience with both as a teen and then later as a teacher. The high school food chain hasn't really changed all that much except for maybe the added aspect of cyber bullying, which unfortunately is alive and well.What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing historical romances?
Maybe the hardest thing about writing historical romance is the research of time and setting, then fitting the story to historical events. I was off by a few weeks with one event and was slammed by a reviewer. But, another reviewer commended the research I had done to fit in a scene in which the Allied forces prepared for Operation Overlord. The rehearsal dubbed Operation Tiger was a failed exercise that occured at Slapton Sands, England and and at the time resulted in a huge cover up by our government. Another difficult aspect of writing historical fiction was trying to balance the war scenes with the romance.What sparked the idea for the World War 2 romance between a young American officer and a British girl, "The American Lieutenant?"
The spark for the idea of writing a WW2 romance came when I was looking at old photos of my father that were taken during his years in the army. He was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. My father-in-law also served during WW2. Between them I was fascinated with the stories. I started reading more about Normandy and the preparation for Operation Overlord, code name for D-Day. Much of the preparation for D-Day occured in Wiltshire and the failed event/rehearsal at Slapton Sands. I immersed my self in period books, movies and documentaries. My favorite book that really gave me a feel of the period was National Geographic Eyewtiness to WW2 and My War by Andy Rooney. From there my story of Sophia, the British girl and the American lieutenant blossomed into a wartime romance.How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading and publishing?
I really miss the brick and mortar book stores, as they seem to be fewer. You know, a place where you can pick up a book that catches your attention, read the blurb on the back or the dust jacket? I love the bookstores at the beach and still visit them regularly when we go to the Outer Banks. I once vowed to never get a Kindle as I love to get cozy and hold a 'real' book and turn 'real' pages. But, my husband surprised me with a Paperwhite Kindle for Christmas one year. I have to admit, it's kinda nice to load 10 books on my Kindle and stick it in my handbag when we board a plane to the islands. I think publishers are starting to realize the market is changing. The big house traditional publishers have to think outside the box as so many authors now indie publish or publish via KDP or even with smaller boutique publishers. I self-published The American Lieutenant in 2014 and am lucky my father financed my dream, because I still haven't broken even on that one. But, I so enjoyed writing it and making my characters come to life that I don't regret it, and as far as I know, neither does my father. Though, I wish that I had gone through KDP on that one. But, I was so new to writing and publishing that I kind of made a rash decision to go with AuthorHouse without knowing all of the options. KDP would have been much cheaper and probably would have gotten me more publicity. I entered Sublime Karma, my second book, into a manuscript contest with Lonestar RWA chapter in Houston. There, it won third place in YA manuscript contest and was discovered by a one of the judges who is an acquiring editor with Soul Mate Publishing. She raved to me in an email, "I love, love, love it!" From there I signed a contract and soon Sublime Karma was traditionally published by Soul Mate Publishing, a small publishing company based in New York. Before being published, my manuscript was edited. For me, the editing was the biggest perk to being traditionally published. So many indie books available on Kindle really need to be edited, so much so that it is cringe worthy to the point I DNF them.
Another biggie that comes with the changes in publishing is that it falls more on the author to market the book, and that is probably the hardest part of being an author. The majority of contracts with small publishers are on a profit split agreement. Book reviewers of the past? A dying breed. Book reviewers of the future, seem at the moment to be bloggers whose sites are visited and read by other bloggers (who BTW get their books free from the author in return for an honest review) rather than reaching the average readers. There are, however, some blogs that are reaching high numbers and hopefully that will catch on. Goodreads listopias and bookstagram are other ways that books are discovered. I guess the take away here is that it's really hard to predict how a book will take off. Amazon seems to have huge control. There is this myth about once a book reaches 50 reviews it would magically appear in keyword searches and thus result in more sales. With 77 reviews, I have yet to experience a change in sales for Sublime Karma.
In schools, the media specialists are charged with discovering and purchasing the books. They are actually the ones who have a little bit of unrealized control in the market of YA books. In Maryland if a YA author is lucky enough to get her/his book onto the Blackeyed Susan Reading list, then kudos to that author. They are a shoo in to adolescent readers!How do you ensure that you continue to enjoy writing and that it does not become work or a job?
While I enjoy writing, I am on a bit of a hiatus now until summer. Teaching is a full time job that makes for very little free time, and time is what I need more of to write. I usually get started on something in the summer break and then take advantage of holidays throughout the year. I consider writing a hobby, one that I can continue even after I eventually retire. So, I certainly don't at this point think of it as a job or work.How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
I have several plot ideas that I can't wait to get to. They are all based on secondary characters from Sublime Karma which I would like to turn into a series. I'd also love to write a MG about Trevor the deaf brother of Ari who is a major character in Sublime Karma. I consulted with two high school students in the Deaf Community to get Trevor's character right for Subllime Karma. I even took a beginner sign language class. I'd love to co-write the book about Trevor with someone from the Deaf Community. As a teacher I think it's important that readers can connect and identify with the characters, so they should be able to find books with characters who resemble themselves whether they are deaf, gay, black, white, or if they come from a single parent household, a step family, a traditional or non-traditional family.What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? How has AllAuthor helped you so far and would you recommend this platform to other authors?
I've tried several strategies for marketing. Virtual book tours help with exposure, but on those tours a writer pays a fee to the tour host and then makes their ARC available free to bloggers who agree to write an honest review. Some bloggers will give the author a shout-out post which usually consits of a blurb and exerpt but sometimes some creative post suggested by the blogger (those can be fun and might be something like a character interview, author interview or some other fun post). I've also entered cover contests, which seem to be more of popularity contest than an actual cover contest. Using Hidden Gems Author Services, I was able to get a lot of reviews in a relatively short period of time, their service sends readers the author's ARC in return for an honest review. But, yet again, the author is sending their work out free to readers. What I have found most useful in gaining sales is actually offering my book up for free on Amazon for a few scheduled days and posting that ad on SM. While all of a sudden the 'sales' increase because it is free, it's the few weeks after the freebie is over that I notice my book has increased actual sales. It's kind of like a kick start that lasts for a couple of months.
AllAuthor is a platform that I like to use to make banners and teasers. I'm sure there are services offered by AllAuthor that I under-use. I don't have extra time to figure out how to optimize all the little nuances. I have recommended AllAuthor to other writers and will continue to do so. I suggest AllAuthor to authors in my loop who are new to our group and asking for advice. I do like AllAuthor more than BookBub actually. But, I do wish that AllAuthor had some sort of way to reach readers like BookBub, The Fussy Librarian, and Bargain Booksy. For some reason, even though I have decent reviews from legit reviewers, BookBub hasn't accepted my application to sponsor my ads when I have a sale. Bargain Booksy has scheduled my ads and they are easy to work with.
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