Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Alison G. Bailey for stopping by today.
Author: Alison G. Bailey
Cover Artist: Murphy Rae Hopkins, Indie Solutions
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Trans*
Every life has a different path full of sharp turns, smooth curves, and steep drop offs.
Hollis Murphy has a plan—college, career, boyfriend, love, marriage, family. A predictable, normal life. She’s on track until an outside force causes her to crash and burn. They call it an accident, because that’s the only word they know to explain what happens to her. It helps everyone move on with their lives, except for Hollis. She holds on to the belief that she’s been targeted for a reason.
Risher Stevenson is intelligent, caring, sweet, and the hottest boy Hollis has ever laid eyes on. He fits perfectly into her original plan for a normal life. Everyone loves him.
Benton Daniels is intelligent, caring, sweet, and the bravest boy Hollis has ever met. He doesn’t fit into her life but gives it purpose and makes it extraordinary. Everyone hates him.
One is bullied. One is tormented. All are judged. How will it STOP?
We are here today to talk about Stop!. What can you tell us about it? Thank you for having me today. Stop! is my newest contemporary fiction novel. It’s a story of not only self-acceptance but the longing to be accepted and loved by others in our lives. The story is told from the point of view of Hollis Murphy, a young girl starting her freshman year in college. She meets the boy of her dreams as well as the boy who will change and give her life purpose.
Tell us more about Hollis, Risher, and Benton? Hollis Murphy is a sweet and smart college freshman who had to deal with a traumatic incident just before her senior year in high school. She’s kept herself fairly hidden away for the past year, opting to be home schooled her senior year. Realizing she has to push out of her comfort zone in order to have any type of future, she goes off to college to start a new life.
Risher Stevenson is the boy most girls strive to have as a boyfriend. He’s got looks, charm, and heart. He also has a secret that helps him understand Hollis better than she realizes. He helps her discover what really makes her beautiful.
Benton Daniels is a young man who seeks to find acceptance from others, especially his parents. He and Hollis have a friendship based on respect, loyalty, and acceptance. In trying to live his life the way it was meant to be, Benton helps Hollis discover the purpose of why she went through so much physical and emotional pain.
What about Stop! makes you the most proud? I’m most proud of the subject matter and the way it’s handled in the book. In all of my books, I try to address subjects in as realistic a way as possible. There are some intense heartbreaking moments in Stop! and the topic is serious. But just like in life, there’s a dose of humor mixed in.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be? Work on crafting a great story, be realistic with your expectations, be unique, be kind, and genuine to others. Oops, that’s really five pieces of advice.
I’ve had so many new writers ask me how they can build their audience quickly. If you want a career in publishing or any business, actually, slow and steady wins the race. You have to put the work in to build a strong foundation and that doesn’t happen overnight.
It all starts with a great story. If you just throw something together and rush to publish it because you’re impatient or you see other authors releasing books every three months, your readers will feel cheated because they have been. If you want people to spend their hard earned money on your book then you should give them the best possible product you can.
What is the nicest thing a reader has said to you in a review, email, in person, or on social media? Readers have been so wonderful to me in their reviews, emails, and in person. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten bad reviews, all authors do. But when I read this question the first thing that popped in my head happened at a signing in New York.
My second book, Past Imperfect, deals with some very serious issues. It did well when released, but there has always been a part of me that’s felt readers shied away from it a little because of the main character Brad.
Brad was a secondary character from Present Perfect and although he was charming and funny, he was also a huge jerk.
At least 95% of readers I meet at signings tell me how much they love Tweet and Noah from my first novel, Present Perfect. If they’ve read Past Imperfect, they tell me how much they liked Brad and Mabry, but still adore Tweet and Noah.
A lady in New York came up to me and told me she read Past Imperfect and how much it touched her soul. She got teary eyed. She hadn’t read Present Perfect (book 1) yet but planned to.
In that moment I felt like Brad and Mabry got their rightful dues.
How do you choose names? If you decide to change a name, do you feel that it alters your perception of the character? Choosing names is hard for me. In my first novel, Present Perfect, the main characters were not difficult to name, but the secondary ones were. I ended up having a Brad, Brittani, Brook, and Beth. I’ve started keeping a list of cool names I come across. Some are reader’s names, some friends share with me, and others I just happen on.
Initially in STOP! Risher had a different name, but whenever I used it for him, it felt wrong. I went to my list and when I got to Risher, it felt right. I ended up using the other name for the character in my next book.
I’m a trust your gut kind of writer, so a lot of time there’s no secret reason why I use a particular name.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list? Right now I’m reading The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons. As far as next on my TBR list…The Bronze Horseman is 850 pages, so I haven’t made any plans for after that. It will probably take me most of the summer to finish. I’m not a fast reader.
Rapid Fire Time
- Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate.
- Australia or England? England.
- Hawaii or Colorado? Colorado.
- Steak or Pizza? Pizza.
- Mini Van or SUV? SUV.
- Harry or Draco? How bad is it to admit that I don’t know who they are?
- Salt or Pepper? Salt.
- Long or Short? Long.
- Pickup Truck or Sedan? Truck.
- Hugs or Kisses? Both.
What are you working on? My next project is tentatively titled My Place.
What is next? In addition to the release of STOP! on June 25, I have a couple of book signings coming up in October.
“Tonight my dad asked me if I was honoring my end of our bargain. That’s code for, are you being the daughter we raised. In my best girlie voice, I said, “Yes, Sir.” I don’t like lying to my parents.” Regret laced his words.
“But if you told them the truth, they’d make you go home.” My heart broke for Benton.
“When I was eleven, I hit puberty. I hated all the changes my body was going through. I didn’t want curves or to have a period. It felt like I was being held down and forced to be this creature.” He paused, taking in a shaky breath. “I used to starve myself, hoping that would slow things down. I thought if I wore a snug sports bra and wrapped duct tape around my chest as tight as I could, I’d be able to keep from developing. But those fucking tits came in anyway. I was getting dressed one day and my chest was hurting. I guess with growing pains. Just putting the sports bra on was painful. I got beyond frustrated because I couldn’t get my chest flat enough. I don’t remember making the decision, I just remember needing to get them off of me. I walked into my parents’ bathroom, took my dad’s straight razor, and started cutting them off.”
Tears caused by my own memory turned into tears for Benton. “My god. That’s how you got the scars on your chest.”
“Yeah,” he whispered.
“I’d push the blade in as deep as I could stand it before switching to the other one. There was so much blood—on my hands, running down my stomach, soaking into the damn skirt they made me wear. Mom walked in and freaked. When Dad heard her cries, he came running in, grabbed my shoulders, and shook me hard. He got in my face and screamed. Calling me deformed and a disgrace. He said people in the church already referred to me as a freak and God was going to send me to Hell. The blood of his child was dripping down his arm and the first thing that concerned him was what other people thought. And I just stood there and let him shake me and say those things to me.”
He gasped for air, trying to hold back a sob.
“Benton, he was probably out of his mind and in shock.” I choked on the words.
“He hates that I was born. I could see it back then and every time he looks at me. There’s nothing but contempt in his eyes. I don’t fit into his box and he doesn’t know what to do with that . . . with me. I’m his flesh and blood. Whether I’m a girl or a boy, should be irrelevant. I’m his child. His child who hates this body I’m forced to live in, so much, that I thought cutting off parts of it was a good option.”
The room filled with sobs from both of us. My instinct was to go over and wrap my arms around him. But I knew he needed to get all of this out, so I stayed in the shadows.
“And here comes the weird part, ladies and gentlemen.” He laughed sarcastically. “I loved him then and I still love him. And if I can love him through all of that, why can’t he love me through all of this?”
A loud gush of air left his lungs along with the pent-up pressure of holding on to those words.
I didn’t give an answer because I didn’t have one. My parents loved me unconditionally before, during, and after my scars. There was nothing I could say to make things better or even give comfort, and Benton knew that. He didn’t want some simplistic, keep-your-chin-up bullshit. He just wanted someone to hear him and not judge him.
About the Author
Alison was born and raised in Charleston, SC. She attended Winthrop University and graduated with a major in Theater. While at school Alison began writing one-act plays, which she later produced. Her debut novel, Present Perfect, landed on Amazon’s Best Seller List and appeared on many “Best Reads of 2013” Book Blogs. The novel won Best Book at the 2014 Indie Romance Convention Awards. Her second novel, Past Imperfect, was published in February of 2014 and appeared on several best books of 2014 lists as well. Her third novel, Presently Perfect, was published in December of 2014. STOP! is her fourth novel.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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