When eighteen-year-old Kara Jones gets into a car accident on the way home from college, she’s left with more than a few bruised ribs, a busted cell phone, and a totaled car. After a slip-up at the hospital, she’s shaken to discover that her family isn’t all it seems. And now her mother’s strange behavior and willingness to do anything to protect her secrets—including pulling Kara out of school—have Kara floundering in the dark.
Enter Derek Miller, a former classmate who’s dealing with family issues of his own. His nerdy charm is too much for Kara to resist, and she’s even more amazed when he agrees to help her dig into her mother’s past. Together they investigate her mother’s old friends and boyfriends, hoping to discover who Kara really is. Instead, they find disturbing connections to the dark history of Kent State University, and an ever expanding maze of mystery surrounding Kara’s birth.
As Kara and Derek chase secrets, she realizes he’s the only person she can trust. But as they get closer to the truth, the disturbing answers reveal a web of evil far darker and further reaching than they’d imagined, leaving Kara to wish she’d never asked the questions in the first place, and to wonder if some secrets are better left untold…
Tell us a little about your writer's journey so far:
I’ve wanted to write since I was in junior high, but finding the right story wasn’t an easy thing. Then I discovered young adult books. It had been a long time since I’d read anything young adult, and the books out now are nothing like the stuff I read when I was a kid.
Of course, I wrote a dystopian first (thank you, Hunger Games). After realizing that was never going to get me published, I moved on. The second book I wrote earned me my very first full request from an agent. But my writing wasn’t where I needed to be yet, and it took a lot of work with a really great critique partner for me to figure out what I was doing wrong.
I wrote a couple Young Adult books, but the competition is pretty fierce out there. I would get full requests only to hear that the agent “liked it, but didn’t love it.” Then New Adult started to take off and I figured I’d try a slightly less flooded market. I finished Collision in July of last year, went through a few rounds with critique partners, then did WriteOnCon. When PitchMas rolled around I entered Collision and was thrilled to get seven requests from agents and editors. I was offered a contract by two small presses, and ultimately chose Etopia Press.
Okay, let's hear your Twitter Pitch! (140 characters or less.)
Ugh! I’m so bad at Twitter pitches. I try, but usually get very little attention. Here is one I tried for this book though:
NA RomMys-When 18yr old Kara learns her dad isn’t her father, she must follow a trail of clues that starts w/a lie & ends w/a madman #pitmad
Not great, right? That’s why queries or contests work better for me! I actually got my contract for Collision after participating in PitchMas.
What inspired you to write this book? How is it a book only you could write?
I had the idea for this book while watching a new TV show a little over a year ago. There was a little boy on the show (a minor character) and I couldn’t stop thinking about how he was handling the whole situation. A light bulb went off in my head and I started toying with the plot for Collision. Of course, I can’t say which show it was, because it might spoil the end of the book.
What's your favorite thing about writing?
I think it’s controlling how the story goes. When I read other people’s books I have expectations for how I want the characters to react or what I want them to do, but it doesn’t usually work out the way I imagined. This way I get to choose what happens and create the people who make those things happen.
What's your least favorite thing?
Rejection. Hearing no over and over again is rough. I know people who have been at this for years and years, and are still trying to get an agent or get published. It’s hard to hold on to your confidence after being told no so often.
Now it's time to brag a little--What do you love most about your book?
I love that it’s different. There are a lot of great new adult books out there. A lot. But most of what’s out right now is romance. I love the age range of the characters in new adult, and I want to see it expand to include more than just romance. My book does have romantic element to it, but the main plot is the mystery behind my main character’s birth father.
Who was your favorite character to write? Why?
I have to say, I love Derek. I like new adult, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve gotten tired of seeing the same male character over and over again. The bad-boy man whore with loads of baggage (usually with several tattoos), who changes in the blink of an eye after he meets the girl he didn’t know he wanted. Nice story, but it’s a stretch and it’s been done. Derek is a nice guy who’s a bit of a nerd, and he’s a gentleman. He has some baggage to overcome (I love characters with baggage!), but overall he’s the guy you want to be friends with AND date.
Okay, now a little about you. (And yes, I stole these questions from In the Actor's Studio with James Lipton.)
What turns you on?
Sense of humor. Funny people make life enjoyable.
What turns you off?
People who let their insecurities rule their lives.
What sound or noise do you love?
Depends on the day. Some days it’s silence, others it’s the sound of my kids laughing.
What sound or noise do you hate?
Fighting children. I have four kids, so when they fight it gets loud.
What profession, other than your own, would you most like to attempt?
I love decorating cakes. When my kids have a birthday I let them choose a theme and spend hours making the cake. If I wasn’t focused on writing I would love to start a business.
Finally, what's the one question you've always wanted to answer in an interview? (And of course, you have to answer it!)
How do you choose the settings of your books?
I love this question because every book I’ve written is set in a different area. Why? Because I’ve moved a lot and I like writing about the places I’ve lived. My husband is in the Air Force, and over the last ten years we’ve lived in: Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, California and Oklahoma. I love to have my characters visit places I’ve actually been, whether it’s a city or hotel or restaurant. Collision is actually set in the Dayton, Ohio area, which is where I spent most of my life. And where my husband and I met.
About the Author
Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She spent most of her life in a small town just north of Dayton, Ohio where she and her husband met at the age of twelve. Since their marriage in 2002, they have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California.
Kate’s love of books and writing has helped her survive countless husbandless nights. She enjoys any post-apocalyptic story – especially if zombies are involved – as long as there is a romantic twist to give the story hope. Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes that can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat, and her love of wine and chocolate is legendary among her friends and family. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children.