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Find Me by Kelly Gunderman
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Can you ever truly love someone who robbed you of everything?
Sixteen-year-old Claire Williams spends most of her days feeling angry and alone. After a car accident took her mother and Claire’s ability to walk, life in a wheelchair is the new normal.
When she’s sent to live with her grandmother, away from school and friends, Claire has a chance for a fresh start. Just when Claire thinks she can handle things, she runs into Todd – the son of the man who caused the car accident.
At first, Claire wants nothing to do with him, but the more time they spend together, the more she hates to admit her feelings. She’s slowly falling in love with Todd.
Now, Claire’s father wants to move and take Claire with him. But she can’t go. Not now when everything is falling into place, and she’s just now finding herself. Claire’s defiant. She won’t leave Greenwood, her new friends, her grandmother, or Todd.
Can Claire find the strength to let her dad go on with his life while leaving her behind to live hers, or will she allow the guilt and shame of surviving the accident pull her back under?
- Tell us about your writing process. Do you aim for a daily word count, page count, or a couple of scenes each day?
When it comes to my writing process, it kind of varies from day to day! Sometimes I try to write at least one or two chapters a day, or 2,000 words. Other days I’m happy if I find the time to write 500 words. I have two daughters who are home with me all the time, so it can be difficult to find a designated time to get writing done. If I’m in the middle of a chapter, though, I refuse to leave it hanging and come back to it later; I don’t want to lose any of the inspiration that I’ve come up with for the part I’m writing, so I will at least complete the rough draft before doing anything else! One thing I always make sure to do, though, is write something every day, even if it’s just a basic chapter outline or character overview. It allows me to stay close with the characters and the plot, so I remain familiar with their personalities.
- What gave you the inspiration for your book (and the series)?
I’ve always wanted to write. Growing up, my mom was an avid reader, and she brought me up to be one, as well. While I always wanted to write, I never really was able to come up with any good ideas for stories, nor did I know which genre I wanted to write for.
After running my book blog, Here’s to Happy Endings, for a few years, I decided that I was ready to start a book. I brainstormed, and decided that I wanted to write a young adult novel about a character with a disability who was able to overcome what life had thrown at her and learn how to forgive and be happy. I also love books with family drama, so I had to incorporate that into Finding Me, as well!
As far as the series goes, I’m still considering how I should tackle the rest of it. Do I want to write another story about Claire, facing more obstacles and potentially getting better? There is a lot of unexplored territory with the relationship between her and Todd; not to mention Claire’s father and that side of her family, as well. I also have pondered writing a story from Claire’s best friend, April’s, point of view, including why she pulled away from Claire. I feel like I have a lot of options available!
- What sort of research did you do for this book?
When I wrote Finding Me, I wanted to be sure that I was able to create an accurate depiction of Claire’s disability, so I did a lot of research involving that, including the possibility that someday, there may be a chance that Claire actually could make at least a partial recovery, allowing her to walk again.
I also had to do some research on prison sentencing (for Todd’s father), and ways to make accommodations for those who have disabilities, such as Claire’s. I really did in-depth research, looking into sites such as the American’s with Disabilities Act website, to really come up with a solid plan for Claire’s character and environment.
- Are you a pantser or a plotter? A bit of both?
I have to say, a bit of both! Sometimes I like to just wing it – for instance, when I wrote Finding Me, I kind of just went with it. I didn’t have any real plotting or plans for the book, no outlines. I just wrote what I thought should happen next. I liked writing that way, and I thought it was a great way to let my creativity flow.
Other manuscripts that I have written (three, actually!), though, I have done a lot of plotting and perfecting before even beginning the story. I wanted to know exactly what was going to happen and when, and how I should arrange events so that I could get the perfect ending that I had in mind. Honestly, both ways work well, although I’m partial to just seeing what happens more than I am to plotting – I like things being open and having the ability to create the story as it comes to mind.
- Do you prefer a certain type of music to listen to when you’re writing, or are you better with silence?
It depends on what I’m working on! When I was working on Finding Me, I listened to a lot of Taylor Swift (my daughter is obsessed with her). I did like the quiet time, too, but that was mostly for editing. When I wrote my second manuscript, I listened to a lot of Silverstein – mostly the album Dead Reflection, because it was a lot darker than Finding Me. For uplifting work, I love listening to uplifting music.
- What book(s) are you reading now?
I just finished The Girl in Red by Christina Henry, and I found it to be one of the best books that I have read in a very long time. I’m currently reading In at the Deep End by Kate Davies, and while it’s not a young adult novel (which is what I typically read), it’s quite funny, and sometimes I like to read something that can really make me laugh out loud. My TBR list is absolutely enormous, and I have a difficult time keeping up with it!
- Just for fun — what TV shows or movies have you really enjoyed (or disliked?) recently?
I binge watched the entirety of Stranger Things 3 on Netflix with my husband on July 4th, and I practically cried when it was over. I absolutely adored it! I also just finished watching the third (and final – so sad) season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones last night, and loved that, as well. As far as movies, I saw Spiderman: Far From Home with my husband in theaters the other day, and I was so impressed! I love anything Marvel related (if you can’t tell!).
About the Author
Kelly Gunderman was born a child of the late eighties in small-town Pennsylvania. A bibliophile in her own right, she is hoping to one day surpass the number of pages she has turned with those she has written of her own accord.
Having recently completed her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Development, Kelly suddenly found herself with a bit more free time than usual, and began her immediately successful foray into blogging and Freelance Writing, which subsequently led to her renewed desire to finally put her ideas and imaginings “on paper.”
Focusing primarily on the Young Adult genre, Kelly has recently finished and her first novel, Finding Me, which is set to be published in early 2019 by Swoon Romance.
She currently resides in her original home town with her husband, their two daughters, and a few cats that constantly challenge the sanity of all with their ill-advised attempts at what can only be assumed to be world domination.