Blog Tour Interview: I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

Posted July 17, 2019 by chooseyabooks in blogtour / 0 Comments

Author: Karen Gregory

Today I’m part of the I Hold Your Heart blog tour and have an interview with the author, Karen Gregory. Thank you to Faye for inviting me onto the tour and organising everything, Bloomsbury for providing me with a free eARC of I Hold Your Heart and of course Karen for her time answering my questions.  I’m hoping to have a review up shortly of I Hold Your Heart which is a compelling and thought provoking look at toxic relationships and gas lighting.

Summary:

‘You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Told in both Gemma’s and Aaron’s words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.

And now, onwards with the interview!

1. One of the things I found most compelling about I Hold Your Heart was how it really looked at toxic masculinity and negative relationships- particular the effects of psychological and mental abuse.  How did you go about writing such difficult topics in I Hold Your Heart?

I did a lot of research into emotional abuse and gaslighting, looking at a range of sources online and speaking to people who have gone through some of these issues. I also read some books, and found one by Lundy Bancroft called ‘Why does he do that’ particularly helpful for thinking about the mindset of someone like Aaron. It can obviously be quite upsetting delving into some of these topics, so I am lucky to have a good support network around me. 

 

3. What is your typical writing routine?

I’m not sure I have a typical writing day. I tend to fit it in when I can, depending on whether the children are at school or on  holiday and what working hours I’m doing in my day job (which is part time so that definitely helps!) I do seem to write in quite large bursts and then spend the rest of the time thinking about my story and characters and jotting notes for scenes down if I don’t have clear writing time. That way, if I do find a spare hour I know what I’m doing and can get into things quite quickly. Each book is a little different though, and editing is different to drafting. It’s always really helpful to have a decent stretch of a few hours, especially during structural edits, so I do tend to become a bit of a hermit when I’m on deadline!

 

4. What is the one piece of advice, encouragement or guidance you would wish to give to your teenage self or teenage readers today?

Hold on, because it will get better.

 Hold on, because it will get better.

5. The title hinges on a misunderstood quote from a a poem ; what inspired this particular mishearing 

One of the things Aaron does is pretends he likes things he doesn’t, and so it seemed natural he would misquote things from time to time. I go back and forth about why he does it: on the surface it’s just another element of his manipulation, but I actually think he has no idea who he is, and lacks basic self-awareness. In terms of the poem itself, in the very early stages of planning the book I was looking for love poems and read ‘i carry your heart with me’ by e.e. cummings and straight away the misquote came into my head. I knew it would be perfect for the story and for the title of the book.

6. Following on from the above and a slightly lighter question; what is your favourite misheard quote, e.g lyric, poem, etc

Ah, I have a silly story about this from recently! When I was a young teenager, I loved Madonna’s Immaculate Collection. My original copy is long gone, but I found a CD of it in a charity shop recently for 30p. I was so excited to put it on and discovered I still knew nearly all the words … except when I was younger I thought the line in La Isla Bonita was ‘Your Spanish loverboy’! It is, of course, ‘lullaby’ but I can’t get the misheard version out of my head now!

7. Is there a YA book that inspired you as a teenager to write or that you feel is a particular favourite YA book?

There was very little UKYA around when I was a teenager in the 1990s, so most of what I read was things like Judy Blume and Christopher Pike. ‘Tiger Eyes’ and ‘Forever’ by Judy Blume have definitely stayed with me. Also, a book called ‘Children of the Dust’ by Louise Lawrence, which is set after a nuclear war and was completely terrifying.

Thank you Karen again for answering my questions. Don’t forget to check out the other posts for the blog tour. I Hold Your Heart is out now.

Blog Tour Review: Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Blog Tour Review: Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Review: Today I’m pleased to be reviewing Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt as part of its blog tour. I really enjoyed Harcourt’s Unconventional last year and I think her books keep getting better. Theatrical tells the story of Hope, her mum was an opera singer and Hope grew up around the theatre. She doesn’t want to be on the stage herself, she wants to be the person running everything backstage. Hope gains an internship at a local theatre hosting a prestigious new play with celebrity Tommy Knight in the lead role. I loved this book; I’d been in a bit of a reading rut but this book was just what I needed in order to bring myself back. It was sweet and really pulled me in which hadn’t happened for a while. Hope was a character I was rooting for the […]

Posted July 12, 2018 by chooseyabooks in blogtour, reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Review: I loved Jennifer Mathieu’s UK debut, Moxie, last year so was pleased to see her debut novel, The Truth About Alice being published in the UK. Alice has a lot of rumours circulating about her; starting with how she slept with two guys at a party and send suggestive texts to one of them while he drove leading to a fatal car accident. What was really interesting about this book was in spite of the title, we don’t hear from Alice until the very end. Instead the story is mostly told by third parties; classmates, acquaintances, the car crash survivor. I thought this worked effectively as the story progressed and we not learnt more about Alice and the people telling the story. There were several characters whose stories became more central to this but in a traditional third perspective narrative […]

Posted May 23, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Review: More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Review: I really enjoyed More Than We Can Tell; both Rev and Emma had strong stories and plots and they intertwined well. Emma’s story is timely and a brief look at some of the current problems with sexism within the gaming industry. I found Rev’s story is incredibly poignant as he find his demons coming to the forefront after a letter from his abusive father. Within contemporary YA, there can be some real issues when serious issues and backstories are couple with a romantic plot. In particular, the use of trauma in order to support a romantic story. In More Than We Can Tell, I felt Kemmerer slightly played down the romance plot more than in previous books which I felt was the right decision. There are still, of course, some lovely relationship moments and building but what stood out for […]

Posted May 14, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 1 Comment
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Review: Final 7 by Kerry Drewery

Review: Final 7 by Kerry Drewery

Review: When I first started Cell 7 I wasn’t sure what to expect but quickly realised I was reading something quite intriguing. As the series has developed, I’ve been drawn into the world Drewery has created and was intrigued to see how it would all be closed. There was a slight concern to me that as it feels a little dystopian in the real world right now at times, reading a dystopian book which I naturally expected would in some way be inspired and influenced by what is happening around us could be difficult and potentially change how I read the book and affect my ability to be drawn in or invest in it. There’s nothing worse than something feeling added in and trite. However, while there are a few references to walls (which let’s be honest have been used […]

Posted January 17, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Mini Reviews #7: Some UKYA to start off 2018

Mini Reviews #7: Some UKYA to start off 2018

Review: Flick’s family own one of the most prestigious hotels in London, though Flick is more interested in celebrities and celebrity clients than the hotel itself. Flick felt realistic as a character; surrounded by beautiful history and significance but not seeing this at first. In fact, at first she is unknowingly jeopardising some of this, e.g. the selfie stick saga. What I loved in the book was how as it developed, she began to see and understand more about the hotel and how much work was involved in keeping its reputation. I also loved her friendship with Olly and how much she grew as the book progressed. Overall, I really enjoyed this book; it was fun, funny and sweet. Birchall writes with genuine humour and her characters felt genuine. This book also has a fair bit of series potential and I would […]

Posted January 3, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 3 Comments
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Review: S.T.A.G.S by M. A. Bennett

Review: S.T.A.G.S by M. A. Bennett

Review: Greer McDonald is not finding her new school easy. St Aidan The Great boarding school is one of the oldest and most exclusive schools in the country and as a scholarship student she’s struggled to fit into the privileged, elite world it presents. Then an invitation arrives to spend part of half-term with the most influential, important group in S.T.A.G.S,  the Medievals, and Greer thinks things are looking up. The story however begins with Greer looking back on what led to that weekend and calling herself a murderer. I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this book and I wasn’t sure if the book would 100% be for me. That said, I love the boarding school setting (I have ever since I was young and read Enid Blyton books which completely romanticised it – I’m sure I’m […]

Posted November 8, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews, Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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Review: A Change Is Gonna Come

Review: A Change Is Gonna Come

Review: I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this was probably one of the most anticipated releases of Summer 2017. After the success of their Christmas and home themed anthology, Little Tiger announced a BAME YA anthology of poetry and prose with some of the country’s best YA voices. I’ve read several YA anthologies this year and I really like the format and introduction to new authors as well as more work from authors I already know. Before I talk about the stories themselves, I think it’s worth saying how vitally important it is to for an anthology like this to be published and also how depressing it is that books like this are unusual. Darren Chetty wrote the foreword and he wrote a brilliant essay within The Good Immigrant about children being able to see themselves, or […]

Posted September 4, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Mini Reviews #7: Recent Reads

It’s been a very busy couple of months so I wanted to tell you all about some recent reads with mini reviews. [ book-info] Review: Adam Silvera is an author I had heard a lot of excellent things about so when Simon and Schuster kindly offered me a review copy of History Is All You Left Me, I was excited to read it. History Is All You Left Me is a beautiful contemporary YA told from the perspective of Griffin. Griffin’s ex-boyfriend and first love, Theo, has died in a drowning accident. I thought this was an interesting premise for a YA novel as while I’ve seen books about people losing their current partners, I haven’t seen that many about losing an ex and the complicated feelings that can stir up. And complicated feelings there are, even without Jackson, Theo’s […]

Posted September 3, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 1 Comment
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Review: Here I Stand by Amnesty International

Review: Here I Stand by Amnesty International

Review: How do I review a book like Here I Stand? I think anthologies are underrated first of all. I find YA anthologies particularly compelling and, to my delight, recently there are more and more of them being published. This anthology unites numerous poets, writers and even Chelsea Manning to raise awareness about human rights issues facing young people today. There are some very upsetting stories in there; the first story by John Boyne deals with some really serious issues. I realised as I read that this was not going to necessarily be a light read. Literature matters, it’s important and it has power. If you don’t believe me, look at Harry Potter and consider the way a book about magic and boarding school looks at kindness, cruelty, discrimination and many political issues. Furthermore, it’s fascinating to see how fans […]

Posted June 14, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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