November 23rd, 2010

The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit presents Caridad Ferrer!

The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is a web ring of YA authors. Check these posts for the latest releases!

This tour is very special to me because it involves a wonderful friend and a fantastic book. fashionista_35 and I became cyber-friends a loooong time ago when we realized our debut novels, both YA novels with music themes, would be published within a month of each other. A few years later, she wrote a book set in drum corps that echoed the story of the opera Carmen. She knew I would be intrigued, and she asked me to read it and make sure the drum corps terminology was clear to someone who had been a fan but never a member.

What I read blew me away. The YA genre is filled with terrific books, fast-paced stories, intriguing plots, hilarious dialogue, but it's not often that you encounter such lush, gorgeous writing, here or anywhere.

When this book hit a rocky patch on the road to publication, I lost all the confidence I'd ever had in the publishing industry. ALL of it.

And when St. Martin's Press chose it for publication, I finally gained some of that confidence back.

So without further ado, I present


A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

Jenn: Why was it important to you to write this book?

Caridad: Because it allowed me to revisit a time and activity that was very important to me during my own teen years. From the ages of fifteen to eighteen, there was nothing more important in my life than drum and bugle corps. It was there I found a place for myself-- where ironically, I forged an independent identity within an activity that's so thoroughly grounded in group dynamics. I was able to travel, to learn more about music than I ever did in any classroom and really, where my storytelling skills began to really develop. Writing STARS is my love letter to drum corps and to the arts in general.

Jenn: Where is this book set, and what does the setting mean to you?

Caridad: See above, re: drum corps. :) In a more physical sense, the book starts and ends in Miami, my original hometown, and probably the last book I'll be writing for a while that's set in Miami. I love being from Miami, but now that I'm in the Pacific Northwest, I'm really looking forward to exploring it as a setting for future books. The rest of the setting, on a bus, traveling throughout the U.S., is important, because it was just such a huge part of being in corps. I would never have seen anywhere near as much of the country if I hadn't been in corps and I got to see it in the best way possible, from the roads and byways. I think that might be where my love of car travel was born. To this day, I love driving places whenever possible.

Jenn: My May release, Endless Summer, is the sequel to The Boys Next Door, and it’s the first sequel I’ve written. How do you feel about sequels and series versus stand-alone novels as a writer, and as a reader?

Caridad: Sequels are iffy things, both as a reader and as a writer. They can be really fabulous and give you an additional chapter into the lives of characters you've grown to love, but an author has to know when it's time to say goodbye. As a writer, I've tended to get twitchy with the idea of a series-- it makes me crazy to think of being restricted to a single world/setting for an unforeseen amount of time, but at the same time, I'm fascinated with the idea of exploring an adult sequel to a couple of my YA novels. (I actually have an outline for an adult sequel for ADIÓS TO MY OLD LIFE-- pity I was never able to get anyone to bite on it. *g*)

Jenn: What good books have you read lately?

Caridad: I'm halfway through MaryAnn in Autumn, by Armistead Maupin and loving it. (There's an example of a series that sank for a bit, but is back on form after a long hiatus. Go figure.) I also just reread C.S. Harris' Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series, since my sister was also reading them for the first time and I wanted to discuss them with her. I love those books so much and I'm so bummed that book six isn't going to come out now until next March when it was originally scheduled for December. I wanna know what happens!

Jenn: When readers tell you they’ve read and loved all your books and they want recommendations for similar books to read now, what do you say?

Caridad: I tell them anything by Jennifer Echols.

Jenn: Come on now.

Caridad: No, seriously, I really do, especially the MTV Books. Also Stephanie Kuehnert's books and Serena Robar's GIVING UP THE V.

Jenn: What’s next for you?

Caridad: WILL WRITE 4 FOOD? Just kidding... sort of. Seriously, though, I just finished an adult manuscript, set in the 1960s, that I'm hoping will start making the submission rounds some time after the new year, and I'm working on a new YA that takes me to some places I haven't really been before. It's got paranormal elements, which is something I never imagined myself doing, and it's also in third person POV, which I haven't attempted in a really long time, so wish me luck!

GOOD LUCK CARIDAD! Okay, everybody, WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE is in stores TODAY and available on Amazon now. The first week of sales is very important for an author's future career, so treat yourself and support Caridad by grabbing a copy! Or two. And keep up with the latest on Caridad at her web site,