I have another awesome author to introduce you to this month. Brandy Woods Snow (I love that name!) writes Contemporary Young Adult fiction, a genre near and dear to my heart, so give her a big welcome in the comments section below and share what you love about reading YA Romance!
Thanks, PJ. I’m always happy to meet new readers! Today, I’d like to share a bit about my latest novel, AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD.
Seventeen-year-old CJ Ainsworth doesn’t drive—not because she can’t, but because she won’t.
She’s been living with the guilt of being the sole survivor of the head-on
collision that claimed her mother’s and sister’s lives. It’s the reason she refuses to get behind the wheel. It’s the reason her father has nearly abandoned her. It’s the reason she’s sent to piddle the summer away at her estranged Memaw’s house in Edisto Beach.
All CJ wants to do is isolate herself and make it to the trial at summer’s end, where she’ll testify against the stranger who couldn’t keep his car in its own lane.
She doesn’t expect to fall for a boy, especially not Jett Ramsey, a hotshot racing champion destined for greatness on the NASCAR circuit.
CJ’s resolve crumbles when she loses a bet that puts her squarely in Jett’s
driver’s seat. While he patiently reintroduces her to driving, they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one silently suffering through a loss.
As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question. CJ can’t be the cause of another car crash, but her heart is broken either way. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive? Or will she throw it in reverse?
Add it to your Want To Read List on Goodreads
I suppose we all “write what we know” to some extent. My author theme, which is prevalent in all my books, is profound brokenness in characters and how they discover their own strength to overcome the challenges and obstacles in their way. And I think we all can understand this to some point. For CJ in AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD, this looked like dealing with survivor’s guilt and then embracing love to find the strength to forgive.
But I also love infusing parts of my own life into my character’s world (which is generally pretty easy since I write contemporary!). In AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD, I wanted to introduce my readers to a place very special to me—a place I’ve been visiting since childhood, a place I consider one of my muses. Edisto Beach, South Carolina. I’m also keen on tossing in a few South Carolina “Easter Eggs” when I write. I love where I’m from, and it’s always been fun for me to lace these things into the narrative.
We see this setting come forth within the first page of AMAIEC (a short moniker for a long title, lol) as CJ’s father drops her off at the open-air farm-style market on the island. This is based on the very real King’s Market on Hwy 174 going into Edisto Beach. It our family’s tradition to stop there on the way in each year and get a few bottles of Blenheim Ginger Ale from the freezer case. This particular soda, bottled in SC, is also featured in the book and is represented by the pink bottle cap on the cover.
The descriptions of the island are on point with the real location—the sandy streets, the marshy tidal flats, the dunes, the Spanish Moss dripping from the trees. It’s all very Low Country SC—even down to that sulphuric, rotten-eggish stench of the swamps. I even had one reviewer tell me that the descriptions of the houses up on stilts reminded her of her own childhood vacations to SC’s grand strand and that made my day! Those summer memories (past and present) are so dear to me, and I loved the fact that my descriptions conjured up her own happy memories. I mean, what’s a better compliment than that?
So, just to give a quick rundown of the other setting elements readers can expect in AMAIEC that are based on real-life: the marina where CJ works and the Shrimp Shack right beside it where Jett works are described just as their real-life counterparts though the store names have been changed. The restaurant Something’s Fishy where Memaw and CJ have the hilarious shrimp-and-grits dinner date is based off one of my favorite Edisto restaurants, McConkey’s Jungle Shack. (And by the way, their fried shrimp is to die for!) And speaking of shrimp, the fact that Jett and his father run a shrimping business is also a direct reflection of real-life Edisto. There are not many vacation spots where you can sit on the beach and still watch the local shrimping boats right off the coast, pulling in their nets with the pelicans circling. On Edisto you can, and then later that day, you can head on over to Edisto Seafood and buy all that fresh, delicious, buttery local shrimp. That’s another one of our traditions! We visit Edisto and eat fresh shrimp all seven days we’re there. It’s magical!
And I hope I convey at least a fraction of the magic of Edisto Beach in the pages of AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD.
Brandy Woods Snow is a Young Adult author, journalist, wife, mama of three, Christian, and proud Southerner. Born and raised in the area of Greenville, South Carolina, she still resides in the rolling foothills of the Upstate region, though she plans to one day retire to the state’s famous Grand Strand. Brandy has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing pursuits have always held her heart, she’s built a career as a journalist and editor. Brandy has more than 19 years’ experience and a strong platform that includes articles and columns published in Delta Sky Magazine, Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly and Home Design & Décor Magazine (Charlotte and Raleigh). Currently, she also works as the Marketing Manager and an Acquisitions Editor for Filles Vertes Publishing.
Her first novel MEANT TO BE BROKEN was published by Filles Vertes Publishing in May 2018, and she has a short story featured in FVP’s LOVE ON MAIN anthology, published February 2020.
When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.
Thanks for hanging out with us and sharing such a great story about the setting in your novel, Brandy. I visited the Outer Banks last year and fell in love with the Carolina Coastline. Your descriptions of Edisto Beach make me want to add it to my travel plans:-)
Okay, readers, feel free to ask questions, add comments, or share what you love about Contemporary YA Romance!
Peace and Blessings,