Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Weight of Guilt by Jon Ripslinger @YAwriterRIP - Blog Tour and Guest Post

The Weight of Guilt
by Jon Ripslinger
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Romance
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Release Date: February 24, 2015

Writing Space

I firmly believe a writer needs a writing space to call his own where distractions are minimal, and the writer can focus on the task on hand. The task might be writing that all-important first sentence of a new novel or creating a cliffhanger for the chapter just before the climax, or writing that final sentence that will leave his reader thoroughly satisfied.

For a long time I didn't have a writing space. My wife and I and six kids and my mom lived in a small four-bedroom home with no basement. There was absolutely no place for me to get away. I taught high school English. Every morning I arrived at school early, hurried to my classroom, and scribbled in long hand on yellow legal pads until students straggled into my classroom. After school, I high-tailed it to the typing classroom, which was filled with maybe thirty desks, an electric typewriter squatting on each one, and I typed out my morning's work. Yes, I started writing before computers existed.

But the kids grew up and moved away. The two girls, who bunked together in the same room, moved first, and I immediately grabbed their vacant room for my writing space. It's a corner room with great lighting, a window facing the east, another the south. I now consider it to be the perfect writing space.

A full-sized metal office desk with five drawers faces the west wall. On it sits my iMac and an HP all-in-one Deskjet printer. On the wall above the desk is a four-foot shelf holding thirty-five hardcover and paperback books (I counted them) about the craft of writing fiction. Above the shelf hangs a clock. Other walls support shelves the hold perhaps 100 paperback and hardcover novels that I bought and read before I discovered and Kindle. Two large inspirational posters that I glance at every day hang on the walls. One says: Miracles happen only to people who believe in them. The other: Happy are those who dream dreams and are eager to pay the price to make them happen. The room also holds two small worktables that I pile stuff onto—stuff I can never find when I want it—and three two-drawer filing cabinets.

Sorry, no flowering plants grace the room; but, yes, a picture of my wife, the kids, and me stands on a shelf.

Apart from the furniture, computer, printer, books and posters, here's the vital thing about the room: It's a place where I can escape the real world and disappear into the story world I'm creating at the time. It's a place where I can listen to my fictional characters like John Hawk and Charlotte Cotton in my young adult novel The Weight of Guilt talking to each other in my head, feel their pain or joy, and experience their world through my five senses. A writer needs a place like that. I didn't publish a thing until I occupied that former bedroom. I think if you're going to be a successful author, somewhere, somehow you need to carve out your own space, the sooner the better.

Driving home from a bonfire party, eighteen-year-old John Hawk crashes, killing his girlfriend, Riley. Bullied and tormented at school, and crushed by his guilty conscience, John transfers to a school on the banks of the Mississippi River, where he attracts the eye of the principal’s daughter, Megan. Though he’s reluctant, she convinces him to be her prom date. The morning after prom, Principal Jones reports Megan missing. Four days later, her body is recovered from the river, and John becomes the prime suspect in her death.

Charley Cotton, Megan’s best friend, knows that Megan had a secret, but she doesn’t trust John because of his past. John is desperate to avoid adding to the shame he carries for Riley’s death, though—it’s destroying his life. With Charley’s help, he learns that others in Megan’s life had a motive to keep her quiet. But every effort they make to uncover the truth edges them closer to a desperate murderer with everything to lose.

After Jon retired as a public high school English teacher, he began a career as a young adult author. His credits include eight published YA novels, including Red Adept's The Weight of Guilt. His wife and he live in Davenport, IA, where their six children and their families also live. Jon and Colette are the proud grandparents of twelve granddaughters, a grandson, and three great grandchildren. When not working on the computer, crafting his next YA novel, Jon enjoys playing pool and spending time with his family.

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