Many stories I’ve read have main characters who come from either one culture or another, and they often don’t navigate the in-between areas of our multi-ethnic and diverse world. Or if they do, the stories sometimes treat it as the be-all and end-all of the narrative – diversity for the sake of diversity. Where I come from, it was just another aspect of growing up, and this is how The Windfall App by Teresa Richards treats the main character Marina’s background. Her mother is Chinese, her father American, and she’s caught in the middle between both of their expectations. Since I was once a half-Asian teen growing up in the Bay Area just like Marina, I was especially thrilled to read about a main character my long-ago teenage self could identify with.
This is a book that has all the elements of a really fun story. It starts out with some common YA premises: Marina’s at the end of her senior year, trying to get into colleges, win academic competitions, hang out with her best friends and avoid her frenemies. And then it turns into a gripping novel with plenty of mystery and suspense, romance and betrayal, and a close look at the importance of family and friends.
Here's more info about the story:
Marina Berghman is a classical piano prodigy with parents who’ve had her life mapped out since she was in diapers. But their plan leaves no room for her secret love of alternative rock, or Sean, the edgy guitarist who recently moved to town.
When Marina buys a lottery ticket on her eighteenth birthday via the new Windfall app, she expects it to be nothing more than a rite of passage. But she wins – the grand prize of five thousand dollars a day, for life. Suddenly given the means to break free from a life she never felt in control of, she’s quick to cut her family ties and turn her back on everything she knows.
But her lottery win was no lucky break. Her prize comes with strings attached, and Marina soon finds herself at the center of someone else’s life or death game. When she discovers evidence linking her dad to the intrigue, she turns to Sean for help. But he’s harboring secrets of his own.
Now Marina must sort out who to trust and who’s pulling the strings, before her prize turns into a noose.
I’d definitely recommend it to YA fans, young and old alike. A full review of The Windfall App can be found at Bewildering Stories HERE.
Teresa is also doing a Rafflecopter giveaway, and you can win this great prize:
But there isn't much time left to enter - only until the end of day today! So head on over to the link HERE and enter to win.
I also was able to have a quick chat with Teresa about her book and writing in general.
What inspired you to write this book?
I actually got inspired by an ad I heard on the radio for the Connecticut Lucky-For-Life lottery game in which you win a thousand dollars a day for life. I remember thinking, "What if someone won who was really young—would the lottery really shell out a grand a day for the rest of that person's natural life? Or would they *somehow* get out of paying." And the story snowballed from there.
Who would you be if you were a character in your own book (and why)?
Honestly, there is a lot of me in the main character, Marina. I channeled my love of music--all kinds of music--into her. The scenes where she's playing the piano, or thinking about playing the piano, all come directly from my own experience, although I'm nowhere near as good as she is. Also, in another life, I am the bass player in a rock band, so I hold the same secret love of alternative rock that she does. Marina's love of hiking, and of exploring the city of San Francisco, also comes from me, as do the deep feelings she has for her family members by the end of the book.
What's next on the horizon?
I have another YA contemporary book, called Flippin' Skaters, near completion. It's about a girl who reinvents herself by starting a roller skating gymnastics team after a scandalous pictures of her goes viral and destroys her reputation. After that I'll be working on the third book in my Altered Stones series, Daughter of Pearl [Book 1 is Emerald Bound, Book 2 is Topaz Reign].
I read a lot - depending on my writing schedule, I can usually read about a book a day. Some of the books are fantastic and I would love to recommend to everyone - some, not so much. Either way, I thought I would share a few thoughts on what I'm reading at the moment.