Intermission by Serena Chase Review + Interview + Giveaway

Sixteen-year-old Faith Prescott eagerly awaits the day she will exchange her small Iowa hometown for the bright lights of Broadway, but her success-driven parents want her to pursue a more practical career, labeling “artsy” people—including their daughter—as foolish dreamers worthy of little more than disdain.
When Faith meets nineteen-year-old Noah Spencer she discovers someone who understands her musical theatre dreams . . . because he shares them.
Faith’s mother despises everything about Noah—his age, his upbringing . . . even his religious beliefs—and she grasps at every opportunity to belittle his plans to study theatre and pursue a stage career. When those criticisms shift further toward hostility, resulting in unjust suspicions and baseless accusations, an increasingly fearful stage is set for Faith at home, where severe restrictions and harsh penalties are put in place to remove Noah Spencer from her life.
But Faith has never connected with anyone like she has with Noah, and no matter how tight a stranglehold her mother enforces to keep them apart, Faith will not give him up. Behind the curtain, Faith’s love for Noah continues to grow . . . as does her determination to hold on to her dreams—and him—no matter how high the cost.

Oh my. Oh my. Oh my. This story. It’s more than just a sweet romance. It’s a story of finding God, overcoming impossible odds, breaking away from toxic people, and it’s a coming of age story.
All of which were instigated by one of the most real, passionate, amazing romances I’ve ever read. And believe me, I’ve read a lot of romances. The writing is gorgeous. I loved the unique connections to musical theater and this story broke me yet left me smiling like a crazy person.
I loved how Noah was a MK, because that gave me a lot of things to relate to on his part, and Faith had a passion for something a lot of people thought was unrealistic. I loved how Faith pushed through and stayed loyal to her passion despite the forces working against her.
Guys, the ROMANCE. THE FREAKING ROMANCE. it’s seriously one of the best romances I’ve ever read. It was so real and it’s the exact sort of love I hope to experience someday.
My heart ached for Faith and what she had to go through in this wonderful story. She was ostracized, abused and so much more yet she stayed strong and came out stronger.
This book just felt so freaking real. I felt like I was there, I was Faith, experiencing these awful and wonderful things, falling in love, finding God, and fighting just to breath in a suffocating home situation.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending, guys. Just as I thought everything was going wrong, it all fell into place, in a perfect puzzle to make is masterpiece. It isn’t every day that I read a book for the first time and love every word every character, every moment. But this one–this book–will be a favorite of mine for a long time to come.

CONTENT GUIDE –
sexual – kissing, talk of sex
cussing – none
violence – some abuse, mostly verbal but some physical.
drunkenness – the MC’s sister drinks, and there’s mentions of the MC’s mom’s sister being on drugs.

five

Now don’t stop reading, because below is an EXCLUSIVE interview with the author herself, Serena Chase!

Hi, Serena! Welcome to my blog. Obviously we need to cover our bases first, so: tea or coffee? 
Serena
: Coffee!

What’s your preferred writing snack?
Serena:
Crunchy things. Sometimes sweet crunchy, sometimes salty crunchy. Sometimes… both!

Do you like to listen to music while writing? If so, what music?
Serena:
Yes. I listen to instrumental movie soundtracks when I write. I have a Spotify playlist with over 400 songs, called: Write, You Fool!

What inspired you to write?
Serena:
I can’t really recall a time when I didn’t write something. I used to write songs a lot. Now I joke that I still write songs, only they’re really long songs, and the music is all in the reader’s head!

So you’re on the horizon of releasing INTERMISSION! Can you share a favorite snippet from it? (I know I have a few!)
Serena:
I have so many favorites… how do I pick one? Okay, here’s a little scene from Noah and Faith’s callback audition for a community theatre production of The Sound of Music:

I wait by the ticket booth as Noah sheds his coat and hangs it on a rack. The muffled sound of a piano filters beneath the auditorium door.
Are we late?”
Noah checks his phone, which I could have done instead of asking him. Between dinner with a fellow musical theatre nerd—who happens to be hella cute—and the callback, I guess I’m a little distracted.
We’re still a couple of minutes early,” he says, then tosses me another melty wink as he opens the auditorium door. “Break a leg.”
Right back atcha.”
A triangle of light creeps into the auditorium ahead of us, widening to let us in.
Where is everyone?” I whisper, but my voice must carry—thank you, wonderful acoustics—because the woman sharing the piano bench with Dr. Hitchings turns her head and stands.
Dr. Hitchings rises as well. “Ah, Mr. Spencer. Miss Prescott.” His reddish-white beard crimps the edges of his smile. “Excellent.” His eyes move back and forth between Noah and me as we follow the aisle to the front.
He casts a gaze at the woman I now recognize as the accompanist from the initial tryouts.
She nods. “Yes. Excellent.”
Dr. Hitchings’s grin widens.
Dr. Hitchings.” Noah reaches a hand forward.
The director gives it a firm shake. “Call me Jeremiah.” He offers his hand to me, and I match his grip. “This is my wife, Nancy. She’s taking charge of choreography for the show. Nancy, this young man is Noah Spencer, and this charming young lady is Madeleine Prescott.”
Nancy Hitchings shakes our hands. “Very nice to meet you both.”
Dr. Hitchings hands each of us a music book and directs us to the correct page. “Shall we warm up a bit?”
I glance at Noah before saying, “We did some vocal warm ups on the way here.”
Good, good. But to soothe me, we’ll do few little scales, eh?”
Dr. Hitchings sits down at the piano and guides Noah and me through a series of “La-la-la” and “Do-re-mi” scales.
Good. Now let’s try the song.”
After one time through the duet “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” he sends us to the stage and describes what he has in mind for the basic blocking of the scene and then retreats, taking the center seat in the front row. “Let’s take the scene from the top and lead right into the song.”
Blocking is always awkward. With no costumes, scenery, or props, my character is not as easy to grasp. I close my eyes and inhale, giving myself a moment to find her.
I am Liesl von Trapp. I am innocent, but not quite as innocent as everyone thinks. I am a naïve little flirt longing for my first romance. I am sixteen . . . going on seventeen.
I open my eyes. I can do this.
We read the scene once through, take a few directorial suggestions from Dr. Hitchings, and run it again.
I believe it.” Nancy Hitchings’s comment fills the silence after the last note is struck.
My thoughts exactly.” Her husband stands. “What do you say, Noah? Madeleine? Are you ready to join the cast?”
We exchange a glance. “Don’t you have other callbacks?” I ask.
Done. Political formality.” Dr. Hitchings waves a dismissive hand. “I’d already made my decision. And now I know I was right. But just so you know,” he pauses, giving us a big smile, “if you two were a few years older, you’d be my Maria and my Captain Von Trapp, no contest.”
Surprise is a mild word for the emotion that steals my breath, but Nancy calmly nods, saying, “I agree. Such talent!”
Honestly, if it wasn’t for your work schedule, Noah, I would risk the tarring and feathering and cast you anyway.” Dr. Hitchings winks. “But since your evening availability is limited, and I’m less-than-comfortable with the idea of casting Madeleine opposite a fifty-year-old veterinarian, I hope I can count on the two of you to apply your considerable talents to the roles of Rolf and Liesl. What do you say?”
He had considered me for the lead? The lead? I mean, Noah is amazing. He could absolutely carry the Captain Von Trapp role. But me?
I nod, feeling like my blood is made of glitter and light, and try to sound cool. “I’m in.”
Me, too.” Noah nods, too, grinning. “You bet.”
Not only was I considered for the lead, not only have I been cast in the exact role I auditioned for, but I will also be acting opposite—and kissing! Well, stage-kissing, anyway—Noah Freaking Spencer, the hottest, nicest theatre nerd I know?
Yes, yes, and Y.E.S!
Terrific! I’ll see you both next Tuesday? At 6:30?”
We’ll be here.” Noah answers for both of us. I just nod, absently wondering if I look half as bobble-headed as I feel.
The director dismisses us, and we head out. When Noah suggests a celebratory peppermint mocha, on him, I gladly agree.

That sounds great! Now that INTERMISSION has released, what are you currently working on?
Serena:
I’m participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time this year and my goal is to get 50,000 words written in November. I’m working on the first draft of another fantasy story in the Eyes of E’veria world, this one featuring Veetrish Storyteller Rowlen de Whittier as the protagonist. I’m really excited about it!

Could you share a little bit about your writing process? Plotter and Panster?
Serena:
I’m a pantser who usually has a very vague plan. With this next book, I’m going in with a little more of a plan. Since I need to write quickly to reach that 50,000 words-in-a-month goal, I need to spend less time staring into space, waiting for my characters to tell me what they’re doing, and why.

For those of us who haven’t read your books, could you share a little about them?
Serena:
My first four books are a complete epic fantasy series… with YA-age characters and expansion potential. The Ryn (book 1) and The Remedy (book 2) tell one complete story, and feature Princess Rynnaia E’veri as the lead character. The Seahorse Legacy (book 3) and The Sunken Realm (book 4) feature dual point-of-view characters, Captain Cazien de Pollis (a pirate) and Dirme Erielle de Gladiel (a female knight.) There is a “20 years later” epilogue at the end of The Sunken Realm, but it’s written in a way to leave the door open for stories to be told which happen both before and after the epilogue. I wanted the freedom to either never write another E’veria novel, or write a dozen more.

My new novel, Intermission, is a contemporary YA coming-of-age romance—a total departure in genre, style, and voice from my E’veria series! It will be interesting to see how my established audience responds to it! Of course, I hope they love it.

Thank you for coming! Where can we find you on social media?

I love to connect with readers! Find me by visiting my website and signing up for my newsletter, also, you can “like” my official Facebook page to stay up-to-date on new release news, read my sometimes poignant, but more often chuckle-inducing random observations of life on Twitter, and see pictures of my very adorable dog (and some bookish stuff, too!) on Instagram.

Before we go, here’s the blog tour giveaway!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

What books have you guys read lately that have become an instant favorite? (just add water!)

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