Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blog Tour w/ Review, Interview & Giveaway: If Forever Comes (Take This Regret #2) by A.L. Jackson


If Forever Comes, the final chapter in the New York Times Bestselling Regret Series (Lost to You and Take This Regret).

Christian Davison’s life is complete. With a ring on Elizabeth’s finger and his daughter at his side, he’s ready to run headlong into their future.

Elizabeth Ayers never believed she would again find this kind of joy—the joy of a family and the wholeness found in the touch of the man she’s always loved.

Their love is intense and their passion only grows as they set out to rediscover each other.

But life is never easy.

Rocked by the unforeseen, Christian and Elizabeth will find themselves fighting for the one thing they hold most important—family.

Buy Links:

Amazon , Barnes & Noble

Author Bio:

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Pulled and When We Collide.

She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

Social Media Links:

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No matter the characters or subject matter, reading a book by A.L. Jackson is guaranteed to be a memorable and thought-provoking experience. A.L. Jackson is a powerful storyteller capable of inducing moments of both incredible happiness and heartache with just a few powerful words. Hers are the type of books that come to mind when I hear the phrase "book hangover" because, by the end of her books, I feel like my heart has been barely been pieced back together after shattering into dozens of tiny pieces. A.L. Jackson’s Take This Regret series particularly resonated with me because, over the course of the series, the two protagonists share moments of perfection, devastation, and everything in between. With If Forever Comes, Christian and Elizabeth’s story comes to an end – a concept that is simultaneously bittersweet and a relief.

Following the epic and tumultuous love story of Christian and Elizabeth through three novels has been an incredibly emotional journey. I approached If Forever Comes with a good amount of trepidation, worrying about the new obstacles that would be placed in their path. Christian and Elizabeth have already gone through hell together and it killed me to think that they would experience another second of unhappiness, yet from the very beginning of the book, I knew that this would be a challenging read. I was on edge for the majority of the narrative, swept up in the moments of intense passion between Christian and Elizabeth while being kept in suspense regarding an unknown tragedy.
The narrative flits back and forth between the past and the present, which further prolongs the suspense. With each passing chapter, I grew more disbelieving, having trouble connecting the dots of the mysterious circumstances surrounding Christian and Elizabeth’s relationship. Immense joy and contentment versus misery and despair; a jarring contrast between light and dark; each transition from one extreme to the other is an unexpected jolt of awareness. From chapter to chapter, the past and the present bleed into each other, until I was consumed by the despair pouring from these two characters.  
As much as I love this series and was sad to see it end, I was beyond grateful for some resolution between Christian an Elizabeth. The highs and lows of all three books evoked a vast array of emotions, both good and bad, but finishing If Forever Comes is worth all the heartache and uncertainty that came before. Remaining dry-eyed while reading the book wasn't an easy feat, and I will readily admit to shedding a few tears while reading the epilogue. I couldn't have imagined a better ending for Christian and Elizabeth, which I appreciated all the more for having experienced this journey alongside them.

Rating: 5 Stars

Author Interview:

1. When you published Take this Regret, did you plan on writing a prequel and sequel?

Nope! I had always planned on Take This Regret being a stand-alone book.

If not, what made you go back to write the beginning of the story?
What made you decide to write a follow-up novel?

For both it was my readers! I’d always imagined Christian and Elizabeth’s story was complete in Take This Regret. But I received so many messages asking me to tell the story of how Christian and Elizabeth first fell in love and many more telling me Christian, Elizabeth, and Lizzie flying away at the end of Take This Regret just wasn’t enough, that I decided I would fill in the rest of their story. And man, am I thankful I did. I’ve gotten to know these characters so much more deeply by writing the additional two books, and I hope those who love Christian and Elizabeth have gotten to know them better, too!

2. Where did you get the inspiration to write this series?

Well, Christian just showed up in my head one day. I saw his face and I knew exactly what he did. Yep, the bastard abandoned his family. And I saw his eyes and I knew he regretted every day of it. It didn’t take me long to get the plot on paper.

3. How do you prepare yourself to write emotional scenes?

It depends on just how emotional the scenes are. Sometimes I read other novels just to get me in the “fictional” mindset. I do find myself actually asking out loud, what is Christian feeling right now? Or how would Elizabeth handle this? I always want to stay true to their characters, even when the scenes are difficult to write.

4. What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?

I faced some very significant challenges when writing If Forever Comes. My initial plan had been to write it in real time and a whole lot fluffier. I got close to being finished and just knew it didn’t feel right. I wasn’t staying true to characters. Christian and Elizabeth’s story has always been one that is bittersweet, and in my gut, I knew things wouldn’t be so easy for them. So I scraped most of it and started over. I do hope If Forever Comes goes down as the most difficult book I’ve ever written, because I don’t think I could ever go through that again ;)

5. The titles of your books are as powerful as the stories themselves. How do you come up with them?

Awww, thank you!! I love that! I prefer to name my books after I’ve started writing them, because I like to get the “feel” of the book. I want the title to really encompass whatever that feeling might be. Usually I pick up on a theme of a book as I get going, and the title typically turns out to be a twist of whatever that theme is.

6. How much of yourself and your real-life experiences do you put into your books?
I’ve never written an entire book based on any one event in my life, but I definitely do pick up bits of experiences I’ve had in my life. I was a young mother myself, so that’s a fear and a joy and a difficulty that I can relate really well to, which is one of the reasons you’ll find young mothers in so many of my stories.

7. How much does the story change from the planning stages, to the first draft, to the edits?

LOL…in If Forever Comes…a ton changed!!!! It turned out nothing like I’d initially planned it to. In general my stories do change somewhat during writing, but I do like to plot before I begin writing so I at least know the general direction my story is going to go.

8. Which authors inspire you as a writer?

One of my biggest inspirations in writing has been Janet Fitch, the author of White Oleander. Even though we don’t write in similar genres, I have a very unique writing style that a lot of people told me I could never use in mainstream publishing, and Janet helped me realize I didn’t have to fit myself into a box of what is typically expected of a romance writer.

9. I saw recently on facebook that you were catching up on reading during vacation (not stalking or anything…). What were some must-read books you had on your e-reader?

Oh, has it been amazing!! I’ve spent so much time reading (and bingeing on Sons of Anarchy). I finally got to finish both Collide and Pulse by Gail McHugh (AHHHMAZING), and I’m currently reading Real by Katy Evans which is just outstanding! Next up is Madeline Sheehan. Can’t even wait to get into them!

10. If a reader has never read any of your books, what book would you recommend they start with and why?

I would say begin with either Take This Regret or Lost To You. I think they give you a real feel of my style. Of course, Come To Me Quietly is my favorite of anything I’ve written, but y’all can’t have that until January 7, 2014 ;)

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