Author J. Hughey stopped by to talk about her book Rhyolite Drifts: Yellowblown™ Book Two. It is a New Adult contemporary romance and was released on May 5, 2015. Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
J Hughey- Rhyolite Drifts is the second book in my Yellowblown™ series in which the Yellowstone caldera erupts, causing a major interruption in the life of Violet Perch, a college sophomore enjoying the perfect semester. In book one, Eruption, she was rooming with her best friend, Mia, and finally hooking up with her freshman crush, Hotness, also known as Boone Ramer, who is everything she ever imagined and more. Then, blammo, a major part of the western U.S. is flattened, volcanic ash starts filtering down all over North American, and school is eventually closed. She and Boone get a few more weeks together in her hometown of Sycamore Springs, Indiana, but, despite his parents discouraging the trip, he realizes he has to go find his family. Violet is understandably bummed out about the separation that she thinks he intends to make permanent. And with the human race possibly facing extinction, it may not be entirely up to him, anyway.
Nancy- Wow! Tell us more!
J Hughey- In Rhyolite Drifts, Mia and her gangster little brother appear on Violet’s doorstep. We get to know them and a whole cast of small town characters as Violet and her family work to survive in a world that is slowly devolving back to one of raw survival. Of course, the gut-churning question that Violet does a great job of hiding from everyone else: will Boone come back? He’s gone silent. She doesn’t know if that is by choice or because communications are so spotty, or if he’s dead…. Should she wait, or should she get on with her life in whatever way she can?
Nancy- Describe the genre of this particular title.
J Hughey- Oh, the genre, the genre. The Yellowblown™ series is an unexpected mix of New Adult contemporary soft-apocalyptic romance. (No zombies.) What do some of those terms mean? New Adult means the main characters are in the college-transitioning-to-adulthood phase, and soft-apocalyptic…well, a reviewer put it very well by saying that despite this global catastrophe the story is not in “shades of never-ending gray.” The characters are still leading interesting lives—and trying to plan for their futures—beneath an umbrella of impending doom. Violet and Boone’s growing romance is a steady thread throughout, but the story involves many people and how they cope—or don’t cope—in these very odd circumstances.
Nancy- Is it the only genre you write in?
J Hughey- I also write historical romance in my Evolution Series – Charlemagne’s Heroes, set in the 800s in Europe. So, a little different than the volcano thing, but I love historicals. It’s still my favorite genre to read.
Nancy- What is your writing routine like?
J Hughey- Most of the time, I write at my kitchen table, or I sit on the front porch when weather permits. In either spot, I have a nice view of our landscaping and the woods—we live in the sticks in Pennsylvania—so I can sort of stare into the greenery and think. I also prefer quiet, quiet, quiet. Any other words in the background, either in music or something on TV, jumbles up my brain. Even instrumental music is too mood-setting for me. Gotta stay in the zone! I’m very musical, but the whole concept of a song list for a particular book or tone is absolutely anathema to me.
Nancy- What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
J Hughey- I am a one-person operation and, like most authors, what I want to do is WRITE, so I really struggle with balancing my productive time with finding the right promotions. I like BTS eMag, so I try to be consistently active with them. I’ll run specials on some email lists like eReader News Today and Fussy Librarian. I’m in the middle of trying a review “service,” and I love visiting blogs like this. I also have my own blog and newsletter. Like most authors, I don’t have the luxury of writing as a full-time job, so sometimes it all just feels overwhelming. At those moments, I try to do a few mundane tasks, then get back to a story, because the writing work gets me out of that nervous-stress frame of mind.
Please Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
1) I take voice lessons and sing classical soprano pieces.
2) I was Franklin County Apple Queen sometime around 1984.
3) My college degree is in geology, hence the volcano books.
What’s next for you?
J Hughey- Right now I have three projects vying for attention in my head. They are Yellowblown™ Book Three, a historical romance that will introduce the next generation of my Evolution Series, and a new concept that has me reading Bullfinch’s mythology book. All of these are in the outlining, character-building stage while I’ve been taking care of some other business with earlier books.
Rhyolite Drifts BOOK BLURB
Abandoned by Hotness.
Held hostage by the Yellowstone eruption, I’m stuck at home instead of loving life at college.
Sanity is restored when my college roommate arrives, but I’m still trapped in my hometown with a bunch of people just trying to survive. Some of them are surprisingly interesting, like the HAM radio opera singer lady. Or the pop star who crushes on me while waiting for an air filter for his tour bus.
Unfortunately there’s also my roommate’s gangster little brother who pushes Grandma to her conservative edge, and the local entrepreneurs determined to capitalize on hard times. They tick me off.
Despite all this I’m determined to find a path to the fabled land of Adulthood even if my heart is broken and all the roads are ash covered.
And where the heck did that Nebraskan cattle rancher go, anyway?
Rhyolite Drifts EXCERPT
Mia hardly stirred until the next morning. I was staring at her when her eyes finally fluttered open. My face made the memory of yesterday’s arrival click immediately into place. “Where’s Tony?” she asked.
“He slept on the couch. I think Sara might move in here so he can have her room.”
Mia blinked at me. “I can sleep on the couch,” she said. She started to sit up as if she had to go there now.
“Naw. Mom doesn’t want to do that. She’s already given up her dining room and the garage, and has her in-laws living here, and says the kitchen looks like a Girl Scout campsite. She’s kind of adamant the living room is going to stay a living room.”
Mia flopped back down on the pillow. “Well, I guess she’s the boss.”
She reached up to touch a Hunger Games poster on the wall above the bed, a throwback to high school I didn’t even notice was there anymore. “Where’s Hotness sleeping these days?”
Past. “He left.”
That crappy tidbit got her to sit up for real, her striking blue eyes pinning me. “When?”
“A few weeks ago. Around your birthday, actually. Why didn’t you text me back?” I definitely did not want to talk about the Nebraskan, even with my best friend.
She looked out the window at the tangled pattern of leafless tree branches not much different than they’d be any other November in spite of the ash drifting above us, high in the atmosphere. The geology department head had called it rhyolite ash because of the mineral makeup.
“My mom stole my phone. She traded it for a dime of crack, which, by the by, is a lot less crack than it used to be.” Mia traced the top of the white headboard with her black polished fingernail. “What do you guys use for money out here?”
“Well, money most of the time, though I don’t know if my dad is getting paid much anymore. Dentists aren’t exactly buying equipment and supplies like crazy. People bring us stuff sometimes ’cuz we have a spring in front of our house with good water.”
“No kidding,” Mia said. “Free water.”
“And my mom bought enough stuff to see us through the end of the world. Wait ’til you see her inventory. It’s like walking through a discount mart. I guess if they can keep paying the electric bill and the mortgage, we’ll be okay.” I tugged at the hem of my pajama pants. “How long were you on the road?”
She shrugged her thin shoulders. “Ten days or so.”
“What was it like? Out there, I mean. I haven’t been any farther than Gardenburg since they closed college.”
She shrugged again, though a pained hardness to her jaw negated the carefree attitude. “It’s weird. Some of the gas stations were out of gas, and you mostly have to show some special card to get diesel. A truck driver gave us a ride to Cincinnati. Then we hitched and walked. You know, did what we had to do.”
I thought she might be about to cry again, but she bottled up. “How did you find a truck driver?”
“Gram tricked us.” At my confused expression, she sighed. “She set it up with a guy from our church, promised we were all going, then said goodbye in the parking lot. I feel like I left her in a concentration camp. She knew what she was doing. Knew I’d be so busy convincing Tony to go I’d leave her behind. I’m never going to speak to that old bitch again.”
I wasn’t sure if she meant this in the angry way or literally, as in ‘I’m never going to see that old bitch to speak to her again.’
“Tony didn’t want to leave Camden?”
“Tony was working his way up the ladder from dealing drugs in the cafeteria at school to getting shot on the street corner. His favorite phrase right now is ‘bust a cap,’ and he’s too dumb to even realize he’s five years behind the lingo. He thinks he’s all that while the older guys, the guys higher on the ladder, laugh at him. I had to get him out of there. Things were getting out of hand.” She frowned. “I didn’t want to leave Gram though.”
“Our land line still works most of the time. You could call her.”
“Maybe. I need to get another cell. Even something old that can still be activated. Or one of those burner phones.”
“Dad might have an old phone lying around.”
She leaned forward to peer in the mug on the nightstand, then picked up the cold, coagulated hot chocolate and gulped it down.
“Hey, you’re probably starving. Let’s go downstairs for breakfast.”
Tony sprawled on the couch in the living room, still wearing the jeans loose enough to show the top of his boxer shorts, with the bottom of each leg caked in mud where they had dragged, presumably picking up dirt from Cincinnati to here. His long, skinny bare feet were propped up on the coffee table. He’d been staring at the blank TV, but now glared at Mia as she sat down next to him. Colossal fake diamonds gleamed dully from each of his lobes, and I wondered why his mom hadn’t stolen them out of his ears.
“You need to wash up and change your clothes,” Mia said.
“Why? Some hot girl be comin’ out the woods?”
“Knock it off. We’re in someone else’s house. Get cleaned up.”
He scowled. “I don’t have any privacy here. Baby sister walked through before the sun was even up,” he said, jerking his chin toward me. “What the hell?”
“Mom’s gonna rearrange things so you have a room,” I said.
“Why was Sara up so early?” Mia asked.
“She has school three days a week,” I said. Mia’s eyes lit up hopefully.
“Forget it,” Tony growled. “This bro not going to a bum-freakin’ hick school.”
Rhyolite Drifts Buy Links….
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Hughey knows what a girl wants. Independence. One or two no-matter-what-happens friends. A smokin’ hot romance. A basic understanding of geological concepts. Huh? Okay, maybe not every girl is into geology, but J. Hughey is, and in the Yellowblown™ series she combines her passion for a timeless love story with her interest in geeky stuff to help Violet Perch get a life, despite an ongoing global catastrophe.
J. Hughey also writes historical romance as Jill Hughey. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two teenage sons and works part-time as a business administrator. For pure enjoyment, she takes voice lessons and performs locally as a classical soprano. You can find more information about Jill Hughey here: