I’m so excited to have Jus Accardo here today, talking about writing and her newest book, The Rules of Survival!
Tell us more about your book—take us beyond the official “book blurb”.
In RoS, Shaun and Kayla are two young people, both from harsh—and very different—backgrounds, trying to find themselves. Yeah, they’re running from the cops, a horde of Bounty Hunters, and a killer, but they’re also running from themselves. At the start of the book, they’re both so sure they know exactly who they are. What they stand for, who they trust, and their place in it all. As they work to solve a mystery, while at the same time trying to stay alive, they also come to realize that maybe they’ve got it all wrong. Maybe nothing is how it seems.
Give us more info about your main characters—who are they?
Kayla Morgan is eighteen. She’s strong and self reliant. She’s lived her entire life on the run because of her mother’s mistakes. She hates it. All she’s ever wanted was a normal life, and that might be possible if she turned herself in…but she feels that would betray all the sacrifices her mother made. She’s never had friends, or anything close to stable, so when she meets Shaun, and is forced to spend several days with him, it’s an entirely new experience for her. One she likes despite the fact that he’s the enemy. This only makes her feel worse because she was raised by a strict set of rules, one of which is trust no one.
Shaun Denver is messed up in his own right. He’s got issues on top of his issues, but he’s determined to put the past in the past and prove to his partner that his faith has not been misplaced. He meets Kayla, and all he sees is a criminal. Never mind that she’s technically never broken the law. He’s very loyal and truly believes in justice.
Sounds like some great tension there!
What scene in your book was the most fun to write, and why?
I’ve got a few faves. One of the top five is the shed scene. Shaun and Kayla crash for the night on a Home Depot lot, inside one of the shed demos. At this point, she’s starting to trust him—a little anyway—and she’s realizing how big a toll being alone this past year has taken. She’s tired and getting sloppy, and she’s shocked to find that what she really wants is someone to talk to. Someone who won’t judge her. Or her mother. This scene is a turning point for her. It was the spark that ended up setting everything she knew and stood for on fire.
Spoiler alert! Some of this scene can be found below.
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I used to rewrite the endings to anything I felt should have gone differently. For example, let’s just say Old Yeller had a long, happy life in my universe. 😉
LOL; that’s awesome! And the perfect reason to start writing…
What do you like best about being a writer?
I get to use my imagination every day. I get to create worlds—and crush them. I have the opportunity to visit so many places in the course of a day, and still be home for dinner. Being a writer allows me to vet my frustrations on paper, and use my happiness to create loving and complex relationships. It literally taps into everything that I am and lets me create something magical.
Or, if you prefer the less sappy version, it’s fun as hell! 😉
Both versions work for me!
What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
Walking away. Weekends, holidays… It’s hard to draw the line between life and work. I’ll say I’m taking a day off, but then I’ll have a few minutes and be like, oh I’m just going to go into the office to jot down this idea… Four hours later…
It’s great to say that about a job though—to enjoy it so much you’re making excuses to do it more, rather than trying to avoid it! (Not that I do the latter myself. Much.)
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
Right now I’m playing with a NA contemp idea, as well as working on edits for the next books in the Darker and Eternal Balance series.
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
Rob Thurman, Kelley Armstrong, Mary Stanton, S.E Hinton, John Saul…. The list is ten miles long!
I hear you! Kelley Armstrong is one of my inspirations too. Plus she lives fairly close to me, so I can stalk see her at events occasionally.
Twice in two years isn’t stalking, surely?
What are you currently reading?
Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon
Please share a favorite scene from your books with our readers.
This bit is from the scene I mentioned earlier.
He shifted until he was leaning sideways against the wall, facing me. “Do you ever just wing it? Wake up in the morning and face the day without a plan?”
I shook my head. “No way.”
“Why?” he said, voice low. He hovered dangerously close, and added, “There’s a lot to be said for spontaneity.”
I swallowed hard and forced myself not to back away—or push forward. There was no denying the attraction, but I wouldn’t allow myself to act on it. “Not in my world.”
He considered it for a moment, then nodded, sitting back in his original position. “Yeah. I guess I can see that.”
I should have left it there and closed my eyes. Drifted to sleep and let the conversation die. But I was starting to realize something about myself. I liked having someone to talk to. It was nice to finally come clean about my life. It didn’t matter if I told Shaun the truth. He wasn’t there to judge me. I wasn’t trying to win him over. We were just two people stuck in a bad situation together. When we got out of it—and we would—I would disappear and never see him again. It might have sounded cold to a normal person, but to me it was sort of freeing. For the first time in my entire life, I had no reason to hide.
Fantastic! Thanks so much, Jus.
Keep reading to find out more about Rules of Survival, including buy links to get your own copy!
JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food.
Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, as well as the Darker Agency series, and the New Adult series, The Eternal Balance. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.
Book Title: Rules of Survival
Author: Jus Accardo
Tagline: If you want to survive, you have to follow the rules
Book Synopsis: Mikayla Morgan is wanted for her mother’s murder. She’s been on the run for almost a year now, avoiding not only the police but the real killer. Tired of running and desperate to clear her name, she breaks one of the most sacred rules: never return to the scene of the crime.
Every bounty hunter on the Eastern Seaboard is after the Morgan girl—but Shaun Denver and his partner snagged her. She’s a piece of work, and Shaun can’t decide if he wants to kiss her or kill her. When things take a sharp turn south, Shaun does the only thing he can think of to keep her close—he handcuffs them together.
As the danger mounts and the killer closes in, the chemistry between them threatens to explode. Shaun and Kayla will need to break all the rules if they hope to get out of this alive.
Twitter: @EPEmbrace Steals and Deals