Blog Tour: Scavenger Hunt + Guest Post + Review: Heaven Should Fall by Rebecca Coleman

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    Heaven Should Fall
    Amazon | GoodReads | BN
    Author: Rebecca Coleman
    Publisher: Harlequin Mira (Sept. 25, 2012)
    Genre: Fiction, Women's Lit, 368 pages
    ISBN-10: 0778313891
    ISBN-13: 978-0778313892

    Alone since her mother's death, Jill Wagner wants to eat, sleep and breathe Cade Olmstead when he bursts upon her life—golden, handsome and ambitious. Even putting college on hold feels like a minor sacrifice when she discovers she's pregnant with Cade's baby. But it won't be the last sacrifice she'll have to make.

    Retreating to the Olmsteads' New England farm seems sensible, if not ideal—they'll regroup and welcome the baby, surrounded by Cade's family. But the remote, ramshackle place already feels crowded. Cade's mother tends to his ailing father, while Cade's pious sister, her bigoted husband and their rowdy sons overrun the house. Only Cade's brother, Elias, a combat veteran with a damaged spirit, gives Jill an ally amidst the chaos, along with a glimpse into his disturbing childhood. But his burden is heavy, and she alone cannot kindle his will to live.

    The tragedy of Elias is like a killing frost, withering Cade in particular, transforming his idealism into bitterness and paranoia. Taking solace in caring for her newborn son, Jill looks up to find her golden boy is gone. In Cade's place is a desperate man willing to endanger them all in the name of vengeance…unless Jill can find a way out.

    When you first start reading Heaven Should Fall, you're somewhere in the future. After that, you're thrown back in time to before Jill gets pregnant and before a traumatic death in the family occurs. Jill Wagner and Cade Olmstead are in college, living their lives as blissfully as they can. Jill has always wanted to meet Cade's family, but Cade thinks that his family is crazy and doesn't want Jill to think that, that is who he is. That where he comes from doesn't shape the man that his is and will become. When Jill becomes pregnant, they decide that the best plan is to stay with Cade's family until they can get back on their feet again. But what starts off as determination to get on their feet as soon as possible turns into months of trials and tribulation at the Olmstead farm. 

    There was a lot that I liked about this book. The characters for one. I felt like they were real. Very put together in a sense. Every character was its own and they stood out in their own ways. Even minor characters that are only mentioned but a few times, had their own little personalities that you can see with just one conversation. I also liked that this book had different POVs. You get to see different POVs and the thoughts behind that. Though I do wish some characters had a little more "me-time" with their POV. One of the things I didn't like, which also ties in with the POVs, is that there were often flashbacks to reminisce about the past or to simply explain something more. I could have done without so many of those.

    If there's one thing that I don't do, is talk about religion or politics. This book, from beginning to end, is religion and politics. Though not in the bible-thumping-maniacs kind of religion and not the Americans-will-kick-your-ass-we-are-the-best kind of  politics. But, even that can be debated. I might not be a fan of discussing these two things or reading about them but, to each their own. 

    I would recommend this book. Love women's lit? Looking for a book to pass the time and lose yourself in a family with issues far worse then your own? Then this book is for you.


    Elias nodded and meandered over. In spite of the cool November breeze he unbuttoned his uniform jacket and folded it into his duffel bag, revealing just a thin sandy-brown T-shirt.
    He turned his face toward the sun, closed his eyes and pulled in a deep breath of air.

    “No dust,” he said. “Nice and cool. Fuck, yeah, it’s good to be home.”

    “Still got five hundred miles to go, bro.”

    “Yeah, but not until tomorrow. This is close enough. No


    What is your advice to other writers on how to effectively write from multiple points of view and still make each character sound genuine?

    I take it as a high compliment when readers tell me I write a very convincing sexual predator. A good teenage boy, too. One of my most triumphant moments, pre-publication, was when my beta readers highly praised a scene in which the protagonist puts on contact lenses for the first time. I've never worn glasses. My vision is 20/20. That "write what you know" stuff? Bugger that.
    One of the trickier aspects of writing a novel that makes use of multiple points of view is distinguishing the voices from one another-- and somehow silencing your own "accent" among every one of them. Ever read a story where each first-person character sounds suspiciously like the same actor wearing a different stick-on mustache? I hate that. Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible was a revelation for me because I could open the book up to any page-- any page-- and know exactly which of the women was speaking. My own challenge, with Heaven Should Fall, was to be a 21-year-old man turned homegrown terrorist. And his girlfriend. And his mom.
    Some of this is ephemeral: an ear for dialogue, a sense that it "sounds right." But other tricks are honest-to-God gadgets in my writer's toolbox. Men use fewer pronouns than do women, and more directional terms: that's what I learned from the "Gender Genie," an online tool for analyzing whether a writing sample is the work of a male or a female, and I have to admit that generalization bears out. Regional speech patterns, now only a search-box away thanks to YouTube, are another good marker. In Heaven Should Fall, two of my point-of-view characters are from rural New Hampshire. Entire days of my writing process went into watching "Regional Dialect Meme" videos on YouTube and researching colloquial slang. Getting these things pitch-perfect, so far as we are able, can't be underestimated. I loved Emma Donoghue's Room, but when her American character jokingly calls her son "slowcoach," my suspension of disbelief dropped me right into the abyss. When have you ever heard an American say "slowcoach"? They don't. (Though they don't say "bugger" either, so I suppose I make an unconvincing American author.)
    The crucial point is to seek variance among the voices. My character Cade is more apt to focus on mechanical details, employ profanity, break into snarky asides and use an adverb at the end of a sentence; his mother Leela peppers her speech with the religious leanings that are never far from her mind, apologizes for herself, and will speak a whopper of a truth in five small words. Each of these qualities distinguishes them from Jill, the protagonist, who carries the burden of the unfolding narrative. None of that is an accident, because outlining in your mind how a character will speak is as important as outlining the story.
    And finally, never lose sight of each character's motivation, because motivation is the last word in informing voice. Every character wants something different, and each speaks from a place of seeking it. Bear that in mind always, and you can be confident that their voices and yours will not sound suspiciously alike. Which is a good thing, since I write a mean sexual predator.


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