Book Review & Author Interview: Plastic Hearts by Lisa De Jong

Book Review & Author Interview:

Plastic Hearts by Lisa De Jong

16335098

4 Stars!

Alexandra Riley has always obediently lived her life according to her parents’ wishes.  Enrolled in a prestigious school in  NY, Alex is well on the way to pursuing a career in medicine. Her relationship with her childhood friend, Ryan, seems to be going well.  But there is so much more to what Alex wants out of life that nobody knows about.  During her first semester at school she decides to enroll in a class that represents her true passion – Art.  It is in this class where she gets to meet Dane Wright. Dane is sexy and dangerous and from the wrong side of the tracks. They are immediately drawn to each other and a relationship develops.

All her life, Alex has lived in a plastic world. It is a world filled with managed expectations, stature and focus on social standing . Everything in her world is manipulated for the sake of appearance.  Being in love with Dane has given Alex respite from this kind of life. He is genuine and real, and encourages her to be herself.  Dane represents every reality that Alex has never experienced.  He has gone through so much strife in his life that Alex is a breath of fresh air for him. The couple thrives in their own world while Alex is away at school. But when her sister Gwen’s wedding approaches, Alex must decide whether to let Dane into her plastic world at the risk of displeasing her parents.

Plastic Hearts is a story of a young girl’s struggle to exert her identity in a life that has been planned for her since the day she was born.  It is also about a coming of age for two people who must decide who they are and what they want to stand for.  It was heartbreaking to read about Alex’s internal battle against hurting her parents and the possibility of losing their love. As a dutiful child, it took so much of her to go against their wishes and continue her relationship with Dane. The last few pages of the book were especially moving for me because it showed a determination in Alex that she didn’t have when she first embarked on this journey.  I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the next chapter in the life of Dane and Alex.

An Interview with Lisa De Jong

BBB: Congratulations on writing your first book! What inspired you to write Plastic Hearts?

LDJ:  I’ve been a writer since I was young but stopped after college because life got in the way.  I became an obsessive reader a couple years ago and realized how much I missed writing.  I came up with the concept of Alex, a lost girl seeking love and acceptance and sort of built around her.  I will never write a book that doesn’t have a life lesson buried in it and this one was about following your heart and redemption.

BBB:  Did you have real life inspirations for the main characters of your book?

LDJ:  Alex is me in so many ways.  Growing up, I thought the “good” life was one where everyone around me was happy with what I was doing and the choices I made.  As I grew up, I realized I hold the key to my happiness.  This was the life lesson I wanted Alex to learn through the events in Plastic Hearts.

Dane is my perfect man.  I think the best guys are the ones with a balanced mix of good and bad.  I will say that my husband is the sweetest guy ever and I may have gotten a few ideas from him. J

BBB:  Did you know that you were going to be writing a series instead of a standalone book?  What helped to influence your decision to do so?

LDJ: It was always meant to be a two book series.  Plastic Hearts concentrates on Alex’s issues with a glimpse into Dane’s background.  Glass Hearts will concentrate on Dane’s issues with a glimpse into where Alex stands with her unresolved issues from Plastic Hearts.  There’s also the progression of a relationship that I want to show from one book to another; Dane and Alex have a lot more to say.

BBB: What are your favorite qualities about Alex and Dane?

LDJ:  I love Alex’s ability to learn from her mistakes.  It may not happen as quickly as some may like but I really liked that some of these lessons took awhile.  She’s young and I think most of us struggle with some aspect of ourselves when we are young.

I could go on and on about what I love about Dane but more than anything, I like his honesty.  He’s been though so much but he’s able to strip it all away and just be Dane.  To be honest, I love everything about Dane…I may be a little too attached.

BBB:  Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where and when do you write best?

LDJ:  This may sound weird but if I’m writing during the day, I need to do it in a coffee shop with my ear buds in.  At night I can write anywhere but I’m learning the couch is not the best place; I instantly start falling asleep.  I’m most creative in the evening and least creative in the morning, which doesn’t surprise me because I am not a morning person.  I can’t function until I’ve had my morning latte. J

BBB:  What challenges did you face while writing this book?

LDJ:  I started out with an outline for the whole book and it was too constricting.  I would write a scene and then the characters would start leading me in one direction when my outline told me to go in another.  I decided to listen to my characters and ditch the outline.

Also, let me tell you…I’m a prude.  I absolutely hate writing “naked” scenes but I did it with the help of some alcohol.  I’m starting to get a little better but I will forever dread writing them.

BBB:  Any lessons you learned while writing this book? Any message you would like to impart to the readers of your book?

LDJ:  Never give up.  There were many times I wanted to just scrap the whole idea of writing a book but I kept pushing through because I wanted to feel what it was like to accomplish something like this.  I can tell you it feels wonderful and I would do it all over again.

BBB:  Name one of your most recent favorite books and tell us why you loved it.

I find it very hard to read while I’m deep in the writing process but I have been doing some beta reading.  I highly recommend In the Air by Crystal Serowka, which will be released April 7. Why?  I HEART Samson.  He’s the mixture of arrogant and sweet that I love.

My absolute favorite book of all time is The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher.  It twisted my heart in a way that I didn’t know was possible..especially from a book.

BBB:  Any other new projects we can look forward to in 2013?

I’m working on Glass Hearts, which will be out the end of June 2013. I’m also working on a standalone project, which should be out in September of 2013.  I’m not saying much about the standalone at this point but I will tell you that the story hurts my heart to even write.  It’s raw and emotional yet true and realistic.

Thank you so much for having me!

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