Thursday, July 11, 2019

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - The Last Word by Samantha Hastings

Find the tour schedule here.


The Last Word by Samantha Hastings
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 9th 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

Set against the smoky, gaslit allure of Victorian London, this sweetly romantic historical debut is full of humor and stars a whip-smart female heroine ahead of her time.
Where one story ends, another begins.

1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt is shocked when she learns the author of her favorite serialized novel has died before completing the story. Determined to learn how it ends, Lucinda reluctantly enlists the help of her father’s young business partner, Mr. David Randall, to track down the reclusive author’s former whereabouts.

David is a successful young businessman, but is overwhelmed by his workload. He wants to prove himself to his late father, as well as to himself. He doesn’t have the time, nor the interest, for this endeavor, but Lucinda is not the type to take no for an answer.

Their search for the elusive Mrs. Smith and the rightful ending to her novel leads Lucinda and David around the country, but the truths they discover about themselves—and each other—are anything but fictional.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Last Word by debut author Samantha Hastings is a fun yet intellectual romp through Victorian London—the perfect book for book-lovers.

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

1. The opening line should invite the reader into your story. Does your opening line capture the tone of your story? Does it have a hook or something unexpected to grab the reader’s attention? If not, get out a Welcome mat and start working on making that first sentence the best in your book. 

2. Show don’t tell. Telling: summarizes, names emotion, names a sense, and names an action. Showing: dramatizes like a movie scene, uses dialogue, sensory language, and the details to help the reader experience the same feeling. 

3. Make proactive characters. Does your character act or only react? Give your character goals and motivations. Make sure they have plenty of obstacles to use their wits and skills. And remember that failure allows for great character development. 

4. Make your antagonist as interesting as your protagonist. They need to be a worthy foe. You need to know their beliefs, loyalties, traits, and emotions. What are they willing to sacrifice to accomplish their goal? Your antagonist should also show character growth—even if it’s darker growth. 

5. Raise the stakes, both internally and externally for your character. To do this you need to be able to answer these following questions: What is the foundational stone of your character’s belief system? How much can the character withstand before abandoning their beliefs? What sacrifices does your character make for the goal? 

6. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Whether you’re a plotter who uses an outline to create a structure for your story, or a panster who discovers the story while they write it, make sure that you evaluate your overall plotting. Is it too slow in some places? Does it sag in the middle? Is the end satisfying? I highly recommend watching Dan Well’s Youtube videos about story structure. 

7. Does your book have a theme? Use the Rule of Three to find out: if a symbol is used once it’s interesting, twice it’s a pattern, and three times it’s a theme. You can use call backs to previous scenes, echoes, and mirrors to help your reader remember your theme.

8. Take out any dialogue tags that you don’t need. Only use a dialogue tag if the identity of the speaker is unclear. 

9. Variety is the spice of reading. Watch out for words that you use too many times and take them out; replacing them with synonyms or just get rid of them. Vary your sentence lengths (make some shorter and some longer). Change up the structure of your sentences (if you start with a noun at the beginning of every sentence it’s really boring for the reader). Use different paragraph lengths (this will also help keep your reader’s interest). 

10. Read your entire novel—by just reading the first and last line of every chapter. Do you have mini-cliff hangers that keep the reader turning to the next chapter? Are your best sentences in the most effective positions?


Author Bio

Samantha Hastings has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Reading (Berkshire, England), and the University of North Texas. She met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, and chasing her kids. The Last Word is her debut novel.

Tour-wide giveaway

Open to US/CAN