Monday, December 24, 2012

Shelle Sumners grows "Grace" a giveaway

Photo by Chia Messina
**Giveaway is now closed**

Today we welcome debut author, Shelle Sumners. Shelle lives and writes in Bucks County, PA. Her debut novel Grace Grows is available in paperback from St. Martin's Press as well as a Random House audio book, Featured Alternate selection for Doubleday, Literary Guild and Rhapsody Book Clubs, is being published internationally! It has a companion soundtrack of phenomenal original songs that appear in the story, written and performed by her husband, singer-songwriter and Broadway actor Lee Morgan.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press we have five copies of Grace Grows to giveaway to some lucky readers anywhere in the US and/or Canada.

You can find Shelle at her website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

First off, tell us about your awesome book, Grace Grows, and what inspired you to write it.
Grace Grows is the story of a very careful, very organized young woman whose entire life is upended by the love of a slightly wild, spontaneous, open-hearted musician.

I dreamed these characters, Grace Barnum and Tyler Wilkie, after spending time in New York clubs with my husband (a musician! go figure) and visiting Bushkill Falls, in the Pocono Mountains. When I say I dreamed Grace and Ty, I mean literally. I woke up at five one morning with their story in my mind and started writing notes.

While I was writing Grace Grows, I thought it would be fun to have real love songs in the story. I asked my husband to collaborate with me, and the wonderful result is the Grace Grows Original Soundtrack. It’s exciting for us that Random House used portions of all the songs in the Grace Grows audio book, and both the audio book and the St. Martin’s Press enhanced e-book (available from Barnes & Noble) feature the entire song “HER”--which I think may be the most beautiful love song ever. You can hear “HER” on my website:

What do you think the key is to a successful chick lit novel? Lots of sexiness? A studly hero? Plenty of angst? (or others)
Yes! LOL

Here’s what makes a book fun for me: I love it when the women become wiser. I like men who are kind, physically and emotionally strong, and driven by their biological imperative/testosterone, but successfully managing it. Of course there needs to be plenty of conflict (angst! Yes!); and I love it when the sex in the story becomes profound communication between the characters.

I need chick lit recommendations. Seriously, I would love it if people would tell me their absolute favorites. I need to catch up. Please email me.

How did you celebrate when you first found out you were being published?
Well, that’s quite a story. Six weeks before my agent took Grace Grows to publishers, I had a stroke. It was a freak kind of stroke that happens to younger adults and even children, caused by an accidentally torn artery in my neck. A blood clot went to my brain, and I was very fortunate to survive. Everything in my life abruptly changed. I lost my job of eight years. My body no longer did what I told it to, so I was in physical therapy. I was anxious and sad.

And then I found out that my book was going to be published. Here’s how I celebrated: I laughed and marveled at the wonder of this good life change. I hugged my husband and daughter. I called my mom. Then I went a little crazy: I ate pizza, watched the 6:30 and 7:00 episodes of That 70s Show, and went to bed late, at 7:30. Woo-hoo! Good times!

Honestly, I’m still celebrating.

If Grace Grows were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
It is actually possible that it will be a movie; people are working to develop it. So I have been thinking about this, and it’s tough because Grace and Ty are so themselves, in my mind. There are two or three actresses I can think of who could be a lovely Grace. In casting Ty, we’d have to find an amazing, beautiful, emotionally open actor who is also a gifted singer and guitar/piano/harmonica player. How hard can that be? Surely there are tons of guys like that!

I have no difficulty, however, casting Dan and Julia in my mind: Christoph Waltz and Julianne Moore would be perfect.

What are two of your favorite things about the holidays?
I make this white-chocolate toffee that is like heroine or crack or erotic fan fiction. You can’t stop partaking. Now I’ve trained my teenage daughter to make it, so I don’t even have to stand over the hot stove to get my yearly fix!

I also love the winter solstice. I love candles and Yule logs, holly, and the stars in a clear, cold sky on that longest night of the year. I love celebrating that the warmth and light of the sun will gradually return now, as the days begin to lengthen.

How do you usually celebrate the holidays? Do you spend time home in an intimate gathering, or do you go out to a fancy party?
Usually it’s festivity with friends and family, but I’m willing to try a fancy party.

What is your favorite holiday themed TV program/movie? (Or holiday episode of a TV series.)
Every year I watch Elf, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Love, Actually. It’s also a holiday tradition in our house that I will start watching It’s a Wonderful Life and absentmindedly get up and drift out of the room, usually somewhere around the time the gym floor opens and people fall into the swimming pool. And then, in the middle of doing whatever else, I realize GAH! I’ve done it again!

I know this is holiday blasphemy, but I just can’t stick with it. I’ve tried and tried. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
For many, many years, my resolution looked like this:

Eat less, exercise every day, and become a size 8.

Now my resolution looks like this:

Love and treasure your body; it’s been through a lot and done a lot for you.
Eat healthily, most of the time.
Exercise some, most days.
Love more.
Be grateful.

Thanks to Shelle for visiting with us and to St. Martin's Press for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win Grace Grows:
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.) 

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: How do you usually celebrate the holidays? Any special traditions?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

5. Follow us on Twitter and/or Pinterest.
6. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends December 30th at midnight EST


susieqlaw said...

sendsusanmail AT gmail DOTCOM

I follow CLC blog, Facebook, and twitter.

Tweeted contest at susieqlaw

Special holiday traditions include Christmas Eve snack supper, church, Dad playing piano with such a gentle touch, and singing Christmas carols.

Kritters Ramblings said...

We always go to my parents house on Christmas day at some point and spend the whole day there.

i follow via gfc
i am a fan on facebook
i follow via twitter

Literary Chanteuse said...

One tradition that I have started with my kids is making a birthday cake for daddy because his birthday is on the 25th. It always has a christmas theme.

-blog follower
-member of CC group on fb
-follower on twitter & pinterest

This book sounds just like my cup of tea!


rhonda said...

Staying in pj's French toast breakfast cookie turkey dinner.twitter follower rhondareads.will tweet

Nova said...

we celebrate the holidays by celebrating on Christmas Eve as a family and then everyone kinda does their own thing on Christmas. We have dinner and whatever desserts we have concocted...and just be happy we are together...
I follow CLC on facebook.
I follow CLC blog by email & GFC.
I follow CLC on pinterest.
Merry Christmas!

bn100 said...

Nice inspiration.

We celebrate with family. No holiday traditions.

I follow the blog.


Preet said...

Wow Shelle! Congratulations on overcoming a stroke and having your first book published!

Christmas Day is also my mother's birthday and so we got all of the family together for lunch/dinner. We're Indian and most of the family is vegetarian, so instead of turkey and ham, we have traditional North Indian dishes and coincidentally my Mom's favorites.


I follow via e-mail, facebook, and twitter, and I tweeted about the contest.

Linda Kish said...

It's just my son, DIL and me. We usually go to her brother's house (he has small kids) to celebrate. This year they went and I stayed home due to a recent surgery. No other traditions. They open their gifts in their room alone on Christmas morning.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Na said...

My family celebrate the holidays by staying in, watching movies and cooking a feast. Always fun :)


pascale said...


First, I LOVE your resolutions. LOVE THEM and will copy them. Beautiful and thoughtful.

I follow this wonderful blog and appreciate the book recommendations.

On special tradition is that every christmas eve we celebrate with our neighbor (who has become family), her daughter and dear friends and their 6 year old daughter. My pareents spend every other year here or in Idaho with my sister. We make a wonderful dinner and enjoy a special evening.

rubynreba said...

Before we opened our gifts today we read the Christmas Story out of the Bible which we always do.

I am a follower on GFC.

Like you on facebook.


Rita Wray said...

We open gifts on Christmas Eve after eating a delicious dinner.

I'm an email follower.


Maureen said...

We go to church, have dinner and then open presents on Christmas Eve.
I follow on GFC - Maureen
I follow on twitter - @MaureenCE
I tweeted:
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Erica said...

Just a day with family. The best!

Follow CLC blog, Facebook, twitter, GCF and by email.

wordywon at gmail dot com

Heather said...

Christmas traditions include Christmas eve snacks, church, opening gifts, Christmas Day church followed by a big Christmas Day dinner.

I tweeted contest at @booksvitalibri

follower of blog, twitter, facebook

goweezie AT aol DOT com

Lauren McCormick said...

My family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas. So our traditions include being together eating for basically the entire month of December!!
I follow the CLC blog on FB and Pinterest.
I share on FB.

Unknown said...

All of the traditions my family had kind of disappeared when my parents divorced, and all of us kids moved away. But my husband made a new one this year: as we put the presents from Santa to our daughter under the tree, he put up some gold tinsel he got, and we told our daughter that Santa put it there. She loved it, so we decided to make it a new tradition :)

I follow the blog
I'm a member of CLC on Facebook
I follow on twitter

Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

I love celebrating with all the wonderful traditions...cookies, Christmas lights, decorating the tree right after Thanksgiving...spending time with family...also love time in the snow over break!

Mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

The interview made me interested in Stelle's first novel. I'd like to be considered for the giveaway. I hope that Stelle's health issues are behind her.

I follow all of the entities mentioned and also sent a Tweet.

My family celebrates Hanukkah by lighting our hanukiah, singing Hebrew and English songs, and eating latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).

rhonda said...

We celebrate. Being together lots of laughs good food.twitter rhondareads email follower

StereoQueenBee said...

1. Please tell us: How do you usually celebrate the holidays? Any special traditions?

With family. That is all that matters to me!

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).

Am already a follower.

3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Facebook - Sabrina-Kate Eryou
Twitter - stereoqueenbee

4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

Am already a member.

5. Follow us on Twitter and/or Pinterest.

Follow on Twitter.

Jeryl M. said...

We celebrate the holidays at home with the family.

I am a subscriber.

I am a Facebook follower.

I am a Twitter follower.

I am a Pinterest follower.

Melissa said...

Thanks to Shelle for chatting with us. She sounds like a very inspiring woman!

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for sharing the book with our winners.

Thanks to everyone for participating and telling us your holiday traditions. Reading this now was a great way to carry over the holidays into the end of the year. chose FIVE numbers from each one assigned to an entry (from all entries with contact info).

Congrats to Pascale, StereoQueenBee, Ingeborg, Chanpreet and Maureen (mce1011)!

Happy New Year!!! Hope you all start the year off with a good book. :)

Sue-Ann said...

Awesome dream- here's to more stunning ones!