Today I am featuring The Girl in Between by Laekan Zea Kemp on my blog. There’s some information about the book, an excerpt and an interview with the author! And there’s a giveaway to win an e-copy of the second book in this series. The first book is free!
Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.
But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.
You can add The Girl in Between to your to-read list on Goodreads
When Roman wakes from a six month coma, the first thing he sees is the girl of his dreams. Except Bryn isn’t confined to the dream-state anymore and neither is he. He’s awake and alive and as the memories of how he and Bryn fell in love come rushing back, so do the memories of why he’s lying in that hospital bed in the first place.
Plagued by guilt, Roman makes a decision that alters both their fates and as Bryn fights for her life in a German hospital, Roman must fight for her forgiveness before it’s too late. Because Roman and Bryn weren’t the only things to wake out of Bryn’s dreams. The shadows seem to be hunting them both and a strange side effect of Roman’s miraculous recovery may be the only means of stopping them. That is, if he can reach Bryn before she slips too deeply into the very dreams that seem to be imposing more and more on their waking lives every day.
You can add The Boy in her Dreams to your to-read list on Goodreads
You can buy The Boy in her Dreams here:
I interviewed the author about The Girl in Between! Read the interview below:
Hi Laekan! Thanks for stopping by Lola’s Reviews to answer some of my questions about your book The Girl in Between. First can you tell us a bit about The Girl in Between?
I started working on this novel in April of last year and, to be honest, I can’t really remember where the original idea came from. It actually started out as a contemporary standalone and since then has evolved into the first of a paranormal romance series. Because my first love is contemporary fiction, this story, despite its paranormal elements, is very much a character-driven story and centers around a girl who, like all of us at some point in our lives, just wants to be normal in spite of her debilitating illness. The Girl In Between is a coming-of-age story, a love story, and most importantly a story about recognizing your own intuition and following it no matter what.
I like character driven stories, so that’s definitely a plus! Where does the story in the Girl in Between take place? Can you tell us a bit about the setting?
The setting of this story was actually one of my favorite things about it and one of the only major elements to survive the story’s transition from contemporary novel to paranormal romance. During Bryn’s sleep episodes she exists in an alternate reality made up of her memories and its these picturesque landscapes of her childhood—her grandparents farmhouse and field of sunflowers, the beach where she spent her summers, the old tree house she played in as a kid, the drive-in movie theatre she used to go to with her mother and uncle—that overlap and evolve, creating this really beautiful and safe place for her.
Sounds like a nice place indeed, I am looking forward to rea dhow you describe those settings in the book. The Girl in Between is a fairytale retelling, what about this genre that appeals to you?
The story is actually not a fairy-tale retelling. A lot of people have jumped to that assumption just because I refer to Bryn as a “real-life sleeping beauty” in the blurb. But Klein-Levin Syndrome, which is the illness Bryn suffers from, is often referred to as Sleeping Beauty Syndrome so although there are obvious similarities, the story actually doesn’t follow Charles Perrault’s version or even the one by The Brothers Grimm. People might find the ending somewhat reminiscent of the original version but the other elements of the story—Bryn’s illness, the boy’s memory loss and the mystery of finding out his identify—hopefully give the story a freshness and originality.
Hmm guess goodreads genre categorization isn’t always correct, sorry for the mistake! And I am happy you cleared that up as I am not a big fan of fairytale retellings, but I do like the sound of your book. How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Names are always a really fun part of the writing process for me but I actually write an entire first draft without any. I often use placeholders for all kinds of things and unless I’ve already got a great idea for a character’s name, I’ll usually leave it for a later draft just so I don’t waste all day on the internet researching origins and pronunciations. When it finally came time to choose Bryn’s name the idea just hit me while listening to Vampire Weekend’s song of the same name. It’s just such a dreamy song but it’s also really high-energy and I just thought, whoever Ezra Koenig is writing about, that’s who I want this girl to be.
How interesting you actually write a first draft without names, that must be weird! What is your latest release and could you describe it in two sentences?
The Boy In Her Dreams, the sequel to The Girl In Between, just came out on October 31st. It’s a continuation of the story, picking up right where the first book left off, but in this novel we get to spend some more time with Bryn’s love interest, following him not only as he reenters the real world but also as he faces the demons he left behind there.
Sounds like a great way to write a sequel abotu the love interest! Okay and now for the last question, can you tell us something about the book you’re currently working on?
I am in the midst of editing the fifth draft for the third book in The Girl In Between series, which is action-packed and full of so many surprises. I’m hoping to release it at the end of the year.
Thanks for stopping by and answering my questions! It was fun talking to you 🙂
Excerpt from The Girl in Between:
“Can I show you something?” she asked.
I wasn’t sure if I should follow her or even if I could but I didn’t want her to let go of me. I didn’t want her to disappear again and leave me there alone, still lost. So I nodded.
We swam to the end of the dock and she untied the small rowboat. She climbed in first, reaching for the oars and holding it steady as I sat down across from her. I watched the house recede. My eyes trailed back to the road, still waiting for someone to come down it. They didn’t.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
I searched the horizon but it was empty. No land. No boats. It felt like we were headed straight for the skyline, about to fall off into nothing. The waves grew choppy and I wanted to take the oars from her but I didn’t know where we were going and for some reason I liked listening to the slow rhythm of her breathing as she fought the waves.
The boat finally grinded to a stop and when I looked over the edge the water was so clear I could see tiny creatures bedding in the sand, their thin shadows eclipsed by the girl as she climbed onto the sandbar.
“I went to the Bahamas once when I was thirteen,” she said. “The water was so blue. I strapped on a snorkel and spent the entire week just walking from sandbar to sandbar, face underwater watching the fish swim by.”
I followed her out of the boat and a school of bright yellow fish cut between us, scales glinting.
“This?” I said.
She smiled and walked around to the other side of the boat. The water was a dark grey, my legs tangled in a mess of rust colored seaweed. I could barely see my feet, their shadows disappearing beneath swirls of mud.
“This is the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston. I tagged along on one of my mom’s work trips. It was just a few weeks after Hurricane Ike.”
I stared at the muddled outline where the two oceans converged—one light, one dark. I waited for them to mix, for that invisible seam to break free but it didn’t.
We waded farther out into the clear water, another school of fish bumping against my calf, bright red coral twisting near my ankles. It was startling.
“I used to come here,” she said. “When I first got sick I would stand here and it wouldn’t feel like purgatory anymore. They’re memories.” She faced the beach. “My memories.” Then she looked at me. “I don’t know why you’re here or if you’re—”
“Real?” I asked.
She nodded and I wasn’t so sure anymore either.
“But you don’t have to be afraid,” she said. “It doesn’t have to feel like purgatory.”
I watched the sunlight reflecting off the ocean and dancing against her skin. Her eyes were lighter in the sun; green churning to a soft sea foam like the waves crashing near our feet. And standing there in that invisible seam between two oceans, two worlds, she was just as startling.
The tide swirled in her gaze and I watched it shimmer there, glinting from a soft grey to jade and then I said, “It doesn’t.”
About the author:
Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn’t Bury, Orphans of Paradise, Breathing Ghosts, and the Young Adult novel The Girl In Between, which is the first in an upcoming paranormal romance series.