book launch,  Books,  interviews,  Wendy Toliver,  writers

Lifted with Wendy Toliver and a giveaway!

Happy Monday! And this is a special Monday because it’s the beginning of my birthday week so I’m sure you’ll all stop right now and join me in a moment of raucous cheer. No? Me neither. Actually like holidays my birthday usually gets me down so I’ll be relying on all you folks to keep spirits up around here.

In order to do that I’m kicking off the week with some fun and I’m very proud to welcome my friend, the super talented young adult writer, Wendy Toliver to ye old blog. I met Wendy many years ago at one of RWA’s national conferences and we instantly hit it off. She has such a generous spirit and bubbly personality that you can’t help but be drawn in. I sure was.

Today Wendy is here to celebrate the launch of her latest release: Lifted just out this month. It’s the story of a good girl gone bad. Here’s the blurb:

Being bad never felt so good.

Poppy Browne never stole anything in her life before moving to Pleasant Acres and meeting Mary Jane and Whitney. But when Poppy walks out of the mall with her two new friends and her first pair of stolen jeans, she’s hooked.

Before long, Poppy is lifting whenever she gets the urge–it’s never about the merchandise, it’s always about the thrill. But when her secret gets out, Poppy’s clique turns on each other. As she watches her life collapse around her, Poppy must decide where her loyalties lie…and how far she’ll go to protect herself.

Hi Wendy. Welcome!
Tell us what made you write about the controversial topic of teenage shoplifting?
I wanted to write about an issue that is familiar to most people. I watched a TV documentary on teenage shoplifting and got to talking to friends and discovered that most everybody has shoplifted at least a pack of gum sometime in his or her life or knows someone who has. Then, to make it extra controversial, I chose a Bible belt town as the setting.

You’ve had a variety of jobs in a short amount of time including acting and even singing telegrams. What brought you to the world of writing?

I’ve always loved writing, and when I was a freelance copy writer, I had an experience in LA that I thought would make a good story so I decided to try my hand at writing fiction. I went about it all wrong (though I did finish the manuscript, which is a good thing) and was glad when someone suggested I join a writing organization like RWA. That was the best thing I could do because it taught me about the industry, gave me ways of meeting new friends with similar interests and goals, and eventually paired me up with my first literary agent.

Why do you enjoy writing young adult?
I really enjoyed that point in my life. Everything is so exciting and the future is wide open. I love that both adults and young adults read it, and there’s something extra special about getting fan mail from teenagers. In general, they’re so enthusiastic and it makes it all worthwhile.

You are the mother of three energetic young boys and whenever we talk it’s usually hands free and all the go. How do you find the time to write? What’s your schedule like?
Ha! Lately it’s been really hard because 2 of my boys are in school but school’s out for summer. Basically I get all my internet correspondence done over breakfast and write a couple of hours in the afternoons when they’re playing outside or resting. If I find they’re not cooperating I can also hire a “mommy’s helper” to keep tabs on them while I have writing time. When I’m on a really tough deadline, though, I am lucky that my mom will fly in to take care of my family. With Lifted’s revisions, I was writing 20 –hours a day and I couldn’t have done that without her help.

What’s next for you?
I’m really not sure! I just sent a sweet middle grade proposal and a paranormal YA proposal to my agent. I’m eager to hear what she thinks!

Thanks so much for being here. Lifted is a fabulous story full of heart and style as all your stories are. I can’t wait for my DD to read it.
Kwana, thank you so much for having me on your blog. And I hope your DD likes it!

Also, if anyone would like a shot at winning a Border’s gift card and other fun prizes, please contact me via my web-site. Write the word “contest” in your message, as well as your name and US mailing address. This contest will go on the entire month of June. Good luck! And of course, we’re giving away a copy of Lifted to one lucky commenter. So comment away or ask a question. Winner will be announced on Wednesday!
You can find Wendy at her website here: 

or follow her on twitter at:



  • deidra

    You know how to conduct an interview, girlfriend! That was great. And happy start to the birthday week! It will be fabulous!

  • Ina in Alaska

    Hey Kwana (& Sheryl K)… I believe I have selected my book for June that I promised to read this month… a nonfiction memoir by Rhoda Janzen called Mennonite in Little Black Dress. Just read the NYT Book Review on it this am… looks like a fun read! xoxo Thanks for getting me back to a book.

    Happy Birthday Week!!! YAY!! xoxoxo

  • Lise Horton

    While I’m not a reader of YA, LIFTED sounds very intriguing – and I am pleased to see that a book on a serious subject like this is “out there”. Hopefully it will reach a girl who may be in the position your protagonist is, Wendy, and help her before she goes “bad”.

    As for you, my Gemini friend, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Kwana! I’m awaiting my celebration next week!

    Here’s to both of us! (And BTW, I had not yet stopped by your brand-spanking new blog and it is quite de-vine!

  • BarG

    Happy Birthday Week to you Kwana–
    I enjoyed the interview; I love learning what influences one to become a writer.
    Let’s hope The Jackster has only good surprises for you this week.

  • pve

    Great interview and I like this story already! Maybe you can let me read your copy and you can count on me to “Lift” you up with some “spirited” gals on your b-day! Celebrate this life!

  • Maria Geraci

    Well first off, Happy Birthday, Kwana! And remember, we are not getting older, we are getting better. Ha!

    Wendy’s book sounds awesome. And I love the trailer that’s on her website:)