Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review and Excerpt: FOLLOW ME BACK by A. Meredith Walters + Interview and Giveaway!

Synopsis: 


Aubrey Duncan has loved…and lost. Should she follow a heart that’s betrayed her or a head that tells her to let go?

Maxx Demelo’s addiction almost destroyed him. It ruined his life and, most importantly, his relationship with the only girl he ever loved.

He has vowed to become the man Aubrey Duncan deserves. Even if he has to tear himself apart to do it. So he enters rehab, trying to fix the parts of him that are shattered as he longs to be healthy and whole.

Aubrey lost everything because she chose to listen to her heart. Now she has sworn to put herself first, to heal in the only way that she can…far away from Maxx and his demons.

But just as Aubrey is starting over, Maxx is released from rehab and thrust back into her world, determined to prove how much they still need each other. And the chaos that had defined them threatens to unleash once again…

But a heart, no matter how broken, is impossible to ignore.

 
I drove through town until I parked down the street from a particular brick building I knew all too well, though I had only been inside once. I made sure to position my car behind a tree so I wasn't immediately visible. It wasn't that late, but I noticed that the lights in the apartment on the third floor was out.

Feeling brave, I grabbed the chalk and walked down the street and stopped in front of the steps that led inside. Dropping to my knees I dumped out the chalk and grabbed the color I needed and started making long, harsh strokes. It was hard to see, not the best environment to draw. But I didn't need to see what I was doing. My hands didn't need light to know what they were creating.

I didn't know how long I was out there. It could have been hours or it could have been only minutes. People walked by, some stopped to watch me, others asking what I was doing. I ignored them.

When I was finished, I sat back on my haunches and squinted in the darkness at the final product. It was hard to see, but what I could make out, i was pleased with. My knees ached from kneeling on the hard concrete; my hands covered in chalk dust. It was caked under my nails. My jeans were streaked with it.

I gathered the chalk that i had left and put it back into the container. It wasn't my normal medium, but I had to admit that it was easier to work with. I just hoped it didn't rain before morning. I took on e final look up at the darkened apartment and wondered if she would understand what I was trying to say.

Who was I kidding? She had always understood me better than I understood myself.

The picture wasn't much. But in this crazy, fucked up world I found myself in, it was the only way I could get her to see me. And right now that was something. 



*spoilers for Lead Me Not*

At the end of Lead Me Not I was left devastated. Maxx had hit rock bottom and had started using heroine. Aubrey almost had him die on top of her after she finds him wasting away on the bathroom floor in Compulsion.  
It was really a tough situation to be in for both of them. This was in more ways that one Maxx's wake up call, he had almost died that night in Compulsion. Aubrey had finally seen unfiltered the extent and severity of Maxx's addiction. She was faced with having to make a decision, and she chose to walk away from Maxx and hoped that he got himself some help. 

Lead Me Not was the free fall into the downward spiral, Maxx's addiction taking over his life and Aubrey was trying to cover the sun with one finger believing that Maxx had his habit under control.
Follow Me Back on the other hand is the road to redemption.

Maxx has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to win Aubrey back. Aubrey still loves Maxx, but seeing him almost lose his life to the drugs and the constant deceit might have been to much. Aubrey is not willing to live through the devastation that drugs usually bring with them. She has had time to think about her major and the reasons she was studying to be a counselor, and she started to question that decision, thinking that maybe she was going
on about it all wrong. 

Both Aubrey and Renee have chosen to move on and try to start a new life without the toxicity of the relationships they were in. While Devon doesn't seem to have changed, Maxx has been working the past few weeks in trying to beat the need for drugs, and is ready to leave rehab, as soon as the 30 days are up to go out and look for Aubrey and try to win her back. 

Aubrey told Maxx right before she left him and joined rehab, that she was in love with him. Maxx went into rehab because of her, mainly because he didn't want to lose her, and is willing to work hard to show Audrey that things have changed and that he is willing to work hard at proving himself to her. 

Aubrey had her heart ripped out of her chest and stomped on when Maxx od'd on heroine that night. When he comes back trusting him again won't be easy, and Maxx will have to accept that he was such a let down that Aubrey has had to keep on living her life as if she wasn't coming back.

Will Maxx change enough that Aubrey will consider giving him another chance? Is Maxx really done with Compulsion and the drugs? Will he be strong enough to decline the easy money to be made and continue to pull through?

Follow Me Back, like Lead Me not, had me on the edge of my seat, but this time was while watching Aubrey and Maxx piece together their life while they are not together. I didn't know how things would turn out until the very end, at one point I had only a few pages left, and everything seemed to indicate Maxx would give into temptation. I didn't have enough pages for it to be the case and be forgiven, I had a mini panic attack at that point!!

I'm going to let you find out if Aubrey ends up forgiving Maxx though :P Again it was a tough journey to go on, the pain for both Aubrey and Maxx was something that needed to be felt for it to be understood. 

Raw, compelling and emotional conclusion to Maxx's and Aubrey's story.

As always thank you Gallery for the review copy. You can purchase Follow Me Back from these retailers:


1. You have a background as a counselor. Do you feel that having worked as one, has helped you develop your characters? Not so much as in creating them based on someone, but as in being able to understand them better?
Absolutely. My clients and their families have inspired me in so many ways. So many of my characters were inspired by the people I've had the privilege to work with over the years. I like to think that my time working in the social work/mental health field has given me a greater insight into what makes people tick. 
2. Maxx Demelo was, for me, a very interesting character. What was it like for you to be in the mind of an addict while you wrote his story? I, as a reader,  found his struggles really hard to take, almost overwhelming at times in how devastating the whole thing was, so it makes me wonder how hard it was for you to write. 
It was tough. Really tough. He's so dark so much of the time. The scene where he is in withdrawal was really hard for me to write. But at the same time his POV was the most rewarding. 
3.When you started writing Aubrey’s and Maxx’s story, did you always plan for it to be 2 books or did the story grow as you wrote it? Do you usually plan out ahead of time how long a series will be, or does it change as you write? 
I always knew that Maxx and Aubrey's story had 2 parts. Hitting rock bottom and climbing back up. I wanted to show everything being ruined and how they deal with the aftermath. I don't always plan out a series length but I did with this one. 

4.You have a few books under your belt. Can you tell us a bit about your writing process and what you find is the hardest part about writing? 
I don't plot or plan much when I write. I literally sit down and start typing and what comes comes. But I get horrible writer's block and that is the hardest for me to get over. I get in such a funk sometimes that I can't write anything. I usually have to wait for something to spark my imagination and then everything starts flowing again. 
5.Any new projects you are working on that you can share with us? 
I have so many! I have a three part thriller serial coming up called The Missing, as well as the forth and final Bad Rep book, Desperate Chances coming in September. Then in November I have a new contemporary romance from Random House called Butterfly Dreams.
  


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  The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary and
Paranormal romance including The Find You in the Dark and Bad Rep series as well  as the upcoming stand alone romance, Reclaiming the Sand, and a dark new adult series for Gallery Books.

A. Meredith spent ten years as a counselor for at risk teens and children. First working  at a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program and then later a program for children  with severe emotional and mental health issues. Her former clients and their stories  continue to influence every aspect of her writing.
When not writing (or being tortured with all manner of beauty products at the hand of  her very imaginative and extremely girly daughter), she is eating chocolate, watching  reality television that could rot your brain and reading a smutty novel or two.
A. Meredith is represented by Michelle Johnson with the Inklings Literary Agency.

LINKS:

FACEBOOK
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE 


If you, a friend, or family member is struggling with substance abuse, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Recognizing an addiction is the first step and getting help shows the strength that’s needed to overcome it.
National Substance Abuse Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP
Or visit : https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ to find a service provider or counseling group.


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