Monday, October 19, 2015

The Color of Clouds by J.C. Whyte - #review #interview #giveaway

Pedro’s on a mission. But not your everyday, run-of-the-mill type mission. Because Pedro is dead.

That’s right. Dead.

Spirit guide Pedro normally busies himself with conveying messages from departed loved ones through a psychic named Gwen. But when he encounters a recently deceased teenager, the boy’s anguish just about breaks Pedro’s heart. So the spirit guide decides to try and help this boy. Yet meddling in the affairs of the living is a troublesome business, as Pedro soon discovers.

Nevertheless, he convinces Gwen to take an ocean voyage, and that’s when the trouble begins. Within days of leaving port, two passengers on the cruise ship fall into a mysterious coma. Gwen seeks Pedro’s help to restore these passengers, but natural as well as unnatural obstacles keep getting in the way. And by the time the ship docks in Honolulu, the still-living are flat out scrambling for their lives!

A playful blend of science fiction and the paranormal, The Color of Clouds offers a glimpse into the unseen world while taking the reader on an extraordinary ride. The adventure includes danger, mystery, humor, sweet romance and even a dash of thriller.

But the clouds are not what you think.



When we talk about the color of clouds, we're usually talking in grayscale, with the darker the cloud, the worse the storm.  Unless of course, the sky 'goes green', and then it's a different kind of storm entirely.

In The Color of Clouds by J.C. Whyte, there's a whole rainbow of cloud colors going on and each one means a different thing.  But clouds don't only exist in the sky.

Despite the book beginning with narration by the angel agent Pedro (I don't know if he was an 'angel', but it sounds nicer than dead guy), talking about a recently deceased young man, I soon got the idea (however wrongly) that Paul and Deanna were the 'main' characters.

But this was definitely ensemble casting and each character had their part to contribute to the story.  Each had their own pieces to the story puzzle that only they could contribute.  And while normally I identify more strongly with one characters than the others, in Clouds I hopped back and forth.  It was a novel (ok, small pun intended) and fun experience.

Clouds strays a little more into the paranormal than the presence of a dead spirit or two and a psychic may indicate.  I can't tell too much without giving too much away, if that makes sense.  People believe in ghosts and other 'other than natural' phenomena or they don't.  I appreciate Whyte's use of sceptics in the story and the fact that it wasn't like a world where everybody believed, or that only one person did and they had to protect their loved ones.

I, for one, cannot wait to see what Whyte comes up with next!



J.C. Whyte discovered her love for writing while still in elementary school, creating children’s stories. But as an adult, J.C. had to face the harsh reality that such writing seldom pays the bills. So she earned degrees in both Journalism and Communications, and then turned to Public Relations, where for ten years she focused her creative energies into feature writing.

After marriage, kids, several more degrees and occupations (including stints as a travel agent and paralegal), J. C. entered law school. While there, she became a columnist for the school newsletter and later, one of her humorous articles was even published in The National Jurist.

Graduating and passing the Bar, J.C. realized within a few short years that creative writing was still what made her heart sing. So now, as a grandma, she has returned to where her life’s calling began, beginning in 2013 with publication of her children’s book Karmack and now in 2015 with her first novel for adults, The Color of Clouds.



Q: Do you remember any of the stories you wrote for your summer reading assignment in school?

A: Believe it or not, I do. My favorite (and the one the teacher laughed out loud at) was titled “Confused George Bunny”. It’s about a young rabbit who is assigned to coloring eggs while desperately hoping to one day be an official Easter Bunny. But when George finally get his chance, he becomes very confused and grabs the wrong eggs to distribute to his assigned children in the town of Skinatoe. And on Easter morning, those children find live peeps instead of eggs in their baskets and begin to cry! Needless to say, George’s superiors do not look favorably upon this event and the little bunny gets demoted: he is turned into a picture of an Easter Bunny with the initials C.G.B. at the bottom. And that is the sad end of Confused George Bunny. (Don’t forget – I was eleven at the time I wrote this, LOL!)

Q: How did you get from Karmack to The Color of Clouds

A:  I actually was writing a teen novel about suicide when the idea for Karmack popped into my head. Of course I considered the teen novel of prime importance but Karmack kept gnawing at me. Plus, it was more fun to write. So whenever I got bogged down in the middle of the YA novel I would work on chapters for Karmack. Soon the children’s book was finished and I sent it to MuseItUp Publishing which promised to offer constructive feedback on the manuscript if rejected. But to my surprise, the editors loved Karmack. So I next sent them the teen novel which (again to my surprise) they absolutely loathed. I worked and worked on improving that manuscript, but never really succeeded in turning it into something palatable; I finally reached the conclusion I simply can’t write for the teen market.

As for The Color of Clouds, I credit the inspiration for that to my scientist husband who for years has been telling me his idea about what “dark matter” truly is. I thought the best way to express his idea was to trap a couple of characters inside the dark matter. And the book just took off from there!

Q:  What advice would you give youngsters (like about the age you were when you were bitten by the bug) who want to write?

A:  I would tell them to let their imaginations soar, and just tell the story they themselves would love to read. I think it’s very important not to fetter children’s imaginations too early. I recently attended a seminar on school visits where the speaker said he always shows young students a page from one of his manuscripts that’s full of corrections and rewrites. He claimed this gives kids an appreciation for the hard work that goes into writing.

Bah, humbug! I’d never do that. It’s better to encourage kids to let their imaginations be free, and get those great thoughts down on paper before the critical mind takes over. As adults we constantly work to perfect our creations, but I don’t believe children should be introduced to that at an early age. My favorite teacher never put the emphasis on corrections; instead, she assigned creative projects that had just enough of a boundary to keep your imagination from getting too far out of reach. I think that’s the hardest challenge for a teacher – to assign a project that provides just enough structure without stifling budding creativity.

Q: What is the best thing about being a writer?

A:  This may sound trite, but the shear joy of writing. Just as runners get a high when they jog, I get a shot of something similar when I’m pleased with a piece of work. And it doesn’t matter if I’ve written a short story, a book or even a letter of complaint. It’s a high like none other, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Q:  Who are some of your writing heroes?

A: I don’t know if I’d call them heroes, but my favorite writers are Ken Follett, J.K. Rowling, Dennis LeHane, John Steinbeck, Michael Crighton, J.R.R. Tolkein and Charles Dickens. But not necessarily in that order.

Q: Can you tell us some of your writing goals or bucket list items?

A: With both Karmack The Color of Clouds I obviously had some concepts I wanted to introduce. Karmack is about a little creature who boomerangs grade school bullies with their own pranks; my goal of course was to illustrate how actions have consequences and “what goes around, comes around.”

The Color of Clouds, my goal was to get the reader thinking about dark matter and how it might interface with the physical world around us. It’s an intriguing concept which scientists have been postulating for decades.

I guess those really aren’t writing goals, but concept goals. I’ve never consciously worked on my writing style itself. I just write about what happens to pop into my head and then polish it as best I can. I truly enjoy the editing as much as the writing. Yet it’s worth remembering not to work overly hard on editing so that your writing becomes stilted and obviously belabored.

Simplicity is always best, though often not easy to accomplish. But I find that focusing on getting one simple message across allows for the other parts of the story to fall more easily into place. Sound strange? Try it – keep your focus clear and simple to keep your story uncomplicated. Keep your eye on the prize, as someone so eloquently said.

Q: What is the strangest question (about writing or whatever) that you have been asked?

A: Probably this one. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.

Happy writing, everyone!



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Click the banner just above to go to the tour page for The Color of Clouds.  There, you will find additional reviews and interviews!  (You can also apply to become a tour host for Great Escapes while you are there!)

(Disclosure:  I received this ebook from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange or my honest and unbiased review.)