Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Eighth Wonder: Guest Post by Kimberly S. Young.

by Kimberly S. Young.

GENRE: Romance. 


Nicole Benson is a self-made woman. She put herself through school, sacrificing marriage and children for her career. In the summer of 1997, at the age of 35, she finally graduated with a Ph.D. from NYU, but her life is thrust into chaos when her father, the only person she's ever leaned on emotionally, is diagnosed with terminal cancer. After fifteen years in New York City, Nicole leaves everything and everyone she knows to teach for a year in Bradford, Pennsylvania to be close to her father in nearby Buffalo. Now, trapped in tiny Bradford, she has never felt more alone in her life. . . until she meets Tom Ryan. At 44, Tom represents what Nicole longs to be: settled, secure, and clear about his purpose and direction in life. Emotionally scarred, he and his wife of 23 years survived the death of their daughter to leukemia. Tom and Nicole's story begins as a journey of self-discovery for both of them but turns to bittersweet tragedy when their friendship becomes love. Nicole risks offering what she has never given before, her heart; and Tom has never felt happier or more conflicted when he falls in love for the second time in his life. Their lives become intertwined and changed forever when they both must face the most difficult decision of their lives.

How amazing is this? I provided the author 3 topics to choose and she wrote about all 3 in a super smooth and entertaining way! THANK YOU VERY MUCH KIMBERLY! It's one of the best guest post I've had :)

Creating interesting characters, Getting inspiration, or How important is cover art?

As a psychologist, I have counseled men and women struggling with extramarital attractions and understand the emotional conflicts those endure who deeply value fidelity but still feel the pull of falling in love with another, even when one party or the other appears to be happily married. These experiences led me to write The Eighth Wonder.
Infidelity is a taboo subject. When it is portrayed in novels, it is usually a tawdry, sexual affair. Rarely is it considered a love story. I wanted to change that. I had long enjoyed Bridges of Madison County, which delicately portrayed infidelity as a romantic and bittersweet love story. I wanted to take this one step further. I wanted to create memorable characters that were real and genuine. I wanted to create a story that believable and heartfelt. 
My inspiration came from my own experiences in developing Nicole Benson. Like Nicole, I was the first generation in my family to go to college and I found Bradford, Pa when I took a faculty position at the local college to be near my father, who lived in Buffalo and was ill with pancreatic cancer.  Using my own experience on how I came to Bradford seemed like a good place to start my novel.
Writing became my therapy as I was recovering from retina eye surgery. I was homebound for almost five months and during that time writing kept me from being completed depressed that I might go blind in my eye. 
As I wrote more about Nicole, a story popped out. It stopped being about me and the characters actually told me where to go in the story. As I wrote more about Tom, he reminded me of many men that I met in life, middle-aged, content in their lives and marriages yet longing for something more.
I became inspired because the more I wrote about Tom, the more I fell in love with him. Tom was not looking to have an affair. He loved his wife, Rose, and the life that they made together. When Tom meets Nicole, something very deep stirs within him. 
Based on my practice as a psychologist, I thought this was very human and real. People have attractions and feelings that they don’t always understand or fit into clear boundaries. He was a devoted family man crushed by the death of his daughter. Nicole was the only person who could heal him from his grief and loss. He becomes whole again and in return can help her with the loss of her father. In this process, they fall in love and the story becomes bittersweet. 
I wanted to create real characters – they fall in love slowly, getting to know each other. Neither character is intentionally looking for love, it just happens. I also wanted to show what it is like to fall in love when you are older. I truly believe that it is fairly easy to fall in love in our 20s with our lives ahead of us. It is a different experience in our 40s or 50s (or beyond). After our expectations for relationships have evolved, falling in love takes on an entirely different meaning.
Tom struggles with his feelings between his wife and Nicole.  This has sparked great interest in men who have read my novel, most who tell me that they can complete relate to Tom. Nicole has sparked an interest in career-minded women who don’t want to settle for marriage and children but are devoted more to their career. In Nicole’s case, she spent a lifetime pushing relationships away. I have heard from many women who can relate. I think relatable characters make a great story, which I hope is The Eighth Wonder.

Regarding your question about cover art, I think it is important to have a reader look closer at the book. In my case, I was dealing with The Kinzua Bridge, a historical railroad viaduct, so I could incorporate photos of the bridge along with symbolic images such as the Mason jar with pine sprigs. If you haven’t read the story, you will need to read it to find out the meaning behind the jar and sprigs.


 Kimberly Young is a licensed psychologist, an author, and an internationally-known speaker on Internet addiction. In 1995, she founded the Center for Internet Addiction and since then she has written numerous articles on the topic including four books, Caught in the Net, Tangled in the Web, Breaking Free of the Web, and Internet Addiction: A Handbook for Evaluation and Treatment. She is a professor at St. Bonaventure University and her work has appeared in hundreds of media outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, Time, and Newsweek, and she has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and ABC World News Tonight. She has written creatively on and off since she was eight-years-old, mainly working on poems and short stories. While recovering from retina re-attachment eye surgery, she was homebound for several months and decided to pursue her creative writing more seriously. The Eighth Wonder is her first novel.


  1. Thanks so much for taking part in the tour and hosting Kimberly!

  2. Thanks so much for taking part in the tour and hosting Kimberly!



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