Deborah Cloyed's 5 Firsts and Lasts

What Tears Us Apart;Today's guest: Deborah Cloyed Why we love her: We've been fans since we read her debut novel, The Summer We Came to Life.

Her latest: What Tears Us Apart

The scoop on it: Love lives in the most dangerous places of the heart.

The real world. That's what Leda desperately seeks when she flees her life of privilege to travel to Kenya. She finds it at a boys'orphanage in the slums of Nairobi. What she doesn't expect is to fall for Ita, the charismatic and thoughtful man who gave up his dreams to offer children a haven in the midst of turmoil.Their love should be enough for one another-it embodies the soul-deep connection both have always craved. But it is threatened by Ita's troubled childhood friend, Chege, a gang leader with whom he shares a complex history. As political unrest reaches a boiling point and the slum erupts in violence, Leda is attacked…and forced to put her trust in Chege, the one person who otherwise inspires anything but.In the aftermath of Leda's rescue, disturbing secrets are exposed, and Leda, Ita and Chege are each left grappling with their own regret and confusion. Their worlds upturned, they must now face the reality that sometimes the most treacherous threat is not the world outside, but the demons within.

Our thoughts: A powerful novel!

Giveaway: Two copies! Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll select the winners on Sunday, April 14th after 12pm PST.

Where you can read more about Deborah: Her website, Twitter and Facebook.



FIRST KISS:  In third grade, a boy named Brant gave me the quintessential piece of paper bearing the Check Boxes of Like (yes or no), and with my affirmation we were officially in puppy love.  Sitting cross-legged on my parents’ living room floor, we put a blanket over our heads so he could peck me on the lips. Then we giggled like maniacs until my Mom came to see what we were up to.

LAST KISS:  I’m an early riser, my boyfriend a night owl.  He kisses me goodnight in the wee hours, to a groggy mmmmm-hmmmm-luvvvvyoutoooo, and I good-morning kiss him first thing in the morning to a similar refrain.  Which I just did.


FIRST BOOK I READ:  My childhood was a veritable blur of books.  The first one I remember being obsessed with was My Side of the Mountain.  I told my mom I would be living in the backyard from then on.  That she pretended to tolerate.  Cooking acorn pancakes in her kitchen, she did not.

LAST BOOK I READ:  I’m reading The International Bank of Bob, about a travel writer who put $20,000 into, one $25 microloan at a time, then goes to visit loan recipients across the world, including in Kenya (where What Tears Us Apart is set and where I lived before the election violence broke out).  Read this book!  The author performs a soul-searching yet inspirational examination of some of the world’s trickiest problems of poverty and violence.


FIRST RISK I TOOK:  If you ask my older brother, I came out of the womb a reckless risk-taker.  I had a disturbing lack of fear of heights, spiders, the dark, claustrophobia, any of the usuals.   My earliest risk-taking memories, all before age five – of breaking my nose on a jungle gym, getting bit by a snake in a creek, falling out of a tree – it’s hard to remember which came first.  My parents put me in gymnastics and the whole family settled in for a lifetime of worry.

LAST RISK I TOOK:  Well, I calmed down a bit after two near-death drowning experiences in Central America (hence my debut book The Summer We Came to Life) in my twenties.  The risks I take now are of the more mundane variety.  Six weeks after foot surgery, I just hobbled up four flights of stairs balancing a tray of two flower vases, two wines glasses, two pizza boxes (don’t judge), and four coffee cups.  Nothing fell and broke, miraculously.  But in retrospect, that was pretty risky.


FIRST HELL YA MOMENT:  Funny but the first thing that springs to mind is when I learned to read.  As in – WHOA. There’s a whole world inside this book, and I can go in it all by myself. Like an empty amusement park.  And since I was a library junkie from age three, I knew it meant endless solo adventures to come.  I could picture it.  Hell ya.

LAST HELL YA MOMENT:  A cozy, snuggly Easter Sunday, with yummy food and good company, topped off by the Game of Thrones premiere?  Hell YA.


FIRST AHA MOMENT:  Thinking this through, I realize my first aha moment is the same as my first hell ya moment.  Such is life.

LAST AHA MOMENT:  I’ve been banging my head against the wall, working out the plot for my next novel.  Finally, last week sitting on my porch, I had the AHA moment I’d been waiting for.  An AHA that will make this an incredibly fun, eerie, epic book to write.  But that’s all I’m saying… for now.

Thanks, Deborah!