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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Closed Hearts Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Closed Hearts Blog Tour! Today, Susan Kaye Quinn is stopping by for a guest post and giveaway. And be sure to check out my 5 Cupcakes review of Closed Hearts.

The Importance of Story
by Susan Kaye Quinn

I firmly believe that stories aren't just entertainment or distraction, but an essential part of our how brains operate. As Kenneth Burke says, Stories are equipment for living.

And now the scientists are proving this to be more true than we realize. A Scientific American article titled In the Minds of Others dives into the impact of stories on our brains, on how we relate to others, and how they help us become more empathetic, open and social creatures.

Bookworms around the world rejoice!

A couple of quotes that caught my eye:

"We do not actually experience the character’s emotions—after all, the character is an abstraction. Rather we feel our own emotions in response to the yearnings, actions and circumstances the writer describes. The trajectory of these emotions keeps us turning the pages or glued to the screen."
"As with all good literature, Chekhov’s story prompted people to think and feel in new ways, but the particular feelings and thoughts it evoked depended on the reader."
At last! A scientific explanation for how to hook readers! Seriously, this fascinates me, because it taps into the very real experience that readers have of being immersed in the story, while explaining how each person's experience of the story remains their own, flavored by the life-story that they bring to the pages.

This is the best reason I can think of to use SHOW and not TELL in a story. By showing the character's actions (and thoughts), by having them interact with your fictional world - push and pull, tug and release - the reader's brain literally experiences those same actions. 
When the character leaps off the train, if you've done your job as a writer, the reader feels the rush, the wind whistling in their ears and the heart stopping moment before you know what will happen next. Whether this thrills or terrifies them remains the piece of the puzzle that the reader brings to the story. 

In one way, many children of today are cloistered in closed environments. Risk averse schools remove hazardous playground equipment. Protective parents shuttle their children to school and back. Kids wear bike helmets and ride in car seats and don't have many opportunities to experience any real risks, much less heart-stopping adventure. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, being one of those over-protective parents myself. And despite all my over-protectiveness, my 8-year-old Mighty Mite recently managed to bash his head against a dumpster and bleed all over a friend's kitchen. I'm starting to wonder if the boy needs a helmet full-time. 

But in another way, children of today are immersed in stories even more than children of the past. I grew up with after-school TV shows, the occasional movie, and books, books, books. Kids today have all that, plus the internet, highly interactive games, and even newspaper and non-fiction reporting that are increasingly taking narrative form. They are awash in stories, often in ways that make them a star player as it unfolds.

I can't help but wonder what this is doing to their brains. According to the scientists, that virtual experience of narrative worlds - through reading or other storytelling - expands their horizons, makes them open to new experiences, and helps them empathize with people who are intrinsically different than themselves by stepping into their heads for the duration of the story.

Stories truly are equipment for living, and for children, they are an essential tool for growing up by letting them experience people, places and feelings outside the realm of their own experience.

I just hope Mighty Mite doesn't decide to jump off a train next.


Closed Hearts (Mindjack #2)
$2.99 at AmazonBarnes and Noble (ebook and print)
When you control minds,
only your heart can be used against you.
Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders’ fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown—a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash—Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira’s boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA novel Open Minds, Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy, which is available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunes. The sequel Closed Hearts has just been released. Susan's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly plays on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.
Mind GamesOpen MindsClosed HeartsIn His EyesLife, Liberty, and PursuitFull Speed Ahead

Win an ebook copy of Mind Games (Mindjack Trilogy short story) and Closed Hearts or Open Minds (winner's choice).
Susan is offering one winner an ebook copy of Mind Games and their choice of either Open Minds or Closed Hearts.
-There will be one winner
-The winner will receive an ebook copy of Mind Games and their choice of book 1 or 2
-Giveaway will run from 5/29 - 6/3 at 11:59 pm
-Winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Fill out Rafflecopter form below
-One main entry per person


Unknown said...

Did you mean here? Well, OK. Awesomes.
Loves you, Susan! Your book totally caught me by the throat and said "You better read my sequel or else!!" :)

DeeDee Griffin said...

I just downloaded Mind Games and am excited to start reading this series!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Susan, you rock my socks off!! :)

Misty said...

I am only expecting good things from Susan's Mindjack trilogy. Can't wait to read it!

Kelly said...

I have been looking forward to the next book in the series! It's different and I want to see where it goes! Thanks!

DMS said...

Great post! I knew they would figure that out at some point : ) ~ Jess

franchie15 said...

Thanks for this, Ms. Susan! Looking forward to read your books. ;)

Filia Oktarina said...

Looking forward to read susan books. I would love to have it. Thanks for sharing :)

Susan @ The Book Bag said...

I loved, loved, loved Open Minds and can't wait to read Closed Hearts. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

monamour said...

Series sounds Awesome! I only just discovered it and am quite looking forward to reading it.

Cheers! Trayce

The Cover Contessa said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway! I am so looking forward to reading this book! I loved the first one and the prequel!

Christine @ Captivated Reading said...

Loved, loved, loved Open Minds! So anxious to read Closed Hearts! :)

Anonymous said...

Your books look amazing and I can't wait to read them. You seem like you are a great person. thanks for the giveaway.

Crystal Clifton said...

Thansk for an awesome giveaway