My guest for today is Kieran Scott, whose new book, Pretty Fierce, was released earlier this month!
I haven't read it yet, but it sounds like a really good book...
Author: Kieran Scott
Pub Date: April 4, 2017
An action-packed, edge-of-your-seat novel about a teen who, when backed into a corner, fights back, from the author of What Waits in the Woods
Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows danger—and she’ll do anything to survive. After her parents vanished during a job gone bad, Kaia’s spent the last year in hiding, trying to blend in as an ordinary teenager, and there’s no one who makes her feel more normal, more special, than her boyfriend, Oliver.
But when she's attacked by someone from her mother's past and Oliver catches her fighting back, Kaia's secret is exposed. In a split-second decision, she flees the small town, taking Oliver with her. Stalked at every turn, Oliver and Kaia must protect each other...or die trying.
KIERAN SCOTT is the author of several acclaimed young adult novels, including the Non-Blonde Cheerleader trilogy, the He’s So/She’s So trilogy, and Geek Magnet. She also wrote the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Private and Privilege series under the pen name Kate Brian. She is a senior editor at Disney/Hyperion and resides in New Jersey with her family. Visit kieranscott.net.
Now here's Kieran sharing her favorite parts of her book, Pretty Fierce...
It’s tough to pick my favorite bits from this particular book, because it was so much fun to write. Some of the action was so real to me, it was as if I was watching it play out on a movie screen and was just trying to type fast enough to keep up. I think the five short excerpts here have a good cross-section of the action, the humor and the romance, which are the qualities I really hope stand out in this book. Enjoy!
1) I liked this part because I felt like it set up Kaia’s character pretty perfectly. Also, I really like the word “badass”:
Shotguns leave a serious mess, and they can be painful as hell to fire, but you can load the shell from the magazine into the chamber with one hand. Click clack. It’s pretty badass. I aimed the gun at his face and looked down the sightline at the man’s quivering, bloody upper lip.
“Please, kid,” he rasped. “Please. I’m only doing myjob.”
“Not anymore,” I said.
2) This is from a scene in which Oliver and Kaia are attacked by a couple of baddies. I liked it because, though Kaia is badass (see above), this shows she’s not totally unaffected by the violence around her:
Kaia lifted her foot and brought it down on the side of the man’s injured thigh. He screamed as tears burst from his eyes.
“Is that really necessary?” I asked.
“He was going to kill you, Oliver!” Her look of condescension shocked me. “It was either you or him. At least he’s still alive.”
I could hear Freddy barreling up the stairs. “Okay. Okay,” I said, in what I hoped was a soothing voice. “We should probably—”
“Oliver, search his pockets,” Kaia said.
“ID. I want to know where this jackass is from.”
I somehow detached myself from the pillar, but was immediately hit by a wave of nausea so intense, I swear I could taste my stomach lining. I hit my knees, took half a second to breathe, and crawled toward the guy. The first thing my fingers closed around inside his jacket pocket was a used tissue. Awesome. Now I was going to get hepatitis on top of everything else. I yanked his jacket out from under him and found his wallet. Inside was a driver’s license.
“Oaxaca.” It was the only word I could get out. I tossed the wallet on the wood plank and breathed slowly, in through my nose, out through my mouth, until my stomach went back to its rightful place.
Kaia’s jaw clenched. “Who are you working for?” she demanded, pressing her foot down even harder on his leg.
“This guy named Hector hired us, all right? Hector T.!” He let out a wheezing whimper with each labored breath.
“What’s the T stand for?”
“I don’t know!” the man shouted. “I swear to baby Jesus, I don’t know.”
“Where’s my mother?” Kaia demanded.
“You’re from Oaxaca!” Kaia replied, her eyes shining. “That’s where they took her. You know something! I know you do. What aren’t you telling me?”
“Look, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. All I know is this Hector guy has a jones on for you. He hired at least a dozen guys to come after you. I’m just the lucky bastard who got to you first.”
Kaia lifted her boot from his leg and he curled into a ball. She looked at me, then lowered her weapon. I cleared my throat and carefully sat back on my butt.
“The name Hector T. mean anything to you?” I asked.
She shook her head. “Nope.”
Then she turned, and wretched over the side of the walkway.
3) There’s a portion of the book in which Kaia and Oliver encounter a house full of sorority girls and I pulled this section just because I think Oliver’s lines really show his frank, unabashed character.
“I say we stay here for a bit with these lovely Beta Beta Gammas—.” A few girls cheered nearby, simply because I’d said their letters. “And relax. For a little while. Come on, Kaia. We’re on a road trip. Let’s do something, I don’t know…fun?”
Kaia tilted her head, considering. “Why do I feel like if we were at a frat house you wouldn’t be quite so psyched to stay?”
“Because I am a male person with eyes?” I suggested.
She cracked a smile, then took one of the plates and walked into the living room at the front of the house. All the furniture had been shoved against the walls to make space for a dance floor, so she continued through to the wide front porch. There were a few girls dancing out there, and some guys too, but the porch swing was free. Kaia grabbed it, and I sat next to her.
“We’ll stay,” she said. “But only if you keep those eyes on me.”
I grinned and kissed the corner of her mouth. “Not a problem.”
4) In this scene Kaia is finally reunited with her motorcycle. I liked how just being in this place made her feel so close to her dad, and I think the humor’s kinda nice, too.
I grinned at Oliver. “You ready to meet the rest of my family?”
“Kaia, please tell me you haven’t been keeping your parents locked in there all this time,” he said, looking tired.
I clenched my jaw and stooped to grasp the metal handle on the orange, garage style door—gripping Oliver’s elbow for balance. I flung open the door. It retracted noisily, clanging to a stop, and there they were. Betty and Bettina. The family motorcycles.
“Oh, baby, it is so good to see you,” I murmured.
With Oliver’s help, I limped up next to Bettina, my 2012 Triumph Street Triple, all black, with chrome accents, and ran my hand over the supple leather seat. She was perfect, her silver muffler glinting in the sunlight. I kicked my bad leg over her and settled down onto her seat. The sigh that escaped my lips was pure joy. But there was something else too. I felt a certainty pulse through me. I was doing the right thing. Maybe it was seeing our bikes, all shined up and ready to go, as if we’d never left. Maybe it was the fact that everything about this storage space was my father, from the oil stain under my boot to the boxes of old CDs in the corner to the superhero movie posters lining the walls. I knew he was watching over me, and I knew what he’d want me to do.
5) This is one of the big gasp moments from the book. Kaia and Oliver have just caught a bounty hunter and stolen her phone. They’re feeling triumphant until Kaia sees something on the screen that makes her stop cold.
I rolled my eyes and hit a couple of buttons on the bounty hunter’s phone. It hadn’t locked yet. The picture she’d taken in the freezer was on the screen—I looked like a freaking zombie—and I deleted it. But the picture that popped up in its place made my blood run cold.
It was a shot of me and my mom. One I’d never seen before. We were both smiling as we held each other tight, cheek to cheek. It was how we always posed for photos when my dad was taking them—which was pretty much always. I had a purple streak in my hair, the same purple streak I’d had when we were in Oaxaca.
My dad never took pictures when we were on a job site, but he sometimes did before we left, or in the airport. He must have taken it when we were on our way to their last job. He’d never even had the chance to forward this to me. There was no way anyone could have this picture. Not unless they’d gotten ahold of my father’s phone.