Push Me, Pull Me by Vanessa Garden
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 25th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Since Ruby Milton’s mother committed suicide, she’s forgotten what it’s like to be seventeen.
Saddled with taking care of her toddler brother and alcoholic father, Ruby has no time for fun. She also can’t shake the growing resentment she feels for her mother’s decision, which left her unable to grieve without anger and regret.
Then she meets blue-eyed musician Byron Black, who challenges everything she believes.
Byron refuses to let anyone control his life—or his death. When he left the city behind, he was in search of somewhere where nobody knew his secret. What he didn’t expect was to meet a beautiful redhead whose views conflict so completely with his own. But as their romance deepens, he begins to doubt his choices and decides to return to the city…for one last chance.
When Byron disappears, Ruby will stop at nothing to track him down.
Upon finding Byron, Ruby discovers his devastating secret, and a battle of wills begins. Byron doesn’t want her to know this part of him. He has to deal with it by himself, even though the idea of losing her tears him apart.
Will they be able to see each other through the darkness?
Or should they save their hearts and just let go?
After hitting the travel/poetry/art aisle, I dumped my bag onto the ground before closing my eyes and stretching my arms out until my fingers could just brush the book spines on either side of me. This was my favourite way of choosing a book. Of course, if I didn’t like the one I chose, I could always put it back and try again.
Stepping forward, I tried to ignore Mrs. Patfield’s words and the rampant thudding of my heart, and concentrated on the way my fingers rose and fell from the fat spines onto the skinny ones, waiting for my gut to tell me which book I just had to read. Pausing for a moment, I caressed a long, thin cracked spine, but something made me ignore it and press forward. The right one was coming, I could feel it swirling in the pit of my belly.
After several more steps, my hand moved over something warm and my eyes shot open.
It was a hand, attached to the interesting guy with the fauxhawk, the artist’s wet dream. I’d have to stop calling him that. My cheeks burned and my pulse hammered as my eyes skimmed over his perfectly cut cheekbones and jaw, his mouth with the slightly fuller bottom lip, and those deep blue eyes of his that made me forget all about Mrs. Patfield for a second.
He looked at me, one eyebrow raised and a hint of amusement curving his lips.
I made a little yelping sound in the back of my throat and slid my hand away before shoving it behind my back, berating myself for having left my hand on his for longer than a reasonable second.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, stepping back, my hand still tingling. “I was just…looking for a book.”
The way he kept staring at me without saying a word made me hyper aware of the new pimple on my cheek, my chapped lips, and the frizzy-ness of my hair. So I did the only thing that came naturally to me. Book talk. The book in his hand was well worn, the cover faded.
“You’re into poetry?” I asked, trying to keep from staring at that brutal silvery scar of his and wondering if he’d filled out a bit or had finally bought some clothes that fit. I decided on the latter. The top he wore clung to his lean, wiry biceps, but the angles in his face appeared sharper and more chiselled, as though he’d gotten thinner.
He raised the book and gave it a little shake.
“He’s my namesake.”
My eyes skimmed the title.
“So, your name is…um…Lord?” As soon as the words escaped my lips, fresh heat prickled my cheeks. I hadn’t cracked a joke since forever and for some reason it made me feel vulnerable, like I was standing there without pants.
“Well, most people address me as Lord, but…” he drummed his fingers against the bookshelf and chewed on his full bottom lip as though he was thinking hard, “…I’ll let you call me Byron, because…” he shrugged his shoulders and looked at me from the corner of his eyes, the hint of a grin on his lips. “It’s not every day I get felt-up in a bookstore.”
The When, Where, What, Why and Who of Push Me, Pull Me
When did you decide to write Push Me Pull Me?
I decided to write Push Me, Pull Me while I was waiting to hear back from publishers who at the time were looking at my first Young Adult novel, Captivate.
For a while I'd been tinkering around with an idea for a contemporary YA set in a small town (I'd only written books with fantasy elements up until then), and, needing a complete break from the fantasy series I'd been writing, I dived head first into Ruby and Byron's story.
Where did you write it?
I wrote the first draft of Push Me, Pull Me in two of my local cafes. Seeing as a lot of the story is set in a bookstore cafe, being in that environment really helped me to lose myself in the story. The daily coffee and cake helped too!
What is your favourite scene from Push Me, Pull Me?
Without a doubt the explosive kiss scene, where Byron and Ruby lock lips in the rain during a thunderstorm! It's sizzling!
Why did you decide to include a bookstore in the setting of Push Me, Pull Me?
I was working at a lovely bookstore at the time and this greatly influenced the one in Push Me, Pull Me. Plus, I'd always wanted to write a meet-cute set in a bookstore. Now I have! :)
Who is your favourite character?
This is like asking who your favourite child is! I love all the characters in Push Me, Pull Me, but I'd have to say Ruby, because she is such a strong individual and I really admire her for her strength despite the many difficult situations she faces. But I love Byron too! He is so beautiful and mysterious and... he's a musician! *sigh* I'll always have a bit of a crush on him...
Push Me, Pull Me Author, Vanessa Garden, in Threes
3 things I love about being a writer:
Getting to do things vicariously through my character, things I’d never get to do in real life – like kissing a hot, mysterious musician in the rain!
Being able to work in my pyjamas
Having a good excuse for my sometimes messy house
3 ways I make time to write:
I try to ignore the TV
I sleep less (which unfortunately results in a very absent mind the next day)
I try to get up early in the morning while the rest of the house sleeps
3 books that made me want to become a writer:
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (because it is just brilliant)
The Heaven Series by Virginia Andrews (because of Troy in the maze *sigh* – I read and re-read this series as an early teen about ten times)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (because I still get teary eyed thinking about the characters and their yearning for a better life)
3 challenges I faced writing Push Me, Pull Me:
Trying to write the heavy, emotionally charged scenes without bawling my eyes out!
Finding the time to write while looking after my three children
Staying confident as a writer during the submission process
3 things that inspired Push Me, Pull Me:
The lovely bookstore, Collins Booksellers, where I used to work
Jeff Buckley the (late) singer - he is partially behind the inspiration for Byron's character
Lord Byron - Byron's namesake!
3 favourite characters from Push Me, Pull Me:
Ruby, Byron, Mrs Patfield
3 words to best describe Push Me, Pull Me:
A Love Story
A bookseller and Young Adult author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not gushing about her favourite reads with customers, or mentally casting actors to play the characters in her books, Vanessa enjoys hanging out with those she loves most.