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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Blog Tour- THE INFINITY OF YOU AND ME by J.Q. Coyle An Interview And Excerpt

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for THE INFINITY OF YOU AND ME by J.Q. Coyle! I have an interview with J.Q.to share with you today! Also I get to share chapter 1 enjoy!

Haven't heard of THE INFINITY OF YOU AND ME? Check it out!

Author: J.Q. Coyle
Pub. Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin 
Pages: 608
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?

Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.

Now on to the interview!

Hi J.Q.! First I want to say welcome to Two Chicks on Books! THE INFINITY OF YOU AND ME sounds absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait to read it! And am so happy that you could stop by for a visit! 

Can you tell us a little bit about THE INFINITY OF YOU AND ME and the characters?

Alicia is having a rough time panic, anxiety, weird episodes where she fades out and hallucinates. Hafeez is her best friend, helping her navigate high school. Her neighbor Sprowitz is making her life hell. But at the same time, in one of these recurring hallucinations in a strange decaying world, she falls for this guy So, yeah. There are a few of the major players. 

Is this a standalone or a series? And if it’s a series do you have a title for book 2 yet? And if it’s a standalone what are you working on next? 

For now, it stands alone. Could we write more? It’s possible there are multiple universes so we could follow a lot of different strands out 

Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?

No, not exactly. But I watch people and note the way they move and talk, what they seem to need and fear and desire. 

Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

I loved writing Alicia. She’s scared but ultimately brave. Screwed over but ultimately resilient. I’m supposed to dislike the bad guy, Sprowitz, but keep an eye on him throughout the book. He might just change on you when you least expect it. 

What is your favorite passage/scene in THE INFINITY OF YOU AND ME?

I loved writing the alternate universe where Alicia falls for Jax that world is surreal and beautiful, ugly and decaying but also fascinated the earth with its ripped seams, the seeds from a weed disappearing into dust then air ... 

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

Lots of alternate parallel universe research and Plath poems. 

Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

I should know this, right? All the characters coming to mind are trainwrecks your Gatsby types, in love and totally wrecked and doomed because of it. 

What inspired you to write YA?

I don’t really think about YA versus adult. I think about the story I want to tell and then I write it. Audience comes later. It’s a question for people who publish and position and sell books to know who might most be taken by a certain story and its characters. Story and characters, for me, come first. 

Lightening Round Questions

What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?

I’m reading short stories, some sci-fi SHINING GIRLS is staring at me right now. 

What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in? 

Ack. So typical. I aspire to Gryffindor the way I aspire to be an Eleanor Roosevelt type and fall short every time. 

Twitter or Facebook? 

Facebook. Twitter gets too mean. 

Favorite Superhero? 

Batman. Without apology. 

Favorite TV show? 

For the last 14 months or so I’ve been working my way 
through CHEERS, every season. I only check in here and there, and sometimes watch a bunch in a row, but there you have it.  

Sweet or Salty? 

Both at the same time. 

Any Phobias? 


Song you can’t get enough of right now? 

Retro, The Smiths.

Fall Movie you’re most looking forward to? 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And the kid in me who grew up watching a lot of plays and still loves theater wants to see Fences

Thanks so much J.Q. for answering my questions! I can’t wait for everyone to read THE INFINITY OF YOU AND ME!


Chapter One

The beginning is always a surprise.

(The endings are, too.)

I never quite know what I look like. I’m myself, yes, but differ- ent. Never tall and leggy, but my hair might be long and tied back or cut in a short bob. Sometimes I’m in jeans and sneakers. Once or twice, a dress.

I’ve been alone in a field of snow.

I’ve woken up in the backseat of a fast car at night, my father driving down a dark road.

I’ve been standing in the corner at a party where none of the faces are familiar.

This time, noise comes first. A clanging deep inside the hull of a ship—a cruise ship. I’m running down a corridor of soaked red carpet.

The ship lurches.

Someone’s yelling over the crackling PA speakers—I can’t understand the words over the rush of water. Alarms roar over- head.

I shoulder my way down another corridor, fighting the flood of people running in the opposite direction, screaming to each other.

Some part of my brain says, Me? On a cruise ship? Never. But if I was so lucky, it’d be a sinking one.

The rest of my brain is sure this isn’t real, no matter how real it feels.

I run my hand down the wall, the cold water now pushing against my legs. I’m wearing a pair of skinny jeans I don’t own. I know someone’s after me—I just don’t know who. I look back over my shoulder, trying to see if anyone else is moving against the crowd like I am.

No one is.

Where’s my mother? She’s never here when I go off in my head like this.

A man grabs me roughly by the shirt. My ribs tighten. Is this who I’m running from?

No. He’s old, his eyes bloodshot and wild with fear. He says something in Russian, like the guys in the deli at Berezka’s, not too far from my house in Southie. I shouldn’t be able to understand him, but I do. “Run! This way. Do you want to die, girl?” I don’t speak Rus- sian. I’m failing Spanish II.

But then I answer, partly in Russian. “I’m fine. Thank you. Spasiba.” The words feel stiff in my mouth. I can barely hear myself over the screaming, the water rushing up the corridor, and the groaning ship.

The man keeps yelling, won’t let go of me, so I rip myself loose and run.

A glimpse of gray through a porthole, only a sliver of land and heavy dark sky.

I see myself in the porthole’s dark reflection—my hair chin length, my bangs choppy, just a bit of faded red lipstick.

We’re on the Dnieper River. It’s like this: I know things I shouldn’t. I don’t know how.

A woman falls. I reach down and help her up. Her head is gashed, her face smeared with blood. She nods a thank-you and keeps march- ing against the current, soaked.

I wonder if she’ll make it. Will I?

I’m looking for my father. I want to call out for him, but I shouldn’t. The people chasing me are really after him—I know this too, the way you know things in a dream.

The ship lists, hard, and my right shoulder drives into a wall. Stateroom doors swing open. The sound of water surging into the hull is impossibly loud.

And then my father appears up ahead—shaggy, unshaven, his knuckles bloody. I love seeing him in these hallucinations. (That’s what my therapist calls them.) It’s the only time I ever see him. I even love seeing him when he looks like hell, and older than I re- member him, more worn-down. But he always has this energy— like his strength is coiled and tensed.

“Alicia!” he shouts. “Down!”

I fall to my knees. The water is up to my neck and so cold it shocks my bones.

My father raises a gun and fires. Some men fire back.

I put my head underwater, and the world is muted. I hold my breath, can only hear my heart pounding in my ears. My face burns with the cold, my back tight, lungs pinched. I swim toward the blurry yellow glow of an emergency light.

When I lift my head, a tall and angular man slides down a wall and goes under, leaving a swirl of blood. My father shot him. This should shock me, but it doesn’t. My father, who’s really a stranger to me, is always on the run and often armed.

Another man, thick necked and yelling, returns fire from a cabin doorway.

My father disappears around the corner up ahead, then lays cover for me. “Get up!” he shouts. “Move now!”

I push through the icy water, wishing my legs were stronger and tougher, feeling small and easily kicked off-balance.

“Just up ahead,” he says, “—stairs.”

But then a little boy with a buzz cut doggy-paddles out of a cabin. The water’s too deep for him.

I reach out, and he grabs my hand, clinging to my shirt. “Alicia, get down!” my father yells.

Instinctively, I shield the kid. A gunshot.

I feel a shattering jolt in my shoulder blade. I can’t breathe, can’t scream.

The boy cries out, but he hasn’t been shot. I have. The pain is stabbing. “He shot me!” I shout, shocked. I can only state the obvi- ous, my voice so rough and ragged I don’t even recognize it.

My father pulls me and the boy into a tight circular stairwell, the water whirling around us, chest deep. As he lifts the little boy high up the stairs, I glimpse the edge of a tattoo and skin rough with small dark scars and fresh nicks on his wrists. “Keep climbing!” he says to the little boy.

Wide-eyed with fear, the boy does what he’s told.

The water is rising up the stairs, fast, but my father props me up with his shoulder, and we keep climbing. I try to remember what it was like before he left my mom and me. Did he carry me to bed, up the stairs, down the hallway, and tuck me in?

“We’re going to get out,” my father says. “We can jump.” “We can’t jump,” I say. Off the ship?

“Trust me,” my father says.

I’ve never trusted my father, never had the chance. After he left, he wasn’t allowed within five hundred feet of me or my mother. “What the hell am I doing here?” I ask.

My father stares at me. “Is it you? Really you?” “Yes, it’s me,” I say. Of course it’s me!

My father looks stunned and scared and relieved somehow all at the same time. “You’re finally here.”

“Finally where?”

“Things have gotten too dangerous,” he says quickly. He reaches into his pocket, and in his hand I glimpse what looks like a strangely shaped shiny wooden cross about the width of his palm, but it’s not a cross, not exactly. “You’ve got to get lost and stay lost.”

I am lost, I want to tell him, but the pain in my back is so sharp it takes my breath.

As the water pushes us up the stairwell, my blood swirls around me like a cape. I can’t die here.

I look up into cloudy daylight.

The ship’s listing so hard now it seems to be jackknifing. Sud- denly I’m terrified we’re all going to drown.

I expect to see the little boy’s face at the top of the stairs, but he’s gone. Instead, there’s a group of men with guns trained on my father and me.

“Ellington Maxwell.” The man who speaks is the one who shot me. In the hazy glare off the water I see a jagged scar on his cheek. “Welcome to our world. This time we hope you stay awhile.”

I look up at the sky again and abruptly it swells with sun. My right hand hurts and I know this signals an ending . . . Bright, blaz- ing, obliterating light.

And I’m gone.

About J.Q:

J.Q. COYLE is the joint pen name of Julianna Baggott and Quinn Dalton. Quinn is an acclaimed writer who has published two short story collections and two novels. Julianna is the author of over twenty novels, including Pure, a New York Times Notable (2012).

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