Blog Tour: Destiny

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Welcome to my blog tour stop for Destiny (Destiny Trilogy #1) by Cindy Ray Hale, organized by Lola's Blog Tours! You can view the complete tour schedule on the Destiny blog tour page.

Author Interview

I want to welcome Cindy Ray Hale to my blog today! I always love getting to know the authors behind the books whenever I can.

We really don’t see many, if any, Mormon characters in general YA literature. What
type of audience would you recommend your book to and why?

Destiny is written to girls between the ages of 13 and 18 regardless of religion. It’s a story about being kind and getting along with others—especially those who don’t share beliefs.

My freshman year of college I attended a private Baptist school and was only one of three Mormons on campus. It was quite a different experience because most of the students didn’t really get what being a Mormon meant. I think this can apply to other religions and ethnic groups as well when there is a huge deficit in knowledge and understanding. Did you ever feel that way at some point growing up, like you were really out of your element and misunderstood, and do any of your characters express those feelings in Destiny?

Yes. I went to a Baptist school for seven years. Bethel is actually based on my school. As I was writing, I was imagining the characters walking the same halls, eating in the same cafeteria. I didn’t run into as many problems as Destiny did, but I definitely saw some. I was made fun of more for my dorky glasses and my frizzy hair than for my religion. There were times when I had teachers speak out specifically against Mormons, the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith, but it was usually because a student brought it up and asked the teacher what he thought about it in class. There were a few instances that were hurtful though. I had one friend tell me she couldn’t be my best friend because I was a Mormon. We’re still friends on Facebook to this day, but I don’t think she’s noticed that I’m writing a book tackling this topic.

In the blurb it mentions that the story was inspired by Les Misérables. Would you
explain more about that?

Les Miserables: Sheet Music

Yes. I was very inspired by the characters of Les Misérables, especially Jean Valjean and his journey as a person. One of the most powerful scenes in Les Misérables is when the priest gives the candlesticks back, spurring a change in Jean Valjean that lasts for the rest of his life. I’ve thought back to that scene many times as I’ve written Destiny. I have a character similar to the priest in Les Mis who inspires Isaac with one short conversation. Beyond that I really identified with Éponine. I think everyone’s experienced unrequited love at one point or another. Her despair spoke to me so strongly that I decided to tell her story, but to change Marius’/Isaac’s mind. In my story he sees Éponine/Destiny as this amazing girl and his eyes are opened as Cosette/Aspen turns evil.

Les Misérables is such a good book and movie. I can really see its influence in Destiny. Why did you decide to write a story about a Mormon girl and a Baptist boy and a
possible romance between them?

That’s was actually an extremely hard decision for me to make. I’ve received some pretty harsh criticism for it, too, unfortunately. Originally, in my first draft, Destiny doesn’t date Isaac. He never breaks up with Aspen, but still falls for her. She contemplates dating him, but rejects him at the end of the story because she’s been taught to only date good Mormon boys. Then she goes to the banquet with Preston, they kiss, but a little piece of her heart is forever with Isaac. While I totally love that version, (Preston is my ultimate book boyfriend) my beta readers did not. I really wanted this story to be written to the general public not to the 5 Mormon girls I know. Ok just kidding, I know more than that, but it would have been VERY hard to sell Destiny if I’d had that kind of storyline. What’s the point of writing a story nobody wants to read? So I gave my readers the story they wanted to hear. That’s what really matters in the end right? I’m so glad I did. I had to rewrite it four times to get it right, but I’m so happy with how it turned out.

So I have to say that I really liked Preston. I almost felt like Destiny had a much stronger relationship with him then with Isaac and I felt like Isaac was a little like an image that she loved and not the real him. For me it didn't have anything to do with religion. This just makes me realize that everyone really has different opinions and have experienced different things in their lives.

You started writing Destiny approximately a year ago. Did you always plan on becoming a writer or did it just happen?

When I was in elementary school and teachers would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be an author. When I was 17 I wrote a short story that was published in the New Era magazine. I went to school as an English major, but that wasn’t really the kind of writing I enjoyed. I detest writing research papers. When I write I want to be able to express myself.

When my husband joined the military and we started having babies, I never really wrote again, beyond journaling and typing short messages into social media sites.

My younger sister approached me two years ago and asked me to co-author a book with her. I agreed enthusiastically, but I wasn’t super excited about writing middle-grade historical fiction. I’d been reading mostly YA, but I was still interested in actually starting a book so I agreed. We wrote about thirty pages or so before she got pregnant and lost interest.

At this point, I was on fire. I’d been reading more heavily since having my fourth child and the words inside me were fighting to get out. It took me a few months because I moved across the country, but eventually the idea for Destiny came September 2012.

I grabbed every book on novel writing I could find at the public library and devoured them all. By the time February rolled around, I had the first draft of Destiny completed.

I love that you were really excited and driven to write Destiny. Thanks for sharing! What five words would you use to sum up Destiny?

Um. Wow! Holy Isaac Robinson!

Lol! I get that now that I've read the book, but I didn't before. I think Theo James reminds me of him a little. :) What have been your favorite, must-read books that you've read so far this year?

Well I’ve spent the entire year immersed in writing, so my list to pick from is a bit thin. Regardless of that, these titles are still fantastic!

Camp Kiss (Camp Boyfriend, #0.5) Camp Boyfriend (Camp Boyfriend, #1) Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1)
Wish Me Tomorrow Finale (Hush, Hush, #4) Destined (Wings, #4)

Camp Kiss and Camp Boyfriend by J.K.Rock
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Wish Me Tomorrow by Karen Rock
Finale, the last book in the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick
Destined, the last book in Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series.

Ahh. I've read three of these (the three middle ones) and enjoyed them as well. Thanks so much, Cindy, for stopping by! I've enjoyed finding out more about you and your book, Destiny!

You can read my review of Destiny here.

To find out more about Destiny, Cindy, and enter the giveaway, read on...

(Destiny Trilogy #1)
by Cindy Ray Hale
Contemporary YA Romance
November 5th 2013               


Destiny Clark, a young Mormon girl living in Tennessee, is wildly infatuated with Isaac Robinson, the headmaster's son at her Baptist high school. When they're cast together in the school's production of Les Misérables, Destiny is horrified to find that she has to be publicly humiliated by acting out her true feelings of rejection onstage.

As their rehearsals begin, Destiny realizes the unimaginable: Isaac has developed deep feelings for her despite their religious differences and the fact that he has a girlfriend.

But will they be able to find their place amongst the backbiters of their ultra-conservative world?

Weaving around Destiny and Isaac's alternating viewpoints, Destiny is the first book in a series inspired by the characters of Les Misérables and explores heartbreak, self-discovery, intolerance, and love.


Book Trailer

Official Author picAbout the Author

Wife. Mother. Writer. Cindy Ray Hale lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband and four children. In addition to being a writer, she’s an avid reader and a social media junkie. She starts her morning by writing with a freshly-blended berry spinach smoothie next to her. She’s obsessed with Les Misérables, playing the piano, and stalking up-and-coming musicians on YouTube. Destiny is her first book and will be available for purchase November 2013.

The giveaway includes:
- A Destiny Swag Pack the includes a signed copy of Destiny, a Destiny key-chain, a t-shirt that says "I heart Destiny," and a Destiny bookmark.
- a $25 Amazon Gift Card
- Camp Boyfriend Swag pack.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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