Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Orange Blossom (A Flowering Novel) by Sara Daltry

Orange Blossom (A Flowering Novel)
“I’ve never understood a year. A year was always a measurement of something bad for me. A year in my father’s prison sentence, a year since my mom’s death, a year left of school before I could get far, far away from here. Now, as I look down the end of my college career, with only a little more than a semester to go, a year seems like something magical. It has been a year since Lily chose me, since she sat with me on the old swing set and made a decision that I was worthy of her. And every minute of the entire year has been better than the last.”
You already know their stories: Lily, the perfect princess, always living someone else’s life. And Jack, the broken boy, who had stopped believing in hope. Somehow, though, they found each other and what was one night blossomed into a love story.
Now, a year later, Jack and Lily are dreaming of the future. Despite all of his promises to himself that he would never be indebted to anyone, Jack makes a new promise – this time to Lily – that he will be there for her forever. But when life unravels for them, he starts to pull away, and Lily worries he’s out of reach for good.
When Jack does the unthinkable, Lily it left destroyed. Is it possible to have a happily ever after? Does love ever really save anyone?

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Guest Post
What is Flowering?
It might be because I have a background in theatre, but for me, a novel is an entire production. It’s about the story, but also the cover and the teasers and the trailer, and especially the title. I suppose it’s also my background in literature and poetry that makes me go for these artistic titles that don’t say much about the story, except symbolically, and thus lead people to pass by the books, because it doesn’t spell everything out in three words.
The series is called Flowering, so every piece of it is named for a flower. Except “Her Brother’s Best Friend.” It really started with that short erotic story, which is SHORT. It’s maybe eight pages, but people seemed to like it, so I thought… maybe there could be a novel here. There wasn’t. Not exactly. The novel I set out to write in Forget Me Not, which was a novel, then a novella, and then a novel again, was not what came out. From that novel, the series was born and, although I have some issues with my writing in that one, I feel like it, in a lot of ways, represents the series as well. My writing, like Lily, was immature. I have revised a bit, but it’s not my strongest work and I wonder if it hurts me when trying to market the series as a whole. However, I tend to feel like people who like the series understand its place in the series and I leave it at that. Lily isn’t perfect to readers, even though she’s been raised to be perfect, but that’s kind of the point of the book. She has no idea who or what she is – but she has to make all these choices and also is expected to know what she wants.
 Forget Me Not is a flower, obviously, but it’s multifaceted as a title. Lily and Derek are at different schools and, at first; it’s a plea to him that he remember her. They were supposed to work as a couple. Of course, life isn’t that simple, is it? The other piece of the title I think is important is that it’s about remembering who you are. When Lily ends up with Jack, she’s in this whole whirlwind of a mess between the two guys (and it’s not cheating, for the record, as the conversation with Derek certainly could be read as a breakup or at least enough of a fight for her to see it that way). She ends up making a tough choice, which may not seem like much to people long past their college years, but the decision is that she’s going to pick herself. She’s going to figure herself out and I think the book is just as much about that – not forgetting who you are despite how everyone else sees you. 
In Jack’s story, I chose Lily of the Valley, because first of all, you have Lily. She’s pretty important to the story! There is also the literal valley, at their secret spot toward the end of the book. Most importantly, though, the flower is a symbol of trust and second chances, which I think are key to the novel, and it’s also a symbol of kindness, something that Jack finds in Lily.
Star of Bethlehem brings to mind the holidays, and the story is set at New Year’s. It is also a symbol of hope and of reconciliation. In many ways, new conflicts arise during the novella, but at the end, Jack and Lily are still letting go of some of what has brought them pain and looking at a new start.
The orange blossom is recognized as a symbol of marriage and fidelity and, although the wedding doesn’t take place during Orange Blossom, the main question in the novel is whether a happily ever after will be possible for Jack and Lily, given the circumstances that surround them. And I think they both show their fidelity in the novel.
Ambrosia is reciprocal love and what better symbol for a wedding?
Finally, there’s Alana’s story – Blue Rose. A blue rose is rare and the flower symbolizes both mystery and love at first sight, two things that are somewhat relevant to Alana and Jack, but more significantly, the blue rose is the unattainable. For Jack and Alana, they are just too broken together to be able to be more than friends, and that is something that they both have to face. In addition, since they’re young and they both don’t really have much else in their lives, they don’t understand how love is not enough to heal them, but it’s because their love is something different. They are both looking for the impossible in the other – but in the end, they’re looking at the wrong person.
Anyway, the entire series is called Flowering, because it’s about growing. When we set out for college and into our adult lives, we are planting seeds, but it’s through experiences, through the people we come to know, and through love, that we not only grow as people, but that we grow into the people we hope and want to be as well.

About the Author:
 Sarah Daltry is a girl who writes books. The books are in all genres, because Sarah’s not so great at committing to things. She’s happily married and she and her husband live with their cats in New England. Sarah is painfully shy and, if you are able to find her, she is probably in a corner, hiding. She also wrote Bitter Fruits (urban fantasy NA vampire romance), Backward Compatible: A Geek Love Story (NA/YA gamer geek romantic comedy), The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Modern Reimagining (literary novella), and The Quiver of a Kiss: The Seduction of Helen of Troy (historical erotica), as well as several short stories and works of erotica.

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