Author Guest Post

Dawn Ius on Overdrive and Anne & Henry

September 15, 2016
Dawn Ius
Author of Overdrive and Anne & Henry

This week, we’re featuring TWO reads from author Dawn Ius: an extended excerpt of her latest novel Overdrive (which just went on sale this week!) and a full read of her novel Anne & Henry.  One has been described as “an edgy novel about a crack team of teenage criminals on a mission to learn to trust, build a life, and steal a wish list of exotic cars,” the other as “a retelling of the infamous love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII set in a modern-day high school.” Can two novels by the same author be more different?!  How or why would an author transition from such vastly different topics?  As it turns out, the short answer is a bit of “writerly ADD” but read on to hear more from Dawn herself!  And if Dawn’s post, Overdrive, or Anne & Henry give you any thoughts or feels, let us know in the comments!

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Catering to my Writerly ADD

As a child, I read everything from Shakespeare to Carolyn Keene, to Roald Dahl and all fiction (and non-fiction!) in-between. I was never concerned with genre, age category (much to my mother’s dismay), or whether the book took place in present day or the past—the story is what mattered.

It’s still what matters.

Growing up, my stepfather regaled me with tales of Anne Boleyn, his obvious adoration for her creating an infectious enthusiasm for Tudor history. I devoured books, articles, and documentaries, never once thinking this casual research would one day provide the inspiration for my debut with Simon Pulse, Anne & Henry.

From the spark of that idea through to the end of the novel, I was immersed in Anne and Henry’s world, laboring over how to infuse historical facts into what is obviously a very contemporary story. I became a Wikipedia of Tudor knowledge, annoying my friends and family with obscure references and the occasional outburst of, “off with her head!” (Yes, I know, that’s the Queen of Hearts, not Anne Boleyn.) I’m truly proud of Anne & Henry.

But when it came time to write my second novel, I was happy to flee both the Tudor era, and history altogether. Sure, there are other stories from that time period that could have worked—Bloody Mary, Queen Elizabeth, a happily-ever-after for Henry, perhaps—but there was no story that gripped me.

Instead, my muse steered me to Jules Parish, a skilled teenage car thief the police knew only as Ghost. Toss in a mystery about a famous muscle car that had been MIA for more than two decades, and now I had a story. The story of my heart, as it turns out.

Overdrive is nothing like Anne & Henry. The action is fast, the romance (though hot!) takes a back seat to the thrills, and the novel is set along the infamous Strip in Las Vegas. There’s also a lot about cars—sports cars, fast cars, muscle cars. CARS! (I love cars.)

And yet, the books do share common factors. Both feature kick-ass protagonists who are strong, brave, and possess a survival instinct that guides their decisions, for better or worse. And each novel feeds one of my passions—a love of Tudor history in Anne & Henry, and my obsession with muscle cars (and the featured 1967 Shelby GT 500 Mustang) in Overdrive.

Perhaps ironically, I return to history for my third novel, Lizzie, which is a modern re-telling of the Lizzie Borden axe murders. From (tragic) romance and high-stakes thrills, to a psychological thriller that revisits one of America’s most fascinating unsolved crimes—how lucky am I to have a publisher that not only supports my writerly ADD, but also encourages it? Incredibly.

Overdriveby Dawn Ius

Gone in Sixty Seconds meets Heist Society in this edgy novel about a crack team of teenage criminals on a mission to learn to trust, build a life, and steal a wish list of exotic cars.

Jules Parish has screwed up.

After three years of boosting cars, she got caught. She’s too good to get caught, but she let her (ex)-boyfriend talk her into a questionable job. And now she and her little sister, Emma, will be kicked out of their foster home, left to survive on the unforgiving streets of Las Vegas alone.

Unless.

Eccentric, wealthy Roger Montgomery wants to open up his mansion to Jules and Emma. The only catch? Jules must steal seven of the rarest, most valuable muscle cars in the world…in seven weeks. Even worse, she’s forced to put her trust in three complete strangers to help her do it.

First there’s Chelsea, the gorgeous redhead with a sharp tongue and love for picking locks. Then there’s Mat, who hasn’t met a system he couldn’t hack. And finally there’s the impossibly sexy car thief Nick, whose bad attitude and mysterious past drive Jules crazy.

With nothing in common and everything to lose, can Jules and her amateur crew pull off what could be the biggest car heist in history? Or will things spin out of control faster than a Nevada dust devil?

Anne & Henryby Dawn Ius

In this wonderfully “clever and compelling” (Kirkus Reviews) retelling of the infamous—and torrid—love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, history collides with the present when a sizzling romance ignites in a modern-day high school.

Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Wild, brash, and outspoken, Anne is everything Henry isn’t allowed to be—or want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, but his desire for Anne consumes him.

Henry is willing to do anything to be with her, but once they’re together, will their romance destroy them both?

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry beautifully reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.