Friday, June 26, 2015

The V Girl by Mya Robarts

Title: The V Girl
Author: Mya Roberts
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult
Release Date: June 20, 2014

In post-apocalyptic North America, rape and sexual slavery are legal. Lila Velez, desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town, and can take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend, Rey, the most attractive man in her town. Lila does not love him, but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute of love.

Lila’s coping mechanism to her mother’s violent attack is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey FΓΌrst, a foreign, broody man that she distrusts because his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. He offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself.

All the while Lila will have to find a way to live in the constant company of death, slavery, starvation, sexual abuse and the danger of losing the people she loves the most.

***Due to strong language, violent scenes and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 17.***

     I get up and rush toward the door. I don’t get to take two strides before my back slams harshly against a hard surface. His palms are pressed against the wall, and somehow my head ends up enclosed between them. Looking furious, he kneels on one knee erasing our height difference. We’re face to face now.
     The hoarse sound of his voice makes me shudder. Nobody’s ever said my name like that, with that breathy, lustful quality. I don’t want to admit that I love the way my name sounds on his lips.
     Please say my name again.
     My mind reels into a hazy state. Right now, the sedatives aren’t letting me think clearly. All I want is to hear him say my name.
     I try to escape, but I find myself caged up in the prison of his strong arms. Eager anticipation courses through me. Something is about to happen. I want it to happen, but Gary’s voice replays in my mind. He’s a soldier and a rapist. Gary lied about everything that day.  I’ll believe he was lying about him, as well.
     “Let’s start your training.” Gary’s voice evaporates completely from my mind. The way his breath caresses my face sends bolts of electricity all over my body.
     I’m trembling. “I … uh … swords training?”
     A coy smile appears on his face, and I realize what kind of training he’s referring to. I shiver.
     “Don’t be nervous.”
     “I’m not nerv—” I gasp when he puts his hands to both of my hips and roughly presses them against his hardness. Rubbing. Grinding.
     The sensations threat to overwhelm me. I shove at his chest, trying to put distance. "Let me go."
     He ignores me.
     I try to use one of my self-defense moves, but he dodges easily and traps my wrists firmly with one enormous hand. I use all my strength to try to free myself and I can’t.
     His voice caresses my ear.  It makes my skin ripple up in goosebumps. "Breathe, Miss Velez. Inhale,” he inhales against my neck greedily. “Exhale.” He blows his cool breath in my ear. “Even an aroused little girl like you can do that.”
     A mixture of desire and anger makes my body tremble. Is he mocking me? I insult him with every swear word I can remember and push him. Does he really want me or is he just playing games?
     I shiver when he nips the lobe of my ear gently. He sucks, nibbles, and pulls. I try to conceal my enjoyment, but my traitorous body squirms under his touch. He is smirking against my neck. He knows what’s he’s doing to me, and he’s enjoying it.
     His tongue trails from the hollow of my throat to the side of my neck. Aleksey is acting as though he knows he’ll get what he wants and is taking his time to savor his prey.
     He places soft kisses all over my collarbone, my jaw, neck. When he nibbles my sensitive flesh softly, I realize I’m panting. The nibbling becomes harsh. He doesn’t care if I end up marked. I don’t want to admit that I love his animal touch and the way it makes electric currents sweep through me.

Ebook vs. Printed books
Today I wanted to share with all of you my opinion about a dilemma that every bookaholic faces once in a while. The never ending debate: E-books vs. Printed books.

Some believe that e-readers are going to dominate the reading world.  A more conservative group of people think that the traditional book will remain the favorite choice among a huge portion of book lovers.

As recent as four years ago, I was an enthusiast part of this second side. I used to believe that a book, to be “real” had to come to life in printed form.  The flipping of pages, the smell, and the texture were all irreplaceable for me and a huge part of what my reading experience have to include. And who doesn’t love to take a look at shelves full of books?

Eventually, I discovered the advantages of e-book readers. Portability; more books, less money,  you can read covertly when you’re not supposed to do it (let’s say a boring lecture). E-books have advantages that I never thought I’d enjoy since I was so reluctant to change the way I have always read.

You are not less of a book lover if you prefer e-books over printed books. Recently I saw a video in which Kat O’Keeffe  from  Katytastic admits she prefers e-books. Kat, owns the most beautiful shelves I’ve ever seen, and even so she prefers e-books.  Plenty of booklovers , who have a kind of physical impediment will prefer e-book, too.  And carrying a thousand books with you wherever you go, has its advantages.

Why not combine the two? I read in electronic format the books that I think won’t be among my favorites. When my favorite authors have a new release, I end up buying the same book twice. I order the e-book the day of release and even so I order the printed version.

As a book addict who enjoys her addiction, I’ll always want more books in whatever format I can get them: Electronic, Audio, Paperback, Hardcovers, etc. I want them all. The format doesn’t demerit the value of a book. A great book will always be great not matter what format meet our eyes. And whether your book collection is nicely stacked on shelves or available to you with just a few clicks on your e-reader, the very fact that we have options to choose is something to feel grateful for. It means more reading opportunities to discover our next favorite reading.

What was the first seed that sparked the story that would become The V Girl?
I was doing research for another novel, when I came across testimonies that made my skin crawl because they described the cruel reality of mass rape.  The one that disturbed me the most came from a woman whose country was invaded by several foreign armies. She was fourteen or fifteen at the time. When the Army of her own country was about to regain the control of her town, her mother made provisions so both of them could avoid rape, even though the girl didn’t think this was necessary. Mother and daughter prepared themselves for the soldiers’ arrival by shaving their heads, and the girl acted the role of a very sick girl, hoping the soldiers would spare her. When the soldiers finally came, it turned out the mother had been right all along. Their schemes worked and the soldiers didn’t rape this girl, but they raped other girls. How did the mother know that certain precautions were needed? It was clear to me that abuses from the troops were not only known, but also expected. The fact that the mother knew that this would happen;  the fact that they did not make these provisions around the soldiers of the foreign army, but around the soldiers of their own country, had an impact on my emotions. I thought, Wouldn’t the girl try to lose her virginity to a guy of her choice as part of her preparations? That was a story that deserved to be written, and I wanted to write it myself.

Did you have trouble writing any of the scenes (the action scenes or the most emotional ones)?
Writing the action scenes is extremely hard and I’m rarely satisfied. I write them, discard them and rewrite them repeatedly. Another challenge is putting my characters through such dramatic events and situations. I’m emotionally attached to all of them, even the antagonists, and writing their suffering becomes uncomfortable. During certain scenes, their level of anguish and pain is so high that their emotions rub on me. I also had trouble writing Chapters forty-eight and forty-nine. At the same time writing those chapters was cathartic because I had a similar experience when I was ten years old. I never told anyone until I became an adult, and by writing a scene like this, I was able to have some kind of closure.

How did you manage to balance the disturbing themes with the romance or the dystopian sense of pushing for freedom in an unjust society?
The romance wasn’t central in the earlier drafts of the book. But my readers, my editor and my own heart responded well to it, so I ended up increasing the time for the romantic storyline. I love YA dystopian books that present a romantic subplot, but more often than not I finish the book thinking: I need more romance. The first draft was brutal and violent, and there wasn’t a romantic counterpart to create balance. But I added more pages of the romantic and emotional attachments. That allowed me to develop the characters more, and to add a bit of humanity to this disturbing world. I like it better this way. I had the chance to add swoon-worthy moments and a little bit of comic relief, by presenting a love story limited by the circumstances of the war,.

How long did it take you to get the plot rounded and what kind of message did you want to convey?
It took months to get the plot rounded. Lila’s storyline ends in The V girl, but the political context was so intricate that I’ll need more books to develop the world building and give resolution to the war storyline. The ending was extremely difficult to write because the book was going to be published in two parts, and I took out around fifty thousand words from the original draft.

I tried to convey the feeling that even under the darkest, most difficult circumstances we can allow ourselves to hope and love. No matter how dire the situation is, there’s always some level of hope. The V girl world is so bleak and at times it seems that everything is lost, but if we don’t lose our humanity, we can find the motivation to hope and love.

Did you have to do any research and what kind?
I looked “rape during war” up in Google, and found eighty-seven million results. I had plenty of material to read. Besides, I read plenty of books and saw documentaries about the topic. Mass rape is something that if you don’t see it, you don’t believe it exists and yet it has been an unfortunate occurrence since forever. I also found useful information in, a site for rape survivors. I dedicated the book to them.

Do you plan to write more stories based in the same world, maybe continue the timeline?
I’m writing more books based on this world featuring different characters as we speak.  Some of The V Girl characters are secondary characters in them. What I’ll write first will depend on the readers feedback. I want to know what they’d love to see in future books.

Can you see yourself as not being a writer in the future?
No. Reading and writing are part of who I am. I'll always write stories even if I decide to keep those stories to myself and never publish them.

Author Bio:
I am a bookaholic and regret nothing.

I spent years trying to become a contemporary dance choreographer. Eventually I realized that I enjoyed writing my stories rather than creating dances for them.

I am obsessed with books that present damaged characters, swoon worthy guys, controversial topics and happy endings.


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