Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blitz : Corner of Ocean and Bay

Ten Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Wrote a Novel

Thank you so much for inviting me to share on your blog! I’m Gina Azzi and I recently self-published my first novel Corner of Ocean and Bay.

Here are ten things I wish someone told me before I wrote a novel:

  1. It’s OK not to have all the answers. They’ll come to you in time.
  2. Your best ideas come from the most unlikely places – and in very surprising moments.
  3. Honest friends are more important than friends who don’t want to hurt your feelings.
  4. Have several people read your book – before you send it to the editor.
  5. The cover is incredibly important. Yes, people do judge a book by its cover – it’s true!
  6. You don’t have to accept every suggestion someone offers on how to improve your novel – the ultimate decision to accept or reject a change is yours. But you should always listen first.
  7. Be open and receptive to criticism – you’re characters may grow a bit more, your ideas may develop, etc. – if you are open to understanding the perspectives of others.
  8. Some days, the writing will not come. And it’s ok. (Other days, it will flow. These days are awesome!).
  9. Your characters are not you. Or your friends. Allow them to form their own identities.
  10. Have fun – and enjoy the process! It’s amazing how much you will learn and grow and develop.

Happy writing!

Corner of Ocean and Bay by Gina Azzi 

Publication date: June 15th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Goodreads: Click
Purchase: Amazon | B&N
Nessa Moore has sought reliable stability since her father’s death. Now, she’s over it. Tired of always being the mature adult, constantly worrying about her alcoholic mother, stressing about being able to afford college, she wants to have one normal, carefree, fun summer. And be more like her best friend Jacie.
Jacie Hayes is struggling to overcome the recent breakup with her first love. The one that ripped out her heart and left her devastated. Frustrated and bored with her own self pity, Jacie wants nothing more than to forget about Dylan, to go back to her old ways, her old self. To be the fun loving, live-in-the-moment girl who gossips about boys and sips mojitos.
Best friends since childhood, Nessa and Jacie have been through all their ups and downs together. No matter what. Now, the summer before their senior year of high school, they accept an invitation from Jacie’s aunt to join her in Lockwood Quay, New Jersey, a summer beach getaway.
Determined to make this their best, most memorable, summer yet, both girls push their own boundaries, accept new challenges, and find themselves keeping secrets from each other.
But sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone has consequences.
And some secrets can’t be forgiven.
Or forgotten.
 The unique scent of the ocean, a fusion of sea salt and secrets, blows into the open windows of Jacie’s Jeep Wrangler minutes after we pass the sign welcoming us to Lockwood Quay, New Jersey, population 2,700. The wind whips my hair around my face, tying it in knots, and I breathe in deep, holding the air in my lungs, committing its deliciousness to memory.
I ride shotgun, sitting next to Jacie, as she reaches over and turns up the volume to Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long.” We sing the chorus in unison, Jacie’s fingers tapping the beat on the steering wheel, as we near Aunt Beatrice’s beach house. Jacie throws her arms up, dancing to the music, shaking her head as her long, straight blonde hair snakes down her back. I immediately reach over and grab the steering wheel. We swerve slightly and the man in an oncoming car blares his horn, giving us the stink eye as he passes. Jacie giggles and waves to him. I join in her laughter as I try to squeeze the panic from my chest, reminding myself that this is my shot at a normal, carefree summer, my chance to have some Jacie kind of fun.
When we round the next corner Aunt Beatrice’s house unfolds before me. The house is sprawling, ranch style, transporting me back to my childhood when my father would rent a beach house for the summer. He always loved the Jersey shore.
Aunt Beatrice’s house is a pale gray, almost blue, with large bay windows and a wraparound porch. In one corner, a swing sways slightly in the breeze and white wicker chairs beckon. The path up to the house and the wide driveway are dotted with pale pink brick pavers; the front lawn isn’t a lawn at all but a stretch of various sized stones, broken seashells, and sandy pebbles; the flowers are in full bloom. Beautiful flowers are everywhere: hanging from the window boxes, falling to the porch in various shades of pink, purple, yellow, blue.
“Let the summer shenanigans commence,” Jacie says, shoving the gear stick into park and opening the Jeep door. She stretches her arms overhead and her T-shirt rides up, revealing a glimpse of the ink she had tattooed on her lower abdomen the night before she turned seventeen, precisely nine days ago. Her cousins even gifted her a fake ID.
“I seriously can’t believe we are going to live here!” I push my sunglasses up on top of my head, sweeping my side bangs off my forehead.

“I know, right. It’s going to be such an awesome summer!”  

Interview Questions: Gina Azzi

Question: Tell us more about yourself.

Answer: My name is Gina and I’m a passionate reader. I’m obsessed with my Kindle. I also love traveling, iced coffees, and mint chocolate chip ice cream. I’m a pescatarian – I enjoy sushi too much!

Corner of Ocean and Bay is my first novel and taught me more about myself than most undertakings in my twenties.

Question: What is Corner of Ocean and Bay about?

Answer: Corner of Ocean and Bay centers on the friendship of Nessa and Jacie the summer before their senior year of high school. The themes present in the book focus on common teenage issues such as underage drinking, first loves, sex, family issues, etc. The underlying, core theme is the friendship, and all its complexities, between the two girls.

Question: How did you create the setting of Lockwood Quay?

Answer: The setting was largely inspired by my childhood summers at the Jersey Shore. Even though I have visited many other beaches, the Jersey shore holds a very special place in my heart. I think summers at the beach during my teen years were magical and contributed greatly to my outlook, sense of adventure, and enjoying the moments as they happen. I’ve never felt more carefree than I do at the beach.

Side note: I don’t think people outside of NJ ever refer to the beach as the Shore.

Question: What was the last book you read and loved?

Answer: I’m torn – it’s a toss up between Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series. I just started book five, The Fiery Cross.

I absolutely loved the All Souls Trilogy and am really enjoying the Outlander series. Both are comprised of books you just can’t put down. They are good for summer reading if you have a lot of time because once you start, you will most likely spend the whole day reading!

Question: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Answer: A lot of the time, I’m reading! Lately, I’ve been trying my hand at cooking and learning new recipes. I would love to learn how to bake. I also enjoy yoga and Pilates – currently, I’m attending the pre-natal classes since I’m expecting my first baby in November. I also blog at Bookmarks and Champagne ( It began more as a way for me to keep in touch with family and friends back home but has evolved to include bits about travel and expat life. My best friend and I are considering a book blog as we both love reading and are attached to our Kindles half the time.

Question: Have you always wanted to be an author?

Answer: Writing a book has always been a dream of mine – just not one I ever thought I could turn into a profession. I’m very grateful for the support of my husband and family and friends to stick with this project and give it a try. I enjoy writing every day and feel very fortunate to do something I feel passionate about.

Question: What were your favorite childhood books?

Answer: When I was young, my mom read to me every night before bed and I would always beg for one more book. My favorite childhood book was Love you Forever by Robert Munsch. As I got older, I was obsessed with The Babysitter’s Club – I wanted to be like Dawn. I also really enjoyed the classics: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, everything by Jane Austen, and Wuthering Heights. Harry Potter is my favorite series of all-time. I wish I could go to Hogwarts.

Question: What is your favorite place to write?

Answer: Since my husband and I live abroad and travel often, I find myself writing wherever I can – on plane trips and in airport terminals, in little cafes and coffee shops, in many news cities surrounded by new influences. But right now, the traveling has slowed down since I’m pregnant, so it’s my kitchen table! We’ve got this huge picnic style table from Ikea and I love spreading my notes and journals and coffee mugs all over it when I sit down to write.

Question: What are you working on now?

Answer: Currently, I’m working on a four-book series about four best friends embarking on their senior year of college. Each book will focus on one of the girls and the experiences she has during her last year of college – whether that be as a study abroad student, an athlete, a candidate for a competitive internship, etc. – as well as her personal growth and love interest! The first book is scheduled to be released in November 2015.

Question: If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

Answer: I feel very fortunate to write. In the future, I imagine myself doing all sorts of things. I would love to own a café one day – one that only serves breakfast food and amazing coffee. I’ve always wanted to work on a vineyard and learn about winemaking. We’ll see what the future holds but right now, I’m really happy to be exactly where I am, writing!

Gina Azzi spent all of her childhood summers at the beach in New Jersey - it was magical! Gina is a passionate reader, frequent globetrotter, and coffee enthusiast. She currently resides in Dubai with her husband, Tony. 

Gina loves meeting new people and would love to hear from you! Get in touch with her at:

Twitter: @gina_azzi

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