Summer at Paradise Ranch by R. Barri Flowers


Genre: YA Adventure
From R. Barri Flowers, author of the bestselling teen novels, COUNT DRACULA’S TEENAGE DAUGHTER, TEEN GHOST AT DEAD LAKE, and OUT FOR BLOOD, come the start of an exciting new young adult adventure series, SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH.
SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH is a great coming of age adventure with young romance and mystery in paradise. Now in eBook, print, and audio.

Can you tell us a little about Summer at Paradise Ranch?

SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH is a young adult romance and adventure novel with a touch of mystery and suspense.
Four months shy of turning sixteen, Lexi Montoya was still trying to come to terms with her parents’ divorce and her mom's remarriage to a man she met online, relocating to Maui, Hawaii.
Choosing to remain with her dad in Seattle, Lexi had planned to spend her first summer since the divorce hanging out with her boyfriend, Matt, and best friend, Robin. But her dad had other plans, insisting she spend the summer visiting her mom and stepdad at his ranch called Paradise Ranch in Wailuku, in west Maui.
Lexi went there with an attitude. Then she meets a cute Hawaiian guy named Mitsuo, is thrown into a love triangle, become friends with a teen girl living on a ranch next door, April; rides her first horse-- an Arabian mare named Poppy-- learns to hula dance and surf, and finds herself embroiled in a dangerous rescue mission when Poppy and another horse named Casper go missing from her stepfather’s ranch.
By the time her tropical summer adventure comes to an end, Lexi hates to leave Maui and say goodbye to Mitsuo. But can she stay when Matt is waiting for her back at home to pick up where they left off? Or will he lose her to a summer romance?

What inspired you to write it?

SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH was inspired by my love for Maui, Hawaii and sense of adventure. As a part time resident of the magnificent and charming island, with its diversity, including working horse and cattle ranches, luxury and not so luxurious homes, sandy white beaches, the vast beauty of the ocean, the merging of different races, ethnicities, and cultures in a friendly, laid back environment, and of course, hula dancing--all made for the perfect setting for this young adult romance and adventure novel with a bit of mystery and suspense to spice things up that much more.
Also, similar to my protagonist, Lexi Montoya, I have lived in the Pacific Northwest, which has its own claim to beauty and charm--making for a great place for Lexi to live (Seattle), before being forced to spend the summer in Maui with her mother, who divorced her dad and remarried a Hawaiian rancher she met over the Internet.
Having Lexi resistant to going to Maui was as much about her love for Seattle and her boyfriend, Matt, as the beef she has against her mom for essentially abandoning. The irony here is that most people would jump at the chance to spend the summer in Hawaii, but Lexi’s feelings in this regard went against the grain initially--till she arrives in paradise and begins to warm up to the idea of the forced vacation.
One of the best things about Hawaii is that it offers so many activities, such as riding horses, surfing, swimming, hanging out on beach, shopping, eating, and hula dancing. I utilized all of these things in the storyline for Lexi as she gets in touch with the culture and her surroundings -- learning to ride a horse, surf, and hula dance, while also falling for a cute Hawaiian teen named Mitsuo.
With respect to the broken home Lexi comes from, knowing that this is all too common in America, I wanted to make her life something that many teens face today with all the angst that comes from it and dealing with.
Lastly, no YA novel would be complete without the protagonist facing a bit of danger. In this case, Lexi and Mitsuo go after some stolen horses, that becomes more than either bargained for.
This was a great novel to write and I am certain that readers will love it, as I take full advantage of the Maui setting in creating a realistic and fun teen adventure.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
I wanted a cover that showed a true cowgirl in a ranch setting, in depicting my protagonist, Lexi, feeling at home in Maui on Paradise Ranch. This cover was perfect in illustrating that theme.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?

That’s a fun question! Let me see… there are so many great actors, I will have to list a couple of choices for each character for readers to pick from as their choice when reading the novel.
Lexi, the protagonist: Brit Robertson, Hunter King, or Vanessa Marano
Mitsuo, the cute Hawaiian she is gushing over: Jake Austin or Avan Jogia
Joyce, Lexi’s mother: Rachelle Lefevre or Ashley Judd
Lexi stepdad, Ernesto: Jason Momoa or Lou Diamond Phillips
April, Lexi’s red haired next door new friend: Molly Quinn or Katie Leclerc
Kikue, Mitsuo’s girlfriend: Bianca Santos or Lindsey Morgan
Matt, Lexi’s boyfriend: Grey Damon or Liam Hemsworth
Rory, Mitsuo’s best friend: Tahj Mowry or Devon Bostick

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
Similar to other YA authors such as Lauren Brooke, R. L. Stine, Veronica Roth, Scott Westerfeld, Cecily von Ziegesar, etc., I love writing for teens in remembering my own love of reading as a teenager and wanting to add to the impressive and wide range of material available these days for young adults to read and enjoy.
I also write adult fiction and true crime books.

What made you want to become an author?
I grew up reading Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew fiction, as well as Mark Twain, and knew then that I wanted to someday lend my own voice to the world of creative writing. I wrote a lot of short stories growing up and in college, further cementing my desire to become a published author.

How do you come up with character names?
I create character names by using my imagination in trying to match the perfect name to each character, Having written many novels, I often have to double check previous ones to keep from ever using the same names, with so many available. Though I often use common names for characters, I also enjoy coming up with totally original or unique first or last names to use.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
A second all time favorite is 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

Who, or what, inspires you?
I am inspired by all people who have dreams and the courage to pursue them till succeeding in making come true.

Where is your favourite place to write?
On my lanai overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a perfect sandy white beach, with palms trees swaying.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
I love this question. My favourite movie based on a book would have to be Gone With the Wind; with a close second being, Valley of the Dolls.

Name two of your favourite authors.
Daphne du Maurier and Charles Dickens.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Another terrific question.
I would love to have a dinner party with Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Daphne du Maurier, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Emily Brontë, Mickey Spillane, Irwin Shaw, and the list goes on... I really enjoy reading books by these authors as I love the sense of time and place they bring to their novels, transporting me to another era that fascinates me.
I would love to pick each and every one of their brains about life as they knew it, what motivated them to become authors, who their favorite authors were, what they imagined the future would be like, etc.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
In addition to my fiction and nonfiction under my own name of R. Barri Flowers, I also write contemporary romances, romantic suspense, and young adult fiction under the pseudonym Devon Vaughn Archer.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
photo credit: aktivioslo via photopin cc
Now that is a question I have never been asked before. LOL Well, let me give that some thought…
I can think of a few talented actors for the part… Idris Elba and Denzel Washington come to mind.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
It is the only state in the country that is comprised totally of islands.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I have a number of upcoming titles, including the sequel to SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH, entitled, SECOND SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH; KULA’S REVENGE, the third book in my YA vampire series, Transylvanica High; book number two in my Leila Kahana Hawaii mystery series, KILLER ON KAANAPALI BEACH, and book number two of my Skye Delaney private eye series, MURDER AT THE CLASS REUNION.
I am currently working on a cozy mystery.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
Visit Australia and New Zealand.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
Sleeping Beauty.

Who or what did you want to be when you were a kid?

An author.

It was the last day of school before summer break and Lexi Montoya was leaning against her locker facing her boyfriend, Matt Holloway. Next to Lexi was her best friend, Robin Forrester, who was facing her boyfriend, Dirk Watson. Just four months shy of her sixteenth birthday, Lexi hated the thought that instead of spending summer vacation in Seattle, where she lived and had her friends to hang out with, she was being forced by her dad to go visit her mother in Hawaii.
The same mother who had abandoned her nearly a year ago, divorced her dad, and married a man she'd met on the Internet. In Lexi's way of thinking, she was in no hurry to see her mother again—certainly not anytime soon. But her father had other ideas, believing it would be good for her to try to repair the relationship with her mother. Lexi suspected that he had an ulterior motive for sending her packing to Maui. Her dad had a new girlfriend, whom she believed he wanted to spend more time with—minus the presence of a teenage daughter to mess things up.
The notion of being an ocean way from Matt for an entire summer annoyed Lexi. But she had no choice in the matter.
It didn't set well with Matt either. "That sucks!" he complained as she broke the news to him, gazing down at her with deep blue eyes.
"I know, right," Lexi told him, flipping her long brown hair over her shoulder.
"What am I going to do without my best friend?" Robin complained, her forehead creasing above thin brows.
Dirk rolled his eyes. "Are you kidding me? Who wouldn't want to go to Hawaii for an all-expense paid trip to paradise?"
"Uh me," Lexi said. "Especially when my life is right here."
"And it'll be here when you get back," he said. "But going to Maybe my mom should try to hook up with someone there. My dad probably wouldn't care too much, since she's always complaining that he never pays attention to her anyway."
Robin frowned. "That's not very nice."
Dirk shrugged. "Hey, I'm just saying."
"Maybe I should give you the ticket then," Lexi suggested. "You can go in my place and I'll stay at your house, with my dad totally clueless."
Dirk laughed. "I think Matt would probably have a problem with that."
Matt ran a hand through his thick brown hair. "I'd have more of a problem if she met some surfer dude in Hawaii and decided to kick me to the curb and never come back."
Lexi met his eyes in earnest. "That's not going to happen," she promised. "No surfer dude could ever take your place with me."
"You sure about that?"
"Positive. I'll just be going through the motions and putting up with my mom until the summer ends and then I'm back here where I belong."
That seemed to pacify him. "Cool," he said, grinning, before giving her a kiss.
Lexi was only too happy to kiss him back, loving the feel of his lips on hers. Besides, she wanted the kiss to be enough for both of them to last through the entire summer.
"Get a room," Robin joked.
Blushing, Lexi broke the lip lock. "We'll pick it up later," she promised Matt.
"Sounds good to me," he said.
"I just hope that in between all that fun in the sun you find the time to text your best friend and boyfriend—like every day!" Robin said.
"Definitely," Lexi promised, even though the last thing she expected was much fun while on the island, where she was headed against her wishes.
* * *
That evening, Lexi was packing and wishing she didn't have to, when her father came into her room.
"Can I help with anything?" he asked.
She faced him and frowned. "Yes, you can tell me I can stay home for the summer."
"We've already been through this, Lexi," he said. "You need to spend some time with your mother."
"Why should I?" she challenged him. "She walked out on us."
"I know and I'm not excusing that. But she's still your mother."
"I wish she wasn't!"
Lowell Montoya stepped closer to his daughter, his brow furrowed. "You don't mean that."
"Yes, I do," Lexi insisted, or at least she did on some level. "How can you just pretend what she did to you when she ran off to be with another man is okay?"
"It's not okay," he said. "What she did was unforgivable. Except, at some point, you have to forgive, if not forget, and move on."
"You mean move on to Rebecca?" Lexi shot him a cold stare. "Isn't that really what this is about—shoving me aside so you can pretend I don't exist, just like mom did?"
"No, honey, that's not what this is about. I would never shove you aside for anyone, and I don't think that's what your mother was doing—not intentionally anyway." He paused. "This will always be your home. My relationship with Rebecca has nothing to do with how I feel about you as my only child and someone I love dearly. You've always told me I need to get a life. So now I'm trying to take you up on that and see where it goes."
"Yeah, well I'd like to do the same thing with my relationship with Matt," she said.
"And you will have plenty of time for that," he assured her. "Your mother's not perfect and neither am I. She's reached out to you. Just give her a chance."
Lexi fixed him with teary eyes. "And what if I hate it there?"
"Then you can come home. But I'm pretty sure that, in spite of your beef with your mother and desire to stay in Seattle, there will be plenty of things in Maui to keep you occupied."
"I hope so," Lexi muttered, though all she could really think about at the moment was being forced to face the mother who had turned her back on her.
He wrapped his arms around her and Lexi rested her head against his chest. I know I have to do this, she told herself reluctantly. Otherwise, she might never find out why her parents' marriage failed when she hadn't seen it coming. Or would her mother not even bother to tell her side of the story?

About the Author
R. Barri Flowers is the bestselling author of young adult novels, including OUT FOR BLOOD, COUNT DRACULA'S TEENAGE DAUGHTER, TEEN GHOST AT DEAD LAKE, GHOST GIRL IN SHADOW BAY, DANGER IN TIME, and CHRISTMAS WISHES: Laura's Story. His novels can be found in print, eBook, and audio. In addition to bookstores, many of the titles can be found at public libraries across the country.
The author has also written a number of bestselling teen and young adult related nonfiction books as well, including RUNAWAY KIDS AND TEENAGE PROSTITUTION, KIDS WHO COMMIT ADULT CRIMES, and CHILDREN AND CRIMINALITY.
Follow R. Barri Flowers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, LibraryThing, Flickr, and And learn more about the author in Wikipedia.

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