I’m excited today to introduce you to Maria T. Henriksen.
Maria has just come out with her debut novel “Not Again.” This new YA book is one that is sure to draw the attention of lovers of those interested in many diverse genres.
She’s here to tell us a little herself, her book and her background.
Maria, tell us about yourself and how you were raised.
I’m an east coast girl, born and raised outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania along with my older sister and younger brother. Both my parents are from Philadelphia and were raised Catholic. Despite their Catholic upbringing, they gave us the freedom to decide our belief system as we were not forced to go to mass, except to partake in Holy Communion and Holy Confirmation. As a young adult, I chose another path and explored different denominations. Today, my family and I attend church on a regular basis and every member enjoys worshipping there.
We have also enjoyed vacations down the shore, to Walt Disney World, Colonial Williamsburg like I did growing up. I feel blessed to be able to share the wonderful experiences I had growing with my own children.
Is your favorite genre to read the same as what you like to write?
I started reading young adult novels when I began to substitute teach because it was convenient to check out books at the school library. Before I knew it, I was hooked on reading that genre. I decided to combine elements that I like to read like romance and make it faith-based with a literary flair. As a teacher, I can’t resist an opportunity for a teaching lesson as demonstrated by the various themes in the novel.
Is there a special place you like to write?
I can write just about anywhere it’s quiet, but I particularly enjoy writing outside in the fresh air. During the revisions, I discovered that listening to classical music helps my writing process as I find it soothing, relaxing and not at all distracting.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I actually had no idea what I was going to write until I sat down to write it. No outline was created whatsoever. Fortunately, I never experienced writer’s block.
What age did you realize you loved books and when did you start writing?
As a child, I didn’t care for reading at all. Ironically, writing appealed to me. As a result, my first books were penned and illustrated when I was in third grade. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I started to enjoy reading when I began my career as a substitute teacher.
Tell us about this book.
Not Again is a unique combination of genres that I enjoy reading comprised into one action-packed novel.
Christina De Rosa holds a potentially deadly secret that threatens to get out. As an innocent young teenager, Christina survives a terrifying detailed sexual assault that destroys her self-worth and trust.
In her daily struggle, Christina searches for ways to keep her torment at bay, so she can function as a “normal” teenager. Meanwhile, Christina’s spiritual journey leads her down a path causing conflict within, as she’s riddled with guilt and shame.
A chance encounter with her longtime, hot crush, Avery Evans, sparks a fire in Christina that she can’t extinguish. As the sweet, loving, knight in shining armor he readily portrays, Avery offers the safety and security that Christina craves.
In her quest for internal peace, Christina must make a decision. Will she give her heart, body, and soul to the super popular, Avery Evans?
*Not Again is NOT your typical Christian coming of age story. Fierce faith doesn’t come without a fight. Prepare for heartache, self-harm, traumatic events, real romance, and actual scripture in these pages.
In short, Not Again is a unique blend of genres where romance collides with conviction and innocence collides with tragedy. Its inspirational messages will transform your life forever.
What inspired you to write this novel?
Imagine being a teenager again in today’s world. Suffice it to say that I’m grateful for growing up in the 80s.
I’m surrounded by teens in most aspects of my life. It’s intentional because I feel a calling.
God placed it on my heart to speak to those teens in various ways. One way is through my novel.
What makes Not Again different from other novels?
I describe Not Again as being edgy. It’s a risk I took out of obedience to Christ. Some may be offended by the descriptive nature of my book or the mature themes. However, I offer no apologies. I’m answering a calling.
Kids today are exposed to more violence & sin than ever before due to the advent of technology like cell phones & the internet. They also live in a fast-paced world and expect immediate gratification. Not Again keeps the reader engaged and entertained as they travel on a spiritual journey.
I deal mostly with teens who attend public schools and maybe those who don’t go to church.
Certain behaviors are acceptable to them, even normal. Not Again offers different ways of looking at body image, bullying, sex, drugs, alcohol…
In addition, my debut novel Not Again offers ways of coping with day to day stress as well as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome).
It’s important to me that the reader takes away something worthwhile from my writing as I like to gain something from my time reading.
What did you learn about yourself through writing it?
I was even transformed by my novel. During the final revisions, I began repairing a friendship as I was going through a scene on forgiveness. The words I wrote leaped off the page and spoke to me so deeply that I felt convicted to reach out to a friend that betrayed me. I no longer feel the weight of that burden of unforgiveness as I continue to work through the process of restoring the relationship.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?
Not Again took a form of its own and introduced many characters from all walks of life. My favorite character is Miss Brenda, a compassionate middle-aged woman with a heart of gold. To have a friend like her would truly be an honor.
What advice would you give a new author?
Write what you feel compelled to write.
Don’t give up.
Trust your instincts.
Make sure your voice is heard and not that of your editors or Beta readers.
What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?
My sequel is on hold until my boy/girl twins graduate from high school this spring 2020. Then I plan on cranking it into high gear to finish Not Again, The Fallout. The second book will delve deeper into a major theme and will explore a much-needed topic while providing resolution.
What’s one thing you wish readers would take away from this book?
The greatest joy I could have is to hear that someone became a believer as a result of reading Not Again. It’s my desire to have readers know that they can trust God with their problems whether it’s daily stressors or major traumatic events in their lives.
About Maria Henriksen
Maria T. Henriksen is a lover of reading and writing and hopes that people will enjoy her novel as much as she enjoyed writing it.
Helping others in any capacity is what drives Maria.
Maria has a passion for health and fitness, and exercises on a regular basis. She can be seen running on a track, trail, or along the road several times during the week, especially in the summer. Her favorite place to run is down the shore, along the bay.
Not Again is on Amazon in print and ebook formats. You can get Not Again for free on Kindle Unlimited (KU). https://kdp.amazon.com/amazon-dp-action/us/dualbookshelf.marketplacelink/B07WHKGDF7