Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ruined - Stratford High Series, Book One by Marian Cheatham

Ruined - Stratford High Series, Book One
by Marian Cheatham



When your life has been ruined by lies, do you seek justice … or revenge?
Blythe Messina spends her senior year focused on her studies and college, and not on
her ex, Stratford High's lacrosse star, DB Whitmore. At least, that's what Blythe keeps telling herself. But her younger cousin, Bonni, knows otherwise. Same goes for DB, who swears to be over Blythe and their breakup, but his teammates aren’t fooled.
When scandalous photos of Bonni and the team captain are texted around Stratford, Bonni's virtuous reputation is ruined. She professes her innocence, but no one believes her. No one, except Blythe and DB, who come together to uncover the truth. But, will they stay together?   
Ruined is a modern twist on a classic Shakespearean romance.  
"Deceit, loyalty, honor, and romance--Ruined has it all! A teen version of Much Ado

About Nothing that Shakespeare aficionados are sure to savor!”

Kym Brunner, Author of Wanted: Dead or in Love & One Smart Cookie
All books in the Stratford High series will be modern retellings of a Shakespeare classic. Ruined is inspired by Much Ado About Nothing.





I’d been bitchy and on edge ever since that blasted luau last Saturday. Seeing DB, talking to him, being near him again, had taken my life off course. For days now, I’d been ordering my brain to

STOP THINKING ABOUT HIM. We were ancient history, two people doomed from the start, like Antony and Cleopatra or Marie Antoinette and King Louis. So why couldn’t I regain control
of my world? I snatched up my backpack and my Coach crossbody bag, and did a quick once-over in my bedroom mirror. The hair was tied back in a no-fuss ponytail. The jeans were clean,
well, relatively. This faded ASPCA tee was past its expiration date, but good enough for school. I turned off my bedroom light and went in search of Bonni.  

She wasn’t in her room or downstairs in the kitchen. So I grabbed a frosted Pop-Up and headed into the garage, where I was blinded by piercing sunlight. Someone had left the outer door open, and my new hybrid was nowhere to be found. I shaded my eyes and peered outside.

Halfway down our long driveway, I spied Bonni and Uncle Leo with their backs to me, their heads together under the opened hood of my car. They were talking, but in this quiet
morning air, their voices carried. Even from this distance, I could hear fragments of their conversation. And if I heard them, so could our neighbors. I was hurrying toward the hybrid,
anxious to warn my cousin and uncle to keep it down, when I heard something that stopped me in mid-stride.

“… believe what Cory told me … DB and Blythe …”

Had Bonni just mentioned DB and me in the same sentence?

I ducked behind the six-foot-tall hedges lining the drive.

“What else did Cory say?” Uncle Leo asked.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Marian is a full-time writer of contemporary and historical young adult fiction. A native Chicagoan and a graduate of Northern Illinois University, Marian taught special education and worked in the business world before pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. She would rather be at her desk than almost anywhere else, but of course, that isn’t always possible. So when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, walking the dog, travelling with her husband, and researching new projects. Not necessarily in that order.  

She adores anything Shakespeare. An avid reader of Shakespeare biographies, she has travelled the world to see his plays, visiting Stratford, Canada as well as Stratford-Upon-the-Avon, Great Britain, and the new Globe Theater in London. Her latest YA novel, Ruined, Book One in her new Stratford High series – modern retellings of Shakespeare’s plays - is inspired by the Bard’s classic romance, Much Ado About Nothing. Book Two, inspired by the Merchant of Venice, is due out fall 2014.

Her debut YA, Eastland, came out in February 2014. Based on the real-life story of the 1915 Eastland boat disaster in Chicago, Marian lectures about the Eastland to schools, libraries, and book clubs, as well as co-hosting haunted Chicago tours of Eastland disaster sites. She writes a post on the subject on the Tribune’s Chicago Now blog site. 

Why did you become an author? Did any books or events in your life help to contribute to it?

Growing up, the thought of becoming an author was the furthest career from my mind. I loved all my literature classes in high school and college. I couldn’t get enough Dante, Shakespeare, Dickens, Jane Austen. I soaked up Greek mythology and Greek theatre. But when it came time to write a paper or an essay on any of those subjects, I cried.

I just wasn’t a very good writer. Though I read a great deal, I wasn’t identifying with the writing. I was so involved in the storytelling, I never really noticed the style. Only when I made the steadfast decision to study writing, did I begin to understand the craft.

I owe this monumental decision to the picture books I read to my primary special education classes. Those books were fun and appealing, and I thought, easy to replicate. Boy, was I wrong. Picture books were tough to write. In fact, any book I attempted seemed impossible to get right. So I started reading ‘how to’ books on writing. I read middle grade and young adult novels with a voracious appetite, joined a critique group, took classes, attended seminars, became a member of professional organizations, and wrote, wrote, wrote.

Every novel I’ve ever completed has been written half a dozen times. Good writing is nothing more than re-writing. It takes practice, and patience, and the determination to make it to the end of a very long road. But good writing is also love, and desire, and drive. A drive that can’t be extinguished by long hours, sore eyes, faulty computers, and the ever-widening rear end that comes from sitting too long in one place. Writing grows on you like skin. It becomes a part of you and you become part of the craft until you are one. A writer – through and through.   

Visit her at:


Marian will be awarding an eBook copy of Ruined to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop during the tour. A Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Ruined plus a new DVD of Much Ado About Nothing starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson will be awarded to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (US ONLY). A signed paperback copy of Ruined will be awarded to a randomly drawn host (US ONLY).