18 July 2013

Blog Tour + Interview + Review: Call Me Crazy by Quinn Loftis

YA Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 5/31/2013

“I’m looking out from inside the chaos. It must be a one-way mirror because no one seems to be able to see back inside to where I am. The looks on their faces, the judgment in their eyes, tells me everything I need to know. The most frustrating part about the whole messed up situation is that even though I’m the one that they stare at in shock, I am just as shocked as they are. I know no more than they do of why I lose control. What they don’t know is that I am more scared of myself than they could ever be.” ~ Tally Baker

After a devastating turn of events, seventeen year old Tally Baker is admitted to Mercy Psychiatric Facility where she is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She has come to a place where she honestly believes that her life is over. Her mind tells her that she will never smile or laugh again, that she will never be normal again. It is in this unlikely place that she meets two people, different in every way, yet both critical to helping her realize that she has so much more living to do. 
Candy, a cantankerous sixty year old Mercy Psychiatric patient, is hell bent on driving everyone as crazy as she is. Candy shows Tally that, regardless of her diagnosis, the ability to push on and live her life to the fullest is her choice and hers alone. In the midst of Tally’s oftentimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching, escapades with Candy, a new patient is admitted to Mercy—a native American woman named Lolotea. Along with this new patient comes a daily visitor, her son, Trey Swift. At first glance, it is obvious to Tally that he is incredibly handsome and unbelievably caring. But what she learns through her second glance, and many thereafter, is that there is much more to Trey than he ever lets on.
It is during these daily visits that Trey and Tally build a friendship far deeper than either of them truly realize. With Trey, Tally feels for the first time since being admitted that someone is looking at her as a person and not as a disease. Trey begins to make it clear that he wants more than friendship, but she knows that she can never give him more. How can she, when she won’t even give him the truth?  Tally doesn’t tell Trey that she is a patient at Mercy, and she doesn’t ever plan to. Her plans go up in flames when she finds out that Trey is a new student at her school, the school where her brokenness was found out in the floor of the girl’s bathroom in a pool of her own blood. 




“For a brief moment I feel a strange kinship to the predators of the animal kingdom. I realize that I am not so different from the wolves, the great cats, or the bears. Like them I find that I am possessive of what I consider mine, I long to tear into one who would dare enter my territory and I have a need to provide for the female who belongs by my side. We men deceive ourselves when we claim civility. At the core of our being, we are animals.” ~ Trey

It’s been three days since I have been to the hospital, two days since I put a hole in my wall, one day since I worked for sixteen hours straight at the ranch. And still I burn on the inside. I have gotten in too deep, too fast. My father told me once that the men of our blood only know how to love one way; with our complete being; with the depths of our soul, with the beating of our hearts, with the marrow of our bones and with every thought that invades our minds—we love completely.

Interview with Quinn Loftis:

Hi Quinn, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. First Up I have to say how much I enjoyed Call Me Crazy and reading Tally and Trey’s story (I cried a LOT).
Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking time to read it!
I’m sure you get asked this a lot, but everybody always wants to know, do you have a favorite character from Call Me Crazy (mine was Candy)?
Candy is definitely my favorite, she was a refreshing break from all the seriousness, even though she did have her tough times. She was so much fun to write.
From your dedication at the end of the book it seems the subject of mental health is very close to your heart. Was the inspiration a personal journey and where did you get the idea behind the story and for Tally?
I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder (BPD) at the age of 21. It was scary and dark and at times I honestly thought my life was over. I wanted people to get to see inside the mind of someone living with a mental health illness. I wanted people to have some small understanding of what it is to live with this day in and day out and to maybe learn something that could help them in dealing with someone they love who has mental illness.
I really loved seeing Tally’s strength and spirit even when faced with the horrific school bullies. Do you think enough is done to help teenagers with bipolar disorder and to educate kids on the perils of bullying?
I think that bullying is definitely beginning to be brought to light and I think that is awesome, but the root of bullying is the fear of the unknown or the unfamiliar. People often relate to things they don’t understand in a couple of ways, aggression or indifference. Unfortunately because teens are supper charged with hormones it seems they often go the route of aggression. I think that it is more common for a teen with mental health problems to be the object of bully’s because they are often withdrawn, or act in a very inappropriate way (meaning extremely emotional, or flamboyant) and so they become easy targets. I’m hoping that mental health problems in teens will be something that will be brought to light in a positive way to show people that yes it’s real, but it’s not the end of the world.
Trey has the patience of a saint and is really compassionate. Is he based on anybody you know? If so where can we find a guy like him?
Well, I have my own Trey, my husband (no his name isn’t Trey). I was hoping to give Trey some flaws (i.e. a little bit of a temper) because I want girls to realize there is no perfect guy out there―and that’s okay because we aren’t perfect. However, that said, there are guys out there who are willing to work for their relationship to work, they’re willing to CHOOSE love, not rely on the feeling of love and that is what gets you through dark times. And if mental illness is a factor in the relationship there will be some very dark times. Where can you find one, prayer. I prayed for my husband before I ever knew his name. Prayed that God would bring the person into my life who would value marriage and commitment above all else and God brought me Bo. He’s my best friend. He has stood beside me when he should have run for the hills and I can never thank God enough for giving me such a man. Is he perfect, far from it, but he chooses to put God first and me second and that is an order that will make a marriage last. He chooses to love me, BPD and all, and there is no greater gift than for someone to choose to love you when you don’t deserve it. It is true, Love does cover a multitude of sin.
I loved Candy is she based on anybody in particular? Also where do you get the inspiration for character names (Candy Bush is a hoot)?
Well, Candy is very close to home and loosely based off a person I met during my own dark time in a psychiatric facility. She brought me a smile when I needed it most. The names, well Candy (short for Candace is sort of a tribute to a dear friend of mine, she knows who she is) and you all know my pension for innuendos, so the bush was added because it cracked me up. I wanted Tally to have a cute name and something distinct.
After reading Call Me Crazy what would you hope your readers can learn or take away with them?

I hope that they see mental illness as something real, and not something that people can just turn off. I hope that they realize there is hope and that they can have full happy life.
I often see authors saying a particular character wasn’t originally meant to be as important as he or she ended up being. Did any of the characters in Call Me Crazy go through any dramatic changes?
No, all the characters were exactly what I had planned for them to be and I really am happy how they turned out.
What are you working on next?

I’m in the middle of Book 7, Sacrifice of Love for the Grey Wolves Series.
Thank you so much!

A big thanks to Quinn for her honest and open answers. I hope you all enjoy reading Call Me Crazy as much as I did (have your tissues at the ready)!

What I Say (Review): Call Me Crazy is a wonderfully intriguing and heart-breaking story, which will have you engrossed from the start.

The book begins with American teenager Tally Baker living  in a mental hospital after suffering a breakdown (at school). Tally has since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Tally meets Trey when he is visiting his mother at the hospital and they form an instant connection. The big problem is that Trey doesn't know Tally is a patient - cue some awkward and hilarious scenes.
Whilst living in the hospital Tally befriends enigmatic, fellow patient Candy Bush (yep great name), who I have to say was my favourite character. Candy is a great source of comfort for Tally (think of a kind of dirty cougar aunt). She also provides some brilliant comic moments which lighten the story as well as some really sad and poignant ones.
Trey is that rare creation: a mature teenage boy. He cares deeply for his family and Tally and goes to great lengths to help her. At times I was right up there with Tally in thinking he was too good to be true.

Call Me Crazy is an extremely emotional story and I felt like I was right there experiencing everything with Tally and Trey. Several scenes made me so angry I nearly threw my Kindle at the wall and others had me in floods of tears. You need to experience this story first-hand for it to have the full impact, but I will say that kids can be so mean!!

Loftis does a wonderful job in telling a difficult story and educating her readers on issues surrounding mental illness. I think we should highlight bipolar disorder more and make sure sufferers receive the help and understanding they need. If you're anything like me Call Me Crazy will make you laugh, cry and question yourself and the world around you. It's a great story which will stay with you and even though it's a YA book and some of the dialogue is teen focused, readers of all ages will enjoy it!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:
  • "Your maiden name is Bush. I don't think it gets much worse than Candy Bush."
  • I wonder if I will ever be comfortable just being who I am, will I ever stop wanting to be someone else?
  • "All I'm saying is that if you were ever going to experiment and explore your feminine wiles, he is the piece of meat you should gnaw on."
4 Stars in my Sky!

Author Bio: Quinn is a 32 year old wife, mother, nurse, and writer, not necessarily in that order.  She lives in beautiful West Arkansas with her husband, son, Nora their Doberman pinscher and Phoebe their cat (who thinks she is a ninja in disguise). She loves writing, reading, and crocheting. Her favourite holiday is Christmas, favourite book(s) is Pride and Prejudice, The Alpha and Omega Series by Patricia Briggs, and the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. She loves to be silly and have fun, loves music and thinks there is no greater sound in the world than that of her little boy's laughter.


Twitter: @AuthQuinnLoftis


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