May 29, 2014

[Blog Tour] Oblivion by Sasha Dawn @_SashaDawn @EgmontUSA #giveaway #guestpost

Hi! Welcome to my stop on the Oblivion Blog Tour! I am so excited about this tour, and I have a wonderful guest post for you today by author Sasha Dawn on her character of Thomas Jefferson. Plus, I have an awesome giveaway of a finished copy for all my US/CAN residents.

Oblivion by Sasha Dawn
Published by Egmont USA
Release Date: May 27th 2014
One year ago, Callie was found in an abandoned apartment, scrawling words on the wall: "I KILLED HIM. His blood is on my hands. His heart is in my soul. I KILLED HIM." But she remembers nothing of that night or of the previous thirty-six hours. All she knows is that her father, the reverend at the Church of the Holy Promise, is missing, as is Hannah, a young girl from the parish. Their disappearances have to be connected and Callie knows that her father was not a righteous man.

Since that fateful night, she's been plagued by graphomania -- an unending and debilitating compulsion to write. The words that flow from Callie's mind and through her pen don't seem to make sense -- until now.

As the anniversary of Hannah's vanishing approaches, more words and memories bubble to the surface and a new guy in school might be the key to Callie putting together the puzzle. But digging up the secrets she's buried for so long might be her biggest mistake. 

Guest Post

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I cannot live without books.” Because he’s my boyfriend, and I want to be accommodating, I write to provide the world with more books.  While he refuses to admit it, TJ appreciates this about me the way he appreciated a good, silver tea set. Not just any tea set would do, of course. He designed his own.
Before I continue, it’s important to mention that I know I’m not really in a relationship with Thomas Jefferson, Renaissance Man. However, I find much inspiration in the flawed character that was an inventor, a farmer, a lawyer, an amateur doctor, an architect, an educator, and a writer…and of course, President of the United States. He’s mysterious and contradictory. A slave owner who wrote about the evils of the institution, his DNA* has been directly linked to the descendants of a Monticello slave, Sally Hemings, whose children TJ freed in his will. Can you get more contradictory than that? He intrigues me to the point of obsession at times. So many people knew him, but few, if any, knew him well.
These days, we “know” him through others’ depictions of him. Barbara Chase-Riboud illustrates him as a tender man torn between love and social laws in her historical fiction Sally Hemings. Historians alternatively condemn him and praise him for the scandal that shook the country in 1802, when James T. Callendar accused TJ of an affair with Sally, and that scandal continues to puzzle American citizens today. William G. Hyland, a lawyer, states in In Defense of Jefferson that the case against TJ in regards to Sally’s children is largely based on circumstantial evidence and hearsay, and that therefore, TJ is a victim of circumstance. Unless someone digs up TJ’s remains, I doubt we’ll ever know for certain. And just in case you’re now considering hauling a shovel to the graveyard at Monticello, don’t bother. Locked iron gates secure the man’s grave.  You don’t want to be forever banned from the greatest house on earth.
Ergo, we’re left these days to contemplate TJ’s character the same way we might attempt to define fictional people on pages. I’m a romantic, and I abhor judgment. Therefore, I like to think of my boyfriend TJ as a man ahead of his era. If he did father Sally’s children, I like to think it’s because he loved her and didn’t want to spend eternity alone.
But that’s as fictitious as Calliope Knowles and John Fogel’s happily ever after…if in fact they get that far. And readers know Callie and John and the rest of the cast of Oblivion only through the illustrations I’ve allowed, don’t they? Hmmm…I wonder what I’ve neglected to share with you on the pages of this YA novel.
Rest assured, I haven’t purposely withheld information. But—sigh—as I’m not Charles Dickens, I’m not awarded free rein when it comes to page length. Funny that those who complain about the flaws, or lack thereof, of my characters are the same who tell me the book is far too long. Shucks. A girl can’t win.
I’ve been told John is too ideal, not flawed in the least. So was Thomas Jefferson prior to 1998 and DNA testing. Take it from me: I know John better than anyone, and he is far from perfect. His flaws are more apparent to me than they are to Callie, however, and since we’ve entrusted her to tell the tale, we take only what she gives us. Given her past experience with guys, yeah…she sees John as pretty close to perfect. In this case, it’s our narrator’s perception of John that is flawed.
The same translates to Mr. and Mrs. Hutch. Some speculate on the likelihood of the Hutches’ taking in a foster child when they’re obviously uninvolved. So have historians questioned TJ’s freeing Madison and Eston Hemings, despite his never publicly acknowledging them as his kin*. Perhaps the Hutches are more involved than Callie gives them credit. Maybe Callie isn’t focused on all they do for her, and so she doesn’t elaborate on the goodness of her foster parents.
Readers have wondered why Callie considers Lindsey a friend, given her slut-shaming ways. One blogger even called it a cop-out in character development. Well, one journalist (Callendar) was a slut-shamer, too, and we know he was a disgruntled office seeker. We meet Lindsey during moments of panic and what she sees as betrayal.  Much like the way the world now views James T. Callendar (jealous mudslinger who died drunk, face-down in a ditch), the world now views Lindsey as a Queen Bee. Just as there was undoubtedly more to Callendar than meets the eye, the same goes for Lindsey.
Someday, there may be another book starring Linsdey Hutch or John Fogel on the shelves. Only then will I have the opportunity to fully flesh them out. For now, we get what Callie gives us. Nothing more. Readers are left to fill in the blanks, based on their own filters, and to speculate the same way we speculate about Thomas Jefferson.
Likewise, TJ’s insights on miscegenation may someday come to light. Though I doubt it, we may discover his personal writings on the subject of Sally Hemings. Only then will we know the truth behind the scandal, behind the man, behind the children who carry his DNA.
For now, however, we determine TJ’s character based on what he left for our perusal: homes he sketched and built, farming records he kept, documents he wrote, one-of-a-kind silver tea sets, and words he spoke: “I adore you, Sasha Dawn.”
Okay, he never said that. But he did say the thing about books.
*DNA testing revealed known descendants of Eston Hemings carried the same Y chromosome as descendants of TJ’s uncle Field Jefferson’s DNA. While historians concur that TJ was the most likely father of Sally Hemings’ children, scientists admit that the test concludes any carrier of the Jefferson Y chromosome could have fathered the children, as well.

Sasha Dawn resides in her native northern Illinois with her daughters.  She teaches writing at community colleges and offers pro bono writing workshops to local schools. When she isn't writing, she enjoys art and history, home improvement and restoration, and tap, ballet, and Latin dance. 

Follow Sasha on: Twitter 

* Giveaway is for US/CAN residents only
* Winner has 48 hrs to respond to email or new winner is picked
* Must be at least 15 years of age to enter

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Wayne Chambers said...

this book seems so good

Sasha Dawn said...

Wayne, I agree, LOL! Would you enjoy an excerpt while you're waiting for your copies to arrive? Stay tuned! Follow me on Twitter for news on that front, or drop me a line at

Amy Vuu said...

The summary makes you curious about what's going to happen to Callie. I have to know!

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