Bewitching Tours.Guest Post and Giveaway from Denise Grover Swank

Character or Plot? Why Do I Have to Choose?
When you write a book, one of the first questions the literary world asks is “What genre is it?” Mystery? Fantasy? Romance? Childrens? But they’re also asking is it genre or literary fiction. The general, over-sweeping consensus is that genre fiction focuses on plot while literary fiction focuses on character.

Why does it have to be either or?

Every time I write a book the beginning is different. Sometimes I come up with the plot (Chosen) other times I come up with the character first (Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes) or even just a genre. (My soon to be released YA sci fi/romance Torn.) But no matter which comes first, the chicken or the egg, or in this case the plot or the character, my stories need both.

Really, the distinction is a misnomer. You can’t have a story without characters and the characters need to be doing something—the plot. But the “rule” is that plot takes precedence in genre fiction while the characters can aimlessly stumble around in literary fiction. There’s little doubt I write genre fiction. I may write different genres, but it’s genre all the same. Nevertheless, one of the best compliments I can get (right up there with my writing is good/strong/awesome) is that my characters seem real.

I recently read a review someone posted for Chosen on Amazon and Goodreads. She said that the characters were layered and that Will and Jake were so much deeper than they appeared in the first pages. This thrills me. I take great effort to make sure that my characters aren’t clichés, that they come across as real. Because to me, they are real people. They may only exist in my head and on pages, but they are fully developed and alive.

Sometimes it’s painful. I’ve recently finished the edits on Hunted, the second book in the Chosen series and it was hard. I put the characters through extreme mental and emotional duress. Some days my children thought I was crazy. I had a hard time shaking off my character’s pain when I walked away from my keyboard. But to get that pain onto the pages, as an author, I have to feel it too.

Think about the stories you’ve read. What sticks with you? The character or the plot? When you read Chosen, I hope you’re thinking about Will, Jake and Emma for several days after you finish.

Then I know I’ve done my job.

By Denise Grover Swank
Everything Emma Thompson owns fits in a suitcase she moves from one roach infested motel to another. She and Jake, her five year old son who can see the future, are running from the men intent on taking him. Emma will do anything to protect him even when it means accepting the help of a stranger named Will. Jake insists she needs Will, but Emma’s never needed help before. And even though she’s learned to trust her son, it doesn’t mean she trusts Will.

Mercenary Will Davenport lives in the moment. Hauling Emma to South Dakota should have been an easy job, but his employer neglected to tell him about Emma’s freaky son and the gunmen hot on her trail. Instinct tells him this job is trouble, but nothing can prepare him for Jake’s proclamation that Will is The Chosen One, who must protect Emma from the men hunting her power. A power she doesn't know she has.

Will protects Emma and Jake on a cross-country chase from the men pursuing them, while struggling with memories from his past, his apprehension of Jake, and his growing attraction to Emma. Will’s overwhelming urge to protect Emma surprises him, especially since it has nothing to do with his paycheck and possibly everything to do with the tattoo Jake branded on his arm. Rich and powerful men are desperate to capture Emma, and Will must discover why before it's too late.

Chosen was winner of The Beacon-- 2010 Unpublished Division, Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal category.

Book trailer:

Excerpt from Chapter 1:
When she smiled, Will almost lost his composure. Her face completely changed, catching him off guard. After watching her for twenty-four hours, this was the first time he had seen her smile. She was attractive enough, lean but with curves in the right places, and long brown hair she pulled back in a ponytail. Looking at her now, he lost himself in her deep, dark brown eyes. But when she smiled, the tension in her face fell away, leaving an ethereal beauty he didn’t expect.
“Who were those guys?” he asked, trying to refocus.
Her smile disappeared. “No one you want to know.”
“What do they want?”
If possible, her face became even harder. “We need to get you back to the motel.”
“Don’t you want to call the police?” He had no intention of calling the police, but it sounded like the right thing to say.
Getting information out of her was trickier than he hoped. “What are you going to do now?”
She turned to look at him, the loose strands of long brown hair dancing in the breeze around her face. She looked wild and ruthless. “Look, we can take care of ourselves.”
This turn of events had completely changed his plans. Of course, nothing about this job was what he expected. They never told him she had a kid and he’d complained bitterly when he found out. He didn’t do kids. He was explicit about that. But the group who hired him said they didn’t care about the kid. They wanted her and raised their offer. It was hard to refuse. Somewhere along the path of their self-destructive course he thought of a Plan B, which was much better than his original plan. Maybe things were turning his way. “Let me help you.”
She pulled up to a stop sign at the four-lane highway. “No, thanks, we’re good.”
“We can trust him,” a small voice in the back said.
She looked up sharply and spun around to look at the kid in the back.
Will turned, too. The boy looked like a cherub out of one of those Renaissance paintings he had studied back in his college art appreciation class. Short blond curls framed his face of pale skin with rosy cheeks. Big blue eyes with long dark eyelashes. Will thought the kid’s beauty was wasted on his gender.
“We can trust him,” the boy repeated.
She turned to look out the windshield and hung both of her arms over the steering wheel. “Are you sure?” she asked, staring straight ahead.
She rested her chin on her hands and closed her eyes. He decided she must be trying to figure out how to deal with this change of events. Personally, Will thought it was going too far on the permissive parenting scale letting a preschooler make a decision like that, but hey, it worked in his favor. He sure wasn’t going to protest.
“Okay,” she finally said, sitting up. “I need to leave town. They know we’re here so we’ve got to leave as soon as we can.”
“Who exactly are they?” Will asked. As far as he knew, he was the only one on this job. He’d be pissed if they hired someone else as backup.
“You don’t need to know that,” she said, turning at the corner. “How do you plan on helping us?”
“I can help you leave town.”
“Why would you do that?” Her eyes narrowed as she looked behind for signs of the SUV.
Will had seen the damage. The SUV wasn’t going anywhere. Where the hell had she learned a move like that?
He gave her his rugged, bad boy smirk and shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a sucker for a damsel in distress.”
“Do better than that,” she snorted.
He liked that she wasn’t easily snowed, even if it made his job more difficult.
“Let’s just say I’m hoping to get lucky, and maybe if I’m nice enough, I will.” He gave her a slow, lazy smile as he leaned against the door, crossing his arms.
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t count on it.”
“Don’t crush a man’s hopes. Just wait and see. I might grow on you.”
Raising her eyebrows, she twisted her lips into a wry smile. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”

About the Author

Short Bio:

Denise Grover Swank lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She has six children, two dogs, and an overactive imagination. She can be found dancing in her kitchen with her children, reading or writing her next book. You will rarely find her cleaning.

You can find out more about Denise and her other books at or stalk her on Twitter—

Long Bio:

Denise Grover Swank began writing her first novel in the fourth grade, stopping at page seventy on her wide ruled spiral notebook. She continued writing in high school and attempted several novels in her twenties before life got in the way. In the fall of 2009, she participated in National Novel Writing Month, which led her to completing her first novel, a book which shall be eternally chained to a pillar in her external hard drive. Denise released her first published book in July, 2011, a southern mystery titled Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. Denise lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She has six children, two dogs, and an overactive imagination.

You can find out more about Denise and her other books at and you can connect with her on Twitter.

There is an ecopy of Chosen up for grabs. If you would like a change to read Chosen by Denise Grover Swank just leave a comment with your email address. You have until Friday October 14 to enter. Winner will be chosen and announced October  15

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