JUST BREATHE Guest Post
By Tamara Mataya
At least Carrie Bradshaw got a post-it note.
No other novel I’ve written has as much of myself in it as Just Breathe does. Writing it was the best, and worst, time I’ve had writing. Going back to that time period when my ex had torn my heart out and moved away with it, leaving me with a malignant emptiness I’d thought my body would implode into, in a word – sucked. I became that young woman again, fresh inside the insecurity. Wondering what I’d done, what was wrong with me that made it so easy for “Jason” to leave.
It’s not a spoiler to talk about The Break-up That Never Happened. I’d moved out of my parents’ house the night I graduated, eager to get out of the small town, raring to embrace my new life, being myself with my best friends, now roommates. Living it up in the “big” city, the future at our feet. Invincible, bold, eighteen-years-old, taking the bull by the horns and finally dating the older guy I’d had a crush on for months.Like Elle, I never saw the break-up coming. The fiction is pretty close to the facts. We dated exclusively, I gave him my virginity, we never fought, I loved him and thought he loved me though the words were never said. And then one day he left town to go to work in another city. He said he’d be back Sunday. He called Sunday saying he’d be staying a little while longer and he’d call on Thursday. He never called me back.
Elle had a Dominic, and got more resolution than I did. Though I did encounter “Jason” again, our story ended very differently than Just Breathe’s. Like me, Elle didn’t tell her friends about the break-up – at first I didn’t know we’d broken up. Then days of silence stretched into weeks, and months, and when my friends asked whatever happened to “Jason,” I lied and told them we’d mutually decided to break up. Pride, thy truly are a heartless bitch.
Instead, I embraced my new friend, Mary Jane. High – or low – lights of that time frame include out-smoking a guy named Dopey at a house party, and scaring more than one Rastafarian at the amount of weed I could “handle.” Self-mutilation and anorexia are parts of my story I didn’t write into the book. But eventually, I got through it all.
I haven’t smoked in years. I do have synaesthesia, though to a lesser extent than Elle. I didn’t become a librarian until a few years ago. But Elle is who I was at eighteen/nineteen, with a little of me now patched in. And glorious fiction! Because while The Break-up That Never Happened was horrible, Elle’s story is about what happens AFTER.
The thing that scares me most about Just Breathe, is that it’s so personal. I’m bringing back the vulnerable young woman who’s already been through enough into the world again. It’s deeply personal and I so wish that it will make you laugh, or sigh, or make you feel better, even for a moment. I even threw in some book recommendations because I’m a librarian and we get off on that. We’ve all had awful break-ups – even when they technically never happen. But we get through them.
Not everyone will like the book. But even if it’s not your thing, that’s okay too. Because even back then when every breath was a battle, I still got through it. All I had to do was Just Breathe.
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Releasing May 6, 2014
Published by Swoon Romance
Twenty-one-year-old Elle Granger’s boyfriend broke up with her like a coward. He moved to another city without so much as a "goodbye." Devastated and embarrassed, Elle told friends the break-up was mutual and she endured the heartbreaking split without support from the people she's closest with. Instead, she embraced her librarian job as therapy and spent her nights medicated by a thick cloud of pot smoke. With her lungs, and heart, screaming for a break, Elle quits smoking cold turkey. Just when she's about to ask for support from her friends, and let them in on the truth of Jason's humiliating betrayal, her best friend moves to Spain.
Enter sexy-as-hell library patron Dominic, who literally knocks Elle off her feet during a memorable first encounter. Can he help her forget Jason's very existence? He can sure try, and Elle is more than ready to let him. Dominic makes Elle feel wanted and special, and puts effort into coming up with dates that don’t set off her Synaesthesia. Just when Elle is starting to feel whole again, Jason returns, determined to reunite. His effusive apology and reasons for leaving are a balm to her battered ego, but she rebuffs his attention.
But nothing good can last forever, and Elle catches Dominic in a devastating lie. How could she have been so wrong about both Jason and Dominic? Is letting Jason back into her heart a safe bet since he has already proven he can't be trusted? The wrong choice could see Elle's happy ending go up in smoke. But when your only choices are the devils you know, all you can do is JUST BREATHE.
About the Author
Tamara Mataya is currently a librarian; she lurked there for so long recommending books to patrons and shushing people, that she suspects they only hired her so it would be less creepy. Now she’s armed with a name tag, and a thin veneer of credibility. She’s also a musician with synaesthesia – which isn't an issue until someone plays a wrong note, which makes her want to squirm inside out. It makes for a good live show.
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