The Heart’s Journey Home by Nikki Jackson
Publication date: September 12th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
California Blend Summer Vacation is the first book of this series.
As book one it introduces the three main characters: Tori Logan, AJ Reynolds and Kalea Kinimaka.
It’s summer vacation, and all seventeen-year-old Tori Logan wants to do is hang out with her two best friends, practice her mixed martial arts and go to FBI spy camp. Summer means freedom (mostly from adults) and Tori plans to fill every spare moment of her last summer before graduating from High School with all the fun things she and her best pals can come up with.
The Heart’s Journey Home Book CoverTori, whose mom died of breast cancer when she was young, has always relied on her own strength to get by – especially because her Archeologist father tends to leave her behind with his live-in girlfriend while he gallivants around the world on digs. Thankfully, Tori can take care of herself. She knows exactly who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Her Lakota Sioux grandfather, a former Navy SEAL, trained Tori in self-defense from a young age. Now, as a teenager, Tori excels at mixed martial arts and the use of various weapons. During the summer she will be attending an FBI sponsored Summer Camp which she hopes will lead to her dream job – becoming an FBI serial killer profiler.
With her two best friends at her side, Tori believes she can handle anything. And with summer vacation stretching before them, the trio plans to find plenty of adventure.
But while Tori is determined to be independent, life has other plans for this fierce young woman, and they include coming to grips with some hard – and surprising – truths about both her past and her future.
Nikki Jackson considers herself to be an Indie Writer, Journeyman and Traveler. She's camped out in the Grand Canyon just to see the sunrise over a stupendous backdrop and she yet dreams to travel to Mount Everest, not to climb any part of it but to simply stand at the North Base Camp and take it all in, in person. Nikki's love of adventure was inspired at an early age at the local library where she spent summers reading about young travelers going cross-country and around the world. She loved the adventures that took her out of the bottom bunk of her bed (her favorite reading spot) and had her soaring across the clouds to lands filled with wonderful and diverse people. It was then and there Nikki decided she wanted to be a writer - she wanted to have the same effect on people reading books had on her. The Heart's Journey Home is the beginning of the adventure.
I have eclectic tastes that spill over to what I love to read and the movies I love to watch. I’ll go on a jag and watch the same movie again and again, seriously, upwards of 10-12 times. My most recent jag includes – Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars (though I had to come to terms with Divergent’s Tris/Shailene Woodley dating her brother Caleb/Ansel Elgort in Fault – Hazel/Gus).
I’ve seen the following movies at least a dozen times:
Captain America, Thor, The Avengers (I’m a huge Marvel fan), i-Robot, both of the new Star Trek movies (with Chris Pine), Despicable Me, Brave, Tangled and Epic. I also love Turner Classic Movies, timeless black and white hits such as Hondo, the Great Escape, The Yearling, Sunset Boulevard and To Kill a Mocking Bird. Around the holidays I can’t get enough of Alf and all the various versions of A Christmas Carol.
I love books in the same way I eclectically love movies – all and then some. But isn’t that the best way we can be as readers and writers? In that eclectic means - a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources (bing’s definition) isn’t this what the world craves, if not needs? Individuals brimming over with diversity – unique, sporadic, odd, extraordinary, from the inside out.
As an African-American, who says I can’t write books where the majority of the characters aren’t Black? Because I have gray in my hair who says I can’t write a book where the plot and themes revolve around teenagers? Because I live in Michigan who says I can’t write scenes that take place in California or West Virginia? Who says?
As writers we take our readers on adventures many will never take themselves. We stretch their imaginations, introducing them to new thoughts while at the same time challenging the popular or mainstream mindsets and opinions of their circular worlds: suggesting there’s perhaps another way to see, to think, to be. At the end of the day we writers want to entertain, yes, but we want the reader to grow and expand too. That’s why I became a writer.
Aldous Huxley, writer of Brave New World had this to say - “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
That’s what I hope to do as a writer, pierce the reader to their very core. I want you to laugh and cry and get mad, and I want to make you think. I want you to think outside your home and neighborhood, your gender and age and yes the color of your skin. I want you to see the world around you through maybe a bit of a different lens, and I want you to realize that at the end of the day you and I really aren’t all that different. Ultimately, we writers just want to be your friend.