Sparks the Matchmaker by Russell Elkins Ollie just wants one thing. The girl. Things haven’t been going so well with Anne lately, though; their relationship has become a perpetual study date, and Ollie’s roommates are starting to worry about him. How to fix things? Why, with a marriage proposal, of course. Unfortunately for Ollie, his relationship with Anne has run out of gas. Life feels like it’s counting down to one. And that one is the only person in Ollie’s life he really cares about: Ollie. Perhaps, then, he should get over himself. But first he has to deal with Sparks, the irritating little Yankees fan who invades his life in order to “help” him. And while Keith, his best friend, is doing all he can to help, Ollie’s other friend Richie never fails to show up and threaten to ruin everything just by being himself. Never mind all the drama Sparks brings to the party by forcing Ollie to take a job actually helping people in need. Will Ollie meet the girl? Will it be in history class? On a road trip to Colorado? Can he get over Anne, or should he try to mend the relationship? Should he pursue the new girl Sparks is trying to set him up with? As the strings of the puppeteer tangle with the strings of the heart, only one person can sort out the mess Ollie has made. It seems that the harder he tries, the more Ollie messes things up. Is Sparks a cruel manipulator, or is he really going to help Ollie find his match?
Author Russell Elkins Russell Elkins has become a leading expert on open adoption through first-hand experience that he now shares in Open Adoption, Open Heart. Russell regularly contributes to Adoption.com. He also writes his own blog at russellelkins.com to educate others in the struggles and beauties of open adoption. Russell has always been a family man at heart, looking forward to the day when he could be a husband and a father. It took him a little while, but eventually his eyes locked onto a beautiful blonde, and he has never looked away. Russell and Jammie were married in 2004. They had the same goals for their home and didn't want to wait too long before starting their family. However, filling their home quickly with children wasn't in the cards, and they found themselves weighing their options to overcome problems with infertility. Their lives changed dramatically the day they decided to adopt. Russell and Jammie have adopted two beautiful children, Ira and Hazel, and have embraced their role as parents through open adoption. Both are actively engaged in the adoption community by communicating through social media, taking part in discussion panels, and writing songs about adoption. Russell was born on Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1977. Along with his five siblings, he and his military family moved around a lot, living in eight different houses by the time he left for college at age 17. Although his family moved away from Fallon, Nevada, just a few months after he moved out, he still considers that little oasis in the desert to be his childhood hometown. Even after leaving home, Russell always stayed close to his family. He shared an apartment with each of his three brothers at different times during his college career. They formed a band together back in the 1990s and still perform on a regular basis under the name of the Invisible Swordsmen. After nearly a decade of college and changing his major a few times, Russell received his bachelor's degree in sociology from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He later graduated from Ameritech College where he learned the trade of being a dental lab technician. Russell now owns and operates Elkins Dental Lab located in Meridian, Idaho.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Well, a number of things. There's a lot of me in this book. A bunch of the things I put the main charcter (Ollie) through are a lot of the things I went through when I was a young adult. The concept of Sparks came to me when I was watching something on TV that sparked some ideas- what would it be like if someone really could read people's actions? And what would it be like if he wanted to play matchmaker with people?
2. What characters do you connect with most?
Ollie is the main character. He's selfish and self-centered. Although I don't consider myself to be those things, just like everyone, I have those tendencies too. In a way, this was a chance to pick at myself and expose how I could/should work on not being a self-centered idiot. It was fun to drag Ollie through the mud to teach him a lesson or two.
3. What's your favorite book-turned movie?
I'm a big fan of Lord of the Rings, but I like the movies more than the book. I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter series, and I like those books more than the movie. I guess that makes me pretty trendy.
4. If you could be best friends with one of your characters, who would it be?
All of the main characters were based on someone. Keith is Ollie's best friend, and he was based on one of my best friends growing up- the one I always went to when I needed to talk about girls and stuff.
5. Can you tell us about any other books you're writing?
I'm really excited about my next book, which is tentatively called Through the Fence. It will be more adventurous- kind of a Hunger Games type of thing. I'm working on it with an awesome author, Chris White. It's going to be great. That first draft is done, and I'm also currently working on the plot map for part 2 in the Sparks the Matchmaker series.
6. What do you do in your spare time?
I play guitar and sing with my band. I love love love it. We play two or three times a month in restaurants and places around the valley. We're about to record another album (will be our 5th).
7. Who's your inspiration?
My beautiful wife, Jammie, drives every emotion inside of me. She builds me up like nobody I have ever met before.
8. If you were stranded on a desert island which character do you want by your side?
I'd have to say Lynn. She's funny, witty, and always positive. If I'm stuck somewhere dire, like a desert island, I'll need someone positive with me so I don't go bat crazy.
9. Team Edward or Jacob?
Jacob, obviously. Who wants someone cold and dead?
10. Team Peeta or Gale?
Peeta. I just like Peeta. No real reason other than that.
11. What are you reading now?
I'm always reading a bunch of books at once, depending on my mood. Lone Survivor (Marcus Lutrell, a true book about a Navy Seal), Believing Christ (Stephen Robinson), The Falling Part (by my sister, helping her analyze this third draft), Genesis Evolution (B. Russell McConkie), The Host (Stephenie Meyer), Called to Adoption. Yeah, so I'm always reading a bunch at a time. I know. Silly. That's why I love my Kindle so much.
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