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Friday, October 31, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #15


Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.

How is it the end of October already? Is it me or is the time really flew by, fast? I had a lot of fun this October, though, featuring 2014 debut authors and I hope you had fun too, reading what they went through before being published.  There are still a lot of giveaways happening on our blog, so check them out. (see sidebar)

This month, I received four awesome books that I'm looking forward to reading and a few book swags. Here they are:


Won
with book swags 

A massive thank you to Hachette UK, Rin Chupeco, Rachel of Beauty and the Bookshelf, and Sarika of The Readdicts for this month's book haul. :D


2AMC: Bethany Neal, author of My Last Kiss


"Readers will be immediately sucked into the tale, told from Cassidy’s ghostly perspective, as she attempts to put together the pieces that led to her untimely death."  that's what Booklist said about the debut novel, My Last Kiss, of our last featured author for this month.
Let us all welcome, Bethany Neal!

About Writing:
While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?

So many times I doubted why I was writing MY LAST KISS! Mostly because it was crazy hard with all the flashbacks and timeline issues that go along with an amnesiac—not to mention ghost…ish—narrator, but also because writers have serious self-confidence issues. It’s just how we roll, but it’s also hard to be in a business where you spend months, sometimes years, working on a project that may never see the light of day. Being an author takes a truck load of perseverance.

My main source of doubt squashing while writing MLK was very simple: the title. Every time I thought about quitting, I would tell myself that if Iwas browsing through Barnes & Noble and saw a YA book called MY LAST KISS about a dead girl caught between two boys I would 100% pick it up and buy it. That alone got me through the days I was nose-deep in flashback chapters and rewrites, and my reward is seeing it so gorgeously displayed (thanks to cover designer Elizabeth Clark) on a shiny book spine in stores.

About Getting Published:
As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?

My journey to publication began with a YA paranormal trilogy that started out as fanfiction that I naively decided to query agents about. Needless to say I did not get representation off that manuscript, but I did off my next book that sadly did not sell when my agent sent it out. It did, however, get the most positive rejections an author could ever hope for. With the positive feedback, I knew I was close. So I got to work writing what ended up being MY LAST KISS.

In my initial prewriting, Cassidy wasn’t the one dead. Her boyfriend Ethan was and she could see him, but when I sat down to write it she seemed too sad. Ironic twist, I killed her to make her less mopey. I’m so happy that I did too. Cassidy being a ghost…ish trying to right the wrongs of her last night alive and solve her own murder gave the book the fresh hook that it needed to sell.

When it did sell, I had the privilege of working with Janine O’Malley at FSG Books for Young Readers and the excellent staff of editors and PR folks at Macmillan. I learned so many invaluable lessons from them, and I am forever grateful for the chance they took on me as a newbie. 

Oh, and the first thing I said when my agent called to tell me that we had sold MLK was “Are you serious?!” It was a very surreal moment that actually happened inside my favorite bookstore! To this day, every time I walk into the vestibule at Nicola’s Books (in Ann Arbor, MI) where I took the call, I close my eyes and remember that day. 

About Being an Author:
Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?

Being an author is the best job there is as long as you don’t mind some mild insanity, and I sure as heck don’t mind at all. Maybe a painter has more fun than I do on a work day, but I can’t paint so I’m stuck with writing. I’m not a morning person, so the biggest perk for me is the ability to slowly wake myself up before getting down to work. If you’ve ever had an 8 to 5 “regular” job, you can appreciate the luxury of that. I also am not a fan of stuffy rule following. So being able to create my own world with my own rules (or lack there of is probably more accurate) is pretty ideal for me, as well.

My favorite moments throughout this experience have been meeting young readers who are so excited about my book and begging me to write more so they can read those too. There’s nothing better than that!

About the Book:
Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also has an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might have started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?

MY LAST KISS was originally titled WHAT HAPPENED AFTER and, as I said earlier, Cassidy wasn’t dead, Ethan was and it was kinda sorta Cassidy’s fault. I could tell that idea wasn’t quite gelling, so my writerly cogs were turning while I drove to see my family for Thanksgiving that year. I was brainstorming ideas while listening to one of my all time fave bands Metric’s CD Fantasies. Then when their song “Help I’m Alive” came on, something clicked. What if the protagonist was dead…and that was a problem that needed to be fixed, something she’d need help solving?

I immediately located a napkin and began jotting down what is now the scene in Chapter 1 where Cassidy wakes up to see her other, dead body in the river. I went on to be super antisocial that entire holiday weekend because I couldn’t stop writing. It was such a magical feeling. I live for that spark moment when the character’s voice eclipses my own brain and demands to be written down.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s my favorite part about being an author.

About the Author:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Bethany Neal writes young adult fiction with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. She graduated from Bowling Green State University and has worked as an interior designer, photographer, and teacher’s assistant at a K-8 school.


Title: My Last Kiss
Genre/s: YA, Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Summary:

She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, pickles, dessert, sour gummy candies, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, predestined love, not growing up, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar.What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
  
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.

Bethany Neal's suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.

Giveaway
Open to International Readers (Until November 30)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2AMC: Bethany Hagen, author of Landry Park


Today we have the author of Landry Park which was described as "Gone with the Wind meets The Hunger Games." by VOYA. Let us all welcome, Bethany Hagen!

About Writing:

While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?


I think doubt is probably the bad angel on every writer's shoulder. I would write a passage one day that I thought was brilliant and beautiful and then look at it the next day and want to light my laptop on fire. More and more, I think the key to a long-term writing career is learning to shut down the bad angel, whether she's telling you that you've completely screwed up a character arc or reminding you of that one Goodreads review with all the gifs. I don't think doubt ever goes away, but with practice, you can turn the volume down so that it's not buzzing in your ear whenever you sit down to work.

About Getting Published:

As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?


I worked on Landry Park by myself and with critique partners for about eighteen months before I thought it was ready to send off to agents. My dream agent, Mollie Glick of Foundry Media, read it and offered me an R & R, which I pounced on because I felt that all of her ideas were amazing. That revision took me three or four months, and then she offered to represent me as soon as she read it. I dropped my agency contract in the mail on Thursday, she subbed to ten or fifteen editors on Friday, and by Monday, we had our first offer, which happened to be from my dream house, Penguin. So I said yes. And then I screamed happy screams at my husband for a couple hours and then drank many celebratory beers.

About Being an Author:

Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?


Being a published author is kind of like graduating college--it's a huge relief, for one, and a huge accomplishment, for another, but it also doesn't guarantee anything for the future, which can be nerve-wracking on occasion.

So far my favorite thing has been getting to meet teens who've loved my book enough to come out and see me at events or to take the time to write me. (But for real, holding my book--and then getting to shelve it at the library I work at--pure awesomesauce.)

About the Book:

Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also has an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?


I spent three years working at a tiny history museum, wandering around exhibits and staring at old photos. At this museum, the Gilded Age/Edwardian Era section was just around the corner from the Cold War nuclear hysteria section. After a few hundred times walking the exhibit loop, the idea began to form for a story combining the aesthetics of the Edwardian Era and the science of nuclear energy. Luckily, the job also gave me a lot of spare time to write and that was how Landry Park was born. (I hope my old boss isn't reading this.)

About the Author:
Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

Bethany Hagen was born and raised in Kansas City. She grew up reading Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur, and went on to become a librarian. Landry Park is her debut novel.
Title: Landry Park
Genre/s: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Summary: 

Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2AMC: Joy N. Hensley, author of Rites of Passage


"...absorbing read...absolutely compelling." that is what Kirkus Reviews described Rites of Passage by our featured author for today. Her debut novel is unlike anything you've ever read because it is about a girl who went to military school because of a dare. If this piqued your interest then find out more about the book from its author.
Let us all welcome, Joy N. Hensley!


About Writing:
While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?

I've questioned lots of things at every step of my writing process, but there was never a question during the writing process for Rites of Passage. The story didn't come in the form of a dream, but every word just kind of poured out of me. I've said before that it almost fell, fully-formed from the sky. I just knew there was something special about this book and I loved every second of writing it!

About Getting Published:
As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?

I've known since 3rd grade (seriously!) that I wanted to be a writer! It took me a long time to switch from the mindset that someday I would be a writer, to actually sitting in a chair and forcing myself to write to make the dream come true. Being published doesn't just fall in your lap. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes hours clocked in front of a computer screen that aren't seen by anyone, but those hours are what separate the dreamers from the published authors. It took four years of writing to secure my agent, and then another two years and two more books before I sold Rites. I was driving when I got the news and my agent told me to pull over. After I cried and called my husband and parents, I had to go pick up my kids from school. I told them (3 and 6) but they didn't really get it until they held the book with Mommy's picture in it a few weeks ago. It's funny how it was this amazing milestone in my life and how life just went on after that. I had a book deal and I still had to make lunches and drive the kids to school and wash clothes...life just goes on, but it's a little more exciting (at least for me) now!

About Being an Author:
Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?

I think the best part about this whole experience is meeting other authors. Writing is such a solitary job and it's hard sometimes for people in my life (and any writer's life) to understand writing and daydreaming and working and scrapping an entire book and starting from scratch. It's hard. It's draining. Other authors get that, and I cling to my time with other writers because it's so important to find those people to sympathize with you, groan with you, celebrate with you.

About the Book:
Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also has an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?

Rites of Passage starts with my main character, Sam, starting her first day at a military school that she's going to because her brother (who is now dead) dared her to. The dare definitely has a history because I was, in fact, dared to go to military school (university, not high school). I was dumb enough to do it when I was 19. That's where the idea came from! As far as what made me decide to write it--I was in the middle of revising another book (one that my agent STILL hasn't seen) and I was stuck. Something wasn't working but I couldn't figure it out. NANOWRIMO was just around the corner and I told my agent I was going to take a break from that book and just write this crazy military school idea down, just to "cleanse my palate." And, voila!

About the Author:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Born and raised in Virginia, I've come back to my roots after five years of wandering up and down the East Coast. From being a barista to editing, writing commercials for television to being a middle school/high school English teacher, there's nothing I'm not willing to try. That includes going to military school (on a dare), hiking 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail, and playing in the mud with my students!

Now, between hiking, doing obstacle course runs, and having fun with my husband and two sons, I continue to write. I am repped by Mandy Hubbard at D4EO Literary Agency.
Title: Rites of Passage
Genre/s: YA, Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Summary: 

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty...no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2AMC: Megan Whitmer, author of Between


Today we have the author of BETWEEN which Kristen Lipper-Martin (author of Tabula Rasa), described as "a mash-up of Harry Potter and the Mortal Instruments with a dash of Kiersten White cheekiness..." Let us all welcome, Megan Whitmer!


About Writing:
While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?

Yes, absolutely. I rewrote Between several times, trying to figure out exactly how to make the plot work. I didn’t outline the book before I started, and there were several times when I wrote myself into corners and I had no idea how to make anything come together. After I got a book deal and we decided to make Between the first book of a trilogy, I had to do even more major rewriting. The book completely fell apart several times, and I was ready to quit. Two things kept me going: first, I really love my characters. Charlie and Seth are so fun to write, and I could write banter between them for days. Secondly, my critique partner, Josh, simply refused to let me quit. He’d constantly ask me how the book was going, and when I told him I didn’t want to do it anymore, he’d tell me how good it was and how much he loved it. Writing can be a pretty lonely endeavor, so it’s always helpful to have someone on your team.

About Getting Published:
As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?


I slowly queried agents with Between for about four months (just one or two queries at a time), and entered several different contests. I heard about WriteOnCon and decided I would post my query letter and opening pages there for critique (and with the hope that an agent might spot it in the forums). That led to several full requests, including one from the editors at Spencer Hill Press.

I knew absolutely nothing about small presses at the time, so I reached out to my friends who had more experience with the publishing world to find out what they thought, and all the feedback said that Spencer Hill was a great press to work with. I sent them the full and waited.

About a month later, I got a rejection from them. It was a really detailed rejection outlining exactly what didn’t work for them, which I really appreciated because I was in the middle of (yet another) revision. I sent an email back to thank them for taking the time to give me such specific feedback, and they invited me to resubmit Between after I completed revisions. That resubmission led to an offer of publication. (Please note: If I’d been rude about their initial rejection, Between wouldn't be in bookstores right now. Don’t burn your bridges, guys.)

About Being an Author:
Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?


Being a published author is pretty surreal. It’s still crazy to me that people who don’t know me are reading my book. Picking my most favorite moment is so hard! It constantly changes as each new thing happens. Today, it’s that my Papaw told me he read the first chapter last night. He would never, ever read young adult fantasy, you know? But he read it and enjoyed it, and that’s the best thing ever. Tomorrow, I’ll probably have a brand new answer for this question. I’m just constantly excited and thrilled that I get to do this!

About the Book:
Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also have an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might start out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?


Oh yeah—the idea behind Between was in my head for years before I realized it could be book material. I’ve always been fascinated by the way some legends persist over time, even when there’s not really any evidence to prove them (i.e., fairies, Bigfoot, mermaids). At the same time, I know that there are questions I’m never going to know the answer to—conspiracy theory things, you know? Like, what’s in Area 51? Or what really went down the night Marilyn Monroe died? Over time, my brain twisted these things together, and I started thinking of legends as conspiracy theories. Maybe there was a reason that some legends don’t die. Maybe there’s a group of people who know that things like Bigfoot and mermaids exists, and it’s their job to keep us from knowing because we’d all freak out. Ta-da! That’s the Fellowship.


About the Author:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Megan Whitmer lives in Kentucky with her family. She loves all things Southern, and has a soft spot for football, kissing scenes, and things that sparkle. In addition to writing YA novels, she’s also a contributing blogger for YAmisfits.comallthewritenotes.com, and herkentucky.com. When she’s not writing, Megan spends her time looking for funny t-shirts and wishing someone would pay her to tweet.

Title: Between
Genre/s: YA Paranormal Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

Summary: 

When a supernatural freak of nature forces her family to separate, seventeen-year-old Charlie Page must turn to her frustrating (yet gorgeous) neighbor, Seth, to help reunite them. Seth whisks Charlie to Ellauria—a magical world filled with the creatures of myths and legends—and tells her of the Fellowship, the group charged with protecting mystical beings from human discovery. (All except Bigfoot: that attention whore is a total lost cause.) But when Charlie learns that she's under the Fellowship's protection herself, well, "stressed" is an understatement.

Ellauria should be the safest place for Charlie while the Fellowship works to find her family, but things in the mystical realm aren’t what they seem.

Magic is failing, creatures are dying, and the Fellowship insists Charlie holds the key to saving everyone. With her family still missing and the danger in Ellauria growing, Charlie doesn't know who she can trust. She's dealing with a power she never asked for, falling for a guy she can't have, and being forced to choose between her destiny and her heart. And if she chooses wrong, she could destroy magic forever.

Charlie may be in over her head.

Monday, October 27, 2014

2AMC: Lisa Maxwell, author of Sweet Unrest


It's 4 days before Halloween and everyone is getting ready for the spooky holiday. What better way to be in the Halloween spirit than to read a spooky book set in New Orleans where ghost stories and voodoos are abundant. Sweet Unrest is just what you need and we have the author here today, for an interview.
Let us all welcome, Lisa Maxwell!


About Writing:
While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?

I always doubt myself. Even when I’m reading back through a manuscript and I’m impressed with what is written, there’s a little part of me that doubts I was the one who actually wrote it. I’m not sure I really overcame this obstacle—I just got through it. Partially, this was because I really didn’t think the whole publication thing would work. It was only the second book I’d written and the first I’d really queried, so there was a certain freedom in not thinking anyone would actually ever read it.


But the doubts don’t go away. I write a book that I believe in and my agent loves, and I still have the next blank page staring at me. It’s like I tell my students, if anyone ever tells you that writing is easy or that they have it figured out, they’re a lying liar who lies.

About Getting Published:
As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?

My journey started really, really late. I was not one of those people who always wanted to be a writer. I knew I would write a book someday, but I always assumed it would be one of those stuffy academic books about literary criticism that no one ever reads. It wasn’t until I was stuck in a new town, unemployed, and with two small kids to watch that I even thought about trying to write creatively—and that was just so I had something to do to stay sane.

I got the idea for SWEET UNREST when I was in the middle of writing a really horrible contemporary romance that will never see the light of day. I kind of plotted and planned it for a for a few months while I made myself finish writing that first book. (I’m a big believer in finishing what you start, and I wanted to make sure I could finish a book.)

I wrote the first draft in about a month, and I showed it to my husband. He liked the first half, but said it went off the rails about halfway through. He was right, so I cut 100 pages and rewrote it. I let a couple of other people read it, tweaked it for another couple of months and then sent out queries.

I got a lot of instant requests for fulls, some from pretty big agents. This was hugely exciting, but then I got a lot of instant rejections on the manuscript itself. So I knew there was something wrong with the book. I went back and revised it and queried again. Finally, the book got an agent, who put it on sub…right about the time that publishers were shying away from any more paranormal romances. I got a lot of “three years ago I could have offered for this” rejections, which was good and bad. But then, Flux liked it and offered for it. That offer came almost two years after it had first gone on sub, which just goes to show—you never know.

I got the news from my agent via email. I was sitting on my bed grading papers or something and I just kind of inarticulately slapped at my husband and pointed at the screen. Then I called my mom.


About Being an Author:
Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?

Surreal. Like I said, I didn’t really expect this to work… at least not so quickly. I’d heard and read so many stories about people with drawers full of practice novels, and I was ready to put in my time to get there. Not that I’m complaining or anything.


Being a published author still doesn't feel completely real, but so far, my favorite moment has been getting the first glimpse at the cover image. It was maybe even better than holding the book, because it was the first time I really got to see the title and my name together, on a gorgeous picture. It started to feel real right about then.


About the Book:
Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also has an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?

Gosh, I wish my book had a super-cool origin story that involved a dream or a dragon or something fun. Mine’s a bit more boring.

I knew I wanted to try to write a YA—I’d been reading a lot of YA’s, starting with TWILIGHT—and I was trying to think about what I could bring to the genre that hadn’t really been done much yet. At that point, angels and vampires and werewolves and fairies had been done to death (or so publishers were saying), and I wanted to go with a different supernatural element. Eventually I thought about zombies, which lead me to Voodoo (and away from zombies) which lead me to New Orleans. Now, I studied African American literature for my Masters and have always been really interested in the history of how race has affected the US, and New Orleans is such a unique place when it comes to race and history—historically and now. I decided that the love story (because of course there would be a love story) would have to deal with race as one of the central conflicts. From that, the plot grew little by little.

But it was a scary book to write in a lot of ways. I wanted to use Voodoo and reimagine it, but I didn’t want to be disrespectful to the religious tradition of the people who practice. I wanted to put my characters in a situation where there races don’t matter at all…and yet their race is the only thing that does matter. I wanted the cast to be really diverse (because a bunch of white kids fooling around with Voodoo in New Orleans would have been more of a fantasy novel), but I didn’t want to misrepresent or be disrespectful in the way I represented the individual characters or their voices. I’m sure I’ve made mis-steps and gotten some things wrong, but I also hope that the story brings something to the genre that wasn’t there before.

Thanks so much for having me!


About the Author:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest (Flux, Fall 2014) and Heartless Things (Simon Pulse, Spring 2016). She has a PhD in English and when she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys
Title: Sweet Unrest
Genre/s: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: October 8, 2014
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Summary:

Lucy Aimes has always been practical. But try as she might, she can’t come up with a logical explanation for the recurring dreams that have always haunted her. Dark dreams. Dreams of a long-ago place filled with people she shouldn’t know…but does.

When her family moves to a New Orleans plantation, Lucy’s dreams become more intense, and her search for answers draws her reluctantly into the old city’s world of Voodoo and mysticism. There, Lucy finds Alex, a mysterious boy who behaves as if they’ve known each other forever. Lucy knows Alex is hiding something, and her rational side doesn’t want to be drawn to him. But she is.

As she tries to uncover Alex’s secrets, a killer strikes close to home, and Lucy finds herself ensnared in a century-old vendetta. With the lives of everyone she loves in danger, Lucy will have to unravel the mystery of her dreams before it all comes to a deadly finish.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

2AMC: Kate Ormand, author of Dark Days


We have the author of Dark Days here today for an interview regarding about her publication journey and her YA debut novel, which Amy Christine Parker, author of Gated, described as  '...fast paced and tense with “ticking clock” chapters.' 
Let us all welcome, Kate Ormand!
About Writing:
While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubt yourself or second guess the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?

Yes. Quite often, actually. I’ve always been the same with anything I create, especially with painting and writing. But I think it’s so important to believe in your own work. It’s very easy for self-doubt to creep in. I always try to beat it back and focus on getting the book written, and worry about the next stage after that.

About Getting Published:
As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?

I signed with my agent in September 2012 and we worked on the book together for a few months before sending out on submission to publishers. I got the offer from Sky Pony Press in February 2013 after a day at work. My agent had been trying to get hold of me all day, but I’m glad I didn’t see until I got home because I’m not sure I’d have been able to function properly for the rest of my shift! I sat on my bed and read through the email. I couldn’t reply right away because I was shaking. My dad was home that day, so I went downstairs and told him about it and sent an excited text to my partner, my mum, and my brothers, who all made a big fuss. Then, when I’d calmed down just a little, I told my agent YES! It was an amazing day!

About Being an Author:
Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?

That was such an awesome moment. Other than that, I think being able to share the news with everybody – family, friends, and online – is a favourite memory. The support was overwhelming and just made it all the more special.

About the Book:
Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also has an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?

I remember picturing the clock, and the cyborg army marching on the sector. I don’t know exactly what triggered the thought, but it stuck and I knew I had to write it. I grabbed a notebook right away! I’m putting it down to a love of dystopian novels and action films.


About the Author:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

KATE ORMAND is a YA writer represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She recently graduated from university with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also a member of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website (www.kateormand.wordpress.com) or on Twitter (@kateormand).


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

2AMC: Natalie Parker, author of Beware the Wild


Today is Beware the Wild's release day and I'm happy to tell you that the author is here to tell where she get the idea of her book, and a lot more. Plus a giveaway! 
Let's welcome, Natalie Parker


About Writing:
While you were in the process of writing this book, have you ever doubted yourself or second guessed the reason why you are writing this story? If yes, how did you overcome those obstacles?

I learned an awful lot about writing while working on BEWARE THE WILD. One of the things I learned is that I am both my greatest ally and my greatest obstacle. 

Here’s an example of both. When I signed with my agent, she gave me pages and pages of notes all about how the novel wasn’t quite ready. I took a month to ponder them and at the end of that month, I realized the solution was a deadly one….I needed to start over from scratch. 

Talk about disheartening! It might have been – scratch that, it DEFINITELY would have been easier to make cosmetic changes to the manuscript and call it good. But at the end of the day I knew that rewriting would lead me to a much better place. So, in spite of wanting to wallow on the floor in a puddle of my tears, I opened a blank Word document and typed a new first line. 

Writing is a challenge because successes and improvements happen on such a long timescale. For me, it helps to remember I am ultimately the gate-keeper of my own improvement.

About Getting Published:
As an aspiring author, hearing about how authors got published is always fascinating and inspiring for me. So can you tell us your journey to publication? And what was the first thing you did or said after you got the news about the book deal?

Mine is a story of hurry-up-and-wait. I worked on BEWARE for nearly a solid year before I and my crit partners deemed it worthy of submission. I sent our my queries and had 4 offers within the first week! I signed with Sarah Davies of the Greenhouse Literary Agency and as you know, she encouraged me to rewrite the beast from scratch. After I did, she and I tossed it back and forth for several months before she decided it was ready for submission. 

And overnight, an editor ready it and made her intentions clear. It took another month for the deal to go through and she and I would work on yet another rewrite after that. So, it’s been a very long, very exciting journey. 

When my agent called with the news, I don’t think I said actual words. There were just strings of noises with exclamation points. 

My friends, on the other hand, burned down a shed in their excitement. They’re definitely better with celebrations than I.

About Being an Author
Tell us what it's like to be a published author? What was your most favorite moment in this whole experience, aside from seeing and holding a physical copy of your book?

This is a tough one! I think my favorite moment was signing my agency agreement. That was the first moment everything felt real and possible. 

About the Book
Just like superheroes, I think it's safe to say that books also have an origin story before they became what they are right now. It might have started out as a thought, an experience, a dialogue you heard, a conversation with a friend, or an idea that has been plaguing your brain for quite sometime. So tell us, what's your book's origin story? And what made you decide to write it?

Such a hard question. I imagine inspiration is very like a rain storm. It may seem to arrive all at once, but really it’s been building for a while, traveling great distances, and waiting for all the right conditions to let lose. Which is my way of saying….I really don’t know. I suspect it was something to do with spending much of my childhood in the south, especially during the long, hot summers, and also with a preoccupation with the idea of gatorgirls and boys.

I decided to write it the moment a first line popped into my head. Once that happens, I know the story is ready to explore itself.

About the Author:
Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

Natalie C. Parker grew up in a Navy family where having adventures was as common as reading fairy tales. She received her BA from the University of Southern Mississippi, her MA from the University of Cincinnati, and currently works at the University of Kansas coordinating projects on climate change. Though the roots of her family are buried deep in southern Mississippi, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters.

Title: Beware the Wild
Genre/s: YA, Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Summary:

It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in May when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp — the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance — and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.
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