Category Archives: Author Signing

Author Signing Recap | Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff | Obsidio

I finally got to meet amazing author duo Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff this month at the signing for OBSIDIO! It was especially exciting since both authors hail from Australia and made the trek out to the US for a US tour, and obviously even. more exciting was that Anderson’s Bookshop hosted them!

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I was a little surprised that they had it at their LaGrange location since that tends to be a little crowded and I expected the place to be packed, but it wasn’t AS bad as I thought it was going to be. The place was definitely packed but I think everyone was able to get a decent view, even if we did end up in standing room only!

I attended the event with my friends and Novelly Yours candle reps Brittany (@bookswrotemystory on Instagram) and Megan (@meganthemeganerd on Instagram). Megan also lives in Chicago so it’s nice to be able to meet up with her for events so I’ve got a buddy to actually attend the event with, and Brittany came in town from Ohio to see these two authors and to hang out!

The event itself was so much fun! As expected, Amie and Jay were so much fun to listen to, cracking jokes, explaining funny situations, and playing off each other so well. I could easily see how they get along so well and form this great writing team! There were a number of questions for the pair (no, they’re not romantically linked — they each have their own spouses and are just platonic friends) and it was so neat to see the series come to life even more!

 

We learned that Jay wrote mostly all of AIDAN’s parts in the book because according to Amie, she’s “just not that weird” and that Amie’s favorite character to write was Rhys’ quiff (his hairstyle, in case you’re not familiar with the word) in OBSIDIO because it defies the natural laws of peril. They did a great job of keeping spoilers out of things, which is always appreciated, and I loved all of the other things they did share about the series!

Mostly, it was just really neat to meet them both and they were both SO nice. They even personalized every single book that people brought to the event which was up to 15-20 for some people!! I had such a good time and I’m so glad I got to meet the two and get my books personalized!

A Monday with Maggie Stiefvater

 

Yes, I know it’s not Monday today but I simply have to tell you the story of my Monday afternoon from a few days ago! It all started around 3pm on Monday afternoon…

I got a phone call from my husband telling me that Maggie Stiefvater’s car was at his shop right. now.  Maggie Stiefvater is into cars (though I’m sure you knew that, considering she has some seriously cool vehicles that she posts about and even has a hashtag #stiefvater cars on her Tumblr account) and her car with the notorious “THIEF” license plate just so happens to be a type that my the company that my husband works for works on (okay, that was a horrible sentence, but you know what I mean). I had seen in a tweet before where she mentioned the shop by name so I knew that she had been there before (where I promptly freaked out) so I quietly reveled in the fact that she had been to my husband’s work before and they had helped tune the THIEF car!

So it’s Monday afternoon and I didn’t even think about making this connection between the shop being near Chicago, knowing Maggie often drives her cars to events, and the fact that I just saw her on Saturday at ALA in the city. I got a phone call from my husband saying that his company just posted a photo of her car on the dyno (a dynamometer that in short, measures the power of the engine and spits out reports that help tuners see and maximize performance) and tagged her in it on their Instagram story. Now I’m guessing that most people who follow the shop’s account are car people, not book people, so if they know Maggie Stiefvater, they probably know her for her cars and that fact that she writes articles for Jalopnik from time to time, probably not for her books… But since Shane knows that I love her books and that she’s taken her car to his shop before, he knew exactly who that tag was and immediately let me know.

We had a few excited and maybe incoherent phone calls back and forth when I realized she was at the shop that was currently ten minutes away from me and literally on my way home from work. Like, I would pass the shop — and her — on my way home. “Would it be weird if I asked to go over there?” I asked him, thinking that maybe I could swing by and say hi but truly not wanting to be creepy and dropping in out of nowhere, being a fan that was invading her privacy. I knew it wasn’t like I was following her and trying to figure out where she was but in this crazy turn of events, it just so happened to be a place that I knew, frequent, know the employees, and my husband freakin’ works there, so it’s not so crazy after all. “Let me make a few phone calls!” Shane said, and got on the phone with his co-workers.

His closest friends were in meetings or on conference calls and was having a hard time getting a hold of them so after a few phone calls to them and then back to me, I told myself it was totally okay if this didn’t happen. It was purely coincidental and again, didn’t want to be a creepy fan and just show up. I definitely wanted permission from the shop to drop in and of course, Maggie’s permission herself as she would be giving up her time to talk to me, a complete stranger.

Finally at 4:51pm, he called me back and said, “She’s waiting for you. Go right now!”

“RIGHT NOW?” I said, trying to mentally prepare myself because I had just spent the last 30 minutes at my desk pretending to try to do work but really trying to think of conversation starters in my head so my first words to Maggie Stiefvater weren’t “werjleksdjkhakjsdjf”.

“Yes, right now!” He said. “They’re waiting to close up the shop. There’s only a few minutes left of the work day. Just go!”

So not wanting to just skate out of work early and look bad, I popped into my boss’s office to ask if I could leave a few minutes early. He told me “of course” without even asking why (sometimes this place really is great) and I immediately packed up my stuff and got in the car. I texted my friends that IT WAS HAPPENING, freaked out for a while, chastised myself for not wearing a better outfit that day, and promised everyone I’d take a picture. I tried to put my audiobook on in the car but how can someone concentrate on listening to a book at a time like that!? So I gave myself a pep talk on the way over, still racking my brain for something on this Earth to talk about. I raced down the street, trying not to speed too much, knowing that MAGGIE WAS WAITING FOR ME, and then I got STUCK BY A FREIGHT TRAIN. Fortunately it was moving quickly but the whole time I was shouting to it “go go go go gooooo Maggie is waiting!!!”

I finally pulled into the shop and I was so dazed that I didn’t even notice Maggie’s car sitting out front, tucked behind another car (unless they had pulled it around when I was inside), and I walked in the front office to go find the sales manager who had set this all up on the shop’s end. I walked in the front door and THERE SHE WAS. I waved to the sales team and then Maggie turned around and I possibly gave the either creepiest or most excited wave I’ve ever given in my life.

“Are you here for me?” She asked.

“Yes, hi! I’m Brittany!” I replied, and we launched into conversation from there.

I thought I would be totally tongue-tied but we actually had some really nice conversation! I was a little awkward at first but I told her that she might know me from my candles because I run and own Novelly Yours.

She said “Yes! The candles! Blue and Her Boys,” with little bit of a grin at the name.

AHHH she knew my candles!! She knew who I was, in a way! She told me she had received three of them so far (So thank you to everyone who gave her one!!!!) and she’ll be burning them for the rest of the year! She asked me what other kinds of candles I made so I had told her about the other Raven Cycle candles that I make and she seemed excited to hear of them. We actually talked about candle-making a bit, asking me if I stirred a giant pot of wax like a witch’s brew (I wish. That would actually be pretty cool) so I detailed the candle-making process a bit and we talked about how I got into making candles of my own.

“So how did you get into making candles?” She asked me. “I’m sorry, I’m sure you get that all the time.”

“Not at all!” I told her, and launched into how I got my start making candles and starting Novelly Yours. I’m sure she answers the same questions over and over way more than I do and who doesn’t want to tell a favorite author about the candles that you made specifically because of their books? It was truly a dream to be able to discuss. I told her about the November Cakes and Scorpio Sea candles and she asked me what the November Cakes candle smelled like, excited about the scents that I described. I told her I’d be happy to send one her way and she said she would love that!

We continued to talk about books — what I was reading (I showed her my copy of THE WICKER KING and forgot to tell her that the friendships in it so far remind me a little of all of the Raven Boys combined), what book I was most looking forward to in the fall (I drew a TOTAL BLANK and helloooo I couldn’t say ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS?) and told her that I was so deep into candles right now that I haven’t been keeping up with my TBR.

“So deep into candles — that’s a sentence I didn’t expect to hear when I woke up this morning!” she said with a laugh. I explained how I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks, especially while I work.

We ended up talking about ALA and I told her that I saw her there on Saturday (as pictured above!). She had asked if she asked me what my favorite book was and I said she hadn’t! So I told her my favorite of the Raven Cycle is BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE  — “Ah, the unfinished sentence” — and overall, my favorite is probably THE SCORPIO RACES. I shamelessly told her that I’ve actually only ever listened to the audio because it’s so good and that I listen to it every year. We launched into a conversation about the audio for that book and she shared some funny anecdotes about a bunch of 90-year-old librarians swooning over Steve West at an event at which Maggie, Steve West, and Fiona Hardingham were present for an award. She told me that she actually had gotten to choose the narrators for that book and that it was the first audiobook that Steve West had done so I profusely thanked her for that because I love his narrations, trying to contain my creepy and refraining from telling her that I just listened to eight books narrated by Steve West in the past three months.

I embarrassingly didn’t recognize Courtney Stevens who was with her (I think it was a combo of sunglasses and the fact that I was so starstruck) and we were introduced somewhere along the way of the conversation! I apologized for not recognizing her and told her that I had read THE LIES ABOUT TRUTH and loved it! She mentioned her upcoming novel DRESS CODES FOR SMALL TOWNS which comes out in August and said, “You know what? Let me grab it for you. I was going to give it away anyway,” and went out to her car to grab an ARC for me. “It has a Doc Martin on the cover so you know it’s good,” Maggie said. Courtney even signed it for me, “to make it more valuable when you sell it on eBay,” Maggie joked to which I gasped, “I would never!” though we both knew of course I wasn’t selling it on eBay.

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“I actually am more surprised when someone does want an ARC personalized,” Maggie told me. She said she doesn’t even keep copies of ARCs of her own books anymore because it’s just too many copies and she understands that most people pass an ARC along or it just falls apart over time so it makes more sense to get a finished copy personalized.

We started winding down the conversation and although I was having so much fun, I really didn’t want to keep her there any longer than she wanted to be. We wrapped up our chat and I told her I didn’t want to hold her up so with a quick few words back to the shop’s sales team, we parted ways, but not before I asked if she would mind if we took a photo together. “I would not mind at all,” she said, and Courtney was nice enough to take a photo of us…. as my phone once again ran out of space. Thankfully she took two before my phone decided to be so rude (“I knew it would do that,” I told them. “I was deleting things on the way over here!”) and then it was time to go.

I neglected to take a picture of Maggie’s car on my way out because she was already in it and felt like that would be a little weird so I just admired it as I pulled out of the parking lot and reveled in what had just happened. I called my husband on the way home to share some of the details and then tried to listen to my audiobook on the way back home but was admittedly a little too dazed and starstruck to really focus.

It was a crazy whirlwind of events that totally brightened up an otherwise stressful and frustrating Monday. Shane was so wonderful to set that all up for me with the phone calls back and forth to his shop and I thanked the shop and Maggie and Courtney for taking the time out of their days to make this happen for me. It was so nice of everyone to stay at the shop and let me stop by to say hi to one of my favorite authors. I can’t even say it was a dream come true because I would have never thought that this would be something that would have happened, so I guess I have to say it was beyond my wildest dreams!

Thanks again to Maggie Stiefvater for making my day and for making this incredible story happen. It’s always wonderful to fall in love with an author’s work but it just makes reading their books that much more special when you know how much they appreciate fans and give up their time to do things like this for me. It was a truly unique and special experience!!

BEA 2016 Recap!

Book Expo America 2016 was in Chicago this year so it was a given that I’d attend! My other halves (other thirds?), Alyssa from Books Take You Places and Amy from Tripping Over Books, came out to Chicago and we all headed out to BEA together on Tuesday afternoon! The trip was excellent, as always, and it was so amazing to spend time with all of the wonderful bookish people I’ve come to know throughout the years!

TUESDAY, MAY 10TH

Tuesday we headed into the city and met up with some fellow bloggers to go see The Bean (official name: Cloud Gate) in Millennium Park! I’ve visited a few times being a Chicago suburbanite but it was so much fun to see everyone experience it for the first time and it’s always fun to feel free to be touristy, even when it’s a city I know well! We took some requisite Bean selfies and other photos before we headed off to dinner for some deep dish pizza! Lou Malnati’s is my favorite place to grab deep dish and I’m never, ever disappointed. The pizza was delicious and the company was wonderful!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11TH

Due to a family emergency, I got to the floor late on Wednesday so I really didn’t pick up too many books! I did end up getting REPLICA by Lauren Oliver which was something I really wanted to snag. The story has two different narrators but the two sides can either be read entirely one and then the other or alternating. I did get a copy of REPLICA from Edelweiss but if I’m going to read it in alternating POVs, that really doesn’t work reading it on my Kindle! I haven’t decided how I’m going to do it yet but I can’t wait to read this one!

After the conference, we headed out to dinner at Carnivale with a group of blogger besties! We were looking for something unique with a fun atmosphere and Carnivale was a delight! It wasn’t crowded since we came on a Wednesday and it looks like they get into some pretty cool shows on the weekends, complete with aerial performances! I got jerk ribs (I love ribs) and they were so good! We split a chocolate cigar for dessert and it actually looked like cigar. The service was great, atmosphere was fun, and company was top notch!

THURSDAY, MAY 12TH

Thursday was the busiest day! We spent a bunch of time trying to grab our most-coveted ARCs and were able to see so many amazing authors! I haven’t read the Miss Peregrine series yet (I am starting it soon!) but we met Ransom Riggs and got a chapter sampler signed for his upcoming release Tales of the Peculiar. I got to say hello again to Gayle Forman and get an ARC of her adult novel, Leave Me! I absolutely love Gayle and all of her young adult books so although I don’t really read adult contemporary, I can’t wait to see what this book has in store for readers! I met Jennifer Niven and received a copy of her upcoming release, Holding up the Universe, as well as Adam Gidwitz for his latest MG novel. I was able to pick up a bunch of ARCs I’ve been looking forward to from the NOVL, a cute contemporary from HarperTeen, and the first in a new series called Stalking Jack the Ripper!

Thursday night held some publisher parties for us! I met up with the Bloomsbury team and some of their authors for food and drinks! It was great to see Lizzy, Erica, and the rest of the Bloomsbury ladies in attendance! I also got to meet Elizabeth Eulberg who is so sweet as well as author Danielle Paige. Jeff Giles wasn’t able to make it to the party due to a flight delay but I did get to meet him the next day! It was the first time I had seen my blurb in the ARC of The Edge of Everything so that was SUCH a cool experience!!

The Edge of Everything Jeff Giles The Book Addict's Guide

After Bloomsbury we conveniently walked two blocks to the Macmillan/Fierce Reads party at Berghoff! It was such a delight to hang out with more blogger friends and I was overjoyed to be able to really spend some time with Marissa Meyer! We chatted for a bit with Mary from Macmillan and a gentleman who I later found out is the president of Macmillan! (I hope I didn’t say anything TOO embarrassing in front of him. We were all talking about truth or dare so…) I got to say hello to the lovely and fierce Leigh Bardugo and meet Caleb Roehrig who has a debut coming out in the fall! The party was great and I’m so glad I was able to attend, especially since I missed it last year!!

Leigh Barudgo Macmillan B & Marissa

FRIDAY, MAY 13TH

Friday was all about obtaining an ARC of Gemina!! Penguin Random House didn’t really do ANY drops at all except for the one that was scheduled on Friday at 3:30pm so we meandered around the floor for most of the day, meeting a few authors and grabbing a few books, but we made sure to SET UP for Gemina! In the meantime, we happened to somehow stumble into Laini Taylor’s signing and there was mysteriously (miraculously?) NO LINE. We just walked right up and got to meet her! As usual I was quite flabbergasted and made an idiot of myself in front of a huge author but she was very sweet and I’m so excited I got to meet her because she was one of the author’s I’ve wanted to meet but she hadn’t come to town yet!

It was finally Gemina time and we almost didn’t even know it! Around 1pm, we ran out of places we really wanted to be so we figured why not go line up early for the ARC drop? It was a good thing we headed over there because there was already a line forming!! There had to have been hundreds and hundreds of people by the time it was time for the drop. Yes, we waited two and a half hours to grab this book! We are that excited for it. We heard that Jay Kristoff was walking around and if you gave him a secret keyword, he had ARCs of his latest solo release Nevernight! Girls literally went RUNNING. I want that book so badly and Kristina from Gone Pecan got one! He had limited ARCs since they were just in his messenger bag so we are convincing her to share ;D But really it was just super neat to meet him and he was so tickled with how many people were in line for Gemina!

All was well, we easily made it within the number range to grab Gemina (I think most people did!) and that was it for BEA 2016!

See my full photo album from the trip on my blog’s Facebook page!

Did you go to BEA this year? What was your favorite part of the conference? If you didn’t go to BEA, what are some books that were there that you’re dying to read!?

Looking for more BEA news? You can check out my recaps from previous years I attended!
BEA 2013 | BEA 2014 | BEA 2015

BEA 2015 Recap!

Well, I did BEA a little differently this year! For those of you who don’t know me or know me as well, I got married this past November so after taking a week and a half off for a wedding + honeymoon, I was trying not to take another full week of for BEA. Plus, after discussing with my BFFs Amy & Alyssa, we decided to put the focus of our trip more on spending time with each other (since we only see each other in person twice a year) and only attending one day of Book Expo America.

With the new schedule this year (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday conference), Friday was our day of choice and the timing worked out really well! I actually flew out Thursday to Connecticut to stay with Alyssa and grab some best friend time… especially since we’d have to get up super early for the conference on Friday! Amy was already there and the three of us just had a nice, relaxing day in CT. We, of course, made a visit to the Book Barn in Niantic which is still my favorite used book store that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit! (I actually grabbed more books at the Book Barn than at BEA. Oops?)

Book Barn Niantic

Friday morning we got up before the crack of dawn (literally. My alarm got me up at 4:15am) and got ready to hop the train from CT to NYC. I say hop, but really it’s a two hour train ride! BUT we’ve done it before and it’s a really nice way to save money instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars to stay in a hotel in NYC for a night! We were willing to sacrifice time (and sleep) to save a little money and it worked out nicely! We also got to meet Lauren from Bookmark Lit who is also from Connecticut so she carpooled with us to the train station and we headed to the conference together! After we taxied it to Javits (I’ll tell ya… sitting in the front seat of a cap was an experience), we were ready to take on BEA!

This being my third year, Alyssa’s fourth, and Amy’s fifth attending BEA, we had a bit more chill of an approach. We fully planned on plopping ourselves in the signing line for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo but since that wasn’t until 10:30, we casually scanned the floor and walked around to check out the booths like we usually do. I was trying to limit myself to what I picked up on the floor and I grabbed a hardcover ARC of Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff which I’ve been curious about for a while! Plus… hardcover ARC!? Has anyone even heard of that before? I’m even more interested now! The book looks crazy, full of artwork, illustrations, notes, emails, logs, etc so I am definitely anxious to see what this is all about!

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Getting in line for Six of Crows was our priority really for the whole day so on to the line we went! We hopped in just at the right time (a little over an hour beforehand) because it started filling in pretty quickly after that and with this being our only real “must-have” book, it was worth the time to make sure we got a copy AND got it signed! There was a bit of Drama with a capital D when people got miscounted and were told they weren’t going to get books. Macmillan only had 100 copies reserved for the signing and several people came through to count the line (two line admins from BEA and the publicist from Macmillan) and people who were once “safe” ended up getting cut. There were a few stories going around but from what we saw and from what others heard as well, it sounded like they miscounted and let too many people in the line and then on top of that, an unexpected number of people used their “jump the line” passes (which I forget about every year) so that took away books from the people who were in line. Fortunately, my friends and I were safe but there were several people who got cut who were VERY unhappy. I totally understand because I would have been really upset if I had gotten cut BUT drama ensued when one lady took it way too far and started screaming at the poor publicist (whose fault it was not) and from what I hear, security was almost called on her after we left that part of the line. What people will do for these books, man. It’s intense. But long story short, it worked out for us and it was so lovely to see Leigh again because she’s just one of my favorite authors all-around.

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After Leigh, we didn’t really have too many other plans! I kept circling the floor with Lauren throughout the day and Alyssa and Amy ended up in line to meet Mindy Kaling (who we didn’t realize would be at the conference (I thought she was going to be at BookCon)) and I picked up a couple other books here and there. I met a few other bloggers in line, passed by Rainbow Rowell (who we couldn’t get in line for since we were waiting for Six of Crows) and totally forgot about Marissa Meyer’s signing to my dismay!! It was for Fairest which I do already own (but not signed) and since she’s one of my favorite authors, I was hoping to meet her again there at the conference but with all of our “chill” plans, I forgot all about her signing! I tried to hop in just to say hello but they wouldn’t allow it. (Thankfully Andi from Andi’s ABCs said hello to her for me at the Macmillan blogger party the night before (which I was also sad to miss but had to since I wasn’t staying in NYC) and Marissa even remembered who I was! Woo!)

We wandered some more, found a few more bloggers, and I stopped by some publisher booths to say hello to Erica and Emily from Bloomsbury and Ksenia who’s now over at Simon & Schuster! We chatted a bit, made some plans, and then finally left BEA at around 3pm in search of food and refreshments!

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After food, it was on to meet up with some of our very best blogger friends! The conference was fun but we were more importantly attending to see some of the most wonderful people that we only get to see once a year at events like these! We gathered in Bryant Park just to talk and hang out and it was honestly the BEST time I’ve had at BEA. Publisher parties are fun and exciting and glamorous but to have all of your very closest blogger friends in one place? That’s priceless.

We had a great time just talking about anything and everything — from what was going on with us to what happened on the conference — and I think we were all so excited just to be hanging out and not running around BEA trying to sneak in friend time! Nothing too out of the ordinary happened but it was just perfect that way. I got to chat with some great people and we were all very relaxed after a long day (for us, week for them!) until the party started to disperse for food, events, and even a date! 060215-6 060215-5

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We thought about stopping by The Strand after the day was done but we were just plain tired (and didn’t need to buy more books) so home we went! We stopped at Magnolia Bakery (as is tradition when we’re in Grand Central) and I got a nice iced coffee to quench my thirst and two cupcakes for the road! Two more hours back home on the train, another 40 minutes back to Alyssa’s house and it was time to crash!

The rest of the weekend was nice too! I got to spend more time with Alyssa and Amy just relaxing, talking, and getting Thai for dinner on Saturday after we went to go see Pitch Perfect 2! It was a really great weekend and as always, I was sad to say goodbye, especially since we never know when we’ll see each other again in person! BUT I did miss my husband and sadly, I had to get back to the real world after a BEA and BFF hangover.

My flight home got delayed but only by an hour so it wasn’t too bad (I seem to always have delays at Bradley?) so I hung out with Alyssa and her boyfriend for part of the day after we dropped Amy off at the train station. I got the airport a bit early and had to say another teary goodbye (it’s always hard) but then I had a nice time just decompressing after a busy few days with Six of Crows (yes, I already started reading) and a couple Yuenglings since I can’t get those in Illinois! I finally got on the plane and headed home, with my book in tow and another beverage since my sister had a free drink coupon that was going to go to waste! Not a bad way to end a great weekend!

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Did you go to BEA this year? Do you plan on going next year in Chicago? You know I’ll be there since I live in the ‘burbs!

Looking for more BEA news? You can check out my recaps from previous years I attended!
BEA 2013 | BEA 2014

Fierce Reads Tour Fall 2014 (Chicago): Recap, Author Interview, and Giveaway!

FIERCE READS TOUR

Marissa Meyer, Gennifer Albin, Jessica Brody, and Nikki Kelly
Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Arlington Heights, IL
October 10, 2014

Macmillan is amazing. The Fierce Reads tour is really always one of my favorite tours and I was SO happy to accept the offer from Macmillan to not only be the official blogger on this stop of the tour, but also to moderate the event! I was so excited but admittedly terribly nervous too! (Not to mention how nervous I was meeting Marissa Meyer for the first time!!!) But I buckled down, put my questions together, and I was so ready to get my interview on with the Fierce Reads ladies!

I had a blast interviewing the Fierce Reads ladies! Let’s see what they had to say on books, writing, and more!

(Portions edited for time and reading purposes and will not affect the overall outcome of the show interview.)

Brittany: If you had to describe your book as THIS meets THAT — like Dracula meets Mean Girls — what would yours be?
Jessica Brody: Mine I’ve always said is Bourne Identity with an Inception-like twist.
Marissa Meyer: I would say that mine is Star Wars meets The Brothers Grimm.
Gennifer Albin: The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Matrix.
Jessica: I like Madmen meets The Matrix.
Gennifer:do like Madmen meets The Matrix…
Nikki Kelly: I’m gonna look to Jessica to answer this one for me!
Jessica: Well, Supernatural meets… City of Bones?
Nikki: Everyone wants to say Twilight —
Jessica: It’s not Twilight, though. It’s very different.
Nikki: It’s not — it’s very different. Maybe True Blood. Supernatural meets True Blood? Although that’s quite risqué.
Marissa: Is string theory the theory that’s all about different dimensions?
Gennifer: No, it’s universes are on strings, basically. Time is a string.
Nikki: What was that movie where [whoops, that’s a spoiler! Taken out so we don’t spoil LAILAH for you!] Maybe Supernatural meets City of Bones, then.
Jessica: The Mortal Instruments meets Supernatural.
Nikki: Yeah, we’ll go with that!

Brittany: Were there any major influences from other authors or books that really inspired your writing?
Marissa: Authors or books specifically?
Brittany: Either one. Or movies… TV…
Marissa: Well my biggest influences are Firefly, which is the most awesome sci-fi TV show ever because in Firefly is has this crew of totally random people that have completely different personalities and it’s like, “Let’s stick them on a spaceship and see what happens!” So going into The Lunar Chronicles, it was like “I just really want a whole bunch of people on spaceship to see what happens!” And then my other big one is Sailor Moon which is really what gave me the idea for the Lunars and a lost princess.
Gennifer: I’m now imagining The Lunar Chronicles like it’s a reality show. [announcer voice] Four princess, contained on a spaceship! What happens when people stop getting along?
Jessica: Who will be voted off next? I’d watch that show!
[laughter]
Jessica: One has been locked in a satellite for years and the other is just crazy!
Marissa: We need to make this a thing!
[we all bring it back around to the question]
Jessica: I think I was really influenced by the TV show Lost in just kind of the mystery and… hopefully my ending is better than theirs, but just the way they pieced these little pieces together and I love the mystery of that show. And I’ve always loved movies like The Matrix and Inception, obviously, and The Bourne Identity because the memory loss thing. I just love the idea of someone waking up with no memories finding out they’re a superhero. That’s just… the dream, right?
Nikki: Better than waking up post-apocalyptic!
Jessica: Waking up and the world’s been taken over by zombies! Not the dream.
Gennifer: For some people it is…
[Zombie tangent!]
Gennifer: Umm, influences… well, I think ever book you ever read influences you in some way. I hate pointing to a specific book because then people like to be like, “OH, now I see how you ripped that off.” [laughter] So I’m gonna go with movies and TV! And I would say that the kind of back and forth banter came from my love of screwball comedies of the ’40s. So like Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant… that whole crew, how they were constantly going back and forth. Actually, I think Cary Grant would make a great Cormac… which is impossible but he would be very handsome and suave and do a good job with the one-liners. And I always used to joke that I went to the J.J. Abrams school of writing because I like to leave a chapter on a… BOOM! A major revelation to the person! Or they finally kissed! Everyone’s like, “God, now I have to read the next chapter!” And I’m like, “That’s the idea!” [everyone agrees] I had another writer say to me one time, “Well I like to end it so people can shut the book and go to bed” and I was like, “You’re doin’ it wrong!” Sometimes when people shut the book and go to bed, they forget to ever open it again. That happens to me!
Marissa: That’s so crazy that a writer would say that.
Jessica: Let’s hope we don’t know this person!
Gennifer: So the Alias school of writing because I didn’t watch lost… I stopped watching Fringe after the first season because I already the second book written but I was like, “I’m going to be influenced by this” so I stopped watching it and I just finally watched all of Fringe and I was like, “WOW!!! We were REALLY on the same page on lots of things! I’m really glad I didn’t watch you. Also, why don’t I write for your show?” So yeah, J.J. Abrams and screwball comedies from the 1940s. Obviously these two things go together.
Jessica: So another answer to the first question is, it’s screwball comedies meets J.J. Abrams.
Nikki: And I’d probably say, do you remember Sliders from the 90s?
Gennifer: YES, I own the box set!
Nikki: That’s when I first discovered Jerry O’Connell… and then he popped up in Scream! But I loved that show and all different dimensions, different to what’s going on in Lailah with three set dimensions but they would use their little um… doobie-doo device. [Talking about Sliders for a while and possible spoilers for the show! Which convinced me that I really do need to watch more of this show…] And the thing would probably be Tales of the Unexpected which was an 80s and 90s show as well which was 15 minutes shorts where at the end it was a “tale of the unexpected” so there was a twist at the end of each episode and I think that’s why I write with twists now.

Brittany: If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be?
Marissa: I don’t know if I can answer that because it’s kind of something I’m not supposed to talk about! I’ll say that there IS a minor character that I’d like to do a tangent of, therefore I’m probably I’m going to do a tangent of and that’s all I’m going to say.
Nikki: Oooh, that’s really leaving them hanging! That’s how we do it.
Gennifer: Approved!
Jessica: I would love to do a story from Cody’s point of view — my little foster brother — but before he grows up and gets all old. Maybe like a middle grade! Him at thirteen. I did write a short story from Cody’s point of view from the first time he met Seraphina and I had a lot of fun with that because writing him from Serafina’s point of view is a whole different experience than writing from his head so. That’d be fun!
Gennifer: I feel like… We do these things for tour where we write short stories and a lot of times they’re other people so… I have one to do for Loricel so I have that one coming up for me, but I guess I’d probably go back and maybe do some prequel bits, actually, where you saw various characters before you met them. I think it’d be interesting to see Adelice’s parents [book two spoilers redacted!] So maybe them and I’ve had some people ask me to write Valerie and Enora’s love story but I’ve never had the time.
Nikki: I have written two short stories — one Jonah and one Gabriel which are online right now — and they’re set from Jonah and Gabriel’s point of views and they’re both prequels because Gabriel’s is set 100 years ago and Jonah’s is set before we meet him in the first book so probably 10 years, 11 years prior to chapter one of book one so I already got play with that and that was fun. But maybe Hanora if I was doing another one just because she’s an interesting character. Nobody likes her so I’d like to maybe just see how she sees things and her perspective of what’s going on when it all happens.
Jessica: I did write from Zen and Kalen’s point of view — two novellas! One is out now called Undiscovered and one is coming out in January called Unleashed.
Marissa: And I got to write a prequel about the evil queen that’s coming out in January called Fairest.
Gennifer: It was supposed to be a novella… like the rest of us… and then she went way above and beyond.
Marissa: Things just always get longer than they’re supposed to.
Brittany: No complaints here!

Brittany: What’s one gadget or invention in your books that you’re particularly proud of or fond of creating?
Jessica: I love that question! …. But I have to think about it.
Gennifer: I’d say mine are actually the panels that the sunrunners use in the second book because I spent a lot of time reading about solar energy so that I could use terminology that sounded like I had some idea what I was talking about and I actually DID at that point and so those could actually exist. I invented them. Kind of.
Nikki and Gennifer: Copywright Gennifer Albin.
Jessica: I have two. One I actually didn’t invent I just kind of… stole and then expanded but recently the creator of Tesla announced that he wants to create something called a hyperloop which is a little capsule that goes like, a zillion miles an hour using vacuum? Magnets? I can’t remember which one but you can basically get from LA to San Francisco in thirty minutes and he has a plan to implement this in California in the next 20 or 50 years, so I just made the assumption that in the future they will be using these to transport themselves around so I put that in book three which was super fun to establish a world like that. I feel like all future books they travel by train and I was like, “I don’t want to do a train. I want to do something else.” So I put the hyperloop in. One thing I created that actually got taken out — this is going to be a deleted scene — Diotech creates this genetic alteration that’s called the “eternal puppy” and it’s basically where you can make a puppy stay a puppy for its entire life.
Gennifer: That’s like, the scariest thing I’ve ever heard.
Jessica: But they would mature as a dog but they would always stay cute and little for their whole lives! But I had to cut that scene because it just really didn’t do anything for the plot.
Marissa: After hearing that I’m like “Why did Scarlet and Wolf waste all their time on that train…?” Why didn’t they take the hyperloop!?
Jessica: But then they wouldn’t have had the scene.
Marissa: For me again not really my invention but all of the characters in my future world have ID chips implanted in their wrists and this acts as their identification and their money and you can scan anybody’s thing and see their Facebook profile — except it’s not really Facebook but you know — and I think that would be just so convenient. Never have to carry your purse or your phone. And every time I have my Starbucks app and I go to pay with my phone I’m like “We’re almost there.”
Nikki: Probably in Lailah, the crystal in Styclar which gives life to their world. I don’t know if that’s an inventions so much as an energy source but it creates light and life. It was from my head and therefore… I don’t think there’s a crystal somewhere in another world is there that beams out lights at a certain frequency that creates life of beings and all sorts of fun things. And for things that are not my invention, you’ll probably notice there are lots of iPhones and Range Rovers in my book and that’s because I’m hoping for a sponsorship deal! [laughter]

Brittany: What types of scenes are your favorite to write?
[kissing noise and general agreement]
All except Jessica: Kissing scenes!
Jessica: I don’t like writing kissing scenes. I like writing fight scenes! Not like physical fight “take ’em down” scenes but arguments between characters. I feel like that’s when their true personalities come out.
Marissa: Like sparring, verbal repartee, that is fun.
Jessica: Yes! And I love when my characters get in fights when I don’t plan them to. I just had a scene where I was like this is just going to be a normal scene where they walk to the locker (I’m working on a contemporary book) and suddenly they started fighting and I was like, “YES! Let’s do it!” And then once I was done I was like, “Of course they have to fight here. There hasn’t been any tension for the past three chapters. There has to be a fight! Thank you characters for reminding me about that!”
Nikki: And then us three all like the kissing scenes. Kissing and swooning! [Gennifer and Marissa agree]
Marissa: Big, epic gestures of romance.

Brittany: Your books make up some of our biggest fandoms. What are some of yours?
Gennifer: Doctor Who!
Marissa: Firefly! Sailor Moon.
Nikki: Doctor Who.
Jessica: Frozen! Is that a fandom?
Gennifer: It’s like the biggest fandom out there right now!
Jessica: There’s a lot of four-year-olds in that fandom.
Gennifer: But that’s okay!
Jessica: What are they called? Froze-hards? Oh, that doesn’t sound right! [lots of laughter]
Gennifer: The Gilmore Girls fandom is coming back HARD core now that’s it on Netflix and I’m like, “LET’S GO! Let’s do this! Let’s get our movie.” And Veronica Mars. That’s big one for me. Oh my god, I’m a marshmallow!

Brittany: Have you ever received amazing fan art for your books or received and awesome gift from a fan?
Gennifer: Marissa’s actually wearing one.
Marissa: Yes, a fan actually made me this awesome Lunar Chronicles necklace with all the charms that represent the different fairy tales. I get a lot of awesome stuff from fans!
Nikki: Some of us don’t.
Gennifer: Who got all the gifts yesterday! Lailah cookies!
Nikki: I do get a lot of cookies! And Lucky Charms cereal. Just the marshmallows! It wasn’t even the crappy fiber stuff!

Brittany: Wine and cheese style question: what food or beverage item would be a good pairing for your book or series?
Jessica: Well mine’s kind of obvious because in Unremembered she eats a grilled cheese sandwich and it’s a very influential scene…
Marissa: A euphoric moment.
Jessica: It is because it’s the first thing she remembers eating and she kind of falls in love with it so it’s kind of a pivotal scene for her getting reintroduced to the world so I would go with the grilled cheese sandwich and for the blog tour of Unremembered I actually did a video on how to make a grilled cheese sandwich so you can find that on my YouTube channel. It’s very difficult!
Marissa: For the Cinder blog tour I did a “cooking with Marissa” show and made shrimp dumplings because they eat it in one of the chapters and it was so much fun but nobody ever watched it and I was like, “I really wanted to keep making these but I guess I won’t” because it took like, all day long!
Gennifer: There’s so much food in Crewel! I would have a hard time choosing. I like to put curry in all of my books. Even in my contemporary books, people are always eating curry.
Marissa: There was a lot of curry in Cress too!
Gennifer: Yeah, I liked that about your book! And she also has a chocolate torte.
Nikki: Tea in Lailah because she makes a lot of tea, and chocolate digestives. Not cookies as the book says because they American-ized it but chocolate digestives.
[tangent about the word “digestive” which ultimates boils down to the fact that it’s a specific type of cookie although the American gals agree that “digestive” is a terribly unappealing word in America! And how a “cookie” in England is any cookie that has chocolate chips and a “biscuit” is every other cookie]
Marissa: So for mine in book three, there’s this big royal wedding being planned and there’s this one scene where Prince Kai is meeting with the wedding coordinator and she starts going over the wedding menu and it’s like a traditional nine course menu. I planned out the whole thing and it took me like three pages to describe it in the first draft and I had every course from a different so there was a Korean course and a Philippines course and my Indian course and I had so much fun designing this menu and then one of my beta readers was like, “You realize you just took three pages to design and describe a feast. So I ended up cutting it all and only a few of them got mentioned in the book but then I ended up writing a blog post about it but I really, really want to have this feast some day. I really want to have this really fancy dinner party and nine-course meal.

Brittany: Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions?
Nikki: Oh, yeah, I do. Obligatory cup of tea and twerk in the kitchen before writing. And then I write in my pants (which is knickers). [And yes. She does mean twerking as in twerking.]
Gennifer: I don’t really have… I need something to write ON and I prefer to have paper and pencil nearby because I like to scribble notes to myself and do some diagramming.
Marissa: Yeah, I like to have paper, and something to drink. Usually water but sometimes coffee or wine or something. Depending on whether it’s before or after noon!
Nikki: I like how you went from water to coffee to wine! Brandy… vodka…
Jessica: For me, I only drink coffee when I write so coffee has an extra, special effect — it’s like magic juice — so I have my coffee and I have my giant, noise-cancelling headphones where I blast this white noise with a special technology called brain entrainment so there’s actually a frequency that gets played under the white noise that brings your brain into focus mode.

Brittany: Are there any questions you always dread being asked?
Marissa: “Where do you get your ideas?” I don’t really dread that because the answer is so easy because you get asked it all the time.
Jessica: I’m always curious too but you just get tired of it. I don’t like getting asked my favorite book and I know it get asked all the time because I just can’t choose. It’s just so hard! I feel like if I don’t give “the right answer” someone’s going to come smite me. It’s a lot of pressure!
Marissa: Every once in a blue moon, you’ll get someone who’s like… trying to stump you. They’ll ask you a question about the world building or the technology like, “In chapter 40, you said THIS but did you know that actually scientists have said –” you know, that sort of question. And a lot of times it’s stuff I actually have considered and usually have a thought out response but every once in a while it’s like, “I don’t know. How was I supposed to know that?”
Nikki: That’s when you just say, “It’s fiction.”
Marissa: Creative license!
Nikki: If you feel like something’s missing, it was intention. You’ll find out in the next book!
Gennifer: You always get lots of writing questions on these panels. And there’s sometimes that mix when you go into an event and … I tend to just want to talk about books and fun stuff and there’s a couple of people who show up and they actually want you to figure out how they’re going to be come writers so the questions aren’t even broad-based questions but like, “How many queries did you send and what was your rejection rate and did you send them at a specific time of day?”
Marissa: I think I was on the Cress tour and it was in a really small town and so the bookstore that was hosting it was worried that they wouldn’t be able to get anybody to come and so they marketed it as writing workshop and I showed up and I was like, “I have no intention of giving a writing workshop! I’m just gonna talk about my books.” And there was only maybe like twelve people in the audience and one of them bought a book. They were just writers and they wanted the secrets of getting published.
Nikki: You should have said, “Buy five books and I’ll talk.” [laughter]

Brittany: The last question is actually “What’s one of the books that your recommend this most?” — Not favorite!
Jessica: That’s different! I recommend Eleanor & Park [by Rainbow Rowell] to anyone who lives and breathes and reads. And even if you don’t read, I’ll still recommend Eleanor & Park to you.
Brittany: Audiobooks!
Gennifer: I have been known to recently push The Discover of Witches series [by Deborah Harkness] on basically anyone who will listen to me so I would have to go with that one!
Marissa: Right now my two big series are The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo which all three books are out so you can sit and read them and marathon them so you don’t have the pain of waiting for the next book like I did!
Nikki: And the Darkling prequel is in the Barnes and Noble edition of Ruin and Rising so you can have that too!
Marissa: And then I am also super obsessed with The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski and there’s only one out — The Winner’s Curse just came out this year and I just finished and early copy of The Winner’s Crime and it was AMAZING.
Nikki: I would just echo Marissa and say I was on The Grisha Trilogy for about six months. I came into it when the third one was just coming out so I came into it at the right time.
Jessica: Oh wait, can I add one more? I also pitch The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

I had SUCH a great time interviewing these wonderful ladies and what a fantastic night it was! Another huge thank you to them for some really great answers and such a fun interview!

After the interview, we headed downstairs for the live event! I was so excited to moderate and I cannot express enough how excellent these ladies are! They really had such great answers to everything, they’re so much fun, and had great interactions with the crowd. Since the first interview is SO detailed, I’ll just give you a brief rundown of how the event went + some important things from the Q&A!

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 (I stole this picture from Katie/Polished Page Turners! I didn’t have a picture of me moderating since, well… I was moderating!) 

  • After the authors introduced their books, I asked them which of their characters is their favorite to write. Jessica Brody said that she loves to write Cody. Her editor actually wanted to cut that character but Jessica fought for him to be kept in the books! (She sends her editor all the fan letters for people who have told her that they love Cody!) Gennifer’s was (of course) her villain and Marissa’s favorite is Iko.
  • I asked the authors which power or ability from another panelist’s book they’d like to have and most agreed they’d want Seraphina’s super genius skills! Jesssica then said she’d want Adelice’s powers so she could rip people from universes if she didn’t like them.
  • The authors talked about the challenges they face in building worlds in their books and one of the hardest things was making sure everything worked in future books so the advice was to make sure you have those plans first! Marissa also created a very diverse and vast world incorporating many cultures so she had to make sure she did each of them justice.
  • I asked them about how their writing has changed from the beginning of the series (or book) to the end and many noticed their writing matured. Others ended up spelling things different (Nikki spelling “cruel” like “Crewel” and Gen finally fixing a typo!)
  • I asked which Hogwarts house their main characters would be in (the audience LOVED this) and they said:
    • Jessica: Seraphina –> Ravenclaw
    • Nikki: Hasn’t read or seen Harry Potter! (The only British person on the panel hasn’t read it, she said haha) She said “the best house” and knew that Slytherin was bad so NOT that one. The other ladies decided Lailah would Gryffindor
    • Gennifer: Adelice –> Gryffindor (and she has red hair! Maybe she could be a Weasley!)
    • Marissa: Agreed about Gryffindor and red with Gennifer for Scarlet. Cinder would also be Gryffindor and Cress would be Hufflepuff. Later a fan asked about all the boys and she said Kai would be Hufflepuff. We pressed “What about Thorne?” and she couldn’t decide. I said, “He probably dropped out!” and the authors laughed and agreed!
  • We wrapped up with panel with some audience Q&A!

Another HUGE thanks to these four wonderful authors! They were so fantastic and gracious for letting me grill them about their books all night and I couldn’t have been more thankful for the experience. A HUGE thank you to Macmillan to for providing me with this opportunity to interview the authors, moderate a book event, and make some of my dreams come true! It’s such an honor to be working with all of them.

Then after the panel, I stayed and chatted with some fellow bloggers and other event attendees before getting my books signed by all of the authors! (Poor Marissa. I made her sign my whole stack but she was really kind about it and happily personalized all ELEVEN. What a lady.)

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GIVEAWAY

The giveaway is thanks to the wonderful folks at Macmillan!! One lucky winner will receive ALL FOUR featured Fierce Reads books: UNFORGOTTEN by Jessica Brody, UNRAVELED by Gennifer Albin, CRESS by Marissa Meyer, and LAILAH by Nikki Kelly! (This giveaway is US only.)

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Fierce Reads Tour Summer 2014 (Chicago): Recap & Giveaway!

FIERCE READS TOUR

Leigh Bardugo, Ava Dellaira, Jennifer Mathieu, Emmy Laybourne
Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
June 20, 2014

I always love the Fierce Reads tour. It’s no exaggeration when I say that it’s one of my most favorite book events that comes to town! The authors are always amazing, the books are fantastic, I always love Macmillan, and the tours are just plain fun. They also draw a really amazing crowd and I got to see so many friends that I haven’t even seen in a while!

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The event started just a bit late on account of the authors being interviewed by the book store owner for the Naperville cable access show (and somehow that made me think of The Princess Diaries and Lily’s cable show… But moving on…) so we finally gathered and started the event around 7:15! We were all just excited and buzzing with anticipating! Rachel from Anderson’s Bookshop was moderating the event and had some really fun questions for the authors! (Questions and answers will be paraphrased.)

QUESTION: Did you start out with the title of your book before you began writing or did you go through a few titles before one stuck?
// Emmy Laybourne‘s first title was “We Are ValueMart” which she ended up changing because it sounded too happy… and it would have been confusing if she kept it because the store’s name changed from ValueMart too!
// Leigh Bardugo said the working title for Shadow and Bone was just “The Grisha” but she was told it needed to “be more Googleable”. When she would tell people what the title was, they heard “the Grecians” and it didn’t seem like a book title but more like a series. She came up with Shadow and Bone and then found out about Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone and tried to change it, but it was too late and Shadow and Bone was the winner! As for Siege and Storm/Ruin and Rising, those actually came pretty easily!
// Ava Dellaira thought of the title first as she was driving. Love Letters to the Dead inspired her story.
// Jennifer Mathieu‘s working title was “Alice Franklin is a Slut” and then it got sort of… “toned down” to “The Truth About Alice Franklin” which they just ended up shortening to The Truth About Alice.

QUESTION: If you could hang out with one character from your books for a day, who would it be and what would you do?
// Emmy Laybourne said Max and she would parent the hell out of him! His uncle is the bouncer at a strip club in the books and poor little Max is always around all kinds of crazy happenings so Emmy would make him grilled cheese sandwiches and take him to the playground and really just be a good parent to him!
// Leigh Bardugo said Strumhond (AND WE ALL AGREED). They would go marauding, have all kinds of adventures… you know, general activities with Sturmhond. She said with his attitude and being so cavalier, she could probably only hang out with him for a day or two though and then she would be exhausted of him!
// Jennifer Mathieu said Kurt. She said they were fairly similar in ways and he’s actually a lot like her husband is. She loved how he was a friend to Alice and he’s just one of her favorite characters.
// Ava Dellaira said she’s cheating a little bit and go with Amelia Earhart. She would love to spend time with her and maybe fly around in a plane. (Then jokes were made about how maybe that wouldn’t end well!!)

QUESTION: What’s your writing process like? Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?
// Emmy Laybourne said she outlines! With fourteen characters, she really has to in order to know what’s going on and where everyone is!
// Leigh Bardugo plots as well. She uses the three act structure and basically comes up with an outline of her whole book using this method and then fills in the gaps. She never ends up writing and then hitting a wall because she already knows the beginning, middle, and end.
// Ava Dellaira spent a long time listening to her characters and really letting them shape the book. She spent about a year getting to know her characters and then another year touching up the details and the rest of the book so everything fit well together! She took a screenplay approach and made sure all of the scenes really flowed nicely.
// Jennifer Mathieu is very organized with many things, but she sort of lets the characters guide her too. She likes to think she would be more of an outliner but sometimes her characters just take her where they want to.

QUESTION: What’s one thing from your books that got cut that you wish hadn’t?
// Emmy Laybourne didn’t really have to cut anything because she has an outline of her book that she works on with her editors and then once they’re all on the same page, she goes from there. But she’s working on the screenplay for the Monument 14 movie and she got to add something she did want, which was a funny scene between Astrid and Sahalia.
// Leigh Bardugo didn’t really have much she had to cut either, but some of her “gallows humor”, not matter how much she tried sneaking it back in there, didn’t make the final cut.
// Ava Dellaira ended up cutting a lot of details about one of Laurel’s old friends who was one of her favorite characters. The character was still in the book but a lot of her story got taken out.
// Jennifer Mathieu ended up cutting a whole character named Carmen who was one of her favorites! She really loved her but it was just too many voices. She’s hoping Carmen will be able to make an appearance in a future book instead.

QUESTION: What are you working on right now?
// Emmy is working on a new series that’s a horror/comedy! It’s about a cruise involving a whole bunch of (fake) B/C/D list celebrities that are all there advertising this new beverage but… the beverage becomes strangely addicting! Everyone drinks EVERY possible drop they can — even finding it in the materials that it’s clinging to on the cruise ship — until it’s all gone and the only place left they can smell it is… In each other’s blood! She’s also working on the screen play for the Monument 14 movie.
// Leigh is working on her new series, The Dregs! It’s been marketed as Ocean’s 11 in the Grishaverse and guys — this sounds so much like The Lies of Locke Lamora that I am DYING. It sounds amaaaaazing. Humor, heists, grishaverse. I cannot wait.
// Ava‘s book got optioned for a movie by the same people who did The Fault in Our Stars so she’s very excitedly working on the screen play!
// Jennifer‘s working on her next book which is sort of a cult-tale, but so much more than that. It’s about a girl from a very religious family and she sort of gets the chance to step outside of that and see the real world, see what it’s like, and then decide if she wants to go back or not.

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There were more questions from the Q&A but I don’t remember all of them! As always, the Fierce Reads ladies were FANTASTIC and I had such a good time! I got to tell Emmy Laybourne that it was so good seeing her again because the Fierce Reads tour from two years ago in 2012 was my first book event EVER and she and Leigh were at that event so it’s always very special to me to see them again as well as read their books. I was also excited to see Leigh again! I’ve met her a few times now and have almost all of my books from her personalized (except for my dang B&N special edition of Ruin and Rising which didn’t arrive in time, but got my pre-ordered copy from Amazon signed)!

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GIVEAWAY!

I put together a fun little prize pack for a giveaway that I’m calling The Fierce Reads starter kit! I love these ladies and these books so much that I want to get one lucky winner on their way to falling in love with these books/series! The starter kit includes:

  • Signed paperback of SHADOW AND BONE
  • Signed paperback of MONUMENT 14
  • ARC of THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE
  • Fierce Reads tote
  • Fierce Reads poster
  • Some signed bookmarks
  • RUIN AND RISING and MONUMENT 14 buttons
  • SHADOW AND BONE and RUIN AND RISING nail polish
  • Other swag

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UPDATE: One more book added to the giveaway! I also have an ARC of Broken Fences, Hearts, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn! 

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One winner will be chosen at the end of the giveaway to receive everything in the picture you see here! Winner must be 13 years of age or older and have a US mailing address. Sorry, no international entires, please! Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notifying email before the prize is forfeited to the next person. 

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Fierce Reads Tour Fall 2013 (Chicago): Recap, Author Interview, and Giveaway!

FIERCE READS TOUR

Leigh Bardugo, Ann Aguirre, Jessica Brody, and Gennifer Albin
Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
November 4, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013 was a magical day for me. Macmillan asked me to be the featured blogger at the Fierce Reads tour event at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL and I literally did   a happy dance when I got the offer (and immediately accepted, of course). For my super special blogger duties, I got to sit down for an interview with all four Fierce Reads authors, live tweet the event, and I have a fantastic giveaway for you as well!

I had a blast interviewing the Fierce Reads ladies! Let’s see what they had to say!
(Portions edited for time and reading purposes and will not affect the overall outcome of the show interview.)

Brittany: We’re all here for the Fierce Reads tour so let’s kick it off by talking about what your favorite fierce reads of all time are.
Leigh Bardugo: Okay! I’ve got one. The Grounding of Group 6 by Julian F. Thompson. It is out of print but this is a book about a group of kids who are problem kids who get sent to a new private school and they go to orientation except really Group 6 is every year designated to be murdered — Their parents have sent them off to be killed. (Surprised looks on our faces) YES! It’s an amazing book and when I was a kid, I was sure this is what my parents were going to do to me.
Brittany: That’s terrible!
Leigh: It would make a great movie. They don’t all die! Some of them get their shiz together.
Jessica Brody: I’m gonna go with the obvious answer which is The Hunger Games. I thought that was AHmazing. I read that in a day and I normally take like two weeks to read books. It was the only book where when I put it down I felt like I was missing something. I was like, “Don’t do anything without me! Don’t kill anyone else until I get back!”
(Penn Gilette walks by in the background (He was at a signing for Anderson’s that night as well) and we all talk about Penn Gilette for a few minutes and how he got the spot in the main store and somehow Fierce Reads ended up in the gift shop. Sidenote: This made me majorly sad because HI. Fierce Reads. More important than Penn Gilette!)
Leigh: Fierce Read?
Gennifer Albin: I’ve forgotten every book I’ve ever read now. Penn Gilette wiped them from my mind.
Ann Aguirre: Do you mean fierce in action or fierce in…?
B: In any way you want!
Leigh: Emotionally fierce?
Ann: I think one of the books that had the most impact on me was actually Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
Genn: I always have such weird answers.
B: Weird is good!
Leigh: Weird is the new fierce! Fierce is the new weird. Fierd. Weirce?
Genn: Ummm.
Ann: Just say Harry Potter and move on!
Genn: My primary reading of all time is in the 18th century and no one will know what I’m talking about!
(We move on to question two)
B: If you were a character in one of your own books — and it does not have to be a main character AND if you feel like you should be someone else, you can even invent a new one.
Jessica: In any of our books?
B: Yes!
Jessica: Well, I would like to be Lexington Larrabee in 52 Reasons to Hate My Father
Leigh: And I would like to be your friend! Your dear, dear friend.
Jessica: Well, I would want to be her after she does all the jobs… She’s got a pretty glam life. I would just like her closet! That would be enough for me.
Leigh: I would like to be a member of Sturmhond’s crew in Siege and Storm except that I get really seasick! So instead I think I’m gonna be.. I’m gonna be a Fabrikator, maybe one in charge of delicious snacks, who lives in the grand palace and stays far away from any battles.
Jessica: You’re just the snack maker!
Ann: That’s the problem I have with all of my books! I just want to stay home. I’m like Frodo… or Bilbo. I don’t want to go out and have adventures!
Leigh:  Stay in the Shire, Ann!
Ann: I guess I’d be Mama Oaks because she doesn’t have to go out and fight and I would probably cook things instead of sew things as she does, but she is a homebody character and she takes care of people.
Genn: I don’t know… who would I want to be in my books?
Leigh: Cormac?
Jessica: Yeah, I was gonna say Cormac!
Leigh: Walk around in a tux, drinking my tea…
(Genn reveals possible spoilers!)
Jessica: I want to be the secret character from the end!
Genn: Yeah, that’s actually who I would choose too.
Ann: You can’t be that character!
Genn: Well, there’s lots of reasons why I can’t be that character… Not the least of which is that (… possible Altered spoiler?)
Leigh: It’s me, I put myself in a book!
(Laughter)
Leigh: That would be the best twist! (More laughter) If like, all of sudden your character was like, “And then Leigh Bardugo walked in!” And you just wrote yourself in, Being John Malkovich-style!
Genn: “I’ve been controlling YOU the whole time while you control the fabric of reality!”

B: Your dreams have come true and you get to live in one of your favorite books or series! What’s the book or series that you would choose and who’s the one person you’d bring with you?
Leigh: I can answer for Genn! Harry Potter!! But we don’t know who you would bring.
Jessica: She’d bring her son James because he dressed as Harry Potter! She’d bring her husband!
Genn: I’d sacrifice myself and let them go together.
Ann: Would you really!?
Jessica: That is really stupid! (Laughter)
Leigh: Well I would have to say it would have been Harry Potter but I’m gonna go with Howl’s Moving Castle. As for who I’d bring with me…. I’d bring my friend Morgan. She’s very charming! She could charm everybody there. She’d be the master of charm and I’d just follow in her wake.
Ann: I would like to go into the Stat Trek universe.
Leigh: Which one?
Ann: The Reboot. The alternate universe they’re doing with Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine.
Leigh: I’ve changed my mind. Can I bring Henry Cavill? I would like to bring him.
B: Of course!
Ann: AND, I would like to bring MacGuyver.
B: Oh, there you go!
Leigh: (Laughing) You’ll end up with just the actor! You’ll end up with Richard Dean Anderson and he’ll be like, “I don’t know how to do anything! Stop handing me paperclips!”
Ann: I want MacGuyer, NOT Richard Dean Anderson. So any problem we have in the Star Trek universe he can fix with a roll of duct tape… and a pancake.
Jessica: I’m gonna go with the shallow answer and say The Uglies series so I can make myself pretty!
Leigh: Don’t they like, mess with your head!?
Jessica: Yes, I will be a bubblehead! But I will be very pretty and drink champagne every day!
Leigh: You can do that now! Who would you take with you?
Jessica: Oh! I would take… my sister.
Ann: Because she’s really homely.
(Laughter)
Jessica: No, because she really, really loves that series and I thought she might like it.

B: Lots of people like to know your favorite literary crush but I want to know your favorite literary villains.
Ann: (Answers right away) Snape!
Leigh: But he’s not a villain!
Jessica: He kind of is.
Genn: He has his moments! He’s an antagonist.
Ann: I’m not gonna lie… If I was at Hogwarts, I would be the teacher’s pet.
Leigh: You’re from Hufflepuff — he never would have given you a second look!
(Everyone “aw”s)
Leigh: You can come to the Slythern common room with me.
Ann: I would just follow him and stare at him with big eyes.
Leigh: Does it have to be literary?
B: You can venture out of literary.
Leigh: Because I’m gonna have to go with Jareth, the Goblin King from the Labyrinth.
B: Ooooooh.
Ann: If we’re doing movies, I’m gonna add Riddick!
Leigh: And I’m also going to add Flagg from Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon — not so much in The Stand. Flagg keep showing up in his work. But yeah, both of those were big influences on the characters in the Grisha trilogy. (Brittany sidenote: I’m now picturing the The Darkling as Jareth.)
Genn: I almost always root for the villains. Is that bad?
B: Not at all! One of my best friends loves the villains.
Jessica: I’m gonna be a kiss-ass and say Cormac Patton!
(Laughter)
Jessica: He’s a great villain! Oh! And President Snow.
Leigh: He’s a really good villain.
Jessica: He smells like blood and roses.
Leigh: (in a creepy voice) He drinks blood!
Jessica: They should release a perfume line.
Leigh: You know, don’t put it past them!
Ann: Scratch and sniff!
Leigh: Like, you scratch Donald Sutherland’s beard and it smells like blood and roses!
Genn: You know who is one of the most delicious villains because I actually HATE them? I hate them with every fiber of my being like my skin crawls and that makes them such a beautiful villain to me is Dolores Umbridge.
All: OOOOOOH
Genn: She’s the villain of bureaucracy!
Leigh: She’s probably the most evil character of the whole series! And she’s so plausible. We’ve all encountered somebody like her.
Genn: She’s SO well-written. She gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Ann: Is it, “The odds are ever in your favor” lady?
Genn: Nooo, she’s the one who wears the pink wool suit in Harry Potter… “I will not tell lies”…
Ann: OHHHH oh oh oh. And she takes over everything, right?
Jessica: With all the kitty plates!
Leigh: Remember that teacher I had that told me I would never amount to anything? She was my Umbridge and her office was decorated all with Scottie dogs and when I read that character, the hair rose on my arms.
Ann: I think we’ve all had some permutation.
Leigh: That’s why she’s so terrifying. Voldemort it’s like, “You’ve got no nose! Saw you coming! Kinda knew you were band news!”
B: That’s what’s so terrible. Because everything’s under a mask of niceness!
Jessica: Kitties!
Genn: I think she thinks she’s doing right and that she’s making the best decisions. I think that’s what makes a good villain a good villain.
Leigh: I would actually love to read her backstory. Like what makes a Dolores Umbridge a Dolores Umbridge.

B: Do you have any quirky reading and/or writing habits?
Ann: I am a gluttonous reader… I have to be really careful about starting a book after midnight. Even if it’s terrible, I will most like read it until it’s done and even if that takes me all night long and I’ve got no sleep and it’s time to get up in the morning and then make breakfast, I’m like “I regret everything about the decision making I’ve done for the last eight hours…” So I have to be reasonable about my start times otherwise I will get no sleep.
Genn: I do the same, but I regret nothing!
Leigh: My weird reading habit is I will never stop reading on the fourth page, or the twenty-fourth page or any page number that ends in a four.
Jessica: That is very strange!
Genn: If you want Leigh Bardugo to read your book paginated —
Leigh: I’ll never be able to stop!
B: What if it’s the last page of the chapter?
Leigh: I will go on to the next chapter.
Jessica: Where does that come from?
Leigh: Ever since I was a kid, I had a hang up with the number four. It’s not like to the extent where it’s real OCD but I’m aware of it all the time. And even if I write an email, I have to make myself — if there are four things in a list, I’m like, “I need a fifth!” or like “Number Five, because I don’t like four things in a list!” It’s pretty common actually! Number obsessions. And I didn’t know that until I was listening to this radio show one night and he was like, “I have a problem with odd numbers,” and I was like, “I have a problem with even numbers!”
Jessica:I guess my weirdest thing is that I’m obsessed with Audible audiobooks and I listen to them all at two times speed. And everyone thinks that really weird AND the misconception about two times speed is that everyone thinks it sounds like a chipmunk but they don’t actually speed up the voice — they just take out the gaps between the words so it really is just someone reading it faster.
Leigh: I wonder if the books seem more exciting because of that!
Jessica: I think they do! And anyone who gets in my car and there’s an audiobook playing, their head spins, like “What are you listening to!? I’m going to have an aneurysm!”

B: November is National Novel Writing Month! Are you working on any new projects for NaNo or  in general?
Jessica: I’m just trying to finish the third book in my trilogy so that’s my NaNo… My every day, really!
Ann: I cleared my desk before I left for tour so I got notes two days before we left from my editor and I was like, “We’re going on the road! I hope you don’t expect these revisions back any time soon!” So that’s what I’m going to be doing November is revising, before I can write new words.
Leigh: I don’t really do NaNo in the sense that I don’t post my word count and I try to avoid other people’s word counts, but I do like to use it to get things done and I knew I wasn’t going to write while I was on tour so before tour, I cranked out almost 30,000 words and I”m hoping to jump back in when I get home. We’ll see. I usually need some decompression time when I just lie around watching all the old episodes of Project Runway!
Genn: Now for me is like the holiday season? It’s like the whole year just starts over for me. It starts with NaNo and then your whole writing year starts over that’s just how it is for me BECAUSE my first book was written during NaNo. So I’m really, really eager to get home to and actually do something towards it because I kept telling myself I would write on the road… It’s really, really hard to write on tour because you’re like “Well, I’ll do it tonight because there’ll be time after the event” and then you just sit in bed and you’re like, “My brain is made of jello!” But I will be doing NaNo… We have the Night of Writing Dangerously so I do have to write something before that because I can’t walk in like, “Listen to me give you advice! I’m going to give you a speech but I haven’t written a damn word in November!” Do as I say, not as I do!

That interview was an absolute blast. Everyone was so much fun and they had really creative answers! Sorry I had such difficult questions! Another MANY MANY thanks to Leigh Bardugo, Ann Aguirre, Jessica Brody, and Gennifer Albin! They were absolutely fantastic and I had such a blast!

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Ann Aguirre, Gennifer Albin, Leigh Barugo, me, and Jessica Brody (sorry my iPhone takes truly terrible pictures. Time for an upgrade!)

Okay, okay, I know you want to get to the giveaway. It’s pretty EPIC if I do say so myself. Firstly, a huge thanks to Macmillan for providing all of the books for this giveaway! I got to take a whole stack of literally ALL of the featured Fierce Reads series that are currently available (and some that are not!) and get them signed by the authors. Here’s what we have to offer:

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UNFORGOTTEN by Jessica Brody  (Unreleased ARC!)
UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody (Hardcover)
CREWEL by Gennifer Albin (Paperback)
ALTERED by Gennifer Albin (Hardcover)
ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre (Paperback)
OUTPOST by Ann Aguirre (Paperback)
HORDE by Ann Aguirre (Hardcover)
SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo (Paperback)
SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo (Hardcover)

The winner will receive ALL NINE BOOKS. That’s right. ALL NINE. ALL SIGNED. How exciting is that!?! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below! Winners must be 13 years of age or older and the shipping address must be US or Canada only. Sorry, International!

Runners up will receive some various Fierce Reads swag! You could win a Fierce Reads tote bag, Fierce Reads posters, and swag from the books! If you want to win some swag, just let me know when you fill out your Rafflecopter entry!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway