Tag Archives: Author Interview

Exclusive Interview with Marissa Meyer on the Archenemies Tour!

ARCHENEMIES TOUR

Marissa Meyer at North Central College/Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL

I always go see Marissa Meyer when she’s in town and I was so excited to be able to see her again in Naperville, this time for the ARCHENEMIES book tour! The amazing folks at Macmilan/Fierce Reads asked me if I wanted to interview Marissa before the event and of course I said yes! I sat down with Marissa to ask her a few questions about the Renegades series, super powers, and of course, Harry Potter sorting.

(Portions edited for time and flow, only affecting ease of reading and not the actual interview or answers.)

Brittany: We’re celebrating the release of ARCHENEMIES, which is the second book in the Renegades trilogy. The series was initially planned to be a two-book series. Did you always feel like it should have been a trilogy, or did that develop as you were writing the series?
Marissa Meyer: Originally, it did sell as a trilogy so for many, many drafts of RENEGADES. I wrote it attempting to make it a trilogy, but I had thought that the central idea of this hero and villain character falling in love wasn’t itself enough to carry it through three whole books. My plan had been to focus on other characters for the first two books and then Adrian and Nova were going to be the central characters of the third and final book… and it just didn’t work and it wasn’t working and it wasn’t working and after years and years of kind of pulling my hair out, we decided, you know what? Let’s just focus on Nova’s and Adrian’s story and make it a standalone! So RENEGADES became a standalone. I started writing it and finally it started to come together. Finally, I was able to focus on this story between Nova and Adrian, which is what I really wanted to be writing the whole time! So I’m writing it and it kept getting longer and longer and longer, and at some point I realized, hey! I think this could actually be two books. I told my editor and she was thrilled. So we made it two books and I finished RENEGADES. That was done and I started working on ARCHENEMIES, and it kept getting longer and longer and longer… And, at some point it became clear that it was actually three books! And so now it’s a trilogy and working on book three, and I’m preeetty sure we’re done at three. I’m pretty sure.
Brittany: That’s interesting! I like that, though! It’s like you never know where it’s going to take you.
Marissa: Yeah, this book has had a lot of surprises!

Brittany: That was actually one of my other questions! Was there any character scene that really surprised you as you were writing these books and brought you to places you didn’t expect? So I guess we kind of already answer that in part!
Marissa: Yeah. There are tons of things that surprised me! Hmm, what are some specific examples…
Brittany: Were there any characters that ended up getting more page time that you didn’t think were going to be such a big part of the book?
Marissa: No, if anything, there are characters that ended up getting less face time than I expected that they would initially, but it kind of fluctuates. There are characters who you didn’t see a whole lot of in book one, but then they come up more in book two. There’s a character who was supposed to play a huge role in book two and then it ended up not working at all. So now we’re going to see them in book three and that kind of whole [concept] got moved to book three. Then there’s, you know, ideas for scenes that you think will work and end up not working, or you’re writing along and suddenly character says something that completely surprises you and you have to go with it. I mean, there’s always things in writing that come up and change.

Brittany: I really love a well-rounded villain, and I love how often we get to see the inner-workings behind the villains in your books! We got to see Levana’s sort of origin story in FAIREST, the Queen of Hearts and her beginning in HEARTLESS, and now we have so much insight to the Anarchists with Nova being a main character in the Renegades trilogy! Are these types of characters more difficult to write because of their many layers? Or does that actually help you with so much to build off of?
Marissa: It depends! I mean, some of my hero characters are more difficult to write than others, and some of the villain characters difficult are more difficult to write than others, so it doesn’t seem to necessarily be one or the other. But certainly in writing the villains, I’m always trying to make sure that I really understand where they’re coming from. Whether it’s something in their past that has driven them to be a certain way, or something that they’re trying to accomplish that’s motivating them, I want readers to may say, “You know, well, I don’t agree with what they’re doing — they’re really making bad choices — but I can kind of understand why, or I can empathize with them on some level.” So as the writer, of course, I’m always trying to find ways to empathize with them and connect with them in the hopes that we’ll come across to the the readers.
Brittany: I think that’s really interesting with all of the Anarchists who kind of have different levels — there are some people who are so far gone and then Nova, especially being a main character —  you get to see how she interacts with the heroes. And I just think that’s really neat how you get to see all of that, all in one book.
Marissa: Well, thank you! I love writing the villains.

Brittany: Were there any specific sources of inspiration for some of these unique superpowers? Like Ruby’s? Or Honey & Danna with their insect connection?
Marissa: For the most part, [I go with it] if i get an idea that I think seems really cool. Most of the superpowers, I got the idea for them and thought they would just be cool ideas to write about, or were a very visual superpower. I like to write my books to have a very kind of cinematographic quality to them and so something that[, the visual superpowers,] I just thought it would be really neat to play with in different battle sequences and whatnot, so I’m always drawn to powers like that. Alternatively, if there’s something that I think I would really like to have, like that’s a superpower that I would love, then those tend to take top billing too.
Brittany: Were there any of the book that you were ones that you really wanted to have?
Marissa: Nova’s… I would love to never have to sleep! I do also like Adrian’s, too. I do not have any really artistic skill and I’ve always envied people who could drive and paint. You know, it’s sort of symbolic that there are people who could draw something, and it feels like it comes to life on the page. Adrian can actually make things come to life and I just think that’s so cool!

Brittany: The Renegades trilogy is your first release that didn’t have fairy tale inspiration. Was the writing process a lot different without having to go back to a specific source like that? Or did it have any different inspirations?
Marissa: So different, it was so different! I mean, when you’re doing a fairy tale retelling or origin story, like with HEARTLESS, you have a built-in framework already. You know, if I’m doing Cinderella — we know there’s going to be a stepmother. We know there’s going to be a ball. We know there’s to be some sort of shoe that gets lost — like there are things that you know are going to happen, and then you can kind of build the story off of that. But with Renegades being completely original, I had influences — plenty of influences — but nevertheless, I had complete freedom to do anything that I wanted with the story. At first I thought that was going to be great and so easy and fun! And it turned out to be the opposite… I had so many ideas and so many different directions that I thought about taking the story. I tried so many things and really got very lost many, many times and saying, “What could I do with this story? There’s so many options!” and lost focus with it again and again until I finally was able to figure out okay, what is this story that i’m trying to tell?
Brittany: Do you think there would be any like spin-offs or little novellas for the things that did have to get pushed aside?
Marissa: I don’t know! There are a couple of characters that ended up getting cut that I thought had potential for their own works… probably not in the Renegades world — probably a completely different universe’s story world — but I just like some of the ideas that came along with them and I think I could definitely recycle them into something new at some point. As far as, spin-off stories… I have felt like there’s definitely potential to do something from the Age of Anarchy. There’s certainly lots of cool stories that could be pulled from that time period! I don’t know that I will, but it’s something that I have thought about, so we’ll see.

Brittany: There are so many excellent character connections in this series, from family to friendship to romance to teammate. Do you have a favorite character relationship in the Renegades trilogy?
Marissa: Well, I always love the romance story lives obviously! Adrian and Nova, but I also Adrian’s dads, Simon and Hugh — I love every scene where we see them! I think they’re so charming. So in all of my books, everything I’ve ever written before, none of my characters ever have good families! Like, they’re always neglected, and abused — these poor characters of mine! And Adrian was really the first protagonist that I have where he comes from a healthy, loving family, and that is so refreshing to be able to write! I always enjoy those scenes.

Brittany: If you could get yourself a tattoo like Adrian does, which power would you give to yourself first?
Marissa: That’s really good question! I haven’t been asked that before…  I’m trying to think if there’s a tattoo that would let me fly…
Brittany: Wings on your feet?
Marissa: I’m going to have to think about that one!
Brittany: It’s a tough question! I couldn’t think of one for myself…
Marissa: Yeah, because all of his are very centric on like fighting! Even like the jumping thing — having tattoos on the soles of your feet sounds painful… so I’m not sure!

Brittany: If characters from your other books had superhero names and powers, what do you think they would be?
Marissa: So, the first that comes to mind for Cinder would be The Mechanic! She somehow be able to magically fix things… which she sort of already has that superpower! I could totally see Scarlet having fire power and being… the Scarlet Witch,  but that that already exists — there’s Scarlet Witch in Marvel! Hmm, like the Scarlet Flame or something! Wolf would probably [something like a shapeshifter]… There’s another word I was going for, but that works, so he can turn into a wolf!

Brittany: If we were to sort the Renegades characters into Hogwarts Houses, would all of the Anarchist be Slytherins, or will there be a good mix or balance in there?
Marissa: Good question! I almost feel like Nova might be more Ravenclaw than Slytherin…  She might even pass for Gryffindor. Honey would definitely be Slytherin. The Puppeteer, he would be Slytherin. Leroy… He could be Ravenclaw too. But maybe Slytherin. Who am I forgetting ? Phobia! We forgot Phobia!
Brittany: That’s a good question! Are we going to get to know more about Phobia? I’m very excited for that! I just feel like we’re being led up to that.
Marissa: He’s an example of someone who I thought was going to play a much bigger role in the first two books and then ended up not really coming to fruition, but he just become more central in book three.
Brittany: I’m loving the lead up, though. Like, you know that you’re going to get more information and that’s really exciting!

Brittany: I know you love writing romances and I love how naturally they develop. It’s not quick into romance, like you can feel that tension and everything leading up with Nova and Adrian. Is it hard not to just jump right into the kissing scenes?
Marissa: So hard!! All I ever want is for my characters to start kissing! In my very first draft that I ever wrote of CINDER, her and Kai were kissing on like, page 30. Like, let’s do this!! But yeah, I mean, i’m always looking forward to that part. But also as a reader, if the romance develops too fast and they’re kissing too soon, then I lose interest. Like no, no, no, I want the struggle and the tension and suspense, and I really like it to last as long as possible!

I had SUCH a great time interviewing Marissa and another big thank you to her for giving us this scoop and insight on the Renegades trilogy!

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Paul Krueger

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

Book and a Beverage was a featuring originally designed to spotlight book bloggers but I’m thrilled to extend the feature to interview authors and highlight their works as well! This is a special Author Edition of Book and a Beverage. 

Today I have author Paul Krueger on a special author edition of Book and a Beverage! I’m in the middle of his book, LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE, right now and it’s so much fun! Mixology meets magic is tickling my fancy and the characters are just great. Check out Paul’s Book and a Beverage guest post below and give him a warm welcome!

Give a big welcome to author PAUL KRUEGER!

author

Name: Paul Krueger
You know him best as the author of… LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE (6/7/16)Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

AMAZON | GOODREADS

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READING

What are you reading? Right now, I’m catching up on the comic series Monstress, by Sana Takeda and Marjorie Liu.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? Oh man, where to begin? How about the fact that Liu and Takeda have made the best Asia-inspired fantasy world since Avatar: The Last Airbender? Or that the book demolishes the “male as default” trope, and you can go an entire issue without seeing a single male character? Or that it’s got the best talking cat since Garth Nix’s Mogget? Or that Liu’s words and Takeda’s art are both independently gorgeous and complement each other perfectly? Yeah, I absolutely recommend Monstress
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine Complex, which is a superhero novel set to come out next month and set the world on fire when it does. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, because we should still be fostering an appreciation for the classics. And I’ll say Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which I read months ago and still catch myself thinking about.

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? Not much yet, I’m afraid; I’m still discovering it myself as I write.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? Pantser, through and through. When I have an outline to work off of, I just get bored. I need the flexibility to surprise myself. That’ll often slow me down when I’m writing, but it seems to be the only way I can finish a book.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? Nah. I’m like my cat: I can find comfort in almost any old spot. But I’ll say this: I’m never more productive than when I’m on an airplane.

3What are you drinking? Tonight: a glass of neat bourbon, in honor of National Bourbon Day. It’s one of those fake holidays I can get behind.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? Black coffee, preferably by the bucket. I tried to be writerly once and drink whiskey while I wrote, but all I ended up doing was just drinking whiskey and staring at my laptop.

thoughtprovokingWhich character from a book would you say you’re most like? I identify pretty closely with Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide. Like him, I often find myself the least interesting person in a room full of very interesting people, bewildered and just trying to keep up. And also like him, I’ve never quite gotten the hang of Thursdays.
Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? I don’t have any specific ones myself, but my cat has unilaterally decided that I write better with her sitting in my lap, and takes it upon herself to carry out that ritual at every opportunity.


 A thank you to Paul Krueger for this fun get-to-know-you Book and a Beverage post! His debut full-length novel, LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE, is out from Quirk books now so don’t miss it! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Krueger is, down to the very bottom of his black little heart, a city rat. Raised in and around Chicago, he got his learning on in New York before scuttling off to Los Angeles, where Krueger Paul 2_Credit Canaan Tripletthe lives now.

His short fiction has appeared in the anthologies SWORD & LASER and NOIR RIOT. His debut novel, LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE, is due out in June of 2016 from Quirk Books. It’s about a secret society of bartenders who fight demons with alcohol-magic, and yes, it’s very much autobiographical.*

His non-writing hobbies include cooking, playing ukulele, Pathfinder, and boring strangers with long, involved stories about his cat. He’s also a musician, singing lead for the Adventure Time-themed punk band Lemonbadd.

If found, Paul should be returned to Ms. Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary, who is very patient with him.

*for a very loose/nonexistent value of “autobiographical”

bio from Paul Krueger’s website

 

Connect With Paul
Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Becky Wallace

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

Book and a Beverage was a featuring originally designed to spotlight book bloggers but I’m thrilled to extend the feature to interview authors and highlight their works as well! This is a special Author Edition of Book and a Beverage. 

I am SO thrilled to have Becky Wallace on the Book and a Beverage feature today! If you don’t know her debut, THE STORYSPINNER, then get thee to a bookstore or a website where they sell this book ASAP because it was one of my favorites of 2015 and I am so incredibly excited for its sequel THE SKYLIGHTER that comes out in March 2016! I hope you enjoy getting to know a bit more about Becky Wallace and her books today on the feature — and don’t miss the giveaway for THE STORYSPINNER at the end of the post!

Give a big welcome to author BECKY WALLACE!

author

Name: Becky Wallace
You know her best as the author of… THE STORYSPINNER (3/3/15), THE SKYLIGHTER (3/22/16)

The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles, #1)          The Skylighter (The Keepers' Chronicles, #2)

THE STORYSPINNER: Amazon // Goodreads
THE SKYLIGHTER: Amazon // Goodreads

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READING

What are you reading? I just borrowed a HUGE stack of books from a friend, and the book on top is Truthwitch.  So I think I’ll dive into that first. I can’t wait! I’ve heard a lot of good things 20150930_145030about it.  Other than that, I just finished re-reading Rae Carson’s The Bitter Kingdom series. It had been a long time since I’d read all the books, and I really wanted to jump back into Elisa’s world.
What’s important that we should know about this book?
Two things: First, the world building is fantastic. From the varied landscapes, to the different personalities of the cities, to the type of food, it’s all brilliantly realized.  And second,The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3) HECTOR. If I say anything else, it will be spoilery.  I don’t want to spoil Hector for anyone.  Would you recommend it? For fantasy lovers, most definitely!
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Hmmm…it really depends on who is asking. For fantasy lovers who want a strong romance, I always suggest The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson and Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.  For readers who want a thrilling ride, I’d say Tracked by Jenny Martin and Nil by Lynne Matson.  And for contemporary folks, I always, always suggest Stephanie Perkins’s, Anna and the French Kiss.

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? It’s very different from anything I’ve written before, while still being fantasy. The main character is not a particularly nice person….but I love her!  She’s a little manipulative, crafty, flirtatious, and smart. She has a tendency to do awful things for completely logical reasons. Her love interest is her perfect foil. He’s patient, kind, and thoughtful. He’s passionate about solving a family mystery, and the main character is standing in his way. I love it. I just hope the rest of the world will too!
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I’m an uncomfortable hybrid. I tend to write the stuff that pops into my head, but my agent and editors need to see outlines and proposal. So I do a bit of both!
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? Honestly, I love to write in my kitchen, but it’s been invaded by a baby monkey (or my two-year-old daughter), who climbs on the counter and pounds on my laptop. Sadly I’ve been relegated to using the office I share with my husband.  My view is not fabulous. I get to stare at the back of his monitor.  

3What are you drinking? A dirty Diet Coke (Diet Coke with coconut syrup). It’s fabulous and
refreshing, and the only way I can stand Diet Soda. When it’s empty there’s all that delicious ice to chomp on. Bonus!

What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? When I can’t get to Sonic, which is far too often, I really like drinking water with an obscene amount of lemon slices or Mt. Dew Kickstart.

thoughtprovokingIf you could co-author a book with someone (anyone!), who would it be? Nicole Castroman (author of Blackhearts out February 9, 2016!) is one of my best friends and critique partners. We’ve been bouncing some ideas around about coauthoring, but we’re always stuck between deadlines and life. Someday a Light Fantasy (Historical Fantasy, if that’s a thing??) based loosely on the German Feudal system will make its way onto the page.
Which character from a book would you say you’re most like? Growing up, I was 100 percent Hermione. Super student, super bossy, super bad hair?? Yes. That was me. Maybe still is. Sigh.
If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be? Of my own characters?  It would, without question, be Dom. I could write a whole book of that slightly naughty, work avoiding, guilt-ridden character. He is so much fun!
What type of scene is your favorite to write? Kissing scenes! I could write kissing scenes all day long. Sometimes when I get stuck in a story, I fast forward to the next kissing scene and write that to get my brain functioning.  I have sooooo many make out scenes that will never see that light of day. Sad face.  


 A huge, huge thank you to Becky Wallace for being on Book and a Beverage today! I’m so thrilled and honored!
Pretty much a big fat YES to all of your recommendations (and those that I haven’t read are going on my TBR because I’ve loved every other one!) and that dirty diet Coke sounds delicious!!
And of course, I am all for more stories about Dom. Love him. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Becky Wallace
is the author of THE STORYSPINNER and its sequel, THE SKYLIGHTER (available March 22, 2016from Simon & Schuster). She lives in a happy little village in Texas with her own real-life Prince Charming and their four munchkins.

View More: http://ampersandphoto.pass.us/becky-headshots

Connect With Becky
| Twitter | Goodreads | FacebookPinterest | Instagram |


GIVEAWAY

Would you like to win a copy of THE STORYSPINNER by Becky Wallace? (The answer is yes, YOU DO!) Just enter the Rafflecopter form below to enter! Becky is generously giving a book away to one lucky winner! US residents only, please. Must be 13 years of age or older to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Cara Bertrand

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

Book and a Beverage was a featuring originally designed to spotlight book bloggers but I’m thrilled to extend the feature to interview authors and highlight their works as well! This is a special Author Edition of Book and a Beverage. 

Give a big welcome to author CARA BERTRAND!

author

Name: Cara Bertrand
You know her best as the author of… LOST IN THOUGHT (4/15/14), AFTERTHOUGHT (5/27/14), SECOND THOUGHT (10/1/14)

Lost in Thought (The Sententia, #1)     Afterthought with Bonus Content (The Sententia, #1.5)    Second Thoughts (The Sententia, #2)

LOST IN THOUGHT: Amazon // Goodreads
AFTERTHOUGHT: Amazon // Goodreads
SECOND THOUGHTS: Amazon // Goodreads

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READING

What are you reading? To maximize my reading time, I’m almost always reading three books in three formats. Right now I’ve got The Book of Speculation in print, Conversion on Kindle, and Princess of Thorns on audio.

What’s important that we should know about this book?
Would you recommend it?
Princess of Thorns is a Sleeping Beauty retelling with a strong heroine and a tortured hero (my favorite kinds). The audio is well-done and compelling enough to hold my attention while I walk or do chores, which is always my challenge with audio books. Conversion I just finished today—bertrand- BandaBthis book is a great example of voice and, since it’s a sort of dual narrative, there are two of them to enjoy. It’s a fictionalized account of a modern occurrence paralleling an historical one, which I was most surprised to learn at the end was inspired by a real event that happened in 2012. The book is set on the North Shore of MA, a place very familiar to me and richly drawn in the story, but the actual 2012 incident happened just a few towns over from where my family lives in Western NY. I loved this one and zoomed through the last half. An important thing to know is that the cover—while intriguing and definitely related to the book (which you’ll understand if you read far enough)—doesn’t quite…fit the feel of it, in my opinion. Don’t judge, or misjudge!, it by the cover, is I guess what I’m saying. The Book of Speculation just came in (I was hold #80-something at the library!), so I’ve only read about two chapters. It’s got a unique voice and a compelling opening, so I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes!
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Wow, what a tough question! Recommendations are so dependent on the person and what they’re looking for, but three books I love enduringly and unerringly: Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races, and Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night.

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? Well, it’s the final book (#4) in the Sententia series, so I can’t tell you much! 🙂 I’m also finishing up a series novella to be released this fall, that takes place during the summer between Second Thoughts and Book 3 (coming Spring 2016). In the novella, Lainey and Amy have a crazy “Yes Day” that’s a sort of spontaneous local road trip. A lot happens—including a trip to a cemetery, and dancing, and kissing. And Carter.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? Panster, for the most part. Sometimes I call myself a “pointer” but that sounds rather canine. I typically have in mind a beginning, an ending, and a few points along the way, and I pants my way between them. I’ve tried to become a plotter, Lord have I tried, but I just can’t seem to make it work with my brain. Kind of like when I’m painting a room—I know that the actual painting would go faster if I did more prep, like taping the edges and putting down drop cloths, but I prefer to just get to work and take my time.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? My favorite place to write is in a cabana on the beach in Mexico, but that only happens ~once a year if I’m lucky. Other than that, I write all over the place. In the early mornings, I write in my office. Afternoons, I write at my FitDesk. Evenings on my couch, usually with a dog’s head in my lap. A lot, maybe most, of Second Thoughts was completed at my local coffee shop, and a good portion of Sententia 3 was written sitting in the back of my boat!

3

What are you drinking? Well. Most everyone seems to be drinking coffee, or tea, or water—and I drink a lot of those things—but I’m doing this at night, after my daughter has gone to bed, so honestly, I’m having a glass of wine. Tonight is a Rioja.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? Coffee or water while writing. Tea or wine while reading!

thoughtprovoking
If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be? If I were to write a Sententia spin off—and I’m definitely not saying I’m going to!—it would feature Alexis Morrow and a character from Sententia 3 and be called Charmer. But I’ve only thought about that far.
What type of scene is your favorite to write? I mean, honestly, it’s kissing scenes. Who doesn’t like those? 🙂 I write completely out of order, and in almost every book I’ve written/started, the progression goes something like this: write the beginning/inciting incident, write the ending/climax, write a kissing scene. Or two.


 Thank you so much to Cara Bertrand for taking part in Book and a Beverage today!
One thousand percent YES to your Scorpio Races recommendation (I listen to the audio every year now!) and you are a woman after my own heart with your reading formats!! I’ve always got a physical book and audiobook going, usually with a Kindle book in between! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cara Bertrand-authorCara is a former middle school literacy teacher who now lives in the woods outside Boston with: one awesome husband, two large dogs, one small daughter, and lots of words. Her first novel, Lost in Thought, was one of three finalists for the 2011 Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award in the Young Adult category.

Connect With Cara
| Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Website |

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Jen McConnel

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

Book and a Beverage was a featuring originally designed to spotlight book bloggers but I’m thrilled to extend the feature to interview authors and highlight their works as well! This is a special Author Edition of Book and a Beverage. 

Give a big welcome to author JEN MCCONNEL!

author

Name: Jen McConnel
You know her best as the author of… DAUGHTER OF CHAOS (3/25/14), GODS OF CHAOS (3/31/15), TRIUMPH OF CHAOS (3/2016)

Daughter of Chaos (Red Magic, #1)    Gods of Chaos (Red Magic #2)   Triumph of Chaos (Red Magic, #3)

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS: Amazon // Goodreads
GODS OF CHAOS: Amazon // Goodreads
TRIUMPH OF CHAOS: Amazon // Goodreads

Also by Jen McConnel:

The Secret of Isobel Key  Her Secret Inheritance

What Happens in London (Adventures Abroad)  What Happens in Paris  What Happens in Berlin (Adventures Abroad)  What Happens Abroad

2

READING

What are you reading? Right now, I’m enjoying Katie Bolick’s book, SPINSTER.
book and beverageWhat’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? It’s part memoir, part literary biography of some awesome writing women, and I’m really enjoying it. I don’t usually read nonfiction, but I’m glad I picked up this book. I’d absolutely recommend this to anyone interested in feminism, writing, and literary biography.
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? There are so many books I absolutely adore, it’s hard to narrow it down to just three recommendations, but I’ll try. The Violet Eden Chronicles by Jessica Shirvington, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. (I lean toward fantasy, if you couldn’t already tell!)

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What are you drinking? I mostly quit coffee when I had my little one, but every now and then, I want a treat, so today I cracked open my “emergency stash” (AKA an iced Starbucks coffee).
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? Coffee or tea, preferably iced. I tend to lose track of the real world when I’m writing (and reading, come to think of it), and there’s nothing worse than taking a sip of lukewarm tea to pull me right out of my head and back into reality in an unpleasant way.

thoughtprovoking

If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be? I love this question, because it’s something I’m actually considering. I’d love to explore things from Justin’s POV (Darlena’s sort of ex in the Red Magic series). Once the trilogy is done, I might see what he has to say!
Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? Writing IS my ritual! When I’m drafting, I don’t feel human until I’ve written my minimum of two thousand words a day, but before I sit down to write, I usually load the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen. I mostly work at the dining table now, and having a messy kitchen behind me makes it hard to concentrate. (Although I have to be careful not to get carried away, like I did yesterday: I cleaned the bathroom, too!)


 Thank you so much to Jen McConnel for taking part in Book and a Beverage today! I absolutely MUST know more about her Red Magic series now! What do you guys think?? It sounds great!
LOVE the book recommendations. Always Sarah J. Maas and Neil Gaiman! I need to look into Jessica Shirvington too! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A Michigander by birth, Jen McConnel now makes her home in the beautiful state of North
Jen McConnel-0034Carolina. She writes NA, including the recently released Adventures Abroad series (Bloomsbury Spark), the award winning YA novel Beautiful Curse (Swoon Romance), and various other works. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on her yoga mat or wandering off on another adventure. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time. Visit www.JenMcConnel.com to learn more!

Connect With Jen
| Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Facebook | Blog | Website |


GIVEAWAY

Would you like to win a giveaway of Jen McConnel’s DAUGHTER OF CHAOS? Enter the Rafflecopter entry form below for your chance to win! (Thank you to Jen McConnel for providing this giveaway!)

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Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Rachel Shane

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

Book and a Beverage was a featuring originally designed to spotlight book bloggers but I’m thrilled to extend the feature to interview authors and highlight their works as well! This is a special Author Edition of Book and a Beverage. 

Give a big welcome to author RACHEL SHANE!

author

Name: Rachel Shane
You know her best as the author of… ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH (4/18/15), KASEY SCREWS UP THE WORLD (9/8/15), PREMATURE EVACUATION (9/29/15)

  Alice in Wonderland High    Kasey Screws Up The World    Premature Evacuation

ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH: Amazon // Goodreads
KASEY SCREWS UP THE WORLD: Amazon // Goodreads
PREMATURE EVACUATION: Amazon // Goodreads

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READING

What are you reading? I am reading and adoring THE NIGHT WE SAID YES by Lauren Gibaldi.
RachelShane_drinkWhat’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? I’m a huge fan of dual timeline narratives and I love how this one follows the same characters throughout a pivotal night in their lives and then again a year later as they recreate it. I would definitely recommend it!
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? The top 3 books I find myself recommending are ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins for the swoony love story, THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER which is my favorite of Sarah Dessen’s, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater because…Ronan.

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? My current work in progress, in very vague terms, is a contemporary YA in which a girl teams up with her enemy—the guy who got her expelled from school–in order to solve a mystery. There’s lots of witty banter, criminal activities, and a really epic kiss or two. That’s all I’m allowed to share at the moment!
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I am a huge plotter. I’m a Project Manager in my day job, so organization and careful planning is very important to me. My outlines are long and super detailed and if I start to stray from them while writing, I stop and re-outline to get back on track.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I do most of my writing on my train commute into NYC. I wouldn’t say it’s a favorite spot, it can get kind of… awkward when I’m revising a sex scene for my NA series while sitting next to a stranger. Otherwise I usually just end up writing in my bed.

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What are you drinking? I’m boring. Water!
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? On my morning commute I always get a medium-sized Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with Chips Ahoy flavor and cream. YUM.

thoughtprovokingIf you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be? The antagonist in ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH would be super fun to write a book about. I’ve heard from a lot of readers that he was their favorite part of the book. His voice would certainly be a challenge to tackle in narrative form—he’s based on the Mad Hatter from the original so he says some crazy things—but I’d love to explore his story more if I ever got the chance.
What type of scene is your favorite to write? My initial gut instinct to this question was KISSING! But that’s not exactly true. What I really love is writing witty sparing banter between a protagonist and love interest who totally hate each other but will clearly fall in love over the course of the novel.
Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? Not writing rituals or superstitions per se but I do seem to have a habit of naming characters after future relatives. I named my daughter Quinn and there’s a villain named Quinn in ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH. The book came first but I liked the name so much that I still used it. Then my sister named her son Casey several years after I wrote the first draft of KASEY SCREWS UP THE WORLD. Can’t wait to see who names a child after my current WIP!


 

 Thank you so much to Rachel Shane for the interview today! I LOVE your book recs! YES for ANNA! Yes for The Raven Cycle! (Ronan!) Your WIP sounds amazing too! Teaming up with the enemy + witty banter = calling my name!

There’s also a giveaway open on Goodreads for a copy of KASEY SCREWS UP THE WORLD so go forth and enter!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

rachel_shane-Alice_in_wonderland_highRachel Shane is the author of YA books ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH and KASEY SCREWS UP THE WORLD plus the New Adult Romance series that begins with PREMATURE EVACUATION (out Sept 29th). She’s been a computer animator, an ebook creator for a publisher, and now she works as a Project Manager for a software company where she enjoys telling people what to do. She lives in NJ with her husband, young daughter, and a basement full of books.

Website // Twitter // Instagram // Goodreads

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Stephanie Diaz

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

Book and a Beverage was a featuring originally designed to spotlight book bloggers but I’m thrilled to extend the feature to interview authors and highlight their works as well! This is a special Author Edition of Book and a Beverage. 

Give a big welcome to author STEPHANIE DIAZ!

author

Name: Stephanie Diaz
You know her best as the author of… EXTRACTION (7/22/14), REBELLION (2/10/15), EVOLUTION (9/8/15)

        

EXTRACTION: Amazon // Goodreads
REBELLION: Amazon // Goodreads
EVOLUTION: Amazon // Goodreads

2

READING

the witch hunterWhat are you reading? I’m currently devouring The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? I HIGHLY recommend this book. Witches, wizards, sorcery, pirates, adventure…31what more could you ever want?
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, and Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard.

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? It’s a YA fantasy that’s a blend of Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones. I’m super excited about it.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I’m a mix of the two, though I’m trying to get better at plotting to avoid the ruts I hit when I don’t know what’s happening next in a story. But I always go into a story knowing the beginning, ending, and the key turning points, no matter what.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I write and read the most in my bedroom, just chilling on my bed or in my saucer chair. When I need a change of scenery I head to the nearby lake or library. My absolute favorite spot to write is surrounded by forests, though, but I don’t get to do that too often.

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What are you drinking? Adagio’s Beerbutter tea. (Inspired by butterbeer of course.) 
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? I’m usually a water kind of girl, but if I need a treat to spice things up I’ll brew some hot tea or indulge in a peanut butter milkshake.

thoughtprovoking

If you could co-author a book with someone (anyone!), who would it be? It would be the coolest thing ever to get more of a glimpse into the working brain of the woman who wrote the Harry Potter books, so J.K. Rowling.
Which character from a book would you say you’re most like? Hermione Granger, hands down. (Can you tell I adore Harry Potter?) In school I was as concerned with getting high grades and staying at the top of my class as her. I still have a lot of her stubbornness and general desire to be right about everything (though I’ve realized now I’m definitely not).


 Thank you so much to Stephanie Diaz for a fantastic interview! Holy holy holy cow, this WIP sounds amazing. Pirates meets Game of Thrones? I cannot wait! Always a pleasure to host a fellow Harry Potter fangirl! (Though aren’t we all?)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Diaz author photoTwenty-two-year-old Stephanie Diaz wrote her first novel, Extraction, while studying film at San Diego State University. When she isn’t lost in books, she can be found singing, marveling at the night sky, or fan-girling over TV shows. Visit her online at www.stephaniediazbooks.com.

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Goodreads

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Dawn Metcalf

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

It’s been a while since I’ve hosted an author edition of Book and a Beverage but I am SO excited to be getting back into the swing of things! I had an overwhelmingly wonderful response from authors who were interested in participating so keep an eye out for even more author posts within the next few months!

Give a big welcome to author DAWN METCALF!

author

Name: Dawn Metcalf
You know her best as the author of… INDELIBLE (7/30/13), INVISIBLE (9/30/14), INSIDIOUS (9/1/15)

        

INDELIBLE: Amazon // Goodreads
INVISIBLE: Amazon // Goodreads
INSIDIOUS: Amazon // Goodreads

2

READING

What are you reading? Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? It’s Neil Gaiman so it’s dark and haunting and beautiful with just the right word choice to paint a mood that’s captured a memory like an old photograph of a forgotten time and place that is just south of magic. Would I recommend it? Hell yes!
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Depends on their tastes, but if they’re like me…
1. Mindkiller by Spider Robinson
2. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
3. Feed by M.T. Anderson

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? Well, I can’t tell you anything about INVINCIBLE, Book 4 of the Twixt, since Book 3, INSIDIOUS, isn’t out yet — unless it’s the continuing adventures of Joy and Indelible Ink as they pursue life, liberty, and inter-world happiness. But my other WIP is a near-alt-future story about sex, gender and life beyond the binary. I have been working on this book for a while now and am finally feeling up to the challenge. This is the book that I feel I was meant to write, so wish me luck!
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I was an avowed pantser, knowing the beginning and the end and a bunch of scenes in the middle but constantly surprised at what popped up along the way. Now having written the Twixt series, I had to learn to love plotting, outlines, timelines, character bibles, note cards, sticky notes, etc. in order to keep tabs on everyone and the larger plot arcs in mind. I have new respect for authors who do multiple-book series and I’ll be glad to get back to stand-alones!
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? In my office amidst the clutter.

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What are you drinking? Unsweetened herbal tea.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? Water or aforementioned herbal tea. Caffeine and I are a hilarious combination reminiscent of a cat sunk claw-deep into the ceiling.

thoughtprovoking

Who would be your literary BFF? I could listen to M.T. Anderson all day. Ditto Holly Black. Ditto Nova Ren Suma and Maggie Steifvater. I’ve never met Laini Taylor or chatted with Neil Gaiman, but boy, would I like to! These are all incredibly intelligent, gifted, insightful, generous and thought-provoking people and I only wish I was among their posse because–as people and authors–they just blow me away!
If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be? Oh boy… Honestly, Graus Claude is one of my favorite characters and I can only imagine what *his* story would be like, but there are actually three second-tier characters in the Twixt who have–at least in my mind–their own stories that I’ve already fleshed-out, although no one will likely know about them but me: Invisible Inq, Stef & Dmitri and Avery. I could easily write a novella for each of them.


 Thank you so much to Dawn Metcalf for being a part of Book and a Beverage today! I recently got into Neil Gaiman thanks to one of my best friends (she just adores him!) and I’m so excited to read more of his books!
I would LOVE to be BFFs with Maggie Stiefvater! I’ve met her a couple times now and she is just so much fun!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dawn_MetcalfBIO (Short Version)

If you want to know about me, read one of my books.
Or ask my mom, she’ll tell you.
BIO (Medium Version)
I have no good excuse for the way I write. I lived in a normal, loving, suburban home, studied hard, went to college, went to graduate school, got married, had babies, and settled down in northern Connecticut. Despite this wholesome lifestyle, I was clearly corrupted by fairy tales, puppet visionaries, British humour and graphic novels. As a result, I write dark, quirky, and sometimes humorous speculative fiction.

Website // Blog // Twitter // Goodreads // Facebook // Tumblr // Instagram

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Katherine Locke

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

Book and a Beverage was a featuring originally designed to spotlight book bloggers but I’m thrilled to extend the feature to interview authors and highlight their works as well! This is a special Author Edition of Book and a Beverage. 

Give a big welcome to author KATHERINE LOCKE!

author

Name: Katherine Locke
You know her best as the author of… TURNING POINTE (4/10/15), SECOND POSITION (4/13/15), FINDING CENTER (8/17/15)

        

TURNING POINTE: Amazon // Goodreads
SECOND POSIITION: Amazon // Goodreads
FINDING CENTER: Amazon // Goodreads

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READING


What are you reading?
FOCUS ON ME by Megan Erickson (out now) and THE LOVE THAT SPLIT Katherine Locke Book and a BeverageTHE WORLD by Emily Henry (out in January!)
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD is a lyrical, beautiful and suspenseful read! It’s out in January so it should be on everyone’s TBR 🙂
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Only THREE? Eek! Let’s go with…Sula by Toni Morrison, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour. I always recommend the first two, and the third changes, but it’s such a good summer book I can’t help but rec it right now.

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? I just moved so I haven’t honestly been working on my own stuff too much and some of my stuff is currently ~secret~ but I can say I’m juggling an NA, a contemporary MG that I love, and a magical realismesque YA that is my heart and soul.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I am a plotter who pants! I am a devoted outliner and with the aforementioned WIP, I’m using Scrivener for the first time. But once I’m writing, I don’t refer back to my outline. I have a very good memory so I think that helps.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I write exclusively in cafes/coffeeshops. I like to be out of my house because if my bed’s close enough, I’ll nap instead of working. And I like the commotion of coffeeshops. I’m not good in silence. I like a little bit of chaos.

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What are you drinking? A chai latte. Always.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? Chai lattes! I’m an addict. (But pictured, tea. Because I took the photo at home)

thoughtprovoking

If you could co-author a book with someone (anyone!), who would it be? Elizabeth Wein!
What type of scene is your favorite to write? I write dialogue only therapy scenes between Aly and Dr. Ham in both Second Position and Finding Center. I really love writing those scenes. Dr. Ham feels fully realized despite only ever speaking in the book and his relationship with Aly is very deep and genuine. He’s always coming from a place of empathy and kindness so he always forces me to slow down and consider everything I’m writing.


 Thank you so much to Katherine Locke for being a part of Book and a Beverage today! Those covers are just gorgeous! And absolutely two thumbs up for The Night Circus recommendation! What a wonderful book.

Thanks for getting to know Katherine Locke today! Be sure to check out her District Ballet Company series — TURNING POINTE is free for Kindle and SECOND POSITION and FINDING CENTER are only $3.49 each!
** Prices as of post date. Not guaranteed **

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

katherine locke author photoKatherine Locke lives and writes in a very small town outside of Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. She writes about that which she cannot do: ballet, time travel, and magic. When she’s not writing, she’s probably tweeting. She not-so-secretly believes most stories are fairy tales in disguise. She can be found online at katherinelockebooks.com and on Twitter: @bibliogato

Website // Blog // Twitter // Goodreads // Tumblr

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Annie Cardi

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

It’s been a while since I’ve hosted an author edition of Book and a Beverage but I am SO excited to be getting back into the swing of things! I had an overwhelmingly wonderful response from authors who were interested in participating so keep an eye out for even more author posts within the next few months!

Give a big welcome to author ANNIE CARDI!

author

Name: Annie Cardi
You know her best as the author of… THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN (4/22/14)

Amazon // Goodreads

2

READING

What are you reading? I recently finished The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock and absolutely loved it. It’s the second book in the Dairy Queen series, and it was even better than the first one.
Annie Cardi_book and beverageWhat’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? DJ’s voice is so real and heartbreaking and funny. Dairy Queen and The Off Season have been out for a while now, but I didn’t pick them up because they’re ostensibly about sports, and I have a hard enough time remembering how many points you get for a touchdown. But Murdock’s characters deal with major issues like financial instability and family obligation and coming out in a small town and medical emergencies, while also still getting in a lot of heart and humor and a dash of romance. If you’re not a sports person, these books are for you.
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? That’s a tough one! The books that I’m zealous about are Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. They’re all so great on a craft level, have such complex and rich characters, and compelling plotlines. And they’re all books I immediately wanted to reread when I finished them. Logically I know that these books aren’t the right books for everyone, but I just want to sit down with everyone and gush over how many feels Taylor or Julie or Puck give me.

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? I have two contemporary YAs in the works right now. One is more comic and deals with family, religion, music, crushes, and identity. I’ve had a lot of fun with that one, because it’s a protagonist I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I love getting to play around with her voice. The other deals more with grief and the unexplainable and finding your place in the universe. It’s told from dual perspectives, including my first male narrator. For a while I was sure this wasn’t going to be a kissing book, even though two of my crit partners told me kissing needed to happen. Sure enough, a couple months ago I went to group and had to admit they were right.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I’m a total pantser. Every time I give pages to my writing group and they say something like “I’m really curious about where X is going,” I say “Yes…yes we’re all curious about that.” I always have great intentions about plotting things out in advance, but most of the time a story doesn’t come to me fully formed. I have a general idea of where I want to go or events I want to write about, but I have to kind of live it along with the characters, watch them grow and see what choices feel true.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I like to change it up! I have an office at home that I write from, but I also like going to the local library or snagging space in a coffee shop—knowing that other people could see my screen makes me feel like I need to actually get work done and not waste all the time on Tumblr.

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What are you drinking? Lots of water. The minute my giant Nalgene is empty, I refill. Sometimes I’ll jazz it up and get seltzer.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? Coffee and I have a very special relationship. (I’ve been known to sing songs about how much I love coffee after my first sip of the day.) I seriously have to hold back from drinking a whole pot on my own—usually two giant mugs is my limit. Paired with more water, of course.

thoughtprovoking

Which character from a book would you say you’re most like? I was a teen reader when I encountered Elizabeth Clarry from Jaclyn Moriarty’s Feeling Sorry for Celia, and it was the first time I thought “This is what it’s like!” I wasn’t a long-distance runner and didn’t find out about a secret sibling or have a best friend who ran away to join the circus, but I totally related to Elizabeth feeling a little invisible and being hard on herself while also being funny and hopeful and open. It’s another book that I always recommend to people, even though I feel like I’m pretty much the only person I know who’s obsessed with it, and I think that comes from connecting with Elizabeth so much.
What type of scene is your favorite to write? I love writing scenes in which characters get to banter a little. As someone who’s on Tumblr a lot, I see how hilarious teens are, and I love finding the humor and quippy-ness in my teen characters. Of course sometimes I have to take out some banter because it’s not furthering the plot or emotional arc, but those kinds of exchanges are my favorite.
Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? I try not to develop any rituals or superstitions, because I think it’s better to be open to the idea that writing can happen wherever and whenever. But I do tend to write with music—I like crafting playlists for each of my WIPs that help me get in the right mood. For The Chance You Won’t Return, I had a lot of Arcade Fire; for my current WIPs, I have a lot of Bowie and The Go! Team for one, and Jukebox the Ghost and Sufjan Stevens for the other.


 Thank you so much to Annie Cardi for being a part of Book and Beverage today! I absolutely love her book recommendations — THE SCORPIO RACES is one of my all-time favorites!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annie Cardi
Annie Cardi is the author of The Chance You Won’t Return, which was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year for 2015. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and a BA from the University of Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys running, baking, and spending too much time on Tumblr. Annie lives near Boston with her husband and a portrait of a sea captain.

Website // Blog 
Twitter // Tumblr // Facebook // YouTube