Tag Archives: Author Interview

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Patty Blount

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 PATTY BLOUNT!

author

Name: Patty Blount
You know her best as the author of… SEND (8/1/12), TMI (8/6/13), SOME BOYS (8/5/14), NOTHING LEFT TO BURN (8/4/15)

   

SEND: Amazon // Goodreads
TMI: Amazon // Goodreads
SOME BOYS: Amazon // Goodreads
NOTHING LEFT TO BURN: Amazon // Goodreads

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WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? I’ve got two projects coming out this summer. One is a YA novel called Nothing Left to Burn. It’s about a teen who joins the junior cadet squad at the local volunteer fire station as a way of reconnecting with his dad, who blames his for the accident that killed his brother. The other is an [adult] contemporary romance novella called His Touch. It’s part of a Summer in New York series I’m writing with several friends and is actually the sequel to our Christmas in New York novellas, which released at the end of last year.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I am most definitely a plotter. I’d tried writing by the seat of my pants and kept getting lost. It took me ten years to write my first novel because I kept getting bored with it. But when I finally sat down and plotted the story from end to end, I was at long last able to finish that project and am now a devoted Plotter for life!
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I like to write on my deck. During winter months, I write in my living room, under a huge picture window. Above the window, there’s a quote on my wall that says “The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books.”

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What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? My favorite beverage right now is sangria. When I’m writing, however, I like a tall glass of ice water.

thoughtprovoking

If you could co-author a book with someone (anyone!), who would it be? If I could co-author a book with someone, I’d love to work with Katie McGarry or Kendare Blake.
If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be? In my YA novel, TMI, Chase Gallagher would be the character most likely to go off on his own tangent. In fact, he did just that – I ended up removing his point-of-view scenes so the novel focused more centrally on the two female leads, Megan and Bailey. But Chase’s scenes aren’t gone forever; they’re posted on Wattpad!


 Thank you so much to Patty Blount for being a part of Book and a Beverage today!
Your writing space sounds beautiful! I love reading and writing outside and that picture window sounds just wonderful!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Powered by chocolate, Long Islander Patty Blount is the author contemporary romances for both teen and adult audiences. Her 2014 release, SOME BOYS, is a Firecracker, Bookseller’s Best, and RITA Awards finalist as well as a YALSA Reluctant Readers pick. Follow her online: Twitter: @pattyblount, Facebook: Patty Blount Novels, website: pattyblount.com

Website // Blog 
Twitter // Goodreads // Facebook

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Amber Lough

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 AMBER LOUGH!

author

Name: Amber Lough
You know her best as the author of… THE FIRE WISH (7/22/14), THE BLIND WISH (7/28/15)

       

THE FIRE WISH: Amazon // Goodreads
THE BLIND WISH: Amazon // Goodreads

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READING

What are you reading? I’m usually reading one novel and one non-fiction book at a time. Right now, I’m reading AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir and THEY FOUGHT FOR THE amber lough book and a beverageMOTHERLAND, by Laurie S. Stoff. Oh! And LOOK WHO’S BACK, by Timur Vermes.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Most of you have heard of Tahir’s book, so I’ll focus on Stoff’s non-fiction book. It’s about Russia’s women soldiers in WWI, particularly about the women-only brigades. It’s amazing, and is the focus of my current WIP.
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? 1. ROSE UNDER FIRE, by Elizabeth Wein. (Yes, CODE NAME VERITY is more shocking, but I really loved Rose. And living in Germany, I think of what she went through often.) 2. THE DARK IS RISING, by Susan Cooper (The ENTIRE series, really.) 3. ISLAND OF BLUE DOLPHINS, by Scott O’Dell (It was the first real novel I read as a kid, and it seeped into my bones.)

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? It’s set in Russia, during WWI, and is about the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death. It’s dark, light, heavy, and fun.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I used to be a pantser, but I have since seen the error of my ways. However, I do make things up as I go along, and weave them into my plan.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? My Kleingarten. In Germany, many people have little gardens, like Russian dachas, with a vegetable patch, flowers, and a small cabin that are part of a larger garden community. My garden is currently my favorite place to be, writing or not.

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What are you drinking? Earl Grey tea, with milk and sugar. It’s currently a bit cold.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing?
If I don’t have fresh coffee around (like now), I make a pot of tea. I am that interesting.

thoughtprovoking

Which character from a book would you say you’re most like? Who would be your literary BFF? I have absolutely no idea who I am like. All of them and none of them? But I would want Anne Shirley to be my BFF.
If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be? From THE BLIND WISH, I would focus on Rahela’s flying carpet, and her relationship with Shirin, as they fly around saving other girls.


 Thank you so much to Amber Lough for being a part of Book and a Beverage today!
Her first book in the Jinni Wars, THE FIRE WISH, is out now and book two, THE BLIND WISH, releases in just a couple days on 7/28/15!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

amber_dawn_lough_colorAmber Lough lives with her physicist husband and their two kids in Lower Saxony, Germany.
As a child, Amber moved about every two years and spent much of it overseas in Cuba, Japan, and Bahrain. She attended High School in North Charleston, South Carolina and studied Russian at Saint Louis University in Missouri before heading into the Air Force. She was an Intelligence Officer stationed in San Diego, and travelled the Pacific for her job. She also spent about 8 months in Baghdad, Iraq. After having her first child, she left the Air Force to begin writing full-time.
Amber is represented by Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Visit Amber over at The Fourteenery and The Hanging Gardens where she contributes with other YA authors.

Website // Twitter // Goodreads // Tumblr

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Emily Lloyd-Jones

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

I’m excited to be back in the swing of authoreditions of Book and a Beverage! 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 EMILY LLOYD-JONES!

author

Name: Emily Lloyd-Jones
You know her best as the author of… ILLUSIVE (7/15/14), MURDER ON THE DISORIENTED EXPRESS (6/9/15), DECEPTIVE (7/14/15)

   Illusive (Illusive, #1)   Murder on the Disoriented Express (Illusive, #1.5)   Deceptive (Illusive, #2)

ILLUSIVE: Amazon // Goodreads
MURDER ON THE DISORIENTED EXPRESS: Amazon // Goodreads
DECEPTIVE: Amazon // Goodreads

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READING

What are you reading? Currently, I’m happily engrossed in Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler.
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What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? It’s sassy and romantic and so much fun. I would definitely recommend it.
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Okay, this is a hard one. First, I have to recommend the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud. Ghost-hunting teenagers in alternate history London who attempt to run their own private agency. It’s just as awesome as it sounds. Second, the Lunar Chronicles. It’s just so fun and I appreciate any book series that has such wonderful (and numerous) female characters. And lastly, I recommend pretty much any Tamora Pierce book because they’re all so good.

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? I’m currently at work on a Secret Project. I won’t say much, except that it includes Lovecraftian horrors and a ragtag group of teenagers making very bad life decisions.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I am a total plotter. I am the plottiest of plotters. I cannot function as a writer unless I know what’s going to happen. I have plotted books through charts and graphs, made ridiculously detailed outlines, even plotted a book through a series of Post-Its spanning a whole wall.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I sit on my couch. Not the most exciting answer, but it is a very comfortable spot. My cat is usually somewhere nearby, making her usual attempts to steal into my lap—despite the computer sitting there.  

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What are you drinking? Starbucks is one of my vices. I am slightly addicted to their lattes.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? I do most of my writing at night, so I actually drink more tea than coffee when I’m writing. I like the white and herbal blends, although I will go for green when the mood strikes.

thoughtprovoking

What type of scene is your favorite to write? I love dialogue-heavy scenes. I blame it on watching Gilmore Girls at a formative age—I listened to a lot of witty dialogue and banter and I loved it. Something about two characters verbally sparring always makes me giddy. I also love plot twists. Being a plotter, I’ll have them sketched out for months before I actually write them. It’s just so satisfying to bring a scene to completion and know that someone is going to be shocked by it.
Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? I never actually refer to my books by their real titles when I’m working on them. When I email my critique partners or even in every day conversation, I pick a nickname and just go with it. It’s sort of how Macbeth is always referred to as the Scottish Play by the theatre community. I just get suspicious about calling a WIP by its name. Illusive was referred to as “The Book” and Deceptive as “The Jenga Book.” (Because so many scenes ended up being moved around.) Murder on the Disoriented Express was originally the nickname for my novella, but in a hilarious twist that ended up being the actual title.


 A big thank you to Emily Lloyd-Jones for taking part in Book and a Beverage today!! I am SO excited for this new book project! It sounds right up my alley as a reader!
Lockwood & Co sounds really good — I’ll definitely have to check out that series — and hooray for a Lunar Chronicles recommendation! <3

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Lloyd-Jones Author PhotoEmily Lloyd-Jones grew up on a vineyard in rural Oregon, where she played in evergreen forests and learned to fear sheep. After graduating from Western Oregon University with an English degree, she enrolled in the publishing program at Rosemont College just outside of Philadelphia. She currently resides in Northern California, working in a bookstore by day and writing by night. Illusive is her debut novel.

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

 

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Jessica Spotswood

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 JESSICA SPOTSWOOD!

author

Name: Jessica Spotswood
You know her best as the author of… The Cahill Witch Chronicles: BORN WICKED (1/25/12), STAR CURSED (6/18/13), and SISTERS’ FATE (8/14/14)

        

BORN WICKED: Amazon // Goodreads
STAR CURSED: Amazon // Goodreads
SISTERS’ FATE: Amazon // Goodreads

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READING

What are you reading? FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? Sophie jessica spotswood baabis bisexual and a drug addict, and when her best friend Mina is murdered everyone thinks it’s because of a drug deal gone wrong and blames Sophie. But Sophie knows that she’s clean and she is determined to stay that way – and find Mina’s killer. I’d absolutely recommend it; Sophie is a really intriguing, flawed, smart protagonist and the pacing is wonderful.
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? I don’t know if I can pick my top 3 of all time, but my favorite so far this year have been Courtney SummersALL THE RAGE (an important, infuriating indictment of rape culture); Nova Ren Suma’s THE WALLS AROUND US (creepy-gorgeous and a master class in voice); and Erin Bowman’s VENGEANCE ROAD (a Western revenge story that I loved so much I blurbed).

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? I just finished drafting my first contemporary YA, WILD SWANS, which will be out next April! It’s about a girl named Ivy whose mother – who abandoned her when she was two – comes back home with the two half-sisters Ivy’s never met. There’s also a romance with a biracial tattooed poet. (What can I say? I love bookish boys.)
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I like to outline a few chapters ahead, but I love when characters surprise me, and most of the time when I get really stuck, I wind up realizing that it’s because I’m trying to stick to the outline instead of following my characters.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I love reading in bubble baths (Lush bath bombs & bubblers are my favorite) or in bed before sleep. I write either on my loveseat in my office, or at a nearby coffee shop.

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What are you drinking? Iced tea
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? In the summer – iced tea; in the winter – hot tea

thoughtprovoking

If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be? I’d love to write a short story about Cate’s best friend and roommate, Rilla. Rilla’s bouncy and chatty and big-hearted. She gets her own love interest in SISTERS’ FATE – patronizing newspaperman Alistair Merriweather – and their banter kept threatening to take over scenes. It would be hugely fun to write about Rilla as a girl reporter getting into scrapes and arguing with Merriweather!
What type of scene is your favorite to write? Kissing scenes! But terrible heartbreaking scenes that will make people cry are my next favorite. I’m a contradiction.


 A big thank you to Jessica Spotswood for taking part in Book and a Beverage today! I love her Cahill Witch Chronicles books and I’m so excited for a new YA contemporary next year!
I also REALLY need to read Far From You soon! I’ve heard such good things about it and it sounds so interesting!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

jessica spotswood author photoJessica Spotswood is a full time author who lives in Washington, DC with her husband Stephen and a very cuddly cat named Monkey. Visit Jessica online at jessicaspotswood.com or on Twitter at @Jessica_shea.

Website // Blog // Twitter // Goodreads // Facebook

 

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Dahlia Adler

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 DAHLIA ADLER!

author

Name: Dahlia Adler
You know her best as the author of… BEHIND THE SCENES (6/24/14), LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT (12/9/14), and UNDER THE LIGHTS (6/30/15)

        

BEHIND THE SCENES: Amazon // Goodreads
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT: Amazon // Goodreads
UNDER THE LIGHTS: Amazon // Goodreads

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READING

What are you reading? Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Well, and beta reading a friend’s NA, because I’m rarely only reading one thing at a time.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? It’s a really great historical YA about a girl who was deported from Lithuania to Siberia along with her family on Stalin’s orders. I’m only halfway through, but it’s so compellingly told, and such an important part of history. There are so many sides to World War II and this is one I haven’t seen otherwise in YA. I definitely recommend it.
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? WHAT. You cannot ask me this. You cannot. But okay, you did. WELL THEN. Probably my most successful recommendation of all time is Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, which is an excellent YA psychological thriller. All the Rage by Courtney Summers is just…unspeakably important, and I think should be read by anyone who ever, ever interacts with girls of any age. And OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu, which has such tremendous power to change your perspective on mental health; it certainly did mine.

WRITING

What can you tell us about your current work in progress? I actually have three: Right of First Refusal, which is the next book in my Radleigh University NA series, and that’s about a lacrosse player named Cait who falls back into having feelings for her ex when he reappears in her life…as her new roommate’s boyfriend; Out on Good Behavior, which is the final book in that series, and focuses on Frankie, who’s happy being a complete and total player until she falls for a girl who’s her polar opposite; and War of the Roses, which is a dual-POV YA inspired by the historical War of the Roses, about two feuding cousins who are both in relationships with big secrets.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? Somewhere in between—it kinda varies per book. If I NaNo something, I’m much more likely to write a really fleshed-out outline first, which I did with both Behind the Scenes and War of the Roses. Otherwise, I usually rely on a beat sheet and maybe I plan clusters of scenes in a notebook.
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I don’t have a great reading or writing spot in my apartment, which is where I do 90% of both, but it makes me really happy when I get writing done on my subway commute. A lot of Last Will and Testament was written in a notebook on the subway, and something about that gives me a weird amount of joy.

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What are you drinking? Fresca. If I’m drinking something and it isn’t water or coffee, it’s almost definitely Fresca.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? Fresca, with two exceptions: Sunday morning, I love writing with coffee, and Friday night, I love reading with tea.

thoughtprovoking

If you were to co-author a book with someone (anyone!), who would it be? It’s a favorite joke (at least I think it’s a joke) on Twitter between people subjected to us tweeting at each other all day that Leah Raeder (author of the fabulous Unteachable and Black Iris) and I should co-author an epic f/f NA. It’s probably the world’s worst idea, and also hilarious to imagine as a book—she writes really gorgeous, lyrical prose and my books are, like, “AND THEN THEY DID IT. A LOT.” but I’m not gonna lie, it’d probably be really fun for like an hour before we got distracted by Tumblr.
Which character from a book would you say you’re most like? Kissing. Always kissing. And fighting. And especially fighting leading to kissing. There’s a lot of that in my books. You’re welcome.


 A BIG BIG thank you to Dahlia Adler for being on Book and a Beverage today and as always, for supporting my blog as well! I really hope you enjoyed getting to know her more on today’s Book and a Beverage!
If you don’t know Dahlia, you definitely need to get to know her and her books! Both books that are currently released (Behind the Scenes and Last Will and Testament) were great reads for me and I read LWAT in a day if that’s any indication for you! (I actually almost read Behind the Scenes in a day too, I think!)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dahlia Adler_author photo_Credit-MaggieHallDahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of Mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teens by night, and writes Contemporary YA and NA at every spare moment in between. She’s the author of the Daylight Falls duology, Last Will and Testament, and the upcoming  Just Visiting, as well as over five billion tweets as @MissDahlELama. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves.

Website // Blog // Twitter // Goodreads // Facebook

 

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler: Review, Interview, and Giveaway!

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler: Review, Interview, and Giveaway!Title: Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler
Publishing Info: December 9, 2014 by Dahlia Adler
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 30, 2014

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.
    But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.
    Until he does.
    Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.
    Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

bookreview1

Pretty much every since college, I’ve been looking for a book that incorporates a college atmosphere. I fell in love with young adult, but I was still craving those books that reminded me of my college years and there just weren’t that many out there. With the emergence of the “new adult” category, I got very excited but upon sampling a few selections, none of them really did it for me. Yes, many more sexy times happen in college than in high school but I didn’t want to read just a romance novel in a younger package than it usually is.

Then came this year. I swore off new adult for a while (unless it leaned heavily towards the young adult side), not wanting to try another one unless I really felt confident that I would enjoy it. I saw that Dahlia Adler had a new adult book coming out and because I love her so (and was genuinely interested), I immediately jumped on the chance to read, review, and promote. I finished LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT in a single day because I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved it and it really was the perfect new adult for me.

The thing I’ve been craving the most in new adult — the college feel — was very much a part of the book and almost all of it takes place while Lizzie is at college at Radleigh University. I just love the campus feel and the change-up from roaming the halls of a high school to dorms and quads and lecture halls. Throw in a hot YA (hey, I’m sure a lot of us had a hot teacher/TA in college) and things just got even more interesting!

From the very first few pages, the emotions were running high. From a string of “big mistakes” to an all-time low, Lizzie Brandt was already have a terrible year and things just started piling on after her parents’ death. I really just loved how realistic her reactions to everything were. Lizzie is very protective of her brothers and immediately starts planning what she can do to keep the rest of her family together but she’s not totally un-selfish either which I liked. Of course she wants to do the best thing for her brothers but she’s also still in college and has a lot of her own life to live. Everything gets turned upside for her so quickly and it’s incredibly difficult to manage.

I really loved how everything was handled with the story line too. I’m sure some people are thinking, “Student relationship with a TA? No way.” Because in any other book, I’d be hesitant about it too. The relationship between Lizzie and Connor felt totally natural and I wasn’t quite sure exactly how that relationship would start. Despite the natural hesitance about the two getting involved (hey, they had qualms of their own, of course!), I was always rooting for them to make it work somehow. I absolutely love Connor and yes, it was infuriating and scary at times watching this romance pan out for Lizzie, but boy did I want those two together! Everything really fell into place as the story progressed and I think Dahlia Adler totally hit the nail on the head with this pairing and how the entire conflict was handled.

I KNOW you’re wondering, “But what about the sexy parts?!” WHEW, BOY, you guys. Yes, there are sexy parts. Lots of them. And GOOD ONES. I’m not a romance reader (just contemporary where things tend to not get as steamy) but things got hot and heavy in LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT and I loved it. (Also holding my Kindle away from my husband so he didn’t read over my shoulder during the more detailed scenes because I was blushing). I thought the characters had great chemistry and yep. I’ll admit it. I totally had a thing for Connor too.

For someone who’s been hesitant about new adult for so long, I’m so happy that LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT started to bring me back towards this category of books. This book was utterly addicting and so much fun to read. I finished and immediately wanted more! If you’re on the fence about new adult, DEFINITELY try this book! It’s one I will be highly recommending!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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 BUY IT!

I absolutely devoured this book and I highly recommend it! If you’re hesitant about new adult, this is one to try! It has a great college feel, a steamy romance, and awesome characters.

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BOOKS LIKE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

when joss met matt      the sea of tranquility


INTERVIEW WITH DAHLIA ADLER

I also got to interview the wonderful Dahlia Adler about her new release (on sale now!) and it was so much fun to find out a little more background on the book! Check out the interview below to see more about Dahlia’s experience with new adult, LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, writing, and more!

Brittany: I’ve really been looking for a new adult book that incorporates the college experience a lot into the story and so happy that it was such a big part of Last Will and Testament! Was their a lot of your own college experience in the book?
Dahlia Adler: Yes and no! I chose Byzantine History, honestly, because it was my college class with the hottest professor, and Lizzie takes Russian because it was my favorite class in college. Even Stats was taken from my own syllabus. I certainly didn’t hook up with any TAs, and I didn’t go to any frat parties (the Greek system was kinda meh at my school), but I also had a really rough time in college when my dad was diagnosed with cancer (see Behind the Scenes), so the parts about needing to beg some teacher patience and miss class because being in the hospital came first were definitely part of my experience.

B: Your debut novel Behind the Scenes was a young adult novel and you have a companion YA novel — Under the Lights — out in 2015. Was Last Will and Testament something that just came to you or a specific choice to write in a “new adult setting”?
DA: Last Will and Testament came to me very specifically, based on a conversation with a friend. Somehow it came up that her parents set her up to be the guardian of her younger brothers when she turned 18, even though she was going to college in upstate NY, which is hours away from her home, and I just knew there was a book in it. I wrote the first chapter quickly, but then set it aside to work on YA. But as soon as I hit some roadblocks in the YA side of my career, I knew I needed to write something else, for myself and potentially to self-pub, and I immediately picked LWaT back up.

B: I feel like new adult books still have a little bit of a stigma for being over-sexed or romance novels in a younger package. Was there anything you intentionally wanted to include or avoid in Last Will and Testament based on the current generalizations towards the new adult category?
DA: I’m not someone who shies away from writing sex, or who has a problem with there being a prevalence of sex in NA – it is a lot of the adolescent and college experience, whether or not you’re having it. What bothers me about sex in NA, often, is A) romance novel terminology that doesn’t sound anything like how people actually talk and think, and more importantly B) perfect fantasy sex. I don’t use phrasing like “his length,” so that didn’t require intent from me, but having sex scenes in which they don’t both finish was very intentional. Because that’s sex sometimes!
Also, Lizzie’s someone who is unabashedly sexually active, as are her friends, albeit to varying degrees. There is no slut-shaming, no virgin-shaming, and no magic manparts; Connor isn’t the man who taught her how great sex can be. All those things were important to me to show as well.

B: Were there any particular hardships about publishing LWaT? Was it more difficult because of content or age range?
DA: Honestly, nothing but my own know-how limitations. I write YA on the upper end anyway, so it’s not a huge content jump for me, and I had so many people graciously answer my questions and help point me in the right directions. I did hire people for more than I thought I would, and I’m glad for it. I’d rather focus my energies on the things I’m good at and learn fewer things well.

B: Who was your favorite character to write in LWAT and why? (Personally, I hope it’s Connor. Yum!)
DA: Haha alas, it’s Lizzie, though Connor was a lot of fun too. I just really enjoy writing irreverence. And arguing.

B: With the topic of a student dating a TA, I had a few guesses at what might happen in the end (though I was still surprised!)… No spoilers of course, but did you always know how LWaT was going to wrap up or did you go through a few possibilities?
DA: Oh, no, I definitely did not. In fact, that ending now is about 10K words longer than it was when it went to my first betas. I know not everyone is going to love the way that things play out, but when I finally finished the ending that it is now, I knew it was the truest way things would’ve happened for these characters.

B: Do you have any habits or rituals that help you throughout the writing journey?
DA: Writing sprints are hugely instrumental to me on days it’s just not coming naturally; god bless Twitter and writer friends.

B: If you could pick one of your characters to hang out with for a day, who would you pick and what would you do?
DA: From any book? Probably Vanessa. I feel like she’d be a lot of fun to just walk around the Grove with, and definitely to go shopping with, and then end the day in front of the TV. I’m lazy – those are all my aspirations.

B: I love your “rec-ing ball” posts and tweets — recommending books is one of my favorite parts about being a reader & blogger! (This may be an evil question but) which books do you recommend that most?
DA: Oh man…I rec a lot! I think the books I’m most known for rec-ing are probably Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, Unteachable by Leah Raeder, and OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu. Possibly Deeper by Robin York? My rec-ing for Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown has gone a little quieter, but I’m working on picking that up; that’s a little sleeper NA I’ve gotten extremely good rec response to. And of course, I push my CPs’ and accountabilibuddy’s books as much as humanly possible, and love them all – The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall, Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca, and Sekret and Skandal by Lindsay Smith!

A BIG BIG thank you again to Dahlia Adler for this wonderful interview and the opportunity to read LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT early! I loved it so much and want people to read it that I’m also doing a giveaway! Enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win an ebook version of LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT! (This will be a Kindle or Nook version, depending on what the winner has for an ereader.)

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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!

FierceReads2014

 (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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UNFORGOTTEN Blog Tour: Interview with Jessica Brody!

Unfogotten-blogtour-banner

Welcome to the UNFORGOTTEN blog tour, hosted by Macmillan! I’m SO excited to be a tour host today with author Jessica Brody stopping by for an interview! Before I start with the tour stop, here’s a little more info about UNREMEMBERED and UNFORGOTTEN to get yourself acquainted with the series:

UnrememberedTitle: Unremembered
Author: Jessica Brody
Publishing Info: March 5th 2013 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR)
Find it on the Web: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

  “When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
    Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.
    Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.
     Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?” — From Goodreads

UnforgottenTitle: Unforgotten
Author: Jessica Brody
Publishing Info: February 25th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Find it on the Web: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

  “Some memories are better left forgotten… 
    After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.
    Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.” — From Goodreads

I’m so excited to have been able to Interview Jessica Brody! I’ve had the opportunity to meet her and she’s super sweet and very nice so that made me even more excited to be able to share an interview with her today!

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JESSICA BRODY

Brittany: There were lots of surprising twists and turns in Unforgotten! Did you plan most of them or did some of them take you by surprise as well?
Jessica Brody: Thank you for saying that! I love surprising readers! So…mission accomplished! I did plan most of them, but like with every book, things popped up that I wasn’t expecting. There’s a new character in this book that I’d always planned on adding but many of his scenes and dialogue and characteristics were surprises to me. When I started the book, all I had in my notes was: “Enter character” and that was kind of it. He came alive to me as I wrote. 

B: I love that this book dug even deeper into the science-fiction aspect of the series. Was it hard to imagine and invent all of the new technology that Sera and Zen encounter?
JB: Oh, just wait until book 3! There’s SO MUCH MORE fun technology!!! Hard? Yes. Fun? Definitely. Most of this book takes place in the year 2032, which is only 18 years from now. So coming up with that world was really challenging but also entertaining. I basically looked at all the technology releasing today and then just took it up a notch. I think the technology I’m looking forward to the most are the cars that drive themselves. Many experts say we are not too far away from this. And I can’t wait. It’ll be like having a private chauffeur everywhere I go! 

B: I absolutely loved the ending and felt like all of the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly back together to form one incredible fact and really brings the entire series together! Was it hard to get the details to all fall into place?
JB: YAY! That makes me so happy to hear you say that! This book was such a complicated, jigsaw puzzle of memories (both real and not real), time periods, facts, and events. It was SUCH a hard book to write. So much of what I thought would work, didn’t end up working. The hardest aspect was keeping track of everything Seraphina remembered and everything that was erased from her memory. As the author, you have to know both, even if your character doesn’t. It was a mind meld! If you want a challenge, write a book that has memory manipulation and time travel. 

B: Do you have anything special you do to help you out if you hit a writing roadblock?
JB: Yes! But it’s kinda weird. Okay, so whenever I hit a roadblock, I go and get a massage. I’m a member at Massage Envy—it’s one of those places that has massages for like 40 bucks. I don’t know what it is, but something about being relaxed on the massage table with the soothing music and everything, it completely unblocks me! I get so much brainstorming done there! Then when I leave, I race to my car, get out my phone and start recording all of my notes from the session. But it’s funny, inspiration can hit you in the most random of places. One of the biggest twists in the book (I’m not going to tell you which one!) happened in the drive-thru line of an In’n’Out at ten at night. I was waiting for my food and BAM! it hit me. I actually screamed aloud, “I got it!” right as the employee was handing me my fries. He gave me the strangest look and went, “Um, yes, you do?” 

B: Did you have any specific inspirations for the Unremembered trilogy — either the characters or the concept?
JB: Actually, yes! The middle of this book was the hardest part for me. I got through it by taking long walks and listening to one song on repeat. “Treacherous” by Taylor Swift. That song perfectly sums up the relationship between Seraphina and a certain character I can’t really talk about. I must have listened to that song at least 200 times while writing this book. Every time I couldn’t get a scene right, I would go for a walk, put the song on repeat, and just let my mind wander. So, thanks, Taylor Swift and whoever broke your heart this time!

B: It looks like the Unremembered trilogy is your first published set of books that aren’t contemporary! Was it difficult to write a different genre?
JB: I think every book I write is the hardest book I’ve ever written. Because if I’m not challenging myself to be a better writer, then the book isn’t worth writing. But I will say that UNREMEMBERED, UNFORGOTTEN, and Untitled book 3 were MUCH harder than my contemporaries. Not only because they were sci-fi and therefore required more unique world building, the creation of new technology and all that, but also because this is my first trilogy as well. My other YA titles have all been standalones. There’s something really nice and fulfilling about writing a standalone. You start the book, you finish the book. You say goodbye to the character and move on to something else. Writing a series is a whole different animal, because there has to be a really good reason why this character’s journey can’t be wrapped up in one book. And that makes her journey so much more epic and complex, which can be a daunting task at times. But now that I’ve just finished writing book 3, I can say, the hard work is well worth it. It was a roller coaster ride of a project but I’m proud of what’s come out of it and I can’t wait for everyone to read the final ending!

*Oh and please check out the UNFORGETTABLE FAN challenge that’s currently running on my website! Every fan who completes the challenge gets a prize pack which includes an Unremembered Eternal Knot necklace! Visit the UNFORGETTABLE FAN challenge here! Thanks for the great questions, Brittany! And thank YOU, Jessica! I had so much fun reading your answers and I’m already excited for book three! (Even though it’ll be a while to wait yet!)

Become a fan of Jessica Brody and the UNREMEMBERED trilogy! Visit the links below to connect with Jessica and find out more info on the series!

I also have a special Unforgotten secret to share with you! Each stop on the tour has one so if you missed any, be sure to check out the official schedule at the Macmillan Teens blog! Okay, here’s your Unforgotten secret (and honestly, one of my favorite parts about the book!!!) Unforgotten Secret 6 

GIVEAWAY!

Want to win a copies of UNREMEMBERED and UNFORGOTTEN? Macmillan is offering up copies of both! The winner this giveaway will receive a paperback copy of UNREMEMBERED and a hardcover copy of UNFORGOTTEN! US & Canada residents only. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification before the prize is forfeited to the next person. a Rafflecopter giveaway

NIL Blog Tour: Interview with Lynne Matson!

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Welcome to the NIL blog tour, hosted by Fiction Freak! I’m so excited to be a tour host today with author Lynne Matson stopping by for an interview! Before I start with the tour stop, here’s a little more info about NIL to get yourself acquainted with the book:

Nil by Lynne MatsonTitle: Nil
Author: Lynne Matson
Publishing Info: March 4th 2014 by Henry Holt
Find it on the Web: Goodreads || Amazon ||Barnes and Noble || Book Depository
My Review: Nil – Lynne Matson (posted 2/12/14)

  “On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die.
    Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.
    Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.” — From Goodreads

Today, I get to share with you my interview with author Lynne Matson! I’m so excited to have been able to interview her and to share her answers with all of you guys!

INTERVIEW WITH NIL AUTHOR LYNNE MATSON

Brittany: I loved the unsettling combination of paradise and doom that was the island of NIL and it definitely reminded me of a number of literary and TV show mash-ups! Did you have any strong influences that helped you form ideas for the book?
Lynne Matson: I’m so glad you got the twin vibes of paradise and doom! Hawaii was a big source of inspiration for me; it’s where I saw the contrast of beauty and danger. It’s gorgeous, but surfing there has risks (big waves, sharp rocks) and oh yeah–the island has active VOLCANOES. 🙂 Volcanoes epitomize paradise and doom, don’t they? Islands in general are often packed with gorgeous, but for me, islands always hold a hint of danger . . .and maybe more than a hint. Because when you’re surrounded by water for who knows how many miles, WHAT IF YOU CAN’T ESCAPE?! And what if there’s something else stranded on the island with you?! So much potential for scary awesome when you’re stuck on –or writing about–and island. Sekrit admission: I watched A LOT of Gilligan’s Island as a kid, and their 3 hour tour that turned into a decade long island adventure fascinated me. (So did Ginger’s hair but that’s not important. :D) I think that show always left the viewer asking “what would I do?” And so there’s NIL… 🙂

B: There were quite a few interesting twists in the end! Did you always see that as the final outcome or did NIL surprise you?
LM: Thank you! It may sound crazy, but always knew the ending. When I started writing, I had the beginning and the end…and a rough sense of the middle. And it was the middle twists that surprised me! 🙂 Certain characters deaths, Rives’s insights, and a few other things. 

B: If you were stranded on NIL, what do you think your strategy would be? Which characters would you most likely team up with?
LM: Oh my gosh–if I were stranded on Nil, I’d like to think I’d find a group of other people and not be stuck wandering on my own. (And clothes. I’d pray for clothes… that would be priority number one. 😀 Nobody wants to be running around a strange island naked. right?!) That’s another tricky facet of the island– how to figure it out alone. If each person has to figure everything out on their own each time (like re-inventing the wheel, so to speak), that’s a challenge that must be met before escape is possible. So much information gets lost (and has been lost at the start of the book) due to the “revolving door’ nature of the island, that not only figuring NIL out but helping preserve their findings becomes one of Charley & Thad’s missions. So who would I team up with? Someone who’s a NIL veteran, like Natalie, or Rives. Or Thad. Who wouldn’t want to pair up with Thad?! lol

B: I saw that you used to be an attorney — Was it tough to make the transition to writing? Was it something you always knew you wanted to do or did the story of NIL just hit you?
LM: Writing books is WAY more fun than being an attorney IMHO! 🙂 I’d stepped away from law for a few years before I started writing. I was a stay-at-home mom, doing a little part-time work occasionally for the law firm where I used to work, when I started writing my first book (which was not NIL. :D). I’d always loved writing, since I was little. In high school, I wanted to become a journalist, then during college I switched to law. Looking back, I think it’s because I wasn’t confident enough to go for the writing dream…or maybe I just wasn’t ready yet.:) I always had lots of stories floating in my head–but I never gave them the time they deserved. That finally changed when I was home with the boys; that’s when writing became mine. Creative time just for me…and then I thought: why not go for it? Worst case: I don’t get published, and I’m no worse off that I am now.  But I went for it, and am so glad I did. 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynne MatsonAuthor Bio: Lynne Matson grew up in Georgia in a house full of books and a backyard full of gnarly pines. Back then, Lynne would stay up late, reading Nancy Drew books under the covers (with a flashlight . . . a weak attempt at ninja stealth). Now she still stays up late reading books and writing them. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, you’ll find her listening to music, messing around with paint, or hanging out with her husband and their four boys . . . or all of the above.

Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads || Blog

A huge thanks to Lynne Matson for the awesome interview! I absolutely loved learning more about the book and the ideas that helped form it! Don’t miss NIL coming out this March at a bookstore near you!

GIVEAWAY!

Want to win a copy of NIL? The winner will receive a hardcover copy of NIL and some awesome swag! US & Canada residents only. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification before the prize is forfeited to the next person.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Susan Dennard

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

I’ve been hosting the Book and a Beverage feature for a while now and I really wanted to expand the feature to extend to authors in 2014! I’m so excited to share these author Book and a Beverage posts with you and as always, many many thanks to the wonderful authors who participate!

Give a big welcome to author SUSAN DENNARD!

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Name:  Susan Dennard
You know her best as the author of… Something Strange and Deadly, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, and Strange and Ever After coming out this summer!

      

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READING:
What are you reading? I am rereading an old favorite fantasy series of mine by Kate Forsyth—the first book is The Witches of Eileanan.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? I definitely recommend it! The first book is a tad weaker in terms of prose (aren’t all debuts?), but the series is REALLY incredible. The characters are just so rich and the world so sweeping. I love it. (Especially the slow-burn romance!!)
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Oy, it really depends on what the person likes to read! I suppose the three most common recs I give are: Sabriel by Garth Nix (even though I like Lirael more, the first is amazing and you have to read it to get to book 2. :)), Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (I have read and reread this book more than any other on my shelf), and A Room With A View (this book’s heroine was a huge inspiration for Eleanor).

WRITING:
What can you tell us about your current work in progress? It’s an epic fantasy called TRUTHWITCH (see the Pinterest board here: http://www.pinterest.com/stdennard/truthwitch/) that’s set on a continent ruled by three empires, where everyone is born with magic and the Twenty Year Truce in a centuries long war is about to end.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? A bit of both, really. You can actually read a super in-depth series on my process, here: http://susandennard.com/2013/10/11/how-i-plan-a-book-part-1/
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I like to write (by hand in a notebook!) on my couch with my dogs beside me OR at my standing desk (with my teeny-tiny, internet-free laptop). As for reading, I’m a bed-reader. No place better than under the covers!!

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What are you drinking? Water. I actually probably pound too much water in a day. (I have to pee constantly. Yikes.)
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? I LOVE coffee when I work, but I’m trying to cut back. I’m down to 1 cup a day (and it is so sacred—I have a whole ritual around that one precious cup) and then herbal tea the rest of the day.

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If you were to co-author a book with someone (anyone!), who would it be? I already get to coauthor with my dream writer—Sarah J. Maas. You can read our free space opera here: http://thestarkillerscycle.tumblr.com/ 🙂
Which character from a book would you say you’re most like? Uh…..*blinks* I have no idea. But I can tell you who I wish I was: Childermass from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (yeah, I know he’s a dude. Don’t care. I want his skillz.).

Thank you SO much, Susan! Holy holy holy cow, I get more and more excited the more I hear about The Truthwitch! If you haven’t read Susan Dennard’s series yet, I highly recommend these books! They’re fun, smart, and action-packed!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Susan Dennard on Book and a Beverage! Find her at the links below!

Website // Blog // Twitter // Goodreads // Facebook // Pinterest

Are you interested in being featured on BOOK AND A BEVERAGE? Head on over to this feature’s page for the sign-up form!

And don’t forget! You can participate in Book and a Beverage at any time! Got a book? Got a beverage? Just tweet or post your photo on Instagram using the hashtag #bookandabeverage and I’ll retweet or repost your photo!

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