Thursday, April 26, 2018

0 Caleb Roehrig, author of WHITE RABBIT, on Second Book Syndrome

We're thrilled to have Caleb Roehrig join us to share more about his latest novel, WHITE RABBIT.

Caleb, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

I hate writing scenes showing conflict between parents and children, because those interactions are so weighted and intense. I wrote two such scenes in WHITE RABBIT, and both took a lot of out of me. They were necessary, and I’m happy with the way they turned out, but it was rough. However, the scene I think I’m the proudest of is the one where Rufus and Sebastian finally address their past. The push and pull of their relationship is what drives a lot of Rufus’s emotional arc, and the scene where he finally gets to lay his feelings bare is a huge moment, and I’m really proud of it.

How long did you work on WHITE RABBIT?


From beginning the outline to completing the first draft, it took me maybe three months; but WHITE RABBIT was not the novel I originally envisioned being my sophomore title. I actually spent maybe six months on a totally different manuscript first, getting all the way to the end of it before deciding that it just wasn’t The One. People talk about Second Book Syndrome, and for me, it was the real deal; it was six months of absolute agony and self-doubt. Setting the project aside and starting over was really hard, but from page one, Rufus’s story flowed in a way that made me realize it had been the correct choice.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

My rituals have changed a bit over time, but generally speaking, I always write in the evening. Once upon a time, I read a piece where dozens of creative types had been surveyed, and all of them spoke about how they got all their best work done before ten in the morning; the next day, I got up at eight a.m. and…stared at a blank Word document for two hours, because I couldn’t form coherent sentences. Never again will I make the mistake of thinking I could become a morning person! So I write in the late afternoon or evening, I make myself a pot of tea (caffeine!), and I usually put my headphones in and listen to a white noise app. (Music is too distracting—I always sing along!)

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a lot. My third novel, DEATH PREFERS BLONDES, will be released in January of 2019; and I’m contributing to an anthology of short stories inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, HIS HIDEOUS HEART, which will be released the following October. I’m contributing to a second anthology, which has yet to be announced, and I’m contracted for a fourth book as well—title and date TBD. So if your readers like my words, well…there are a lot more coming!

ABOUT THE BOOK

White Rabbit
by Caleb Roehrig
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 4/24/2018

Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian―the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to "talk." Things couldn’t get worse, right?

Then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. He and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.

April swears she didn’t kill Fox. Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth, but April has something he needs. Her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to clear his sister’s name . . . or die trying.

Purchase White Rabbit at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caleb Roehrig is a writer and television producer originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Having also lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Helsinki, Finland, he has a chronic case of wanderlust, and can recommend the best sights to see on a shoestring budget in over thirty countries. A former actor, Roehrig has experience on both sides of the camera, with a résumé that includes appearances on film and TV—as well as seven years in the stranger-than-fiction salt mines of reality television. In the name of earning a paycheck, he has: hung around a frozen cornfield in his underwear, partied with an actual rock-star, chatted with a scandal-plagued politician, and been menaced by a disgruntled ostrich.

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Have you had a chance to read WHITE RABBIT yet? Have you set a project aside and started over because it wasn't The One? Are you a morning writer or an evening writer? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Charlotte, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Monday, April 23, 2018

7 New Releases this week 04/23 - 04/29 plus 2 Giveaways

Happy Monday! There are only a few books releasing this week but they all sound epic and we have a giveaway for two of them! Don't forget to check them all out below.

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Halli, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann

Short FYI: Next week's new releases post will be slightly delayed (it will be up by Monday afternoon instead of morning) because I will be on a short trip next weekend. Also since you're already reading this, make sure to check out White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig this week. It's one of my favourite books of the year! - Shelly


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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The Complication
by Suzanne Young
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 4/24/2018

Every cure has a cost.

Tatum Masterson learned this after years of being monitored by The Program. She witnessed it when her boyfriend, Wes, came back changed, erased. And now, even the newest “cure” has a heavy cost—one she and Wes paid.

The Adjustment came into Tatum’s life just when she thought she needed it most, a promise for Wes to get back his forgotten memories. But when the procedure went wrong, a revelation shattered everything Tatum thought she knew.

Now, with no one left to trust, Tatum must find out what really happened last summer. And with the help of the boyfriend she lost, Tatum will have to dig into the past and future of The Program and its handlers.

And discover the true cost of a cure.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Complication?

I knew I wanted the last book of the series to be special—to be deep, painful, and ultimately hopeful. I was able to tie up the storylines from the other five books, but what I really, truly loved was including past characters from the series.

Although this is Tatum’s story, Sloane and James return to help finish THE COMPLICATION. We get to see nearly everyone, but the love story between Sloane and James, the possibility of losing that, is something I think fans of the series will understand, and hopefully, appreciate.

These books have been six years of my life. I poured my heart and soul into this last one, and it was done with my readers in mind. It had to be worth it. This is their series as much as mine. I hope readers will love it.


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View The Complication on Goodreads



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Sky in the Deep
by Adrienne Young
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Wednesday Books
Released 4/24/2018

A 2018 Most Anticipated Young Adult book that is part Wonder Woman, part Vikings―and all heart.

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield―her brother, fighting with the enemy―the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Sky in the Deep?

My favorite thing about Sky in the Deep is definitely its main character, Eelyn. I am endlessly inspired by her simultaneous strength and vulnerability. So often, we see strong girls with no heart or helpless girls who are "good". Eelyn gets to be both and that is really, really beautiful to me.

Purchase Sky in the Deep at Amazon
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YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


In Her Skin by Kim Savage: Michelle S. A.
Love & War by Melissa de la Cruz: Justine K.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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White Rabbit
by Caleb Roehrig
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 4/24/2018

Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian―the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to "talk." Things couldn’t get worse, right?

Then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. He and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.

April swears she didn’t kill Fox. Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth, but April has something he needs. Her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to clear his sister’s name . . . or die trying.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about White Rabbit?

WHITE RABBIT is what I like to call my homage to Agatha Christie. It begins with a murder in an isolated location and a limited pool of suspects; everyone has an alibi, but everyone is lying; and sometimes what seems obvious is in deceiving (and vice versa.) Putting together such an intricate puzzle, one that keeps the reader guessing but doesn’t rely on cheap tricks, is a real challenge. So one of my favorite things about this book is that I managed it at all!

Something else that’s really important to me about this book is that it features a gay teenager as its hero. I practically devoured thrillers in high school, and it would have meant so much to me to have one where someone like myself got to be more than just a victim. And the tension between Rufus and Sebastian—ex-boyfriends with unfinished business—was really rewarding to write.


Purchase White Rabbit at Amazon
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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Ash Princess
by Laura Sebastian
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 4/24/2018

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Purchase Ash Princess at Amazon
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View Ash Princess on Goodreads

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From the Earth to the Shadows
by Amanda Hocking
Paperback
Wednesday Books
Released 4/24/2018

The epic conclusion to the thrilling Valkyrie duology by New York Times bestselling YA author Amanda Hocking, From the Earth to the Shadows.

While dealing with dark revelations about her life and her world, Malin finds herself with new allies--and new enemies. Her quest for the truth leads her to places she never thought possible, and she's never been one to shy away from a fight. But for all her strength and determination, will it be enough to save the world before it's too late?

Purchase From the Earth to the Shadows at Amazon
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View From the Earth to the Shadows on Goodreads

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Inferno
by Julie Kagawa
Hardcover
Harlequin Teen
Released 4/24/2018

TODAY, WE STRIKE BACK.

WE SHOW TALON THAT WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEIR NEW WORLD.

Ember Hill has learned a shocking truth about herself: she is the blood of the Elder Wyrm, the ancient dragon who leads Talon and who is on the verge of world domination. With the Order of St. George destroyed, Ember, Riley and Garret journey to the Amazon jungle in search of one who might hold the key to take down the Elder Wyrm and Talon. If they can survive the encounter.

Meanwhile, Ember’s brother, Dante, will travel to China with a message for the last Eastern dragons: join Talon or die. With the stakes rising and the Elder Wyrm declaring war, time is running out for the rogues and any dragon not allied with Talon.

The final battle approaches. And if Talon is victorious, the world will burn.

Purchase Inferno at Amazon
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View Inferno on Goodreads

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Leah on the Offbeat
by Becky Albertalli
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 4/24/2018

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic.

She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high.

It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Purchase Leah on the Offbeat at Amazon
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Love Songs & Other Lies
by Jessica Pennington
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 4/24/2018

That’s the thing about the past…
Back-of-the-classroom anonymity is all Cam wants from the tiny Michigan town he’s calling home. A new life uninterrupted by the tragedy he left behind. Until he meets a girl who piques his interest and their relationship quickly turns into a confusing mix of friendship, musical adventure, and a love he didn’t expect…or want.

…as soon as it’s over, it can come right back
Two years after turning into the #1 Fan of the Breakup Anthem, Virginia “Vee” Miller is just looking for a fun, carefree summer. So she agrees to join a few of her old high school friends on a battling bands reality show tour bus. What she doesn’t know is that they also invited Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Between playing fake-girlfriend to one band member and faking friendship-only interest in Cam, it’s not exactly the fresh start she had in mind. Because Cam sees right through her, and his determination to win her forgiveness is causing its own TMZ-worthy problems for Vee. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s willing to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

Purchase Love Songs & Other Lies at Amazon
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View Love Songs & Other Lies on Goodreads

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Stay Sweet
by Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for You
Released 4/24/2018

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best for friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

Purchase Stay Sweet at Amazon
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Trouble Never Sleeps
by Stephanie Tromly
Hardcover
Kathy Dawson Books
Released 4/24/2018

Digby and Zoe have been skirting around each other for so long that you might think they'd lose their magic if they ever actually hooked up. But never fear--there's all the acerbic wit, steamy chemistry, and sarcastic banter you could possibly hope for.

Now that Digby's back in town he's plunged Zoe (and their Scooby Gang of wealthy frenemy Sloane, nerd-tastic genius Felix, and aw-shucks-handsome Henry) back into the deep end on the hunt for his kidnapped sister. He's got a lead, but it involves breaking into a secret government research facility, paying a drug dealer off with a Bentley, and possibly committing treason. The schemes might be over-the-top but this Breakfast Club cast is irresistibly real as they cope with regular high school stuff from social media shaming to dating your best friend, all with a twist no one will see coming.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

0 Kim Savage, author of IN HER SKIN, on writers having a knack for getting inside other people’s skin

We're thrilled to have Kim Savage stop by to tell us more about her latest novel, IN HER SKIN.

Kim, what was your inspiration for writing IN HER SKIN?

In Her Skin is inspired by the life of a real-life con artist named Frédéric Bourdin who impersonated a missing boy. His was the most improbable con: Bourdin looked nothing like the boy, and told a far-fetched story of having been kidnapped and held for years. Yet the parents accepted him as their missing son until the FBI proved Bourdin was a fraud. I wondered why any parents would go along with such a ruse, and from that question, my story unfolded.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

There’s a scene where Jo discloses her trick for getting inside someone’s skin. It’s one of the only times she addresses the reader, instead of directly addressing the Lovecraft’s daughter Temple, in her narration. She says:

Every time I switched schools, to avoid getting teased for my backwater accent or my short pants, I’d pick a certain girl—the girl whose laugh could leave you bleeding, the one who moved other kids around like chess pieces, the one teachers let get away with murder. I couldn’t copy clothes, or the smell of clean scalp, or a hard little chin. But I’d get good at the cool rhythm of her speech, her shuffle walk, her nonchalance. Eventually, it wasn’t enough to be on the outside: I wanted in. So I decided things. I thought she might be a late sleeper. That she liked salty over sweet. She tanned easy, and had a stripe of white underneath the woven bracelet on her ankle. The lines around both of us dissolved until I was looking through her eyes, and those eyes were fierce slits. When one of Momma’s boyfriends would block my way, I’d push past him, sweeping my shoulder like he’d shed something bad. If Momma limped from a kidney punch, I spat into the boyfriend’s scrambled eggs and coolly watched him eat. Momma’s scams were just games, games that I played along with because I wanted to, and I could stop at any time.

Inside the girl’s ferocity, I hardened.

That scene tells you everything you need to know about Jo.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

Either way: You and Hidden Bodies by Carolyn Kepnes; We Have Always Lived in the House by Shirley Jackson; Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh; History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund; and, After the Woods, because the urgent, first-person narration are in a similar vein, and the same readers who loved After the Woods seem to like In Her Skin.

How long did you work on IN HER SKIN?

I found Jo’s voice almost immediately, so it took me less than a year, which it had to, given deadlines. The story is set in my backyard (Boston), and the characters are plucked from people I know intimately. I don’t imagine the ease with which this story flowed will ever happen to me again, to be honest. I guess that “flow” was a gift, because shortly after I turned in the final draft of In Her Skin, my father passed, and I had to step away for a while (I actually wrote about writing through grief in this same space last year: How I Kept Writing After My Muse Died). Writing anything that wasn’t fiction helped: articles, essays and opinion pieces, mostly.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I’ve never experienced the wild times Jo has. Yet, at one point in the manuscript, I realized that Jo is the most autobiographical character I’ve written. While not poor, I was raised in a solidly lower middle class family, in a blue collar town, first in my family to attend college, and dependent on loans, scholarships, and tuition remission to make my way. Like Jo, I clung to the promise of an idealistic life I’d always imagined, with a large family of my own, a good education, and unlimited opportunity. And, like a lot of writers, I’ve had a knack for getting inside other people’s skin since I was very young. Jo’s idealism and skills are also mine.

What do you hope readers will take away from IN HER SKIN?

If readers are to take away one idea, it's that forgetting who you are can bring on a world of bad.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

In Her Skin is my third book. I also wrote After the Woods (2016) and Beautiful Broken Girls (2017). All three are with the same editor at FSG/Macmillan, Janine O’Malley, which has been a blessing. After the Woods took about 4 years from writing to publication, during which I swear I wrote nearly every day, or close to it. Once FSG acquired it, it went through a major revision to excise an unnecessary subplot. It was incredibly difficult, and a learning experience I would not have traded for anything.

I don’t have an unpublished book in the drawer, as they say, but man, do I have an abundance of manuscripts in my head. It’s a library in there.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I used to book the crappiest, most depressing hotel I could find and lock myself in a room for a weekend, writing from Friday to Sunday. I can’t really get away with that anymore, as my childrens’ schedules are over the top (shades of Temple Lovecraft here), and ducking out for three days requires serious machinations. Since my writing ritual is dictated by my deadlines, I work whenever I can. The second the kids leave for school, I turn on Freedom for Mac, and it’s go-time.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

There are so many distractions that can leech your gift. I found peace when, like Jo, I figured out who I am: a writer’s writer, focused on improving my craft, rather than getting glory.

What are you working on now?

I have four unfinished manuscripts in front of me. Two are psychological suspense, one is a retelling of Richard III, and the fourth is an adult thriller. Of course, I keep trying to work on all four at the same time. I’m going to have to pick a favorite soon. What would you like to see me write? Leave it in the comments!

ABOUT THE BOOK

In Her Skin
by Kim Savage
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 4/17/2018

A dark, suspenseful young adult novel about crime, identity, and two girls with everything to lose.
Fifteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain takes on her biggest fraud yet―impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn't been easy, and she hopes to cash in on a little safety, some security. She finds her opportunity with the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family tied to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.
When Jo takes on Vivi's identity and stages the girl's miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household―and some secrets refuse to stay buried. When hidden crimes come to the surface and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold on to an illusion of safety or escape the danger around her before it's too late. In Her Skin is Kim Savage at her most suspenseful yet.

Purchase In Her Skin at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kim Savage is the author of three critically acclaimed young adult novels, After the Woods, Beautiful Broken Girls (named by Kirkus as one of the 10 Best YA of 2017), and In Her Skin (releasing March 27, 2018), all with Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan. Her novels have been published in Spain, Brazil, and Turkey, and have been optioned for TV. Kim presents at conferences and book festivals nationwide; has been featured on NPR, Herald Radio, and on local cable stations; and she reads from her novels at bookstores across the country. A former reporter with a Master degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, Kim's stories are based in and around Boston. She lives with her family near Boston, not far from the real Middlesex Fells Reservation of After the Woods. Kim and her husband have three children, each of whom beg to appear in her books. They shouldn't.

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Have you had a chance to read IN HER SKIN yet? Do you have an abundance of manuscripts in your head? Are you focused on improving your craft? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Charlotte, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Thursday, April 19, 2018

0 Melissa de la Cruz, author of LOVE & WAR, on never giving up

LOVE & WAR is the sequel to ALEX & ELIZA: A LOVE STORY, and we're thrilled to have Melissa de la Cruz stop by to tell us more about it.

Melissa, what was your inspiration for writing LOVE & WAR?

It’s the sequel to Alex and Eliza, which was inspired by my daughter’s interest in Eliza Hamilton.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

I love the scene where Alex comes home to Eliza and realizes how lucky he is, he does this several times in the book and I love it every time.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

I love Sarah Maclean’s historical romances, they’re not YA, but they were a huge influence on these books.

How long did you work on LOVE & WAR?

I’m not really sure. I work on a lot of books at the same time, so it’s hard to answer this question.

What do you hope readers will take away from LOVE & WAR?

I hope they are entertained, uplifted and close the book with a happy sigh.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

Oh my goodness this is my 46th published book. My first book was published 17 years ago. Before that was published, I wrote 2 novels that were not published. I was 22 when I tried to get published and 27 when my first book sold, so it took five years. It felt like forever. I almost gave up.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

My first editor was very instrumental in helping me figure out craft. She was the one who suggested I outline the book when I revised it. She told me “there’s no plot. There’s a lot of voice and character and humor and great writing, but there’s no story.” I didn’t realize I needed a STORY! Duh! I thought I could just be clever and funny. But that’s not a novel. That’s a magazine article. ☺

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I work at home, but I can literally work anywhere. Lately I’ve taken to bringing my computer to the school library when I’m between errands and near picking up my kid. I’m in the high school library in one of the cubicles, with kids all around me. It’s great.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Never give up!

What are you working on now?

Right at this minute, the sequel to Love and War, the third book in the Alex and Eliza series, as well as the first book in my new Disney series THE S.Q.U.A.D. which is publishing this November, my graphic novel Batman: Gotham High, and my new adult domestic suspense thriller The Birthday Girl, and a couple of books that haven’t been announced yet. As well as some TV scripts and some book proposals. I like to have a lot my plate.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Love & War
by Melissa de la Cruz
Hardcover
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Y
Released 4/17/2018

1781. Albany, New York.

As the war for American independence rages on, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler begin their new life as a married couple. Still, Alex is as determined as ever to prove his mettle and secure his legacy . . . even if that means leaving his beloved Eliza behind to join the front lines at the Battle of Yorktown. But when the war unexpectedly arrives on Eliza's doorstep, she must fight for a better future--for their fledgling country and for her marriage.

Yet even after the Revolution comes to its historic close, Alex and Eliza's happily-ever-after is threatened. Eliza struggles to build a home in the hustle and bustle of New York City just as Alex's burgeoning law practice brings him up against his greatest rival--the ambitious young lawyer Aaron Burr. And with Alex's star on the rise, Eliza can't help but feel neglected by a husband who seems to have time for everyone but her. Torn apart by new trials and temptations, can Alex and Eliza's epic love survive life in the big city?

Purchase Love & War at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times, #1 Publisher’s Weekly and #1 IndieBound bestselling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages. Her more than forty-five books have also topped USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists and been published in over twenty countries. She is best-known for her Blue Bloods series (with more than three million copies in print), The Descendants books based on the Disney Channel films, and the Witches of East End novels, which were turned into a two-season drama series starring Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum,
Rachel Boston and Mädchen Amick on Lifetime Television.

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Have you had a chance to read LOVE & WAR yet? Do you get caught up in voice and forget about plot? Do you like to have a lot on your plate? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Charlotte, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

0 WoW: Diana Rodriguez Wallach on Developing a Cohesive Trilogy

Today on for Writers on Writing, we're thrilled to have Diana Rodriguez Wallach, author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series, with some insight on developing the consistent elements that help bind a trilogy together. Stay tuned after the guest post for more info about Diana and her most recent book, LIES THAT BIND. Without further ado, here's Diana! 

The Super Glue that Holds a Trilogy Together
By Diana Rodriguez Wallach

A lot of glue goes into binding a trilogy. There are the giant globs, like theme and character, as well as the tiny drips applied with a toothpick, like inside jokes or literary references. For the Anastasia Phoenix series, the big smears of paste include espionage, travel, mystery and family, but one of my favorite drops of super glue is the incorporation of obscure holidays.



InProof of Lies, the book opens with Anastasia and her sister, Keira, celebrating Mother’s Day Eve. There’s no mimosa brunch, instead Keira, Anastasia’s legal guardian, throws herself a raging mother’s day eve bash full of a bit too many martinis. This celebration serves as the catalyst for the entire series—the event that leads to Keira’s disappearance.

So when writing the sequel, Lies that Bind, I again wanted to feature a holiday that most people don’t typically celebrate. I had the timeline for the event—the book had to begin in November; and a geographically huge location—it needed to be set in Europe; so I started Googling. That was when I landed on, “Remember, remember the fifth of November!”

This famous folk verse was written in honor of the day Guy Fawkes infamously tried to blow up Parliament, four hundred year ago, and was caught with a match in his hand before he could ever ignite those barrels full of gunpowder. The Brits call it Bonfire Night, and there are celebrations throughout the country honoring his capture, but there is none larger than in the tiny village of Lewes, England.

Every November 5th, locals march through the cobblestone streets past stone cottages and Tudor homes, dressed in elaborate costumes carrying torches, firecrackers, and flaming wheelbarrows. My husband and I traveled there last year, and I made it the opening scene for Lies that Bind

In these beginning pages, Anastasia is helping Marcus search for his brother, surrounded by flames.


There are vivid descriptions of parade goers enjoyinga bit (too much) alcohol and accidentally stepping on torches left lying unprotected in the road.



There are elaborate costumes.



There are culturally inappropriate themes.



And there’s even a depiction of a giant float carried through town portraying the American president riding a cactus while wearing a giant sombrero. (That float exploded intofireworks at midnight.)




It was an amazing experience that I shared through Anastasia’s point of view. It’s part of the glue that makes the trilogy feel cohesive, and of course, that means book three, End of the Lie, will feature its own obscure festival. Not to spoil too much, but I can reveal my passport will have stamps from Poland and Prague in the coming weeks…


About Lies that Bind

What do you do when you learn your entire childhood was a lie? 

Reeling from the truths uncovered while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. The only way to stop being a pawn in their game is to remove herself from the board. But before she can leave her parents’ crimes behind her, tragedy strikes. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists.

Now, with help from her friends, Anastasia embarks on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire. From a fire-filled festival in England to a lavish wedding in Rio de Janeiro, Anastasia is determined to confront the enemies who want to destroy her family. But even Marcus, the handsome bad boy who’s been there for her at every step, is connected to the deadly spy network. And the more she learns about Department D, the more she realizes the true danger might be coming from someone closer than she expects… 



About Diana Rodriguez Wallach: 
Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series, three young adult spy thrillers (Entangled Publishing, 2017, ’18, ‘19). The first book in the trilogy, Proof of Lies, was named by Paste Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best Young Adult Books for March 2017.” Bustle also listed her as one of the “Top Nine Latinx Authors to Read for Women’s History Month 2017.” Additionally, she is the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013).

She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, a school-based Workshop Instructor for Mighty Writers in Philadelphia, and has been a Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth since 2015. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.

For more about Diana, check out The Whole Story.


Author Links:

Monday, April 16, 2018

4 New Releases this week 04/16 - 04/22 plus 2 Giveaways

Happy Monday! There are only a few books releasing this week but they sound epic and we have a giveaway for two of them! Don't forget to check them all out below.

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Halli, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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In Her Skin
by Kim Savage
U.S. & Canada Only
Hardcover Giveaway
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 4/17/2018

A dark, suspenseful young adult novel about crime, identity, and two girls with everything to lose.
Fifteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain takes on her biggest fraud yet―impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn't been easy, and she hopes to cash in on a little safety, some security. She finds her opportunity with the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family tied to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.
When Jo takes on Vivi's identity and stages the girl's miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household―and some secrets refuse to stay buried. When hidden crimes come to the surface and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold on to an illusion of safety or escape the danger around her before it's too late. In Her Skin is Kim Savage at her most suspenseful yet.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about In Her Skin?

Jo is a magical thinker. Though violence marked her younger years, Jo has decided that finding a perfect family—even if she has to con her way into it—will solve her problems. She also has a habit of repeating things three times (“I am Vivienne Weir. I am Vivienne Weir. I am Vivienne.”) because she thinks it will, as she says, make things so. Jo may be street savvy, but she is also terribly vulnerable.

Purchase In Her Skin at Amazon
Purchase In Her Skin at IndieBound
View In Her Skin on Goodreads

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Love & War
by Melissa de la Cruz
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Y
Released 4/17/2018

1781. Albany, New York.

As the war for American independence rages on, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler begin their new life as a married couple. Still, Alex is as determined as ever to prove his mettle and secure his legacy . . . even if that means leaving his beloved Eliza behind to join the front lines at the Battle of Yorktown. But when the war unexpectedly arrives on Eliza's doorstep, she must fight for a better future--for their fledgling country and for her marriage.

Yet even after the Revolution comes to its historic close, Alex and Eliza's happily-ever-after is threatened. Eliza struggles to build a home in the hustle and bustle of New York City just as Alex's burgeoning law practice brings him up against his greatest rival--the ambitious young lawyer Aaron Burr. And with Alex's star on the rise, Eliza can't help but feel neglected by a husband who seems to have time for everyone but her. Torn apart by new trials and temptations, can Alex and Eliza's epic love survive life in the big city?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Love & War?

My favorite thing about LOVE & WAR is how Alex and Eliza adjust to being newlyweds. A love story doesn’t end at a wedding - how do you keep love alive? In the middle of the American Revolution, and starting careers and a new country at that? I also love how brave they both are in both fronts - the battlefield and the home. They are both heroes.

Purchase Love & War at Amazon
Purchase Love & War at IndieBound
View Love & War on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake: Cassandra D.
Given To The Earth by Mindy McGinnis: Emily D.
The Crooked Castle by Sarah Jean Horwitz: Linda L.
Lizzie by Dawn Ius: Branwen O.

MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Star Struck
by Jenny McLachlan
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 4/17/2018

From Jenny McLachlan, the author of Sunkissed, comes Star Struck, the next Ladybirds young adult novel.

Purchase Star Struck at Amazon
Purchase Star Struck at IndieBound
View Star Struck on Goodreads


Saturday, April 14, 2018

0 Amanda Foody, author of ACE OF SHADES, on not becoming dependent on any writing ritual

We're thrilled to have Amanda Foody drop by to tell us more about her latest novel, ACE OF SHADES.

Amanda, what was your initial inspiration for ACE OF SHADES? 

I had two very, very different ones. The first was the idea of a world where magic was currency, in which every book of the series had a different financial operation. The second inspiration came from Spirited Away, my favorite movie. I based the three core characters on Chihiro, Haku, and Yubaba.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why? Is that the one of which you are most proud?

There is a particular character in the book who is a predator, and though the writing never grows truly explicit, I still found his largest scene to be very unnerving to write. I am most proud of the female masturbation scene because of what it does for the character's arc and because I was so nervous to write it. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself? 

This book taught me nearly everything about writing. Most importantly, how to revise. This book has been entirely rewritten five times.

What do you hope readers will take away from ACE OF SHADES? 

I hope readers love the characters and the world enough to return for book two! I don't think I could ask for more than that.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc? 

I am the least picky writer ever. I have no ritual or preferences. I like constant change, and I don't like becoming dependent on any ritual or familiar thing. But it's a definite no to coffee shops. I don't like coffee, so I've truly only been inside coffee shops a handful of times ever.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers? 

Seek out other writers who are at the same experience level as you or higher. Value their opinions on yourself and your work. Take compliments as easily as you take criticism. True self-confidence is letting go of perfection.

What are you working on now? 

A bunch of projects! Notably, finishing up ACE's sequel.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Ace of Shades
by Amanda Foody
Hardcover
Harlequin Teen
Released 4/10/2018

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

Purchase Ace of Shades at Amazon
Purchase Ace of Shades at IndieBound
View Ace of Shades on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a Masters in Accountancy from Villanova University, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she works as a tax accountant in Philadelphia, PA, surrounded by her many siblings and many books.

ACE OF SHADES is the first novel of THE SHADOW GAME series, releasing April 10, 2018. Her debut, DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY, released in July 2017.

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Have you had a chance to read ACE OF SHADES yet? Do you take compliments as easily as you take criticism? Are you able to let go of perfection? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Charlotte, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Friday, April 13, 2018

0 Sarah Jean Horwitz, author of THE CROOKED CASTLE, on learning to write for a living

THE CROOKED CASTLE is the second book in the Carmer and Grit series, and we're delighted to have Sarah Jean Horwitz here to tell us more about it.

Sarah, what was your inspiration for writing THE CROOKED CASTLE?

I knew since finishing the first Carmer and Grit book, The Wingsnatchers, which focused on the invention of electric light, that I’d like each book to be tied to a technological innovation of some sort. After a few false starts, I finally settled on early flight as my jumping off point. The steampunk genre is obviously known for airships, but I thought it would be fun to include other technologies people were exploring from the late 1800s to early 1900s, from ornithopters to actual airplanes. Thus, the flying circus in The Crooked Castle that is Rinka Tinka’s Roving Wonder Show was born!

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

Looking back, I had an unusually easy experience with the first book, from the original idea to outlining, drafting, revising, and even on the road to publication. This book was much tougher, for a variety of reasons, and it was my first book ever written on a deadline. So I definitely learned a lot about what it’s like to write not just for yourself, but for a living. The book had to get done, simple as that. And it did!

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?


I’m fortunate enough to have a very flexible day job, so I tend to be able to sneak in some writing if there’s a slow stretch or two during theday. Otherwise, I’ll usually write in the evenings. I’ll often take a walk or a short break after having finished my work-related tasks, and then I’ll sit down again at my office computer and try to bang out a few hundred words before heading home or to circus or acroyoga class. I try to get 500 words a day done, but it doesn’t always happen. I don’t usually write on weekends unless I’m really trying to finish something.

I like to keep a very relaxed schedule, with lots of time for exercise, circus arts classes, cooking homemade meals, watching TV, getting lots of sleep, and spending time with my partner. As you can probably tell from all this, I’m slow as molasses as a writer! But it all gets done in the end. Ideally, I like to have lots of silent, uninterrupted time to write so I can really get cracking, but again…the grass is always greener! I’d probably find some new way to goof off even if I did have that extra time.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the first draft of a new middle grade fantasy story. It takes place in a fairytale-like world with a bit of a darkly comedic vibe, and follows the journey of a young girl named Clementine, the daughter of an Evil Overlord. Clementine runs into a few problems when she starts to realize she’s not too keen on continuing the family business of evildoing! There is also (probably) a talking sheep. It’s been great fun so far.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Crooked Castle
by Sarah Jean Horwitz
Hardcover
Algonquin Young Readers
Released 4/10/2018

Magician’s apprentice Carmer and one-winged faerie princess Grit investigate a mysteriously magical flying circus in the follow-up to “a fun and frolicking middle grade adventure full of enough fantasy, humor and heart to make giddy even the most finicky reader.” (BookPage)

Shortly after saving the faeries of Skemantis, magician’s apprentice Felix Carmer III and his faerie companion, Grit, head out to see the world. They soon come across a mysteriously magical flying circus. As they get to know the outlandish world of Rinka Tinka’s Roving Wonder Show, it becomes clear there’s something not quite normal about this circus or its inventor—and that recent airship disasters plaguing nearby Driftside City may have a sinister explanation.

Fans of the Wildwood trilogy and Lockwood & Co. series will love the thrills and chills of The Crooked Castle as it takes readers up in the air with a flying circus, under the sea to the evil Unseelie kingdom, through a terrifying magical snowstorm, and on a chase with the menacing Wild Hunt.

Purchase The Crooked Castle at Amazon
Purchase The Crooked Castle at IndieBound
View The Crooked Castle on Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Sarah Jean Horwitz was raised in suburban New Jersey, where her love of storytelling grew from listening to her mother’s original “fractured fairy tales,” a childhood spent in community theater, and an only slightly worrying phase as a
pathological liar. Thankfully, she’s over the last bit.

​Sarah was a film production student at Emerson College when she took her first screenwriting class and realized that making up a movie’s story was a lot more fun than actually making it happen, and also that cameras are really heavy. More writing, including a semester in the Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) online mentorship program, followed. She graduated with a B.A. in Visual & Media Arts and a concentration in writing for film and television in 2012.
Naturally, the first project she decided to write after graduating film school was a book. A few years, a handful of continental U.S. states, and many odd jobs later, that book became THE WINGSNATCHERS, the first book in the Carmer and Grit series. The second book in the series, THE CROOKED CASTLE, comes out in April 2018. She hopes more stories – in all forms – will follow.
Sarah's other interests include feminism, circus arts, extensive thematic playlists, improvisational movement, tattoos, and making people eat their vegetables. She currently works as an executive assistant and lives with her partner near Cambridge, MA. 

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Have you had a chance to read THE CROOKED CASTLE yet? Are you able to sneak in some writing during your day job? Are you a fast or slow writer? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Charlotte, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann