Thursday, February 22, 2018

0 Gwendolyn Clare, author of INK, IRON, AND GLASS, on thinking critically about what you read and write

We're delighted to have Gwendolyn Clare join us to chat about her debut novel, INK, IRON, AND GLASS.


Gwendolyn, what book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

I'd definitely recommend it to fans of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series or the Girl Genius comics by Phil and Kaja Foglio. If you're hungry for more historical fantasy after Ink, Iron, and Glass, I'd suggest Beth Cato's Breath of Earth, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my debut twin, Deborah Schaumberg, whose YA novel The Tombs also came out this week!

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


When I was writing full time, I would park myself in a local cafe first thing in the morning and write for a solid five hours, then take a break in the afternoon, and do brainstorming in the evening for the next morning's writing session. Now that I'm back to teaching full time, my writing schedule is more like trying to squeeze in a few panicked minutes here and there! Mostly I work on weekends now.

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

I started out writing short fiction for several years before I even tried my hand at writing novels. Then I wrote and queried three previous (still unpublished) novels before Ink, Iron, and Glass landed me an agent and later a publisher. It's easy to see other authors' successes from the outside and assume they somehow jumped on the publication highway, but we all have trunk stories and piles of rejection letters! That's just part of the journey.

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

The best advice I can give is to take all advice with a grain of salt. There's no such thing as an unbreakable writing rule. If a piece of advice helps you to be productive and hone your craft, then great! But if it doesn't work for you, throw it out. The only part of the process that seems consistent for basically all writers is that you need to be reading a lot and writing a lot -- and thinking critically about what you read and write, so you're actually learning from it. That's the only must, as far as I'm concerned.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Ink, Iron, and Glass
by Gwendolyn Clare
Hardcover
Imprint
Released 2/20/2018

Can she write a world gone wrong?
A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother―a noted scriptologist.
But when her home is attacked and her mother kidnapped, Elsa is forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones―young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology―and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.
In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created―and only she can stop it.

Purchase Ink, Iron, and Glass at Amazon
Purchase Ink, Iron, and Glass at IndieBound
View Ink, Iron, and Glass on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gwendolyn Clare's debut novel -- INK, IRON, AND GLASS -- is the first in a steampunk duology about a young mad scientist with the ability to write new worlds into existence, forthcoming from Imprint in 2018. Her short stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Asimov's, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, among others, and her poetry has been nominated for the Rhysling Award. She holds a BA in Ecology, a BS in Geophysics, a PhD in Mycology, and swears she's done collecting acronyms. She lives in North Carolina with too many cats, too many ducks, and never enough books.

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Have you had a chance to read INK, IRON, AND GLASS yet? Do you have any trunk stories? Are you learning from what you read and write? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

0 Marie Marquardt, author of FLIGHT SEASON: A NOVEL, on diving back into grief

We're thrilled to have Marie Marquardt with us to share more about her latest novel, FLIGHT SEASON.

Marie, what was your inspiration for writing FLIGHT SEASON?

This story was inspired by my own experiences at two very different times in my life. A couple of weeks before I graduated from high school, I found out that my dad was terminally ill, and he died during my first year of college. I share this in common with Vivi, the story’s protagonist. As an adult, I have spent many years working with undocumented immigrant teens. The other key elements of the storyline draw from my time with them, and from my enormous respect for the immigrant teens I’ve had the honor of knowing.

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?

Every scene that made me dive back into my grief was an enormous challenge. But I also was amazed by how raw and present that grief – from decades ago! – continues to be when I allow myself to feel it.

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

I learned not to be afraid of my own intense emotions. They can be a powerful tool for writing, and writing them can be a powerful tool for healing.

What do you hope readers will take away from FLIGHT SEASON?

The power of empathy to change our world.

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

Take heart. Be bold. Never let fear get in the way.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Flight Season: A Novel
by Marie Marquardt
Hardcover
Wednesday Books
Released 2/20/2018

Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

Written in alternating first person from the perspectives of all three characters, Flight Season is a story about discovering what’s really worth holding onto, learning how to let go of the rest, and that one crazy summer that changes your life forever.

Purchase Flight Season: A Novel at Amazon
Purchase Flight Season: A Novel at IndieBound
View Flight Season: A Novel on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Marie Marquardt is a Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and has been an advocate for social justice for Latin American immigrants in the South for two decades. She is the author of three critically acclaimed novels for young adults—Dream Things True, The Radius of Us, and Flight Season. Her novels reflect the experiences of undocumented immigrant teenagers and are inspired by her experiences working with detainees and their families as chair of the Georgia non-profit El Refugio.

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Have you had a chance to read FLIGHT SEASON: A NOVEL yet? Are intense emotions a powerful tool in your writing? Have writing intense emotions helped you heal? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

0 Vesper Stamper, author of WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS, on listening to and trusting your characters

We're excited to have Vesper Stamper stop by to chat with us about her latest novel, WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS.

Vesper, what is your writing ritual?

Since I just finished another manuscript, I’ll tell you how I did that! I get all the “heady” stuff (admin, emails, calendar) out of the way in the morning. While I make and eat breakfast, I read a bit of the Bible, then listen to part of an audiobook, either by a language master like Dostoevsky, or a book that’s part of my research. My husband builds me a fire, I make a cup of tea, light a candle and say a prayer over my work day. I hole up in my comfy chair with a basket of research books, and get to writing. I try to write “blind”—not looking at the screen so I can work in a more stream-of consciousness way. And I try to work on my art, whether it’s illustration or sketchbook work, as much as possible to keep that part of me thriving.

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

One of the most important takeaways for me was the importance of freedom of speech. When totalitarian movements or regimes like the Nazis begin to amass power, there’s a recognizable pattern. First, they attack language and speech codes. They then go after artists and intellectuals, because they want to remove the reflex, right or ability for individuals to think with nuance and critical thought. I became very dedicated to the First Amendment and resisting censorship as a result.

What do you hope readers will take away from WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS?

I hope readers will be inspired by Gerta’s story to go deeply into the question of who they really are, and who other people really are, without making easy assumptions. It’s so easy to think we are answering that question when in actuality we are only stating what we are—and as humans we have enormous capacity to change our minds. No one is as “other” as we make them out to be, and there is so much richness in really knowing people.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Follow your curiosity and dive deep into a subject you can’t get out of your mind. Journal, by hand, a lot. Listen to and trust the characters. If you’re stuck, close your eyes and let your characters just live their lives in front of you, then write what you saw. Do more thorough world building than you think you need. Get. Outside. Of. Yourself. Artists must surround themselves with—and get close to—people who think differently than they do so they can write a range of characters, not just multiple dimensions of themselves. And go for long walks without your phone. There is such a clean and beautiful world out there ready to speak to us and tell us its stories.

ABOUT THE BOOK

What the Night Sings
by Vesper Stamper
Hardcover
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 2/20/2018

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future.


Purchase What the Night Sings at Amazon
Purchase What the Night Sings at IndieBound
View What the Night Sings on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vesper Stamper was born in Nuremberg, Germany and raised in New York City. Her family was an eclectic mix of engineers, musicians and artists who didn't think Voltaire too tough for bedtime reading, Chopin Valses too loud for wake-up calls, or precision slide rules too fragile as playthings. She married filmmaker Ben Stamper right out of college, and together they have two wildly creative children. When Vesper earned her MFA in Illustration from School of Visual Arts, Ben gave her an orange tree. She illustrates and writes under its leaves and blossoms at her grandfather 's old drafting table, in the pine woods of the Northeast.

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Have you had a chance to read WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS yet? Have you tried writing without looking at the screen? Do you surround yourself with people who think differently than you do? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

6 New Releases this week 02/19 - 02/25 plus 3 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week is full of so many great releases and we have HOOPER, FLIGHT SEASON, and BLOOD OF A THOUSAND STARS up for grabs this week. Don't forget to check out the awesome books being released this week and enter to win below!

Happy Reading,

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


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


Flight Season: A Novel
by Marie Marquardt
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Wednesday Books
Released 2/20/2018

Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

Written in alternating first person from the perspectives of all three characters, Flight Season is a story about discovering what’s really worth holding onto, learning how to let go of the rest, and that one crazy summer that changes your life forever.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Flight Season: A Novel?

I adore Ángel, one of the point-of-view characters in the story. He’s sick with a major heart condition, but he never lets himself be treated as a victim. He’s also funny and self-deprecating, and he consistently sees the best in other people. If offered the chance, I’d probably give him my own heart.

Purchase Flight Season: A Novel at Amazon
Purchase Flight Season: A Novel at IndieBound
View Flight Season: A Novel on Goodreads

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Hooper
by Geoff Herbach
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Katherine Tegen Books
Released 2/20/2018

For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.

But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Hooper?

A couple of things. First, I really love basketball, but am a short guy, much better suited to soccer or football. Writing HOOPER gave me the opportunity to imagine, for a full year, what it would be like to be legitimately tall and legitimately good at this game I've actually spent a substantial amount of time studying. It was fun to write the game play, to base it on things I'd seen watching the sport, but getting right in there with my eyes. Second, I got to couple basketball with imagining what it would be like to be my maternal grandfather and my dad. They both immigrated to the U.S as school-aged kids (Grandpa from Eastern Europe, around the age of 12 and my dad at 18 -- he'd actually escaped Nazi Europe as a small child and came to the U.S. from Brazil). My Grandpa, in particular, struggled with English and was frustrated by it in school. But, both of them were eventually embraced by America and they embraced it back. I got to imagine how it would be to show up at a very different time in our history. The whole thing was this tremendously enriching experience. Thanks for asking.

Purchase Hooper at Amazon
Purchase Hooper at IndieBound
View Hooper on Goodreads



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Blood of a Thousand Stars
by Rhoda Belleza
Hardcover Giveaway
Razorbill
Released 2/20/2018

War tears the galaxy apart, power tests the limits of family, and violence gives way to freedom in this exhilarating sequel to Empress of a Thousand Skies.

Empress
With a revolution brewing, Rhee is faced with a choice: make a deal with her enemy, Nero, or denounce him and risk losing her crown.

Fugitive
Framed assassin Alyosha has one goal in mind: kill Nero. But to get his revenge, Aly may have to travel back to the very place he thought he’d left forever—home.

Princess
Kara knows that a single piece of technology located on the uninhabitable planet Wraeta may be the key to remembering—and erasing—the princess she once was.

Madman
Villainous media star Nero is out for blood, and he’ll go to any means necessary to control the galaxy.
Vicious politics and high-stakes action culminate in an epic showdown that will determine the fate of the universe.

Purchase Blood of a Thousand Stars at Amazon
Purchase Blood of a Thousand Stars at IndieBound
View Blood of a Thousand Stars on Goodreads

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Break Us by Jennifer Brown: Michelle M.
Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre: Rosi H.
Nexus by Deborah Biancotti and Margo Lanagan and Scott Westerfeld: Catherine C.
Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid: Kate F.
The Precious Dreadful: A Novel by Steven Parlato: Taffy L.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


Ink, Iron, and Glass
by Gwendolyn Clare
Hardcover
Imprint
Released 2/20/2018

Can she write a world gone wrong?
A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother―a noted scriptologist.
But when her home is attacked and her mother kidnapped, Elsa is forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones―young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology―and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.
In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created―and only she can stop it.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Ink, Iron, and Glass?

As much as I love all the action and steampunk tech... the protagonist, Elsa, is nearest and dearest to my heart. She's prickly and awkward and too smart for her own good -- and probably the most similar to teenage-Gwen of all the characters I've ever written.

Purchase Ink, Iron, and Glass at Amazon
Purchase Ink, Iron, and Glass at IndieBound
View Ink, Iron, and Glass on Goodreads

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What the Night Sings
by Vesper Stamper
Hardcover
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 2/20/2018

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future.


Author Question: What is your favorite thing about What the Night Sings?

My favorite thing about What the Night Sings has been my publisher’s boldness in breaking unwritten rules with the book’s format. My designers, Stephanie Moss and Alison Impey, did such a beautiful job on the package. You’ve got to hold it in your hands. It’s so elegant.

Illustrators have long desired to find more long-format opportunities, in addition to picture books, to tell their visual narratives. Knopf believed in my vision of readdressing how we traditionally view Holocaust-related imagery. We were able to explore the history in new ways through the illustrations, while still paying homage to the treasure of archived visual evidence of the Holocaust.


Purchase What the Night Sings at Amazon
Purchase What the Night Sings at IndieBound
View What the Night Sings on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


Heart of Ash
by Kim Liggett
Hardcover
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Released 2/20/2018

Ash may have escaped the immortal-worshipping cult that killed her mother, but the love of her life is still under its thrall. Dane has been possessed by his diabolical ancestor Coronado, a man who's fabulously wealthy, dripping with fame, and the leader of Europe's most dangerous immortal network. Dane begs Ash to join him at Coronado's castle in Spain, and swears that his blood bond with Ash is stronger than Coronado's hold over him. Ash is desperate to help Dane vanquish Coronado without having to sacrifice herself to the darkness. But when you're all in, blood and salt, the only way to hold on to the light might just be by setting everything on fire.

Purchase Heart of Ash at Amazon
Purchase Heart of Ash at IndieBound
View Heart of Ash on Goodreads

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Pitch Dark
by Courtney Alameda
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 2/20/2018

Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race.

Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved.

When Tuck's and Laura’s worlds collide―literally―the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save the John Muir . . . and the whole human race.

Purchase Pitch Dark at Amazon
Purchase Pitch Dark at IndieBound
View Pitch Dark on Goodreads



Saturday, February 17, 2018

1 Donna Jo Napoli, author of HUNGER: A TALE OF COURAGE, on placing paving stones in a scene

We're thrilled to have Donna Jo Napoli stop by to share more about her latest novel, HUNGER: A TALE OF COURAGE.

Donna Jo, how long did you work on HUNGER: A TALE OF COURAGE?

I'm answering this question because the answer is unusual for me. I normally get an idea for a novel, start into the research immediately, then write it. I'm quick about getting out a first draft -- then things slow down for me, since second and third drafts are very difficult for me. Totally, though, I tend to complete a book from start to finish in 2 years or so. With this book, instead, things progressed differently. I had a fellowship from Trinity College Dublin in spring 2012 -- so I was in Ireland for several months. While there, I visited prisons where rebels against the British had been kept, many of whom died. I didn't know much about Irish history, so I picked up books and started reading. And I kept reading. I didn't realize I was preparing to write a book, I thought I was simply falling in love with Ireland. But in 2015, my editor, Paula Wiseman, asked me if I wanted to write a book about the great potato famine. I was startled. That was the book I'd been preparing to write -- how on earth had she recognized it when I hadn't? So I set to work. A year later we had a draft that was worth editing. So we edited away. And thus was born HUNGER.

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

This book taught me something I knew already, but that I seem to need to learn over and over. I think it's something that other writers, particularly budding writers, might benefit from hearing about. That is that what I put on the page does not always match what's in my head. I will think I've made it very clear what the character's feelings are or what the character's options are or what the complicating factors in the situation are. Then along comes my editor and she asks something that shows I failed miserably -- what I thought was obvious was not obvious at all. So I have to figure out where I was making assumptions that my reader won't necessarily share. Then I have to add information that supports those assumptions -- so that my reader has a chance of seeing what it is I'm trying to show. In other words, I benefit enormously from sharing my work with others -- friends, family, editors. Reading is a creative act -- and all readers will bring their own baggage to a story -- all will bring their own world-views to a story. I know that, and I'm not trying to interfere with that. But if I have a scene that is critical to the overall path of my story, I want to do my very best to help the reader see the paving stones I've put in place in that scene. I can't do it alone: I need my readers of those early drafts to help me.

What are you working on now?

I seem to be on a binge of writing about children in the middle of a massively destructive situation. The book I'm presently working on opens in autumn 1943 in Tokyo. The time tells you a lot -- this is World War II -- but it tells nearly everything when I give you one more fact: the main character is an Italian girl, living in Tokyo with her father and little sister. If you don't know what information that adds, I'm glad -- because I want the reader to be as shocked and horrified as my main character. This is a struggle for survival in a doomed world. It gives me nightmares. But in the present climate in our country, I can't not think about what war brings, particularly to young people.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Hunger: A Tale of Courage
by Donna Jo Napoli
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Released 2/13/2018

Through the eyes of twelve-year-old Lorraine this haunting novel from the award-winning author of Hidden and Hush gives insight and understanding into a little known part of history—the Irish potato famine.

It is the autumn of 1846 in Ireland. Lorraine and her brother are waiting for the time to pick the potato crop on their family farm leased from an English landowner. But this year is different—the spuds are mushy and ruined. What will Lorraine and her family do?

Then Lorraine meets Miss Susannah, the daughter of the wealthy English landowner who owns Lorraine’s family’s farm, and the girls form an unlikely friendship that they must keep a secret from everyone. Two different cultures come together in a deserted Irish meadow. And Lorraine has one question: how can she help her family survive?

A little known part of history, the Irish potato famine altered history forever and caused a great immigration in the later part of the 1800s. Lorraine’s story is a heartbreaking and ultimately redemptive story of one girl’s strength and resolve to save herself and her family against all odds.

Purchase Hunger: A Tale of Courage at Amazon
Purchase Hunger: A Tale of Courage at IndieBound
View Hunger: A Tale of Courage on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction. She loves to garden and bake bread, and even dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to make the neighbors wonder. But dear dear Taxi died in 2009.

She has five children, and currently lives outside Philadelphia. She received her BA in mathematics in 1970 and her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures in 1973, both from Harvard University, then did a postdoctoral year in Linguistics at MIT. She has since taught linguistics at Smith College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgetown University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and Swarthmore College. It was at UM that she earned tenure (in 1981) and became a full professor (in 1984). She has held visiting positions at the University of Queensland (Australia), the University of Geneva (Switzerland), Capital Normal University of Beijing (China), the University of Newcastle (UK), the University of Venice at Ca' Foscari (Italy), and the Siena School for the Liberal Arts (Italy) as well as lectured at the University of Sydney (Australia), Macquarie University (Australia), the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), and the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa). In the area of linguistics she has authored, coauthored, edited, or coedited 17 books, ranging from theoretical linguistics to practical matters in language structure and use, including matters of interest to d/Deaf people. She has held grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and the Sloan Foundation.

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Have you had a chance to read HUNGER: A TALE OF COURAGE yet? Have you written a story from research you were doing for fun? How do you get the image in your head on the page? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

0 Steven Parlato, author of THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL: A NOVEL, on second book jitters

THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL: A NOVEL is Steven Parlato's second novel, and we're excited to have him stop by to share more about it.

Steven, what was your inspiration for writing THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL: A NOVEL?

Well, after my debut, THE NAMESAKE (Merit Press, 2013) came out, I realized people were actually expecting another book. This freaked me out, and for a while, I found myself unable to write much of anything. Then, one sleepless night--July 7th, 2013, to be exact--I tossed and turned until 5:00 am, July 8th, when a name, "Teddi Alder," popped into my head. As I listened, this cool, sarcastic, and troubled young woman began to tell me her story. I knew I had to go beyond listening--and actually write it down. I'm glad I did. Elements of the story--mostly setting, and some small details--come from my own life, but some of the story elements are inspired by the harsher realities of our world. Stuff like racial inequality, dysfunctional family relationships, the lure of alcohol and drugs as escape mechanisms, and the salvation that comes through friendship and writing, these were all things that unfolded for me in a pretty organic way.

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 are multiple scenes that speak to me, that still have the power to make me feel. That's one way I judge their effectiveness. There's one in particular, late in THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL, in which Teddi makes a devastating discovery. It was both extremely hard to write and truly satisfying. As I worked on that scene, in which Teddi journals out this life-altering memory she'd suppressed, I found myself mirroring her physicality: pacing the room, stopping/starting the writing, crying. I actually needed to "put the pencil down" the way she does in the novel. It was a pretty unbearable truth for us to face, but I felt like we were in the moment together, which made it doable. There is also a far less intense scene, even later in the novel, involving a giraffe. That one remains very sweet to me. I hope readers will feel some major stuff when encountering these moments.

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

That's a cool question, and I have some evidence to back up my answer. I taught a 200-level lit course this semester, Studies in Young Adult Fiction, and my students read ten YA novels, including an ARC of THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL. There were comparisons made between my book and some of the others we read, most notably: THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN, by Sherman Alexie (for humor in the face of loss); CHINESE HANDCUFFS, by Chris Crutcher (for psychological realism); and CHARM AND STRANGE, by Stephanie Kuehn (for trauma, and paranormal content). This was really powerful for me, as these are three of my YA heroes--and amazing company to be in!

How long did you work on THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL: A NOVEL?

Writing THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL took about two years in the initial manuscript phase--with big chunks of off time during the school year. It was about another year in revision and edits before I submitted it. Once Merit Press acquired it, I did some tweaking, and then they were amazingly acquired by Simon and Schuster, making me a Simon Pulse author. HUZZAH! My editor at Simon, Jessi Smith, offered minor suggestions, and the copy edit process was fairly painless. All told, from first scribblings to book on shelf took about 4-1/2 years with long gaps of pushing it aside to keep up with life and teaching.

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

As with anything I create, this book taught me (again) to persist. There were many times when I considered throwing in the towel. For example, my agent and I amicably parted during the writing, and that was pretty discouraging (Side note, she was wonderfully supportive and reviewed the contract for me as a courtesy once I sold it on my own). If I had given up, I'd be left with that sense that maybe a successful first book was just a fluke. I think I've kicked that self-doubt to the curb thanks to Teddi. Of course, there are other flavors of self-doubt always ready to step forward.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL: A NOVEL?

A few things, actually. I hope that readers will be engrossed in the story and find Teddi's voice authentic. So far so good from advance readers. I also want them to recognize that friendship is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. There's a real "what doesn't kill you" element to the book, and I hope young readers, especially those enduring rough circumstances or struggling with less-than-perfect home lives, might feel empowered by Teddi's story.

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

My road to publication was both long and hard and exceptionally blessed. My first foray into attempting to write a novel ended up paying off in my debut, THE NAMESAKE. Between that book and THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL, there were a couple potential starts on other novels. One is slated to be my next book--when I can carve out time to write--and the other, I may go back to at some point, because the idea really intrigues me. I certainly had a fair share of rejection along the way, including signing with and splitting from two agents, but all in all, I am nothing but thankful to be twice-published.

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 life, especially as a writer, is a series of AHA! moments. I try to be open to learning something new every single day, mostly by paying attention to things around me. I have a fairly loud voice in my head that says things like, "Don't toot your own horn," and "Who do you think you are?" Another favorite expression from that voice, a holdover from growing up with parents who saw little value in creativity, is "That [creative aspiration] is just a pipe dream." So, if I've discovered a key to writing a novel, it is simply this: No one is likely to believe in your work if you don't believe first. That is the biggest advice I can give a writer: Believe.

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

It depends. I am equally comfortable writing in longhand or on a computer, though I am a scribbler, so when I use a pen, there are highly illustrative margins happening. I can write anywhere--as long as the work-in-progress is more interesting than the distractions. I've written big chunks of both books in coffee shops, libraries, even hunkered at the mall. With THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL, I went "on site" to write pondside because a pond has great importance in the story, and I wanted to capture an authentic sense of place. I definitely write with music when I can. In fact, each of my books has a sort of soundtrack that I rely on to set the mood for me.

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

See above: BELIEVE! Also, I always tell my students that being a successful author requires three major things (in addition to good fortune, which we can't really control). Those are: observation, imagination, and persistence. We need to pay attention to the world, take liberties in creating our own worlds, and keep pushing forward even when it's painful or exhausting. Those are the real keys to success.

What are you working on now?

Right now? A promotion packet for school, in which I have to give evidence of all the things I've done in the last two-plus years to be a better teacher and to uphold the mission of the college. If I'm successful, I'll make the rank of full professor. It's pretty overwhelming, so wish me luck. Once I finish that, I can't wait to dive back into the first book of a planned trilogy about a teenager who discovers his great aunt's bed and breakfast actually is haunted. It's a bit of a departure for me, but a story that's been calling out to me for a while. Just like Teddi Alder, Dexter Peregrym, my next protagonist, is someone whose story I know I need to tell.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Precious Dreadful: A Novel
by Steven Parlato
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 2/13/2018

Combining romance and humor with elements of the paranormal, this is a profound novel about one teenage girl’s decision to redefine her life in the wake of supernatural events.

Teddi Alder is just trying to figure out her life.

When she joins SUMMERTEENS, a library writing group, she’s only looking to keep herself busy, not go digging around in her subconscious. But as she writes, disturbing memories of her lost childhood friend Corey bubble to the surface, and Teddi begins to question everything: her friendship with her BFF Willa, how much her mom really knows, and even her own memories. Teddi fears she’s losing her grip on reality—as evidenced by that mysterious ghost-girl who emerges from the park pool one night, the one who won’t leave Teddi alone. To top it all off, she finds herself juggling two guys with potential, a quirky new boy named Joy and her handsome barista crush Aidan, who has some issues of his own.

As the summer unfolds, Teddi is determined to get to the bottom of everything—her feelings, the mysterious ghost-girl, and the memories of Corey that refuse to be ignored.

Purchase The Precious Dreadful: A Novel at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Parlato, Assistant Professor of English, a writer and artist, lives in CT with his wife and two children. Holding a Masters from Wesleyan University, Steve has taught graphic design, writing, and a literature course of his own design, Studies in Young Adult Fiction. In 2012, Steve was recognized with a NISOD Excellence Award in Teaching.

A prize-winning poet, Parlato's work appears in Freshwater; MARGIE: The American Journal of Poetry; Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review; and Pirene's Fountain. Most recently, his poetry was published in Freshwater and in Peregrine. Steve has been a featured poet at a number of CT venues.

Parlato's young adult novel, THE NAMESAKE, one of five debut titles from Merit Press, a new Imprint of F+W/Adams Media, won a 2011 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices. Steve is represented for fiction by Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency.

Steve has also worked as an actor both professionally and non, playing roles ranging from MacBeth to the Scarecrow of OZ, He has also appeared as a hapless limousine rider, and as the "Munchie Mania?" patron in a Friendly's training film.

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Have you had a chance to read THE PRECIOUS DREADFUL yet? Have you gone to write at a setting in your story? Do you have observation, imagination, and persistence? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

0 Kimberly Reid, author of PRETTYBOY MUST DIE, on writing someone else's concept

We're delighted to have Kimberly Reid stop by to talk about her latest novel, #PRETTYBOY MUST DIE.

Kimberly, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud?

It wasn’t one scene but several that were difficult—all of the scenes having to do with Prettyboy being a hacker. Before I became a writer, I worked in the telecom software industry and I called on some of that background, but I didn’t have much technical expertise so I had to do a lot of research. I’m still afraid a hacker will contact me to explain what I got wrong about their line of work, but ... fingers crossed that I got it right.

How long did you work on #PRETTYBOY MUST DIE? What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I never thought I could work collaboratively before this book. I was the only writer on the project, but my editor approached me with the concept of PRETTYBOY, and an outline, and asked if I was interested in writing the story. I never believed I could write someone else’s concept because I’m a control freak, but the story was so appealing and my editor was such a dream to work with, that it was a good experience. Because this was my publisher’s concept, there was some back-and-forth with my editor during the early drafting of the story, which usually never happens because I’ve always pitched a completed manuscript to editors, so it took longer to write than my usual timeframe. It usually takes me nine months to a year to write and revise a manuscript that’s decent enough to give my agent or editor, but PRETTYBOY took a bit longer due to the collaborative aspect of it.

How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I wrote four before the fifth one was published. Since my first published book, I’ve written six more—four traditionally published, one I self-published to continue a series when it was dropped by the publisher after three books, and one that I could not sell. Even once you’ve been published, there can still be plenty of rejections and books that never make it. The main thing is just to keep going. After the one that I couldn’t sell, I sold the next five manuscripts. And sometimes there is life after original publication. When the rights on my first published book reverted back to me, I self-published it. A producer discovered it, offered a TV option on the material, and it’s currently in development with ABC Signature Studios. So technically, I’ve self-published two books.

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

It doesn’t take much to distract me from writing—a squirrel outside the window, a load of laundry to fold, my dog wanting a walk. I’d never get anything done in a coffee shop because I’d just people-watch all day, and then make up stories about them instead of my characters. I work at home in complete silence with any luck. I usually wake up early and get most of my writing done while the house is still quiet. Music does play an important part in making the words flow if I get stuck, even if I don’t listen as I write. I choose music I think my characters might listen to or my favorite music when I was my main character’s age. It helps me remember what it felt like being sixteen.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Prettyboy Must Die
by Kimberly Reid
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 2/13/2018

A CIA prodigy's cover is blown when he accidentally becomes an internet sensation in #Prettyboy Must Die, Kimberly Reid's fun, fast thriller inspired by the #Alexfromtarget story.

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo―along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”―Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he's on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, 'fifteen minutes of fame.' Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life.

Purchase Prettyboy Must Die at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kimberly grew up a cop's kid and always wanted to help her mom solve cases. She once considered being a detective, but was way too conflict-averse (scared) to go into the crime-solving business. Luckily, writing fiction gives her the chance to play a detective on paper and do one of my favorite things in the universe--tell stories.

#PRETTYBOY MUST DIE (Tor Teen) is a YA thriller featuring Jake Morrow, a CIA prodigy who accidentally becomes an Internet sensation, thereby blowing his cover.

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Have you had a chance to read #PRETTYBOY MUST DIE yet? Have you had to do a lot of research into something specific? How do you get yourself into the mindset to write from a teenager's point of view? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018

0 Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre, authors of HONOR AMONG THIEVES, on the importance of being true to yourself

We're thrilled to have the New York Times bestselling writing duo Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre chat with us about their new series, HONOR AMONG THIEVES.

Since we have both authors on the blog, we'll have Rachel answer our questions first.

Rachel, 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 think, without tipping any spoilers here, the scene toward the end where Zara, Beatriz, and Nadim all realize the real stakes they’re playing for, and what game they’re really in ... that was both hard, and incredibly powerful. It was painful stuff, but at the same time, very emotionally charged.

I don’t know that there are any scenes I didn’t love while writing this book. Working with Ann is really such a dream job. We are having so much fun telling this story.

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

There are a whole wild, wonderful crop of space-based YA adventure stories coming in the next couple of years, and I think any or all of them would be fantastic companions for this adventure. If I throw myself into the Wayback Machine, I’d recommend Anne McCaffrey’s THE SHIP WHO SANG, and what the heck, throw in Douglas Adams’ LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING because we are having so much fun with our space adventures.

How long did you work on HONOR AMONG THIEVES?

It was FAST. A matter of months from concept to completion of the first draft! We did a couple of editorial rounds, of course, to really refine things, but all in all, it’s very true to our original vision. Writing with Ann is a delight.

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

Every book teaches me something, and this really reconnected me with my SF fangirl roots. It’s everything I love about space opera, reluctant heroes, found families ... all my tropes, together.

What do you hope readers will take away from HONOR AMONG THIEVES?

I really hope they’ll realize that there are different kinds of love, and that doesn’t mean one is more or less real than another. Zara and Nadim are not the same, but they have an undeniable, real connection. So do Zara and Beatriz. And we hope readers open their minds and hearts to all kinds of differences ... just as Zara and Bea do along the way.

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 a playlist fiend. Before I start a book, I have to spend days choosing new music, crafting it into an emotional arc that mirrors what I feel the book is going to be, and only THEN can I start writing. I really love the funky new-music vibe of the Honor Among Thieves soundtrack.

I tend to work in my ergonomic space, only because I worked in NOT ergonomic spaces for so long that my body made its wishes loudly known about that. I sometimes still sneak out to the coffee shop, though!

What are you working on now?

I’m splitting my time between YA and adult thrillers, so I’m currently working on WOLFHUNTER RIVER, which is the third in my Stillhouse Lake series of psychological mystery/thrillers. After that, I’m on to the fifth and last book of my Great Library series in YA. And, of course, the third book in the Honors series!

And now let's have Ann chime in. Ann, what was your inspiration for writing HONOR AMONG THIEVES?

Honestly, I had been thinking that I wanted to write a really strange romance, where one of the partners wasn't even humanoid, so I randomly tweeted "Why do I suddenly want to write a book about a girl who's in love with a sentient spaceship?"

I got a surprising reply from Rachel Caine: "Are we sharing a brain? I just did a proposal for this!"

At hearing this, I was somewhat downcast because if Rachel was already in the proposal stage, then there was no way I'd be doing this idea. But then, she reached out to me privately and said her proposal was really rough and not on submission anywhere. Would I like to see it?

MOST DEFINITELY. And her ideas all dovetailed with mine completely, and I just started giving her my thoughts. Soon, she asked me to partner with her on the project and I was so excited. I got to work with one of my writing heroes and create a weird, wonderful book!

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?

The scene where Nadim is disciplined by an Elder Leviathan was tough and painful to write. We had to tap into Zara's history of abuse and that also reminded me of some bad stuff in my past. It's important to feel what your characters are feeling, but when they suffer, I suffer, and this scene was really intense. I'm one of those writers who often types through my tears, so it can be hard to excavate those dark spaces for the deepest pain, but hopefully, that comes across on the page and moves readers as well.

How long did you work on HONOR AMONG THIEVES?

All told, probably six months or so. We drafted it in a couple of months, then rewrote it several times (over the course of many months).

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

It taught me that writing with Rachel Caine makes everything better, and that it's much harder on my own.

What do you hope readers will take away from HONOR AMONG THIEVES?

That it's important to be true to yourself, even if the rest of the world doesn't understand, and that love has the ability to cross all kinds of barriers. There's not one right way to love, either.

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

It was long. I wrote off and on from age fifteen to thirty-six. At twenty-one, I had an agent, but I didn't sell. Fast forward to 2007, and I finally sold a novel to Ace books. That was the science fiction romance Grimspace, and the start of a ten-year career. I wrote ten books that failed before selling that one, and at this point, I've lost count what number novel I'm writing. It's in the forties, though!

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?

Write for yourself. Don't aim at a trend or try to guess what might be popular. If you don't love what you write, who will?

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

I take the dog out, get something to eat, then head to my office to work until early afternoon. I feed the pets, walk around a bit, then go back to writing until 4PM. I have a snack, and often I knock off work at this time. If I haven't met my writing goal, I go back up stairs after my family has gone to bed and write a bit more. When I'm really having trouble focusing, I write on my Alphasmart Neo and disconnect from everything. Sometimes I do take it a local coffee shop, but lately, I mostly write in my office, which is perfect and gorgeous.

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

If this is your dream, don't ever give up. There's no guarantee of success, but every writer who's made it has one thing in common: they didn't quit. So keep writing, keep striving, and keep following your dreams.

What are you working on now?

I just finished The Wolf Lord, the third book in my paranormal romance series, and in February, I'll start on a new YA tentatively entitled Heartwood Box.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Honor Among Thieves
by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 2/13/2018

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

Purchase Honor Among Thieves at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.

Rachel Caine is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than 50 novels, including the Morganville Vampire series in YA, the Great Library series, and the Stillhouse Lake series in adult thrillers. She lives and works in Texas with her husband R. Cat Conrad, and loves art, books, music, TV, and movies of all kinds. She's written in nearly every genre, including screenwriting, but her first love is always science fiction.

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Have you had a chance to read HONOR AMONG THIEVES yet? Six months from concept to completion is really fast! How quickly have you burned through a project? Did you find that you were true to your vision when done? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

0 Jennifer Brown, author of BREAK US, on the chapters that wrote themselves

We're so excited to have Jennifer Brown stop by and talk to us about her latest novel, BREAK US.

Jennifer, 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 particularly love the scene that stretches from chapter 29 all the way through chapter 33. I had fun writing it, but more than that, I had fun watching Nikki take care of business. I felt like those chapters kind of wrote themselves, and they allowed Nikki to show and use everything that she’d learned over the course of this journey.

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

THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting

ROSEBUSH by Michele Jaffe

THE NATURALS by Jennifer Barnes

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

That I can write fight scenes and kissing scenes, and I enjoy writing both! Who knew?!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Break Us
by Jennifer Brown
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 2/13/2018

Nikki Kill doesn’t see the world in black and white. Her synesthesia shades everything in view, transforming numbers, words, and emotions into colorful clues. Which means she’s a dangerous commodity to anyone with something to hide.

Nikki has already taken on the Hollises—one of L.A.’s most powerful families—for murdering her half sister, Peyton. However, Nikki’s next steps are clouded by the gray of uncertainty. Before she knows it, Nikki is on the trail of a cold case that couldn’t be any more personal—the death of her mother.

But when the web of lies and secrets she uncovers leads back to the people who have tried to silence her, Nikki must pursue the sunbeam gold of justice, or everything—including her life—will be lost.

Purchase Break Us at Amazon
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View Break Us on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.

Jennifer's debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA "Perfect Ten," and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. HATE LIST also won the Michigan Library Association's Thumbs Up! Award, the Louisiana Teen Readers Choice award, the 2012 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award, was an honorable mention for the 2011 Arkansas Teen Book Award, is a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback, received spots on the Texas Library Association's Taysha's high school reading list as well as the Missouri Library Association's Missouri Gateway Awards list, and has been chosen to represent the state of Missouri in the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Jennifer's second novel, BITTER END, (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and is a 2012 Taysha's high school reading list pick as well.

Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.

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Have you had a chance to read BREAK US yet? Do you like to spread one scene across several chapters? What's the most surprising thing you've enjoyed writing?

Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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