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

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

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

Thursday, April 12, 2018

0 Jessica Leake, author of BEYOND A DARKENED SHORE, on eventually writing "The One"

We're delighted to have Jessica Leake stop by to tell us more about her YA debut, BEYOND A DARKENED SHORE.

Jessica, what was your inspiration for writing BEYOND A DARKENED SHORE?

I’ve always been in love with Ireland and Celtic mythology. Celtic folklore and mythology has always fascinated me with its multi-faceted gods and goddesses who have beautiful ties to the land itself but are also terrifying in so many ways. When I was researching interesting time periods in Ireland’s history, I found out that the Vikings not only frequently raided Ireland, but they also took over Dublin for a large chunk of time. I got so excited when I read that because I was like Vikings AND Celts?! SIGN ME UP.

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 is one scene I love later on in the book, but it’s extremely spoilery, so I’ll just say it has to do with blood and ash. I love it because it’s a real turning point for who Ciara is and what she wants for herself. But another scene I love is when Ciara is taking a bath and receives the terrifying visions from the crow…along with the discovery of who the crow actually is. I love it for the creepy atmosphere, the revelation about the crow, and the foretelling of adventure and difficult times ahead for Ciara (sorry, Ciara!)

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 have been writing for fun for a very long time—since I was just a kid, really—but it wasn’t until I found myself in between jobs that I started researching how to get traditionally published and really thought about how to make it a full-time career. That was in 2010. I wrote a few really horrible books—the kind that are full of clichés and are just sort of an experiment into the craft of writing and getting published. I queried the third book and received a bit of agent interest—just based on my query letter, I think. But it wasn’t until my fourth manuscript that I thought I really might have had something. In late 2012, that manuscript grabbed the attention of my agent, Brianne Johnson of Writers House, and she was able to sell it to Skyhorse the very next year. It became Arcana, which is my adult historical fantasy. I wrote another book for Skyhorse, The Order of the Eternal Sun, and now Beyond a Darkened Shore is my YA debut. So three books never got published before I got an agent, but actually, there are several books my agent and I created proposals for (1st 3 chapters + synopsis) that never made it either. There’s absolutely hope if you haven’t written “The One” yet!

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

I have 4 kids, ages 6 and younger, so my ritual is basically writing any time I can! It has enabled me to become extremely flexible in what kinds of conditions I can write in (like kids running around the house playing tag and screaming lol). I take advantage of times when the kids are at preschool or with their grandparents, or even when I’m sitting in the car waiting for my oldest son to get out of art class.

What are you working on now?

My next book with HarperTeen comes out Spring of 2019, and it’s called THROUGH THE WHITE WOOD. It’s set in 11th century Russia, and is sort of a Frostblood meets The Bear and the Nightingale. A girl with a power to summon ice so cold it shatters everything it touches is brought before the Grand Prince of Russia after causing absolute destruction in her village. But instead of condemning her, he asks her to join forces with him and others with power, against those who threaten to overtake their country. Lots of Russian folklore in this one and some political intrigue, and of course, romance. Ciara and Leif, the two main characters from Beyond a Darkened Shore, play a role in this new book, so although it’s not a sequel, fans of Beyond will get the chance to see Ciara and Leif again.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Beyond a Darkened Shore
by Jessica Leake
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 4/10/2018

The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.

The people of Mide have always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle, the two might have a chance to save their world.

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love...even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.

Purchase Beyond a Darkened Shore at Amazon
Purchase Beyond a Darkened Shore at IndieBound
View Beyond a Darkened Shore on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Leake is the author of the adult novels Arcana and The Order of the Eternal Sun, both with Skyhorse. She worked for years as a psychotherapist, but even though she loved her clients, she couldn’t stop writing. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, four young children, lots of chickens, and two dogs who keep everyone in line. Beyond a Darkened Shore is her YA debut. Visit her at www.jessicaleake.com.

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Have you had a chance to read BEYOND A DARKENED SHORE yet? Has research helped you come up with a story idea? Are you flexible about the kinds of conditions you can write in? 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 11, 2018

0 WoW: Jennifer A. Nielsen on Ocean Swells, Leaky Boats, and People Ranking

Today on WoW, I'm thrilled to welcome Jennifer A. Nielsen, bestselling author of THE TRAITOR'S GAME with an inspirational post on how to keep sailing through both the calm seas and rough waves of the publishing process. Stay tuned for more about Jennifer and THE TRAITOR'S GAME after the post!


Ocean Swells, Leaky Boats, and People Ranking

By

Jennifer A. Nielsen


Several years ago, I took a cruise that ended up steering around hurricane waters. We were in no danger, but we certainly felt the tumultuous waves turning this enormous ship into a constant rocking chair. Only when I viewed from the deck did I see how much the ocean swells were pushing us up, then seconds later, the water would retract and carry us low. Another round of ginger pills, anyone?

Most authors understand this as an analogy to our work. We begin writing while safe in the harbor, while anything is possible for the future. But at some point, we must put ourselves out there and when we do, we become subject to whatever the journey holds.

There are swells: accepted queries, good reviews, awards, fan mail, good sales numbers, a packed turnout at a signing.

And there is the trough: rejections, poor reviews, slow sales, or book signings attended only by your mother and a customer who took pity on you.

I’ve done both. A lot. And yes…still.

But the longer I’m in this business, the better I understand what it is to be out on the water in my little boat, constantly up then down, then up again, hoping the swells last longer than the troughs.

I’m not alone out there. Every published or aspiring author has also set sail in their little boat, each one of us working toward our goals. Up. Down. Eager for the next Up.

This isn’t the exception for a career. It’s simply normal.

Yet when we look at others in their boats, we’re introduced to the writer’s worst form of seasickness: comparison. We look at those who seem to be on a swell and compare our own position as if they will always be on a swell and we will always be in a trough. And we rarely compare equally. For example:

The author with the starred reviews might not be the author with the wide commercial sales. The bestselling commercial author might wonder why she never gets the award nominations.

Some books sell a ton of copies fast and hit the New York Times list, while over time, others may steadily sell even more copies but never hit the list.

By simple placement of subcategories, one book may become an Amazon bestseller while another with greater sales will not, regardless of how well written either book is.

One book might get a lucky boost from the current news cycle or hitting the right reading trend, or some celebrity’s kid is photographed carrying it around.

But we may not notice that same author when they hit the trough. Maybe we don’t notice because we’re busy riding the crest of a wave and we don’t have time to look around.

Sometimes, with few other concrete measures of their success, published authors hit refresh on the Amazon sales rank for their book. It changes every hour, so every hour becomes an instant snapshot of how one book is doing in comparison to every other book on the site. A good rank releases a little dopamine in the brain, a little reward. But then the author checks again and if the rank has not improved, it can be discouraging, regardless of every other good thing happening for the book. Most authors learn to manage this. The smarter ones simply avoid looking.

Authors with a particular bend toward self-flagellation will go in search of Amazon’s Author Rank. Here, the comparison is not from one book’s sales to another. It’s a ranking of the authors themselves, based on their cumulative book sales, updated hourly. I’d reveal my current rank, but what does it matter? It’s only going to change an hour from now. So what is the point?

Really, if the façade changes as quickly as the next episode of NCIS, what does it matter? Do not let comparison be the thing that sends you overboard.

More important, do not get so caught up in swells and troughs that you fail to notice your ship is sinking. When it does, it’s often for one of two reasons, both equally damaging.

The first is when water splashes into the boat and is not bailed out. A little water is fine, even normal. But too much will sink the boat. This is ego. It’s the writer who cannot take criticism or bad news, the writer who feels they are too good to be edited or that they deserve a certain recognition or treatment. Too much ego can destroy a career.

The second threat is when there’s a hole in the boat. That hole is doubt. It’s when a writer begins watching their rank (stop it!), reading their one-star reviews (Everyone gets them, no worries), or wondering why a certain goal seems forever out of their reach. 

To you who are fighting a hole in your boat, I say this: You are more than a single book, or a single query letter, or review. Your worth, your talent, and your potential are not connected to your sales numbers. Measure yourself by the things that matter most, such as:

That fan who writes to say this is her favorite book and it changed her life.

The satisfaction of typing “The End” on something you have created, so unique that no one in the universe can replicate what you have done.

The reminder that we create stories, but in the larger world we are part of friends and families and communities. We have multiple talents and potential in unlimited avenues. Books are only one part of our lives—a vital part—but still only one aspect of who we are.

If you want to be the author on a boat strong enough to endure the tides, the winds and the storms, and still sail onward, then be wise. Keep your focus on your destination—whatever you define success to be. The journey isn’t easy and you will work hard to continue moving forward, but tell yourself this: Whether your route is on crests with a strong tailwind, or through troughs that you must row, just keep sailing. Great things are ahead.



About Jennifer A. Nielsen
New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; the MARK OF THE THIEF series, and the forthcoming A NIGHT DIVIDED. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.
Visit Jennifer online.


About THE TRAITOR'S GAME
Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won't stop her from being drawn back into her father's palace politics. He's the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well -- and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.

The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what -- and who -- it is they're fighting for.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

0 Diana Rodriguez Wallach, author of LIES THAT BIND, on not ignoring that little voice in your head

LIES THAT BIND is the second book in the Anastasia Phoenix series, and we're thrilled to have Diana Rodriguez Wallach here to tell us more about it.

Diana, 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 a LONG road. I penned my first novel in a matter of months, then Googled: “How to publish a book.” I bought a guide to literary agents, started sending out queries, and within two weeks got an offer for representation from a big NYC firm. Yay, right?! Only that book never sold. Neither did the next book I wrote. Finally, I wrote a third book, Amor and Summer Secrets, and it sold within days to Kensington Books. I got the news on Fat Tuesday while I was at Mardis Gras in New Orleans wearing beads and a feathered mask. My first trilogy published in 2008 and 2009.

Then I wrote my next novel—what would become Proof of Lies. Only the market was full of vampires, werewolves, and dystopian novels. Editors weren’t really looking for a spy thriller.

Ultimately, it took me seven years and three agents to finally find the right place for Anastasia Phoenix’s story. I never gave up. It is the book of my heart, and I believed in it enough to rewrite it again, and again, and again. I’m so glad I did. The novel is so much better now than it was in its first draft. My writing is so much better now. Would I have liked a shorter road to publication? Sure. But the road that got me here taught me a lot along the way, and I’m enjoying the view now.

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?

I had a few AHA! moments that led to me becoming an author. Growing up, I enjoyed writing, which is why I went to college for journalism and became a reporter. Only I never really liked writing for a hotel magazine, and I always had this nagging feeling that there was “something else” I was supposed to be doing with me life, only I hadn’t figured it out.

Then my first big AHA! moment came on September 11, 2001. I lived five blocks from Ground Zero. That experience pushed me to leave a job I didn’t like, move back to Philadelphia, and join a nonprofit. For the first time, I felt like the work I was doing really mattered.

Then I had my second AHA! moment. I dreamt I was a young adult author, and I had written a series of books based on my bullying experience in middle school. When I woke up and told my husband, he reminded me of a vacation we took five years earlier through New England.

This would mark my third AHA! moment. Years prior, we’d traveled to Salem, MA, right around Halloween, to see the witches’ houses. While there, I decided to visit a psychic for the first time (when in Rome, right?). I sat down and the psychic immediately said, “You’re a writer.” And I was; at the time, I was a reporter. I told her this, and she asked what I wrote about. Intentionally trying to be cryptic (I mean, she is a psychic, shouldn’t she already know?), I told her that I wrote about “business.” She swiftly said, “No. I see you writing books, little books, like children’s books.”

I had never considered writing a novel before. But after 9/11, the dream, and the psychic, I figured it was “a sign.” (I was raised Catholic.) So I sat down and started my first novel.

So my advice to everyone out there? Don’t ignore that little voice in your head until you finally figure out what that “something” is.

What are you working on now?


Book three of the Anastasia Phoenix series comes out next year, End of Lie! I’m in edit-mode for this one. It’ll be so sad to see Anastasia’s journey end, but at the same time I can’t wait to hear reader’s reactions to her story.

I’m also working on a YA contemporary romance featuring a highly gifted Latina student under immense pressure, both academically and personally. She’s learning to figure out for herself what she really wants for her life—and of course, there’s a guy she meets along the way. It’s partly based on my experience teaching gifted students through Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, and I’m really excited to dive into brand new characters.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lies That Bind
by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Paperback
Entangled: Teen
Released 3/6/2018

The Italian Job meets Bourne Identity meets Spy Kids in this sequel to Proof of Lies.

What if saving yourself meant destroying everyone you love?

Still reeling from everything she learned while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. Then she and her friends learn that Marcus’s—her kinda boyfriend—brother, Antonio, has also gone missing. Luckily, they track down Antonio in a fiery festival in England, only to learn he has been working for the enemy, Department D, the whole time. But Antonio wants out. And so does Anastasia.

But before any of them can leave espionage and their parents’ crimes behind them, a close friend turns up dead. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists. So Anastasia and her friends embark on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire, using every Dresden Kid they can find.

As their world becomes surrounded by spies, and the children of spies, Anastasia starts to question who she can really trust. Including her best friends…

Purchase Lies That Bind at Amazon
Purchase Lies That Bind at IndieBound
View Lies That Bind on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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.

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Have you had a chance to read LIES THAT BIND yet? Have you ever had a dream about your writing career? Have you ever had a reading by a psychic, and did it end up coming true? 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 9, 2018

5 New Releases this week 04/09 - 04/15 plus 3 Giveaways

Happy Monday! There are so many awesome-sounding books releasing this week and an epic giveaway so 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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Beyond a Darkened Shore
by Jessica Leake
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

HarperTeen
Released 4/10/2018

The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.

The people of Mide have always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle, the two might have a chance to save their world.

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love...even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Beyond a Darkened Shore?

DARKENED SHORE is very much a story close to my heart because it has so many of the things I love to read about: history, fantasy, mythology, battles, and romance. I think my answer is cheating a bit because I'm basically saying it's all my favorite, but it's hard to pick one thing when, to me, it's the melding of all the different aspects of it that made it so fun to write. The book is set during 11th century Ireland when the country was divided into numerous kingdoms which were often at war with each other. At the same time, Vikings were frequently raiding its shores and had even taken over the city of Dublin. Set amongst all this inherent conflict is an Irish warrior princess who must join forces with the enemy she has always despised in order to save her own world. The enemy, who, as it turns out, is more like her than she could have ever imagined. The result is a story filled with terrifying legendary beings, fierce battles, and forbidden romance.

But most of all, I love it because it's a story idea that almost got shelved, only the characters refused to let me. I'm glad I listened.


Purchase Beyond a Darkened Shore at Amazon
Purchase Beyond a Darkened Shore at IndieBound
View Beyond a Darkened Shore on Goodreads

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Given To The Earth
by Mindy McGinnis
Signed PB of GIVEN TO THE SEA, signed HC of EARTH Giveaway
U.S. Only

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Y
Released 4/10/2018

Although she was born to save the kingdom by sacrificing herself to the rising sea, Khosa's marriage to King Vincent has redeemed her. As the Queen of Stille, she's untouchable. But being Queen hasn't stopped her heart from longing for the King's stepbrother, Donil. And it hasn't stopped her body from longing for the sea itself, which still calls for her.

While Khosa is made to choose between loyalty and love, Dara is on a mission for vengeance. Years ago, the Pietra slaughtered the entire Indiri race, leaving only Dara and her twin, Donil, alive. Now, spurned by King Vincent, Dara has embarked on a mission to spill the blood of Pietra's leader, Witt, and will stop at nothing to show his people the wrath of the last Indiri.

As the waves crash ever closer to Stille, secrets are revealed, hearts are won and lost, and allegiances change like the shifting sand.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Given To The Earth?

My favorite thing about GIVEN TO THE EARTH is that it avoids the trope of the happily-ever-after that sometimes neatly caps off a series. That was one of the things that the Kirkus reviewer liked best, earning EARTH a starred review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mindy-mcginnis/given-to-the-earth/

Purchase Given To The Earth at Amazon
Purchase Given To The Earth at IndieBound
View Given To The Earth on Goodreads



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The Crooked Castle
by Sarah Jean Horwitz
HC of The Crooked Castle & PB of The Wingsnatchers Giveaway
U.S. Only

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.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Crooked Castle?

There are a few sequences in THE CROOKED CASTLE that were the most fun to write and (at least for me!) are also some of the most vivid for readers. My favorite is a confrontation that takes place in an airship graveyard during a magically enhanced blizzard. I love the imagery of this alien landscape filled with hollowed out, abandoned ships, and the beauty and confusion of all of the swirling snow. In that scene, Carmer also catches his first glimpse of a new character, the Unseelie Princess Purslain Ashenstep, and she’s both a fun character and an important piece of the story puzzle. It’s all quite eerie, if I do say so myself!

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

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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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.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Ace of Shades?

My female lead--Enne! It was really important to me to write a heroine who was never painted as weak for her femininity or her vulnerability. I also feel like she is the type of character readers are expected to hate--who cares about how she looks, who is a little uptight, who comes from a background of lace and ballet and frivolities. Those girls are so regularly cast as mean girls or disposable best friends, not so often heroines. I love the contrast between her personality and the City of Sin--the setting pushes on her buttons in ways that were incredibly fun to write. There are so many elements in this story, from the world to the huge cast to the fast-paced plot, but Enne's character has forever had the most meaning to me.

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


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Devils Unto Dust
by Emma Berquist
Hardcover
Greenwillow Books
Released 4/10/2018

Keep together. Keep your eyes open. Keep your wits about you.

The desert is unkind in the best of times. And the decade since the Civil War has been anything but the best of times for Daisy Wilcox—call her Willie—and her family. This tense, heart-pounding alternate history about a young woman fighting to survive the unthinkable will keep fans of Westworld and The Walking Dead reading late into the night.

A horrifying sickness has spread across the West Texas desert. Infected people—shakes—attack the living, and the surviving towns are only as safe as their perimeter walls are strong. The state is all but quarantined from the rest of the country. Glory, Texas, is a near ghost town. Still, seventeen-year-old Willie has managed to keep her siblings safe, even after the sickness took their mother. But then her good-for-nothing father steals a fortune from one of the most merciless shake hunters in town, and Willie is left on the hook for his debt. With two young hunters as guides, Willie sets out across the desert to find her father. And the desert holds more dangers than just shakes.


Purchase Devils Unto Dust at Amazon
Purchase Devils Unto Dust at IndieBound
View Devils Unto Dust on Goodreads

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Lizzie
by Dawn Ius
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 4/10/2018

Seventeen-year-old Lizzie Borden has never been kissed. Polite but painfully shy, Lizzie prefers to stay in the kitchen, where she can dream of becoming a chef and escape her reality. With tyrannical parents who force her to work at the family’s B&B and her blackout episodes—a medical condition that has plagued her since her first menstrual cycle—Lizzie longs for a life of freedom, the time and space to just figure out who she is and what she wants.

Enter the effervescent, unpredictable Bridget Sullivan. Bridget has joined the B&B’s staff as the new maid, and Lizzie is instantly drawn to her artistic style and free spirit—even her Star Wars obsession is kind of cute. The two of them forge bonds that quickly turn into something that’s maybe more than friendship.

But when her parents try to restrain Lizzie from living the life she wants, it sparks something in her that she can’t quite figure out. Her blackout episodes start getting worse, her instincts less and less reliable. Lizzie is angry, certainly, but she also feels like she’s going mad…

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Sam & Ilsa’s Last Hurrah
by Rachel Cohn
Hardcover
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 4/10/2018

Siblings Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing parties for their friends--and now they've prepared their final blowout, just before graduation.

The rules are simple: each twin gets to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn't know who's coming until the partiers show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception.

One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right, as well...in rather surprising ways.

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The Diminished
by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson
Hardcover
Harlequin Teen
Released 4/10/2018

In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone.

The singleborn

A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him.

The diminished

When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died.

Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what’s left of her life in peace.

As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures—one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined.

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The Lost Kids
by Sara Saedi
Hardcover
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 4/10/2018

Just a few weeks ago, Wylie Dalton was living on magical Minor Island where nobody ages past seventeen, and in love with Phinn, the island's leader. Now, her home is a creaky old boat where she's joined a ragtag group of cast-offs from the island, all dead-set on getting revenge on Phinn for betraying them. But when the Lost Kids invade their former paradise, they're stunned to find that their once-secret island is no longer so secret, and that a much bigger enemy is gunning for Phinn . . . and all the Minor Island kids. Told from both Wylie's and Phinn's perspectives, this dramatic sequel reveals that when you Never Ever grow up, the past has a way of catching up to you.

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The Summer of Broken Things
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for You
Released 4/10/2018

Fourteen-year-old Avery Armisted is athletic, rich, and pretty. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Butts is known as “butt-girl” at school. The two girls were friends as little kids, but that’s ancient history now. So it’s a huge surprise when Avery’s father offers to bring Kayla along on a summer trip to Spain. Avery is horrified that her father thinks he can choose her friends—and make her miss soccer camp. Kayla struggles just to imagine leaving the confines of her small town.

But in Spain, the two uncover a secret their families had hidden from both of them their entire lives. Maybe the girls can put aside their differences and work through it together. Or maybe the lies and betrayal will only push them—and their families—farther apart.

Margaret Peterson Haddix weaves together two completely separate lives in this engaging novel that explores what it really means to be a family—and what to do when it’s all falling apart.

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