Saturday, June 30, 2018

0 Tara Wilson Redd, author of THE MUSEUM OF US, on giving a project time

We're delighted to have Tara Wilson Redd stop by to tell us more about her debut novel, THE MUSEUM OF US.

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

All of them. I like to believe that the people who love my book are the kind of people who travel into other worlds whenever they read a new story. I wrote a book for story lovers. That's what makes Sadie seem so familiar! But, for another excellent story about a book lover, I'll go with a classic: The Neverending Story.

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


I feel like what I learned from this book in particular is that time adds so much to the text. Things take time to grow to their full potential. In most of our lives, we just never have enough time to really give to a project. Everything is done in a rush. But giving this project time, and the benefit of having slowed down to work on it, really added something to the finished book.

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?

Nope. Not even once. Writing is a weirdly meandering process and editing is, as I found out, an even longer road. It would be super easy to tell a narrative story with big "EUREKA!" landmarks along the journey, but that's just not how it really was. Writing and editing for me are a day-to-day slog of tiny decisions that even I don't totally understand. One day you just look down and realize: oh, it's done.

...or someone comes along and tells you to stop being a perfectionist and submit your draft. For me, it's usually 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'm the most persnickety writer on the planet. I like dead silence, in my home, with about a million books and papers spread out on the floor all around me. I have special pens, I only work on graph paper, I have a special mug that I like...it's ridiculous. To be fair, that's mostly research and editing. But still.

I am totally capable of writing a novel in less ridiculous conditions, and most of this book was written on lunch breaks and metro rides. Big chunks of it were written as disorganized paragraphs in gmail and emailed to myself to collect later. But now that I have more time to write, I'm a victim of my own fussiness.

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

Read broadly, read closely, and read as much as you can. So much of "writing" is really reading, and if you're a good, critical reader, you'll be an excellent editor of your own work as well!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Museum of Us
by Tara Wilson Redd
Hardcover
Wendy Lamb Books
Released 6/26/2018

Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out.

Sadie loves her rocker boyfriend Henry and her running partner and best friend Lucie, but no one can measure up to her truest love and hero, the dazzling and passionate George. George, her secret.

When something goes wrong and Sadie is taken to the hospital calling out for George, her hidden life may be exposed. Now she must confront the truth of the past, and protect a world she is terrified to lose.

Purchase The Museum of Us at Amazon
Purchase The Museum of Us at IndieBound
View The Museum of Us on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tara Wilson Redd, a graduate of Reed College, grew up all over the United States, including in St. Louis, Seattle, and Central Oregon. An impenitent dilettante, she is interested in everything, but especially language, travel, and animals. When she is home from her adventures, she lives in Washington, DC where she works in libraries.

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Have you had a chance to read THE MUSEUM OF US yet? Do you find writing to be a weirdly meandering process? Are you reading critically to make yourself a stronger editor? 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

0 Free #1st5pages Writing Workshop Opens in 1 Week!

Our July workshop will open for submissions on Saturday, July 7th at noon, EST. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Laurie Stolarz  as our author mentor and Paula Munier  of Talcott Notch as our agent mentor! (See below for Paula's background and query preferences.)

The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?

  • You are mentored by at least two traditionally-published published or agented authors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales.
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants.
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right!
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy.
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works:
Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. We will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman@MelissWritesNow@charlotteclg ), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

July Guest Literary Agent Mentor: Paula Munier

Paula Munier began her career as a journalist, and along the way added editor, acquisitions specialist, digital content manager, and publishing executive to her repertoire. She is very involved with the mystery community, having served four terms as President of the New England chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Her specialties include mystery/thriller, SF/fantasy, romance, YA, memoir, humor, pop culture, health & wellness, cooking, self-help, pop psych, New Age, inspirational, technology, science, and writing.

Paula can be queried at: pmunier@talcottnotch.net


July Guest Literary Author Mentor: Laurie Stolarz

Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. She is best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

She is the author of several popular young adult novels including the Dark House series, the Touch series, BleedProject 17, and Shutter, as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series. She is currently working on Jane Anonymous, her newest thriller, due out in the fall of 2019.

About SHUTTER

Sixteen-year-old Day Connor views life through the lens of her camera, where perspective is everything. But photographs never tell the whole story. After Day crosses paths with Julian, the world she observes and the truths she believes—neatly captured in black and white—begin to blur. While Julian remains on the run, Day digs deeper into his case. But the more facts she uncovers, the longer her list of questions becomes. It’s also getting harder to deny the chemistry she feels with Julian. Day is close to finding the crack in the case that will prove Julian’s innocence. She just needs time to focus before the shutter snaps shut.

Where to Buy:
Barnes & Noble  Amazon IndieBound

Add it on GOODREADS!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

0 Janice Lynn Mather, author of LEARNING TO BREATHE, on working through hurt feelings

We're thrilled to have Janice Lynn Mather join us to share more about her debut novel, LEARNING TO BREATHE.

Janice, what was your inspiration for writing LEARNING TO BREATHE?

My experience growing up, and as a young woman, was quite different from that of my main character, Indy. In high school, I was very aware of the concept of girls who were “fast”, and there was a certain belief that if something sexual went on, a girl must have been “looking for it” somehow. When I reached my late teens, though, I started to become more aware of some of the struggles some girls—and boys—around me faced. I worked for a newspaper for a few years, and became even more aware of how common various forms of abuse really are. Indy’s story was, to some extent, a way to make sense of something so common and yet so confusing. Even now, some years later, I struggle to make sense of how many people deal with situations like Indy’s.

How long did you work on LEARNING TO BREATHE?

I wrote the very first draft of LEARNING TO BREATHE in 2004, in one of my first Creative Writing courses as an undergraduate. I’d mostly been writing short stories and poetry up until then, and I wanted to conquer a longer story. Over the next decade, I came back to the story again and again to revise and refine it. I started sending it out to agents and publishers in 2008. I finished the last revisions in the winter of 2017/2018. It’s definitely been an exercise in endurance.

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

Other than endurance? Perseverance…how to work through hurt feelings… Seriously, I would say this book taught me about the necessity of devoting time to the parts of a writing career that are less inspirational, but that are vital in terms of success.

I can’t say I enjoyed sifting through pages of potential agents or editors and getting reams of form rejections—no one loves that. In the submission process, there was one particular agent I queried who requested the full manuscript, and provided me with some feedback that really annoyed me. But once I was done sulking and complaining to my friends and family, I actually realized she had some valid points. The revision I did based on that initially annoying feedback is, I think, what made the difference in getting doors opened for me to find representation with a different agent, and to ultimately find a publisher that I’m really excited to work with. So I’d say this book helped me in learning to step back from initially distasteful feedback to see whether there’s truth and validity in what is being said. That might be a life-long lesson, of course…

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

Along with offering the usual dull, parental advice—be diligent, persevere, have discipline—I’d assure writers still looking for an agent or editor that our friends in the publishing industry are just people, too. I think there can be a lot of intimidation and fear when you know someone has the power to open doors for you—or not. That can be a real hurdle in sending your work out into the world. You want to be professional, respectful, and mindful of any guidelines an agent or editor has in terms of how you query them, but rest assured that they’re regular people, so don’t let fear get in your way.

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

My writing ritual is fairly unglamorous. I’d like to say that I immerse myself in inspiring natural surroundings, but in reality, the majority of my most focused work happens sitting cross-legged on the sofa with fairly poor posture, or on a generic second hand mismatched wooden chair that friends have told me is inhospitably uncomfortable. When I’m in dreamy, brainstorming mode, a little music can be nice, but when it’s time to get down to business, I prefer the quiet of a corner of our living room that’s near a sunny window, when no one else is at home. I do like to change atmospheres and sit outside when it’s summer, sometimes. For the most part, though, a few basic comforts (chair excluded) and an environment free of distractions is the perfect backdrop for me to immerse myself in the world of my characters, rather than the world around me.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on my second teen novel, Facing The Sun, which comes out with Simon & Schuster in 2019.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Learning to Breathe
by Janice Lynn Mather
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for You
Released 6/26/2018

Sixteen-year-old Indy struggles to conceal her pregnancy while searching for a place to belong in this stunning debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Amber Smith and Sara Zarr.

Indira Ferguson has done her best to live by her Grammy’s rules—to study hard in school, be respectful, and to never let a boy take advantage of her. But it hasn’t always been easy, especially while living in her mother’s shadow.

When Indy is sent to live with distant relatives in Nassau, trouble follows her. Now she must hide an unwanted pregnancy from her aunt, who would rather throw Indy out onto the street than see the truth.

Completely broke with only a hand-me-down pregnancy book as a resource, Indy desperately looks for a safe space to call home. After stumbling upon a yoga retreat, she wonders if perhaps she’s found the place. But Indy is about to discover that home is much bigger than just four walls and a roof—it’s about the people she chooses to share it with.

Purchase Learning to Breathe at Amazon
Purchase Learning to Breathe at IndieBound
View Learning to Breathe on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janice Lynn Mather is a writer and a Bahamian. She is also a vegan, an introvert, a book hog, a drifter off in meetings, an intermittent blogger, a yogi, a grower of food, a brewer of kombucha, a purveyor of all things natural, the owner of an afro, a honer for sunshine, a collector of essential oils and a glutton for the sea. She has an MFA and BFA from the University of British Columbia and an AA from the College of the Bahamas.

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Have you had a chance to read LEARNING TO BREATHE yet? Are you able to look for the truth and validity in feedback you initially find distasteful? Are you able to keep in mind that agents are regular people too? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

0 Lauren Spieller, author of YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT, on being inspired by The Odyssey

We're delighted to have Lauren Spieller here to share more about her debut novel, YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT.

Lauren, what was your inspiration for writing YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT?

I had just driven across the country from California to New York, and was curious about what it would be like to live on the road permanently. I also love The Odyssey, and thought--what if I did a modern day retelling of Odysseus' journey, but instead of returning home, I explored what it would be like for a teen girl who's always home and yearns to leave? The book ended up not being a retelling so much as a story inspired by Homer's epic, but it was still a really fun piece of source material to play with!

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

I'm going to cheat, and give two answers. The first is to never give up. The second is to read voraciously and omnivorously. It's important to be familiar with books written for your target audience--be it middle grade fantasy or adult romance--but it's also important to read outside of your comfort zone. Not only because you'll learn new and important skills, but because you never know where inspiration will come from!

What are you working on now?

 I'm working on my second book! It's called She's The Worst, and it tells the story of two sisters who spend one last day together before the eldest leaves for college. But they're both keeping secrets, so they'll have to decide if the truth will tear them apart or bring them closer together. We pitched it as 10 Things I Hate About You meets Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and I am really excited to share it with the world in 2019!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Your Destination Is on the Left
by Lauren Spieller
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 6/26/2018

Dessa Rhodes is a modern day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs, and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, whom she knows she can never be with. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance.

Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.

Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss—and herself—that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving?

Purchase Your Destination Is on the Left at Amazon
Purchase Your Destination Is on the Left at IndieBound
View Your Destination Is on the Left on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Lauren Spieller is an author and literary agent who lives in New York with her husband.

When she isn’t writing, she can be found drinking lattes, pining for every dog she sees, or visiting her native California. Your Destination is on the Left is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @laurenspieller and Instagram @laurenspieller.

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Have you had a chance to read YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT yet? Are you committed to never giving up? Are you reading voraciously and omnivorously? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

0 Sandra Gulland, author of THE GAME OF HOPE, on incorporating scenes from other novels

We're excited to have Sandra Gulland swing by to chat about her latest novel, THE GAME OF HOPE.

Sandra, 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 hardest scene to write in THE GAME OF HOPE was the final scene, because so many story threads had to come together in a big way, and all at once. In writer-parlance, these are called "set pieces": major scenes with a lot going on in them. What's challenging is showing the big picture, but not confusing the reader.

At the same time, this scene had to include the same masquerade ball that appeared in TALES OF PASSION, TALES OF WOE, the second book in THE JOSEPHINE B. TRILOGY. In the TRILOGY, the ball is viewed from Josephine's perspective. In THE GAME OF HOPE, it's from the point-of-view of her daughter, Hortense. Needless to say, their experiences of that masquerade ball were entirely different.

Likewise, the scene had to jive as much as possible with the historical record. It took some research to find a credible reason why Hortense's love interest, Christophe Duroc, might be in attendance. So very important!

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 had always meant to write a book "someday." When our two children were young, I set my alarm for one hour before they woke to do my writing. I also timed our coffee pot to begin brewing; the smell of the coffee helped lure me out of bed. After one year of "automatic" journal writing, I printed out the stack of pages, only to discover that what I had were hundreds of pages on the subject of exhaustion.

When I turned 40, I read a self-help book that suggested that one imagine what words would be on their tombstone. The horrifying words that came to me were: "She never got around to it." That was the point at which I realized that I had to begin writing immediately. The children were in school by then, so I gave my morning hours to writing a novel, and my afternoon hours to my freelance work, which was editing.

In this way, over a year's time, I had a manuscript about the end of the world. A nuclear holocaust wasn't that popular a subject at that time, so it got rejected again and again. In the drawer it went.

The following year was devoted to writing a contemporary comedy of manners/mystery about an elderly eccentric possessed by the spirit of Napoleon's first wife, Josephine. A scrap of a diary is discovered: Josephine's? Could it be? It was a mess of a plot. Writer Jane Urquhart, then Writer in Residence at the University of Ottawa, advised me to "just do the diary." That is: put 300 pages in the drawer and go with the 10 in the middle. "That's where the story comes to life," she said.

And so I did. I began Josephine's "diary," and about five years later, I had an agent, a publisher, and a contract to write two more novels to complete what had by then become a trilogy. I am thankful that my first two novels were never published because it would have spelled the end of my career.

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 vividly remember one day, revising the first novel in the TRILOGY. By this time, I had read and reworked THE MANY LIVES & SECRET SORROWS OF JOSEPHINE B. many times over. There was one short chapter I loved; the prose sang! But this time, I realized that it just didn't fit and I ruthlessly cut it.

"I just cut my favorite chapter!" I announced to my husband. "I feel like a real writer."

Faulkner wrote, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” This was my realization of that truth. I've since learned that if a scene can be cut, it likely should be. I made one exception to this rule in THE GAME OF HOPE. I had cut one scene that seemed to serve no purpose — it was comic, but to what end? — but one of my young Beta readers loved that scene so much that I put it back in. It did serve a purpose after all: making readers laugh. :-)

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Game of Hope
by Sandra Gulland
Hardcover
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 6/26/2018

For Napoleon's stepdaughter, nothing is simple - especially love.

Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom have suffered tragic losses during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother's dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her beautiful, charming mother, Josephine, has married Napoleon Bonaparte, soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense at the outset as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror.

Where will Hortense's future lie? it may not be in her power to decide.

Inspired by Hortense's real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of life long ago, this is the story of a girl destined by fate to play a role she didn't choose.

Purchase The Game of Hope at Amazon
Purchase The Game of Hope at IndieBound
View The Game of Hope on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Sandra Gulland is the author of six historical novels, including the JOSEPHINE B. TRILOGY, based on the life of Josephine Bonaparte, published in seventeen countries. Her latest novel, THE GAME OF HOPE, is a Young Adult novel about Josephine’s daughter.

An American-Canadian, Sandra was born in Miami, Florida, and lived in Rio de Janeiro, Berkeley and Chicago before immigrating to Ontario, Canada in 1970. She and her husband live half the year in Canada and half in Mexico. For more information about the author and her work, go to www.sandragulland.com.

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Have you had a chance to read THE GAME OF HOPE yet? Does imagining what will be on your tombstone impact your writing goals? How do you react when you must kill your darlings? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

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

Monday, June 25, 2018

6 New Releases this Week 06/25 - 7/1 plus 3 Giveaways

The summer is getting steamy here in the Northern Hemisphere as we head into July. Are you hitting the beach? Swinging in a hammock under the shade? Hiding inside with the air conditioning? Regardless, you need a good book, so we've got you covered this week! Check out the new releases below and enter to win one of our three giveaways.

Happy Reading,

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

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


The Game of Hope
by Sandra Gulland
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 6/26/2018

For Napoleon's stepdaughter, nothing is simple - especially love.

Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom have suffered tragic losses during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother's dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her beautiful, charming mother, Josephine, has married Napoleon Bonaparte, soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense at the outset as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror.

Where will Hortense's future lie? it may not be in her power to decide.

Inspired by Hortense's real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of life long ago, this is the story of a girl destined by fate to play a role she didn't choose.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Game of Hope?

Other than the delightfully lively and precocious main character, Hortense, I loved best the Institute, the boarding school for girls that Hortense and her friends attend. It was highly unusual for that time — few girls went to school at all — and the Institute had a rigorous academic program as well as amazing music and art instructors, the best in France. Although most of the girls were of the nobility and accustomed to being catered to, they had to learn to sew and cook and were expected to clean their own rooms. Madame Campan (the much-beloved headmistress of the school), told parents that she was grooming the girls to be good wives — then considered the only purpose of a school for girls — but she had a secret agenda: to make sure that her students received a professional level of training so that they would be able to support their families if need be.

Purchase The Game of Hope at Amazon
Purchase The Game of Hope at IndieBound
View The Game of Hope on Goodreads

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The Museum of Us
by Tara Wilson Redd
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Wendy Lamb Books
Released 6/26/2018

Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out.

Sadie loves her rocker boyfriend Henry and her running partner and best friend Lucie, but no one can measure up to her truest love and hero, the dazzling and passionate George. George, her secret.

When something goes wrong and Sadie is taken to the hospital calling out for George, her hidden life may be exposed. Now she must confront the truth of the past, and protect a world she is terrified to lose.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Museum of Us?

I have a lot of favorite things about THE MUSEUM OF US depending on the day, but what I actually love most is that for better or worse, my main character Sadie has a personality that people react to. A lot of people see themselves in Sadie, and others find her really annoying, but what surprised me as a writer is how so many people treat her as...well...real!

There's another world you step into as a writer where, in order to create authentic people, you find them real yourself. I honestly think you have to enter that other world to be effective. But when I step back out of that writing state, my characters are never real to me; it would be too hard to make difficult editing choices if they were! Now that the book is finished, seeing that the Sadie I met while writing--a very real, imperfect teenager in pain--is what readers also see...that's my favorite thing.


Purchase The Museum of Us at Amazon
Purchase The Museum of Us at IndieBound
View The Museum of Us on Goodreads

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Your Destination Is on the Left
by Lauren Spieller
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 6/26/2018

Dessa Rhodes is a modern day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs, and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, whom she knows she can never be with. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance.

Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.

Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss—and herself—that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Your Destination Is on the Left?

I'm really proud of having written a book about feeling like you're not good enough, and continuing to try anyway. I think that's something teens and adults alike can relate to, and I hope readers come away from reading my debut feeling inspired to never give up on their dreams, no matter how hard the journey is along the way.

Purchase Your Destination Is on the Left at Amazon
Purchase Your Destination Is on the Left at IndieBound
View Your Destination Is on the Left on Goodreads

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Dive Smack: Andrea C.
Phoebe Will Destroy You: Caroline R.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


Learning to Breathe
by Janice Lynn Mather
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for You
Released 6/26/2018

Sixteen-year-old Indy struggles to conceal her pregnancy while searching for a place to belong in this stunning debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Amber Smith and Sara Zarr.

Indira Ferguson has done her best to live by her Grammy’s rules—to study hard in school, be respectful, and to never let a boy take advantage of her. But it hasn’t always been easy, especially while living in her mother’s shadow.

When Indy is sent to live with distant relatives in Nassau, trouble follows her. Now she must hide an unwanted pregnancy from her aunt, who would rather throw Indy out onto the street than see the truth.

Completely broke with only a hand-me-down pregnancy book as a resource, Indy desperately looks for a safe space to call home. After stumbling upon a yoga retreat, she wonders if perhaps she’s found the place. But Indy is about to discover that home is much bigger than just four walls and a roof—it’s about the people she chooses to share it with.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Learning to Breathe?

My favourite thing about LEARNING TO BREATHE…probably that it’s being published with a beautiful cover that has my name on it!

In terms of the story itself, I really love Indy’s experiences at the yoga retreat. It’s an unexpected world she stumbles into, and I really enjoyed spending time with her there. It’s a place that allows her to see who she is, rather than who others say she is. For Indy, it’s an outlet for her to realize her own resilience and strength, to see what’s within. That’s particularly special for me because I’ve had the opportunity to use yoga myself to get through a really difficult period in my life. Like Indy, I found real power in being able to feel calm by changing my breath, by using my body, by developing strength I didn’t know I possessed. I love this part of the story because we all have a retreat of some sort—a place, a setting, a set of people, a set of experiences that show us something we’re able to access within ourselves, and that, to some degree, save us.


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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


99 Lies
by Rachel Vincent
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 6/26/2018

Getting kidnapped over spring break was definitely memorable. But now that the surviving hostages are home, they want life to feel normal again: high school, dating, million-dollar galas.

But there’s no escaping the spotlight—or the truth about the ways they betrayed each other in the jungle. And this time, the real threat isn’t kidnappers—it’s what the “friends” might do to each other.

Told from alternating perspectives, the high-stakes follow-up to 100 Hours delivers an explosive mix of nonstop action and romance as a group of Miami teens discovers that lies are nowhere near as dangerous as the truth.

Purchase 99 Lies at Amazon
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View 99 Lies on Goodreads

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A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
by Ellen Oh
Hardcover
Greenwillow Books
Released 6/26/2018

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renée Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong.

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place.

Purchase A Thousand Beginnings and Endings at Amazon
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View A Thousand Beginnings and Endings on Goodreads

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Court of Shadows
by Madeleine Roux
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 6/26/2018

After the frightful events of last autumn, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton has settled into her role as a maid at Coldthistle House, but she has not settled into what that means for her humanity.

As Louisa struggles to figure out whether she is worthy of redemption, the devilish Mr. Morningside plans a fete— one that will bring new guests to Coldthistle House. From wicked humans to Upworlders, angelic beings who look down upon Mr. Morningside’s monstrous staff, all are armed with their own brand of self-righteous justice.

Even a man claiming to be Louisa’s father has a role to play, though what his true motive is, Louisa cannot tell. The conflicts will eventually come to a head on the grounds of Coldthistle House—and the stakes include Louisa’s very soul.

Purchase Court of Shadows at Amazon
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View Court of Shadows on Goodreads

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Fugitive Six
by Pittacus Lore
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 6/26/2018

The Human Garde Academy was created in the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth. It was meant to provide a safe haven for teens across the globe who were suddenly developing incredible powers known as Legacies.

Taylor Cook was one of the newest students and had no idea if she’d ever fit in. But when she was mysteriously abducted, her friends broke every rule in the book to save her. In the process, they uncovered a secret organization that was not only behind Taylor’s kidnapping but also the disappearance of numerous teens with abilities. An organization that has dark roots in the Loric’s past, untold resources, and potentially even a mole at their own school.

Now these friends, who have become known to other students as the “Fugitive Six,” must work together to bring this mysterious group to an end before they can hurt anyone else.

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View Fugitive Six on Goodreads

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My Plain Jane
by Cynthia Hand
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 6/26/2018

You may think you know the story. Penniless orphan Jane Eyre begins a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester—and, Reader, she marries him. Or does she?

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Now You See Her
by Lisa Leighton and Laura Stropki
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 6/26/2018

AMELIA has always felt like happiness is a serve she can’t return, a ball just out of reach. And now, in her senior year, right before tennis season, her mom wants to move—again.

SOPHIE has a perfectly curated, Instagram-ready life. From her first singles win to her hot long-term boyfriend to the beautiful landscaped home where she lives with her parents, Sophie is everything Amelia wishes she could hate.

But one night changes everything. When a man tries to abduct Amelia after her car breaks down during a storm, Amelia attempts to escape—into incoming traffic. And in one inexplicable moment, they switch bodies.

Amelia wakes up in Sophie’s body. Amelia’s body is in a coma. Now Amelia needs to find a way back into her own life—but first, she must retrace her steps to unravel the mystery of the accident, her attempted abduction, and how it’s all tied to her mother’s secret past.

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The Emerald Sea
by Richelle Mead
Hardcover
Razorbill
Released 6/26/2018

Tamsin Wright is unstoppable. She must become the Glittering Court's diamond: the girl with the highest test scores, the most glamorous wardrobe, and the greatest opportunities to match with an elite suitor in the New World. Training alongside other girls in the Glittering Court, Tamsin immerses herself completely in lessons about etiquette, history, and music--everything a high-society wife would need to know. Once she's married, she'll be able to afford a better life for her family, so the sacrifice is worth it if she can be the best.

When her friendship with Mira and Adelaide, her roommates at the Glittering Court, threatens her status as the top-ranked prospect, she does the only thing she knows will keep her on track: she cuts them out of her life. But when her voyage across the sea goes off course, Tamsin must use her unrelenting grit and determination to survive the harsh winter far north of her intended destination in hopes of making it back to the Glittering Court in time to secure a proposal--and a comfortable future for her family.

Experiencing new cultures and beliefs for the first time, Tamsin realizes that her careful studies haven't prepared her for everything, and with new alliances formed with roguish tradesman Jago Robinson and good-natured minister Gideon Stewart, Tamsin's heart begins to be pulled in different directions. But she can't let her brewing attraction get in the way of her ultimate goal: protecting the secret she holds closest to her heart, the one that would unravel everything she's worked for if it's uncovered.

Purchase The Emerald Sea at Amazon
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View The Emerald Sea on Goodreads

* * * *


The Evolution of Claire
by Tess Sharpe
Hardcover
Random House Books for Young R
Released 6/26/2018

Freshman year in college is full of obstacles--there are messy roommates, cranky professors, and disgusting dining halls. But for Claire Dearing, add "How to properly avoid being eaten by a dinosaur" to that list.

The year is 2004, and Claire has been given the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to intern at the Jurassic World theme park less than a year before it opens to the public. She is laser-focused, with her sights set on bettering the lives of all animals worldwide. But life at the park isn't all test-driving gyrospheres and falling head over heels for a fellow student named Justin . . . though she does that too. Rumors and suspicions flood the island, and Claire is determined to unravel the truth.

As Claire searches for answers, she and Justin find themselves thrust into a sinister plot that will leave Claire forever changed, forcing her to question everything she thought she knew and bringing her one step closer to the Claire viewers met in Jurassic World and who they'll return to in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Purchase The Evolution of Claire at Amazon
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View The Evolution of Claire on Goodreads

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The Life and Death Parade
by Eliza Wass
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 6/26/2018

One year ago, Kitty's boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he's dead.

With the Bramley family grieving in separate corners of their home, Kitty sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate. Instead she finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade--a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic... and Kitty's late mother.

Desperate to learn more about the group and their connection to Nikki, Kitty convinces Roan to return to the Bramley house with her and secures a position for him within the household. Roan quickly ingratiates himself with the Bramleys, and soon enough it seems like everyone is ready to move on. Kitty, however, increasingly suspects Roan knows more about Nikki than he's letting on. And when they finally locate the Life and Death Parade, and the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything.

Purchase The Life and Death Parade at Amazon
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View The Life and Death Parade on Goodreads

* * * *


Wild Blue Wonder
by Carlie Sorosiak
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 6/26/2018

Last June, the summer camp Quinn’s family owns in Winship, Maine, was still a magical place. A place where wild blueberries grew no matter the season, a legendary sea monster lurked in the waters, and Quinn fell in love with her best friend, Dylan.

Then the accident happened.

Now it’s winter, the magic has drained from Quinn’s life, and she knows it’s her fault. But the new boy in town, Alexander, doesn’t see her as the monster she believes herself to be. As Quinn lets herself open up again, she begins to understand the truth about love, loss, and monsters—real and imagined.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

0 Aminah Mae Safi, author of NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR, on writing rules being like The Pirate Code

We're delighted to have Aminah Mae Safi stop by to chat about her debut novel, NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR.

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 my opening scene. In the first ten pages, Lulu stumbles out of a hall closet, re-arranges her clothes, and knocks a guy into a pool. When I wrote it, I remember thinking, “Who is ever going to want to publish this?” I’d written a Muslim American teen girl who made a lot of questionable choices. I’d never seen her in fiction. At the time, I couldn’t imagine people would want to see her. For me, that scene reminds me that I’ve been so lucky to be able to publish this story with all of Lulu’s messy traits fully in tact.

How long did you work on NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR?

Oh boy. Seven years from when I started Not The Girls You’re Looking For to my pub date. I kept telling myself I would shelve it and work on something else, but I just couldn’t quit this book. It was the book seventeen year old me needed and, on some level, I just couldn’t stop working until this book was out in the world for her. There was one point where I put the manuscript down for a couple of years to work on some scripts, but I still came back to it in the end.

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


That writing rules are like The Pirate Code— they’re more like guidelines. Know what they are but also know when they aren’t serving you. Take what works for you and use those to your best advantage.

What do you hope readers will take away from NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR?

That everyone has a story. That everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about, including the people you love the most. That you can recover from your screw ups and make amends.

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?

Honestly if somebody knows this please forward the information to me immediately.

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


All of the above! Libraries are fantastic free spaces and are great when I need a fresh, quiet place to work. I meet writer friends in coffee shops around LA when I need someone to hold me accountable. I also have a two monitor set up at home for when I need to buckle down and edit. Other than that, sometimes music, sometimes tea, sometimes Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on in the background while I work. Some days, the work is easy, and I don’t need any external cues to get into that headspace. Other days, I’ve got to use every tool in my kit to get through a scene.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a story about two girls from opposites sides of the social scale as they fall in love while making a film project during their senior year. It’s got enemies to lovers, some pretty great best friends, and it’s set in LA. It’s set to be released next summer— I can’t wait for everyone to meet Sana and Rachel!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Not the Girls You're Looking For
by Aminah Mae Safi
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 6/19/2018

Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.

Purchase Not the Girls You're Looking For at Amazon
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View Not the Girls You're Looking For on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer who explores art, fiction, feminism, and film. She loves Sofia Coppola movies, Bollywood endings, and the Fast and Furious franchise. She’s the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest. Originally raised in Texas, she now lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner, a cat bent on world domination, and another cat who’s just here for the snacks. NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR is her first novel.

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Have you had a chance to read NOT THE GIRLS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR yet? Are you writing the book you needed as a teen? Why kind of external cues do you need to get into the writing headspace? 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

0 Thank You to the Participants and Mentors of the #1st5pages Workshop!

Thank you to all of the participants who trusted us with their pages, and worked so hard during our June 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop - and congratulations to Christine Oh, our workshop winner! And a big thanks to our wonderful guest mentors, Kim Culbertson as our author mentor and Danielle Burby of Nelson Literary as our agent mentor! As always, thank you to our talented and fabulous permanent mentors, who read, comment, and cheer on our participants every month!

The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these pages aren't compelling, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is! Our July workshop will open for submissions on Saturday, June 7 at noon, EST. So get those pages ready - we usually fill up in under a minute!

Happy Writing (and revising!)

Erin

About the Author:

Erin Cashman is AYAP's 1st 5 Pages Workshop coordinator, and a permanent mentor. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, three kids, and an energetic rescue dog. She writes YA fantasy. UNCHARTED is coming fall of 2018, and THE EXCEPTIONALS, a Bank Street College of Education best book of the year, is available now. For up to date information about the workshop, you can follow Erin on twitter here.

Friday, June 22, 2018

0 SM Koz, author of LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT, on experiencing the benefits of a detailed synopsis

We're thrilled to have SM Koz stop by to give us the scoop on her novel, LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT.

What was your inspiration for writing LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT?


My husband and I are foster parents and we’ve met some incredible children and adolescents while we’ve been doing it. Hearing their stories and seeing what they’ve gone through is heartbreaking, and I wanted to give others a glimpse into this world. With how busy we all are, it can be easy to get caught up in our own lives and our own challenges. We often forget others are struggling as much, if not more, than us.

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 hardest scene for me to write was when the Campbells make an assumption about Hailey (due to her background), which causes all the trust she had developed for them to evaporate in a heartbeat. This was difficult because my husband and I found ourselves in a similar situation. It was painful to see all the positive strides the child had made with us disappear because of our mistake. In case it wasn’t clear—foster care is hard. Really hard!

As far as what I’m most proud of, I think it’s less a certain scene and more the emotional component of all the scenes. For me, the narrative and dialogue come fairly easily; it’s injecting emotion into the scene and characters that is a struggle. I often find my first attempt at a chapter focuses on what the characters are doing and saying. Then, I go back and add emotion. While the word count for this second pass is generally only a third of what I initially wrote, the time commitment is usually twice as much. Because it’s so much more challenging, I feel a sense of pride (and relief!) when it all comes together.

How long did you work on LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT?

I completed my first draft in about four weeks, which is fairly typical for my contemporary romances. Since I also work as a freelance medical writer, I like to plan ahead and give myself a month off of my nine-to-five job to write my novels. Knowing my free time is limited has been a great motivator for me to write quickly! Of course, there were many revisions after that first draft. Overall, I think my editor and I went back and forth for about a year until we were both happy!

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 took me years to become traditionally published. I started with a YA contemporary romance (titled Love, Lies, and Maurice) that will never see the light of day because it is horrible, but it gave me the confidence I needed to know I could write a full-length novel. I then wrote two Hunger Games fanfiction stories, which were well-received online and gave me the confidence I needed to put my work out there for others to read. After that, I wrote two self-published YA novels, one contemporary romance and the other a light sci-fi. And then, finally, after six years, I found a publisher for my next book—Love Me, Love Me Not!

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 AHA! moment came with my current work-in-progress. I’m not much of an outliner as I’ve always preferred to have a starting point and an ending point, then wait to see where my characters take me. But, for my current project, my editor asked for a synopsis prior to starting the novel, which I had never done before. It took us a couple of weeks to come to an agreement on the finer points of the plot, but it was well worth the time. I’ve never had a first draft feel so polished before, and I have a feeling this manuscript will progress along the publishing timeline much quicker than Love Me, Love Me Not. From now on, I’ll start every project with a detailed synopsis!

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 such a boring writer. I need silence, so I always write at home, either in bed, on the couch, or at my desk. No music. No TV. No children running around. This also makes it challenging as sometimes I’ll want to get one chapter in on a weekend, but our house is always a zoo then! My husband is great, though, and he’ll usually offer to take the kids to the park for a couple of hours so I can get my writing done.

What are you working on now?


I’m currently working on another YA contemporary romance. This one takes place at an elite military boarding school in the mountains of Virginia and focuses on Logan Evans, an antisocial delinquent who was sent to the school to be reformed, and Paige Durant, an uptight, strictly-by-the-rules student officer. The two of them are partnered in the peer mentor program, and it doesn’t take long for the sparks to fly!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Love Me, Love Me Not
by SM Koz
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 6/19/2018

When Hailey Brown is removed from her home and put into foster care, all she wants is a safe, comfortable place where she can finish school and move on with her life. It’s not easy adjusting to a new school and a new life, but Mr. and Mrs. Campbell and their teenage son, Brad, welcome Hailey with open arms.

As Hailey begins to adjust to her new life, she and Brad grow closer. For the first time, Hailey feels like she might have a real shot at a future. Soon, however, Hailey realizes her relationship with Brad has crossed the line from friendship into something more. But being with Brad would mean giving up the perfect life that Hailey has waited so long to have.

Can Hailey and Brad resist the feelings that are developing between them―or will they risk it all to be together?

Purchase Love Me, Love Me Not at Amazon
Purchase Love Me, Love Me Not at IndieBound
View Love Me, Love Me Not on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR  

SM KOZ is a medical writer from North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and numerous pets. She has a BS in Biology from Duke University and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, photographing nature and her family, gardening, travelling, and attempting, usually unsuccessfully, to decorate birthday cakes. Love Me, Love Me Not is her first traditionally published novel.

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Have you had a chance to read LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT yet? Have you used situations from your own life in your novels? Do you find working from a detailed synopsis helps you write a quicker, more polished draft? 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, June 21, 2018

0 Demetra Brodsky, author of DIVE SMACK, on a puppy starting off her life as a storyteller

We're excited to have Demetra Brodsky join us to share more about her debut novel, DIVE SMACK.

Demetra, 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 title scene is Dive Smack was hard to write but also the most fun. When a diver hits the water going 35 MPH there is definitely a lot of pain involved, but how that scene unfolds from that moment is one of my absolute favorites. I'd tell you more but there are too many spoilers.

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

Anything by E. Lockhart, Stephanie Keuhn, Megan Abbot, Jennifer McMahon, or Chris Crutcher

How long did you work on DIVE SMACK?

I started writing the first draft of DIVE SMACK in December of 2011. I was following a lot of different blogs run by agents and decided to go to THE BIG SUR writing workshop run by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I workshopped my early pages and went back home and revised the whole book. I finished writing the first draft of DIVE SMACK April 10 2012. I’ve probably written 20 drafts of DIVE SMACK and easily received over a hundred rejections from agents and editors combined. I guess that makes my journey with Dive Smack seven years long. We've been through quite a lot together, Theo Mackey and I.

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

I found I could scare myself. My mind is a dark place.

What do you hope readers will take away from DIVE SMACK?


I want readers remember to trust their gut. If something feels off, it's probably off. That gut reaction is a survival tool. Don't ignore it.

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 writing the first draft of DIVE SMACK in December 2011. I was following a lot of different blogs run by agents like Jenny Bent, and at one point decided to go to THE BIG SUR writing workshop run by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I worked on my early pages there then wrote and revised the full first draft when I got home. I finished that first draft on April 10, 2012, four months later. I’ve written 20 or more drafts of DIVE SMACK and easily received close to a hundred rejections from agents and editors combined. I hired Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy for Editorial and rewrote again. During that time, I also received full editorial notes from Lois Duncan, author of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Killing Mr. Griffin to name just two. I've written five books, Dive Smack is the second book on that roster.

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 several, none of which is particularly unique, so I'll tell you the funniest. When I was in third grade, I brought a puppy home and told my parents that I won it in a spelling bee. Of course, the truth was my classmate's dog had a litter and they were trying to get rid of the pups. But my parents, being Greek immigrants and unfamiliar with American schools and how they worked, believed me. The look on their faces, how enraptured they were with my tall *cough, cough* tail, was the moment I understood that I could tell a believable story.

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

I usually need an obscene level of silence. But I do make a playlist for every book that I listen to when I'm not writing. This is the link to the Dive Smack Playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/demebrodsky/playlist/1mxu35SzDOoHzWV8GcIiHP

But, when there are times when I feel like I need a little more scene motivation, I'll listen to the film score of a movie within the same genre.


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

I’d like to pass along the advice given to me by fellow author Tera Lyn Childs when I first started writing and querying and was getting encouraging rejections. She said, “Perseverance is the name of the game.” And she was 100% right. Never give up.

What are you working on now?

At the moment, my projects are slightly under wraps, but I can say I’m working with my editor at Tor Teen on a thriller proposal about siblings, and maybe the end of the world as we know it. I’d tell you more, but . . . you know how that saying goes. We’re thriller writers, after all. But please, stay tuned for things to come.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Dive Smack
by Demetra Brodsky
Hardcover
Tor Teen
Released 6/19/2018

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make Theo question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone―including himself.

Purchase Dive Smack at Amazon
Purchase Dive Smack at IndieBound
View Dive Smack on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned writer. She has a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs. Dive Smack, her debut novel, is dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why. She is a first generation Greek-American and a member of International Thriller Writers. Dive Smack is a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection.

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Have you had a chance to read DIVE SMACK yet? Do you scare yourself with your writing? Are you able to keep in mind that “Perseverance is the name of the game.”? 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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

0 Kate Evangelista, author of THE BOYFRIEND BRACKET, on the the pleasures of writing on an inclined pillow

We're happy to have Kate Evangelista here to tell us more about her latest novel, THE BOYFRIEND BRACKET.

Kate, what was your inspiration for writing THE BOYFRIEND BRACKET?

Almost immediately, I knew I wanted to infuse TBB with my Filipino roots. This is why Stella is half-Filipino. I grew up in a culture where having an older brother means that you have to deal with his protectiveness. I'm that way with my younger brother. It's an older sibling imperative, I think, to be protective. The thing is, in TBB, Camron definitely takes it to a whole new level with Stella.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE BOYFRIEND BRACKET?

That, at the end of the day, family is important, but we shouldn't let them keep us from expressing our love for someone. Stella and Will kept their relationship secret to spare Camron from getting hurt. I often wonder what would have happened if they had been honest from the very beginning. But, then again, there wouldn't be a book. *laughs*

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

My writing ritual changes depending on the book I'm working on. For TBB, I discovered the pleasures of an inclined pillow and a darkened room. It was so calming. I could really immerse myself in the story. I would probably use the same ritual for my next book.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Boyfriend Bracket
by Kate Evangelista
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 6/19/2018

Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother's best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she's always dreamed of―starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend, Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket.

Or it seems like the perfect plan . . . right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have?

Purchase The Boyfriend Bracket at Amazon
Purchase The Boyfriend Bracket at IndieBound
View The Boyfriend Bracket on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

When Kate Evangelista, author of No Love Allowed and No Holding Back, was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department and never looked back. Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University - Manila with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently, she writes full-time and is based in the Philippines. 

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Have you had a chance to read THE BOYFRIEND BRACKET yet? Do you infuse your novels with your cultural roots? What techniques do you have for immersing yourself in your story? 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, June 18, 2018

4 New Releases this Week 06/18 - 06/24 plus 2 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week is jam packed with new releases (that all sound perfect for summer) and two giveaways! Don't forget to check out all the books below and enter to win.

Happy Reading,

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

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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Dive Smack
by Demetra Brodsky
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Tor Teen
Released 6/19/2018

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make Theo question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone―including himself.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Dive Smack?

One of my favorite elements in Dive Smack is the springboard diving I used as both Theo’s skill and a metaphor to illustrate the main character’s life spiraling out of control. I have a friend who was a U.S.A. springboard diver in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, who was kind enough to proofread all the diving in my book. When she blurbed my debut novel and called it “…a perfect 10” I was ecstatic. When an Olympic springboard diver says you nailed it, you kind of have a moment of stomach swooping pride.

Purchase Dive Smack at Amazon
Purchase Dive Smack at IndieBound
View Dive Smack on Goodreads

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Phoebe Will Destroy You
by Blake Nelson
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 6/19/2018

The summer I was seventeen I met this girl…

Nick has the best of moms and the worst of moms. On the upside, she’s a distinguished professor and bestselling author. On the downside, she’s a serious alcoholic, with no clue how to relate to her son or husband.

Nick, meanwhile, has finished his junior year and needs a break from his stressful home life. What better place to spend the summer than Seaside, Oregon, a sleepy beach town where he can chill out, meet girls, and work at his Uncle’s car wash.

Enter local legend, Phoebe Garnet. She’s funny, sexy, but dangerously self-destructive. Suddenly Nick is more in love, more obsessed, more heartsick than he’s ever been in his life.

Why does Nick love her so much? Will he survive this obsession? And who can he turn to for help?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Phoebe Will Destroy You?

Being seventeen. It's tough. Lots of stress from a lot of different places. Also girls. They're so amazing. And they're all around you. But somehow …. being with them, talking to them. NOT EASY. And the world. Telling you all these things. None of which are exactly true. And all the time, you feel this spark inside you. This strength. You can do anything. And then you meet a girl, and it finally works, the girl thing, it actually WORKS. It's all so confusing and weird and super fun and wtf! And you feel all this stuff. And all this stuff happens. And you know this is it. You only get to be seventeen for one year. There's nothing like it. Life will never feel like this again.

Purchase Phoebe Will Destroy You at Amazon
Purchase Phoebe Will Destroy You at IndieBound
View Phoebe Will Destroy You on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

The Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez: Catherine C.


MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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Not the Girls You're Looking For
by Aminah Mae Safi
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 6/19/2018

Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Not the Girls You're Looking For?

The friendships! I love the complexity of friendships when you’re a teenager— there’s an intensity to those relationships that is honestly so magical to me. The dynamic between Lulu and her three best friends was constantly shifting and it was a fun puzzle to get to work out where everyone was emotionally at any given moment in the story.

Purchase Not the Girls You're Looking For at Amazon
Purchase Not the Girls You're Looking For at IndieBound
View Not the Girls You're Looking For on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Almost Impossible
by Nicole Williams
Paperback
Crown Books for Young Readers
Released 6/19/2018

When Jade decided to spend the summer with her aunt in California, she thought she knew what she was getting into. But nothing could have prepared her for Quentin. Jade hasn't been in suburbia long and even she knows her annoying (and annoyingly cute) next-door neighbor spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

And when Quentin learns Jade plans to spend her first American summer hiding out reading books, he refuses to be ignored. Sneaking out, staying up, and even a midnight swim, Quentin is determined to give Jade days--and nights--worth remembering.

But despite their storybook-perfect romance, every time Jade moves closer, Quentin pulls away. And when rumors of a jilted ex-girlfriend come to light, Jade knows Quentin is hiding a secret--and she's determined to find out what it is.

Purchase Almost Impossible at Amazon
Purchase Almost Impossible at IndieBound
View Almost Impossible on Goodreads

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I Think I Love You
by Patricia Lyfoung
Hardcover
Macmillan
Released 6/19/2018

Maud and Guilhem are still on the trail of the evil Baron and his acolytes. With her father’s diary and a continuing sense of deja vu at every new place they go to, Maud and Guilhem grow closer in spite of his best intentions. They leave Venice for Istanbul where crossing the desert is full of surprises. When Maud goes missing, Guilhem fears the worst, but Maud is rediscovering her ancestors. Meanwhile the Huet brothers must be stopped in a fight to end all fights with the Scarlet Rose and the Fox!

Purchase I Think I Love You at Amazon
Purchase I Think I Love You at IndieBound
View I Think I Love You on Goodreads

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Love Me, Love Me Not
by SM Koz
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 6/19/2018

When Hailey Brown is removed from her home and put into foster care, all she wants is a safe, comfortable place where she can finish school and move on with her life. It’s not easy adjusting to a new school and a new life, but Mr. and Mrs. Campbell and their teenage son, Brad, welcome Hailey with open arms.

As Hailey begins to adjust to her new life, she and Brad grow closer. For the first time, Hailey feels like she might have a real shot at a future. Soon, however, Hailey realizes her relationship with Brad has crossed the line from friendship into something more. But being with Brad would mean giving up the perfect life that Hailey has waited so long to have.

Can Hailey and Brad resist the feelings that are developing between them―or will they risk it all to be together?

Purchase Love Me, Love Me Not at Amazon
Purchase Love Me, Love Me Not at IndieBound
View Love Me, Love Me Not on Goodreads

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The Boyfriend Bracket
by Kate Evangelista
Hardcover
Swoon Reads
Released 6/19/2018

Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother's best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she's always dreamed of―starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend, Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket.

Or it seems like the perfect plan . . . right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have?

Purchase The Boyfriend Bracket at Amazon
Purchase The Boyfriend Bracket at IndieBound
View The Boyfriend Bracket on Goodreads

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Thief of Happy Endings
by Kristen Chandler
Hardcover
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 6/19/2018

Wild mustangs, irresistible wranglers, and lovesick teens abound over the course of one beautifully crazy summer at a Wyoming Ranch Camp.

Ever since her father moved out, Cassidy feels like her life has been falling apart. So a summer of riding horses at a ranch camp in Wyoming sounds like just what she needs--never mind the fact that she has a paralyzing fear of horses. She's determined to move past her fear, even if that means taking lessons from the insufferable (yet irresistible) junior wrangler Justin and embarrassing herself in front of the other campers. What follows is a summer of rodeos, complicated friendships, and a wild mustang thief on the loose.

Purchase Thief of Happy Endings at Amazon
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View Thief of Happy Endings on Goodreads

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