The time it was about Firebug

I’ve always been a fan of Lish McBride.  I love her brand of snark and that love only got stronger when we went to Disneyland together. I devoured and absolutely loved Firebug and was so so so excited be invited to be part of the blog tour.

Firebug BlogTour

Before we get to Lish’s interview, let’s check out the book.

Firebug coverAva can start fires with her mind . . . but is it a blessing or a curse?

Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hit men . . . and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her mother’s death was ordered by Venus—who is now her boss.

When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in. Preferably keeping the murder to a minimum.

Sounds good, right?

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1. Where did the idea for Firebug come from?

I was driving, actually. This was way back before I wrote Hold Me Closer, Necromancer—years before it, when I was still trying to figure out how that whole thing was going to work. This was probably eleven years ago. So I was driving to pick up Man Friend from his apprenticeship since we were sharing a car, and since I drove that way pretty much daily, my brain was wandering and I started thinking about vampires (my brain is a strange and cluttered place, sometimes.) and how fire is one of the things they can’t stand. Which led me to think about how someone who could create fire would be the perfect assassin against vampires. This is kind of before the big vampire boom and so originally there were going to be more in the story. Anyway, it seemed like a neat idea, but I was busy getting my undergraduate degree at the time, and I hadn’t even tried my hands at novels yet, so I shelved it. When we sold HMC,N and NTS, my agent asked what else I had, so I pitched him the idea. I really didn’t have much more than a vague concept…even though by the time I pitched it, I’d gone through grad school and actually written a version of Firebug for my screenwriting class. It was pretty terrible, really, but mapping it out like that made me realize how much of the idea wasn’t working. The only things that really carried over to the novel were Ava, Lock, Venus and Owen, the setting, and a small amount of the plot.

2. Why do you love Ava and why should we root for her?

I made a joke when I was working on Firebug that it was kind of fun to write someone so different from Sam, the lead in my other two books. Sam is just so…nice. And I love him, don’t get me wrong, but he’s much nicer than I am. Ava, well, she’s awkward and snarky, and she’s been forced to become a survivor and as such has a somewhat…overly practical outlook on things sometimes. Simply, she’s not as nice. And when I said this my agent said, “So it must be much easier for you to write her, huh?”

I’m not sure that answered the question. I guess I love her because she’s really trying her best, but she screws up a lot because she hasn’t had a lot of practice interacting with people on a long-term basis, what with the way she’s been brought up and all. As for why you should root for her, well, again, she means well. Ava is really trying to do her best in a terrible situation. She hasn’t had things easy, and they aren’t getting easier, but she truly tries to do some good when she can. At the very least she tries to take care of the family she’s built.

3. What was the weirdest thing you googled while researching?

This is hard because I spend most of my time researching weird stuff. I’m pretty sure I’m on some sort of government watch list by now. But it’s probably a toss up between the time I Googled what a decomposition timeline would be for a non-embalmed human body if left in a mausoleum during spring/summer conditions in a temperate climate and the time I Googled the temperature at which human remains burn. I also once Googled the best way to blow up a car. Seriously on some sort of list. Also, it’s times like these that I like to remember the age range I’m writing for and cackle.

4. What makes a good villain?

They generally don’t know (or don’t care) that they’re evil. They’re usually just really practical about getting what they want and they don’t care who they have to plow through to get it. That being said, the best ones have some depth to them and if you can, something unexpected. Douglas, the villain from the Sam books, has a very sympathetic story thread to him. You occasionally get a glimpse into the Douglas he could have been if he hadn’t been raised by his psychotic aunt. And they don’t always have to be powerful. Firebug has a secondary villain who isn’t powerful at all, and yet is almost as devastating to Ava. Villains take many forms.

It helps if they are also snappy dressers.

5. Describe Firebug in 5 words.

Pages, words, characters, cover art. (I’m kidding.)

How about: Teen assassins on the run? (I’m not very good at this.)

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. What happens next?

My agent asks what’s wrong because I don’t sound very excited and I spend five minutes trying to convince him that no, I am very excited, I just don’t always emote properly, and besides I don’t believe things until I have them in my hand. Which meant that I wasn’t convinced I was getting published until I got my contract 3-4 months later, and even then I was dubious. In fact, I still feel it’s a really elaborate prank.

But after I convinced my agent that I was happy, I called my mother and all my brothers to share my news. So basically my form of celebrating was to be on the phone A LOT.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

Really, as long as you have the TARDIS, you don’t really need to take anything else. Except maybe the instruction manual for it, and a snack to eat while you read the manual. I don’t really recommend taking the Doctor with you, as he will just get you into trouble.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it makes me sad to think about.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys?

I don’t know if I’m a swoony type person. I’m not against it, but I think I’m more attracted to personality and a sense of humor than anything. I mean, it’s not like I have a list of names hanging about or anything.

*looks away*

*hides list*

*Whistles and walks away nonchalantly*

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

Everyone will assume that you know what they’re talking about right away, even though you are a total noob. The sooner you start asking people to explain things to you, the better.

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large_national geographicLish McBride was raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest. It rains a lot there, but she likes it anyway. She spent three years away while she got her MFA in fiction from the University of New Orleans, and she liked that too, although the hurricane did leave much of her stuff underwater. Her main goal in going to college was to become a writer so she could wear pajamas pretty much all the time. She currently resides in Seattle, spending most of her time at her day job at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. The rest of her time is divided between writing, reading, volunteering at 826 Seattle, and Twitter, where she either discusses her desire for a nap or her love for kittens. (Occasionally ponies.)

She plays a fierce game of potato hockey, and by “fierce” she of course means that she plays dirty, not that she plays well.

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Huge thanks to Macmillan for the invite and to Lish for taking the time.  Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page and adding all of her books to your TBR shelf on Goodreads.

And click here for the other tour stops and additional Lish awesomeness.

Now.  Macmillan has so graciously offered up a hardcover copy of Firebug.  Contest is US/Canada only and additional rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The time I deserved my inscription

After Sarah J Maas moved back to the east coast {yeah, I know that sounds stalkerish}, I wasn’t sure if she would be coming back to the west coast for Heir of Fire. When I saw the date for the Glendale store, it was a sure thing.

Our friend from London was here on the same day. He’s a merch guy and he’s currently working for the Disney band R5. We agreed to help work the show, so we started the day at the LA county fair grounds.

We headed over to the bookstore at 12:30 and got there around 1:15. I had pre-ordered the copies I needed, so went straight to the register. Hubs went upstairs to see how the event area was looking. There was an employee up there and they told him that the line up was going to be outside, staring at 2. We ran into Nicole and I lined up with her in the “unofficial” line.

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One of the BN employees came outside and told us that he appreciated our fandom and that we were all lined up nicely, but the official line was where he placed the sign at 2pm. Then someone else came out and said if we insisted on lining up already, we could line up on the other side of the store, in the street. So we all moved. But it still wasn’t going to be considered the official line.

Just before 2pm, security came out with the ropes and started putting them around where we were standing. The sign was brought out and we were told that out line was now the official line. We were going to be taken inside {it was over 100 degrees out} and so we all walked single file through the store to the second level. Nicole and I were able to get second row, next to the wall. Which is what I wanted.

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As we were waiting, the employees told us that Sarah was only going to be able to personalize one book per person. She would sign everyone’s books, but had to catch a flight.

Sarah, Nina and Robin got there right at 3. There was a moderator who is a blogger, but I didn’t catch her name. Hubs said there was an introduction, but I didn’t hear it. I think I was taking photos? I don’t know.  I will admit that this post will be a huge hot mess. I didn’t get the full answer for almost every question…

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Pitch your book.

R: Alias meets Gossip Girl

N: Mad Men plus James Bond

S: I’m really bad at the elevator pitch. Throne of Glass was pitched at “Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones.” Heir of Fire has Manon and I like to think of it as How to Train Your Dragon meets crystal meth. Sorry kids.

What’s your favorite part of writing?

R: For all of the books, I’ve had a day or a night where all of the words come and they’re perfect. That rush where the characters take over is enough to keep me going.

N: Everything that Robin said. Plus meeting fans who really love the books.

S: I love seeing the series grow and mean stuff to people. I did an event in San Francisco last night. The first time I was there, there were about 6 people there and I thought it was awesome. Last night there was something like 130.

I’m a bit of a method writer. I act out a lot of the scenes. I listened to one Kanye song over and over again and then I was in Celaena’s head. Then the words came and it’s a bit of a rush.

What would your Harry Potter house be?

R: Hufflepuff. Just because I want to be able to say I’m a Hufflepuffer

N: I want to say Gryffindor, but probably Ravenclaw.

S: On a good day, I would say Gryffindor, but probably Slytherin. Maybe they’ll have mixed house when I get there. {There was an entire conversation about Sarah still waiting for her Hogwarts letter and how she’s hoping that there’s a grad school option for adults.}

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What made you want to write YA?

R: There’s no other age group with high emotions. You don’t say “remember our 40s?”

N: I think my age got stuck there. There’s something exciting about it. Nothing is as important as it is to a 16 year old.

S: I think I’m a 12 year old who is obsessed with boys. I’m currently obsessed with Outlander and every night I’m like “oh Jaime I love you.” We recently went to Scotland and I found a cycle of stones and I touched every single one of them just in case. {Insert hilarious story about her husband asking about why she was doing touching all of the stones and their discussion about who would survive living in the 1700s.}

I started Throne of Glass when I was really young, so it was by default.

What were the books you read when you were young?

R: My parents didn’t censor the things I read, so that meant I was reading the Suzanne Somers autobiography in the 6th grade. Something I really remembered was The Babysitters Club.

N: Probably the most important were the Narnia books. {To Sarah:} You touched stones, I opened every closet door looking for That Door.

S: I was growing up and felt that there were two sides of me. Back then nerds weren’t embraced. I pretended that I didn’t read at all. In 7th grade a teacher noticed and called my parents in.  My parents took me to BN and I walked out with The Hero and the Crown and Sabriel and it was the first time I read where the girl saved the world.

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Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

R: Étienne St. Clair.  I just finished a working on a book called Emmy and Oliver and I put Oliver through the ringer.  I’ve been working on it for a while now, so I’m just getting over my crush on him.

N: I’m team Chaol for sure.

S: Obviously Jaime. Akiva from DoSaB. Dorian and Chaol are sort of on the young side. I’m really into Rowan because he’s like A Man. It’s the first time I’ve had a crush on my own character.

How difficult was it to get into everyone’s head for HoF?

S: It wasn’t that difficult. I will only write a point of view if I hear their voice. With Manon, she was super easy to write. Celaena’s point of view was so dark. To do it properly, I had to think of Sooz not existing.

Which character was the most fun to write?

N: For me a character named November. She’s a rat shifter and doesn’t care about what the goody goody main characters are doing.

R: Roux. {But I missed why.}

S: Celaena. Obvs. {so much more than this answer.}

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Which characters from the first draft made it to Throne of Glass?

S: I shared everything on Fiction Press. Celaena changed a lot. I started writing when I was 16 and it’s not a coincidence that Celaena was in prison. I was in high school and it’s sort of the same thing.

What comes first: the name or the character?

R: For me, they come up to me and introduce themselves like a person would. They’re just like people, except they’re in my head.

N: Normally I come up with the character first. One time, I had some people ask if I was pregnant because I had so many baby books.

S: I like to plow through the words and I’ll just call them XX with an asterisk. I know I’ll end up on a Wikipedia page reading about the history of temple prostitution if I start researching names and what they mean.

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There was only one other question after this, but I didn’t get it.  I was fumbling around with my books and trying to get ready for the signing.  Finally, they told us that the line up would be row by row and they reminded us again that only one book would be personalized.

Before everyone lined up, Sarah thanked everyone for coming.  She said that it really meant a lot that so many people showed up and she wished that she could spend 10 minutes with everyone and get to know them as a person, but she had to leave to go home.  She also explained how she wanted everyone to sign her copy of Throne of Glass.  The book has been around the world with her and it’s like a yearbook.  She’s been waiting to see someone write “Have a good summer, keep in touch”.

I was planning on only getting Christina’s book because I promised her a specific inscription and was supposed to get it when I saw Sarah at Festival of Books. I had another book that was really important to get personalized and since Meredith got me an arc personalized, I was going to skip getting my hardcover copy personalized.

We got up to Sarah quickly and when she saw me, she stood up and hugged me, saying that it was so great to see me. As she signed, the BN employee was opening each book and pulling out the post its before handing them to Sarah.  When we got to the last book, Sarah asked if I was getting one for myself.  I told her that I had my arc personalized, that it was more important to get the two that I did.  Sarah looked at the BN employee and told her that I had been a supporter of the series for so long that I deserved to have my copy personalized.  So she put my post its back into the book.

Sarah double checked what I had written on the post it and I said yes.  That the scene in HoF where everyone is telling Celaena to get up was one of my favorites and I desperately wanted it in my book.  And so, I got the inscription I really wanted.  Plus, she signed my bag.

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I thanked her profusely, said goodbye to Nicole and went off to the book table to sign ToG for the 3rd or 4th time. You can guess what I put in it.   Do I even need to tell you to read Sarah’s books?  I didn’t think so.

The time I got Josh

When I saw Kiersten White announce her launch party for Illusions of Fate, it immediately went on the calendar. And then I actually opened my eyes and saw that Stephanie Perkins and Natalie Whipple were going to be there, it was a definite thing.

We got to the store just after 5. The small event area was already set up and the first two rows were already taken. {Oh! The horror!} I bought my books and settled in to wait.

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Around 5:30, one of the employees came over and said that they weren’t expecting such an early crowd. They decided to pass out tickets to make it a numbered line up. And then we also had to get papers to indicate the amount of books we brought with us.

The crowd kept growing and they eventually added another row {making it 20 seats total} so some of the SRO people could sit.

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{Be warned.  There are a lot of conversational bits that I didn’t catch.  I was enthralled in their answers and just couldn’t keep up.}

The ladies came out at 7. Kiersten started talking about how it was the first time all three of them were in the same place.  She said that she wouldn’t have been the writer she was without Stephanie and Natalie.  There was a lot of gushing and love between them, it was sort of adorable.  After all of that, Kiersten started talking about her book.

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She wanted to write something opposite of The Chosen One in a fantasy novel, but with a main character who was so awesome that she could still save the world. She then gave the synopsis.  Wrote in 7 days, but edited it for months. Was working on something else and just started writing.

Kiersten said she fell in love with Natalie’s book from the first paragraph. When Natalie said she didn’t want to read it out loud, Kiersten did.

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Natalie gave the synopsis of House of Ivy and Sorrow and where she got the ideas. Her grandmother died when she was 8 and decided to write her as a witch to spend some time with her.

Stephanie said that she didn’t know how to talk about her own book. Isla was a minor character with a different name. The day before the arc was printed, the editor told her that if she wanted the name to be on the third book, it needed to be changed.

They swapped lists back and forth and couldn’t agree to anything. She actually took a list of names to a bar that her husband was playing at and polled random people. Then while texting with Kiersten at around 4 am, Kiersten came up with Isla. Sent the book off. A week later, got a call asking how to pronounce it.

Wanted to challenge herself by not giving Isla the traditional relationship arc. Completely influenced by what was going on in her own life. Anna = making a serious go of an author. Publishing is scary. It’s all about bravery and growing. Lola = creativity and embracing what makes you you. Really thought no one would read first book. Started to question what she was writing. Isla = all of the doubts became magnified. Lost self confidence. Had to self destruct it and rebuild up.

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S: You’re both so prolific. Are you always that way?

K: There’s always a reason for what I wrote when I did. If I tried to write Paranormalcy now, who knows what it would be. Every book has a reason. I was in the middle of writing Perfect Lies and it’s really dark and violent. There was a gun scare at my children’s school and I just couldn’t touch that book for a while. I needed something magical. I sat in the sunshine and listened to rain. I needed a positive siphon for the energy.

N: I don’t write as fast as people think I do. Relax, I’m a Ninja was written in 2008 and it’s out now. Some of my books were written a while ago. There was a lot of trial and error in publishing. I wrote Fiona because I felt invisible and I wanted to be seen so bad.

House was written in 2011. I was thinking a lot about grief. It was the 20th year of my grandmother’s death and there’s times where the memories can bring me to my knees. Jo is really confident and and it made me confident.

K: When I was writing Chaos, my editor made a comment about Isadora being really bitter about pregnancy and babies. It had been a reflection of the years of infertility we went through. After a book is published, it becomes a product. It’s a business. You have to become an active part of it and be okay with people commenting or tweeting you their bad reviews.

S: And that’s not easy. It takes years to get used to it, but like any job, it normalizes. There is this two book curse out there. The freak outs we’re taking about are real. You need writer friends because no one else will understand.

During one of my freak outs, I was texting Kiersten all the time. I didn’t know I didn’t have unlimited texting. One month I sent her something like 700 texts.

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What’s your advice to rejection?

K: Send another one. You need a literary agent. I wrote 50 query letters before my first book was bought.

N: I was on query 200 before I got interest.

S: I feel bad.

K: She got her dream agent with her first finished book.

S: Lola was technically the first book I wrote. I started it when I was 18. In 8 years, I had 70 pages written. I put it aside and wrote Anna. I dedicated 40 hours to it on top of my 40 hour job as a librarian.  You accept the rejection as a badge of honor. Trying is a really hard and scary thing.

N: Realize that the keep trying doesn’t end when you get an agent. Or sell a book. I’ve had 4 books that didn’t sell. I’m a published author and I didn’t sell a book.

How you got the idea for Josh to write a graphic memoir?

S: I really like writing about prodigies. Lola is full of them. I love people with really defined futures. I had a lot of fun creating him. I read a lot of graphic novels. I didn’t find comic shops very welcoming to girls. It wasn’t until Blankets came out and a lot of my librarian friends told me to read it. Finally enough people told me to read it and it changed my life. It opened up this whole new world to me.

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Anything you wished you could have put in Illusions of Fate?

K: Originally, I wanted to add more politics and post colonialism. I briefly considered rewriting it for adults to get more. I wanted to get more about the magic into it. I do have an idea for a companion novel from Eleanor’s POV. Eleanor was going to be a mean girl and she wouldn’t let me do that.

What’s next for you?

K: Epic historical fiction. Gender swapping Vlad the Impaler. It’s called Daughter of the Dragon and it’ll be out in July 2016.

N: I don’t even know what my next book it. Fish Out of Water is coming out in the UK in February. It’s my first YA contemporary.

S: I have a second book coming out this year. I edited 12 holiday stories and it’s called My True Love Gave to Me. And then my next book will be horror. There’s something satisfying about promoting these fun, romantic books by day and then killing people at night. It’s sleezy, B-movie grade, horror with no value at all. It’s amazing.

The signing started just after 8pm and we were called up 5 at a time. When I got to Stephanie, she commented on my Edgar Allan Poe tattoo. I then apologized for the inscriptions that were about to happen. Kiersten heard that and said that she needed to see what was good to happen and Stephanie said that she was down for anything.

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When she was done signing {did you see that I have Josh now?}, I thanked her for coming and she stood up to give me a hug and thanked me.

When I had fangirled all over Kiersten after finishing IOF, I asked if it was weird that Sir Bird was my favorite character. We had an entire conversation about it and somehow I got her to agree to draw him in my book. I gave her the books while I was still with Stephanie.

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When Stephanie finished signing {and Kiersten was drawing}, the 3 of us talked about Sir Bird. We both loved Eleanor and she’s fantastic, but Sir Bird. The end.  I even went so far to tell Kiersten about how I traded signed pretties to get the arc because I needed all of the copies.

Hubs had taken my books for Natalie and handed them to her while I was still with Kiersten. I didn’t get to chat with her the way I wanted to, but I did thank her for being there. She said I looked familiar and asked if we had met before. I said that I met her briefly at the signing in Poway with Kasie West and Kiersten. And then acknowledged how stalkerish it sounded.

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As always, Kiersten and Stephanie were amazing and it was great to hear Natalie talk about her books.  If you haven’t read these books, you’re missing out.

The most important thing is that Josh is mine. I have proof.

The time it was about Don’t Touch

If you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen me losing my mind over Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson. After I was done reading it, I started bothering asked Rachel if there was going to be a blog tour because I was determined to get her on the blog in one way or another.

Thankfully, she wasn’t scared pointed me in the right direction and I was able to sign up for the tour. {Thank you, Anasheh!}

DON'T TOUCH

Before we get to Rachel’s interview, let’s check out the book.

DONT TOUCH HC(1)-1-2A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together… which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn’t sure she’s brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who’s fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.

Sounds good, right? {It’s amazing and one of my top 3 for 2014.}

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1. Where did the idea for Don’t Touch come from?

I experienced OCD as a kid, so the book had its spark in experience. Starting around fourth grade, I got tangled up in endless magical thinking games in my head—these are kind of like superstitions where you fear that taking a given action might have a terrible consequence . . . “step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” I had major trouble with hand-washing as well. Caddie’s fear of touch has more to do with magical thinking while mine had more to do with contamination. I chose to focus on touch with Caddie because it’s such a clear metaphor for how fear and anxiety can separate us from other people.

I gave an interview at Disability in Kidlit that goes into more depth about OCD for anyone who’s particularly interested in that.

2. I know why I love Caddie, Mandy and Peter.  Why do you love them and why should we root for them?

I root for Caddie because she’s going through a rough time, both with her family and with her mental health, and yet she’s trying so hard to keep it all together. She’s still driven, she’s capable of being funny and creative, and she wants, very much, to connect. I know she can be frustrating—like many with OCD, she’s highly secretive and savvy at keeping her compulsions hidden. But I feel for her because she’s trying to protect the people she cares about, and she’s challenging herself, little by little, to push past her fears.

And Mandy and Peter . . . I really do think of them like friends. They’re not based on particular people I know, but their excellence in the realm of friendship is inspired by many fantastic people I’ve been fortunate to call friends. Mandy’s loyal and fierce. Peter’s curious and open. They’re both playful and confident and creative. I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with people who possess some quality you want to enrich in yourself, and I don’t think Caddie could choose better.

3. What was the weirdest thing you googled while researching?

Amazing question! That would probably be a lot of detailed information about the Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, AL. It’s a fascinating place full of 125 miniature buildings meticulously built by a Benedictine monk out of any materials he could find. I wanted to set a scene there because it’s a fun place for artsy students in Birmingham to go for a day trip and a natural place for reflection, but also because there’s a certain degree of obsession suggested by the monk’s attention to detail.

4. Without spoilers, is there anything you had to cut that you wish you could have kept in the story?

Not really. I’ve made peace with all my cuttings, but along the way, I cut enough material for one or two more books. To give you an idea, an early draft of this novel was called Manatee and featured a relationship with an endangered manatee named Grace. Maybe one day, I’ll write a book set in Florida and Grace will have her moment in the sun.

5. Describe Don’t Touch in 5 words.

Fear. Touch. Isolation. Friendship. Smooching.

Speed [ish] Round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time.  What happens next?

PANIC. In a good way, but yeah . . . The first week after my deal was sealed, I watched Grey’s Anatomy every night for the express purpose of crying out all the feelings.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

I assume my dog is a given, so I won’t offend him by listing him as a “thing,” and I’m not going to list survival items because when guys answer this question with “food, water, matches” on online dating profiles, it annoys me to no end.

How about a packed e-reader with a never-dying battery, a well-stocked knitting stash, and something to write on/with.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life.  What is it?

HORRORS! Maybe Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino. I adapted it for the stage in college, and never tired of it during that process. Thinking logically, I might pick a complete works of Shakespeare or something – if I’m only reading ONE BOOK again and again, it better be a big one.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys?

Ooh! Well, I’m giving away my age, but Paul Rudd, duh. Another would be Spike from BTVS, always and forever. I like listening to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series on long car trips in large part because James Marsters narrates them. And I’ll admit, I have an inexplicable, fierce attraction to Adam Scott. If I had to describe my “type,” it would be more of a tallish, strongish hippie cowboy, which Adam Scott is not, but what can you do?

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

I feel fortunate that lots of people have told me lots of things. I’d been warned how much time and energy the publicity push around launching a book can take, but I might have benefitted from being violently shaken until the truth of that really sank in.

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7350392Rachel M. Wilson is the author of the contemporary YA, DON’T TOUCH, forthcoming from HarperTeen, Sep. 2, 2014.

She graduated from Northwestern University and holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Rachel grew up in Birmingham, AL, and she currently writes, acts, and teaches in Chicago, IL.

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Huge thanks to Rachel for taking the time! Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page and adding her books to your TBR shelf on Goodreads.

Also, check out the other tour stops for other goodies.

Now.  Haven’t had a chance to get your greedy hands on a copy of Don’t Touch? Well, there’s a signed hardcover and a pair of evening gloves up for grabs!

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was the August real book recap

And here we are again!  Are you ready for the August real book recap?

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For the month of August, I read a total of 31 books, with 11 of them being real books.  The last couple of months, I’ve been so focused on reading review books, that I’m completely ignoring the stacks of pretties that are taking over my apartment.  I’m trying to work on finding some sort of balance between them both.

However, I did finish my binge reread of A.G. Howard’s trilogy, reading Unhinged and then Ensnared.  My other real books for August are:

11 2

43 5

67 8

910

With August’s books, my total is 91 books.  Only 59 books to go in order to hit my goal for the year.  How many books did you read in August? Which one was your favorite?

The time it was bookish mail {13}

Hi guys!  It’s been a while since we’ve had an episode of Look What I Got in the Mail.  Are you ready?

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After reading Far From You and basically losing my mind over it, I asked Tess Sharpe if she was available to do an interview.  When I found the UK cover, I begged asked Tess if she would willing to sign my copy.  She so nicely said yes, so I sent my book off!

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When Sarah J Maas was at BEA, I was desperate for an arc of Heir of Fire. Meredith from Pandora’s Books was sending me texts here and there, telling me about her first experience at the convention.  I had asked her to see if she could get me an arc if there was a chance.  On the morning of Sarah’s signing, she sent me a text and told me that she had some work obligations and wouldn’t be able to make the signing time.  Of course I was disappointed, but I completely understood.

A few hours later, she sent me a photo of the tote bag and the arc.  She said that she was able to get a signed arc, but there wasn’t time for personalization because Sarah’s signing had gone longer than they were expecting.  And then when I got the prizes in the mail? I may or may not have lost my shit.  {And posted this on Instagram}

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We all know my undying love and affection for Susan Dennard, yes? I haven’t had a chance to see her since Something Strange and Deadly came out.  However, it’s common knowledge that my greedy hands can’t wait to have signed and finished copies of her books.  I ordered again from Schuler’s bookstore and when I got my copy of Strange and Ever After, I was cackling.  Sooz seems to outdo herself with every book she signs for me.

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Perhaps you’ve seen me argue with various people about my book boyfriends? When it comes to Micah Foster, I’ve had to be hyper-vigilant about spreading the word that he is mine.  {It’s true, I have proof}  I won an arc of The Art of Lainey, but obviously, I didn’t know how awesome Micah was.  Immediately after reading it, I got Paula Stokes to give him to me, but still wanted it in writing.

Thankfully, when Paula was going on the Mighty Mississippi Book Blast tour {click here for Katie’s awesome recap}, one of the tour stops was being held at The Bookcase.  Rachel is like my arc fairy godmother and she spoils me like crazy.  She so nicely offered to get me a copy of Lainey and said she would personally make sure Paula signed Micah over to me officially.

And just because Paula got crafty on the wording, don’t think that Micah is not 100% mine.  He is.

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Obviously I’m a spoiled brat.

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What pretties have you gotten lately?

The time it was a pre-order giveaway

So we all know about my undying love and affection for Gretchen McNeil, right?

The first time I met her was at WonderCon after I was threatening to throw elbows and push children to get an arc of Ten. Turns out, I was able to walk right up to the Mysterious Galaxy booth and get a copy.  Since then, we’ve gone to Disneyland together {where she wore tennis shoes} and I’ve stalked seen her at multiple events.

The reason I pimp her books out so hard is not only because her words are amazing {obvs}, but she’s genuinely one of the most awesome people I’ve ever met while doing this blogging thing.  And she’s never filed a restraining order.

It goes without saying that when she needed some help spreading the word about some things of the bookish variety, I was on board.  Before we get to the details, let’s check out her upcoming release.

16005219The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil’s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process.

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.

Sounds good, right?

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Now, I’ve already read Get Even and I can assure you that while it is fantastic, it has a very maddening ending. This is where Gretchen comes in.

If you pre-order Get Even, you’ll get a bonus booklet with the first two chapters of Get Dirty.  Gretchen explains all of this a bit better than I will, so click here to get all of the details.

And while you’re at it, make sure you’re subscribing to Gretchen’s blog, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page and adding all her books to your TBR shelf on Goodreads.

Meanwhile, I’ve got some awesome signed swag up for grabs that Gretchen so nicely provided.

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There will be two winners. Each person will get the signed postcard, bookmark and book plate.  One person will get the DGM pin, the other will get the 3:59 keychain light.  I did have duplicates of those items, but Hubs has stolen them and refuses to tell me where he hid them. Contest is international and rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

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