The time it was about Micah vs Max

I think by now everyone knows my undying love and affection for Paula Stokes, right? Not only does she write some of the best book boyfriends stories, she’s an amazing person and hasn’t filed a restraining order on me yet.

Today’s post is a pretty awesome comparison of two of her latest boys: Micah from The Art of Lainey and Max from Liars Inc. Before we get to the survey the boys answered, let’s check out their books.

16068910Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they’re sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What’s a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you’re meant to be with if you’re still figuring out the person you’re meant to be?

and

18009950Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

They sound good right? And now let’s welcome Paula and the boys:

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Micah vs. Max: a not-so systematic comparison of my contemporary book boys

Paula: So marketing types will tell you that to be successful you have to have a brand, you have to be a romance writer or a mystery writer or a writer of slightly speculative cyber-thrillers, but not all three. Whoops. Call me a rebel. But one day when I was sitting around wondering if my lack of commitment to a genre was going to sink my publishing career, someone told me that a brand can be a lot of things—like a certain voice or prose style or setting, etc. And so I’m pretty sure my brand involves the creation of hot book boys. Yep, I have you covered for the next few years whether you like punk-rockers, surfers, tennis pros, soldiers, stunt guys, or adorable Danish palace guards. You’re welcome.

Below, widely adored Micah from THE ART OF LAINEY faces off with newcomer Max from LIARS, INC. in what we can all agree are extremely essential categories. Be gentle. Max doesn’t have a mohawk so he’s clearly at a disadvantage to start with.

                                                            Infinite Repeat_cover               18009950

Cover thoughts? Whose idea was it to use a picture of me from 9th grade? Those are Pres’s shoes, but that’s not my scary shadow—I swear.
So then what do you actually look like? I’m like 5’ 8” with a dark brown mohawk and hazel eyes. And tattoos. And an eyebrow ring. I’m about 6’1”, with brown eyes and messy brown hair. I wear a shark’s tooth pendant that my real dad gave me.
Where do you live? Hazelton. It’s a (fictional) suburb of St. Louis, MO. Vista Palisades. It’s a (fictional) beach town outside of L.A.
Tell me about your girlfriend. She’s a socially clueless soccer star, with a big heart. She’s a morally flexible martial arts badass, with a big heart.
And what about your fam? Just me, my mom, and my little sis, Trinity. I’m adopted, so there’s my parents, Ben and Darla, and my three little sisters, Amanda, Ji Hyun, and Jo Lee.
Your classmates voted you… Most likely to get arrested. (My classmates kind of suck). Most likely to drop out of school and become a roadie for the all girl hardcore band Kittens of Mass Destruction.
When you’re angry or upset you… Get something pierced. Go surfing.
Your bad habits are… Smoking, tagging things, saying stuff that’s supposed to be funny but sometimes ends up being mean. Lying, falling asleep in class, saying stuff that’s supposed to be funny but sometimes ends up being mean.
Your claim to fame is… I got in a fight with the school security guard in fifth grade and was suspended until the end of the year. I lived on the streets for almost a year after I ran away from a foster home.
Your favorite Taylor Swift song is… You’re kidding me, right? The one that goes: “Weeee are never ever everrrr getting back together.” What? My sister is 11. She listens to Taylor in the car on the way home from school.
When you grow up, you want to be… A pastry chef. Uh, I’m not sure yet. Maybe a surfing instructor?
At a party, you’re the guy who… Takes over the DJ duties. I don’t go to very many parties.
The last time you dressed up for Halloween you were… Iron Man About 8 years old.
The first time you kissed a girl you were… 15 Terrified.
For your birthday you want… I think Lainey would punch me if I answered this honestly… Not to go to prison for something I didn’t do.
Oh, and last but not least, your best feature is… Um, the HarperTeen people told me I should stop talking about that in public ;) Probably my girlfriend. Or my family. But I don’t know. Read my book and tell me what you think!

Paula: Other than the mohawk, I feel like this is a pretty fair fight. Yes, Micah is adorably tattooed and pierced, but Max has that fresh from the ocean look about him. And he doesn’t smoke. And both boys are fantastic kissers and super-sweet to their little sisters, so basically you can’t go wrong.

Stacee: But Micah bakes…Plus, I’m a huge fan of his three best features, so I think he wins.  Also, he’s mine, I have proof.

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6549373Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She started out writing historical fiction under a pen name and is now branching out into other YA genres.

When she’s not working (rare), she’s kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She’s petted tigers, snuggled snakes, snorkeled with stingrays, and once enjoyed the suction-cuppy feel of a baby elephant’s trunk as it ate peanuts from her palm. Her future goals include diving with Great White sharks, learning Krav Maga, and writing a whole slew of novels, not necessarily in that order.

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Huge thanks to Paula and the boys for taking the time. Make sure you’re checking out Paula’s blog {she posts a lot of awesome things}, following her on Twitter and Instagram, liking her Facebook page, and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf. There’s also a pretty epic website for Liars Inc.

And now for the giveaway! Paula is so graciously donating one of her books.  Winner gets to choose between The Art of Lainey or Liars Inc.  US winner will get a signed copy, international winner will get a copy from The Book Depository and a signed book plate. Additional giveaway rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was about Ontario Teen Book Fest {2}

It’s time for Ontario Teen Book Fest and that means it’s time to spotlight one of the authors who will be attending! I basically begged Sara to let me have Kasie West. You know, because Kasie.  Before we get to all of Kasie’s awesomeness, let’s check out the upcoming event!

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Ontario Teen Book Fest is absolutely free and tickets are not necessary.  It’s being held at Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761.  The event is being sponsored by Once Upon a Time and additional info can be found at the event website.

And now Kasie! Here’s some info on her upcoming book, The Fill-In Boyfriend

18660447When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

Sounds good, right? {Hint: It’s so so so so good.}

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1. Where did the idea for The Fill In Boyfriend come from?

Ah, ideas, where do they come from? Sometimes I actually have fun or exciting answers to this question, but this time it’s quite boring. I am a huge fan of the ‘pretend to be my boyfriend for a while’ trope. I don’t care how many times I read it or see it, I love it every time. So I thought I should try my hand at it. It was a lot of fun.

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

Gia is kind of a brat at first. She’s selfish and shallow and really out for herself. But I think maybe we’ve all had those moments in our lives when we were less than we could’ve been. And this is Gia’s journey to discovering that she can be more and be better and I think we can all get behind a person who is genuinely trying.

3. Were there any scenes that you had to cut that you wished would have stayed?

I wish. I know that sounds funny to say that I wish there were scenes I had to cut, but let me explain: I write on the short side. I actually have the opposite problem. I’m always trying to add scenes. When I’m done with a story I have to look back and really think about what more the main character needed to learn and do so that I can flesh out the story more.

4. What makes a good villain?

Someone who is just as three dimensional as all the other characters. Someone who has reasons for doing what they’re doing and who thinks those reasons justify their behavior. My favorite villain of all is Loki and I think it’s because Tom Hiddleston did such a good job of making us understand him and in a way feel for him even though we knew what he was doing was wrong.

5. Describe The Fill-In Boyfriend in 5 words.

Fun, Flirty, Friendship, Family (wow, I honestly did not mean to make those all start with an F. Now I feel like my fifth one needs to start with an F too and I can’t for the life of me think of another F word.) ……Fake? (as in, fake boyfriend. Ha.)

Speed {ish} round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time.  Describe the next 5 minutes.

Shock. Laughing hysterically. Calling my husband. Calling my best friends. Walking back and forth from the kitchen to the laundry room a hundred times for no apparent reason. Sheer joy.

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

Books (does that count as 1?), chocolate, sunscreen (I’m soooo white)

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

That is a completely unfair question. How can I pick one?

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

To not always look for the next stage to be happy. Because in each and every stage there is rejection and heartache but also happiness and joy to be found. So I just want to live in this stage and be happy in it because if I can’t be happy in this stage, I won’t be in the next.

5. You wake up and discover you are Bella from Twilight.  You know how it plays out.  What do you do differently? {Thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question!}

It’s been so long since I’ve read those books that it’s actually kind of fuzzy how it turns out. But, what do I do if I’m turned into a vampire? I can answer that question. Be awesome. I think I wouldn’t be a “vegetarian”. Is that mean? That’s mean. Never mind, I totally would. I’d go get me a harem and live as an all powerful queen of my vampire boys. Ha.

6. What is the one question {and answer} you wish someone would ask you? 

You guys are always so good at asking questions that I never feel like you missed anything. But I do love to talk about my family and how they are my life. I have 4 kids. 3 daughters and a son and they are the reason I breathe. They keep me humble and grounded and also are the stars of my happiest memories. And of course, I have an awesome husband who supports me so I can do what I love. Without him, I couldn’t write another book. I couldn’t have written the 5 I already did. I’ve been sick for the last couple weeks with the flu so I think I’m feeling especially sappy and grateful today.

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5027236I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels, published through Harper Teen are: PIVOT POINT, its sequel SPLIT SECOND (Feb 2014), and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US (a contemporary novel). I also have two more contemporaries, ON THE FENCE coming out July 1, 2014, and THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND coming out the summer of 2015. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.

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Huge thanks to Kasie for taking the time, especially when she was sick! Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf!

And if you’ve made it this far, you’re being rewarded with a giveaway {which is US only}!

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour for other author interviews!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

The time it was about When Joss Met Matt

I am mildly obsessed with everything Liz Czukas writes.  So when I saw that she was writing some NA under the name Ellie Cahill, I was all over it.  And when I got the invite to be part of the blog tour for When Joss Met Matt, I jumped on it.

CAHILL_WhenJoss_blogtourBefore we get to the interview, let’s check out the book, shall we?

Untitled-2Ellie Cahill is poised to coin the term “sorbet sex” with her charming twist on the age-old ‘friends-with-benefits’ story.

Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love.

Sounds good, right?

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1. Where did the idea for When Joss Met Matt come from?

It was an idea that had an initial spark, but the final form is pretty far removed from that first glimmer. I was listening to the Killers’ song Mr. Brightside and the lyrics seemed to be about a man watching someone he loves go back to another man, and I thought “What if he did that over and over again?” and that led to the idea of having a designated rebound relationship, which over much brainstorming and early drafts, became the Sorbet Sex relationship you find in When Joss Met Matt.

2. Why do you love Joss and Matt and why should we root for them?

I love that neither of them are particularly remarkable. They are very normal people that you could easily know in real life. So many romances involve the girl who is stunningly beautiful but doesn’t know it, and the broodingly handsome stud muffin. Joss and Matt are ordinary people who have this special relationship. I like that they can have something weird, and different and still be real. And still have great sex.

3. Where there any weird google searches you did while writing?

I learned a lot about what it takes to become a veterinary technician! And I had to learn the technical names for a number of sexual fetishes. Very unsual stuff out there. But overall, this was not the kind of book research that lands you on a CIA watchlist.

4. Without spoilers, were there any scenes you had to cut that you wished could stay?

Not really! There were a few scenes in older drafts that didn’t make sense as I did re-writes, but I don’t miss any of them. They needed to go.

5. What makes a good villain?

I like a villain that isn’t over-the-top. I don’t necessarily want to know this is the bad guy right off the bat. Maybe a subtle clue here and there that tells you something isn’t quite right, but I like to be kept guessing. Like Hans in Frozen, he was so unexpectedly evil.

6. Describe When Joss Met Matt in 5 words.

Friends with benefits, version 2.0.

Speed [ish] round:

1. What is one question you wish someone would ask you and what is the answer?

Q: Would you like this bag of money, no strings attached?

A: Yes, yes I would.

2. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question}

First, I tell Edward is it NOT COOL to watch me sleep. Then I get someone else to turn me into a vampire a lot sooner, because I’m at my most likable undead.

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

The Stand by Stephen King.

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

When “they” say it can be slow, you cannot truly fathom how much patience you are actually going to need to survive the waiting periods.

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8e021855f483477661c2c6a6a276b452Liz Czukas is a freelance writer (on sometimes sad or boring topics), and also writes books for young adults (which are rarely sad and full of kissing).  Before that, she was a nurse and she still kind of misses starting IVs.

She lives outside Milwaukee, WI with her husband, son and the world’s loudest cat.  She types too loud (according to her husband), spends too much time on the Internet, and can’t get enough of disaster movies.

Liz is also the real person behind the New Adult novelist Ellie Cahill, who also writes books full of kissing (and more!).  Ellie has remarkably similar interests to Liz.

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Huge thanks to Ellie aka Liz 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 Goodreads TBR shelf.

Go here to check out the other stops on the blog tour for additional goodies.

And now the giveaway!

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was a book blast {5}

By now, we all know of my undying love and affection for Veronica Rossi, yes? Of course that means that I love the stuff she co-writes with Lorin Oberweger as Noelle August.  Today we have a book blast for Rebound, which is the second book in the Boomerang series!

reboundbanner(2)Before the giveaway, let’s check out the book, shall we?

Rebound(1)Adam Blackwood has it all. At twenty-two, he’s fabulously wealthy, Ryan Gosling-hot and at the top of the heap in the business world. His life is perfect, until a scandal from his past resurfaces and knocks the tech wunderkind down, throwing his company, Boomerang, a hook-up site for millennials, into chaos.

Three years ago, Adam married his high school love—and then lost her in a tragic accident. Now, the heartbreak and guilt he’s tried to bury with work and women begins to take over his life.

Alison Quick, the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a business tycoon—and the very ex-girlfriend of Boomerang’s former intern, Ethan—has a problem of her own. She’s got one chance to prove to her father that she deserves a place in his empire by grabbing control of Boomerang and taking Adam down.

But as Alison moves in on him, armed with a cadre of lawyers and accountants, she discovers there’s much more to Adam and Boomerang than meets the eye. Will earning her father’s approval come at the price of losing her first real love? It appears so, unless Adam can forgive her for wrecking his life and trying to steal his livelihood. But Alison hopes that old adage is right. Maybe love can conquer all.

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LoV3-1024x670-300x196Question: What do you get when friends pen a story with heart, plenty of laughs, and toe-curling kissing scenes?

AnswerNoelle August, the pseudonym for renowned editor and award-winning writer Lorin Oberweger and New York Times bestselling YA author Veronica Rossi, the masterminds behind the Boomerang series.

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You can find Noelle August on their website, Twitter & Facebook.

Rebound is out now. You can order it at Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Amazon

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was about The Sin Eater’s Daughter

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me losing my mind over The Sin Eater’s Daughter. I heard about it from Rachel and I was instantly smitten by the cover. After I read it, I proceeded to lose my mind all over Melinda.  Thankfully I didn’t scare her away and she agreed to do an interview!

Before we get to her answers, let’s check out the book.

22536448Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Sounds good, right?

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1. Where did the idea for The Sin Eater’s Daughter come from?

It started in the shower, where I was singing, and thinking how very excellent at singing I am (for the record I’m not – it was a classic tiled bathroom reverb situation). After a while, I started wondering why it wasn’t my job to be a singer, given I was so very obviously brilliant at it (really, that bathroom is deceptive). Then I wondered what would happen if it was my job, and from there it escalated – What I had to sing for a king, and I was taken from my home to do it? What if my family were awful and I thought living in a castle would be fantastic, but I was wrong? What if I was more than a singer, what if I was more of a possession than a person? Would I ever have a life of my own, could I ever fall in love? Then it just escalated, with me playing a really grim game of What If with what eventually became Twylla’s life.

2. I know why I love Twylla, Lief, and Marek. Why do you love them and why should we root for them?

I love Twylla because she’s been sheltered and isolated her whole life, she’s been manipulated and used, but she doesn’t give up. She keeps her head down and she keeps on going, shoulders braced against it all, doing her duty. But there’s still a spark in her, throughout all of it, that can’t be extinguished and I admire that so much. She’s not a fighty warrior type, she’s a product of her upbringing and her environment. And despite it, there’s still that flicker of hope in her. She undertakes tiny rebellions when and where she can because it’s better than nothing. She’s young, and she knows she has no power. But she takes what she can get and doesn’t let it crush her. And to me that’s incredible, because I don’t think I’d have the core strength of character to endure as she does. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to keep getting out of bed, day after day, and going through what she does. She’s crying out to be loved, or even liked. She’s never had that, and she craves it.

I love Lief, because he’s the exact opposite of Twylla. He’s impetuous and quick to smile and joke, because he’s grown up in a loving, happy environment. He’s always had room to be wholly himself, he’s never needed to be anything else and no one has ever expected him to be more than he is. And that draws Twylla like a moth to a flame because he offers Twylla a view on the world she’s never considered before. She’s always been much more than the sum of her parts, with such a heavy duty, and by contrast he’s so carefree. In Lief’s world you take action and you fight back, and you don’t settle. He’s not remotely afraid of her, and he doesn’t see her duty as an obstacle. He sees her as a person, not a role, and that gives her real joy, for the first time in her life.

Whereas for Merek, she is the hope. He’s very similar to Twylla, he’s as trapped by his position as Twylla. She knows how heavy duty is, she’s as bound to her role as he is and he sees her as an equal in that respect. I love Merek because he’s so conflicted. On the one hand he hates his heritage, and his life, but on the other he wants to grip it with both hands. He has this dream that’s almost Arthurian – he wants a democratic, happy, prosperous kingdom, he wants chivalry and education and advancement. And he sees Twylla as the key to this. The only thing he’s sure of is her. From the moment he first saw her, he’s set her up as his salvation, this bright-haired, singing child skipping through the halls of his home. He’s never stopped seeing her as the light in the dark.

3. For you, what makes a good villain and how did you incorporate that into The Sin Eater’s Daughter?

I like villains who revel in their villainy. I want my villains to actively make me hate and fear them. Often I prefer an unsympathetic villain to a sympathetic one, because of this. I think the idea of redemption is beautiful, but sometimes I want an Umbridge, or a Voldemort, or a Darkling. I want a villain that can’t and won’t hold back, that stays true to their purpose, and even enjoys what they’re doing. So in The Sin Eater’s Daughter, the queen is utterly unrepentant. She knows what she wants and she will have it, no matter the cost. And that’s what makes her so terrifying, that she’s so focussed and single-minded. And she’s having fun doing it, she loves the power that she has and she loves wielding it. She puts on this front of having a noble purpose, and things being for the greater good, but you can see the glee in her when she knows she’s winning.

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

Yes! In an early draft there was a scene where a character was hanged very dramatically, and I loved it so much, but as edits happened it became less and less necessary. I kept trying to make it work, despite that though. When I finally realised it just didn’t I was sad, but by then I was also tired of trying to shoehorn it in when there were other things going on.

But… I *think* I’ll be able to use it, or something in a similar vein, in book 2… So fingers crossed…

5. Describe The Sin Eater’s Daughter in 5 words.

Romantic, Dark, Deadly, Complex, Hopeful

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

Vomity. I have this thing where if I get really anxious, or upset, or excited, or happy then I have a huge adrenaline spike and it knocks me sick. So when my agent Claire emailed to say we had our first offer, I threw up. Any time I get any kind of surprise, I have to immediately go for a walk to channel the adrenaline into action. Otherwise I start shaking and… yeah.

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

A heavily pre-loaded e-reader, an awful lot of teabags, and Jeff Goldblum.

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

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys/girls?

Nikolai Lantsov and the Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy. I want to marry Nikolai so badly. If I can’t have him I want George Cooper from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet. He’s dreamy. Irial from Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series. Sirius Black from Harry Potter. Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy. Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss. Levi from Fangirl. There’s quite a list…

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

That patience is going to be key. Everything happens waaaaaaaay in the future, and there are so many secrets! You know all of these amazing things but you have to sit on them and it’s enough to make you explode. You have to learn to be inhumanly patient.

6. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me steal this question}

I’d like to think that I’d try and pull myself together a bit quicker than Bella did when Edward left her, but then again the first time my heart was broken I don’t remember being especially heroic or strong. I classed it as a good day if I managed to get in the shower, so I can’t judge her on that.

Mainly, I’d sit Edward down and tell him to stop messing around about making me a vampire, it’s inevitable, we both know it, so can we just crack on? The sooner it got done, the sooner he could stop worrying that anything/anyone was going to kill me, which would greatly improve both our lives. Also the sooner it was done, the sooner we could have super-hot kissing sessions without him worrying about literally chewing my face off. I’d explain he was not taking enough advantage of my rampaging hormones and lust for him, and that made me wonder if he was stupid. Seriously. Bite me. Then let’s make out.

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8152069Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel.

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Huge thanks to Melinda for dealing with my fangirling taking the time. Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter and Tumblr, and adding her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Now. I am a firm believer that everyone and their mother needs to read this book.  It was one of my top 5 from 2014 and I can safely say that it’s going to be one of my favorites for this year as well.  So, I’ve got one copy of The Sin Eater’s Daughter up for grabs.  Book will be coming from The Book Depository. Giveaway is international {as long as they ship to your country for free} and additional giveaway rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The time things were not recommended

I read Red Queen at the urging of Michelle and really liked it. Of course we had seen that Victoria Aveyard was going to be at Mysterious Galaxy and it was instantly a date.

We got down to the store early, bought books and ended up finding a lovely bakery which quickly became our new pre-date location. Best. Chocolate. Mousse. Ever.  We got back to the store, took over the squishy chairs, and waited

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Victoria came out right at 7:30 and started talking about the book.

This book started when I was in college. I had several screenplays finished and thought about trying to write a novel. I was interning at Fox Studios and was reading through the Amazon self-published list because my boss wanted to see if we could find the next Fifty Shades of Grey. I was reading a lot of things and some were really good and some just…weren’t. There were some that made me think that I could do better.

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I’m a visual writer and saw the image of a girl who could control lightening and I thought that I was something I would read. I was staying on someone’s couch and called my parents and said I wanted come home and work on the novel.  My dad said that he would meet me at LAX and we made the drive from Los Angeles to Massachusetts in 3 days.  I wouldn’t recommend it.

It took about 7 months. I don’t know if you guys know the word counts for YA books, but the first draft was 160k words.  We had to cut about 40k words. The fact that I could cut that many means they were worthless. After another round of edits, we went to submission. I don’t recommend it. Two weeks into submission, I had an offer from Harper. I didn’t know what was considered a good offer, but it sounded good to me.

My dad thought the official email about my contract was fake and didn’t believe it until I was signing the actual contract in New York. Two weeks after that, Universal bought the option. This was all two years ago. It seemed like it was a lot of waiting until now and it wasn’t enough time. I feel like this is going to be the dream I have in a coma and I don’t want to wake up.

It was then opened up for questions.

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Can you talk about the script that Stan Lee is attached to?

Yes, I write screenplays. It’s what I went to school for.  I wrote and action adventure about the Greek gods in modern day. We sold it to Sony and they have Stan Lee available to work on things.  He had a project that he wanted to do also with Greek gods, so they’re sort of meshing the projects and he’s working on it.  It’s like a dream come true.

Can you tell us about the title?

A lot of people think that it’s an Alice in Wonderland theme, but it’s based on an evolutionary theory that everything is evolving at the same time, even if you can’t see it.  And if one thing stops the cycle, it dies out. {There was a lot more to this and I’m not entirely sure what I have typed here is even correct.}

Is this what you do now?

Yes. Usually how it works is you become an assistant, but I have a temper and I forget, so it wouldn’t have worked. After working for 12 hours of getting someone coffee all day and then coming home to work on my thing? It wouldn’t happen. I would have a cocaine habit.

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What is your writing style?

I hate outlining, but I have to do it. It was beaten into me at USC. I usually have about 5-6 pages. I know the first act and the third act. I knew the twist. It was sort of easy until I had to connect the two. The second book was the same.

What do you need to write?

I’ll have one playlist of about 40 songs and I’m sort of conditioned to write if I hear it. Sometimes I need silence. To procrastinate, I’ll make playlists and tell myself it’s work.

Is there any significance to the main character’s name?

No. They all just came to me. Some people think it means bone marrow. Sometimes the writer didn’t mean anything and they just meant the word blue. The green light in Gatsby was just green light. Oh, I think I’m about to be kicked out of a bookstore.

What are you reading?

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand. I’m going on tour with her next week. The Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. She writes teenagers really well.

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How do you feel about your book being turned into a movie? Do you feel like you’re giving up your baby?

It’s already been given up. There’s already a screenplay. I’m happy that I didn’t do it. I see it as a novel, not a movie so I wouldn’t be able to cut scenes or characters. My job is to write and sell books and a movie would sell a lot of books. The screenplay was written by {insert name here} and she worked on Breaking Bad, so I’m really excited about it.

What was your favorite part to write?

The end of the second act twist. It was like my carrot to keep me working. I was so excited to get to that scene. I have a book of quotes.  Sometimes I’ll wake up from a deep sleep and write something down.  Sometimes it’ll make no sense and sometimes it’s a gem.

If you could choose any power, what would you chose?

My favorite power hasn’t been shared yet. I would pick a whisperer.  That’s the one where you hear people’s thoughts and you can control them. It would suck hearing people’s thoughts all the time, but to be on the defense it would be the best.

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How much of your marketing are you doing?

Epic Reads is amazing. They did a snap chat with Four holding a copy of the book.  You just can’t complain about that.

Did you know it would be a trilogy?

I knew that there would be more, but I didn’t know how it would end. Anyone who wrote on Lost or Star Wars didn’t know how it ended. They’re liars. As I started working on book 2, I started figuring out the ending. I don’t think it’ll be something everyone loves.  I know what it’ll be, I just don’t know if I can get there in 2 more books.

When will book 2 be out?

Probably a year.

Do you want to stay in YA?

I’ll go where the wind blows me. I would love to write a seriously epic fantasy, but I’m not there yet. Maybe when I’m 60 I’ll be able to.

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How many hours did it take you to write?

Hours? I don’t know that.  It took me 7 months to write, but 1 month I didn’t work on it at all.  I thought it sucked and I was done. My parents and friends read chapter by chapter and they would poke me to ask what was next. That’s what kept me going.

What character are you most like and like most?

The one I admire the most is Farley. She’s not the strongest, but her level of courage is encouraging. She’s sort of based on my best friend, her middle name is Farley. She has the most beautiful hair and in the book I cut it all off.

As for the character, I would want to be, I would just want to be far away from what is happening.  Maybe watching it on the news or something.

From there, the signing was over.  Michelle was first in line and then I went up.  As I was taking my photo of Victoria signing, she looked up and made a face {which I couldn’t resist posting}.  Then she went back to signing.  I told her just to keep signing and she said, “No pressure or anything.”  Michelle and I thanked her for coming and then made the rounds before leaving.

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Victoria is hilarious, but I don’t think the humor really came across in this post. If you get a chance to see her, I would recommend it.

The time I should have shut up

I’ve been a fan of Lisa McMann since Wake was pushed on me by a friend. I’ve devoured and loved her There were a few times that our paths almost crossed at various events, but it never actually worked out. I have signed books due to a super sekrit drive by stock signing she did while on vacation and then I left books at the ever so awesome Changing Hands when I was in Arizona for another signing.

Needless to say when I saw Lisa was going to be in Huntington Beach, I was prepared to do whatever it took to get to her. I left San Diego at 2:30 and it took me 2 1/2 hours to go 60 miles. 405N is the bane of my driving existence. I got to the store just after 5. Jeanne was absolutely amazing and reserved two seats in the front row for me.

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We chatted for a few minutes. Jeanne told me about Lisa’s 3 different school visits she did during the day and then it was time to settle in a wait a bit.

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Lisa came out around 6:45 and by then the event area was filled with excited kids. She said that she had done at signing at the store for her first book and now 14 books later, she’s here again.

When my kids were 12 and 9, they came home with a letter and the letter said that the art classes had to be cut due to budget cuts. I felt bad because my kids loved art. I wondered what if kids were punished for being creative. And then my son said, “and they get sent to their death!”. I wrote the first chapter right away because it sounded like a story that no one had written.

Lisa the read the first chapter from the first book.

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Since we’re on book 5, it’s safe to tell that the kids aren’t put to death. The man who has been taking them is taking them to a private island and teaching them to use their powers. There will be 7 books and we’re on track. Book 6 comes out in September and book 7 should be out around March.  After that, I don’t know. I love this world.

My kids helped me with the magic spells. I wanted to do magic with art supplies and I gathered my kids and Mr. Lisa and we thought of things to use.  {There was a lot more to this section}

There are all sorts of things on the website. My son’s artwork is there, and a video trailer, and there’s a really great educators guide for the first 3 books.

Lisa then opened it up to questions from the audience.

Why is does the scroll exist?

I’m not going to reveal the answer to that question. Basically it’s a magic thing, it’s not a war or anything.

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How did you come up with the island names?

I have a sense of irony. I thought it would be great to call an island Quill when writing isn’t allowed. Same with Warbler, it’s a bird term, but it’s the island of silence.

Do the twins get separated?

I don’t want to answer that. Ask me in line and maybe we can talk about it.

Did you base any of the characters on your kids?

Not really. Sometimes the things they do make it in. There’s a character in Cryer’s Cross based on my daughter.

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Are you a plotter or pantser?

With a series, I have to know how it ends, but I don’t outline. I will just write a paragraph or two and work off that. When I start to write, I’ll think of a mental bullet list, like these are the five things that need to happen next. I’m working on book 7 now and it’s a bit scary to think I’m finishing up, but it’s going really well.

Why is Simber on the cover of all of the books?

He’s such an unusual character. It’s a stone cheetah who is alive and I think he’s just really unique. They put him on the cover of the first book and I loved it.

Is it hard to think of new ideas for each of your books?

I think I have a harder time keeping a limit on the ideas. I have a notebook with a list of new ideas. I’m loving this series, but it’s nice to have those ideas in my back pocket.

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How did you get into writing and did you go to college?

I have an English degree. I wanted to be a writer, but my parents didn’t think that could be a career. I went into the teaching program and got so far as the student teaching. I ended up dropping out because it was scary to think that I had to stand in front of a group of people and talk.  Turns out that’s what I do all the time, but I love it.

How did your publishing career go?

After college I wrote picture books. I was a bookseller and I submitted a bunch of stories. We didn’t have computers or email, so I had to mail things in and it would take 6 months or a year or 2 years to hear back. I ended up giving writing up for 10 years because I couldn’t take the rejection. I was working as a realtor and my boss told me that I needed a hobby, so I went back to the stories and found one that was good.

I submitted some stories online and ended up winning an $10,000 prize on a 3500 word story. We moved to Arizona and with the little nest egg, I started writing novels. The first two novels didn’t sell. I just kept writing. The third book would become Wake. I found an agent with it and sold it really quickly.

It was a lot of hard work and still is, but I love it.

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After that, there weren’t any other questions.  Jeanne had us go row by row, so that meant that I was first to Lisa.  I got to the table and set my books down.  We each said hi and then she asked if she knew me.  I told her my twitter handle and she came around the table to give me a hug.

And then I just sort of flailed all over her. I think I said it was so nice to finally meet her.  I remember saying something about how she gave me Sawyer and how I loved him so much. Insert Karen {the awesome handler/publicist, I still don’t know exactly what her job is} saying something about me being a tease {maybe? I don’t recall what word she used. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t tramp, but that’s the word that comes to mind.}  I responded by saying that I was a total whore for book boyfriends {why didn’t someone tell me to stfu?} and have a shelf on Goodreads and that progressed into why didn’t I go to the signing at Warwick’s, which turned into discussing the signing rules for bringing books from home, and so on.

Seriously.  It was probably the hottest messes since I first saw Stephanie Perkins at Festival of Books and word vomited all over her.

Anyhoo.

Lisa so graciously signed the books I had. I meant to get Sawyer in writing, but she remembers giving him to me, so for now that works. I probably thanked her a million more times and she said I could take a kitten and panther toy that she was giving out.  When she asked if I wanted a set for a giveaway, I said no that I didn’t want to share.  Karen laughed and said I was so greedy. I agreed, but said that at least I admitted it.  Then I probably thanked her a few more times.

It’s sort of like I blacked out from excessive fangirling or something.  I know I made a fool of myself.

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Before I left, I thanked Jeanne for everything and we chatted about the signings that were coming up. I probably thanked her eleventy billion times too.

Lisa McMann is delightful.  I haven’t read her Unwanteds series, but I am so in love with everything she’s written. If you haven’t read them, pick them up.  And if you get a chance to see her? Do it.