The time it was about The Paper Magician series

I found the first two books of The Paper Magician series on NetGalley and got absolutely sucked in by the covers. I devoured both books and while eagerly waiting for the third one to be released, started to notice that not many people knew about this series.  I ever so awkwardly emailed Charlie to see if she would be available to do an interview and she agreed!

Before we get to her answers, check out those awesome covers and click on them to be taken to the Goodreads page.

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They sound good, right?

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1. Where did the idea for The Paper Magician series come from?

I always liked the idea of animating origami, though I wanted it to be part of a larger magic system, and have the paper magician (Emery Thane) be a side character. Eventually I decided to make the paper the main focus of the story. The rest bubbled out during a road trip somewhere between Moscow, ID and Salt Lake City.

The tone and such of the story was inspired by Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones. And Hayao Miyazaki. :)

2. Why do you love Ceony and Emery and why should we root for them?

I love Ceony because I feel that, with her, I was able to make an active protagonist that wasn’t a copy-cat of all other YA female protagonists. I think that, out of all the stories I’ve written (published and unpublished), Ceony is the most relatable female character I’ve created.

I love Emery because of his eccentricity. He’s quirky without being overtly weird. I was seriously worried I wasn’t going to pull off his character while I drafted the first two books (The Glass Magician especially, since he’s so much more present), but I think I did a decent job.

3. I love the magic in this world. Tell us a bit about the world building. 

So I knew I wanted to do paper magic, but I wanted it to be part of something bigger, because paper just felt too specific. I sat on it for a while before thinking of the idea of going the man-made materials route. I didn’t want it to be too out-of-hand, so I limited it to six materials for this set of books.

The world in the original The Paper Magician is actual other-world, loosely based off Edwardian England.  However, after we sold to 47North, my editor at the time thought it would be better to just go ahead and make it Edwardian England, so we did. It’s an alternate England, really, because I [obviously] didn’t change the language, women have more rights, etc.

4. Will there be kissing in The Master Magician? {please please PLEASE say yes}

Ha ha! How could I possibly write the book WITHOUT kissing? ;)

5. Describe The Paper Magician series in 5 words.

Oh man, the Whitney Awards just made me do this, too. XD Only they gave me six, ha! Let’s see… whimsical, magic, danger, love, and… paper. ;)

Speed [ish] Round:

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

Me ugly crying and skipping around my house, running into walls. Then ugly-crying over the phone to my husband, ha.

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

Water…. Ha ha ha.

First things that come to mind are The Stormlight Archive series, my ukulele, and my scriptures, since I’m religious like that.

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

Apparently something from The Stormlight Archive. Then again, I may want something with more kissing. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, maybe?

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys?

LAN. LAN FROM THE WHEEL OF TIME. COME TO ME, DARLING.

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

Hmmm… maybe that it’s still a lot of waiting.

One thing that I would have liked to have known (but fortunately has not applied to me personally, thank goodness) is that you really should be picky about your agents and your publishers. Not all agents are shining stars, and not all publishers will put as much effort into your books and you do. So be wary!

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

Oh my gosh. Uh . . . well, at this point I’d move back to Arizona, ha! But in all honesty, if you had asked me five years ago, I’d say “Uh… makeout with Edward MORE?”

Unless we’re in the movies. Then I’d makeout with Jacob. Maybe take him to Arizona with me.

Now I feel like a pedophile.

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7801879Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She graduated from BYU, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and hopes to one day own a dog.

After collecting many rejection letters and making a quilt out of them, Charlie sold her ninth novel, The Paper Magician, and its sequel to 47North with the help of her wonderful agent, Marlene Stringer. She currently lives with her family in Utah.

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

Now.  Haven’t had a chance to read this series? I’ve got the entire set up for grabs! Books will be coming from TBD, is international, and additional giveaway rules are here!

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was about Joyride

I have been a fan of Anna’s for a while.  I adore her Syrena books and Degrees of Wrong is one of my top favorites to reread when I’m in a slump. And Anna herself is snarky and fabulous. When I was invited to be part of the blog tour for Joyride, I jumped at the chance to have her on the blog.

Joyride BlogTourBanner

Before we get to Anna’s interview, let’s check out her new book!

13A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber’s mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.

Sounds good, right?

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1. Where did the idea for Joyride come from?

Over the years, I’ve worked with many Mexican immigrants, both documented and undocumented. As I got close to them, they told me their stories, about how they had to pay people called coyotes to get them across the border illegally, how they had to traverse the desert with very little food and water to sustain them, how they had to leave their families behind, and their fears of getting deported. One mistake that drew attention to them and they could be sent straight back to Mexico. In my writerly mind, I started thinking, “What if a teen had to go through all of that? What if a teen had to deal with the consequences of having undocumented parents?” And so it began!

2. Why do you love Carly and Arden and why should we root for them?

I love Carly because she’s strong, hardworking, and stubborn. Really, Carly is everything I’ve ever wanted to be. But she’s also uptight, which is where Arden comes in. He’s laid back—to the point of irresponsibility sometimes—and he brings to Carly a sense of freedom and fun that she might not have otherwise realized was important. I also love their relationship. It’s so push and pull, not insta-love, they work hard to keep it intact.

Now, whether or not you should root for them? That’s a decision you’ll have to make on your own.

3. What makes a good villain and how did you incorporate that into Joyride?

Usually I enjoy a likeable villain, someone who has good intentions but a flawed way of going about them. That’s not the case in Joyride. My villain is evil through and through, a racist bigot who takes advantage of people in the worst way. The reason I chose to write him that way is because he is real—sometimes people do not have redeemable qualities. Sometimes they really are just selfish and ignorant. And sometimes they can fool a lot of people, like the villain in Joyride.

4.Without spoilers, were there any scene that you had to cut that you wish you could have kept?

Actually, there aren’t. I wrote Joyride fairly quickly, and it came to be more smoothly than any other book ever has. There was a prank scene that I’d have loved to keep involving harmonicas, but you can catch that deleted scene in a different blog post on the Joyride blog tour. Other than that, I wrote Joyride like an authorly beast. It was boss.

5. Describe Joyride in 5 words.

Silly. Serious. Romantic. Heart-wrenching. Risky.

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.

Jaw hanging open in a very unladylike way. Ignoring people asking why my jaw is hanging open. Questioning whether not my agent is a prankster. Going to the bathroom because I have to pee before I go in depth and explain to everyone what just happened. Crying while I pee in said bathroom because my dream just came true.

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

Water. Toilet paper. Henry Cavill.

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

Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

4. Who are your favorite swoony boys/girls?

The Darkling. Warren from the Shatter Me series. Theo James…er, I mean, Tobias.

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

NOT to read reviews of my book. The negative reviews can be soul-crushing and actually affect the way I write. Now, I try to avoid reading them, but of course, reading reviews is like crack to authors. We can quit for a while, but we always get that craving to do it again.

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

I would not freaking name my child Renesmee for the love of God.

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AUTHOR PIC1New York Times Bestselling author of The Syrena Legacy series.

Grew up in a town called Niceville. No, seriously. I graduated from Niceville High School. So did J Lo’s second husband. And the guy that plays Aqua Man on Smallville dated my best friend.

Now I indulge my tendency to lie by writing the lies down and selling them to publishers. Well actually my agent sells it, so she’s an accomplice to lies. One of my lies is called OF POSEIDON. The sequel is called OF TRITON. The last and final installment is OF NEPTUNE, and it released May 13, 2014. Be on the lookout for JOYRIDE, my YA Contemporary out June 2, 2015–Bonnie & Clyde meets Latina Pretty in Pink!

And um. I also write adult fiction under pen name Anna Scarlett. One of the adult lies is DEGREES OF WRONG.

That is all.

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

Definitely check out the rest of the blog tour to see all sorts of goodies.

Now.  Are your greedy hands itching for a copy of Joyride? Macmillan is so nicely offering up a copy! Contest is US/Canada only and additional giveaway rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was about Sweet

I’ve been a fan of Emmy’s since her first book.  She’s delightful and charming and hilarious.  When I read the synopsis for Sweet, I was super excited. And when I got my greedy hands on it, I devoured and loved it.  So of course when I got the invite to be part of the blog tour, I jumped all over it.

Sweet BlogTourBanner

Before we get to Emmy’s interview, let’s check out the book!

14*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.

Sounds good, right? And now, Emmy!

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Welcome to my blog tour. I’m delighted to be back here on Adventures of a Book Junkie! This blog is one of my favorites and I’m so glad we get to talk about Sweet today.

1. Where did the idea for Sweet come from?

The truth is that the idea for Sweet came from my lifelong addiction to sugar. Most people can handle consuming sugar – but I can’t. (I used to steal money off my parents’ dresser and sneak out of school to buy candy – and this was in New York City – in the late 70s!) As an adult, I’ve kicked the habit, but I remember how much of my time and energy I used to spend thinking about sugar – or trying NOT to think about sugar. I started to imagine how fun it would be to write a book where a whole bunch of people get hooked on a substance (a substance that’s supposed to be harmless)  together – at the same time and in confined quarters. And boy, did I ever have fun!

I came up with the idea about two days before I had a big meeting set with my editors at Macmillan, Jean Feiwel and Holy West, and I pitched it out in about three lines. Jean smiled wickedly and said, “Yeah, do that one. We’ll call it Sweet.”

2. Why do you love Laurel and Tom and why should readers root for them?

Ah, I do love Laurel and Tom!  Tom Fiorelli is a former child star who has been hired by the Solu corporation as the media host for the “Solu Cruise to Lose”. Tom’s whole childhood was spent in front of the cameras, taping a hugely popular sitcom called The Magnificent Andersons. His nickname on the show was “Baby Tom-Tom” and everywhere he goes people chant it at him. But he’s 19 now and wants to be taken seriously. And he is actually a serious person – not given to wisecracking or joking around. The last thing I’ll say about Tom is that, of course, he’s gorgeous, but he knows he’s gorgeous. As an actor, it’s a currency he has to manage.

Laurel first meets Tom when she pukes on his shoes. Yeah, it’s not a very auspicious meeting, but from the first moment they meet… Okay, from the SECOND moment they meet (later at the cruise ship’s nightclub), Tom realizes that Laurel is different from any girl he’s met before. She’s shy. She’s got a strong moral compass. She’s plump and fleshy and (here’s the clincher) she’s comfortable with her size. She floors him. Tom is a surprise to Laurel, as well. She finds he’s nothing like the character everyone in America knows him for. And as things on the ship progress from exciting, to intense, to scary, to downright terrifying, she is very happy to have him at her side.

3. What was the weirdest thing you had to google while doing research?

I spent a lot of time looking at mechanical specs of the engine rooms of luxury cruise liners!

4. What makes a good villain and how did you incorporate that into Sweet?

Oooh, I don’t want to venture into spoiler territory here… But I read a blog review of Sweet that likened Solu to a character in the book and it strikes me that Solu is a pretty good villian. Imagine a guy who invites you to parties, and makes you feel great around him. But you slowly realize he’s kind of…well, abusive. He’s very demanding and wants to be with you all the time and by the time you realize he’s no good for you it’s too late. It’s way too late.

5. Describe Sweet in 5 words.

A cruise to die for!

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.

Call my husband – spend two minutes incoherently babbling while doing dance of happiness – calm down enough to tell him the news – let him congratulate me then hang up – call my mom – babble incoherently while doing dance of joy – etc!

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

Bowie knife. Large pan. Box of flares!

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

The Collected Works of William Shakespeare. Was that cheating? If that was cheating, I’d say Plainsong by Kent Haruf. I think I could read a bit from that book every day for ten years and still discover more beauty and truth in Haruf’s keen, insightful prose. (But I’d still prefer the Shakespeare, if it’s available…)

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

That I’d learn everything I’d need to know from fellow authors – and that nothing can take the place of those friendships.

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

I’d name my kid Jennifer!

It’s been such a pleasure to be here on Adventures of a Book Junkie! I love this blog! Book Junkie-ers, let’s keep in touch!  I’m @EmmyLaybourne  on Twitter and Instagram. Can’t wait to hear what you think about Sweet!

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Emmy Headshot 3Emmy Laybourne is a novelist, public speaker, screenwriter and former character actress.

Emmy’s Monument 14 trilogy has earned critical praise (“Frighteningly real… riveting” – New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice) and has been nominated by readers to the YALSA Teens Top Ten in 2013 and won in 2014!

Emmy’s new book SWEET tells the story of a luxury cruise to launch a new diet sweetener that goes comically, then tragically, then terrifyingly wrong. It got a perfect 10 from VOYA and hits the stands on June 2, 2015

Before her life as an author, Emmy performed original comedy on Comedy Central, MTV and VH1; and acted in the movies “Superstar,” “The In-Laws” and “Nancy Drew,” among others. Emmy loves visiting school and libraries.

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Huge thanks to Macmillan for the invite and to Emmy 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.

Definitely check out the rest of the blog tour for all sorts of extra goodies.

Now.  Eager to get your greedy hands on a copy of this book? Macmillan is so generously supplying a copy up for grabs!  Giveaway is US/Canada only and additional rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was about Litographs

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me talking about an awesome email I got last week, offering up some Throne of Glass goodies.  Well, today is the day you find out what it is…

But before we get to that, some background.  A few years ago, I was invited by Bloomsbury to be a Throne of Glass ambassador for Sarah’s books.  The publicist who invited me actually called me out for being an epic fangirl.  Apparently, I was well known around the office for loving Sarah and her books and that’s why I was offered a coveted spot.

Flash forward to last week, I got a surprise email from Litographs. They mentioned that they knew I was an ambassador and they wanted to let me know about a new line they were set to launch…

IMG_8451If you’re not familiar with Litographs, they take entire books, put them in a design that represents the work, and print it on shirts, posters, and totes.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

That’s right.  Litographs has launched a Throne of Glass line!!!

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Here’s the shirt:

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And the poster and tote:

ToG–Poster ToG-ToteIsn’t it awesome?

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But wait there’s more!

Litographs has so awesomely offered up a gift certificate for $34 to binge on the new Throne of Glass line! Winner will get a code emailed to them that can be entered at checkout.  Additional giveaway rules are here.

Click here to get details on Sarah’s line. And if you just can’t wait and you NEED to buy something from Sarah’s line today, enter the code CELAENA to get $5 off! {Coupon good for today only}.

Huge thanks to Litographs for the invitation and this ever so generous giveaway!

Now go forth and enter!!

**Good Luck!!**

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The time it was about Three Day Summer

I had just finished reading Three Day Summer when I got the invitation to be part of the blog tour.  I’m a huge music fan and love Woodstock, so I was all over this book.

Before we get to Sarvenaz’s interview, let’s check out the book!

ThreeDaySummer coverMichael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.

Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She’s volunteering in the medical tent. She’s like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.

When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them…

Sounds good, right?

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1. Where did the idea for Three Day Summer come from?

I’ve honestly been obsessed with the ‘60s since I was about 8-years-old when I discovered the Beatles. The summer I was 12 was the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival and I remember both MTV and VH1 had a lot of programming surrounding it—including a lot of documentaries and specials about the original festival. Something about it really sparked my imagination and never left.

Fifteen years later, I found myself in the neighborhood of Bethel, New York—the site of the original festival—just in time for the 40th anniversary. There is a wonderful Woodstock museum there full of artifacts and information and I was totally enchanted once again. That same summer, I happened to attend the All Points West Music Festival . . . where it poured rain for three days straight and mud ruled supreme. It made me think a lot about what it must have been like to attend Woodstock.

It only took me a few years to realize that—barring owning a Time Turner or a TARDIS—there was only one way I knew of to make my dream of attending Woodstock a reality . . . and that was to write a story that takes place there.

2. Why do you love Cora and Michael and why should we root for them?

Like most of my characters, Cora and Michael feel very real to me—after all, their voices were constantly in my head for a couple of years! I love Cora for her quiet determination, her self-assuredness, and her sense of responsibility. And I love Michael for his sense of adventure and his passion. I think they are both flawed characters who complement each other’s weaknesses . . . which is what I often look for in a romance (both in fiction and in real life!).

3. What sort of research did you do for this book? There are some things that took place in the book {the army delivering food when it ran out, etc} that made me wonder if it really happened at Woodstock.

I’m not too ashamed to say that the impetus for me writing this book was the research (I know: #nerd). But, seriously, it was some of the most fun I had writing and thinking about a book. I read a ton of books, including a wonderful book of first-person accounts called Woodstock Revisited. I watched movies like Michael Wadleigh’s 1970 documentary Woodstock and Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock. I listened to a lot of music, including as many of the actual setlists as I could find. I visited the Woodstock museum at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts about three or four times (the director of the museum actually helped me vet the manuscript for accuracy too). And I read a ton of articles and watched performances on YouTube. So to answer your question: yes, the U.S. Army really did deliver food via helicopter! (And, yes, the organizers were seriously ill-prepared for the half-million people who showed up to the festival. They had planned for about 50,000 people).

All that being said, what was interesting to me is that despite the fact that this was a fairly recent historical event and that it was very well documented, there were still lots of discrepancies to be found. I sometimes had trouble finding out something even as simple as the order of the artists or their precise setlists. I also know that, inevitably, there will be inaccuracies in the book despite my best efforts. But it was very important to me to try and make it as historically accurate as possible!

4. Describe Three Day Summer in 5 words.

Boy meets girl at Woodstock.

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.

Honestly, it was a surreal, elated haze. I was at work and ducked into a conference call to take the call from my agent, and then I remember just sitting at my cubicle and feeling lightheaded with giddiness. This was, of course, something I had dreamed about my entire life and it felt entirely unreal that it was really happening. And then I couldn’t figure out who to call or text first!

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

Oh, gosh. That is brutal. If I’m being held at gunpoint, I think I’d pick Pride and Prejudice. Unless you’d let me get away with picking the Harry Potter series as one book!

3. Who are your favorite swoony boys/girls?

Well, if you’d let me count Mr. Darcy as a boy, he’s get first pick. Also Jamie Fraser (Outlander). Other boys for me would be Noah Shaw (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer), Logan Echolls (Veronica Mars), and Micah Foster (The Art of Lainey). {Excellent choices.  Noah and Micah are mine, I have proof.}

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

There isn’t too much of a difference between being unpublished and being published. On the “other side,” so to speak, there are still tons of rejections to be had and self-doubt to wade through and the three things that can continue to get you through it are the same in my opinion: passion, determination, and—above all—perseverance.

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11201618_976813205664745_5377597276600223202_nSarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up on Long Island, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun).

She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. She currently lives in her favorite borough of her favorite city.

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Huge thanks to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for the invite and to Sarvenaz for taking the time.  Make sure you’re checking out her blog, following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Now.  Haven’t had a chance to get your greedy hands on this book? One winner will get a copy! US only and please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.  Additional giveaway rules are here.  And be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour for extra goodies {listed below the Rafflecopter}.

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 12th: GreenBean TeenQueen

May 13th: Mother Daughter Book Club

May 14th: Curling Up with a Good Book

May 15th: The Compulsive Reader

May 18th: The Hiding Spot

May 19th: Adventures of a Book Junkie

May 20th: Proseandkahn

May 21st: The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

May 22nd: Word Spelunker

The time it was about Pasadena Loves YA!

When I was contacted to be a part of the blog tour to promote Pasadena Loves YA! {formerly Pasadena Teen Book Fest}, I immediately agreed.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go because the day before is Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, it’s open for 24 hours and I’m totally going. If I do show up, there’s a good possibility I’ll be Disney drunk. Regardless, the people who are involved in putting it together are pretty awesome, so of course I wanted to participate in any way I could.

And I do have a very special guest… However, before we get to her, check out all of the info on the event!

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Pasadena Loves YA
Cost: FREE!
When: Date: May 23, 2015 | Time: 12 noon – 4 pm
Where: Pasadena Public Library, Central Branch, 285 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91101
What:  20 YA authors | Panels & Book Signings | Giveaways and Refreshments | Free tote bags for the first 150 guests!

Authors attending: Keynote speaker Mary McCoy (author of Dead to Me) with Katie Alender, Victoria Aveyard, Alexis Bass, Julie Berry, Livia Blackburne, Virginia Boecker, Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky, Brandy Colbert, Ava Dellaira, Kody Keplinger, Liz Maccie, Morgan Matson, Lauren Miller, Alexandra Monir, Jennifer Niven, Romina Russell, Sarah Tomp, & Kiersten White

Amazing line up, right?

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Today, I have the spotlight on the lovely Kiersten White! Obviously, I’ve seen Kiersten many times, but I’m seriously in love with Illusions of Fate, so I was really excited to get her on the blog.  Before we get to her answers, let’s check out the book.

19367070Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

And now, Kiersten!

1. Where did the idea for Illusions of Fate come from?

My kids were watching Howl’s Moving Castle, the brilliant Hayao Miyazaki film adaptation of an equally brilliant novel by Diana Wynne Jones. It reminded me of how much I loved Pride and Prejudice, and also Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell, and how much I had wished the latter book included more women in important roles. And, let’s face it, way more kissing. With those ideas firmly in place, I decided to write a fantasy novel that turned the tropes I was used to on their heads. My main character would be the opposite of the chosen one–she would be the powerless one whom the world looked at and expected nothing from, and who looked right back and said “Forget you, I’m awesome.”

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

Oh man, I do love Jessamin so much. A lot of my characters have arcs in which they discover they are awesome and they should embrace their awesomeness. Jessamin stepped onto the page fully aware of her own awesomeness, in spite of a world that told her she was worthless. I love her strength and her confidence, her intelligence, and her eagerness to learn. And I love that when someone tells her you can’t go through this door, she finds a window and slips out that way.

3. Describe Illusions of Fate in 3 words.

Magical Jane Austen.

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

I refuse to answer this question based on the Geneva Conventions against torture.

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

Team Jacob all the way. Eternal life sounds sooooo boring. Plus, let’s be honest: movie Renesmee was super creepy. Give me a litter of werewolf pups over computer animated demon child any day.

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3027554Hi! I’m the New York Times best-selling author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. I also give the most awkward hugs in the world. You should probably opt for one of my books over one of my hugs, but then again, maybe you like awkward hugs.

As for me, I like writing flirting scenes, and fighting scenes, and sometimes I write scenes that fall somewhere in between the two, but only if I can’t avoid it.

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Huge thanks to Alethea from Read Now, Sleep Later for the invite and to Kiersten for taking the time to answer my questions! Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

For more information about Pasadena Loves YA, check out the website!

Book sales by Vroman’s Bookstore will begin at 11 am. Co-sponsored by Bridge to Books. No registration required, but we would appreciate it if you would post, share, tweet, and tell everyone you know about the upcoming event! Please use the hashtag #PLYA2015.

Now, there’s a pretty good giveaway going on: winner gets 3 of the books from the 2015 Pasadena Loves YA authors. Giveaway is US only.

**Good Luck!!**

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The time there was a photo booth

When the Fierce Reads events were announced, I nearly lost my mind to find that both legs were going to be stopping in SoCal. And of course we were going. 

Sadly, Michelle wasn’t able to make it, so I forced Hubs to come with me. We got up to Vroman’s around 4 {because we got to Pasadena and tried finding the BBT apartment}. The event space was already set up, so I bought the books I wanted {so disappointed to find out they weren’t stocking hardcover copies of The Winner’s Curse} and set up camp in the front row.

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Around 5:30, they started setting up a swag section…

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and the table with the raffle giveaway prizes.

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They also had a set up and props for a photo shoot, complete with Fierce Reads backdrop.

I ran into Karen {the publicist/handler/I’m still not sure what she does} and Mary from Macmillan. I promised Mary that I would be the first person to line up for the photo booth to get everything started.

Karen and Mary introduced me to all of the authors and when I said my Twitter name, Marie held her hand out and said it was so nice to meet me.  I said that I needed to carry a photo of my Twitter avitar with me when at events.

After about 10 minutes of chatting with the authors, there was a good line and I was able to sneak away without having to put on a sparkly mini purple cowboy hat.

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The event started at 6:30 with the raffle and the explanation of how the bingo game was going to be played. The moderator then introduced the authors. Each of the ladies then talked about their books before the moderator started asking questions.

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What character in your book most relate to?

M: I do identify with kestrel. She’s super analytic. I can analyze things to death, but she’s quicker than I am.

K: I’m not like Gemma, but I can sympathize with her.

LM: I’m not like Charlie because that girl can read a map and I can get lost in my backyard. Skye is like a survivalist. I’ll go with Jillian.

LS: I do sort of identify with Yulia. Not because I’m psychic, but because she’s stubborn. She wants to always be right and she has to learn that it doesn’t work like that.

What was one of  your favorite and hardest scenes to write?

K: I can’t say too much about the scene, but there was something I was so looking forward to writing. It was a revenge scheme that  it was a lot of fun to set up. The hardest was the last scene. Both books end on a twist and a cliffhanger and it was a challenge to not say too much.

M: For Winner’s Crime, I think my favorite was when Kestrel and Arin end up meeting. I teach fiction writing and my students ignore setting and I think it makes such a difference. In this scene, I had them talk on a palace balcony. It felt like it would be a wonderful place for them to have a private conversation. The pleasure I took in the setting influenced what they said.

The hardest has been all of book 3. But for book 1, it was the ending. I had planned and hoped that it was going to be a stand alone. I realized that I was trying to write an ending that didn’t fit my characters. And once I realized that it became easier.

LM: In NIL Unlocked, my favorite scene was when Rives and Skye meet. He didn’t know that she was coming, but she knew about him. The worst was when I killed off one of my favorite characters. It was really hard, but I knew it had to happen.

LS: In Skandal, it was set in a jazz club in DC. I got to hang out for “research”.  The hardest was killing a character.

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Did you find it hard writing in a teen voice?

M: To be honest, for this trilogy, I wasn’t trying to write a teen voice. This is a different world and teens become older. By the time they’re 20, they have to marry or join the military. Kestrel is a mature character, so in some ways I don’t think I was trying to capture a teen voice from our world.

K: Some people think that my books are so teen and that’s cool, but that’s just me. That’s just how I think.

LM: The teens have to grow up pretty quickly. They’re not the same person when they leave — if they leave. There’s no grown ups and they have to make a lot of decisions. It’s a slice of reality to see how people would respond. It wasn’t necessarily a teen voice, but a character voice.

LS: In fantasy books, it’s different. Yulia’s life changes. She matured quickly, but knows that she’s not mature yet, but striving to get there. I tried to incorporate an all American teen girl from California in the character Donna.

What makes you fierce?

M: I’m not very fierce. Maybe I’ve done some things that are fierce. I once rappelled 1000 feet in France and then climbed back up. I learned to pay violin 2 years ago and I had my first performance and I was terrified. When I was in college, I decided to move to Russia and I did. I moved to Moscow.

K: I’m not fierce in life, but I am in books. It was fun letting my mind come up with things to ruin some one’s life.

LM: I don’t think I’m a fierce person. I apply my fierceness. If there’s something I want to do, I’ll give it 110%. I’m not scared of failing, but I’m scare of not trying. That’s what I tell my boys. I guess that could make me fierce, I have 4 boys. I’m pretty boss with a Nerf gun.

LS: I think a big part of being fierce is being a writer. We put our hearts on the page. Going on tour and doing things like this for your book when you’re maybe a bit introverted.

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Any advice for aspiring YA authors?

M: There’s all sorts of kinds of writing. It’s all practice. Whether it’s a tweet or a journal entry.

K: Read a lot and write a lot. I think writing is a skill that you can practice at and get better at. I think we all have a draft in a drawer that no one will ever see. Pay attention to what you should write. Don’t write what you think is popular or the trend.

LM: Write what you love. The reader will see it come through. Persevere. Keep going. Even when you get rejection letters. Stephen King’s book about writing is very helpful.

LS: Self editing while you’re writing is great. Push past whatever fear or anxiety you’re feeling. Staring at a blank word doc or the anticipation of a rejection letter is so scary, but find something that will make you get through that.

What is your process like?

M: I don’t write to music. Sometimes there will be a song I like and maybe it will make me think of something. A scene or atmosphere. I’ll listen to it on repeat while at the gym. I have two small sons, so I write when I can.

K: I love making playlists and hearing songs. Then I’ll go to write and can’t listen to music while writing. I rent an office with some other authors. I can’t stay home because I’ll do laundry. I need a big chunk of time.

LM: I write when I can. My youngest is in 1st grade, so when they’re all in school is when I write. I try to carve out some time.

LS: I am a reformed pantser. I’ve found that when I do that, it becomes way too tangled. I also have a day job, so whenever I’m not actively working, I’ll be thinking about things. When I get home, I’ll be able to bust it out.

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How do you describe your writing style?

K: I’ve only ever written in 1st person past tense. You can try things out, but it’s like trying on shoes that don’t fit.

M: I wrote one book in 1st person and I really enjoyed it. 3rd person is my favorite. Maybe because it’s the narrative of fairy tales and I feel at home like that. I like close 3rd. It’s narrative, but with a flavor of the character. There’s something a little dreamy about it.

LM: I write in 1st person. With NIL, I thought it should be first person present, so I went back and changed about 3 chapters. It really was like putting on a dress that didn’t work. It’s not bad, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not for me. I changed it all back. It became more about the writing than letting the story take over.  In my books there aren’t any overlapping scenes. In the third book, the island gets a point of view and it’s creepy.

Reading genres that you don’t normally read, you’ll develop things that you wouldn’t have normally.

LS: I’m working on a collaborative spy story and it’s in third person. I like that the characters can keep secrets. In first person, the characters can’t really keep secrets or it seems disingenuous.

Is there someone who reads your things that is not your legal editor?

M: I’ve been with the same writing group for about 6 years. We used to spend a lot of time praising each other and now we’ve done away with the niceties.

K: I don’t have a writing group. I like to just have my editor weigh in. I don’t like to have a lot of voices and then trying to figure out what works best. I trust my editor.

LM: I have close writer friends who I trust, but I don’t send it out to six people. That’s the greatest thing about books. If we polled everyone here, everyone’s favorite book would different. That’s why there can be so many books in the world. If everyone liked the same thing, it would be boring. That even extends to the critique world.

LS: I started with a close critique group. They still read my stuff, but I’ve found success in an entirely different genre. When I have a problem or I need to turn it to 11, I’ll give it to my husband. He’ll think about it and will say “what about this?” It’s never fixed that way, but he’ll always give me an idea and then I’m off.

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Do you have a writing or editing technique that helps?

K: I wrote an e-short from Hallie’s point of view. It was super fun and now I think I want to do it for a lot of books. It was hugely helpful to see how the other side felt about how it all went down.

M: Kisses and Curses came out and the story I wrote is called Bridge of Snow. It’s about Arin as a child before the war. I didn’t want to write it, but it was so helpful.

LM: I wrote a bit of a NIL novella and it’s the few days of Thad’s days before he got to the island. It’s about 10k words. It’s just enough. I needed to get things on paper and let my mind wander.

LS: I’m a quick writer, but a slow editor. In Skandal, there are so many things happening, I had break down all of the arcs and figure out what my character was doing and feeling. Every book is different.

I think there were one or two more questions, but I was trying to get final photos, etc.  After that, the signing part started. I had grabbed a few posters for everyone to sign. I got to Lindsay first and we chatted about her new book cover and how gorgeous it was.

When I got to Lynne, she thanked me for driving up. She gave me some bookmarks and I don’t know why I didn’t get a photo.

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Katie so nicely signed my poster and we talked about how pretty and compact they were.

And then I got to Marie. Thankfully, I didn’t make a huge fool of myself. She signed my books {still SO SO SO sad that I couldn’t get a hardcover of The Winner’s Curse} and said it was nice to meet me. Then we took a photo.

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Before I left, I thanked Mary for everything and we hugged.

As always, the Fierce Reads tours are fun and this one was one of the best. Macmillan really knows how to throw an event. Definitely check these ladies out if you get a chance to see them!

After the event was over, I had a sort of sekrit rendezvous with Renee Adhieh.  She was in LA for the day doing various things for her launch of The Wrath and the Dawn and had told me a few weeks ago that there may be a chance we could meet up.  We ended up meeting in her hotel lobby and hanging out for about an hour or so.  She so nicely took us up to the rooftop pool so Hubs could take a photo in the area where scenes from Get Him to the Greek was filmed.

We had some excellent conversation on topics ranging from yoga pants to food to Twilight to The Rose and the Dagger {Wrath #2} and everything in between. She is charming and hilarious and seriously beyond fabulous. She signed some books for me and then we took photos and hugged before we headed back home.

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I feel like there’s a real chance she thought we were lunatics, but she hid it fairly well. If you haven’t picked up her new book, you need to stop reading this and go start it immediately.