Chat With Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl!

I’m a BIG fan of the Beautiful Creatures series, so I was just  *tad* excited when I was told about Little, Brown’s “Live at the Lounge” series.  Little, Brown is arranging a series of author chats which will allow readers to ask the authors questions about their books and chat with them live.  The series is kicking off with Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl who will be discussing their Beautiful Creatures series.  I hope they get to talk about the upcoming movie!

The live chat starts Tuesday, October 30th at 8pm EST/ 5pm PST.  Click here so you can RSVP online. You can also check out the other authors who are participating in the series.

Exciting, right?!

Students Want to Know Carrie Arcos

Carrie Arcos’ debut novel, Out of Reach, released on October 16th.  My students and I love contemporary realistic fiction, especially ones dealing with addiction, so I was really excited when Carrie agreed to be interviewed by my students.  They can’t wait to read Carrie’s answers and get their hands on Out of Reach!

Thank you, Carrie! 🙂

Summary (From Goodreads): How do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found? A girl searches for her missing addict brother while confronting her own secrets in this darkly lyrical novel.

Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home.

Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.

With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.

** Carrie Arcos’ Website **
** Follow Carrie Arcos on Twitter **
** “Like” Carrie Arcos on Facebook **
** P.S. Did you know that Out of Reach is a National Book Award finalist?! **

Marisa:

  • Do you ever have a hard time coming up with ideas like names, setting, plot, or just an overall story?
    When thinking of a story, I usually begin with a character and setting and something that the character wants or is struggling with. It’s not fully formed, but I have a general sense. So you could say I know the direction. What’s difficult sometimes is the middle. How is character going to get to where I think he or she should?  What obstacles come her way?

    Names can be tricky because I don’t want to use names of people I know or maybe they’ll think I’m writing about them. And names can mean something intentionally or not.

    I love setting in a story. For me it’s almost like another character.

Morgan F:

  • Why did you decide to use the name Micah?
    I once had a student named Micah who was just awesome. I’ve loved the name ever since. I’ve wanted to name every kid of mine Micah at some point, but my husband vetoed it. So naming one of my characters Micah was a given. I finally got my way!

Morgan T:

  • Why did you become an author when you were a teacher?
    I’ve always wanted to write, even before I became a teacher, but I think I was too chicken to try and get it out there. I taught HS for a number of years and wrote here and there. When I started having kids, I decided not to teach full time. I ended up taking my writing a little more seriously. I began teaching on the college level because I could do it on a more part time basis. Honestly, I love both. I miss teaching HS, some of my best memories are with former students, but at this point in my life it would be difficult for me to be a good one with three kids and a writing career.

Hallie:          

  • What does it mean that your novel is lyrical?
    Lyrical refers to the style of the prose. I suppose it could also be called poetic or literary. My publisher came up with that phrase. It’s not a novel in verse.
  • How long has Micah had his addiction?
    About three years.

 Emma:

  • Are your characters based on real life people you have met?
    Yes and no.
  • What inspired you to write this novel and to write about someone with addiction?
    The book is inspired by some true events. I have family members who have struggled with addition. I have actually gone looking for someone as well. I thought that might make a good premise for a novel, so I kind of went with it. I also liked looking at addiction from the perspective of a sibling since most books I’ve seen that deal with addiction follow the addict. The story is not so much Micah’s story or a story of addiction, as much as it’s a story about how we deal with the pain that comes when those we love leave or make choices we can’t control. It’s a love story of sorts from a sister to a brother.

    Since I’ve gone through the pain of walking along side someone with addiction, I feel the novel contains emotional truth. The novel isn’t a true story, however, I did take something that happened from my freshman year of high school. When you get to the part about the substitute and the game Risk, yes that really did happen.

Home Run Blog Tour + Giveaway

I’m am super excited to be part of the Home Run Blog Tour for Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally!  I read Kenneally’s debut, Catching Jordan, in one sitting and did the same thing with her newest release, Stealing Parker.  My students are a big fan of her books as well.

I hope you enjoy Miranda’s guest post.  Make sure to enter to win a copy of Stealing Parker!

Summary (From Goodreads):

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.

After her family’s scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won’t turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys–a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far…especially when he starts flirting back.

Peanut Gallery:  Where does Miranda get her inspiration?  Find out as Miranda speaks about her idea origins. As a bonus, Miranda shares the best advice that she ever got about being a writer.

Geez, this is a pretty hard question. I get my inspiration from all over the place. From conversations I have with friends and people at work. From inside jokes with my husband. I read lots of books, and see how my favorite authors write plot arcs and characterization, and then I set out to do that too, but with my own edge. I often look through my junior and high school yearbooks to remind myself of how I felt when I was younger. I also like to read my old diaries. One time I got a book idea from a true fact under a Snapple lid. Another time I got a book idea because somebody had broken into my car!

I got the idea for the “Jerry Rice fake baby home ec” project in Catching Jordan because I remembered this time I was out on the football field in junior high, and a football player was pushing another player around in a stroller.

The best advice I ever got as a writer?

  • An editor told me my strongest skill as an author is writing groups of teens goofing off and talking about nothing, so now I try to have my characters bantering while doing lots of wild and wacky things while trying to move the plot forward. And I have a great time doing it! I try to write silly scenes that I hope people will enjoy reading.

Giveaway Guidelines

Giveaway is sponsored by Sourcebooks Fire and open to residents of the US & Canada.
Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
One entry per person.
Only one winner.
Winner will be contacted via email & announced on Twitter.
Giveaway ends Friday, November 2nd, 2012 @ 11:59 EST.

Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler: Kiss N’ Tell Blog Tour + Giveaway

Who I Kissed is very much a character-driven novel, so I’m excited to feature Janet Gurtler’s guest post about the main character, Sam.

Thank you, Janet, for stopping by today! 🙂

Summary (From Goodreads):

She never thought a kiss could kill…
Samantha didn’t mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in…and she wanted to make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died—right in her arms.
Was she really the only person in the entire school who didn’t know about his peanut allergy? Or that eating a peanut butter sandwich and then kissing him would be deadly? Overnight Sam turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she’ll have to find a way to forgive herself before anyone else will.

Author Body-Swapping:  As a YA writer, Janet Gurtler often has to embody the lives and emotions of her character.  This time, we’re asking her to channel Sam and tell us some of the character insight we’re dying to know – first crush, most embarrassing moment, favorite books, music, & more!  And Janet reveals a little of how she creates such realistic teen characters.

***

“Sam, Sam, Sam. What are we going to do with you?”  

If you can’t tell, I’m using my mother voice. Also I’m talking to a fictitious character.  But we’ll ignore that part. When I write teen characters I have to turn my mother voice off.  (And embrace the crazy.)  Truth be known, I am able to remove my mother voice pretty easily and I find it kind of natural to slip inside the head of a teenager.  

I had a tough time when I was a teenager. I had a lot of internal struggles. I majored in insecurity and angst. And I remember many of those feelings really well. Really, really well.    

So, getting inside the head of a teenager isn’t as hard for me as if should be. Of course, my characters aren’t me.  I give them different challenges and different personality quirks. And then I have to try to think the way they would think. I have to slip into their shoes.

Fortunately, I enjoy imagining getting inside a character’s head. I like to go deep inside and look at things people sometimes try to hide. From themselves and from the world. I like to go there. To places that are uncomfortable. Especially with the challenges of today’s world around them. Technology. Expectations. Social media.

I took Samantha to some uncomfortable places in Who I Kissed. Imagine feeling responsible for the death of someone else. How horrifying would that be?  How would you possibly get over it? Especially when you’re dealing with your own issues.  Sam had some things to overcome even before the accident, but the accident brought them to the surface with a rush.  Ultimately, Sam has to learn to let other people in.  And that’s not always an easy thing to do.  To me she’s a fully formed person with a history and built in likes and dislikes. So let’s take a deeper look at Sam. Let me slide back into her skin for a moment and tell you some of her secrets.

Favorite Book- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time  Indian by Sherman Alexie.   

Favorite Song- Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae

Favorite Movie- The Avengers

Favorite Food- Jelly Bellies of course! But as far as real food goes, she likes Mexican.  Bean Burritos.  Even though they give her gas.  She probably wouldn’t eat them on a date.

First serious crush. Zee.  First heart aches. Zee.  Best kiss ever. Zee.

Celebrity Crush-   Corbin Bleu. She is waiting for his acting career to extend beyond High school Musical

Personal Hero-  Missy Franklin  

Secret Talent- Sam loves to dance. She practices in her room with her iPod. At some point, she’s going to try to convince her swim team to record a dance dare (dancing behind people without them knowing) for the Ellen show. She knows every dance step to Party Rockin by LMFAO.  

Most Embarrassing Moment- When her bathing suit split down the butt at a swim meet and she had to finish her race, which was thankfully backstroke.

***

Giveaway Details!

Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire, for the giveaway opportunity!
One winner will be chosen.
You must be from the US or Canada to enter.
You must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
Only one entry per person.
Giveaway ends Tuesday, October 30th at 11:59 EST.
The winner will be contacted via email and/or tweeted.
No extra entries are required, but tweeting/Facebooking this post is appreciated!

Blog Tour: Jepp, Who Defied the Stars + Giveaway

I’m excited to tell you about a new title Hyperion is releasing on October 9th, 2012.  If you enjoy historical fiction and/or books based on true stories, then you’ll want to check out Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh. I hope you like the guest post as much I do! 🙂

Summary (From Goodreads):

Fate:
Is it written in the stars from the moment we are born?
Or is it a bendable thing that we can shape with our own hands?
Jepp of Astraveld needs to know.
He left his countryside home on the empty promise of a stranger, only to become a captive in a luxurious prison: Coudenberg Palace, the royal court of the Spanish Infanta. Nobody warned Jepp that as a court dwarf, daily injustices would become his seemingly unshakable fate. If the humiliations were his alone, perhaps he could endure them; but it breaks Jepp’s heart to see his friend Lia suffer.
After Jepp and Lia attempt a daring escape from the palace, Jepp is imprisoned again, alone in a cage. Now, spirited across Europe in a kidnapper’s carriage, Jepp fears where his unfortunate stars may lead him. But he can’t even begin to imagine the brilliant and eccentric new master–a man devoted to uncovering the secrets of the stars–who awaits him. Or the girl who will help him mend his heart and unearth the long-buried secrets of his past.
Masterfully written, grippingly paced, and inspired by real historical characters, “Jepp, Who Defied the Stars “is the tale of an extraordinary hero and his inspiring quest to become the master of his own destiny.

Author Guest Post: Katherine Marsh

 Greetings, YA Love readers and thank you, Sarah!

 From the time I was a kid, I’ve always loved history—in part because there are so many strange, yet true, stories that really happened. My new novel, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars, is based on a bunch of odd yet real stories from the 16thcentury. I discovered the character of Jepp when I was reading about the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Brahe was one of the most accomplished stargazers of his day but he was also a very odd guy. He lived on an isolated island where he’d built his own futuristic castle, wore a copper nose (he lost his real one in a duel) and kept a beer-drinking moose as a pet. He also had a dwarf jester named Jepp.

 When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the paintings of dwarfs who lived at royal courts, serving as attendants and entertainers. They were both insiders, who saw the inner workings of the court, and outsiders, whose physical differences marked them as “others.” But there was almost nothing in the historical record about Jepp beyond that he was Brahe’s jester and sat at his feet. I decided to give him a story, one based on the real lives of court dwarfs.

 I was lucky to find two great sources of historical material to draw from. The first was a fascinating book called The Lives of Dwarfs: Their Journey from Public Curiosity toward Social Liberation by Betty Adelson. Adelson’s comprehensive and fascinating history enlightened me to the indignities that many court dwarfs suffered. Both treasured as possessions and treated as playthings, they were dressed up as birds and animals, forced to put on mock weddings, and even hidden in pies so they could burst out to surprise the court (an act that Jepp ends up having to perform).

 My second source was Diego Velazquez, a 17th century Spanish artist who painted a series of portraits of court dwarfs. It was these paintings that intrigued me as a kid and if you take a look at Las Meninas or Portrait of Sebastian de Morra you can see why. Velazquez captures the dignity, intelligence, and even anger of his dwarf subjects. His paintings gave me a window into how Jepp, and the court dwarfs he interacts with in my story, must have felt about their lives and treatment.

 Finally, after I had written a draft of my book, I gave it to a reader who also happens to be a dwarf. I wanted to make sure he found my portrayal accurate. There were so many things I wanted to get right—for example, the daily challenges of navigating a world constructed for people several feet taller. My reader not only gave me confidence in my portrayal of Jepp but helped me nail down such details as whether childbirth and mobility can be issues for dwarfs (answer: they can).

 The amazing thing I discovered as I wrote Jepp’s story is that his life as a court dwarf has a lot of similarities with that of an average 21st century teenager. The feeling of people thinking they know you because of what you look like. The feeling of being an outsider. The feeling of the world underestimating you. Even the feeling of finding people who are like you and how intense those friendships and relationships can be. Jepp’s story is ultimately less the tale of a court dwarf, than a universal tale about finding friends, falling in love and ultimately growing up to be the person you want to be.

About the Author

For more, check out katherinemarsh.com or follow me on twitter @MarshKatherine or on facebook/katherinemarshauthor

 Bio: I’m the author of the upcoming historical YA novel Jepp, Who Defied the Stars (out October 9th!), the Edgar-award winning The Night Tourist, and a sequel, The Twilight Prisoner (read if you like ghosts, New York City history, and Greek myths).

A few interesting facts about me: I used to write for Rolling Stone magazine, I’ve been a high school English teacher, and I have no sense of direction—thank god for the invention of the GPS!

 Giveaway Details
One lucky winner will win a copy of Jepp, Who Defied the Stars courtesy of the publisher.
One entry per person.
Open to the United States & Canada only.
Must be 13 years or older.
To enter, please leave a comment below.  No extra entries required.
Feel free to leave your Twitter name so I can tweet the winner.
Giveaway ends October 12th, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST.
Winners will be contacted via email and/or Twitter.

Author Interview: Susan Ee, author of Angelfall + Giveaway

I’m excited to feature an interview today with author Susan Ee.  Her book, Angelfall, is the first in the Penryn & End of Days series and it just released in paperback on August 28th.   I love finding out why authors choose to write for teens so I focused my questions around that topic.  I hope you enjoy the interview and enter to win a copy of Angelfall! 🙂

Summary (From Goodreads): It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel. Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

What made you decide to write for teens?
The teen years are such an amazing time period where nothing is stable and anything is possible. It’s a stage in life where no matter how devastating an event or mistake can be, there’s still time to recover and triumph over the biggest challenges. It’s a time of oppression and hope, dreams and possibilities.

What has your teen response been so far?
The teens seem to really enjoy Angelfall. Some of my favorite pieces of mail are from the teen girls who fall in love with the characters or from teen guys who discover their love of reading through Angelfall.

How do you connect directly with teens?
They can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or through my blog.

Do you feel that writing for teens is different than writing for adults? Why or why not?
When I write, I don’t particularly have teens or adults in mind for the readership. My main character is 17 years old so the story seems to automatically be a fit for teens, but there are plenty of adults who read the book as well.

GIVEAWAY INFO!

Thank you to the publisher for providing one copy to give away!
Entrants must be 13 years or older.
Only residents of the US and Canada may enter.
One entry per person.
Feel free to spread the word, but following/tweeting/etc. is not required. 🙂
Giveaway ends Monday, September 24th at 11:59 EST.

Being Friends with Boys Blog Tour

Terra Elan McVoy is known for her cute contemporary YA novels, so I was excited when Shanyn from Literary Logistics invited me to be part of the blog tour for Terra Elan McVoy’s new book Being Friends with Boys.  Every day of the tour, McVoy has one of ten reasons why it’s good to be friends with boys, and today I have reason number six.  Make sure to check out the main tour page so you can get links to all of the blogs participating, Being Friends with Boys giveaways, and more reasons why it’s great being friends with boys!

Links!
My Review
Terra’s Website
Terra’s Twitter
Buy Being Friends with Boys from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound

Summary (From Goodreads): Charlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl’s perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys’ band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex-best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free…until it isn’t any more.

When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl…and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he possibly wants to be more than friends with Char…being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.

Differences Between Being Friends With Boys, and Being Friends with Girls

Terra Elan McVoy, author of Being Friends with Boys:

Ever since my novel, Being Friends With Boys was released, I’ve been asked a lot about friendships between guys and girls. Is it possible, for one thing (duh, yes), and how is being friends with boys different than being friends with girls. I happen to be very lucky to have had friendships with both guys and girls all through middle- and high school, and continue to have fantastic friendships with men (and women) to this day. Though I think the value and intensity of guy/girl friendships and girl/girl friendships are definitely equal, there certainly are some differences. Follow my blog tour to read a few of my thoughts on how being friends with boys isn’t quite the same as being friends with girls!

 6.   They understand how intense you get playing video games. I think one of the things I most appreciate about my guy friends is that they a) like to play video games, which I love —even just watching someone play them is awesome and b) they do not in any way think it is strange how into them I can get. No guy friend of mine (who is into video games) has ever once thought it strange to play a video game all day long, while some of my girlfriends can’t quite get their heads around even spending an hour that way. (But not all my girlfriends are anti-video game, which is also rad.)

I’m not much of a gamer myself, so when I found what topic I’d be featuring I brought this to my students and asked for their opinions.  This ended up being a hot topic with varied responses.  Here’s what a few of my freshmen think:

Daymon: “I love it when girls play video games.  This is for mainly two reasons.  First off, a lot of girls don’t exactly get video games but they’ll try.  When they do it’s hilarious.  The second reason is it’s cool when guys and girls hang out, and if she’ll give video games a try that’s really cool.”

Kylee: “I think girls playing video games is cool.  I don’t like to play, but I love to watch the boys play.  I just like to talk on the mic on X-Box Live, but sometimes I like to attempt to try so I think more girls should try it.”

Ana: “I think that playing video games is a lot of fun.  Sometimes me and one of my best guy friends get together and play Skyrim all day long.  Sometimes he forgets that he’s at my house.”

Alicia: “I actually do like playing video games.  I have a brother and a boyfriend who both play them so I will sometimes play with them.  They both think that it’s cool that I play with them even though I am extremely bad at some.  For me it’s a way that I can hang out/bond with my brother.  It’s sometimes kind of fun too.”

Students Want to Know Corrine Jackson

Have you added If I Lie by Corrine Jackson to your TBR piles yet?!  I did as soon as I read the summary because it sounds fantastic!  I’m thrilled that she volunteered to be interviewed by my students because they’re now just as excited to read If I Lie as I am.  I hope you enjoy this interview with Corrine Jackson; I know my students are eager to read her responses.

Summary of If I Lie (From Goodreads): A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.

** Corrine Jackson’s Website **
** Follow Corrine Jackson on Twitter **
** If I Lie releases on August 28th, 2012 from Simon Pulse **

Ashley B:

  • Are you from a small town?
    I was born in a town that is hardly a blip on the map. It had one stop light, the population was less than 1,000, and it takes up all of a half mile. My family moved to southern California when I was very young, but I used to go back to Haxtun, Colorado to visit my father. The simplicity of that place has stayed with me. I once rode a lawnmower down the sidewalk at age six, the only restaurant in town gave Dum Dums suckers to all the kids, and a whistle blew at noon every day to tell the grain factory workers that it was lunch time. Everyone knew everyone else, and sometimes I daydreamed about a swimming through the piles of grain. Those are the kinds of things I think about when I write about small towns.
  • Does the military play a role in your life?
    My uncle did two tours in Vietnam. He was mentally ill the rest of his life and spent a lot of time at the VA Hospital. I also have an honorary uncle who fought in Vietnam. The stories I’ve heard from them and my family definitely had an impact on my writing and the inspiration for IF I LIE.

Alexis K.:

  • What goes on with this other guy to make her do what she does?
    Sh. I can’t tell. Honest. It would ruin the book for you if I gave away all the secrets.
  • Does this other guy know her boyfriend?
    Yes, he’s a close friend. In fact, he’s Carey’s BEST friend. Scandalous, right? Things aren’t always what they seem to be, though.

Brittany:

  • When you started writing this book, did you expect it to get published?
    At first, I didn’t know what I had. I couldn’t figure out where to start the story and wrote about six different beginnings to IF I LIE. The problem was that I knew how I wanted to open the book, but it required me to weave flashbacks and memories throughout the story. I was taught that flashbacks are like your mom wearing Crocs – something she should know better than to do. But then something clicked and I figured out how to weave those moments in so they felt natural. After that, the pieces fell together and I thought I had something that might see a bookshelf.

Wesley:

  • As an author, what do you feel is the most important aspect of your work?
    I think it’s important to do my best to get the story “right.” For me, this means doing a lot of research. In IF I LIE, Quinn is from a military town and her father is a Marine. Quinn is also working with a Vietnam Vet on the Veterans History Project, which is a project run by the Library of Congress to record the stories of our soldiers. I was sick that I would do this experience an injustice. My publisher sent IF I LIE to the Veterans History Project, and my greatest fear was that they would tell me I was off base. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and I’m proud to know that they were very touched by the story.
  • Who’s your favorite author?  What do you like about his/her work?
    Laurie Halse Anderson. Hands down. SPEAK blows me away, and I used to read sections of WINTERGIRLS to inspire me while I was writing IF I LIE. She’s brilliant at symbolism and voice. I also love her willingness to play with structure. For example, SPEAK is told in a journal format and WINTERGIRLS has an awesome use of strikethroughs and repetition that mirrors the internal angst of the narrator. Most of all, I find her use of language to be borderline poetic at times, and I love to sink into some of her lines and reread them. She makes me feel things when I read her work and that is a huge gift.

Sarah W:

  • Do you like the cover?
    I couldn’t imagine what the cover would look like. My main request to my publisher was that we stay away from girls in pretty dresses. I thought that would make light of the story or make it seem like a different kind of book than it is. My editor emailed me the cover while I was at my day job. My coworkers gathered around when I opened it, and I cried like an idiot. I think it’s so beautiful and mirrors the heart of IF I LIE in a way that surprised me. The black-and-white photo is both stark and full of emotion, and I could hug the designer for giving me that cover.
  • Have you ever been cheated on?
    Not that I could prove, but I had strong suspicions once. The fact that I couldn’t trust my boyfriend was enough to wake me up, and I ended up breaking the relationship off. I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t stay with someone who didn’t respect me. I believe cheating causes a lot of damage. Beyond the pain it unleashes, cheating can break up families and leave kids growing up in a single-parent home. We should make t-shirts that say, “Cheating Sucks. Don’t Do It.”

Jazzmyn:

  • Who would you recommend this book to?
    The reactions from my male and female readers so far are pretty balanced, so I think that both boys and girls will like it. It’s kind of heavy and emotional, but I wouldn’t really call it a “girl” book. I think the topics it covers are pretty universal and not unique to any gender.
  • Who is your favorite character in the book?
    Aside from Quinn, I love George. He’s a Vietnam Vet that Quinn gets forced to work with at the VA Hospital. He’s grouchy, flirts with all the nurses, and cheats at cards. I love the scenes with Quinn and George because they have fun and don’t take any crap each other. He can make Quinn laugh when she feels like crying, and that’s a valuable trait in a friend.

Becca:

  • Do you think “cheaters” in real life are really abandoned by friends because of what they did/have done?
    It depends on the friends and the community. If you’re in a military family or dating/married to a soldier, cheating is considered deplorable. In all the interviews I did and the research I conducted, everyone agreed that cheating on a deployed soldier makes you the scum of the earth. When a soldier goes to war, they are comforted by the thought of the family waiting for them at home. In that community, it’s considered a betrayal to abandon that person. Outside the military (and maybe some religious communities), though, I think that friends will often choose sides. Some friends will stick by the “cheater,” and others won’t.

Shannon:

  • What does the title have to do with the book?
    Good question! Quinn is keeping a major secret to protect her boyfriend. She can tell the truth and free herself from the town’s condemnation, or she can lie to protect her boyfriend. She is constantly asked to choose between her boyfriend and herself, and she struggles to act with honorable when her sacrifices add up to more than she can take. What would you give up for someone you loved? Would you lie to protect them at great cost to yourself? That’s what the title is about.

 

Students Want to Know Sarah Tregay

Sarah TregayI have **THIS MUCH** love for Sarah Tregay’s debut Love and Leftovers, so I was beyond excited when she volunteered to be interviewed by my students.  And I may be biased since these are my students, but I think they asked some pretty good questions 🙂

Summary (From Goodreads):

My wish
is to fall
cranium over Converse
in dizzy, daydream-worthy
love.

(If only it were that easy.)

When her parents split, Marcie is dragged from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She leaves behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father. By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this “vacation” has become permanent. She starts at a new school where a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up.

But understanding love, especially when you’ve watched your parents’ affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you’ve lost it?

** Sarah Tregay’s Website **
** Like Sarah Tregay on Facebook **
** Love and Leftovers is available in stores! **

Allison:

  • Was writing in verse difficult or do you prefer it?
    Marcie’s character fit well with the verse format, as did her story, so writing LOVE AND LEFTOVERS in verse felt very natural.
    Verse has some challenges, but that’s what makes it interesting to write. For instance, when I went from 8.5×11 paper (for the manuscript) to the smaller page size (for the book) I had to edit some lines so they’d fit. On the other hand, verse can be easier than prose in the rewriting/revising stages because you change the order of the poems without much editing. I enjoy writing—and reading—novels in verse.

Delia:

  • Why did you choose to write a long distance love story?
    Before I wrote LOVE AND LEFTOVERS, I had written a handful of manuscripts that didn’t sell. My friends said these stories were “too quiet.” (They were nice enough not to call them boring.) So When I was thinking about LOVE AND LEFTOVERS, I made a list of very bad things that could happen to my main character because I wanted the stakes to be high and the story interesting. Being away from friends was on that list, and Marcie being away from her boyfriend, Linus, added to her loneliness and upped the stakes.

Sarah W:

  • Do you plan on writing more books?  If so, are they going to all be in verse?
    I’m working on another novel or two, but they may not end up in verse. My editor asked for me to try one of them in prose instead. It’s an experiment, so I guess we’ll have to see how it goes.

Morgan:

  • Why are some of the kids called leftovers?  Were you considered a leftover?
    The Leftovers are a group of friends that don’t fit into the usual cliques in their high school, for example, one is an athlete who also gets good grades, another is a girl scout, and three are in a band. My friends at my lunch table in high school didn’t call ourselves “leftovers”, but we were a hodgepodge mix of AP students and students who were scraping by with Cs, field hockey players, photographers, and musicians.

Jordin:

  • How do you manage to say and mean so much with so little written (referring to verse)?
    I think with verse a writer can lean on the reader a little more than in prose. Each reader brings their own feelings and experiences with them when they read a book and an author can tap into these emotions without explaining every minute detail by using word choice, turns of phrase, and even white space. Verse definitely has the “read between the lines” aspect where a reader uses a combination of their own experiences and imagination to fill in the spaces. So in some ways, reading a novel in verse is a collaboration between the author and the reader.

Author Guest Post: Thirteen Things Learned From Taken at Dusk by C.C. Hunter

I’m very excited to have C.C. Hunter as a guest on my blog today!  Her newest book in the Shadow Falls series, Taken at Dusk (Goodreads), has recently released and today she has a post for us about things learned from Taken at DuskC.C. Hunter is also kindly giving away a copy of her newest release to one lucky winner (giveaway details at end of post)!

Taken at Dusk cover

Thirteen Things You’ll Learn From Taken at Dusk by C.C. Hunter

1. The only thing worse than trying to help a woman with amnesia remember her name and life is trying to help a dead woman with amnesia remember hers.
2. Be careful what you wish for—you might just get it . . . and the reality will probably not be anything like the fantasy.

3. The person you think is your enemy could just turn into a friend who’ll do anything to save you.

4. The scariest thing in the world isn’t ghosts or rogue vampires bent on murder—it’s falling in love.

5. Explaining why you have a skunk curled up in your arms to your mom and your old best friend is as easy as eating a brownie while brushing your teeth.

6. We all make mistakes, which is why it’s so important to practice forgiveness.

7. The only thing worse than a pissed-off shapeshifter is a pissed-off shapeshifter in love.

8. Sometimes the earth really does have to open up and swallow you whole before you can accept the truth that’s right in front of you.

9. Vampires have no sense of humor . . . especially when they get turned into a kangaroo.

10. Free will gives us choices, but even making the right choices can’t change destiny . . . and learning to accept that can be the most painful lesson of all.

11. People aren’t always who they say they are, even if you really want them to be.

12. Sometimes when you try to save someone, they end up saving you instead.

13. Never get between a dragon and a warlock on the war path.

Which of these is your favorite?  I like numbers 8 and 9 best!  Thank you for this, C.C. 🙂

Taken at Dusk by C.C. Hunter Giveaway!

** You must be 13 years of age or older **
** Only residents of the U.S. and Canada may enter **
**
Leave a comment to enter (include your email in the email section, not in the comment section) **
** Only one entry per person **
** Giveaway ends Saturday, April 28th at 11:59 EST **
** Winner will be chosen using Random.org and contacted via email **

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