Banned Books Week, Jay Asher, and an Online Literary Hangout

Banned Books Week sneaked up on me this year, and for the first time in a couple years I don’t have a series of Banned Books Week posts ready. :( Today kicks off the week, so I’m happy to at least acknowledge it with this opportunity that was brought to my attention last week.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is one of my favorite books and unfortunately it’s been banned and/or censored in the past. On Tuesday, September 24th at 3pm EST, Jay Asher will be joining Google+ and BookTrib.com for Literary Google+ Hangouts On Air. During the hangout, participants can ask Jay questions directly and enter to win both Thirteen Reasons Why and The Future of Us.

I plan on telling my students about this since I have so many Thirteen Reasons Why fans. I’m sure it will be a fun event!

JAYASHER

A Mother’s Day Giveaway!

The wonderful people at Sourcebooks are offering a fantastic giveaway just for moms!  You can enter to win Marianne Richmond’s adorable new picture book, Oh, the Things My Mom Will Do and her board book, If I Could Keep You Little.

Oh The Things My Mom Will Do KeepYouLittleBB_CVR.indd

Summary of Oh, the Things My Mom Will Do (from the publisher):

What a child sees as everyday routine is anything but for a mom! Oh, the Things My Mom Will Do is a celebration of the unpredictable adventure that is motherhood with its sometimes silly, always heartfelt, and wonderfully important moments–all rooted in love. This sweet and amusing book will have book moms and kids smiling with recognition while spotlighting all the different ways a mom shows her devotion.

Oh The Things My Mom Will Do exclusive art

MarianneRichmond2012About Marianne Richmond:

Beloved author and illustrator MARIANNE RICHMOND has touched the lives of millions for nearly two decades through her award-winning books, greeting cards, and other gift products that offer people the most heartfelt way to connect with each other.  She lives in the Minneapolis area.  Visit www.mariannerichmond.com.

Check 0ut Marianne Richmond’s great Mother’s Day craft ideas here.

Giveaway Details

**Open to the US and Canada only**
**To enter, simply leave a comment (your email will be filled in w/the comment form)**
**Must be at least 13 to enter**
**Giveaway ends Saturday, May 18th, 2013**
**Winner will be contacted via email**
**Only one entry per person**

 

Guest Post + Giveaway: Kim Purcell author of Trafficked

Kim3-small_2Kim Purcell is celebrating the paperback release of her book Trafficked with a blog tour stop here at YA Love and giving away a copy of Trafficked to one lucky winner.  Her guest post today is on method writing which I’m excited to share since my students are working so hard this year to become stronger writers.  Make sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post!

Summary of Trafficked (From Goodreads):

Hannah has struggled ever since her parents were killed and her beloved uncle vanished. So when she’s offered the chance to leave Moldova and become a nanny for a family in Los Angeles, it seems like a dream come true-and at first it is. But after weeks of working sixteen-hour days and not being able to leave the house, she still hasn’t been paid. As things go from bad to worse, Hannah realizes that things are not at all what they seem and she finds herself doing things she never imagined herself capable of. But as she begins uncovering the family’s crooked history, she may be exposing more than she bargained on-and putting her life in danger.

** “Method Writing” guest post by Kim Purcell **

Sometimes people ask me how I could write about a modern-day slave in America, an orphan girl from Moldova, someone so different from me. I did a lot to prepare myself before I started writing this book. I went to Moldova and had some scary experiences there, which I put into the book through Hannah’s perspective. I ate Russian and Moldovan food. I interviewed about forty different girls and women in Moldova and America and absorbed their experiences so that I could become Hannah.

I write a little differently from many other writers. I call it Method Writing, similar to Method Acting, which is when the actor becomes the character for extended periods and even becomes the character for periods of time, even when not acting. It’s the only way any good writing comes out of me. If I try hard to focus on craft and consciously try to write something beautiful, forget it. The writing will always be awkward. I have to put myself in a trance beforehand and become that character.

Before I even sit down at the computer, it’s my goal to be the character and see the world through her eyes. How do I get into the character? First, I need a little time walking or running to get myself into the character. I love to run with friends, but if I’m getting into character, I need to be alone. At first, my mind starts circling around my character. I start thinking her thoughts. I focus on my physical senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell. I try to experience these senses through the character’s eyes, ears, nose, etc. Once I am physically feeling like my character, I can write with the type of sensory detail that makes the writing come alive.

There are some downsides to this kind of writing. One of them is I feel everything the character feels, which means I also suffer through the things she’s suffering. If she’s running from something or someone who wants to kill her, my pulse is beating fast and my adrenalin is going. If she’s lonely and sad, oh man, I’m so lonely and sad. If she’s having fun and laughing, you’ll probably find me giggling at my computer screen.

If I wrote only happy scenes, it would be great, but I don’t specialize in happy scenes. Trafficked has some pretty tough scenes in it, and this is true for my next novel too. So, it messes with my body. Because I’m wrapped up in the story, my body will get itself into weird positions as I’m writing. Sometimes my feet rest on the desk or get curled under me and fall asleep. Sometimes my back is all curled up like a mad scientist. Sometimes my shoulders are pulled right up to my neck. Or my character is running so my feet are flexed and poised off the ground for thirty minutes. Later in the day, I wonder, hmm, how come my legs hurt?

Another downside is that if someone interrupts me in the midst of writing, like my husband or my kids, I’ll look up with a sort of dazed, crazed expression. “What do you want?” I’m not myself. Or their interruption might scare me and make me jump. Needless to say, I rarely write with them around. Sometimes I write in cafes because I feel like my house will distract me from my character because it’s messy or I have a bunch of things to do there. In a café, I put on headphones with really loud, fast music, nothing that I want to sing along to, just so I can block out any external noise. When I write at home, it has to be totally quiet and I like my office to be spotless (and preferably my house too) because I need that emptiness to transport myself elsewhere and completely lose myself in the writing.

Because I lose myself in my writing, things can happen around me and I may not notice. One time, this winter, I forgot to turn on the heat and I was shivering as I came out of my writing. My fingers were so cold they wouldn’t move and I realized that was what pulled me out of the character. Often I won’t stop to eat if I’m in the middle of my writing, so I’ll get dizzy before I realize I need to eat. I always bring a tea with milk and sugar now and a little snack to start off my writing. I can never put something in the oven without an alarm on – I’ve learned it will burn, for sure, and the house will be filled with smoke before I notice it. I also set an alarm so I finish when I need to finish and go do what I need to do for the rest of my life.

If I’m in the midst of an early draft of my book, it gets harder to maintain the separation between writing and life. I obsess about my character. I could think about her all day long if I let myself. Sometimes I dream about her and in the morning, I want everyone to go away so I can write. But this isn’t possible. I’m a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend. I have things to do, people who need me. And so, I hold that character in a little box in my mind while I get everyone out the door in the morning. After I’m done writing, I need a transition back to regular life too. If I take a shower and do a little yoga, this usually works. Then, I can act more or less like a regular person, and not like my character. Until the next morning.

** Author Bio **

 Kim Purcell is a journalist, teacher and novelist of Trafficked (Penguin). She dances anywhere a good song is playing, and she’d love to offer you a cup of tea.

** Win a copy of Trafficked **

Trafficked book cover

Giveaway open to US and Canada only
Giveaway sponsored by the author–Thanks, Kim!
Only one entry per person
Must be at least 13 years old to enter
Giveaway ends 3/26/13 at 11:59 pm EST
Winner will be notified via email and given 48 hours to respond

Review: Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington + Giveaway

EmblazeTitle: Emblaze

Author: Jessica Shirvington

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: March 5th, 2013

Interest: Series continuation

Source: E-ARC received via NetGalley from the publisher

Summary (From Goodreads): Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice … and the consequences are unimaginable. 

Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was.

Now Violet has something Phoenix – the exiled angel who betrayed her – will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too. 

Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn’t take him long to realise exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.

With the help of surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to…

First, if you haven’t read Embrace or the second book, Entice, do not read this review.

It’s becoming more and more difficult to write these reviews because I’m constantly worried about including a spoiler unintentionally, so I’m going to write my review as a list.  Here it goes…

  • Once again, Jessica Shirvington delivers tons of action.  It’s almost on a constant loop in Emblaze.
  • The angst!  The forbidden love!  It hasn’t died down, that’s for sure!  A plus to this is that Violet never strikes me as whiny.  In fact, that’s a major plus.
  • I love how Stef’s character is developing.  I have some predictions about her and some questions as well.  She balances Violet and keeps her grounded which I love.
  • I kind of wish Spence played a bigger role in Emblaze.  He’s in the story, but I missed the large part he played in Entice.
  • Embrace and Entice kept me hooked the entire time, but there were times during Emblaze that really dragged.  Most of those scenes are between big action scenes when the characters are sort of at a stand still and spending too much time discussing strategy or history.
  • I was hoping for more development between Lincoln and Violet.  Their relationship needs to move along more (in one way or another) considering this is the third book in the series.
  • I loved the surprise ending.  I’m really looking forward to where that takes the story in the fourth book.
  • Overall I really enjoyed Emblaze and am looking forward to passing it on to my diehard fans in class :)

Win a copy of Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington

*Open to US and Cananda only
*Giveaway provided by the publisher–Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire!
*Must be 13 years or older to enter
*Only one entry per person
*Giveaway ends 3/26/13 at 11:59 EST
*Winner will be notified via email & have 48 hours to respond

 

The Farm by Emily McKay Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

The FarmTitle: The Farm

Author: Emily McKay

Publisher: Berkley Trade

Release Date: December 4th, 2012

Interest: Post-Apocalyptic / Blog Tour

Source: Finished copy received from the publisher

The Farm Website

Summary (From Goodreads): Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

I honestly had mixed reactions when I started reading The Farm.  The concept is cool which is why I decided to try it and join the blog tour.  I’m not really big on vampires, but I like post-apocalyptic books.  My students still like reading paranormal vampire novels and the post-apocalyptic genre is a big hit with them as well.  Emily McKay’s debut is another book that I need to break down into what worked and what didn’t work.

What Worked For Me:

  • The multiple points of view–The Farm is told from Lily, Mel, and Carter’s points of view told in alternating chapters.  My favorite chapters are Mel’s because she’s autistic and has a really unique perspective and understanding of the world around her.  The story works with this format because there’s so much going on and the characters are so involved.  I learned more about Carter and his history during his chapters than in any of the other chapters, and I really don’t know how we could have learned as much about him without this format.  Overall it added more layers to the story and really defined the characters.
  • Lily–I like what a strong heroine she is.  She’s quick on her feet and stands up for herself and her sister.  Her sense of humor, despite how horrible her life is, is witty and snarky.  I really think teens with siblings who they’re close to or protective of, will connect with Lily and enjoy her character.
  • The pacing & action–The Farm is full of suspense, twists, and action.  Emily McKay did a nice job balancing The Farm’s character development and plot development; it doesn’t feel like one more than the other (character driven or plot driven).  I enjoyed the suspense and wondering how new developments were going to come to light.  The pacing it great and will keep my students interested as they read.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • Vampires–I’m over vampires.  I don’t have much else to say on that topic.
  • I tried to keep an open mind on the vampire front, but some of the background storyline didn’t work for me.  I don’t want to ruin anything because much of that isn’t revealed until 100+ pages in, but when I came to that story I sort of cringed.  I had to start thinking of the book as more of a book for my students than for me at that point.  And sometimes that’s what I really need to do when I read a book outside my comfort zone; I need to think about the students in class who will like it more than me.
  • I really liked Lily, Mel, and Carter, but I didn’t find myself connecting to them and their story until 75 or more pages in.  I needed more earlier than that.

The Farm Blog Tour Exclusive Content

Lily is such a strong main character. How did you decide to give her this fierce identity as opposed to the weak female characters that are so often present in books?

To be honest, I don’t know any weak teen-age girls.  The teen-age girls I know are strong and smart and giving and determined and I just drew on that to create Lily.  Years ago, I taught in a lower-income area and one of the things that I still remember from that time is how tough the girls I taught were and how devoted they were to their families.  I wanted to channel some of that into Lily, and hope I succeeded.

Tour Stops:
Yesterday–Actin’ Up With Books
Monday–Addicted to Novels

Giveaway Details

Giveaway sponsored by the publisher
Open to the US only
One lucky winner will win a copy of The Farm + “Vampire Apocalypse Survival Kit”
Must be 13 years or older to enter
Giveaway ends January 4th, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST
Only one entry per person
Winner will be emailed and given 48 hours to respond
No extra entries required, but spreading the word is appreciated :)

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!

Who Will You Entice? Giveaway

My students and I absolutely love Jessica Shirvington’s Embrace series, so I’m very excited to offer a copy of both Embrace and Entice to one lucky winner!  Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire, for offering such a fantastic giveaway!

Giveaway Details:

My rave reviews for Embrace and Entice.
One lucky winner will win a copy of Embrace and Entice.
Giveaway open to residents of the US and Canada only.
One entry per person.
Must be 13 years or older to enter.
Giveaway ends Saturday, October 13th, 2012 at 11:59 EST.
No extra entries required, but spreading the word is appreciated!
Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond.

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.

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