Category: Blog Talks


#SBPT | Week 3: @LeftyReads of The Left Handed Book Lover @TheBookBratz

Posted 17 July, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blogging Challenges, Fun, Updates, YA / 0 Comments

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Annnnd we’re back! It’s week 3 of the #SBPT challenge, and today it’s all about LeftyReads and books she thinks you should be reading now!
Take it away, gurrrrl!

Hey there, lovely book people! I’m Lefty, and I’m the ferocious dragon behind The Left-Handed Book Lover. I’m so delighted to be here on Kat’s blog. I’m going to be telling you about the books I like to recommend to people.

These books are just kind of my go-to recommendations. Obviously, if I get acquainted with someone’s specific taste, I’ll personalize the recs, but these are some of my favorite books that I think a lot of people will enjoy, even if they’re not big readers.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – This is my favorite book series of all time! It’s action-packed and the characters are a lot of fun. I’m always telling people they need to read this book, and assuring them it’s way better than the crap-tastic movie made in its name. I know the vampire craze is over, but, in my opinion, this series transcends that trend. It’s much more than the standard vampire novel.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – I picked this book up earlier in the year and it quickly became one of my new favorite contemporary books. The friendship elements in it are fantastic, the romance is adorable, and the over-all plot is a ton of fun.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – This series is quick to read, and the writing is unlike anything else I’ve ever read, so I’m always shoving this book in people’s hands.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry – This is another one of my favorite contemporary novels. I love the romance and the way the two main characters have to work through so much crap going on in their own heads.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I actually only read this a few weeks ago, but ever since then I’ve been practically shouting from every rooftop I pass that people need to read this book. It’s heartbreaking and phenomenal

Delirium by Lauren Oliver – I’m pretty sure I’ve told everyone in my life to read this novel. The premise is unique and the execution is flawless. Oliver’s writing is absolutely stunning, and I just need everyone to read this series.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – This is another more recent read, but I thought it was incredibly adorable and relatable.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – While I like TMI, I love this series even more. I feel like everyone knows about TMI now that it has been adapted into a movie and a TV series, so when people express interest in that series, I always point them to The Infernal Devices.

If you haven’t read any of these, I sincerely hope you do! I found all of these novels to be utterly unputdownable. If you’d like to chat with me about these books (or any books, really) feel free to chat me up at ANY time. I’m always on board with making new bookish friends.

YOU CAN FIND ME AT:
MY BLOG
TWITTER
GOODREADS
INSTAGRAM
YOUTUBE


 

Thank you muchly to Lefty for participating and giving us an insight into her bookish taste! 🙂 Remember to keep an eye on the #SBPT tag on twitter to see other blogger’s posts.

-Kat

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#SBPT | Week 2: Krystianna of Downright Dystopian @thebookbratz @dwnritdystopian

Posted 10 July, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Blogging Challenges, Fun, Updates / 0 Comments

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Howdy everyone! Another week, another blogger to promote. Today is all about Krystianna from Downright Dystopian. She’ll be telling us about her reading habits with the Reader Problems Book Tag. Take it away, girl! 🙂

1: You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what

to read next?

If I had that many books on my TBR, I’d probably just close my eyes and point to
all the books. Whichever one I was pointing directly at is the one that I’d pick up
and read.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quitor are you committed?

I’m committed! I always stick books through because sometimes the endings can
make all the difference.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away onyour Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

Yes! I’d probably try to find some thinner books on my TBR or pick up some
graphic novels.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

I don’t. :/

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who doyou bond with over shared feelings?

I’d probably just keep searching for someone else who didn’t love the book as
much as me. Perhaps one of the people that love it even have the tiniest issue
with the book and that could be something I could bond over with them.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I’d probably just run to the nearest bathroom.

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lotfrom the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to finda synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

To start, I’d probably try to find an in-depth Goodreads review about the book. If that doesn’t work, I’d probably try to reread the book!

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

Instead of saying no I’d try to change the subject. I don’t like hurting people’s
feelings!

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month.

How do you get over your reading slump?

When I’m in a reading slump, I tend to binge-watch Netflix. After binging for
however long, I will switch back to reading books. Sometimes I just need a break!

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read!

How many do you actually buy?

When there’s a lot of books coming out that I want to read, I try to look at the
library first to see if they have any of them. If they don’t, I’d try to buy only one
that I know I can’t live without.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do

they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

This is honestly so bad of me, but they will sit on my shelf for quite a few
months… sometimes even a year.

 


 

Thanks to Krystianna for taking part, and to The Book Bratz for organising this tour! Don’t forget to follow the #SBPT hashtag to find other posts! 🙂
-Kat
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#SBPT | Week 1: Valerie of HeSaidBooksOrMe

Posted 3 July, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Blogging Challenges, Fun, Interviews, Updates / 2 Comments

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HEY! Welcome to the first weekend of the Summer Blog Promo Tour! It was organised by the wonderful girls at The Book Bratz. For the next 7 Sundays I’ll be publishing a post that basically pimps out a different blogger. They deserve it, after all. All the hard work we all put in. Today’s post is all about Valerie from HeSaidBooksOrMe. I will be interviewing her, and finding out what makes her tick… 😛
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1) Well, hello there, Valerie of He Said Books Or Me. I checked out your blog and it’s mighty pretty, how long have you had it and what inspired you to  start blogging?
 Thank you and thanks for hosting me :)! I have had my book blog just a little over a year now. I actually have had a personal blog for about eight years for updating family and friends on our daily lives but then the book parts started taking over, so my mother in law suggested that I try a book blog. I liked it and went with it! 🙂

 

2) Out of interest, how old are you and at what age did you get into reading…y’know…as more than a hobby? 😛
Old enough to have a mother in law. haha 🙂 A lady never tells her age!
Oh gosh…I have always been a reader. When I was a little girl I would memorize the stories so that I could ‘read’ them to my sister. Books have always been such a big part of my life, I don’t ever recall a time when they weren’t.

 

3) Kiss, Marry, Kill: Draco, Hermione, Neville?
Kiss Neville, Marry Hermione (the best conversations!), and Kill Draco.

 

4) You’re on an island and you have three books with you, but suddenly a storm strikes and you manage to save only one! Oh no! What books did you have to sacrifice? (and which one did you save?)
Oh gosh this is hard…I would have saved The Richest Man in Town, because it is my favorite book ever. The other two probably would have had to go. Hard to say what they were because I am a bit of a mood reader sometimes, but it wouldn’t matter because I would always save that book.
5) I saw on your blog you like to travel: where’s the one place you’d love to visit?
I love to travel! I want to go to ALL of the places. Seriously. I have been to 44/50 states (with two more that I should be visiting this Fall). I have been to 2 continents so far, but will be getting my third also this Fall! 🙂
6) Do you listen to music whilst reading, if so, what kind?
I love music, but not usually while reading. When I do have music on it it is usually country. 🙂 I grew up in North Dakota so it reminds me of home!
7) Do you have a favourite snack while you’re reading?
Does coffee or tea count? I love a warm drink while I read 🙂

 

8) How many books do you own?
Ummmm…maybe around 100 books? Not a ton. I have actually tried really hard to keep my stacks from being out of control. I try to bring them to Little Free Libraries when I am done with them.
9) Do you like reading challenges? If so what’s the most you’ve read in a week before?
Yes, I love them! Probably one of the 24 hour readathons. They are intense!

 

10)  If genres were colours, what do YOU think they’d be? i.e: Green = Fantasy 
Red=Thriller/Mystery
Orange=Drama
Yellow=Non-fiction
Green=Self-Help
Blue=Classics
Purple=Romance
Black=Sci Fi/Fantasy

 

11) It’s been a pleasure having you here, one last question, What’s your most anticipated book for either this year or 2017?
I am really looking forward to Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Storms out in October! 🙂

 


So there you have it! Thank you so much to Valerie for taking the time out to answer my weird and wonderful questions. I hope you’ve all found this enlightening and make sure to check out her blog! Share the love! 🙂 Also be sure to check out the hashtag #SBPT on twitter to see other bloggers promo posts. 
Until next week,
-Kat
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#HotAndSticky Writing Challenge Weekly Update: Wait, it’s Week 2 already??? #AmWriting #WIP

Posted 15 June, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Kat's Writing, Updates, writing challenges / 2 Comments

WEEK2

 

Is it…do my eyes deceive me? Is it the end of week 2 ALREADY? Woah. I mean, where has the time gone? Hopefully well spent, right? RIGHT? 
See for yourself.
Unfortunately, I’ve been a bad bunny this week and though, yes, I have been writing, I have also forgotten to keep track. So…
If you didn’t already see my last update (which was a video), see it here: 

 

 

So last week, I made it, in total to 45,943.  I’d started at just over 42k…so maybe 42,250 odd? Having written only a few thousand in a week, I was pretty disappointed but also happy, because a few thousand is better than no thousand, amirite?? 
Now for week 2, I am now up to 48,209. So again, not a great amount, not much further than before, but I’m nearly at 50k and that’s something! I’m currently still stuck in the middle section of the story, where I need to somehow push the plot so I can somehow wind everything up. Whatever that might be. I’m still pretty sure this story makes no sense, but hey. I want to write as much as I can, so that come edit time, I’ll be able to take stuff out and not feel like I’ve just lost everything. LOL. I still admire, and am part scared, of writers that can write 100k+ in a matter of weeks/couple of months. It makes me think I’m doing something wrong. Which, logically, I know I’m not, but still…it’s daunting. A part of me wants to copy them, and I really shouldn’t, because that’s not me, nor my speed. 
I’m hoping week 3 will be better, as this week I missed 2 days of writing, and now on the last day of week 2, I’ve yet to write anything still. Sigh. But in any case, I’ll update you all again next week. It’ll probably be a video. I’m trying to swap every other week so I have something to put on both platforms, ya know? 
If anyone is taking part in the #HotAndSticky writing challenge, please do let me know in the comments below and tell me how far along/how well you’re doing! 
Until next time, folks,
-Kat
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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

Posted 24 May, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Contemporary, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Reading Challenges, Top Ten Tuesday, YA / 5 Comments

 

 

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
So hey guys! Long time no see on a Tuesday! I bring you today’s installment of 10 books…and this time it’s Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed, whether that be less love, more love, complicated feelings, indifference or that I thought it was great in a genre until I became more well read in that genre, and on and on. You get the idea. I had to really think hard about this one because I either lose love or gain love, I don’t really get many feelings in between when I haven’t read something in a while. I’m usually not thinking anything at all, to be honest. So maybe that’s called indifference or just plain ignoring …I don’t know. Ha ha. So the list below is pretty…well…obvious, if you know me well. It’s not to say I dislike any of these books, but you’ll see my reasons behind them anyway. 

 


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1: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer- I absolutely loved this when I first read it. Maybe not so much the writing, although I certainly didn’t know a lot better than I do now. But the story hooked me. Perhaps I read it too many times, but now, years later having read so many different kinds of books, I can’t get through it again. I tried, multiple times, but I’m always snagging on things that bother me – grammar wise, or just phrases – and I can’t go past. This makes me sad, but the series will always hold a dear place in my heart.

 

2: Sabriel by Garth Nix- Another one I adored when I first read it a good ten or more years ago. It was brilliant, and I devoured the entire series. But now, I’ve tried to reread it, and it’s just not the same. Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m just not into that kind of fantasy or maybe it was the mood I was in at the time. I will never know.

 


3: Darren Shan Saga by Darren Shan (duh! 😛 ) – As with the ones above, I read this series a long time ago, and since then have read all sorts and I guess my style or taste has changed because I’ve tried to reread this series and it’s just not…agreed with me.

 


4: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- Now here’s one that I can safely say I have loved more and more each time I read it. Four times! I’ve read it 4 times and have not yet become bored. 

 


5: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- The love I have for this book is ever growing and no matter how many times I read it (3 times!), I’ll never get bored.

6: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – Now here’s one that I’ve read at LEAST 5 times, maybe 6? I lost count, honestly. It’s not that I’ve lost love for it, but the more I reread it, the less excited by it I am. I still love it, don’t get me wrong, but I suppose there is only a certain amount of times within a certain time period that you can reread something. 

 


7: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – much like City of Bones, I’ve reread this between 4 and 5 times, but unlike with above, my love has grown. Though I still get irritated by certain things (like Jem, and the Magister, among other things) but my love for Will Herondale supersedes anything that might hinder my enjoyment. 🙂

8: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – I loved this originally, but I tried rereading it recently and, maybe I wasn’t in the right mood, but it didn’t…sit well like before. It wasn’t as gripping. I’m hoping it was just mood, because I want to, NEED TO, read the rest of the series. I hate Chaol, but I can ignore that…I hope. 

9: Poison Study series  by Maria V. Snyder – Okay, this is one where I’ve not recently tried to reread, but thanks to someone claiming Valek is actually in his 40’s <_<, It’s put me off completely. I loved this series when it first came out, like 10 years ago or more, but now…I guess it’ll always mean something to me, but it’s ruined the images I had in my head, and ruined the character for me. So yeah.

 


 

10: Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan – Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Rick Riordan’s writing, and storytelling, but I have to admit, since reading Heroes of Olympus, I prefer that 100% more than Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Sorry not sorry.

Tell me, what books have you felt differently about since you first read them? 
-Kat
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Waiting on Wednesday: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Posted 18 May, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Book Promo, Fantasy, Waiting On Wednesday, YA / 0 Comments

 

New WoW

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I was struggling to find a book that I knew was coming out this year and one I was excited for and then WHAM I remembered this one and WOAH! I love fairy tale retellings, and since I adored the Lunar Chronicles (after many unsuccessful tries, I finally got the hang of it), I’m so excited for this Wonderland retelling.
Alice in Wonderland is one of my most FAVOURITE Disney stories ever. Seriously. So this makes me eager and also slightly nervous because I have read a few attempts at retelling it in rather…unimpressive ways. I have faith in Marissa Meyer, so I’m keeping my nerves in one piece. 
What are you looking forward to?
-Kat
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Blog Talk: CURSE YOU, READING SLUMP!

Posted 14 May, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Updates / 5 Comments

 

Yeah, guys. It’s that glorious time of year where, once again, I get a reading slump. I know, it’s terrible. Especially when I’ve just acquired a good number of new books. SIGH!
I’ve been trying to reason with myself. That just because I’m not reading new books, I am at least getting other…more productive things done. Like my writing, or…yknow…videos recorded to upload. Something. ANYTHING!
I wish I could say that, but I can’t. I mean, I’ve done a bit of writing, but that’s only from yesterday. And I recorded one video. I did do a couple of blog posts, so that’s not so bad, but mostly I’ve just been out and then coming home and watching Orphan Black on Netflix. Which is fun, I’ll admit, but also…. WHYYY CAN’T I READ?!
One conclusion I came to was that I still have jet lag. Yeah, I got back over a week ago but I can feel it lingering. I haven’t felt right, or awake, since I returned home. It’s been unnaturally warm these past few days, so that’s not helped, nor has me falling asleep really late, but I’ve not been waking any more than usual in the night. hmm. And I’ve been taking my meds!
I hope I feel more awake so I can read. So far I’ve managed to start rereading a good book, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It’ll hopefully reboot me. haha.
What do you do when you’re in a slump? Tell me what kind of things you do instead of reading. Maybe it’ll make me feel better.
All the best,
-Kat
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Interview @ YallWest: Alexandra Bracken #YA #Authors

Posted 11 May, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Book Promo, Interviews, Updates, YA / 0 Comments

Hey everyone!
You guys know I went to YallWest, right? Well, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the brilliant Alexandra Bracken, author of The Darkest Minds trilogy and the recent Passenger, the sequel to it being Wayfarer which is released January 2017.

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.’ to

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.


 

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.


Interview:

So what was your inspiration for the Darkest Minds? Because it’s a very dark read. Ruby is an angsty teenager…

Alex: *laughs* Yeah, and you know me now, so you’re like “but that’s not you.” I know, it surprises people. And I plotted that story…Do you know the brand Lily Pulitzer?

No, I haven’t…

Alex: It’s super bright, super Key West, animal pattern clothing. I plotted that entire book out in a bright pink Lily Pulitzer coat, which felt very funny and ironic. *laughs* Inspiration was a lot of little things. I was a freshman in high school when September 11 happened, so I felt, by the time I graduated, I saw the whole world essentially change and how quickly the government could change things when provoked, and how people could be emotionally manipulated in the wake up of great national tragedy. But also, what really inspired the story was my own… How should I put this? My own self interest, because I had just moved from college, because I was in Williamsburg -which is super small and colonial – then moved up to Manhattan, and I was really having a hard time adjusting to that. And I had kind of a tough boss at my first job, and I was really pretty unhappy, and I was like: I just need to write a story that’ll make me happy. And so this one has all of the elements of things that I love.

Yeah, it’s good because it’s got romance, drama, and action…

Alex: Yeah, exactly. It’s like…Road trip! That’s why it seems so random, it’s like classic rock, road trip!

I love road trips in books. They’re so fun.

Alex: I know, I was like ‘at last, a dystopian road trip book.’

It always makes me want to go to those places, although maybe not in those settings. Probably not a good idea. So, do you have a particular process for your first drafts, do you do a certain amount of words per day or just whenever you can write?

Alex: It sort of depends. Because I noticed… I tried with Wayfarer (Passenger sequel) to do 2000 words a day, and I definitely was doing 2000 words a day. But the problem was that I was padding the scenes, when actually I should have been working on the story. So really what I try to do when I sit down to write, is to finish a specific scene, or a specific chapter, versus the word count. But really when I’m starting a story I spend a lot of time brainstorming, and I kind of figure out the main plot beats, the emotional beats, and the emotional undercurrent of the story. And then as I’m writing I will finish a scene and then go ahead and outline the next scene, and do it that way.

That’s another thing I was going to ask you, if you were an outliner or if you just write and hope for the best…

Alex: It really kind of depends on the book. With the Darkest Minds I really didn’t outline that much, and it worked out okay, except for the part where I had to revise and revise and revise. *laughs* But it’s my natural tendency, I think; because I started writing Fan Fiction, is to write like very episodic, which is not helpful when you’re writing a book, because in theory everything should be turning up, upwards, not sloping down like a mountain but…

What kind of Fan Fiction did you write?

Alex: Oh my god, I wrote Star Wars Fan Fiction. I wrote Sailor Moon, I wrote Gundam Wing Fan Fiction. I wrote everything that was on Toonami at the time.

I used to write Fan Fiction, but then I had to stop because I wanted to write my own stuff.

Alex: Yeah, that’s kind of where I got to. Eventually I felt confident enough to be writing my own books, but I love Fan Fiction.

So, the characters in your books, did you base them on anyone you know?

Alex: I try really hard not to directly base characters off people, ’cause I’m always worried they’ll figure it out and think I’m passing judgement on them. But I have been known to steal funny things my friends say, so a lot of Chub’s lines are from my friends.

Chub’s is one of my favourite characters.

Alex: Yeah, he’s so sassy.

I like Vida as well. She’s the best. She comes out with some the strongest words.

Alex: I know, I know, she swears beautifully. She swears fluently, as I always say. She’s really super creative with her lingo.

Outside of writing, do you have any other hobbies?

Alex: I always feel really sad when I answer this question, because reading is really the only other hobby I have, other than taking care of my dog. But now that I’m settled, my issue is really that for a long time I had a day job and I was writing, so I had no time for any sort of hobby other than shopping, which is less of a hobby and more of a habit. *laughs* So I didn’t really have time to cultivate outside interests because I was constantly work, work, work, work, nonstop. So now that I’m like settled in a place in Arizona, I wanna start taking classes, I don’t know. I want to experiment, I almost want this to be a recurring series in my author newsletter ‘Alex Tries…’ I wanna learn how to cross stitch, take a photography class. Like, I wanna actually have hobbies outside of writing ’cause I think it only helps you.

Yeah, I know that from my own writing, if you’re not careful, you can end up in that same bubble and see nothing outside of it.

Alex: Yeah, exactly.

Like you’d walk out the door and be all “Sunlight! It burns!” *laughs*

Alex: Yeah, and you need life to help your writing.

Do you have any advice for writer’s block?

Alex: For me it’s usually indicative of something in the story that’s not working, and I am subconsciously trying to avoid it somehow. So I actually say it’s okay to stop writing and have writer’s block, it’s okay to sit back, assess, and edit instead of drafting. Writing is editing, too, so it’s okay to go back and work on that for a while and figure out what it is that’s not working. Or if it’s really just distraction for instance – I let myself get distracted really easily, I’m distracted by anything shiny and bright. *laughs* Um, really all I have to do is switch the medium that I’m writing on. So I will move from the computer and write it out by hand. And I was talking about this with my friend, Susan Dennard, that we both have a hard time facing a blank screen, a blank document. So we, the two of us, almost always (hand) write the first couple chapters, and then transfer it over, so we can have a start and then dive in.

Do you ever have trouble keeping in the correct tense, do you slip from third person to first person?

Alex: That’s funny, because when I was working on the last novella of the Darkest Minds series, and at the same time I was working on Passenger, and Passenger is third person past tense, and the novella was first person present tense. So every once in awhile I would slip up. I was mixing up two characters names too, which was pretty funny. I was calling Harry in the Darkest Minds ‘Henry,’ and Henry in Passenger, Harry. So I do that sometimes, and it’s okay. You can catch it when you’re going through in your editing.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Alex: That’s a good question. Did you sit through the keynote this morning?

I did. It was very inspirational.

Alex: Yeah, so what Marie (Lu) was saying was really true, like picture books are probably the hardest kinds of books you can write because you have to be selective. You have to figure out the interplay of art, text, and there’s a lot of different elements of pacing. It’s really an art form, so I would love to be able to write picture books. I’m waiting on a good idea. But I don’t know, writing YA, writing middle grade, bit of everything.

Do you think you’ll ever go back to fantasy, dystopian – like what Darkest Minds was like?

Alex: Yeah, I think, um, I think the book I’m working on next. I keep talking about it, so now I feel like I have to write this book otherwise people are going to be all ‘what the eff?’ Um, it’s–how to describe it?–my pitch does not work for anyone under the age of 30, because it references the movie ‘Escape from New York’ which is a really kind of cheesy 80’s movie with Kurt Russell. Google it. I feel like it was even 40 years ago. Anyway, it’s more of a stand alone, along the lines of what the Darkest Minds – SciFi …oh this is hard without giving too much away. It’s set in a post technology world, something has gone wrong with the technology, it’s maybe a sprinkle of post apocalyptic, but it’s really fantasy, and it’s my take on Hades and Persephone but it’s not romantic.

Oh, I would love that. I love Greek Mythology and that ilk.

Alex: Yeah, I did not find Hades and Persephone to be romantic, I think it was more Stockholm syndrome. So it’s really if Persephone gets empowered to take back her life, part of the story.

Back to the Darkest Minds, did you have to do any research for that? Or did it just all appear in your head?

Alex: I had to do weird, scary research for it. I had to Google things like ‘How to build a car bomb,’ or more what the ingredients were, not so much how to make it. Just so I could write one tiny detail into a scene. I Googled a lot having to do with Los Angeles, for the second book. I had to figure out the lay of the land, a lot of looking at Google maps and charting the route. Learning about guns and weapons, and how the UN works for the third book, that kind of thing. It was a lot of research, but it wasn’t like Passenger’s research where that was like very, very in-depth, finding out things like what kind of shoes would a sailor wear on an 18th century ship.

Okay, so last question: If you could live in any fictional world, where would that be? And it can’t be Hogwarts, because everyone says that. *laughs*

Alex: I was going to say I’d love to live in the Star Wars universe, but I’m kinda worried… Yeah I don’t know, but I think it’d be cool to travel between so many different systems. So I’m gonna say Star Wars. It’s peaceful sometimes. Stay in the outer rim.

Well, that’s different. That’s all I’ve got. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this. It’s really appreciated.

Alex: That’s cool, so good to see you. And in my country this time. I’m hoping to go back to the UK.

 

So it was a complete honour to get to speak to Alex on a level where I wasn’t so shy, although I’ll admit, I was terrified to start with. She’s a wonderful person, though, and so easy to talk to. You should all go and check out her books because they’re great. 

You can find out more about her via:

Twitter: @alexbracken
Website: http://www.alexandrabracken.com/

See ya next time!

-Kat

 

 

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My Time at #Yallwest | 2016

Posted 6 May, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Fun, Updates, YA / 1 Comment

 

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I’m home!
So as you should know by now, I went to Yallwest 2016 in Santa Monica,  California. It’s basically a YA and MG book festival for anyone that… I guess loves those kinds of books. Which is to say… Me.  I love them.  And at this festival of the divinely talented, was quite frankly the BEST author line up I’ve ever witnessed.  Ever.  It was unreal and amazing how so much awesomesauce managed in the same vicinity let alone building. And, the authors I did meet, were all so nice and friendly.  Sometimes, like with celebrities, you forget that they are humans too.
I went on my own to LA, and stayed with a good friend who offered me her couch for the 4 nights I’d be invading her home. I then, on the Friday, met up with a friend from Twitter, Molly, who was most kind to offer me a lift to the venue, and we stood in line in the blistering heat (or at least, it was for me), for what felt like decades but was in fact only an hour.  Sigh.
We eventually got shuffled in to separate lines in order to get wrist bands for individual authors.  I didn’t know we’d be standing for two hours, so I gave up and decided to try my luck the next day. While Molly stayed in line,  I went to ask about Press passes, and had a to and fro battle with staff who didn’t know anything about it. Anyway,  long story short,  it turned out to be a big miscommunication and the press passes didn’t cover that evening.  Myself and my roomie friend went out for dinner. Jack in the Box.  Lovely.
Come Saturday, I’m nervous, excited, and already so tired.  We leave early, but not early enough since I missed the keynote speech. Also, turned out the press pass let you in to keynotes without having to pay.  Shame I hadn’t known this before I got tickets, eh.
The first panel I did make it to was the one I wanted all along.  The Booksplosion panel with Christine Riccio, Jesse George  and Kat O’Keefe.  You’ve probably heard of them in the Booktube universe.   
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They were brilliant and it was so worth it. I met Natasha Polis and got a picture taken with her.  Selfie style.DSC00599
I missed out on the meet and greet afterwards because I got confused as to what was happening when it looked like they were leaving…So I went to part of a panel about good writers, bad story telling. Was only there for about 10 minutes.
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Went to a panel about Femship, Bromance and Friendship. Was interesting, but not a panel I was entirely bothered by.
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DSC00603I then went to queue for Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman signing. 
They were really nice and I had asked if I could interview them sometime, but that never came to be. Mostly my fault. I don’t have the confidence to just go up to them unless it’s scheduled like a signing. I’m such a weakling. 🙁 But anyway, at least I got to meet them. I’m gutted I didn’t get an ARC of Gemina but that was mostly due to the lines being so long, I didn’t bother. 
Afterwards we went to the Green Room where all the authors and press congregate to relax, interview, eat, etc. If only I’d had more courage because there were so many of my idols sitting in one room, it was overwhelming. I would look at the booktubers and wish I was friends with them, but they’re so..high profile, it’s not like I could just go up to them and start chatting. I’m too conscious of how young I look and it really does stop me from doing things I’d probably not think anything of if I looked my age. I realise it shouldn’t…but it does. I also asked Jenny Han to sign my new copy of To All The Boys I’ve Loved before. I’ve misplaced my original copy. 
Browsed the booths where organisations such as Epic Reads, Penguin Teen, Freeform and other book related people gave away books/swag via spinning a wheel. Some also had competitions at certain hours to win ARCS, but the lines got so crazy that it was almost impossible to do that AND do anything else. I won a Da Vinci’s Tiger at one of the booths. YAY! 
How much like Saoirse Ronan does the cover girl look? omg
The last panel was the Smackdown, which was going okay but then I needed the toilet and I felt like utter shit, what with lack of food, so I left early. I’d hoped to get a snack from one of the food trucks but when I got there, they’d all gone. So that was that. 
We went out for food afterwards, eventually, and after that DAY 1 of YALLWEST was complete!
Wow, the exhaustion was real! 
I went to the first keynote. Tahereh Mafi and Marie Lu were the panelists. It was such a good talk and so inspirational. I could honestly listen to these two for days if possible. Tahereh and Marie talked about their experience as writers and stories of their career. Tahereh said she once read all the 1 star reviews written about her, and it was the worst decision ever. They both explained that if you’re kind to people, it will come back around to you. There were lots of points they gave that were so valid and I found myself agreeing and nodding along, almost like they were talking about me.
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After this I went to line up for Tahereh’s signing, but before that I went to the booth where they were giving away copies of Furthermore, the soon to be released Middle Grade novel by Tahereh. Watch this space for a giveaway! The waiting for the signing was so hot but so worth it. She was so nice, and she said (though sometimes they do, even if they don’t mean it. Either way I’m flattered.) that she remembered me from Comic Con last year. 
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After that we went back to the Green Room to get food. But on the way, guess who I got to have a picture with? AGAIN! I love Christine. I don’t care if she’s several years younger than me, she’s my idol in the Youtube world, and I’d love to be her friend. Sigh. Oh god, I look hideous! But anyway…here you go. 
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I also met Jesse, who remembered me from ‘social media’ which I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Probably because I’d tagged him in a photo the night before. 
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While getting food, I met Margaret Stohl who asked me where I was from and upon telling her “London” she…well, I think it was a high five. Or a side five? I’m not sure. But it was cool, anyway. 🙂
Inside the green room, after a few moments of wondering if it was her or not, I got the courage to ask Victoria Aveyard for a picture.  I also got up the nerve to talk to Marie Lu and ask her to sign my new copy of The Rose Society. 
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I felt a bit stupid because logically I should have known it was her, but yknow, twitter pictures and real life version can be deceptive. Anyway, she was nice and I’m so glad I got to meet her! I just wish I’d been a bit more articulate and less…me. Haha.
When we were leaving, I couldn’t find my phone. Cue panic! I went back to the place I last saw it, and thank god it was still there! I mean, anywhere else, when not surrounded by book lovers, I’m pretty sure it would have been a lost cause. But given how stressed I was, I decided to miss a panel I actually wanted to see, and went back to the green room to relax and calm down before my interview with Alexandra Bracken. Sitting there in the green room, all alone, it was daunting and I kept on kicking myself for not being brave enough to go talk to authors I so admire. Like Veronica Roth, author of one of my favourite dystopians ever, was sitting RIGHT. THERE. and like an idiot I didn’t say anything. The interview went really well! i was so terrified and nervous but she’s such a nice person and I couldn’t believe my luck when she agreed to let me interview her. It meant so much to me. I hope I came across okay. 
The last panel I went to, I only caught the last twenty minutes or so. It was a storymob game, with Veronica Roth, Ransom Riggs and Victoria Aveyard, where they would create fanfiction given certain prompts.  It was funny. 
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After the panel there was a closing of the event thing where flowers and thanks were given. 
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I have a lot more photos, which I’ll post on a video I’m doing this weekend. I’ll upload that when it’s done. 🙂
Well, I hope you’ve liked this post. It’s  long, I know, but I had a lot to say and talk about. I had a fantastic time at YallWest. Sure, it had it’s down points, and there was blood, sweat and tears (almost quite literally at times), but it was so worth the trip out there. Another big thanks to my friend Miranda who put up with me for 4 days and she really didn’t have to. I will always appreciate what my friends do for me. I just wish it was always reciprocated. Sigh. Anyway, I met a few new people this time, who I hope I can keep in contact with.  I accumulated a lot of books over the week I was away, since I went to Barnes and Noble the day after. 
I have a book haul going up in a week or so, so watch out for that. As for now, I say, have a good one! xD
XX KAT XX
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