Category: Book Promo


#UKYACX BLOG TOUR | Spotlight on…Ellen Phethean @phethean @UKYACX

Posted 12 September, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Blog Tours, Book Promo, Interviews, Spotlight / 0 Comments

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(COVER NOT FINAL)

Ren and the Blue Hands
Set in the fictional 16th Century Calico Isles, Ellen Phethean’s YA novel, Ren and The Blue Hands, sees teenaged Ren drawn into a world of intrigue, passion and politics.
Betrayal by your friends is heart breaking, betrayed by your own heart is devastating.
In a world on the cusp of change, Ren, a Blue Hand dyer, is plucked from the dye sheds to become lady’s maid up at Barrow Hall. At first she’s excited about her future, but through her mistress, Lady Lilac, she becomes entangled in a plot which threatens the dye industry that has supported her family and the islands for generations. When the secret organisation, the Mazards are exposed, Ren must think and act for herself. She’s torn between helping the conspirators, loyalty to her roots and her love for fellow conspirator Bark. Driven by passion into danger, where right and wrong are hard to tell, only a terrible event can help her see more clearly.
#bluehandsnovel
On a personal level it’s about love, loyalty and how to do the right thing. On a wider level it explores political themes of power and espionage as factions struggle to control the winds of change.
It’s due to be published on 2nd November by Red Squirrel Press, it’s the first book in a trilogy
  1. Ren and the Blue Hands
  2. Ren and the Blue Cloth (working title)
  3. Ren in Samara (working title)

 

Ellen Phethean wrote Wall, a teen novel in poems, set in the Byker Wall estate, based on her interviews and workshops in the east of Newcastle while Writer in Residence for Seven Stories, Newcastle in 2003/4. Wall was published by Smokestack Books, 2007.

She followed that up with another teen novel in poems Hom, set in the West End of Newcastle, published online as a weekly blog, still available at her website.

Her latest young adult novel, Ren and the Blue Hands, in prose, is launched in November 2016 by Postbox Press (an imprint of Red Squirrel Press). Inspired by real historical events, but set in the fictional 16th Century Calico Isles, Ren and the Blue Hands, was Long listed for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2012: ‘A vividly imagined historical background, and interesting mixture of politics and romance. Ren is a courageous female hero whom readers will empathise with and root for.’

She’s a sound artist, playwright and poet too – her first poetry collection Breath, 2009 Flambard, was shortlisted for the London New Poetry Award 2010.  Her second collection, Portrait of the Quince as an Older Woman, 2014, Red Squirrel Press was a New Writing North Read Regional choice for 2014.

Ellen’s website
Tweets as @phethean

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What inspired you to write this?

First of all, years ago, I came up with a scene and a character in a writing workshop. A young woman finding a secret note. It seemed to be about a mystery and I kept writing scenes – I wrote about young women working together in a dark shed and singing beautifully. I imagined a nasty villain when I was given the word Grist. So it all began with bits and pieces, and all seemed set in some historical past.

Then I read about the real struggle in the Dye industry in the 16th century, when the Guilds in Europe were resisting a new dye, Indigo, coming in from India. They called it the Devil’s Dye – and that became the core of the story that pulled all my disparate bits of scenes and characters together. My women workers in a shed were Dyers, the Blue Hands. But I knew their resistance to the new dye was bound to failure, so I began to think about when change is inevitable, how and why do people adapt? I gave these dilemmas to my main character Ren, who’s caught up in the middle of these big historical changes, and has to deal with it on a personal level.

Is this a fantasy?

No, because it’s based on real events and all the technology and clothes are based on 16th life, but I’ve taken liberties with reality, and have created my own alternative world. I’m aiming for emotional rather than literal truth. It makes the book difficult to categorise by genre – it’s a historical drama, but fictional, some call it fantasy because I made up the country, but that suggests dragons and elves – there’s no magic or non-human characters. There’s a love story at its heart, so it’s a romance too, but it’s also about political struggle. Try and sum up that in three words!

Did you have to do research?

I used many historical sources for help and ideas. It’s been the greatest fun imaginable making up the world, my 16th Century cosmos. Characters have natural names like Bark and Moss and Count Saffron. The blue dye comes from the Shebble Shell. The group of isles where Shebble shell is found are The Calico Isles where the story is set. Braymer is the country that exports the wool and yarn that gets dyed by Shebble shell.

The workers on Calico are organised by their Gild. The different classes of society are subject to sumptuary laws (which were real laws detailing who could wear what fabric and colour of clothing) – in my world only the wealthiest nobles are allowed to wear the unique Shebble blue dyed cloth, while workers in the dye industry get Blue Lung or Shebble Pox, and their hands are stained blue.

I’d done an MA in Theatre Studies, and had explored the traditions of Shakespearean theatre, so I included a Travelling Theatre troupe called The Chancellor of Braymer’s Men who come to Calico to perform for the May Day Revels and stir things up. In the past there have been Dye Wars. The time of peaceful monopoly of Shebble is about to change.

Where is it set?

In my imagination, the Calico Isles are a sort of combination of mediterranean islands with elements of Cornwall. The country of Braymer is a colder, more northerly island, not a million miles away from Britain. Samara, the third major country referred to, is a mash-up of north african/middle eastern countries.

Was it a dragged out process?

Yes! I’ve been writing the story off and on for about 10 years, and it’s only in the last four or five years that I really got down to working out how the story fitted together, and filling it out. It took two more books to get the story to a satisfactory end and I still haven’t quite finished the third although I know where it’s going. I haven’t decided on the actual fate of my main character in the final chapter!

I put an early draft in for the Times Chicken House Children’s Novel competition in 2012 and it was long listed which gave me a confidence boost, and encouraged me to keep working and finish it all.

Do you have any favourite authors?

Two of my favourite YA authors are Ursula Le Guin, particularly The Wizard of Earthsea, and the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. Not only are they great writers of stories that grab you and you can’t put down, but they also deal with real, serious issues that people have to deal with: moral dilemmas, how to choose the right decision in difficult circumstances, complex characters who are both good and bad. They set their stories in the other worlds, but that allows the reader to reflect back on the real world. If I could achieve that in my writing, I’d be happy.


Thank you to Ellen for the interview, and to all those reading this, thank you. Check out the #UKYACX tag on twitter to follow posts on the authors attending the event on the 17th September in Newcastle!! 

-Kat

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Spotlight/Interview: WENDY HIGGINS #BookBloggers #NewReleases #NA

Posted 18 August, 2016 by katheryn13 in Book Promo, Interviews, New Adult, Sci-Fi, Spotlight, Updates / 0 Comments

Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.
In this first instalment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.

GOODREADS
AMAZON
PUBLISHER: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
OUT NOW!

Hey everyone, I wanted to do something different today. So it is an honour to be able to say I got to interview the wonderful, successful author Wendy Higgins. She’s written works such as the Sweet Evil series, The Great Hunt and See Me. Her latest novel, Unknown, is out now, and you can find links above with the description.
So without further ado, here we go.

  • Hi Wendy, it’s great to finally get to talk to such a wonderful author! How are you doing? I’ll say first that I really enjoyed the Sweet Evil series. So I was looking through the other books you’ve written, and you’ve written about romance, demons, fairies, magic, and soon an apocalypse (with your new novel Unknown), is there anything you’d really love to write about but for whatever reason you can’t? 
~ I would love to write something based on historical events, like during the civil war, but no story idea has hit me for anything like that. Maybe someday! 🙂
  • What is your least favourite part of the publishing / writing process?
~ Plotting. Coming up with cool twists and turns is so difficult for me. Either it hits me out of the blue, or it doesn’t.
  • I know that many writers struggle with certain parts of writing. For me, it’s action. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?
~Same. The action scenes are very difficult for me. Give me a kissing scene any day! 
  • Were you one of those authors that tried fan fiction before writing original or did you just dive right in?
~I never wrote book fan fiction. In seventh grade I wrote New Kids On the Block (NKOTB) fan fiction, but that was it, hahahaha.
  • Since you’ve dipped your toes in both categories, which would you say suits you better: young adult or new adult? Also if you had to stay with one genre forever, which do you think you’d choose? 
~This is a tough question, because both have felt similar to me. The only difference is that I’ve used more mature language and detail in the Unknown books. I have loved writing for teens, but I feel myself gravitating in an older direction at the moment. 
  • How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you use the name generators online? 
~I don’t pay any attention to name meanings. I try to choose interesting names that suit the character’s personalities with how they sound. I’ve browsed many baby name sites for inspiration over the years.
  • If you could have written any book in the world, what would it be? 
~Easy. Harry Potter. Love.
  • Okay, so characters often find themselves in sticky situations. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
~Hahaha, I’m so boring. Imagine a soccer mom who works in her pajamas. The stickiest situation I get myself into these days is when I open the honey jar. I did lea quite an interesting life before I was married though. Like the time when I was a flight attendant and our apartment caught on fire in Jersey City, and I had to jump six feet from our window to a fire escape as windows blew open and sprayed us with glass (we were three stories up). Thankfully everyone made it out alive (seven of us flight attendants lived together). It was nuts. I was twenty-one.
  • You recently went to Scotland and Ireland, and I’m sure you’ve been to other countries: If you could have any other accent in the world, which would you pick? 
~English, London area. It’s just so lovely to me, hence the reason I gave Kaidan a London accent in the Sweet books.
  • And the last question for you: Are you working on anything else at the moment?
~I take the summers off from writing, but I will begin Unrest (Unknown #2) as soon as school starts back in September! 🙂

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NY Times bestselling author of the SWEET EVIL series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology THE GREAT HUNT, and her independently published Irish Fantasy SEE ME.
After earning a Creative Writing degree from George Mason University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, Wendy taught high school English until achieving her dream job as a full-time writer.
Wend lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her husband, daughter, son, and little doggie Rue.

Thanks again to Wendy, for agreeing for me to throw questions at you. 🙂 And don’t forget to check out her other books if you haven’t already.
I wish all the luck and success for Unknown! 😀
-Kat
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#SBPT | Week 5: The Book Bratz @thebookbratz

Posted 31 July, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Blog Tours, Blogging Challenges, Updates / 0 Comments

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Hey all. It’s week 5 and I have the wonderful creator of this promo tour joining me today. Meet Amber from The Book Bratz. Here she talks about juggling both life and blogging, and just what kinds of things one can do to ease the pressure.
Design K
For those of you that don’t know me that well, I always seem to be busy. I’m involved in tons of extracurricular inside and outside of school, and I try to keep up with blogging whenever I can. Now that I’m out of high school and it’s summertime, you’d think I’d have more time to get blog work done…but I actually have less. All of my free time is spent dorm shopping, at college orientations, preparing for college, working at my summer job, doing my summer assignments, etc. So you might be asking yourself how the heck I do it, which is my intentions for this post: to explain to you how!
I have a few key pieces of advice that help me to multitask with blogging and my everyday life. So without further ado, here they are:

#1: Set aside a certain time to get blog work done.

Most of the time for me it ends up being Sunday mornings, where I’ll set aside an hour or two to make sure that I finish setting up and scheduling all of the blog’s posts for the week. I sit down (away from distractions, which I mention more in #2), and I focus on setting up posts, updating the blog’s review archive, being active on the social media, replying back to comments, entering giveaways and visiting other blogs, etc. I actually factor “blog work” into my daily planner for the week to make sure that I have a set time to get work done without worrying that I’ll be interrupted somehow.

Design K

#2: Distance yourself from distractions!

I am well acquainted with the rabbit hole that is social media. When I’m doing blog work (such as I am right now), I usually stick my phone in the other room or facedown across the room on silent, and I only check it during breaks. Because the minute I cave and answer one text, I’ll answer them all, and then check Twitter, and then Instagram, and then snapchat…and then, before you know it, all of my preciously scheduled blog work time is over.

Design K

#3: Make social media a priority.

Okay, I know this sounds like the complete opposite of #2, but hear me out. Since I’m constantly running around all day, by the time I get home I tend to be pretty exhausted and won’t check the blog’s Twitter. Then I’ll notice that for five or so days in a row, all I did was Tweet the post links. Part of being a blogger is interacting with your followers. You’re literally nothing except an empty space of internet without them. So what I’ve started doing is taking a lull in my day and setting my phone timer for ten minutes, and then I spend those ten minutes scrolling through the blog Twitter’s feed, replying to Tweets, entering giveaways, etc. It’s my goal to be active on the blog’s Twitter for at least ten minutes each day, which is barely anything when you’re super busy. It’s easy to do, and I love interacting with you guys.
Design K
#5: Read every waking chance you get.
As book bloggers, reviewing will always be our top priority, even when we do other posts (such as this one) or promotions and such. When reading time is sparse, I learn to read every chance I get. I throw my book in my bag and cart it with me wherever I go, so I’m never without it. I’ll read on line at the post office, in a waiting room, while getting a pedicure, etc. Stealing ten or so minutes of reading time everywhere you go will eventually add up and help you finish a book a lot faster than just trying to speed-read every night after a long, exhausting day.

*this post was taken from The Book Bratz blog with permission. To read the full original, see this link


Thank you to The Book Bratz for taking part and also for organising this tour. It’s been lots of fun so far and I look forward to the rest of it. 🙂
Remember to look at the #SBPT tag on twitter to find other blog posts. 
I’ll see you next week! 😀
-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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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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Event Round Up: Geek Fest @ Waterstones: Holly Smale (talk and signing)

Posted 7 April, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blog Talks, Book Promo, Book Tour, Contemporary, Interviews, Middle Grade, Updates, YA / 0 Comments

Hey guys! So on Wednesday 6th April I attended a book event of Holly Smale’s (author of the wonderful Geek Girl series) to promote book 5 “Head Over Heels” (released 7th April – TODAY! GO GET IT!)

Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Summary from Goodreads: “My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.”
The fifth book in the bestselling, award-winning GEEK GIRL series.

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows only one flag in the world features a building.

And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So when love is in the air, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen!
If only everyone else would stick to the script…

Has GEEK GIRL overstepped the mark, and is following the rules going to break hearts all over again?

It was so much fun and I learnt a lot, which is always a plus. I was front row and centre. Felt a bit self conscious but it was okay. Holly was asked a number of good questions, including one from yours truly. Most of which I’m going to talk about with you now.
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When asked if she would show her early work to family or friends, Holly said she used to show it to her mum but soon lost confidence with her after she was told “it’s good but it won’t sell.”
There were a few writing questions asked, which I always like to hear. She explained how she writes one first draft and then completely rewrites it for second draft. Then there’s small amounts of editing done after that.
Holly said that when she goes to bed, she’ll close her eyes, and let her imagination weave a story and the characters develop in her head, though not always the names. She uses baby books for those. For some names she uses friends names, too. I thought that was interesting because sometimes my ideas come when I’m trying to sleep, but as I told her, I mostly forget to write them down. Haha.
Her mum inspired her to start writing at a young age and she was read poetry as a kid. 
Good news: Holly has a short story coming out in the summer, which isn’t actually that short anymore. She said about how it was supposed to be like the Christmas story – length wise – but has turned out to be a lot longer. She’s also writDSC_0089ing another short story to go at the back of that, which will be from a different characters POV, showing their view of Harriet. She won’t say who, though. Sigh.
When asked if there would be a film on her books, she said there may be some news in the pipeline (on film/tv adaptation for Geek Girl.) Fingers crossed! I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it’d certainly be interesting to see how they’d portray it. 
All of the trips involved in the book were places she’s been to: Russia she went to on a school trip. She lived in Japan for 3 years to teach, that’s why there’s a lot of detail in second book. Book 3 was set in New York, and she went there as a research trip. Book 4 was Morocco, which she went back to for research. Book 5 is set in India and she went there for 3 months. Holly explained how Book 5 was originally going to be set in Cambodia but she found it didn’t feel right so she changed it.
When it comes to the romance, Holly states that Nick, the so-called hero of the series, hasn’t been present since book 3. She wants to make the relationship between Harriet and Nick healthy and logical. Harriet’s life doesn’t end when she doesn’t have love in it.
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I braved my anxiety and asked whether any of the characters were based off people she knows or if they just popped into her head…here’s her answer. (Paraphrased. Obviously.):
Some of the characters are based off real people like Richard (based off her dad), her dad would give a list of jokes to add to the books. Harriet is loosely based on her. She based Toby off Edward Cullen, stating that if you take away the hotness, the behaviour isn’t good. Rin is based off a friend she made in Japan. And in general she picks up seeds of different people and combines them.

There was much more that Holly said, and was asked, but I felt like these were the more relevant points to mention. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I’ll have another one up tomorrow in which I talk about seeing Alexandra Bracken, Melinda Salisbury and Eliza Wass.
Oh and here’s a mug shot of me with Holly:

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That’s all from me.
-Kat
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Waiting On Wednesday – The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Posted 30 March, 2016 by katheryn13 in Blogging Challenges, Book Promo, Fun, Updates, Waiting On Wednesday, YA / 2 Comments

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. 
(Psssst! Click picture to link back to Goodreads!)
The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Released: April 26th 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press

 

I am so looking forward to this, not just because it’s the last in the amazing Raven Cycle series but  I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO GANSEY! I think it’s pretty much all us fans want to know, and I won’t rest until he’s safe. I swear to god if Maggie kills him off, I’ll riot! There needs to be a loophole or SOMETHING! Grr!!
In other news, this is my first Waiting on Wednesday post. YAY! ME! I’m finally taking part in things other bloggers do. hehehe.
-Kat
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