Author Interview | Jessica Spotswood ft. Wild Swans + Giveaway!

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“One of my favorite quotes from the book is: If you’re not any good, what’s the point? Milbourn girls don’t do mediocre. Because that’s messed-up thinking, but it’s also so relatable, I think.” shares Author Jessica Spotswood as she shares some personal experiences that inspired some scenes of her new book, Wild Swans. Read along and find out more!

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Tell us something about your recently published book, Wild Swans!
Wild Swans is a contemporary YA novel about a complicated family, fierce female friendships, and first love, set on the Chesapeake Bay. Ivy Milbourn has been raised by her granddad after her mom walked out when Ivy was two. Now, the summer before Ivy’s senior year, her mom is coming back home with the two half-sisters Ivy’s never met.
How different is this book from your previous works?
It’s a contemporary book with no magical elements, whereas my anthologies are historical fiction and fantasy and my trilogy, The Cahill Witch Chronicles, was historical fantasy. But I think readers will find similar elements. There’s still a mix of sibling rivalry and love, a diverse cast of fiercely loyal girl friends, and a bookish boy (this time he’s a biracial poet with tattooos of poems). My new heroine, Ivy, is like the CWC’s Cate in that she’s struggling against high expectations and often doubts her abilities – but the stakes aren’t whether Ivy will be hung for witchery, it’s whether she’ll succumb to the mental illness and addictions that her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother struggled with.
How did you come up with the book’s title? Is there a meaning behind it?
The title is based on the poem “Wild Swans” by Edna St Vincent Millay. To me, the poem really fits Ivy’s mom, Erica, who is desperate to escape this small town, her father, and the family legacy that she finds suffocating.
Are there certain personal experiences you’ve drawn from that inspired some parts of the book?
Absolutely. I’ve written very openly about feeling like my trilogy didn’t live up to the publisher’s high sales expectations and how that made me feel like a failure for a while. I absolutely used that experience to write Ivy. Because the women in her family have all been incredibly talented artists, and because her granddad pushes her to discover her own extraordinary talent, Ivy feels like she’s not enough. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: If you’re not any good, what’s the point? Milbourn girls don’t do mediocre. Because that’s messed-up thinking, but it’s also so relatable, I think. For instance, it’s so easy in the publishing industry to compare your career to other writers’ and feel inadequate if you’re not a bestseller, with a movie deal, with a book tour, etc. But, like Ivy, I’ve learned to try to focus on what I want for myself and not let others’ expectations be the measure of my self-worth.
Which character from Wild Swans do you particularly see yourself in? Why?
Ivy! She’s such a perfectionist and desperate to please, and that’s something I struggle with, too. I think a lot of girls do, because we get a lot of pressure from society to be nice and put other people first. We’re taught that putting ourselves and our own needs first is selfish, but that’s so untrue! Over the course of the book, Ivy starts to stand up for herself more, starting with telling her best guy friend (who has a crush on her) that she can kiss whoever she wants and he doesn’t get a say in that, to eventually standing up to her mom and her granddad.
How did you celebrate Wild Swans‘ pub day?
It happened to be my birthday as well as my book birthday, so I spent a lot of time online thanking everyone for their good wishes! Then I went out to dinner with my best friend and my husband, and had a cocktail and some really great Brussels sprouts. (I am super into Brussels sprouts lately!)

abouttheauthor
jsJessica Spotswood is the author of the contemporary novel WILD SWANS and the historical fantasy trilogy The Cahill Witch Chronicles. She’s also the editor of the feminist historical anthology A TYRANNY OF PETTICOATS. Jess grew up in a tiny, one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania, where she could be found swimming, playing clarinet, memorizing lines for the school play, or—most often—with her nose in a book. Now she lives in Washington, DC, where she can be found working as a children’s library associate for the DC Public Library, seeing theatre with her playwright husband, or—most often—with her nose in a book. Some things never change.
www.jessicaspotswood.com
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

27015393The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past….

Cut Both Ways

Purchase links for Wild Swans:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound

Giveaway!
Win 1 of 3 swag pack (sets of bookmarks for the Cahill Witch Chronicles, A Tyranny of Petticoats, & Wild Swans plus signed bookplates) from Jessica Spotwsood!
Open Internationally!
Enter via Rafflecopter (click here or the image below) and/or Twitter!
3 winners will be randomly picked – 2 from the blog and 1 from Twitter.
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Author Interview | D. K. Stone ft. Edge of Wild + Excerpt

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Author Danika Stone talks Edge of Wild, her first mystery-thriller book + an excerpt reading by Ms. Danika herself!

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You’ve published quite a few titles from the past years, how different is Edge of Wild from your previously published works?
I consider my work as falling into two categories: contemporary fiction and young adult fiction. There are a few differences between the two (audience, degree of complexity, etc.) but beyond that, most stories still come down to spinning a good yarn. I hope I do that!
Edge of Wild is unique because it’s the first book I’ve written in the mystery-thriller genre. The level of tension you must build in a story like that is special. The plot must unravel at exactly the right pace to keep readers guessing as they turn the page. I’m really excited to share this story!
Have you always been interested in mystery and thriller stories both as a reader and a writer?
I read everything! But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that Stephen King’s books have kept me up many a night! I love the puzzle aspect to a mystery, and there’s something very primal about a story that won’t let you stop reading. Hopefully Edge of Wild does both.
What’s the most difficult part to write in Edge of Wild?
I’m admittedly much better at writing first drafts than at editing. (And that’s why it’s so good I’ve worked with excellent editors!) Edge of Wild required a very careful approach to laying out the pieces and including enough characters that the reader didn’t know right away who the killer was. For me, this complex planning was the biggest difference between writing a mystery and other genres.
What then did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Characters always come first for me, and I definitely fell in love with Louise and Rich right away. Their relationship is the beating heart of the book. When I wrote their slow-burn romance, I would find myself grinning at my computer screen. The connection was definitely my favorite aspect of writing!
Describe each of the characters (Rich & Louise) in 3 words.
Rich: Driven, Struggling, Leader
Louise: Centered, Attuned, Negotiator
Lastly, what shall the readers expect in Edge of Wild?
Edge of Wild takes readers on a journey into a little border town where not everything is what it seems. You should expect a bevy of memorable characters, a complex mystery, and a romance that’ll burn up the page! It’s a quick-paced, smart read.
Happy reading!

excerpt

Edge of Wild
by D. K. Stone

Prologue

Jeff was packing to leave when he heard the noise outside the window. It was a low keening sound, the sort of moan that would have sent a city slicker like him running a year ago. But not now. No, tonight, he picked up the wooden bat next to the door and walked out onto the porch.
Jeff’s time in the mountains had changed him. He was far more confident in who he was nowadays; the solitude of Waterton had done that. Other changes were less certain. He was preparing to throw away a career at Coldcreek Enterprises, for one thing. And last spring, he would have had misgivings about walking out into the darkness after hearing… something.
Tonight he did it without a second thought.
He stood, staring out into the sooty black. Waiting. The sound didn’t return, but his mind was abuzz with it. Jeff replayed it over and over, subtly adding to it, filtering it, until he was certain Tucker’s whine was somewhere in the remembered sound. Jeff had bought the cougar hound pup from a local rancher last spring, when the problems had begun. “Cougars can be trouble ’round these parts,” a Park warden had warned when the bloody kill had appeared on this very porch. A dog seemed like the best way to deal with it. Jeff hadn’t expected to love the long-eared mutt so much.
The dog had disappeared a week ago.
In the darkness, far beyond the porch’s golden light, a branch broke.
“Tucker?” Jeff called, his hand tightening on the bat. “That you, boy?”
He whistled, but there was no response. Jeff turned in a slow circle, taking in the protective perimeter of porch light and the door to the house, still ajar, and the warm light of the kitchen. Uncurtained windows framed the room beyond. Jeff frowned. A year in the mountains had made him indifferent to privacy.
Another branch broke, this time a little further out, nearer to the garage.
“Tuck…?”
Jeff stepped down to the yard, heart pounding. Coming here had been a lifetime opportunity: project manager for the building of the Whitewater Lodge, the biggest hotel complex the hamlet had ever seen. Jeff wished he’d known how difficult that goal would be to accomplish.
The issues had started immediately, weather putting the project weeks behind schedule. The construction crew had been outsourced from Calgary, but the men hadn’t been prepared for building in extreme mountain conditions. “No one builds in the winter,” the townsfolk smirked. Pipes burst. Workers quit. Still Jeff pushed forward.
And then the other things began.
In the darkness, something moved. Whatever it was had circled round the far side of the garage, keeping to the shadows. The presence was uneasy and so was he. Rolling sweaty fingers over the bat’s grip, Jeff moved in.
This time he would know.
Jeff’s lifetime opportunity had turned into a nightmare. Even after the snowy weather had cleared, the troubles continued. Everything that could go wrong with the unfinished hotel, had. He had opened one wing of the lodge despite misgivings.
It was a disaster.
Balancing that small section of rooms while finishing the remaining two wings was impossible. He’d borrowed money to finish, but the loan wasn’t nearly enough. The rest of the town ran as if it was still 1950. The townsfolk didn’t like him. Didn’t want him here. Warden Grant McNealy had blamed a cougar for the dead animal on his porch. But there’d been the trouble with broken cabin windows. “The wind.” And then the break-ins at the Whitewater Lodge. “Seasonal workers.” All of it conveniently discredited, but Jeff didn’t believe that anymore. Not after Tucker had disappeared off the chain in the yard last week. He knew the reason now.
Someone wanted him out.
Jeff made almost a complete circuit of the yard, pushing further into the darkness, but the bushes were silent. He whistled once more, knowing there’d be no answer, and then stopped, taut with frustration. With a sigh, he turned back around and froze.
A shadowy figure stood on the porch.
Jeff took a shaky breath, lifting the end of the bat and widening his stance. With the light behind, he couldn’t see who it was.
“What do you want?” he called.
The figure on the porch smiled, teeth white against the shadows.
“Just to talk…”

As a bonus, here’s a clip of Ms. Danika reading the prologue from her book launch!

abouttheauthor

danikaDanika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, she now writes novels for both adults (Edge of Wild, The Intaglio Series, and Ctrl Z) and teens (All the Feels). When not writing, Ms. Stone can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online.

She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

www.authordkstone.com | www.danikastone.com
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest | YouTube 

27851112Transplanted from New York City to the tiny mountain town of Waterton, Alberta with the task of saving a floundering new hotel, Rich Evans is desperate to return to the city as soon as he can. The locals seem unusually hostile towards his efforts, or maybe even menacing, and was that a cougar on his door-step last night? As Rich begins to wonder whether his predecessor disappeared of his own accord, he finds himself strongly drawn to Louise Newman, the garage mechanic who is fixing his suddenly unreliable BMW, and the only person in Waterton who doesn’t seem desperate to run him out of town. As Rich works on the hotel, the town is torn apart by a series of gruesome, unsolved murders. With Louise as his only ally in a town that seems set against him, Rich can’t help but wonder: will he be the next victim?

Are You Still There

Purchase links for Edge of Wild:
Amazon (Paperback) | Amazon (Kindle)

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Author Interview | Melissa Schorr ft. Identity Crisis

25877205Author Melissa Schorr talks about cyberbullying, body image, catfishing and what inspired her to write Identity Crisis. Read on this interview and know why you should read her book!

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What is Identity Crisis about and what shall your readers expect to read?
Identity Crisis is a story about cyberbullying, where a high school girl finds out her new online boyfriend is actually a catfishing scheme thought up by her worst enemies. The story is told from two perspectives — from Annalise, the girl who finds herself the victim of the scam, and from Noelle, the girl who is doing the catfishing. It’s also about so much more: friendship, slut-shaming, fandom, body image.
What inspired you to write a novel about catfishing?
I’d heard so many stories in the news about people being victims of catfishing scams — like the Notre Dame football player Manti T’eo, and the tragic case of Megan Meier. And there was also the MTV show Catfish. I wanted to understand why someone would fall for such a scam, but also, what would motivate someone to do that to someone else.
Aside from catfishing, the book also deals with the issue of body image and inner beauty. What’s your advice to young readers who are struggling from the same issue?
That at every age, you will look back at yourself and think you were absolutely beautiful back then and you were insane to be stressing about those little imperfections. And that someday, you will find someone who thinks you are crazy beautiful, inside and out — even when you wake up in the morning with bedhead and no makeup!
Are you more likely to be Annalise or Noelle?
Definitely like Noelle, in terms of her fear of public speaking! So of course, that makes giving presentations as an author a bit challenging. But also like Annalise, self-conscious about her body type. (Only, in high school, I didn’t have her problem, I had the opposite, if you know what I mean!) So I guess I’m a bit of both girls.
How different is Identity Crisis compared to your other works?
My first book, Goy Crazy, about a Jewish girl who falls for a Catholic boy, was very autobiographical, while this book is entirely fictional. But both are lighter takes on issues that matter to me — interfaith dating and cyberbullying.
Please share to us your favorite quote from Identity Crisis.
“It seems everyone has something they are covering up—an aging face or a crumbling career,a secret crush or a true identity. We’re all just a bunch of glamour shots and Facebook brags and auto-tunes. What feels real can turn out to be fake, but also, what feels fake can sometimes turn into something real. All that flashy gadgetry—our handles and avatars and screen names— can let us scrape away the surface and connect somewhere true, somewhere deep inside.”

abouttheauthormelissaMelissa Schorr is the YA author of GOY CRAZY (Hyperion 2006) and IDENTITY CRISIS (forthcoming, Merit Press 2016), and a contributor to the YA anthology DEAR BULLY. She is currently a contributing writer/editor to the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. Her freelance work has appeared in numerous publications, including GQ, People, Self, San Francisco magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.
Melissa currently lives in Boston with her husband, her daughters, and her dog, Bailey.
melissaschorr.com
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

25877205When curvaceous Annalise Bradley’s scandalous freshman year hookup sparks the anger of her female classmates, three of them decide to get her back by “catfishing” her, creating a fake online profile of the perfect boy to toy with her affections. Against her better nature, introverted Noelle Spiers, goes along with her friends’ plan, hoping to distract Annalise from dreamy Cooper Franklin, her lifelong crush who has fallen for Annalise instead. As Annalise discovers she is being played and seeks revenge, Noelle increasingly regrets her role in the cruel hoax and tries to salvage their relationship. Told in alternating perspectives, IDENTITY CRISIS covers romance, betrayal, and timeless friendship in the age of modern technology.

Identity Crisis

Purchase links for Identity Crisis:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble |Books-A-Million | IndieBound

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Author Interview | Jenn Bennett ft. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart + Giveaway

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Let’s start on November with an Interview with Author Jenn Bennet for her upcoming book, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart!

qna

Tell us about your book, The Anatomical Shape of A Heart, in one sentence.
Two wildly different artistic teens meet on a night bus in San Francisco, change each others’ lives, and fall in love.
Aside from the plot, I’m also very curious about the book’s title. How did you come up with it? (Both US: TASOAH and UK: Night Owls titles)
My original title was Night Owls, the UK and international title, is a nod to the late-night Owl buses in San Francisco. Beatrix and Jack are both sneaking around at night for the sake of their artwork: She loves anatomy and wants to draw cadavers in the university hospital’s Willed Body lab, and Jack is a graffiti artist. My U.S. publisher decided to change the title to reflect Beatrix’s art; my editor came up with it. I like both titles!
Since TASOAH is your debut novel in the YA demographic, what were the changes you’ve experienced in its writing process compared to writing your prior books?
It actually started as a much different book, a story set in a futuristic San Francisco. But I wrote one chapter—a quiet scene in a museum cafe with the protagonist, her mother, and her brother—and everything shifted inside my head. My literary agent had been encouraging me to try my hand at YA contemporary, because she thought I had the voice for it, but I wasn’t confident enough until I wrote that scene. After that, the book was a complete joy to write. It felt so right…almost too right, actually, so naturally I was suspicious that I’d screwed it all up. I guess I hadn’t!
Introduce Beatrix and Jack to the readers.
Beatrix—known to her friends and family as Bex—is intensely focused, has a dry wit, and is artistically talented. Her obsession is anatomy: She loves bones, muscles, veins, and eyeballs. She’s a little odd, and sort of a loner. Her mom, Katherine the Great, is a night-shift nurse, and they live in a tiny Edwardian row house with Bex’s college-dropout gay brother Heath. Bex meets Jack one night on her way home from the hospital where Bex’s mom works. Jack is charming and swoony and handsome (duh), and he’s wanted by the police for spray-painting gold words across San Francisco. But Bex discovers other wonderful things about him that completely contradict his criminal leanings. You’ll need to read to discover what those things are…
Name a character from TASOAH that you can relate to the most and tell us how you are similar to that character.
Probably Bex. Though I’m not scientifically inclined like she is, I’ve got her drive and focus. Bex feels like her world has gone a little dark since her father exited the picture, but she keeps moving ahead, eyes trained on her goal. Having a writing career often can feel that way. Success is elusive, and you never know if your next book will fail or succeed. It’s all a huge risk, and all you can do is believe in yourself and keep trying. So in that way, I understand Bex completely.
Who/what inspired you to write a story like TASOAH?
No person in particular. As I’d said previously, this book started out as a very different story. But once I made the decision to write it as contemporary romance, I just naturally gravitated toward writing about two artists. (I’m an artist, so write what you know!)
What is something you’ve learned in writing your debut YA novel?
That YA readers are some of the kindest, most enthusiastic readers on the planet. My book was released in the U.K./Australia first, so I’ve already gotten fan mail, tweets, comments, photos, and even reader art (my favorite!) about the book. And all of it has brought me to tears—happy ones! I’m overwhelmed and humbled by reader response to Jack and Bex’s story.
What are you most excited about in your book’s (North American Edition) release day?
It’s taken two years for this book to be released in North America, which is a seriously bleepity-bleep long time to wait. So mostly I’ll just be relieved that it’s finally out. In fact, if you listen really hard on November 3rd, you might hear me shout, “HOLY CRAP, IT’S REALLY OUT. THANK YOU, SWEET BABY THOR!”

abouttheauthor

JENNBENJenn Bennett is the author of The Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series with Pocket and The Roaring 20’s Historical paranormal romance series with Berkeley. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two pugs.

www.jennbennett.net
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest


23310763Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

Purchase links for The Anatomical Shape of a Heart:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound | iTunes

Giveaway!
Win 1 of 10 copies of THE ANATOMICAL SHAPE OF A HEART by Jenn Bennett
Open to US residents only!

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Author Interview | Michelle Madow ft. Diamonds are Forever + Excerpt

23168396Get a sizzling sneak peek of the final book in Author Michelle Madow‘s Diamond Sisters series, Diamonds are Forever and get to know which of the main characters can she relate to the most in this Author Q&A!

qna

Can you tell us about your book, Diamonds are Forever?
Diamonds are Forever is the third and final book in The Secret Diamond Sisters trilogy. In Diamonds in the Rough—the second book in the series—a lot of secrets were revealed that changed everything the Diamond sisters thought they knew about their lives. Now, in Diamonds are Forever, they have to deal with the fallout of these secrets. The biggest theme throughout the book is forgiveness—will the Diamonds be able to forgive those who kept secrets from them for so long, or will they hold onto those grudges forever?
What did you enjoy most about writing the 3rd book in the Diamond Sisters series?
Most of the series takes place in Las Vegas, but there’s a big change of scenery in Diamonds are Forever when the girls jet off to Aspen for spring break. Aspen is a ski town in the Rocky Mountains, and while it’s an extremely glamorous ski town, it’s very different from Vegas. I had a blast being able to play around with the new setting!
Which of the main characters do you see yourself in the most?
I’m definitely a mix of Madison and Courtney. Madison’s basic personality is the most similar to mine, although I’m much nicer than she is! And then Courtney and I share the same love of reading.
Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you want to share with your readers?
“It takes strength to forgive and love unconditionally.”
I think this quote captures the theme of the book!
I’m so excited to read Diamonds are Forever! What are you most excited about in Diamonds are Forever’s release day?
I can’t wait to see what the fans think of the book—and of how I ended the series!

excerpt

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
by Michelle Madow
Soon enough, Courtney and Brett were the only ones left. Naked. In the hot tub. Next to each other.
Courtney moved her hair over her shoulder, unable to look him in the eye.
“So.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I guess we should grab our towels?”
“Yeah, we should.” She lifted her eyes to meet his, and gasped at the fire that blazed within them. He rested his forehead on hers, his hand caressing her cheek, and she wanted so badly for him to kiss her, to run his hand over every inch of her body. But she couldn’t be thinking about this stuff right now. Not with everyone a room away, able to walk in at any second.
“Okay.” He swallowed. “I’ll turn around while you get yours first.”
“Okay.” Her heart pounded so hard she could barely breathe, and when he turned around, she hurried to grab her towel, wrapping it tightly around herself. “You can get out now,” she said. The water sloshed as he got out of the hot tub, and she studied the fireplace in an extreme effort to not turn around.
“All right,” Brett said, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Why don’t I walk you to your room? I’ll make sure that no one tries pulling your towel down as a joke. I don’t think they would, but it can’t hurt, just to be safe.”
Courtney wanted to say “okay” again, but she’d said that over and over again, so she just nodded. They made their way back to her room in silence, dripping water on the floor, and he walked inside with her. Courtney shut the door and locked it.
She turned back to Brett, and his green eyes blazed with such intensity—such desire—that her heart leaped into her throat.

abouttheauthormichellemadowMichelle Madow lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for Young Adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling the world, shopping, Disney faity tales, broadway musicals, and loves talking with fans on Facebook (/michellemadow), Twitter (@michellemadow), and Instagram (@michellemadow).

www.michellemadow.com
Twitter | Instagram | FacebookGoodreads


23168396It’s cold outside, but the drama is hot!

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah’s flirt-mance with an international pop star heats up as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is this romance meant to be, or has the right guy been in front of her all along? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—and as their parents’ wedding approaches, the pressure’s on to reveal their relationship.

Peyton’s figuring out a plan for her future, but she still feels guilty about getting her former bodyguard fired and wonders if she can get over him in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison’s ready to tell the huge secret she’s uncovered. And with the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamond sisters more than ever.

Diamonds are Forever

Purchase links for Diamonds are Forever:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Harlequin IndieBound

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Book Blogger Creativity Project 2015 | Teal Trick or Treat: Interview with Mindy McGinnis + Giveaway

24376529Your Halloween reading list wouldn’t be complete without A Madness So Discreet making it on the list. Today on the blog, Author Mindy McGinnis talks about her new spine-chilling book and shares some of her Halloween favorites. Stick around for a giveaway, too!

qna

I’m really amazed with the different characters from your book, especially those who were in the asylum. How did you come up with their personalities and “madness”?
My two main “mad” characters represent two types of people that ended up in institutions – people who truly had some sort of dementia, like Lizzie, and Nell, who only has a physical ailment. It was common practice to put syphilitics in asylums and jails to stop the spread of the STD to the general public. As for Lizzie’s mental issue, String is actually an old story from my family.
Is there a particular character from A Madness So Discreet that you see yourself in? If yes, who and why?
There’s a little bit of me in every single character, even the despicable ones.
What’s your favorite part in writing this novel?
The research. I know so much about lobotomies. I could probably perform one.
What struggles did you experience in writing this book?
Mostly grappling with the bleakness of it. Returning to something this dark day after day was emotionally draining.
Aside from the cover, another thing that sold me was the book’s title. What’s the story behind it? 
The titles of my earlier novels – Not A Drop to Drink and In A Handful of Dust – are from classic poetry, Coleridge and Eliot, respectively. When it was time for a title for MADNESS I looked to classic literature again. “A Madness So Discreet” is actually a line from Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet.
Describe each of the characters (Grace, Thornhollow, Elizabeth, Nell) in 1 word.
Grace: Survivor
Thornhollow: Principled
Elizabeth: Loyal
Nell: Tenacious
Any recent projects?
Yes! The Female Of The Species is a rape-revenge vigilante justice story coming in the Fall of 2016, and I also have a fantasy series titled Given To The Sea coming in the Spring of 2017.
Trick or Treat time with Ms. Mindy!
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind at the mention of the word “Halloween”?
Fire.
Favorite horror movie?
Original Night of the Walking Dead.
Favorite horror/thriller book?
The Stand.
Favorite halloween treat?
Pumpkin Pie.
Who are you gonna be on Halloween? (If costumes are your thing)
I actually don’t know, and it makes me sad.
Any ghost stories to tell?
Yep. But I hoard them.

abouttheauthor

mindyMindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film by Stephenie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. 

www.mindymcginnis.com
Twitter | Instagram Facebook |Goodreads

24376529Grace Mae knows madness.
She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.
A Madness So Discreet
Purchase links for A Madness So Discreet:
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win 2 spooky reads + swag!
Open to US residents only.

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This blog post is part of the Book Blogger Creativity Project
created by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28.
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Author Interview | E.J. Mellow ft. The Divide + Excerpt

81xCfsCtfiL“It’s the yin yang of writing. So I would say I try to focus and take great care with both.” says Author E.J. Mellow when asked about writing plots and characters. Read more of this interview and learn more things about The Divide. (Like, who designed the book’s gorgeous cover. 😉 )

qnaFirst of all, I really enjoyed The Dreamer and am already looking forward for book 2! Can you tell us more about The Divide and what shall we expect from it?
Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed The Dreamer! And thank you so much for having me for this Q&A :-).
The Divide is a lot more action packed. While I think The Dreamer took a little more time in the beginning with getting to know our main protagonist and her life, The Divide definitely jumps right into things. Now that we have a familiarity with Molly and what’s going on with her dreams, the world of Terra really expands in this next one. Molly and her powers get tested in ways no one is prepared for and there were honestly a lot of scenes that were tough for me to write, emotionally. So if you’re a fan of action and surprising twists, The Divide will be a fun ride ;-).
Where did the idea of writing a series about dreams came from?
So here’s the crazy thing, the idea for The Dreamer actually started as a dream. I’ve always had very vivid ones and find them extremely fascinating. A while back I had one that lasted a whole week. Yup, a week! With the same characters and plot continuing on each night. It felt like I was going to sleep and clicking on a TV show and…there was a guy…and yes, he was very good looking (I’m sure you’re seeing some similarities here). I woke up one morning, a couple days into the dreams, and actually felt sad that I wasn’t still there. It was so odd (and probably a little insane). Eventually the dreams stopped, but I kept thinking about them and how strange it was to have recurring ones for so many nights. I told a friend about it, and through that conversation is how my story for this series came about.
If you would compare the writing process of The Dreamer to The Divide, what were the changes that you’ve encountered?
I actually wrote The Dreamer more than three years ago. So spent a very long time reworking, editing, and sending it to very trusted friends and editors to read before it was published this past May. In that regard the process was much longer than writing The Divide. I also think knowing my characters more allowed me to finish the second book quicker. But don’t get me wrong, there were the same concerns I came across in book two, like making sure the storyline was consistent and details of my world didn’t contradict itself from book 1, etc. Having really good editors helps tremendously with this! Overall though, I think the major changes were knowing how to manage my writing, marketing, and editing more fluidly. I’m hoping this will continue to smooth out with each book!
What did you enjoy most about writing book 2 for the Dreamland series?
Definitely getting to explore more of Terra and Molly’s strengths. While I set out to write a protagonist that was very relatable and, for lack of a better word, normal, I’m always a sucker for some kick-ass ladies. And I think Molly starts to step it up in The Divide that way, since she kind of has no choice but to ;-).
When writing, do you focus more on your plot or your characters?
Great question! I think to have a good story you need to concentrate on both. Without a good plot driving the characters, they can fall flat. And if you have poorly developed characters no one would really care about the story. It’s the yin yang of writing. So I would say I try to focus and take great care with both.
One of the many things that I love about your books are the covers! They’re beautiful! Who designed them?
Aw, thank you so much! I actually design the covers and all my marketing materials. My background is in advertising and graphic design, so it’s super fun to be able to apply that to my writing. The original photo for The Dreamer is from underwater photographer Elena Kalis and the one for The Divide is from Dmitry Laudin.
Is there a story of how you came up with the characters’ names?
I’m so glad you asked this question! Names are extremely important in this series as you probably learned from reading The Dreamer. So when choosing them I did a lot of research behind the meanings of each, making sure I chose ones that would invoke each characters strongest personality trait. And here’s a hint, if you ever wanted to do a little digging about certain characters introduced, look up their name for that will tell you a bit more about their ‘could be’ purpose in the book.
Molly’s perspective in the 1st book was really engaging. Was it easy to write in her POV? 
First, that’s so kind of you to say. Thank you! And it was easy and hard to write in her POV. Easy in the sense that she’s a 24 year old woman, young and new in New York where her biggest responsibilities are her job and friends—A time that I can still very vividly remember living. It was hard in the sense that some, if not most, of her behavior wasn’t aligned with my own. I think I have more Becca in me, at least when it comes to talking bluntly ;-).
Will we be seeing more of Dev’s side of the story in this book?
Most definitely! Dev’s history comes to the surface in many ways (good and bad) in The Divide.
Have you always liked fantasy stories? (Both as a reader and a writer).
Fantasy is definitely one of my favorites. There’s something about a world so unlike ours, but at the same time similar that’s very alluring. It’s the ultimate mental escape for me especially when there’s magic elements involved. I’m a sucker for magic!

excerpt

THE DIVIDE
by EJ Mellow
Clapping echoes in the room, and I glance up to find Dev casually leaning against the wall next to the door. His eyes are narrowed with appraisal, and his mouth is half-cocked in his signature amused smile. “Impressive,” he says as he pushes off the wall and slowly walks toward us. His sudden appearance and graceful saunter rock me out of my fighting mind-set. I take in his broad shoulders and the way his shirt hugs him like a jealous girlfriend.
Letting go of Rae, I tuck strands of hair that fell from my ponytail behind my ear, suddenly aware of how sweaty I am.
“Thanks.”
“I’d like to see what you could do against a real opponent,” he says with a smirk, crossing his arms. The stance calls attention to his biceps, the same ones I once found myself mortifyingly squeezing.
I leer at him. “And I’m sure you think you’re said opponent?”
“There’s only one way to find out.”
Rae fluidly stands from his fall and drapes an arm around me. “Molly here is a natural.”
I snort out a laugh. “And I’m sure retaining past Dreamers’ abilities has nothing to do with it.”
“Don’t be so modest.” He squeezes my shoulder.
“Have you practiced with any weapons yet?” Dev moves toward an empty wall in the center of the room. Placing a hand on it, the area drops out, revealing a rack of diverse armament. There’s an abundance of blades, and my eyes pause on two hook swords, knowing how they feel in my grip, before traveling on to the axes, clubs, daggers, unusual looking guns, and blunt staffs. Here is where Dev stands, taking out two Bō—a Japanese long staff weapon. Somehow I know all the names and uses of these objects, except for some of the guns. Those remain foreign.
The only difference with these weapons and the ones I’d find at home is the material in which they are made—the same strange gunmetal aluminum as the Arcus. And if my memories from past Dreamers are anything to go by, they can be filled with an altered form of Navitas, making them glow the hot blue-white, and lethal toward any opponent.
“I was saving that part of the training for later,” Rae explains soberly.
“Where’s the fun in that?” Dev asks, handling the Bō naturally as he walks back to us. “She seems to have grasped her hand-to-hand combat for today. Why not finish with a little sparring?”
“See what I mean about the tough teacher,” Rae mutters to me.
“What do you say, Molly? Care to give me a go?” Dev taunts, holding one Bō while twirling the other.
I narrow my eyes and extend a hand. “I know I won’t hear the end of it until I do.”
He gives me one of his sexy grins while throwing me the staff. I snatch it from the air, immediately knowing I’ve been trained in the art of bōjutus.
I smile back.
Oh, it’s on.
As if reading my thoughts and without any further warning, Dev sweeps toward me. His intense blue eyes are the last things I register before my mind switches off and I lunge back.

Want more? There’s a book blitz happening right now with
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abouttheauthor

ejE.J. Mellow is the author behind the NA Contemporary fantasy trilogy The Dreamland Series. When she’s not busy moonlighting in the realm of make-believe, she can be found doodling, buried in a book (usually this one), or playing video games. Residing in Brroklyn, NY, she is a member of Romance Writers of America and their fantasy, futuristic & paranormal chapter.

www.ejmellow.com
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads


81xCfsCtfiLMolly finally uncovers the truth about the strange dreams that plagued her sanity for weeks. Now destined to accept a clandestine role, Molly must find the strength and courage buried deep to push forward and succeed.

With the help of Dev, the roguish blue-eyed man of her dreams—whose dark past resurfaces to haunt him—Molly prepares to test the limits of her newly awakened powers and set right a world on the edge of being consumed by nightmares.

But when an unknown shadow stalks her every step and a shocking revelation about her ancestry comes to light, Molly may find herself forced to make a decision that could leave her alone in the dark and standing on the wrong side of a divide.

 The Divide (Dreamland #2)

Purchase links for The Divide:
Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo 

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Author Interview | Eleanor Wood ft. My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend

23592201Blogging + Music + Cute Rockstar = My Secret Rockstar BoyfriendAuthor Eleanor Wood shares her secret rockstar boyfriend(s) and more in this author interview!

qna

Tell us something about your book, My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend. But, let’s make it more interesting. Use only 10 words!
A blogger meets her favourite rockstar and life gets complicated!
Who was your (Rockstar) inspiration in writing the character of Jackson Griffith?
Jackson was inspired by a combination of people. He was based in part on musicians I’ve met, but I was also thinking of pop stars in the public eye, who become so famous at such a young age and perhaps struggle with elements of fame – a bit like Justin Bieber or the boys in One Direction.  Being young and famous these days looks like really hard work!
Who then inspired Tuesday’s character?
Again, some real-life elements – she loves music and wants to be a writer, which are both things that I can really relate to. I was also thinking of cool young writers and bloggers, like Tavi Gevinson or a teenage Caitlin Moran. However, her random charity shop style is definitely based on my look when I was 17!
If you were Tuesday, who would your Secret Rockstar Boyfriend(s) be?
It’s SO hard to choose!  Obviously it would be impossible, but the ideal would still be Kurt Cobain. Or a young David Bowie. Failing that, Brian Molko or Jared Leto…
Aside from the romance, what shall readers expect in My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend?
The novel is definitely about friendship and family as much as it is romance. I also hope that readers will relate to Tuesday as she tries to figure out what it is she actually wants to do with her life, amid all the madness that is going on.
What challenges did you encounter in writing My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend?
To be honest, it was a dream to write – I really enjoyed all of it.  I’d say the things that I tried to keep in mind the most were being true to the characters and making sure that the story was always rooted in reality.  I also wrote quite a lot that I ended up cutting out – my problem is always over-writing.  I can spend an entire chapter describing the character drinking a cup of tea, what she is wearing, what the kitchen looks like and exactly what she is thinking throughout the tea-drinking process!  So I have to be ruthless when I’m editing.
Was My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend a story that has always been inside your head waiting to be written or the idea was something that just came up to you latterly?
I’ve always wanted to write a book involving blogging and music festivals, and the idea built up from there – it was a combination of real-life inspirations, but as I wrote it the story took on a life of its own and became more and more fictional (which is the fun bit).  It’s kind of a Cinderella story, the sort of thing everyone dreams about – what if..?
Now, let’s talk about you! Have you always seen yourself becoming a writer? Enlighten us about your journey in becoming a published author.
It’s a boring answer – I’ve always wanted to be a writer!  It took me a lot of years of writing before I totally found my style and MSRB was published.  I’ve always written – from trying to write novels to blogging and some journalism.  Reading and writing have always been the main things that take up my time!
Are you currently working on a new project?
Yes, I’m currently working on my next book, which is a story about girls in a band.  Again it’s a story that looks at fame and friendship, which are some of my favourite themes so I’m very excited about it!

abouttheauthor

eleanorEleanor Wood is the author of My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend. Her work has been published in various magazines and on websites, most recently Elle magazine. Her erstwhile lo-fi fanzine, Shocking Blues and Mean Reds, won praise from the Independent, Lauren Laverne, and Marmalade magazine, among others. She lives in Brighton, blogs about music (among other things), has a Leonard Cohen tattoo and a fringe, and would like to get a dog.

www.eleanor-wood.blogspot.co.uk
Twitter | Goodreads

23592201Geeky girl meets famous boy . . . what could go wrong?
Tuesday Cooper is happy being normal -doing her a-levels and indulging in her twin obsessions: buying weird vintage clothes in charity shops and writing her beloved music blog (which nobody ever reads). Her love for music started when she was thirteen and had a massive crush on Jackson Griffith, teen rock god and SUPER HOT LOVE OF HER LIFE. Now Tuesday’s eighteen and has moved on to fancying boys in real life and Jackson went off the celebrity radar years ago.

So it can’t be him that’s messaging her on her blog, can it?

From one girl’s computer to the pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival, this is a love story for anyone who has ever wished that someone would sing a love song just for them.

Dreams can come true . . .

My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend

Purchase links for My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend:
Amazon | Book Depository | Pan Macmillan

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Blog Tour | Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt [Review + Interview + Giveaway]

23848212Title: Dream Things True
Author: Marie Marquardt
Publication:  September 1st 2015 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781250070456

Dream Things True


synopsisA modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.  Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much — except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There’s too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she’s an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives.

reviewI received a digital ARC of this book from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Alma dreams of going to college and to study anthropology. It may be a simple dream for some, but for Alma, it’s too close to impossible because of her “status”. She and her family are illegal immigrants, or as her much preferred term, undocumented. Thus, applying for college isn’t really an option. In the small town of Georgia, most of the Mexicans earn a living as laborers. So, working for the sake of her family seems to be her future. But she doesn’t want to be stuck babysitting her cousins or pruning roses…
Evan is one of the privileged kids living in Georgia. He’s handsome, rich and nice. He also is the nephew of a Senator who seems to be after the undocumented immigrants like Alma.
Sparks flew instantly when the two of them meet in an “almost accident”. Yes, instantly. I was on alert for some insta-love here. There’s actually a hint of it in this book, a few chapters in and there’s an almost kiss already. BUT… the swoon that Alma keeps mentioning in this book made it’s way to me eventually.
Aside from the swoon, the book takes on the serious matter of immigration. I can really feel Alma’s hunger for freedom. It’s not like she’s in prison, but the thing is, she’s living a life limited of a lot of things. Her dreams are hindered by the fear of being deported. Through her, different voices of different people fighting for the same thing are heard.
Although, the narrative of this book didn’t get to me. It’s another book told in the 3rd person with alternating POVs. The sudden shifts between Alma and Evan’s POVs were a little confusing (just a little). I was also kind of distracted with the Spanish dialogues. Sorry, it’s just that I don’t speak Spanish and I only understand a few words. But I have to say, that added some character in the writing as a whole.
Not only is Dream Things True a modern day Romeo and Juliet, it is also the voice of those people like Alma. It was an eye-opening read about the reality of immigrants who only wants to make their dreams become true.
Rating:
3h

Aside from a review, I also got a chance to interview Ms. Marie where she shared a few more things you need to know beyond the book.

qna

Tell us something about your upcoming novel, Dream Things True.
At its heart,  Dream Things True is  a story  about the thrill and heartbreak of two people falling in love for the first time, in a world that wants to keep them apart.
What urged you to write a book about immigrants? What message did you want it to convey?
Because I’ve written non-fiction books about undocumented immigration, I often get asked to talk with groups of non-immigrants about these issues. I know a lot of facts and figures, and these help people think about immigration in new ways, but I find that what really matters is relationship – knowing and loving a person who faces these issues is what makes a person care. Not everyone gets the chance to know and love an undocumented immigrant, but fiction can give us all the opportunity to step into others’ lives – in this case, the lives of undocumented immigrants and the people who love them.  This is powerful, and I believe it is so important – it helps us to overcome all of the politicized rhetoric, and simply see each other as human.
Are there parts in the book inspired by real life events?
Every piece of the story that deals directly with immigration is “true” – in the sense that it was happening during the time when the story is set, and I know people that experienced it. I have been working with undocumented immigrants in Georgia for almost two decades – first as a researcher and later in advocacy and service. I have developed close friendships with undocumented families, and I have had the remarkable opportunity to witness undocumented kids growing into accomplished young adults.
There’s a chapter in the book that starts with Alma, the protagonist, standing in front of a crowded room with a microphone and saying, “It sucks” – which is very out of character for her.  I borrowed these words from a friend I have known since she was seven. She was facing graduation from high school in Georgia, followed by what felt like a whole lot of dead ends.  She gave a very raw and honest talk on that day and brought many people (including me) to tears.
Which character from your book can you relate to the most, and why?
Like Alma, I was a very driven student, and I dreamed of becoming (of all things!) a cultural anthropologist. Like Evan, I sort-of lived in a world of Southern privilege, but I never felt at home there. Probably, as an adult, I can relate most closely to Alma’s middle school counselor and mentor, Mrs. King. I have worked with many undocumented teens and, like Alma’s counselor, I have experienced the pain and frustration of trying to help them overcome barriers, knowing that those barriers are almost insurmountable.
What’s the story behind the title of your book?
The title comes from Romeo and Juliet, which is appropriate, since Dream Things True is, in many ways, a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story.  I also chose to highlight dreams in the title because I see this story as a tribute to the extraordinary young adults who often refer to themselves as DREAMers. The DREAMers were brought to the United States as young children – usually by their parents.  They don’t have permanent legal status, and under current laws, they have no way of getting it. I’ve had the honor of getting to know many DREAMers over the years. They are amazing young adults with incredible stories. This book captures a particularly dark moment in their history, but it also celebrates their remarkable resilience.

abouttheauthor

marieMarie Marquardt is a scholar-in-residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and the author of Living Illegal: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration. She is widely published on issues of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. South. Marquardt has also worked as an advocate among immigrants in Atlanta. She is a founder and co-chair of El Refugio, a hospitality house near the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. Dream Things True is Marie’s first Young Adult novel.

www.mariemarquardt.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Purchase Links for Dream Things True:
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Giveaway!
Thanks for reading on this book review of Dream Things True and my interview with Ms. Marie! Now, you can Win (1) own copy of DREAM THINGS TRUE by Marie Marquardt
Open to US/Canada residents only.

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Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing a copy to be given away!

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Author Interview | Carrie Mesrobian ft. Cut Both Ways + Giveaway!

23718736

“I needed some help on the sex scenes between Will and Angus. I’ve never been a boy, much less a gay boy…” says Author Carrie Mesrobian as she talks about her novel Cut Both Ways. Read on this interview and find out more you need to know about her book.

qna

Tell us something about your upcoming novel, Cut Both Ways and what shall we expect in your book. 
It’s a book about a boy named Will who splits his life into lots of different compartments. His parents are divorced so he spends half his time in his mother’s giant house in the suburbs and his father’s crappy half-remodeled house in the city. The story opens with him unintentionally making out with his best friend Angus, who is gay, which is Will’s first kiss. Will has never thought of himself as gay, so when, around the same time, he starts seeing a girl named Brandy, he is totally confused about what he’s doing. Is he cheating? Is he gay? He doesn’t know.
What’s the meaning behind the title Cut Both Ways and how did you come up with it?
Titles are very hard for me! My editor was the one who came up with it, thankfully! I’ve resolved to try to make working titles for future books, but my mind doesn’t tend to work that way.
Your books seem to carry diverse themes. In Cut Both Ways, what message would you like the readers to grasp?
I don’t know if there’s a single message. Or any message. Maybe that life is messy and difficult. Sex is messy and difficult. Everyone you meet is carrying their own burden and the beautiful part of telling stories is that it opens you up to more empathy for those specific burdens.
Which character from Cut Both Ways can you relate to the most? Why?
I can relate to Will in one main way, in that a lot of my life is about negotiating lots of different friendships and alliances and places. I like to try to fit in with lots of different people and situations and sometimes it’s uncomfortable and sometimes it’s wonderful.
Share your experience in writing the character of Will and his relationship with both Angus and Brandy. Were there any struggles in creating these characters?
I needed some help on the sex scenes between Will and Angus. I’ve never been a boy, much less a gay boy, so I wasn’t sure where to place the focus on things. I had some help from friends who know those struggles well and I am very grateful that these men helped me through this, even though the scenes are quite vivid at times.
Describe each of the characters (Will, Angus & Brandy) in 1 word.
Will: hesitant
Angus: confident
Brandy: emerging
What’s the most difficult part to write in Cut Both Ways?
The ending. All YA books, if they’re realistic ones, at least, end at the beginning of a character’s life, in a sense. They haven’t won the prize or got the girl or figured everything out yet – they’re just starting on their journey. I don’t like tidy endings for this reason. Learning about good relationships and love, learning about sex and identity, learning about one’s family – these represent your life’s work. You never completely conquer all of those challenges and figuring things out at age 18 is even more unlikely. So ending it in a place where the reader isn’t totally left hanging but also isn’t completely comforted is what I aim to do.
You’ve mentioned that all your books’ narrators are male, is there a particular reason why? Will we be seeing future works with a female POV soon?
Yes! I want to try new things with each book, and with my fourth book, it felt time to explore the girl side of YA.
What other genres would you want to explore in writing YA novels?
I’m probably stuck in contemporary realism for the most part. Though I do like ghost stories. And horror is something I’d like to try at some point.
Any recent projects?
I’m in an anthology called The V-Word which comes out in February 2016. Right now I’m working on another YA novel, which I’m excited about because it features my first female narrator. It’s also in 3rd person, which is another new thing for me. That won’t be out until 2016, at least.
I can’t wait to read your book! Thank you so much, Ms. Carrie!

abouttheauthor
carrieCarrie Mesrobian is an instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Her debut novel, Sex & Violence was a finalist for the American Library Association’s William C. Morris Award and the winner of the 2014 Minnesota Book Award. Her second novel, Perfectly Good White Boy received starred reviews from Kirkus & Publishers Weekly and was a Tayshas Reading List Pick. Her most recent novel, Cut Both Ways, has received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist. She is also one half of the The Oral History podcast with author Christa Desir. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and daughter.
www.carriemesrobian.com
Twitter | Tumblr | The Oral History Podcast | Goodreads

23718736Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.

Cut Both Ways

Purchase links for Cut Both Ways:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | HarperCollins

Giveaway!
So, you’ve made it up to here! Thank you for sticking around! You were waiting for the giveaway, weren’t you? Okay, okay. Ms. Carrie is generously giving away a finished copy of Cut Both Ways!

giveawaynew


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