Posts Categorized: Author Interview

The Debut Dish: Sonia Belasco, Andrew DeYoung, Jessika Fleck, & Joanne O’Sullivan (+ Giveaways)

April 9, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 4

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Sonia Belasco (Speak of Me as I Am), Andrew DeYoung (The Exo Project), Jessika Fleck (The Castaways), and Joanne O’Sullivan (Between Two Skies).


Speak of Me as I Am by Sonia Belasco
April 4, 2017 from Philomel Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A moving story of grief, honesty, and the healing power of art—the ties that bind us together, even when those we love are gone.

Melanie and Damon are both living in the shadow of loss. For Melanie, it’s the loss of her larger-than-life artist mother, taken by cancer well before her time. For Damon, it’s the loss of his best friend, Carlos, who took his own life.

As they struggle to fill the empty spaces their loved ones left behind, fate conspires to bring them together. Damon takes pictures with Carlos’s camera to try to understand his choices, and Melanie begins painting as a way of feeling closer to her mother. But when the two join their school’s production ofOthello, the play they both hoped would be a distraction becomes a test of who they truly are, both together and on their own. And more than anything else, they discover that it just might be possible to live their lives without completely letting go of their sadness.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Love, death and Shakespeare.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I really like the scene in my book where one of the protagonists, Damon, confronts a memory of his friend Carlos outside of the U.S. Capitol. Carlos is so vivid to Damon, even though he’s dead, and in that moment Damon realizes how much he didn’t know about his best friend, even though he thought he knew everything.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
When I got the news from Penguin, I was actually at my parents’ house in DC. It was awesome because I got to tell them in person, and I hadn’t had the chance to share any of my other publishing news that way.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate. Chocolate is definitely my vice.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have a photograph of my grandfather with President Johnson. My grandfather worked in the White House under Johnson, and I keep it there as a kind of reminder of the importance of the hustle. My grandfather believed in hard work, whatever it was you were doing. In my less motivated moments, that photo helps me push through.

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The Exo Project by Andrew DeYoung
April 4, 2017 from Boyds Mills Press
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

This fast-paced, sharply written multiple-perspective YA science-fiction debut opens on a future Earth ravaged by solar radiation. Desperate for money to save his sick mother, seventeen-year-old Matthew agrees to participate in the Exo Project, a government plan to save the human race by flying across the galaxy in search of a habitable planet for resettlement. He thinks he’s been given a death sentence: 100 years in cryostasis, followed by a quick death on some barren world. But then he lands on Gle’ah, discovering the strange, beautiful creatures who live there, including Kiva, the captivating teenage girl who leads her planet’s matriarchal society. Kiva views Matthew as a threat and for good reason—if he tells Earth that he’s found a suitable planet, it will mean the end of her people’s way of life. But then Kiva and Matthew discover an emotional connection they never expected—and as they begin to delve into the secrets of Matthew’s mission and the dark truth behind the seeming paradise of Gle’ah, the choices they make will have consequences for both of their worlds.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Boy meets alien. Worlds collide.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
This is hard! I think I’d pick the scene where Kiva, the girl who leads a matriarchal society on another planet, tells Matthew, the human boy who’s come to her world in search of a replacement for Earth, her people’s creation myth. I love it because I got to try my hand at creating a new mythology for a fictional alien race, and also because of a bit of dialogue that happens after Kiva’s done telling the myth.

Matthew asks, “Is it true? Did it really happen like that?”

And Kiva answers, “It’s a story. It doesn’t have to be true to be true.”

I love that line.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in a birthing class with my wife, who was expecting at the time. (Our daughter is now a year and a half old.) We were learning about something or other—breathing techniques? The stages of labor? I was having a little trouble concentrating, because I knew that we’d gotten some interest on the book and my publisher was chatting with the publishing company that had expressed interest. Then my phone buzzed and I glanced at the screen to see it was an email from my agent. During a break in the middle of the class I furtively checked my email to discover that it was now a done deal—I was going to be published!

What’s your favorite junk food?
In Minnesota we have these things made by a local candy company called Nut Goodies which are a layer of maple-flavored cream covered in chocolate and peanuts. My temptation to buy one basically every time I go to the grocery store is strong.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A big wooden ampersand. I honestly don’t know where it came from. I share a desk with my wife, who’s a designer and a super-crafty person who’s always making something or other, so it’s probably a leftover from one of her projects.

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The Castaways by Jessika Fleck
April 3, 2017 from Entangled Teen
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

“A page-turning fantastical mystery with heartfelt characters.” -Julie Cross, New York Times bestselling author of Tempest

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous.

Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing.

Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Cornmaze. Stranded. Family. War. Be.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Oh man, this is a tough one. So many options! Without giving any spoilers, one of my faves is definitely when Olive arrives on the island. She’s taken in by one group of kids and ends up pretending to be knocked out. Eyes closed, she tries to figure out what’s going on, who’s who, what sort of shelter she’s in, if these people are kind or not, etc… Being in Olive’s point-of-view, I had to explain everything minus her visual cues. Also, this is the first scene the reader meets anyone from the island and there are four characters, other than Olive, in one room. It was a great challenge and so fun to write.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At home. I was about to make lunch for my kids and my (now) editor emailed me with the news. Her first line said, “Are you sitting down?” (I was) I read it, whispered, “Holy crap”, stood up, walked in a few circles, sat back down, reread it, and then responded.

What’s your favorite junk food?
French fries. In ketchup. Covered in cheese. Slathered in mustard. Dipped in ice cream. All. Day. Long.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A wooden plague doctor-esque skeleton. If you push your thumb under the stand, it bends and moves. I love odd.

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Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan
April 25, 2017 from Candlewick
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Hurricane Katrina sets a teenage girl adrift. But a new life — and the promise of love — emerges in this rich, highly readable debut.

Bayou Perdu, a tiny fishing town way, way down in Louisiana, is home to sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo. But, dearest to her heart, she has the peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. It’s a small life, but it is Evangeline’s. And then the storm comes, and everything changes. Amid the chaos and pain and destruction comes Tru — a fellow refugee, a budding bluesman, a balm for Evangeline’s aching heart. Told in a strong, steady voice, with a keen sense of place and a vivid cast of characters, here is a novel that asks compelling questions about class and politics, exile and belonging, and the pain of being cast out of your home. But above all, this remarkable debut tells a gently woven love story, difficult to put down, impossible to forget.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Love, loss, longing and hope.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
It’s the penultimate scene of the book, when after a very sad event, fate intervenes to bring my main character exactly what she needs and wants. I like it because it has that bitter-sweet feeling that often accompanies some of the most important things that happen in life!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
On my couch with my then 13-year-old daughter. But only for a second because then I got up and started jumping around and pacing! : )

What’s your favorite junk food?
Nutella.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A pair of glasses that my dog chewed up. First, it’s odd that he chewed up glasses- what is appealing about that for him? Second, it’s odd that I kept them. They are undeniably beyond repair! But they were my favorite frames and somehow I can’t let go!

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Beastia Author Zoe Cruz | Beauty & the Beast Interview Series

March 31, 2017 Author Interview 0

Remember A Week of Beauty and Beast, a special blog event hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story and me? We it was the perfect time to host an event devoted to one of our favorite fairy tales, seeing as how Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast came out in theaters this month! Woohoo! We shared our love of this tale as old as time with you, and hope you enjoyed! But here were are again with a tiny revival because Zoe Cruz wanted to participate in the interview series! Make sure you enter to win a Beauty and the Beast themed book of your choice, which ends tonight!


Today Bonnie and I are hosting an interview with Zoe Cruz, author of Beastia. Zoe talked a bit about her book here on That Artsy Reader Girl a week and a half ago, so head over to that guest post if you’d like more information!

Author Interview – Zoe Cruz

What are a few of the ways in which your retelling differs from the original tale?
It actually differs a lot. I wanted it to be something on it’s own, deconstruct the retelling and rebuild it. The first thing is that Beauty is the Beast and vice versa. Secondly, it’s set in Chicago and is a contemporary novel. No magic is involved, but at it’s a heart it’s a Beauty and the Beast tale.

If you could be a household object, what would you be?
I think a lamp or a candlestick would be my choice. Something about lighting dark places seems intriguing to me. I’m also more awake at night and that’s the perfect time to use a candle.

If you were taken by the Beast, what’s one comfort item from home that you’d want?
There are some books that I’m very partial to that say home to me. If I had to pick one of those books it would be The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.

What song would you want to dance to with the Beast?
“Ever More” by Josh Groban would be at the top of my list.

If you looked in a magical mirror that would show you your heart’s desire, what would you see?
Is it the Mirror of Erised? But…seriously, my heart desire would probably be finding a way to live in Spain forever. I kind of love it there. It has European castles and Arabic palaces straight out of a fairy tale.

Read the rest of the interview here!

Beastia by Zoe Cruz
March 14, 2017 from Createspace
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The meanest of the mean girls, Rebekah Austin rules her Chicago school with sharp outfits and an even sharper tongue. She has a way of making even the most beautiful and brilliant girls in her class feel like dirt. But underneath the queen-bee façade is someone who feels ugly, repulsive…beastly.

When Rebekah falls prey to a madman, the bully becomes the bullied. Scarred and tormented, she abandons her previous life and adopts a new identity, but her ghastly appearance haunts her everywhere she goes. Only with the help of determined friends can she move past her horrifying experience—and maybe even let herself be loved.

And if the madman returns to finish what he started, will she be ready, or will she give up hope?


About Zoe Cruz

I love traveling, writing, reading, and binge watching my favorite shows on Netflix.

I’m a geek too. Anything from classic Tortallan and Hobbit lore to a DS9 Trekkie and a Browncoat. I love any good sci-fi and fantasy book, show or movie.

I’ve lived in Spain for almost four years, so adapting back to U.S. life for now.


The Debut Dish: Sara Biren, Whitney Taylor, Jessica Strawser, Danielle Mages Amato, & Michael Miller (+ Giveaways)

March 26, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 5

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Sara Biren (The Last Thing You Said), Whitney Taylor (Definitions of Indefinable Things), Jessica Strawser (Almost Missed You), Danielle Mages Amato (The Hidden Memory of Objects), and Michael Miller (Shadow Run).


The Last Things You Said by Sara Biren
April 4, 2017 from Amulet Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

Describe your book in five words or less.
First love, loss, grief, forgiveness.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene takes place at Ben’s cousin’s wedding. The wedding itself was inspired by my niece Maria’s wedding in July of 2011, the month I started writing the book. There’s so much tension and longing between the two main characters, and an unexpected slow dance, followed by harsh words and more heartbreak.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
At my kitchen table, about to make dinner for my kids.

What’s your favorite junk food?
White Cheddar Cheez-It Grooves.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The Minnesota Motor Vehicle Registration Card for my very first car, a 1987 red 4-door Pontiac Sunbird, which I sold in August of 1998.


Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor
April 4, 2017 from HMH Books for Young Readers
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.

Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.

Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Depression. Fear. Friendship. Love. Hope.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s an awkward scene in which the MC, Reggie, gets stuck taking her arch-frenemy and crush’s baby mama, Carla, to a birthing class. It was one of my favorite scenes to write because it’s a refreshing break from the heaviness of the book, and starts to sew the seeds that eventually blossom into an unlikely and satisfying female friendship.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Honestly? This may be TMI….but I was on the toilet. (My agent called me a few minutes after she said she would, and I couldn’t hold my pee any longer! Sue me!)

What’s your favorite junk food?
Good ol’ fashioned potato chips. Salty. Greasy. Will probably clog my arteries and kill me one day. Just my speed.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A package of tissues that I refuse to blow my nose in because they’re cute.


Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
March 28, 2017 from St. Martin’s Press
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Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin,Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

Describe your book in five words or less.
“Perfect” couple questions fate’s role.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Because the story is not told chronologically, it’s virtually impossible to describe any of my favorites without inadvertently including a spoiler–which is lucky for me, because it lets me off the hook of having to decide which one is my top pick! (I’m awful at choosing favorites.)

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’d taken the day off work to chaperone my 4-year-old’s pre-K pumpkin patch field trip, and saw that I’d missed the call while corralling the kids under cover when it started to rain on the farm. I didn’t have good enough cell phone reception to call my agent back until I was well into my drive home–the suspense was killing me!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Ice cream (preferably with some sort of chocolate and peanut butter ripples involved) with pretzels sprinkled on top.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I’m at my daytime desk at the Writer’s Digest office right now, so here, it’s a tie between an origami elephant (sent in a holiday card from one of our contributors) and a 16″ lifelike Mark Twain doll (which, believe it or not, came with my house, left for me by the previous owners after they learned I was an editor and writer).

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The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato
March 21, 2017 from Balzer + Bray
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.

Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother’s charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Mystery, History, Murderabilia, Grief, Adventure

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I might have a favorite character rather than a favorite scene, because I pretty much love every scene that Eric Bowling (my book BFF) is in. He was a joy to write, because he’s just so wholehearted and curious and quirky and unafraid. Which made it a pleasure to unleash him anytime he appears.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at the DENTIST, of all places, waiting in the lobby to have my teeth cleaned. When my phone rang and I saw it was my agent, I stepped outside to take the call. Screaming and jumping up and down followed. Of course, I had overlooked the fact that I was standing in front of a big picture window, so everyone inside the dentist’s office could see me. When I came back in, they all demanded to know what had happened. That is how a room full of random strangers knew I was going to be a published author before my own family did. All the strangers clapped — they were probably the happiest group of people in a dentist’s office ever. Then I had my teeth cleaned.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Anything that combines mint and chocolate. In any form. Anywhere. Thin mints, peppermint patties, peppermint bark. MUST CONSUME.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have two young children, so there is never a shortage of odd things on my desk (and in my purse). Right now there’s a handful of feathers, some plastic doll hair, and assorted mini bouncy balls. But the oddest thing *I* keep on my desk is probably a set of Abe Lincoln salt and pepper shakers. Keeping it honest! :-)


Shadow Run by Michael Miller and AdriAnne Strickland
March 21, 2017 from Delacorte Press
Add to Goodreads | Michael Miller’s Website

Firefly meets Dune in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.

Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.

But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.

Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power–and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.

Note from Jana: Debut author Michael Miller is the one answering these questions.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Firefly meets Dune!

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My absolute favorite scene in the book is when Qole, our seventeen year old starship captain, finds herself very out of her element on a world very different from her own. My co-author actually wrote it, but it’s by turns funny, touching, insightful, and tense. An all around excellent bit of writing.

If you mean that I actually wrote, my absolute favorite scene would be riddle with spoilers. There is a scene earlier in the book where we visit the home planet of Basra, the genderfluid trader on board the Kaitan. It was a chance to introduce a number of characters that feature only briefly, but actually have tremendous back stories. I love that sort of stuff.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Wow, good question! I vividly remember where I was when I first talked to our agent, because I was in the middle of an on-site with a client and had to duck into an empty conference room. But when the deal was actually closed with Delacorte? Again, at work, but it didn’t feel real until later… so the moment didn’t sink in until clashing beer glasses with my co-author to celebrate.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I love all chips, chips are truly one of the great leaps that humanity has made, but in the pantheon of chips, one chip rules supreme: The Dorito.

Nacho Cheese, specifically.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
My desk is typically my lap, as I’m footloose and fancy free with this laptop of mine. So I can’t answer! At least not in any way that wouldn’t be somewhat surrealist.

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Barefoot On the Wind Author Zoë Marriott | Beauty & the Beast Interview Series

March 17, 2017 Author Interview 0

I hope you’re enjoying A Week of Beauty and Beast, a special blog event hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story and me! We thought this would be the perfect time to host an event devoted to one of our favorite fairy tales, seeing as how Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast is coming out in theaters on Friday! Woohoo! We’re excited to share our love of this tale as old as time with you, and hope you enjoy what we have planned! Make sure you enter to win a Beauty and the Beast themed book of your choice. And if you want to join in on the fun, link up your B&B themed posts so we can come see!


Today Bonnie and I are hosting an interview with Zoë Marriott, author Barefoot On the Wind. Barefoot On the Wind is a beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in Japan. It’s the second book in Zoë’s The Moonlit Lands series, but it can be read as a standalone. As per usual, we’ve split the interview between our two blogs. When you’re done here, head over to A Backwards Story to read the rest!

Author Interview – Zoë Marriott

What inspired you to reinterpret Beauty and the Beast?

Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favourite fairytales. I read Robin McKinley’s YA classic Beauty at around age eleven, which was same year that I first saw Disney’s version of the story. These wonderful retellings made a massive impression. They’re the reason I started my career as a YA writer with a fairytale retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans. I never felt equal to the challenge of writing my own re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, though; it seemed as if the tale had been told so well by others that there was nothing else to say. But one day I pulled out my favourite fairytale read, Robin McKinley’s Beauty, and suddenly it struck me that the Beast, my ideal fictional hero since I was eleven… doesn’t really act like much of a hero at several points in the story.

Because, you see, Beauty and the Beast is supposed to be about true love. About learning to perceive and value inner beauty. Which is great, and all that. BUT. It’s actually the heroine Beauty who is asked to learn this lesson, despite being blameless. She’s the one who’s asked to love a Beast. That seems a bit unfair? Especially when the Beast – the one who is supposed to be learning not to be so cruel and shallow – imprisons her for months at a time with only a single week’s leave, until she finally agrees to marry him. He never has to learn to see beyond Beauty’s outer appearance. She’s already physically lovely. She’s also kind, good and loving, but the Beast doesn’t care about that when he arranges to lock her up. He just wants someone, anyone, to marry him and break the curse.

All these years we’ve been told the story is about true love conquering all. But really, when you get right down to it, it’s about using coercion to get your own way and being rewarded for it. Although Beauty is still my favourite comfort read because Robin McKinley’s writing is so amazing that she makes you forgive the Beast, I felt… disturbed. That was the seed that grew into BAREFOOT ON THE WIND.

Would you rather have The Rose or The Mirror in your Bedroom?

Neither, thanks! Those would both be a sign that I’ve done something very wrong and was living under a curse. I prefer a peaceful sleeping environment.

If you could be a household object, what would you be?

A pen! One that never runs out.

If you were taken by the Beast, what’s one comfort item from home that you’d want?

My ereader! So long as I could keep charging it up and downloading new books, of course.

What song would you want to dance to with the Beast?

I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie. Or A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. Or No One’s Gonna Love You by Band of Horses. Or Brightly by Sleeping At Last. Or Hex, by Mt. Wolf. Or…. well, you get the idea.

If you looked in a magical mirror that would show you your heart’s desire, what would you see?

Harry Potter special. I’d see my father, my lovely dog Finn, and all the other people and pets I’ve loved and had to say goodbye to over the years.

Read the rest of the interview here!

Barefoot On the Wind by Zoë Marriott
September 1, 2016 by Walker Books
Series: The Moonlit Lands #2
Add to Goodreads | Buy from Book Depository (currently not available in the USA)

A companion title to Zoë Marriott’s critically acclaimed Shadows on the Moon, BAREFOOT ON THE WIND is a darkly magical retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” set in fairytale Japan.

There is a monster in the forest…

Everyone in Hana’s remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana’s father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it – or be killed herself.

But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined. And the beast is not at all what she expects…


About Zoë Marriott

I’ve known that I wanted to be a writer since I finished reading my first book; ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton. I think I was about eight, but I’ve never changed my mind in all the years since then.

I got my first publishing contract when I was twenty-two, but had to wait until I was twenty-four to see that book published (it was The Swan Kingdom).

I live in a little house in a town by the sea, with my two rescued cats, one called Hero after a Shakespearian character and one Echo after a nymph from a Greek myth. I also have a springer/cocker spaniel called Finbar (otherwise known as The Devil Hound). There’s a picture of him on the left.

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Withering Rose Author Kaitlyn Davis | Beauty & the Beast Interview Series

March 15, 2017 Author Interview 1

 

I hope you’re enjoying A Week of Beauty and Beast, a special blog event hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story and me! We thought this would be the perfect time to host an event devoted to one of our favorite fairy tales, seeing as how Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast is coming out in theaters on Friday! Woohoo! We’re excited to share our love of this tale as old as time with you, and hope you enjoy what we have planned! Make sure you enter to win a Beauty and the Beast themed book of your choice. And if you want to join in on the fun, link up your B&B themed posts so we can come see!


Today Bonnie and I are hosting an interview with Kaitlyn Davis, author of Withering Rose. Withering Rose is the second book in Kaitlyn’s Once Upon a Curse series (although it can be read as a standalone) and it turns the tables on the original tale as we’ve always known it. This time Beauty is cursed and the Beast is the one who has to do the saving. Just like yesterday, we’ve split the interview between our two blogs. When you’re done here, head over to A Backwards Story to read the rest!

Author Interview – Kaitlyn Davis

What are a few of the ways in which your retelling differs from the original tale?

The most obvious difference in my version is that Beauty is the one who is cursed, and the Beast is the only one who can save her! My Beauty, Omorose, is cursed with a type of magic that is slowly killing her. If these two mistrusting souls could learn to form a truce, the Beast might just hold the key to saving her life.

If you could be a household object, what would you be?

Hmm…so tough! Definitely not cleaning supplies or anything having to do with the bathroom! Probably a pen, because it’s what I use the most! Or a coffee mug…actually, that might be more accurate…

What magical/beautiful surprise would you hope the Beast had for you? (Belle’s library, Feyre’s art gallery, etc.)

This might not be very original, but I’d want a library too! So many books and so little time! But, I would prefer to turn a little section of the room into a coffee/frozen yogurt bar :) Then I would never ever leave!

Read the rest of the interview here!

Withering Rose by Kaitlyn Davis
May 17, 2016
Series: Once Upon a Curse #2
Add to Goodreads | Buy from Amazon

What if Beauty was cursed, and the Beast was the only one who could save her? Don’t miss WITHERING ROSE, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Beauty & The Beast.

“As the heat finally disappeared, I felt the bloom blossom in the very core of my soul, a rose just like my name–a ticking clock hidden behind a façade of beauty. From that moment on, my life would become a countdown, and all I could do was wait and watch as the petals of time slowly started to fall.”

Omorose Bouchene has a secret–magic. There’s only one problem. At the age of seven, an earthquake struck, catapulting her into a new world. A land made of skyscrapers and cell phones. Fast cars and fluorescent lights. A land where magic isn’t supposed to exist and anyone who wields it is the enemy.

But after ten years of hiding, she’s desperate to find a place where she can be free. Because all magic comes with a curse, and her curse is time–every ounce of power she uses strips days off of her life. The clock is winding down, and the only option left is to escape to the realm of the Beast. But the king of monsters isn’t what he seems. And the more Omorose opens her heart, the more she comes to realize that the only person she may need to fear is herself.


About Kaitlyn Davis

Kaitlyn Davis, a bestselling author with over a quarter of a million books sold, writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie. Publisher’s Weekly has said, “Davis writes with confidence and poise,” while USA Today has recommended her work as “must-read romance.”

Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she’s not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found playing fetch with her puppy, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her–about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general–you may contact her at: KaitlynDavisBooks@gmail.com

Author Website | Twitter


Roses In Amber Author C.E. Murphy | Beauty & the Beast Interview Series

March 14, 2017 Author Interview 1

I hope you’re enjoying A Week of Beauty and Beast, a special blog event hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story and me! We thought this would be the perfect time to host an event devoted to one of our favorite fairy tales, seeing as how Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast is coming out in theaters on Friday! Woohoo! We’re excited to share our love of this tale as old as time with you, and hope you enjoy what we have planned! Make sure you enter to win a Beauty and the Beast themed book of your choice. And if you want to join in on the fun, link up your B&B themed posts so we can come see!


Today Bonnie and I are bringing you an interview with C.E. Murphy, author of Beauty and the Beast retelling Roses In Amber. We’ve split the interview up between our two blogs, so read the first part here and then hop over to Bonnie’s for the second part! Read more about C.E. and her book below.

Author Interview – C.E. Murphy

What inspired you to reinterpret Beauty and the Beast?

It’s always been my favourite fairy tale, and I recently read the oldest extant written version of it and found all kinds of delicious things–backstory about the Beast, especially–that hadn’t made it to our more modern version. I wanted to play with that information and see what it could lend to a new retelling of a tale as old as time! :)

If you could be a household object, what would you be?

…probably a book. :)

If you were taken by the Beast, what’s one comfort item from home that you’d want?

…my kid? :)

What song would you want to dance to with the Beast?

Out Of The Woods, Taylor Swift :)

If you looked in a magical mirror that would show you your heart’s desire, what would you see?

Right now, a good night’s sleep. Somebody’s house alarm went off for 4 hours last night… @.@

Read the rest of the interview here!

Roses In Amber by C.E. Murphy
February 6, 2017 from Miz Kit Productions
Add to Goodreads l Buy from Amazon

There is a story of a beast, and a merchant’s daughter, and a curse that must be broken.
This is not—quite—that story.

Amber Gryce believes in magic the way anyone does: as a thing of the past, marked now only by the long reign of an ancient queen sworn to live until her stolen son is returned to her. Such stories are romantic but distant for Amber, surrounded by family and wealth.

But like magic, wealth can disappear. Left destitute, Amber’s family retreats to a forest holding far from their city home, where Amber’s love of roses leads her into the heart of enchantment, and draws her into a retelling of the tale as old as time….


About C.E. Murphy

C.E. Murphy is a writer of fantasy novels and short stories. She also writes “action-adventure romance” novels under the pseudonym Cate Dermody, which was her grandmother’s maiden name.

Author Website | Twitter


The Debut Dish: Cecilia Vinesse, Lilliam Rivera, Peternelle van Arsdale, and Rebecca Denton (+ Giveaways)

March 5, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 9

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Cecilia Vinesse (Seven Days of You), Lilliam Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez), Peternelle van Arsdale (The Beast Is An Animal), and Rebecca Denton (This Beats Perfect).


Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
March 7, 2017 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Tokyo + crushes + karaoke + friends + good-byes.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I loved writing the scene where two of the characters spend all night wandering around Shibuya–a fun, bright, noisy district in Tokyo. I grew up in Tokyo and miss it every day so getting to dive back in and wander the streets again was such a joy. I would usually work on this scene till the early hours of the morning and fall asleep with the sounds of Tokyo still playing in my dreams.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was *just* about to take my dog on a walk and ended up wandering the streets for hours and standing by the harbor (I lived in Scotland by the North Sea then) for a long time. I remember feeling buoyed and elated and it was all probably very confusing for my dog.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Enormous, warm, chocolatey cookies. I could write them a book of sonnets.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A tiny light-up squid one of my best friend’s gave me the last time I moved away from Japan in 2012. I miss her and I miss Japan so I’m pretty attached to it.

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The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
February 21, 2017 from Simon & Schuster
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Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

Describe your book in five words or less.
A Bronx Princesa gets schooled.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene in the book would be when Margot Sanchez is up on the roof with Moises. They are watching fireworks and trying to figure each other out. I love how magical that scene is and the struggle Margot has with her feelings. Rooftops in New York city hold so many amazing moments for me.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was away at a six-week writing workshop in San Diego called Clarion when I heard that editor Zareen Jaffrey at Simon & Schuster was interested in the novel. Because I was so involved in this writing workshop, attending classes and writing short stories, I had no time to completely freak out. I freaked out internally. I had to wait until I left to share the news with my friends. But when I did, they both screamed!

What’s your favorite junk food?
My favorite junk food is M&Ms. I can’t get enough of them. They fuel my writing as does most candy.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I don’t actually have a desk. I work off of my kitchen table. I guess the oddest thing right now on my kitchen table would be the semi-naked Taylor Lautner in Twilight doll that belongs to my 5 year old but she insisted I needed it.


The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
February 28, 2017 from Margaret K. McElderry Books
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A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

Describe your book in five words or less.
An original, dark fairytale.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is when my protagonist, an orphan named Alys, is caught looking at a book she shouldn’t. The books I read as a child that I suspected were too old for me or contained secret knowledge that adults might not want me to have are highly memorable to me.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Oh! I was standing in a knitting store on West 79th Street when I found out my agent felt the novel was ready to be sent out. That was the most dramatic moment for me, because I had a feeling that once she was happy with it, she’d sell it. Then I was prosaically home at my desk when I found out that Margaret K. McElderry books would be my publisher–and that they were acquiring a second novel by me as well. That was a very exciting moment, and not necessarily what I expected back when I was standing in the knitting shop.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I confess I’m not a junk food eater. The closest thing I could call my junk food is roasted, salted peanuts. I could probably (definitely) happily live off of them.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Not odd but kind of fabulous: I ordered Wonder Woman stamps from the U.S. Postal Service, and they just arrived. I like to send thank you notes, so Wonder Woman is going to be thanking some people for me. We all need some Wonder Woman right now.


This Beats Perfect by Rebecca Denton
February 2, 2017 from Atom Books
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Amelie Ayres has impeccable taste in music. Bowie. Bush. Bob. So when she finds herself backstage at The Keep’s only UK gig she expects to hate it; after all they are world’s most tragic band. In fact she feels a grudging respect – not (obviously) for their music, but for the work that goes in to making them megastars. And when lead singer, ‘Maxx’, is not dressed up as a cross between Elvis and a My Little Pony, he is actually rather normal, talented and has creative struggles not too dissimilar to her own.

But the next morning she wakes up rolls over and discovers a million new @’s on social media. Overnight a photo of her backstage has made her a subject of global speculation. Suddenly the world needs to know #Who’sThatGirl? – but for all the wrong reasons.

All Amelie wants is to play her music. She’s got the guitar, the songs, the soul and, in the safety of her bedroom, she’s got the voice. But when it comes to getting up on stage, she struggles with self-doubt.

Immaculate’s a concept. Flawless is fake. But just sometimes music – and hearts – can rock a perfect beat.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Boys, Bands and Breaking Through

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I love the scene at The Moth Club where Maxx and Amelie are competing over their knowledge of music. I did this so many times with boys I had just started dating.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at work – in a news room – surrounded by very serious people doing newsy things and I squealed a lot and rang my old boss, hot Seb. I don’t know why I rang him, I guess you call the people you want to be proud of you and my mum was asleep (time zones!). Critically I was pregnant so I couldn’t drink anything to celebrate. But I more than made up for it….

What’s your favorite junk food?
I don’t really like junk food. I know that sounds lame, but I feel *crap* after i eat it so I just tend to avoid it. That said, I cannot turn down fish and chips with curry sauce.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I don’t have a writing desk, I have a shed with a day bed and write with my lap top on my knees. I’m surrounded by torches, head lamps and candles though, since there’s no electricity here.

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Debut Dish with Sheryl Scarborough | Blog Tour

February 20, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish 1

Welcome to my stop along the official blog tour for Sheryl Scarborough, and her debut YA book, To Catch a Killer! Today we bring you a special bonus issue of the Debut Dish, which is a bi-monthly 2017 Debut Author Challenge feature that gives you the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books!!


To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough
February 7, 2017 from Tor Teen
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Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father’s identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother’s best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother’s killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she’s secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she’s close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it’s too late.

1. Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl almost killed, catches killer.

2. Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I have two favorite scenes in this book. I described one on the Dark Fairie Tales blog [date: ] but the other one is a scene between Erin, my main character, and her crush, Journey Michaels. Someone is trying to frame one or both of them as killers so they decide they must work together to try to catch the killer.

Journey, who might actually be the killer, takes Erin to a secluded—and scary place—so she can inspect his van for evidence. At this scary place three things happen: Erin and Journey almost kiss, Erin finds evidence and Erin is almost killed.

This scene is the turning point in Erin and Journey’s relationship. And it’s when I think the hooks are really set in this story.

3. Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I love telling this story. It was a Friday. I was on my way from Los Angeles to Omaha to speak at an SCBWI Conference. I missed my plane and was going to be delayed in Phoenix for FIVE hours. Oh, and it was my birthday! No lie. This could have been worst day ever.

I checked my phone upon landing in at 2:30 p.m. Phoenix time to find a message from my agent. As far as I knew my book hadn’t been on submission for months. The message said she was leaving at 5:30 p.m. NYC time. I fired off a quick reply telling her I was waiting to deplane. She wrote back that she would wait for me to call.

I stepped into the airport looking for a quiet place to talk. The airline lounge was directly across from the gate. I figured what the heck…paid the fee and went inside. That’s when I learned that an offer was coming in on Monday. Needless to say, I was thrilled. To celebrate, I upgraded to First Class for the rest of my flight.

4. What’s your favorite junk food?
Is chocolate a junk food? I think I read somewhere that it’s a vegetable.

5. What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The oddest thing on my desk is a ceramic jar labeled “Brilliant Ideas.” The sad thing is…it’s empty!

SHERYL SCARBOROUGH is an award-winning writer for children’s television, having written for shows such as Kim Possible, Doug, Tiny Toon Adventures and Punky Brewster, among many other credits. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, lives in Washington state, and has always had an obsession with forensics. When she was twelve, her home was the target of a Peeping Tom. Sheryl diligently photographed his footprints and collected the candy wrappers he left behind. Unfortunately, he was never caught. But the desire to use evidence to solve a great mystery was sparked inside Scarborough all the same. To Catch a Killer is her debut.

Website  | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr


The Debut Dish: Vic James, Tricia Levenseller, and Jilly Gagnon (+ Giveaways)

February 19, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 10

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Vic James (Gilded Cage), Tricia Levenseller (Daughter of the Pirate King), and Jilly Gagnon (#famous).


Gilded Cage by Vic James
February 14, 2017 from Del Ray Books
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Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

Describe your book in five words or less.
Downton Abbey if Voldemort won.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favourite one that isn’t spoilery is at the heart of the book, where Silyen Jardine, a (possibly) wicked young aristocrat encounters a young woman in an abandoned moated manor house. The house contains a fabulous library, and in the library is a cedarwood box containing ivory-bound journals that could help Silyen unlock the secrets of his dark powers. But neither the woman, nor the house, are what they seem, and an unexpected bond is formed.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in the edit suite of a TV documentary I was making on the Cayman Islands! I was a TV director before becoming a full-time author, and I’d been filming in the Caribbean when I received an email from my dream agent offering representation. I hadn’t finished the programme edit before we sold it at auction in the UK, and by the time it aired we had sold it in the USA, France and Germany!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Chocolate. (Come on, is there any other answer??)

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A box of Japanese bird-shape paperclips. I ordered them thinking they’d be great for when I did mail-out of ARCs or swag (both my UK and US covers have birds on them). But when they arrived they were really a bit too cute (my book’s rather dark…). So now I use them for all my boring business paperwork, to brighten it up!

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Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
February 28, 2016 from Feiwel & Friends
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A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Pirates. Sirens. Kissing. Sword fighting.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There is a scene where my main character, Alosa, is locked into the love interest’s (Riden’s) quarters on the ship. She quickly discovers that he is a neat freak. There’s not a shoe out of place. So, naturally, she starts trashing the place and breaking all of his things.

That’ll teach him to lock her up!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I had just picked up the keys to the new apartment I’m renting. I was standing in the empty space surveying it all, when I received an email from my agent on my phone.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Extra-buttered popcorn.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
The enormous dragon cross stitch I’ve been working on for years.

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#famous by Jilly Gagnon
February 14, 2017 from Katherine Tegen Books
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In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Viral Fame + Love = Chaos (hoping those symbols count as .5 words each ;))

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Probably my favorite scene is the first time Rachel and Kyle go bowling. The picture has already gone viral, and both of them have been catapulted to notoriety, but in this moment, they’re just two teenagers trying to get to know one another better. It’s one of the first moments where sparks fly between them, and one of the scenes that shows how differently they see the world. It’s not their meet cute, exactly, but it’s their “actually seeing you for who you are”-cute, if that makes sense!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was at my day job, in the middle of an open-office, and had to “go to the bathroom” and sneak out the back door to take the call.

So technically I was on a driveway, shivering because I hadn’t grabbed my coat, next to a series of trashcans. Who ever said this business wasn’t glamorous?

What’s your favorite junk food?
I’m gonna have to say pizza–it combines my two favorite “not QUITE junk” foods, bread and cheese, in a way that is undeniably bad-for-you awesome.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A hand-crocheted stuffed owl. A friend got married a few years ago at the nature conservancy he ran at the time, and raided the gift shop for my “thanks for coming” present.

Either that or the rhinestone tiara. But who doesn’t love tiara decor? That’s just STYLE.

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The Debut Dish 2017: Stephanie Elliot, Laurie Devore, Diana Gallagher, and L.E. Delano (+ Giveaways)

February 5, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 16

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Stephanie Elliot (Sad Perfect), Laurie Devore (How to Break a Boy), Diana Gallagher (Lessons In Falling), and L.E. Delano (Traveler).


Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot
February 28, 2017 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

The story of a teen girl’s struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.

Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and thoughts that she doesn’t want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine. At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that’s when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Girl with eating disorder struggles.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is the opening chapters. I didn’t set out to write a novel. My teen daughter had come home from a river rafting trip and she met a boy on the river that day. It sounded like the best day and just so adorable so I wanted to write a vignette about how I thought her experience went. I sat down to write about it — the rafting, the holding hands, the sun on her skin. The next thing you know I didn’t stop writing for three months!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Love this question! I was getting ready to walk into a yoga class and the teacher is very strict about being late. The call came in and I looked at the teacher and was like, “I have to take this call.” After I took the call from my agent, I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to call anyone to share the news so I just walked into yoga class and did yoga, trying to be all zen-like about it! But I was freaking out inside!!

What’s your favorite junk food?
If pizza is a junk food, then pizza. But i think that pizza is a basic food group. I guess I would say Salt and Vinegar kettle chips.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A bar of Lotion … like handmade lotion in a bar form. And the scent is Arizona Rain. Since I live in Arizona and it never rains they bottle up the smell for you.

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How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
January 31, 2017 from Imprint
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Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do–through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change–but it’s impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne’s war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won’t go down without a fight–not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what’s left of herself.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Mean girls, secrets, fake relationships.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Ah, how to not be spoilery here…there’s a scene about three fourths through the book where Olivia and her ex-best friend Adrienne have a major showdown. This causes Olivia to go on a really destructive tear with Whit trying to stop her – it’s the perfect amount of her finally acknowledging the pain she feels and coming face-to-face with all her screw-ups and how much she hates the person she’s become. It really feels like a turning point where Olivia realizes the whole deck of cards she’s built is about to come crashing down and I love all the angst that brings to the surface.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was in a Tiki bar called Three Dots and a Dash in downtown Chicago for a work event when my agent called me. The best part of finding out at Three Dots was that I later found out my editor LOVES Tiki bars and we were able to go visit it together when she came to Chicago.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Any baked goods – chocolate chip cookies, brownies, pie – gimme.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I never actually use my desk so it’s covered in all sorts of things – books, nail polish, golf balls.

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Lessons In Falling by Diana Gallagher
February 7, 2017 from Spencer Hill Press
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When Savannah Gregory blows out her knee –and her shot at a gymnastics scholarship – she decides she’s done with the sport forever. Without gymnastics, she has more time for her best friend, Cassie. She’s content to let her fun, impulsive best friend plan a memorable senior year.

That is, until Cassie tries to kill herself.

Savannah wants to understand what happened, but Cassie refuses to talk about it and for the first time, Savannah has to find her own way. The only person she can turn to is Marcos, the boy who saved Cassie’s life. Being with him makes her see who she could be and what she really wants: gymnastics.

But Cassie doesn’t approve of Marcos or of Savannah going back to gymnastics, and the tighter she tries to hold onto Savannah, the farther it pulls them apart. Without Cassie to call the shots, Savannah discovers how capable she is on her own—and that maybe her best friend’s been holding her back all along.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Best friends torn apart.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
My favorite scene is the one where Savannah competes at a gymnastics meet for the first time since her injury. It was one of the first scenes I wrote, and I love how it shows Savannah’s emotional growth and newfound willingness to take chances, regardless of the outcome.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was living with two awesome writer roommates, so once I received the email, I went straight into the kitchen to tell them!

What’s your favorite junk food?
Dark chocolate, always!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A glitter-covered Dia de los Muertos skull.

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Traveler by L.E. Delano
February 7, 2017 from Swoon Reads
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Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Reality shifting YA fantasy romance.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Jessa steps through a mirror into an alternate steampunk reality and attends her first ball with a dashing pirate.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
In my upstairs bedroom, trying hard not to hyperventilate and pass out before they could finish the offer.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Candy Halloween pumpkins.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A rather ordinary looking rock. I took it from a shoreline in Ireland, plucked it from the cold Irish Sea. It doesn’t look like much but the history that rock has seen makes it eternal.

Note from the author:
My book also contains a major character on the autism spectrum (non-Aspergers). I am the parent of a child with autism, and I wanted to show someone on the spectrum who wasn’t a “Sheldon Cooper.” It was also important to me to highlight the role of being the sibling of a special needs child, and how that lends greater maturity and resilience to those siblings.

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