Category: Author Interview

Q&A with Gabrielle Prendergast | Zero Repeat Forever Blog Tour

Posted September 4, 2017 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 2 Comments

Q&A with Gabrielle Prendergast | Zero Repeat Forever Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Gabrielle Prendergast’s Zero Repeat Forever, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours! You might remember Gabrielle from my A Week of Beauty and the Beast event this past March, and I’m so happy to have her back to talk more about her book during this month’s event, Magic, Myth, and Mischief. Read more about Zero Repeat Forever, Gabrielle, and enter to win a signed finished copy and some cool swag below!

1. What makes your book magical, mythical, and/or mischievous?

As science fiction Zero Repeat Forever not exactly magical, but the mythology it taps into is partly the Pinocchio myth (that of a manufactured non-human who wants to be human) and also, of course, Beauty and the Beast. These are two of my all time favorites. As for mischief, the protagonist of Zero Repeat Forever, Raven, is very mischievous, but never for its own sake. Before the aliens invaded she got into a little trouble just having teenage fun, but after the invasion she channels that impulsivity into surviving.

2. What elements of the original Beauty and the Beast tale did you incorporate into your retelling?

The dynamic of their relationship is very similar. Eighth is very taken with Raven from the first time he sees her, while she takes a LOT longer to warm up to him. Books play a part in the development of her trust of him, as in Beauty and the Beast. And they spend time in a penthouse apartment, which is an analog of the Beast’s castle. Some readers have declared Topher to be Gaston and I won’t argue with that!

3. What are some of your favorite novels influenced by fairy tales/mythology? (Besides, of course, your own!)

I love all of Rick Riordan’s books and am super excited about his new project, Rick Riordan Presents, where he’s working with diverse authors to write installment of his series based on multicultural mythologies.

4. If you found yourself trapped in a fairy tale, which would you want it to be?

Beauty and the Beast, obvs. Because I love the beast so much, just the way he is. Also his library.

5. Who are your favorite villains of lore?

Of lore? I love Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth. And Medusa. I can relate to her lifelong bad hair day.

6. If you could live in any fairytale or mythological world, which one would you choose to live in and why?

I mean everyone wants to go to Hogwarts, right? The problem with mythological worlds is that they mostly take place in sort of pre-medieval settings and life really sucked then. I suppose if I could actually have magical powers it might be okay, but there’s the still the whole itchy woolen corset problem.

7. If you turned your life into a fairytale story, what would the title of it be?

Rumpledshirtnskirt is about right.

8. What lesson do you want your readers to learn from your retelling?

Never judge someone by their group membership or their appearance.

Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle Prendergast
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 29, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Retellings
Find it: Amazon • B&N • Audible • iBooks • BD • Goodreads

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…

About the Author

Gabrielle is a writer, teacher and designer living in Vancouver, Canada.  You can read about her books here. She is represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

In 2014 she was the Writer in Residence at Vancouver Public Library. In 2015 she was nominated for the BC Book Prizes and chosen to tour the province to promote BC Books. In 2017 Gabrielle took part in the TD Canada Children’s Book Week Tour. She has also been nominated for the White Pine Award and the CLA Award.

Gabrielle won the Westchester Award for Audacious. Audacious was included in CBC’s list of 100 YA Books That Make You Proud to be Canadian. A poem from Capricious was chosen for the 2014 Poetry in Transit Program. Pandas on the East Side was chosen as an Ontario Library Association Best Bet for Junior Fiction in 2016. It was also nominated/shortlisted for the Chocolate Lily Award, The Red Cedar Award, the Diamond Willow Award and the Myrca Award.

Website |  Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

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Tour Schedule:

9/4/2017- That Artsy Reader Girl– Interview
9/5/2017- Read. Eat. Love.– Review
9/6/2017- Novel Novice – Guest Post
9/7/2017- britreadsbooks– Review
9/8/2017- Brittany’s Book Rambles– Interview

9/11/2017- Bibliobakes– Review
9/12/2017- A Dream Within A Dream– Guest Post
9/13/2017- Lattes & Paperbacks– Review
9/14/2017- BookHounds YA– Interview
9/15/2017- Nerdophiles – Review


Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.




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

Posted March 17, 2017 by Jana in Author Interview / 0 Comments

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.

Author Website | Twitter | Facebook

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

Posted March 15, 2017 by Jana in Author Interview / 1 Comment


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:

Author Website | Twitter

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

Posted March 14, 2017 by Jana in Author Interview / 1 Comment


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

Cristin Terrill | 2017 Apollycon Author Spotlight Tour

Posted November 7, 2016 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Spotlight / 2 Comments

Cristin Terrill | 2017 Apollycon Author Spotlight Tour

Woohoo! Today I get to spotlight the amazing Cristin Terrill, who will be joining us at Apollycon in Orlando next year! Cristin’s book, All Our Yesterdays, is one of my FAVORITE books ever (so sad about no sequels!). I reviewed it on my blog many moons ago, and here’s some of the highlights of that review:

“Your mind will be blown, and your eyes will get huge, and your brain will try to comprehend it but it’s really wacky. And amazing.”

“I loved the sweet relationships between Marina and James. To me, it kind of felt like Corey and Topanga from Boy Meets World.”

“Romance blooms, romance fades, new feelings grow, old feelings are explored. People flip flop. Lots happens. In the midst of all of it, the characters learn a lot about themselves.”

Yeah. I loved this book. So I’m super excited to feature Cristin today!

The Fast Five Q&A with Cristin

Thing you’re most excited about for Apollycon 2017:
Getting to hang out with all the other authors and readers!

Last book you read:
The Sisters Who Would Be Queen by Leanda de Lisle. Just a bit of research for something I’m toying with at the moment (and an interesting examination of Jane Grey’s less famous sisters).

Best moment as an author:
Probably my first real book signing at BEA a couple of months before ALL OUR YESTERDAYS released. It’s all a bit of a haze but I think that was when I really realized that my book was going to be published and people were going to read it and my life was going to change.

Last thing you treated yourself to:
A chocolate frozen custard for surviving a miserable day without hurting anyone.

Last thing that made you laugh:
While typing my previous answer, my cat jumped for a bookcase and totally missed and I evil cackled. Maybe not very nice, but true.

Cristin Terrill is a young adult author and aspiring grown-up. She grew up semi-nomadic and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in drama. After getting her masters in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, she lived in London, Austin, Boston, and Washington, DC while working as a theatrical stage manager. Now she writes and leads creative writing workshops for DC-area kids and teens. All Our Yesterdays is her first novel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

All Our Yesterdays

What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it… at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Add to Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

All 2017 Apollycon attendees are eligible to win one of these awesome prizes! Gift Cards will be distributed to the winners at Apollycon 2017 to be used within the Apollycon bookstore. The passes will allow you to skip to the front of one author’s signing line (your choice).

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Q&A with Author Kathy Parks | The Lifeboat Clique Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted March 1, 2016 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 5 Comments

Q&A with Author Kathy Parks | The Lifeboat Clique Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Happy book birthday to The Lifeboat Clique!

Welcome to my spot on the blog tour for Kathy Parks’s The Lifeboat Clique, hosted by The Irish Banana ReviewI really enjoyed The Lifeboat Clique, and am so happy to have Kathy here today to answer a few of my questions!

1. The geography of the lunchroom is a very big deal, and was discussed in The Lifeboat Clique. Which table would your high school self have sat at?

I think I would have sat at one of the Uncategorized tables. I wasn’t an outcast but not terribly popular though I remember being friendly with most people. Of course I may be remembering wrong, and ate lunch in a closet.

2. What are the top 5 things you would have wanted with you if you were stranded on that lifeboat?

Great question!

1. A pony keg full of water. And if no water is available, then tequila. Might as well enjoy myself.
2. A laptop, so I can write about various perceived injustices from the others.
3. A wide brimmed hat. I hate the feeling of getting sunburned.
4. A very long and absorbing novel to pass the time while I’m waiting to be rescued. Maybe Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy.
5. Mrs. Field’s Chocolate chip cookies. I just know when I start hallucinating I’m going to think there are cookies in the boat. Might as well have some of those on hand.

3. What advice would you like to give the kids in the lifeboat? They are all going through physical, emotional, and mental challenges. What would you like to tell them as they are floating around in the ocean?

I’d tell them that this whole popularity thing, this important person versus unimportant person, is all an illusion, and that catastrophe should bring out your best self, because if in fact you do die, it’s better to die as a good person. I’d also encourage them not to drink seawater.

4. YA mash-up! In The Hunger Games, sponsors could send items to help the tributes survive. Let’s pretend the lifeboat clique’s journey to survival was televised, for entertainment and sponsors could help them. What item would you have sent to the lifeboat, and who would it have been for? Why? 

I think I would have sent a Ronco Pocket Fisherman so Denver wouldn’t have had to use the wire holding together her bra to make a fishhook. I know that when a girl is on a lifeboat and her bra is uncomfortable, that makes for a very long ordeal.

Thanks for the questions!

Find Kathy on Twitter and Tumblr

As my review states, I highly recommend The Lifeboat Clique! Denver is the Veronica Mars of survival, and I’m pretty sure you will love her. Read a little about the book, and make sure you enter the giveaway below!

the lifeboat cliqueThe Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, survival
My Review
Add to Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Book Depository

Some people might say that Denver had a death wish. Why else would she have dared to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies, namely including her ex-BFF Abigail?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who was she to question this miracle of fate? Well, that wasn’t the only surprise fate had in store.

During the party a tsunami hit the coast of California, wiping out everything in its path. Denver and a handful of others escaped death by holding onto the roof of the house and were swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways was none other than Abigail, who could barely stand the sight of her.

Now that she’s floating in the ocean, stuck on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first-dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Park’s irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances.

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Tour Schedule

2/29: The Irish Banana Review – Review
3/1: That Artsy Reader Girl – Guest Post
3/2: Bookiemoji – Review
3/3: Andi’s ABCs – ABC Post
3/4: Novel Ink – Review
3/7: A Book & A Latte – How I Write
3/8: Reads All the Books – Review
3/9: Actin’ Up With Books – Q&A
3/10: Paperback Princess – Review
3/11: Life According to a Bibliophile – Guest Post

Exclusive Interview with Author Kristan Higgins

Posted January 6, 2016 by Jana in Author Interview / 0 Comments

I’m so happy to have Kristan on the blog today in celebration of the recent release of Anything for You (12/29/15), the final book in Blue Heron series! Read a little bit about the book, and then scroll down to learn more about Kristan! I had some fun questions to ask her.


Blue Heron Series: The Best Man, The Perfect Match, Waiting On You, In Your Dreams, Anything for You

Anything for You by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN Books on December 29, 2015
Genres: Adult – Contemporary Romance
Amazon • Add to Goodreads

Before you get down on bended knee…

…you should be pretty darn sure the answer will be yes. For ten years, Connor O’Rourke has been waiting for Jessica Dunn to take their on-again, off-again relationship public, and he thinks the time has come. His restaurant is thriving, she’s got her dream job at Blue Heron Vineyard—it’s the perfect time to get married.

When he pops the question, however, her answer is a fond but firm no. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Jess has her hands full with her younger brother, who’s now living with her full-time, and a great career after years of waitressing. What she and Connor have is perfect: friends with an excellent benefits package. Besides, with her difficult past (and reputation), she’s positive married life isn’t for her.

But this time, Connor says it’s all or nothing. If she doesn’t want to marry him, he’ll find someone who does. Easier said than done, given that he’s never loved anyone but her. And maybe Jessica isn’t quite as sure as she thinks…

Interview with Kristan Higgins

Jana: Hi Kristan! It’s so nice to have you on the blog today. Where were you when you found out you were being published for the very first time? Tell us about that moment.

Kristan: I was alone in the house when my agent called with the news. I gasped and jumped around and cried a little, and then when I hung up the phone, I thought of my dad, who’d died many years before. And I told him, and for a second, it felt like he was there. Then my daughter got off the school bus, and I said, “Guess what? Mommy wrote a book, and it’s going to be in bookstores.” And she said, “That’s nice! What’s for snack?”

Jana: Aw, that’s really sweet! When you think about all of your books, what is the one scene you found the most fun to write?

Kristan: There’s a scene in ANYTHING FOR YOU when Connor oversleeps on the morning of his mother’s wedding. He’s a wee bit hung over, and his sister has absolutely no sympathy for him. I love that scene.

Jana: Which character in the Blue Heron series do you see yourself in the most?

Kristan: Oh, that’s a great question! I think I’m most like Emmaline Neal from IN YOUR DREAMS. She’s a very capable woman, but she’s got an Achilles heel, too. She’s straightforward and fun and goodhearted, and I hope I’m all those things, too. But there’s a goodly chunk of my heart in every character, except the really mean ones, of course.

Jana: I love that there’s a part of you in every character! That’s so nice! Now that the Blue Heron series is over, what are you going to miss most about it?

Kristan: Well, never say never, you know? There’s a chance I’ll write another Blue Heron book, but this did feel like a good stopping point. If it’s truly the end, I think I’ll miss the town the most, because the people who make it what it is were the best part of writing the series.

Jana: Oh, interesting. I’d love it if you went black to Blue Heron again someday! When you’re not writing, what else do you like to do?

Kristan: I like to annoy my kids by lying on their beds and making them talk to me; I love going to the movies and eating out; I love to travel, ride bikes on flat surfaces and window-shop. Mostly, though, I’m a homebody who’s just happy doing everyday things.

Jana: Haha. I like that you stipulate that bikes must be ridden on flat surfaces. I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Kristan!

Kristan: Thank you so much for having me!

I don’t know about you, but I loved getting to know Kristan a little better! Her books are so much fun, and I love the characters. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Have you read any of Kristan’s books? Which one is your favorite?

Dove Arising Blog Tour | Q&A with Karen Bao

Posted March 3, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour / 5 Comments

Welcome to my spot along the blog tour for Dove Arising by Karen Bao, hosted by Penguin Teen! Karen is a 2015 debut author of a pretty exciting book about a girl living on the moon (and a whole lot more). I know you’ve already seen here on The Debut Dish, but today we get to learn even more about her!

When did you first come up with the idea for Dove Arising, and how old were you? Did it come out of a particular experience? 

I came up with the idea for Dove Arising when I was seventeen and a senior in high school. I’d just submitted college applications and had many doubts about my future: where would I be next year? What direction would my career take me? Was I ready to leave home?

When Phaet joins Militia, she faces these same questions, but she also deals with many more restrictions on her freedom. Many of these were inspired by my mom’s childhood. At the time, she started telling me about her own experiences in Communist China. Food rationing was a part of life for most people, but Party members still got everything they needed. (Spoiler alert: my mom’s parents weren’t Party members.)

The government banned classical Chinese texts, denied much of recent history, and closed China off from outside influences. My mother’s father, a university professor, was sent to labor camp in the countryside for a decade, and he was absent for most of her childhood. The government needed more scientists for “progress’s sake,” and essentially forced my mom, a straight-A student, to major in chemistry. In many ways, Phaet’s life resembles my mother’s: she also has a missing father and she studies science like crazy, knowing that academic success is the only way out of poverty.

I guess I wrote Dove Arising as an “escape” from real life, but it made me realize how lucky I was to live in a liberal democracy. I could choose which college I wanted to attend, and I could choose what I wanted to study. Also, I could write a book portraying government oppression without fearing for my life.

What are your thoughts on being a female writing science-fiction/fantasy in an often male-dominated genre or category with male main characters?

I feel like I’m writing in a great genre with great company. Authors like Tamora Pierce, Ursula Le Guin, and Octavia Butler sort of paved the way for later female writers in sci-fi/fantasy – and there are a lot of us! Moreover, there’s a growing interest in portraying women, as well as diversity in general. I know male authors who are writing female main characters, and they say it’s easy, just like writing any other person. POC and LGBT characters are also gaining ground. All in all, 2015 is a great time to be a writer!

What’s one of the funniest things that has happened to you during the publication process?

It’s a real challenge to pick the funniest thing that has happened to me in the publication process. I have seen hilarious costumes at Comic Con, had my name spelled “BOA” (like the constrictor) by travel companies, bonded with booksellers about the advantages of wearing leggings instead of real pants, and modeled Dove Arising T-shirts by waving them around like a bullfighter. But perhaps the most laughable incident was when I found out that my book would really take off. Picture this: I’d just taken a shower, so my hair was a wet beehive, and I lunged to pick up my phone (my ringtone sounds like a singing robot). After hearing that Penguin wanted to publish Dove Arising, I was silent. Then I said, “Nawww.” Another pause. Then I squealed and rolled around on the carpet like a happy puppy. I’m glad no one videotaped the scene and shared the footage; I’d lose all professional credibility.

Find Karen at her websiteTwitter, and Facebook.
Add Dove Arising to Goodreads.

So, how does Dove Arising sound to you? What do you think about Karen’s discussion on how she came up with the idea?

Q&A with Marie Rutkoski | The Winner’s Crime Blog Tour (+ giveaway)

Posted February 28, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 14 Comments

Q&A with Marie Rutkoski | The Winner's Crime Blog Tour (+ giveaway)

Welcome to my stop along the The Winner’s Crime blog tour! I love this trilogy, and am so excited to have Marie on the blog today for a little Q&A! Make sure you enter the giveaway for a hardcover copy of The Winner’s Crime as well!

TARG: If you wrote yourself into the Winner’s trilogy, what kind of character would you be?

MR: I’d probably be Sarsine. I’d be the one telling Arin, “Get your head on straight, will you? I love you, but you’re a mess.”

But I also feel close to Kestrel in several ways—or at least closer than I’ve felt with any of my other main characters.

TARG: If you were to give The Winner’s Crime a theme song, what would it be?

MR: U2’s “With or Without You.”

TARG: What already released book do you wish you had written? (Not because it was badly written or anything like that… but because you loved it so much!)

MR: I’m going to choose my favorite recent release: I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson.

TARG: Tell us about your most relaxing day ever.

MR: I wake up to the sound of the ocean somewhere warm, preferably in Positano, and lay in bed reading while someone brings me tea and a French apricot pastry. I know that my parents or in-laws are taking great care of my children and they are having a blast. I go down to the beach, swim, read and lie in the sun. When the day gets too hot, I go into the cool interior to write. I take the longest shower ever. I practice the violin for a bit. I go out to dinner with my family and then for drinks down by the dark sea with my best friends. The stars are bright. I can see the Milky Way.

There should be a massage scheduled in there, too.

TARG: Tell us the most unique and/or random thing about yourself.

MR: My spine is slightly crooked. I like to drink plain hot water in winter (I call it “silver tea”). I sometimes have incredibly detailed dreams.

Don’t you just love Marie? Her perfect day sounds AMAZING, and what great taste in music she has!

So. Time to get excited about The Winner’s Crime! If you’re brand new to the series, read about the first book, The Winner’s Curse. If you feel like tweeting about how excited you are, or how much you love Marie, use #TheWinnersCrime so everyone knows! (Oh, and tweet @marierutkoski and let her know, too!)

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #2
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the Book • Add to Goodreads

Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

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Author Kelly Fiore on Just Like the Movies | Interview + Giveaway

Posted July 25, 2014 by Jana in Author Interview, Giveaway / 8 Comments

I’m so excited to have Kelly on the blog today to talk about her new book, Just Like the Movies, as part of the official blog tour hosted by Bloomsbury Children’s! This book is absolutely adorable (keep an eye out for my raving review next week!), and so is the author. I had so much fun learning more about her and her book. Before we jump in to the interview, let me give you some info on the book. And make sure you get to the very bottom of the post so you can enter the giveaway for a finished copy of Just Like the Movies!

just like the moviesJust Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
Published by Walker Books for young Readers on July 22, 2014
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 300
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Buy the BookAdd to Goodreads

Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson.

Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend.

While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques?

Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.

Author Interview

TARG: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions today, Kelly!

KF: Thanks so much for having me, Jana.

TARG: If you only had five words (or less) to sell your book to a potential reader, how would you describe it to them?

KF: Friendship’s it’s own happy ending.

TARG: Oh, I absolutely love that! I love books with a strong friendship element, and Just Like the Movies definitely has that.

One can only assume you had specific movies in mind while you were writing. You mention quite a few throughout the book itself, but which movie(s) made you go: “I’ve got to write this book.”

KF: I think Say Anything is the biggest reason – that boombox scene is iconic – but also a lot of movies that didn’t make the cut were movies I loved and wanted to “live” in. Movies like French Kiss or Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion were movies that I saw during high school and thought, “Oh, that could never happen.” Adult Kelly thought, “Wait… what if it could…?”

TARG: I’ve actually never seen Say Anything, but you’ve got me wanting to! It sounds super sweet and romantic.

Just Like the Movies features two girls who are very different from one another, but bond over their love of romantic movies. You’ve got Marijke, an outgoing track star with a sexy boyfriend and Lily, a shy, studious wallflower. Which one of these girls do you see yourself in?

KF: Lily. So much of Lily is me. Which is funny, because I wasn’t exactly quiet or anything in high school. But the sarcastic snark, the biting wit – that’s me to a fault. Like Lily, I’ve used that to keep people entertained, but at a distance.

TARG: I also identified a lot with Lily as I was reading. I’ve always been the quiet, organized type, but I can whip out a little one-liner or a sarcastic comment every now and then and make people laugh. I was also the girl in school people looked over, or even through. I loved Lily a lot because I saw her living my life.

Anyone who follows your blog knows you’re a total foodie (and your debut novel, Taste Test, definitely confirms it.) Lily mentions that she loves the Saturday morning tradition of peanut butter pancakes with bananas for breakfast. Does a recipe for these exist? She also says she loves to cook for her family. What other kinds of things does Lily cook?

KF: I’m sure a recipe exists! I don’t have one, but they sound way too delicious not to be a real thing. ☺ I don’t know if Lily is much of a cook besides the basics – she’s pretty great at ordering pizza, though! (Joe Lombardi, on the other hand? He’s one of those guys I can imagine has some great date night staple recipes under his belt to impress the ladies – like Pasta Carbonara or Shrimp Scampi.)

TARG: Ahh, Joe. I love Joe a lot! And I can totally see him whipping up some yummy Italian.

Which Just Like the Movies scene was your favorite one to write? Why?

KF: I love writing climactic scenes in most cases, although I really loved writing the preface/beginning part of JLTM when the girls are in Tommy’s yard. It was the very first thing I wrote for the book and I felt their friendship starting to root in that section. Oh, and I loved writing Marijke’s running scenes. Chapter One specifically.

TARG: What’s your favorite quote from Just Like the Movies? Why?

KF: From page 269 – the last Marijke section:
“And there it is – the last aspect of the perfect movie romance: chemistry. It’s the one thing that the movies capture that real life has in common. It’s the one thing you can’t fake, because it’s as certain as science.”

TARG: I highlighted that quote! It’s definitely one of my favorites as well.

Just Like the Movies comes off as being a light contemporary romance, but there are some heavier issues and a lot of feelings. What do you hope readers take away from this story?

KF: This is a great question. In the end, this story is about relationships with other people and how we value ourselves in our relationships – romantic and friend-oriented. Marjike and Lily both make choices based on what other people – boys, in particular – might think of them. By the end of the book, both of them have learned that their opinions of themselves are the ones that matter the most. If I could hope for anything of my readers, it would be that they recognize and appreciate that growth.

TARG: Mission accomplished, Kelly! I loved watching these girls grow in their relationships with each other, as well as with the boys. And I particularly loved watching them stand up for themselves, because that’s something high school girls (and even adult women!) just don’t do enough of.

By nature, writers are extremely passionate about their craft. What has becoming an author done for you as a person?

KF: Becoming an author, specifically, has made me far more thick-skinned. And a little more patient. It’s given me the opportunity to leave something behind and it’s made me stronger. It’s made me both exceedingly happy and extremely miserable – sometimes at the same time.

TARG: I love that. I know I’ve done things in my life that have made me a strong version of who I was, and they are some of my most rewarding experiences.

Finally, do you have a love story worthy of the movies?

KF: I think every love story is worthy of a movie – it’s love, man. It’s the exception. It’s the reason to get out of bed. I met my husband when we were basically kids. Thirteen years later, he still makes me laugh until I snort coffee and makes me so mad that I want to punch holes in everything we own. He’s given me the most beautiful little boy and the most beautiful life. And almost none of our story would fit within the parameters of a romantic comedy. But, you know what? Every single second of it has been love. We are the lucky ones. And I wish everyone – everyone – that kind of imperfect, infuriating, frustrating, intoxicating, endless love. It’s why those movies are made in the first place.

TARG: *swoon* I don’t even know how to respond to that statement! I hope I find your kind of love one day for myself.

Thanks so much, again, Kelly! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you today. I absolutely adored Just Like the Movies, and can’t wait for your next book, The People vs. Cecelia Price!

Meet the Author

Kelly Fiore has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Poetry from West Virginia University. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2005 and 2009. Kelly’s poetry has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. Her first young adult novel, Taste Test, was released in August 2013 from Bloomsbury USA. Forthcoming books include Just Like the Movies, again from Bloomsbury, in 2014 and The People Vs. Cecelia Price from HarperTeen in 2015.

Kelly teaches college composition in Maryland, where she lives with her husband and son.

Connect with Kelly!
Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook | Goodreads


The wonderful people of Bloomsbury Children’s have a great giveaway for you! Enter below for a chance to win a finished copy of Just Like the Movies! USA only, please.
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Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more awesome content!

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