Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Renegade by J.A. Souders

Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: ARC
Genre: Young Adult

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

Okay, let’s be honest, what sounds bad about a story that takes place in an underwater utopia? Especially, when said utopia promises to be anything but? Everything about this world is so well built. The descriptions of Elysium are so vivid and well-drawn, I had no problems imagining myself right there with Evie. And oh, how I love Evie. It’s pretty obvious to the reader, from the start that something is being done to her mind. When she is in her gardens one day, she is interrupted by a Surface Dweller who has managed to break into Elysium. For reasons unknown to even her, she decides to try and help him. And then things really start to get interesting.

Mother wants Evie to find out how the Surface Dweller, also known as Gavin, got into Elysium in the first place and why he came. Evie wants to figure out a way to get him out of there alive. As the stakes rise and Evie begins to realize that her memories have been altered, her and Gavin are suddenly racing against the clock to stay alive and get him back to the surface. Mother is such an excellent villain. I’m not kidding when I say this  lady is seriously evil, but at the same time I am extremely curious to find out why exactly she is the way she is.

Most of the book is spent with Evie, Mother and Gavin, but there are a few secondary characters that make quite an impact in the story. Evie’s best friend Macie is a scientist and one of the few people Evie trusts wholeheartedly. She’s got spunk, that Macie, and definitely comes through for our renegades on more than one occasion. Other secondary’s are of the not so nice variety, but definitely amp up the tension and keep things interesting for the characters.
I am literally unable to maintain a normal life until I can read the next installment of this series. I am so desperate to know what happens, but alas, J.A. assures me that book two does not come out at the same time as book one, so I will have to wait. This is a beautifully written story with a mesmerizing world and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Read this one, you won’t be sorry :0)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Olde City, New Blood Convention: Urban Fantasy Author Dianna Love!

Today we've got another special treat for everyone! Urban Fantasy author, Dianna Love, answered some questions and talked a little bit about coming to the Olde City, New Blood convention that's taking place in St. Augustine, this February! She won me over right away, because anyone who plans their trips around food, is an A+ in my book :0)
The Curse is the most recent addition to the bestselling Belador series!
On a mission to find a traitor, Evalle becomes the catalyst that unleashes a 2000-year-old Medb curse on the Beladors…and the world.

The Medb coven sends a team of deadly Svart Trolls to capture Alterants, starting with Evalle. To stop the troll-led gang wars erupting in Atlanta, Evalle borrows a weapon from her Black Ops friend Isak and, in the process, exposes a secret that complicates her tumultuous love life just as sexy skinwalker Storm surfaces with news of where he’s been – the last place she expects. But Evalle has bigger problems when she discovers the real target in jeopardy and the game changes with no time left on the clock.


New York Times bestseller Dianna Love spent her early years dangling over a hundred feet in the air to create unusual marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies. Now she’s released her energetic muse on writing high-octane thrillers and urban fantasy. Her first book won the prestigious RITA® Award (as Dianna Love Snell) and she currently co-writes the Belador urban fantasy series with #1 NYT best seller Sherrilyn Kenyon. This Kenyon-Love collaboration debuted on the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and Walmart best seller lists. The latest Belador book – THE CURSE – was released September 2012.  
 When not speaking at national and international events throughout the year, Dianna lives in the metro Atlanta area with her motorcycle-instructor husband. For more on Dianna visit

Now for some question and answer time with Dianna!
I hear you have a motorcycle. That’s so fun! We’ve got a decent motorcycle community down here in Florida, do you think you’ll be making the trip, to the convention, on yours?

DL – I would love to do that, but I’m bringing my assistant with me and a bunch of goodies for the attendees, so that means driving my car. 

I know you’re a busy writer, but when you get down time, do you travel a lot? What are some of the coolest places you’ve been?

DL – My favorite getaway is on my bike, because I can stop in so many areas that I would normally never see while traveling by air.  Years  ago, I basically threw a dart at a map to find St. Mary’s, Georgia, an adorable town on the southeastern coast of Georgia.  I took a trip last winter down to Sarasota to see friends and show my husband the area where I was born, then we drove up through Tampa where I grew up.  I love getting off the main highway and finding places like art galleries that carry regional art and restaurants you have to talk to the “locals” to find.  Of course, I believe in planning my trips around food. J

Do you like to incorporate bits from your real life experiences into your books, or is it all from your imagination?

DL – I do incorporate things from my life since the Belador Urban Fantasy is set in Atlanta where I live (just to the south in Peachtree City) and other places I’ve visited by motorcycle.  I like to “walk the land” when working with a new setting and that’s when we’ll jump on the bikes to go see a new place for research.  I hear interesting things wherever I go that sometimes end up in a book, and someone  may inspire a character, but I would never create a character that was just like a real person I know or met while traveling.  

What is your favorite thing about going to book conventions?

DL – Oh my gosh, that’s an easy question to answer – It’s meeting readers in person.  I’m normally grumpy about anything that interrupts my work schedule, unless it means I can spend time with readers. That is such a treat for me.  I love the opportunity to just hang out with everyone and chat in a comfortable setting.  I’m so looking forward to coming to St. Augustine for the Olde City New Blood Conference.  Because I grew up in Florida, it will always hold a special place in my heart, so much so that most of my first book was set there, near Ft. Lauderdale, and part of my new upcoming Slye Temp series is in the Miami area too,  so what better place for me to talk to readers? 


Thank you so much, Sarah, for inviting me to your blog, and I hope to see your readers in St. Augustine!
Thanks, Dianna! We look forward to meeting you in February :0)
And as a little something extra, Dianna will give away a copy of THE CURSE (Book 3 in the bestselling Belador Urban Fantasy series) and a Keeper Kase™ loaded with a special selection of Keeper Cards™ (for deets, go to to one commenter. Tell us why you love the Belador series, give Dianna some restaurant recommendations for her next road trip, tell us why you can't wait for the convention, or tell us anything your heart desires! US/CAN only. The contest will run for one week, and the winner will be chosen on November 5th.
Thanks, again, Dianna and thanks to all of you for stopping by! I hope to see everyone at the Olde City, New Blood Convention in February!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (13) w/ some big time Awesome!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and was inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox posts.
Happy Saturday, Everybody! This was a pretty awesome week. A couple of highly anticipated titles now live happily on my bookshelves! A few of them I was lucky enough to find early, so that's pretty fantastic :0)
For Review:
Reflection by Jessica Roberts
Reaction by Jessica Roberts
*I'm on the blog tour for Reaction next week, so I got both books to review! I'm almost done w/ Reflection and it's excellent so far!*
Pure by Julianna Baggott
*This book looks so cool and it's been on my wishlist forever, so I am really excited to read and review it!*
The Big Splash by Jack D. Ferraiolo
The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo
*I hadn't heard of this series when they showed up in the mail, but they look like a lot of fun and I've been trying to work more MG into my reading habits :0) *
Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini
*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got all geeky at work when I saw this come in w/ our shipment. I practically screamed MINE while making grabby hands and giggling. My co-workers are highly amused by my booknerdish-ness.*
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
*I absolutely cannot wait to continue this story. The first Mara was such an epic WTF and I must know more!*
Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook
*So, I recently stumbled across Eileen Cook's books on Goodreads and pretty much want to read all of them. They sound like my favorite type of stories.*
From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas (Review)
*I read this one from NetGalley earlier this year and I absolutely adored it! I finally decided that I needed this awesome book on my shelves.*
My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron
*Saw some people talking about this one, read the synopsis and some reviews, and decided it needed to live in my Nook.*

 Big thanks to Hachette, Abrams, and YA Bound for the review copies!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview w/ Karen Ann Hopkins author of TEMPTATION

Today we've got author Karen Ann Hopkins talking about her book Temptation and how living in an Amish community helped inspire her novel!

Did you set out to write a novel that incorporated the Amish way of life, or was your writing impacted by living in an Amish neighborhood?

Living in an Amish neighborhood and witnessing the interactions between my children and the Amish kids inspired me to begin writing seriously.  Up until that point, I’d played around with a YA fantasy novel that was more of an exercise in whether I could actually create a novel, rather than an attempt to market my work.


While writing Temptation, did you talk to the teens in your Amish neighborhood so you were better able to get inside your characters heads?

Soon after I moved to Kentucky, a group of eighteen or so Amish teens began coming to my farm to participate in riding events in my arena.  The youth were excited to ride their horses in a group setting and to play games on horse-back.  I quickly became close with many of the teens and they gladly told me about their Amish lives and their thoughts on being Amish.  I had a very unique situation where I was privy to information that most outsiders wouldn’t be.

Did you always aspire to be a YA author or did you start off writing in another genre?

Yes, YA has been an interest of mine ever since I was a teenager myself.  Some of my favorite stories were from the genre and even as an adult with teens of my own now, I still enjoy checking out the newest YA material on the shelves. 

 What is your favorite part about the writing process? Do you have any quirky writing rituals?

I enjoy the revision part of the process.  I can breathe a sigh of relief once the entire story is on the pages and move on to the perfection part.  It’s amazing how adding a chapter or scene after the completion can drastically alter the feel of the novel and improve it.

What made you decide to make Temptation the first in a series, instead of a standalone novel?

Temptation is a difficult story to tell and I knew it would take a few books to iron out the troubles Rose and Noah would encounter in their love affair.  A couple of Amish teens in my own neighborhood have left their families to be with outsiders.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, the problems it stirs up within a family and community are dire.  In both instances, these girls were shunned by their families and have almost no contact with them.  It was a hard road for each to follow, but they both seem happy with their decisions at this point.  I’ve come to the conclusion from my own observations that girls leave more frequently than the boys.

Which character’s voice stood out the most while you were writing? Is there one that was easier to write than any of the others?

Sam’s character took on a life of its own.  I was surprised how easily his personality came and decided to include his POV in the second book, Belonging.  It took two years of research and experiences with the young men in my own community to feel comfortable writing Noah’s character.  Rose was the easiest.

Can you give us any hints about what’s to come for Rose and Noah in future books?
Rose and Noah will have a hard time of it, but even when their love falters, fate keeps bringing them back together again.  Belonging has a grittier edge to it, showing some of the dark side of being Amish and living in an isolated community.  There is more action and opportunity for Rose to show her strong spirit.  A new character, Summer Sage, brings some of adventure into Sam’s life as well.

Where to find Karen and Temptation Facebook l Goodreads l Amazon l Barnes & Noble

And, because Karen is so awesome and generous, she's offering up a signed copy of Temptation! And the giveaway is International! Just hit up the Rafflecopter below :0)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that showcases our most wanted upcoming releases.
Release Date: January 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

Can we talk for a minute about how awesome the first line of that synopsis is?!? Just, wow! I can't even accurately put into words how excited I am to read this book. I love everything about this premise. It sounds a little spooky and a lot amazing. I'm a huge fan of Victoria Schwab's previous book, The Near Witch, and I've only heard wonderful things about The Archived. This is definitely on my gotta have list and I'm pretty sure none of you will want to miss out on it either :0)
What are you guys waiting for this week?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burak: Review + Giveaway!!

Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
When Claire’s best friend Richy went missing, he disappeared without a trace. But when Emily Dickinson’s dress goes missing from the Amherst museum, she knows exactly where it is: in her closet.
As Claire and her student teacher, Tate, attempt to figure out what do to about the dress, they begin to uncover the truth behind Richy's disappearing act. Following a trail of clues across state lines, Claire and Tate attempt to find the person that Claire knows in her gut is responsible for his disappearance.
This book is a complete gem. I almost missed out on reading it, myself, but I am so glad that I didn't. You've got the perfect mix of a rich, layered story, solid and unique characters, and a nice bit of mystery worked in.
Claire is not a simple girl and she doesn't have such a happy past. I really enjoyed viewing things from her perspective and seeing her way of coping with life and the things it throws at her. We don't find out everything about her all at once, nor am I really sure we ever know exactly what has made her who she is by the end of the story, but I love the way her story unravels and pieces of her start to come together. She certainly has a hard time letting people in and when Tess befriends her, it certainly took a while for Claire to appreciate the friendship and realize that she really was something good in her life. I think the contrast between them added so much to the story. Tess loves love and all of the things it adds to life, while Claire remains cautious of most things and tends to dwell on the bad things that have happened in her life.
Sam Tate, what to say about him? Initially, he comes off as kind of a jerk. Then we find out he is, in fact, a student teacher in Claire's class and he has a penchant for arguing with her. So it certainly took me a bit to warm up to him, but as we get to know him a little better, it became a little clearer to me why he was that way at first. Claire does some pretty crazy things during the book and Tate shows up for her time and time again. Pretty noble, considering he doesn't really know anything about her. Claire is determined to find out what really happened to her best friend Richy and Tate seems to be determined to help her.
I had never read any of Emily Dickinson's work, but the way Kathryn works Emily's poetry, along with words written by Claire, into the story tied everything together so beautifully. It gave the book a little something extra and gave me the urge to go out and get some of Emily Dickison's stuff right away. This book took me completely by surprise and has cemented itself a place on my all time favorite books shelf. It's a quiet kind of amazing and I urge everyone to give it a read. There are no monsters or evil dictators, but it does possess magic :0)
And don't go yet, because Kathryn has graciously offered up a signed copy of Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things to one lucky commenter! Tell us what earns a book a spot on your keeper shelf, and you'll be entered to win! Be sure to leave a way to contact you if you win (email, twitter handle, blog link, etc.). Giveaway ends on October 31st. US/CAN Only.
Good luck and Happy Reading :0)

Thanks to the winner has been chosen! She has been contacted and confirmed! Thanks everyone who entered, and even if you didn't win, definitely go pick up EMILY'S DRESS!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (12) + Chocolate!!!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and was inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox posts.
I have been pretty MIA on Saturdays, as of late, but I had some time today and I got some ridiculously awesome books this week, so I decided to share. No vlog, because I am in total relax mode today and look like a bum, but I've got pretty pictures :0)
For Review:
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (NetGalley)
*OH MY GOSH!! I almost fell over dead when I got the email, from Little Brown, to download this from NG! Words cannot describe. I expect to be done with this one by mid week!*
Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt (NetGalley)
*This one is really intriguing to me and I'm a huge fan of the cover. It seems like it could be a little dark, but I'm cool with that.*
Bruised by Sarah Skilton (Thanks, Laura and Abrams!!)
*This was actually my WoW post last week, so you can imagine how excited I am to dive in! I love that the main character can literally kick ass, without having any kind of supernatural ability!*
The Lies That Bind by Lisa & Laura Roecker (Thanks, Sourcebooks!)
*I'm on the blog tour for this one in Decemeber, so I am really looking forward to starting it!*
Tempestuous by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes (Thanks, Merit Press!)
Exposure by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes (Thanks, Merit Press!)
*These two books are part of the Twisted Lit series on the new YA imprint, Merit Press. They are twisted takes on Shakespeare's The Tempest and Macbeth. I've already started Tempestuous and it's really funny!*
The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab (Thanks, Merit Press!)
*I always like a good mystery, throw in ex-best friends, a teen idol, and some bad guys holding people hostage, and I'm all in!*
The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (Thanks, Mindee!!)
*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Seriously, so freaking pumped for this one. I won it from Mindee back in June, but the ARCs weren't available until now, so you can imagine the mailbox stalking that went on when she told me she'd mailed it :0) *
Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burak (Thanks, Kathryn and the folks at Sleuths, Spies, and Alibis!)
*I originally read this book from NetGalley and fell head over heels for it, so I was super stoked when I found out I won a signed copy! My review will be up this week, along w/ a signed copy giveaway from Kathryn! You guys want to read this one :0) *
Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout
*I have book one, so naturally I need book two in preparation for book three!*
Torched by Andrea Lynn Colt
*Miranda Kenneally was talking about this on Twitter, so I checked it out on Goodreads and realized I must own it!*
Phew! That's a lot of books, my poor shelves...hehe. So, this is completely unrelated to books, but I also got quite a haul of delicious chocolate this week and I wanted to share! I'm currently doing the Weight Watchers points plan and have found that a square of dark chocolate satisfies a sweet craving while costing very little in points, so it's a win/win :0)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Elemental Series by Shauna Granger Blog Tour: Earth (Book 1) Review @dyingechoes and #ElementalBlogTour

Hey guys! Today I'm featuring a review for EARTH, book one in the Elemental series, as part of the blog tour going on all week! Elemental was an awesome book and the start to what I'm sure will be an excellent series.

Shayna and her two best friends have the abilities to manipulate and control the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. While learning to hone their growing powers, they discover a new and malicious presence in their sleepy beach town. Someone is performing blood magic and threatens to expose their small magical community. So far only small animals have been slaughtered, but then the nightmares start.

Shayna suffers nightmares of being chased and sacrificed only to wake up bloodied and bruised. She thinks her magical blood is the ultimate target for the final blood rite. When an innocent girl, Tracy, is kidnapped Shayna knows it's only a ploy to draw her out; she can't let someone die because of her.
I've always enjoyed stories where the characters magics are based on the elements. The idea of being able to control the various elements is such a fascinating thing, and really the possibilities are endless. Shay, Jodi and Steven are such an awesome group of friends. They are connected by their shared powers, but their bond is so much more than that. I loved the teasing and banter back and forth between them, not to mention the way they were able to communicate with only each other. I think it'd be awesome to be able to carry out secret conversations, or convey specific emotions, just by touching.
When the story starts, the three of them are planning to contact the angels to get some help for a friend of theirs, who is in a seriously abusive relationship. They think it's worked, and much faster than they imagined, but then weird things start happening and Shayna senses something much more sinister is at work.
This book is full of twists and all kinds of crazy happenings. People aren't necessarily who you think they are and you will be flipping pages to see how it's all going to go. This is the first book in the series and I am looking forward to seeing what kinds of situations this gang finds themselves in next. Lots of magic, great friendships, twists and surprises. Definitely one worth picking up :0)
It was a rough start to the school year for Shayna and her friends, Jodi and Steven, but thankfully summer break is near. Trying to sort out her feelings for the new guy in town, Shayna agrees to let Jensen join her on a group date with her friends. While out they end up at a local coffee house where their classmate, social outcast Jeremy McCormick, is humiliated by his baseball star brother. When Jeremy runs away from the jeering crowd, Shayna and Jodi hear the unmistakable sound of a thousand wings chasing after him, but no one else seems to hear them. These are not like any air elementals that Shayna or Jodi have ever encountered before and they fear Jeremy has gotten himself tangled up in something too dangerous for him to handle. But when Shayna tries to help Jeremy control his magical abilities she realizes it might be the biggest mistake of her life.
Shayna's first surfing session of the summer is interrupted by the screams of a mother who has lost her little boy in the water. Without regard to her own safety, Shayna swims out, rescues the boy, but must escape the clutches of something far worse than she could have ever imagined – mermaids.

Compelled to answer the sirens' call, the boys of Shayna's town are drawn to the sea, but when they return are afflicted by an unknown illness, a sickness which is draining them of their life force. Unable to tell anyone about the mermaids, Shayna and her friends are forced to solve the mystery before it's too late, and in doing so, Shayna will finally have to face the full force of her powers. Whether she’s ready or not, she will have to face her true nature.

AND...Shauna is giving away some seriously awesome prizes for the tour! Check it out:

Grand Prize:

There is a signed copy of each paperback, Earth, Air and Water and a matching bookmark for each. There is a mini Jack-o-lantern (that I carved) and an awesome, sparkly candle (electric) and some fun Halloween treats that include candy, stickers and copy of one of my favorite Halloween movies, Monster House. (US only)

3 other winners will also receive a ebook from the series, winner’s choice from Earth, Air or Water.  (Open Internationally)
Where to find Shauna:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Send Me a Sign Blog Tour: Interview w/ author Tiffany Schmidt

I'm super psyched to be a stop on the Send Me a Sign blog tour! I absolutely adored this book. Sure, at it's heart, it's about a tough subject, but Tiffany Schmidt handled it with such humor, charm, and honesty.

Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.
For my stop I got the chance to ask Tiffany Schmidt some questions about Send Me a Sign and the writing process.
I have a personal history with Leukemia, my cousin died of it when he was 22, and I’m always nervous about reading books that deal with it. I’m always so impressed when a book that deals with such heavy subject matter can make me laugh right along with the tears, and Send Me a Sign did just that. Was there personal motivation for writing this book, or was it just an idea that came to you?
First, I am so sorry for your loss. I think it’s incredibly brave that you decided to read Send Me A Sign, even having a personal history with this awful disease.
As for why Mia’s story? I wanted to write about a character who was a teenager who happened to have cancer. Not, A Cancer Patient who happened to be a teen.  Cancer is an awful, awful disease, but it’s not an identity. People who are sick can be selfish, can be foolish, they can be stubborn and flawed and loyal and brave and superstitious.
Mia is all of these things. She plays so many roles for so many different people—best friend, daughter, girlfriend—and she’s determined not to have a cancer diagnosis change the way people perceive her or the way they treat her. I’ve known people in this situation who have had this outlook—don’t treat me differently be cause I’m ill—and it’s something I really respect.
....Not that I think the way Mia goes about hiding her illness is necessarily the right thing to do, but I did want to explore the ways we treat people who are sick. And this idea that when everything else in life feels unsettled or scary, there’s so much comfort in holding onto normal.
Gyver is the king of making playlists for every feeling and occasion, is there specific music that helped with inspiration while you were writing Send Me a Sign? Did you make a playlist for the book?
Oh, yes! I had several. I listened to them on repeat while writing the book, but of course once Send Me A Sign was out on submission to editors, I moved on to another writing project. When Send Me A Sign sold and my editorial letter arrived – one of the first things I did was cue up the playlist. Listening to those songs brought me right back into the mental space I’d been in when I wrote the book.
I’ve listened to it again a lot recently while working on promotions and interviews. There are some songs—like Stevie Wonder’s Superstitions, Something Corporate’s Break Myself, and Jack’s Mannequin’s Caves that I’ll never be able to hear without associating with this book.
Did you always aspire to be a YA author or did you start off writing in another genre?
Always YA. Before Send Me A Sign sold I was a teacher and I’ve always been fascinated by YA readers and books. I love the way people change so much during this time in their lives. It’s such a dynamic age with so many important decisions and demands. Life is changing so quickly for teenagers and school creates a crucible of social pressures and societal expectations. While I’m not sure I’d like to go back and be a teenager again, I love exploring their lives through the novels I write and read.
While creating Send Me a Sign, what was your favorite part about the writing process? Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
First drafting – in those rare moments when the ideas are tumbling out so fast and my fingers can’t keep up – that’s my favorite part of the writing process.
As for quirky writing rituals, I’ve tried really hard not to develop these—I have such a fear of becoming dependent on something in order to write (i.e. a lucky pen/chair/pajamas/beverage) and then being unable to work if I don’t have everything just so.
This being said, I DO have one silly writing rule. I only let myself eat my favorite candy (Crazy Core Skittles a.k.a. Revision Skittles) when I’m revising. The rule is ONE Skittle per page revised. It’s a great motivator – and probably the reason that revisions are my second favorite part of the writing process.
Mia decides not to tell all of her friends when she finds out she has Leukemia. How different do you think her battle, and this story, would have been if she’d told them all right away?
If Mia had told her friends she had leukemia, Send Me A Sign would have been a very different book. Much of her struggle comes from trying to pretend she’s exactly the same person as she was pre-diagnosis and while the disease doesn’t change her identity, it does physically limit her. She doesn’t have the energy she did before, she can’t perform the same role in the cheerleading squad, she’s got hospital stays and absences that she needs to explain away with lies. All this deception becomes another source of fatigue and stress.
Mia has a conversation at one point with someone (who will remain unnamed so it’s not a spoiler), where she acknowledges that her friends would have been there and done things like have people “shave their head in solidarity.” The problem was, Mia wasn’t ready to face the reality of being sick – and telling her friends would have forced her to do so.
Which character’s voice stood out the most while you were writing? Is there one that was easier to write than any of the others?
Gyver! His voice and his reactions to Mia have always been so clear in my head. From first draft to the final copy sitting on my desk, very little changed in the scenes in which he appears.
Just for fun, if you were the captain of a pirate ship, which literary characters would you want as your crew?
Captain Wentworth from Jane Austen’s Persuasion – because we need someone who knows boatish stuff.
Cammie Morgan from Gallagher Girls – because all those languages and spy-training would definitely come in handy.
Adam from If I Stay / Where She Went – because we’ll need some entertainment and I’ve got a soft spot for hot musicians.
Katsa from Graceling – I’m pretty sure if she was on my crew, I wouldn’t need anyone else.
Thank you for writing such a great story and for taking the time to answer some questions! :0)
Thanks for reading it and sharing about your cousin! *huge hugs* Also, thank you for having me on The Book Life!
Where to find Tiffany:
Blog l Twitter l Facebook l Goodreads

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kiss N' Tell Blog Tour: Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler

Today we've got Janet Gurtler, author of Who I kissed, and she's done a little body swapping with her main character Sam! We're getting all the inside information on Sam and Janet is going to tell us a little about how she creates such realistic teen characters!


“Sam, Sam, Sam. What are we going to do with you?”  

If you can’t tell, I’m using my mother voice. Also I’m talking to a fictitious character.  But we’ll ignore that part. When I write teen characters I have to turn my mother voice off.  (And embrace the crazy.)  Truth be known, I am able to remove my mother voice pretty easily and I find it kind of natural to slip inside the head of a teenager.  

I had a tough time when I was a teenager. I had a lot of internal struggles. I majored in insecurity and angst. And I remember many of those feelings really well. Really, really well.    

So, getting inside the head of a teenager isn’t as hard for me as if should be. Of course, my characters aren’t me.  I give them different challenges and different personality quirks. And then I have to try to think the way they would think. I have to slip into their shoes.

Fortunately, I enjoy imagining getting inside a character’s head. I like to go deep inside and look at things people sometimes try to hide. From themselves and from the world. I like to go there. To places that are uncomfortable. Especially with the challenges of today’s world around them. Technology. Expectations. Social media.

I took Samantha to some uncomfortable places in Who I Kissed. Imagine feeling responsible for the death of someone else. How horrifying would that be?  How would you possibly get over it? Especially when you’re dealing with your own issues.  Sam had some things to overcome even before the accident, but the accident brought them to the surface with a rush.  Ultimately, Sam has to learn to let other people in.  And that’s not always an easy thing to do.  To me she’s a fully formed person with a history and built in likes and dislikes. So let’s take a deeper look at Sam. Let me slide back into her skin for a moment and tell you some of her secrets.

Favorite Book- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time  Indian by Sherman Alexie.   

Favorite Song- Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae

Favorite Movie- The Avengers

Favorite Food- Jelly Bellies of course! But as far as real food goes, she likes Mexican.  Bean Burritos.  Even though they give her gas.  She probably wouldn’t eat them on a date.

First serious crush- Zee.  First heart aches. Zee.  Best kiss ever. Zee.

Celebrity Crush-   Corbin Bleu. She is waiting for his acting career to extend beyond High school Musical

Personal Hero-  Missy Franklin  

Secret Talent- Sam loves to dance. She practices in her room with her iPod. At some point, she’s going to try to convince her swim team to record a dance dare (dancing behind people without them knowing) for the Ellen show. She knows every dance step to Party Rockin by LMFAO.  

Most Embarrassing Moment- When her bathing suit split down the butt at a swim meet and she had to finish her race, which was thankfully backstroke.
Thank you, Janet, for being on the blog today and thanks for giving us some insight into Sam! Who I Kissed is out now and I definitely reccomend giving it a read, it's a good one ya'll :0)

Goodreads l Amazon l Barnes & Noble


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...