interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Katerina King

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Katerina King, current trilogy writer of witches!

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and where Katerina hopes to take her writing career!

katerina author photo

What is the first thing you remember writing?

I love characters, I love getting to know, developing them, treating them as if they are real people. For some readers, they keep reading depending on the plot or pacing or if the grammar is good or not. But for me as long as the characters were life like and I can relate or connect with them I can keep reading the book and that’s what I hope to convey in my works.

What is your favorite thing to write about?

Witches! Which I guess isn’t shocking considering my entire series and the next eight books after it all have to do with them. Its been an obsession since I was young.

Tell me one of your writing goals.

Finish book two of my trilogy by February of 2020.

Have any particular writers inspired you?

Rick Riordan, which if you don’t know who that is, he is the author of the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books.

Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

My favorite character that has walked into my headspace is Elijah Hutton and he is the best friend of my main character Scarlette Petrova. He is my favorite because there is such a complex nature to him, he grew up in an overly religious family that he thought was really tight but when he came out of the closet at seventeen he quickly learned that blood wasn’t always as thick as water.

Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Just keep writing and don’t give up!

What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read… geez. A Twisted Fate by K. A Grayson

Katerina King is a fiction author who spends most of her time in the world of witches. Her debut novel, Malediction, is the first installment of the Ritual of the Court trilogy, which also has a multitude of planned spin-off novels and has just been published via Amazon. The easiest way to connect with her is through her Twitter @_KingKaterina.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Katerina! I’m excited to check out that trilogy.

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

 

 

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Shadia Omer

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Shadia Omer, aspiring TV writer and current freelancer!

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and where Shadia hopes to take her writing career!

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1. What is the first thing you remember writing?
Hmm, trying to go way back with this one. I remember in middle school I would always enjoy writing short stories that I never shared with anyone. When I started high school, I joined this online writing community website called Mibba (I think it’s still active!) with my best friend and I would write on my blog there. Short stories and a few cringe-worthy poems. Good times, good times.
2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
I grew up with so much love for TV. Watching TV was my escape and as I started getting older I realized I needed a way to channel my feelings, my thoughts on the shows I’ve been watching and just predict things that may happen on the show. So as I started writing about TV, I eventually found websites to contribute to talking about shows (doing reviews and recaps), which then ignited my passion to one day write FOR TV. So in short, my favorite thing to write about is TV and pop culture as a whole.
3. Tell me one of your writing goals.

Ooh kind of spilled this in the second question! I’m an aspiring TV writer so I’m in the works of writing a pilot/spec script soon. I keep lagging, and I don’t know why! (Writers’ block is definitely to blame!)
4. Have any particular writers inspired you?

Oh yes. For the past couple of years, I’ve been avidly following (and sometimes) interacting with other writers on Twitter. To name a few, Carina MacKenzie (creator of Roswell NM and former writer on The Originals) has been a huge inspiration to me along with Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away WIth Murder) along with Issa Rae (Creator of Insecure).
5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

I haven’t created this one just yet but would LOVE to one day. I want to create a Black Muslim (hijabi wearing) woman with the same personality as Elenor Shellstrop from ‘The Good Place’.
6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?
I usually am the one that asks that question! But hmm, from my experience I would honestly say to keep going and love what you write. Hone in your skills, embrace it and keep the momentum going. Even when you keep on doubting yourself (like I have), keep it going. Also, exploring different styles of writing is a plus because it’ll help you find what type attracts you the most. Also, never stop reading. Reading and writing go hand and hand.
7. What’s the last book you read?
Not done just yet– The Hating Game.

Shadia Omer is an entertainment writer, pop-culture enthusiast, and an aspiring TV writer. She’s based in San Diego, CA but will always rep being from Houston, TX instead. Catch her at San Diego Comic-Con every year as it’s the most wonderful time of the year. She watches way too much TV for her own good and has too many thoughts on it. With her passion for the TV/entertainment industry, Shadia is working to change the American-Muslim narratives on TV, pushing for authentic and inclusion representation in the media. When she’s not writing, obsessing over her love for pizza and traveling, you can find her on Twitter tweeting about her favorite shows one tweet at a time at @shadiawrites. She currently is freelancing with Den of Geek (Shadia Omer), TV contributor with Shuffle Online (Shadia Omer, Author at Shuffle Online) and Senior Writer with Talk Nerdy With Us (Shadia Omer).
Find Shadia over on Twitter:
and instagram!

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Shadia! I can’t wait for that pilot script to be finished!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Lynn Jung

HELLO FRIENDS! Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Lynn Jung–dino-enthusiast and creator of wonderful worlds.

Read below to hear more about her writing journey and what it takes to make yourself improve as a writer!

 

 

1. What is the first thing you remember writing?
I was a hardcore dinosaur kid growing up. Every other weekend, I would pester my parents to take me to the Museum of Natural History so I could gawk at the fossil displays. So in elemental school, I wrote a nine page short story about two kids time traveling to the Cretaceous Period and befriending some Triceratops, running from T-rex, all that jazz. Once I was done, I had my artist friend illustrate it, bound it up with ribbon and glue, and passed it around to the class to read and review. The boy I liked gave me an 8.5/10. It crushed me.
2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
Demons & child-eating monsters. Just kidding. (Maybe.) I enjoy writing complex, troubled heroes and crafting strange worlds and creatures. My true bread and butter, however, is anything that bends or mixes genres—horror fantasy is a current favorite!
3. Tell me one of your writing goals.
I’d love to see a television adaptation for one of my books someday. (Netflix, call me. Please.)
4. Have any particular writers inspired you?
Yes, many! Elizabeth Acevedo, Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, Linda Sue Park, and Emily X.R. Pan, to name a few. All voicey, unique, and highly recommended.
5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.
My favorite character tends to rotate depending on what project is occupying my attention, but I do have a strong bias toward the Big Bad of my longest-running project. He’s a bougie demon monarch with a bad attitude and a cosmopolitan lifestyle. He raises voice-mimicking crows to work as his spies and wears a lot of black, of course. And he’s pretty. Need I say more?
6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?
Study story craft. Many aspects of writing are intuitive, but I find this is not one of them. Lots of otherwise excellent writers fall short because they don’t quite have the skills and knowledge required to lay out a solid, coherent story. So, pinpoint your weaknesses and study up! Reading books on craft and watching the film analysis side of Youtube has helped me level up as a writer in so many ways.
7. What’s the last book you read?
As I mentioned before, I’ve been digging into a lot of books on craft lately, and I’m almost finished with K.M Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs. It’s an excellent breakdown of why strong character arcs are so important and how to effectively weave them into your story’s conflict and theme.
In terms of fiction, I recently finished Rebecca Roanhorse’s Storm of Locusts, the sequel to her excellent Trail of Lightning. Roanhorse’s Sixth World series has both incredible worldbuilding and a scrappy cast of characters you can’t help but root for. (I’m in love with both Maggie AND Kai, and I’m not ashamed.) If “an indigenous Mad Max” sounds like something you’d enjoy, I highly recommend checking the series out!

Lynn Jung writes offbeat speculative fiction. She likes characters you’d want to be friends with and monsters you wouldn’t want to find under your bed. Currently, she is a veterinary assistant and bio major based in California. She spends her spare time volunteering at her local wildlife rehab center, where she wrangles cormorants and gets pounced on by baby crows. She is represented by Kerstin Wolf at D4EO Literary Agency.
Twitter: @sweater_giraffe
Instagram: @lynndjung

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Lynn! I can’t wait until we all get to read your work–I want to love/hate that demon monarch!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

 

interview · writer's chat

WRITERS CHAT!An interview with Kay Adams

HELLO FRIENDS! I have a special interview to share with you today. Kay is an aspiring writer, a self-identified space fairy, and Nancy Drew’s biggest fan..

Read below to hear more about her writing inspiration and why dystopian might just be the thing to write about today.

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1. What is the first thing you remember writing?

I was obsessed with Nancy Drew books when I was younger (those books inspired me to write), so most of my early works were amateur detective stories that never really had plot. When I got into roleplaying (via the Neopets forums; we were the Original “Be Your Character” players), my friend Josh (@creativelycliche) & I had a years-long sci-fi roleplay that inspired me to delve into the sci-fi genre, but I’ve planted my feet firmly in fantasy now.

2. What is your favorite thing to write about?

Anything with magic. My default genre of choice is Young Adult Fantasy, & I love writing about magic & other worlds & fairies, usually with a dash of religious angst, family drama, & queer characters. Bonus points if stars are involved in any way.

3. Tell me one of your writing goals.

Publish! My dream is to be traditionally published with either my current WIP or The Fallen Star, but I know I have a long way to go to get there. Lots of revising, reworking, rewriting, I’ve been in a writing drought for a few months (due to work & moving & unpacking & life in general), so it’s still a long road ahead.

4. Have any particular writers inspired you?

The foundation for my current writing is a solid mix of V.E. Schwab, Sarah J. Maas, & Leigh Bardugo. Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series started my love of Celtic mythology, & I’ll always be grateful to the Nancy Drew books for starting my love of writing.

5. Tell us about a favorite character you’ve created.

The MC of The Fallen Star will always hold a special place in my heart, since hers was the first novel I have ever finished. Nova is the (bi & black) magic-less heir to the Throne of Stars, the crown princess of the celestial fairies who rule all of Faery. Her mother, Queen Maeve, abandoned Nova in the mortal realm when she died, leaving Nova without magic & without family. When the monster who killed her mother returns to steal Nova’s throne, Nova is thrown back into a wild world of magic & fairies & traitors & allies, but through it all she tries to remain kind & hopeful. She isn’t going down without a fight, even when tragedy strikes again & it seems more people are fighting against her than with her. I love her & her story & I can’t wait to share it with the world one day.

6. Do you have any writing advice to share with us?

Read, read, read. Read widely, read diversely. Read in your genre, read outside your genre. Read books on the craft. See what your intended audience is saying about current books aimed at them. Don’t ignore sensitivity readers. Read as much as you can, & you’ll always be developing your skill.

7. What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read was Shadow Frost by Coco Ma, though I’m in the midst of reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House as of writing this.

ABOUT KAY:

I went to the University of Toronto to study Irish mythology for the sole purpose of incorporating it into my writing. (Should I have gone for something practical, like law or math? No, this was more fun.) Most of my writing so far has involved fairies, so I must have done the right thing. I’m still working on my first series (series title: Throne of Stars) about celestial fairies, religious angst, & dysfunctional families. A couple months ago, I commissioned artist Johannus Steger (@jm_steger) to create a cover for the series’ first novel, The Fallen Star, & now I’m sharing it with you, here, for the first time ever! Look at my star child!

kay book cover

What I’m Currently Working On: I like to pitch my current WIP as WICKED SAINTS meets RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. It’s about 17-year old Kenna, disabled & widowed after the tragic death of her fiance, who is enlisted by the Archivists to protect the world’s most deadliest object – a book cursed by the gods to kill anyone who comes into contact with it. The problem is: Kenna doesn’t believe in the gods. Or the book’s power. Or herself. Things go terribly awry when the book falls into the wrong hands, & Kenna must decide whose life is worth more – hers, or everyone else she has come to care for? It’s about finding a place to belong, something to believe in, something to love again.
Where You Can Find Me: Also this is my face, & you can find me @kaywritesya on Twitter & Instagram or kaxzbrekker on Tumblr, email me at kaywritesya@gmail.com, or browse through my novel aesthetics on my website throneofstars.wordpress.com.

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Kay! I can’t wait to check out those aesthetics!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

interview · writer's corner

WRITERS CHAT! An interview with Katarina Betterton

HELLO FRIENDS! I have a special interview to share with you today. Katti is an aspiring writer, a wonderful friend, and was a mouse, once upon a time.

Read below to hear more about her writing inspiration and why dystopian might just be the thing to write about today.

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1. What is the first thing you remember writing?

I started a ton of short stories in elementary and middle school, but the first novel I remember writing was a fantasy-inspired MG novel reminiscent of THE CLIQUE series where a group of rich friends gets whisked away into a magical world during the biggest birthday party of the year.
2. What is your favorite thing to write about?
I love writing dystopian fiction. I think it’s so interesting  create worlds that are an exaggerated version of our own, based on how the world is making decisions right now. The human psyche is also so fascinating to me. There are so many parts of the human experience that you can delve into in a book and play with, especially writing first person.
3. Tell one of your writing goals.
I think my biggest (and most cliche) goal right now is getting published. I’m about to query my first novel and hope I can share my world and characters with more than just my very kind critique partners and very patient family members.
I have a few crazy goals that I’ll share, too. One is to get unsolicited fan art from a reader, and another is for someone to get a significant number from my book tattooed on themselves (I’ll also be getting it tattooed on myself some time soon).
4. Have any particular writers inspired you?
Jay Kristoff is my biggest inspiration. His novel LIFEL1K3 got me back into reading and motivates me to write intricate plots and relationships. The way he describes his worlds, creates characters, and structures the story to surprise you beyond anything you could guess at the very end is the goal to which I will always aspire. I AM OBSESSED JUST A TAD BUT I’M FINE. IT’S FINE.
5. Tell us your favorite character you’ve created.
As much as I love my current WIP’s leading lady (that I will unashamedly admit I’ve based a bit on myself), I love one of the antagonists I’ve written named Cyln (pronounced “Kill-n”). He’s someone you love to hate; you feel bad for him sometimes, but you also root for him to die. He’s been a great vehicle for me to show the dichotomy of good and evil, and how all of us have a choice between right and wrong, but circumstances sometimes force our hands to make decisions we don’t like.
6. Do you have any writing advice to give us?
I have two! One has been said by probably every writer ever, but I love to say it nonetheless. Write. Just write. Keep writing. Even if you’re not working on the same story every day; even if it’s just journaling or a stream of consciousness – keep writing. The world needs your words. My biggest regret in life is giving up on writing for five, nearly six years.
My second piece of advice is to make writing friends. Even if you read your work 100 times over, other eyes will catch mistakes yours don’t. The beauty of books is that everyone experiences a story differently when they read. Every writing friend I’ve made has not only helped me become a better writer, but made my story richer, fuller, and more diverse.
7. What’s the last book you read?
The last book I completed was ILLUMINAE by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. I’m currently reading GEMINA, AURORA RISING, and CARAVAL. I love them all so much that I can’t decide on which one to focus on, which is probably why I’m only 20 pages into each. Don’t tell my TBR that I’m reading three at a time, or they’ll all want a turn.

 

THANK YOU so much for joining us, Katti! Everyone wish her well with her writing journey. We’re here to cheer her on!

WRITER’S CHAT is a weekly feature where writers from all stages of their journey come to speak to us about their craft, spreading positivity, advice, and amazing book recommendations. Join us every Saturday!

interview · promotion · young adult

Interview with Liz Kerin, author of THE PHANTOM FOREST

Hi friends!

Today I’m so excited to host Liz Kerin, debut author of The Phantom Forest (coming out July 16!). Look below for an interview with her–about writing, reading, and more!

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1. What did you find most difficult about writing your debut novel?
I worked on this book for 7 years, and every time I thought I was finished with it, I proved myself wrong! I was constantly adding to the mythology and trying to find new ways enrich the plot/connect the characters. Then, once I was satisfied with it and my editor got his hands on the MS, the 2nd most difficult thing was revising these crazy worldbuilding constructs I’d spent years developing. I was really afraid of pulling one thread and having it all unspool into spaghetti! But thankfully, every time I pulled a thread, I found a way to weave things back together. The edits on this book also took a lot longer than I thought they would. I challenged myself every step of the way and even though there was a lot of uphill marching and self-doubt, I know I emerged a much stronger writer and I now have the tools I need to write my 2nd book a lot faster!
2. Have you always been interested in writing YA?
I absolutely love writing YA, although I do also write for adults! I’m a screenwriter and a playwright as well, and my work in those mediums skews more adult. When it comes to YA, I enjoy darker themes and flawed characters. I like fresh new mythologies that represent bigger philosophical questions. When I was a teen reader, this was the stuff that interested me the most, so I often think about what I would have wanted to read when I was 14 or 15! I’m less interested in contemporaries, and in fantasy I don’t really vibe with fairy-tale retellings, princesses, or high-court medieval drama. If I was going to write a YA fantasy, I knew I’d want to write something a little weirder and off the beaten path.
3. Are there any writers who have influenced and inspired your writing?
Growing up, my two favorite books were The Giver and A Wrinkle in Time. I read them cover to cover dozens of times and own several editions of each! I even tried to write a musical based on The Giver when I was 12 (spoiler alert: it tanked). The world building Lois Lowry and Madeleine L’Engle were capable of just blew my mind. I feel like The Phantom Forest is a beautiful homage to both of my favorite books as a child: there’s a strange dystopia that poses big philosophical questions, and a darkly whimsical fantasy world where the impossible becomes possible. As an adult, I became an enormous Margaret Atwood fan. I started with The Handmaids Tale in college and voraciously read the rest of her works throughout my 20s. I love speculative fiction so much and I hope to explore that sub-genre in my own work over the coming years!
4. What is one recommendation you’d give to aspiring writers?
Don’t be afraid of change. Find a good critique partner and let them drag you across the coals early on. Remember that people aren’t giving you notes for their health (and if they are, that’s a little weird!). They genuinely want to help you make your story better. Even if it’s stressful, take a deep breath, hear them out, and consider every suggestion. On the flip side, you also don’t have to take every single note you’re ever given! Use the ones that suit your vision. Remember that when you try to write for everyone, you risk connecting with no one.
5. How would you describe the main character, Seycia, in three words?
Fierce, faithful, and flourishing.
6. If you could meet any fictional character, who would you pick and why?
I want to go to a fancy wine bar with Buffy Summers and complain about the burden of destiny and boys (both living and dead). And then when the fancy wine bar inevitably gets overrun by vampires, she’ll protect me (and I’ll totally help slay if she’ll let me).

7. What is the last book you read?
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Thank you so much for joining us on the blog, Liz!
MORE ABOUT THE PHANTOM FOREST:
Every tree in the sacred Forest of Laida houses a soul. Though each of those souls will return to the mortal world for many future lives, not all of them deserve to.

Seycia’s father told her this story as a child — a story of the most holy place in the Underworld, The Forest of Laida, where all souls go to rest before embarking on a new life. But Seycia’s father is dead now, and his killer has put a target on her back.

After being chosen for her village’s human sacrifice ritual, Seycia is transported to the Underworld and must join forces with Haben, the demon to whom she was sacrificed, to protect the family she left behind from beyond the grave. In this story of love, survival, and what it means to be human, Seycia and Haben discover that the Underworld is riddled with secrets that can only be unlocked through complete trust and devotion, not only to their mission, but also to one another.

Links to preorder: Amazon ; Barnes and Noble
interview

An interview with Yellow Taxi Press

I’m very excited to bring an interview to you all today from the founders of a new and exciting press. What’s so unique about Yellow Taxi Press is its examination of the publishing world and the lack of ‘new adult’ content to bridge the gap between YA and Adult Lit. Co-creators Alyssa and Madeline agreed to answer a few questions about publishing, presses, and what they’ve most recently read.

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  1. Tell us a little background info on Yellow Taxi Press.

YTP actually came out of a class project. We’re both graduate students, and the final project for one of our classes was to come up with some kind of company that fills a void in the publishing industry. As big fans of Young Adult literature, we’ve always wished there was something like YA that dealt with experiences of twentysomethings. There’s of course New Adult, but a lot of current New Adult narratives tend to be very based in romance–while plenty of readers love those stories, they weren’t the kinds of stories Madeline and I were interested in reading.

Yellow Taxi Press was created to kind of bridge the gap between Young Adult, New Adult, and general literature. Months after the class was over, we still found ourselves wishing YTP existed. Readers are craving these kinds of stories, and writers are creating them; we’re just trying to bring those people together.

  1. Why do you think there is such a gap in the publishing industry when it comes to publishing narratives about coming into adulthood (i.e. ‘new adult’)?

I think a lot of that unfilled need has to do with the way more people are “staying young” long. By that we mean that–on average–people are getting married later, staying in school longer, renting apartments instead of buying homes, etc. A lot of the themes of general fiction used to be really applicable to those twentysomething years, but now that time has become kind of a between for a lot of people: not quite “young adults” but not really settled into adulthood yet either.

The way we define young adult and general in publishing hasn’t really gotten around to reflecting that. New Adult was of course meant to, but as I mentioned, a lot of New Adult is really based in romantic plots. While that is certainly a significant part of some people’s twentysomething life, it’s certainly not the only part. With YTP, we’re hoping to explore things like self-discovery, changing family and friend relationships, figuring out how to interact with current events.

  1. What does the Press hope to accomplish by filling this gap?

Young adult books were so important to us in our teenage years. We could see our own struggles reflected in those narratives. With YTP, we’re really hoping to publish stories that readers can enjoy, find companionship in, and see their own lives in.

  1. What do you think readers anticipate from this untold new adult works, both fiction and nonfiction?

One of the great powers of literature is that it lets you into the mind of another person. It’s such a diverse and big world, and there are so many writers telling incredible, difficult, important, stories about this time of life. Hopefully readers anticipate stories that they can both see themselves in and also stories that give them insight into the lives of others.

  1. What are you looking for in your submissions?

A strong voice and good storytelling. Make it unique, and make us keep wanting to turn the page.

  1. What was the last book you read?

I just read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez and Madeline just read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.

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Thank you for joining us here on Caught Between the Pages and sharing more about the press!

For anyone who would like to learn more, you can find all info on the press website, https://www.yellowtaxi.press/.

interview · Uncategorized

An interview with Shannon Lee Alexander, author of Life After Juliet

Hello readers! Today I have an interview for you, from the lovely Shannon Lee Alexander! She is the author of Life After Juliet, which releases today! So settle down, read a little about her, and then don’t forget to pick up your copy!

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What initially inspired you to write Life After Juliet?

I am an accidental serial novelist. I’d never intended to write a companion to LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES. I was happy with the story’s end, at least until my editor asked, “What happens to Becca?” Boom! I had to know the answer for myself! So, I began writing Becca’s story, and after many drafts and agonizing critique sessions with my writing group, LIFE AFTER JULIET was completed.

What was most challenging about writing this book?

Tapping in to my own grief from losing a friend, but making sure Becca’s experience with her own grief was very different from mine. While Becca and I are similar, we are not the same person, so I needed to honor her journey and not allow my experiences to color hers.

What are you most excited for people to experience in Life After Juliet when it is released on July 5th?

Max Herrera. No, wait! Darby Jones. No! Victor Song…and Kelli and Miles and Greg…oh, and Thomas, too! I’m excited about sharing all these new characters that Becca meets. There are so many wonderful characters in this story. Each of them surprised me as I was writing LIFE AFTER JULIET. I can’t wait for you all to meet them!

What writers have inspired you?

Wilson Rawls, the author of WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, was the first writer to give me a book hangover. I was in third grade, but I still remember that completely empty feeling I had at the end of that book. Harper Lee’s beautiful writing and amazing characters in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD have inspired me time and again. Her work plays a big role in LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES. There are many characters and themes in that book inspired by Ms. Lee. I’ve also always loved theater and reading plays. And Shakespeare is a staple of the theater. Although Romeo and Juliet is not my favorite Shakespearean play, it was fun to draw parallels to it in LIFE AFTER JULIET.

If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?

Just one? No fair! Um…I had no idea how to answer this, so I asked my son. He said he’d meet Percy Jackson because Percy’s always surrounded by friends so he’d get to meet them, too. He said, “It’s all about where you meet them, Mom.” My son is a genius. So, I’d want to meet Harry Potter, in The Great Hall at the opening feast during the fourth year. Then, I’d get to meet just about everyone!

What was the last book you read?

I’m so glad you asked because I just finished a beautiful book and I’m dying to tell people about it. MAYBE A FOX by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee is a gorgeous middle grade book about a girl and a fox and the heartbreaking ways in which they are connected, the ways in which we’re all connected, even if we’re too wrapped up in our own lives to notice. I LOVED this book. It tugged at my heart in all the right ways, and tissues were definitely necessary at the end.

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Thanks so much Shannon! I think your son has definitely cracked the code on the fictional characters question. The problem is, I love both Percy and Harry so much, so how to choose between them???

If you want to learn more about Shannon and Life After Juliet, click here!

interview · young adult

An interview with L. E. Sterling, author of True Born

Hello everyone! Today I have something special to feature on the blog because L. E. Sterling, author of True Born (the first in the True Born trilogy) agreed to answer a few questions about herself and her newest novel.

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What initially inspired you to write True Born?

Writing novels is such a messy business. I really think that for me, a novel is a collage of all of my experiences, emotions and impressions. But in True Born I’d have to say there are two main threads that led to the novel.

I’ve been using my novels as vehicles to explore the environmental crisis that’s upon us. Our environmental crisis is more than just about garbage or pollution – I’d call that a ‘skin deep’ approach. Instead, I believe this crisis affects our very DNA. It affects our hormone levels, our biological stress levels and so on, and in a very real way that results in disease. We’ve really segmented our society so that “medicine” supposedly fixes a problem – but does it? True Born doesn’t really answer this question – yet! But it does state the problem, I think, in what I hope are some really clear and articulate ways.

The other inspiration was my family. I’ve been quite obsessed by the incredible story of my great-grandmother, who was born in England and sent to the U.S. to be an indentured servant circa 1900. As the story goes, she was very young when she was shipped over, and I imagine the whole voyage was traumatic, because apparently my great-grandmother forgot who she was through the crossing.

When she finally arrived in the U.S. she gave everyone her twin’s name instead of her own. She ended up living her entire life, up until she was a middle-aged adult, by her twin’s name. It’s such a fascinating tale – I really wanted to explore the idea of having a bond with someone that was so close that it took over your own, so I explored this in a fictional world.

Tell us about Lucy. Why do you think people will connect to her as a main character?

Well, I think people will make up their own minds as to how they will connect to Lucy. But from my perspective, Lucy is the greatest character! She’s got spunk and depths that she’s only just beginning to explore. But at the same time she’s really trapped by the thought paradigms she’s grown up with. I think that strange duality leads to some of the best tension in the book, because she’s always fighting with her desire and inclination to play it safe, play by the rules of her parents and her upper class world. In the end, she just can’t. She just isn’t that person, no matter how much she wants to be. She’s far bigger, and the events unfolding around her just won’t let her be.

True Born was originally published on Wattpad. How was the experience of transitioning from that to a more traditional publishing route?

This is a good question. The answer is: it isn’t!

To unpack that: I really only meant for True Born to exist on Wattpad as a novella. It was, to my mind, “fully formed” and never meant for publication. It was meant to be a back story for another set of novels I was planning but then… the story seemed to get very popular and I ended up pursuing it as first a novel, and then a trilogy!

Other writers have used Wattpad to land their first publishing deals (happens rarely, folks) but I already had two published novels under my belt, and a literary agent, so this wasn’t my main goal! What I needed was some inspiration and encouragement – even with an agent, the publishing industry can be crushing! – and honestly, Wattpad’s amazing community of creators gave that to me in spades.

What writers have inspired you?

There are so many!! Among many others, I have spent the last few years obsessed with Ilona Andrews, Cassandra Clare, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, Maria V. Snyder, and Tanya Huff. Before that, I was really taken by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

What I really love was how these writers are able to fully immerse you in these alternate realities. It’s quite something – and I learn so much from reading (and rereading, and rereading) their work. I really aspire to some of the intense world-building that these writers are so good at. I want readers to feel as though they are citizens of Dominion (the city True Born is set in) – not voyeurs.

If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?

Honestly? I would want to make friends with Kate Daniels from the Kate Daniels series (Ilona Andrews). She is one scary awesome lady. Kick ass assassin and marshmallow softy. I love that combination.

What is the last book that you read?

I’ve just finished Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs. It was as amazing as all the others in the Mercy Thompson series – perfect!

— — —

If you’re interested in learning more about True Born, which will be available May 3rd, read on:

Summary:

Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.

For more about the author:

Twitter: @le_sterling
Facebook (this is brand new):  https://www.facebook.com/LESterling22/
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Interview with Janiera Eldridge, author of Good Ghost Gone Bad!

Today I’m happy to welcome Janiera Eldridge to the blog, author of good Ghost Gone Bad! I wanted to ask her a few questions about her writing process, the book, and her experience with books in general:

Did something inspire you to write Good Ghost Gone Bad?

I was inspired to write this story after recognizing my addiction to the ID Discovery channel. I was so outraged about the senseless murders I saw on that channel and even angrier that so many of the killers remain free. I was really inspired to write a story about justice coming from the afterlife. It’s gruesome at times and gritty, but I these people deserve that kind of death.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The biggest challenge I had was writing a book with a lot of violence and giving it all some sort of purpose. I always feel that when I write violence into my story it needs to mean something otherwise it’s just constant violence and that feels too strange to write.

Have you been influenced by any particular writer’s style?

I can’t say I have ever been influenced by someone’s writing because I truly believe it Is imperative for a writer to find their own voice.

If you had to choose a place to haunt, where would you be and why?

Wow, that’s a good question. I’d have to say congress. For obvious reasons, I’d really like to scare the crap out of them.                             

If you could meet any fictional character, who would you pick?

oh my, I think it would have to be Lestate from Interview With a Vampire. He’s super hot, but he might eat me. I’ll take the chance.

What was the most exciting aspect of writing Good Ghost Gone Bad?

I enjoyed building the ghosts personality because they’re all so different and fun to work with.

What is the last book you read?

The Twin Dragons by Rue Volley, it’s an erotica with plenty of wonderful drama.

Thank you so much for answering my questions!

If you’re interested in learning more about the book, read on!

summary :

Brianna Moreno was an average 22-year-old women who loved shopping, hanging out with her friends and making more career plans….until the night she was brutally and unexpectedly murdered.

Now she finds herself trapped in the ghost world while residing on earth. The problem is, her killer can see all of his ghostly victims and enjoys taunting them as much as he does killing them.Brianna soon finds out that her killer has horrible new plans concerning her family.

Brianna meets up with a few of her killer’s past victims to hatch a plan so terrifying, the entire town will never be the same again.

Brianna is a good ghost gone bad; the good girl side is gone forever!

*This book is not a YA read. It’s an 18+ only novella that features sex, strong language and strong violence.

buy it here:

amazon

(it’s free!)