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My hidden word for the scavenger hunt words is in red!
Recently, I was thinking of one of my favorite fantasy novel couples —Karou and Akiva from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bones Series—and thought it would be amazing if they could have a romantic getaway on Washington Island, Wisconsin, the setting for my YA contemporary novel, Hello?. After their epic battle to save humankind, spending time in a place of exquisite beauty and quiet, sounds exactly what they would need. I know they love the exotic, have seen and created the exotic, so I thought they could use some down time to focus each other, to enjoy the different beaches, stroll hand and hand, watching the sunrise and the sunset. Fall in love even farther. They’d rent a magnificent home along their own private beach. There are lavender fields they’d walk through, nature trails they’d explore. With their ability to fly, they’d discover the caves that rarely get explored because you’d need some rock climbing equipment to reach them. These caves are 1/2 way down Boyer’s Bluff, but from what I’ve been told, they’re really cool. And I can imagine Karou and Akiva meeting my Emerson and Tricia. Since they both believe in angels and don’t mind crazy colored hair, I’m certain they’d get along beautifully. Tricia would most definitely invite them into the lighthouse for a tour, and I can imagine Zuzana and Mic showing up and the six of them would listen to Mic play his violin around the bonfire pit Tricia has on Boyer’s bluff, roast brats soaked in beer and marshmallows for s’mores. After an amazing night, they’d rise early to watch the sunrise and the thousands of birds at Jackson Harbor, then crash until noon.
This is a sunrise at Jackson Harbor on Washington Island. It was taken by Steve Waldron and was utilized on the cover of my novel, HELLO?.
February 1st- Fiction Fare
February 1st- Swoony Boys Podcast
February 2nd- WhoRU blog
February 3rd- Lost in Literature
February 4th- Gone with the Words
February 5th- Brighton Walsh
February 6th- Alexa Loves Books
February 7th- Andi’s ABCs
February 8th- Huntley Fitzpatrick (hosted on Fiction Fare and Swoony Boys Podcast)
February 9th- No BS Book Reviews
February 10th- Ashley Herring Blake
February 11th- We So Nerdy
February 12th- Roshani Chokshi
February 13th- The Irish Banana Review
February 14th- Kristen Simmon
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Win a copy of HELLO? – international!
In a not-so-distant future London, riots have become the norm. But when the government suddenly stops distributing Concentr8–a behavioral modification “miracle” drug akin to Ritalin–the city’s residents rise up fiercer than they ever have before.
Amidst the chaos, five teens pick a man seemingly at random and chain him up as a hostage in a warehouse. Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet sidekick–the only person he has ever trusted. But even Troy didn’t see this coming, and as their story unfolds over six tense days, one thing is clear–none of them will ever be the same again.
Told from the perspective of multiple characters in a world familiar to our own, this searing look at a group of teens who push back from the margins of society is perfect for fans of thoughtful fiction like Panic and The Program series.
Sometimes the idea for a book takes shape slowly, with various thoughts gradually coming together. Concentr8 wasn’t like that. It came to me in a flash, during a conversation with a friend of mine who is a child psychiatrist. I asked how her work was going, and she started telling me about a problem that was troubling her. The issue was with ADHD and Ritalin.
She told me that she suspected some parents were bringing children to her who were perhaps naughty, or misbehaving in school, but essentially perfectly healthy, and pressuring her for an ADHD diagnosis. She spoke to me at length about cultural pressures to conform and succeed; about a medical orthodoxy the tends to see drugs as a quick-fix solution to all problems; and also about how some parents will get extra welfare if their child has an ADHD diagnosis. She also added that Ritalin was very similar to the amphetamines that adults take recreationally, usually referred to as “speed”.
I was horrified and outraged, but the novelist in me felt an immediate spark of excitement. Horror and outrage are the jet fuel that often get me started on a project. More than this, I felt that I had stumbled on something that sounded like the premise for a speculative sci-fi novel – a malevolent state drugging “bad” children – which was in fact happening in right here, right now.
I had just finished a novel called The Wall set in a seemingly fictional dystopia that was also a real place – The West Bank – and this premise seemed like a perfect companion to that novel. I quickly came up with the idea of Concentr8, a fictional drug similar to Ritalin, which a fictional London mayor dishes out to ever-increasing numbers of children in the wake of riots similar to those which hit the city 2011. As soon as I had Concentr8, I was on the path to Concentr8. I knew the book would be very different in tone and setting to The Wall, which preceded it, but I liked the idea of playing a similar game with readers, where as you read you learn that the seemingly fantastical setting is far closer to reality than it at first seemed. In both books, I want readers to sense the ground shifting under their feet as they progress through the book.
But I could never have written this novel if it wasn’t for one other experience, which happened to me almost ten years ago. I was in a London park, and a group of drunk people attacked me, for no reason. I was punched, pushed to the ground, and kicked in the head. The assault left me with lingering headaches but didn’t do any lasting physical damage. I was quite traumatised, though, tormented by fear and anger which circled round my head without any outlet.
Not long after this, an email from a friend arrived, asking for volunteers to mentor troubled teenagers in Camden. I decided this would be a good way to psychologically turn a corner. If my mentee was from the same world as the people who attacked me, this would be a way to confront my fears and turn them into something positive.
As it turned out my mentee was not white, like my attackers, but was a 16-year-old black kid who had been excluded from school, had a very challenging home life, no qualifications, and felt he had no career prospects whatsoever. For one year, we met more or less every week for a coffee. We slowly came to a mutual understanding and respect. In the end I don’t think I did anything to improve his life chances, but I did listen to everything he said, which seemed to be a new and empowering experience for him. I’m pretty sure, though, that I learnt more from him than he did from me.
I didn’t do it to research a novel, except in the sense that when you are a writer every experience you have is, in a sense, research. When I started writing Concentr8, almost a decade after my year of mentoring, this boy’s voice came back to me. The way he talked, the way he sat, his mannerisms and his perpetual worry about “the feds” – it all bubbled up to the surface and came out on the page. There is nothing of his direct experience in the book, but his voice is right there in the voices of the kids in the novel. Thanks to him, I also have a bedrock of understanding about how it feels to be intelligent yet failed by the education system; bright but with a feeling that society has given you no opportunities for the slightest self-advancement. Without our friendship, I wouldn’t have had the empathy or understanding to write this novel.
I no longer live in London and I’m no longer in touch with him, but, nonetheless, it is to my mentee, Darren, that I have dedicated the book.
ABOUT WILLIAM SUTCLIFFE:
William Sutcliffe is the author of the young adult novel The Wall, which was published in 2013 to much critical acclaim, including being short-listed for the 2014 Carnegie Medal and long-listed for the 2013 Guardian Fiction Prize. He also wrote five adult novels, including the international bestseller, Are You Experienced, and a middle-grade novel, Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom. William currently lives in Edinburgh.
1/18: Who R U Blog – Guest Post
1/19: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Pocket Letter
1/20: A Book & A Latte – How I Write
1/21: Kelly Vision – Review
1/22: The Cover Contessa – Q&A
1/25: The Petite Book Blogger – Review
1/26: Go Read A Book – Top 10
1/27: Resch Reads & Reviews – Review
1/28: Emily Reads Everything – Q&A
1/29: Avid Reader – Review
Please know that I absolutely LOVE this entire series! So, I highly recommend that you get your hands on book 1—COMPULSION!
Isn’t it gorgeous???
Caged by secrets all around her and haunted by mistakes that have estranged her from Eight Beaufort, Barrie Watson is desperate to break the curse that puts her family in danger—without breaking the beautiful magic that protects Watson’s Landing. To do that, she must heal the rifts that have split the families of the island apart for three hundred years, unravel the mystery of the Fire Carrier and the spirits he guards, and take control of forces so deadly and awe-inspiring they threaten to overwhelm her. With the spirits that cursed Watson Island centuries ago awake and more dangerous than ever, she finds an unlikely ally in the haunting and enigmatic Obadiah, whose motivations and power she still can’t read—or trust. His help comes at a price, however, plunging Barrie into a deadly maze of magic and wonder, mystery and intrigue that leads through history to places she never imagined she could go.Add to Goodreads
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1) Signed Hardcover Compulsion 2) Signed HC Persuasion3) Compulsion Charm Bracelet 4) Dreamcatcher Earrings 5) Oak Tree Necklace 6) Indigo Picture Frame 7) Magic Garden Coloring Book 8) Magical Mason Jar Garden Light 9) Teacup Baking Set 10) Artist’s Sketchpad 11) Secrets Box 12) Shoe Notepad 13) Flower Charms Set 14) Summer Romance Sachet 15) Watermark Beach Sachet 16) Compulsion Trinket Bookmark 17) Persuasion Trinket Bookmarks 18) Paper Hearts
1. The main characters, Kestrel and Arin, come alive.
Forbidden love you can’t help but cheer for! They’re strong, they go through so many trials and tribulations that you’re often holding your breath, nearly going crazy to find out what is going to happen next.
2. Extraordinary world building.
Marie makes this fictional world come alive.
3. The writing is exceptional, beautiful, lyrical.
4. Edge-of-your-seat action.
5. Fantasy at it’s absolute BEST!
The writing is incredible. The story will have you turning the pages faster and faster and faster to find out what happens. You’ll be craving the next book, and after you read it (The Winner’s Crime) you’ll be screaming for the next book.
Bottom line: Don’t miss this series. Fantasy at its best. What a world Marie created. Amazing, unforgettable characters. Kestrel and Arin are strong-willed, have fantastic chemistry, know their strengths and weaknesses (often each other), and turn the world upside down.
This series is a gift for readers to cherish. I most definitely am cherishing it! Standing ovation for Marie Rutkoski!
From start to finish, it’s edge-of-your-seat action! Breathtaking, heart-stopping AMAZING! The writing, the story! Incredible. *Flail*Hug*Cry* If you need a support group after you finish reading THE WINNER’S CRIME, I are here for you!
Without any doubt, I know that I’m going to absolutely love this novel. I trust Marie Rutkowski wrote the story that has been in her heart since this trilogy was a germ of an idea. Writing an outstanding story takes tremendous work, dedication, and passion for the craft. Marie has it in spades. Her storytelling skills are masterful, taking readers on the best kind of emotional roller coaster. It’s her characters, world building, cadence (lyrical) writing that captures the reader from page one. For those reasons and many more, The Winner’s Trilogy is one of the best YA fantasy series of all time. I can’t wait until THE WINNER’S KISS is in my hands. Marie Rutkowski and this series is worthy of ALL THE PRAISE! A best book for 2014, 2105, and I have no doubt for 2016! Cheering you on, Marie!
For the past four years, Wisconsin and Illinois authors/bloggers/librarians/teachers have gathered together for a luncheon inspired by foods mentioned in various novels. This may have been our best year yet! After all, we had some fantastic new people join us, including Alyssa of lifeofabookenthusiast.wordpress.com, who drove all the way from Michigan to be with us! Though people are still talking about the Dragon Risotto from The Fault in Our Stars, which we had three years ago. 😀
There is no way this event could be done without my awesome co-host Heidi Zweifel of YA Bibliophile. Together with Alyssa, we had a blast cooking together, laughing and yes, tasting.
Our group included: Monica Fumarolo, Heidi Zweifel, Kristen Harvey, Alyssa Perrin, Erin Arkin, Jaime Arkin, Rachel Kinnard, Lori Lee and her daughter, Phoebe Dyer, Mary Evers, Tara Jordan, Liz Czukas, Jenny Chou, Silvia Acevedo, Melissa Gorzelanczyk, Emily Alfano, Jaimie M., and me!
As part of our fun celebration, everyone received an ARC of Wisconsin debut YA author Melissa Gorzelanczk’s ARROWS, which is being published by Delacorte Press on January 26, 2015! We’re all proud of Melissa and are excited for her book to come out in the world.
In addition to enjoying outstanding company and yummy food, everyone brought books to donate to the new Sojourner Family Peace Center’s library!
Strawberry Fields Salad – We Can Work It Out
Deviled Eggs – Keeping the Moon
Guac & Chips – What Happened to Goodbye, When Joss Met Matt
Trail Mix – The Start of Me and You
Tomato Salad – Better Than Perfect
Make Your Own Pizza – Saint Anything, Lying Out Loud, G0D Awful Loser
Pies – Hello?, The Devil You Know
Hummingbird Cake – Rebel Belle
Chocolate Chip Cookies – The Boy in the Black Suit, Arrows
Raspberry Lemonade – The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Hot Chocolate – A Court of Thorns and Roses
Coke/Diet Coke – What Happened to Goodbye, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
Sweet Tea – Persuasion
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Stayed up until after 3 AM to finish reading this novel!
Overall impression: So imaginative! I loved how Martha interwove historical fiction in a non-traditional love story. The diverse characters felt so authentic and the blend of fantasy with reality read seamless for me. Despite the calamities that befell Flora and Henry, their ability to cope with the trials and tribulations of life touched me. Death, love, loss, friendship, racism, homosexuality are some of the themes touched upon in this novel.
I love how Martha showed that we lived in a society (1937) where people quickly judged a person’s worth based on skin color or sexual orientation. SO glad we’ve made strides in these area, but without a doubt, we have a ways to go before people appreciate/embrace our common humanity. I loved how vivid 1937 Seattle came to life. From the descriptions of school, food, clothes, the jazz clubs, music in general, wealth and the poverty of Hooverville, people’s occupations, and landmarks, readers will be transformed back in time. I loved learning about Flora and her passion for flying and the restrictions/racist attitudes she was subjected to that kept her from opportunities to pursue her dream. Her heroine was Amelia Earhart and Flora wanted the same opportunities afforded to Amelia.
I highly recommend this novel! It’s a wonderful blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and love story. Thank you so much to my dear friend Kelly Hager, who purchased this book for me and said, “It’s one of my absolute favorites! You have to read it!”
View all my reviews
This year, I’m drawing upon a tradition that’s a part of our family, one that I would definitely pass on to Emerson’s family in my novel Hello?.
A holiday tradition in Emerson’s family is everyone receives a book. Essentially, that’s the only “physical”gift they will get. Their big gift is a family activity, like a road trip to the caves of Kentucky or a trip to Memphis to see the Civil Rights Museum or a trip to Chicago to explore museums.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte
Emerson would give Tricia a classic novel, one he knows she hasn’t read, but definitely a book that he would believe provide inspiration and strength: THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL by Anne Bronte
Tricia would give Emerson a first edition copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson poems. It’s expensive, but she has money she inherited from her father and grandma, so she’d spend it on this:
Here’s the link to the 1847 1st Edition signed copy: Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson
My mini-challenge is: What book would you give as a holiday and why?
Extra entry: If you chose to pass on other holiday gifts and instead decided to take a road trip within reasonable distance of your home (so it’s affordable) where would you take a few days off to spend quality time with your loved one(s)?
2 random winners will receive an annotated copy of my debut YA novel, Hello? if US or Canada – otherwise an international winner must be from a country that receives books from the Book Depository. Those books will NOT be signed and annotated, since they’ll be coming directly from the Book Depository.
What Amy Giuffrida is thankful for:
First and foremost, I am thankful to my writer friends. It’s them who helped me to whip my first novel, The Bleeding Heart, into shape and supported me while I self-published it. They have also been ridiculously supportive of my working on novel #2, while working two jobs, taking care of two kids, beginning an internship, and writing for The Midnight Society. Plus, these lovely ladies from BGP welcomed me into their fold. I know that 2016 will be another whirlwind of a year, with more changes to come. I’m thankful that these same friends will continue the journey with me.
Amy Giuffrida teaches language arts to teens by day, while working nights as supermom, bookseller, and author. The teen in her is never far away, calling to her to crank the tunes and write stories about the darkness that surrounds us all.
Amy is known for taking the path less traveled, but can always be found on Twitter @kissedbyink or online at one of her haunts: amygiuffrida.com, midnightsocietytales.com, or bookish.nu.
Author Page | Blog | Blog Contributor | Twitter: @kissedbyink | Instagram: kissedbyink | Facebook | Tumblr: amygiuffridaauthor | Pinterest | Goodreads
To Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble:
What Jenny Adams Perinovic is thankful for:
New beginnings. 2015 has been a crazy year for me in every respect–I released my debut novel, grew my freelance business, started BGP with some amazing ladies, quit my job, moved from DC to Philadelphia, started a new job, and became a full-time graduate student! And through it all, I dealt with some pretty scary health issues, so I’m definitely thankful that I’m finally back to feeling like myself.
Most of all, I’m so thankful for all of the people who’ve supported me through all the upheaval–from the readers who loved A Magic Dark and Bright to the friends who never let me give up. My family, who have always believed in me. And my husband, Eric, who’s been beside me on every step of the way. I’m so excited to see what we do next.
Jenny Adams Perinovic has always loved books. By day, she’s a full-time graduate student and library outreach coordinator, and by night, she writes YA fantasy, romance, and horror about brave girls, the boys who love them, and their battles against dark forces (also, kissing). She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010, where she wrote papers about monsters in medieval literature (yes, really!). She lives in Philadelphia, PA with her very patient husband and tiny menagerie. On twitter, she’s @JennyPerinovic. You can find her online at jennyperinovic.com and thegreatnovelingadventure.com.
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/A-Magic-Dark-and-Bright/9780986201301
What Sarah Kettles is thankful for:
Obviously, first of all, I’m thankful for the opportunity to share The Old Creek Bridge with the world, and for the many people who helped me along the way. I’m thankful for the support of my friends and family not only with regard to publishing but in relation to the many wild/wonderful things going on in my life at the moment. I’m thankful for all that I’ve got to look forward to in the next year (and it’s a lot – let’s leave it at that!) and for all that I experienced this past year. Life is difficult and painful sometimes, but I’m thankful for the strength that fighting through all the hardship and stress and worry has given me, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do it all better next time.
Sarah Kettles is an American married to a Scot and living in Ireland, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin in 2012. She’s been writing since she learned to read and playing with words since long before that. When she’s not working on her next book, she works as a freelance editor and illustrator. Online, you can find her at SarahKettles.com and @sfkettles on Twitter.
What Danielle Ellison is thankful for:
It’s been a really big transition year for me – lots of upheaval, lots of first, lots of fantastic stuff. I’m thankful for these amazing new experiences! With major transition, for me anyway, comes major instability. I’ve been really fighting my way through the year and fighting to enjoy the things I’ve been given. In all of these, I’m beyond thankful for the fantastic friends I have in my life. They have really support me, listened to me, challenged me, and let me cry on their shoulder all the while cheering me on. I’m thankful for them more than they know. I’m also thankful for my agent, who has been so patient and kind during all of this when I had to repeatedly answer that “what are you working on?” question with no reply. I’m thankful for readers who love my books, tell others about them, and ask when something new is coming–and their patience. I’m thankful for my family and my boyfriend who constantly believe in me and show me that each day is a just another opportunity. I’m thankful that failure, hardship, stress, worry, insecurity, and doubt are not the end of anything; they are merely the beginning of something new. And tomorrow, I get to try all over again.
DAYS LIKE THIS:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1121662718?ean=2940152177374&itm=1&usri=2940152177374
One More Page (signed paperback copies): http://www.onemorepagebooks.com/shop-omp-.html
Danielle Ellison spent most of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It’s probably the reason she can’t divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next adventure. It’s also probably the reason she’s had so many different zip codes and jobs.
Danielle is also the author of the YA duology, Salt and Storm, about a snarky teenage demon-hunting witch without any magic that’s been called ‘Buffy meets Supernatural meets Charmed.’
When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.
Craig Lew’s storytelling career began even before he had learned to write. As a child, he used his father’s tape recorder to capture tales about strange planets and scary creatures. His favorite story openings at that time were, “Once upon a junk yard heap …” or “It was a dark and stormy night.”
A movie producer, director, award winning author, illustrator, and screenwriter, Craig still favors a Hitchcockian thriller over a broad teen comedy. Regardless of the genre, he believes the best stories involve a hero who is either seeking love or giving love. At heart he’s a big, mushy romantic.
Craig spends his days with his fiancé in a house on a hill with the corgi land seals Yobo and Zeekie, a three-footed Boston Terrier named Moogie, and Smittens, the kitten with the marshmallow mittens.
I strive to spread good karma. Artistically, I enjoy pushing the envelope because I believe this makes more room in the middle. I believe the keys to success are dreaming big, working hard, and being nice.
I didn’t plan on writing Breath to Breath in verse, but my actions helped turn things in that direction.
I introduced a book based on a true story, CRANK by Ellen Hopkins, to the publisher Rana DiOrio and William, the subject of Breath to Breath. They both felt strongly that verse might be the correct direction…I think my editor, Emma Dryden might have been thinking this all along.
It’s not your fault, you are worthwhile and you can rise above.
Although the novel depicts sexual abuse, Breath to Breath has a hopeful message. The very last poem came from deep inside me. It’s truly how I want to live my life. So, anytime I get stressed or frustrated I say to myself, “Be THE GUY that wrote Breath to Breath.”
Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry? – Chocolate
Vacation spot: ski slope, big city, small town, beach, or nature preserve? – Mala Mala Game Reserve South Africa
Snack food you have a compulsion to eat? – Salt and Pepper Kettle Chips
Favorite place to write? – In the living room, with Smittens on my chair, looking out the tall windows at the catalpa tree.
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot cider? – A double espresso in the morning – Golden Monkey Tea in the afternoon
Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.
While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).
Hi Liza! YAY! I am so honored to be here with you. It’s fun to get to hang out with you on your blog—mostly because you’re fun to hang out with any old place. : ) I’m afraid that your questions were so good that I went on and on and on about them. Sorry in advance!
1. Barrie hates that Eight knows how much she needs and wants him to stay on Watson Island. Because he’s compelled to fulfill her desire, it’s hard for her to trust his feelings for her. What is important for readers to know about this relationship???
That’s a great question. It would be so easy for Barrie to just accept how Eight feels for her at face value. She’s already had to come to terms with questions about how much Eight’s ability to know what she wants allows him to manipulate her into falling in love with him, but it’s easier for her to believe that he’s worth loving than it is for her to see the same quality in herself. Part of that has to do with the fact that your parents create formative relationships in your life. When she isn’t sure that her own mother could love her, it’s hard to believe that someone like Eight would do so.
It quickly becomes more than that, though. It becomes a question of free will versus compulsion. Eight is changing his life for her—putting aside something that she knows has been a long-time dream he’s worked hard to achieve. Because she loves him, how can she let him do that if he isn’t doing it of his own free will?
While she’s thinking about that, the situation becomes complicated by Obadiah and Seven, who essentially make her have to choose between giving up her magic or giving up her relationship with Eight. She refuses to accept that choice, and she struggles to find an alternative solution—and the only way to do that, as she sees it, is to keep a secret that she probably shouldn’t keep.
I really wanted this relationship, and this entire book, to make people give some thought to the lies we tell, the secrets we keep, and the fine line between persuasion and compulsion.
2. I found the Civil War scenes very powerful and heartbreaking. What research did you do to bring the horrors from the past into your novel?
I did a ton of research. In addition to working with an archeologist and professor of anthropology on the trilogy overall, I spent months poring over and often crying over, the stories that I found in diaries and personal accounts. In some ways, though, the “official” records were far worse—the official records that I found and the ones that simply don’t exist.
There’s a myth that the Civil War was somehow “civil” when it came to women, that there wasn’t as much rape as there has been in other wars. There are two reasons for that—one is that the general stigma of rape was even worse back then than it is today. According to the Department of Justice, even now only 36 percent of rapes, 34 percent of attempted rapes, and 26 percent of sexual assaults are reported—and the reason those are reported is the hope of bringing the perpetrators to justice and preventing future victims. In war, neither of those outcomes is likely. White women were therefore unlikely to accept the shame of publicly admitting to having been raped. Crimes against black women were not reported either. The reasons for this were so horrifying that I felt almost paralyzed writing about it. For one thing, the rape of black women was most often reported as a property crime by slave owners rather than a sexual assault, and even more horrifyingly, female slaves were frequently forced into having sex.
The scene the night the mansion burned was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. It’s actually based on an account about a ten-year-old child that I read. The situation was so awful that I had to tone it down to write the first draft, and then I toned it down again, because had I left it in, it would have overshadowed the entire book.
3. You blend the past and the present seamlessly. Past is the present as Cassie, Barrie, and Eight see the forces of the Civil War unfold right in front of them. What can readers learn from what they went through as witnesses to this horror?
I was researching and writing Cassie’s story at the time that Boko Haram took the school girls hostage and the extent of the slavery crisis across Africa and the rest of the world began to be more widely reported. Having spent so much time speaking to sexual assault and PTSD victims, I was deeply affected by what the girls I read about or spoke with had gone through or were going through. More than anything else, it gutted me to realize the extent to which we are going backward rather than forward. How can we, in 2015, have 30 million slaves in the world? Because most of them are women and children. Because most come from poor nations. Because . . . There are innumerable reasons and excuses. But slavery is just the extreme example of what are still staggeringly high statistics of crimes against women. We talk a lot about the “rape culture” in this country. That doesn’t exist just in the United States.
The problem isn’t just with men. It’s with anyone who allows the lines between free will, persuasion, and compulsion to get blurred by their own self-interest or desire. Force isn’t the only tool in the arsenal used to diminish, marginalize, or overpower women. Subtle pressure, bullying, blackmail, and threats of various kinds can be almost as, if not just as, damaging.
You know the saying—the best villains don’t know they’re villains. This was true with slave holders in the Civil War, and it’s true of those who enslave, rape, date rape, or abuse adults or children today. Somehow, they manage to convince themselves that they’re not really doing anything wrong.
The answer to this, I believe, has to start with empathy. The first thing we have to realize is that the people who do these horrible things, the people who did them in the past, and who are doing them in the present, are often kind or productive citizens in other respects—and that they use that fact to excuse their own horrific acts toward those weaker than themselves.
The interweaving of past and present in Persuasion was a very deliberate way for me to try to raise awareness of the problem of violence against women in all its different guises, both as a societal issue we need to repair here in the United States, but also as an act of war all around the world. And it’s my hope that girls who read this book might consider, even if only on a subconscious level, their own definitions of the line between compulsion and persuasion. It breaks my heart that one in three girls will be raped in the US before they are 19. Or when I see statistics that show 41 percent of 6th to 9th grade girls and 51 percent of boys think it’s okay for a man to force a woman to kiss him if he’s spent money on her. Or that 47 percent of the girls and 65 percent of the boys think that forcing sex on a woman is okay if they’ve been dating for more than six months, and this shoots up to 79 percent of girls and 87 percent for boys who think its okay as long as the couple is married. WTF?
This has to change. But we all know it’s not going to change by screaming at people. I truly do feel that fiction has a role to play here. Fiction builds empathy, and empathy is our hope for the future. Not everyone reads—and even fewer people read “issue books.” I wanted to write about the issue in a way that might reach readers who normally don’t read about issues. Fingers are crossed!
Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?
Vacation spot: big city, beach, nature preserve?
Snack food you have a “compulsion for?”
What terrifies you more: snakes, spiders, mice?
Snakes. So much!
Would you rather be a Watson, a Beaufort or a Colesworth?
Watson. : )
Persuasion by Martina Boone
Cover: Absolutely GORGEOUS! ❤️❤️❤️
We have kissing like THIS:
Hold on to the edge of your seat, because PERSUASION takes you on a ride that will leave you breathless. Martina Boone does an extraordinary job weaving together history, magic, mystery, and modern times. She unspools questions like the Fire Carrier unspools his ball of flames across the river. Readers will swoon over Eight and Barrie, pray that they’ll make it as a couple. Is Eight with Barrie because she wants him and he wants to give her whatever she wants? Is their love for each other real? Or is it because of the magical gifts each one has: Barrie’s ability to find things and his ability to know what other people want.
The questions won’t stop there. Readers are introduced to Obadiah and his magic. Who is he? Is he evil? What is his connection to the curse plaguing Cassie? And what is going on with Cassie? More games? What kind of persuasion is influencing these characters? Why did Seven break up with Pru years ago, when clearly he loves her? Why is Seven keeping secrets from Eight? Can the curse be broken? Will Barrie get to keep her gift? Will Eight be burdened by his??? Will the archeologists find the missing gold or something unexpected, perhaps evil, on the Colesworth estate?
The biggest question of all? WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?!
So, take a breath . . .
Get comfort where you can . . .
And be patient. OKAY, I CAN’T BE PATIENT!
I absolutely, positively MUST have the third book in this series!!!!!!!!!!!
If you haven’t read COMPULSION, get it now!
Fall in love with the history, Southern charm, romance, magic, mystery, rich scenes, clever, smart writing, and all those questions. (Oh! And I forgot to mention the food references!!!!!! I will be searching for recipes, just like the amazing COMPULSION Woopie pie cake Heidi from YA Bibliophile made for our Novel Cuisine Luncheon http://www.whorublog.com/2014/12/16/t… ! – which is once again mentioned in PERSUASION! Drool!)
Without any doubt, PERSUASION will be on my top-reads list of 2015!
Thank you so much to SimonTeen and Martina Boone for the advanced copy.