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Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina L. Brooks – Excerpt & Giveaway
Oct 8th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

Writing Great Books for Young Adults

9781402293528-PR

Published by Sourcebooks

October 7, 2014

By Regina L. Brooks

ISBN: 9781402293528 ● Trade Paperback/$14.99

Sourcebooks

Buy it here:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Praise for Writing Great Books for Young Adults

“Written from the perspective of an industry insider, the book shows budding authors how to edit their work with fresh eyes.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Brooks offers writers who are serious about attracting teen readers solid guidance through the creation process of writing YA fiction.” —Library Journal

“Brooks fills her book with clear examples that illustrate her points… If you’re looking for an A to Z guide on writing and publishing YA fiction, Regina Brooks’s how-to is the place to go.” —Writer Magazine

Break into the young adult market with this indispensable guide!

With an 87 percent increase in the number of young adult titles published in the last two years, the young adult market is one of the healthiest segments in the industry. Despite this fact, surprisingly little has been written to help authors hone their craft and truly connect with the young adult audience.

Writing Great Books for Young Adults gives writers all the advice they need to tap into this incredible and innovative market. Literary agent Regina L. Brooks shows writers how listening to young adults will help them create characters their audience can identify with.

Topics covered include meeting your protagonistengaging your readers,, trying on points of view, and many more.

 regina image

About the Author: Regina L. Brooks is the founder of Serendipity Literary Agency and has been developing award-winning authors and books for over a decade. She has been highlighted in several national and international magazines and periodicals, including Poets and WritersEssenceWriter’s Digest, andSister2SisterForbes, Media Bistro, Ebony, and Jet. She lives in New York City.

Connect with Regina: Twitter |Facebook |Website 

 

 

Five Rules for Engaging Readers of Young Adult

Fiction

Before you even start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), there are some issues that need to be addressed. A lot of writers out there think writing YA fiction is easy. It’s not. Some mistakes you might make will condemn your book to languish on the slush pile forever. So before we even talk about the nitty–gritty of how to shape your book—-character, plot, setting, point of view—-we need to talk about the five key elements that can make or break you as a YA writer.

The Holden Caulfield Rule—-Don’t Be a Phony!

Imagine traveling to a planet where your survival depends on hiding out among the inhabitants, where being recognized as a phony would mean instant annihilation. In that situation, you’d want to study the locals until you knew just how to look and sound and respond like them. It is the same in YA fiction. In this case, sudden death occurs when the reader, stumbling upon a false image, loses interest. The book closes with the splintering sound of a fatal bullet.

It’s no exaggeration.

Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, was always railing against the phoniness of other people, particularly adults. The enduring popularity of Catcher in the Rye demonstrates that teens today are the same way—-they despise fakes.

YA Fiction Rule #1: The life of the story depends on the writer’s ability to convince READERS that the protagonist is one of them.

The key to writing a successful YA novel means knowing kids well enough to channel their voices, thoughts, and emotions. (“Kids” is used as an operative word here. The official YA audience encompasses twelve– to eighteen–year–olds, but it is expanding as children’s book publishers work to attract readers as young as ten and eleven, and adult publishers reach to capitalize on the growing market.) While some of your readers may be a little younger than the twelve–to–eighteen target—-children aged ten to twelve tend to read above their age—-and some may be a little older, keep in mind that you have to convince all segments of your audience that you know what it feels like to be a young person today. If you can’t convince your audience that you know how they feel about the world today and express yourself the same way, you will never reach them.

Avoid the Preach ‘n’ Teach

Whether YA readers attend elementary or secondary school isn’t an issue when it comes to the importance of YA Fiction Rule #2.

YA Fiction Rule #2: Don’t be condescending to your readers.

Young people won’t abide stories that suggest that their turmoil or idealism will pass when they “grow up.” Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club, says, “I’m a big believer that kids are smarter than we think they are.…I think kids can handle complexity and nuances, and the advantage to writing that way is that the book appeals to both teenagers and adults.”

Many adults read fiction as an escape—-teens are no different. Imagine spending a long day in school, learning boring lessons ’cause you’re supposed to, having everyone from parents to teachers to employers telling you what to do, how to think, what to wear, then picking up a novel—-and having someone else trying to shove another lesson down your throat! I can’t imagine a bigger letdown.

Don’t deal with young people by trying to push them in one direction or another. Deal with them where they’re at now.

Soak It Up!

A word of caution: don’t emulate your favorite authors, but learn from them. You’ll want to create work that is truly your own. In the resource guide at the back of this book, along with details such as schools that offer writing degrees with a YA focus, you’ll find listings for websites that recommend great YA fiction.

YA Fiction Rule #3: Read, read, read today’s YA fiction.

The benefits to reading what’s already on the market are phenomenal. It will familiarize you with what’s selling, how kids today talk, what they wear, what issues concern them, and so on. If you don’t have easy access to a teen, reading books meant for teens is probably the next best thing to having a teen personally tell you what he or she would like to read.

Ideals First, Meals Later

Writing a successful book that aims to attract the widest possible audience should be every writer’s goal, shouldn’t it? The answer is yes and no. It helps to have a general audience age in mind, but you don’t want to be consumed with thoughts about how and whether you’ll sell your work.

YA Fiction Rule #4: Silence your worries about commercial considerations.

This allows you to concentrate on your primary objective, which is to tell your story. If a nagging inner voice surfaces or someone discourages you, rather than pulling on earphones and listening to music as a teenager might, transform the voices through the power of your imagination into “white noise.” This is the all–frequency sound emitted from machines that imparts a feeling of privacy, calming you and allowing you to focus on that world you’re creating. Keep your artistic integrity—-your ideals—-ahead of how commercially successful—-your meals—-you want your book to be. If you focus on writing the best possible book, commercial success will follow later.

As your manuscript develops while you work through the guidelines provided in the ensuing chapters, your audience will become as clear to you as if you were speaking on a stage and looking into an auditorium full of people. If you subsequently work with an agent, the two of you can determine whether the manuscript should be pitched to editors specializing in YA, adult fiction, or both. But the fate of your manuscript will still be up in the air. Editors, who are invested with the power to buy or decline a manuscript, will ultimately determine to whom the book will be marketed.

The significant rise in the success of YA novels has opened the way for a multiplicity of categories, and just to give you an idea, I’ve listed some alphabetically: adventure, chick lit, comical, fantasy, fantasy epics, futuristic, gay–themed, historical, multicultural, mystery, religious, romantic, science fiction, sports, and urban. If your story idea doesn’t fit into any of these categories, you may have to invent one. Consider it an opportunity.

The Undiscovered Country

From this point on, let your creative spirit be guided by YA Rule #5.

YA Rule #5: In your new world of YA fiction, erect no concrete barriers, wire fences, or one–way signs. Instead, forge new paths.

The YA field welcomes innovators. Encapsulating the newness of the time, YA novels are being published in nontraditional formats. Three YA authors banded together to compose a novel. Another entry is an interactive book with websites that combines reading with the world of Internet gaming. What will your contribution be? Think fresh.

Remember that young people are trendsetters—-they’re always looking to differentiate themselves from others. It’s how teens forge their own identities. Don’t be afraid to push the boat out as well. Coming up with a fresh idea will set you apart from the pack and might be the thing that sparks an editor’s interest in your work.

Okay, consider yourself warned. Now that you know what not to do, it’s time to learn how to craft the next YA bestseller. Step by step, this book will walk you through the mechanics of what makes a great YA novel.

Chapter 2 is about generating an idea, your story. It will talk about different ways to uncover stories that YA readers will want to read about. It will also help you discover new possibilities for stories within yourself that you may not have known you had.

Chapter 3 will discuss characters—-the heart of any manuscript. How to breathe life into interesting characters your reader will connect with is the main lesson of this chapter, but we’ll also discuss how to find the best characters for the story you want to tell.

Chapter 4 is all about plot, story, and how to tell the difference. Plot is like a machine that propels your manuscript forward, while story is the overall impression you want the plot to create in the reader’s mind.

Chapter 5 is about how to put together a believable plot. It’s all about action—-establishing the main conflict of your manuscript and putting it in motion. Of special concern will be integrating the events of the manuscript with the characters’ personalities, making sure that the characters react to events in believable ways.

Chapter 6 is about setting and timeline. Setting is the background of your story—-the when and where. This chapter is about understanding the atmosphere of your story and effectively manipulating the details of that atmosphere to influence your manuscript’s tone.

Chapter 7 is about point of view—-the perspective from which you tell your story. Point of view can be an extremely effective tool for connecting with character and clarifying or confusing the reader about events—-provided you use it correctly.

Chapter 8 is about the meat of your manuscript—-dialogue. Dialogue provides an opportunity for your characters to interact and opens up another way to build your characters.

Chapter 9 is about the theme of your manuscript. Theme is the overall impression you want your readers to take away. It’s a subtle but effective way for the author to express himself through the story.

Chapter 10 is about wrapping it all up, bringing your plot to a successful resolution. Endings can be very tricky, so there will be detailed discussion about what sorts of conclusions to avoid.

Chapter 11 is about how to find constructive feedback and incorporate it into your revisions. All authors need to edit and revise their manuscript, and this chapter will explain why the editing process is so necessary.

Chapter 12 is about getting published—what agents and editors do and how to get your work into their hands. This is the business chapter-—the one that details exactly how the publishing industry works.

Chapter 13 is about YA nonfiction and the emerging genre of New Adult. The YA market is constantly in flux, and this chapter will expose you to two recent developments in the market.

I hope all of these tools will be helpful to you as you begin the process of writing the next YA bestseller. Let’s begin exploring that magical new world.

Giveaway: Open to US & Canada

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The Legion Series YA Book Tour: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Cinda Williams Chima, & Rachel Caine
Oct 16th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

The Legion Series YA Book Tour:

The authorsKami Garcia, Margaret Stohl,

Cinda Williams Chima, & Rachel Caine

October 14, 2013

Barnes & Noble, Brookfield, WI

To win a signed copy of Unbreakable and great swag, check out FicFare & Jaime & Erin Arkin’s post. (Ends October 24, 2013)

 

Four NYTBS authors = an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime night!

(The fabulous Heidi from YA Bibliophile was unable to attend because of the passing of her grandma a few hours before this event. She was supposed to tweet live and post on her blog about the evening, so I filled in for her. Here’s her FANTASTIC review of UNBREAKABLE. )

My “this was so scary good!!!” review can be found on Goodreads.

In celebration of Kami Garcia’s new novel, UNBREAKABLE, the first book in The Legion Series (Little Brown), Kami traveled to nine different cities with some fantastic authors. Barnes and Noble in Brookfield, WI was one of the stops. THANKS TO: Katie at Mundie Moms for organizing the bloggers for each event!

Kami Garcia

Kami Garcia

Here are some of the highlights of the evening:

There was a lot of laughter when Kami Garcia gave Margaret Stohl a hard time for not giving her a copy of Margaret’s ARC, IDOLS. (One lucky winner won it at the end of the evening.)
Kami thanked her readers for buying UNBREAKABLE, which hit the NYTBS list this past week!
After talking about their books, Kami led all the authors on lightening rounds of questions including: French fries or potato chips – everyone said french fries. Favorite accessories varied from cellphone (Rachel), rings (Cinda). Classic books you didn’t like: Ethan Fromme (Kami), any James Joyce (Margaret), Hemingway (Rachel).

On writing:

The authors talked about the writing process. Cinda said that all her books start out crappy, so give yourself permission to write something crappy. She quoted Nora Roberts: “I can fix anything but a blank page.” Kami and Margaret said that everyone has their own process for writing and you have to respect that and not judge that process. Margaret travels a lot and she will spend quite a bit of time observing and writing down detail after detail of something that catches her attention. Rachel said that at the end of the day, if you get the same feedback from several people, then don’t dismiss it. Don’t think that the advice is wrong or dumb. Listen to the feedback and take it seriously. Kami added that if everyone is saying that your ending doesn’t work, then pay attention and change it. They talked about writer’s block. For Kami, this happens when she’s really tired. It helps to get some rest or watch some TV. Rachel will change environments. Which reminds me, Margaret can pretty much write anywhere, including the jungle. 😀

Some of the crowd:

 

 

 

As Kami signed some of Barnes and Nobles’ stock of her books, I asked her a few questions:book-unbreakable

1. There are some superstitions in UNBREAKABLE. Do you have any superstitions?

A: Lots! I have a charm necklace I have to wear when I travel. I won’t get on an airplane without it.I don’t like the number 13. If my hotel room has that number in it, I’ll switch rooms. I won’t walk on someone’s grave.

2. In UNBREAKABLE there is the Legion of Five. Does the number five have significance and will we see more of that number in your books?

A: Definitely, but you’ll have to read the series to find out. Also, the number three!

3. What TV shows/movie genres do you like?

A: I don’t watch sappy romances or sitcoms. Give me Ghosthunters, Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, or Buffy. I’ll watch action movies, disaster films, and fantasy, but I stay away from most horror films. Slasher movies don’t bother me, but anything that could be realistic like movies with possession, are a NO! Stephan King’s Carrie – the original is one of them most terrifying.

4. From your novel, UNBREAKABLE, who would you choose, Lukas or Jared?

A: My younger self would choose Jared. He’s a wounded soul with lots of secrets and I would have related more to that. Though I will say that Lukas also has his secrets, he’s just more extroverted.

Fun fact: Kami was a huge Tetris fan. Loved to play it. A lot.

To learn more about UNBREAKABLE and THE LEGION SERIES, CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE. You’ll be able to listen to an excerpt of UNBREAKABLE read by Candice Accola from The Vampire Diaries, read reviews, see photos, and read an excerpt of the novel.

Order the novel from:

Amazon Barnes and Noble Indiebound 

Take a look at the UNBREAKABLE trailer:

The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac – Review and Giveaway
Sep 9th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

17707464Celebrating the Paperback Release of

THE VOICE IS ALL: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac

By Joyce Johnson

Review and Giveaway (See Rafflecopter below)

From the publisher: 

Joyce Johnson offers a groundbreaking portrait of Jack Kerouac as a young artist, focusing on Kerouac’s slow, often painful development as a writer over the first thirty years of his life, from his early struggles to master English through the grueling years of searching for a way to write On the Road, and ending with the astonishing breakthroughs in late 1951 that resulted in the opening sections of Visions of Cody. In a starred review, Kirkus called it, “An exemplary biography of the Beat icon and his development as a writer . . . There’s plenty of life in these pages to fascinate casual readers, and Johnson is a sensitive but admirably objective biographer . . . A triumph of scholarship.”

Johnson’s experience as a writer of both fiction and memoir and her own vivid personal memories of Kerouac, with whom she had a romance when she was twenty-one years old in 1957, greatly inform her take on Kerouac’s creative process in THE VOICE IS ALL, resulting in a book that greatly deepens our understanding of his life and his achievement. A terrific fall read, THE VOICE IS ALL takes a deeper look into Kerouac’s upbringing and the deeply traditional Franco-American immigrant culture that Kerouac was born into.

My review: 

Revealing, highly researched (but never boring) biography of one of America’s most fascinating, iconic novelists.

When Penguin offered me the opportunity to review this biography, I was reluctant. I don’t read many biographies, but as a writer, I couldn’t resist learning more about Jack Kerouac. And does Joyce Johnson deliver. There are times I was deeply sympathetic toward Jack – the loss of his younger brother Gerard had a huge impact on his life. The death left his mother overprotective toward her remaining son. The apron strings were tied tightly and Jack never seemed to be able to cut them. Jack also grew up in extreme poverty with a father who barely provided for his family. His dad was often drunk and at the very least demanding. Jack’s mother was the nurturer, often stepping in to protect Jack’s love for writing when his father pushed for Jack to become a football star.

Jack was given many opportunities in life to succeed. With the promise of a football scholarship to Columbia University, Jack was to finish high school in New York City at the prestigious Horace Mann High School. There, he played football, met some highly influential and supportive people, and had lots of opportunities to excel in his writing. After Horace Mann, he did indeed attend Columbia University on a full football scholarship. But he and the coach didn’t seem to get along, especially after an injury Jack sustained, and Jack bailed, throwing his scholarship away. There were times he regretted this choice and at other times he seemed to be deeply relieved to be rid of the burden of classes he hated and a football game he wasn’t the star of.

There were times when I despised Jack. The binge drinking and drug use destroyed his life. He was arrogant and insecure. He was a womanizer and he abandoned his wife and child with barely a blink of the eye. He had no qualms about sleeping with his friends’ girlfriends. Actually, it was encouraged.
His writing was everything and his friends and acquaintances filled his pages. He hung around with the hottest writers of his generation and the movers and shakers in the publishing world. Sometimes with great respect and love and sometimes with distain. Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and John Clellon Holmes were the friends who influenced him the most. They fueled his experimentation with drugs, sex, alcohol, and deep philosophical discussions. They traveled the road together, listened to the hottest jazz in Harlem together, partied together. All of this led to the creation of novels, poems, short stories, and letters, especially for Jack. ON THE ROAD was penned during and after many trips from New York to Denver, San Francisco, and his home town of Lowell, to name just a few.

There were several sections I loved. The descriptions of Jack’s life at sea were amazing. I found the jazz scenes particularly fascinating as well as his life in Lowell, MA, at the Horace Mann school in NYC, and at Columbia. I found myself completely drawn in and transported to that time and space.

Pulling from the extensive research done from the Kerouac Archives, Johnson maps out Jack’s life in a comprehensive manner. While reading, I experienced the highs and lows of Jack’s life, the successes and the failures. Even when I felt disgusted by him, I still felt drawn to his story and the need to know what made him tick.

I’m not sure anyone could ever say that they knew Jack Kerouac, but this biography gives us a solid look into his world and philosophy of life. As a writer, I definitely know about the ups and the downs. His seemed to be quite manic fueled by alcohol, drugs, and sex.

A side note:
One observation that struck me while reading this biography was that not much in society has changed in the last 70 plus years. There is still war, debauchery, drug and alcohol abuse, mayhem, promiscuity, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia. I am beginning to wonder if we “human beings” will ever learn. We like to believe that we’ve made progress. Perhaps on a few things we have. But overall, not much. But one thing is for certain: We can’t stop doing whatever we can to make a difference, to leave a positive mark,, and do our best to not only learn from the past, but to utilize it to make life now and in the future better.

I definitely recommend this biography to anyone interested in Jack Kerouac, literature, writing, or history relating to the 1940s and 50s. I enjoyed this so much that I will be reading Joyce Johnson’s memoirs.

Writing tips I extracted from the novel:

A. Jack was influenced by William Saroyan who didn’t have a college education. From that information, he realized that an education doesn’t make a writer. From page 83-84 extracted from Saroyan “demystified the act of writing and made it seem natural as breathing:

1. “Do not pay attention to the rules other people make.”

2. “Forget everybody who ever wrote anything.”

3. “Learn to typewrite so you can turn out stories as fast as Zane Grey.”

4. “Try to be alive. You’ll be dead soon enough . . . ”

B. “The humility of writing-life.” – Keeping a “diary-log.” pg. 288  – Jack often wrote in a diary, keeping track of his writing process and his moods. I think this could be very helpful in the writing process to figure out patterns, progress over time, and perspective.

C. Read – Jack’s writing was deeply influenced by the works he read. “Wolfe, Saroyan, Halper, Whitman, and Joyce.”  page 109. He was constantly reading. Additional authors he read were Proust, Kazin, and Dostoevsky, to name a few.

D. Jack “imagined the mind as an antenna . . . picking up the signals streaming in from the ‘waking consciousness,’ some so faint they could be only be sensed rather than registered. While most writers make no use of them, Jack believed that within these overlooked sensory perceptions one could discover the ‘natural story’ that was of far more importance than any plotting tale.” What I gathered from this was listening to the inner voice and paying attention to the smallest of details that we wouldn’t normally hear or see is what’s critical to making a story special. “For a writer, it would require “an enormous trancelike discipline.” page 392

E. “Jack made a list of events and people he wanted to include in the book and kept it by his typewriter.” page 396.

F. There was a scene in the book where Jack was stuck. He was advised to go out and “sketch” a scene like an artist would draw. He was to use words to describe everything in a place, including the little things he saw like broken glass, garbage. He used sounds, smells etc to describe the scene – paint it on paper. (I will find the exact page number and description and add it later.)

G. Jack also did a lot of spontaneous writing. On page 396 it says: “Allen Ginsberg would call Jack’s method of writing “spontaneous bop prosody,” a term that caught on and would prove misleading.” He did NOT spew his words onto paper. “With unfortunate consequences to his literary reputation, the idea of spontaneous writing suggested the process was easy, leaving out the immense discipline that went into it . . . ” What I extracted from this and from other passages throughout the book is that Jack allowed himself to write freely and go with the flow of inspiration without constantly self-editing.
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Highlights from the School Library Journal #TeenSummer Online Event #SLJST
Jul 24th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

Summerteen2013_header10

Today, I participated in the online School Library Journal SummerTeen event, which I would describe as an outstanding, informative, dynamic, interactive event with live web broadcasts, panel discussions, chats with authors, publishers, a film director & fellow YA enthusiasts-teachers, librarians, writers. Besides the online site through SLJ, we used the hashtag #SLJST to connect with others. It was a productive time and I found myself glued to the computer and actively participating and listening. It took me over an hour to prepare the omelet I made for lunch because I kept turning back to my computer.

Here were some of my favorite tweets I posted or RT
today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17262252While visiting the Candlewick booth, I learned about FALLOUT by Todd Strasser. The publication date is September 10, 2013 and there are 272 pages. I think it will be a fascinating historical fiction novel and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Here’s the description from Goodreads:
What if the bomb had actually been dropped? What if your family was the only one with a shelter?

In the summer of 1962, the possibility of nuclear war is all anyone talks about. But Scott’s dad is the only one in the neighborhood who actually prepares for the worst. As the neighbors scoff, he builds a bomb shelter to hold his family and stocks it with just enough supplies to keep the four of them alive for two critical weeks. In the middle of the night in late October, when the unthinkable happens, those same neighbors force their way into the shelter before Scott’s dad can shut the door. With not enough room, not enough food, and not enough air, life inside the shelter is filthy, physically draining, and emotionally fraught. But even worse is the question of what will — and won’t — remain when the door is opened again. Internationally best-selling author Todd Strasser has written his most impressive and personal novel to date, ruthlessly yet sensitively exploring the terrifying what-ifs of one of the most explosive moments in human history.

I also was fascinated by this YA book trailer for Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen, which is being published by Blink YA Books:

Another highlight was Penguin’s Authors Stand Up for Free Speech video, which talks about banned books:

My tweet:

Over at Disney, I participated in a wonderful chat with Tamara Ireland Stone (see tweet above about the video I discovered) and am thrilled to have been able to download onto my iPad her newest book TIME AFTER TIME! I absolutely LOVED her first novel, TIME BETWEEN US! I had posted about it on my blog here: http://www.whorublog.com/?p=1374

Here’s the video:

At Scholastic, I chatted with Katie Alender, author of Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer. I learned that she spent quite a bit of time in Paris researching this novel and took  forty-five minute tour of the Catacombs. When I asked her what her most surprising discovery was while doing research for this novel, she said that Paris was the perfect location for a murdering ghost! And since I’ve been to Paris, I’d have to agree. Lots of old buildings, nooks and crannies, and, of course, the Catacombs!

I listened to several webinars, including Tamora Pierce who was the keynote speaker. (See tweets above.) I loved Allen Zadoff, author of Boy Nobody who was a part of the Real Life Mysteries and Thrillers Panel. (See tweets above.) Technology in Teen Lit and Humor Me! Panel were great too. (See tweets above.) I had no idea that Paul Rudnick was so funny!
I can’t thank SLJ, the publishers, authors, and participants enough for this free event. I look forward to participating next year.

Victoria Rebels Blog Tour & Giveaway – Q & A with Author Carolyn Meyer
Feb 19th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

VictoriaRebelsBanner

From Goodreads:

Queen Victoria’s personal journals inform this captivating first-person account of one of history’s most prominent female leaders.

Queen Victoria most certainly left a legacy—under her rule as the longest reigning female monarch in history, the British Empire was greatly expanded and significant industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military changes occurred within the United Kingdom. To be a young woman in a time when few other females held positions of power was to lead in a remarkable age—and because Queen Victoria kept personal journals, this historical novel from award-winning author Carolyn Meyer shares authentic emotional insight along with accurate information, weaving a true story of intrigue and romance.

Published by Paula Wiseman Books, January 1, 2013

Questions and Answers with Victoria Rebels’ author,

Carolyn Meyer

1. After writing about Queen Victoria, are there any leaders living today who you believe exemplify the qualities carolyn_182x228px-210she possessed? If so, who and why. If not, what made her unique?

Your question immediately prompted me to think about Hillary Clinton–even though you didn’t specify gender–for a number of reasons. Hillary has completely dedicated herself to public service, as Victoria did. She has matured into her role, as Victoria did. She has learned to navigate in a male-dominated world, as Victoria did. 

2. You stated that Queen Victoria “tries to please her unpleasable mother,” which is certainly the circumstances for many teens today. What is your advice to them?

I, too, am the daughter of an “unpleasable mother,” and my advice would be to learn how to negotiate these turbulent waters as well as you can and to retain a sense of who you are at your core. And then, finally, you must learn to forgive them. It took Victoria a long time to learn to do that–as it did me. 

3. You used Queen Victoria’s diaries to help construct some of the details for Victoria Rebels. With the Internet today, may young adults are chronicling their lives on social media sights [sites] such as Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest. Do you see any benefits to going back to keeping a diary? If so, what would they be?

Yes, I do, but it has more to do with developing self-discipline and self-reflection, as weirdly old-fashioned as that sounds, and I think it should be kept private. When I was a young girl, I had a diary with a tiny lock on it, and I was always afraid that someone–my mother!–would read my most secret thoughts. Now it seems, that need for inner privacy seems to have dwindled–even disappeared–and that’s a shame.

VictoriaRebels_cover4. I saw that your favorite job is writing, rewriting, and re-rewriting. Since you write historical fiction, I’m guessing that you also enjoy the research process? What tips do you have for writers who are interested in writing historical fiction and would you stray from “facts” or construct your novel around them?

You guess right! Research is the fun part, and it’s so much easier than writing! I use a combination of research methods–public and university libraries, the internet, and, if I can, traveling to visit the places I’m writing about. I’d advise others who want to write historical fiction to continue the research right up to the final draft and to pay special attention to accuracy. I never change known facts, but when I turn up contradictory facts (as happens as you go further back in history, to the Tudor era, for instance) I go with what works best for the narrative. In many novels I’ve invented characters–a servant is often a useful tool for conveying information–but I didn’t have to make up a single soul in Victoria’s story. They are all extremely well documented; all I had to do was set the scenes.

5. I love “My Writer’s Journal” http://www.readcarolyn.com/blog.htm and noticed in your December 31, 2010 entry that you were really struggling to get past the first line of Victoria Rebel. ” I hate Sir John Conroy.” Obviously, you got past those six weeks of writing and rewriting the first five pages. What was your process in moving forward and persevering? Did something change in your thinking? If so, what was it? Assuming that you were, at times, frustrated, how did you cope?

I just went back and looked at that entry, trying to remember what was in my head two years ago. Apparently I believed I had a really good opening line, but as you’ve noted, I didn’t quite know where to go with it. Eventually I sent the first draft off to the editor (I don’t think of it as a draft, mind you; I always think I’ve finished!); to my absolute horror, she wanted me to cut most of what I had written in the first chapter. She was right, and that got me moving forward more confidently. And I managed to keep the first line.

6. Of all the places you’ve traveled, which has most influenced your writing and why?

I’ve traveled a lot, and I’ve always gained insights, but the places that have most influenced me are the ones I’ve called home–Pennsylvania, where I grew up, and New Mexico, where I’ve lived for many years.

7. Do you ever just travel for fun or is it always connected to a book you’re writing? Where are you going next?

As a matter of fact, I’ve just come back from a trip that started in Paris and ended in Madrid with no particular goals in mind except to enjoy great museums and great food and to keep an eye open for new experiences. That’s going to be it for awhile.

Many thanks to Gabrielle from Modge Podge Blog Tours for including me in this tour.

VictoriaRebelsButtonBLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

19th Interview @ WhoRu Blog
20th Interview @ The Reader’s Antidote
21st Guest Blog @ Fantasy’s Ink
22nd Character Interview with John Conroy @ Pages From My Thoughts
25th Guest Blog @ Bibliophilia, Please!
26th Guest Blog @ Books Beside My Bed
27th Top Ten: The Victorian Age @ Moosubi Reads
28th Interview @ Beauty But A Funny Girl
1st Character Interview with Fidi @ Bookcase to Heaven
4th Interview @ Gobs and Gobs of Books
5th Guest Blog @ A Dream Within A Dream
6th Character Interview With Prince Albert @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
7th Guest Blog @ Stiletto Storytime
8th Interview @ Emily’s Crammed Bookshelf
11th Interview @ Movies In My Head
12th Top Ten: Victoria’s Favorites @ Curling Up With A Good Book
13th Character Interview With Victoria @ The Mod Podge Bookshelf

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Five Star Review & Giveaway of JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman – 12 Reasons Why I Loved It!
Feb 3rd, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

Five Star Review and Giveaway of JUST ONE DAY

by Gayle Forman

 

gayle-bioWhen I read a book that I know may have a profound impact on a YA’s life, I have to share it with my readers. JUST ONE DAY by12842115 Gayle Forman is one of those novels. (I felt the same way about Gayle’s other books, IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT. If you haven’t read them, they’re a must-read too!)

So, that is why I am doing a giveaway for JOD. It’s open internationally if your country allows for free shipping through The Book Depository, so make sure you check that. Ends Sunday, February 14, 4:00 PM CST.

From Goodreads:

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

 

What I loved about JUST ONE DAY:

1. Including Shakespeare’s plays in the novel: Gayle does an amazing job of breaking down the plays that, even if you’ve never read them or seen them, you’ll be able to understand what she’s referring to. And it just might inspire you to go and see one in person or rent one on DVD.

2. The settings: London, Paris, Amsterdam, NYC, and Boston – Gayle captures these cities so magnificently that even if you haven’t been to these cities, you’ll be able to visualize the sights and sounds and tastes and smells. I’ve been to London, Paris, Boston, and NYC and her descriptions brought me right back.

3. There are other books out on the market about how one day can change a person’s life. But what I love about JOD is that the one day Allyson and Willem share in Paris has its highs and its lows. It’s not perfect, which, in my opinion, is a reflection on real life.

4. This is a novel about stepping out of your comfort zone, self-discovery, personal growth. There’s plenty of pain and joy that goes along with these actions, but if there wasn’t, then they wouldn’t be significant. This novel encourages calculated risk-taking, which I am all in favor of at any time in one’s life.

5. Imperfect characters/no cliched characters: There isn’t one character who is perfect i.e. too handsome or gorgeous, too smart, or fits into a cliche. These are “real-life” characters and maybe you won’t identify will everyone (the family seder and how people interact was very different than my own experiences as an adult with my children – ours our fun. We laugh and people ask to get invited each year – they love my cooking, the telling of the Passover story etc. :D), but you will certainly find someone to connect with on a personal level.

6. Gives the reader a different perspective on what constitutes love. Most of the time, love is not about being swept off your feet and carried up the staircase. Love can be messy and strange and confusing and painful and amazing and inspiring and definitely life-changing. I deeply appreciate how it’s portrayed in JOD.

7. Friendship: Gayle shows the ups and downs between friends, an authentic portrayal of how one can grow close or be distant depending on the stage of your life. Instead of worrying about it, Gayle’s portrayal takes a healthy perspective.

8. Decision making/choices: I love how Allyson learns and chooses to do what’s best for her and not what’s best for her parents. It takes tremendous fortitude to buck the system and decide what is best for you rather than giving into someone else’s dream for you. DREAM big and TAKE ACTION! Love this.

9. Conquering fear: Who isn’t afraid? But if you’re not bold, if you don’t “Dare Greatly” (the title of a book I love by Brene Brown) then it’s very difficult to move forward. JOD epitomizes “Daring Greatly.”

10. The writing/storytelling: Absolutely captivating and brilliant. I love the minute details such as the watch that Allyson wears, the coins that Willem flips over between his fingers. These and many more add richness to the story.

11. The portrayal of adults/parents: Flawed, annoying, kind, welcoming, nurturing, selfish. That only captures some of their characteristics of the adults in this novel. Absolutely authentic to real life.

12. Use of foreign languages: French, Dutch, Chinese – you don’t have to know them to appreciate the language or get the nuance of what’s going on. Gayle clues in the reader beautifully when need be. There will be times when you learn along the way or feel clueless like Allyson does. It’s exactly how it should be.

For more information about Gayle Forman and her books visit her website: http://www.gayleforman.com

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ALICE BLISS YA Blog Tour, Fourteen Blogs/Fourteen Ways to Win!
Aug 13th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

ALICE BLISS, by Laura Harrington

 

Alice Bliss is the novel for our generation. Like Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Ann Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl, are classics from past centuriesAlice Bliss is destined to be a classic of the twenty-first century.

“If a novel could have a heartbeat, Alice Bliss would have one. If an author could capture a slice of America’s soul, Laura Harrington succeeded in doing so!” Liza Wiemer 

But don’t just take my word for it. Others are raving about Alice Bliss

“This may be the Our Town of the 21st Century.” Anne Roiphe, author of Epilogue, a Memoir

Laura Harrington, Author of the acclaimed ALICE BLISS

ALICE BLISS is a People MagazinePeople Pick” with 4 out of 4 stars.

ALICE BLISS: “The Best Books of the SummerEntertainment Weekly.

ALICE BLISS has been selected for the Barnes & NobleDiscover Great New Writers” program.

ALICE BLISS: School Library Journal‘s “Best Books of 2011” in the category “Adult Books for Teens.”

ALICE BLISS Listeners’ Top Book Picks for Books of Summer on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook.

ALICE BLISS chosen “Book of the Week” by Stylist Magazine in the UK.

A Massachusetts Library AssociationMust Read” for 2012

Nominated for the 2012 Alex Award

ALICE BLISS is a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club Pick in the UK

 

From Goodreads: Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving coming-of-age novel about love and its many variations–the support of a small town looking after its own; love between an absent father and his daughter; the complicated love between an adolescent girl and her mother; and an exploration of new love with the boy-next-door. These characters’ struggles amidst uncertain times echo our own, lending the novel an immediacy and poignancy that is both relevant and real. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a transforming story about those who are left at home during wartime, and a teenage girl bravely facing the future.

Full summary here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9816578-alice-bliss

For more information about Alice Bliss  and Laura Harrington:

http://www.lauraharringtonbooks.com/

https://twitter.com/LaurHarrington

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2101135.Laura_Harrington

http://www.facebook.com/LauraHarringtonLH

Laura Harrington is an award-winning playwright, lyricist, and MIT professor. Her debut novel, ALICE BLISS, was published by Pamela Dorman Books, Viking/Penguin.

 

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

I am thrilled to announce that Penguin agreed to one giveaway for each blog.  United States ONLY. Bloggers will post the giveaway on their tour day.

THE TOUR:

1. Liza at WhoRuBlog                                                                August 16

http://www.whoRublog.com

2. Briana at The Book Pixie                                                      August 23

http://thebookpixie.blogspot.com/

3. Jeremy and Jeffrey at Novel Thoughts                              August 28

http://www.novelthoughtsblog.com/

4. Janeth at Reading Teen                                                       September 4

http://www.readingteen.net/

5. Courtney at Stiletto Storytime                                             September 11

http://stilettostorytime.wordpress.com/

6. Melissa at YA Book Shelf                                                    September 13

http://www.yabookshelf.com/

7. Erica at The Book Cellar                                                      September 20

http://thebookcellarx.com/

8. Stacy at Girls in the Stacks                                                   September 27

http://girlsinthestacks.com/

9. Heidi at YA Bibliophile                                                          October 2

http://www.yabibliophile.com/

10.  Sara at The Hidden Spot                                                      October 4

http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com/

11. Jen and Kellee at Mentor Texts                                           October 11

http://www.teachmentortexts.com/#axzz239xFNefR

12. Jen at A Book and A Latte                                                     October 16

http://bookandlatte.com/

13. Kelsey at Reading or Breathing                                           October 18

http://www.kelseyrdickson.com

14. April at Good Books and Good Wine                                 October 23

http://www.goodbooksandgoodwine.com/

 

Giveaway & Q & A with YA FRACTURE Debut Author, Megan Miranda
Mar 5th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

Fracture, By Megan Miranda

Meet YA Debut Author

Megan Miranda

FRACTURE

ENTER TO WIN: For your chance to win a signed copy of Fracture, please leave a comment below-click on comments, it’s that easy!

(US/Canada) An International winner will receive an unsigned copy through the Book Depository. Tweet and/or post on Facebook for an extra entry each – let me know. Giveaway ends on MARCH 19. 8:00 PM CST (WINNERS RANDOMLY CHOSEN – thanks to all who entered!)

A huge thank you to Megan for talking with me about Fracture after her

Megan Miranda

book signing at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL on January 23, 2012. I was fortunate to receive an ARC of Fracture at the BEA and was thrilled to have this opportunity to meet the wonderful (and SMART!) Megan in person.

Here’s a portion of my five star review of Fracture: With a plot woven in death and life, characters that are strong and memorable, and a setting that is easy to imagine, there is nothing broken about the story Megan Miranda wove together to create her hard-to-put-down debut YA novel, Fracture. The book begins with Delaney waking up after six days in a coma, which was caused by her falling through ice and being submerged in frigid water for eleven minutes. She has brain damage, but somehow her brain rewired itself. And even though she shouldn’t be able to talk or walk or remember, she appears to be in great shape – normal. Everything is functioning the way it should. But one thing is different . . . (To see the rest of the review click here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/243297421 )

You’re from North Carolina, so why did you choose Maine for the setting of Fracture?

My dad grew up in Maine, so we would go up every summer and stay at a house on a bay. Even in June the water was freezing. We would dare each other to go in, even though it was way too cold to swim. So I think when I was looking for a winter setting subconsciously I thought about the small quaint town in Maine but took out all the tourists. The setting is a place that I know in my head, but instead of the summer, it’s winter and instead of a bay, I have a lake.

In Fracture the MC drowns in a frozen lake. She’s under water for eleven minutes, but then is brought back to life. She should have suffered from a severe brain injury, but comes out “unaffected” or so it seems. That’s as much as I am going to reveal. Death is a major theme in Fracture. Why did you choose to write a novel that focuses on death?

These were the books that I liked to read and sought out when I was a teen. My mother gave me Edgar Allen Po because she knew I was drawn to stories like this—I always have been. It’s a natural question to want to know what happens after life and what happens in that “gray” area between life and death. I’m not alone in wondering about these things, so when I started writing I was drawn to it.

Have you experienced anything supernatural?

I personally haven’t, other than seeing a cat hissing at an empty space and wondering if it senses something that’s there, but not there. But even though I haven’t experienced anything like that I’m drawn to those stories. I’m also drawn to stories where a person’s had a brain tumor removed and then experienced personality changes. So which person was he? It’s this dichotomy that set up the idea for Fracture—is the person the same or a little different? Do others mourn the person who used to be or do they embrace the person who remains? Who are we? I’m interested in knowing how much of our brain is determined by our DNA. Or how much is influenced by other factors?

Delaney and Decker are best friends. Decker is interested in more. Was this relationship based on any personal experience?

I grew up next to a boy and we were best friends until he moved away in second grade. And now my daughter’s best friend is a boy who lives next door. I have wondered about at what point do these boy-girl friendships become hard. I think this is why we write about best friends trying to figure out how to navigate through those years. It’s interesting.

This question/answer contains a spoiler**

Fractured relationships play a role in Fracture. What can YA learn from them?

Part of the process of growing up is figuring out what type of person is right for you. Sometimes you try the wrong person and then it forces you to decide what’s love, what’s not love. I think that the reason why Delaney was drawn to Troy was because she felt abandoned by others. What pushes you to someone else or what makes a relationship last were questions that I wanted to explore. I also think that you can figure out who is right for you by being with someone who is wrong for you.

Communication and the lack of communication between characters deeply influence this novel. What do you feel is important for YA to learn about communicating with others?

Communication is something that people can struggle with at any age. And that’s a big part of Delaney’s journey—learning to put herself out there, to say what’s on her mind and if it doesn’t work out, oh well. But that’s the whole point of asking the question, “If you had one day left to live, what would you do?”

Fracture, in my opinion, is a brilliant novel that brings up lots of questions. I love that the reader is given the opportunity to think about issues instead of having every idea wrapped up neatly with answers. What were your reasons for this?

 The inspiration for the book was questions I had, not answers. The process of writing the book was my way of trying to explore the questions, not necessarily what I had to say. These questions were the things I was thinking about, wondering about and I wanted to explore them in the story.

This question/answer contains a spoiler**

One of the issues addressed in Fracture is the concept of mercy killing versus murder. What motivated you to take on such a controversial topic?

I wasn’t coming at it from a right or wrong perspective. It was how I developed the plot. I set up Delaney and Troy as opposites. What if the same thing happened to both these people but because of their past experiences, what they do with it is completely opposite – one is trying to speed up death and one is trying to slow it down? Everything came into play around that. I didn’t come at it from my own moral perspective. But it made me think about it.

This question/answer contains a spoiler**

The mother in Fracture is a troubled character and is not based on your own mother. During your book talk you said your mother identified more with the father in the novel. Where there any influences for Delaney’s mother?  

Not for the character, specifically. For me, one of the hallmarks of becoming an adult was understanding my mother as a real person and not just as my mother—the person who will not let me go out with friends—but as someone with her own interests, experiences, history. And with Delaney coming of age she starts to see her mother as her own person and not just as her mother. Polar opposites. On the topic of the mother’s story line, I tried to pull on the theme of opposites again. That the absence of something can be a horrifying thing. Not doing something can have an impact if not a stronger impact on others than if the person had done something. I pulled together a theme that the absence of something can be a horrifying thing. Not doing something can have an impact if not a stronger impact on others than if the person had done something.

What would you want the reader to walk away with after reading your novel?

I think when you put a book out there it belongs to somebody else. Based on your own experiences you’re going to take what you can. But if I had to pick something, it would be seize the day, do what you want to be doing.

Where do you see your characters five years from now?

I like the idea that anything can happen and that’s why I’m not writing a sequel. That’s life, but I also like the idea that they’re happy wherever they end up.

What was the hardest/easiest and part of the process?

The easiest part of the process was sitting down and developing the characters and the relationships. The hardest part was finding an external plot. It took me three drafts and six months of rewrites to get it. And then there were some really hard scenes to write as well. They were emotional scenes and I was like ‘I’m sorry Delaney. I sorry I had to do this to you.’

I trashed my first draft and only saved a few lines. What really surprised me are who my characters are because if I were to sit down and say I’m going to create a character, I don’t think it would be the person I developed in the story. But once I started writing the story, the story built the characters.  They become their own people. You have an idea that something is going to happen and then you get to a point where you say my character wouldn’t do that, my character wouldn’t make that choice. Maybe it’s a choice I would make, but not my character.

Now that Fracture is out in the world, is there anything you wish you could change?

This book went through several major overhauls before becoming this story, but at this point, there’s nothing I’d change. This is its story, and I’m really happy with it.

 

Take Five with Holly Schindler, YA Author of A BLUE SO DARK & PLAYING HURT
Dec 11th, 2011 by Liza Wiemer

Holly Schindler

 

 FIVE QUESTIONS FOR YA AUTHOR

HOLLY SCHINDLER

ENTER TO WIN YOUR CHOICE OF ONE OF HOLLY’S NOVELS by listing which novel you would want in the comments’ section. Tweet and/or post on Facebook for an extra entry each – let me know. Giveaway ends on December 21, 8:00 PM EST

1. From some of the things I read about you, it seems like you sacrificed quite a bit to become a published author, and if it hadn’t been for your family your dreams would not have come true. What’s the journey been like and what do you most want other aspiring authors to take from your experience?

My path to publication was long and winding—took seven and a half years to get the first acceptance! And it also took full-time tunnel vision to really learn the ins and outs of writing a novel (even though I already had a master’s in English). Without the incredible support—financial and emotional—I got from my family, I never would have gotten started. I never would have seen that first acceptance without having all that time to write. (I taught piano and guitar lessons part-time to pay my bills, but because of my family’s support, I didn’t have to seek full-time employment. My full-time job has always been writing.) I won’t lie—four, five, six years into my pursuit, I had my down moments, and I shed a few tears…but I never felt like I should be doing anything else. And in that respect, I don’t feel like I sacrificed at all. Actually, I feel as though the REAL sacrifice would have been to get the full-time job and not pursue writing! (The idea of that’s just so incredibly sad—I know I wouldn’t have been truly happy doing anything but writing.) The thing is, there’s a point in the pursuit of ANY dream when it feels like the dream is kicking your butt a little—it doesn’t matter what the dream is…maybe it’s to own your own business, or to become a surgeon, or breed ostriches. You’ll have days when you look at yourself and wonder what you’re doing. But I learned firsthand that’s the point at which it’s the most important to keep pushing.

2. Both of your novels are realistic fiction. What is the appeal for you to this particular genre and are there any other genres you see yourself writing in the future? What other genres do you enjoy reading?

I’m a fan of all genres—there’s nothing I won’t read: classics, contemporary, poetry, literary, romance. I even took a sci fi course in college, because that was the one section of the library I’d never spent much time in and I thought if I immersed myself in it for a while, I’d want to read more books in that genre. Now, no section of my public library goes unvisited! While my first books are realistic fiction, they do still differ slightly: A BLUE SO DARK is literary, and PLAYING HURT is a romance. And my writing interests are every bit as varied as my reading interests, so stay tuned!

3. As you know, I haven’t read A Blue So Dark, yet. It’s a YA novel that brings to light the difficulties of a teen dealing with her mother’s schizophrenia. From what I understand it’s very different from Playing Hurt, your second novel, which I loved. Playing Hurt is an older YA contemporary/romance novel. The main characters are out of high school and address issues such as death, physical and emotional injuries, identity crisis, choices, love, and sex. What, if any, are some of the similarities between your two novels, and what is it that you hope readers will take away from A Blue So Dark and Playing Hurt.

You’re right—on the surface, those two books are absolutely night and day different. But I think the quality I’m most proud of in both of those books is their honesty. I think both are pretty bare—BLUE maybe even more so than PLAYING HURT. I also love that the characters in both books are slightly flawed—they kind of bumble through their struggles—but they ultimately triumph. I think that’s the beautiful thing about YA, though—as a whole, I think what you’ve got are characters who are dealing with adult situations for the first time. Teen characters are in no way seasoned pros when it comes to dealing with the hardships of life. So they’re bound to make a bunch of mistakes. But they do succeed. Revisiting all those “firsts” in life is one of the reasons why writing YA is so much fun.

4. A huge congrats to you for your debut middle grade novel, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, which is coming out in 2012 and is being published by Dial. Please share with us what you can about this new novel.

Thanks for the congrats! THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY is still about a year away from publication. It’s about a young artist, and will feature original cover art—the first of any of my books to have original art! I’m really excited about that…

5. What has been one of the biggest life lessons you personally have learned and how has it helped you to grow as a person?

The absolute biggest lesson I’ve learned is the benefit of persistence. You don’t get anywhere in life if you don’t just dig those heels in and really learn the art of being a bit stubborn. That’s not to say that you should be bullheaded and believe that what you write is always perfect and that you should never revise anything when rejections inevitably come in. What I mean is that you can’t let the rejections make you think it’ll never happen. One rejection of one project is just that—one rejection. And an opportunity to learn and improve. Get to work; revise and submit again. I really believe that the only authors who never get to see their books on the shelves are those who give up.

A BLUE SO DARK: Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talent artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura’s dad left them. Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears. One of Booklist’s Top 10 Novels for Youth (2010) Silver Medal, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year (Young Adult Fiction) Gold Medal, IPPY Awards (Juvenile / Young Adult Fiction)

PLAYING HURT: Star basketball player Chelsea “Nitro” Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone’s admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family. As a graduation present, Chelsea’s dad springs for a three-week summer “boot camp” program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she’s immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who’s haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain—or finally heal their heartbreak?

For more information about Holly go to hollyschindler.com  Holly’s blog: hollyschindler.blogspot.com, Twitter: @holly_schindler, and Facebook: facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor

Video Interview with NYTBS Author Lauren Oliver & Giveaway
Oct 16th, 2011 by Liza Wiemer

Lauren Oliver, October 11, 2011

On Tuesday, October 11th I, along with two other Wisconsin bloggers, Heidi Zweifel http://yabibliophile.blogspot.com/ and Jillian   Heise http://heisereads.blogspot.com, had the great pleasure of conducting video interviews with New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Oliver, who was in town to speak about her new middle grade novel, Liesel & Po. The experience was fantastic. It’s not every day you get to meet someone you admire deeply and I’m sure by the look on my face you’ll be able to see how thrilled I was. Thank you Lauren!

Giveaway:

In honor of my first video interview, readers will have a chance to win a signed ARC of Liesl & Po. To enter answer the following question: Winter, spring, summer, or fall? What’s your season and why? (This was the last question I asked Lauren – something fun and different. 😀 ) Followers of this blog receive an extra entry, please let me know if you are. Tweet this post or link it on Facebook also adds an extra entry. Please let me know. Giveaway ends October 23, 8:00 PM CST.  Ashley Gafford is the randomly selected winner! Congrats.

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

To learn more about Liesl & Po, read my five star Goodreads review here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/160806945

Here are a few quotes from Lauren:

“The only thing that nauseates me more than writing is not writing.”

Books don’t live without readers to read them.”

“My father always would tell me, ‘The life of a writer has as least as many difficulties as it does rewards. But also if you are a writer you cannot choose not to write.'”

“I try do what I can to kill the fear.”

Heidi Zweifel’s  YA Bibliophile’s Part 1 – Interview with Lauren Oliver (Learn more about Liesl & Po!): http://tinyurl.com/6hx8mwq

Jillian Heise’s Heise & Recommends Part 2 – Interview with Lauren Oliver: http://tinyurl.com/6fyt5ad

And here’s my interview Part 3 – Interview with Lauren Oliver:

Don’t miss Lauren’s other fabulous YA novels:

    

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