In Which Tahereh Mafi Invades My Blog!

You guys! I’m very, very excited about who has stopped by the blog today.

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TAHEREH FUH-REAK-ING MAFI!

She’s the author of the Shatter Me trilogy ,which I love, and she is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter because she always makes me giggle. I also got the chance to meet her when I went to Chicago and she is the SWEETEST ever and she needs a shoe cam to follow her every move because she has the COOLEST heels ever. (I’m jealous that she can walk in them so well).

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I’m very excited to have the opportunity to ask Tahereh some questions in celebration of Ignite Me‘s release this past Tuesday!!

 Shatter Me series cover

1. Describe the Shatter Me series in six words or less for people who have no idea what it is about (are there people out there? I give back my blogging card if readers of this blog don’t know about Shatter me)

first of all, you are very sweet! thank you for that! but hmmm..

shatter me can be described in a million different ways, i think. but at it’s heart, for me, it’s always been about a girl trying to find herself.

2. Out of the many series out there, I’d have to say the “Team” debate I hear most often is Team Adam vs. Team Warner. Fans are PASSIONATE about this but also quite divided. What are the most convincing arguments you’ve heard from fans about THEIR ship?

oh man i don’t think i can answer this question. i’ve heard incredibly articulate arguments from both sides, and often the most compelling have been, these, like, massive essays and phd theses. brilliant, really. and fascinating. and i have to say: i’m extremely flattered anyone would take the time to write such complex arguments for characters who live in my head.

3. With creating such a compelling SHIP debate and an amazing story in general (seriously HOW IS THIS GOING TO END?), how hard is it to conclude a series knowing you are going to make one team/fans in general upset potentially? How do you still write the story you know needs to be written with the fan pressure I’m sure you get? It’s been such an interesting phenomena to watch reader’s reactions to series endings and I’m sure you are hyper aware of that as an author.

i’m generally not a plotter with first books, because i like to use those pages to get to know my characters — to hear their voices and understand their needs. but every book after that has to follow the rules of the world you’ve created, so there’s a lot more plotting and outlining and deliberation. after writing the first book — while plotting the second — i knew exactly where the story needed to go. and at the end, i looked deep into the hearts of these characters i know and love — and have lived with for three years — and searched for what was most important to them, to their happiness, to their future. once i found it, i tried to give it to them. they may be fictional, but i love them, and i want them to be happy.

but it’s hard to meet readers’ expectations. it really is. i get heartfelt, heartbroken messages from both sides every day. my inbox, flooded. my twitterfeed, flooded. facebook, tumblr, instagram, everywhere. so it’s hard. how can i not love those who love these books? it’s my heart in those words, on those pages, and the journey of author and reader is so very, very intertwined. but ultimately, i realized that, in the end — no matter what happened — the third book would be very controversial, because it’s impossible to please everyone, no matter my intentions.

4. What has been your most favorite minor character to write? Is there a character who has emerged as more popular than you originally thought they would?

kenji! without a doubt, kenji. he has become more real to me than any of the other characters, because — well, because he’s based on my brothers. i have all these older brothers i adore, and i squished all their personalities into one person. he’s the easiest character to write, and the most fun to write, because a lot of what he says and the way he says it is ripped directly from conversations and interactions i’ve had with my brothers. i’m thrilled people like kenji so much. he’s my favorite.

5. You’ve created one of the most complex villains EVER in Warner. It’s easy to hate him but we also learn a lot about him that makes us sympathize with him and connect to him as a human. Where did your inspiration come from with him/how do you create such a compelling villain? Do you enjoy writing baddies?

i’ve always been fascinated by the way in which human beings judge each other. we’re quick to make assumptions about a person, even with very little information. often this is a good thing — a survival mechanism, instinct we should trust — but sometimes we’re just wrong. this is what’s happened to juliette when we meet her at the beginning of the book. a girl who, in black and white, has killed a small child, and been locked up for it. but was it really that simple? what really happened to her? who is she — really? i ask this same question of adam and warner and kenji, too. there must be more to who they are, and why they are the way they are.

i feel very deeply that there exist entire worlds of feeling and experience in the people we meet every day; it’s just that we seldom get to see any of it. with this series i wanted to explore complicated characters with complicated lives; i wanted to explore the impact of change, opportunity, love, success, self-confidence, and loss. i don’t believe things are ever black and white. in villains, especially.

 

6. We’ve all seen your new collab Youtube channel with Ransom (you guys are the cutest and my most favorite ship ever) but I’m curious, besides that, what’s up next for you? Can you give us any hints on what you are working on next? Shed any lights on your plans for further world domination?

yes! (and thank you for the kind words about the youtube channel :D) i’m working on something new that i can’t talk about yet — but will very soon, i hope — and it’s my favorite thing i’ve ever written. that’s really all i can say at the moment, but yes, yes. new books! more soon!

I decided to bring my readers in on the fun instead of hogging all the questions for myself because YOU, lady, are in demand so here are some GREAT questions from my readers.

 

1. Where did the shoe hobby/obsession start? What are the craziest pair of shoes you own? (From @novablogder & @smokeandbone13)

 

i’m not sure! i’ve always loved shoes, but i quickly found i was never quite satisfied with a simple pretty pump or a normal, practical boot. but i love fashion in general; it’s real, live, wearable art. i find it fascinating. and i’m not sure, re: the craziest pair of shoes i own. i don’t really think i own any “crazy” shoes (at least not in my own estimation), though someone else might look in my closet and think all my shoes are crazy. haha. but i like my heels high, i do.

2. Do you feel a sense of loss now that your first series is done or are you overwhelmed with excitement for your next work? (From @lilreflects)

 

i gave these characters an ending that i feel really, really good about, so it’s easy for me to move on. i feel like they’re exactly where they need to be now, and ready for a world of adventure on their own. so i am definitely overwhelmed with excitement for the next thing.

 

3. I LOVE THIS QUESTION SO MUCH. Would you ever consider writing a book with Ransom? Why or why not? What type of novel do you think it would be? (from @jennadoesbooks)

maybe! we’ve definitely talked about it. but ransom and i have very, very different writing methods (he’s a big-time plotter and i’m more of a pantser) so i’m not sure how that would work out. haha. but maybe!

 

Rapid Fire Questions:

1. I do this with all the interviews I do…kiss, marry, kill time!! Adam, Warner, Kenji

i really wish i could play this game, but i’m afraid people will think my answers are indicative of the end, so i will have to abstain!

2. If Shatter Me had a theme song it would be….

Can’t Touch This.

3. If you could do a mashup of any tv-show/movie with a book what would it be? (example: Twilight meets celebrity death match)

Gilmore Girls meets Anne of Green Gables

4. When I need to have a dance party I turn on this song:

hmmm.. you know, mostly i listen to pandora, but recently i’ve had a soft spot for The End Has No End by The Strokes. it always makes me want to run around the house and dance with the cat.

5. Ransom’s most annoying habit is: 

i say this at the risk of making everyone throw up in their mouths a little, but honestly, he does nothing to annoy me. he’s really quite exasperatingly wonderful.

6. Last book I bought:

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh

7. One of my most favorite books is:

The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson  (mine too, Tahereh!! God that book is perfection)

8. A movie that made me cry is:

12 Years a Slave. i sobbed like a baby.

9. Favorite place I traveled:

ahhhhh.. this is hard! i don’t know if i can choose! my three favorite places so far have been santorini (a greek island); cappadocia (in the countryside of turkey), and palawan (an island off the coast of the philippines). magical destinations.

10. If this food stopped existing I’d be grumpy:

persian food. i can’t live without it.

Thanks for stopping by the blog, Tahereh! And thank you for bringing life to such a wonderfully complicated characters and taking us on their journey! Cannot WAIT to see what is up next for you!

A Candid Interview With An Author I Love + Giveaway

Today I’m excited to host an author I love so much on the blog. You may know her as Diana Peterfreund (remember how much I raved about For Darkness Shows The Stars) but she’s making her debut into the New Adult world as Viv Daniels. Now, if you haven’t found any New Adult out there that’s for you so far like me, you might want to read this as One & Only has definitely gone beyond the cliches that turned away a lot of us from New Adult and she has some valuable insight to share!

 

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1. Describe One & Only in 6 words or less.

Long Secrets, Tough Choices, First Loves. (That was really hard!)

2. I know you’ve personally written NA in the past, before it was labeled as such, with your Secret Society Girl novels. What do you think of the New Adult label and how it has emerged so quickly? Do you think it’s hard to define what is NA and what isn’t? (i.e. especially when it comes to where bookstores should shelve so the right readers find the books).

 

I think the difficulty of defining new adult stems from the fact that it was a label that got self-applied to a particular type of self published novel, and it wasn’t exactly what the inventor of the term meant when he coined it. So you’ve got different crowds defining it different ways, i.e., one group that wants to call it any novel about an early twenty something (as if those have never existed before!), and a readership that only knows “New Adult” as a specific type of contemporary women’s fiction or romance. I didn’t call SSG “new adult” when I published it, though the inventor of the term held it up as a prime example, and I don’t know if it really fits what’s actually being published, which is a very specific, very intense, very intimate type of coming-of-age love story. (Also, I find it very telling that the guy who invented the term never published any.)
As for shelving, I think that’s the main reason why NA is taking off in ebooks and in self-publishing, because they don’t need to worry about shelves in a bookstore. There is no “place” for NA, and there are plenty of genres that have happily and will continue happily publishing books about early 20 somethings (historical fiction, sci-fi, etc.) without jumping on this buzzword. As for romance/contemporary women’s fiction, however, there was a HUGE hole there. Publishers were not publishing books about 20 year olds in love. And that’s why I think it’s romance where NA-as-NA has really taken off.
If you look at the NA out there, they tend to mirror all the subgenres of romance but with 20 year old heroines. There’s the “glitz” romance where the heroine falls for the billionaire/rock star/etc.; there’s the romantic thriller where she’s being stalked/harrassed or has some other kind of shady past and must be saved by the hero, there’s the sexual awakening book, there’s the sweet, small-town romance (that’s more of what I’m going for with my series, where family and community are big players in the story)… these are all storylines present in the romance genre at large. And even the outliers, the “historical” NA or the “paranormal” NA — well, it’s paranormal romance, and historical romance, just with younger characters.

 

And I think that’s fine. I think that’s GREAT — college romance was completely being ignored by romance publishers before NA (which is something my friend and romance writer Julie Leto actually blogged about the other day: http://www.plotmonkeys.com/2013/11/13/first-time-love/ ). I don’t think NA has to be all things to be worthwhile, and a definitely disagree with the retro-fitting some really overeager NA writers are wanting to do (All Greek myths are NA, Star Wars is NA, etc.)

3. What are some misconceptions you think that are out there right now about NA?

That it’s “sexed up YA.” I disagree with this assessment entirely. First, most NA books I’ve read aren’t about teenagers at all. Second, I’ve read plenty of YA with sex in it (Stiefvater, Marr, Black, Elkeles, Hopkins, the list goes on and on), so the idea that the difference is the presence of sex is laughable. Third, YA books occur in every category, and NA books, were they YA, would primarily be categorized as romances, romantic thrillers, and “issue” books. I mean, literally the only time I can think of that stereotype fitting is with those “hot for teacher” New Adult novels. As YAs, books about teens who have affairs with their teachers are published as issue novels, warning stories about predatory teachers (See: Rob Thomas’s Rat Saw God or R.A. Nelson’s Teach Me). As NA, they are published as love stories where you are rooting for them to stay together. I’ve yet to see a book like that published as a YA novel and if it were, I bet it would be extremely controversial!

4. When I was in college I SO wish there had been more books out there set in college, like One & Only, with characters I could relate to. It was perhaps the years with the most change and figuring out who I was. Why do you think it’s been largely ignored as a setting in contemporary novels?

 

Very few college kids read for fun, or at least, that’s been the perception in publishing for years. They’ve got so much assigned reading to do! I read very few “fun novels” in college. Maybe on spring break. I know almost all of my readers of my former college set series were either high schoolers looking forward to college or recent graduates feeling nostalgic.
Even now, my understanding is that the majority of NA novels are not being bought by college students, but rather, by recent graduates who are nostalgic for the past (especially in this tough economy where their “lives” may not be starting as quickly as they’d like), by older readers generally nostalgic for college, and by readers who are college-aged but not actually in college, on an “aspirational” basis. I think maybe the “aspirational” element to a lot of the NA accounts for the popularity of the “Fifty Shades” style books where the college kid becomes the unexpected object of affection for the billionaire/rock star/sports hero). I think that may be why although a lot of these books are nominally set in college, you don’t see the kids in class or doing other collegiate activities a lot. That was one thing I wanted to address in my book.

 

4. If adult Viv met up with college Viv for coffee, what advice would she give her about romance?

See, that’s tough to say, because I did meet my husband in college, and I really don’t know that much about dating in the “real” world. Maybe that’s why I’m more comfortable writing college romances. I do think if I’d met college Viv before she’d met my husband, I’d tell her to hang in there, and that all the romantic drama she was going through would come out all right in the end. I had a really bad breakup in college and I let it get to me too much! More fish in the sea, Viv!

 

5. Did anything from your own college experience get written in to Tess’s college experience?

Little things. Like Dylan’s high school science project is based loosely on my college thesis for my Geology major, and the big atrium and central staircase in the bioengineering lab is modeled a bit after my department’s main building. Also the fact that I did make them science majors, like I was.

 

6. From what I’ve seen so far in NA there seems to be A LOT of the same type of cliched damaged bad boy types. You’ve written more of a good boy type who rises above these cliches (thank you!!). Most people who are scared off by the NA label are for that reason so I’d love for you to tell us maybe 3 well known fictional boys you see him as most like.

I’m glad you like him! I’m not usually into bad boys myself (Logan Echols excepted), so I find myself writing the kind of guys I can fall in love with, and sweet, charming Dylan is definitely that! There is definitely room for the bad boy in fiction, but I don’t want readers to think that that’s the only choice they get when it comes to NA novels. Go read Cora Carmack. She also likes guys who are –shock– actually NICE to the girls they are falling for.
As for Dylan’s literary twins, I feel like he’s maybe one part Etienne St Clair from Stephanie Perkins’s ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (he’s got the charm and gregariousness), one part Cricket Bell from Stephanie Perkins’s LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR (geeky science boys For the Win! Also, I’m clearly obsessed with Perkins…), and one part Ben (Adam Scott) from PARKS & RECREATION (really admires the woman he loves for who she is, and wants to fight for her). I really wanted to show that a character could be strong and assertive and sexy without being deeply damaged or mean.

 

7. Is One & Only part of a series or a companion series of romance novels? Can we expect to see Tess and Dylan again?

It is! It’s the first novel in the Canton series, which is currently set to be three interconnected books about different characters at Canton. But each book is a separate story — no cliffhangers. Tess and Dylan are the first story. The next book, Sweet & Wild, is out next spring, and that one will be about Hannah, who is Tess’s half-sister and a major player in One & Only. The third story is about another couple, but I don’t want to spoil who they are, yet. Tess and Dylan will make appearances in all the books.

 

Thank you for asking such fantastic questions! They really gave me a lot to think about.

 

 

About One And Only

 

One & Only Viv DanielsOne night they can’t forget…

Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she’s sworn to keep: the father who won’t acknowledge her, the sister who doesn’t know she exists, and the mother who’s content playing mistress to a prominent businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets. But when summer ends, so does their relationship — Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.

One love they can’t ignore…

Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan’s life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess’s legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mother’s footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.

…And only one chance to get things right.

 

Buy Now:

Check Viv out on:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

Giveaway Time!!

 

Viv has graciously offered up a great swag pack for one lucky reader — a One & Only bookmark, an assortment of gifts and books from her and other new adult authors, and a One & Only charm. PLUS there’s a blog tour wide giveaway happening as well!

Giveaway #1
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway #2

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read One & Only by Viv Daniels? Planning to add it to your TBR? What are YOUR thoughts to some of the questions about New Adult that I asked Viv!  Tell me some of  YOUR favorite new adult books!

In Which Lauren Morrill Stops By My Blog & My Ovaries Explode

I’m so excited to have author Lauren Morrill on my blog today for a mini interview as part of a fantastic blog tour (organized by Paper Lantern Lit) for her upcoming debut Meant To Be (out from Random House on November 13th). It’s a debut I’m super excited about and will be reading next! And I have to say this is my FAVORITE answer to an interview question EVER.

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Just like Meant To Be, all good romantic comedies have a couple that just can’t get along. Who is your favorite opposites attract couple?

Lauren says:

Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls. OMG I could watch THE SCENE (you know the one…) a million times, and would probably still squeal every time. I just love their snarky banter! Logan is my favorite bad-boy-turned-sort-of-good.”

 

Oh MY GOODNESS! If I wasn’t already planning on reading Meant To Be, I’d be doing it now on the basis that Lauren Morrill answered this question the EXACT same way I would have. My love for Logan runs deep. VERY DEEP. I am seriously just giddy thinking about the amazing and complex relationship that is Veronica and Logan. SERIOUSLY. Two of my fave characters to ever grace the boob tube.  I’m ready to rewatch Veronica Mars just thinking about it. If you haven’t watched Veronica Mars ever, please rectify that. If you are a VMars fan, go spend a few moments reliving your top 5 Logan Echolls moments. #2 always makes me clap and squeal and clutch my chest and #5 just makes me giggle.

I think my other favorite opposites attracts couples are Nathan and Haley from One Tree Hill, Marissa & Ryan from The OC, Ben & Felicity from Felicity, Beauty & the Beast, and Darcy & Elizabeth from Pride & Prejudice.

What are some of your favorite “opposites attract” type couples from tv, books or movies??

 

Add Meant To Be On Goodreads | Pre-Order From Amazon | Follow Lauren Morrill On Twitter | Lauren’s Website

So Close To You Blog Tour – Interview With Rachel Carter!

If you read my  “Save The Date” pre-review thoughts on So Close To You by Rachel Carter (full review to come SOON!), you’ll know how much I enjoyed this one when I read it! I devoured it in a day and poor Will had to listen to be go on and on about how fascinating the book was and then all the research I did AFTER about the Montauk Project conspiracy.  I’m a sucker for a time travel novel for sure but throw in a conspiracy theory and an interesting time period…goodbye whatever else I need to get done that day. So, I’m SUPER excited to be kicking off Rachel Carter’s blog tour for So Close To You with an interview with Rachel Carter herself. If you haven’t added this to your TBR already and need extra convincing, check out this interview!

1. DescribeSo Close To You by Rachel Carter your book in 6 words or less.

Government conspiracy. Time Travel. Kissing!

2. What inspired you to center a story around the Montauk Project? I have to say it had me fascinated and looking up all sorts of things about it!

As soon as I heard about the Montauk Project, I knew I wanted to write about it. It has so many of the elements I’m drawn to — mystery, conspiracy theories, paranormal experiments. Plus I loved the thought of this huge, secret government project taking place in a small town setting like Montauk.

3. Since your novel deals with time travel, what era would you like to go back in time and visit?

I would love to go to the 1940s like Lydia did, which is part of why I set the book in that time period. I’d also want to visit the ‘20s, or the late eighteen hundreds.

4. You clearly did a lot of research about the Montauk Project conspiracy…can you share with us one of the most interesting things you uncovered.

According to the MP conspiracy theorists, the government has figured out how to use wormholes to connect to distant planets, and they’ve made contact with aliens called Reptoids. Some people claim to have been attacked by these half-human, half-reptile creatures on the beach in Montauk.

5. I love music so I have to know…if you had to give So Close To You a theme song what would it be?

Abandoned Radar Station At Montauk Point

I’m a huge music lover too, so I’m going to make this answer way more involved than it needs to be. There were certain songs I listened to over and over while I was writing, like Greater Than Consequence by Amos the Transparent, and Civilian by Wye Oak. And then there are songs that I think really embodied specific characters, like Noah Gundersen’s The Ocean for Wes. As for a theme song for So Close to You, I’d say, The World Spins Madly On by The Weepies.

6. Are there any other conspiracies or obscure pieces of history that fascinate you?

I’ve always been interested in conspiracy theories – I even used to watch that show Roswell (So bad! So addicting!). And I do include parts of another conspiracy theory in book 2…but you’ll have to wait to see what that is! As for history, I’m more drawn to the stories of how normal people once lived than to big events. I grew up in Vermont, and there are hundreds of crumbling cemeteries and cellar-holes tucked into the forest. I used to love walking through the trees with my dad, imagining the framework of old homes and villages, and wishing that I had been born in another time.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by, Rachel!

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