Fierce Reads INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY

The Fierce Reads tour stop came here to the Philadelphia area and did a great event at Towne Book Center with Marie Rutkoski, Ann Aguirre and Caragh O’Brien. These 3 ladies were HILARIOUS together and I had the privilege of being able to sit down and chat with them before the event started and it was so lovely and inspiring! I recorded the interview so I could better transcribe it later at home and, I have to say, I was laughing out loud A LOT while playing back the whole conversation.

The event itself was entertaining and lively and it was recorded if you want to check it out! They talked about favorite childhood books, if they were plotters or pantsers, how they balance romance & story, which Harry Potter House they would be sorted into, if they could see their books as tv shows or movies (Ann said movie and she’s actually turned down 2 options because they weren’t right; Caragh & Marie think tv show for theirs). It was a lot of fun and very good conversation. I’d definitely recommend watching the recording!

 

Fierce reads tourAnn, myself, Marie and Caragh

 

1. I ask this to every author I interview — describe your book in 6 words or less!

Marie: I’m going to use Ann’s description of my book: Young girl buys hot boy.
Ann: Marie’s answer for Ann’s since she did hers — Suicidal girl makes bad bargain.
Caragh: Dreams and danger collide.

 

2. How do you plan for your series? Do you know the end game when you start?

Marie: I didn’t intend for The Winner’s Curse to be a part of a series. I was about 1/3 through and I realized the ending I was trying to write toward I couldn’t visualize in the way that I usually visualize my endings. I usually see them from fairly far away and in fairly good detail. So I was having problems progressing — I was actually blocked. I asked myself some careful questions — Am I going towards the wrong ending? What would the right ending look like? What would the ending that is true to my book and true to my characters be? Once I realized that, I wrote the ending that now exists in the book and I realized what THAT ending would be that, “I’m good if I stop there. It feels to me like a story but I thought probably my readers would want a little bit more than that.” So I wondered whether I would want to continue that story and I did. I wanted to continue the story of Kestral and Arin so I plotted out how it would be in the next two books. I couldn’t have done it in only two; it had to be done in 3. Once I was 2/3 through Winner’s Curse I plotted out loose details of the following 2 books.

Caragh: I knew from the beginning it was a 3 book arc and I had a general idea of what was going to be happening in all 3 books. Once I finished the first book and started writing the second book I realized that my plan for the 2nd book does not work at all so I threw that out the window and now that I’m writing book 2 I had to start back at the beginning. Fortunately I left myself enough room from the first book and the world is big enough that I have some unsolved threads to play with. But now that I’m coming up with a totally new plan for book 2, my plan for book 3 has to be different.

Ann: YES. I do know my end game when I started.

3. Let’s say you were writing a spinoff series. Which minor/non-main character would it be about?

Marie: I would write about a character named Roshar that you will meet in book 2 but I’m not going to say why because you haven’t met her yet!

Caragh: I would write about Otis! I love Otis! (Ann interjects: but he’s an adult!) I know but he still really intrigues me! He’s got this interesting family and he’s an interesting person and I wonder why he’s there. (Marie wants her to write about Burnam!)

Ann: I would write about the Harbinger from book 2. He’s mentioned in book 1 but you don’t actually know that you’ve met him! But in fact you HAVE met him, you just didn’t know it was the Harbinger. I planted one fairly significant clue toward the end of the book. I’ll be curious if any readers actually figure it out. The reason I want to write about the Harbinger is because he is essentially Loki. So, if you like Loki from the Avengers it may be relevant to your interests.

 

Jaime-350x262Photo credit: Caragh O’Brien

4. What’s one or two skills or things that you possess that would help you to survive in your character’s world or predicament?

Caragh: I would have a camera. A filming camera.

Ann: I would say money and common sense.

Marie: Once I took a fencing class and I thought I would discover I was naturally gifted and I would be able to fight so gracefully. I was terrible awkward and really bad at it. So I like Kestral I would not be able to survive this world with any physical skills so I guess I would have to fall back on strategical skills. I think that maybe like Arin I can bide my time in order to execute my plans. Although Arin is sometimes not good at keeping his mouth shut while he is biding his time. Maybe I AM like Arin because I can’t keep my mouth shut.

5. What’s the coolest/most interesting/funniest/most memorable thing that’s happened on this tour?

Caragh (and this was also Ann’s answer but Caragh stole it first): They are SECRETS. We can’t tell the stories. But there was this taxi driver. He was telling us supernatural stories about celebrities and houses in the area. And he had so many details. He would NOT stop.  We’d try to say, “okay that’s really cool” and turn the conversation to something else unrelated  but before we could talk about it he’d be like, “well let’s talk about the munchkins some more.”  Then he added in these spooky weird stories. He was all, ” did you know Regis Philbin had a haunting? And that Christopher McDonald had an out of body experience?” And I think if we wouldn’t have been so tired it would had been fine.

Marie: A reader (@born_bookish) made a Winner’s Curse game — a Bite & Sting game from the book. It was really beautifully done and thoughtfully presented. She even made a box that had quotes on the outside from when they were playing and bits of dialogue that had while playing. It was really special. (Ann interjects — it was REALLY cool…very polished). Another special moment was the Downer’s Grove stop because that’s near where I grew up and lots of friends from high school came. And I got to spend time with my dad.

Bite & Sting gamePhoto credit: @fiercereads

6. In the spirit of Mortal Danger, if you were given 3 wishes what would you wish for (no strings attached!)

Marie: That all of my family members have a long and happy life. That sounds cheesy but it’s true. More hours in the day for ME (nobody else)…even 4 to 6 hours just for me. I want a painting — one of my favorite paintings and would be millions and millions of dollars. I’d have to choose one and that would be hard but I could do it.

Ann: I want to learn to teleport.  Then time travel. For my 3rd wish I want a Tardis.

Caragh: Peace on earth, wish that I could fly and wish that they would stop standardized testings in high school.  (Marie interjects and says “mine were so selfish. Ann says peace on earth is actually a really bad idea. Didn’t you see the Simpsons episode..they wish for it and then the aliens come and subjugate us. Marie — but if there were peace on earth the aliens shouldn’t be able to come.)

 

Check out the other Fierce Reads bloggers for more recaps, interviews and giveaways!

Downers Grove, IL: YA Bibliophile | @HMZ1505

Exeter, NH: Love is Not a Triangle | @LaurayJames

Cambridge, MA: Ticket to Anywhere | @Irisheyz77

New York, NY: Queen Ella Bee Reads | @GabySalpeter

Charleston, SC: Reading Underground | @andriaamaral

 

GIVEAWAY

fierce-reads-titles

One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Winner’s Curse, The Vault of Dreamers & Mortal Danger!

Rules & Other Things:
* US only.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter (for legal-y) reasons. Have a parent or guardian or sister or brother do it for you if not!
* Prize will be fulfilled by Macmillan.
* Giveaway ends October 4th 11:59 EST

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This leg of the tour is over but leg 2 is starting up soon with all new authors and more shenanigans! Selfishly I wish another tour stop was coming to meeee!

Fierce reads tour stops

Q&A With Marie Lu + Giveaway Of The Young Elites ARC

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. I’m so happy that my next fantasy after my Throne of Glass binge was The Young Elites!! SO GOOD. I’ll be reviewing it soon but make sure it is on your TBR because it is SOLID and I cannot WAIT for book 2.

I was VERY excited to be able to get in on a phone interview with Marie Lu because I loved the Legend series and I HAD to listen to her talk more about The Young Elites after reading and loving it!!

My question to Marie was this:

 

So, in the Legend series, you gave us this really compelling dystopian United States, which was both familiar and unfamiliar to us.  And in Young Elites, you give us a really kickass and amazing fantasy world.  I was just curious, now that you’ve done both, what was one of the most difficult parts of writing your own world and the rules to that world?

“It was a completely different experience from writing Legend.  It’s hard making up all of your own thinking.  You kind of have to base some of it off of real life, so I don’t think anything can be completely my own.  For The Young Elites, I did a lot of reading about Renaissance Italy and Renaissance Venice and what life was like back then, and what people ate and how they dressed. And a lot of those things went into the story.  I’d feel weird saying that it’s my world, because it’s still very much based on reality.  And I took a lot from what already existed.

But, it was definitely a different experience because Legend was sort of looking forward and this is kind of looking back in time.  And it was interesting playing with that, because oddly enough they kind of end up at the same place where it’s still a dystopia in some ways.  But, it happened in the past and– ultimately thinking about it, I was really–I was like, wow, it’s interesting that no matter if you go forward or backwards, we’re still going to have these similar issues.  And that was fun to explore.

But, it was definitely a challenge trying to switch my writing style, because now I kept trying to avoid using a lot of modernisms that kept creeping their way into the story.  And the first time that I turned in my manuscript, my editor was like, “I feel we could tone down on the modern tone of your stuff.  It’s kind of futuristic for an old-timey sort of story.”  So, that was an adjustment as well.”

She was also really kind, because we only got to ask her one question, let us email any further questions we had hoped would be covered but weren’t. So I had to ask her about her art and Pinterest boards!

On how her art and her (amazing) Pinterest board for The Young Elites aids in her planning of the book:

“I’m so thrilled you like the Pin board! Haha, it’s totally my procrastination enabler…..but it also really does help as I draft. I like to Pin as I go, and sometimes I’ll even see something on Pinterest that will inspire something in the book. Teren’s hairstyle, for example, was inspired by this:  

The Young Elites inspirationPhoto credit here

As for my art–yes, I find that before I ever start a first draft, I must draw my characters first in order to get a firm handle on who they are. All of my sketches in my Pin board were done very early on in the TYE writing process. I also like to draw whenever I get writer’s block or find myself mentally exhausted. It’s my way of taking some time away from the writing, but still getting to do something creative that’s set within the same fictional world.”

 

There were some other great questions asked and some really interesting things discussed! But my FAVORITE thing was about one of my favorite aspects of this book — which is how Adelina is pretty much an anti-hero. June and Day, from her Legend series, are good people and Adelina is definitely darker and not as easy to like but you STILL root for her in a lot of ways even when you are like OMG BAD ADELINA. So I was SO happy someone asked about this!

On The Young Elites being an origin story for a villain and the writing of an anti-hero of sorts:

“I thought it was the idea of writing from the antagonist’s point of view after I was talking to my agent about this book.  When I first started writing The Young Elites I wanted to write a fantasy book, but at the time it was–it actually starred Raffaele instead of Adelina, and Raffaele was a totally different character too.  He was very, very bland, just sort of like your every-boy, and he was going to university and he thought he was a Young Elite. It just–it was a very, very sort of bland story.  And I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong with it, but I knew I wanted to write something about these types of people.  So, I gave the first hundred pages to my agent, and she was like, “Well, who is this side character over here?  She’s kind of interesting.”

And Adelina was a side character who is total evil.  And after my agent said that, that was when I was like, “Hmm, I never thought about writing it from her point of view, but that might be an interesting exercise.”

And it was totally different from Legend, because Day and June, they live in a really dark world, but they’re inherently good people at heart.  They have good families who treated them right, and I feel like that really made them who they are as people when they grew up.

And Adelina is totally different.  Her family is twisted and terrible, and that rubbed off on her a lot.  And it was kind of disturbing to have to get into that headspace, because I didn’t experience any of that.  And to be able to try to figure out a way to make this person do horrible things but also not make her totally unlikeable so that you’re like, “God, I just want this character to die already” was a bit of a challenge too.

So, I don’t know.  It was very, very odd.  And I feel like I got depressed more when I was writing this book, which is kind of–it’s kind of sad to say.  But, having to put yourself into that space was–I mean, it’s not a great place to be in.  So, afterwards I always have to go, like, hug my dog or, you know, go eat and drink something so I don’t feel quite so awful about writing stuff that’s, like, yay, killing people.  But, yeah.  Yeah, it was very, very odd.”

 

Because I loved The Young Elites SO much I’m going to give away my ARC of it because I plan on buying this puppy when it comes out!! (I have a feeling you all are going to want to as well!!). It’s going to be one of those series I need to have complete & on my shelf. I just know it.

Rule Kinds of Things:

* US ONLY.
* Ends 9/22 11:59 EST.
* No purchase necessary.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter (for legal-y kind of reasons). Grab a parent or someone older to enter for you!
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About The Book:

The Young Elites Marie Lu

 

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

 

About The Author:

Marie Lu

Marie Lu is the author of the New York Times bestselling Legend series. She spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with one boyfriend, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.

Learn more at her Official Website.  Check out The Young Elites website!

A Quickie Q&A With Jandy Nelson + Giveaway

If you know me, you know that Jandy Nelson is one of my favorite authors (she wrote The Sky Is Everywhere and the soon to be released I’ll Give You The Sun). I’m pretty sure that you should know that. Her books are just something out of this world and I damn near lost my shit meeting her at BEA this year. I might have scared her but I’m hoping my heart eyes and ecstatic praise translated more HUGE FAN than creeper. But seriously these words, people:

I'll give you the sun quote

So when I was approached to possibly do an interview with Jandy Nelson I was like OH MY GOD YES OF COURSE ALWAYS. But then I realized I actually had to form coherent questions and that interviewing didn’t mean exclaiming my love (though TOTALLY did….disguised as Super Smart Interview Questions).

 

Jandy Nelson tweet

BUT I DID IT. I PREVAILED. And her interview answers are even freaking works of art. NOT HUMAN I TELL YOU. So for your pleasure, here are 3 of my most burning questions I asked Jandy Nelson. Just as an FYI for you — there are NO spoilers so you are safe to read my questions and her answers!

1. In both The Sky Is Everywhere & I’ll Give You the Sun you feature really layered relationships between siblings (which I love because my relationship with my sister has been a HUGE part of my life). What is it that draws you to this relationship? Do you have any personal inspiration that you draw from when it comes to writing those relationships?

Thank you! And it’s funny. I didn’t even realize I was writing predominately about sibling relationships in my two novels until people started reading I’ll Give You the Sun and noting it! And my next one The Fall Boys & Dizzy in Paradise is also about three siblings. Writers are so oblivious! But I do find the sibling connection endlessly fascinating as I do all family dynamics. I grew up with older brothers, and like you, they’ve played a huge role in my life. Luckily, unlike Jude and Noah in Sun, we’ve had way more harmony than rivalry over the years. I just adore my brothers, can’t imagine going through life without them, and I definitely think I draw on that love when I’m writing siblings—it’s a powerful one, a jump-in-front-of-a-train-to-protect-them kind of love. But more generally, I like how siblings seem to create their own parentless mini-civilization within a family, one that has its own language and humor, its own laws and myths and loyalties and treacheries. Families are such rich fodder for stories—they’re so inherently dramatic and comedic both, like pressure cookers and with the right (or wrong) ingredients, the lid always blows.

2. I LOVED the way I’ll Give You the Sun was told and found it very effective to alternate chapters between young Noah and then Jude years later. Did you know from the beginning that you weren’t going to follow a linear path to tell this story? Were there any difficulties in alternating in this manner?

That makes me so happy you enjoyed the structure. Honestly, it was a bear to figure out and really challenged me. I knew from the beginning I wanted the novel to be told from both twins’ perspectives and in different timeframes but it took longer for me to figure out what those timeframes would be and how I’d manage the alternating. But early on, I realized that the best way for me to write the book would be to write Noah’s story start to finish, then Jude’s start to finish, always keeping in mind the other’s trajectory. Also, I’d lock the file on one twin during the periods I was writing the other’s story and vice versa to help insure each twin’s voice and world would be distinct. Then once drafts of both twins’ stories were written, I began to braid them together, which was really like writing a whole new novel. At that point, I was about two and a half years into the writing process of the book so that last step involved A LOT of praying that it actually would work!

3. Both The Sky Is Everywhere & I’ll Give You the Sun have made me feel very INTENSE emotions. Do you ever have to step back when you are writing because it is just too intense with what the characters are dealing with?

I’m glad about the INTENSE! And sorry! But more glad. Ironically, usually when my heart starts racing or breaking with what’s going on with the characters I do the opposite of stepping back. That’s actually when I know I have to go for it, go deeper, go full-throttle, because I might be getting at something real and alive and true. As a writer, I think that’s one of the greatest pleasures, no matter how painful it can be. It’s much harder for me to write when I’m not feeling much at all. That said, there have definitely been days when I stagger out of my office, feeling like I’ve been run over by a freight train of emotion!

About Jandy Nelson:

Jandy NelsonJandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give you the Sun, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, was on multiple Best Books of the Year lists, was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, earned numerous starred reviews, has been translated widely, and continues to enjoy great international success. Currently a full-time writer, Jandy lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of The Sky Is Everywhere and I’ll Give You the Sun. Visit her online at www.jandynelson.com or find her on twitter at @jandynelson.

 

 

 

Got burning questions of your own?
Penguin Teen is hosting a Twitter chat with Jandy Nelson, Stephanie Perkins, and Gayle Forman on September 5th at 7:00 PM EST. IT IS LIKE THE TRIFECTA OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS NIGHT!! Follow along using #PenguinTeenChat!

Pre-order your copy of I’ll Give You the Sun today! Want a signed / personalized copy? They’re available for pre-order from Books Inc. in San Francisco!

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour for additional interviews, guest posts from the author, giveaways, and more!

Sept. 1 – Cuddlebuggery
Sept. 2 – Novel Sounds
Sept. 3 – Perpetual Page Turner
Sept. 4 – Forever Young Adult
Sept. 8 – The Young Folks
Sept. 9 – The Book Hookup
Sept. 10 – Grown Up Fangirl
Sept. 11 – Bewitched Bookworms
Sept. 15 – Candace’s Book Blog
Sept. 16 – Novel Novice
Sept. 17 – Alice Marvels
Sept. 18 – Icey Books
Sept. 22 – The Midnight Garden
Sept. 23 – The Starry-Eyed Revue
Sept. 24 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader
Sept. 25 – Katie’s Book Blog
Sept. 29 –GReads!
Sept. 30 –Anna Reads

 

And now for the giveaway!

A paperback copy of The Sky Is Everywhere…which is GORGEOUS and this book is one of my favorite contemporaries!

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-Open to US residents only. Please read terms & conditions on the widget. Shipping will be fulfilled by Penguin!

ISLA IS HERE + Giveaways!

islaiscoming

 

YOU GUYS IT IS TIME. IT IS TIME. THIS  IS NOT A DRILL.

ISLA IS HERE. I REPEAT ISLA IS HERE. The moment we’ve all been waiting for — Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is HERE!

I will wait a moment while you all compose yourself.

We’ve been having such a great time rereading Anna and Lola with you all and a special thanks to all our wonderful blog tour stops for their creative and awesome celebrations on their blog! I know it was great for me to revisit Anna and Lola. It’s easy to forget things and it’s like I fell in love with my favorite books all over again. I forgot how truly funny Anna is and what made me really connect with her in the first place. And how SWOONY her and St. Clair are. LE SIGH. And I forgot how adoooorable Cricket was and how much I love Lola’s dads and her dog Heavens to Betsy! It was just so easy to fall in love all over again with these books.

Now I got the chance to read Isla early (you can read my non-spoiler review here) and I’ll tell you it was a pleasure to really get to know Isla and Josh. I realized who they were when, in Isla, there were some memories from Anna’s book and I was like OH MY GOSH YES I REMEMBER YOU GUYS! It was really nice to revisit their relationship in Anna even though I already knew how their story ended!

So guys, I can’t wait to reread Isla this week with you all. Keep tweeting using the #ISLAISCOMING hashtag and share all our (non-spoilery) reactions and fangirling. I KNOW THERE WILL BE MASS MELTING INTO PUDDLES OF HAPPINESS.

While you are reading be sure to check out the tour — there are some awesome posts and giveaways happening!

 

Anna and the French Kiss
7/31 – Paper Riot (Anna Readalong Kick-Off)
8/01 – Novel Sounds
8/04 – The Book Addict’s Guide
8/05 – Alexa Loves Books
8/06 – A Bookish Sinister Kid

Lola and the Boy Next Door
8/07 – Cuddlebuggery (Lola Readalong Kick-Off) + GReads!
8/08 – Novel Thoughts
8/09 – Book Revels
8/12 – Rather Be Reading
8/13 – Finding Bliss in Books

Isla and the Happily Ever After
8/14 – The Perpetual Page-Turner (Isla Readalong Kick-Off)
8/15 – AndiABCs
8/18 – Writer of Wrongs
8/19 – Anna Reads
8/20 – Good Books and Good Wine

 

Now for some giveaways:

 

Right now on Twitter we have a giveaway going on for an adorable Stephanie Perkins themed bracelet!

BuzBInNCIAEfZz-Check out this tweet for how to enter! This bracelet was donated by Cara who owns an Etsy shop full of WONDERFUL bookish jewelery. In addition to kindly donating to our celebration she offered readers a 15% discount on anything in her shop using the code ISLADISCOUNT15 at checkout. I hope you’ll check her shop out!

 

And now for another giveaway:

A STEPHANIE PERKINS PRIZE PACK!!!

 

The wonderful folks at Penguin Teen have generously donated Anna and Lola paperbacks ( YES THE NEW COVERS OMG!!) and a hardcover of Isla and the Happily Ever After along with some AWESOME Stephanie Perkins swag!! The most exciting news is that Stephanie Perkins is slated to come to my area early September so I will MORE THAN LIKELY be getting those books signed for the winner! (This is the plan but alas LIFE might not allow it).

stephanie-perkins-covers-new

- US Only. Sorry! :(
– Ends 8/27.
– You must be 13 years old or older to enter. If you are not, have someone do it for you!
– No purchase necessary!

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So let me know…on a scale of 1 to 10 how excited are you to read Isla???? If you’ve read it what did you think?? Tell me about your rereads (or first time reads) of Anna and Lola! Did you discover anything new or wonderful if it was reread?

Giveaway & Interview With Katherine Longshore (You need this book!)

So if you caught my post on Monday it was a review of Brazen by Katherine Longshore. OH MY GOODNESS. Please tell me it’s on your TBR. If you like fun historical novels or the show Reign…get on this. And if you are not NORMALLY into historical fiction…I vote giving this one a chance. Given my love for history and this book, you can imagine how excited I am for this interview with Katherine Longshore ALL about Brazen, her research and more!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

1. Describe Brazen in 6 words or less.

I think the tagline does it well in three: Duty. Loss. Rebellion. Though I’d have to add two more: Love and Friendship.

2. In Gilt and Tarnish you wrote about a bit more well known figures in King Henry VIII’s court, what drew you to Mary Howard to write from her POV in Brazen?

One of the first things that drew me to Mary was that she never remarried. This was something almost unheard of in the Tudor court, and definitely frowned upon by the men in her family who were looking to capitalize on her gender, looks and status in any way possible. I wanted to know why. I could only figure that out for myself by getting inside her head for a while.

But probably the most compelling thing that inspired me to write about Mary was the Devonshire Manuscript. I came across a reference to it when I was researching Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt’s relationship, and found the idea utterly compelling. It is a real leatherbound volume in which many different people (including Thomas Wyatt, and some say, Anne Boleyn) wrote poetry, comments and cryptic notes. It was apparently passed around the court for several years. Two of the most consistent hands were those of Madge Shelton and Margaret Douglas, and the initials stamped on the cover were M.F.—Mary (Howard) FitzRoy. I latched onto the idea of this literary brat pack roaming the galleries of Hampton Court and Henry’s other palaces, and took off from there.

3. How do you balance the historical facts and the fictional liberties when writing? How do you choose what remains completely accurate and what doesn’t?

I have always felt that when it comes to the Tudor court, truth is stranger than fiction. The raw material (the tyrannical king, the manipulative advisors, the six very different wives) is irresistible. Because of this, I try to be as accurate as I possibly can with the facts: who, what, where, when. If my characters birthdays were noted, I cannot make them older or younger. If there wasn’t solid evidence that Henry VIII had an affair with someone, I don’t include it. If Anne Boleyn was at Hampton Court on such and such a date, that’s where I keep her—even if it might suit my story better to have her somewhere else. Thus the long stretches in BRAZEN when Mary and Fitz are separated—he wasn’t at court. Period.

It’s the how and why that I get to play with, and this is where the fictional liberties come in. Why did Mary never remarry? How did she and Fitz feel, being married at fourteen and not allowed to consummate? I also get to do my inventing around the gaps in the historical record. There aren’t any complete lists of the ladies at the court during Anne Boleyn’s time as queen. There is no record of Mary Howard being at court, but then again there is no record of her being anywhere else. It suited the purpose of my story to have her be close to Anne, and there is mention of it in the historical record, so I followed my instincts to the (possibly) fictional conclusion.

My biggest departure from known facts again revolves around the Devonshire Manuscript. I wanted the book to be the touchstone I imagined it to be, but couldn’t find enough evidence in the book itself to suit my needs. So I invented extra pages where the three girls (Mary, Madge and Margaret) wrote lists of attributes of the men they might fall in love with. These lists don’t exist, but it made the story so much richer to include them.

4. It’s obvious from reading Brazen how much research you did…what was the most interesting or mind-blowing things that you came across in your research about King Henry VIII’s reign or life in general then?

One of my favorites is something I came across very early on, when I was just reading history out of interest rather than researching for a book. The Tudors drank wine and beer almost exclusively—never water. They thought water was poisonous to humans and, of course, at the time, it was because the rivers were both garbage dumps and sewers. The boiling and fermenting process in brewing beer killed the bacteria, making it potable. In their defense, however, the Tudors didn’t spend their entire lives inebriated, as they often drank what they called “small beer”, which contained very little alcohol. However, unappetizingly, it sometimes had the consistency of porridge.

5. There were so many compelling figures that were just brought to life in Brazen. Mary Howard aside, who was your favorite to research and to write?

I’m fascinated by Margaret Douglas. She is such an enigma. Daughter of the dowager Queen of Scotland and the Earl of Angus, niece to the King of England, royal and yet she had little political power. She was raised in part with Mary Tudor, who became Mary I, and I can’t help thinking that some of Margaret’s opinions and feelings would have been colored by that association. Margaret appeared on the outside to be the perfect courtier, and the obedient niece to Henry VIII, except for these (excuse the pun) royally imprudent love affairs that got her thrown in prison more than once. She spent her later years in and out of court (and sometimes as a thorn in the side of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth), finagling to get herself and her progeny closer to the throne—and succeeded when her grandson became James I. How’s that for tenacious?

6. If you were transported back into the reign of King Henry VIII, what 3 attributes do you think you’d have to survive King Henry’s court?

Discretion—I know when to keep my mouth shut.
Education—If I got transported back with all my faculties intact, I’d have the heads up on things like reading and writing, as well as basic hygiene. Not to mention the foreknowledge of what happens next and to whom.
Imagination—I’ve had some experience telling stories and making them seem absolutely true.

7. Kiss, Marry, Kill Brazen style — Henry Fitzroy, Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard?

I’d kiss Thomas Wyatt (I imagine he’s pretty good at it!), marry Henry FitzRoy (hello! Son of the king) and regrettably I’d have to kill Henry Howard (who historically made things difficult for himself—Henry VIII agreed with me and had him executed in 1547).

 

Thanks for such thoughtful answers, Katherine! After reading and loving Brazen, your answers were SOOO interesting to me! Especially the fact that the notebook passed around was real!!

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

So, I’m really jealous of what Penguin Teen is offering up for giveaway for you guys because I WANT IT FOR MYSELF. I am dying to read Gilt and Tarnish after reading Brazen (two other books set in King Henry VIII’s court — seriously a young Anne Boleyn is the MC is one!!) and Courted is the paperback bind-up of those two. I’m also going to personally throw in Brazen (which will be fulfilled by myself) because I LOVED it so much and want you to read it!

Brazen by Katherine Longshore9780147513687_large_Courted

So what you will win:
* A copy of Courted (bind-up of Gilt & Tarnish) —-> prize fulfilled by Penguin Teen
* A hardcover of Brazen —–> prize fulfilled by me!

US Only.
Ends 7/17 11:59pm

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About The Author

Katherine_Longshore_1589_CL_57_W

Katherine Longshore (www.katherinelongshore.com) is the author of Gilt, Tarnish, and Brazen. She lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshipping dog. Follow her on Twitter!

Check out COURTED (paperback compilation of Gilt and Tarnish) // Check out BRAZEN

 

 

Be sure to follow along with the rest of the blog tour to find out more about Katherine Longshore, her books, and some of her favorite historical hotties!

Midsummer Romance Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine

Thursday, July 10Perpetual Page Turner

Tuesday, July 15Alice Marvels

Thursday, July 17 I am a Reader

Tuesday, July 22 Novel Sounds

Thursday, July 24 Starry-Eyed Revue

Tuesday, July 29 The Midnight Garden

Thursday, July 31 Novel Thoughts

End Times Blog Tour + Giveaway

Hi guys! I’m really excited to be able to have Anna Schumacher, author of End Times, on the blog today and to be able to offer up the opportunity for one of YOU to win a copy! It’s a book I’m really excited about so I hope you guys will be too!

Before we get to the giveaway, let’s get to know Anna a little bit!

 

Seeing that End Times deals with a coming apocalypse or the “End Times”, what’s your favorite apocalypse story?


I eat dystopian lit like popcorn, so it changes a lot depending on what I’m into. But for the past few months, I’ve been a rabid advocate of the amazing YA novel STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth. It has everything: a devastated LA trying to recover from an earthquake; a creepy prophet and his legions of white-clad followers; a mom with PTSD; a cool underground party called The Rove; a completely badass villainess who walks around with a tarot deck; mind-reading; mind-bending; a sexy love interest; and, best of all, a really compelling protagonist with an addiction to getting struck by lightning! I know it sounds like a lot to cram into one little novel, but Bosworth does it so well. It was a big influence on END TIMES!

Huh I’ve never heard of that one! Sounds intriguing and I’m adding it to my TBR! Has anyone read Struck?

So, want to know more about END TIMES?

9781595147486_large_End_Times

When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets.

 Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.

About The Author

Anna Schumacher author photo

Anna Schumacher received an MFA in fiction writing from The New School. Born and raised in the tiny town of Guilford, VT (no traffic lights, no post office, one store), she now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two cats. END TIMES is her first novel.

Things to do while you wait to see if you are the lucky winner:

Add End Times to your Goodreads TBR
Follow Anna on Twitter
Check out Anna’s Tumblr
Check out Anna’s author page on Goodreads

The Giveaway

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The deets:
* Giveaway ends 7/5 at 11:59 pm EST.
* US only — prize will be fulfilled by Penguin Teen.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter or have a parent/guardian/someone older do it for you.

Holy Mortal Instruments Giveaway!

Hi y’all! I have an exciting giveaway for you guys today. Mortal Instruments fans and people who have been curious about this series, get excited!! And even if you aren’t a fan, what a great giveaway to try and win for your library or classroom or a friend!

In honor of the releases of City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, one absolutely LUCKY winner is going to receive the COMPLETE SET of The Mortal Instruments book series and a Mortal Instruments hoodie!!

TMIPrizePack

 

I honestly want to win this prize for myself because I need to finish this series! I read book 1 and you all know I stink at finishing series so I haven’t continued on yet. I will, though, I will. I flew through book 1!

So let’s get to the giveaway:

Rules & info:

Prizing & samples courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
You must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
Giveaway ends June 5 11:59 EST

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While you are waiting to see if you are the lucky winner you can:

· Visit the official website

· Follow The Mortal Instruments on Facebook

· Follow Cassandra Clare on Twitter & Facebook

· Watch the trailer:

ABOUT THE BOOK

CityofHeavenlyFireCity of Heavenly Fire is the final book in the #1 Bestselling The Mortal Instruments series.

Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the epic conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?

 

Cassandra Clare photo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cassandra Clare is the author of the #1 New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Mortal Instruments series, the Infernal Devices trilogy, and the Bane Chronicles. Her books have more than 24 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Good luck to everyone who enters!!

What’s More Fun Than Giving Away Books By A Favorite Author??

Okay, so you know recently I already gave away an extra ARC I had of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (one of my all time favorite authors!!) because I loved it so much but, thanks to Simon Teen, I have another awesome giveaway related to Since You’ve Been Gone to offer you guys…which makes me very excited and I don’t even know how Oprah never exploded from the FEELS when it comes to giving away things you love!!

 

oprah-free-car

What You Can Win:

- 1 Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera (color will vary)  <— OMG JEALOUS OF WHO WINS!

- 1 copy of  ALL of Morgan’s books (Since You’ve Been GoneAmy & Roger’s Epic Detour, & Second Chance Summer — all books I have personally LOVED and recommend!!)

a pair of heart sunglasses — like the ones I’m sporting below!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

You should also check out morgansbffchallenge.com for an excerpt of the book (if you aren’t sold on it yet from all my raving) & more info about the #bffchallenge with even MORE chances to win!!

Now for the giveaway! Good luck!!

Rules: US Only. You must be 13 years or older to enter. Giveaway ends May 14 at 11:59pm EST.

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SPRING CLEANING GIVEAWAY!

Hi there! Will and I have been getting down to business with doing some Spring cleaning — which basically means I pretend to clean things while singing into my hairbrush and dancing all about while Will does a lot of the cleaning. BUT I must do the Spring cleaning of the books piling up because if it were up to Will…I have a feeling any book that didn’t have a home on a proper shelf would be MYSTERIOUSLY GONE. (This is why I need to buy these to have more shelves).

I’m taking the majority of my books to a librarian friend but I wanted to share with you guys also! Because that’s what friends do…even when they don’t have the monies to do the epic Spring cleaning giveaway that they so WANT to do. Seriously, if I could right now, I would have like 6 winners with huge boxes!! But sigh…one day. SOON HOPEFULLY!

So this is how I’m going to do this. I’ve got book giveaways set up all around the Interwebs (including the one that will be on HERE below):

1. Instagram giveaway — an ARC of a contemporary release I loved recently that comes out this month!
2. Facebook giveaway — Stack of 5 hardcovers
3. Youtube giveaway — a hardcover book + a bookish mousepad (I want to keep it for myself!!)
4. Twitter giveaway — giveaway for an ARC of an upcoming contemporary release!

 

So let’s get to this giveaway shall we??

 

So I’ve done this before for a beach bag giveaway and it worked well but I’m going to tease you for what is in the box. You are guaranteed these books in the box PLUS some surprise books that will fit in the box — the surprises will all be books that came out in 2014 or are coming out! When the winner emails me, I will ask for their genre preference with the surprises and if you have a goodreads I will stalk that to see if I can make it a good package for you because I have quite a few extras that I can interchange in here!

 

book giveaway

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel
Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

Rules-y type things: //US Only — promise you guys when I get a job I will do an international giveaway that will blow your socks right off. Shipping is just ACK. // You must be 13 years or older to enter // This giveaway ends May 9th at 5pm// No purchase necessary or anything like that.

 

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Good luck lovelies!! Have you started spring cleaning yet?? If so, I’m probably just adding to your mess with this giveaway, huh?? NO REGRETS.

Giveaway: The Ring & The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Wowweee. I feel like in this past month I’ve had more giveaways (3 I think?) than I had in 6 months last year. Lots of book love! Anyways, I’m really excited to be able to offer this prize pack to my readers thanks to Disney publishing & Big Honcho Media! I’m pretty stoked to read this one soon myself!

You’ve probably heard of Melissa de la Cruz before I’m sure — author of Blue Bloods, the Au Pair series and the Witches of East End (which is now a show on Lifetime that I NEED to carve out time for!). Now she’s releasing a new series that sounds SUPER compelling and seems to be a blend of fantasy and an alternate history.

 

Check out the synopsis:

 

The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la CruzMagic is power, and power is magic…

Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a mighty castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures.

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire.
As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d’Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth. But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family’s position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires. Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn’t even want Leopold-she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry. When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

If you want more of a visual, this trailer is pretty good and uses one of my favorite songs ever so YAY!

 Visit the official website for The Ring & The Crown.

 

 

So what is one lucky winner going to get?

“Heir to the Lily Throne” Prize Pack — One winner receives the Royal Reading Room collection: The Ring and the Crown, Blue Bloods, and Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz.

*US only, prize will be fulfilled by Disney Publishing.
* You must be 13 years old to enter. If not, find a parent or older sibling to enter for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author:

 

MelissadelaCruz

 

Melissa de la Cruz (www.melissa-delacruz.com) is the author of many best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.

Follow Melissa de la Cruz on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr

 

 

 

Many thanks to Disney publishing for providing me with this prize pack to share with you! You can follow their awesome teen division on Twitter and Tumblr .

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