Exclusive Sneak Peek Of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids + Giveaway

I LOVE Sarah Ockler, you guys. Twenty Boy Summer and The Book of Broken Hearts are two of my favorite contemporary novels! She’s just so fantastic. I’ve been SUPER excited about her upcoming release, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, and am ridiculously excited to partner up with Simon & Schuster to give you a sneak peek at the first two chapters for your reading pleasure! ENJOY!!

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

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The Beginning and the End

This is the part where I die.

Don’t panic; it isn’t unexpected. The sea is prideful, after all, and Death never goes back on a deal.
Granna always believed that the d’Abreau sisters were immortal, even after her daughter-in-law died delivering the last of us (me). But among our six bodies, she said, there were only five souls. Twins were special. A single soul dwelling in two bodies.

So Natalie and I—the twins, the babies—were blessed. Blessed by all who loved us. Blessed by the godsand goddesses, by the lore and the legends of Trinidad and Tobago, our islands in the sea.

Our connection was unbreakable, and from the first time we sang together in the bathtub, instinctively harmonizing at age three? Well. We were bright stars, Granna promised. Put on this earth to make music, to share it with the world. No matter that Natalie grew into a soft-spoken beauty with a voice as comforting as a warm breeze, and I became the raging storm, fearsome and bewitching. Our destiny tangled as our limbs in our mother’s womb. We were the first to know each other, the first to feel our matching heartbeats. Together, we made magic.

Two bodies, four lungs, one soul.
The beginning and the end. Completion.

Natalie and I sang for Granna and our father. We sang for our older sisters. We sang at Scarborough in Tobago, for fund-raisers and festivals. We sang in Trinidad, our mother’s homeland. We sang for the guests—always rich, often famous—at d’Abreau Cocoa Estates, Granna’s farm and eco-resort, the place we’d called home after my mother’s death. We sang for the men and women who harvested the cocoa pods, who came in for dinner covered in dirt and laughter, eager to listen. During Carnival we sang on top of the big music trucks that traveled through the streets of Port of Spain, as masqueraders jumped up around us dressed like angels and princesses and mermaids. We sang for home, Trinidad and Tobago, twin-island nation, the proud red, black, and white. For our mother’s memory—though for Natalie and me, she never existed.

We sang for fun. For our lives.
That’s what it felt like, the music. Like being alive.

So maybe I was a liar, and maybe I should’ve told her years ago, but I didn’t. Granna, I mean. It’s just that she was wrong about completion, so wrong about the connection and the stars.

The thing about souls was that Natalie really did have her own, like each of our four older sisters.
And mine belonged to the sea. Always.

I was born into the sea, born knowing this. Natalie had been born on the boat, but by the time my turn came, we’d been tipped. My first breath outside my mother’s body was salt water; the Caribbean Sea lay claim to my soul the moment it took hers.

I’ve never considered this soul more than a loaner, a broken-winged bird I’ve only nursed and borrowed. Granna might not believe it, but eventually, I knew I’d be called upon to return it.

One night last spring, just after Carnival, the moonlight sparkled on the waves not far from where our mother had delivered me, her last, and I came so, so, so close.

Then I escaped.
For a time.

Even a fool knows you don’t cheat Death more than once. And technically, after my watery birth, that night last spring already made it twice.

There’s peace in acceptance. Death in it, always. Inevitable. With the acceptance of one thing comes the dying of another: a new belief, a relationship. An ideal, a plan, a what-if. Assumptions. A path. A song.

Consider: Pregnancy dies upon birth. Plans die upon action. Dreams die upon waking.

Not to ruin the story, but if you’ve come this far, you should know how it happens.
The end begins, as all things must, in the water. Now.
Ropes of black hair twist before my eyes, swaying like reeds. One by one, red clips loosen from the braids, tiny jeweled starfish that
drip-drip-drop
into the deep.

My body is sinking, sinking, sinking. Cold . . . And a memory stirs. The warm sea pressing against me, leaking into my lungs. Stealing my voice.

No, wait. . . . That was then. The spring. That last time, when I came so, so close. Then was the Caribbean, my Caribbean. Now is the Pacific, and though it’s late summer here, the Pacific isn’t as patient, isn’t as warm. My limbs will soon turn as blue-blue-blue as my silk dress.

It’s midnight now, the in-between, and the only person who knows where I am is asleep above, in the berth of our boat, the Queen of Cups. He was dreaming when I left; I knew from his sleep sounds. Beautiful, he was, stretched out alone where moments earlier we’d been entwined.
When he realizes I’m gone, he’ll search the water, dive beneath the boat. Frantic. Desperate. But he won’t reach me.

There’s blood in my mouth now, blood in the water, black-not-red at these dark depths. My lungs burn.
I’m ready.

But as my heartbeat stalls, as my limbs give their final tremble, as all around me turns to darkness, I can’t help but wonder…

If the sea had offered me one last chance—if I could’ve bargained with Death to make this broken wing mine, a soul with all its beautiful imperfections—would I have taken it?

Even after everything I’d lost?

Chapter 1

After spending the day in Aunt Lemon’s gift shop with a sticky note in the shape of a crab stuck to my boomsie (and no one even told me until after I’d escorted a pair of surfers to our collection of mermaid dashboard ornaments, and then my cousin Kirby sent me the picture, all, u got crabs!), I decided a little alone time was in order.

If not for the crab incident, I probably would’ve just gone to Lemon’s Summer Solstice party tonight like I’d promised. Instead, I was slithering around the Chelsea Marina docks, hoping to reach my boat before Kirby ensnared me in her net.

“Elyse!” Kirby shouted. “The party’s starting!” In a gauzy white dress and fitted denim jacket, she stood like a beacon in the sand, hands cupped around her mouth. Her voice skipped across the waves. “Where are you? Elyse!”

She wasn’t my blood cousin—Her mother, Lemon, was Dad’s  best friend, all the way back from their graduate-school days in Miami—and before this summer I’d only seen Kirby twice: the first time five years ago when they’d visited the islands, and then again a year later when our two families met up at Disneyland, my first visit to America.

But I’d been in Oregon a month already now, living in her house, our toothbrushes cohabitating in the zebra cup in the bathroom, and still she couldn’t get my name right. Uh-leese, it was like.
Close enough, maybe. It just didn’t sound-feel-comfort like home.

Sing for us, Ay-leese. . . .
Ay-leese, stop drowning yourself in hot sauce. Give it to me!
Granna, you hear? Our Ay-leese, she got a boyfriend.
Ay-leese, breathe! Fucking breathe, Ay-leese. . . .

“But it’s the Solstice! And there’s . . . cake?” Kirby’s voice lacked conviction. She’d been searching the edges of the marina for twenty -minutes, and I felt a little thrill that she hadn’t found me.

Unseen in the shadows, I crept to the slip that held the old Albin Vega—last place on earth she’d check, since from a strictly “ownership” perspective the boat wasn’t mine. I waited until Kirby finally retreated, white dress vanishing like a sail in the mist, and then I climbed onto the deck and ducked through the companionway into the saloon.

Freedom.

For a holiday that was supposed to, according to Aunt Lemon, “honor the full strength of the Sun God,” the Oregon night was a bruise. I took in the blackness that seeped into the boat, the salty air, the mustiness that clung to torn seat cushions.

But for the damp suck of the sea, all was soundless.

The Vega rocked gently in the tumult, steadying herself, and my view of the sky—pink-purple-black through the starboard window—straightened.

Tipped.
Straightened again.

The ship was a castaway among the polished vessels surrounding us, a forgotten relic here in Atargatis Cove. I didn’t even know her proper name. Queen of was all it said on the hull, once-gold letters peeling from the aqua-blue fiberglass. Could’ve been the Queen of Hearts or the Queen of the Damned for all I knew. But there was something special about that emptiness,
the unknown,
the unsaid.
Potential undefined.
She was abandoned, a fate we shared, which made her the perfect hideaway.

The boat jostled as a wave hit, and I took a deep breath, fought a shiver. The sea can’t hurt me here…I repeated the mantra in my head until fear left my limbs. Until I could breathe again.

I lit the big candle I’d brought from Mermaid Tears—Lemon’s shop—to chase away the mustiness. OCEAN BREEZE, it said. It smelled like chemically enhanced coconut.

Soft yellow light flickered into the saloon.

Everything was as I’d left it. Straightened up, wiped down, cans of expired soup discarded. A fuzzy new blanket spread out in the V-berth, and another on top, for curling up. Scattered on the cushions, a few books Kirby had brought me from her volunteer job at the library. Some extra clothes, flip-flops, sunglasses I never seemed to need here in Oregon. My iPod. A box of crackers with the peanut butter already spread between them. A bundle of Sharpies, rubberbanded together, different thicknesses.
My shoulders relaxed. The Vega was still unclaimed.

I freed a mass of black curls from beneath the hood of my sweatshirt, and from a pocket in my denim cutoffs, fished out a handful of sea glass. Lemon was looking out for me this summer, so in addition to helping at Mermaid Tears, I tagged along on her morning beach combs. She collected glass to forge into sculptures, some for sale in the gift shop and others on display in the gallery above it. She valued each piece of glass like a gemstone, but she always let me keep some of the haul. I’d been saving it in an empty Costco jar that formerly contained a decade’s supply of pitted olives—my hourglass. Once the glass reached the top, things would be right again.

Repaired, renewed, recovered.
Rejuvenated.
Restored.
All the REs complete, and I’d be whole.
Fucking breathe, Ay-leese. . . .

My hand tipped into the jar, and I watched the colored bits clink and settle among the others, an inch of green-gray-blue rising like the tide.

Whole.

I didn’t really believe it, but it sounded nice, like a poem. Even if it were possible, what then? Where would I go? Not back. Not forward. I was here, drifting on the current, eighteen years old and totally unmoored.

I pushed the jar back along a shelf in the triangular V-berth, way at the front of the boat, and settled into my favorite spot. My iPod still had a little charge, so I popped in an earbud and scrolled to a new playlist. Lemon had plenty of instrumental on her laptop—Native American wood flutes, classical, wind chimes, dolphin calls, ambient weirdness. On my first night in the States I’d desperately replaced my soca and calypso with it, erased even the reggae—anything that reminded me of home. Of who I should have been. Tonight I was onto Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites, track one. Music hummed in my right ear as I cranked the volume, but I wasn’t fool enough to sit alone on a boat with both ears covered.

A calm ocean could change in an instant.
Sing for us, Ay-leese. . . .

By the time my screen read “Suite No. 4 in E-flat Major,” my heart rate finally mellowed, and I grabbed a Sharpie from the bundle. I found a clear spot among the tangle of words overhead—some nights my notebook wasn’t big enough—and pressed the tip to the low ceiling.

Words spin and spill
ink from a bottle of blood

Queen of lurched left, a game we nightly played, and I tightened my grip on the marker, waiting for her to settle. She perpetually lost. Her body was inked with the evidence.

A smudge, a smear, a shaky line of
black letters stands erect, marches
around my fingers, encouraging,

Back on the island of Tobago, 7,040 kilometers—no, make that 4,375 miles—off the coast of my heartbeat, Dad and Granna had an old Albin Vega in the resort fleet, the Atlantica, a twenty-seven footer like this, one of three boats reserved for our guest charters. They’d taken the fourth out of commission in March, part of a long string of before-and-after afters that ended with me leaving for the States, but as far as I knew, the Atlantica was still going strong. It was the ship my twin sister Natalie had been born on. The one I’d been born next to.

The last thing my mother saw.
It was a dark and stormy night, our birth story. So they say.

inspiring,
yet ever

Now, out here on these chilly summer nights, the pale scar of the moon cutting the Oregon haze, I wondered if Dad was out on the Vega too. Lying in the V-berth, staring at the same moon, thinking of me as I thought of him. Of my sisters and Granna. The cocoa pods, red-orange-yellow, stacked in pyramids after first harvest, spicing the air with their intoxicating plums-and-tobacco scent.

Home.
Do you miss me?

soundless.

“Keep your skirt on! Let me check it out, make sure she won’t sink.” A male voice accompanied shadows through the companionway and into the saloon. The boat bobbed under new weight, and I yanked out my earbud and bolted upright, narrowly avoiding a head injury.

His image flickered in the candlelight. When he spotted me, he put one hand on his head, as if he’d anticipated the crash that never came, and said in a tone much softer than what he’d used on his friend, “Well. Hello there.”

Unlike me, he was unalarmed, the ghost of a smile hovering on his lips. Something softened him around the edges—alcohol, probably—but his gaze was sharp and clear.

Toes to curls, a shiver shook me. This boy wore the ocean in his eyes, green-gray-blue, ever shifting, and I recognized him immediately. Knew before he said another word that he was as dangerous as he was beautiful.

Christian Kane. Official summer scoundrel of Atargatis Cove, fresh off his first year at Stanford. Aside from the upcoming Mermaid Festival and Pirate Regatta, the Kane family’s annual return was the talk of the town. And this son, the eldest? Kirby had him to thank for the cake tonight.

Christian Kane had his own mythology, his own devoted following, much like Lemon’s Sun God. Fitting that they shared a birthday.

I was frozen on the blanketed cushions as he scanned the scene: writing on the fiberglass walls and ceiling, damning black marker still clutched in my fingers. Somewhere beneath my elbow, two battered novels about the sea, ancient legends retold. A half-empty can of Coke on the shelf behind my head. A postcard from home, blank, tacked up on the wall. The yawning jar of sea glass, there next to the soda. Nautical charts and manuals once scattered throughout the saloon, now stacked neatly on the table beside the candle, held in place with a large rock carried in first by the tide, second by me.

This ship had belonged to no one. I’d been so certain. And rickety and neglected as she was, I’d called her my home away from my home away from home, my sacred space. Now Christian’s gaze swept back to me and skimmed the unfamiliar legs stretched across the V-berth, brown skin made lavender by the moonlight.

When he finally looked at me full on, his stormy eyes changed course.

Confusion.
Surprise.
Intrigue.

The last was the most worrisome.

I tugged the hood up over my head, tied the strings across my seashell necklace and the scar gouged into the hollow of my throat.

Breathe. . . .

“Christian?” someone said, flirty and singsong. The breeze shifted, carrying a whiff of spicy vanilla perfume, and a girl crashed into him from behind. Her silver-tipped talons curled over his shoulders.“What’s the deal? I’m freezin’ my ass off.”
Christian didn’t take his eyes off me, just raised a curious eyebrow that lit a spark in my chest.
The girlfriend noticed me then, and around a faint smile, still watching me, Christian spoke plainly.
“There’s a girl writing on my boat.”
I basically ran.

 

Oh man, such a tease, right?? Don’t worry…it’s out June 2 from Simon Pulse so not too much longer of a wait!! And for one of you lucky readers…you are going to win the copy I’m giving away, thanks to Simon & Schuster.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will win a finished copy of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids.

* Open to use US addresses only
* You must be 13 years or older to enter.
* Winner will be contacted via email and has 72 hours to respond or I will draw another winner.

 

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Giveaway Time!

Hello lovelies! I’m super excited to be able to offer this giveaway as it was on my list of 18 anticipated novels for 2015! The title is Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone and it’s a contemporary YA about a popular girl with OCD who fights really, really hard to hide it and whose life changes when she attends a secret poetry club. It’s coming up soon on my reading list and, thanks to Disney, I’m able to offer one lucky reader a copy!

If this one isn’t on your radar, check out the official summary:

Every Last Word Tamara Ireland stone

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

 

 About The Author

 

AuthorTamaraIrelandStone

Tamara Ireland Stone (www.TamaraIrelandStone.com) is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us, which Melissa Marr praised as a “beautifully written, unique love story,” and has been published in over twenty countries. A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco.

READ AN EXCERPT

http://un-requiredreading.com/books/every-last-word

LEARN MORE

Learn more on HyperionTeens.com

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#EveryLastWord

 Giveaway

WordsThroughTime

Prize:

One (1) winner receives the complete Tamara Ireland Stone collection:

  ~A copy of Every Last Word;

~Plus copies of Time Between Us and Time After Time.

 

Guidelines to enter:

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

 Prizing and samples provided by Disney Hyperion.
You must be 13 years or older to enter.
Winner will be contacted via email and has 72 hours to respond before a new winner is picked.

Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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Hey Throne of Glass Fans..Exciting Giveaway!

You all know my love for all things Sarah J. Maas — especially the Throne of Glass series! I was so excited when Litographs, a company that produces literary merchandise made entirely from the text of the work it represents, emailed me about how they teamed up with Sarah to produce a Throne of Glass collection with a t-shirt, tote and poster.

Oh and hey….do I want to host a giveaway for my readers? WHY YES I DO. So, thanks to Litographs, I have a giveaway for all you Throne of Glass fans!!!

But first can we just ogle these beauties???!

 

glass-featured glass-tote-featured glass-tee-zoom

 

GIVEAWAY

What will the winner will receive? A gift certificate to Litographs for $34 (the price of the t-shirt). You can pick your color and your size and shipping is FREE anywhere in the US. So, non-US people can totally enter but this won’t cover shipping!

 

*Guidelines*

-You must be 13 years or older to enter.
-Open internationally — but know that you’ll get the gift certificate for the shirt but have to pay for shipping.
– Winner will be contacted via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Interview With Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

Oh man, guys. I’m so excited about this interview!! I am so grateful to have gotten a chance to sit down with Sarah Dessen before her event here at Children’s Book World in Haverford, PA (my favorite indie in the area) and chat for a bit about writing and how YA has changed and more! She is SO SO lovely and I really enjoyed talking to her. The event itself was LOVELY and there was quite the crowd. One of the biggest I’ve scene there and I loved watching teens and adults alike fangirling over Sarah and telling her how much her books have meant to them. She’s a great speaker and is so engaging with her audience so it was just a great event all around!

 

Sarah Dessen

Question: There’s been a lot of discussion recently about “books for boys” and “books for girls”, and I’m sure you probably get pigeon-holed as the latter sometimes. What are your thoughts and experiences with that?

Sarah: I think what I’ve seen more of than necessarily books for girl or boys is, in the bigger chain bookstores (not the independents), they have teen fiction and teen romance and they have me shelved into teen romance.

Me: And your books are so much more than just a romance!

Sarah: I know! And not that I’m bashing romance, I think romance is great, but I feel like if I only had romance in my books than I’d be okay with that but I feel like, especially in Saint Anything, there’s so much else going on.

Me: *agrees furiously with specifics from Saint Anything*

Sarah: And I’ve talked to YA writer friends of mine who are like, “it stinks because I have that I’ve one book I’ve written in YA romance and one put in YA fiction and people can’t find them.” It’s like, if you love a book you go to the bookstore you go to find a book by that person. So it’s really frustrating. I just wish people would give them a chance. I understand when you have a cover like this with the beach and everything (Jamie note: she pointed to a copy of Someone Like You I believe) but I was really happy with this cover (Saint Anything). When they came back with it I thought, “Okay it’s a little bit darker and it’s a little bit deeper and so is the book so maybe it has a chance. It looks more adult even so it has the crossover potential. I am the first to say I don’t have a ton of boy fans but I do have some, ya know, and they come through and I don’t think books are male or female anything. Books are just universal. Books are for everybody. I understand the sales technique in these bigger bookstores trying to compartmentalize but I think it works against it and it’s frustrating.

QUESTION: So, along with this, what I love about your books is that are ALWAYS about more than just one thing. There are complicated relationships and dynamics of all types. I just love how you balance the friendships, the romance, the family and the individual journey. How do you balance all that in your books, especially because in YA the romance angle seems to be the big seller.

Sarah: Well, because high school’s never about one thing. Life isn’t about one thing to me. Even now, at my age, my daily life is my family, my friends, my work. I’m as tied up with my mom as I am with my daughter. And when I was in high school it was the same thing. It was never just about the boy I was involved with or just my friends. It was like my friends, my boyfriend, my work, school. It’s like, you are are cheating yourself if you aren’t giving yourself the opportunity to show the whole picture. Every day was never about just one thing. Nobody’s life was like that.

Me: I think that’s what makes your books so relatable. I was never just dealing with my crush. It was like trying to balance going out with my crush while trying to keep my grades up and deal with my overprotective, strict mom who I had to beg to let me go out with my friends let alone my crush My parents and home life were a huge part of my daily struggles outside boys and friends.

Sarah: Right! Exactly! I think also in YA, and this is something I’ve said before, I think a lot of times the parents are not there. And I know some YA writers just don’t really want to write adults. They just want to write the teens and the parents are like the Charlie Brown adults where they are just like MWA MWA MWA (Jamie note: her Charlie Brown adult impression is on point). For me, my parents were never one note characters in my life. My mom was just as complicated as I was if not more so. So for me I never felt like I could write about being a teen without bringing in the whole family and all that dynamic because it IS where you learn everything and then you kind of take what you learn dealing with your family into the rest of your life. And, for better or for worse, it shapes who you are.

*interlude where I gush all about Jamie & Cora in Lock & Key because I’m currently audiobooking that one and how Sarah, just in general writes amazing adult characters and how there is a lack of great adult characters in a lot of YA*

[Keep Reading]

A Release Day Guest Post & Giveaway From Sarah J. Maas

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Sarah J. Maas — the author AND the person. She’s the author who made me fall in love with fantasy and opened this whole new world to me. I mean, Throne of Glass holds the spot for my current favorite series and, after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses earlier this year, I have a GOOD feeling it’s going to be competing with the Throne of Glass series. And as a person?  She is amazing. So kind and generous and genuine. So good to her fans. SO SO good to them. And if you’ve ever seen her in action (possibly with her bff Susan Dennard — oh the two of them!) she is so funny and a damn good time!

 

Bs6grBxCMAA5ijXSarah J. Maas Heir of Fire selfie

 

So, I can’t tell you how honored I am to have her on the blog on the release day of A Court of Thorns and Roses. She’s so deserving of the praise and love for her books and I hope you all fall in love with this latest series from her like I did (you can check out my thoughts here).
 So now I’m going to let Sarah take it away and I’m going to warn you…this post made some tears pay a visit to my face!

 ACOTAR blog tour banner

 

I’ve been thinking for some time now about what I’ll say today, what I’ll write about to properly convey my feelings now that A Court of Thorns and Roses is officially out in the world. I wrote the first draft of this book way back in 2009—before I ever sold Throne of Glass—and then let it collect proverbial dust on my computer for years. But during those years, I’d open up that word document—not to edit or tweak, but just to reread, to visit these characters that had somehow stolen a piece of my heart, and who wouldn’t let me forget it.

[Keep Reading]

I Interviewed Leila Sales! OH AND THERE IS A GIVEAWAY I WISH I COULD WIN!

ThisSongWillSave-TourBanner

HI GUYS. I’m waaaaay more excited than I normally am on a Wednesday. Why you ask (even if you didn’t…I’M TELLING YOUUU)? Because Leila Sales is on the blog today answering some of my questions and I couldn’t be more delighted. I ADORE Leila — both as a person and a writer and I sang HIGH HIGH praises for her book This Song Will Save Your Life back when I read it. A peek at what I said about it from my review: Its spirit pulses from the pages, right through to your veins and reverberates in your soul — a feeling reminiscent of any great concert or night out dancing where your ears are still buzzing and the music still pounds within you.” Read my full review!

I’d invite Leila on the blog any day ending with a Y just because but she’s here today to celebrate This Song Will Save Your Life coming out in paperback YESTERDAY! I’ve been DYING for it to come out ever since I had the honor of revealing the paperback redesign for it.

This Song Will Save Your Life Leila Sales paperback

So, let’s have a chat with Leila and then you can check out the AWESOME giveaway (no seriously, I’m dying for her new book and one of you lucky little book nerds is going to win it).

 

1. If books used pick-up lines when readers stood by the shelves trying to choose which book to pick up, what would This Song Will Save Your Life’s pick-up line be?

“Hey, what are you doing tonight? There’s a club if you’d like to go. You could meet somebody who really loves you.”

2. Since music is such a HUGE part of This Song Will Save Your Life obviously (and a huge passion of mine), I’m wondering what are 5 songs that have topped your playlists lately!
LOVE this question. When I wrote THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE I wanted to include only those songs that had already stood the test of time, so I don’t get a lot of opportunities to talk about newer songs that I’m digging right at this very moment.

Here are some of them:
“I Wanna Get Better,” by Bleachers
“Shut Up and Dance,” by Walk the Moon
“Sex,” by 1975
“My Friend Has a Swimming Pool,” by Mausi
“Palisades Park,” by the Counting Crows

 

Jamie note: AH Leila…I love Bleachers as well and same with Walk the Moon whom the husband and I just got to see in concert and they were so fun!

 

3. One of the things that Elise struggles with is making friends until she meets Vicky, Char and Pippa. Two part question, what other YA character do you think Elise would be good friends with? And what do you think is the difference between making friends as a teenager vs. making friends as an adult? (if there is a difference to you)
I could see Elise hanging out with Audrey from Robin Benway’s AUDREY, WAIT! They could go to shows together and have a blast. (Jamie note: LOVE THIS CHOICE. )

Difference between making friends as a teen versus as an adult: So, first of all, adults aren’t out to make you look and feel stupid all the time. Adults who make snide remarks about what you’re wearing, or about how excited you get about the “wrong” things, are universally understood to be huge jerks and wildly immature. Unfortunately, those behaviors are commonplace in high school. Because in high school there is ONE hierarchy of “cool” versus “not cool,” whereas in adulthood there’s no one set of rules that we are all “supposed” to be trying to follow.

Also: being a kid or teen is bizarre because you are divided up by age. You are for some reason expected to have things in common with some randomer just because you are fourteen and she is also fourteen. In adulthood, you can choose a career doing something that you care about, and through that career you get to meet other people who care about that specific thing. You get to choose what city to live in, and meet other people who chose to live in that same city. And even if those people are a decade younger or older than you, you still can be friends with them, and they will have actual things in common with you.

4. One thing that I loved about TSWSYL is how Elise learns that you don’t necessarily have to CHANGE to find yourself but you just have to see those perceived weaknesses/quirks as your strength and learn to be comfortable in your skin and be who you REALLY are — not who other people think you are or even who they’ve made you think you are.  If you could go back and give teenage Leila advice about this topic, what would it be?
Pretty much just that: know who you are, don’t listen to the people who tell you that what you are is “wrong.” And don’t be ashamed of being yourself, because the things that make you special (or, in high school, “weird”) are the things that make you MATTER—a lot more than whether some popular girl tells you that you matter. This is easier said than done, but it’s all true.

5. I remember being a liiiiiittle nervous about the teenage DJ aspect of this novel before I read it because it totally COULD have turned out corny but instead you made it so believable and fitting. What kind of research did you do to make it feel authentic and fit with the story?
I went out dancing a lot! I’ve always done that, but while I was writing this book I would dance and try to describe what I was seeing and experiencing (in my head, of course). Over the years I’ve also been friends with a number of DJs (and I’ve dated at least three of them), so I’ve learned a fair bit about what’s involved.

Now let’s go for some rapid fire questions:

Song that you always want to dance to: “Beat Control,” by Tilly and the Wall.

Book that saved your life: LIBBY ON WEDNESDAY, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Song that you STILL know every word to from your teen years: “One Week,” by the Barenaked Ladies. (This is my party trick. I’ll pull it out if you give even the slightest indication that you want to hear it. Or even, frankly, if you give no indication.)

Song that you’d be most likely to pick for karaoke: Well, “One Week.” Or “I Liked You So Much Better When You’re Naked,” by Ida Maria. Or “None of Your Business,” by Salt ‘n’ Pepa. Basically, if we go to do karaoke, we are going to be there for a while.

Song that you associate with high school: Ohh there are a lot. Let’s say… anything off the Lifehouse album “No Name Face,” and “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.

Book that you’ve loved recently: FAMOUS IN LOVE, by Rebecca Serle! Also everything that I’ve edited, naturally. (If you’re interested, I keep a Pinterest board of all of them: https://www.pinterest.com/prettytothink/books-i-edited/ Okay, end self-promotion.)

Current favorite album: A new album just came out from the Go! Team, so I’m really enjoying that, but it’s too early to call it my FAVORITE. I’d need to listen to it about a million times more. So let’s stick with “Strangers,” by RAC. They just write such good pop songs, it’s unbelievable.

 

Thanks for answering all my questions, Leila!! I feel like we are music soulmates (Tilly and the Wall <33 I feel like nobody I talk to knows them) and also I think we would have a damn good time doing karaoke together!

 

GIVEAWAYS

That’s right. TWO giveaways. Two winners. (US/Canada mailing addresses only).

GIVEAWAY #1: Up for grabs is an ARC of Leila’s upcoming release — Tonight The Streets Are Ours — which is one of my most anticipated books for this year! It sounds SO EXCELLENT. You can read more about it here.

Tonight The STreets are OUrs book

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

 

Giveaway #2: A This Song Will Save Your Life mix cd curated by the participants on the blog tour — fun surprise and a chance to discover new music perhaps?

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Want More?

Full Blog Tour Schedule:

http://www.paperiot.com/                                                        April 2, 2015

http://theirishbanana.blogspot.com/                                     April 3, 2015

http://www.rainydayramblings.com                                       April 4, 2015

http://lilisreflections.blogspot.com/                                       April 5, 2015

http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/                              April 6, 2015

http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/                                April 7, 2015

http://www.thebookcellarx.com/                                           April 8, 2015

http://www.greatimaginations.com/                                     April 9, 2015

http://thebevybibliotheque.net/                                             April 10, 2015

http://jenuinecupcakes.blogspot.com/                                 April 11, 2015

http://www.tickettoanywhere.net/                                       April 12, 2015

http://www.bookaddictsguide.com                                        April 13, 2015

http://macteenbooks.com                                                          April 14, 2015

http://www.perpetualpageturner.com                                 April 15, 2015

A Little Chat With David Arnold + A Giveaway of Mosquitoland

You guys! YOU GUYS! I’m so, so super excited for David Arnold to be on my blog today. WHY might you ask? Because David Arnold is awesome and I loved his debut novel, Mosquitoland, which is out TODAY (I’ll be talking about it later this week!!). It was delightfully unique and Mim is somebody you NEED to meet. Also? He’s just really a cool dude who has EXCELLENT taste in music and other things.

I’m so happy to have him here chatting about Mim, music, road trips and mental illness in fiction. I loved all his answers and had SO MUCH FUN with this one! Check out for info about Mosquitoland and David after the interview!

 

Mosquitoland David Arnold interview

 

1. Describe Mosquitoland in 5 words or less.

Home.

2. One thing I really loved was the vibrant cast of characters Mim meets on her trip — no matter how brief their encounter. If you wrote a spin-off novel from the perspective of any other character, who would it be and why?

I actually wrote a novella from Walt’s point of view. It follows him from Chicago right up to the moment he meets Mim under the bridge. I’m still revising it, and at this point, there are no plans for publication. But I’d love to get it out there one day.

(My response to that: OMG YES PLEASE).

 



3. I ADORE MIM SO MUCH. If Mim and I were to be friends and had a girl’s day to 1) visit the bookstore, 2) the record shop and 3) rent a movie, tell me a book or two she’d point out as favorites, the record she’d make me buy because she loves it and the movie she’d pick because she’s been dying to see it!

 

THANK YOU! And wow, this is a fun one. I’m going to go ahead and negate the ones she mentions in the book, because that would just be lazy. So… being that Mim is a self-diagnosed anomaly, I feel like she might be the kind of person to point out a couple books on opposite ends of the spectrum. So let’s say Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions and Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. For the movie, let’s pretend like it’s June already, and Jurassic World is out, because GAH. As for records, I think she would be the girl walking out of the store with a stack under her arms, but if she only recommends one, it would most likely be… Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.

 



4. I’m always a sucker for a road trip novel so I was eager to go on this journey with Mim. Tell us your favorite road trip memory + a song that is a MUST on any road trip playlist.

 

Well, I did take a trip on a Greyhound as research for this book, but that is FAR from my favorite road trip memory. I think I’d have to pick the trip I took with my wife and son a couple years ago. He was 18 months at the time, but a good traveler. We drove from Nashville to D.C., then to Boston, then up to Maine for a family wedding. It was so fun! And I’m going to pick two songs for this road trip, a good pick-me-up song, and a good stare-out-the-window-at-the-passing-trees-and-contemplate-life song: Kids by MGMT, and Shelter From the Storm by Bob Dylan.

 



5. Mental illness is a big part of Mosquitoland. It’s such a complex topic to delve into and to really “get right”. What was your approach to handling it in Mosquitoland?

 

I never sat down to write a book about mental illness, but once I really dove into Mim’s character—specifically her relationship with her parents—it became evident that this was part of her story. Mental illness can manifest itself in a number of different ways, so I felt it was important to make sure Mim’s experience was plausible, and her responses were realistic. In addition to quite a bit of research on the front end, I recruited the help of three top-notch professionals: a clinical psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, and a licensed social worker who specializes in mental health. All three of them read the manuscript and offered valuable insight. You’re absolutely correct in noting the importance of getting it right—I did everything I could to do this, and only hope it was enough.

 

6. If Mosquitoland were a movie and you got to be in charge of the music/soundtrack, tell me which 5 songs would definitely make an appearance in Mosquitoland: The Movie. (I’d love to know any particular scenes matched up with songs if they aren’t on the spoiler side!)

 

Oh man. Best question ever. Um. Okay. I actually made a chapter-by-chapter playlist. But in an effort not to overwhelm/bore everyone, I’ll only pick five: opening scene would be Don’t Think I’m Ever Gonna Figure It Out by Elliott Smith, which would then fade into David Byrne’s Glass, Concrete and Stone. The scene where Mim, Beck, and Walt are all getting burgers in the drive through, I would use something like Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple. And then in Chapter 28, I actually wrote that they’re listening to a song on the radio about an undertaker, which is Undertaker by M. Ward. And then without spoilers, I always imagined the ending being cut together to either Blood by The Middle East, or Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie. (Know what’s better than five good songs? Six. Boom. You’re welcome.)

 

Thank you so much for indulging me, David!! You are even more awesome in my book for the fact you made a chapter by chapter playlist…but this actually doesn’t surprise me. And omg CHILLS right now thinking about the ending with EITHER of those songs. I will be the first to petition for you to be in charge of music for Mosquitoland should it ever become a film (I can really really see it as an awesome indie flick with kickass music).

If you haven’t heard of Mosquitoland, check it out:

 

Mosquitoland David Arnold After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, “Mosquitoland” is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

 

David Arnold is a stay-at-home dad who wrote Mosquitoland while his son napped and watched Sesame Street. This is his first novel. The family lives in Lexington, KY and readers can find David Arnold online on Twitter @roofbeam and visit him at www.davidarnoldbooks.com.

Check it out on: Goodreads // Amazon

GIVEAWAY

And because I really enjoyed this book I really want to give away a copy to one of my lovely readers! So let’s do that:

Mosquitoland David Arnold

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*US ONLY.
* Ends 3/10

The Duff: A Giveaway!

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One of my favorite things in the world are all the 90’s and early 2000 teen rom-coms. 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, She’s The Man, Mean Girls, Bring It On, She’s All That, Can’t Hardly Wait, Never Been Kissed — I could go on! I feel like I haven’t found as many more modern teen rom-coms that I love like those and so I AM SOOOO excited for The Duff because it looks like it has all the makings for a great teen rom-com! I haven’t READ The Duff by Kody Keplinger (plan to!) but I enjoyed one of her other books! PLUS I super super love Mae Whitman from her role in Parenthood and just her as a person in general (one of the few celebs I follow on Twitter) so I have high hopes! It looks funny and super cute (even WILL wants to see it!!) so I’m excited though I cannot think of Mae Whitman as a “duff” because she IS SO NOT.

 

TheDuff-Graphic1

 

 

If you don’t know what it is about or haven’t seen the trailer here’s what it is about:

Bianca (Mae Whitman) is a content high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns the student body knows her as ‘The DUFF’ (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends (Skyler Samuels & Bianca Santos). Now, despite the words of caution from her favorite teacher (Ken Jeong), she puts aside the potential distraction of her crush, Toby (Nick Eversman), and enlists Wesley (Robbie Amell), a slick but charming jock, to help reinvent herself. To save her senior year from turning into a total disaster, Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow the school’s ruthless label maker Madison (Bella Thorne) and remind everyone that no matter what people look or act like, we are all someone’s DUFF.

 

Follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
Visit the Official Website
Follow TheDUFFMovie on Snapchat for exclusive chats and content debuts

 

Now for the giveaway:

One winner will receive:

TheDUFF-bookcoverTheDUFF-TShirt

  • Copy of the book (movie tie-in book cover)
  • T-Shirt
  • Mini-Poster

 

Open to US mailing addresses only.
Prizing provided by CBS Films
Ends February 27th at 11:59 EST

 

TO ENTER:

Leave a comment below telling me your favorite teen rom-com WITH an email/Twitter that I can get a hold of you if you win!

Get To Know Victoria Aveyard + GIVEAWAY

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I’m excited to have Victoria Aveyard, author of one of the HOTTEST young adult releases of this season, on the blog with me today! Her book Red Queen came out this week surrounded with MUCH pre-publication buzz! Before you get to know Victoria a little bit through some fun top ten lists (which obviously I’m a big fan of) check out what Red Queen is about!

Red Queen
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads |Kobo

Get to know Victoria with a couple of fun top ten lists!

 

10 Bookish (or otherwise) Quotes That I Love, in no particular order:

1. “He’s got a two day head start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody’s got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan, he speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom, he’ll blend in, disappear, you’ll never see him again. With any luck, he’s got the Grail already.” Cut to Brody in a marketplace: “Does anyone here speak English? Or even Ancient Greek?” – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, my all-time favorite movie quote.

2. “Winter is coming.”  – George RR Martin, A Game of Thrones (I could do all ASOIAF quotes for this but I won’t)

3. “And my sister, my Lindsey, left me in her memories, where I was meant to be.” – Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

4. “It was the drink that killed him.” “Oh, he was an alcoholic?” “No, he was hit by a Guinness truck.” – Mrs. Doubtfire

5. “Go then, there are other worlds than these.” – Stephen King, The Gunslinger

6. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” – JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit

7. “I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.” – JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (and all of LotR essentially)

8. “When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.” – George RR Martin, A Storm of Swords (had to sneak this one in)

9. “Never tell me the odds.” – The Empire Strikes Back

10. “P.S. Germany invaded Belgium an hour ago.” – Ken Follett, Fall of Giants

Honorable mention (because quotes are my life):
Chapter 8 of The Stand, Stephen King
the entirety of Home Alone written by John Hughes
The Indianapolis Speech, Jaws, Robert Shaw
“Well, can’t he just beam up?” “This is reality, Greg.” – ET, Melissa Mathison

10 Favorite Lines I Wrote In Red Queen

1. The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.

2. In school, we learned about the world before ours, about the angels and gods that lived in the sky, ruling the earth with kind and loving hands. Some say those are just stories, but I don’t believe that. The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.

3. We destroy. It’s the constant of our kind. No matter the color of blood, man will always fall.

4. “Dear family, I am alive. Obviously.”

5. “From now until the end of your days, you must lie. Your life depends on it, little lightning girl.”

6. “They were a threat to my kingdom, and they were stupid,” he fires back. He stoops, bending over me with his twisted smile. “Were.”

7. Gold and silver and iron, dripping from his hands like tears.

8. When the sword flashes, arcing through air and flesh and bone, she doesn’t blink.

9. In the stories, the old fairy tales, a hero comes. But all my heroes are gone or dead. No one is coming for me.

10. “I have the advantage,” I tell his corpse.

 

10 Movies I Could Watch Forever

The Lord of the Rings
Star Wars
Indiana Jones
Jurassic Park
ET
Independence Day
Gladiator
Goodfellas
Pirates of the Caribbean
Armageddon

 

10 Things I Never Leave Home Without

Something to read
Cell phone
Keys (unless I forget, which is often)
Scarf or sweater
Sunglasses
A mental plan and schedule for whatever I’m doing
Hair ties
Music
Lipstick if I can remember
My rings (two family heirlooms, one gift to myself)

 

About The Author

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Victoria Aveyard is a screenwriter/YA author who likes books and lists. 
Her book RED QUEEN will be published Winter 2015 from HarperTeen at HarperCollins. She’s repped by the incomparable Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
The genres she’s into include YA, Fantasy, Historical, Adventure, Apocalyptic – if people are dying, she’s buying.

 TWITTER | WEBSITE

GIVEAWAY

One Winner will get Finished Copies of: RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand and MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga.



Ships in US only | Must be 13+ To enter

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Q&A with Heather Demetrios + Giveaway Of I’ll Meet You There!

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I’m SO SO excited to have Heather Demetrios here on the blog today answering some of my questions! If you read my review of I’ll Meet You There recently, you know that it was one of the BEST books I’ve read in a while. If you haven’t read my review of it, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? It’s a must read book so check it out!

I loved the answers to my questions so definitely make sure to read this!

Hi Heather!

Heather Demetrios author photo

1. Describe I’ll Meet You There in 5 words or less!
The journey of a lifetime.
(I need to clarify that while I hope this is the case for readers, I’m talking about myself. Writing this book has been a wild ride and the most satisfying writing experience I’ve ever had).

 

2. When I was reading I’ll Meet You There I was so struck with how well you portrayed this small, run down sort of impoverished town (something we don’t see a lot in YA) and it reminded me so much of where I spent much of my childhood that my mom, like Skylar and Josh, wanted to get so far away from. But I also loved how you showed how wonderful HOME is despite that. How did you strike that balance to show just why they longed to get away and wanted but more but also show the charm that lies in the place you call home? What was your inspiration for the setting?

When I was in junior high, my mom re-married and moved us to central California. I hated it with a passion. Part of it was because I was so isolated and far from my family and the life I had in LA. It’s also very different: suburban, agricultural, land-locked. Not the most fashionable place in the world. I longed for the beaches of my childhood, the shopping, the palm trees, and my grandparents. I couldn’t wait to get out. Much like Sky, during the summer before my freshman year of college, I was convinced something terrible would keep me there. I’d get pregnant or develop a brain tumor or I’d die trapped under a building after a horrible earthquake. Luckily, I did get out. I spent years thinking of that region with nothing but scorn, in part because I’d experienced so much unhappiness there. But over the years, I’ve gradually softened and come to feel something like a bittersweet affection for the place. The thing is, when you spend your teen years somewhere, that place takes up residence inside you. It’ll have a hold over you no matter how far you run away. I wanted to show that the places we love and hate and grow in embed themselves in our hearts, whether we want them to or not. For Sky, Creek View is a place where she had amazing friendships and movie nights with her mom and where her dad swam with her in the Creek. You can take the girl out of Creek View, but you can never take the Creek View out of the girl.
Highway 99 runs between LA and Fresno and when I was growing up, we did that drive countless times. I based Creek View on the tiny towns we’d stop in for gas or passed by because, like Creek View, they didn’t even have a gas station. I wondered what it would be like to grow up there, only four hours away from one of the biggest and most important cities in the world, to have a life where four hours might as well be four hundred.

 

3. Josh’s character just felt so ALIVE to me with all the emotion and detail that came together about his time in the Marines. He was so complex and was dealing with a lot — PTSD, grief, his memories and the fact that he lost leg — and I appreciated the depth and the fact these things never felt contrived. You can tell that great care went into portraying his PTSD and being an amputee, can you talk about the research and the people you talked to understand Josh more? Was there anything that surprised you or really stuck with you?

Josh is why I stuck with the book, even when it felt impossible. I had to tell his story, I had to give him a fighting chance to overcome his demons and I could only do that by finishing the book. The bulk of my research went into Josh. The most helpful research were the actual interviews I did with Soldiers and Marines who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as talking to my dad, a Marine with PTSD who served in the Gulf War. Hearing their firsthand experiences of the military culture, reintegrating back into society when they came home, and experiences they had with PTSD were enormously helpful. I think I was most surprised by how poetic they could be in their descriptions of their service or of their feelings. There is so much honor and quiet dignity there—you can’t help but be moved by it, regardless of your politics. I also spoke with my aunt, who worked as a civilian with both the Marines and Army as a family readiness officer. Basically, her job was to help with deployments and service members returning home, so she was really helpful with the logistics of what happened to Josh after the bomb. Of course, I read a lot and watched YouTube videos of boot camp and such. I watched documentaries, like Restrepo or fictional stuff like HBO’s Generation Kill, which one of my Marines has mixed feelings about, but I enjoyed. The weirdest research I had to do was related to Josh being an amputee. I’ve been in touch with Wesley Hughes, who has great videos of amputee life on his channel Amp4Life. A lot of the research I did for this book was heartbreaking, but it was all very, very worth it.

 

4. I found myself just so smitten with Paradise — the motel that Skylar and Josh work at. What was your inspiration for this quirky motel?

I suppose my inspiration is a combination of all the motels I stayed at during road trips, as well as the motels we’d pass on the 99 driving to and from Los Angeles. Originally, it wasn’t quirky. Just run-down and seedy. This is where the beauty of writer’s groups come in. One of my critique partners suggested the place could have themed rooms and I loved the idea. I totally went to town. The Tom Cruise room is my favorite, of course. I wanted this to be a haven for both Sky and Josh, a safe place away from the hard times at home and the drama in the town. They can both let down their guard here, which is what allows their friendship to grow.

 

5. Most of the novel is told through Skylar’s POV but you did have shorter, very distinct chapters from Josh’s. What made you choose to do a dual POV in I’ll Meet You There? (I really liked it and loved getting in Josh’s head).

I wasn’t interested in writing the book without those Josh sections. And I had to fight for them. My earliest readers weren’t convinced they belonged in the narrative. I knew it was just a matter of getting them right and I’m glad my mentors and beta readers pushed me to fine-tune them. To me, they’re almost like prose poems. I just didn’t want Josh to be a set piece, only functioning as the love interest. This is his book as much as Sky’s. I wanted to do justice to his experience and I didn’t feel I could do that without going to his dark places. These were really hard to get right, but the writing I’m most proud of. His headspace is scary, but we need to be there. We need to get in the trenches with him.

 

6. I loved how there was so much diversity in I’ll Meet You There specifically seeing disabilities and poverty in such a real way. The YA community has been vocal about wanting to see more diversity and so I’d love hearing about some of your favorite books that celebrate diverse characters.

Oh, this is fun! Well, I adore Tyrell by Coe Booth. It will absolutely gut you. My good friend Lisa Papademetriou has an awesome middle grade coming out next year that features a girl in Pakistan. Eleanor and Park is probably my absolute favorite because not only is there racial diversity, but there is class diversity. Eleanor and Sky would totally get what it feels like to be dirt poor. There’s a lot of really natural diversity in Sarah McCarry’s books—she just portrays Cali like it is, and I love that. Her books are GORGEOUS. I also think we get lots of diversity in fantasy worlds, such as Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone or Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. I think fantasy is the most diverse genre—so many different cultures co-exist together!

 

Thanks Heather for your thoughtful answers and these AMAZING CHARACTERS!!!

There is a really awesome campaign they are doing so check this out!

illmeetyouthere_pre-orderforletter

-Get an exclusive hand-written letter from Josh when you order I’ll Meet You There before Valentine’s Day! Details on Heather’s blog!

Also check out:

-Follow Heather on Twitter!
-Check out Heather’s Pinterest boards!
-Become a fan on Facebook!

GIVEAWAY

I'll Meet You There Heather Demetrios1 winner will received a hardcover copy of I’ll Meet You There!

*US/Canada Only.
* No purchase necessary.
* Prize will be fulfilled by Macmillan.

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