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

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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

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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

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*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.

 

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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:

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  • 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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A Roundup of YA Novels That Inspired Eric Smith While Writing INKED, Plus a Giveaway!

Hey guys! I’m super excited to have my pal Eric Smith, author & publishing rockstar at Quirk Books, here on the blog to celebrate his debut YA fantasy — which was out this past Tuesday and we’ll be celebrating TONIGHT here in Philly at Tattooed Mom!

I love hearing what books inspired authors so I’m excited that Eric is going to be dishing on what books inspired HIM while writing Inked!!

 

Like most kids, I grew up reading Young Adult novels. My parents regularly took me to the library to pick up whatever I wanted. However, most of my reading was focused on classic science fiction, adventure, and fantasy novels, and I’m lucky enough to have grown up with a family that really encouraged my ravenous reading habits. I read a ton of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robert Louis Stevenson as a kid. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I revisited YA for the first time.

Why’d I come back? Well, here are the five books that made that happen, and inspired me to attempt writing in that genre.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (Ransom Riggs): By day, I work at Quirk Books, an awesome indie publisher in Philadelphia. And in the Fall of 2012, we published Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Now, as the marketing and social media guy, it’s important for me to be familiar with the communities I’m sending books to. So while Ransom’s debut was in the works, I started picking up other YA novels I saw bloggers talking about.
I read. And I read. And I read some more.

Suddenly, I found myself devouring two or more YA novels a week, taking advantage of Kindle deals, picking up novels I spotted on blogs, and catching up on a genre I hadn’t been a part of in years. It also introduced me to some of my now-favorite YA authors (some of whom I’ll list below), including Suzanne Collins, Beth Revis, and Kat Zhang.

Working on the marketing for Ransom’s book, gave me the kick-in-the-pants to start reading the genre again, and immediately made me want to start writing in it. I wanted to tell stories of magic and adventure, much like the books I’d read as a kid and the novels I was now reading as an adult.
I’m thrilled to see Ransom where he is now, and really glad I got to promote those books of his. He inadvertently gave me a big push in the right direction.

 

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SOMETHING STRANGE & DEADLY (Susan Dennard): Ah, this series. I talk about Susan Dennard’s amazing steampunk-zombie-fantasy series whenever I can, to the point that it likely annoys my friends and followers. But oh well. Deal With It Dot Gif. It’s a favorite of mine, and one of the books I picked up when I started doing some more “I wonder if I can write in this genre” research. I immediately devoured her awesome first book, and followed the series right after.

She also has a really great blog, where she dishes out advice and tips to writers. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re writing.

 

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BLACK HOLE SUN (David Macinnis Gill): Ah, this sci-fi series. It’s like a Young Adult version of Firefly on Mars, with pop culture references to World of Warcraft smattered in. Gill’s snarky characters and quick dialogue showed me that you could have that the sarcastic, snippy characters I wanted to write could totally work in an imagined world.

I also think his series is incredible underrated. If you haven’t checked these books out, please do. They are so hilarious and exciting. One of my favorite pieces of YA science fiction.

 

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HERO (Perry Moore): Originally, I was really interested in writing some kind of superhero story, and the choices in YA superhero tales were far and in between. Perry Moore’s amazing novel, Hero, broke my heart and caused plenty of ugly crying, but showed me the real power of what YA fiction could do. Stuff that, probably as a kid, I didn’t recognize right away. It could teach you the importance of being true to yourself, accepting others, etc.

It’s still one of my favorite Young Adult novels, and probably one of my favorite books ever, period.

 

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OF POSEIDON (Anna Banks): Anna’s YA romance series about mermaids was another one of the early YA books that I picked up. It was an eBook deal, and I read through it pretty quickly, and actually learned about a lot of authors thanks to her on Twitter.

She’s great at blending elements of fantasy and romance, something I really wanted to do in my own writing. Seriously check out her series, and keep an eye out for Joyride, her next book due out this year. As of this post, I’m about halfway through it, and it is just fantastic.
Thanks Jamie, for having me! And readers, go ahead and enter the lil’ giveaway below for a chance to win a bundle of the books I just mentioned! One lucky winner will get a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Something Strange and Deadly, Black Hole Sun, Hero, Of Poseidon, and of course, an eBook of INKED. Good luck!

 

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Eric we have a nice giveaway bundle for you! One lucky winner will win a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Something Strange and Deadly, Black Hole Sun, Hero, Of Poseidon, and of course, an eBook of INKED!

*US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

An Ember In The Ashes – excerpt reveal + GIVEAWAY!

 

If you took a look at my MOST anticipated debut novels of 2015 post (you did right??) you will know An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir received a spot on that list. It’s a book I’m SO excited about reading soon especially given my new found love for fantasy….and this one sure does look to be pretty epic!

I’m excited to partner with Penguin to celebrate this series right up until the release date — starting with an exciting excerpt and a giveaway! I’ve read the excerpt and now I’m just not sure I can wait to read it much longer!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told. LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor. When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

 

Check out the excerpt that was revealed exclusively on MTV News HERE!

And now for the giveaway!

Ember giveaway

Penguin is giving FIVE lucky winners the chance to win a signed galley of An Ember in the Ashes plus a t-shirt!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good luck!!

A Very Handmade Holiday– Day #7

holiday-blog-giveaways

 

Hi friends! I know I don’t do a lot of giveaways on this site (not as many as I wish I could do to share the love) but I really wanted to give back to you guys. You give me so much all year round — friendship, encouragement, book recs, laughs, lovely comments and support — so I wanted to do a week of giveaways to show my appreciation. I decided to collab with some of my favorite Etsy shops and artists to give you some unique presents!

Welcome to the VERY LAST GIVEAWAY in my A Very Handmade Holiday series! I had so much fun doing this and I hope you all have discovered some new Etsy shops to bookmark!

 

Today I have Cara from Cara’s Bookish Charms! I’ve worked with her before for a Stephanie Perkins themed bracelet and she is so lovely (plus she is a Stephanie Perkins fans so instafriends!). I LOVE her shop. Seriously I want so many things. People who are fans of the following things are ESPECIALLY going to want to check out her shop: Harry Potter, Outlander, Game of Thrones, The Mortal Instruments, classic literature, Alice in Wonderland, The Princess Pride, John Green and more! Like way more. I could spend hours on her shop.

 

iusb_760x100.14669768_koac*click banner to go to her shop*

 

Here are some of my favorite items from her shop:

 

 

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il_570xN.619725364_ndyt il_570xN.627324040_f3c7 il_570xN.689782315_i52c

THE GIVEAWAY

Cara is offering up, to one lucky winner, a necklace (a mini book cover or quote) of your choice! She also has a special code for 15% off for all my readers to her shop and it’s valid until January 31. Code is PAGETURNER15.

 

 

 

Rules:

- This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– You must be 13 years or older to enter.
– No purchase necessary to enter.
– Giveaway ends January 4th @ 11:59 EST.

Enter

 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Very Handmade Holiday– Day #6 (Two giveaways in one)

holiday-blog-giveaways

 

Hi friends! I know I don’t do a lot of giveaways on this site (not as many as I wish I could do to share the love) but I really wanted to give back to you guys. You give me so much all year round — friendship, encouragement, book recs, laughs, lovely comments and support — so I wanted to do a week of giveaways to show my appreciation. I decided to collab with some of my favorite Etsy shops and artists to give you some unique presents!

 

Today is actually two giveaways in one post!!!

 

First up we have Becca from Pivot Book Reviews! She makes some awesome book-inspired handpainted totes and sells them at her Etsy shop called Pivot Book Totes. The best part is she takes custom orders and I’ve LOVED seeing what people have asked her to make and what she’s come up with from there.

 

 

Here are some of my favorite totes she’s done so far:

 

BuTuSZcIIAAFAcS

 

 Fangirl toteBvCEQxaIAAA1Wj7

 BvXVLszIUAArN9w

BtBVH1nCMAIQNaV
ByE2AT9IcAAmz1M

 

THE GIVEAWAY

Becca is offering up an Ignite Me tote for fans of the Shatter Me series — a series which I SUPER love and it came to an end this year! If you aren’t a Shatter Me series fan, I highly recommend considering contacting her for a custom tote at some point!

 

Ignite Me tote

 

Rules:

- This giveaway is US only.
– You must be 13 years or older to enter.
– No purchase necessary to enter.
– Giveaway ends January 3rd @ 11:59 EST.

Enter

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Giveaway #2

So one of my favorite places to read is my bathtub. My bathtub in my apartment isn’t the best and so I really, really miss the big ol’ tub from my childhood home these days but I STILL love drawing up a nice bath and reading to unwind. Normally with a glass of wine.

In honor of bathtub reading, I’ve teamed up with a new Etsy shop called Sustainable Stead to give you some goodies for your bath! I’m all about homemade soaps and these look lovely!

I’m really eyeing up this Rose infused goat milk soap to use in my own bath!
(ingredients: Organic coconut oil, Goats Milk, Rose essential oil, Rose petals)

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I also REALLY want to soak in my tub with this oatmeal rose soap satchet!

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Giveaway

These lovely ladies are offering up 3 soaps to one lucky winner!

Rules:

- This giveaway is US only.
– You must be 13 years or older to enter.
– No purchase necessary to enter.
– Giveaway ends January 3rd @ 11:59 EST.

Enter

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Very Handmade Holiday– Day #5

holiday-blog-giveaways

 

Hi friends! I know I don’t do a lot of giveaways on this site (not as many as I wish I could do to share the love) but I really wanted to give back to you guys. You give me so much all year round — friendship, encouragement, book recs, laughs, lovely comments and support — so I wanted to do a week of giveaways to show my appreciation. I decided to collab with some of my favorite Etsy shops and artists to give you some unique presents!

 

Today I’m featuring a shop who is brand new to the bookish Etsy scene and I think it is SUPER adorable. She does a necklace and a print set which makes the perfect gift for a bookish friend…or for yourself. Because, TREAT YO SELF.

 

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*banner will take you to her shop*

I can’t wait to see how her shop grows because the designs, jewelry and concept are adorable!!

 

Here are some of my favorite things so far from her shop:

 

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THE GIVEAWAY

 

The lovely lady at BookSphere is offering up your choice of  ONE ITEM from her shop!

 

Rules:

- This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
– You must be 13 years or older to enter.
– No purchase necessary to enter.
– Giveaway ends January 2nd @ 11:59 EST.

Enter



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck book nerds!!

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