Q&A With David Arnold, Author of Mosquitoland & Kids of Appetite

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I’m so, so delighted to have David Arnold on the blog again (you can check out our first chat here). I loved his debut novel Mosquitoland and recently devoured (in the midst of a major reading rut) his latest Kids of Appetite which I cannot wait to write about in more detail. It was FANTASTIC truly. I fell in love with this group of characters and totally was engaged by the structure of the novel and how things unfolded.

So, grab a cuppa something and get to know David Arnold a bit more as we talk about his book Kids of Appetite, music and more!

 

 

1. If books used pick-up lines when readers stood by the shelves trying to choose which book to pick up, what would Kids of Appetite’s pick-up line be?

I imagine KOA trying to woo readers with a song, something like Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On.

 
2. I always love knowing the spark (a character’s voice, seeing something in the news, a line of dialogue) that led to the writing of a book. What was the spark of inspiration that produced Kids of Appetite?

I’d recently finished rereading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, and I adore the band Arcade Fire, and I realized that the feeling I got while reading that book was similar to the feeling I got when listening to that band. If you’ve never heard Arcade Fire perform, it feels like at any minute they might hurl their instruments into the audience then run down the street for an ice cream cone, and The Outsiders captures this same sort of youthful recklessness. I wanted to try and write a book from that place.

 

3. One of my favorite things ever in books/tv shows/movies are ragtag groups of misfits who maybe wouldn’t otherwise become friends and I fell in LOVE with the group of individuals that made up the Kids of Appetite. Tell me one or two of your favorite bands of misfits from another novel/show/movie.

 
Well, The Outsiders is one of those, obviously. Off the top of my head, two others would be Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

 
4. I loved the idea behind the Super Racehorse that comes out throughout the novel. What does the idea of “Super Racehorse” mean to you and 1) tell us someone in your life who you think is a Super Racehorse and 2) someone maybe in the public eye whom you don’t know but exudes the qualities of a Super Racehorse.

 
Well, you can be a Super Racehorse on a micro level (say you fix the garbage disposal, or you ace a test), but you can also be one on a macro level, which is a lot harder to define. I dedicated KOA to both of my grandfathers, who passed in the last few years, and I think for me, they’re the ultimate Super Racehorses. As far as someone in the public eye who I don’t know, but who exudes the qualities of a Super Racehorse, I’m going with Mindy Kaling.

 
5. I’ve loved watching your career blossom from when you were awaiting your debut novel, Mosquitoland, being published and now as Kids of Appetite is on the verge of being out in the world. What is the biggest lesson you think you’ve learned along the way?

 
Enjoy the process. Enjoy the people. Do your work, and don’t get hung up on what other people are doing or getting. Just be you—in person, and on the page.

 
6. I always love imagining who characters I love would be friends with from different books! Tell me another character from any book that you think Vic and Mad (individually) would be friends with and why.

 
This is a shipping question, isn’t it? It’s a shipping question in disguise. I’m old, Jamie. I barely understand the concept, but I will try: I think maybe Vic would like to be friends with Theo Decker (as a kid) from The Goldfinch. They could talk art and family, and I think they have similar philosophies on a few things. And I think Mad would be friends with Cassie O’Malley from Kerry Kletter’s The First Time She Drowned.

 
7. One of the things I loved about Mad was her unadulterated passion for The Outsiders and her Hinton Vortex theory — what’s that one book for you?

 
When I was in middle school, I just read Jurassic Park over and over again until the cover literally fell off. Other books I reread are J.D. Salinger’s Glass family novellas, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings.

 
8. I always love the little tidbits of music (especially the Elliott Smith) in your books and I loved that both Vic and Mad had favorite songs that were really did mean a lot to them. SO, what is your all time favorite song AND a current favorite song that you’ve been playing on repeat a lot lately?

 
If I had to pick one all time favorite song, I guess it would have to be Jeff Buckley’s rendition of Hallelujah (written by Leonard Cohen). Or Debussy’s Clair de lune. Or maybe Elliott Smith’s Speed Trials. (Sorry! I gave you three.) As far as what I’m listening to now, it’s been a lot of The Antler’s Familiars and Daughter’s Not to Disappear. Oh, and I recently got Sufjan Steven’s 10th Anniversary Blue Marvel Edition of Illinois on vinyl, so I’ve been rediscovering that too.

 

 

ABOUT KIDS OF APPETITE

Kids of Appetite

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

5 Questions With Leila Sales Plus She Interviews Me (GIVEAWAY TOO!)

If you followed my blog last year you know that Leila Sales’ This Song Will Save Your Life was one of my FAVORITE reads of last year. So obviously her new release, Tonight The Streets Are Ours, is one of my MOST anticipated books of 2015. If you want to check out what it’s about, hop down to the bottom of the post! So obviously I’m super excited to have Leila on my blog today because I adore her AND we have a fun interview post today — I ask Leila 5 questions and SHE turns the tables on ME and asks me 5 questions. And man, she asked some doozies! I have so much more respect for authors having to answer interview questions after getting the tables turned on me!!!

So, I’ll go ahead and hit Leila with some of my most burning questions!

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1. If you wrote a blog outside of writer-y things what would it be about and what would you name it? If Teen Leila was living in 2015 and wrote a blog, what would it be about and what would you have named it?

For many years I wrote a blog called The Leila Texts: http://theleilatexts.blogspot.com. I would still be doing it if I were still getting text messages from random strangers every day! When I was in college I wrote a blog that was about my thoughts and relationships—really just a journal, except anyone with the URL could read it. I wanted so badly to be understood (a desire that I think a lot of teens and adults share), and I felt like if people read my blog, then they would understand me.

If I were a teenager today, though, I bet I would start a book blog. You guys have such a cool community. I would have definitely wanted to be part of it. Plus I’ve always wanted excuses to tell people what I think about books I’m reading.

2. Tell me about one of your best spontaneous, crazy nights that you’ve ever had!

New Years Eve this year was pretty great. My friend Emily and I went to a friend’s loft party until 4am, got breakfast at the 24-hour diner, drove to Spa Castle (it’s this giant warehouse of saunas and pools in Queens), got there right as it opened at 6am, and hung out in the spa until mid-afternoon.
Oh, and then there’s Halloween a couple years ago. Emily and I dressed up as two-thirds of the British band the Pipettes (we didn’t have a third friend who wanted in on this group costume), and we went to an house party with a killer sound system, and then a warehouse party overlooking the East River and we hung out on the roof and took a bunch of photos with a dude who was dressed as a lobster (I don’t know), and then went to my favorite indiepop dance party.

I could keep going, but suffice it to say that most of my best spontaneous and crazy nights include Emily.

[Keep Reading]

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 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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* Ends 3/10

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!

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-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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Fierce Reads INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY

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

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

 

Fierce reads tourAnn, myself, Marie and Caragh

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jaime-350x262Photo credit: Caragh O’Brien

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

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

Ann: I would say money and common sense.

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

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

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

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

Bite & Sting gamePhoto credit: @fiercereads

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

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

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

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

 

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

Downers Grove, IL: YA Bibliophile | @HMZ1505

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

Cambridge, MA: Ticket to Anywhere | @Irisheyz77

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

Charleston, SC: Reading Underground | @andriaamaral

 

GIVEAWAY

fierce-reads-titles

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

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

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

Fierce reads tour stops

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

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

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

My question to Marie was this:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Young Elites inspirationPhoto credit here

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Rule Kinds of Things:

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

About The Book:

The Young Elites Marie Lu

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About The Author:

Marie Lu

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

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

A Quickie Q&A With Jandy Nelson + Giveaway

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

I'll give you the sun quote

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

 

Jandy Nelson tweet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Jandy Nelson:

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

And now for the giveaway!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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

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

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

1. Describe Brazen in 6 words or less.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

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

Brazen by Katherine Longshore9780147513687_large_Courted

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

US Only.
Ends 7/17 11:59pm

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author

Katherine_Longshore_1589_CL_57_W

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

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

 

 

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

Midsummer Romance Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, July 8 – Good Books & Good Wine

Thursday, July 10Perpetual Page Turner

Tuesday, July 15Alice Marvels

Thursday, July 17 I am a Reader

Tuesday, July 22 Novel Sounds

Thursday, July 24 Starry-Eyed Revue

Tuesday, July 29 The Midnight Garden

Thursday, July 31 Novel Thoughts

That Time I Got To Interview John Green About TFIOS Movie & Made A Fool Out Of Myself

 

TFIOS-banner

OKAY, so if you follow me on the Twitter (you should because then we can talk ALWAYS) you know I got the opportunity to be a part of a phone interview with about 8-10 other bloggers from around the interwebs and JOHN GREEN about The Fault In Our Stars movie. I love his books, FINALLY just read The Fault In Our Stars, enjoy his videos and I thought he was super nice the time I got to meet him 2 years ago! SO I WAS A WEE BIT EXCITED. It was an opportunity I was grateful for and definitely is one of the coolest things I’ve been asked to do and I’m super excited for The Fault In Our Stars movie (out June 6 from Twentieth Century Fox!) so I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say regarding the movie and of the buzz. Seriously, who else is ready to bawl their eyes out??

But you know me, readers, and you know somehow I have a knack for THINGS to happen that make an ordinary story into a Jamie Story. I don’t know how these things happen to me (my family members and friends had messages of “omg only YOU” when I told them) but they do. So I’m going to share the interview highlights with you and then leave my story at the end! THE SUSPENSE. (I’m trusting you not to scroll down, friends!)

I wish I could just show you guys the WHOLE interview because there was so much GOOD said but it would be very long. I loved the questions and his answers were so thoughtful and genuine. It was a great conversation and made me very optimistic about the movie. I’m going to share the parts of the conversation that were most interesting to ME and I hope you’ll find them to be interesting as well!

JOhn Green

1. We shall start with my question first because why not!

My question: I know you were nervous to ever give up rights for TFIOS to be a movie because it was so personal to you…what was your biggest fear in doing so?

John Green: “Well, I think it’s really hard to make a movie that’s serious or about serious topics without sentimentalizing it. And so, I guess my fear was that it would become a sentimental story, which is what I most didn’t want. I was trying really hard to write as unsentimental and straightforward a story as I could. I was also worried that the characters would be defined by heir disability, instead of having disability be part of their lives but not the defining feature of their lives. But, the people who ended up getting the rights at Fox 2000 and the producers, Wyck Godfrey and Isaac Klausner, they just promised me that they wouldn’t do that. That was the first thing they said to me when we met, and I believed them. I took it seriously, and they kept every promise. They really did.”

 

egg throwing scene TFIOS

—> I loved what he had to say about this because I am always afraid, especially in the case of TFIOS, that when a book goes to movie that they will miss the spirit of the story. And TFIOS was most definitely not a sentimental story and it was NOT about them having cancer. I HAVE HOPE THEY WILL GET IT RIGHT.

 

2. John on some “behind the scenes” aspects of making the movie:

 

    • On if important dialogue in the book made it to the movie: “Almost every line of dialogue is from the book.  If anything, I was like, “Guys, don’t feel so married to the book.”  But, they were.  They were also very conscious of what lines were important to readers, thanks to the gifts of Tumblr and Twitter and everything else.  They saw what people were responding to, making art about, and it was important to them to keep it in….There were a lot of lines I wanted to preserve if we could make them sound movie-ish and, you know, normal.  But I think they did an amazing job.  I think everything that fans want to hear they’re going to hear.”

thoughts are like stars quote

  • On his role in casting and if he SAW the characters before casting: “I’m really bad at looking at faces and understanding faces, I think.  So, I don’t really see faces that clearly when I’m writing. Almost immediately, even when she was auditioning, Shailene became Hazel for me.  Hazel just looked like Shailene and talked like Shailene talks as Hazel.  In terms of casting, I had a voice.  You know, I’m not a casting director.  I didn’t direct the movie, so it wasn’t my decision, certainly. But, I definitely got to share my opinion, and I was lucky that, in the end, the cast that I dreamt of is the cast that we got.  I think Gus was the hardest role to cast for.  When Ansel was with Shailene, he just became Augustus to me. “Gus and Hazel TFIOS
  • On how often he was there during filming & his role: “I was there for almost every day.  I would say at least 80% of the time.  I usually went home on Thursday night so that I could spend a few days with my family.  But, yeah, I was there most of the time. I didn’t have a role.  But, I think it’s nice to have somebody on a movie set who’s not doing anything, because everyone else is so busy and they’re working so hard and they’re talking about, “Did we get this coverage or that coverage,” and, “Did we get it this way?  Did we get it that way?  Did the light change?”  And I could just be like, “Hey, everybody, hold on for a second.  This is awesome.  Let’s take a step back and realize how ridiculously awesome this is….I was professionally excited on the set.”

3. John on GreenLit & all the other buzz around him vs. other YA lit because of TFIOS movie

 

 I was really happy another interviewer brought up the recent GREENLIT and some of the ridiculous things that have been printed about YA and John Green as the buzz around The Fault In Our Stars movie has begun. It’s been a topic discussed all over Twitter and blogs and so I was very interested to hear what he had to say about it. 

  • On the Hollywood Reporter article saying he has done things Judy Blume never has: “Right, which is ridiculous. Blume has achieved a lot that I haven’t.”   <—  I loved this succinct response.
  • On the misconceptions that John is ushering in contemporary YA: “I can only–every time I’m asked that question, like “Oh, this is such a departure from dystopias or vampires,” I’m like, “Not really,” because really the world of contemporary realistic young adult fiction is very old and very well established.  And I am but one writer and not the best, not even near the best, I don’t think, in the world. And also that I think part of what makes YA so strong is that there’s a longstanding conversation between and within genres.  You have sci-fi books and fantasy books interacting with and responding to realistic fiction and mysteries, and one of the things I really love about YA is all that stuff sharing a shelf. I try really hard to talk about that in interviews, to talk about the way that it looks very different to us from inside the world of YA, that it isn’t about one book or one story, and that there’s hundreds and hundreds of books every year that are read by at least 10,000 teenagers.  And that, to me, is the real story about YA, is its diversity and breadth, and finding way to preserve and grow that diversity rather than celebrating single titles.  But, right now there’s going to be a lot of attention on my work in association with the movie.  And I’m trying to answer the questions as best I can, but there is a story that people want to tell.  And they’re going to tell that story, a lot of times regardless of what I say.”

 4. John on how the movie has made him look at his own book differently

 

“When I was writing the book, I saw the world through Hazel’s eyes.  I didn’t imagine the world through Gus’s eyes or the world through Hazel’s parents’ eyes as much.  I mean, I guess I connected a lot to Hazel’s dad, so maybe there was some empathy there.  But, I was trying to stay narrowly in Hazel’s mind and seeing the world as Hazel would see it. And so, seeing the movie, I thought very differently about Augustus and about Hazel’s parents, and even about Van Houten.  Each of those actors brings to their performance a realness, a sense that they are the center of their own story, just as anyone is. It helped me to think differently and I guess more broadly about Gus, the challenges that he’s been through before the story begins, how that’s given him confidence but how also that confidence is real and it’s earned because he has integrated this disability into his life.  But, it’s also a way of protecting himself.  It’s also a way of protecting himself against the things that are harder for him now, or the way that his life has been changed, physically and emotionally by his disability.”

 

A Fault In Our Stars

5. John on the final outcome of the movie:

  • “They (the producers) were absolutely 100 percent committed to making a movie that would honor the story and that fans of the story would care about and respond to.  And I believed them…And I think they did a really good job, and I think that’s why, for me, at least, it’s such a special movie, because it’s so hard to do that well.  It’s so hard to take a tone that’s in a novel and put it into a movie.  It’s such a different format.  They were just so committed to doing that that I think it worked.  I think that was their priority, and it really–at least for me, it really did work….I genuinely love the movie.  I feel so grateful to the people who made it, because it’s one of the most faithful adaptations I’ve ever seen.”
  • I wish I could tell you about all the things that I’m unhappy about (re: the movie), but I’m really not. Well, except for the sort of mainstream media coverage that The Fault in Our Stars is the only young adult novel ever published.”  <— LOLS. I’ll tell you. He had me laughing a lot during the whole interview.

A Fault In Our Stars

It was a seriously lovely and stimulating conversation to be honest with you. He made me laugh as much as he made me think (kind of like his books?) and I really appreciated the opportunity to be on this call and really appreciated how candid and friendly John was. Very down-to-earth guy! I’m even MORE pumped for the movie!

So before I leave you with my VERY memorable story that goes along with this call….go watch the trailer and cry a little bit. And then laugh at my story. 😛

Official websites – #TFIOS

Visit the official website
Like TFIOS on Facebook
Follow @TheFaultMovie on Twitter
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About the film

Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them — and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, based upon the number-one bestselling novel by John Green, explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Mike Birbiglia, and Emily Peachey
Directed by Josh Boone
Screenplay by Scott Neustadter, based on the book by John Green
Produced by Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey

 

Story time:

So we all get to ask a question to John and we have been told we were muted on the call when we were not speaking. So I’m sitting in my car (super professional right?) because we have crap service in our apartment and I ask my question first and then I settle in and listen to all of the questions and his really thoughtful answers. Well, Will comes out to head to the gym so I jump out of my car, thinking I AM ON MUTE, and I run over to him and I shove the phone to his ear and I’m like, “OMG OMG LISTEN JOHN GREEN.” And then I say something else and then, “Don’t worry…I’m on mute.” And THEN, to my shock and horror, John Green STOPS what he is saying, laughs and says, “HAHA you aren’t on mute.” I was then promptly put on mute. I look at Will with only the most wide eyed look one could have and slink back to the car while giggling/cursing my luck.

National-Book-Fest-John-Green

ONLY ME, FRIENDS. But I will remember it for sure! And hey, maybe if I say, “HEY JOHN I was that girl who thought I was muted” the next time I see him…maybe he will remember me haha.

 

Any thoughts on things brought up in the interview? Are you excited for the movie? What are you anticipating seeing on the big screen??

 

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