Category Archives: Author Q&A

Exclusive Q&A with Noggin author John Corey Whaley: Part 3

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Today, we conclude our three-part interview with Noggin author John Corey Whaley with a round of flash questions! (See part 1 and part 2 here, in case you missed them.)

john corey whaley2Favorite decade?

1980s. In the 1980s you could sit on your mom’s lap while she drove and smoked cigarettes.

Favorite writing snack?

Mike and Ike’s.

Favorite Disney movie?

The Lion King.

The beach or the mountains?

Mountains. I live at the beach, but I’m obsessed with mountains.

Song that can always get you dancing?

Kids by MGMT.

Name five things on your desk (or in your writing space) right now. Send a picture, if possible.

I am literally sitting in a cabin in the mountains with bed head using a pillow as a desk. You get no photo. haha.

 Thanks again for taking the time to do this Q&A, Corey!

 

 

Exclusive Q&A with Noggin author John Corey Whaley: Part 2

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Today, I am pleased to bring you part 2 of our exclusive Q&A with Noggin author John Corey Whaley. If you missed it, here’s part 1!

john corey whaleyYou have an amazing book trailer for NOGGIN. Were you involved in making this trailer? Tell us about it!

I am super lucky to have met and befriended Ben Jenkins a few years back. He and I actually grew up a few miles down the road from one another, but were separated by just enough years of age that we never met until we were adults. Anyway, he filmed the trailer for WHERE THINGS COME BACK in and around our hometown in Louisiana in 2011, and I got to help a lot with that one. With the NOGGIN trailer, Ben had his own vision from start to finish and filmed it in Colorado, where he currently lives. I just got to sit back and laugh and be in awe of the clips he would email my way.

NOGGIN has been optioned for a movie, and a screenplay is being written. Have you been at all involved in this process so-far? What sort of involvement do you hope to have if/when the movie moves forward?

I’m still in shock over this one. I was involved a little in the process of choosing the writer/director–I met with him and we discussed his vision for the film. I knew instantly that he had to make this movie. From here on out, I won’t be too heavily involved (as most authors aren’t), but I hope to be able to visit the set and such if the movie gets green lit. Basically, they’ll have to put out a restraining order to keep me away. ha.

where things come backWHERE THINGS COME BACK was such an amazing book, and it had huge critical acclaim when it was released. Did you feel any sort of pressure when working on NOGGIN? How did you respond?

Did I feel any pressure? HECK YES. But, my editor and agent are so great and they really helped me when I thought I was lost a few times–when I thought WTCB was a fluke and that I was a phony. I think there will always be pressure with every new book, but I hope that I’ve now learned enough about how to use that pressure positively to make it less insane next time.

Can you give us any insight into what you’re working on next?

I’m still in the early stages, but I can tell you that’s it’s about a psychic, her son, a small town, and a movie. That’s all you get.

Tune in on Friday for part 3 of our Q&A!

Exclusive Q&A with Noggin author John Corey Whaley: Part 1

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Today, I am pleased to present the first of our three-part exclusive Q&A with Noggin author John Corey Whaley.

john corey whaley2So tell the truth: did you decapitate a lot of action figures as a child? Okay, I’m kidding. But please tell us about the inspiration for such an outrageous premise!

I always wanted to write something with an absurd premise–a la Vonnegut–and just a few days after chunking the second version of a book I had decided not to publish, this weird idea just sort of popped into my head (pun intended).

I love how, despite the crazy premise, NOGGIN is so deeply rooted in reality. How did you balance the outrageous with the realistic while writing this book?

It definitely took a lot of thought and fine-tuning. I wanted the tone and meaning of the story to be as relatable as any other contemporary realist story, but I always wanted to use the outrageousness of the premise to heighten those things—I think sometimes the most authentic, universally felt moments happen in spite of the absurd events surrounding them.

What (if any) type of research did you do for NOGGIN? (And if you did not do any research, what was your reason for that choice?)

There wasn’t a lot of research involved with writing this particular book. I did some reading about leukemia, so I could describe Travis’ illness/symptoms accurately, but I mostly used my own pop cultural knowledge of cryogenics to deal with those parts of the story. I set the book in Kansas City, MO, where I’ve only been once, so I did some geographical research at one point too.

Tune in on Wednesday for Part 2 of our Q&A!

Coming Soon from Claudia Gray: A Thousand Pieces of You

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Claudia Gray’s books, so it should be no surprised that I was delighted to hear she had not one, but TWO new books coming out in 2014. Today, Claudia took some time to tell us more about her upcoming November release, A Thousand Pieces of You.

ATPOY graphicYou have another book coming out later this year, A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU. There isn’t even an official synopsis out yet*, but to entice readers, give us your 140-character Twitter pitch.

The daughter of two famous scientists chases her father’s killer through alternate dimensions, never knowing what world comes next.

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU sounds very different from your other books. Tell us about what to expect and what about it will appeal to fans of your other books?

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is definitely a change of pace for me — it’s science fiction rather than paranormal, and the characters are older, verging on New Adult territory. (The main character, Marguerite, is 18; Paul is 20, and Theo is 22.) But those are the obvious differences. I think what sets ATPOY apart for me is the big concept and the many ways I can play with it. With her mother’s experimental device, the Firebird, Marguerite can travel to any dimension where she exists, appearing inside her other self. Some of those worlds are very like our own, but some are radically different. A world where ocean levels have already risen so high that more people live at sea than on land — a world where technology has advanced slightly farther than ours and we communicate via holograms — or even a world where the 21st century looks a whole lot more like the 19th, in a Russia where the czars never fell from power: She sees them all. Some of these worlds are fantastical, others frightening.

Naturally this is a lot of fun for me as a writer (and hopefully for you as a reader), because there’s almost no limit to what can happen. But what makes this most engaging for me is the way this journey challenges Marguerite. She has to confront not only different worlds with different rules — but other versions of herself. We always wonder how our lives would be different if this or that changed; Marguerite actually gets to see it, and she doesn’t necessarily like everything she sees! As she continues on the journey, she also encounters other versions of her family, her friends, the guy on the journey with her and even the one she’s hunting down. Seeing all the different potentials in their lives – the other people they might be — is one of the things that makes Marguerite realize the story of what happened to her father is more complicated than she realized.

How is it the same as my earlier books? Although Marguerite’s main concern is this quest for vengeance, there’s romance in this too. In fact, the romantic scenes in ATPOY are among my favorites I’ve ever written. Hopefully I can also supply a plot twist or two.

And just so you guys know: A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is the first book in the Firebird trilogy. So two more books to come — and countless more worlds for Marguerite.

Tell us a bit about your inspiration for A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU.

The idea for A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU came to me while I was touring in 2012. I had back-to-back tours in the US and then in Australia, not even going home for a day in between. This tour was very wide-ranging, too: We were in the mountains one day, sunny Miami the next, then the Pacific Northwest, so on and so forth. It seemed like I was in a new world every single morning, and the only two constants on the journey were the two authors with me, Lauren Oliver and Dan Wells. Also, when I’m touring, I do a TON of reading; the book on my Nook then was NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA, about the last Romanovs.

Then I went to Australia — so far removed, so different (and so awesome) — and began touring again, city to city, new climates and new sights every day. Once again, I had only one constant, the publicist who made the journeys with me. That’s when it really began to gel. New worlds all the time. Always adapting. People are the only ones that stay with you when everything else falls apart.

Add one dimension-hopping device, stir, and you have yourself a story. :D

Thanks for sharing a bit about your new book, Claudia! We can’t wait. A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU will be in stores November 4th.

*Actually the official synopsis IS now available, though at the time I sent these questions to Claudia it was not. HERE is the official synopsis:

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure

Exclusive Q&A with Steadfast Author Claudia Gray – Part 3

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Today we conclude our three-part exclusive interview with Steadfast author Claudia Gray with a round of flash questions!

Claudia GrayFavorite decade?

Are you talking about in my life or generally? Historically, I’m very interested in 1910-1920. Personally … you know, I hope my favorite decade hasn’t happened yet.

Must-have writing snack?

Bananas. I am the anti-Lauren Oliver in this regard.

Favorite Disney movie?

Tangled!

The beach or the mountains?

The mountains. When I’m on vacation I want peace and serenity, and I feel like beaches are supposed to be peaceful but mostly are pretty loud and crazy. But in the mountains, you can really relax. Plus I love beautiful scenery!

Song that can always get you dancing?

“Single Ladies” by Beyonce. Is there anyone who doesn’t have to dance the minute they hear that song?

Name 5 things currently on your desk (or in your writing space)

One – some ARCs that are contest prizes, which I’m mailing out tomorrow.

Two – my mother’s chihuahua, ChaCha, whom I am dog-sitting this month.

Three: a lamp shaped like a pug, which I swear to you is more attractive than it sounds.

Four: My collection of the little presents readers have brought me on tours – a koala pen and various drawings and a wee mini-Bianca. :)

Five – a piece of art I bought a couple of years ago and just adore. it’s a piece in cloth, showing a little green man being embraced by a guy in a spacesuit, and it asks the important question, Why Don’t We Abduct The Aliens First?

Thanks again for stopping by, Claudia!

Exclusive Q&A with Steadfast Author Claudia Gray – Part 2

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Today we bring you part 2 of our three-part exclusive interview with Steadfast author Claudia Gray.

SteadfastWe know Nadia loves chocolate. What sort of magical powers do you think chocolate might possess?

Chocolate seems to have the power to provide both comfort and energy. Very few things offer that combination, really, and you so often need both! That’s as good as magic, if you ask me.

Claudia GrayLet’s play fandom crossover for a moment. If Nadia were accepted as a student at Hogwarts, what house do you think she would be sorted into and why?

Nadia would definitely be a Ravenclaw. She works hard for her knowledge, trusts the rule books, and can get too hung up in the details. Mateo’s the Gryffindor of the group — both in terms of courage and sometimes going off half-cocked. For Hufflepuff we have Verlaine, who has zero magical powers but somehow manages to keep up with all the rest. And can there be any doubt that Asa’s a Slytherin?

You have another book coming out later this year, A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU. There isn’t even an official synopsis out yet, but to entice readers, give us your 140-character Twitter pitch.

The daughter of two famous scientists chases her father’s killer through alternate dimensions, never knowing what world comes next.

We’ll talk to Claudia more about A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU later this month. Meanwhile, check out part 3 of our Q&A on Friday!

Exclusive Q&A with Steadfast Author Claudia Gray – Part 1

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Today, I am delighted to bring you part 1 of our three-part exclusive interview with Steadfast author Claudia Gray. Claudia is super busy these days, promoting her new book, writing & revising new books, and more — so we’re very happy to have her take the time to chat with us. Thanks for stopping by, Claudia!

SteadfastIn the SPELLCASTER books, Nadia and the other witches use emotions and memories as “ingredients” to cast their spells. What powers do you think emotions and memories give us?

Memories — and the emotions inseparable from them — provide so much of our sense of who we are, and our understanding of what’s going to happen next. In the SPELLCASTER trilogy, by drawing on all these memories, a witch is always saying, This moment was important; this experience mattered. She constantly has to discover what these events in her past really mean to her.

The rest of us don’t get to work literal magic with our memories, but I think we use them to shape our relationships and our realities. Sometimes this works against us — thinking the new guy is cheating just because the old one did, or reminding ourselves constantly of our failures rather than our successes. But we also get so much of our strength from remembering difficulties we’ve overcome, or all the people who have loved us. For me, anyway, it makes sense that, in the world of the paranormal, memories might possess even greater power.

Claudia GrayWhat emotion do you think is the most powerful?

In the immediate moment, I often think our worst emotions win out. Not hate — hate takes time — but fear and pride can seize us in a split second. But in the long run, over time, I think both love and gratitude have the power to change us tremendously, for the better. (Gratitude gets less attention, but I think it’s equally important.)

If you could conjure any one spell, what would it be and what “ingredients” would it require?

If I could conjure any one spell:

A Spell For Sleep

Ingredients:

  • a quiet room
  • a peaceful landscape
  • being held with love

OK, sleep might not seem like the flashiest thing to create via magic … but when you’ve had chronic insomnia as long as I have, you see how awesome this spell would be.

Tune in Wednesday for Part 2 of our Q&A!

Exclusive Q&A with The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare author M.G. Buehrlen

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Today, I’m pleased to present an exclusive Q&A with author M.G. Buehrlen as part of the official blog tour for her new book, The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare, which is in stores now. Learn more about the book and the author below, but first check out our interview:

57 lives of alex wayfareThough set in the present day, 57 LIVES obviously deals a lot with the past. What sort of research did you explore for the historical aspect of this book?

Tons! And then tons more! Actually, a lot of the historical scenes in the book were time periods I had already studied and researched, some in college, some on my own. I chose them in particular because I knew the most about them at the time, and I knew I could really dig in and make those time periods come to life. Now I’m doing even more research to nail the historical periods Alex will be traveling to in Book 2. But that’s OK because I’m a total historyphile. I can’t get enough of it!

How did you choose which parts of history to include in Alex’s past lives?

Not only did I choose points in history I had previously researched, but I chose locations I’ve actually visited. I lived in Chicago for a while, and many of the places mentioned in the book are places I’ve been or worked or lived. I walked those streets myself. Same with rural Missouri and Cincinnati, Ohio. I wanted the reader to really feel like they were there, so I infused my own memories of those places into the narrative to make it feel more real. There’s only so much detail you can include when you’ve never visited a location yourself. You can’t include the smells or the sounds or the exact color of the sunlight (which is different all across the globe) unless you’ve been there and experienced it for yourself.

mg buehrlenAside from writing, you also run the AMAZING website YA Books Central (one of my favorites!) — how do you think being so immersed in the YA lit world helped your writing of 57 LIVES? What (if any) challenges do you think it added to the writing process?

Running a review site like YABC definitely helps me zero in on what kinds of books are selling, as well as which of those books are getting good reader feedback. I can see what readers are railing on over and over again and then avoid those pitfalls in my own writing. It’s extremely helpful! On the other hand, being so immersed in the book world is kind of daunting and can put a damper on creativity. I’m surrounded by authors and books all day, every day. So it starts to seem like everyone’s published a book and getting published isn’t that big of a deal. It isn’t until I talk to someone outside the book world that I realize, hey, getting a book published IS a big deal! I should be super proud of this moment! :)

What is next for Alex?

She’s busy adventuring in my draft of Book 2, which isn’t quite finished yet. I’ve got to get a move on it because the book hits shelves Spring 2015. Meep! She’s headed to many more time periods, and she’s about to get smacked with a few more twists she didn’t see coming. The agony!

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite decade?

This one. Because that’s when all my dreams came true. *awwwww*

Must-have writing snack?

COFFEEEEEE

Favorite Disney movie?

I love so many! But I’d have to say “Robin Hood.”

The beach or the mountains?

Lake Michigan beach, please.

Song that can always get you dancing?

This:

Name 5 things currently on your desk (or in your writing space), and share a photo, if possible

Here’s my YABC desk right naow!

MGB desk(I have the same glass desktop from IKEA!)

Thanks, MG! And here’s more about her book:

One girl. Fifty-seven lives. Endless ways to die.

For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

About the Author:

When she’s not writing, M.G. moonlights as a web designer and social media/creative director.

She’s the current web ninja lurking behind the hugely popular website YABooksCentral.com,

a social network for YA (and kids!) book lovers. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is her debut novel. M.G. lives nestled away in Michigan pines, surrounded by good coffee and good books, with her husband and son and three furbabies. Say hello on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Connect Online:

Order The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare from these links:

Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Amazon | Indiebound | The Book Depository | Waterstones

#StoryCrushTour Q&A with The Beginning of Everything author Robyn Schneider

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Today, I am so thrilled to be hosting a Q&A with The Beginning of Everything author Robyn Schneider as part of the #StoryCrushTour! The Story Crush Tour will bring some of your favorite YA authors to five different cities, starting next month. But before that happens, we are thrilled to be hosting one of the official blog tour stops – featuring, of course, Robyn!

SC_W14_BloggerGraphic_Final_BeginningOfEverythingLet’s start with the obvious question: how old were you when you were first traumatized by a visit to one of the Disney theme parks?

You weren’t? Okay, how about this. In the beginning of your book, one of the characters has a VERY traumatic experience on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland. While I expect you’ve never experienced something like that … what is your worst experience at a theme park?

Actually, I was pretty traumatized at Disneyland California Adventure a couple of years ago. I almost choked on Tower of Terror when my necklace charm flew up into my (wide open and screaming) mouth on the drop.

You first learned about this interview via Tumblr (our Tumblr, in fact) and you commented that you would begin preparing excellent GIFs for all your responses. So here goes. Hit me with your best GIF. Let’s have it.

I think this one’s pretty great:

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But if you’re more for the cute animal variety, may I recommend:

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Let’s talk a bit about the characters in THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING. How did each character come into being? Which one was first, and how did the others follow?

Ezra popped into my head fully formed, this broken, self-sorry boy cast adrift after experiencing his personal tragedy. I wrote the first two chapters in one sitting. Cassidy was harder. I only ever got to know her through Ezra’s point of view, and he’s not exactly the most reliable narrator. I’m still figuring her out, even now, but I think that’s what she would have wanted. Toby, though, was always Toby. He just appeared in the first chapter as if by magic (or, possibly, literary time travel).

robyn schneiderSince your book is told from the perspective of a teenage boy, can you tell us a bit about getting into that voice?

The truth is, I wrote a book that was so emotionally autobiographical that I had to force myself to fictionalize it somehow. For me, writing from the male perspective isn’t any more difficult than writing from the female perspective. We’re all just stories in the end, and stories don’t have genders.

I’m not sure if this subject is taboo (I mean, we ARE doing this Q&A at the behest of your publisher) … but can we talk about the title? I mean, THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is fine … but when I first read this book, I had one of the old ARCs with your original title: SEVERED HEADS, BROKEN HEARTS. And I feel as if this was a much more original, witty title. But I can see why behind-the-scenes publishing folks may have been concerned. What are your thoughts on the change-up?

I really loved the idea of calling the book Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, which is still the title throughout Europe, but it’s the punch line to a joke you only hear after reading the novel. Before, it’s just confusing. Before, it might be about zombies. So it had to go. I’m a sucker for F Scott Fitzgerald, so I love that the new title comes from his most misremembered line. It’s honestly perfect.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite cake flavor?

I consider cake to be a vehicle for frosting, so the cake doesn’t matter, so long as there’s chocolate frosting.

Favorite Doctor?

John H. Watson. Although I suspect you were talking about Doctor Who, in which case, David Tenant.

Go-to karaoke song?

I don’t karaoke. Ever. I’m terrified of singing in public.

Must-have writing snack?

Coffee. Although, in my life, coffee isn’t so much a snack as a major food group.

Song that always puts you in a good mood?

“Do You Remember” by Ane Brun.

Favorite social media medium? (You can only pick ONE!)

Twitter, definitely.

Thanks, Robyn! And check out the entire #StoryCrushTour:

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Exclusive Q&A with Enders author Lissa Price

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Today, I’m really excited to share our brand-new, exclusive Q&A with author Lissa Price, whose new book Enders is now in stores! I had the fortune of meeting Lissa a couple years ago, when I was her author coordinator for Portland’s Wordstock Festival. Lissa is just a fab lady, and a pretty fantastic author, too. Today, we talk about the conclusion to her two-book dystopian series and what’s next for her!

enders finalIt feels like I’ve been waiting forever to read ENDERS … what’s it been like writing your sequel?

This was the first sequel I’d ever written. I knew the readers would want the kind of twists and surprises that Starters offered, and early response is that it delivers. It begins soon after Starters ends, and we are right back with Callie, seeing the world through her eyes. She may have prevailed by the end of the first book, but the Old Man can still access her chip and control her, as well as the others – no one is safe. She meets a new guy who claims he’s the only one who can help her defeat the Old Man. But can she trust him?

lissa priceStarters hit the market at the peak of the dystopian trend in YA, but made its mark by standing out. What do you think sets this series apart from other dystopian series?

Readers say that they love feeling like they’re right inside Callie’s skin. I wrote this as a thriller, so I kept the pacing tight because I wanted readers to be on the edge of their seats, unable to put it down. I wanted to present a concept that felt fresh to set the reader’s imagination on fire. And I wanted to hold their interest by avoiding the predictable, instead layering in turns and a big surprise twist.

As you’ve been out and about the last year or so, promoting Starters, what has been the best feedback or reaction you’ve gotten from readers so-far?

I’ve had so many wonderful experiences – from having girls line up an hour ahead to meet me in Istanbul, to a crowd of teens at the Turin Book Festival demanding a signing when none was planned. But the single best feedback has to come from a fan in Brazil who emailed me she was unsuccessful getting her younger brother to read. She had tried Potter, Hunger Games, nothing worked until he spotted Starters in her room. He read it in a few days and then wanted more. Her whole family wrote to thank me for turning him into a reader. Someday, I’ll get to meet him.

Give us your 140-character “Twitter” pitch for Enders - why should readers check it out?

Callie discovers Starters being used as human bombs. She teams up w/ a mysterious guy and uncovers the shocking truth behind the Old Man.

(exactly 140!)

So any word on what you’re working on next? What can we look forward to?

I’m working on a new project that will also be a YA futuristic thriller, but of course involving a different kind of world. I am very excited about this, I wish I could tell you all about it. But for now it remains a secret.

About the Author:

LISSA PRICE is the award-winning, international bestselling author of the YA futuristic thriller series, Starters and ENDERS, from Random House. Starters was deemed “science fiction at its best” by the Los Angeles Times and Dean Koontz called it “a smart, inventive, altogether gripping story.”  It made numerous Top Ten lists in the US and abroad, was a Scholastic Book Club pick, and won awards in Germany and the Netherlands for Best YA Thriller.

Lissa has appeared on numerous panels including the LA Times Festival of Books and Comic-Con, and taught workshops at SCBWI and the La Jolla Writer’s Conference where she’ll be a keynote speaker in 2014. In 2013, she toured Europe for her foreign publishers.