Category Archives: Author Q&A

Exclusive Q&A with Unmarked author Kami Garcia: Part 1

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Today, we kick off part 1 of our three-part exclusive Q&A with Unmarked author Kami Garcia. We know Kami is SUPER busy these days, so we really appreciate her taking the time to chat with us. Tune in for part 2 on Wednesday and part 3 on Friday!

kami garciaI know you’re a very superstitious person. Did any of your own superstitions influence parts of UNMARKED?

My superstitions influence everything I write, and they definitely found their way into Unbreakable and Unmarked. I have lots of superstitions about the evil eye and the power of a person’s eyes in general. Without giving anything away, I played with those superstitions in UNMARKED. Alara, a member of the Legion, is also incredibly superstitious, so her superstitions play into the story as well.

unmarkedUNBREAKABLE was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. What does that sort of recognition mean to you?

The Bram Stoker Award is the highest honor for horror and dark fantasy writing. As a girl who grew up reading Stephen King and Ray Bradbury, I was floored when UNBREAKABLE was put up for consideration in the Young Adult category. I never imagined the book would make it through another round of voting to become a nominee. Even though we weren’t nominated in the same category, it was a huge thrill to see my name on the same ballot with Stephen King’s. I’m also excited to be a guest of honor at the World Horror Convention in 2015 alongside Charlaine Harris.

One of the interesting questions that comes up in UNMARKED is family. How does your family influence your writing?

My mom’s family is from a small town in the South, which had a huge influence on my part in writing the Beautiful Creatures Novels. Both Margie and I borrowed stories and characters from our own families. The Sisters were based on my three great-great-great-aunts, and my mom actually rescued and raised baby squirrels. My family also influenced the Legion Series. I grew up in Maryland, outside of Washington, DC, and I attended middle school not far from Georgetown, where Kennedy lives with her mom in UNBREAKABLE. Though I love bringing my family into my stories, the one thing I’ll never do is name a character after someone in my family if I know that I’m going to kill them eventually (the character, not my family member).

Exclusive Q&A with Chasing Power author Sarah Beth Durst

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Today, I am so excited to share an exclusive interview with on of my all-time favorite authors — Sarah Beth Durst. Here latest YA novel, Chasing Power, is in stores TODAY and it’s pretty amazing. Like an Indiana Jones-style adventure, featuring teens with incredible supernatural powers. (See our review HERE!)

Thanks, Sarah, for stopping by today!

chasing powerEach of your books has such a unique premise, and they are all so different. You usually have a wonderful origin story for how each idea was born. What sparked the idea for CHASING POWER?

Thanks! And I love the word “sparked,” because that’s exactly how I think of ideas, as sparks that blaze together to make a full story. You don’t have to have a lightning-strike moment to write a novel. It can be a tiny spark first, before it burns bright.

When I was in elementary school, I found a book in the Scholastic Book Fair (a.k.a. the best day of the year) called THE GIRL WITH SILVER EYES by Willo Davis Roberts. Ever since that moment, I’ve loved the idea of telekinesis. And that love gave birth to the spark that became CHASING POWER.

In other words, I wrote this book because I wanted to write about a girl with telekinesis.

But I didn’t want my girl to have Jean-Grey-like powers, able to throw planes and cars around with her mind. I wanted Kayla’s power to be limited — she can only move things as heavy as a credit card — but she’s clever. What could a clever character do with a minor power?

And that was what made CHASING POWER so much fun to write — Kayla was fun because her power was limited… but her imagination wasn’t.

sarah beth durstCHASING POWER takes readers all over the globe. Did you research any of the places your characters travel to?

Yes, I love research! In CHASING POWER, Kayla meets Daniel, a boy who can teleport, and together they travel the world. I specifically chose places that captured my imagination. Several were actually inspired by National Geographic articles that stuck with me, thus justifying my hoarding of several years’ worth of issues.

There are many kinds of magic and magical powers mentioned in CHASING POWER. What magical skill do you wish you possessed?

I wish I had the magical skill to stop pain. Stopping death would be problematic, I get that, but it would be nice to eliminate pain. Except for the ouch-don’t-touch-that-hot-stove kind of pain. But unnecessary pain and overwhelming grief — I’d like to be able to ease that.

indiana jonesCHASING POWER has a very distinct Indiana Jones-style flair to its adventure. What do you think the world’s favorite archeologist would do if he ever met Kayla and Daniel?

He’d recruit them. Daniel is the most useful getaway vehicle ever, and Kayla (with her loose grasp on the concept of personal property) would be a fabulous sidekick for a treasure hunter.

Despite their many differences, what do you think is one thing ALL of your books have in common?

Magic. All my books have something impossible at their heart. I believe that one of the most wonderful things that a book can do is let you touch something beyond reality. Each also has adventure, romance, and humor — just mixed in different amounts.

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite Halloween candy?

Three Musketeers. Lifelong favorite.

Starbucks beverage of choice?

Actually really love their breakfast sandwiches, specifically the one with Gouda and bacon.

French fries or tater tots?

French fries.

Skill you wish you possessed?

I wish I could remember everything I ever learned. Instead, I suspect that a whole bunch of useful knowledge was displaced by 80s song lyrics.

Can’t miss TV show?

So You Think You Can Dance.

Favorite member of the Avengers?

Probably Iron Man, because Robert Downey Jr. plays him so perfectly in the movies. Also he’s the most useful character in the Lego Marvel Super Heroes video game, especially if you pick Mark 42 or Heartbreaker. (I love all the Lego video games.)

Ahh, my husband loves the Lego Marvel Super Heroes video game! (It was my birthday present to him this year.) Thanks again for stopping by, Sarah.

And remember – Chasing Power is in stores now! Here’s more about the book:

Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla’s life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive… or survive.

Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren – Part 3

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Today, we conclude our 3-part Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren with a round of flash questions! If you missed it, catch part 1 here and part 2 here.

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

Favorite decade?

Christina: Now

Lo: The current one

Must-have writing snack?

Christina: Sour patch kids

Lo: There isn’t any must have, actually, but I like having coffee when I start in the morning.

Favorite Disney movie?

Christina: Sleeping Beauty

Lo: Tangled

sublimeThe beach or the mountains?

Christina: Beach

Lo: Mountains

Song that can always get you dancing?

Christina: Always changing, right now LoveStoned

Lo: Same—always changing, but right now R U Mine by Arctic Monkeys

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

Christina: coffee, iPhone, notebook, copy of Sublime, bracelet a reader gave us

Lo: coffee, iPhone, pen, bowl that holds my random stuff, Post-It notes, iPhone cord. Phone not pictured because . . . took the picture with my phone. Had to turn off my monitors b/c they were so bright but yeah, I’m writing all day all night right now.

christina lauren desk

 

Tune in for part 3 of our Q&A tomorrow!

Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren – Part 2

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Today, we bring you part 2 of our 3-part Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren. If you missed it, catch part 1 here.

sublimeDo you feel good with where you’ve left Colin and Lucy’s story, or do you foresee a sequel in the future?

It’s an interesting question, whether we feel good about it. It’s the ending that we kept coming back to. We’ve talked a lot about doing a sequel, and we know how it would play out. If there was interest there on the reader end, then sure. But it could also be something we just play with a bit in out-takes on our site, to get out of our system and show the readers how it all works after the book ends.

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

I’m always curious about writing teams. What system have you two worked out for writing together? (Especially given how far away you live!) 

We’ve been really lucky this year with all the travel. Thirty one cities, several countries, and we see each other all the time. It makes the outlining process really easy now, because we always do that in person. But it has made the actual drafting process harder because it’s nearly impossible for us to write while we’re on the road. So, generally we outline together, split the book up into who is writing what (sometimes it’s by POV, male versus female) and sometimes it’s just by the kind of scene (for example, Christina is really great at building a setting, and visual description; Lo is great at the emotionally intense scenes), and then we write. We write in shared documents so we can always see what the other did, and of course we talk or Skype all day long, so it’s almost like we’re in the same house, just different rooms.

 

Tune in for part 3 of our Q&A tomorrow!

Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren – Part 1

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Today, we bring you part 1 of our 3-part Q&A with Sublime authors Christina Lauren. Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

(Lauren on the left, Christina on the right!)

You guys have written several adult novels together already. What was it like switching gears for your first YA? 

Actually, Sublime was a book we wrote before any of the adult books happened! We wrote it back in late 2011-early 2012 when our first YA (the book with which we signed our agent, Holly Root) was out on submission to editors. That first book went out to a small handful of editors and they enjoyed it, but passed ultimately because it had a lot of mythology, and YA was at the tail end of a trend back in 2012 (the Rick Riordan juggernaut aside). Holly felt that Sublime had better commercial potential, and so we almost immediately went out with that book instead. We had a revise and resubmit offer from Zareen Jaffery at S&S BFYR that we decided to go with. Only a couple weeks later, Beautiful Bastard went out to editors and essentially sold in a matter of hours. It’s simply a difference in the two genres’ publication cycles that had seven adult books out before Sublime was released.

We can say, though, that after writing a couple of the adult books, it was really nice to come back to revise Sublime for Zareen. Different voice, different speed. We think it’s good for writers to stretch all those muscles sometimes. It takes a different kind of creativity to write ghosty spookiness than it does to write sexy adult. It’s great that we can do both.

sublimeYour adult books are also contemporary, and SUBLIME is a supernatural story. Was there anything different about your approach with this genre? 

The adult books are meant to be fun to read—a way to relax and unwind. They’re not meant to be deep or world-altering. Perhaps relatedly, they’re fun to write; we make ourselves laugh and we act like piglets and it’s sort of unreal that we get paid to do it.

Sublime was such a different experience because we felt so tenderly about it. We were earnest and kind of bare here. Being able to go overboard with atmosphere was a blast. Dialing up the tension but having to keep things vague was also a blast. But it’s a darker book, and that was sometimes hard because we generally are pretty goofy people. While writing, we felt a little like we were in the caboose of a train that was hell bent on following a certain path. We told the story that felt the most genuine to us, and it took a lot more out of us. Also? Paranormal is hard. You create the rules—which is fun—but then you have to stick to them—which sometimes sucks. But in the end, it was a wild ride.

Colin and Lucy have a captivating romance. What do you think makes their love story so powerful? 

We may be too close to the story to be able to answer this very articulately. This project is a labor of love that has spanned nearly 4 years, and these characters have been in our lives for so long that they’ve begun to feel real, and have depth outside of the pages.

It may be because there’s that yearning there—when we’re teens we feel everything so intensely, and we are also at a point where we enjoy touching (honesty time). Putting those things together creates a sort of blissful torture. It’s the same thing that’s been explored in countless books: I want to touch you, but I can’t. What we wanted to do is flip the trope on its head: what if the boy was the one doing crazy things to try to obtain the girl? Colin is a gentle soul—despite his wild, rugged nature—and that may contribute to the power of the love story: you watch him on this spiral and know there isn’t anything you can do to stop it, really, because he was sort of fated to head there.

Tune in for part 2 of our Q&A tomorrow!

Q&A with The Young Elites author Marie Lu

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Today, I am so pleased to share a recent interview I did, along with a handful of other bloggers, with Legend series author Marie Lu, about her new book, The Young Elites. Check out our question for Marie, and some other highlights from our chat below, then keep reading to learn more about the book!

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young elitesNovel Novice: Part of what I thought made The Young Elites really fun to read was the fact that Adelina is not really the traditional likeable main character, but just the fact that she’s definitely her own person and she’s a very distinct character.

And so, I love that she’s very well-formed as a character despite her less desirable characteristics. So, I was wondering, what about that kind of nontraditional main character made her fun and/or challenging to write about?  

Marie Lu: Thank you. I’m so glad and really relieved to hear you say that.

Photo credit: Paul Gregory

Photo credit: Paul Gregory

Adelina was by far the hardest character I’ve ever had to write. It’s difficult for all the reasons that I mentioned already, but it was also kind of fun and liberating, I guess, to write about somebody who just–she just doesn’t care sometimes. She just doesn’t care that she’s really angry at the world and she feels very entitled to that.

And I feel there’s something kind of empowering about letting yourself be bad. I guess it’s why we want villains so much. I mean, I love, you know, Loki and Magneto. You can kind of feel for them in a way. Like Loki, he kills lots of people, but he loves his mama and, you know, he’s had some feuds with his brother. And I think it’s fun to kind of imagine that space, because I think we all have issues in our lives.

And we all have that moment sometimes where you’re stuck in traffic and someone cuts you off, and you’re just like, “I just want to kill you right now. I just want, like, some force to come eat your car.” And then, I thought, you know, what if I create a character who actually acted out some of that stuff? And then, afterwards she’s like, “Oh, shit, I actually did this horrible thing that I wanted to do at the time, but now I kind of regret it.”

And it’s fascinating and kind of an unsettling way to write some of that stuff, because she feels powerful when she thinks that and does those things, but then afterwards she never feels great about it. So, it’s kind of like don’t always act out your demons–your inner demons kind of thing.

Perpetual Page Turner: What was one of the most difficult parts of writing your own world and the rules to that world?

Marie Lu: 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.

The Compulsive Reader: I was just kind of fascinated by the idea of The Young Elites being an origin story of a villain, which is something that I didn’t actually know as I was reading the book … And so, I was just wondering, did the trajectory of Adelina’s story sort of differ from your previous writing, knowing that you were writing the villainess, and how does that, if it does, differ from any of your previous books?

Marie Lu: It’s totally different. It was really, really hard to get into that mind space, and it’s still very hard for me. I’m working on book two right now.

[When I started writing The Young Elites], 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.

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THE YOUNG ELITES
by Marie Lu
In stores October 7

Some hate us, think us outlaws to hang at the gallows.
Some fear us, think us demons to burn at the stake.
Some worship us, think us children of the gods.
But all know us.

young elitesABOUT THE BOOK:

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.

Visit the Official Website and read an excerpt here.

Pre-Order The Young Elites:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

Exclusive Q&A with Salt & Storm author Kendall Kulper + Blog Tour Contest

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Today’s post is serving double-duty — both as our Book of the Month Q&A with Salt & Storm author Kendall Kulper … and as an official stop on the blog tour!

In addition to our Q&A with Kendall, you’ll also find a blog tour giveaway and more information about the book, so be sure to scroll all the way down.

Salt&Storm blog tour

In the author’s note for SALT & STORM, you mention having little knowledge about whaling before writing this book. So why did you write a book about 19th century whaling?

I really didn’t set out to! I wanted to write about islands, and since the only island I know much of anything about is Martha’s Vineyard, I decided to set the book in New England. When I started thinking about the story, I looked into New England folklore and found stories of women who would make good luck charms for sailors. I thought that was so fascinating, especially combined with the history and culture of whaling in the area, so despite my lack of knowledge, I dove right in!

Kulper_Headshot_Small2I love the beautiful blending of historical fiction with fantasy in SALT & STORM. How did the two elements come together for you as you were working on the book?

I knew I wanted there to be a fantasy element in the book because I wanted to write about those women. I love books that treat magic as something real, accepted, and integrated into society—I think it’s so fascinating how most people assume having magic would make life so much easier, when it probably would just make life more complicated.

As for blending historical fiction and fantasy, sailing has always had a close relationship with magic and superstition. A lot of the magic described in the book (like the idea that sailors can buy winds or that tattoos offer protection) came from real-life accounts that I found in my research. It’s not surprising, given how wild and unpredictable the sea is, that you’d want to try to put some faith into charms and magic.

Kulper_Salt&Storm_HCTell us a bit about your decision to write a prequel to SALT & STORM. What can readers expect, and why not a sequel? (Or is a sequel still a possibility?)

I have to give the credit to my editor, Bethany Strout, for suggesting writing another book in this world. I don’t think there will ever be a sequel—I always knew that Avery’s story would begin and end with SALT & STORM—but I had been kicking around a couple of ideas for a prequel, focusing on some of the other Roe witches. Writing SALT & STORM, I had to come up with a lot of backstory that ended up not being used in the book, so this was a great opportunity to delve into some of that.

The prequel was also a chance to see this world beyond just the island where SALT & STORM takes place. Avery mentions other magical people out in the world, and with the prequel, I’m able to show more of those people and how the rest of the world treats them.

What’s the most interesting tid-bit of information you learned while researching SALT & STORM?

I learned so much, but one of the things I found most fascinating was how these island communities dealt with the reality of a huge population of men being gone for several years at a time. Whaling trips took, on average, two to three years, and in that time the women back at home were expected to act as the heads of their households. They created these really tight-knit communities of mothers and wives, working together and supporting each other during the years their husbands were gone.

When the men came back, they would sometimes be on leave for only a few weeks or months before heading out again. I can only imagine how difficult and lonely that would be on both sides, especially given whaling’s extremely high mortality rate and the very likely possibility that married couples would never see each other again. But there was still real love and affection within these families; so many of the little things sailors made to pass the time were presents for their wives and sweethearts.

A lot of the history of whaling focuses on the men, but the struggles and successes of the women they left behind are just as deserving of attention.

You’re about to become a mother (congrats!). We know there are plenty of big differences between the two, but what is one similiarity between having a BOOK baby and having an ACTUAL baby?

Thank you! The real baby arrived August 21st, and she is wonderful J. I would say there are lots of similarities between birthing a book baby and real baby! Sleepless nights, needing lots of help, the long long wait for them to get here, and then that moment when you’ve got them in your arms (baby) or on the shelf (book) and think about how all that work and time and expectations led you to this moment—it’s just an indescribably wonderful, happy feeling!

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Favorite decade?

Well, I married the love of my life in 2011, sold my book and adopted my beautiful pup in 2013, and published that book and had a baby girl in 2014, so the 2010s are looking pretty good so far!

Must-have writing snack?

I always start the day with a cup of tea served in my fine porcelain tea set, which was a wedding present. It always looks so pretty, and it’s such a nice, relaxing way to ease into things.

Favorite Disney movie? 

Oh man. I’m going to have to say Newsies, because even though I haven’t watched it in years, between the ages of 13 and 18 I was pretty much obSESSED with it. I had a website devoted to it (~*~kENDALL’S nEWSIES pAGE~*~), wrote massive amounts of fan-fiction, watched the movie literally daily with my friends. A few years ago I saw the show on Broadway and it was like a full-on nostalgia bomb.

The beach or the mountains? 

Mountains, definitely. Which I realize is probably surprising, given SALT & STORM, but I actually don’t really like the water. Beaches can be lovely, but I am a huge hiker, and there’s something about climbing a mountain that gives you such a different perspective on life.

Song that can always get you dancing? 

Right now it’s Happy by Pharrell. But I’m biased because it’s also baby girl’s favorite song!

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

A menagerie of origami animals (which will eventually become my daughter’s mobile), a teeeeeny red LeCrueset pot that I use to store paperclips and odds and ends, my grandmother’s old makeup compact, my personalized beer stein from my college dorm, and lots of cards from friends and family about the new baby.

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About the Book 

Title: SALT & STORM
Author: Kendall Kulper
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: September 23, 2014
Find it: Goodreads|Amazon|Barnes& Noble

A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder–and the one boy who can help change her future.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she’s to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.

Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane–a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for.

Kendall Kulper writes historical fiction with a fantasy twist for teen readers and knows more about nineteenth century whaling than she ever imagined. Her debut YA novel, SALT & STORM will be published by Little, Brown September 23, 2014. She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in history and literature in 2008 and spent several years as a journalist before deciding to write full-time. She grew up in the wilds of New Jersey and now lives in Boston with her husband and chronically-anxious Australian Shepherd mix, Abby.

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads/Tumblr

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And now it’s time for your chance to win a copy of Salt & Storm. Two U.S. winners will each receive a hardcover copy of the book. Enter the Rafflecopter form HERE. (Be sure to check out our Seaside Writing Contest for another chance to win, too!)

Salt&Storm blog tour
Salt & Storm
Blog Tour Schedule:

Week One:

Week Two:

Exclusive Q&A with The Bridge from Me to You author Lisa Schroeder – Part 3

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Today, we bring you part 3 of our exclusive Q&A with The Bridge from Me to You author Lisa Schroeder … FLASH QUESTIONS! If you missed it, catch part 1 here and part 2 here.

lisa schroederFavorite decade?

I think I have to go with the 80s.

Must-have writing snack?

Tea.

Favorite Disney movie?

The Aristocats

The beach or the mountains?

Both!

Song that can always get you dancing?

“Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince

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

  1. Mother’s Day card from my youngest son
  2. chapstick
  3. a fabric cupcake
  4. too many notebooks
  5. a turtle a fan made me.

Exclusive Q&A with The Bridge from Me to You author Lisa Schroeder – Part 2

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Today, we bring you part 2 of our exclusive Q&A with The Bridge from Me to You author Lisa Schroeder. If you missed it, catch part 1 here.

charmed life1You also have a series of middle grade books coming out this year. Tell us a bit about the CHARMED LIFE series.

The series is about four girls who meet at summer camp and think they’ve found a lucky bracelet. Before they each return home, they promise each other that they will take turns wearing the bracelet and writing each other letters and sharing about their experiences with the bracelet. Each book is from one of the girl’s point of view – the first one is about Caitlin in Connecticut, the second one is about Mia in southern California, the third one is about Libby in England, and the fourth one is about Hannah in Tennessee. There are some really unique elements in each of the books, because I wanted to write about things you don’t see often in middle grade novels. So, for example, there is bird watching in the second book and a sweet shop in the third book. They are supposed to be fun reads, and I worked really hard to make them so.

lisa schroeder2What’s it been like, switching back and forth between writing YA and writing middle grade? What are some of the challenges? What are some of the benefits?

I really like working this way. I heard another author say that switching back and forth is a nice way to cleanse your palate, and it’s true! After I’ve written and revised a YA and I’m doubting everything about writing YA, I can start in on a middle grade, and life is good again. I suppose the challenge is that if I’m trying to publish at least one of each every year, I don’t get much down time. But overall, I really like it and I feel fortunate to be able to write both.

What are you working on next?

I just finished drafting a MG fantasy and I need to revise that soon so I can send it to my agent and see what she thinks. Right now, I’m doing revisions on my next YA which will be out summer of 2015. I haven’t announced it yet, so I can’t say too much, but I can say this – it has a pretty unique premise and I think people are going to be a little bit surprised when they hear about it. And I’m really excited about it!!

Edited to add: Lisa’s new YA project has been announced. Here is the announcement from PW:

Amanda Maciel at Scholastic has acquired world rights to Lisa Schroeder‘s new YA novel, All We Have Is Now. With just 28 hours left until a giant asteroid is due to destroy the U.S., a 17-year-old runaway and her best friend make it their mission to fulfill as many people’s last wishes as they can, until she realizes there are things left undone in her own life. It’s slated for summer 2015; Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger was the agent.

Exclusive Q&A with The Bridge from Me to You author Lisa Schroeder – Part 1

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Today, I am so pleased to be bringing you part 1 of our three-part exclusive interview with Lisa Schroeder, the author of The Bridge from Me to You (among other great titles). Thanks, Lisa, for stopping by!

bridge from me to you, the - largeI know you & I have talked before about the many things that influenced THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU. Tell us a bit about the different elements that lead to this book.

It all started with some tweets by Rachel Hawkins, which goes to show that twitter is not necessarily a complete waste of time! She had just read a book featuring a small town, and she started tweeting these descriptions that instantly took me back to my teenage years, going to school in a small town in Oregon. Things like – big sky, wide open roads, driving aimlessly in the country, and field parties, to name a few. And I thought, why haven’t I written a book about small town life, since I LIVED that life? I got a notebook and started jotting down thoughts and ideas. Ever since CHASING BROOKLYN, which many teens have told me is their favorite book written by me, I’d been wanting to do another dual point of view, and I decided this book would do that. I wanted one character who was new to town and trying to figure it all out and another character looking ahead, thinking about leaving town and the mixed feelings that come along with that. And so, Lauren and Colby were born.

lisa schroederYou grew up in a small town in Oregon. How much did your own experience go into creating the town of Willow?

Willow, Oregon is a fictional town, and I actually first created it when I wrote It’s Raining Cupcakes. At the time, I wanted a small town where kids rode their bikes to places like the library, and to the diner that served awesome chocolate shakes and french fries. When I started writing THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU, I decided I really liked the idea of using a fictional town, and my thoughts drifted to Willow. It seemed like it could work well to use that town here, and simply expand on what I’d already created. So that’s what I did. I’ve changed the names of the roads and the creek and the hill where the kids go to party, but all of that came from my memories of growing up in and around Lebanon, Oregon. So yeah, there are probably more of my own experiences in this book than in any other book I’ve previously written. Even the cards that Colby’s teammates carry around in their wallets came from my high school days. The football coach at the time did all of that which is described in the book, and we went all the way to the state championships two years in a row. Following that team around the state and cheering them around my sophomore year is some of the most fun I’ve ever had.

You’ve written prose before, and you’ve written in verse before. But I think this might be the first time you’ve combined the two so significantly in a single book. What was it like alternating between verse and prose for the different chapters?

With every book, it’s about doing what will serve the story the best. Lauren’s part wanted to come out in verse and Colby’s didn’t. Lauren is dealing with a lot of emotional stuff, and the verse allowed me to really get to the heart of all of that. I honestly wasn’t sure how it would work out to alternate between verse and prose when I started, but the more I went along, the more I really liked it. The nice thing is that if people aren’t huge fans of verse, it won’t get in the way of them enjoying the story. I’ve already had one reader tell me she liked the book, even though she doesn’t always like verse novels. But for teens who enjoy my verse, they’re going to be happy too. So it’s actually nice to have a combination this time around.

Thanks, Lisa! Tune in for part 2 on Wednesday!