Category Archives: Author Q&A

Exclusive Q&A with Anne & Henry author Dawn Ius – Part 3

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Today, we bring you part 3 of our three-part interview with Anne & Henry author Dawn Ius. Catch part 1 here if you missed it, and part 2 here.

DawnFavorite villain?

The Red Queen—but I pretty much love anything to do with Alice in Wonderland.

Pen or pencil?

Pen for writing. Pencil for revising. (Sorry, that was a cheat. I do have an impressive pen AND pencil collection though.)

Favorite piece of clothing?

My yoga pants—not because I enjoy yoga, but because it’s the most comfortable way to write.

Song you can’t get out of your head right now?

Flash of Light by Parade of Lights: — I listened to this while writing ANNE & HENRY and every time I hear it, I’m reminded of the book. Fitting that it would be in my head now on release month J

Most recent vacation?

Christina Lake, BC — My family has a cabin there (for many many years) and my husband and I got married there six years ago. It’s our annual holiday.

5 things that are always in your purse

Ha. My ANNE & HENRY ARC (because I still can’t believe it’s real), an assortment of pens/pencils, my wallet, my iPad mini

Exclusive Q&A with Anne & Henry author Dawn Ius – Part 2

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Today, we bring you part 2 of our three-part interview with Anne & Henry author Dawn Ius. Catch part 1 here if you missed it, and look for part 3 on Friday!

DawnDid you learn anything surprising during your research for ANNE & HENRY?

The enormity of Anne Boleyn’s fan club! I understand it—especially after doing so much research on her—but the sheer number of fan clubs devoted to Anne Boleyn is staggering.

What was the most important element of Anne & Henry’s story that you wanted to make sure you captured in your retelling?

anne and henryI really believe that before everything turned to chaos, Henry and Anne genuinely loved each other. A common cliché is that “love conquers all.” I believe it conquers a lot, but not always “all.” Some obstacles—whether they are external or internal—are insurmountable.

What other famous real-life story would you like to see retold (by yourself or someone else) in a modern setting?

I’m itching to write LIZZIE BORDEN’S story. What can I say—I’m drawn to controversial and challenging!

Exclusive Q&A with Anne & Henry author Dawn Ius – Part 1

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Today, we bring you part 1 of our three-part interview with Anne & Henry author Dawn Ius. Catch part 2 on Wednesday and part 3 on Friday! Thanks for stopping by, Dawn!

anne and henryWe’ve seen lots of retellings of famous/classic stories in YA literature, but I think this is the first time we’ve seen a retelling of a true story! What made you want to bring this famous doomed romance of King Henry and Anne Boleyn to the 21st century?

ANNE & HENRY began as a development project initiated by literary super agents Mandy Hubbard (D4E0) and Bree Ogden (Red Sofa Literary). Both were on my “most desired agent” list, and so when Mandy put out the “audition call” I leapt at the chance, not knowing at the time that the super secret project would be a reimagining of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII as a high school romance. How lucky!

I have a soft spot for historical love stories—and the saga of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn is perhaps one of the most infamous of them all. It’s also close to my heart because my stepdad is utterly obsessed with Anne Boleyn. He often told my sister and I stories about her, perhaps in his way, trying to dispel some of the myths about her. As I started writing ANNE & HENRY and learning more about her, I really began to understand his infatuation. She was quite formidable!

I love a challenge—in fact, I thrive on them. Bringing this amazing story to the 21st century—as a young adult novel—was hard, but one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It’s a book I’m truly proud of.

DawnWhat were some of the challenges of adapting a true story?

Ha! There were a few, actually.

Regardless of what version of truth you believe about the REAL Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, Henry always comes out looking like a cad (he did, after all, behead Anne)—which meant I couldn’t make Henry a swoon-worthy book boyfriend if I intended to stay somewhat true to history.

There’s also the issue of insta-love. Believe me, I’m not a fan of it either, but again, even though Henry courted Anne for years in real life, their attraction was about as close to “love at first sight” as you can get. I really wanted to capture that.

Anne and Henry’s relationship had a tremendous impact on history—which is impossible to recreate in a high school setting without coming off as a bit trivial. Striking a balance was hard, and I’m not 100% sure I nailed it, but I had a lot of fun trying!

How did you go about choosing the setting for ANNE & HENRY?

The book had to be set in an affluent community—small, but exclusive. Not only does Bill Gates live in Medina, WA, there is a security camera at the entrance that records your license plate. That felt pretty exclusive to me! As I researched the area, I realized just how perfectly it worked within the context of the story.

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: An Interview with Author Michelle Cuevas & Imaginary Friend Jacques Papier

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Today we have a very special Q&A … between author Michelle Cuevas and Jacques Papier, the imaginary friend whose “memoir” she told in Confessions of an Imaginary Friend, in stores now.

confessions of an imaginary friendINTERVIEWER: I’m here today with Jacques Papier: memoirist imaginary friend, and hero of the new novel Confessions of an Imaginary Friend. Jacques, welcome!

JACQUES PAPIER: I’m so happy to be here. I mean… I’m not actually HERE here, since I’m imaginary, but you know, in the theoretical way I’m happy to be “here.”

Wait, sorry… what was the question?

INTERVIEWER: We’re also joined by Michelle Cuevas, the author who wrote Jacques’ tale into book form. Michelle, could you tell us a bit about what drew you to Jacques’ story?

MICHELLE CUEVAS: Hi, thanks for having us! Well, I suppose I’ve always been drawn to books like The Velveteen Rabbit, songs like “Puff The Magic Dragon,” movies like Toy Story. I’ve always been interested in work that explores what it means to be “real.”

INTERVIEWER: And Jacques, what inspired you to tell your tale?

author: Michelle Cuevas; photographer: Carlyle Massey

author: Michelle Cuevas; photographer: Carlyle Massey

JP: I guess I just wanted there to be a story out there for everyone who has ever felt like I did; everyone who has felt unseen and invisible at some point in their lives. Some people probably feel like that right now. And I wanted them to know that they’re not alone.

Also, I’d like to meet Oprah.

INTERVIEWER: Speaking of backstory, Michelle, a little birdy told me that you had some imaginary friends of your own as a child?

MC: Jacques! I told you not to tell anyone!

JP: I’m sorry. But those names…

MC: Okay, okay, fine. I did. And their names were… Poodie and LaLa.

JP: I told you the names were ridiculous!!

MC: It’s true. One was a dragon and one looked like an old rag doll. I used to throw these very elaborate tea parties all the time. I was like the Jay Gatsby of tea parties, and they would always be there.

INTERVIEWER: Jacques, if you had one piece of advice for our readers, what would it be?

JP: You’re only as invisible as you feel, imaginary or not.

Oh, and don’t ever tell anyone the names of the imaginary friends you had as a kid. You’ll never live it down.

INTERVIEWER: Michelle, if you had a piece of advice for aspiring writers out there, imaginary or not, what would it be?

MC: I would say find the story that it feels impossible for you NOT to tell. I think the best experience is when a book gives you a feeling of coming back home as you’re writing it, which this story did for me.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, Jacques and Michelle, for joining us!

MC & JP: Thanks so much for having us!

Michelle Cuevas and Jacque Papier’s new novel, Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: A Memoir by Jacques Papier is now available from Dial/Penguin Books for Young Readers.

Serpentine by Cindy Pon: Blog Tour Q&A + Contest

Today, we are excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Serpentine by Cindy Pon. We have an exclusive Q&A with Cindy, plus your chance to win a copy of the book. So be sure to keep reading for all the details!

SERPENTINE NEW JLGTell us about the mythology that inspired SERPENTINE. What helped you piece together the inspiration and your final story? 

In my debut Silver Phoenix, a beautiful serpent demon disguised in her mortal form tries to lure away one of the characters. She was simply another monster in the novel, and I thought afterward, what if the “monster” had a story? The story of Medusa from Greek mythology has always fascinated me as well, and I wanted to explore the idea of women as “monstrous beauties”.

What will fans of SILVER PHOENIX love about SERPENTINE? 

I was inevitably still drawn to gods and demons and cute Asian boys as heroes. I hope they will enjoy that, but also the idea of finding yourself through metamorphosis, the beauty and wonder of nature, as well as the strong female friendship between my heroine Skybright (a handmaid) and her mistress Zhen Ni.

For readers who want to know more about the mythology that inspired SERPENTINE, what resources would you recommend? 

Lady White Snake is a Chinese classic that features a serpent demon. I was not aware of this story really until after I had written Serpentine. But I loved that she was written as sympathetic heroine as well, in this classic!

cindypon_highres-200x300What draws you to writing fantasy?

I was a reader before I was a writer, and I’ve always loved stories that transported me to another time or place? Somewhere fantastic and different than anything I had ever known. And fantasy always did that for me, and continues to do so. But despite the fantastic elements of these stories, they are always grounded in the human experience, something I could relate to as a reader, and I hope, something that i convey as a writer.

You’re also the co-founder of Diversity in YA and do a lot of work with We Need Diverse Books. What are some of the successes you’ve seen with these groups, and what work is still ahead? 

I think the dialogue for the need to have more inclusive stories has dramatically increased since 2011, when Malinda Lo and I started Diversity in YA. Thanks in very large part to We Need Diverse Books’ efforts and initiatives. I think that it is a long road though. I’ve seen more awareness, but I also continue to see missteps and push back, as well as people in publishing (and readers) who are unaware of the issues at hand. The problem is systemic, so there is no one step solution.

Flash Questions: 

Favorite villain?


Pen or pencil?


Favorite piece of clothing?

Lounge pants.

Song you can’t get out of your head right now?

Clean by Taylor Swift.

Most recent vacation?


5 things that are always in your purse?

Tissues, mints, lip balm, wallet, and pen.

about the book

SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.

Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.

When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.

“Vivid worldbuilding, incendiary romance, heart-pounding action, and characters that will win you over–I highly recommend Serpentine.” Cinda Williams Chima, best-selling author of the Seven Realms and Heir Chronicles fantasy novels

“Serpentine is unique and surprising, with a beautifully-drawn fantasy world that sucked me right in! I love Skybright’s transformative power, and how she learns to take charge of it.” ~Kristin Cashore, NYT Bestseller of the Graceling Realm Series

“Serpentine’s world oozes with lush details and rich lore, and the characters crackle with life. This is one story that you’ll want to lose yourself in.” ~ Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend and The Young Elites

In stores September 8th.

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Chapters | Indiebound | Kobo | TBD | iBooks | Google Play

about the authorCindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Serpentine, the first title in her next Xia duology, will be published by Month9Books in September 2015. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram


1 winner will receive a signed hardcover of SERPENTINE and brush art painting card. US Only.

3 winners will receive a signed paperback of SERPENTINE and brush art painting card. US Only.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE.

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

Week 2:

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell: Blog Tour Q&A + Contest

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Today, we are super excited to be hosting a stop on the official tour for A Whole New World by Liz Braswell, which is the first in a series that looks at fantastical “what if” scenarios featuring some of Disney’s most beloved stories.

a whole new worldFirst up, we’ve got a Q&A with Liz — then keep reading for more about the book & your chance to win a copy!

I love the idea of re-imagining not just a classic fairy tale — but the very well-known Disney versions! What was your approach to retelling Disney’s Aladdin?

On an emotional and character development level, I wanted to tell a tale there wasn’t time to in the original film.  And to  fill in their world with more details and even more interesting characters. And to age up a potential plot so that older audiences could enjoy it.   Simply put, what could Aladdin and Jasmine do that I—and others—would enjoy reading about?

What do you think fans of Aladdin will be surprised to see in A Whole New World

Jafar is a bit more psychotic than in the movie.  A secondary character is missing (it makes sense when you read it). And Jasmine winds up being queen of all Westeros.

liz braswellWhere there other “what ifs” you considered for A Whole New World, before settling on Jafar summoning the Genie first? Or was that always the twist you wanted to explore? 

It’s the one that presented the most acceptable plot divergence for such a classic movie.  Some other possibilities were: What if Abu got the lamp and made the first wish? (hint: think bananas).  What if it was suddenly discovered that Agrabah sat on top of a giant oil field?  What if Jasmine wielded a scimitar, got on a horse, and rode around ancient Persia, righting wrongs?

If not Aladdin, what Disney movie would you love to re-tell and how might you approach the story?

Um.  I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.  Let’s just say I may have been granted that opportunity already…

What was the biggest challenge of re-telling such a well-known and beloved Disney film?

Making it believable and real for an older audience:  people who still love the movie as much as they did as children but want a little more out of the world.  While keeping that world within the realm of possible from the original movie.


Favorite Halloween candy?

Candy corn.  HANDS DOWN. Often shoved onto teeth to make fangs.

Starbucks beverage of choice?

When I’m not Japanese vacu-pressing my civet-extracted, fair shade trade grown organic Beans of Rarity, I check my Caffeine O’Meter readout and then order the correct-sized plain drip (with room), to keep my system from shutting down.  Unless it’s winter, in which case it’s the peppermint mochaccino, no whipped cream but do NOT forget my peppermint sprinkles.  Seriously!  Without them, what’s the point?

French fries or tater tots?

Tater trots are a TREAT, not to be overindulged.  I love ‘em at Crif Dogs on Driggs.

Skill you wish you possessed?

Besides flight? Whatever you want to call that magical ability that lets painters put things down on canvas so they’re the right colors.  On purpose.

Can’t miss TV show?

Orange is the New Black, Peaky Blinders, whatever is new and interesting on the syfy channel.

Favorite member of the Avengers?

Tricky.  I like She-Hulk; I feel that in the real world she would be very involved in some political issues we’re having in North Brooklyn right now involving parks.  Also she’s a total badass.

about the bookWhat if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney’s Aladdin.

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

about the authorFull time author, under the name Tracy Lynn. And Celia Thomson. And J. B. Stephens. And E.J. Braswell. But mainly Tracy Lynn.

Her series “The Nine Lives of Chloe King” has been adapted into a TV show by ABC Family.



5 winners will receive a finished copy of A WHOLE NEW WORLD. US Only.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

Week Two:

Family Magic Blog Tour Q&A + Contest

Today, we’re excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Family Magic by Patti Larsen. Keep reading for a Q&A with Patti, more about the book, and your chance to win some cool prizes!

Patti-Larsen-200x300Why write paranormal?

I can’t seem to avoid it for some reason. I was raised on fantasy and science fiction by my avid fan father, as well as Dungeons and Dragons. And, my family is known for their interesting intuitive abilities, something I share (I read Tarot and have been told I scare people LOL). So, paranormal characters seem to be the norm for me. I’ve tried writing non-para and have succeeded a few times, but most of my work falls under the supernatural umbrella.

Tell us about an educator who made an impact on your life.

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Redmond. I was ill when they did the first year assessments at the end of kindergarten and was placed in a remedial class when I began school in September. I came home crying every day to my mother because they wouldn’t let me read. When she finally convinced the principal to let me switch classes, Mrs. Redmond handed me books and books and books. I loved her for it and will always be grateful to her for understanding.

Family-Magic-200x300Where do you write?

I can write pretty much anywhere, but typically I’m in my basement office, surrounded by books, or in my kitchen at the breakfast nook with cats curled up on the bench beside me.

What was it like seeing your book cover for the first time?

The blue of Family Magic is now iconic to me and makes me happy every time I see it. I even look for clothes, nail polish, jewelry, anything that matches because I love it so much. The bright yet paranormal feel of the book, paired with the soft feel of the swirly vines and the powerful font is 100% Sydlynn Hayle, the lead character. So, naturally, I adore it. And stare at it, I admit, for long periods of time with a grin on my face.

What book most impacted your life?

It was a Nancy Drew mystery when I was twelve years old, but don’t ask me the title. The book itself isn’t the important part, though I remember enjoying it immensely. Instead, it was the trigger that told me I could be a writer. When I finished reading it, the little voice in my head whispered, “I can do that.” And I’ve been writing ever since.

What is your favorite writing spot?

On the soft, fuzzy bench of my kitchen nook with a couple of my cats curled up beside me, a fresh cup of hot coffee and my pug, Jelly Bean, at my feet. Heaven.

What are your “must-haves” when writing?

Coffee, my computer, post-it notes, my favorite pen, dayplanner to log my wordcount, headphones so I can listen to rain or bioneural beats while I write. And the voices. J

Connect with Patti online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

about the bookHer mom’s a witch, her dad’s a demon and she just wants to be ordinary. But, when an insidious evil comes after her family, Sydlynn Hayle has to choose to be the normal girl she craves or step up, embrace her magic and save her coven from disaster.

about the authorPatti is an award-winning author with a passion for the paranormal. Now with multiple series in happy publication, she lives in Canada with her patient husband and six demanding cats.


The publisher will be giving away 5 paperback copies of Family Magic (US/CA) and a $25 Amazon gift card (INT) to the winners of the Rafflecopter found HERE. The giveaway ends September 6th.

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour for more goodies & chances to win!

The Vanishing Island Blog Tour: Flash Questions with Barry Wolverton

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Today, we are so pleased to be hosting a stop — the FINAL stop — on the official blog tour for The Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton.

For today’s stop, Barry stopped by with his responses to some of our favorite FLASH QUESTIONS! Check out his answers below, then keep reading to learn more about The Vanishing Island, in stores September 1st.

Barry Wolverton Author PhotoFavorite villain?

Montgomery Burns, The Simpsons

Pen or pencil?


Favorite piece of clothing?

A vintage-thrift-store-find Schott NYC leather jacket

Song you can’t get out of your head right now? Autumn Leaves (the Miles Davis recording)

Most recent vacation?

New York, in February, for my girlfriend’s birthday

5 things that are always on your desk or in your backpack?

On my desk: Paper & Clay handmade ceramics; Macbook; Peterson Field Guide to Birds of the Eastern U.S. + binoculars (my office looks out into my wooded backyard); books; Charlie, aka Mr. Grey, my cat who helpfully keeps papers and whatnot from flying off my desk by sprawling all over them.

about the bookvanishing islandDoes  the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.

about the authorbarry wolvertonBarry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years’ experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic,, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit him online at

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Be sure to visit the rest of the blog tour stops for more great content & chances to win a signed advanced copy of The Vanishing Island:

6/15/2015 Blue Stocking Thinking        
6/16/2015 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
6/17/2015 Small Review                     
6/18/2015 Maria’s Melange               
6/19/2015 Unleashing Readers          
6/19/2015 The Hiding Spot                             ​
6/22/2015 This Kid Reviews Books    
6/23/2015 Mundie Kids                      
6/24/2015 Page in Training              
6/25/2015 Novel Novice                    

Circus Mirandus Blog Tour: Q&A with Cassie Beasley

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Today, we are so pleased to be kicking off the official blog tour for Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, a charming new middle grade book that’s described as a mix between “Big Fish, The Night Circus, and Roald Dahl.”

We’ll have more about the book later in this post, but first, here is our exclusive Q&A with author Cassie Beasley:

circus mirandusFor readers who haven’t heard about CIRCUS MIRANDUS, can you give us your 140-character “Twitter pitch” for the story?

Micah Tuttle wants to save his grandpa’s life, but first he must find Circus Mirandus and the magician who owes his grandpa a miracle.

Micah and his Grandpa Ephraim believe in magic. Do you believe in magic? Where/how do you see magic in the world?

Of course I believe in magic! Or at least I believe in a certain kind of it. :)

My favorite magic in the book is actually the magic between Micah and Jenny Mendoza because that’s something we can find (and create ourselves) in the real world. It’s a sort of magic when two people who are very different and who disagree on something so important are willing to accept each other and meet in the middle. Jenny doesn’t believe in Circus Mirandus. Micah does. But neither one of them lets that get in the way of their growing friendship.

cassie beasleyWhere did the Circus Mirandus come from? What inspired it?

The Man Who Bends Light—the magician who promised Grandpa Ephraim a miracle when he was a boy—came first, I guess, if only by a millisecond, and the circus built itself around him. I knew I wanted to write about Micah and his grandfather and this magical encounter that changed both of their lives. The circus and the Lightbender go hand in hand. When I started fleshing out the world of the circus even more, I based the setting on the various magicians who inhabit it.

Not all authors set out to write for children and young adults — but you did! What inspires you to write for younger readers?

To some extent, it’s a matter of going along with the story that chooses you. Most of the ideas that come to me when I’m daydreaming are better suited to younger audiences. I also think it’s important to write what you most love, and I happen to love YA and MG novels!

The movie rights for CIRCUS MIRANDUS sold even before the book came out – congrats! We know selling the movie rights doesn’t always mean a movie will be made — but assuming the best, what is one moment from the book you’re most anticipating seeing brought to life?

Thank you! It’s so exciting! The part I’m most looking forward to is too spoilery to share here, but the runner-up has to be the moment when the circus first appears. It’s preceded by a fierce wind, and then the younger version of Ephraim sees it for the first time. I want to see it with him. I want to hear the music calling me toward it. I don’t know what it might feel like to see the circus brought to life on screen, but I can’t imagine it being anything less than purely magical.


Favorite villain?

Cruella de Vil (the book version)

Pen or pencil?

Pen! Preferably blue.


Favorite piece of clothing?

Not to brag or anything, but I have a pajama set covered in Weeping Angels and TARDISes. And if any Doctor Who fans out there know for sure how to pluralize TARDIS, that is information I need in my life.

Song you can’t get out of your head right now?

 “Polaroid” by Imagine Dragons

Most recent vacation?

I went on a writing retreat with my sister to Jekyll Island, Georgia! I’m not much of a beachgoer, so I spent most of the time sitting on the porch under the live oak trees.

5 things that are always in your purse

Hand sanitizer. Cell phone. Lipstick. Ear plugs because I like to go to the movies, but the local theater keeps the volume so high that the seats vibrate. And pens of course. You can never have too many pens.

Thanks, Cassie, for stopping by. Circus Mirandus is in stores tomorrow. Here’s more about it:

Do you believe in magic?
Micah Tuttle does.

Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.

The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn’t want to keep his promise. And now it’s up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.

The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman: Blog Tour Q&A + Contest

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Today, we’re excited to be hosting the final stop on the official blog tour for The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman, a ripped-from-the-headlines style quiet thriller that’s in stores now. For today’s post, we have an exclusive Q&A with Jessica, plus your chance to win a copy of the book.

last good day of the yearTHE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR has an almost “ripped from the headlines” feel to it, since there have (sadly) been plenty of similar cases of child abduction & murder that have been highly publicized over the years. Did any real-life cases inspire the book?

I did tons of research into real-life cases throughout the whole process, and I think anyone with even a casual knowledge of the most famous kidnappings in the past thirty years or so will be able to spot those details.  There’s even a minor storyline that lines up chronologically with the date of what is probably this country’s most infamous real-life unsolved murder, although you have to really be paying close attention to spot it. It’s sort of like an Easter Egg.  It’s a creepy little detail that would be easy to miss, but I think it makes the whole story more compelling. So there wasn’t any single influence tied to reality, but it’s undeniably present.

jessica warmanWhat sort of research went into writing THE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR?

There was a commercial a few years ago where a guy is sitting at his computer and the screen reads “you have reached the end of the internet.  You have seen everything there is to see on the internet.”  I’m not sure what the advertisers were trying to accomplish, because I think most people hope to God they’ll never have to see a majority of what’s available online.  There’s some heinous stuff.  I have a point, though:  I got to a point with my research that I felt like I’d read about every major kidnapping in the past hundred years.  My entire state of mind, for a good year or so, was saturated with a constant barrage of the most heartbreaking details you can imagine.  It got to the point where I’d struggle to find new cases and information, which made me think of the commercial I mentioned earlier.  I’ve always been interested in the macabre, but it’s become much harder for me to consume any true crime-related media now.  These are real people’s lives, and it’s uncomfortable to think about being entertained by their suffering.

I think it’s interesting how the true crime writer plays such a quiet — and yet ultimately critical role in Sam’s uncovering of the truth. Do you think such books/authors — and media coverage in general — can help or hinder investigations, like the one in THE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR?

I think they can be helpful, sure.   I think most people who write true crime books, folks who maintain websites devoted to unsolved crimes, and other armchair detectives have good intentions for the most part.  The internet has made the world seem much smaller than ever before, and it has never been easier to spread information quickly.  At first it seems like a no-brainer that more information about unsolved crimes or missing people can only help to spread awareness and eventually solve those cases.  But there’s always some inevitable distortion of the facts as they’re spreading, and it can become like an enormous game of telephone; the more notorious a crime, the more garbled the facts can get.  Even if they’re not deliberately warping their version of the story, most people – well-intentioned or not – have an agenda that ends up shaping their interpretation of things.  A big part of what this book is likes to about is the idea that truth is more flexible than anyone admit.  Every one of us is constantly filtering reality through our unique perspective that makes objectivity impossible… the more you think about it (and trust me, I have spent many afternoons and late nights going down the rabbit hole of this in my own head), the more nebulous any kind of “truth” becomes.  But even in that downside, there’s an upside:  it’s kind of why the “ask the audience” lifeline on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? works most of the time.

Obviously this book covers some very difficult subject matter. Tell us about the process of writing about something so dark — and how you balanced it with lighter elements.

Oh man, I hope I managed to balance the darkness with at least a few lighter notes.  I’m proud of this book….  But there’s a reason why it took me two years to complete (which is way longer than it’s ever taken me to finish a book.  Like, way longer; my publisher had to push back the release date more than once, even though it’s my shortest novel.):  It is hella dark.  Sometimes I’d read over my work for the day and I’d end up wracking my brain for hints of a repressed childhood trauma that could have sparked my interest in such bleak stories.   It didn’t help that I moved from Pennsylvania to Texas with my husband and kids right around the time I started working on the first draft.  I didn’t know a soul, so I sort of turned inward and kept my head down as much as possible for the first few months as I tried to finish the manuscript.  There were multiple days in a row when I didn’t leave the house.  Things got a little hairy, emotional health-wise.  There’s humor in the book, but it was hard to gauge how much would make the story bearable by adding moments of breathing room, versus what might seem tone-deaf or jarring to readers.  My real-life sense of humor is sarcastic and dry, and can be unsettlingly dark on my happiest of days, so it was a constant struggle to stay on track and keep myself from spiraling down the drain.


Favorite villain?

Hannibal Lechter

Pen or pencil?


Favorite piece of clothing? 

My Jackie Onassis pink Chanel suit with a pillbox hat.  I’ve never worn it in public (still waiting for an appropriate occasion), but sometimes I wear it while I’m puttering around my house and pretend that I’m Jackie Kennedy, folding laundry and doing dishes or whatever.

Song you can’t get out of your head right now?

“The Last Good Day of the Year,” by Cousteau!  I listened to it multiple times each day while I was writing the book.

Most recent vacation?

I went to Eleuthera, Bahamas with my husband and kids over Christmas.  It’s a tiny island, less than two miles across at its widest point and about 100 miles long.  We spent the week in near-total seclusion, which is my definition of a dream vacation.  And the sand was pink!

5 things that are always in your purse

Let me take a look.  (Dumps purse onto desk):

  1. At least one book.  Currently I have two: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankel, and The Art of Loving by Erich Fromme
  2. Dental floss.  I floss at least 2-3 times daily.  It’s starting to be kind of a problem.
  3. My wallet
  4. At least a few ponytail holders; usually a dozen or more
  5. My inhaler, for my asthma


Thanks to Bloomsbury, we are giving away one copy of THE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR. Contest is US only; must be 13 years or older to enter.

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE to get started.

about the book

A new powerful thriller from the globally-embraced author of Between.

Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder.

Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.

Master storyteller Jessica Warman keeps readers guessing in this arresting page-turner.

about the authorJESSICA WARMAN is the author of Breathless, Where the Truth Lies, Between, and Beautiful Lies, which have received seven starred reviews among them. Between was published in a total of twelve countries around the world. Jessica has an MA in creative writing and recently moved to Houston, Texas. Find her online at and on twitter @jkwarman.