Summer of Authors #4: Interview with Lorna Hollifield

Hi lovelies. I have with me a wonderful author whose debut book just released today! Please welcome Lorna Hollifield, author of Tobacco Sun.


About Tobacco Sun34569128

The year is 1947. The war is over, Jackie Robinson has just integrated baseball, and Frank Sinatra breezes in over the fuzzy airwaves. A sense of relief is finally sweeping the nation…everywhere except Tobaccoville, North Carolina.

Beyond the rural fields that are pregnant with decades of secrets, a mysterious Hollywood pin-up is jailed for murder while her facially birthmarked half-sister may hold the answers as to why.

The two girls, estranged for years, share a haunting past, a shell-shocked love interest, and maybe even a cruel destiny. Through mountains of lies, the truth that inevitably comes pouring out of the tobacco leaves will come to light. Will this light reveal the path to the siblings’ foreordained destruction, or their long-awaited deliverance? Will they realize they each hold the power to set the other free before it’s too late?

A story of heritage, hurt, and somehow, hope; Tobacco Sun keeps you on the edge of your seat while you find yourself rooting for redemption.


Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I don’t know what made me love writing, because I have ALWAYS loved it. If I had to guess, I would say it has a lot to do with my grandmother teaching me to read at a very young age. Since I could read, I’ve been writing. I was an only child for a long time, so I’d make up people to talk to. I still lead with character personalities today.

What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

I love a pre-teen book called Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech….it was one of the first “chapter books” I connected with, and made me want to share stories about human beings. I’m a big Fitzgerald fan just because of how fabulous it all is. I also love Toni Morrrison, Sue Monk Kidd, and Barbara Kingsolver…all representing The South well. The best book I’ve read lately is Bryn Greenwood’s, All The Ugly And Wonderful Things….fantastic coming-of-age piece!

What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

I just write for a living! For fun, I spend beach days with my husband, and pups! I also enjoy running (which I’m still surprised by), and being social. I’m not the stereo-typical shut-in at all!

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Everywhere! Songs…a moving experience…one word that creates a flash. It’s a very artistic thing for me.

What do you think makes a good story?

Human beings make stories great. We are creatures meant to connect, and the intricate ways that we do that should be talked about!

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I actually think it’s easy once I become the character…when that happens they don’t shut up. Knowing them to begin with is the tough part. And yes, there is a research element to it…but once I’m acquainted enough to start writing it tends to flow. I always go back and make sure I haven’t slipped back into “Lorna” at any point. I think with any character this is true. It will flow if it’s authentic.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I like stand alones. I’ve never been a fan of series. I kind of like a book to make a big powerful boom, then mike drop, and walk away. I like that when I’m reading as well.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Write more…write always. Don’t waste brain space on safety nets or back-up plans. Go for it hard from day one and make it the ONLY option. The safest thing for the soul and the wallet is to work like hell at your passion. The best excuses are the ones that make total sense…but go with your gut.

What is your writing process like?

It looks like me in pajamas on my couch without a shower. I write when I feel the spark, and the story starts where I hear a character start talking. I usually map it out a little bit in chicken scratch in my notebook after a couple chapters have been written. I’m not super super organized…and I always feel rushed when I love the story.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me! I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t give me power, or make me feel like I’m influencing the world around me.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A writer…from the beginning. I’m getting a little bit choked up thinking that I actually did it. It’s still surreal.

Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers? What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Naysayers telling you not to quit your day job. I don’t believe in safety nets. If you don’t love it enough to give it everything, you don’t love it enough. Logic will try to convince you otherwise, but if it is your true passion, let it have you. But don’t just dream…work. Write, research, network, go to conferences, beg agents, other writers, and industry big whigs to look at you. Demand your place. I was rejected for a decade…but I didn’t turn back. As long as you’re in love with your craft, never ever turn back.


About the Author

Lorna Hollifield was born in Asheville, North Carolina, but now enjoys the island life outside of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Kimsey, and two mutts, Scarlet and Daisy.

She’s been an author from the time she could speak, always spinning yarns for anyone who would listen.  She began her professional writing journey as a tourism and travel blogger, before finally deciding to pursue her dream of publishing fiction.  Tobacco Sun is her first novel, and she’s delighted to share it with the world!

Lorna also enjoys serving as President for the South Carolina Writers Association, and loves speaking about her craft at literary conferences and community events (especially charitable ones).

When Lorna isn’t writing fiction, she enjoys blogging about writable women at whatswriteincharleston.com!

Follow Lorna on Facebook, Twitter,  and Instagram for more updates!

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Summer of Authors #3: Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Meg Eden – Translating Play: Turning Games into Novels

Hi guys! Tomorrow is the release for a very special book called Post-High School Reality Quest, and to celebrate it, I’m hosting the author Meg Eden with a special guest post she wrote and a giveaway for an ARC and some exclusive swag (they’re great- you’ll love them)! I hope that your summer is going off to a great start, and what better way to celebrate than with another giveaway and guest post?


About Post-High School Reality QuestPHSRQarccover

Buffy is playing a game. However, the game is her life, and there are no instructions or cheat codes on how to win.

After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to life her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help.

While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.


 Meg

Translating Play: Turning Games into Novels

The more video games I watch or play, the more I think about what I can learn about the art of telling good stories through games. Good games, like good books, show and don’t tell. They give you objects to interact with that show you what happened (or what will happen), and make you feel what the character feels through solid mechanics. They let you as the player (reader) experience a story instead of hearing a summary of a series of events. They let you inhabit a character and walk away with memories that feel like they’re own.

When I first wrote my novel Post-High School Reality Quest, it was a story about gamers, changing friendships, and identity inside and outside (mainly role-playing) games. There were interesting characters and some funny moments, but nothing really happened. It was like a body without bones. When my friend suggested the idea of writing a novel in the form of a text adventure, I initially laughed it off. But when I got strep and was bedridden with nothing to do, I put the text adventure bones onto my novel and came up with an older draft of what is now Post-High School Reality Quest.

Continue reading “Summer of Authors #3: Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Meg Eden – Translating Play: Turning Games into Novels”

My Second Author Collaboration Video!

Hi guys! Yesterday, I got done with my ACTs, so finally, I’m done with school-related stuff for the meantime! Woo hoo! As a special treat, I created another author collaboration video for featuring 16 amazing authors! Hope you enjoy it and check out the books to these fabulous authors! You don’t want to miss their books!

Continue reading “My Second Author Collaboration Video!”

E-ARC Review: Ballad of the the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty – An Interesting Prequel for Jack and the Beanstalk

Hi guys! I got another review for you, and today’s book is Ballad of the the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty! Now first, I want to make a few announcements.

  1. We have an Instagram now, which is going to be 100% controlled by Cayli. Go follow us @LILbooKlovers (and make sure you also follow our Twitter where you can find my latest ramblings about stuff). She’s going to provide some pretty photos and updates there, so you don’t want to miss it!
  2. I am suspending Weekly Quote-Flection for the summer because I have so many author guests on the blog from Summer of Authors and I’m limiting myself to post 2-3 times a week (Monday, Friday, and Sunday). I know, I did one, and I stopped. But by then, I’ll have a ton of quotes to pick from and write about once the school year’s here!

Hope you enjoy the review!


About the BookBallad and the Beanstalk

As her fingers move across the strings of her family’s heirloom harp, sixteen-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn’t dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn’t think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn’t worry about how to tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn’t want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses herself in the song.

When Mack, a lord’s dashing young son, rides into town so his father and Elena’s can arrange a marriage between the two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the first time. Drawn to Clarion’s music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena’s relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won’t help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and for all that she doesn’t need protecting. But while she fancied herself a savior, she couldn’t have imagined the enormous world of danger that awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds.

A prequel to the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.



Disclaimer: I received a free electronic ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Overall Thoughts: I really liked the premise of the book. How did the Harp in Jack and the Beanstalk get there? It was a very interesting and unique “prequel” to Jack and the Beanstalk, and I finished it in two days. It was a quick read that keeps you hooked from the beginning! I stayed up one night just to finish the book, and I couldn’t put it down until the end. I remember I was reading another book as I was starting this one, and I was like “I just want to read this one.” Now was this a 4- or 5-star book for me? Not really; I didn’t like it and I wasn’t as emotionally connected to it as I wanted, but fairy tale lovers will like this book!

Continue reading “E-ARC Review: Ballad of the the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty – An Interesting Prequel for Jack and the Beanstalk”

Girl on the Verge Blog Tour: Review – A Dark, Thrilling, and Shocking Surprise

Hi guys! I have another review for you all, and today it is part of the Girl on the Verge Blog Tour! I’m seriously now wanting to read Forget Tomorrow now (which is also by Pintip Dunn) because the author wowed me with this book! Go read my review below!


Girl on the Verge
Pintip Dunn
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

Continue reading “Girl on the Verge Blog Tour: Review – A Dark, Thrilling, and Shocking Surprise”

LILbooKlovers 1 Year Blogoversary!: Q&A with Kester

Hello! Today is a special day for the blog because it is our 1 year blogoversary!!! Woo hoo!!! I can’t believe it’s already been one year that I’ve started this blog, and it has grown quite considerably! Now, to celebrate this special day, I’ve answered all your questions from last week’s post below! Hope you enjoy!


Misty from mistysbookspace

What was the first book that got you into reading??

Regarding my newfound of reading from 9th grade, I would say Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich made me first go “Reading can actually be super fun!” and I sped through it in a few days.

You can only read one genre for the rest of your life, what genre would you choose?

Historical fiction! I love reading books that are set in different time periods, especially World War II! I can’t get enough of Ruta Sepetys!


Tiana from The Book Raven

What time do you find yourself reading the most?

It usually depends on my schedule for the day. I usually read during breaks in school or the afternoon, or I read at night right before bed. But I don’t have a set time to read.

What are you currently reading and what do you think about it so far?

I’m currently reading That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim, which I think is pretty good so far. I love learning more about the Muslim and Pakistani culture that is inside the book, and I just love the romance!


Stephanie from TeacherofYA

Is it hard being a male blogger in a female-dominated market?

It provides its benefits and challenges. I think it is hard especially on Twitter because I’m often mistaken as a girl because I use the blog Twitter account under LILbooKlovers rather than my name, even though I use it 100% of the time. I think that it’s harder to find other males in the YA market, especially in the US, but it helps me stick out as a reviewer. You know, you need that male perspective on those romances!

Funny story: Brittany Goodwin and I talked about her secret epilogue for If You’re Gone, and I told her I didn’t like it. She said that males did not like the epilogue, including her husband, but females loved it. So you see how a male perspective is valuable for books!

What do you do when you enjoy a book that’s been labeled “problematic?”

I stand by my opinion that I personally don’t think it’s problematic. I’ve encountered this problem once now, and all I can say is that I will stick by my opinion. I will write what I feel about it in my review, regardless of whether it’s an unpopular opinion or not, but I will avoid debating about it.

What are your future blog goals?

I hope to expand the blog and get noticed by larger authors and publishers! It would be a dream to get ARCs from the Big 5 that are some of the hottest releases!

Who is your all-time favorite author that you’ve met, and that you still have yet to meet?

Shaila Patel’s my favorite author I have met. She’s super nice and sweet, and we’ve been chatting for a while leading up to SE-YA! She’s amazing, and I look forward to Soulmated‘s sequel!

I really want to meet Ruta Sepetys so much! Her books are some of my all-time favorites, and they have definitely changed my outlook on the world! She’s such an amazing historical fiction writer that I just want her to sign my books!

If you could buy a copy of any book or own any book (ARCs included), what would you pick?

A Caraval ARC. I really want one so much. I’m hoping I could trade for one soon! Or a signed Ruta Sepetys book!

Continue reading “LILbooKlovers 1 Year Blogoversary!: Q&A with Kester”

Review: Emerge by Tobie Easton – Magical Twist on a Classic Tale

Hello! So this review is almost two months overdue because I read it back in March and finished it the day before SE-YA. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the author, Tobie, and she was amazing! I loved it! Although this was a book I bought and got signed, I want to share it with y’all! I hope you enjoy!


About Emerge27882492

Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she’s never lived in the ocean. Ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality, war has ravaged the Seven Seas. Now Lia lives in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions and attends high school with humans. To protect everyone around her, she must limit her contact with non-Mer. No exceptions. But when the new girl sets her sights on Lia’s crush, she will risk exposing her deadly secret to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.


 

A 4 Star

Overall Thoughts: I know this review is like a month and a half overdue, but I really want to review this book because I think it’s one that needs to be shared… plus I planned this review for a while and I need to get to it. I remembered I finished this book the day before SE-YA, and I couldn’t put it down at the end because I was like “What will happen next?” so much!

Continue reading “Review: Emerge by Tobie Easton – Magical Twist on a Classic Tale”

The Alchemists of Loom Read Along Bonus Content!: Timeline of Events Leading up to and in TAoL

Hello guys! I am currently a part of my first EVER read along, and we are reading Elise Kova’s The Alchemists of Loom, which is pretty good so far! In our read-along group, we are reading a couple of chapters a day, discussing the book, and winning some giveaways (well I haven’t yet, but I hope to)! If you want to check out our group, then click here for the Facebook group!

May taol Read Along.jpg


If you are part of the read-along, here is today’s bonus content! I have today the timeline of the events that led up to and are in The Alchemists of Loom! History, woo hoo! If you’re a history buff like me, especially about historical, dystopian, or fantastic worlds, then you’ll like this!

Continue reading “The Alchemists of Loom Read Along Bonus Content!: Timeline of Events Leading up to and in TAoL”

Exclusive Interview with J. M. Sullivan!

Hi guys! Today, I have with me another wonderful author whose debut book just released last Tuesday! Please give a warm welcome to J. M. Sullivan, author of Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles, a dark retelling of Lewis Carroll’s original novel Alice in Wonderland.


About Alice: The Wanderland ChroniclesAlice Cover Edit

“Always protect your queen.”

Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.

Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote – if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking.



J. M. Sullivan

1. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I have always loved writing. My mom used to read to me all the time when I was little, so I remember growing up with a love of stories and literature. As I got older and realized that I could be the one who told the stories, I started making up my own. Thankfully, my writing has improved dramatically since my first stories about princes and princesses!

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

I love fantasy books. Probably not surprisingly, retellings are some of my absolute favorites. I love being able to escape into a new world that still has a sense of familiarity to it. The one that impacted me the most is easily Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine. Not only is it the first retelling I ever read, it was also the very first book I ever picked out for myself at a book store. I absolutely fell in love with the way Levine wove her characters and worldbuilding together to create this magical story that slowly unveiled itself to be a reimagining of Cinderella! I remember being so surprised and happy all at the same time when I found out my beloved Ella of Frell was actually Cinderella! It is the same feeling I want my readers to have when they read my work.JM Sullivan - small

3. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

As AMAZING as it would be unfortunately writing isn’t my full-time job (yet). To pay the bills, I follow one of my other passions, which is teaching! During the week, you’re most likely to find me in a classroom teaching sixth graders about the wonderful world of Science! Since I’m so busy, in my free time, I really just enjoy spending time at home. My kids and I have dance parties and baking adventures; or as a family we binge-watch movies. It may not be the most exciting stuff in the world, but it’s the little things in life. 😉

Continue reading “Exclusive Interview with J. M. Sullivan!”

Milestone Sunday + Give Us Your Questions for Our Blogoversary!

Hi guys! Happy Sunday! School’s out, graduation for the seniors is over, and summer is starting! Woop woop! So I’m going to make a special announcement about our summer plans soon, but in the meanwhile, we have two things we would like to say!200 followers

First, this week we achieved 200 WordPress followers! *pulls out confetti cannons* Thanks so much to everyone who has followed us throughout the past year! From the blog’s inception til January, we had a total of only 20 followers through email/Wordpress, but in the last 4 – 5 months we’ve reached 200 WordPress followers! We would just like to thank everyone who has supported us, and it has been a great honor to be blogging for such a wonderful YA community!

So since our blogoversary is coming up on May 28th, which was the date I created the first ever post! After seeing ChicNerdReads’s blogoversary Q&A post, I’ve decided to make this post open to your questions! Please comment below your questions about any of us, the blog, books, etc. and we’ll pick our favorite ones (depending on the number) and answer them! Sounds fun? Ask away!

We’re so looking forward to seeing your questions for our blogoversary post next Sunday, so you better not miss it! Thanks so much, and happy reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester