Dear Martin Blog Tour: Exclusive Interview with Nic Stone + Giveaway!

Hi guys! This past weekend, I attended the Southern Festival of Books and met some amazing authors! I’m planning on posting some pictures here on the blog soon, but today I am so excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Dear Martin by Nic Stone, which releases TOMORROW! Go get her book, and check out her lovely interview here below!

DEAR MARTIN


About the Book:DEAR MARTIN_05.03.17

Title: DEAR MARTIN

Author: Nic Stone

Pub. Date: October 17, 2017

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 224

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Find it: AmazonAudibleB&NiBooksTBDGoodreads

Synopsis: Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.


Nic Stone1. Your debut novel Dear Martin tackles the racism that many African-Americans face today, and it releases tomorrow October 17th from Crown Books! What compelled you to write Dear Martin? Did you use any of your own or others’ experiences to construct the story’s plot, characters, setting, etc.?

So Dear Martin is really the outflow of my needing to get a better handle on American Race Relations in the 21st century. I have two little boys, and after seeing so many unarmed African Americans killed over the past five years or so—often by police officers—I really wanted to examine… how we got here, I guess. I also kept seeing quotes from the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. misappropriated and used in opposition to the type of protests and marches he championed during the Civil Rights Movement of the mid 20th century, so that made me wonder: what would Dr. King say and do were he alive now? Thus, Dear Martin was born. And yes: most of the novel is based on actual events, whether from my own life or the lives of people I know, and even some things pulled (and remixed a bit for the sake of respecting victims) from the news. Hopefully the fact that people will recognize some of the novel’s elements will make it that much more compelling.

2. Were any of Justyce’s characteristics based off yours, and if so, what are they?StoneSmile_Nigel Livingstone (1)

So like Justyce, I was a debater! I was also typically one of the only African American kids in my high school classes. In many ways, though, I was more like Justyce’s best friend Manny than I was like Justyce. I put up with a lot of microaggressions for the sake of “not stirring the waters.”

3. Since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is Justyce’s role model throughout the book, how does Dr. King inspire you in your everyday life?

My favorite thing about Dr. King is that he was a very logical man. It’s clear from reading his teachings, speeches, books, and sermons that he thought critically about the world around him and took the time to pick it apart. That’s something not enough people do in our present I need answers NOW age, and I think it’s to our detriment. Dr. King was also deeply compassionate, and I think we could all stand to be more like him in that arena.

4. What were some of the challenges that arose as you wrote Dear Martin, and how did you overcome them?

Honestly, the biggest challenge was having to do the research and writing simultaneously because I was on a tight deadline (eight weeks) for the first draft. I just holed myself up in my bedroom (thank God for excellent husbands who want you to live your dream and will take care of the children, lol) every day and banged it out. I will confess there was much sobbing and raging and being a trash fire of a person for a while.

5. In your bio, you mentioned that you lived in Israel for a few years before you moved back to the US. What are some of your favorite things about the country? Would you like to share some of your fondest or funniest memories from your stay in Israel?

Oh this is an easy one: the best thing about Israel is the food. The food is just pure magic. It’s what I miss the most! We lived near the big outdoor market in Jerusalem, and some of my fondest memories involve what was essentially grocery shopping. There was one guy who worked this produce stall that used to call me Janet Jackson every time he saw me. Good times.

DEAR MARTIN_05.03.176. How does it feel like being a debut author in 2017? How are you feeling knowing that your book is about to be released?

I’m trying not to think about it? LOL! Dear Martin sold in February 2015, so it’s been a long ride. Very strange feeling getting to the finish line, so to speak. I’m keeping myself distracted by working on more books.

7. Which books and authors would you recommend to readers that also tackle racism and other race-related issues in America?

Oh man, there are a lot. Starting with the man himself, I’d recommend Why We Can’t Wait by Dr. King. Also Killers of the Dream by Lillian Smith, The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. All of those were written a long time ago, but it’s eerie how relevant they still are. In regard to recent stuff: How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Fire This Time edited by Jesmyn Ward, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. Go get woke, friends!

8. How do you want readers to be impacted by your novel? If each reader could take out an important message once he or she is finished with Dear Martin, what do you want it to be?

Examine your world and be honest with yourself and others about the problems that exist within it. That’s really what I want people to take from the book. Oftentimes, we’re afraid to ask questions that don’t have simple answers or to acknowledge problems that lack clear cut solutions because those things make us uncomfortable. But I know from experiences that the discomfort engenders empathy and compassion. So let’s all get a bit more real about the world we live in.

Thank you so much, Nic, for coming onto the blog! It’s an honor to have you!


About Nic: StoneSmile_Nigel Livingstone (1)

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.

You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her husband and sons on most social media platforms as @getnicced.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Goodreads


Giveaway:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of DEAR MARTIN, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/16/2017- LILbooKlovers Interview

10/17/2017- YA Bibliophile– Review

10/18/2017- Mama Reads Blog– Guest Post

10/19/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

10/20/2017- Eli to the nth– Excerpt

Week Two:

10/23/2017- Chasing Faerytales– Review

10/24/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Interview

10/25/2017- BookHounds YA– Review

10/26/2017- Novel Novice– Guest Post

10/27/2017- The Bookish Libra– Review

Week Three:

10/30/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Review

10/31/2017- Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook Interview

11/1/2017- Reese’s Reviews– Excerpt

11/2/2017- Novel Ink– Review

11/3/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Guest Post

Week Four:

11/6/2017- Amanda Gernentz Hanson– Review

11/7/2017- Lisa Loves Literature– Excerpt

11/8/2017- Feed Your Fiction Addiction– Review

11/9/2017- Lost in Ever After– Interview

11/10/2017- A Backwards Story– Review


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Are you excited about Dear Martin? What are your thoughts on this book?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

Email | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin

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Exclusive Interview with YA Historical Fiction Author Gwen C. Katz on Among the Red Stars

Hi guys! Today’s interview is the first one I have done is a while, but don’t worry- we’ll have some more amazing authors and fellow book lovers talk about their novels and other literature-related topics! Earlier in September, I had the wonderful opportunity to ask YA historical fiction author Gwen C. Katz a few questions about her debut Among the Red Stars, which I want to read so much because it’s set in World War II! I wasn’t able to get it posted last month, but I’m so glad I have the opportunity now to do so. I hope you enjoy!


About Among the Red Stars30122938

World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines.

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.


Gwen C. Katz

1. Your debut YA historical fiction novel Among the Red Stars, which released last week on October 3rd from HarperTeen, follows the story of Valka as she joins the Night Witches, one of the Soviet Union’s all-female aviation groups. How much research did you have to do to make your book as historically accurate as possible? What are some of the most surprising facts that you have stumbled upon?

I think what surprised me the most was just getting a full sense of how narrow our traditional view of World War II is. The vast majority of American media is about white men from either America or Britain. We saw that this summer in Dunkirk. They ignored Britain’s South Asian soldiers; they ignored the nurses, both of whom were present in large numbers. But the war was much bigger than that. China, for instance, lost 20 million people, but when are we going to get a movie about heroic Chinese soldiers?

IMG_45302. World War II historical fiction is one of my favorite genres! What inspired you to set your book in that time period? How did you find out about the Night Witches?

I found out about the Night Witches from my father-in-law. He’s a big World War I aviation buff and one time when we were playing Wings of War, I asked him if any female pilots had flown in World War I and he told me that Russia had female pilots. Naturally I had to go look them up, and I learned about their much more famous WWII counterparts. The rest, as they say, is history.

3. What was your character-building process for creating the three main protagonists—Valka, Iskra, and Pasha? Did you reflect any of their personality traits off you or anyone you know?

Valka’s attitude is definitely based on me! A lot of pilot/navigator pairs had this “odd couple” dynamic where the pilot was the daring one and the navigator was the sensible one. So that’s where Valka and Iskra came from. As for Pasha, I think YA really needs more boys who are quiet and gentle and not traditionally masculine. I’m very interested in all the men and boys who went to war who weren’t badass action heroes. What happened to them?

4. If you were able to travel back in time to anywhere in history, where would you go and what would you do?_DSC2444 (1)

It’s got to be the the 11th or 12th century. At that time, a giant trade network connected most of Asia, Africa, and Europe, and culture was flourishing pretty much everywhere. In the Middle East, scholars of the Islamic golden age were inventing everything from algebra to deodorant. In Italy, the maritime republics were flourishing. Southeast Asia was an important trade center, so it was also booming; the Angkor Wat was built at this time period. In Africa, the Shona were building Great Zimbabwe. It was a pretty great time to be alive.

5. In addition to being an author, how is it like being an artist, game designer, and retired mad scientist? What are some of your favorite projects that you have worked on in all three professions?

I used to be more of a polymath, but now that I’m a professional writer, I have a hard time justifying spending time on my other interests, which is too bad. For art, I really like illustrating my stories. For game design, I used to make interactive fiction and that was fun but really challenging. I wrote this surrealist game called The House of Fear where you have to turn into different animals and make alchemical potions to escape. It’s pretty awesome. When I was still doing chemistry, I worked at an art museum doing conservation, which was amazing. Conservators restore artwork and protect it from being damaged. I got to see a Rembrandt and a Van Gogh up close. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

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

I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil. It started with Super Pig the flying pig superhero and it’s just gone from there. I’m just full of stories and I can’t keep them in!

7. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most? Will I sound completely pretentious if I say the French Romantics?

I went through a Les Mis phase in high school, and I think that’s the influence you see the most in my work. The Romantics wrote these books where there are big, momentous world events and tiny, insignificant people are sort of caught in the middle of it all. I love writing stories like that.

8. What is like being a debut author in 2017? Could you describe your feelings as your book is nearing its publication in a few weeks?

30122938I don’t think anyone would have picked 2017 as their preferred release year! Like everyone else, I’ve been struggling with promoting my book in an atmosphere where it feels like everything else is way more important. But on the other hand, in the age of “fake news,” we need historical fiction now more than ever. As for my feelings, I’m not sure I can describe them! You’re on the edge of your seat, and yet months at a time can go by when absolutely nothing happens. It’s a feeling you can only get in a field as slow-moving as publishing.

9. How do you want Among the Red Stars to impact readers?

Back when I first wrote it, I hoped readers would enjoy learning about what teenage girls in the past accomplished and be inspired to think big about what they can accomplish. And I still hope that. But today, I think the more important message is about resistance. These are people who fought fascism with everything they had. I hope today’s youth will continue that fight.

10. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

There are no aspiring writers, only writers. If you write, you are already succeeding!

Thanks so much, Gwen, for coming onto the blog! 


About the Author_DSC2444 (1)

Gwen C. Katz is a writer, artist, game designer, and retired mad scientist easily identified by her crew cut and ability to cause trouble. Originally from Seattle, she now lives in Altadena, CA with her husband and a revolving door of transient mammals. She is represented by Thao Le of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | DeviantArt


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Are you excited about Among the Red Stars? Do you love historical fiction novels?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

Email| Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin

 

 

E-ARC Review: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles

Hi guys! Lately, I’ve been less active because school has been super hectic for me. I just got done with midterms today, and finally Fall Break has arrived! Woo hoo! Also, the Halloween season has rolled in. You can tell since our Twitter name is Lil-BOO-klovers for the month. So to kick-off all the spooky festivities, I’m celebrating with a review of a creepy dystopian retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland! It’s the perfect Halloween read! 


About the Book34429428

**Readers’ Favorite Five Star Review Recipient**

“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.

Goodreads


Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for a review. This will not affect my review in any way.

This book definitely surprised me in many ways! Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles is one of the most unique retellings I have ever read! If you know me, I love me a good zombie novel, and this definitely made the cut! The Wanderland Chronicles is Alice in Wonderland meets World War Z, rich with fascinating backstory and references. I could not put it down at times because I was literally on the edge of my seat! I ate most of this up in a single day because it was that good. It was such a roller coaster of a novel, giving me thrills, chills, and surprises. 

Continue reading “E-ARC Review: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles”

E-ARC Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Hi guys! Today, a solar eclipse is going to happen right over my home here in Tennessee! Woo hoo! A lot of my friends around the state are going to watch it, and I am super excited! To celebrate, why not post my review of a sci-fi book that is beyond the stars? Nyxia is obviously the best choice! In addition, in a few weeks, I am going to have the author of Nyxia, the wonderful Scott Reintgen, on the blog, so be on the lookout for that.


About the Book27426044

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden–a planet that Babel has kept hidden–where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Goodreads


5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic ARC copy of this book from the publisher through Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

Nyxia was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and I literally ran to my computer when I found out that it was on Penguin First to Read. Let me tell you, this series is going to be amazing. I have really high hopes for it, which means a lot. I really needed this book because I was in a slump of average/good (but not amazeballs level) novels, and this got me out of it. Nyxia is going to be one of the best YA releases of Fall 2017. I won’t be surprised if it hits the bestseller lists like The New York Times Bestsellers; I’m actually anticipating and hoping it will. You just need to read this book. It was a roller coaster of emotions and events, and although I could predict a few things, there was still so many surprises in store. For a book I had really high expectations, it did not disappoint, which shows how amazing it was.

Continue reading “E-ARC Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen”

Exclusive Interview with Maggie Ann Martin, Debut Author of The Big F!

Hi guys! Today on the blog, I am interviewing debut author Maggie Ann Martin about her book The Big F, which looks really cool and awesome! I’ve heard many great things about this book, and you don’t want to miss it! What’s really special is that it is releasing TOMORROW from Swoon Reads! So go pre-order or order it right now because you want to read this book!


About The Big F30046340

Danielle effed up. Big time.

Danielle’s plans for the future were pretty easy to figure out… until she failed senior English and her single college application was denied. Suddenly she’s in hot water with very few options, because honestly who applies to a safety school when their mom is a semi-famous “college psychic”?!

Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass her English class and get back into Ohio State and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar… until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden-boy-next-door, Luke.

Between family drama, first love and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.

One thing’s for sure: This time, failure’s not an option.


Maggie Ann Martin

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

I’ve loved writing since I was little! Growing up, there were these story ideas always bouncing around in my head, and when I couldn’t find a book that I wanted to read that focused on a topic that I was interested, I wrote it.

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

My first love was definitely fantasy because of my love for the Harry Potter books. I really got into contemporary books after I read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and have been hooked on the genre ever since. I love that in contemporary books, you get to see the real world that you inhabit through a new person’s perspective.

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

When I’m not writing, I’m a social media community manager at Sculpt. The short description of my job is that I get to Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, Snap (you name the social media channel, we’re probably on it) for my clients. It’s pretty rad. MaggieAnnMartin2

4. Your debut novel The Big F follows the story of Danielle who is denied acceptance into the only college that she applied, which her “college psychic” mom chose for her, and has to work to get back into Ohio State. What is your most memorable or most hilarious moment from high school that you would like to share with us?

I was such a rule follower in high school! I don’t think I have anything particularly outlandish or hilarious that happened to me, but I did value my friendships. I was a super proud band nerd (still am, band nerds unite), was involved with the school paper, and did all of the school plays that I could possibly be in. I think I was too overbooked for anything wild to happen to me! Ha!

Continue reading “Exclusive Interview with Maggie Ann Martin, Debut Author of The Big F!”

Summer of Authors #12: Exclusive Interview with Leslie Hauser, author of Chasing Eveline!

Hi guys! I am currently at an engineering camp right now, so I am taking a blogging/social media hiatus for the meantime, but I’ll be back by next week. I got a few posts scheduled for you, but I won’t be editing any posts and I’ll be not too active on social media. If you need me, just shoot me an email or DM on Twitter, but know that it’ll take a bit for me to reply since I’ll be really busy. 😉 Today, I’m welcoming Leslie Hauser, the author of Chasing Eveline, which sounds super interesting (Music is a big part of my life, so that’s why!). Cayli loved Hauser’s debut (review can be found here) and I have the amazing opportunity to interview her! Hope you enjoy!


About Chasing Eveline26631470

Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel Heights High School who listens to cassettes. And her binder is the only one decorated with album artwork by 80s band Chasing Eveline. Despite being broken-up since 1989, this rock band out of Ireland means everything to Ivy. They’re a reminder of her mom, who abandoned Ivy and her dad two years ago. Now the music of her mom’s favorite band is the only connection she has left.

Even though Ivy wavers between anger and a yearning to reconnect, she’s one-hundred percent certain she’s not ready to lose her mom forever. But the only surefire way to locate her would be at a Chasing Eveline concert. So with help from her lone friend Matt—an equally abandoned soul and indie music enthusiast—Ivy hatches a plan to reunite the band.

The road to Ireland won’t be easy, though. And not just because there is no road. Along the way they’ll have to win over their Lady Gaga-loving peers, tangle with some frisky meerkats, and oh yeah, somehow find and persuade the four members to play a reunion gig. It’s a near-impossible task, but Ivy has to try. If she can’t let go of the past, she’ll never be able to find joy in the present.


 Leslie Hauser.PNG

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

I can’t pinpoint an exact event or moment that ignited my passion for writing, but I think it stems from my imagination. When I was younger, I had two imaginary friends: People and Kikibrumbrum. I cannot explain the names 🙂 , sorry! But I seem to have always had wild stories and imaginary people swirling about in my mind, and that has led me to want to be a writer.

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

I mainly read contemporary YA. So much so that I was hesitant to read Harry Potter. I didn’t think I’d like it. (I ended up loving it!) Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever is the book that hooked me on YA contemporary. I was reading mostly adult fiction at that time, and a friend recommended that book. I fell in love with YA and that story, and I was hooked.IMG_4397

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

Writing is part-time, though I’d love to make it my full-time job. When I’m not writing, I’m spending time with family and friends, reading, running, and doing CrossFit. But my main occupation is entertaining Mr. Darcy. He is one spoiled dog (but quite a gentleman)!

4. Your debut novel Chasing Eveline follows Ivy as she tries to reunite her favorite band Chasing Eveline, an 80s rock band based out of Ireland, in an attempt to find her mother, who abandoned her two years ago. Was Chasing Eveline inspired by any real life bands or artists? Do you and Ivy share the same taste of music? (I’m more an oldies person myself!)

Great question! The band Chasing Eveline is not based on any one particular band, but it is influenced by several of my favorite bands from the 80s: The Cure, Depeche Mode, and The Smiths.  I channeled into my Chasing Eveline songs all the feelings those bands evoked in me. Ivy and I definitely have the same taste in music. I’m not a big fan of today’s pop music either. I prefer the indie bands that don’t get much play on the radio, and I love listening to songs from the 70s and 80s.

5. Did you base any of Ivy’s characteristics and experiences off of you or anyone you know?

Ivy was a pretty easy character to write because I gave her a lot of my own sarcasm and my way of believing that there’s always hope (even when it’s pretty clear to everyone there is no hope! haha). There’s a scene with her dad that was pretty tough to write because it was based on something real that I experienced with my dad. But everything else is pure imagination. Even the meerkat scene! You must read the book if only for that 🙂

6. Since Chasing Eveline is based out of Ireland, have you ever been there? If so, what were some of your fondest memories from your trip? If not, what are some places and things you want to see and do?

Yes, I’ve been to Ireland. I looooved it! My favorite part was how friendly everyone was. But I also loved how beautiful it is there. One of my best days there was the day I ate fish and chips out of a newspaper by the side of the road! I also drove while I was there (on the wrong side!) and that was quite an adventure. I’m anxious to return!26631470

7. Music and 80s pop culture is prominent all throughout Chasing Eveline! What is it about the 80s that you love so much? If you had to go into a bunker and you could only bring one album and one movie from the 80s (provided you have a stereo and a TV without connection), what would you choose?

I love all the crazy styles of the 80s. Fluorescent and jellies! So awful and yet so great at the same time 🙂 I would take Louder Than Bombs by The Smiths and Pretty in Pink with me into a bunker. I’d never get tired of either!

8. In addition to being a YA novelist, you are a middle school teacher. How is it like teaching middle grade students? Do you have any funny experiences that happened to you in class that you would like to share? (I know that 6th– 8th graders can be a handful. Believe me, I was one a few years ago!)

Middle school is a blast. It really is. Currently I teach sixth grade English and history, but I’ve taught all the middle grades. I love sixth grade because they are still enthusiastic about learning and reading. Every day there are funny experiences! The kids I teach are pretty nice, so there’s lots of laughing all day long. Mostly it’s them laughing at me trying to be funny, but that’s what I love about it! 🙂

9. In your bio, you say that you dream is to return to the Midwest either owning a farm or a cookie delivery service. How do you envision your future farm or service to look like?

LHauser author picture_smaller size (1)I want to live on a horse farm. I know nothing about horses, so I’d have to be rich enough to hire someone to take care of that! But I love the wide open spaces and the green rolling hills of Kentucky. And I think the world needs a cookie delivery service for people like me who can’t buy a whole pack of cookies and not eat them all at once! But after dinner, don’t you sometimes just want a little treat? I need one cookie at a time—thus that cookie delivery service 🙂

10. How do you tackle writer’s block whenever it hits you?

I watch TV or Google Princess Kate or find cat gifs to send to my friends! I am great at avoidance. But usually if I take a break, my brain stops the sit-in protest and the ideas will form.

11. What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have any secrets you would like to share?

I’m super excited about this YA contemp that I’m currently writing. If I stay on track, it will be finished by mid-August. I’m keeping it a secret for now, but I hope it makes its way into the world. 🙂 I also just wrote a YA short story that I sort of fell in love with as I wrote it—about having a crush and the idea of documenting every event on social media vs just experiencing the moment. It’s part of a charity anthology from Pen Name Publishing.  All proceeds go toward Wine to Water, an organization that aims to get clean water to people around the globe. http://amzn.to/2tpkt56

12. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

I sort of laugh when published authors say, “Don’t worry so much about getting published. Just write and everything will fall into place.” You know, that’s easy to say once you have a publishing deal. But if your dream is to see your book in print, you will worry and you will stress and you will be sad at times. My advice is just to accept that as part of the process. Go with it. If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry that it seems so easy for some people, be angry. I would also tell writers to consider indie publishers. I’m very happy with my decision to go with Pen Name Publishing. The whole experience has been great and I get to see my book out in the world. This may not have happened if I’d only considered the traditional publishing route.

Thanks so much, Leslie, for coming onto the blog! It was a blast having you!


About the AuthorLHauser author picture_smaller size (1)

I am a YA writer and middle school teacher. I have a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently reside in Los Angeles, California, with my dog Mr. Darcy.

When I’m not living in fictional worlds inside my head, I run all sorts of distances, torture my body at CrossFit, and DVR entirely too many television shows. I dream of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service.

My debut novel CHASING EVELINE releases in 2017 from Pen Name Publishing.


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Do you have any thoughts or questions?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

Contact | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin

 

Summer of Authors #9: Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Amber R. Duell

Hi guys! Currently I’m out of town on a trip to Niagara Falls, so I’ll be on the other side of the border! I’m super excited about this trip to Canada- it’s my first time! And Summer’s almost halfway done? Can you believe it? I mean, sure I’m writing this post in early June (D-Day, to be exact), but by the time this is posted, Summer would have felt too short. In the meantime, we’re going to continue our special Summer of Authors event with Amber R. Duell!


About Fragile ChaosFragile Chaos

A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION.

AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL BRIDE.

BETRAYAL THAT COULD DESTROY THEM BOTH.

“[E]very fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.”

Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power.

“I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.”

Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.

Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?


Amber

Infusing Myth with Reality

Hey! First, a huge thank you for LILbooKlovers for hosting me! I’m excited to be here and to talk about combining myth with reality.

In Fragile Chaos, I got the chance to work with both sides of myths—the truth and the exaggeration—which was incredibly fun!

Before I decided to create my own pantheon of gods, I read other mythologies and thought they were so crazy there was no way they could be real. I knew Cassia would be thinking the same thing. No one in her world believes in the gods and goddesses anymore, but the fantastic tales were still widespread and taught in school.

Continue reading “Summer of Authors #9: Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Amber R. Duell”

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”

Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves – A Compelling Combination of Fantasy and History

Hi guys! Yesterday was my last day of school, so I’m officially free! Sweet, sweet freedom! To celebrate the start of my summer vacation, I have here my newest review for Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves. Let me tell you why I wanted to read it: Magic + 1847 Hungary. I mean, this is basically trying to get me to like the fantasy genre even more since it takes place in Austria-Hungary! Now here’s my review!


About Blood Rose Rebellion31020402

The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.


A 4 Star

Disclaimer: I received a free hardcover copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. I have also received swag from the author in a separate giveaway. These will not affect my review.

Overall Thoughts: Blood Rose Rebellion has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2017! When I saw that they were giving away free copies of this book in exchange for a review on Blogging for Books, I immediately jumped onto the offer. Let me say, this book did not disappoint! I loved how it infused both 1847 Hungary (which now has a special place in my heart because I loved the culture in the book) and fantastic magic! I definitely enjoyed reading it, and I couldn’t put it down at times! The strongest aspect of this book is the world-building, which is fascinating to think about! It definitely is a compelling combination of fantasy and history.

Continue reading “Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves – A Compelling Combination of Fantasy and History”

Exclusive Interview + GIVEAWAY with Abby J. Reed

Hi guys! Life update: school is going to end in three more days for me! Three more days! I can taste that sweet, sweet freedom now! In the meantime, I am trying to get as much read in the month of May and I’m catching up on all of my reviews! Now, I have a special guest for you today: Abby J. Reed, author of When Planets Fall. I just finished reading it a week ago and it was great! Definitely enter the giveaway below!


About the Book30801623

Breaker’s home is cleaved by blood. The three tribes on the planet Scarlatti, whose only difference is their blood color, each want to exploit Breaker’s valley for themselves. The feudal tension has already claimed red-blood Breaker’s leg and his older brother. Now all this 18-year old wants is to maintain the tenuous peace in order to keep his little ‘stroid of a brother alive. Malani, a red-blood raised blue, is a kidnapped POW and only wants to return to her adoptive home with her dangerous blue secrets. Luka, a red-blood stewing for trouble, wants to right wrongs done to his family and bathe his home in justice.

All three intersect when Breaker discovers a wrecked starship and is given seven days by the green-bloods to fix and hand it over as a weapon. Breaker must decide if aiding his enemies is worth the home he knows and his family’s life. War is coming. And war respects no boundaries. And war leaves no survivors.


Abby J. Reed

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

I love writing because it’s my way of giving back to the world. I can’t volunteer at events. I can’t cook meals for all my friends who are baby-ing. Right now, I can’t even donate tons of money to help (enter your chosen endangered species). But I can make the world a little more beautiful by telling a story. I can give in this way—by creating art.

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

Most recently, Robin Hobb’s THE ASSASIN’S APPRENTICE really impacted me. I loved how the main character Fitz could’ve totally been “the chosen/special/talented one” . . . but wasn’t. I loved how he became magically disabled and never recovered (some may say it’s not a disability, but I will argue for forever that it is). And yet—he still did his job and did it well. Those are the type of characters I want to create, the one’s who keep going no matter what.

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

Writing is “technically” my full-time job. However, with the whole Chronic Migraine thing—it ends up being a part-time job. I spend the majority of my time managing my disorder, then when I can, I write! But I also love painting. Painting uses different creative muscles and it doesn’t aggravate my head, so I spend a lot of time in my little studio.

4. Your debut book When Planets Fall takes place on the fictional planet of Scarlatti, which is home to three feuding tribes. What was your process to world-build the geography, demographics, society, and culture of Scarlatti and its inhabitants?30801623

I strongly believe a person is heavily influenced by their world, language, culture, everything. I spent a long time researching and nailing down a lot of these details as I began fleshing out characters and writing the first draft. After I have a “poop” draft and knew where the story is going, that’s when I really pour in and make sure the world building is sound and complete.

5. Why do you believe it is important to incorporate characters with chronic illnesses and disabilities inside YA fiction? Since you yourself have Chronic Migraine, which is a neurological disorder, is there anything in the book that has been inspired by your own experiences?

Breaker, Malani, and Luka are all disabled because at the time I was writing—I was beginning to drown in my own disability. I handled the pain well for years. But eventually, you run into a wall. I couldn’t handle Chronic Migraine without more help—I switched doctors, I switched medications, I was seeing a counselor and pain management specialist, and I realized I had a lot of emotions about my disability. WHEN PLANETS FALL became my outlet for these emotions—Breaker’s emotions about his amputation are probably the closest to my own, though Luka has a lesser severity of my disorder.

If they could have this and keep going, then maybe so could I. Writing them gave me hope.

That’s why I think chronic illness and disability should be included more in YA lit. Because all of us need that hope.

6. Which tribe- each based on the blood colors of red, green, and blue- would you want to be and why?

I’d pick Human, red, just because that’s what I already am. There’s pros and cons to each. No tribe is perfect and each have their high points and hidden flaws.

7. Science Fiction or Fantasy: You could only pick one! I know you love to write about both, but which genre as a reader and writer would you choose and why?

Ugggghhhh. Why do you do this to me??? I CAN’T PICK. Ooo. I know. Science-fantasy. Ha. Now I can have both.

8. How is it like being a debut author? What is one thing you wish someone told you before you started writing and publishing?

AbbyI really like being a debut author. I love meeting people and being able to connect and chat about books.

Another author told me recently—she does as much editing as she possibly can before she sells the book. But once she sells, she consideres the book done. I really wish I had heard that attitude before selling. That would’ve helped me manage the stress of deadlines for my health better!

9. Your book is told from three protagonists’ perspectives: Breaker, Malani, and Luka. Which character POV was your favorite to write? Whose POV gave you the most challenges?

Honestly, I loved all of them as I wrote. I was having serious OMG I LOVE YOU BE MINE FOREVER crushes on each. But Luka’s story was the hardest. I re-wrote his storyline probably 3 times before it finally clicked. His depth really surprised me.

10. Do you have any writing habits?

Habits don’t work well with Chronic Migraine. What works today will 98% not work tomorrow. The only habit I can really maintain is during drafting. Whenever I do sit down to write, my minimum goal is 1,000 words, no matter the pain. Everything else depends on the day!

11. Since When Planets Fall is the first book in the Stars Fall Circle series, is there anything you could tell us about the sequel? Could you give us some secrets?

Tahnya will have a POV! And . . . somebody new . . . .(wink wink). Also—I’m a huge believer in consequences. So, actions in book 1 will have repercussions in book 2. Plus, there will be a couple payoff scenes I’m eagerly waiting for :DDD

12. Do you have any tips or advice you would like to give to any aspiring authors or writers?

I’m constantly telling this to myself: you are not your work. If your work sucks, that doesn’t mean you suck. If you’re work is awesome, that doesn’t mean you’re awesome. There’s more to life to you, to me, then just writing.

Thanks so much, Abby, for doing this interview! I love your answers! 🙂


About the AuthorAbby

Abby J. Reed writes young adult science fiction and fantasy novels that ask what if. She has a degree in English Writing and is drawn to characters with physical limitations due to her own neurological disorder called Chronic Migraine. Her debut novel, When Planets Fall, will be published in April 2017 by Soul Mate Publishing.

Abby lives in Colorado with her husband and two fluffy pups. If her hands aren’t on the keyboard, they are stained purple and blue with paint. Find her online at www.abbyjreed.com


Now here’s our giveaway!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules are the same as always! Go enter! You don’t want to miss it!


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester