Author Interview: Sarah Jean Horwitz, MG Steampunk Author of The Wingsnatchers

Hi guys! I hope you are having an awesome August! Today, Sarah Jean Horwitz is here to talk about her Carmer and Grit series, a Middle Grade duology that combines fantasy and steampunk together. I won both books in a giveaway hosted by Sarah, and I am super excited to read them, especially after reading her epic interview! I hope you enjoy!


About the BookThe Wingsnatchers

A stunning debut about a magician’s apprentice and a one-winged princess who must vanquish the mechanical monsters that stalk the streets and threaten the faerie kingdom.

Aspiring inventor and magician’s apprentice Felix Carmer III would rather be tinkering with his latest experiments than sawing girls in half on stage, but with Antoine the Amazifier’s show a tomato’s throw away from going under, Carmer is determined to win the cash prize in the biggest magic competition in Skemantis. When fate throws Carmer across the path of fiery, flightless faerie princess Grit (do not call her Grettifrida), they strike a deal. If Carmer will help Grit investigate a string of faerie disappearances, she’ll use her very real magic to give his mechanical illusions a much-needed boost against the competition. But Carmer and Grit soon discover they’re not the only duo trying to pair magic with machine – and the combination can be deadly.

In this story perfect for readers of the Lockwood & Co and Wildwood series, Sarah Jean Horwitz takes readers on a thrilling journey through a magical wooded fairyland and steampunk streets where terrifying automata cats lurk in the shadows and a mad scientist’s newest mechanical invention might be more menace than miracle.

Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Book Depository


Sarah Jean Horwitz Interview

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

I love writing because I love storytelling, and writing happens to be a pretty great way to share your stories with the world. I took some creative writing classes and wrote terrible fan fiction in high school, but it wasn’t until I took my first screenwriting class in college that I really fell in love with writing. Screenwriting has a very specific format and structure, and I found that very attractive as a new writer, as opposed to the terrifying abyss that appeared in my mind when someone said, “Write a story!” I took screenwriting classes throughout college and found that education to be very helpful when I turned my hand to children’s books.

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

The Harry Potter books were my favorite books for much of my life and still hold a very special place in my heart. Harry Potter has probably influenced me as a writer the most – something I think readers can tell, with all the Harry Potter references sprinkled through my books! I’ve been reading a fair bit of YA fantasy since high school and college. Maggie Stiefvater is a favorite of mine. I’ve often though to myself, “When I grow up, I want to write fantasy as good as Maggie Stiefvater’s!”

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

I write part-time and also have a day job as an administrative assistant at a real estate company. When I’m not writing, I enjoy watching TV, hanging out with my partner, reading, and circus arts. Most recently I’ve been practicing handstands and trapeze.

4. The first novel in your Carmer and Grit series—The Wingsnatchers—follows aspiring inventor Carmer and faerie princess Grit as they investigate the recent disappearances of many faeries, only to discover that a mad and deadly scientist is behind them. Since Carmer and Grit infuses magic and steampunk together, could you describe to us your world-building process for your series? What drew you to steampunk as an author and a reader? The Wingsnatchers

I always joke that the steampunk element of my books is the most accidental element, and it really is. The very first idea that I ever had for Carmer and Grit was a mental image of a boy in a top hat with a fairy with a mechanical wing sitting on the brim. Naturally, I had to at least partly build the story world around the existence of that mechanical wing. This led to research on clockwork, automatons, and the Industrial Revolution. When I also made the decision to pair fairy light and electric light in the plot, that of course took me straight to Thomas Edison and the late 1800s and the first power stations. And suddenly, bam! I found myself with an alternate Victorian era setting and a plot that heavily incorporated steam power and futuristic technology. And so: accidental steampunk! It just so happens that I love the aesthetic of that literary traditional as well, so I had great fun incorporating a lot of that imagery into the books.

Continue reading “Author Interview: Sarah Jean Horwitz, MG Steampunk Author of The Wingsnatchers”

Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Hi guys! Today is my second day to go back to school, and I know this semester is going to be even crazier than the first! Now I have AP exams and club competitions to worry about in the next few months! It’s going to be a long ride, but I’m hoping that I’ll still be able to read many great books and blog for you all! By now, I should have all my January posts scheduled, which is a great reliever for me. Today, I am reviewing a book I received many many months ago, but I finally had the chance to read it a few weeks ago and review it! Here’s my review of The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman for you!


About the BookThe Invisible Library

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.
 
One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…

FEATURING BONUS MATERIAL: including an interview with the author, a legend from the Library, and more!

Goodreads


4 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free finished paperback of this novel from the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

I was really looking forward to reading this novel because the premise intrigued me and a reviewer likened it to Thursday Next, who is one of my favorite literary characters of all time. I devoured half of it in an entire day, not just because I had three hours to wait out in a college commencement, but mainly from the novel transporting me into its thrilling plot. The Invisible Library is full of fascinating world-building with eccentric characters and an entertaining and slightly satirical writing style that will put you on the edge of your seat. And I agree with that reviewer–it definitely did remind me a lot of Thursday Next. (You need to read that series, by the way. It’s hilarious and set in a world where all books are interconnected!)

Continue reading “Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman”

Summer of Authors #8: Author Interview with Jon Del Arroz

Hello loves. I am back with another author interview! Please give a warm welcome to Jon Del Arroz, author of For Steam And Country.


About For Steam And Country 35378932

Her father’s been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira’s day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.


Jon Del Arroz

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

Don’t wait to be acknowledged by agents or editors. Readers are what matters. You get those by having product out there. Just produce, get the train started, put it up on amazon yourself.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

First thing that comes to mind is Excalibur by Tim Marquitz. It’s a really fun shoot em up in space that’s light, a quick read and action packed. It’s probably my favorite book I’ve read that’s out in 2017 so far and it deserves more cred!

 

As a writer, what would you choose as your spirit animal?

A ferret (thematic to For Steam And Country!)

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It really depends on the story. This book was a straight up fantasy, so it was mostly brainstorming and making things up. I have a sci-fi I wrote (which is in process for revising) where I had a character whose a master botanist. Did a lot of research on plants, botany, gardening and the like for that and spent hours on YouTube trying to get little details.

How many hours a day do you write?

Two to four.

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

For this book in particular I wanted to do something special. Most fantasy has pretty generic sounding fantasy names, and I think it’s made them imminently forgetful. I developed a naming convention through nobility in my book’s setting of Rislandia where people get named after cool items and gadgets that are steam punk themed. So you’ll have characters like Zaira Von Monocle, Mathias Du Gearsmith, Talyen Von Cravat. My hope is that those names will stick in people’s heads a little longer than if it just had more of a standard fantasy flavor. So far reaction’s been favorable!

 

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I do commercial real estate.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Tons. Last book, Star Realms: Rescue Run was littered with references to Anne McCaffrey, my favorite all time author. For Steam And Country has a lot of Final Fantasy easter eggs.

 

What was your hardest scene to write?

Wasn’t in this book, which I found pretty easy to write all around, but it was in the one I referenced above with the botanist. There was a death of a character I just didn’t want to get into that head space. I procrastinated the scene for about a month and a half.

 

What is your favorite childhood book?

When I was a kid my favorite book was 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

2 months for first pass, about a month to edit, couple weeks on a third pass. I take breaks in between to work on other projects so I can come at it fresh so the whole process is about 6-9 months.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

It’s all about confidence. Write confidently that your ideas are interesting, that they’re worthwhile and it will translate to readers. This is true for main characters too — I used to write main characters to feel “more real” with a lot of lack of confidence in themselves. While it felt accurate, it didn’t make for good fiction. People escape through fantasy/sci-fi and want to see ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and that requires confidence.

Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers?

Put yourself out there. Self-promote and don’t be ashamed of it. So many people are scared but you gotta get your friends and family reading. They’ll tell their friends and family. It cascades. It’s super important and you gotta be marketing yourself constantly. The game never ends.


About the AuthorJon.jpg

Jon Del Arroz began his writing career in high school, providing book reviews and the occasional article for the local news magazine, The Valley Citizen. From there, he went on to write a weekly web comic, Flying Sparks, which has been hailed by Comic Book Resources as “the kind of stuff that made me fall in love with early Marvel comics.” He
has several published short stories, most recently providing flash fiction for AEG’s weird west card game, Doomtown: Reloaded, and a micro-setting for the Tiny Frontiers RPG. Writing and reading Space Opera is his life!

Star Realms: Rescue Run is his debut novel. You can find him during baseball season with his family at about half of the Oakland A’s home games in section 124.

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”