$2.99 Kindle Book Deal & Incredible Comic-Con YA Author Panel

11408650

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, Kindle edition, is on sale at Amazon for $2.99, less than the price of a Starbucks drink “tall” size, meaning “small,” which still confuses me. Anyway. . .if, like me, you’re curious to read this dark paranormal YA fantasy, here’s your chance to do it on a budget.

Speaking of author Michelle Hodkin, on Sunday 7/24  at Comic-Con in San Diego, she’s slated to be part of an INCREDIBLE panel of YA authors. Check this out! Seriously!

  • Renee Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn series)
  • Victoria Aveyard (The Red Queen series)
  • Michelle Hodkin (The Mara Dyer Trilogy)
  • Lauren Oliver (Vanishing Girls)
  • Brendan Reichs (Virals series)
  • Victoria Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic)
  • Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer)
  • Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not)

The topic is “What’s Hot in Young Adult Fiction.” If you’re at Comic-Con and you get a chance to sit in on this panel, please post details on your blog or message me. I would so loooove to be there.

–Eve Messenger

Advertisements

Four Facts Survey

Some people seem to know themselves quite well. They have clear likes and dislikes and distinctive personalities. Maybe it’s because my head is in the clouds most of the time, but I don’t think I’m one of those self-aware people. That’s why it’s nice when a tag like this  comes along to bring me back down to earth and get me thinking about what makes me tick. For that I have smart, funny, forward-thinking Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles to thank. Rae discusses so many intelligent topics in her blog, not the least of which is, of course, books. 🙂 I hope you get a chance to check out her blog.

Rules:

  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate 4  people to answer the same questions

The Questions

Four names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name:

Eve / “V” / Mom / “Honey”

Four Jobs I’ve Had:

Music/foreign language teacher, vocal arranger, Acquisitions & Divestitures Coordinator (sorry, that really was my title, ha), waitress

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once:

Groundhog Day, Zoolander, Galaxy Quest, Love with a Proper Stranger (w/Natalie Wood & Steve McQueen)

Four Authors I’d Recommend:

V.E. Schwab, Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Marie Lu

Four Places I’ve Lived:

Japan, Taiwan, Virginia, Southern California

Four Places I’ve Visited:

San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, Cancun

Four Things I’d Rather Be Doing Now:

Writing, playing with my dogs, finding new music, talking to my friends

Four Foods I Prefer Not to Eat:

avocados, guacamole, anything sour, marmalade

Four Favorite Foods:

sushi, chicken curry, b’bim bop, chicken tortilla soup

Four TV Shows I Watch:

Orphan Black, Broad City, Walking Dead, The Little Couple

Four Things I’m Looking Forward to This Year:

  • Having lots of time during summer vacation to write, read, exercise and play piano.
  • Taking a trip sometime in August (not sure where yet–any suggestions?)
  • Finishing my novel.
  • Getting healthy again.

Four Things I’m Always Saying:

“I totally get that.”
“Have a great weekend.”
“Absolutely.”
“I don’t want to talk about politics.”

–Eve Messenger

Four People I Nominate:

Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secret
Blaise @ The Book Boulevard
Beth @ The Books are Everywhere
Jesalin @ Blogging Everything Beautiful 

Delightful Interview with Roshani Chokshi, Author of The Star-Touched Queen

In honor of this week’s release of the gorgeous new YA novel, The Star-Touched Queen, I am re-Roshani at ALA Midwinter Conferencerunning a delightful interview I did with author Roshani Chokshi back in February.

 

Why The Star-Touched Queen is a Must-Read:

The Star-Touched Queen is one of the most talked-about YA debut novels of 2016 for good reason. Sarah J. Maas calls Rokshani Chokshi’s writing “flawless.” Then there’s Indian mythology, great world-building (trees that bear memories instead of fruit!?), a unique protagonist you want to root for, plus a cover so beautiful it makes you feel like you’re stepping into a dream.

25203675

Interview with Rokshani Chokshi

Eve:   Roshani, YA fans are already talking about your gorgeous Pinterest page. Where did you find such beautiful pictures to represent The Star-Touched Queen?

RC: Thank you! I guess I got ridiculously lucky on Pinterest. But I also typed in strange things in the search box, like, “gothic jeweled fruit” and “bloody hands.” You’ll get some interesting stuff…

Eve:  What made you fall in love with your novel?

RC: I love this question! I fell in love with it because of its ease. It’s not a new story. It’s threaded with a thousand and one familiar tales, from fairytales to folklore all across the world. But what made me so excited about writing it was tweaking little things and pushing the worldbuilding farther.

Eve:  Are you planning a book tour? If so, what is a question you hope someone asks?

RC: Not sure yet! I know we’re doing a blog tour, and I’m very excited for that. I hope someone asks me what my job would be in the wizarding (and witches!) world of Harry Potter.

Eve:  Now I have to ask. . . What would your job be in the wizarding world of Harry Potter?

RC: I would love to be MINISTER OF MAGIC!!!  Thank you for asking. 🙂

EveThe publishing industry is a notoriously slow-moving machine. From writing to publication, how long was the “birthing” process of your book? What have some of the highlights been?

RC: From writing to sale…about two years. The highlights have been working with my agent and editor who have been incredible champions throughout all my doubts, rewrites and crazy revision ideas.

Eve:  Many YA writers also seem to be music lovers. Did you create a playlist for your novel and, if so, what are some of the songs on it?

RC: Yes! “Satellite” by Guster, “Nagada Sang Dhol” from the Bollywood film Ram-Leela and, don’t laugh, “679” by Fetty Wap. My brain is a many-fangled beast…
spotify:user:227tl52wwdhignryikiunkm2y:playlist:3hE4yTjI7YOKBSMDtrDRve

EveYour eclectic song choices make me want to read the book even more! Speaking of music, YA authors Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford, Barnabas Miller, and Daniel Ehrenhaft have been known to perform at publishing industry events with their band, Tiger Beat. If you were in an authors band, what instrument would you play?

RC: Glass harmonica. It’s just so strange. I must possess it.


Eve:  I LOVE the glass harmonica. Great pick. . .  What are some books you recently read that you loved?

RC: UPROOTED by Naomi Novik recently ate my soul (in the best way possible) and I also loved RADIANCE by Catherynne Valente.

Eve:  Having an online presence is a big deal for writers. How do you balance writing and social media?

RC: I think putting my phone on Do Not Disturb has been the most helpful. Maybe it’s just me, but I  can get anxious on social media. So, if I’m not careful, it can take up way more hours of my day than it should.

EveIn the early days of crafting your novel, were you shy about sharing what you’d written with others?

RC: Very much!!! But that’s part of the beauty of writing. We want it to be read, seen and felt. So taking that first step with beta readers and critique partners is a wonderful and terrifying moment.

Eve:  Do you have a critique group and, if so, how did you find them?

RC: Yes. I found them on sites like Ladies Who Critique or Twitter!

Eve:  Your novel has such an evocative title. Who came up with the title, The Star-Touched Queen? Was this the same title you used when querying agents?

RC: When I queried agents, I used the title “THE GLASS GARDEN.” After signing with my agent, we sold the book when it was titled THE BRIDE OF DUSK AND GLASS. AFTER selling, we changed it to THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN thanks to the geniuses over at MacMillan.

Eve:  What’s your typical writing schedule? Do you reward yourself for meeting writing goals?

RC: I try to get most of my writing done in the morning-early afternoon. The light in myRoshani Chokshi fave reward cadbury bar favorite room is at its softest, and it makes me feel deliciously inspired. I do reward myself! Every 1k gets me half a Cadbury bar. I do, however, frequently break these rules…what are rules for after all…

Eve:  Many writers have dark moments while working on their novels, times when they’re not sure they’ll ever finish. If you encountered hurdles like this, how did you overcome them?

RC: When I get this way (and it does happen), I read my favorite books. I return to the worlds of Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor and Catherynne Valente. I let them guide me back to why I love writing.

Eve:  Was there any particular epiphany you had while writing your novel when you said to yourself, “Hey, I can do this. I’m going to publish this thing.”

RC: No, actually! And I WISH I DID! When I finished TSTQ, there was a great surge of “wow. I did the thing!” But that was what I was celebrating. Not the idea that I could actually find it on bookshelves one day.

Eve:  Lately, YA book lovers seem to be saying there is an overemphasis on romance in YA fiction. What are your thoughts on this?

RC: I love reading romance in YA. But I don’t think it’s critical to a plot. There are some books, like SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo, which deftly handle characterization and takes the focus away from the characters’ romantic entanglements. Other beautiful books, like ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS by Sarah McCarry, have romance but focus on the friendship and the experience of growing. I have no problem with romance, but I personally prefer books where romance is not the ONLY motivation for the character.

Eve:  Who are some of your favorite fictional characters and why?

RC: Howl, from HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE because he was vain and wonderful and my first serious book boyfriend.    Howl from Howl's Moving Castle

Kaye, from Holly Black’s TITHE because she was fierce and gritty.      Kaye from Tithe

Razgut, from Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE trilogy because he was pitiful and deranged and wildly funny.

Eve:  What’s something you really hope people say after they read your novel?

RC: I hope they forget they were reading. I hope they think they’ve tasted fairy fruit and fallen in love and spent time wandering through Otherworldly palaces.

Eve: Best of luck to you, Roshani. Ever since I read your short story, The Star Maiden, in Shimmer magazine, I knew you’d be a great success. Thank you for all your fantastic answers to my questions.

RC: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about writing. I deeply appreciate it.

Eve: Where can your fans reach you?

RC: Pretty much everywhere!

 

 

Top Three “Author Uniforms” Big-Name Y.A. Male Writers Wear #amwriting #amreading

I am a writer. I daydream. Sometimes I daydream about what it would be like to attend my own book signing or to speak at a conference. (My introvert palms are sweating about that one already.) The obvious question, “What would I wear?” got me browsing through photos of my favorite female Y.A. authors, whose outfits apparently run the gamut  from T-shirts and jeans to designer dresses. No help there. Then I noticed something interesting. Big-name male YA authors sport a kind of “author’s uniform.” If you’re a male (or female) author searching for a good public look, here are three options you might want to consider.

The Rock Star

I challenge anyone to find a photo of Neil Gaiman not dressed in black. (Costumes don’t count.) Gaiman’s “author uniform” (which he totally rocks) consists of a black shirt, black blazer, and black pants. Occasionally, Gaiman mixes things up with a black sweater, black trench coat, or black bomber jacket. Are you detecting a theme here? Gaiman prefers clothing that’s dark like his stories, one of my favorites being The Graveyard Book.
  

The Boy Next Door

Imaginative and prolific author Patrick Ness’s go-to author uniform is a polo shirt with zip-up hoodie and jeans. Hey, whatever works, as long as he keeps writing books like The Knife of Never Letting Go.

https://i0.wp.com/media.shelf-awareness.com/theshelf/2011Content/Patrick_Ness_-_Debbie_Smyth_081811.JPG   

It is worth noting that for gala events, Ness cleans up very nicely. Guys are so lucky to be able to slip on a gorgeous tuxedo and call it a day.

  https://i0.wp.com/www.thenational.ae/storyimage/AB/20130403/ARTICLE/304039990/AR/0/&NCS_modified=20130820143801&MaxW=640&imageVersion=default&AR-304039990.jpg

The Friendly Professor

Yep, that would be John Green, who meets with the public wearing a tieless dress shirt, blazer and jeans.

John_Green_(7492849834).jpg  https://i0.wp.com/www.penguin.com/static/packages/us/yreaders/books4boys/images/authorphotos/johngreen.jpg

Which author uniform is your favorite? If you were to attend an event as an author, what would you wear?

–Eve Messenger

We Have a Winner! @amreading @kathrynpurdie

Congratulations to Erika @ The Book’s the Thing!Swag Winner Erika cropped

Erika is the lucky winner of book swag from Kathryn Purdie’s book, Burning Glass, which was featured last week in my “Best YA Debut Novels” interview series. By “liking” that post, Erika was entered to win Burning Glass book swag kindly provided by the author.

Erika, if you’ll message me with your mailing address I’ll be happy to get your prize out to you.

–Eve Messenger

 

My First Time Couldn’t Have Been More Perfect @amreading @amwriting

VE Schwab trio of authors
Marie Lu, V.E. Schwab, Gretchen McNeil  – photo by Eve Messenger

Within a week of reading (and loving!) my first V.E./Victoria Schwab book, A Darker Shade of Magic, the author tweeted that she would be doing a book signing 15 miles from my home. My first book signing? With my new favorite author? Sign me up!

A Darker Shade of Magic

Though I was crazy nervous, I got myself to the event without hyperventilating. Alas, I had to go alone because I couldn’t find anyone else who was available.

My First Book-Signing Event was. . .

PERFECT

Perfect even though the meet-and-greet line was super long and slow-moving (over a hundred fans were there!) But here’s thing, the REASON the lined moved slowly was that fabulous Victoria Schwab spent lots of time talking with each and every fan. I LOVED watching fans step away from the authors’ table carrying freshly-signed books in their hands and HUGE GRINS on their faces.

Perfect because Marie Lu and YA horror writer Gretchen McNeil were there, too! Marie Lu signed my copy of Legend. 🙂 All three super-talented authors were friendly, enthusiastic, smart, and super fun. They were obviously good friends, and their banter created a positive vibe for the entire event. (Note to self: Someday, when I have my own book signings, I will ask author friends to join me.)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/27/Legend_Marie_Lu_Book_cover.jpg

Perfect because, even though I THOUGHT I didn’t know anyone there, I ended up running into and chatting with a writer I’d met through NaNoWriMo. Unbeknownst to me at the time, writer/reader/blogger, Jennifer F. Santucci, was also there. And SHE noticed that Nicola Yoon (Everything Everything) was there as a fan, too!

VE Schwab picture cicled

Author/fan Nicola Yoon is on the left. The top of a blonde head in the back is me. 🙂 Photo by V.E. Schwab.

Meeting Victoria Schwab

Okay, so I mustered up the courage to ask Victoria Schwab if–since I am an aspiring writer–she might write something inspirational in my copy of the first book of hers I’d read. She wrote something nice in all three books. 🙂 Thank you, Victoria Schwab!

Interesting Things the Authors Said

Victoria, Marie, and Gretchen have known one another since before they were published, as members of a writers’ group called “YA Rebels.” They initially “bonded over all things evil.”

Victoria Schwab calls herself a “chipmunk author,” or a “connect the dots writer,”gathering little pieces for a year and a half until she has enough for a story. Darker Shade of Magic started with an image of a boy walking through a door covered with blood and then running into a girl dressed as a boy. Once she has images for her story, she asks herself questions about them to fill out the plot. Before she starts writing, she needs to have five to ten moments, one of which must be the ending.

Gretchen McNeil’s microphone kept cutting out, so she said, “No problem. I can project because I used to be an opera singer.”

Marie Lu said that when she was a little girl there were two things she wanted to be, a writer and a fighter pilot.

Marie Lu said that her agent, Kristin Nelson, is so blunt that when Marie sent Kristin the first 100 pages of her early draft of Young Elites, Kristin asked,“Marie, when you sent this to me, did you think it was good?” Ouch. Marie ended up completely rewriting Young Elites from the villain’s point of view.

All three authors agreed that every single book is, in its way, painful to write.

Victoria said she bought an audio version of her own book, A Gathering of Shadows, so she could repeatedly listen to pp. 307 to 308– a super hot scene between Prince Ry and his ex-boyfriend. 😉

One of My Favorite Author Questions: Do You Listen to Music While Writing?

Victoria said she listens to a lot of music–but never while writing. Because she started out as a poet, listening to music messes with the rhythm of her words. Instead, she listens to white noise and uses a site called noisli to build her own white noise with sounds of rain, static, coffee shop sounds, etc.

Marie Lu said she has to listen to music while writing because the “silence gets too loud.” She splits up her playlists by mood, e.g., exciting, evil, happy (which she says she never uses, haha).

Writers are fangirls, too.

YA fangirl

All three authors talked about writers they get totally starstruck around. Victoria is a huge Neil Gaiman fan and wears her WWNGD (“What Would Neil Gaiman Do?”) bracelet every day. Why? Because Neil Gaiman was the first writer to teach her that she didn’t just have to write one thing, that no matter what genre she writes, her voice will still come through.

I am now seriously toying with the idea of getting my own “What Would V.E. Schwab Do?” bracelet. I am so glad I overcame my introverted nature and got up the nerve to attend my first book signing. I honestly don´t think it could have gone any better. I´d love to attend another one, and the only thing I´d change is to find other people to go with next time– there was just too much excitement to keep all to myself!

–Eve Messenger

Best YA Debut Novels of 2016. Giveaway & Author Q&A: Kathryn Purdie – Burning Glass @KathrynPurdie #amreading

Hello, book lovers! As a special salute to this month’s Q&As with authors of 2016’s BEST YA DEBUT NOVELS, this final February interview includes a special GIVEAWAY of book swag from Kathryn Purdie’s debut novel, Burning Glass. For a chance to win, all you have to do is “like” this post before Saturday 2/27/16. The winner must also be willing to provide a mailing address so I can, you know, send you the swag. 🙂

Today’s Must-Read YA Debut Author Is . . .

Kathryn Purdie who, in addition to her obvious talent for writing, is a classically trained actress. Kathryn was inspired to write the Burning Glass debut trilogy while recovering from donating a kidney to her older brother.

Kathryn Purdie

Why Burning Glass is a Must-Read:

23677316

An immersive page-turner with luscious writing and a complex heroine. Because of Sonya’s unique ability to physically and emotionally feel what those around her feel, she is forced into the employ of the emperor where she must protect him by sensing the intentions of would-be assassins.

The Interview

Eve: What made you fall in love with your novel?

K.P.: How surprising and flawed Sonya is as a character. She constantly shocked me and delighted me as I wrote her. Her unpredictability is my favorite thing.

Eve: When is your book’s official release date?

K.P.: My book releases March 1st. I haven’t seen the finished copy yet. I’m on pins and needles!

Eve: Many writers also seem to be music lovers. Did you create a playlist for your novel and, if so, what are some of the songs on it?

K.P.: I LOVE music, but I can’t listen to vocal music while I write, or I just want to sing along! So I write to soundtracks. I wrote almost all of BURNING GLASS to the film score of BELLE by Rachel Portman. The best vocal song that embodies the mood of BURNING GLASS is “Can’t Pretend,” by Tom Odell. I allow myself to listen to it while I revise, because revisions take less brainpower than drafting for me (so the vocal music isn’t so distracting).

Eve: Speaking of music.. . included in your book swag is a novel-inspired song you wrote and performed called “Song for Anton.” Clearly you are a musician. If you were in an all-authors band (like YA authors Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford, Barnabas Miller, and Daniel Ehrenhaft’s “Tiger Beat”), what instrument would you play?

K.P.: I would play the guitar—and I do play the guitar! My dad taught me when I was sixteen. I spent the rest of high school torturing all my friends with renditions of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.” One funny thing about my guitar playing is I am the world’s worst strummerMy dad taught me folk songs and how to finger pluck, and that’s still the way I play.

Tiger Beat all-authors band Nicole Brinkley-YA Interrobang
Tiger Beat all-authors band – YA Interrobang/Nicole Brinkley

Eve: The best writers are also huge readers. What are some books you recently read that you loved?

K.P.: THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD by Emily Henry (Pure magic and a sweeping feeling of nostalgia, intellect, and true love.)

A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE by Brittany Cavallaro (Awesome twist on Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is a modern girl in this version.)

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir (Amazing world, execution, and the concept of Masks fascinates me.)

Purdie three recent favorite reads

Eve: Having an online presence is a big deal for writers. How do you balance writing and social media?

K.P.: I don’t balance it! I’m still trying to figure that out. I’ve recently downloaded the “Freedom” app to force me to stay offline while I write and revise. Wish me luck!

Eve: In the early days of crafting your novel, were you shy about sharing what you’d written with others?

K.P.: I’m always shy about sharing what I’ve written. I’ve learned that I like to stay very alone with my concept and draft until I’ve made it the best it can be. Of course, I can’t do this anymore since I’m having a trilogy published. I have to discuss my future books often with my editor. But I don’t mind. She loves these books and is as equally invested in them as I am.

Eve: Do you have a critique group and, if so, how did you find them?

K.P.: I met my critique group at the first writing conference I attended a few years ago. We hard core critiqued each other’s manuscripts the first years we were together. Now our schedules don’t allow for us to have time to critique everything (some of us are published and have tight deadlines), so we’re more of a support group now. But these ladies are very special to me and have gotten me through some intense times!

Eve: Who came up with the title of your novel? Was it the same title you used when querying agents?

My editor, together with the sales and marketing team at my publisher, came up with the name, BURNING GLASS. They wanted something moody, atmospheric, and symbolic. It’s not an obvious title. When you read the book, you have to think hard about why that’s the title. That’s why I love it! My original title for the book was AURASEER, which is the type of empath Sonya is in the story. That term remains in the book, but it didn’t stick as the title. 🙂

Eve: Many writers have dark moments while working on their novels, times when they’re not sure they’ll ever finish. If you encountered hurdles like this, how did you overcome them?

K.P.: I didn’t experience this for BURNING GLASS (a rare exception to my norm), but I have for the next book in the trilogy, which I’m still working on. To get through all that, I lean on my support group of author friends and my amazing husband, I get practical advice on things I’m struggling with (like turning off my inner editor), and I cling to a strong vision that somehow I’ll succeed. Writing a book is hard, and it truly takes a village.

Eve: Was there any particular epiphany you had while writing your novel when you said to yourself, “Hey, I can do this. I’m going to publish this thing.”

K.P.: From the moment I had the idea to write BURNING GLASS, I knew this book would be special and different. I had another book planned and outlined, and I set it all aside when this story popped into my head. It flowed out of me with little difficulty, compared to previous novels. In all ways, it really felt “meant to be,” and I had high hopes for it.

Eve: Where can your fans reach you?

Website: kathrynpurdie.com
Twitter: @kathrynpurdie
Instagram: kathrynpurdie
Tumblr: kathrynpurdie

Best YA Debut Novels of 2016. Author Q&A: Kristy Acevedo – Consider (Holo Series#1)

heart books

Happy February, fellow book lovers! Each Tuesday in this, “the month of love,” I’ll be celebrating one of our greatest loves, YA fiction, by interviewing an author of one of 2016’s BEST YA DEBUT NOVELS.

Today’s Must-Read Debut YA Author is. . .

The talented and super-smart Kristy Acevedo who, in addition to writing YA fiction, works as a high school English teacher and is a huge Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Harry Potter fan.

91qcl-3cknl-_ux250_

The Book:

Consider (Holo Series #1) is set to release in April 2016.

25812632

Why Consider is a must-read:

Great writing, a distinctive voice, holograms, “a girl with anxiety disorder meets the end of the world,” and chapter one kicks booty–check out the excerpt here.

The Interview:

Eve:  Kristy, your debut novel,  Consider, has already won the prestigious PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery (CBD) Award. Congratulations on this well-deserved win. How did it happen?

K.A.: Funny story. 2015 had record breaking snow in New England. I was home from teaching due to a snow day, and Michelle from my critique group texted me about the award, telling me the deadline was soon. I had the extra time, so I put a package together and walked three blocks through ridiculous snow banks, literally falling twice, to the post office. A month later, I got a call that I won.

The same week that I won the CBD award, I also got the call from TJ da Roza, Editorial Director for Jolly Fish Press, offering a two-book deal.

Talk about an amazing week.

Eve:    What made you fall in love with your novel?

K.A.: Alexandra Lucas, the main character. Her honest struggle with general anxiety disorder and panic attacks, and the complex relationships in her life give the story a gradual depth that hits at gut level. Alex is strong, vulnerable, compassionate, flawed, and becomes the hero of the series. I love that. She also doesn’t need to kick butt or have a weapon in her hand to wield her strength. I think it sends a good, relatable message to people struggling in their own lives. The idea of recognizing the individual power you have to create change.

Eve:   Your Twitter pitch for #PitMad [a way for writers & agents to connect through one-line pitches on Twitter] was genius: “If a hologram said it could save your life, would you believe it?” Okay, maybe that’s not a question, but care to comment?

K.A.: Normally for #PitMad, the advice is to focus on character in your short pitch and never pose a question. I broke the rules, and it worked out for me. The best advice I can give about #PitMad: Make sure your manuscript is finished and edited before participating. Ten days after submitting, I received “the call” offering a two-book deal.

Eve:   What’s something you really hope people say after they read your book? YA fangirl.jpg

K.A.: I hope they finish reading and send me Tweets like:

                      “Whhhhhaaaaattt????!!!     
                                          Devastated.
                                                   Book. Hangover.
           WTF–I need book 2 NOW.
                                                    OMG—dying!!!!!!

On a real note, I hope people read Alex’s story and find empathy for those struggling with anxiety disorders. I hope readers with mental health issues see Alex’s story as a step toward acceptance and courage.

Eve:   You have a GORGEOUS author’s photo [see above. . . right?]. What was your experience with getting the author’s photo done? Who sets it up? Hair and makeup? Photographer? How do you decide which picture you like best? 

K.A.: One of my best childhood friends, Jessica Lavoie, happens to be a NY model and photographer. She was visiting family back in Massachusetts and offered to do my author photo. Ha, I did my own hair and makeup, so it shows you how good she is 🙂

She sent me tons of digital photos using a special password, and I was able to heart my favorites to narrow it down. It was so hard, I asked friends for help, but my author photo popped out as the clear winner.

Eve:   Who is one of your favorite fictional characters and why?  Luna Lovegood

K.A.: Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. She thinks differently and doesn’t care what people think about her. I love people who know themselves and live their truth without needing the approval of others. It’s admirable to be unique and lovely under tough circumstances.

Eve:   What’s your typical writing schedule? Do you reward yourself for meeting writing goals?

K.A.: I write 500 words a day minimum. I teach high school English full-time, so I usually write after 8pm. On vacations, I do writing marathons. My typical reward is dark chocolate or ice cream and Netflix.

netflix-business       d46d535c174b6b34876ef96e4d3edfc1_chocolate-ice-cream-580x326_featuredimage

Eve:   Who came up with the title of your novel? Was it the same title you used when querying agents?

K.A.: I came up with CONSIDER early on. It refers to a repeating line in the text, and it’s thematic since the novel is thought-provoking.

For book 2 of the series, I couldn’t think of a good, companion title. Then the Apple commercial came on TV, the one where Robin Williams reads Walt Whitman’s poem. The line, “The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse” jumped out at me, and I thought, “CONTRIBUTE–that’s perfect.” Weird how inspiration works.

Eve:   Many writers have dark moments while working on their novels, times when they’re not sure they’ll ever finish. If you encountered hurdles like this, how did you overcome them?

K.A.: For me, this happened as soon as I thought of the concept. It was so epic and big (two-book series with apocalypse and time travel), that it scared me as a writer. I didn’t feel ready to handle a story on that scale.

To overcome this fear, I broke up the story into a three-part structure and used small events in Alex’s life to represent the whole of society breaking down. The overarching structure gave me a framework to build on creatively.

Eve:  How did you find your critique group?

K.A.: Four years ago, I was lucky to find a local critique group through NE-SCBWI [Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators]. Our group leader is non-fiction PB writer and school visit guru, Michelle Cusolito (repped by Jill Corcoran; michellecusolito.com), PB and MG writer, Peter Arenstam (author of several books, including The Mighty Mastiff of the Mayflower; peterarenstam.com), YA writer, Scott Blagden (repped by Rubin Pfeffer. Author of Dear Life, You Suck), and me, YA writer with a 2016 debut series.

Eve:   Was there any particular epiphany you had while writing your novel when you said to yourself, “Hey, I can do this. I’m going to publish this thing.”

K.A.: Yes, I jumped out of a sound sleep with the missing link for the middle of the book that made everything finally click. I scribbled it into a notebook, went back to bed and thought, “Holy crap, this book works.” Like magically, every gear suddenly aligned, and I knew it could be something great.

Eve:  Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I enjoyed your answers. 

K.A.:  No one has asked those questions yet. It was fun.

Eve:  Where can your fans reach you?

K.A.: Kristyacevedo.com (You can read Ch 1 of CONSIDER there.)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristyace
Tumblr: http://kristyace.tumblr.com/

 

Why Do People Always Think I’m a Store Employee? and the Dragon’s Loyalty Blog Award

Emma @ Book Crunch  was so nice to nominate me for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award (thanks for all the great YA book recommendations, Emma!), so I will do my best to come up with seven facts about myself.

First, the Rules. . . 
Display the award on your blog.
Announce your win with a post.
Link the blogger who awarded you.
Present 6 deserving blogs with the award.
Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded.
Write seven interesting things about you.

Seven Facts About Me

  1. More times than I can count, when I’m out shopping in department stores, strangers approach me for assistance because they think I’m a store employee.woman-and-clerk-comparing-items
  2. Singing and dancing to impromptu made-up songs with my children is one of my favorite things in life.
  3. I’ve always secretly wanted to be a radio DJ. Last year I got to fulfill this wish with a guest-DJ stint on a major Los Angeles radio station.
  4. Unless I really respect the person in charge, I’m a bit of a rebel against authority.
  5. I’m definitely an introvert, but if you met me you’d probably think I was an extrovert, albeit an occasionally awkward one.
  6. This probably comes as no surprise, but reading, writing, and blogging about YA novels brings me immense joy.
  7. I am beyond excited to feature on my blog in February interviews with authors of (what I consider to be) the five must-read YA debut novels of 2016.

The six deserving blogs I’d now like to nominate for a Dragon’s Loyalty Blog Award are. . .hmmm, wait… it’s too hard to limit the list to six because I adore all seven of these fun, smart, loyal bloggers so much!

Beth @ betwixt-these-pages 
Millie @ millieschmidt 
Hannah @ hsduerloo and questtype 
Joan @ fiddlerblue 
Stefanie @ yourdaughtersbookshelf 
Kelly Miles @ authorkellymiles 
Jon Stephens @ Start Your Fiction 

— Eve Messenger

Books Choose Their Authors

Michelangelo's

Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Salman Rushdie said, “Books choose their authors.” This concept of a complete work of art waiting in the ethos to be carefully released by the artist, helps me. I find it reassuring to think of my novel not as an evolving thing but as something which exists and is merely waiting to be discovered. With each editing and writing session, I chisel away at the marble to expose the True Work within.

As I move well into the first revision of my YA fantasy novel, do I see the True Work revealing itself? Yes, the characters, the magic, the plot twists, the history, they’re all very exciting to discover. But the thing I can’t seem to reveal — the thing that is kicking my excavating arse, quite frankly — is the most important element of all: what the main character truly, truly wants. She wants a lot of things. She wants to buck convention; she is very curious and wants to know where the massive structures on her otherwise bucolic world come from, who built them, what their purpose is or was. She questions the True Mission of her people and wants to turn against it. I’m having a hard time solidifying that into EXACTLY what she wants. I get this feeling that the answer is right in front of me but I’m not seeing it.