Authors and Publishers

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Author Interview: Jeyn Roberts

One of my favorite books of 2011, if not of all time, has to be Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts. A Post-Apocalyptic materpiece, I could not get enough of this book!

I recently e-mailed Ms. Roberts and asked for an interview and she so awesomely answered a few of me millions of questions. This is one book that you all need to put on your reading lists! Read on to find out more about Jeyn Roberts and her delightful (if not terrifying!) debut, Dark Inside!


- What gave you the idea for Dark Inside?
Dark Inside was based on a series of dreams I used to have as a teenager. I used to have these reoccurring dreams that always took place around a river. There was a dark evil that had killed off mankind and I was often taking refuge in dilapidated buildings with a group of strangers. I still get the dreams every now and then. I always knew it was a matter of time till I wrote about them. In fact, a few scenes from the book were based on real dreams!

- You write form four different perspectives- Aries, Mason, Clementine, and Michael- Why did you choose all four compared to just one?
When I sat down and started writing, it became clear that this was such a big story. I needed more than one character to tell it. Nothing, Aries, and Mason were the first. Michael and Clementine jumped in shortly after.

- There is also a fifth perspective, Nothing, can you tell us a little about it and why inspired you to create such a “character”?
Nothing started it all. I remember staring at the blank computer screen and the words "I'm standing at the edge of existence" came into my head. Nothing is good because he's got an inside view on what's happening. He's able to answer questions to what's happening since everyone else is left completely in the dark.

- Each perspective shows how different people react to the same situation. Had you intended this?
Yes. That was my idea. We are all different. No single person would behave the same in such a crisis.

- Which character was the most fun to write from? Which was the hardest?
Both answers would be Mason. He's by far my favourite character but he also frustrates me the most. Sometimes I just want to drop him off a bridge.

- Did any novels, movies, music etc. influence Dark Inside?
Stephen King's The Stand influenced my love of apocalyptic novels. It's still one of my favorite books of all times.

- How many books will be in the series?

- Are working on any other projects besides this one?
Yes. I'm currently editing a new novel that is stand alone and has nothing to do with the series.

- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer/ that you even liked writing?
I was eleven when I first started writing stories. I've always loved it but I did get sidetracked a few times over the years. But I always came back.

- What inspires you to write?
It's the best way I can think of to get all these annoying ideas out of my head. haha

- Do you enjoy writing in first or third person?
I like both.

- What is a must have food/drink that you must have when writing?
Caramel Macchiato.

- Who are your favorite authors and do they affect your writing?
Stephen King, J K Rowling, Douglas Coupland, and Jonathon Maberry has become a recent fav. I love the Rot and Ruin series!

- You mainly write for teens, correct, why?
It just happened that way. I have a few literary novels kicking around but they never really went anywhere. But I like writing for teens. They're harder to please. You can't fool them with bad stories.

- Can you share with us a little of the work that is yet to come?
No! It's top secret! Rage Within will be out in Sept. I personally think it's better than Dark Inside. It's nicer because the group is together now so you get a lot more character development. I really feel that Aries, Mason, Michael, Clementine, and Daniel work better when they're all together.

- What is your workspace like?
I'm a coffee shop writer so my office changes every day.

- If you could change anything about your book, what would you change?
After reading some of the comments on my book, I wish I could have made the ending a bit better.

- Which is your all time favorite novel?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

- Do you outline before you write?
Nope. I just go with the flow.

- If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor and why?
There are two. Alison Acheson and Mimi Thebo. They both worked with me when I was in school and I can honestly say that both authors shaped the writer I've become. I feel like I can never stop thanking them for all their help.

- Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Love what you do! Never give up. It's hard being a writer. There's a lot of rejection and you have to have thick skin. But if you stick with it through the hard times, it'll be completely worth it when you get that yes.

- Which book cover is your favorite, UK or US?
I honestly like them both equally.

- What can we expect from your characters to come?
Lots of great stuff. As I said above, everyone is together now. There's going to be some romance but I'm not going to say who! There are also some great new characters. A reckless leader. A chemistry major. And some really creepy Baggers.

- When will the next book be released?
Sept 2012

- Where did you get the idea for their eyes to turn black? Do you think this is a major point in the book?
I have to give that credit to my friend Fiona. She gave me the idea one day when we were brainstorming. So kudos to her.

Random questions:
-If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?
Spaceship pilot.

-If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
Any character from Harry Potter.

-If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
No idea. An amazing newcomer would be good.

-If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Shape shifting.

-What makes you bored?
Everything! haha Seriously, I get bored easily. But on the other hand, I'm also easily amused.

Where you can find Jeyn Roberts:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Project Tell TAYLOR

Hey, everyone! Ok, so I had heard about Remembrance by Michelle Madow for some time now and I finally decided to get it. And I'm so happy I did- I loved this book! I heard some people said it was like a Twilight remake? That can be so far the truth it isn't even funny. I loved the concept of reincarnation that Madow writes in this book, the love story behind it, everything. But this blog entry isn't about the book, it's about Michelle Madow's "Project Tell Taylor"! Basically, we want Taylor Swift to see how much her song, "Love Story" inspired such a great book. The video above shows how you can help and some prized you can win. (Review for this book will be up soon).

What inspires you?
I actually wrote a blog entry about inspiration, but I can't remember if I ever said what inspires me. And that is: everything. I get inspiration from everyone, everything. Music, movies, books, my family and fiends, situation in school, etc. The list is limitless. But, music has to be my biggest inspiration. I see a story in my head like a movie, and movies have music. See the connection?

Find out more: HERE

Help tell Taylor Swift that her "Love Story" inspired this love story! Remembrance

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Author Interview: Hillary Frank

My encounter with one Hillary Frank began during fall of 2009. One of my best friends (who did not really like to read) had asked me to get her a book. At the time we were in school library and I did not readily have a book in my possession that I was not reading, so I randomly extended my hand into the stout shelf of the bookshelf to my right and produced a book with a rather interesting cover. Being an artsy person I was rather drawn to the cover, however I did not read the summary and simply handed the book over to her. Later that same week, I had been browsing around my public library’s in the stack they had for sale when I found a rather new copy of the book. Lo and behold I took this as a sign so I bought the book for a messily $0.50. How sad that such an amazing book was put to the wayside. I probably would have paied $100 to own a copy of this book! It is rear that I find a novel that is not filled with mystical creatures that completely envelop my thoughts. One such book: Better Than Running At Night. I loved loved loved this book and I am so grateful that Mrs. Frank has taken the time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions.

Hillary Frank is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. She is the author and illustrator of the novels Better Than
Running at Night (Houghton Mifflin 2002), I Can't Tell You (Houghton Mifflin 2004), and The View From the Top (Penguin 2010). Better Than Running at Night was named a Top Ten First Youth Novel by Booklist and a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association. In 2010, Booklist selected The View From the Top as one of the Top Ten Romance Books for Youth.

Q: What inspires you to write?
A: Overheard conversations. I'm a big eavesdropper. Sometimes I'll be on a train or sitting in a coffee shop and I'll hear something that I have to write down. And then later on a version of that conversation will show up in a book or radio story. Sometimes those conversations even inspire an entire plot. My stories on This American Life's Babysitting show and Promised Land show are both the product of eavesdropping.

Q: 3. Are any of your characters similar to you or anyone you know?
A: I think there's a little of me in every single character I write. Even Nate from Better Than Running at Night.

Q: Which do you prefer when writing or reading- first or third person?
A:I much prefer first person. I try to do something new with the format in each book I write. For me most recent book, The View from the Top, that new thing was writing from the POV of seven teens in the third person. I thought that third person would allow me to keep a consistent voice throughout the book. But in order to maintain empathy, I also wanted the voice in each chapter to reflect the thoughts of the main character of that chapter. If that makes sense. So in a way I was still writing in different voices. What I learned from the whole experience is that I feel more deeply attached to characters when I write in their voices.

Q: Can you share with us a little of the work that is yet to come?

A: I don't have a book in progress at the moment. But a year ago I launched a podcast about surprising struggles in early parenthood called The Longest Shortest Time. You don't have to be a parent to listen. You might even learn some stuff about what it was like for your mother when you were a baby. I actually interviewed my own mom, thinking it would be our comedy relief episode, and she wound up crying and apologizing to me for not being able to breastfeed me.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A: Edit. Edit, edit, edit. And then edit some more. The first drafts of all three of my novels are absolutely embarrassing. As are the following three or four drafts, probably. On every single book I did massive rewrites, in which very little of the first draft made it to print.

Random Question:

Q: If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?
A: An onion. But not because of all the layers. Because it's the food that entertains my two-year-old daughter most. She likes to unpack them from grocery bags, watch them simmer in oil, and pick them out of food and devour them as if they were raisins or chocolate chips or something.

Find Hillary Frank:
Author Website
Twitter: @HillaryFrank

I would like to thank Mrs. Frank for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. I look forward to reading more of her novels and enjoying them all the same! Lastly, congratulations on her new baby!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: Abandon

Meg Cabot

Publisher:Point (January 2012)

Summary: When Pierce first sees him, she thinks he is a murderer. She's right about one thing—he does take lives. But not in the way she ever imagined. Pierce is drawn to the dark stranger even as she tries to uncover the mystery surrounding the tragic death of someone close to her. As she gets closer to the truth—and the stranger—unexpected secrets are revealed, even in her own heart.

I had been longing to read this book and finally I got a copy, but I’m actually really sad. I loved the concept of this book. I mean an old tale spun for a new generation, awesome! But I hated Pierce as a character; she was vapid, idiotic, insensitive, shallow, boring person. She's everything I hate in a character. No backbone, changing loyalties, and just this carelessness that I HATE! She is portrayed as being someone who is not materialistic, yet she does and say stuff which makes her exactly so. When she gets into trouble, she says things like "You want money? Fine! My father will give it to you" .

I also didn’t like the flow of the narrative. Part of my 2012 New Year’s resolution was to finish a book not matter how much I want to throw it against the wall (I have not actually done this- I love books too much to actually, physically, harm them even if I didn’t exactly like them). So I read it out, even though I didn’t want to. I felt that the flow was off and all over the place. There were flashbacks throughout the novel, but it was hard to tell where one stopped and one started so I felt lost to most of the book.

I would not have minded the lack of a plot, if the character development was well done. However, every character is one-dimensional. I cannot remember liking a single character. I can’t really say much about John, the male interest. His character was so flat it was hardly 1-dimensional. I felt that he was meant to be this kind of bad boy hottie, but to me he was a stick drawing on a page who gets angry often, sometimes violently angry and aggressive. He even tries to keep Pierce in the underworld against her wishes. He kind of creeped me out.

I haven’t read any on Meg Cabot’s other book, but I loved the Princess Diaries movies and I hope I’ll be able to read those books soon. The premise of the book is promising and as this is a series maybe the books will get better. However, I will probably not read the next in the series mostly because I had to force myself to finish the book. The whole book wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good enough for me to want to recommend it to a friend.

Buy this Book:
Barnes and Noble

About Meg Cabot:

Meg Cabot is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for both adults and tweens/teens. Born
and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, Meg also lived in Grenoble, France and Carmel, California (the setting for her bestselling Mediator series) before moving to New York City after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Indiana University.
After working for ten years as an assistant residence hall director at New York University (an experience from which she occasionally draws inspiration for her Heather Wells mystery series—two new books in the series will be out in 2012 and 2013), Meg wrote the Princess Diaries series, which was made into two hit movies by Disney, sold over 16 million copies, and has been translated into 38 languages. and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, Meg also lived in Grenoble, France and Carmel, California (the setting for her bestselling Mediator series) before moving to New York City after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Indiana University.

Book Review: Will Grayson Will Grayson

John Green and David Levithan
Reading level:Ages 14 and up
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher:Speak; Reprint edition (April 5, 2011)

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage. Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans.

So far, this is the third book I’ve read by John Green and my first by David Levithan. I had mixed feelings about this book. Through the actual reading process, I loved both Wills but then I didn’t. As usual these characters are realistically crafted and easy to relate to. There were times throughout the story that I felt myself nodding in sympathy or feeling vindictive hatred for the unfortunately dead-on portrayal of selfishness and angst that's common in most high school teenagers. What I love about these characters is that they are individuals who learn life lessons and cry and hope and dissect situations to ridiculous extremes and hold grudges and appreciate love and friendship. This is the kind of book that reminds you what a coming of age tale is supposed to be.

But then there were the times when I felt like giving up. I don’t get why his is written in all lower case letters, something that actually bugged me quite a bit. “will” was the MOST stereotypical emo character I have ever read. Every cliché "emo kid" idea you could come up with is thrown in his chapters. And I do have a few emo friends, even they do not whine as much as this guy!

However, I trusted John Green as a writer so I continued to read on. After several chapter, there is a clear shift in “will’s” character and then the novel became quite enjoyable. John Green never fails to present a wonderful character who is full and enjoyable.

All in all, this was a pretty great novel. It’s not long before you are pulled into the world of the Will Graysons. You will laugh, cry, have hopes and enjoy the time you spend reading this novel.

Buy this book:    
Barnes and Noble

Find these authors:
<---  John Green

David Levithan --->

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

John Green

Reading level:Ages 14 and up
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher:Speak (December 28, 2006)

Summary: Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (François Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

I loved this book! Looking for Alaska was not what I thought it was going to be. Honestly, I didn’t even read the summery, but after reading John Green’s, An Abundance of Katharines, I had to read more. And I was not disappointed! I felt as if I was part of the novel rather than reading it. I laughed and cried! Green’s crisp voice transcends all age limits. This book deals with all the big situations that EVERYONE goes through: friendship, suffering, loss, and grief, love, hatred, and philosophy- it does so with such compassion and humor that the net impact is uplifting.

I loved the idea of “last words,” and “escaping the labyrinth of suffering”. throughout the novel I felt that I was seeking the same answers the characters were and through the author’s plot process I was not left feeling that I didn’t understand.

I was sad when the book ended- because I wanted it to go on forever. I did not want to leave this world that was so real!

This is a must read book. Even if you prefer reading paranormal romance or fantasy novels, GIVE THIS BOOK A TRY!

Where you can find John Green and his books:
Kindle  Nook     Author Website    
Youtube: VlogBrothers
Twitter: @realjohngreen
Facebook: John Green Fans
Goodreads: Fan Page

About John Green:
John Green is a New York Times bestselling author who has received numerous awards, including both the Printz Medal and a Printz Honor. John is also the cocreator (with his brother, Hank) of the popular video blog Brotherhood 2.0, which has been watched more than 30 million times by Nerdfighter fans all over the globe. John Green lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: Shattered (Dream Realms Trilogy #1)

Sophia Sharp

Kindle Edition
File Size: 589 KB
Print Length:122 pages
Publisher:Dream Publishing (June 18, 2011)

Short, spoiler free review:
Shattered was a very interesting book. It only takes about a day to read because it is only about 122 written pages. I felt very frustrated with this story because the author sometimes failed to flesh out her characters and left a lot of plots hanging. I was drawn to the concept of the dreams in this novel and was, honestly, the one thing that really kept me reading. I admire Ms. Sharp for her creative ability, however I do wish she spent more time on this novel instead of rushing into getting it published. I didn’t enjoy the rushed relationship between Laura and Logan and the dialogue was strained in my opinion. For some reason I did enjoy Shattered . I look forward to reading the sequels to the book, hopefully it gets better. I really love this cover art as well, done by Sophia Sharp herself.
*Warning:This review contains spoilers*

Laura Cubus was perfectly content with her life. A junior in high school, she felt perfectly normal. She had good friends, a great family, and did well in school. Nothing particularly exciting ever happened where she lived, and everything was stable.
But that all drastically changes when a new student arrives at Laura's school. Wild rumours swirl about his past, and Laura becomes determined to find out the truth.
As she gets to know the mysterious student, he shares with her an ancient secret... one that may yet put both of them in grave danger.
And for the first time in her life, Laura is exposed to a completely unfamiliar world. She is swept away on an exhilarating journey that takes to a place where great destiny may yet await... and where supernatural powers run rampant.
is the first book of the Dream Realms Trilogy


Shattered was defiantly an interesting book. Short and quite to the point, I had a strong love/hate relationship with Ms. Shape’s novel. I had read a lot about this books before finally deciding to get it. There were those who “love, love, love[d]” it, and then those who “hated this book with a passion”. If I had to pick what made me buy it: the price. For only $0.99 I really wasn’t giving up much and I love reading Indie novels; I’m a huge fan of Indie/Self-Published authors.

So I gave it a try. This book had a lot of grammatically and spelling mistakes. But that aside, this book also had a strong resemblance of Twilight, which I do not hate nor am I a “Twi-hard“ searching for a new Twilight replacement. There were elements that was all new to Vampires, in my own experience, about Vampires accessing the “dream world”. I thought this was very interesting, but there wasn’t enough of it. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me start with the beginning:

Laura lived a very normal life, one that she was very happy with keeping, she really didn’t want any changes. Then Logan shows up and everything kind of happens in a blur. They get stuck together in a week long after school detention on math. Then the guy Laura was so in love with tries to rape her with his buddies- DURING SCHOOL!- by this time Logan is all super cool and saves her, but she gets upset. (I felt like there should have been more with this event, like Laura tries to talk to the guy or he tries to beat up Logan, but Ms. Sharp seems to just drop the subject after this, only using it has a bit of a gateway to get the story rolling.) This was actually a bit understandable, especially when the author explains it a little while after.( A reason why I was so torn between loving and hating this book.) When Laura tries to apologize, Logan all of a sudden is showing her his superhuman “abilities” which she isn’t really freaked out about, then he shows her the dream realm and still although she justifies that it is defiantly not “human” she still does not really seem to question what he is. It is not until the middle of the book where, from the little information she has on Logan, that she figures out that he is a Vampire. Now, I knew that he was a Vampire, I had read a lot of reviews etc., but honestly from the little we knew about Logan and what he could do, he really didn’t seem like a Vampire to me. Then when the Vassiz‘s hit men, the term is used to name the Vampire race, comes after then, Logan has to take her away, and although she has only known this guys for about 2 weeks or less, she goes off with him not once bothering to protest that she can’t leave. She does mention that she is leaving her family behind, but that’s it. Logan never attracts me. He’s a bit strange and not in any way mysterious or magical or however Sharp intended him to be. I felt like he was a bit like Edward at times, except he was a bit more stupid at times. He knew that the Vassiz Elders monitor the dreams and that he shouldn’t carry Laura, but he does for hours in the dreams world like an idiot. Laura doesn’t stand up for herself and doesn’t ever put things together. There were parts in the book that fell short and I thought could use a bit more explanation. The dialogue was sketchy and was not at all natural. The characters conversed in long, drawn out sentences that just wouldn’t end and I found myself having to reread pieces because my mind kept drifting. At times I wanted to through my Kindle because I was so frustrated (but because I love my Kindle I didn’t).

But as it seems I’m bashing the book, there are things that I liked. Mainly, this was interesting to see a Dream world. I would have loved to learn more about it, but as it stands, Sharp brings about interesting topics and situations that end in a flash. Logan mentions a Maria that he loved once, but never says more. And in the end when Laura says to change her so the Vassiz cannot track her scent, Logan hesitates for only a second before her changes her. Then the book ends.

I hope that the next two books pick up and that Sharp fills in the bits and pieces she left behind. For $0.99 I really couldn’t ask for a novel like Dark Inside or Blood Red Road. You will either love it, or hate it, or you might be like me and won’t really be able to choose.

In all honesty, I felt this book could use work. The author herself admits this so do not think that I’m bashing her. I felt drawn to the story, yet I wanted to rip it to shreds (figuratively of course because it is only available in E-book formats). I admire Ms. Sharp’s creative ability and I look forward to reading the rest of the series as well as her new book in a new series.

Where you can find Sophia Sharp:
[3E-edit.jpg]Amazon Kindle

About the Author:
Student and aspiring writer. 19 years old. Born in Seattle and moved across the country a few years ago!

                                                      - Sophia Sharp's Amazon page

Monday, December 19, 2011

Author Interview: Hope Collier

Hope Collier was born in Harlan County, Kentucky. Growing up in the Appalachia, she quickly learned that a good imagination — along with the ability to outrun the neighbor’s cantankerous dog — was essential to survival. Hope wrote and illustrated her first book at the age of six and never stopped writing. She now lives in central Kentucky with her husband, two daughters, and a menagerie of pets. When not spending time with her imaginary friends, you’re likely to find her stalking other writers on Twitter or searching out new ways of fitting square pegs into round holes.
                                                                                                  -From Author's Website

Where you can find Hope Collier and her books:
Author Website: Hope Collier Books
Where to buy: The Willows: Haven
Twitter: @hopecollier
Facebook: Hope Collier

I just want to thank author Hope Collier for participating in this interview. Congrats on her success and best wishes in her future.

I hope everyone enjoys the interview.


~When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer/ that you even liked writing

I'm not sure I ever had a moment where I just knew I wanted to be a writer. It's something I've always done. I wrote and illustrated my first book at six years old. Our teacher had them covered and bound as a surprise. I haven't stopped writing since.

~What inspires you to write?

I find inspiration in most aspects of life, but the thing that inspires me most is music! After writing, that's my favorite thing of all. It amazes me that someone can sum up an entire story in a matter of minutes.

~Are any of your characters similar to you or anyone you know?

I think all writers include a little bit of themselves and others in their characters…whether they mean to or not.  I want my characters to feel and act real. The best way to do that is by observing others.

~What made you decide to self-publish? Did you try to go the traditional route at all or did you know from the get-go you wanted to be an indie?

I'm published through a small press and couldn't be happier. I love the attention and support authors receive from smaller houses. It was nice to have a say in cover design and content. I queried a handful of agents very early on, but the more I learned about indie publishers, the more I realized that was the best fit for me.

~Do you have any other jobs at the moment or are you just focusing on your writing?

I'm a stay at home mom of two little girls, and they keep me on my toes!

~Do you enjoy writing in first or third person?

This is a tricky question. I prefer first person for the fact that I love feeling, seeing, hearing and just experiencing what the character is. However, third person is more inclusive of all characters. You get a more information when you can see every aspect. There are advantages to both, but I'd have to say I prefer first person.

~What is a must have food/drink that you must have when writing?

Sweet tea!

~Who are your favorite authors and do they affect your writing?

My favorite authors are Janet Evanovich, because she has such relatable stories and characters, and Elizabeth Isaacs because she is such an emotional and sensory writer. It truly resonates with the reader. I so strive to be that kind of story teller!

~What are your goals at the moment?

My goals for the near future are: Finish the novel due out in April, and complete the second book in THE WILLOWS series due out Fall 2012.

~What was the best and worst comment from any of your writing? How has it helped you grow as a writer?

I try not to take compliments or criticism personally. It becomes too much pressure to please a reader. The problem is, what one person might love about your writing, another may hate. I just try to write something I'd want to read myself and learn from my mistakes. Though I will say, honesty and specificity really help no matter if it's a complement or criticism.

~Will we ever get to see any of your unpublished work one day?

Geez, I hope not! It's unpublished for a reason. Haha!

~You mainly write for teens, why?

I love YA! There's just something magic about teens and the way they see the world. Everything is emotional and epic, yet there's still the newness of not having experienced everything life has to offer.

~Can you share with us a little of the work that is yet to come?

Book two of THE WILLOWS is well under way and so much fun! Everyone will get a deeper look into the mythology surrounding the world where Ashton, Gabe, and the rest live. More questions will be answered from HAVEN, and there will be a few surprises as well. I'm all about the mystery!

~Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

You guys are my heroes! I couldn't do this without the support and encouragement of the readers. I owe you all more than I can ever repay you! Thanks!

~Do you have any rituals or habits that you do when writing?

Music! Music is the drive behind my muse. It fuels my imagination and sets the stage for what's going to happen. I can't write without it.

~Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what kind?

See the previous question ;) My favorite bands for writing are: Luke Asher, Silversun Pickups, Florence + the Machine, Bon Iver, The Fray, Adele, Death Cab for Cutie, and Snow Patrol. I love indie, folk, and singer/songwriter bands.

~Out of every one of your novels, who is your favorite character?

Oh, wow. This is a near impossible question to answer. I think one of my favorite characters to write is Kyle. He's just so easygoing and simple, but he's genuine and heartfelt. He's the kind of person anyone would want to have as a best friend.

~Which is your all time favorite novel?

Hands down, my favorite book ever, THE LIGHT OF ASTERIA by Elizabeth Isaacs. No other novel has moved me like this one. It's a story about selfless love and heartfelt forgiveness. Not to mention the incredible characters that are so real and true to life, you forget they're not really your friends. Just an incredible story! I highly recommend it!

~Do you outline before you write?

Not typically. I'm more of a pantser when it comes to writing. I'm not sure if that's the best way to write, but I think if I plotted the entire thing, I'd pull my hair out. I like the element of surprise, even if it's from my own characters.

~If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor and why?

Elizabeth Isaacs. I love her ability to include so much information and detail without the reader ever noticing they're getting it. And her world/character building is just amazing! There's so much more to her stories than the obvious. They're steeped in meaning and significance.

~Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Free advice is worth what it costs you, but mine would be this: Write for you. Write for fun. Learn and grow, but never give up or compromise when it means something to you! Oh, and don't expect to be perfect…especially when you're just starting out.

~What are some future projects we can expect?

I actually have several projects in varying stages. I hope to have more on those as they progress, and I have a little better idea how they'll pan out. One is a ghost story and the other has more of an "earthy" feel. And of course, Book 2 of THE WILLOWS.

Random questions:

~If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?

To pilot their indestructible aircraft! I don't want to be able to hurt myself.

~If you could be any character in fiction, whom would it be?

Hmm, this is a tough one. The first person to pop into my mind is Jo March from Little Women. She's such an incredible character…strong and non-conforming. She was always comfortable with herself and really made an impact. Plus, she was a writer.

~If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

It'd probably something lame but functional like super-human knowledge retention. I love words and information. It would be nice to act as a walking encyclopedia as long as I wasn’t annoying!

~If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?

Something salty, no doubt!

~When was the year you were the most happy and why?

I've never been happier or more content than I am now. My life is so beyond blessed. I couldn't ask for anything more.

~If you had to choose to fight off 1000 cats, 1000 babies, or 1000 old people, who would you fight against?

I'm going to go with 1,000 babies. They're relatively immobile and they don't have teeth. While some might say that's true of the latter, the thought of dirty diapers is less creepy on an infant. ;)

~If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

"Caution: Stumbler at Work"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Author Interview: Raine Thomas

The world of publishing has always brought enjoyment and escape to their fans. Like in every entertainment business, there are those who make it big and those that don’t. But that has not stopped authors like Raine Thomas from achieving their dreams.

(I will admit here that for fun I like to browse books on the Amazon Kindle store and see which book, when I had the money, I would purchase; read more about that here).

While browsing around on the Amazon, I came upon Mrs. Thomas’s e-book, Becoming. The cover art was amazing, there was a rating of 4.9/5 stars, and the e-book was just $0.99! So, I read the reviews- the best and the worst- and had to admit that it sounded very appealing. However, low on cash, I decided to stalk…err I mean follow Mrs. Thomas on twitter while I waited for some cash to flow in. She was funny and responded to her fans with great enthusiasm. From what I had read on the previews and what fans said, I was dying to read her books. But as I waited, I wanted to have an interview with her. I actually never thought she would participate. Popular as she was, and working on a new book for a new series, I really didn’t expect for her to get back to me the very next day.!

So now without further adieu, because I am sure you want to get to interview if you haven’t skipped this part yet, I present Mrs. Raine Thomas:
 Raine Thomas is the author of  the exciting and original series of YA fantasy/romance novels      about the Estilorian plane, including the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy and the upcoming Firstborn trilogy. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and is a contributing blogger to The Writer's Voice. When she isn’t planning weddings, writing or glued to social networking sites, she can usually be found on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches with her husband and daughter or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by the world around me! There will be times when I’m walking my dog, for example, and I’ll see the sunlight hit the surrounding trees or water in just a certain way. Or I might witness a tender interaction between two people that sticks in my mind. Images such as these evoke scenes that I can only hope I later convey in my writing.

Are any of your characters similar to you or anyone you know?
While I take care not to fictionalize people that I know, I strive to write characters with which my readers can associate. Thus, in keeping my characters as realistic as possible, they certainly exhibit traits of both me and people in my life.

As of this year, 2011, how many books have you sold?
My books have been available since July 24th, 2011. Since publication just over four months ago, I’ve sold between 6,000 and 7,000 books. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every person who has supported me through book purchases, reviews, recommendations to others, etc. You mean the world to me!

Do you have any "training" as a writer, such as, do you have a degree in writing etc?
Yes, I do. My undergraduate degree from Georgia State University is a bachelor of arts in English with a focus in Creative Writing. My master’s degree from Central Michigan University is in humanities. Both programs required extensive writing and research, which helped me lay the groundwork for my career as an author. Since then, I’ve participated in continuing education workshops offered by reputable organizations such as Romance Writers of America (RWA), of which I’m a member.

What made you decide to self-publish? Did you try to go the traditional route at all or did you know from the get-go you wanted to be an indie?
I did try to go the traditional route, largely because that’s all I knew when I first started on the road to publication. After months of honing my query letter, reading article after article and book after book about how to approach literary agents and publishers, and receiving nothing but rejections, I began exploring the world of indie publishing. Stories of successful indie authors such as Amanda Hocking, John Locke and Joe Konrath made me realize that this was a viable possibility. I’m thrilled with my decision!

Do you have any other jobs at the moment or are you just focusing on your writing?
My full-time job is that of a wedding planner, and I do that between 40-60 hours a week. I’m also a wife and mother. In short, my writing time is limited! I typically write late in the evening after everyone else is in bed. Sleep? What’s that??

How wide does your fan base go, meaning do people just know you in the U.S. or all over the world? And how does this make you feel?
I’ve got fans from around the world…from here in the U.S. to Canada, from Australia to the UK, from Greece to South Africa. It’s awesome!! I LOVE communicating with my fans. They really make my day.

Do you enjoy writing in first or third person?
My books are all in the third-person. This isn’t as common in YA books, I’ve noticed. But I knew going into my Estilorian series that I was going to focus on different characters, so first-person wasn’t an option. I figure this way, I’ll (hopefully) keep my writing from growing stale, as there will always be fresh characters to focus on and new plots to develop!

What are your goals at the moment?
At the moment, my goals are to get through the busy wedding season here in Orlando, which starts in October and runs through December. Then I want to focus on writing (both the nonfiction wedding planning and business-related books that I write and my fiction books). I plan to have my second trilogy released before the anniversary of the release of the Daughters of Saraqael.

What was the best and worst comment from any of your writing? How has it helped you grow as a writer?
The most amazing feedback I’ve received actually came very recently. A young lady wrote me to say that she thought my books were the best she’d ever read, and that if she becomes an author, her inspiration will be me. Talk about a career-cementing moment!
As for the most negative feedback I’ve received, I would have to say the person who said they wouldn’t recommend Becoming to other readers because they didn’t enjoy it. That was difficult to hear! Still, I know that every book isn’t going to appeal to every reader. It helps me to focus on the majority of the feedback I receive, which is (very fortunately!) quite positive.

Can you share with us a little of the work that is yet to come? Self-published or otherwise?
I’d be happy to! Here is the prologue from book one of the upcoming Firstborn trilogy, featuring a new generation (and class) of Estilorians. As I mentioned, I’m currently writing book two. I hope you enjoy it!

“The pain was unimaginable.
She dragged herself along the ground with her one working arm, at turns scrabbling at tree roots or shrubs and at others digging her hand as deep into the earth as she could manage before hauling her broken body as far as possible. In the past hour, she had moved approximately fifteen feet.
She knew she was going to die. The horrors that had been visited upon her were so atrocious that she couldn’t even think of them now. It was as though a black haze coated her memory.
But her attackers had left her in sight of a platform that could get her to Central. They had no way of knowing it because, being Mercesti, they were unable to see the heavily enchanted travel system. The platform glimmered to her like a taunting beacon, however, bouncing lightly on the waves. If she’d had the required energy left, she would have extended her wings and flown to it.
Animal-like sounds left her throat as she struggled for the strength to move. If she could somehow get to the platform, perhaps someone at Central could help her. And if she was very fortunate, kyria Amber or archigos Gabriel might even be in attendance. They could heal her.
Once more, she stretched her right arm in front of her. The ground onto which she was emerging from the forest was sandy and open. If any of her attackers remained nearby, they would see her. While that thought terrified her, she couldn’t fight the instinct to survive. She knew she had to try. So she pressed her hand into the blazing hot sand until she had enough of a grip to pull herself. Then she strained her already aching bicep and heaved herself forward as much as she could.
She didn’t even move a foot.
Although she thought her attackers had wrought all of the tears from her, she realized now that wasn’t the case. They tracked down her bruised and broken face, joining with her sweat and plopping into the sand beneath her head. Heat radiated from the unforgiving surface beneath her, burning her already punished skin.
A sound to her right had her stiffening in fear. She made a whimpering sound as distinct footfalls grew nearer.
Her enemies must have returned to finish what they started. The tears continued unchecked as she carefully removed her hand from the sand in hopes she could do at least a little damage to the next male who hurt her. She would fight until she couldn’t.
But the being approaching her stopped on her left side. She tried to move her head toward her left and couldn’t. Another pained sound escaped her.
The presence knelt. He said, “Ah, Luvania. What have you gotten yourself into?”
She couldn’t turn her head and her vision was blurred by tears and exhaustion, but recognition was immediate. Although she hadn’t heard that voice in over fifty years, she could identify it. He still managed to sound both impatient with the world and infinitely bored by it. And at the moment, there was a gentleness beneath his tone she would never have expected.
“I am afraid your injuries are beyond my ability to repair,” he said. “I have seen others emerge from the water where you appear to be trying to reach. I can get you to the platform with your assistance.”
She couldn’t find the energy to speak, so made another sound in her throat and moved her head in a form of a nod.
“This will hurt.”
He lifted her. Pain screamed through her body. She squeezed her eyes shut against it. When she again opened her eyes, she realized they were in the water. She must have passed out.
“Thought I might have lost you there,” he said. “Are you ready for placement on the platform?”
Why would he not get on it with her? The thought floated through her head and then faded as insignificant. They had only a couple feet more to go. Extending her right arm toward the platform, she indicated she was ready. He obligingly moved forward. When her hand came into contact with the platform, more tears welled in her eyes. He settled her on it and stepped away.
“Good fortune to you, Luvania,” he said.
She once again thought to ask why he wasn’t accompanying her, but by then she was lifting into the sky.
The trip took an eternity. She lost consciousness more than once. Each time, she saw her rescuer’s face in her mind, though she hadn’t actually glimpsed him during their encounter. Thoughts of him from the past as well as what he had just done for her kept her focused, overriding the brutality she had endured.
She wanted to thank him. Wanted to praise him for giving her hope merely moments after she had given up and decided she was going to die. She wanted to help him as he had helped her. Surely he needed her help if he was living on the mainland and had removed himself from existence for over five decades.
Her delirium grew. Thinking became difficult. But at long last, through vision that was slowly fading to gray, she saw the outline of Central approaching.
She had made it.
The platform eased its way into Central’s loading bay. The darkness of the underground cavern had her blinking to try and focus. It did her no good.
Her brain registered the sounds around her, but couldn’t interpret them. The pain had leeched from her body. She understood then that it had all been for nothing. Her efforts. His efforts. For nothing.
“Holy light!” she heard.
There were other sounds. Other exclamations. People touching her. But she no longer felt anything. She registered only one lingering image.
“Luvania, can you hear me?”
Something flickered in her mind at the echoing voice. Caoilinn.
“Luvania, can you tell us who did this to you?” the Lekwuesti commander asked, her words filled with urgency.
She wanted to tell them. They needed to know. Others would be at risk as she had been. There were dangers beyond any Estilorian’s knowledge lurking on the mainland.
So she struggled to work her strained vocal chords as darkness clouded her mind. There was something important she had to tell them. Wasn’t there?
Then she remembered. The image she had carried with her on the ride to Central. Someone she needed to help.
And with her last breath, she told them.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
My advice to anyone who wants to write for a living is to write something every day. It can be a character sketch or the outline of a scene…anything that relates to your writing goal. Some aspiring writers get discouraged because they think they’ll never complete a book, or finish their short story or article, etc. But if you write a little every day, that will add up to a lot over time. So don’t give up!

What are your current projects and what are some future projects we can expect?
My most recent release is an Estilorian short story called The Prophecy (available for free on Smashwords  and $0.99 on Amazon until they price match it at free). I’ve also begun working on book two of the Firstborn trilogy. My plan is to release the Firstborn trilogy all at once like I did the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy…but I might stagger the books if my fans get antsy!

Random questions:

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Oh…Drew Barrymore! We’re about the same age and I was compared to her a number of years ago. I found it a wonderful compliment.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I think my superpower would have to be the ability to stop time…as I have so little of it in the day to do the things I love!

If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?
Definitely milk chocolate…sweet and comforting. :)

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Living the Dream!

Check out her books:

Every three years, Amber Hopkins explodes. Okay, not a blown-to-smithereens explosion, but whatever it is always hurts like hell and leaves her life a shambles. She's already worked her way through five foster placements, and she's doing whatever she can to avoid getting blasted into a sixth.
As her eighteenth birthday approaches and she feels the strange and powerful energy building, disaster looms. When the inevitable explosion occurs, her life gets its biggest shakeup yet.
She'll not only learn how her fellow foster and best friend, Gabriel, really feels about her, but she'll discover that she isn't really without family.
To top it all off, she'll finally find out why she's having the power surges: she isn't entirely human.
Amber must Become, transitioning to another plane of existence and risking the loss of the most important relationship she's ever had. Her choice will impact the future of an entire race of beings, and will pit her against an enemy that will prey upon her doubt to try and take her very life.
Kind of makes the explosions now seem like a cakewalk.
                                                                     -Amazon Book Description
Buy this book: Amazon
                        Barnes & Noble-Nook E-Book

For avid student Olivia Murdoch, life on the Estilorian plane is filled with wondrous adventure. Every lesson about her new existence is both exciting and challenging. Along with her sisters, she embraces this non-human half of herself.
Helping with her lessons is her Gloresti, James. Teacher, scholar and distractingly attractive, James takes on his roles of Olivia's guide and protector with equal dedication. As he learns the human emotions that Estilorians no longer experience, he starts to see Olivia as much more than just an assigned pairing.
The physically weakest of her sisters, Olivia trains hard to learn things that no typical human classroom can impart. When they travel to "Central," the Estilorian base, she comes to understand why she must become strong enough to defend herself. She and her sisters are targets.
Not all Estilorians welcome them. In fact, more than one would see them dead.

                                                             -Amzon Book Description

Buy this book: Amazon
                       Barnes and Noble- Nook E-Book

Centuries before she was born, Skye Tomaganuk was a subject of the most important prophecy in Estilorian history. As one of three half-human daughters born of the Corgloresti, Saraqael, she is part of the fulfillment of Knorbis’ Great Foretelling. What she doesn’t know is just what the Foretelling entails for her and her sisters.
 As Skye and her sisters continue their training and visit each of the Estilorian class homelands, they soon learn how much impact their human emotions have on their father’s kind. Skye is particularly interested in the effect of emotions on her Gloresti, Caleb. Although she wants their relationship to progress beyond just that ...
                                                    -Amazon Book Description
Buy this book: Amazon
                        Barnes and Noble- Nook E-Book
Saraqael hadn’t intended to fall in love with Kate. It shouldn’t have even been possible. His kind didn’t experience emotion, and they certainly weren’t supposed to become attached to humans.
When he discovers that Kate’s dying and there’s nothing he or her human doctors can do for her, Saraqael realizes how deep his feelings for her run. And he understands just how far he’s willing to go to save her.
He vows to search until he finds a way to save her life. With the help of his best friend, Quincy, he embarks on a quest spanning the Estilorian plane…a quest that will forever change the future of his kind.
                                                     -Amzon Book Description
Buy this book: Amazon
Where you can find Raine Thomas:
Twitter: @Raine_Thomas
Facebook: Raine Thomas
Website: Raine Thomas
Hope you all enjoyed the interview as much as I did! I would like to thank Mrs. RaineThomas for dropping by the blog. I had a lot of fun reading her responses and I want to wish her good luck and happy writing in her new adventures in writing a new series!