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.