YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for the ‘author interviews’ Category

Interview with Maggie Stiefvater and giveaway!

Update: contest has been extended till August 24! Scroll down for more details on how you can win LINGER!

Hi Maggie, great to have you on the blog today!
Thanks for having me. 🙂

First off, could you describe what The Wolves of Mercy Falls series is about in 150 words or less?

Oh I can do better.
1. People
2. Kissing
3. Werewolves
4. And
5. Sad
6. Things
7. Happen
8. Also
9. Some
10. Candy

Efficiency. I haz it.

If you were spending a day with Sam and Grace, where and what would you do?
We’re all introverts and we all love books. Sit around and read.

Sitting around and reading is a good way to spend a day! Would you rather be part of a band like Cole or work in a bookshop like Sam?
Can I not do both? When I was in college, I worked in a little shop that sold touristy Virginia things (www.madeinVa.com) and when I wasn’t selling giant salted hams to tourists, I was playing gigs all over Virginia and Maryland with my band Ballynoola or playing the with college pipe band I was a part of.

Maybe not as exciting as rocking it out like Cole, but I think I had most of my cake and ate it too.

In Linger, Sam would fold paper cranes out of everything. Do you fold paper cranes as well?
I actually had to teach myself how to fold them for Linger. I’m still kind of slow. I had a brief fantasy of folding them for people at book signings, but my sluggish folding would turn most events into slumber parties.

If you could go back in time and tell your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t take yourself so seriously. You will be much happier in life if you aren’t published by age 18. Man, grow some bangs.

BookPage called Shiver “…Beautifully written, even poetic at times, and a perfect indulgence for readers of all ages.” Ultimately, what would you like people to take away from your Mercy Falls novels?
*blush* I’d really love, most of all, to write books that stick under people’s skin — something that they carry around after they’ve shut the cover. And ultimately I’d like teens to realize that you choose what you’re going to be, no matter what your circumstances are.

Wonderful questions. Thank you!!

Thanks for stopping by, Maggie!

GIVEAWAY: Thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic, I’ll be giving away a finished copy of LINGER to one lucky commenter.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling me if you’d rather be part of a band or work in a bookshop!

Giveaway ends 15 August. Opened to US residents only.

For extra entries:
+2 if you’re an old/new follower (email, Google reader/friend connect)
+1 if you already follow or start following me on Twitter (@readingthisbook)
+1 if you already follow or start following Maggie on Twitter (@mstiefvater)
+1 if you tweet about this giveaway and mention me (@readingthisbook)
+1 if you link to this giveaway on your sidebar/Facebook, etc.
+3 if you blog about this giveaway (must link back to this page).
+1 if for each comment made on my review of Shiver, Linger and 10 things I like about Linger.

Maggie can be found on her website, Shiver site, blog, and despite her hectic schedule, she tweets as well. Watch the Linger book trailer Maggie created herself!

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Emily Horner interviewed

Hi Emily! Congratulations on the release of A LOVE STORY. Happy to have you here at Read This Book this week! Could you please share with us a little bit about yourself? We would love to learn more about you!
I was born in Canada and grew up moving around to Montreal, France, Texas, and North Carolina. I studied linguistics and Japanese in college and spent some time studying classical Japanese literature in Nagasaki. I’d always loved to write, but in Japan I got inspired by the do-it-yourself culture of fan-made comics and decided to get serious about it.

The idea of going on a road trip on a bicycle is really cool! Was it based on/inspired by a real event?
I’ve never gone bicycle touring personally. I really wanted to, and I still want to, but I’m not naturally athletic. To be honest I’m the opposite of naturally athletic. I was trying to build up my fitness and my endurance so that I could make a serious go of bike touring, but I moved to New York before I managed to do it. My stepfather did some bike touring in Canada in his youth, and I was also really inspired by a guy named Ken Kifer who has done some crazy bicycle trips — once he did one with kittens in his basket! — and who documented them on his web page at kenkifer.com.

In a A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, the main character Cass goes on a road trip on a bike. When was the last time you rode a bike?
In 2007, before I moved to New York. When I was in grad school I went everywhere on my bike, but drivers here are really aggressive, and a colleague of mine was killed commuting to work on his bike. I wish I were braver about cycling, but I don’t quite have the skills to hold my own against traffic.

But even though I don’t bike so much these days, bicycle advocacy is really important to me. I grew up in the suburbs, where I depended on my parents to drive me everywhere, and I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 24. Biking is good for the environment, it’s good for your health, it’s fun — and it’s important for me to live somewhere where I don’t have to depend on a car to get around.

If you were spending the day with Cass, where and what would you do?
I want to say that we would ride bikes together, but she would leave me in the dust! But I love to show my friends around New York and figure out what they would have fun doing. So: biking along the Hudson River, lunch at Boneshakers cafe in Williamsburg where we could snicker at hipsters on their fixed-gear bikes, and going to the theater to see Wicked.

Have you ever been part of a musical? If yes, what was it about? If no, which musical do you wish you could be part of?
I was a tree when my sixth-grade class did Peter Pan, and that was the end of my career in the theater. But I learned from that that if you’re going to work on a musical, you’d better be prepared to listen to all of the songs over and over and over and over again. So if I could be a part of a musical, it would be Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which is a tremendous amount of fun, and there’s not a bad song on that whole soundtrack.

If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
Sei Shonagon, the author of “The Pillow Book,” a book that is at times beautifully written and at times hilariously catty about 10th-century Japanese court life. I’ve always thought that she would be a ton of fun to hang out with.

If you could go back in time and tell your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t buy into the narrowness of life in high school, and how you’re told that you have to measure up to a certain standard of “normal.” It’s a big, big world out there and there is a lot of space to define who you are and who you want to be.

Kirkus called A Love Story “Bittersweet but never mawkish and punctuated with just the right amount of teen hipster humor.” Ultimately, what would you like people to take away from your book?
There’s a Leonard Cohen song that goes, “There is a crack in everything — that’s how the light gets in.” Sometimes it’s our worst moments, our most dark or selfish or vulnerable moments, that open us up to forgiveness and hope.

Are you currently working on anything? Is it ok if you tell us in one sentence what it is about? (unless it’s super top secret!)
I’m working on a fantasy novel about a girl working in a silk factory who gets entangled in political conspiracies, which will hopefully be out in 2012.

Is there anything else you would like to add before we go?
Thanks so much for having me, and you can check out my web site at emilyhorner.com for news and updates!

Stay tuned for more interviews and guest blog coming up later this week. And a giveaway at the end of the week!

Interview with Heidi Kling

Hi Heidi! I’m pleased to host your release week for SEA right here at Read This Book! Could you please share with us a little bit about yourself? We would love to learn more about you!
Born and raised in California, I grew up all over the Golden State, changing schools every few years as my parents moved searching for the ‘ideal’ spot to raise their family. From very early on, I discovered a love of writing and creating—whether my words were in the forms of songs or poems or neighborhood plays. Even if I was at a brand new school, I always felt at home putting pen or marker or crayon to paper.

What was the inspiration behind Sea?
SEA was inspired by my husband’s real life volunteer work in Indonesia. The story can be found at Heidi’s website.

If you were spending the day with Sienna, where and what would you do?
Hanging out on the beach probably.

Have you done any volunteer work? If yes, where and what was it for?
Yes. I was a Candy Striper in high school at a local hospital, I volunteered at a nursing home later on–and a bunch of other things along the way. I’ve never volunteered abroad but I’d like to once my kids are grown.

If you had a time machine and can travel to Indonesia in any year, which year would you travel to and what will you do there?
I think I’d go now so I could meet the boys I’ve grown to care about who live there.

If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
Shakespeare.

If you could go back in time and tell your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Hang in there. You’re life will be awesome one day. Then I’d show her a picture of her two beautiful kids and her book cover for SEA. She would never believe me, but like Shrek in the movie I saw today I hope she would come to in time.

If someone told you 20 years ago that you would be a published author, what would your reaction be?
See above. 🙂

L.K. Madigan said “From the first page of SEA, the reader is plunged into a world of love, loss, and hope. The heat between Sienna and Deni is mirrored in the steamy exotic setting of Indonesia.” Ultimately, what would you like people to take away from your book?
The idea that hope, that love, that family is real. That bad things happen, but good ones do too. I love L.K.’s blurb so much. Also Jennifer Hubbard said, “Miracles and tragedies co-exist” and I think that is dead-on. Everything in life is a mix of both and when you’re a teenager is so hard to remember that. This too shall pass.

Is there anything else you would like to add before we go?
Keep checking my website for updates on my signings and projects. And the SEA tank-tops should be available SOON on my website SEA STORE. Can you tell I’m very excited about those tanks? Thanks for having me Kate!

Come back this week for more awesome posts related to SEA!

Interview with Kristina McBride

Hi Kristina, it is my pleasure to host The Tension of Opposites here at Read This Book! Could you please share with us a little bit about yourself?
It is my pleasure to be here! I am a former high school English teacher turned YA author. This whole getting published thing has been a dream of mine since childhood, and I feel so fortunate to actually have reached this point. I mean, launch week? Crazy!

What first inspired The Tension of Opposites?
I was lucky enough to catch an episode of Oprah one day when she was interviewing Shawn Hornbeck, a young man who spent a little over four years with his kidnapper before being returned to his family. I was awestruck and inspired by his strength, and couldn’t get him out of my mind. Soon after, the character of Tessa began to speak to me (yes, I know this makes me sound a little loopy).

Where do you usually get your ideas?
Anywhere. Everywhere! Friends, strangers, TV, commercials, music, my past, my fears, dreams for my future . . . every aspect of my life has somehow served as an inspiration. So if you know me, or if you ever meet me, watch out!

If you were spending the day with Tessa, where would you go and what would you do?
We would hike out to the Three Sisters (three 550-year-old oak trees that actually exist within Sugarcreek Nature Reserve near Dayton, Ohio) and take some pictures. If it was a hot day, we’d go hang out by the creek for a nice chat while we dipped our feet in the water. And then maybe we’d go for some pizza. And chocolate ice cream. Yum.

Tessa, the main character, is interested in photography. Are you a photographer like her?
I love taking pictures, but mostly my photography centers around people. My love of photography was born during my first year of teaching (1997), when I became a high school yearbook advisor and had roughly 400 pages to fill. After eight years of thinking intensely about the lighting and composition of shots, it’s just part of me now. Once I had my two kids, who are still very young, my photography began to center around them.

If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
One?! Warning: I’m totally cheating on this question. I’m thinking Laurie Halse Anderson or Jay Asher. I would love to pick their brains! How do they formulate a plotline? Create such well-developed characters? Add in such intense tension and drama?

If you could go back in time and tell your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t give up. EVER. Because if you do, you’ll never accomplish your biggest dream.

If someone told you 20 years ago that you would be a published author, what would your reaction be?
I think I would have been surprised that I actually made it happen. This has always been one of my biggest dreams, but back then, I had no idea how to go about making it happen. I figured out, along the way, that you have to ask tons of questions, make lots of mistakes, and above all, keep going.

The Tension of Opposites deals with the aftermath of a kidnapping and the impact on the victims. Ultimately, what would you like people to take away from your book?
The most important thing in my book has been evidenced in the media several times over the last ten years. There are missing children out there who are waiting to be found and reunited with their families. These kids oftentimes have been so brainwashed that they will not attempt to get away from their kidnappers, even if they have a very good chance. These are children whose parents don’t know if they are alive or dead, and are waiting for someone like you or me to notice something and tell someone. Think of Shawn Hornbeck, Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard . . . all it takes is one person’s keen eye to save a life.

Is there anything else you would like to add before we go?
If anyone would like to know more about my book (or me) they can check out my website at www.kristinamcbride.com. Thanks so much for having me and featuring The Tension of Opposites!

Tension of Opposites is out tomorrow, you can buy it at Book Depository or Barnes & Noble or Amazon. We are celebrating the release week for Tension of Opposites all week. Full schedule here, and you might just find some intriguing teasers. All comments in the release week posts will count as extra entires for the big giveaway at the end of the week!

Interview with Barbara Dee and giveaway!

Hi Barbara, it’s wonderful to have you on the blog today! Could you please share with us about your latest novel, This Is Me From Now On?
I’d love to! THIS IS ME FROM NOW ON is about a girl named Evie whose life is in a rut—until she starts hanging out with Francesca, a wild new neighbor who inspires her to do some matchmaking.

So what first inspired This Is Me From Now On?
When I was in middle and high school, I had a friend who got me into some mischief. None of the details are the same as what happens in THIS IS ME FROM NOW ON—but let me say that this girl kept me laughing.

Where do you usually get your ideas from?
Mostly, memories about how I felt as a kid. (I use very few actual details from those years—but I do use remembered emotions.) I also just pick things out of the air. I read a lot. And okay, I confess–I’m a big eavesdropper.

What’s one of your favorite first sentences from one of your favorite books?
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

That, of course, is the opening of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.

Why was it your favorite?
Because Holden just starts talking, and you know exactly who he is. Nobody else has that voice.

If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
Only one, huh? Well, I’d have to say Shakespeare. He’s kind of a mystery—it’s hard to imagine some lowly actor just churning out masterpiece after masterpiece.

If you could go back in time and tell your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
All right, listen, Barbara: you know that cute boy you’ve had a ridiculous crush on for the past two years? The one you won’t even talk to because you’re convinced he’s much too cool for you? Well, the day before graduation, when you’re signing yearbooks, he’ll confess to you that he’s had a crush on you. Seriously. And by then it will be too late, because you’re both going off to college and you’ll never see each other again. SO JUST TALK TO HIM NOW, OKAY?

If someone told you 20 years ago that you would be a published author, what would your reaction be?
YAY!

Lauren Barnholdt called This Is Me From Now On “Hilarious and heartwarming. I loved it.” Ultimately, what would you like people to take away from your book?
That it’s great to get out of your comfort zone. We all feel trapped sometimes, but we almost never really are.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes! My next book, TRAUMA QUEEN, will be out next spring. So please save a space on your bookshelf!

This Is Me From Now On is out now, you can buy it from here, here and here.

GIVEAWAY:

Barbara has kindly offered two cute goody bags with book-related items (bookmarks, lip gloss, sugarless bubblegum, and a replica of Evie’s “amber” necklace, handmade by her!). Comment below for a chance to win. There will be no extra entries for this giveaway. You do not have to be a blog or Twitter follower but it’d be nice. 😉

Giveaway ends June 7th. US and Canada only, sorry international followers!

Interview with Lindsey Leavitt

You have read my review of Princess For Hire now, here’s an interview with the fabulous author Lindsey Leavitt!

Hi Lindsey! Could you tell us more about yourself first? In no more than 150 words.
Okay. Opening up my train of thought for y’all. UNEDITED. Ready?
I like the color yellow. My kids are hilarious. I think guys in scrubs are cute (particularly MY GUY in scrubs). To get Zen, I hit up the batting cages or play pepper (volleyball) or swim. I like sunshine. I hate winter. And I write.

What was your first reaction when you saw the cover for Princess For Hire?
HOLY PINKNESS. This is probably a universal reaction. I really love it, though. It’s beautiful, especially in person, and I love how it hints at magic.

What’s one of your favorite first sentences from one of your favorite books? (Borrowing question from Malinda Lo!)
“My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.” from Because of Winn Dixie.

Why was it your favorite?
Because it let’s us know so much about Opal and the setting and her family in such a simple way. In fact, the simplicity lures us in, so that the “came back with a dog” is a delicious surprise.

In what ways was Desi similar to you?
When I was thirteen, I was at odds with who I was and who I thought people wanted me to be. So I would try to be those things (and was thus that over-eager LIKE ME! girl), when really I learned that Being Authentic was my best bet.

If someone told you 20 years ago that you would be a published author, what would your reaction be?
Oh, I wouldn’t be able to say anything. Because I was 1, of course. Maybe ma ma?

If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be?
There are a bunch of writers who I really admire, but I’m not sure I’d want to hang out with them. Like Tolstoy? Could be a drag.

So I’ll go with Meg Cabot, because she’s just so sparkly and real. Plus, she’s very secure in who she is as a writer and a person, and I’d hope some of that would rub off on me. And maybe I could borrow some of her clothes.

If you could go back in time and tell your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
OPEN YOUR EYES.

In Princess For Hire, there is a mix between fantasy and reality. Ultimately, what would you like people to take away from your book?
I’ve been told my book has a “good message”, and of course I was aware of that as I wrote it. But really? I just want it to make people happy for the couple of hours they’re reading it. Laughter is good. I hope readers close it and feel like their day is a little brighter.

Thanks for stopping by, Lindsey. Tomorrow, her protagonist, Desi will be popping in. Hope you enjoyed the interview!

A little more about Lindsey: Lindsey Leavitt grew up in Las Vegas and now lives in Alabama with her husband and three small daughters. Although she has been a substitute teacher and a homecoming princess, she has never been a substitute princess. Yet. She’s still scanning the Want Ads…

Spread the Flower Love Blog Tour: Interview with Amy Brecount

Hi all! Today we have Amy Brecount, author of Forget-Her-Nots, stopping by as part of the Spread the Flower Love blog tour. I tried to be as creative as I could in my questions– enjoy!

What was your first reaction when you saw the cover for Forget-Her-Nots?
Amazement. It wasn’t what I expected – which was a hand holding forget-me-nots or something like that – but so eye-catching. I knew immediately it was going to appeal to flower lovers of all ages!

If someone told you 20 years ago that you would be a published author, what would your reaction be?
I would have jumped up and down, because that’s been my dream for a long time. I just didn’t think it would take quite this long! It was worth the wait!

If you could go back in time and tell your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Can I give myself two?

One: Enjoy the ride. I was really focused on good grades, good college, etc. I had a great time, too, but I could have relaxed more and realized things have way of working out.

Two: Don’t go out with the same guy for more than six months. I dated one guy for about two years, because he’d start crying every time I tried to break up, and he was a really nice guy. Not a good enough reason to stay together. High school dating (and college too) are times to figure out what you want in a guy and what you need. Very few people find their soul mate in high school, so I wish I would have dated more people. It all did work out, though. I’m very happily married to my college sweetheart. 🙂

What was one Young Adult book that left you a lasting impression long after you read it?
Definitely The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It was so beautifully and originally told, and I just bawled at the end. I also read that Zusak wrote and rewrote the story from several points of view, so that made me feel better about taking a long time to write my first novel.

What are your top 3 favorite flowers and why?
Gardenia (for ecstasy and transport) – I adore the scent, the smooth ivory bud, and waxy green leaves.
Purple irises (to send a message) – I love the Siberian ones which are smaller and daintier and form clumps. However, the larger irises have the most amazing scent. You should never pass one without inhaling. J
Pansies (for thoughts of you) – In Virginia, you plant them in the fall and they come back in the spring. They are just so cheery and have a variety of lovely colors!

Back in high school, if a guy wanted to ask you out, what type of flowers would you want him to buy for you (it’d be great if you mention the color of it as well)? 😀
Red tulips to declare love would be a good choice or purple lilac for the first emotions of love. If a guy did that, I’d know he was serious.

Are you currently working on anything? Is it ok if you tell us in one sentence what it is about? (unless it’s super top secret!)
I’m writing a realistic novel called STRING THEORIES that’s about the physics of relationships, love and lust, and getting even.

Fellow Tenner Christina Gonzalez, says like the petals of a rose, this book has layers of loveliness. Ultimately, what would you like people to take away from your book?
I LOVE that quotation from Christina. She’s so lyrical! My Publishers Weekly review said I showed a “reverence for the natural world.” I’d really love for people to take that reverence away from the novel and also the idea that we all need a whole lot more flowers in the world!

Thanks so much for having me, Kate!!


Amy asked me to chose a flower and I decided to go with amaryllis. Here’s a little background about the story of the amaryllis.

Legend has it that the amaryllis – the stunning red flower we’ve come to associate with the holidays – began as a shy, timid nymph. Amaryllis fell deeply in love with Alteo, a shepherd with Hercules’ strength and Apollo’s beauty, but her affections were unrequited. Hoping that she could win him over by bestowing upon him the thing he desired most – a flower so unique it had never existed in the world before – Amaryllis sought advice from the oracle of Delphi.

Following his instructions, Amaryllis dressed in maiden’s white and appeared at Alteo’s door for 30 nights, each time piercing her heart with a golden arrow. When at last Alteo opened his door, there before him was a striking crimson flower, sprung from the blood of Amaryllis’s heart. With this romantic – albeit tragic – tale as its beginning, it’s not surprising that today the amaryllis has come to symbolize pride, determination and radiant beauty.

Follow the blog tour and collect those flowers and you can win copies of Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu and Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins along with FHN swag and a Language of Flowers booklet! This is kinda top secret info but Amy said that she will be mentioning amaryllis in her next book! Too cool!