Monday, July 29, 2013

Author Interview with Lydia Kang + Giveaway: $15 Amazon Gift Card + Control Swag

Hi guys! Today I will be interviewing Lydia Kang, the author of one of my most anticipated YA debuts for this year - Control. The giveaway later is for swag lovers.

How would you describe your writing style?
No one's ever asked me this before! It's kind of hard to answer. I guess I see similarities between my writing and Suzanne Collins, Marie Lu, and Veronica Rossi.

If you could write a novel from another genre, what would it be?
Historical. Well, I did once but it's shelved. :) I'd love to write a story that takes place in the Jazz era of Manhattan.

My favorite question: What or who inspired Control?
A very unusual medical illness called Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome, also sometimes referred to as Ondine's Curse. I imagined how difficult it would be to live with a disease that could make you could die in your sleep from not being able to breathe enough, or make you think about every single breath. My main character has this problem.

Tell us about the story world of Control.
It takes place in 2150, and what's different now is all the States have banded together according to ideology. So there are combo states, like Nebraska and Iowa = Neia (I often used the state abbreviations to make the new State names). Some are extremely conservative, others not. But more importantly, the federal government has decided that human DNA cannot be manipulated within humans. Only pure DNA is allowed. You can guess the rest!

Since it's a century and a half into the future, can you tell us of the latest technology and developments?
Things like driving cars are a thing of the past, only done by a few rare hobbyists. Food is loaded up into machines called "efferents" that do all the cooking and prep for you. Punch in some buttered toast, coq au vin and creme brûlée and it's done. Wish I had one of these...

How do you balance the romantic and scientific elements in Control?
No balance needed. They were separate things, really, that interwove when needed. I was serious about the science, but not so heavy handed that it reads like a lecture. The romance is delicate and fractured and new. It was so fun to write.

If you could bring Zel to the present, what would you give her?
OMG, I would give her a hug! And tell her how awesome she is. And then I'd lend her my clothes, because she dresses like a recluse. And then I'd give her my favorite book of poetry.

When it comes to character development, do you have a strategy?
Make them change, but don't make them perfect.

What is next for Lydia Kang?
The sequel! It's going to be out Winter 2015. It's title is tentatively called Catalyst, but will likely change. After that, who knows? I've got a handful of ideas waiting in the wings. :)

Lydia Kang is an author of young adut fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine and completed her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, and Hektoen International. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three children and a terrarium full of stick bugs. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and is an unapologetic salt addict.

Follow Lydia: Website | Blog | Twitter

Book Description:

Hardcover, 400 pages
December 26th 2013, Dial Books for Young Readers

An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

“Control blew me away.”—James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner trilogy

What's up for grabs?

Open internationally!
You should be at least 13 years old.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Author Interview with Mary Gray + Giveaway: ARC of The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray

Hi guys!For today, I have Mary Gray, the author of The Dollhouse Asylum. We will be doing something a little bit different - a fun, quick interview.

Describe THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM in five words:
1. Melancholy
2. Romantic
3. Suspenseful
4. Fragile
5. Sobering

In one sentence, what is THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM about?
It's a story about a group of teenagers who are granted asylum from the apocalypse and then are forced to re-enact tragic, literary couples... or die.

Tragic literary couples, you say? Can you tell us who?
Nope! That's why you need to read this book! Then you can see which couples my villain felt needed to be in his "perfect" world.

Where does the story take place?
In an eerily pristine subdivision in the middle of nowhere outside Austin, TX.

When can we read THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM?
It's released October 22nd! Just three short months away!

Is there kissing in this book?
YES. All the best books involve kissing.

Where does the best kissing take place?
Why, in the rain, naturally, with someone our hero should not be kissing at all.

Mary Gray has a fascination with all things creepy. That's why all her favorite stories usually involve panic attacks and hyperventilating. In real life, she prefers to type away on her computer, ogle over her favorite TV shows, and savor fiction. When she's not immersed in other worlds, she and her husband get their exercise by chasing after their three children. The Dollhouse Asylum is her first novel.

Follow Mary: Website | Twitter

Book Description:

Paperback, 296 pages
October 22nd 2013, Spencer Hill Press

A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.

At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.

The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.

If they play it right, then they'll be safe.

But if they play it wrong, they'll die.

What's up for grabs? An ARC of The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray.

Open to US residents (if you have a US address you can send to, you can also join)
You should be at least 13 years old.
Be a follower. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway: Romancing the Bookworm by Kate Evangelista

I'm happy to be a part of this blog tour, given that Kate Evangelista is one of my most favorite authors in the history of history. From YA, she is now jumping to New Adult and I'm just so eager to find out how well she would write in NA. The verdict: I'm not disappointed.

Book Description:

Sometimes, even the best-laid plans can unravel.

It's spring break, and Tamara Winters would rather stay on campus and read romance novels than flaunt her size-fourteen body on a beach. But her best friend, Ronni, has other ideas. Against her wishes, Tamara is whisked away to picturesque Maverick Bay, where she's wrangled into waiting tables with Rony at the Shore Shack for its busy week leading to Maverick's Surf Invitational. There she meets fellow schoolmate Xavier Solomon, the Invitational's organizer and campus womanizer by reputation. From the moment Tamara sees him emerging from the waves like a hero in of one of her romance novels, all she wants to do is run away from the feelings he inspires in her.

Little does she know Xavier has been watching her for weeks now. In fact, after failed attempts at asking her out on campus, he's concocted a crazy plan: fabricating romantic situations straight out of her favorite books. Xavier quickly realizes that if Tamara gets a whiff of his designs, he might as well spell CREEPER across his forehead. Yet as they grow closer, he's convinced it's a risk worth taking. What he hasn't planned on, of course, is his drug-addicted, alcoholic stepbrother, who decides to join the fun and put a wrench in Xavier’s scheme.

Spring break is proving hotter than Tamara expected. Will her romance novels be able to compete?

Barnes & Noble | Amazon

My Thoughts:

There is just a kind of magic in Kate's writing that always pulls me in. I found Romancing the Bookworm so effortless to read, superfluous in the sense that I could not stop reading it the moment I started.

Tamara Winters would rather read indoors for an entire week than go out partying. But Kidnapped for spring break by her best friend, Ronni, Tamara has no choice but to stay in Maverick Bay and help out at the Shore Shack - if not Ronni was bound to throw her novels into the ocean. Then she met the finest specimen of the opposite sex, Xavier Solomon. She learned that reality can beat fiction, in certain cases.

In Romancing the Bookworm, the narrative was split to two points of view: Tamara's and Xavier's. Let's start off with Tamara. As a bookworm, the way she thinks and relates fiction to reality and vice versa stirred a sense of familiarity in me, given that I myself am a bookworm. What I liked about her was that she really delved into detailed comparison and spoke with so much passion. Her voice had a sincere and genuine tone to it and for this reason, it was easy to relate to her, as if she was an old friend. Tamara narrated the story from her point of view in a descriptive, hilarious yet contemplative manner.

Xavier on the other hand, was what I would call the perfect dream guy. A tall, tanned, gorgeous Adonis, from whichever angle you looked at him, you would find him appealing. But his life was not 100% perfect as it should have been. He had a lot on his plate, stress over planning the Invitational, almost-aneurism over his brother, Zander, and a bit of anxiety and hesitation over Tamara. As the story progressed, I got to know more and more about his life. Piece by piece, he was unraveled. Each peeled off layer made him all the more east to understand and all the more easy to relate to.

The relationship of Xavier and Tamara was not exactly instalove, more of a supernova of physical attraction at first that was both interrupted and hastened by embarrassing circumstances. The undeniable gravity-like pull was present, tugging the lovers towards one another, but that didn't stop them from contemplating about how they were strangers 24 hours ago. There was still logic amidst the chemistry-fired interactions. Romance readers will definitely enjoy this one as the scenes varied from sweet and teasing to hot and steamy.

Overall, Romancing the Bookworm is as diverse as the genres that Tamara reads: fun, romantic and steamy. With a cast of developed characters, a enchanting setting and beautiful writing, I really enjoyed this New Adult Contemporary. I strongly recommend this for older YA contemporary readers and romance readers.

4.5 Cupids = Obsessive book love.
Almost made it as one of my favorites! I strongly recommend this!

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Identified: The Maya Price Story Blog Tour: Excerpt

Hi guys! Thank you to Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours for letting me be a part of this. For today, I have an excerpt of Identified: The Maya Price Story by Faith A. Rice-Mills.

If you're into alternate worlds/fantasy, you might like this book.

Faith A. Rice-Mills is the author of Identified: The Maya Price Story and a handful of short stories. She moonlights as a Spanish teacher, but has wanted to be a writer since she wrote the poem “The Jackowhipp’s Wail” as an eight-year-old. Her writer’s spirit resides somewhere between Narnia and Mount Doom, but her physical body lives in Texas with her family. Besides writing, she loves reading (and will take recommendations!), yoga, coloring with her daughter, and watching Parks and Recreation with her husband. She dislikes snakes, the word “literally,” and teaching double object pronouns in Spanish. She is currently working on Burdened, the second book in The Maya Price Story series and is writing whatever short story she has to get out of her brain.

Follow Faith: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Description:

Paperback, 406 pages
December 2nd 2012

Maya Price is a typical eighteen-year-old girl without many worries. Her biggest problems include getting ready to leave her hometown for college, figuring out how to avoid her ever-so-strange stepmother and trying to muddle though her feelings for her best friend, Pete. Yet, one of her last nights in her hometown, she and Pete are in a car accident. A stranger pulls Maya from the accident, leaving Pete behind, and takes her out of this world and into another dimension. Maya soon discovers that she has been taken to a dimension called Leets by a group of people that call themselves shifters. Shifters are of mixed human and onyx blood and have various abilities. These shifters are able to travel between dimensions, control the four elements (fire, earth, wind, water) and the five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch and taste). Their leader, Victoria, informs Maya that she, too, is a shifter and that she must choose to join them or risk being sought out by their greatest enemy, a shifter named Leonas. Maya joins Victoria and her ragtag group of rebel shifters at a training camp called Level One. he is teamed up with a group of seven other shifters, including a streetsmart girl named Luz, who is especially adept at controlling fire, her twin sister Espy, and a nervous boy named Lamar, who can manipulate sound better than any other shifter. Together, Maya’s team trains for the battles that will soon be inevitable. However, Maya soon learns that her purpose is not to just move the earth or send water flying into the air. There are rumors of a hidden prophecy and that the prophecy mentions Maya by name. Supposedly, the prophecy says that Maya will one day have to choose a side and will be essential in bringing her chosen ally to power...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Replica Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway: Replica by Jenna Black

Hi guys! First of all, I'm posting this a bit late. Just got home from work, sorry! Thank you to Precious Gem Book Tour for making me a part of this!

Today I have an excerpt for this and if you want more, continue reading at Jessibella Reads!

Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.

Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.

Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. She writes paranormal romance for Tor and urban fantasy for Bantam Dell.

Follow Jenna:
Website / Twitter / Goodreads

Book Description:

Paperback, 368 pages
July 16th 2013, Tor Teen

Breathtaking new YA SF from the author of the Faeriewalker series

Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake comes from a high-class Executive family in the Corporate States. Her marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in her state, which means she lives a life of privilege but also of public scrutiny, followed everywhere by photographers, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image — no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.

Nathan Hayes is the heir of Paxco — controller of the former state of New York, and creator of human replication technology, science that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Though Nadia and Nate aren’t in love, they’ve grown up close, and they (and the world) are happy enough with their match.

Until Nate turns up dead, and as far as everyone knows, Nadia was the last person to see him alive.

When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory backup, he doesn’t know what killed him. Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound

But wait! Don't go just yet. We have a giveaway for you:

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Author Interview with Jay Kristoff + Giveaway: ARC of Kinslayer

Hi guys!I'm really, really, REALLY excited for today's post. I'm a big fan of this author. He writes the most kickass scenes ever. He's Jay Kristoff and he's here for an interview! *Stick around to win an ARC of Kinslayer.*

How would you describe your writing style?
“Visual” is the word that springs to mind second (right after “clueless”). I see the movie of the book playing in my head, try to write down what I see. I come from a visual arts/design background, and I think that informs my style a lot. I’m a comic book kid. I like painting pretty pictures with words. Even if the places I paint sometimes aren’t so pretty.

Did you have a specific song or playlist that you listened to when you were writing Kinslayer?
I have very obnoxious taste in music. I know some authors dig writing playlists and whatnot, but if I did that, it would terrify the children. And I don’t really listen to music when I write because it’s so obnoxious, it breaks my concentration. But that’s a boring answer! STOP BEING BORING, JAY!

I take a lot of inspiration from song lyrics. Stuff like Dark Days from Parkway Drive is where my head is at when I write Shima. (be warned - obnoxious)

What kind of research did you do for Stormdancer and Kinslayer?
Just reading. Lots of reading. Which is a really boring answer, I know (STOP BEING BORING, JAY). Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa was a great resource (very dry, but still great in a factual sense). Musashi. The Otori books by Lian Hearne. But I took inspiration from old cinema, manga, old roleplaying games I used to run. And drinking sake. Lots of sake.

Yummy sake.

To evade the typical second-book-isis aka the halt in action and dropping of interest in the second book of this series, what did you do?</>
Rewrote it about five times! Lol.

There are a lot of loose ends in STORMDANCER, and I really only gave readers a hint of the overall metaplot that’ll drive the series. KINSLAYER gives you get a broader look at the clans of the Imperium and the enemies they’re at war with. There are a couple of very important characters introduced, who’ll play a big role in book 3. Bigger action. Bigger stakes. Bigger betrayals. But I also had to be careful keep Yukiko and Buruu front and centre, since readers seem to like them so much (which is one of those good problems).

I am particularly fascinated with Buruu. He was part of the mythical-legend world and he lived up to his role as an Arashitora. However, Buruu also had a soft side. How did you balance these two sides of Buruu?
Buruu is a lot like me, in a lot of ways. He’s surly and aggressive and kinda scary looking, but underneath he’s something of a softie. I think his sarcasm and sense of humor do a lot to take the edge off him, along with his singular devotion to Yukiko. I think that’s what people love about him the most – that there’s nothing in the world that could come between those two.

Or is there? (dun dun dunnnnn…)

Yukiko is one of the best heroines I've ever encountered in YA. What were the challenges (if any) you encountered in writing and bringing Yukiko to life? How did you deal with it?

Aw, thanks, that’s awesome of you to say :)

I think the biggest challenge for me was keeping her real and flawed, but still likeable. When you’re writing a hero, it’s very tempting to make them perfect, for fear the reader will stop liking them if they do something stupid or make mistakes. But Yukiko makes horrible mistakes (and keeps making them in KINSLAYER). And when you’re writing those mistakes, you wonder if readers will forgive her.

But then I remember she’s only just discovering who she is, and where she stands. She’s sixteen years old. When I was sixteen, I didn’t know my ass from my elbow.

Pro tip: ass is the thing you sit on.

What is next for Jay Kristoff?
Book 3 of the Lotus War has been handed in to my editor, which means I get to work on some new stuff while I wait for edits. Very exciting!

I’m currently doodling on three books - one fantasy, one post-apocalyptic and one sci fi. They’re all feeling pretty good at the moment, so I’m not sure which one will win out in the end. I’m proposing a 100 pages death match between the lot of them. Three books enter, one book leaves. I plan to have decided by the time KINSLAYER hits shelves.

Wish me luck!

Jay Kristoff is the author of of THE LOTUS WAR trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press & Tor UK. The first installment, STORMDANCER, is out now. Part 2, entitled KINSLAYER, will be released in September 2013.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13870 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Follow Jay: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Book Description:

Hardcover, 464 pages
September 17th 2013, Thomas Dunne Books

The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

What's up for grabs? An ARC of Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff.

Open internationally.
You should be at least 13 years old.
Be a follower. :)

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Character Interview with Gray + Giveaway: Ebook + Swag of Taken by Erin Bowman

Hi guys! Sorry for the delay. Work has been keeping me busy when I'm there and sleepy when I'm home. On to the agenda, I have a treat from debut author Erin Bowman! Fans of Taken, I'd like to present my semi-awkward but totally interesting character interview with Gray.

First of all, could you tell us something about yourself?
I spend a lot of time keeping to myself for a reason. *sighs as interviewer repeats the question* Fine. I'm a good hunter, I guess. I can set a snare twice as fast as Blaine--he's my brother--even though he's got a year of extra practice at it. That might be the only thing I'm better at though. He's nicer, and patient, and more considerate. Ma always said the only person she ever knew more stubborn than me was my father. *frowns as interviewer raises an eyebrow* This is exactly why I keep to the woods most days.

How would you describe your world? The history, the culture, the society?
Um...Depressing? Hopeless? I used to think life in Claysoot would be more bearable as a girl--you've got years beyond eighteen and eventually end up calling the shots, maybe even running the Council if you're lucky enough--but I'm not sure anymore. I honestly can't decide what's worse: knowing the Heist will take you; or losing every father, uncle, brother, son you've ever known and having to keep on living anyway.

What is the Heist?
It takes every boy the night they turn eighteen--blinding light, howling wind, and they're gone. It's a constant. The sun rises in the morning, and the moon cycles each month, and the Heist takes every last boy.

If you could change one thing about your life or your world, what would it be?
I'd love it if the Heist didn't exist, but that's like saying I wish there was no winter, or I'd like to fly. Honestly, at this point I'd settle for a good day of hunting. I haven't brought in anything but fowl the past few weeks, and I'm starting to worry large game is scarce this season.

If you could rule over your world, what are the things that you would do?
Get rid of the slatings. The Council pairs kids ups every month or so and it's the most forced, awkward process ever. I get it. I do. They're concerned about our numbers, about our future. Understandable when all the guys up and vanish at eighteen. But people can make their own decisions. I can make my own decisions.

Now, could you tell us about Emma?
Emma works at the Clinic. What? She does. Why are you smirking at me? *rolls eyes* Emma works at the Clinic and is a very good healer.

Any last words? :)
This has been as enjoyable as the lecture Blaine gave me yesterday about being less impulsive. So no. None at all.

Erin grew up in rural Connecticut, where she spent most of her childhood telling stories. It is rumored that her first words were not “Mama” or “Dada,” but “Once upon a time.” In middle school, when kids were going off to sleep-away camp for the summer, Erin was attending writing camp and penning short stories.

At the Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York, Erin studied web design (and minored in Creative Writing because she couldn’t stay away from stories). After several years working in advertising and designing websites for various brands, she has moved on to writing full-time. When not writing, she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter.

Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger. Her debut novel TAKEN will be published by HarperTeen April 16th, 2013. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband.

Follow Erin: Website | Twitter

Book Description:

April 16th 2013, Harper Teen

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

What's up for grabs? An ebook and swag of Taken by Erin Bowman.

Open internationally.
You should be at least 13 years old.
Be a follower. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 12, 2013

Author Interview with Angie Smibert + Giveaway: Pre-order of The Meme Plague

Hello! Today a loyal and three-time participant of Dystopian Domination is here. I present to you, Angie Smibert, the author of the Memento Nora series.

First and foremost, what or who inspired this series? Was it a memory, a dream or an idea?
The first book, Memento Nora, was inspired by an idea--as well as some real life experiences of friends and family. The idea came from reading about current research in memory and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Some scientists are trying to find a drug that will lessen the grip of traumatic memories on the brains of PTSD sufferers. So I took it to the next step. What if the pill completely erased a particular memory and was available at a Starbucks-like shop on the corner? What kind of world might that be?

What was Memento Nora like when you first wrote it? To what extent is it different to the present version?
The very first version of Memento Nora was a short story, which appeared in the May 2008 edition of Odyssey. The theme of that issue was memory. You can read the short story here ( on my website--along with a few of the other short stories I've written. The short story is about Nora's decision of whether or not to take the pill. The novel is about the consequences of that action.

Actually, I didn't start writing the book until after the short story came out. I reread the story, smacked my forehead, and said "duh, I need to write about what happens next." The first draft or so of the story was all from Nora's point of view. Then I realized she didn't know the whole story. That's when I wrote the other two points of view (Micah and Winter).

When it came down to character development, how did you mold Nora and Micah?
I built the world first, at least to some extent, and then I molded Nora to be an unlikely hero in that world. She starts off as a very happy consumer, oblivious to what's going on, and with a lot to lose. Micah is the opposite--and also the least likely guy the old Nora might fall for. A homeless skateboarder artist.

How will you describe your writing style?
Someone once told me I pack a lot into a few words. So, yeah, I might say my style is lean and voice-y.

One of the things I like about your books is that they tend to be short. So how do you manage to fit in and finish an entire story in such few pages?
Good question. In addition to the style thing (see above), I tend to jump right into the action and not rely on a lot of exposition--unless it really serves the story or character's voice well. I figure the reader is smart enough to get the world building clues from the story itself (dialogue, action, description, etc.) without being spoonfed huge chunks of exposition.

Any plans for future novels?
Yes, I'm planning future novels, but they won't necessarily be in the Memento Nora series.

Thanks for the interview!

Angie Smibert was born in Blacksburg, a once sleepy college town in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. She grew up thinking she wanted to be a veterinarian; organic chemistry had other ideas. But she always had stories in my head. Eventually, after a few degrees and few cool jobs—including a 10-year stint at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center—she wrote some of those stories down.

She has published many short stories, for both adults and teens.

Follow Angie: Website | Twitter

Book Description:

August 13 2013, Marshall Cavendish

It begins with the name JONAS W. on the side of a cardboard coffin—right before the funeral procession blows up. Then it’s the whisper in the back of Micah’s head: Your father betrayed his country. You can’t always trust your own brain. Not when you have one of the mayor’s mandatory chips in your skull. Micah knows that the chip developed by TFC (the corporation that runs the Therapeutic Forgetting Clinics) does more than just erase unpleasant memories—it implants new ones. The MemeCast warns citizens to “fight the hack.”

Micah and his friends have each lost something—a parent, a relationship, a home, maybe even their own identities as they remembered them to be. But together, they can make sure some things are never forgotten.

Election Day is coming, and Mayor Mignon is set to be elected to Congress. It’s time to build a new electronic frontier, one that’s not controlled by the mayor and his cronies. It’s time to get out the vote and shake up the system. It’s time to finally say enough.

What's up for grabs? Pre-order of The Meme Plague by Angie Smibert.

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You should be at least 13 years old.
Be a follower. :)

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Author Interview with J.L. Spelbring + Giveaway: Signed Copy of Perfection

Hi guys! Today I have J.L. Spelbring for an author interview about Perfection, her YA dystopian debut novel.

What or who inspired Perfection?

There really wasn't anything that I would consider an inspiration. It was more like a desire. I wanted to write about a girl who could read minds, then bits and pieces fell into place, a bit of idea pong with my daughter, and PERFECTION was born.

What was Perfection like when you first wrote it? Is it too different from the current version?

Needless to say, the first draft did not live up to it's title. LOL! There are bits and pieces different as Perfection took shape during edits, but the overall concept, storyline and such is the same.

Was the way you created Elyssa how you imagine a perfect soldier in real life?

I would say yes. If the circumstances of the what Hitler thought as a "perfect" human came into existence, then I think the natural impulse would be to continually improve on what one would consider to be perfect.

How do you balance the romance and the dystopian elements in your novel?

Everything Ellyssa knows as far as her world (the dystopian side) is thrown off as she discovers how to feel, become part of a family, and learns to love. I think the mixture of what is (to Ellyssa) and what really exists is well balanced.

How will you describe your writing style?

It changes with what I'm writing. The way I wrote for Perfection is different than the way I am writing this current retelling of a fairytale that I'm working on. Different characters, different outlooks, different experiences.

What is next for J.L. Spelbring?

Currently, Flawed (the sequel to Perfection) is on the edit train. Book three is in my brain working out kinks and calling to be typed into the word processor. And, as I said, I'm working on a modern retelling of a fairytale.

Thanks for the interview!

J.L. Spelbring lives in Texas, where she wanders out in the middle of the night to look at the big and bright stars. Besides knocking imaginary bad guys in the head with a keyboard, she enjoys being swept away between the pages of a book, running amuck inside in her own head, pretending she is into running, and hanging out with her kids, who are way too cool for her. Perfection is her debut novel.

Follow Amy: Website | Twitter

Book Description:

Paperback, 320 pages
July 16th 2013, Spencer Hill Press

The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic.

Only Ellyssa isn't perfect.

Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities.
But he does.

His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.

What's up for grabs? Signed Copy of Perfection by JL Spelbring.

Open internationally.
You should be at least 13 years old.
Be a follower. :)

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Monday, July 08, 2013

Author Interview with Teri Terry + Giveaway: ARC/Finished Copy of Fractured

Today you're in for a treat. One of the most brilliant dystopian authors is here for an author interview: Teri Terry!

What kind of research did you do for Slated and Fractured?

There are aspects of the Slated trilogy – things like, dreams, memory, and DID (dissociative identity disorder) – that I’ve been fascinated with for a long time. So I’ve been drawn to read about these areas in the past without it being research specifically for what I’m writing. I also did a bunch of courses in psychology, human physiology, and brain structure and function along the way at university, so have some background there already. I did specifically look into DID and memory while I was writing Slated – mostly internet research.

Weaving history into a dystopian world. How do you manage to do this? How do you construct a believable history inside your already believable story world?

Getting details about the history of the world created into the story without it being an information dump is tricky. It was especially so with this series because as a new Slated, Kyla’s understanding of the world around her was limited, so the readers could only learn things when she did. With this trilogy set in 2054, not undefined centuries in the future like many dystopian novels, the world and its history are recognizable, so it is more about showing the differences than having to fill in a complete world. I wanted it to be a time and place readers can relate to, that feels like it could happen.

How do you maintain the level of suspense in your books?

To me, suspense happens between the action, in the quiet places. A book that is non-stop action doesn’t create suspense. It might be thrilling to read, but endless fight scenes aren’t as suspenseful as fearing a fight to come. In this sense I think less is more. Suspense comes from doubt, uncertainty, fear. Seeing the character heading for trouble that they can’t avoid; keeping the stakes high, yes, but also not knowing what all the dangers are. The fear you imagine is worse than the monster you can see.

When it comes to complicated (or as I like to call it my reviews of Slated and Fractured, multi-layered) characters, how do you know when to stop? When will you decide if a certain character's personality is complex and interesting?

That is a really good question – and also really hard to answer, because the process of developing characters is mostly instinctive to me. A good example in Slated is Kyla’s assigned mother. Without wanting to give too much away for anyone who hasn’t read, she isn’t quite how she appears at the beginning. But that wasn’t a plan, more it happened as I wrote it. With rare exception I don’t believe people are all good or all evil in real life, so I want my characters to reflect this. A villain is far more interesting if you can see how they became what they are, if there are things about them that are sympathetic. Likewise a hero is more interesting with flaws they have to overcome to get what they want.

If you were given a chance to write another book that falls under a different genre, what genre would it be and why?

Slated was my first published book, but it was actually the ninth book I’ve written. The others cover many different age groups – from 7+ to adult – and everything from scary stories, realism, fantasy, crime. So I’ve dabbled with different genres in the past, and don’t feel constrained by any particular genre. Overall I love writing for teens, and I love writing thrillers – but I don’t feel found by futuristic thrillers.

Aside from this series, what else are you working on?

A supernatural thriller! I’m really excited about this one. Whether it’ll be my next published thing or not is too soon to tell. I hope so!

Thanks for dropping by!

Teri has lived in France, Canada, Australia and England at more addresses than she can count, acquiring three degrees, a selection of passports and a silly name along the way. Past careers have included scientist, lawyer, optometrist, and, in England, various jobs in schools, libraries and an audiobook charity. The footpaths and canal ways of the Buckinghamshire Chilterns where she now lives inspired much of the setting of Slated. She hates broccoli, likes cats, and has finally worked out what she wants to do when she grows up.

Follow Amy: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Book Description:

Paperback, 432 pages
April 4th 2013, Orchard Books

How do you know where to go when you don't remember where you came from?

Kyla's memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

Or so she thought.

Kyla shouldn't be able to remember anything. But she can - and she's beginning to realise that there are a lot of dark secrets locked away in her memories. When a mysterious man from her past comes back into her life, she thinks she's on her way to finding the truth. But the more she learns about her history, the more confusing her future becomes...

Set in a disturbing future world, FRACTURED is an engrossing, fast-paced read that establishes Teri Terry as a master thriller writer.

What's up for grabs? If the winner is from US, he/she will get an ARC/Proof of Fractured, the sequel to Slated, and if the winner is from outside US (international), he/she will get a finished copy of Fractured. UK version.

Open internationally.
You should be at least 13 years old.
Be a follower. :)

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Sunday, July 07, 2013

Author Interview with Amy Christine Parker + Giveaway: Finished Copy and Poster of Gated

Hi guys! Sorry to keep you hanging what with the delay of my post! Just woke up from hibernation and officially in blogging mode. For today, I have Amy Christine Parker for an author interview about her writing and her dystopic contemporary, Gated.

What or who inspired Gated?

I was watching a show about underground shelters and doomsday prepping that got me wondering about the people behind it and what made them so convinced that the end was near. Their fervor and certainty was extreme and fascinating. Add to this my interest in cults, their leaders, and how the they turn deadly and why people might stay in them until the bitter end and the story grew from there.

What was Gated like when you first wrote it? Is it too different from the current version?

The version of GATED that is in bookstores is very similar to the version I wrote originally. I think the only semi-major changes from the original were the order of some of the events and who ended up surviving at the book’s close. I had an idea for a sequel, but I wasn’t sure if I’d get the opportunity to write it, so the original ending was much more definitive and the plot was completely tied up. But the ending it has now is much closer to how I always wanted it to end.

How did you manage or keep the dystopian vibe in your novel?

I think I was able to keep the dystopian vibe because the community in which my character, Lyla, lives is so cut off from the rest of the modern world and it’s governing structure is leader-centric, but unchallenged. The people in it see outsiders maybe a handful of times in a year. Their leader controls every ounce of information about what goes on beyond their walls. The story takes place right now, in our present, but it was important for me to show that dystopian societies really exist now, in our world. It isn’t a future concept at only need to take a closer look at the prison camps in Northern Korea to understand this...or even better—look right in our own back yard. A child growing up inside a cult would have a very similar experience to a child growing up in a dystopian society in the future. What changes isn’t the dynamic of the society I’m writing about, but the setting and time period.

When it comes down to character development, how did you mold Lyla?

Lyla evolved in a very organic way. At first I barely knew who she was. She was there, but blurry even though the beginning scenes that made up her story were crystal clear. It was only after I drafted the bones of the story and went back to revise that I really began to understand who she was. For me, the characters begin as very flat props. They come together after a series of weeks and months where I think about them almost constantly. For every bit of their personality that actually makes it into the finished draft, there’s a whole stack of backstory pages I typed out about them and their pasts that don’t.

Was there a specific song or playlist that you listened to while writing Gated?

Linkin’ Park songs made up my entire playlist for this book and I listened to them constantly—in the car, in bed right before I went to sleep, while I wrote, showered, worked out. The lyrics to so many of their songs were so perfect for how Lyla was feeling throughout the book. “Waiting for the End to Come” is her anthem.

How will you describe your writing style?

My writing style in one word is inefficient. I have to basically write the book wrong before I can make it right. It takes forever. After every book I vow to change that and finally master outlining and daily word count goals...but the truth is, I can never stick to it. The story emerges over time and just will not come if I don’t give it all kinds of room to breathe. I never know exactly where I’m going when I start...or even when I’m halfway to wherever it is that I’m going. I have a general sense of where I think I’ll be ending up, but even that is not set in stone. It makes for really, really slow going. I wish that I could sit down and hash everything out plot-wise at the very beginning and then write based off of that brainstorming session...but I don’t think it’s in the cards for me and maybe that’s for the best. It definitely makes the whole process more exciting.

What is next for Amy Parker?

The sequel to GATED. It comes out next fall with Random House, so I’m busy going through edits right now. I’m also working on another book, but it’s too early to say much about it..except that it is definitely creepy which makes me extremely happy! I do love a dark story.

Thanks for the interview!

Amy was born in Pennsylvania and spent most of her early years there. Many of her best memories are of hiding out in her room where she made up elaborate pretend play scenarios most often involving orphaned baby dolls and Barbies dressed in fashions made out of Kleenex.

Amy was always attracted to writing, but she tried a lot of other jobs on for size first before settling into writing full time. At some point or another, she has been a collectible doll-maker, a fondue waitress, an inner city school teacher, and a stay at home mom. Currently she is writing full time and lives in a suburb of Tampa, Florida with her very supportive husband, their two creative and energetic daughters, one absurdly fat orange cat, and two escape artist mice.

Follow Amy: Website | Blog | Twitter

Book Description:

Hardcover, 384 pages
August 27th 2013, Random House Childrens

Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen in?

In Mandrodage Meadows, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban community have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives. Lyla Hamilton and her parents are original members of the flock. They moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.

Will is her Intended.

The end of the world is near.

Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound's underground fortress--the Silo.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she'd rather think about a certain boy outside the compound than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But with the end of days drawing near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.

What's up for grabs? Finished Copy of Gated by Amy Christine Parker and a poster of Gated.

Open internationally.
You should be at least 13 years old.
Be a follower. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway