lover of written words

Blog Tour: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (Author Interview)

I am super excited to be part of A Crown of Wishes Blog Tour. This is the second book of The Star-Touched Queen series which is like a companion novel to the first book, The Star-Touched Queen. Both books can be read as stand-alone, so no worries if you haven’t read the first one yet before reading A Crown of Wishes. Though I suggest pick up both, and experience Roshani Chokshi luscious writing and intricate world building.

Following the interview are some information about the author, Roshani Chokshi along with places where to find her online, A Crown of Wishes description, where to get copies of the book, and a short audio clip of an excerpt of A Crown of Wishes. So don’t forget to pre-order your copies now before the book hit shelves in few days.

Have fun reading the interview.

Interview with Roshani Choksi

1. I’m fascinated with the deep and dynamic fantasy settings of The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. What were some of the difficulties did you encounter in building such a complex world?

As with any worldbuilding, there’s always the danger of getting caught up in the mechanics and losing sight of the story. I think some of the best worldbuilding feels seamless because there’s so much heavylifting done in the sentence-level details. It also helps leave the world open for more nuances later. I think if I over-explained the TSTQ universe, Gauri’s story would’ve been a lot more difficult.

2. The witty banters between Vikram and Gauri is just adorable. Did you put a lot of thoughts into how to show their intensity, or did this unusual pair just pop straight from your head and flow along with the story?

They were intense right off the bat. In fact, it was hard to get them to stop fighting so we could actually get to the story…but I loved every second I got to spend with them.

3. And If Vikram and Gauri could both ask you one question each about why you wrote their story the way you did, what do you think would they most want to know?

a. I think Gauri would want to know why I put her through the wringer and whether or not I have a death wish.

b. I think Vikram would say “Fox prince? You couldn’t give me a cooler animal? Rude.”

4. If you will be part of the Tournament of Wishes and you can choose your partner either real or fictional character, who will you pick to join you in Alaka? And what will you wish if ever you win the game?

I would wish for no need of wishes, with the condition that I’m not killed or incapacitated. And as for partner, I would choose Agnieska from UPROOTED because she’s powerful, hilarious and would probably not mind taking frequent snack breaks…

5. You clearly do a great deal of research in order to write this Indian-inflected fantasy world of Star-Touched Queen series. I adored every detail of myth and magics with your lush and intricate world building. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve typed into search engine while you’re doing your research? Or share any memorable or interesting thing you’ve discover while writing your books.

Well…The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes have a lot of flesh-eating beings. And so at one point I had to imagine a conversation between a man-eating raksha and Gauri, and so I ended up researching what, exactly, would be considered the most edible and yummy part of a human. (spoiler: parts around the spine)

Thanks so much Roshani for answering all my questions above and for creating the Star-Touched world. I’m looking forward for more books from you in the future.


Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

Find Roshani

WebsiteTwitter | Instagram| Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: A Crown of Wishes
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover, paperback, Ebook, Audio

Roshani Chokshi proved herself an author to watch with her young adult fantasy debut last spring, The Star-Touched Queen. Debuting at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list, the novel received rave reviews from fans and critics alike and appeared on the most buzzed about lists of 2016. Chokshi once again writes a beautifully crafted story of adventure, love, and magic set in the Star-Touched world with her sophomore novel A CROWN OF WISHES (St. Martin’s Griffin; 3/28/17). Building on her intricate setting based on ancient India and Greek mythology, her follow-up is a novel spun from enchantment with a strong female heroine and a swoony worthy prince who team up to win back the thrones of their kingdoms.

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of aneighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes – a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels. Every which way they turn new trials will test their witand strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

Early reviews have all agreed that Chokshi has improved on her exquisite writing and lush narrative in her sophomore novel. With an ending that will make even the most cynical New Yorker heart believe in true love, A CROWN OF WISHES takes Chokshi’s talent to all new heights.

Book Links:

Amazon | B&NBook Depository | Goodreads

Listen to an excerpt of A CROWN OF WISHES audiobook, read by Priya Ayyar from MacmillanAudio

Leave a comment »

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill (Author Interview + Playlist + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second WaveHappy Friday Everyone!

I’m absurdly excited today for the last stop of Celebrating Debutantes 2016 because I have a wonderful author and debut novel to feature.

Erin Summerill’s EVER THE HUNTED is one of my most anticipated debut novel this year, and I can’t wait to dive in. I knew I needed this book in my hands the minute I learned of its existence. So when Erin agreed to join our blog event I can’t help but get excited. Not only she was so nice to answer a few questions for me about her writing, and Ever The Hunted but she also put together set of songs as the novel’s playlist. The songs are perfect to get readers into the right mood for Ever The Hunted‘s tale of magic, quest, hunting and more.

Following the interview and playlist are some information about the author, Erin Summerill along with places where to find her online, as well as the Ever The Hunted‘s description and where to get copies of the book. So don’t forget to pre-order your copies before the book hit shelves this December 2016.

Also, there’s a giveaway at the bottom of the post for a chance to win an advance copy of Ever The Hunted and bookmark.

Have fun reading the interview and listening to the playlist.

Interview with Erin Summerill

I love reading fantasy. It’s an exciting genre without so much limitations. As an author, what drew you to write fantasy story? How did the inspiration for Ever the Hunted come to you?

When I was a full-time wedding photographer, I traveled extensively. I loved touring places like New Zealand and the Oregon Coast. I fell in love with the California Redwoods and the natural beauty of the surrounding land. My love of exploration led me to write a more fantastical novel. Fantasy opens the doors of imagination. I wanted to set a character in forests like the redwoods and Oregon’s spruce woods.

Inspiration came while I was in New Zealand for a wedding. I was speaking with my assistant photographer, and she mentioned that if we had extra time in New Zealand, she would love to set up a deer hunt. Apparently there are completely different deer in NZ than in Utah. I thought she was crazy. Hunting? On a vacation? Never ever have I said, hey, I’d like to go hunt something. That conversation turned into a dozen conversations about hunting and wilderness survival. And eventually gave me inspiration to write a girl who can hunt, track, and survive in the woods.

In writing Ever the Hunted, do you have a set of rules for the world and magic? Are there any process you go through that helps define those rules?

Yes, there are rules for the magic system in Ever The Hunted. It can be roughly summed up by imagining every living creature has a quantifiable amount of energy. When that energy is drained, death occurs. A Channeler (women with the ability to influence certain elements) can influence an element by pushing some of their energy into the element. But the cost is the energy used is then depleted from the Channeler. It can be restored through rest and food, and a few other magical ways that are found out in the book.

My process to figure out rules of magic involves long talks with my writing partners on the phone in which I share an idea, and they shoot me down, or explain all the ways it’s not probable. And so on until I want to bang my head against my computer screen.

How do you create your characters in Ever the Hunted? Did you build the plot around them, or them around the plot?

Britta’s character was roughly based on someone I met once. I’ll keep this part vague so I no one can point fingers. But I once knew a person that was utterly lonely and not very well liked in their community. It made my heart ache for them. We all need friends. I cannot imagine a life without my closest supports. Bits and pieces of the rest of the characters were inspired by people I’ve met throughout my life. They’re sort of a giant puzzle of people that have interested and inspired me.

The characters definitely came first and then the plot.

What is the first book you read that made you think, “I have to write something like this someday”.

Oh!!! Hard question. I love books so much. I’m an avid reader. I love anything by Sarah Maas. I cried and died and laughed the day I found out she read my book and wrote the loveliest blurb for it.

I loved Defiance by CJ Redwine. It involves a strong heroine on a quest as well. Again, I lost my mind for a bit of time when I found out that CJ also blurbed my book.

Robin McKinley and Megan Whalen Turner are two authors that I cannot get enough from in the historical fantasy genre.

Now I know why I am excited to read your book, Ever The Hunted. Not only it sounds so wonderful but also we basically adore the same authors. Sarah J Maas  is the goddess writer that I worship. I died from excitement when I met her few months ago. I love The Queen Thief series of Megan Whalen Turner. I am still waiting for the fifth book to be published. I own different versions and format of that series. While Robin McKinley books are on my auto-buy and read list. Anyway, I need to stop rambling now. Back to the interview.

If one of your characters could turn the tables on you and write a story based on your life, what would the title of that book be and what would be the first line?

Title: She Who Never Sleeps

First Line: “Put that damn book down.” Mom slammed open my bedroom door at 4am.

I am eagerly waiting for the release of Ever the Hunted. It’s one of my must read fantasy of 2016. Can you tease us with what to expect from the book?

Can I hug you right now for saying that? I’m so grateful for anyone who is willing to read my book.

In the sequel minor characters in the first book will take center stage. One heart will be broken, two hearts will find their match and someone we love (or possibly hate) will die.

And a kingdom will collapse.

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

Having a book published is a dream come true. But it can also be a nightmare. It’s difficult to have something you’ve worked on for a long time be openly scrutinized. Being a book-ivore myself, I understand that not every book is for you. So even if my book isn’t your thing, I’m still very grateful that you’ve picked it up and read it.

Ever the Hunted Playlist

Erin played violin for 12 years, so she love classical and tend to write with equal parts classical and equal parts pop music on my list. The last part of the playlist are some of her favorite classical-type pieces. Enjoy listening.

Thank you so much Erin for taking time to answer all my questions and for creating the Ever the Hunted playlist for us to listen to. I am really looking forward for the release of EVER THE HUNTED. If only December can some sooner.


erin-summerillErin Summerill was born in England. She is part Hawaiian and part German. After spending years bouncing between Air Force bases in Hawaii, England, and California, her family settled in Utah. With a B.A. in English, Erin Summerill had aspirations to write the next great American novel. But writing proved tougher than she first thought, so she grabbed a Nikon and became a professional wedding photographer. When she isn’t writing, or shooting a stunning wedding, she’s chasing her four kids, two dogs, one cat, and five chickens. This could be why she downs massive amounts of Coke Zero and Hot Tamales. Erin and her family live in Utah.

Find Erin

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram| Goodreads


ever-the-huntedBook Details:

Title: Ever the Hunted
Author: Erin Summerill
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover, Ebook, Audio

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | BAM| Book Depository | Goodreads


What’s up for Grab?

  • ARC of Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill + bookmark

The Rules:

  • Open US / CA residents only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced through rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends October 19th, 2016
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!

CD2016 Second Wave Collage

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Until I Break by Kara Bietz (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second WaveHappy Wednesday Everyone!

Author Kara Bietz is on the blog today for a short interview as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2016 blog event. Kara answers few questions for me about writing and her upcoming debut novel, Until I Break. Told in alternating timeline, this dark contemporary novel will push bullying to the deadly end until someone break. If you like realistic contemporary story with a little edge you should definitely read this one.

Next to the interview are more details about Until I Break and the author, Kara Bietz. Also, don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom for a chance to win an advance readers copy of the book and silicone wristband from Kara.

Enjoy reading the interview.

Interview with Kara Bietz

Until I Break is your debut novel, what pushed you to pursue writing as a career? When did you first come up with the idea for Until I Break and what were the timescales involved between the first draft and the novel being accepted for publication?

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid but sometime around my first year of college, I stopped for a handful of reasons. I never got rid of any of my old writing, though. My mom boxed it up with some of my old high school memorabilia when I got married and moved away from home. I quickly put the box in the attic and forgot about it. When my oldest son was about three years old, my husband found the box and read some of the pages I had saved. He asked me why I wasn’t writing anymore and I really didn’t have a good reason! I started again shortly after that and began to seriously pursue publication a few years later. Until I Break is not the first novel I wrote after “coming out of retirement” so to speak. I have several what I like to call “shelf novels” because while they were good practice for writing and finishing a lengthy piece of writing, I do not harbor any false ideas that they are fit for publication. I started writing Until I Break in late 2012 and was sidetracked by a few life events. I finished a solid first draft in September of 2013 and revised, very slowly, from there. My agent and I sold it to Albert Whitman and Company in January of 2015.

Until I Break deals with sensitive themes such as bullying, violence and others. As a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility in writing these topics? If so, how do you deal with this?

Until I Break definitely deals with some very heavy themes. I do feel a sense of responsibility when writing. I have a middle school-aged daughter and a high school-aged son, and I always keep them in mind when I’m crafting a story. As a writer, I feel like my biggest responsibility is to shine a light on things honestly, rather than try to gloss over or hide the messy parts of life for readers. I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing my portrayal of difficult situations, and I don’t enter into it lightly.

Did you write Until I Break with a specific message embedded within its pages?

I did not initially set out to write a story with a message. However, as I began writing and the story started to take shape, I was aware that perhaps there was a bigger message there. Empathy. Love is greater than hate. Above all, be kind. Be a friend. Listen. All of these are important messages in this story.

Until I Break is told in different timelines.What kind of preparation did you do in writing different settings? Which is easier to write? and why?

The first draft of the story was not told in alternating timelines. It was a messy thing, with a good core story and a whole lot of stuff I didn’t need! Once I got that first draft out of my head and really focused on the story I wanted to tell, I started rewriting. It was during that rewrite that I began to experiment with alternating timelines. Lucky for me, it worked :). I did have to play around with the structure quite a bit in order to make the timeline work in a way that made sense, but it started to feel very natural and true to the story once I started writing it that way. I don’t know that one timeline was easier to write than the other. Both had their fair share of challenges.

Where do you see your writing going after the release of Until I Break? Do you think you’ll stick writing suspenseful contemporary or branch out into something else?

I am most comfortable writing darker contemporary stories, for sure, but I am willing to dip my toe into other genres, too! I am continuing to work on several projects while I wait for the release of Until I Break, each of these a little different. Yes, some have darker themes and a mystery element, but I also have several lighter projects I’m considering, too.

Are you working on other stories as of the moment? Could you tell us about it?

I like to have several projects chugging along at once, in varying stages. I have one story finished, another I’m drafting, another I’m chipping away at some plot details, and one that is just a nice shiny idea that I like to daydream about occasionally! I’m not at liberty to talk about the projects just yet, but I’m hoping to be able to soon!

Thank you so much Kara for answering all my questions above.


author-kara-bietzKara Bietz grew up in New England but now resides near Houston, Texas with her husband, two kiddos and three dogs. She’s been dreaming up stories as long as she can remember; sometimes she puts them on paper and sometimes they just live in her head.

Find Kara

Website | Facebook | TwitterGoodreads


until-i-breakBook Details:

Title: Until I Break
Author: Kara Bietz
Publisher: AW Teen /  Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: November 01, 2016
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover, Paperback

Two boys: One, a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other, a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger?

A year before the shooting, Sam North has a bright future as a well as a problem that nobody else seems to see—Ace Quinn, his neighbor and teammate. For years, Ace has been bullying and harassing Sam, yet he’s managed to deftly conceal his actions and threats from the rest of the world. As Ace’s secret rage intensifies, Sam becomes more desperate to stop him. But how far will he go? And what if Ace takes his threats even farther?

Book Links:

Amazon | BAM| Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed ARC of Until I Break by Kara Bietz and
  • silicone wristband

The Rules:

  • Open US / CA residents only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced through rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends October 19th, 2016
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!

CD2016 Second Wave Collage

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second Wave

Happy Monday everyone!

I’m so thrilled welcome author Molly Booth on the blog today! She is nice enough to answer few questions for me about her upcoming debut contemporary novel, Saving Hamlet. This quirky and fun time travel novel will send readers to Shakespeare’s era with an endearing lead character, Emma Allen.

To learn more about Saving Hamlet and the author, Molly Booth scroll down after the interview. And don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom for a chance to win an advance readers copy of the book.

Enjoy reading the interview.

Interview with Molly Booth

Can you tell us a bit about your journey with Saving Hamlet? When did you first come up with the idea and what were the timescales involved between the first draft and the novel being accepted for publication?

Saving Hamlet started when I was at Marlboro College, taking a fiction workshop along with a class on Shakespeare. I’d been writing romantic, new-adult kind of fiction, and I’d realized I really wanted to try writing YA. Right around that time, my professor introduced me to the history of Shakespeare’s theatres, and suddenly, I knew what I wanted to write about: Shakespeare and time travel! Saving Hamlet was supposed to be a short story, then became a novella, and when that got too long, I had to embrace that I was writing a full length novel. I wrote Saving Hamlet’s first scene fall 2012, my agent, Alex Slater of Trident Media Group, took me on fall 2014, and we made the deal with my editor Kieran Viola and Disney Hyperion spring 2015. So I’ve been hanging out with Emma (my main character) for about four years now!

You have background in managing community theaters. Do you think your experience from that form or affected your writing?

Absolutely! I worked in community theatres in high school and college, stage managing pretty much everything — from kids theatre, to full scale musicals, to smaller black box plays. Early in high school I used to perform, but the technical side of theatre pulled me in. I wanted to help orchestrate the theatre magic. Plus, I had a loud voice and liked being in charge xD. When I went to write about a teenage theatre kid, I didn’t think twice: I wanted Emma to be a techie. I got to draw on my own experiences a lot, and revisit some hilarious theatre incidents of my past. It made me fall in love with being part of theatre all over again.

If Emma could ask you one question about why you wrote her story the way you did, what would she most want to know?

What a great question! I think Emma would have a lot to say to me. After we talked about Shakespeare for a few hours, I think she’d ask me about why I chose her as the character who time travels. Then she’d probably ask me about Lulu. And after that, she might ask about her first kiss too.

If you could be a character in a Shakespeare play, who would you be and why?

I haven’t acted in ages, but if we’re delving into fantasy life… I’d love to play Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. I totally relate to her brash outside and insecure inside, and her devotion to her family. (My love of Beatrice is a huge driving force in writing my next book, Nothing Happened.) Also I want to play Hamlet. Also Viola. Also Cleopatra. Also Tybalt.

If you could jump back in time and experience one significant event (real or fictional), which one would you choose to be a part of?

One! So hard! I’d probably want to see Antony and Cleopatra at the Globe. I wrote my undergrad thesis on that play, and I’m hardcore yearning to know what that show looked like back then.

Can you share some details about your next book, Nothing Happened. What we should expect from you after the release of Saving Hamlet?

Totally! I’m so excited about my next book. Nothing Happened comes out from Disney Hyperion spring 2018. It’s a YA retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, set at summer camp. There are more twists on the original story, but I can’t share too much yet! I’m having a blast translating these Shakespeare characters into teenagers and writing back stories for them. So after Saving Hamlet, you can expect more Shakespeare!! 😀

Thank you so much Molly for taking time to answer all my questions above. I am really looking forward for the release of Saving Hamlet in November.


author-molly-booth Molly Booth is a freelance writer and debut YA author of SAVING HAMLET, coming from Disney Hyperion 11/1/16. Her second book, Nothing Happened, is coming spring 2018. She holds a BA in writing and literature from Marlboro College, and now writes books about Shakespeare and feelings. She lives in Massachusetts and has almost too many pets. Almost.

Find Molly

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Tumblr | Goodreads


saving-hamletBook Details:

Title: Saving Hamlet
Author: Molly Booth
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover

Emma Allen couldn’t be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club’s production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she’s rocking a new haircut that’s sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma’s promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh–the adorable soccer boy who’s cast as the lead–turns out to be a disaster. It’s up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.

One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life’s latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage’s trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.

It’s London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma’s a boy–even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet, learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions of Hamlet before time runs out?

Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | IndieBound


What’s up for Grab?

  • ARC of Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

The Rules:

  • Open US/CA residents only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced through rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends October 17th, 2016
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!

CD2016 Second Wave Collage

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie (Author Interview + Playlist + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second Wave

Happy Weekend!

Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Jill MacKenzie to the blog to answer few questions about her upcoming debut novel, Spin The Sky. This contemporary novel incorporate dance in the story and so much more.

Jill also share a fantastic playlist of the book for us to listen too. Have fun reading the interview and listening to the playlist.

And scroll down to learn more about Spin The Sky and the author, Jill MacKenzie. Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom for a chance to win a copy of of the book.

Interview with Jill MacKenzie

What pushed you to pursue writing as a career? How did you know what story you want to write about?

To be quite honest, I’ve never really felt a push, per se, to pursue writing as a career because I’ve always just…written. It isn’t something I made a conscious decision about—at least, not until I had tried a few other careers first. From the time I was really little, I was making up characters and stories and, when I was ten, I wrote fifty pages of a novel about a girl who runs away from home to go live in the wilderness. Although that work-in-progress was accidentally deleted from my computer, it didn’t stop me. From there I continued to write short stories and poetry. Novels, of course, felt like a natural progression for me. I was excited to do it and was just waiting until I had a bit of time to dedicate to learning my craft. After a lot of reading and a bit of research, I realized that what I wanted to write was YA. After that, I just thought back to a time in my teenage life that really stood out to me. That time was on a beach in Oregon where I fell in love with life and fell in love with falling in love. Also, I grew up dancing so the integration of both experiences and memories felt right to me. And SPIN THE SKY was born!

Spin The Sky deals with a reality TV dance competition. Tell us about the process of creating the settings of the story, did any old or current reality shows influence or inspire the book?

The competition side of this story does, loosely, follow the basis of the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance. I do poke fun at it (gently) but only because I love the show. Truly, I think SYTYCD has revolutionized the dance industry in that it has singlehandedly inspired a new way to look at dance, and having a career in dance. As a result of the show’s popularity, many young dancers who might have given up dance if they couldn’t see a productive future in it (like moi), now stick with it with hopes of making their dreams come true.

Your bio said you enjoy dancing also like your protagonist, how did your own dancing experiences influence the plot of Spin The Sky? Are there any scenes in the book that tell your own dancing experience?

Oh, definitely. I never got the chance to dance as seriously as Magnolia—never auditioned for any nationally televised competitions—but every dance scene in SPIN THE SKY is, in a sense, me dancing. I still dance all the time, although these days it’s more from the comfort of my own home. But dancing, to me, is more a state of mind that anything else. A release, a way to really be yourself, an escape. All of Magnolia’s big dancing scenes were taken from some moment in my life where I felt this power surge inside of me, a time where I felt like I could do anything. Some people do yoga. I dance.

Spin The Sky has a strong focus on family, especially the relationship between Magnolia and Rose. How much does this reflect your own life?

The sister element is pretty huge for me. I have one sister I know very well and we have a very tumultuous relationship (lots of love and little bit of non-love) and one sister that I don’t know nearly as well as I’d like to. I also have a brother who I’m close to mentally but don’t see often and speak to only a handful of times a year. I’m constantly thinking of family in terms of how the family I grew up in is different to the family I have now. I look at other families and try to decipher what kinds of relationships their families are made up of and why—how they got there and where they came from. The Woodson family is one type of family. They weren’t my family, but I loved the opportunity to explore these sorts of relationships as though they were my own.

If readers could take away one thing from having read Spin The Sky what would you hope it would be?

I hope that it’d be inspiration. I hope that someone will read this book and then put it down and say, “you know, if she can follow her dreams against all those odds, what have I got to lose?” I love “rise above” stories, and I’m always telling my girls that a person is nothing without her dreams. I really believe that. I hope my book is a gentle reminder of that to others.

If one of your characters could turn the tables on you and write a story based on your teenage years, what would the title of that book be? What would be the first line?

Ha. I love this question. So many possible titles popped into my mind right now. But I think one that really stands out to me would be taken from a song that, whenever I hear it, I feel really nostalgic for what could have been—maybe even what was–my teenage self The song is called Sweet Disposition, by The Temper Trap. It’s so pretty. And sad. And hurtful too, you know? Anyway, I think Sweet Disposition is a great book title, so I’d happily allow one of my characters to borrow it to name the book of me. And the first line of the book? How about something like, “Staring at the back of his unremarkable brown head, April wondered, not for the first time, why Jordy never seemed to care that everyone outside of Chem and Physics and Math thought he was a loner, a freak, an outcast, a loser and a waste of space, when it would kill April if anyone thought of her like that.” I’m thinking of writing a story along these lines one day. The girl who was popular and had a lot going for her. The girl who always feared that, one day, everyone would find out that she was nothing more than a phony. Nothing more than a freak.

Are you working on any project right now? What we should expect from you after the release of Spin The Sky?

Ah. The tough question. Well, I’m happy to report that I do have a few projects in the works right now. But because I’m a very superstitious person, I don’t really want to say too much about them. So I think I’ll just say that, thankfully, I’m keeping busy and plugging away at this thing I’m forever trying to do!

Spin The Sky Playlist

Thank you so much Jill for answering my questions and for creating the playlist of Spin The Sky for us.


author-jill-mackenzieAlthough my heart will always be on the West Coast, I’ve lived in the heat of Florida for nearly 11 years and am finally getting used to it. Together with my South African husband named Gus and our two gorgeous little daughters (one girly, one not), our lives are pretty much spent on the beach, navigating the clear, warm waters of the South. In addition to being an avid member of SCBWI Florida, I’m currently completing my MFA in Creative Writing through the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. I also *occasionally* work as a freelance writer and substitute teacher because, you know, I’ve got to help bring home the bacon, too. In my free time, (free time? What’s that?) I enjoy dancing, reading, snorkeling, surfing, running and traveling.

Find Jill

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Book Details:

spin-the-skyTitle: Spin the Sky
Author: Jill MacKenzie
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: November 01, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

Book Links:

AmazonGoodreads | IndieBound | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie

The Rules:

  • Open to US / CA residents
  • There will be one (1) lucky winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends October 15th, 2016
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!

CD2016 Second Wave Collage



Celebrating Debutantes 2016: At First Blush by Beth Ellyn Summer (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second Wave

Today I’m thrilled to have another wonderful author and a fun novel to feature as part of the Second Wave of Celebrating Debutantes blog event.

Author Beth Ellyn Summer is nice enough to answer few questions for me about her writing and her upcoming debut contemporary novel At First Blush. If you like fun, light and romantic contemporary read, don’t forget to add At First Blush on your to watch out titles. The book will hit shelves in November 1st.

To learn more about At First Blush and the author, Beth Ellyn Summer scroll down after the interview. And don’t forget to check the giveaway for a chance to win fabulous prizes from Beth.

Enjoy reading the interview.

Interview with Beth Ellyn Summer

Not every author grew up considering themselves as a writer. When and how did you discover your inner muse? Did you know what sort of stories you wanted to tell or did you just sort of feel your way? How did the inspiration for At First Blush come?

Writing has always been the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. I actually can’t remember a time I didn’t know it was my dream job, but I fell in love with YA specifically when I discovered Sarah Dessen novels!

So the inspiration for At First Blush came in stages. I interned for Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon in college and that’s when the seeds of an idea for a story about an internship at a late night talk show were planted in my mind. Then a couple of summers later I binge-watched makeup tutorials on YouTube. I’d try (and fail) to replicate all those smoky eyes, and overall just became so fascinated with the world of YouTubers. They have this incessant drive to get millions of subscribers, but with those numbers come a lot of hateful comments. Once I had the basics of Lacey’s storyline drafted, I decided her best friend should be interning for a late night talk show. After that, the story wrote itself!

What brand would you like to establish as a writer? How do you plan to reinforce that brand?

My brand is absolutely “The Girly Author.” Everything I write has a girly, fun, chick-lit vibe. I think I establish that by keeping my online presence light and fun, associating colors (which I think really help build a brand) like pinks and whites for my website and social media.

Do you recognize any parts of yourself in your lead character Lacey Robbins?

We’re not too much alike but there are a few similarities: we both love makeup, and if I’m around a makeup palette I will start swatching colors on the back of my hand, like she always does. We’re also both very driven and career oriented.

I love a good love interest! What makes Tyler Lance special?

Ah, Tyler 🙂 Well, Tyler’s dating history is longer than Lacey’s Sephora wishlist. So, there’s that. But as spoiled as he is, he’s also incredibly naive. He was the heartthrob of Simply Complicated (a band he was in with his brother and cousin) for years, and now that he’s gone solo, he’s got a lot to prove to the world, and–more importantly for him–to his family.

Another thing I love about Tyler is that he never asks anyone any questions. It stems from a life of having paparazzi fire off ridiculous questions at him. Admittedly, it made editing his dialogue super tricky–I kept accidentally slipping in a question!

If Lacey can pick one celebrity to work with as a make-up artist, who would it be and why?

This is hard to narrow down but I think Lacey would love to work with Zendaya Coleman. I don’t think there’s one set style that defines Zendaya; she’s fearless on a red carpet, and Lacey would have so much fun and no limits coming up with an awesome look.

Where do you see your writing going after the release of At First Blush? Do you think you’ll stick writing YA contemporary fiction or branch out into something else?

I adore YA contemp, and I’m currently revising a new YA contemp! But I absolutely see myself writing other things down the line. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a middle grade story some day, and there’s another story I’m drafting that seems to want to drift into the twenty-something age range, no matter how hard I try to “YA” it!


Author Beth Eellyn SummerBeth Ellyn Summer writes contemporary young adult fiction that somehow always includes the following elements: fame, makeup, and television. She graduated from Long Island University with a degree in Print and Electronic Journalism. Interning for Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon was the highlight of her college years. When she’s not writing, Beth can be found swatching eyeshadows, solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles, and playing with her adorable cat, Penny Belle. Beth lives on Long Island in a cookie cutter town that, in an ironic twist of fate, doesn’t have a single decent bakery.

Find Beth

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


At First BlushBook Details:

Title: At First Blush
Author: Beth Ellyn Summer
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Publication Date: November 01, 2016
Pages: 250
Format: eBook

Who would have thought that a teenager could have a successful career creating makeup tutorial videos on YouTube? For Lacey Robbins, this dream has been her reality. An up-and-coming YouTuber, she has thousands of fans and can’t wait for the day when her subscriber count reaches the one million mark. And when she is offered a high school internship at On Trend Magazine, she figures that this could be the make it or break it moment.

But sometimes your dream job isn’t all that it seems. Her editor is only interested in promoting junk products, and her boss in the Hair and Makeup department introduces her to the larger world of makeup artistry, making her wonder if making tutorials online is all she is meant to do. To top it all off, when the magazine’s feature subject, musician Tyler Lance, turns his broodingly handsome smile her way, falling for him could mean losing her fans, forcing her to make a decision: her YouTube life or her real life?

Fans of Zoella’s GIRL ONLINE will fall right into the world of this YA DEVIL WEARS PRADA and stay hooked from the first blush to the last glossy kiss.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

  • elf blush brush
  • elf matte lip color in “Dash of Pink”
  • elf cream eyeliner in “Coffee” (comes with a small brush)
  • signed bookmark
    At First Blush Giveaway Prize

The Rules:

  • Open to US/CA only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends October 13th, 2016
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!

CD2016 Second Wave Collage