Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes (Playlist + Giveaway)

So thrilled to welcome new author Janelle Milanes to the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Janelle will be sharing a playlist she made for her debut ya contemporary novel, The Victoria In My Head.

The book will hit the shelves next month, September 19, 2017. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet you still have time to placed your order online.

Following the playlist are some information about the author, Janelle Milanes along with places where to find her online, as well as the book‘s description and where to get copies of The Victoria In My Head. And if you’d like the chance to win a personalized signed copy of The Victoria in My Head and awesome swags, Janelle is giving away below. Open to everyone. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post.

Happy listening!

The Victoria In My Head Playlist

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janelle Milanes is originally from Miami, FL and received her BA in English Literature from Davidson College. A lifelong YA addict, she moved to New York for her first job as a children’s literature associate at Simon & Schuster. For the past five years, Janelle has worked as a teacher and librarian throughout the New York City area. THE VICTORIA IN MY HEAD is her first novel and reflects many of her own experiences growing up as a second-generation Latina in America. Janelle currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two cats. Her favorite Disney princess is Belle, since she was also a big book nerd.

 Find Janelle

Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: The Victoria in My Head
Author: Janelle Milanes
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Victoria Cruz inhabits two worlds: In one, she is a rock star, thrashing the stage with her husky voice and purple-streaked hair. In the other, currently serving as her reality, Victoria is a shy teenager with overprotective Cuban parents, who sleepwalks through her life at the prestigious Evanston Academy. Unable to overcome the whole paralyzing-stage-fright thing, Victoria settles for living inside her fantasies, where nothing can go wrong and everything is set to her expertly crafted music playlists.

But after a chance encounter with an unattainably gorgeous boy named Strand, whose band seeks a lead singer, Victoria is tempted to turn her fevered daydreams into reality. To do that, she must confront her insecurities and break away from the treadmill that is her life. Suddenly, Victoria is faced with the choice of staying on the path she’s always known and straying off-course to find love, adventure, and danger.

From debut author Janelle Milanes comes a hilarious and heartfelt tale of the spectacular things that can happen when you go after what you really want.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Book Depository | Goodreads | IndieBound | Target | Walmart

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • personalized hardcover copy of The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes
  • an enamel music pin,
  • and a small vinyl record print with the name of the book on it

 The Rules:

  • Open International
  • 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 September 14th, 2017
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

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Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Today I’m super thrilled to welcome new author Kristen Ciccarelli on the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. Kristen answered few questions for me about her upcoming debut fantasy novel, The Last Namsara. The book is the first installment of the planned series, Iskari, which features a strong heroine, dragons, dragons slayers and a lot more.

The Last Namsara will release in October but you can pre-order your copies now. There are signed copies available from Words Worth Books. So placed your order before copies runs out!

Following the author interview is Kristen Ciccarelli’s author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to pre-order copies of The Last Namsara. And if you would like the chance to win a signed advance readers copy of The Last Namsara, Kristen is giving away one below. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post. I hope you guys enjoy the interview.

Interview with Kristen Ciccarelli

What’s your journey to writerhood been like?
I’ve been writing stories since I could first string sentences together. It was my favourite thing to do as a kid/teen, but then I stopped was when I went away to school. I had this idea that my stories were childish and silly and worthless, and therefore I needed to leave them behind in order to “grow up”. I stopped writing for 5 years … and was completely miserable. It was only when I found myself crying at my desk everyday that I realized something was really wrong and let myself start to write again.

That was eight years ago now and since then I’ve definitely seen my share of publishing failure (I had an agent previously, got really close to selling a different book, went back to the query trenches when my former agent left publishing, etc). I rewrote my debut fantasy, The Last Namsara, three times from scratch over the course of a decade and I actually almost gave up on it just 5 months before it sold to HarperCollins in a 3-book deal. (Moral of the story: don’t give up!)

What was the biggest change you made to the book before it reached an agent/editor/publisher?
I rewrote this book several times, and each time it changed pretty drastically. But the biggest change I made just before I started getting offers on it was probably fleshing out the old stories and pulling them out of the narrative, making them stand on their own in between chapters. Also, a significant character who died off the page previously now dies on the page (my editor sobbed when she read it). So consider yourself warned!

What inspired The Last Namsara?
A lot of things! 1. My love of dragons, badass girls, and romance. 2. My belief in the power and complexity of stories. 3. A desire to write a book that, at its heart, is about reclaiming yourself.

Please give us an insight into your main character, Asha. Aside from being a dragon slayer, what makes her special for you to tell her story?
I gave a lot of my own wounds to Asha. In particular, my shame. Asha is deeply ashamed of the old stories–which are the things she uses to lure dragons to her–because she told one as a child and it summoned a dragon named Kozu, who nearly destroyed her city and left her with a scar. So she hunts dragons to make amends for what she did, but she’s deeply ashamed of how she hunts them (telling these forbidden, deadly stories).

The Last Namsara is the first book in a planned series. Did you know this was going to be a series when you first wrote the story? Do you already have longer story arcs outlined?
I knew I wanted The Last Namsara to stand alone, but I also knew I wasn’t finished with the characters or the world. So when my agent offered, I told her I would really, really love to sell it as a 3-book series, with all three books being told from the perspective of different characters (Asha, Roa, and Safire). I had pitches for the 2nd and 3rd books ready to go when The Last Namsara went out on submission and, because my agent is fierce and amazing, that’s exactly how she sold it.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
It would be a dream to be able to keep writing the books I love and have those books find readers who love them too. That’s all I want.

If you could pick one fantasy world to live in, which would it be and why?
Either the world of Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials (because hello daemons! And armoured bears! And Dust!) or the world of Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom (I want to use charter magic and fly in a paper wing and be one of the many girls carrying weapons like it’s totally no big deal).

And lastly before we end this interview, can you please share a snippet/teaser from The Last Namsara to intrigue and tantalize us before the book hit the shelves in few weeks.
Of course! Here’s an excerpt from the scene where Asha comes face to face with the dragon who burned her eight years previous:

A shadow fell across her. She looked up to see a dragon circling. Black as ink. Black as a still pool on a moonless night. Black as Asha’s eyes.
She drew the axe at her hip.
Kozu landed with a thud. The earth trembled beneath him. His shadow shot over her, cloaking her in darkness. His scales gleamed and his slitted yellow eye drank her in. Asha’s eyes did the same, fixing on his scar. A mirror image of hers, it ran down his serpentine face, cutting through his eye, marring those inky scales. Two horns twisted out of his head, perfect for goring prey; and on each foot were five talons, sharp as knives. As wide as a courtyard, his wings remained outspread—a show of just how large he was, how easily he could crush her.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristen Ciccarelli hails from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula where she grew up on her grandfather’s grape farm. She’s made her living as a baker, a bookseller, and a potter, but now writes books about bloodthirsty dragons, girls wielding really cool weapons, and the transformative power of stories. You can learn more at http://www.kristenciccarelli.com.

Find Kristen

Website | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: The Last Namsara
Series: Iskari
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 03, 2017
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audio

Kristen Ciccarelli’s debut fantasy explores an intricately woven world of deception, inner darkness, and dragons that fantasy fans won’t be able to resist.

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be dark—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up hearing in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Book Depository | Goodreads | Indigo |  IndieBound | Publisher | Waterstones| Words Worth Books (signed preorders)

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed ARC of The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Rules:

  • Open International
  • 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 September 12th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: In 27 Days by Alison Gervais (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Today I’m featuring new author Alison Gervais and her debut novel, In 27 Days as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. The story first appeared in Wattpad and then released this year under Blink publishing. Alison was nice enough to answer a few questions for me about In 27 Days and writing. so I hope you guys enjoy the interview.

Following the author interview is Alison Gervais’s author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to order copies of In 27 Days. And if you would like the chance to win a copy of the book I’m giving away one below. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post for a chance to win.

Interview with Alison Gervais

Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? What inspired your debut novel, In 27 Days?
I think in some way I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but that I probably wouldn’t have much luck getting those stories published. Funny how sometimes dreams have a way of coming true, huh? J
I literally have no idea where the inspiration for IN 27 DAYS itself came from, but I would say a lot of my own personal experiences with depression and suicidal thoughts definitely inspired and/or influenced pieces of the story. While I was writing, it became my way of getting everything I was feeling down on paper, and there I was actually able to feel as if I had some control over something going on in my life.

Could you describe In 27 days in 140 characters?
IN 27 DAYS is a story that features time travel, friendship, family and love, while discussing the taboo subjects of mental health and suicide. The main protagonist, Hadley Jamison, is your every-kind-of-girl that a lot of people mind find themselves relating to, while Archer Morales, her opposite, struggles daily with his depression and the desire to take care of and protect his family while just trying to make it through high school. Of course the supernatural elements to the story also add to the excitement as well!

What is the difference between the Wattpad version and final version of In 27 Days?
The final published version of IN 27 DAYS underwent some pretty rigorous editing that took nearly a year. Inconsistencies from the original Wattpad version were addressed, multiple characters might have become one, and I think a little more excitement worked its way in there too.

Do you have a particular approach to research and writing?
I did conduct a little bit of research by way of landmarks in New York City as well as the Italian language, seeing as Archer’s family is Italian, but not much else there.
Did you learn any deep, interesting, or shocking truths while working on this novel—about writing in general, or about yourself?
After the final draft was finished and it was on its way to publication, I think I was surprised when my family read the story and told me the little bits and pieces of myself that they found in the story. They could tell what came from me, what experiences might have influenced maybe a certain scene or something, and I just found that surprising. I didn’t know I had more than just a few outside experiences influencing bits of my writing.

If you could write a story in another genre, what genre would it be and what would it be about?
I’ve always been fascinated by historical fiction! I think I might give that a whirl sometime in the future!

Lets say you’ll meet Death today, and he offer you to go back in time to meet and talk to someone who already died, who will you choose and why? What will you say to him/her?
I honestly have no idea who I would want to meet from the past! Maybe Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte. I’m a huge fan of theirs! And, of course, I would probably ask them for writing advice. Who wouldn’t?

What can we expect from you in the future? Anything you can tell about the sequel, Face your Fears?
I’m still hard at work writing, of course, and definitely have some new things in the word, so keep an eye out for that! J
In terms of Face Your Fears, there are no plans to publish that story. It will likely just remain a sequel to the Wattpad version and not the official published version.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alison Gervais graduated in May 2017 from university with BA in Creative Writing. First began writing at age four, where debut story was about a frog king and his loyal servants. Joined the fabulous writer’s site Wattpad in 2011. First novel, IN 27 DAYS NOW PUBLISHED via Blink/HarperCollins. Currently repp’ed by the fantastic Shannon Hassan at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Find Alison

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Wattpad


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: In 27 Days
Author: Alison Gervais
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him.

Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, Hadley is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back 27 days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.

Hadley soon discovers Archer’s reasons for being alone, and Archer realizes that having someone to confide in isn’t as bad as he’d always thought. But when a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart, Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything – including her life – to keep Archer safe.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

The Rules:

  • Open International where Book Depository ships
  • 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 September 10th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent vi a Book Depository

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Today I’m featuring new author Heather Fawcett and her fantasy novel, Even the Darkest Stars as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event.

Even the Darkest Stars releases in few weeks, don’t forget to pre-order your copies.

Following the author interview is Heather Fawcett’s author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to pre-order copies of Even the Darkest Stars. And if  you would like the chance to win a copy of the book and a signed bookplate, Heather is giving away below. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post to be enter on the giveaway.

Interview with Heather Fawcett

What’s your journey to writerhood been like? What inspired your debut novel, Even the Darkest Stars?
I’ve been writing since I was very young (5 or 6), almost exclusively fantasy. I also love rock climbing and hiking, and I’m fascinated by explorers.

You’ve written some short stories before, how did those prepare you in writing a full length fantasy novel?
Writing a novel is a much different experience from writing a short story. I would say that university was better at preparing me for the discipline necessary to write a novel–just that experience of setting daily word count targets to get a piece of writing done. Though meeting those targets is far harder when you’re working on an essay on medieval poetry…

What was the biggest change you’ve made to the story before it reached an agent, editor, or publisher?

I actually didn’t make any major changes to the story prior to finding an agent–I think that makes me fairly unusual! I certainly revised it, but structural changes were minimal.

Can you please give us an insight into your main character, Kamzin. What does she do that is so special?
Good question! I think what I like most about Kamzin is that she’s a very active person. She isn’t so much swept along by events as she is the driver of them. That’s something I admire in people both real and fictional.

If you could bring Kamzin to other fantasy world with you, where would you two live in and why?

I love so many fantasy worlds that it’s hard to pick just one! Perhaps Middle Earth–I have a feeling Kamzin could have scaled Mount Doom a lot more efficiently than Frodo and Sam 😉

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To write more books! Seriously, though, I love YA, and would like to write more in that genre. I’d also love to try my hand at middle grade.

After the release of Even the Darkest Stars, what can we expect from you in the future? Anything you can tell about the sequel?

Oh, I wish I could share details about the sequel. I think the most I can say at the moment is that I’m very happy with it so far, and I hope readers will be too.

And lastly before we end this interview, can you please share a snippet from Even the Darkest Stars to intrigue and tantalize us before the book hit the shelves in few weeks.

Absolutely! Here’s a quote that I think may give readers a sense of Kamzin’s character. In this passage, she’s reflecting on her life in the small village where she grew up.

As much as I loved Azmiri, I didn’t fit there. I never had. Life in the village was small and quiet and contained, while I craved noise and excitement and wide-open spaces stretched out before me like a blank scroll upon which I could write my own stories.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Fawcett has worked as an archaeologist, photographer, technical writer, and backstage assistant for a Shakespearean theatre festival. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, whereshe spends her time exploring the mountains and occasionally getting lost in the woods. Even the Darkest Stars is her first book.

Find Heather

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Even the Darkest Stars
Author: Heather Fawcett
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 05, 2017
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.

Book Links

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

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett
  • and Signed Bookplate

The Rules:

  • Open International
  • 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 September 8th, 2017
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews · Writings

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Kat Greene Comes Clean by Melissa Roske (Movie Cast + Giveaway)

Happy Wednesday to all! I am thrilled to have debut author Melissa Roske here on the blog today as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Melissa will be sharing to us her casting pick for her upcoming middle grade novel, Kat Greene Comes Clean. The book releases next week, don’t forget to buy copies.

To know more about Melissa and Kat Greene Comes Clean, check the author’s bio and book’s description that follows after the guest post. There are also links where you can catch up with the author or where to pre-order copies of the book. And if you are from the US or Canada and would like to take a chance in winning a copy of the book and swags, there’s a giveaway at the end of this post. Just enter the rafflecopter form. But before that, here’s Melissa with her casting pick for Kat Greene Comes Clean. Enjoy!

Kat Greene Comes Clean Movie Cast

Kat Greene—Ruby Barnhill
Best known for her role in The BFG, the 2016 movie based on Roald Dahl’s beloved middle-grade novel, Barnhill captures Kat’s easy charm and spunky personality. Plus she’s completely adorable—just like Kat!

Mom—Jayma Mays
Not only is Mays wearing Mom’s signature overalls in this photo, she is a brilliant actress who can play comic and dramatic roles equally well. She scores extra points for portraying a TV character with OCD—Emma Pillsbury, the high-school guidance counselor, in the long-running series, Glee—in an accurate and fair manner.

Halle Maklansky—Amandla Stenberg
Stenberg, who is best known for her portrayal of Rue in the 2012 adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, The Hunger Games, has a warm playful in her eye—just as I imagine Kat’s BFF, Halle, would.

Sam Teitelbaum—Sean Giambrone
his versatile actor is best known for playing Adam Goldberg in the TV series The Goldbergs, and he looks exactly the way I imagined Kat’s friend Sam would: happy, with curly hair and glasses, and a “wide-face-splitting grin.” Perfect!


Michael McGraw—Jason Bonnell
Bonnel’s movies aren’t exactly child-friendly (his latest film, Adam K, is about an insurance-salesman-turned-serial killer), but he bears an uncanny physical resemblance—in my mind—to Halle’s crush, the cute-but-dim Michael McGraw.

Olympia Rabinowitz — Anne Lamott
I actually had the writer Anne Lamott in mind when I wrote Olympia’s character (“Her hair is the color of orange Kool-Aid and styled in lots of skinny braids”), so even though I’m not choosing an actor to portray Olympia, the psychologist at Kat’s hippie-dippy school, I think it works!

Dad—Ben Affleck.
Affleck is able to pull off a wide variety of roles, from a mild-mannered accountant to Batman. So why not Kat’s dad too?

Barbara—Julia Roberts.
Like Jayma Mays, Roberts is known for playing both comic and dramatic roles. In the book, Kat’s stepmom, Barbara, has a good sense of humor, but she also has to have a firm grip on her son, Henry, who can be a “real handful.”

Henry—William Watkins.
I actually found this cutie-pie by googling “three-year-old child actors”! He would be excellent as Kat’s little brother, Henry—and he’s wearing a superhero T-shirt and little-kid Converse. Love it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Roske is a writer of contemporary middle-grade fiction. Before spending her days with imaginary people, Melissa interviewed real ones, as a journalist in Europe. In London, she landed a job as an advice columnist for Just Seventeen magazine, where she answered hundreds of letters from readers each week. Upon returning to her native New York, Melissa contributed to several books and magazines, selected jokes for Reader’s Digest, and got certified as a life coach. She lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her husband, daughter, and the occasional dust bunny.

Find Melissa

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Kat Greene Comes Clean
Author: Melissa Roske
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Pages: 224
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Eleven-year-old Kat Greene has a lot on her pre-rinsed plate, thanks to her divorced mom’s obsession with cleaning. When Mom isn’t scrubbing every inch of their Greenwich Village apartment, she’s boiling the silverware or checking Kat’s sheets for bedbugs. It’s enough to make any sane middle schooler crazy! Add friendship troubles to the mix, a crummy role in the school play, and Mom’s decision to try out for Clean Sweep, a TV game show about cleaning, and what have you got? More trouble than Kat can handle. At least, without a little help from her friends. 

 

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Book DepositoryGoodreads | Publisher

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of Kat Greene Comes Clean by Melissa Roske and
  • Bookmarks & Stickers

The Rules:

  • Open to US/CA
  • 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 September 6th, 2017
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

 

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Today I’m featuring new author Katherine Locke and her historical fantasy novel, The Girl with the Red Balloon as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. The Girl with the Red Balloon is one of my most anticipated novels of 2017. Not only I am curious with how the author mixed different genres in this novel, but also excited to meet the diverse cast of characters. Though it is not uncommon for Jewish characters to be represented in fiction, I still feel like we don’t have enough especially in young adult shelves.

The Girl with the Red Balloon releases in few weeks, don’t forget to pre-order your copies.

Following the author interview is Katherine Locke’s author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of The Girl with the Red Balloon. And if you are in the US and would like the chance to win a copy of the book, Katherine is giving away a signed hardcover copy below. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post to be enter on the giveaway.

Interview with Katherine Locke

What was it like to make the transition from writing new adult romance fictions to young adult historical fantasy fiction?
I actually wrote the first draft of The Girl with the Red Balloon before I wrote Second Position. Historical fantasy is much more my norm, while new adult romance was the departure for me. I’m not sure that writing Turning Pointe, Second Position and Finding Center was a fluke as much as at that time, that was the story I wanted to tell and that’s how that story wanted to be told. And most of the stories I’m interested in telling end up being historical fiction. The only difference in writing historical fantasy and new adult romance, for me at least, is that a lot more people die in my historical fantasy.

The Girl with the Red Balloon is a mix of historical fiction, time travel, mystery, and magical realism. Did you intend to write the story with all these? Or it just happen while you are writing the book?
That’s a good question! The time travel and the magic has always been part of it, but everything else kind of grew out of revisions and figuring out the heart of the story. The first draft was entirely Ellie’s point of view, and was less of a mystery than a thriller, I think. The timeline of Benno, the boy in the ghetto in 1941-1942, came later in the second draft, and Kai’s point of view added a whole new element too. I did a lot of weaving of certain elements, like Ellie’s doves, much later in the editing process.

What draws you to historical events as the backdrop of the novel? And why 1988 East Berlin?
This is complicated, and I keep trying to answer this without getting wonky and failing.
Essentially, it’s this: I’m really interested in how history shapes us as individual people, and I also think history is way more interesting than my standard K-12 education made it seem (for the most part: I had a couple of really great teachers who opened my eyes.) There are some really amazing things in history that we should be talking about and reading about, that have made us as individuals alive in the 21st century the way we are, even if we aren’t aware of them. So that’s why I’m a big fan of writing historical fiction. There’s just a ton of material there! I just really like adding magic into that mix.

The Girl with the Red Balloon is written in three different perspectives, giving readers a much-appreciated peek of each narratives. What kind of preparation did you do putting yourself in the mindset of three different characters, especially since they have a mixed backgrounds? Who’s easier to write, Ellie, Kai, or Benno? And why?
I wrote each character in a separate word document and then copy pasted to a master document, which is something I just repeated for Balloonmakers #2. It helps me maintain the voice of each character the best I can. For Benno’s chapters, which are tonally very different from the rest of the book, I wrote that at the very end, and inserted those chapters later. So it was a bit of a tricky writing process, but I think it worked out well in this case. I did a lot of research into slang and thought about the different ways Kai and Ellie would move through 1988 East Berlin. She walks more hesitantly, but talks less carefully, versus he’s very deliberate and takes up space in how he moves and thinks, but exceedingly cautious about what he says outside the house (as would be typical for someone in East Germany.)

Do you have a particular approach to research and writing?
I do a lot of it? I think that’s my approach. I usually read a book or two, read some blogs, and get some basic sense of the historical framework for a book, and then I do some research while writing it. I do additional research after I’m done a first draft, and then start inserting those details, like food, slang, music, clothing, street names, in the next draft. It’s the little things that help make a book feel real—I’ve never done ballet, and I’ve never been to Berlin (or anywhere in Germany)—but I know how to research and look for those things that make books feel real.

After the release of The Girl with the Red Balloon, what can we expect from you in the future? Anything you can tell about the sequel?
Sure! The second book is more of a companion than a sequel—it takes place 45 years earlier. Same balloon magic, new cast of main characters. You’ll see one familiar face there! It’s about a sister and a brother who are both recruited to use balloon magic on different parts of the Manhattan Project (the secret project to build the first atom bomb), and they each discover a spy in their midst.

As for what else you can expect from me in the future, I’m in an upcoming anthology called PILGRIM PLAYWRIGHT GENIE GUARD, edited by the amazing Marieke Nijkamp. I wrote a short story there about a girl with panic disorder and agoraphobia who needs to save her city which has come under attack.

And I’m busy working on future books! One’s another YA historical fantasy, and the other is a middle grade fantasy. When I can share more, I will!

And lastly before we end this interview, can you please share a snippet from The Girl with the Red Balloon to intrigue and tantalize us before the book hit the shelves in few weeks.
Sure! This is from an early chapter. Ellie snuck out of the safehouse, against Kai’s orders, and tried to go back to the park where she thinks she came from. She brought the balloon with her, hoping it’d just know to take her home, but she ran into both Kai and Ashasher, whom she calls the raven man for the raven feathers that circle his head continuously. Ashasher is one of the two people in charge of the magical balloons in East Berlin, and Kai is a Runner—he takes the balloon from the balloonmaker to the person trying to escape. Ellie just wants to go home.

“Have other Runners reported this?” the raven man asked Kai. “Other missing balloons? Missing Passengers?”
“No.”
“You’re sure?”
“I am sure.” The heaviness in Kai’s voice carried the same edge as the heaviness on my chest, the knife at my hip, the churning of my stomach. Everything that had happened—the tug, the place around me so unlike the Berlin I’d seen, the balloon, the Wall… It was like seeing an accident about to happen. I flinched and looked away.
But my heart was a betrayer. “So it’s real,” I found myself saying. Kai and the raven man turned toward me, curious and confused. I clarified. “Balloons. Magic.”
Kai looked at the raven man, who lifted his face to the sky. His nod was tentative and tenuous. “Yes.”
I nodded slowly because I didn’t know what else to do. All those stories Saba had told…and where I was now. My ribs felt like they had closed with a cold, hard grip around my lungs. I couldn’t breathe. I let the balloon escape from my arms. I wrapped my bare hand around the string and whispered, “Then why won’t it take me home?”
“Balloons are not—” the raven man said in German, the last word unknown to me. I frowned at him, and he repeated in English, “Balloons are not omnidirectional.”
I pressed my lips together and forced myself to keep my tone even. “Obviously.”
The corner of Kai’s mouth twitched, and his gaze shot to his shoes again. I thought that was the closest he’d ever get to a smile, and it felt like a victory. The raven man said calmly, unaffected by my rancor, “What would you like the balloon to do? It brought you here. It did its duty as far as it is concerned.”
“You speak like it is sentient.”
He shook his head, the feathers spinning so fast I could no longer see his eyes. Kai clarified, translating my sentence from English into German. The feathers slowed, and the raven man’s eyes were dark but clear. “The magic may as well make it as such. It knew you somehow. You are meant to be here.”
Kai scowled. “She isn’t. She can’t be.” He sighed and added in German, “She is from a different time.”
I blinked. Exhaled. Inhaled. My vision tunneled down on a stray feather on the path. It was strange, wasn’t it, that no one walked by us. From a different time. In my mind, I saw the old- fashioned cars on the street. I thought about the Wall and the people with me. I’d known. I just hadn’t wanted it to be true. I had seen without believing. It’s impossible. Balloons just go over walls. But here I was.
Ashasher said, “Zeitreisende.”
“What?” I asked. “What did you call me?”
“Time traveler,” Kai said, his voice soaked with regret. “He called you a time traveler.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katherine Locke lives and writes in a very small town outside of Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. She writes about that which she cannot do: ballet, time travel, and magic. When she’s not writing, she’s probably tweeting. She not-so-secretly believes most stories are fairy tales in disguise. Her Young Adult debut, THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON, arrives Fall 2017 from Albert Whitman & Company!

Find Katherine

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: The Girl with the Red Balloon
Author: Katherine Locke
Series: The Balloonmakers
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: September 01, 2017
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

Book Links

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Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed copy of The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

The Rules:

  • Open to US
  • 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 September 4th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Today I’m featuring new author Rebecca Barrow and her contemporary novel, You Don’t Know Me But I Know You. Rebecca is nice enough to answer few questions for me about her debut novel, and writing in general. I hope you guys enjoy the short interview.

To know more about the author and You Don’t Know Me But I Know You. Check Rebecca Barrow ’s bio and book’s description that follows after the interview. There are also links where you can catch up with the author or where to pre-order copies of the book. And if you’d like to own an advance readers’ copy of the book, there’s a giveaway at the bottom of this post. Just enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win.

Interview with Rebecca Barrow

Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? What inspired your debut novel, You Don’t Know Me But I Know You?

Yes, I’ve pretty much always known I wanted to be a writer, along with many other things–writer was the only one that stuck, though. I wrote YDK because I wanted to explore one girl’s experience of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and show everything she went through and felt in the process of making her decision–and how she had to make this big choice while still dealing with common teenage things like falling out with your best friend and being unsure of your future.

What qualities did you love exploring in Audrey as a character?

Audrey is quite independent and decisive–on the outside. I definitely wanted to explore the uncertainty she has about not only her pregnancy, but also her art, her family, how she feels about herself, all these things that she keeps kind of hidden away.

What was the biggest change you’ve made to the story before it reached an agent, editor, or publisher?

It went through a few different big changes over the years! I’ve talked about a couple of them in other places so this time I’ll say that in the very very first version, her best friend Rose did not exist at all, and Audrey was not a photographer.

Is there a secret or not-so-secret piece of this novel that came from something we may not realize is “real”?

This falls under not-so-secret but Audrey’s mother Laura is white and a natural redhead, while Audrey is mixed race with natural hair–this is very much taken from me and my mother (although I’m not adopted like Audrey).

Did you learn any deep, interesting, or shocking truths while working on this novel—about writing in general, or about yourself?

In terms of writing, this was definitely the book where I fully realised how much you can transform a novel from first draft to end product. First drafts are hard for me and usually so far away from what I had in my head, but this book taught me not to be afraid to just start over from scratch, to make big sweeping changes, until the thing on paper and the thing in my head somewhat match up.

What message do you hope people will take away from reading your book?

I hope people will see that people’s reproductive choices are nobody else’s but their own. Everyone has a different story and life and makes different choices, and it’s their absolute right to decide what is best for themselves.

After the release of You Don’t Know Me But I Know You, what can we expect from you in the future? Any ambitions for your writing career?

I’m working on my second book which should hopefully come out in 2018! After that: world domination–or, more books, more growth as a writer, and more challenging stories.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Barrow writes stories about girls and all the wonders they can be. A lipstick obsessive with the ability to quote the entirety of Mean Girls, she lives in England, where it rains a considerable amount more than in the fictional worlds of her characters. She collects tattoos, cats, and more books than she could ever possibly read. YOU DON’T KNOW ME BUT I KNOW YOU is her first novel.

Find Rebecca

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: You Don’t Know Me but I Know You
Author: Rebecca Barrow
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Rebecca Barrow’s bright, honest debut novel about chance, choice, and unconditional love is a heartfelt testament to creating the future you truly want, one puzzle piece at a time.

There’s a box in the back of Audrey’s closet that she rarely thinks about.

Inside is a letter, seventeen years old, from a mother she’s never met, handed to her by the woman she’s called Mom her whole life. Being adopted, though, is just one piece in the puzzle of Audrey’s life—the picture painstakingly put together by Audrey herself, full of all the people and pursuits that make her who she is.

But when Audrey realizes that she’s pregnant, she feels something—a tightly sealed box in the closet corners of her heart—crack open, spilling her dormant fears and unanswered questions all over the life she loves.

Almost two decades ago, a girl in Audrey’s situation made a choice, one that started Audrey’s entire story. Now Audrey is paralyzed by her own what-ifs and terrified by the distance she feels growing between her and her best friend Rose. Down every possible path is a different unfamiliar version of her life, and as she weighs the options in her mind, she starts to wonder—what does it even mean to be Audrey Spencer?

Book Links

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

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • ARC of You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

The Rules:

  • Open to International
  • 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 September 2nd, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.