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Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Secrets of Islayne by Kari Lynn West (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Happy Friday to all!

Welcome to another stop for Celebrating Debuntantes 2017 blog event. Today I’m featuring new author Kari Lynn West and her debut ya fantasy novel, The Secrets of Islayne. This novel offers fresh concepts, that introduced readers to Luminators – people with an inborn ability to bring back the faded memories of a person in a much more clearer, fresh and vivid way. Isn’t that interesting?

Following the interview with Kari is her author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of The Secrets of Islayne. And if you are in the US and would like the chance to win a copy of the book, Kari is giving away a signed copy below. Just enter the form a bit further down in this post. But before that here’s the interview with Kari. I hope you enjoy.

Interview with Kari Lynn West

Please tell us a bit about your journey with The Secrets of Islayne. Did you know right away that this was your story, or did you discover it as you write? And how was the publication process goes for you?

It’s been quite a long journey! Though the central idea behind the novel has stayed the same, almost everything else has changed between when I started writing it three years ago and now. I’ve changed the main character and ensemble, the setting, and the vast majority of the plot. I wrote the first draft, salvaged about a thousand words of it, and threw the rest away. It wasn’t until the third draft that I felt like I got the heart of the novel right, and even since that draft, there have been quite a few revisions and rewrites—and an embarrassing amount of time spent banging my head against a wall, crying that I would never get the story right. But finally, I now have a novel worth sharing.

The publishing process has also been entirely new to me. I spent months doing research on the different options, but even though I felt like I was making an informed decision going the indie route, it was still more work than I’d anticipated. But I love making connections with new readers and seeing people experience the story for the first time, so it’s been very rewarding!

Did you learn any deep, shocking/interesting truths while working on The Secrets of Islayne, about writing in general, or about yourself?

I learned that every single part of the writing process is difficult and every part is satisfying. I learned that, vocationally speaking, nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than creating stories.

Tell us about the cover of The Secrets of Islayne. How it came about? Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process of any novel?

I used an awesome cover design company called Ebook Launch to design the cover of The Secrets of Islayne. They were fantastic to work—very artistically gifted, responsive to my wishes, and quick to make requested edits. All of that was great because I am very picky about book covers in general, and I had a lot of specific requests for the cover of my novel. I think a book’s cover is vital to the book-buying process. Though it goes against the adage, people can’t help but judge a book based on its cover. I do it all the time. But even more important than impacting a book’s sales, I wanted this cover to reflect the adventure, beauty, and magic inherent in the story itself. I think the cover of The Secrets of Islayne does just that.

Do you have a favorite scene to write in The Secrets of Islayne? What scene are you most proud of, and why?

I really enjoyed writing the first scene where the main character, Ronan, and his three friends are all going on their first “summer adventure”. I love the character dynamics between the four of them, so it was very fun to write the first scene where you see all them interact with each other.

I’m also proud of scene where the luminators’ power is explained and demonstrated. That was a very challenging scene to write in trying to explain the ability in a way that both made sense and was exciting to the reader. I was very happy when I could finally get it right on paper and it was no longer just an idea rumbling around in my head J.

If you can revive someone’s memory, who’s mind would you pick and why?

I know this is going to make me sound incredibly self-focused, but if it were possible I would revive my own! One of the reasons why this power was so fascinating to me was because I have a terrible memory, and I think it would be very cool to have so many of my own memories come back as clearly as those of the luminators’ clients.

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?

She reads a lot…the end. That could be the title, the first line, and the ending J. I was a pretty boring teenager and would not have made for a good protagonist. I liked to make good grades, read a lot of books, and go to bed early.

If you had to pick one sentence, and one sentence only, to entice someone to read your book, The Secrets of Islayne what would it be?

Why would he want to use his hands to shelve books when he could use his mind to give someone back a restored piece of the forgotten past?

Thanks so much Kari!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kari Lynn West writes contemporary YA fantasy—normally while drinking far too much coffee. She likes to create character-driven stories that are set in the real world with a twist, weaving fantastical elements into everyday life. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two daughters.

 

Find Kari

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: The Secrets of Islayne
Author: Kari Lynn West
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: June 09, 2017
Pages: 220
Format: Paperback, eBook, Audio

A powerful island. A dangerous mystery. An impossible choice.

For centuries, the island of Islayne has given certain residents the ability to revive other people’s memories. These gifted individuals are known as luminators, and sixteen-year-old Ronan Saunders desperately desires to join their illustrious ranks. As he struggles against the prejudice of the old, powerful families who have an iron grip on the trade, Ronan falls under the tutelage of a reclusive luminator, rumored to be insane.

Just when his long-desired future is within reach, Ronan and his three friends discover a deadly secret on the island. As they delve deeper into the mystery, what they find forces them to question their loyalties, doubt long-held beliefs, and wrestle with the dire consequences of revealing the truth. Ronan finds himself torn between everything he loves and the only future he’s ever wanted. The entire fate of the lumination trade hangs in the balance of his decision.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Goodreads | iTunes

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed copy of The Secrets of Islayne by Kari Lynn West

The Rules:

  • Open to US residents
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be drawn via Kingsumo by the author
  • Ends August 11th, 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.

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Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (Review and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Today I’m featuring new author Tricia Levenseller’s and her debut fantasy novel, Daughter of the Pirate King. I had so much fun reading this one. It’s fast paced, action packed and riveting. And if you’d like to know what else I thought, scroll down below for my review.

Then check also Tricia Levenseller’s author bio along with places where to find her online, and the book description and where to buy copies of Daughter of the Pirate King. And if you would like the chance to win a copy of the book, enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post to be enter on the giveaway.

Review for Daughter of the Pirate King

Personal Thoughts:

Daughter of the Pirate King is an impressive debut from new author Tricia Levenseller.

Alosa is the daughter of infamous Pirate King, Kalligan, who rules over the seas. Her father sent her on a mission to retrieve a part of a map that will lead to a secret Isle and treasures. To do this, Alosa needs to infiltrate the Night Farer, a ship ruled by Captain Draxen and his first mate, Riden. She was captured by Draxen’s crew, making her hostage in exchange for ransom from the Pirate King. But what they didn’t know is Alosa is a willing prisoner. Being capture is part of her plan to find the legendary map that the Pirate King wants. But finding the part of the map is not as easy as Alosa anticipate, and it doesn’t help that Riden is very suspicious of her. She needs to unwit him and the others before the Pirate King decide to join her on his mission.

“Everyone has something dark in their past. I suppose it’s our job to overcome it. And if we can’t overcome it, then all we can do is make the most of it.”

Alosa is feisty, smart, resourceful, driven and cunning. Even she is locked inside the brig, she finds way to lets herself out at night to search the ship for the map. She maybe caught up several times by Riden, but she clearly finds her way to continue her mission. She is strong not because of her magical abilities but because she is trained, skilled and clever. Being raised by the Pirate King himself, Alosa is dangerous but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a heart. She is a pirate and also a young girl who just want to please her father. And she is willing to kill if that what it takes to accomplished her task.

As for Riden, he is wicked but merciful especially if compared to his brother, Draxen. Riden is also perceptive, smart, and kind which basically compose of his overall charm. Like Alosa, he is clever making the duel of wits between them much fun to read.

The relentless banter between Alosa and Riden is not only enjoyable but also full of tensions. Reading those parts where they try to unwitt each other pull out some grins from my face and even a few laughters. This book is unmistakably a fun read.

Aside from the witty dialogues, Tricia Levenseller also throw a bunch of adventures, and magic or fantasy which basically makes Daughter of the Pirate King thrilling and riveting.

On the whole, Daughter of the Pirate King is relentlessly fun, action-packed, fast paced and thrilling read. Author Tricia Levenseller successfully combine adventure, danger, romance and magic in this first installment of ya nautical fantasy series. Looking forward reading Alosa’s next adventure, with the hope to see more about Pirate’s politics and this new fantasy world of Pirates.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

 

Find Tricia

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audio

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | GoodreadsIndie Bound

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

The Rules:

  • Open international where book depository ships
  • 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 August 9th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent via 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.

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Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell (Character Interview and Giveaway)

Today I am absolutely thrilled to share to all of you my interview with the main character of Amber Mitchell’s young adult fantasy novel, Garden of Thorns. If you haven’t read the book yet today is your chance to meet the main character, Rose through a short interview. What alike about Rose is in-spite being captive under the gardener, she is still fierce and never loses hope.

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

Character Interview with Rose of Garden of Thorns

Hi Rose. Can you please introduce yourself so everyone will know more about you?

If you’re from Delmar, you’ve probably heard of me. I’m the star of a dance troupe known as the Garden, where I’m forced to put my skills as an aerial dancer to use every night in order survive. But I’m ready to break out, to fight back and for revenge against those who oppress us.

What is the most cunning thing you’ve done? Why did you do it?

Though I hate dancing in the Garden, it has allowed me to hone my acrobatic skills and now I’m pretty limber. I’ve been able to use that to my advantage quite often. One time, I needed to figure out what was going on in a town but it was too dangerous to go on foot. Because of my comfort with heights and ability to think fast on my feet, I was able to use the rooftops in order to see what was going on.

If you need to change your values and your personality to survive, would you do it or not? Why?

I would like to believe I would. The most important thing to me is rescuing my fellow dancers from the Garden, and there is almost nothing I wouldn’t trade to succeed in my goal. However, when it comes down to it, there are things I hold too dear to be able to bargain away my values… like loyalty.

What is loyalty for you?

Loyalty is everything. In the Garden, the only way we are able to survive is by relying on our fellow sisters in captivity. Ours is a bond of blood, not so easily broken.

What is the most enlightening thing about being a slave?

The way that people can just ignore it. Most people know the horrific conditions of the Garden…that the owner selects us in pairs, a Flower and a Wilted, and the Flower gets to dance while the Wilted takes our punishments, but they look the other way.

What do you miss the most about being free?

The desert sun on my face in the early morning. There were a lot of other big things at first, but the longer I was trapped, the more those little details left me and the bigger concepts like being in charge of myself began to fade away. Right now, I just long for sunlight.

If you could be someone in any given time and place, who would you be, when and where would you be?

I would be the girl I was before being trapped into the Garden, but hopefully I’d be able to retain the lesson that took me the longest to learn…never trust someone with a smiling face and their hands behind their back. Usually they are trying to hide a dagger.

What are you thinking of right now?

Revenge. I’m always thinking about revenge. My captors can’t see it, they think they’ve beaten that particular thought out of my head, but they’re wrong. It simmers just underneath every movement I make, always screaming in the back of my mind. One day, I will be free and when that days comes, my revenge will be sweet.

Thanks so much Rose for answering all my questions above. And thank you also to Amber for allowing Rose to do this interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber Mitchell graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Creative Writing. She likes crazy hair styles, reading, D&D, k-dramas, good puns and great food.
When she isn’t putting words on paper, she is using cardstock to craft 3D artwork or exploring new places with her husband Brian. They live a small town in Florida with their four cats where she is still waiting for a madman in a blue box to show up on her doorstep.
Garden of Thorns is her debut novel from Entangled Teen.

 

Find Amber

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Garden of Thorns
Author: Amber Mitchell
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: May 6, 2017
Pages: 370
Format: Paperback, eBook

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Kobo | Indigo

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed paperback copy of Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

The Rules:

  • Open to US 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 August 7th, 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.

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Celebrating Debutantes 2017: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (Author Interview and Giveaway)

I’m super excited today to welcome new author Karen McManus to the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. Her debut young adult mystery novel, One of Us is Lying is a thrilling and addicting read. That’s why I am thrilled to have the opportunity to ask the mastermind behind the wonderful book a few questions about writing, influences, and of course the book itself, One of Us is Lying, so I hope you guys enjoy the interview.

Following the interview with Karen is her author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of One Of Us is Lying. And if you’d like the to win a hardcover copy of the US edition of the book just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post for a chance to win. Open to everyone where book depository ships.

Interview with Karen McManus

One of Us if Lying is your first published novel. Tell us a bit about the pathway you took to get it in print.

I was one of those kids who told everyone I was going to be an author when I grew up. But the older I got, the harder I found it to finish a book. When I graduated high school I started the college-career-family trajectory and mostly forgot about writing.

I got the urge to try again a couple of years ago, and for the first time in ages I actually finished a book. It wasn’t particularly good, but it reminded me how much I loved to write, and it got me plugged into the online writing community. I queried that book to resounding crickets, then shelved it and wrote a second. That book got more agent interest, but things were moving slowly. In fall 2015 I got the idea for One of Us is Lying, and I drafted and revised it by the end of that year. Once I started querying it things happened quickly, and I had a book deal a couple of months later.

So my writing career transformed within a year, but it took three books to get there.

Why did you decide to write mystery, rather than another type of book? And why YA?

When I started writing again, it was partly because I was inspired by reading the Hunger Games trilogy. The voice and the energy of that series really drew me in, and I decided to try my hand at YA. It was a natural fit so I’ve kept with it. As for mystery, it’s more like the genre chose me when I got the book idea. Neither of the other books I’d written had any mystery elements.

Have other mystery writers influenced you and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I read a lot of Agatha Christie as a kid, and that was a definite influence—both generally, with elements like the locked-room vibe, and specifically, because the notion of a crime where everyone has a motive was partly inspired by “Murder on the Orient Express.”

One of Us is Lying is written in multiple perspectives, giving readers a much-appreciated peek of each characters. What kind of preparation did you go putting yourself in the mindset of different characters? Which of them is easier to write and why? Do you have a favorite?

I had a playlist for each character, and I used that to switch headspaces. I also did very in-depth character worksheets and I’d occasionally go over those to see if there were any aspects I hadn’t fully fleshed out yet.

I don’t have a favorite (it would be like picking a favorite child!) but Nate was by far the easiest to write. His voice was always very clear to me, and his scenes flowed quickly with almost no need for revision.

One of Us is Lying is an intricate novel with all its mystery and lies. How much of a challenge was it to write the book? How did you figure out all the details for the plot or when to insert the big reveal?

I’d never used an outline before One of Us Is Lying, but the plot was complicated enough that I knew I had to. I had a spreadsheet that listed out the major plot points that needed to happen, along with key character development moments, and clues/hints that had to be dropped. But there was still a lot of room for improvisation, which for me is the fun part of writing.

Are you working on any project right now? What we should expect from you in the near future?

I’m working on my second book for Delacorte Press, which is another standalone YA in the suspense/thriller vein. It’s scheduled to be published in 2018.

Thanks so much Karen!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. Her debut young adult novel, ONE OF US IS LYING, will be released from Delacorte Press/Random House in May 2017 and published internationally in 18 territories. Karen’s work is represented by Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio. To learn more visit http://www.karenmcmanus.com, or follow @writerkmc on Twitter.

 

Find Karen

WebsiteTwitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press/Random House
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audio

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

“An addictive, devour-in-one-sitting thriller with so many twists and turns you’ll be wondering until the very end: Who really killed Simon?”—Kara Thomas, author of The Darkest Corners and Little Monsters

“This fast-paced blend of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and classic John Hughes will leave readers racing to the finish as the try to unravel the mystery on their own.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A smart, twisted, and unpredictable YA mystery that will have readers guessing until the very end.”—SLJ

Book Links

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

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Hardcover copy of the US edition of One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

The Rules:

  • Open to international where book depository ships
  • 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 July 30th, 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.

9 Comments »

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Takedown by Corrie Wang (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Happy Friday everyone!

Today I am interviewing new author Corrie Wang on the blog as part of Celebrating Debuntantes 2017 blog event. Corrie answers few questions about her debut novel, The Takedown, and about social medias and Internet.

Following the interview with Corrie is her author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of The Takedown. And for a chance to own a signed copy of the book and other fabulous swags, check the bottom of the post for the special giveaway and enter the rafflecopter form.

Here’s my interview with Corrie. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Corrie Wang

Congratulations on The Takedown! What has been the most surreal thing about seeing The Takedown as published story? What’s the best part and the oddest?

Thank you! Everything about seeing The Takedown published has been surreal!! But right at the top was the first time I signed copies for two younger readers. It was such a magical experience. Granted, I signed on the wrong page and wrote inappropriately long inscriptions, but we were giggling and high fiving and I could have lived in those five minutes forever.

And the best and oddest parts are one and the same.

When I lived in NYC and was a writer but not yet an author, I attended lots of YA panel discussions and book events. After the panels were over all the authors would go off into this little room and I wanted into that room SO bad. What were they talking about? What writerly gossip were they hearing that I couldn’t? Were there snacks?

The first time I stepped into the green room at YALL WEST this past April, it just felt so tingly and incredible and like holy cow, I made it here. And look! That’s an author I love… drinking coffee. I’m pretty sure I’ll never get used to it. That I’ll always be at author events or parties thinking A. This is so frickin’ cool. And B. Who let me in?

PS there are snacks. And they’re baller.

The Takedown deals with some sensitive themes such as slut shaming, and bad effect of Internet or social media. As a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility in putting this into the story? If so, how do you deal with this?

I think slut shaming and dealing with unwanted male attention is such a common issue for teens, and women in general, that it should naturally be showing up in more stories. I didn’t go into The Takedown wanting to write an “issue book” – where characters encounter or deal with * blank * issue and then need to persevere. I just wanted to write a page turning thriller with realistic characters.

I used to manage this massive nightclub on the Lower East Side in NYC. One weekend we hosted an after-prom party, and monitoring it as a GM, YA author, and mama bear was life changing. I write upper YA so this was exactly my audience, and my first thought was that we as authors were getting it SO wrong. The level of sexual, tech, and logistical savviness emanating from those kids was light years more advanced than what YA fiction (at that time) gave them credit for. My second thought was that for a party without alcohol there was SO MUCH VOMIT.

I love that Kyle talks about diva cups, and not wanting to be married until she’s at least 38, and using home electrolysis to get the hair off her toes. The conversations I have with my girlfriends about sex/life/career are so different than most of what I see reflected in standard media that this is the responsibility I feel. I want to write us out of these boy-centric, we’re either cast as nerds or skanks, good girls or mean girls, pigeonholes that we’ve been crammed into.

The Takedown shows how Internet can easily ruin’s someone’s life. As an author, what is your stand on this?

Ahh the internet. I use it. I Google the crap out of everything. I also wish it didn’t exist so I could go back to not clutching and swiping at this device that rarely leaves my hand throughout the day. Do I see how it is wonderful and begets important social movements not to mention connects us with peeps round the world we might otherwise not know?

Absolutely.

Do I see how it equally makes us armchair activists who no longer see their friends in real life?

Same.

Do I think we can be crushed by one poorly worded or ignorant tweet?

One hundred percent.

Do I also think at some point someone will do a major hack and we’ll all be forced to survive without our timewasting crutches?

Any day now.

What were some of the pleasant surprises you experienced from using social media as an author?

Early on, unbeknownst to me, my editor gave Sara Shepard an ARC of the book and she tweeted at me that she was reading and loving it. It was totally out of the blue and launched a fantastic friendship. I still sometimes fangirl when we’re email back and forth thinking: I’m writing to m*therf*cking SARA SHEPARD!! (And now I’ve made that weird).

And honestly, even more than social media, EMAIL has been the biggest treat of my debut year. Before the book launched a few authors wrote to tell me how much they liked the novel and I’ve struck up some really wonderful friendships. Britta Lundin’s Ship It is coming out with Disney FreeForm in 2018 and she will be a FFFL (Fast Friend For Life, y’all). Follow this girl now, ’cause there will be a line around the block to connect with her once Ship It hits shelves.

And on a not name dropping note, I love, love, LOVE the bookstagram shots that readers have been posting. I own a food truck in Charleston, SC. A typical day involves sweating my butt off in a tiny trailer slinging rice bowls. But then ding! Someone in Pennsylvania tags me with a gorgeous shot of my novel. I adore it that my little book is having its own wild life while I’m, like, washing rice.

Do you have a favourite scene to write in The Takedown? What scene are you most proud of, and why?

I’ve read The Takedown countless times by now, and the final scene with Kyle and her mom still makes me tear up. I’m very close with my mama, so mother daughter relationships get me, period. But family is TRICKY. Kyle and her mom used to be very close, but as she’s grown up they’ve sorta stopped liking as much. So I loved writing that penultimate chapter where they let the years of grudges and slights slip away for a few minutes, and Kyle’s mama reaffirms that even though she might not always like Kyle, she loves her more than anything and always, always will. It was important to me that the book wrapped there for Kyle. Not with the boy. Not with the friends. But with her mom. Of all Kyle’s relationships, that’s the one that will develop and change, strengthen and become more complex, and also carry through for the rest of her life.

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?

Mac would probably write it, and the title would be Flakita en un gran mundo.

First sentence, Once there was, like, a girl who thought she could change the world by writing op eds to her local newspaper.

Or Sharma would write it and the title would be: Corrie

First sentence: Girl went to high school, #graduated, #thankgoodnessthatsover.

Where do you see your writing will go after The Takedown? Do you think you’ll stick writing for young adult or branch out into something else?

Oh I definitely have more YA stories to tell. I’m currently polishing up a draft that’s a little further forward in time than The Takedown and explores gender and relationships but with lots of bad assery. It’s gonna be the bomb! (FYI people don’t say that anymore, Corrie). But it will be. After that, I have a middle grade that I’ve been fast and furiously jotting down between revisions and drafts and early food truck mornings. I CANNOT WAIT for y’all to get your hands on it. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing. So yes, lots, lots more to come.

Thanks so much Corrie!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Corrie Wang is passionate about libraries, road trips, and eating all the food, everywhere. Corrie grew up in Buffalo but spent her formative years in Brooklyn, where one of her last paying gigs was managing a three-story nightclub on the Lower East Side. ​

She currently lives in Charleston, where she and her husband Shuai Wang own and operate Short Grain food truck— named one of Bon Appetit magazine’s Top 50 Best New Restaurants 2016 and a 2017 semi-finalist for a James Beard Award. The Takedown is Corrie’s debut novel.​

And fyi it’s pronounced Wong y’all.”

Find Corrie

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: The Takedown
Author: Corrie Wang
Publisher: Freeform
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover

Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club and a debate team champ, plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular. Kyla’s even managed to make it through high school completely unscathed.

Until someone takes issue with this arrangement.

A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible—take something off the internet—all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | BookDepo | IndieBound | Goodreads | Publisher

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Copy of The Takedown by Corrie Wang
  • Temporary tattoos and
  • a few “fck them small betches” Takedown bracelets
     

The Rules:

  • Open US
  • 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 July 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 2017: Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature for Celebrating Debutantes 2017. Today I’m joined on the blog by new author Allison K. Hymas to answer few questions about her debut middle grade novel, Under Locker and Key. This book is like mission impossible for middle grade readers.  It’s fun, clever and captivating story for everyone to enjoy.

Following the interview with Allison is her bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of Under Locker and Key.

Also, don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom and enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win fabulous prizes from Allison.

Here’s my interview with Allison. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Allison Hymas

Can you tell us a bit about your journey with Under Locker and Key? Did you know right away that this was your story, or did you discover it as you write? And how was the publication process goes for you?

Under Locker and Key had a strange process for me, since it was a book that I didn’t take seriously for a long time. I first started it as part of an assignment for a college class on writing for children and adolescents. I had to develop a middle grade character, and that’s when I first met Jeremy. I liked him so much I wrote a short story about him, and I liked that story so much (and other people did too) that I turned that short story into a novel.

I worked on Under Locker and Key in my spare time as a backburner project when my other writing projects got too hard or I just needed a break. It was fun and easy for me to write; it fit my voice and style well. But I didn’t think it would go anywhere. Then, one of my teachers encouraged me to workshop it in his class, and that’s when I started to think that maybe I could publish this silly, fun story I’d just worked on for fun.

So I entered the book into a state-wide writing contest. I lost. In response, I queried agents like crazy out of determination and a little bit of spite. A couple agents responded, I chose the one I liked best, and she helped me find a publisher. It’s still strange, but not unwelcome, that the silly book I wrote but didn’t expect to publish ended up becoming my debut novel.

Why middle-grade? Do you think it is easier to write for younger audience than YA and adults?

Under Locker and Key was the first MG novel I’ve even drafted. As for why middle grade, I’m still not sure why I enjoy writing it so much. I suppose I like the fun I can have with this age group. Middle schoolers are at the beginning of a transition; they’re not yet teens, but they’re not elementary school children either. They’re losing their childhood identity and gaining a new one, which means that some, like Jeremy, can try to invent themselves as whatever they want. That means I can write adventures with heroes and villains as the kids try to decide who they’re going to be but don’t yet have the self-consciousness of teens about how that’s all going to work for them.

I don’t know if it’s easier to write for a younger audience, but I know it works well for me. I like humor and adventure, and Jeremy’s, a middle grade voice, comes easily to me.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing Under Locker and Key? Are there any fun things you discover during your research?

I’ve learned a lot about how to break the law while writing about Jeremy’s adventures. I have not picked a real lock (yet) or cracked the combination on a locker (yet), but I know how to do all these things in theory. I learned is that it’s not much like the movies. Picking locks takes a long time, and figuring out a locker combination takes quite a bit of patience and luck. You can climb through an air duct but they’re cramped, dark, and dirty. I’ve also been learning a lot about real-life hacking for later books.

However, my favorite thing that I’ve learned is how to lie convincingly and how to recognize a liar. Too much eye contact or not enough eye contact, touching the nose and near the mouth…clues like those. I can actually use this research in my life!

Do you have a favourite scene to write? And what scene are you most proud of, and why?

My favorite scene to write was the climax. I won’t give spoilers here, but I loved the way the story came together at the end in a nice, dare-I-say-clever solution.

But the scene I’m proudest of is the scene in the band room, when Jeremy is hiding from Becca. Some writers have to push their characters into trouble. Not me—Jeremy gets himself in trouble and I go crazy trying to figure out how to haul him out of the fire yet again. This scene gave me so much grief because I couldn’t figure out how to realistically resolve it for the longest time, but in the end, it worked out and because it was tricky, it turned out better than I expected with more suspense.

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

Oh, my. That’s a scary thought. I was pretty energetic and got into some trouble as a young child, but by the time I was Jeremy’s age I had mellowed out and was the shy, quiet girl in class who liked to read and write. I suppose the title would be something like Born to Be Mild and the first line would be, “See that girl reading over there? She has some stories to tell, some of them true.”

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

I’m working on a couple other stories. One is a sequel to Under Locker and Key, and the other is a YA science fiction about a boy who goes into other people’s dreams and learns that a girl in his town is in danger.

Thank you!

Thanks so much Allison!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a middle schooler, Allison K. Hymas was a law-abiding citizen (except for the occasional offense of reading under her desk when she should have been listening). She now holds an MFA from Brigham Young University and currently lives in Utah. Under Locker and Key is her first novel. Allison is hard at work writing Jeremy Wilderson’s further adventures.

Find Allison

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Under Locker and Key
Author: Allison K. Hymas
Publisher: Alladin
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Eleven-year-old Jeremy Wilderson teams up with his rival crime fighter to stop the stealing spree that’s wreaking havoc on Scottsville Middle School.

Jeremy Wilderson is not a thief. In fact, he is his middle school’s one and only retrieval specialist. Confiscated cell phones, stolen lunch money—he’ll discretely retrieve it before the last bell rings. Business is good, and if it weren’t for the meddling of preteen private investigator Becca Mills, he’d be happier than a gym teacher on dodgeball day.

But a new job shatters his comfortable lifestyle. Now, thanks to Jeremy, the master key to the schools’ lockers is in the hands of an aspiring crime kingpin who doesn’t exactly have Jeremy’s strong moral character. Soon not even combination locks can protect the students’ textbooks and jackets. Retrieving the key is too big a job for one crime fighter, and only one person wants the key returned as much as Jeremy does: Becca Mills.

Lockers are being robbed, the teachers are looking for the culprit, and the only person Jeremy can turn to is the girl who most wants to see him in the principal’s office. Will Jeremy be able to trust Becca enough to get the key back in the right hands? Or could he end up in detention until the end of high school instead?

Book Links

Book Page | Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Goodreads

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed copy of Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas
  • Under Locker and Key Bookmark
  • Retrieval Specialist” pair of sunglasses 

The Rules:

  • Open International
  • 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 July 12th, 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.

5 Comments »