Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Now Is Everything by Amy Giles (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Hey everyone! I’m thrilled to welcome new author Amy Giles on the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. Amy answered few questions for me about her upcoming debut YA contemporary novel, Now is Everything. After reading the synopsis of this book, I am intrigue. It seems a thrilling read with secrets and msytery. I can’t wait to read Hadley’s story and find out about the secret of McCauleys.

Following the author interview is Amy Giles’ author bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to pre-order copies of Now is Everything which will release in November. And if you would like the chance to win an advance readers copy of Now is Everything, bookmarks and stickers, Amy is giving away one below. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post. I hope you all enjoy the interview.

Interview with Amy Giles

What’s your journey to writerhood been like?
Like many writers, the road to becoming an author was bumpy. Now Is Everything wasn’t my first novel. There are a few in the desk drawer that will never see the light of day—and shouldn’t! But I don’t mourn any of those early attempts. The only way you can be successful as a writer is to keep looking forward, never look back. Learn from your mistakes and find the next idea that will excite you.

What inspired your debut contemporary novel, Now Is Everything?
Now Is Everything poured out of me in a torrent of frenzied writing. I completed the first draft in three months. It started with a news story about a little girl who was the sole survivor of a small plane crash. I imagined the hell she must have gone through, not only crawling away from the wreckage, but leaving behind her entire family, all dead, then walking miles looking for help. I took that hell and went darker, taking every “what if” further and further until it became Hadley’s story of survival.

What was the biggest change you made to the story before it reached an agent/editor/publisher?
The finished book isn’t much different from the draft I sent my agent. I edited and rewrote scenes during revisions, but nothing major changed. Except for one thing: right before I sent it to my agent, I rewrote the ending, a last minute decision, and I’m so happy for it. I think it works much better this way. (For obvious reasons, I can’t tell you anything more!)

What qualities did you love exploring in Hadley as a character? What makes Hadley special for you to tell her story?
Hadley starts off fearful of her father, with good reason. But as the story progresses, she starts to find the courage to stand up to him, first for herself, then for her sister, Lila. Taking those steps with her was not only satisfying for me but also emotional. If you cry reading this book, I guarantee I cried writing those same scenes. While Now Is Everything covers a lot of ground, for me this is a story about the love and special bond between two sisters.

Did you learn any deep, interesting, or shocking truths while working on Now Is Everything, about writing in general, or about yourself?
I learned I can go days without showering (I don’t recommend it). That I can live on carbs and bacon. That boxer shorts are great for writing. That I need to force myself to get up and stretch every forty minutes or else my neck gets so stiff I can’t turn my head. That my family is extremely patient and loving, but not great at helping make healthy meals for me. When I requested a salad, they basically made me a BLT in a bowl, heavy on the B. (It was delicious.)

What are your ambitions for your writing career? Do you plan to write another book in other genre?
I am working on not one, but TWO stories now! One is in revisions, and a new one has me very excited. It is still in the drafting stage, the honeymoon period. Around twenty-thousand words is when I start to second guess myself! I will never rule out writing in another genre. Not that I’d ever compare myself to the incomparable Rainbow Rowell, but she writes what she wants to write, not what she’s expected to write.

And lastly before we end this interview, can you please share a snippet/teaser from Now Is Everything to intrigue us before the book hit the shelves in November.
Of course! From the opening:

Emergency first responders scramble up and down the hill around me like ants, trying to see what can be salvaged. We’re on different frequencies. Theirs is manic and frenzied, searching for life, while I watch without seeing. What I escaped below eclipses everything. Blank eyes. A blood-soaked Cornell sweatshirt. Necks bent unnaturally. Angry fists of heat pounding at my back as I crawled away from the wreckage.
But the sky is a perfect crisp blue, like someone forgot to tell it to wipe that smug smile off its face.
No one survives a plane crash. I shouldn’t be here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Giles is an award-winning copywriter and young adult author. She lives on an Island that is Long with her husband, two daughters, and rescue dog.

Find Amy

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Now is Everything
Author: Amy Giles
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 07, 2017
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Now Is Everything is a stirring debut novel told in alternating THEN and NOW chapters, perfect for Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Niven fans, about what one girl is willing to do to protect her past, present, and future.

The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.

Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.

When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking.

Book Links

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

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • ARC of Now is Everything by Amy Giles
  • Bookmarks and Stickers

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 18th, 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 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.

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: 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

Website | Twitter | Instagram|Tumblr | Goodreads


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.

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Guest Post

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt (Playlist + Giveaway)

Today I am featuring another playlist for Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. Debut author Darcey Rosenblatt made a playlist for her debut middle grade novel, Lost Boys.

Lost Boys is based on historical facts, and tells the story of Reza, who is a 12-year old Iranian boy. He lives for music and hanging out with friends. Then the Revolution of 1979 and the Iran/Iraq war take away not only his music, but too many people he loves. In his despair and at his mother’s urging, he signs up to fight. Soon he finds himself in an Iraqi prisoner of war camp where he must find a way, through music and friendship, to forge his own path.

Following the playlist are some information about the author, Darcey Rosenblatt along with places where to find her online, as well as the book‘s description and where to get copies of Lost Boys. The book will hit the shelves in less than two weeks, so if you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet you still have time to grab it online.

And if you would like the chance to win a copy of the Lost Boys, Darcey is giving away two copies and bookmarks, which is open to everyone. Just enter the rafflecopter form a bit further down in this post to be enter on the giveaway.

Lost Boys Playlist

This is an eclectic collection including all the things that Reza, my main character, mentions in the book and would have been listening to in 1982 – the year the book takes place. It spans everything from The Beatles, traditional Iranian music and Bob Marley. I hope you enjoy.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darcey Rosenblatt writes for middle grade and teenage people because she believes for them stories can be life changing – they were for her. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and daughter, some fish, and the best dog in the world. She also loves dancing and painting.

Find Darcey

Website | Twitter | InstagramFacebook | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Lost Boys
Author: Darcey Rosenblatt
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audio

 Based on historical events, this unforgettable and inspiring tale for middle-grade readers is about a young boy torn from the only life he’s ever known and held captive as a prisoner of war.

In 1982, twelve-year-old Reza has no interest in joining Iran’s war effort against Iraq. But in the wake of a tragedy and at his mother’s urging, he decides to enlist, assured by the authorities that he will achieve paradise should he die in service to his country.

War does not bring the glory the boys of Iran have been promised, and Reza soon finds himself held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Iraq, where the guards not only threaten violence—they act upon it. Will Reza make it out alive? And if he does, will he even have a home to return to?

Friendship, heartbreak, and Reza’s very survival are at stake as he finds solace through music and forges his own path—wherever that might take him.

Book Links:

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

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Two copies of  Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt with bookmarks

The Rules:

  • Open International
  • There will be two (2) winners
  • Winners will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winners will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends August 31st, 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 banner above or go to the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook via #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes · FEATURES · Giveaways · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: The Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 event. Today I’m featuring new author McCall Hoyle and her contemporary novel, The Thing with Feathers. This wonderful diverse book is not only heart-warming but also full of hope.

To know more about the author and The Thing with Feathers. Check the McCall’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 a signed advance readers’ copy of the book and swags, there’s a giveaway at the end of this post. Just enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win.

Interview with McCall Hoyle

How was the experience writing your debut novel, The Thing with Feathers and going through the publication process?

The Thing with Feathers is my first book, but I truly believe it will always be the book of my heart. Although, I am in no way Emilie, the main character in the book, I have felt all the emotions she experiences—grief, hope, feelings of inadequacy.

I’m not going to lie, the road to publication is long and arduous. But every step along the way was worth it when I first held an advance copy of the book in my hands and especially when I read the acknowledgements and realized yet again how lucky I am to have had so much help along the way from family, critique partners, professional organizations like Romance Writers of America.

I love the title and cover art of The Thing with Feathers. If I’m not mistaken the title comes from Emily Dickinson’s poem. Did you have any say in choosing the title and cover art? How important do you think they are?

Yes, the title is a line from a well-known Emily Dickinson poem. She writes: “’Hope’ is the thing with feathers; that perches in the soul; “ When the title came to me, I knew it was perfect. Everything about this book and about Emilie, the main character, is about learning to find hope even in the most difficult circumstances. And reading poetry and studying Emily Dickinson have a major impact on Emilie’s emotional arc in this story. Thankfully, my agent, editor, and publisher also agreed the title was perfect. I don’t personally think a title is going to make or break a book, but I love a nice title—especially one that’s somehow connected to the theme of the book and that readers have to uncover the meaning of for themselves.

Mental health themes in YA novels are not only widening but also getting lots of buzz especially with how they are portrayed. What can you say about this? What message do you want readers to take away from your book?

I’m too new to the business of publishing to address trends or speak for other books. But I can speak for Emilie. I want readers to relate to Emilie on an emotional level. Epilepsy is not a mental illness, but living with an invisible and stressful disorder like can greatly impact a person’s mental health. As a teacher, a mom, and a human, I believe we all struggle with complex issues at varying levels whether it’s epilepsy, anxiety, depression, body-image issues, grief or something entirely different. I want readers to read Emilie’s story and realize that we all struggle, but that struggling is not a reason to give up hope. No matter how flawed we feel, no matter how awful the adversity, we can always find a reason to hope. I want teenage girls to have the courage to believe in their own happily-ever-afters.

As a writer, was it difficult to combine romantic elements with the exploration of Emilie’s condition?

That is an excellent question. First, I wanted this to be Emilie’s story. I wanted it to be a story of strength and resilience and hope. I did not want the romance to overshadow Emilie’s emotional growth. But in my experience, relationships are a central part of who we are. We’re constantly starting, developing, and ending relationships. Emilie’s story is about opening up, taking risks, and learning to hope. Taking a risk on friendship and first love were a natural part of her growth as a human being. I feel like it worked. Epilepsy is a big part of Emilie’s life, but it’s not her entire life. She’s a perfectly average teenage girl. Yes, she has epilepsy, but she’s also dealing with all the things teenage girls deal with including boys. 🙂

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing  Emilie’s story? Any interesting things you found out during your research?

Of course, I did lots and lots of research on epilepsy, different types of seizures, the effects of epilepsy on mental health and day-to-day living, as well as various treatment options. I also read several stories about the benefits of therapy dogs, seizure response dogs, and dogs in general and became fascinated by the touching and almost magical relationships between dogs and humans. Emilie has a seizure response dog named Hitch, inspired by a real life golden retriever and by many of the stories I read. Several early readers seem to love Hitch as much as they do Emilie. I encourage readers to do some research of their own if they fall in love with Hitch.

How did you go about putting yourself in Emilie’s mindset? How did you manage your emotions while writing?

I’ve taught middle school and high school for several years. I’ve raised a teenage daughter, and I was a teenage girl. On an average day, I spend more time with teenagers than with adults. Also, I experienced some of the greatest trials of my life during my teenage years. It’s actually frighteningly easy for me to put myself in the mindset of teenage girls. Emilie struggles with managing the challenges of her epilepsy and her seizures, but in my experience, all teenage girls are struggling with something. When I write, whether it’s about a girl with epilepsy, or a girl struggling with grief, or a girl struggling with body image issues, I just try to tap into the emotions I’ve experienced in similar situations. And above all, I aim for honesty. I want teenage girls to know that no matter how flawed they feel, there is always room to hope.

And I did cry as I wrote several scenes in the book, but I tried very hard not to “manage” my emotions. I tried to embrace them. I think readers want to feel something. So when my own writing rips me apart emotionally, I generally think I’m writing some of my best words.

Do you think you’ll stick writing YA contemporary or branch out into something else? Any future works we should watch out?

I will ALWAYS write YA contemporary. My heart and soul reside in the emotions there. But I do have an adventurous side and would love to experiment with something gruesome and terrifying and maybe women’s fiction as well. I love writing about sisters and moms and daughters.

Fingers crossed on the YA contemporary that I’m currently revising for my editor. I think it would pair nicely with Emilie’s story and would love to have a 2018 release as well.

Thanks for having me!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

McCall Hoyle writes honest YA novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day. 

Find McCall

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: The Thing with Feathers
Author: McCall Hoyle
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date: September 05, 2017
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audio

Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”

Book Links

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

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • signed advance readers copy of The Thing with Feathers
  • bookmark, and postcard

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 August 29th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent via book depository

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 · Guest Post · Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson (Character Interview and Giveaway)

Today, I’m featuring a YA contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Author Kate Watson take her own spin of the classic story in her debut novel, Seeking Mansfield. Kate re-imagine Mansfield Park in a modern setting with a dash of humor and romance. So if you haven’t read the book yet, I suggest you pick a copy. And check the character interview below for a chance to meet and know a little bit about the main character Finley Price.

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

Character Interview with Finley Price of Seeking Mansfield

Hi Finley! How are you? Please introduce yourself so everyone know a little bit more about you. 

Hi, thanks for having me. I’m Finley Price. *shy wave* I love theater and movies, if you can’t tell from the state of my room. In Harry Potter speak, I guess I’d be a Hufflepuff. In Hamilton speak, I’d definitely be Eliza. Oh, do you see my Hamilton Playbill? Isn’t it gorgeous? I’ve seen Hamilton twice now, and I’m seriously considering selling off a kidney to see it again. It’s one of my favorite…what, sorry?

Why do I have so many posters of Gabriel Price?

Do we have to talk about that? I’d really rather talk about why I think so few plays translate into movies, and why some film stars struggle to connect on the stage. I’d even rather talk about what it’s like to be displaced, living with my godparents or the challenges of sorting through feelings of love versus feelings of duty and…and…

Yes, Gabriel Price was my dad. And I know he was a phenomenal actor, but he was an even better father. He was the best person who ever lived.

Lets say you have a chance to talk to your Dad right now, what are the things you want to tell him? 

Wow, you’re not making this easy on a girl, are you? I guess I’d tell him I love him and thank him for making me feel so wholly, unconditionally loved as I was growing up. I would want him to know that I’m trying to be my best every day, just like he did, and that, although I struggle with feelings of anger and self-worth and not quite knowing where I belong in this world, none of those things are his fault. If anything, I’d be completely lost without the influence he still has on me. And, you know, I’d tell him how much I miss him. Every second of every day.

Anything you want to tell to your Mom?

My mom? No. I don’t have anything to say to her. I prefer not to think about her, honestly. If anything, she should have some things to say to me. Mothers are supposed to be there for you and love you and grieve with you and let you grieve. They’re supposed to be the shoulder you cry on, not burn your shoulder with cigarettes on the morning of your dad’s funeral because you begged her to put down the bottle and… *sharp intake of breath*

No. I have nothing to say to her. Can you, I don’t know, is it possible for that to be off the record, maybe? I’d like to move on now.

To those who are not familiar with theater. What are the key responsibilities of a theatrical director?

Oh, good. I like this question. Directing is so much more than just auditions, casting, and leading rehearsals. It’s pacing and emotion and creating a memorable experience. A director works with all the different tech and design crews to make sure the production looks and sounds right. They also block the play—meaning they outline exactly how the actors stand to ensure things like appropriate audience sight lines and, well, dramatic effect. They have to be involved with pretty much every step of a production to make sure their vision can become a satisfying reality for the audience.

I’m sure you are familiar with Jane Austen. What do you think of her and her works? Any favourite book of her?

Actually—am I allowed to admit this?—I haven’t read any Jane Austen. I’m sure I will someday, but I read plays more than anything. Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Oscar Wilde, all of the classics. When it comes to classic novels, though…oh, I love Charlotte Bronte! I think I’ve read Jane Eyre about 15 times. The way Jane fights for her freedom and wants to be her own person, the way she wants to be someone who acts instead of just being acted upon? And how she wants to live a life of passion and equality, all while holding true to her personal values? I love it. Her courage inspires me.

What play directed by someone else you wish you’d directed?

Hamilton. Next question?

What advice do you have for potential theatrical director who has big dreams like you?

I don’t know if I’m in a place to deliver anyone advice, but I’ll tell you what I do. I’ve read every book on stage directing and the biographies of famous directors and playwrights. I love learning about the craft and the people who push boundaries to make it great. Beyond that, I try to make sure that, in whatever I’m watching—especially plays, but also TV and movies—I act as a student of the craft. I allow myself to watch something for pleasure only once, and then the second or third time is with a critical eye while taking copious notes. Repeat viewings of a play, for example, allow me to look past the performances and spectacle and see the mechanics that make everything come to life. And I find watching poorly executed plays to be as helpful as well executed ones, because then I can compare and contrast the experiences.

And lastly, what’s the worse movie you’ve seen?

Define worst. Because a lot of different categories own a “worst movie.” The worst horror movie will give you a completely different experience than the worst dance movie or the worst disaster movie (which is almost redundant, really, because disaster movies tend to be so deliciously awful, don’t they?). That said, my favorite types of movies to hate watch are probably horror or sci-fi/disaster. But then, you have to ask yourself, what did the creators intend with this movie? Like Troll 2 can’t really be compared to Sharknado, because the former is totally unintentional, and delivers a special, delightful type of pain, while the latter is brilliantly deliberate, which dramatically reduces the cringe-factor.

So…um, I’m sorry. Can you repeat the question?

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Watson is a young adult writer, wife, mother of two, and the tenth of thirteen children. Originally from Canada, she attended college in the States and holds a BA in Philosophy. Seeking Mansfield is her first novel, with the companion, Shoot the Moon, to follow in 2018. She is also a contributor to Eric Smith’s Welcome Home adoption anthology coming fall of 2017 from Flux. She lives and writes in Arizona.

Kate is represented by Dawn Frederick with Red Sofa Literary.

Find Kate

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK

Book Details:

Title: Seeking Mansfield
Author: Kate Watson
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Pages: 300
Format: Paperback, eBook

Sixteen year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend and godparents’ son, Oliver Bertram. If she could just take Oliver’s constant encouragement to heart, she’d finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move across the street from the Bertram’s, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his vapid sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver’s stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But Finley doesn’t want to be won, and she doesn’t want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver’s heart—and keep her own—she’ll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.

SEEKING MANSFIELD is a charming YA contemporary reimagining of Jane Austen’s classic Mansfield Park, perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Rainbow Rowell.

Book Links

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

Giveaway:

What’s up for Grab?

  • Finished copy of Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

The Rules:

  • Open to US or Canda 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 25th, 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.