fun, Guest Posts & Interviews, Tours & Blitzes

How To Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake Blog Tour | Author Interview + GIVEAWAY!

Hey, y’all! It’s Lila! Today I’m so happy to welcome Ashley Herring Blake to the blog to have a conversation with me on diversity and her sophomore novel, How To Make A Wish! Ms. Blake is also the author of Suffer Love, which was released in 2016! Stick around to read our conversation and you’ll also find a giveaway at the end! So let’s dive in…

Ashley Herring Blake Interview

Hello, Ms. Blake! I’m so happy to welcome you here today on The Bookkeepers’ Secrets and to have a chance to speak with you! Your much anticipated second novel, How To Make A Wish, is released on May 2, 2017 and I’ve seen so much praise for it already! I, myself, along with many of my readers are really anticipating the book! So let’s dive right in!

1. To start off, can you give us the simple elevator pitch for How To Make A Wish?

Oh, I am so awful at these, but I’ll try! A girl must decide if she can break free from her toxic relationship with her mother while navigating friendship and falling in love with another girl. Eh? I don’t know, I told you I was awful at these. ☺

2. Diversity is a big issue in the community at the moment and How To Make A Wish is an incredibly diverse story, as well an #ownvoices book. Why do you write diverse books and why do you think they’re important?

Well, I’m not even sure I’d say I write diverse books—I just try to write books that reflect our world. Diversity is our reality. It’s not a trend or a marketing ploy—it is our world. I want to write inclusively because I want to provide readers with opportunities to find themselves. That being said, some stories are not mine to tell. I very much believe in #ownvoices stories and, as a bi woman, those stories will always be the ones I gravitate toward to tell for my main characters. I often write in first person, and I don’t think that being in the head of a person with whose experience I could not even beging to communicate well is my story to tell. However, I do believe in writing characters that reflect our world, which why, I try very hard to include characters who are not only cishet-white-abeled-neurotypical. And, in doing so, I see that as a vast responsibilty to do no harm and to do the work to create a relatable, multi-layered character.

3. One of the things that has me, a multiracial reader, excited for the book is some snippets I’ve seen concerning a biracial character that I really identified with. I’ve also seen other bi/multiracial readers who received ARCs say that the rep was incredible. In writing a biracial character, you were writing “out of your lane” (writing characters whose identity and/or heritage you don’t share) yet you’ve managed to write the rep so well and in such a way that many of us (bi/multiracial people, that is) can agree and identify with the character. Given this, what is what do you think it is that allowed you to write something that rings true for so many of us that are bi/multiracial, even though that was/is not your experience?

Ha, well, I answered a bit of this in the question above, but honesty, in writing Eva, I had a LOT of help. I had several biracial readers check her, I listened when biracial people talked on social media, and I strived to give her a backstory and a current struggle that felt real and multi-layered. I’m so glad that she resonates for biracial readers—I can’t even express how glad—but I absolutely have to send myriad shout-outs to my first readers, as well as those who are generous enough to share their experiences on social media and blogs.

4. There’s obviously a diversity of experiences within a marginalized group of people. How do you make the story you’re telling such that if people can’t relate to every aspect of it, they can at least empathize with and respect the story you’re telling?

Well, it’s true that one story cannot be all things to all people. However, I think that, as human beings, if I’ve done my job correctly, people should be able to find something, some nugget of truth or detail, to which they can relate, as you said. Specifically writing a bisexual character, I know that Grace’s experiences is not going to be all experiences. Her experience wasn’t even my experience. She knew she was bi at 14! Oh, the envy! It took me almost twenty more years to figure that out for myself. However, the ways in which I did figure it out are very similar to how Grace did. And, again, a lot of that comes from listening to other bisexuals talk about their experience. As you said, no identity is a monolith, and there are problematic views and opinions even among marginalized communities. I had to be on the lookout, personally for internalized biphobia! I had five bisexual readers on this book to double check Grace. But, when it comes down to it, I think writing a character to whom people can relate comes down to two main things: 1) Listen to other people of that identity, even if it’s your own identity. Just shhhhh, and listen. 2) Write a damn good character. By that, I mean, I have to do my job as a writer which means creating multi-faceted characters who feel real. If I do that, I think reader will be able to find something to relate to.

5. Let’s take a break from heavy questions and have a bit of fun! If your characters were transformed into animals reflective of their personalities, what would they be and why?

Great question! Grace would definitely be a cat. She’s a bit prickly at times, but also cuddly when she wants to be. Luca would absolutely be a puppy. Eva, I picture as a cheetah—graceful and lithe.

6. What do you hope readers take away from How To Make A Wish?

That sometimes, being selfish is the only way to survive. By that I mean, sometimes you have to choose yourself before you choose anyone else and, by doing so, tha is loving someone.

About How To Make A Wish

book cover.jpegAuthor: Ashley Herring Blake

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, GLTBQIA

Synopsis: All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About Ashley Herring Blake

AshleyAshley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and watching Buffy over and over again on Netflix with her friends. She’s the author of the young adult novels SUFFER LOVE and HOW TO MAKE A WISH.

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GIVEAWAY! (US ONLY)

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April 26

April 27

Becca @ Lost in Lit– Review + Favorite Quotes

April 28

Boricuan Bookworms– Guest Post

April 29

April 30

Afire Pages– Guest Post

May 1

Vicarious Bookworm– Review + Favorite Quotes

May 2

Daffodilsreads– Review + Favorite Quotes
The Book Return– Review
Giveaway, Guest Posts & Interviews, Lila, Tours & Blitzes

Timekeeper Audiobook Blog Tour | Tara Sim Interview + GIVEAWAYS!

Hey, y’all! Lila here and today I’m here to bring you a super exciting treat: and interview with Tara Sim, some sneak peaks of her debut novel, Timekeeper, and not one, but two (!) giveaways! This is all for the tour which the lovely Jess, at The Audiobookworm, has set up, so many thanks to her, the author, and the audiobook narrator, Gary Furlong, for their work! So I won’t keep you log, I know y’all probably want to get straight to it, so let’s jump right in!

Interview With The Author, Tara Sim

Hello and welcome to The Bookkeepers’ Secrets, Ms. Sim! My name is Lila and I’m so, so, soooo excited to have you here today! Your novel, Timekeeper, was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016 and I know many of my readers have been looking forward to it as well! So without any further ado, let’s jump right into the questions!

1. First off, can you tell us what Timekeeper is about in your own words?

Timekeeper takes place in an alternate Victorian world where clock towers control time. If anything happens to the towers, time malfunctions as a result. Enter Danny, a clock mechanic prodigy who’s desperate to free his father from a town trapped in time.

2. What were some of the influences and inspirations for Timekeeper and what was it about those things that made them special or interesting to you?

I was lucky enough to study abroad in London while in college. I often went to the Embankment area, which has a pretty nice view of Big Ben. I was always really fascinated by the tower, and it kind of helped with the homesickness. So a few years later, when I got the initial idea for Timekeeper, I knew that clock towers were going to be in the center of it–including Big Ben.

3. I like to think that everyone has a unique and special story of how they got where they are and became who they are. Can you tell us the story of how you became the writer you are?

I think this story breaks down into several segments, so the tl;dr version is this: when I was younger I really loved making up stories, to the point where I forced my dad to write them down while I dictated (since I couldn’t type then). When I hit high school, though, I started to understand that this was something serious, and it was what I wanted to do more than anything. Of course there were stages of learning how to write–English classes, reading as much as I could, using fanfiction as a learning tool–so when I wrote my first full length novel at 15, I was hooked on that format and knew I had to be an author.

4. What keeps you going on days when you’re discouraged or unmotivated as a writer?

I think the most important thing you can do in this situation is return to stories you love. For me, I like to rewatch certain movies or shows or anime, or reread certain books, or replay certain video games. They remind me what story elements I love and what I want to write about.

5. What is the most magical thing about being an author?

The interaction with readers. The fact that people go out of their way to create fanart or quote graphics blows my mind! But mostly, I love hearing about what the story means to them, and if they’ve found something important in it–whether it’s escapism or reassurance or finding a character they can relate to.

6. What songs would you choose as your characters’ theme songs and why?

Danny – Disloyal Order of Water Buffalos by Fall Out Boy, because he’s a bit of an emo kid

Colton – Maybe YOUTH by Troye Sivan, or Rooftops by lostprophets; they seem the right blend of optimistic and vulnerable

7. How would you describe Timekeeper’s aesthetic?

Gears and cogs, gold, Roman numerals, machine oil, pocket watches, the sound of cars, ticking clocks.

8. Is there any one scene that you particularly enjoyed that ended up being cut from the final product and if you can, can you share the gist of it with us?

Actually, all of my favorite scenes ended up in the final version, although I did have to alter some of them here and there as I revised. One scene I went over quite a lot was towards the end, when they’re inside Big Ben. I loved writing it, hated revising it.

9. What do you hope readers take away from Timekeeper?
I hope that they get a good story, first and foremost. I also that hope it might help them feel a little less alone.

And Now, A Sneak Peak At Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Audiobook Excerpt

About Timekeeper

Timekeeper3D.pngAuthor: Tara Sim

Narrator: Gary Furlong

Length: 8h 50m

Publisher: Forever Young Audiobooks

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release date: Feb. 14, 2017

Synopsis: Two o’clock was missing.
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.
And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon

About The Author, Tara Sim

Author Photo_Tara SimTara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press) and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, and check out her website at tarasim.com.

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About The Narrator, Gary Furlong

Timekeeper Narrator PhotoGary Furlong grew up in Wexford, Ireland. Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee; and as a singer and actor all over Ireland. He started narrating audiobooks in late 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

Gary made his acting debut in the musical Godspell as a student. Since then he has pursued acting both on the amateur and professional circuits. Notable roles include Tom Collins in Bare Cheek’s production of Rent in 2010.

Over the course of his five years in Japan, he was an actor, director, and audio producer. It was during this time that he discovered his interest in audiobooks and voice-over.

He now works full-time as an audiobook narrator and voice actor from his home in Ireland.

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And Now For The Giveaways!

Giveaway #1!

Timekeeper Giveaway #1 

Giveaway #2!

Timekeeper Giveaway #2

Check Out The Other Tour Stops

Mar. 19: The Book Keeper’s Secrets (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt & Interview)

Tales of the Ravenous Reader (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway)

Mar. 20: Reading for the Stars and Moon (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, & Giveaway)

Next Page Please (Review & Giveaway)

Mar. 21: Candid Ceillie (Review & Interview)

Gota Love Books (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt)

Mar. 22: BookstacksAmber (Review)

Mar. 23: Book Crushin (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, & Giveaway)

Lilly’s Book World (Review)

Mar. 24: The Desert Bibliophile (Review, Spotlight & Audio Excerpt)

BookstacksAmber (Interview)

Mar. 25: Chapter Break (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, Interview & Giveaway)

Mar. 26: Dab of Darkness (Review)

Blogger Nicole (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt)

Mar. 27: The Madhouse (Review & Giveaway)

Mar. 28: Rolo Polo Book Blog (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt)

Mar. 29: Mama Reads (Review & Guest Post)

Mar. 30: Novel Ink (Review)

Mar. 31: Glorious Panic (Review & Giveaway)

Apr. 1: The Broke Book Bank (Review)

A New Look On Books (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway)

Apr. 2: Jories Loves A Story (Review & Interview)

Apr. 3: The Hermit Librarian (Review)

Up Til Dawn (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt)

Apr. 4: Here’s to Happy Endings (Review)

My World In Words and Pages (Review & Giveaway)

Apr. 5: Hall Ways (Review & Giveaway)

terriluvsbooks (Review & Interview)

Apr. 6: A Book and A Latte (Review)

Apr. 7: Desert Rose Reviews (Review & Giveaway)

Bound 4 Escape (Review & Giveaway)

Holed Up In A Book (Review & Giveaway)

Apr. 8: Zach’s YA Reviews (Review)

The Autumn Bookshelf (Spotlight, Audio Excerpt & Guest Post)

The Queen Reads (Review)

Guest Posts & Interviews, Tours & Blitzes

INTERVIEW WITH KENDARE BLAKE + GIVEAWAY! | Three Dark Crowns Blog Tour

Hey y’all! Boy oh boy, do I have something special for y’all today! Today, I’m happy to have Ms. Kendare Blake, author of the Anna Dressed in Blood duology, the Antigoddess trilogy, and the upcoming Three Dark Crowns, here on The Bookkeeper’s Secrets! Shall we get rolling?

The Interview

Hello Ms. Blake! My readers and I are so happy and super ecstatic to have you here on The Bookkeeper’s Secrets! I know that, personally, your upcoming book, Three Dark Crowns, is one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so I am very excited to get to talk with you! So without any further ado or fangirling on my part, let’s get this show on the road!

So really quickly, can you tell us what Three Dark Crowns is about?

Sure! Three Dark Crowns is about triplet queens on a magical island. Only one can wear the crown, and in their sixteenth year, two must die so the third can be crowned. Which sister will rule?

What was the inspiration behind the story of Three Dark Crowns?

A swarm of bees, actually. They were in a tree at a book event, and I started talking to a beekeeper. Hey, what’s that ball of bees doing up there anyway? And she said they were protecting their queen, who was snuggled in the middle of the ball as they look for a new hive. I said, What happened to the old hive? And she said that the old queen had probably laid four or five queen eggs, and when the new queen daughters hatched, one would murder the others and take over. I loved that idea. On the drive home, the concept that would become Three Dark Crowns was born.

Did you have a favorite aspect of Three Dark Crowns to write?

I really loved writing the poisons, all the poisoned food, etc. I love to write food! It was also a lot of fun to create the three cities, and the cultures within the three dominant gifts of the island. But my first love is character, and these girls and women managed to surprise me several times, which is always a pleasure.

What do you hope readers take away from Three Dark Crowns?

I hope they have fun with the scheming. All the scheming and the plots. I hope they enjoy the matriarchal aspect. I hope they find a queen (or several) to worry about J

What made you fall in love with writing?

Reading! I was a reader first. I read so much as a kid. Voraciously. Spent hours in bookstores as a teen, and in the library as an elementary schooler. The world of words has always been my second home.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Being able to write! To live these stories that find their way through my fingers onto a page. The act of writing feels pretty damned magical, at least when it’s going well. Like channeling. Like I’m along for the ride, Bastian Balthazar Bux trying to keep up with a tale that’s really happening in some other dimension. That probably sounds kind of hokey but what the hell.

What are some of the challenges you face as a writer and how do you face them?

Challenges, let’s see. Well, there’s the dreaded middle of a manuscript. And there’s juggling story vs what you think readers want or expect, and there’s the pressure to stay in the game and continually write better and better…but in the end the story is the story, and you just have to get through that manuscript middle, and you can’t predict reader expectations/desires because they differ with practically every reader (individual tastes, ftw) and pushing yourself should be exhilarating. So…you just have to do what you can do.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Learn to finish something. That’s important. Whether it be a short story or a novel, learn to finish.

Now on to the fun portion! First off, can you describe Three Dark Crowns using only song titles?

Shadowboxer, Fiona Apple. Caught a light sneeze, Tori Amos. Breath of life and Ship to wreck, Florence and the Machine.

You come across your main characters at midnight. What are they up to?

Arsinoe is practicing blood magic. Katharine is petting her snake, Sweetheart. Mirabella is running along the cliffs, calling down lightning to illuminate the sea.

If you were to plan a road trip in the world of Three Dark Crowns, what would be your must see stops?

The Breccia Domain, in Innisfuil Valley. The Black Cottage at the base of Mount Horn. The capital city of Indrid Down, with a special tour of the Volroy (the queens’ castle). I would want to buy clothes, jewelry and glassworks from the elemental city of Rolanth. And I would want to have lunch at Wolf Spring market.

If you could give one gift to your readers, be it physical or otherwise, what would you give them?

Oh wow, how much power do I have? What can I bestow? And it would depend on the reader, because some gifts could turn some readers evil. I could accidentally make a villain. Like, you wouldn’t want to give just anyone the power to teleport. I can think of certain readers right now who would so abuse it in and out of bank vaults.

But I suppose if I was to give one gift to all readers, it would be one day in Hogsmeade. The real Hogsmeade. Because I’m a genie in this scenario, right?

That’s all! Thank you again Ms. Blake!

 More About Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

unnamed-2Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Amazon | B&N

More About Kendare Blake

unnamed-1Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their two cat sons (Tybalt and Tyrion Cattister) and their red Doberman dog son, Obi Dog Kenobi.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

THE GIVEAWAY!!!

Enter for the chance to win 1 of 3 finished copies of Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (US ONLY)

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Three Dark Crowns Blog Tour Schedule

fun, Guest Posts & Interviews, Tours & Blitzes

Unplugged Blog Tour | Guest Post + Giveaway

 

Hey guys! Super special post for you today! Today I’m happy to welcome Ms. Donna Freitas, author of the upcoming novel Unplugged, as a guest to this blog! Ms. Freitas is going to be telling us about what inspired the story of Unplugged. I’ll let her take it away now!

What inspired the story of Unplugged?

It was actually a conversation where I was with a group of friends and we were joking

around about the possibility of downloading “updates” to our personality—for example:

eventually maybe I’d become Donna 4.0 and you’d become Lila 5.5. And that idea of some

day being able to actually do this, to download updates to your personality, or even other

things like apps that might enhance your brain or your abilities or even change you

physically started rolling around in my head.

Then, at the same time, I started wondering what it would be like to be able to write a

character who’d never been in her body—who’d never really known what it was like to be

in the body—even as old as 17. I started imagining what conditions might allow for that,

which was when I came up with the worlds of Unplugged and its rules too:

The world has split into two—one real world, one virtual—and in the virtual world (called

the App World) people would plug in their bodies (many of them as early as birth) and in

this world there would be Apps that would function just like I’d imagined above—Apps

that you could download to yourself that would change you in various ways.

And I thought: how fun to think of all the Apps I’d love to be able to download to myself

for a while! And how scary to think of growing up not knowing the real world at all.

Then I developed the rules—that people could not cross the border between worlds (they

couldn’t unplug) until they turned 17. Then they would be able to unplug for a year, at the

end of which they’d have to make a choice: would they stay in the Real World and their

bodies for the rest of their lives, or would they choose to go back to the App Worl and live

for a virtual eternity?

And then I set my protagonist, Skylar, into this set of circumstances. I’ve loved writing her

both in the virtual world and when she wakes up in the Real World for the first time. I

hope your readers like it too!

Thanks for having me!

Read An Excerpt of Unplugged

More About Unplugged

5f0ff408-001f-4adf-8e14-40d79031a246The first book in a provocative new series from acclaimed author Donna Freitas—Feed for a new generation.
Humanity is split into the App World and the Real World—an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy and a dying physical world for the poor. Years ago, Skylar Cruz’s family sent her to the App World for a chance at a better life.
Now Skye is a nobody, a virtual sixteen-year-old girl without any glamorous effects or expensive downloads to make her stand out in the App World. Yet none of that matters to Skye. All she wants is a chance to unplug and see her mother and sister again.
But when the borders between worlds suddenly close, Skye loses that chance. Desperate to reach her family, Skye risks everything to get back to the physical world. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a much larger, darker reality than the one she remembers.
In the tradition of M. T. Anderson’s Feed and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, Unplugged kicks off a thrilling and timely sci-fi series for teens from an award-winning writer.

About Donna Freitas

30c754d6-7705-4859-b892-602c2adb6e05Donna Freitas is an author of fiction, nonfiction, and articles that appear in newspapers, magazines, and on blogs. Born in Rhode Island, Donna now splits her time between New York City and Barcelona.

 

 

Giveaway!

In addition, I have a giveaway for you! The giveaway is for 1 of 3 copies of Unplugged and is US Only.
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fun, Guest Posts & Interviews

Interview With J.A. George, Author of Gifted!

Heya my lovely bibliophiles!

I’m back at it again with the wonderful Ms. J.A. George! Today we’ve got another exciting post in store for you–AN INTERVIEW!!! I know, I know. I’m excited too, but I’ll try to keep the squealing to a minimum! Before I begin, let me mention the Ms. George is going to be holding a giveaway on her blog  www.thejourneyofgifted.co.uk when the paperback version of Gifted is released, so definitely check it out! Now without any further ado, let’s get to the really, really exciting part: my interview with Ms. J.A. George, author of Gifted!!!

First off, can you give us the “quick pitch” of Gifted?

It’s about a nineteen year old university student who meets a woman a little on the strange side, and then meets a young man a little more on the stranger side. These meetings lead to the eventual discovery of Hayven – a city separated from the rest of the world where only those with gifts can go. She makes an eclectic bunch of friends, who, even though I’m biased, are just awesome. But Hayven has its dark side and they’re called Cliders; gifters turned rogue, Cliders are determined to see Hayven return to the way it was one thousand years ago when the city was under Madrina’s dominion.

Very cool! So what was the inspiration behind Gifted?

I suppose you could say, people. My characters are ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts and I believe that is what everyone is. Our gift doesn’t have to be supernatural! Just something we have or can do that makes us different and you’d be surprised to know how many people don’t think they have one.

What was your favorite moment of Ava’s development, where you just felt like cheering her on?

This published version of Gifted is my second edition and in my first edition Avery was completely different. I tried to write a novel and a main character that would make everyone happy, until I realised that was impossible. After two years, I made the decision to write for myself. Long story short, Ava was a bit boring, in my opinion, because I was trying to follow trends I’d seen before, trying to fit her into too many different boxes. So I chose to simply make her into a character I’d want to meet. Now, I just love her. She makes me laugh a lot. I hope she’ll make you laugh too.

Are there any specific characters in Gifted that you feel particularly connected to?

Probably Ava – my main character. I don’t know what it is about her, but I just connect with her the most, probably because of all the changes she’s gone through.

What is your favorite “deleted scene” that didn’t make it into the final cut of Gifted?

I don’t have one! During the editing of my second edition I took a lot of scenes out because I didn’t like them very much and I hated reading them over. Now, there isn’t one scene in my novel that I don’t like reading over! There are a few scenes that I wrote for book one that I’ve taken out to put in book two instead!

What made you want to be a writer? Have you always been a writer or was there a moment you realized it was a passion and the profession for you?

I just wanted to live my life being able to say, “I don’t work”. I don’t ever want to see my life defined by “work” and for me, writing isn’t “work”, it’s too enjoyable for that. You know what they say, do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

I’ve always loved to write, but before I decided to become an author, I didn’t see it as something I could do as a future career; being an author isn’t exactly a financially stable job. But one day, I said goodbye to my carefully structured future plan, (more about that here, if you’re interested: http://www.thejourneyofgifted.co.uk ) sat on my bed, opened up a blank Word document and typed out a few lines. It was after those few lines that I brought myself a black journal and briefly planned out the storyline of all four books in the series. And the rest is history…

Who are some of your favorite authors and/or authors who inspire you?

Roald Dahl! I’ve only realised recently that his theme of extraordinary things happening to ordinary people (for example, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, George’s Marvellous Medicine) is something that has subconsciously stuck with me for many years.

What are some struggles you’ve faced as an author? How did you overcome them?

Writing for myself. My first edition of Gifted was not a book I wanted to read, but a book I thought would sell better. I remember starting this novel because I wanted to read a contemporary YA fantasy novel, but every now and again, I’d add things or take away things based on what I thought readers would and wouldn’t like, regardless of my feelings towards it. It resulted in a book I wouldn’t have picked up in a bookshop. My second edition is exactly the way I want it; it’s a book I would not only pick up in a bookshop, but a book I would buy and read over and over again. I’m so happy with it and I can now only hope that readers are too.

Is creativity something you have to be in the mood for or is it something you can just tap into?

Hmmm, I’ve never thought of it like that. I’m always thinking about Gifted – always! So I don’t feel as if I’ve had to tap into it. I’m not always in the mood to write, but when I’m not I won’t force myself. I just wait until I want to write again and it usually doesn’t take very long! Or I bribe myself with chocolate. That method gives incredibly fast results.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers, young and old?

Just keep writing. If you’re serious about being an author then I’m afraid to say you have no other choice. Life, eh?

What message do you hope readers take away from Gifted?

That there is something in each and every one of us that makes us different and discovering what that is tends to lead to a happier life.

What a beautiful message! Thank you so much Ms. George for the wonderful interview!

 

Guest Posts & Interviews

Guest Post With J.A. George, Author of Gifted!

Hello my lovely bibliophiles!

Today I’ve got something quite special for you! A guest post from J.A. George, author of Gifted!!! The guest post will be covering the interesting topic of “What was your favorite moment of writing Gifted?” Ooooooooh! I can’t wait to read the answer, can you?!

ALSO! Before I forget to mention it, Ms. George will be hosting a giveaway when paperback versions of Gifted are released on her blog,  www.thejourneyofgifted.co.uk! Ooooh! Aaaah! Exciting stuff here!!!

So let’s just dive write into it! Without any further ado, I present to you: A guest post by Ms. J.A. Geoorge!

 

Well hello there!
My name is J.A. George and I am the author of GIFTED – The Hayven Series! I thought I’d take this opportunity to write about my favourite things concerning the process of my novel. If you’d rather know more about the GIFTED in general, check out my blog: http://www.thejourneyofgifted.co.uk where I document the stages of GIFTED coming to life!
Before I go on, allow me to sneakily throw in the blurb for GIFTED:
There is no chosen one in this story.
She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.
Avery Gray is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.
Change can be good. It can bring new opportunities, new friends and a life you never thought possible. Change can be bad. It can bring you people determined to burn your city to the ground.
It all depends on the decisions you make.

One of my favourite things about the entire writing process is the editing. Now, for those of you who write novels, novellas, poems etc., I know what you’re thinking  editing is the worst. It used to be the worst part of being an author for me too. Sending off your work to your editor, getting it back and seeing all the changes you needed to make was exhausting, arduous and quite frankly, it just got on my nerves. I don’t know when things changed, but I learned to love it and what I like most about editing is how much I learn from it. Before GIFTED was professionally edited, I thought I knew a lot about words, ignorance is bliss after all. Turns out, I knew how to spell, but when it came to punctuation, I wasn’t as much of the skilled master I’d once thought I was. Did you know that there are three different dashes, and each dash has a specific function? I won’t get into that now because that’s probably when you’ll give up reading this guest post. I’ll move on.
Another of my favourite things had to be thinking up all of the supernatural gifts I gave to my characters. I’ve made it a hook in the novel that no two people have the exact same gift and I personally wanted to make sure each individual has an interesting gift, whether it’s a main character or a character with a minor part. I have seven main characters, now before you say, ‘seven main characters?! Isn’t that too many?’ allow me to answer – no. If you can keep up with the cast of Game of Thrones, you can keep up with this! And if you don’t watch Game of Thrones…you really should; it’s pretty great. Now, where was I? Oh yes. My seven main characters each have their own gift and the gifts in my novel range from pre-cognition to teleportation, from shape-shifting to weather control, from intangibility to earth manipulation. It’s a lot of fun having to think of gifts that would be cool to have and that I haven’t repeated!
Let’s switch things up – a little. How about a favourite moment? My favourite moment about the entire writing process was when I decided to write for myself. My first edition of GIFTED was a mess because I tried to write a book everyone would love – an impossible feat. I once thought you couldn’t have a YA novel without romance, so I forced in a lot of romance scenes. I’m not a very…romantic person. I’m the kind of person who cringes at the unrealistic love scenes in a book and will more often than not, skip over it. My first edition of GIFTED was full of scenes like this and I hated writing it. Honestly, I would cringe at my desk as I typed it out. I just…bleugh…it’s not for me. So why write it I hear you ask? I added strong romance into my novel because I thought that was what people wanted to read. Every author wants their book to sell and in order for it to sell, you have to write what people want to buy, so I tried to do that. One evening, I’d just had enough and I deleted all of the romance scenes and completely revised my novel, resulting in edition two, and I am unbelievably happy with the way it is now. GIFTED still has hints of romance, it’s just not heavy, unrealistic instant-love. By taking out all of the soggy romance got me thinking and I ended up replacing it with real young adult relationships, and that includes cheating. I also looked more closely at friendships and modern issues, such as, body-image. GIFTED is a lot more fun that it sounds, I swear!
Finally, one other of my favourite things (I couldn’t possibly list them all) has to be the building of my characters because, despite how weird this may make me sound, when I write about a character, build their life, give them a family, a past, and friends, describe their features and develop their personalities, their likes and dislikes, it’s honestly as if they come alive.

J.A. George
Twitter: @JGeorgie_
Blog: www.thejourneyofgifted.com
Download a sample of GIFTED from amazon here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gifted-Hayven-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01E83HZPC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460835483&sr=8-1&keywords=gifted+J+George