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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest

GIVEAWAY! (US ONLY)

  • Win 1 Finished Copy of How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
  • US Only
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  • Runs through May 5th
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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
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.

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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, Tours & Blitzes

Blog Tour | Lies I Live By by Lauren Sabel | Art + GIVEAWAY!!!

Hey y’all! I have something super fun for you today! I’ve made some art for Lies I Live By by Lauren Sabel! Lies I Live By is a super awesome book about a psychic spy! I highly suggest you read it as soon as you can get it into your hands! Want to know more? (Come on. Of course you want to know more.)

About Lies I Live By

b3259891-0448-4ef0-9a45-fd8239a5cd24Romance, intrigue, and action collide in this psychic twist on the classic spy novel.

Callie Sinclair is literally out of her mind; as the government’s youngest psychic spy, she finds valuable information for top-secret missions. Her work keeps her headaches at bay, but it means she must lie to everyone she loves, including her longtime boyfriend, Charlie.

When a new psychic arrives at the office, Callie can’t help but flirt; Jasper already knows her in a way Charlie never will.

But as her love life gets more complicated, so do her visions. People halfway around the world seem to be in danger…and people in her own backyard, too. If Callie can’t find a way to alter future events, she could lose the people she loves—and her mind. Literally.

Lauren Sabel’s enthralling, romantic novel captures the thrill of exploring a unique power in a dangerous world.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

About Lauren Sabel

aa16a836-8805-48ec-aa8a-0b5a1d962deeOriginally from the Rocky Mountains, Lauren Sabel has returned to the cool mountain air of Boulder, Colorado after living in several wonderful cities that she will always love and continue to visit year after year.

Lauren loves her husband, her family, her friends, and stories that end happily. (Unfortunately, hers never do.) She also loves digging into her mind and revealing tiny gems she didn’t know were there.

Lauren learned to mind dig while getting her MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa, a Buddhist college in Boulder, Colorado. Before Naropa, Lauren studied film in Rome, where she developed her love of crypts and other beautiful creepy things. She also worked in the film industry in New York and San Francisco, focusing mainly on film festivals, as she can never pass up a good party. In San Francisco she worked for Chronicle Books, where she was inducted into the fascinating world of book publishing.

For the past eight years, Lauren has been teaching college students the joys of creative writing, whether they like it or not.

In 2008, Lauren was published in Undiscovered Voices, an anthology of the best new writers for children in the U.K., where she was living at the time. Then life got very exciting very quickly. She signed with Jodi Reamer Esq. at The Writer’s House Agency in New York, and they made magic happen, and that magic is named Katherine Tegen. (aka: Katherine Tegen Publishing, Harper Collins).

Lauren’s first book, Vivian Divine is Dead was published June 3 2014. She’s currently working on her next book, which she can’t wait to tell you about (but has to wait just a little while anyway).

Lauren believes that being a teenager is an act of courage, and is proud of anyone who manages to stick through it, despite the pain. 🙂
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My Art For Lies I Live By!

New Image

 

And Now…For The Giveaway!

 The giveaway is for 3 finished copies of Lies I Live By by Lauren Sabel. It is US Only
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If You’re Interested In Lies I Live By by Lauren Sabel, Be Sure To Check Out The Other Stops On The Tour

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Girl About Town Blog Tour | Graphics: Create The Cover Plus GIVEAWAY!

Hey guys! I’m super excited to be on the blog tour for Girl About Town by Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan! Not only is Girl About Town a great book, but it’s also cowritten by the producer behind the awesomeness that is High School Musical! How cool is that?!! Anyhow, I digress. Today, I’ve made a graphic for my Create The Cover series (in which I reimagine the covers for books) for Girl About Town. But wait! There’s more! There’s also a GIVEAWAY!!!  Before anything else, though, here’s more about the book:

Girl About Town CoverAcclaimed film producer/director Adam Shankman and coauthor Laura Sullivan pen a sparkling, witty, romantic mystery inspired by Nick and Nora Charles and Hollywood glamour.

Not too long ago, Lucille O’Malley was living in a tenement in New York. Now she’s Lulu Kelly, Hollywood’s newest It Girl. She may be a star, but she worries that her past will catch up with her. Back in New York she witnessed a Mafia murder, and this glamorous new life in Tinseltown is payment for her silence.

Dashing Freddie van der Waals, the only son of a New York tycoon, was a playboy with the world at his feet. But when he discovered how his corrupt father really made the family fortune, Freddie abandoned his billions and became a vagabond. He travels the country in search of redemption and a new identity, but his father will stop at nothing to bring him home.

When fate brings Lulu and Freddie together, sparks fly—and gunshots follow. Suddenly Lulu finds herself framed for attempted murder. Together, she and Freddie set out to clear her name. But can they escape their pasts and finally find the Hollywood ending they long for?

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

And now…for the graphic!!!

New Image6

And Now For The GIVEAWAY!!!

There are THREE finished copies of Girl About Town up for grabs, but it is US ONLY!
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Lastly, if you enjoyed this post and are interested in Girl About Town, definitely give the other tour stops a looksee!

book fashion, fun, Tours & Blitzes

The Way Back to You Blog Tour | Friday Fashion: Special Edition Plus GIVEWAY!

Hey everybody!

I’ve got something special for you today! A special edition of Friday Fashion!!! Why is it special? Because it’s for the blog tour for The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott! AND THERE’S A GIVEAWAY TOO!!!! OMG, so exciting, right?!! First, here’s a bit more on the book and the authors!

The Way Back To You CoverSix months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they’re barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her…and to each other.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

AndreaniScott Author photoMichelle Andreani is the co-author of THE WAY BACK TO YOU (my debut novel!) with Mindi Scott, forthcoming from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. Also an occasional scatterbrain, milkshake devotee, and liker of love stories.

 

Mindi Scott lives near Seattle, Washington, USA with her drummer husband in a house with a non-sound-proof basement. Freefall, her first novel, was published by Simon Pulse in 2010. Her second novel, Live Through This, was published (also by Simon Pulse) in 2012. She contributed a chapter to Violent Ends, a collaborative novel written by 17 young adult authors (out in 2015), and co-wrote, along with Michelle Andreani, the 2016 novel The Way Back to You. She is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich.

FIND MICHELLE: Website | Twitter | Instagram

FIND MINDI: Website | Twitter | Instagram

And now for the fashion! Drumroll please!

903115f825919a4e0899651a10334f5c

And Now For The GIVEAWAY!!!

There are THREE copies of The Way Back to You up for grabs! Unfortunately it’s US ONLY!

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Finally, if you enjoyed this post and are looking for more bookish fun and are interested in The Way Back to You, be sure to check out the other tour stops!

Tours & Blitzes

Blog Tour | Guest Post & Giveaway | Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti

Essential Maps for the Lost begins when Madison Murray is swimming in Lake Union in Seattle, and bumps into the body of a woman who jumped off the nearby Aurora Bridge.  In order to understand her own depression, she begins to follow the young woman’s son, Billy Youngwolf Floyd, and their lives begin to intersect.  She has an overbearing mother, and a deep desire to kidnap the baby she babysits (who has her own overbearing mother).  He has an intense and sometimes cruel grandmother, and a deep desire to steal mistreated dogs (a desire he often fulfills, stealing them and then bringing them to the shelter where he works, claiming that they are “lost.”)  Billy and Mads have another surprising similarity – a connection to the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and to the map of the Metropolitan Museum of Art inside it.

What inspired me to write it?  At the time I began, there had recently been several suicides of public figures, and even an author in our YA community.  There had also been many, many blog posts about mental illness and depression, especially from fellow YA writers.  And while it is hugely important to talk about these things openly, hugely, hugely important, I also felt a little in need of hope after reading them.  I wanted to discuss the struggle, but also the beauty in the struggle – the complicated, messy, hard, triumphant, hang-in-there-ness of it.  Being a human being in a big world is a tough job a lot of the time, but it’s good to remember the triumphs and the joys, small and large, that come along with the “tough.”

I’d also been hearing, seeing, and feeling a lot about the kids who end up in the position of having to care for their parents, who emotionally must take on the parental role in their relationship with an adult in their life.  I wanted to spend some time thinking and writing about this – what it means to have to   erect boundaries and hear your own voice when neither of those things was ever really allowed.

And, finally, I wanted to talk about book love some more – the power of books.  I’d already done a little of this in both Honey, Baby, Sweetheart and The Last Forever, but I didn’t feel finished yet.  Books have always been life saving to me, and I wanted to pay respect to the way they help us through, guide us, provide understanding, and last over time.  Books are powerful magic.

These three things wove together to become Essential Maps for the Lost.  These three things plus love, plus Seattle, plus houseboats and dogs and bratty ten-year-olds and beaches and burritos and despair and joy and complications, lots of them.  “I like complications,” says Mads, and Billy, and E.L. Konigsberg, author of From the Mixed-Up Files.  After reading Essential Maps for the Lost, I hope you do, too.

Essentials Maps for the Lost - CoverAbout The Book

When Madison makes a startling discovery, the body of a dead woman floating in the middle of a lake, the summer after her senior year becomes more complicated than she ever expected.

Madison (Mads to everyone who knows her) is staying with her aunt and uncle in Seattle after graduating from high school. Being away from her needy, unstable mother who’s been pressuring her to take over the family business is such a relief. Now all Mads has to worry about is taking classes, swimming laps, and fighting off the sadness that threatens to overtake her.

That is, until the traumatic moment Mads collides with a body in the middle of the lake. After swimming the body back to shore, Mads becomes obsessed with uncovering the identity of the woman and what drove her to leap off of the Aurora Bridge. Determined to discover more, Mads parks outside the woman’s home and sees the woman’s son: the sweet and tormented Billy Youngwolf Floyd.

Through a series of not-so-happenstance meetings, Mads and Billy realize that desperate mothers and rescue missions are not the only thing that bonds them. Billy carries a map in his pocket; the one of the museum from The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler; and it’s his dream to visit the museum one day. And though book-loving Mads is expected to return home to her already-decided future, her dream is to run away to a life of her choosing.

As the unlikely pair fall hard for each other and as the summer draws to a close, Billy and Mads must decide whose story to follow: their family’s or their own.

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Deb CalettiAbout The Author

Deb Caletti is an award winning author and National Book Award finalist. Her many books for young adults include “The Nature of Jade,” “Stay,” “The Last Forever,” and “Honey, Baby Sweetheart,” winner of the Washington State Book award, the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the PEN USA Award. Her first book for adults, “He’s Gone,” was released from Random House in 2012, and was followed with “The Secrets She Keeps” in 2015. Coming this April: “Essential Maps for the Lost,” her eleventh book for young adults. She lives with her family in Seattle. 

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