Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Interview with Sara Faring for The Tenth Girl

The Tenth Girl

by Sara Faring
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: September 24th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror, Mystery, Historical Fiction
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Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi's existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Can you briefly describe THE TENTH GIRL and its characters?

Buenos Aires native Mavi tricks her way into a teaching role at an infamous Patagonian finishing school—and lives to regret it, as her fellow teachers begin to act suspiciously and one of her ten students goes missing.

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why?

This changes depending on my mood—today, it’s Angel, who uses dark humor & extravagant acts of kindness to cope with anxiety and pain.

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere?

My grandmother’s fantastical Argentine legends and stories inspired me—she spent many late nights weaving these magical, bizarre tales for me as I fell asleep, and I hope I can do the same for a grandchild one day…

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

I listened to this song thousands of times while writing The Tenth Girl.

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

My grandmother convinced me that the astonishing half-Argentine actress Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch/Thoroughbreds) could handle Mavi, with her moon eyes.

Fall is here, and we love to go out and find the perfect cosy spot. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

A steaming mug of mate cocido in an overgrown garden, where the leaves are beginning to crisp and turn fire-orange.

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish THE TENTH GIRL?

What’s next for you?

I’m writing a book about two estranged sisters returning home to a mysterious island, a decade after their mother disappeared.

Born in Los Angeles, Sara Faring is a multi-lingual Argentine-American fascinated by literary puzzles. After working in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, she worked at Penguin Random House. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in International Studies and from the Wharton School in Business. She currently resides in New York City.

Her first novel, The Tenth Girl, will be released by Macmillan/Imprint on September 24, 2019. Sara is represented by Sarah Bedingfield at Levine Greenberg Rostan Agency. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Interview with Kate Williams for The Babysitters Coven

The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven #1)

by Kate Williams
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: September 17th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches
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Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil. 

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it's kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she's good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let's just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She's Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme's babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra's mother left her: "Find the babysitters. Love, Mom."

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they're about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

Can you briefly describe THE BABYSITTERS COVEN and the characters? 

THE BABYSITTERS COVEN is a YA novel is about Esme Pearl, a teenage babysitter with superpowered spells, a pit bull, and a killer wardrobe. When one of Esme’s babysitting charges gets kidnapped on Halloween, she has to call on her best friend Janis, her dog Pig, and the new girl Cassandra to help her find the missing kid, save the world, and get home before the parents do. Esme and Janis love fashion and pop culture, while Cassandra loves fighting and her bad attitude, but what they have in common is that they’re all pretty brave and know their way around the mall. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why? 

Pig, the dog. She’s actually based off my dog, whose real name is Rosie but who we call ‘the pig.’ Much like fictional Pig, real-life Rosie has a farting problem, a head like a cement block, and the biggest, purest heart on the planet. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

Ok, so this is a long story, but I will try not to meander (too much): Many years ago, Rookie magazine (RIP) published a story by Hazel Cills called “Don’t be a babysitter,” and it was all about horror movies where, to put it gently, not nice things happen to the babysitter. I read that article and thought, “Ha! I should write a YA novel called The Babysitters Coven, where the babysitters fight back because they’re witches.” The idea just seemed really funny to me, plus I’m a pop culture junkie, so I loved the thought of writing something that put a new twist on a referential trope. 

However, for a long time, TBC just stayed as my joke book as I labored under the false pretense that I needed to write something “serious” so that I would be taken “seriously” because writing is “serious business.” I kept trying to write all these different things that weren’t fun to write and that didn’t feel like me and it felt like banging my head against a wall. It was super frustrating, and I got really down on myself because I kept starting projects and not finishing them. I thought that maybe I wasn’t really capable of doing this thing that I’d always said I wanted to do, which was to write a YA novel. 

Then, in 2014, I went to Mexico City, and on Día De Los Muertos, met up with a friend to take a boat through the Xochimilcan canals. We stopped at Isla de Los Munecas, which is this strange little island where the trees are filled with dismembered dolls that are supposedly possessed with the spirit of a little girl who drowned nearby. When the boat stopped, we all put on masks before we climbed out, so that that the ghosts couldn’t identify us and follow us home. (For some reason, I made the decision to use the bathroom there, and it was the most terrifying pee of my entire life because I had to take off my mask to find the toilet in the dark.) After that, we went to a cemetery. It was 3am, but the place was packed with entire families, vendors and mariachi bands. We drank tequila and set off fireworks, and the whole graveyard was filled with incense and smoke and singing. It was one of the most magical nights of my life, and on the boat ride out, I started talking to my friend, who is a director, about writing. He told me that he had learned to go with the ideas that seemed to choose him, instead of chasing the ones that always seemed just out of reach. Right then and there, I decided that I was going to start working on The Babysitters Coven as soon as I got home. I did just that, and five years later, here we are! 

Also, as a I can tell, none of the ghosts followed me home, thank god. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be? 

“Just a Girl” by No Doubt 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

Esme would be played by Heathers-era Winona Ryder, Janis would be played by The Cosby Show-era Lisa Bonet, and Cassandra would be played by Girlfight-era Michelle Rodriguez. Brian would be played by Ludacris, Dion would be played by Bobby from Twin Peaks, and Pig would be played by Rosie. 

Fall is here or almost here, and we love to go out and find our perfect cosy spot. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Iced coffee, because Esme drinks iced all year round. And this book is best enjoyed at the mall food court, or while sitting on the curb outside of your favorite thrift store. 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish THE BABYSITTERS COVEN?

My all time favorite book is “Witch Baby” by Francesca Lia Block. It is ‘90s perfectness. 

What’s next for you? 

Book 2! It has a title and a first draft, and plus new characters and a lot more Pig!

I'm a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California. 

I've written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein. 

The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won't be my last.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Interview with Laura E. Weymouth for A Treason of Thorns

A Treason of Thorns

by Laura E. Weymouth
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 10th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept Violet happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.

Everything shattered, though, when her father committed high treason trying to free Burleigh from the king’s oppressive control. He was killed, and Vi was forced into hiding.

When she’s given a chance to go back, she discovers Burleigh has run wild with grief. Vines and briars are crumbling the walls. Magic that once enriched the surrounding countryside has turned dark and deadly, twisting lush blooms into thorns, poisoning livestock and destroying crops. Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain.

Vi would do anything to help, and soon she finds herself walking the same deadly path as her father all those years before. Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.

Content warnings are available via the author's website.

Can you briefly describe A TREASON OF THORNS and its characters? 

A Treason of Thorns is the story of Violet Sterling, the dispossessed daughter of a treasonous nobleman, who’s given the opportunity to return to her ancestral home after her father’s death. But Violet’s home, Burleigh House, is no ordinary English manor—it’s one of five Great Houses, ancient and sentient places of power that govern and guard the health and wellbeing of the land. Vi loves Burleigh House and Burleigh is devoted to her, but when she does return, she soon realizes that her House is, in fact, slowly dying. That could have very serious ramifications for the surrounding countryside, so Vi is faced with the difficult decision of risking everything to save her House, or putting it down, as many people believe she should. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why? 

Burleigh House, because it was so much fun as a writer to get to write both setting and character at once, and to convey emotion and information through things normally viewed as set-dressing. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

A lot of disparate pieces came together to form A Treason of Thorns, but the very earliest seed was a microfiction I wrote on Twitter, about a girl sitting in an enchanted garden, waiting to entertain an unwanted suitor. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be? 

Burning House, by Cam. No contest. 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

Aaaaaaah, I’m honestly terrible at fan-casting! But there’s a Dutch model, Luca Hollestelle, who IS Violet Sterling in my head. I’ve never pictured her any other way. That’s the only person I have a super clear vision of in Treason, though. 

Fall is almost here, and we love to find a cosy place to read our favourite books. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date? 

I mean, I think you’d have the IDEAL reading experience if you could bring the book to one of the inns around Taunton, Somerset, and have a glass or two of scrumpy while you read. Since that’s a little cost-prohibitive for most North American readers, I’d recommend reading it outside under a tree on a crisp and sunny fall afternoon with a thermos of cider. Preferably near where someone’s burning brush, so you get the benefit of the smell of woodsmoke. 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish A TREASON OF THORNS? 

Well, obviously I have to recommend my first book, The Light Between Worlds, which is the story of two sisters struggling to deal with the aftermath of coming back to our world after having a portal fantasy in another. It’s about loss and longing and belonging, and is another excellent fall read. If you’re looking specifically for Gothic vibes, like A Treason of Thorns will provide for you, I recommend either The House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin Craig (a wind-swept, remote retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses) or Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer (which I have occasionally described as the love child of The Secret Garden and The Silmarillion.) 

What’s next for you? 

A nap! And then work on a number of projects I can’t talk about quite yet!

Laura Weymouth is a Canadian living in exile in America, and the sixth consecutive generation of her family to immigrate from one country to another. Born and raised in the Niagara region of Ontario, she now lives at the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, a spoiled cat, an old soul of a dog, and an indeterminate number of chickens. She is represented by the inimitable Lauren Spieller of TriadaUS.