Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Interview with Tricia Levenseller for The Shadows Between Us



The Shadows Between Us

by Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: February 25th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?


Can you briefly describe THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US and its characters?

TSBU is about an ambitious girl who decides to woo, wed, and then kill the Shadow King so she can take his kingdom for herself. Alessandra is our main character. As the second daughter, she was basically ignored by her family, forced to wait to enter society until her older sister was engaged. That gave her plenty of time to scheme. So when the time was right, she knew exactly what she wanted and how she would get it. The Shadow King is our other main character. His whole family was murdered, and he knows someone is trying to kill him as well. He hasn’t allowed anyone to get close to him for an entire year as he tries to solve the crime, but he’s wholly unprepared when Alessandra enters his life.


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

Definitely Alessandra. She’s just so fun to write! I love all her scheming and planning, the witty banter she delivers. She is definitely my favorite character I’ve written so far!


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

I was thinking about how much I love bad boys, but how the girls so often choose the nice guys because murderers make for poor love interests and happily ever afters. But then I realized that I might be able to pull it off if my main protagonist was also bad.


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

“Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer



What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Try and find the nearest Gothic Mansion. Extra dark hot chocolate.


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

The TV show The Vampire Diaries is my one true love, so I have to give a shout out to that. As for books, I recommend THE CRUEL PRINCE, WICKED SAINTS, and THREE DARK CROWNS if you’re looking for darker, more complicated romances.


What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

The writing part. No, seriously. It’s so hard putting words on paper. I much prefer the editing process.


What’s next for you?

My next book is called THE SECRET BLADE, and it’s about a socially anxious blacksmith who forges magical blades. When she accidentally creates an all-powerful sword with the ability to extract secrets from those it cuts, she has to protect it at all costs.






Tricia Levenseller is the author of the Daughter of the Pirate King duology, Warrior of the Wild, and forthcoming The Shadows Between Us. She likes to describe her books as young adult alternate–world historical fantasies with heavy romantic subplots.

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




Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Interview with Alexandra Monir for The Life Below



The Life Below (The Final Six #2)

by Alexandra Monir
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 18th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

As Naomi lifts off into space and away from a rapidly deteriorating Earth, she watches the world fade away, and along with it Leo, a Final Six contestant she grew close to during training. Leaving Earth behind is hard, but what’s ahead, on Europa, could be worse. The International Space Training Camp continues to hide the truth about what happened to the last group of astronauts who attempted a similar colonization but failed mysteriously. With one shot—at this mission and to Europa—Naomi is determined to find out if there is alien life on Europa before she and her crew get there.

Leo, back on Earth, has been working with renegade scientist Dr. Greta Wagner, who promises to fly him to space where he can essentially latch on to Naomi’s ship. And if Wagner’s hypothesis is right, it isn’t a possibility of coming in contact with extraterrestrial life on Europa—it’s a definite. With Naomi unaware of what awaits, it’s up to Leo to find and warn her and the others.

With all the pieces of their journey finally clicking into place, everything else starts to fall apart. A storm threatens to interfere with Leo’s takeoff, a deadly entity makes itself known to the Final Six, and the questions the ISTC has been avoiding about the previous failed mission get answered in the worst way possible. If the dream was to establish a habitable domain on Europa… the Final Six are about to enter a nightmare.


Can you briefly describe THE FINAL SIX series, its characters and what’s going on in THE LIFE BELOW?

THE FINAL SIX is about a group of twenty-four teens from around the world, who have been handpicked by the United Nations and the international space agencies, to compete for six spots on a one-way mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa—to find a new home for humanity after Earth is largely destroyed by climate change. THE FINAL SIX ends with the selection of the chosen crew, and their launch into space—while one finalist who didn’t make the cut embarks on a rogue mission of his or her own. Where Book 1 gave us all the fun and action of space training camp and the competition, Book 2 ramps up the stakes, thrusting our characters into the dangers of space as they make their way to a new world.


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

Definitely Naomi, the female protagonist. She is the character closest to me, and the Iranian-American heroine I was always looking for but never found in the books I read growing up. That's why it was so gratifying to create this character who is a kickass science & tech whiz, and the star of an epic adventure, who happens to share my heritage!


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

Coming up with this series was one of those magical moments in a writer’s life, where an idea just flies into your mind like a gift! I was listening to a radio interview with an aspiring astronaut who had applied for this experimental private mission, MarsOne, that was in the news at the time. She had a family and a full life on Earth, but was willing to leave it all behind for the chance to go to Mars. I was blown away by the idea that someone would choose to give up the only life they’d ever known for this risky colonization experiment—and then I had this lightbulb of an idea switch on in my mind. What if it wasn’t a choice? What if, due to climate change destroying much of Earth, people were drafted to space, just like people have been drafted into war? As soon as those pieces of the idea flew into my mind, I was off and running!


Which book in the series was the most difficult to write and why?

The sequel was definitely harder! Sequels are by nature a challenge, but with this book in particular, I was stretching new writing muscles by developing extraterrestrials that I hoped would feel as real and grounded as they were terrifying, and writing a brand new world with Europa.


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

The song I would choose is actually featured in THE LIFE BELOW! “Sail to the Moon” by Radiohead. J




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

I think we need to discover new talent to play Leo and Naomi, especially because it’s hugely important to me to have a young actress of Iranian heritage play Naomi, and an actor of Italian heritage play Leo. For the adult characters though, I’ve always pictured Meryl Streep as Greta Wagner. A lofty goal, I know! J



What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

That’s a fun question! Perhaps Astronaut Ice Cream in the cafeteria at Johnson Space Center in Houston!


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

There are so many! I consider Beth Revis’s ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy the series that really kicked off the boom of YA set in space, and those books are brilliant page-turners.


What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

I would say the midpoint of a book is the toughest, when you’re past the beginning rush of excitement that comes with starting something new, but you also feel sooo far from the victory of reaching the end. You just have to tell yourself that every day you keep working brings you a day closer to reaching that glorious moment of finishing what you started—and then being able to start revising and making the book shine!


What’s next for you?

I have a YA superhero novel currently slated for December! It hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s a major character, and I’m so honoured to be entrusted with writing a YA story for her. I can’t wait to announce that one very soon!!






Alexandra Monir, Iranian-American author and recording artist, has published five novels for young adults, including her popular debut, Timeless. A Barnes & Noble best-seller and one of Amazon’s “Best Books of the Month,” Timeless and its sequel, Timekeeper, have been featured in numerous media outlets and been published in different countries around the world. She followed the duology with Suspicion and The Girl in the Picture, both standalone YA thrillers. Her upcoming science fiction novel, THE FINAL SIX (March 6, 2018) was acquired by HarperCollins and Sony Pictures during the same week, in two major pre-emptive deals.

Alexandra is also a singer/songwriter who often integrates music into her books’ pages. She wrote and recorded three original songs to accompany Timeless and Timekeeper, which were released as the album “The Timeless EP” and distributed by Jimmy Buffett’s record label, Mailboat Records. She also recorded a song that was released with the publication of Suspicion, and is composing a stage musical geared toward Broadway. Her musical roots are deep, as she is the granddaughter of the late Monir Vakili, the foremost Iranian opera singer.

Alexandra Monir is a frequent speaker at middle schools and high schools across the country, and at major events including fan conventions, women’s leadership conferences, and book festivals. She is a member of the Iranian American Women Foundation, an organization near to her heart. Alexandra currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and newborn son. To learn more about Alexandra, visit her online at www.alexandramonir.com.



a Rafflecopter giveaway





🚀 G I V E A W A Y 🚀 . . Happy Tuesday, beautiful bookish people! . . What series have you loved the sequel as much or even more than the first book? I personally am having a hard time just choosing one! . . “We’re going dark and you won’t know why or what it means, but you’ll assume the worst.” . . Today, it is the book-birthday of #TheLifeBelow, the second book in #TheFinalSix duology by @alexandramonir. I fell in love with Alexandra’s stories with Timeless and I HAD to read this series. I loved every minute of this second instalment and I am happy to see the relationship between the 2 main characters, growing and balancing each other throughout the story. And who doesn’t a bit of science and sci fi in their YA stories?🌌☄ . . If this has picked your interest, you are in luck. We have partnered with @mbc_books to give you the opportunity to win a copy of THE LIFE BELOW by Alexandra Monir. . . Entries for the giveaway: ▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri ▪︎Follow the author @alexandramonir ▪︎Follow @epicreads & @mbc_books ▪︎Answer my question ⬆️ #qotd . . Extra entries: ▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share on your stories about the giveaway (remember to tag me @whatmakespatri and @theffbc) ▪︎Follow @michellesulk & @artsyreadergirl ▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (let us know on the comment section who did you follow). Check everyone's Instagram handles below: @novelknight @booking_belle @theabhorsenreads @l.m.durand @a_bookish_dream @lifewthnthepages @lisa_loves_literature @kaitplusbooks @adventuresthruwonderland @adreamindream @kagunderman @adventuresandreading @sometimesleelynnreads @wishfulendings T&Cs & Disclaimers: ▪︎Giveaway ends on March 10th (00:00 GMT+1). 1 winner will be chosen on @theffbc. ▪︎Open to residents of US only ▪︎This sweepstakes is not sponsored by Instagram. . . #flatlaystyle #thelifebelow #thefinalfix #alexandramonir #epicreads #yascifi #yabooks #yalit #youngadultbooks #cozybooks #fromabove #bookaesthetic #booksofinsta #alwaysreading #myquietbeauty #ilovereading #yabookstagram #bookshimmy
A post shared by Patricia Lopez (@whatmakespatri) on

Interview with Elana K. Arnold for Red Hood



Red Hood

by Elana K. Arnold
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: February 25th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Fairy Tales
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of the Printz Honor book Damsel, returns with a dark, engrossing, blood-drenched tale of the familiar threats to female power—and one girl’s journey to regain it.


Can you briefly describe RED HOOD and its characters?


Thank you for having me! Here’s the official flap copy, which I think encapsulates the book pretty well:

Elana K. Arnold, author of the Printz Honor book Damsel, returns with a dark, engrossing, blood-drenched tale of the familiar threats to female power—and one girl’s journey to regain it.

You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked. And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good.

But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her.

A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions.

About the blood in Bisou’s past, and on her hands as she stumbles home.

About broken boys and vicious wolves.

About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

RED HOOD is, I think, my most “ensemble” book—that is, while it is certainly Bisou’s story, it’s also a book about companionship, and allyship, and inherited trauma. So the entire cast of characters really works together to make RED HOOD the book that she is.


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

I really do love all of these characters—well, most of them anyway (there are some pretty villainous characters, too, pretty unlovable). I don’t want to give anything away, but I’d say that I really love and am proud of Bisou’s support system of friends and family. 

Interestingly, I think that I wrote this book at this time in my life because I am surrounded by such a strong network of friends and allies, whereas I’ve felt more isolated and solitary at other points. These incredible characters came from the feeling of being uplifted, understood, and truly seen by family and friends. Maybe that’s why I love these characters so much. 


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

I find inspiration everywhere. The world is vast and beautiful, and scary, too, and once you start looking, you’ll find that everything is grist for the storytelling mill. 

This first piece of this book fell into place three and a half years ago. I was ice skating at night, under a full moon, up near Yosemite, in a rink ringed with trees, and I had my period. And I asked, as I often did—what if? What if there was a girl whose menstrual cycle was tied to the moon in the same way—sort of—that a werewolf’s transformation is tied to the moon? What would happen?

I couldn’t wait to find out. So, I wrote the book. 


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

I’m not terribly musical, but luckily for me, my wonderful editor is. He sent me a few songs that he listened to while editing the book, and I listened to them over and over again as I worked on revisions. 

One song that particularly strikes me (though they are all beautiful) is “In for the Kill” (Skream’s Let’s Get Ravey Remix). Okay, I’m not someone who thought she’d be into “remix” or “ravey” or an intentional misspelling of “scream.” But the song is incredible and is an amazing tonal match for the dark, unsettling, strange world of RED HOOD. 



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

I don’t have a good answer to this question. But I’d love readers of RED HOOD to let me know what their opinions might be!


What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

I wrote much of this book in front of fireplaces. Whenever possible—at home, at my friend’s house, at restaurants—I pushed myself as close as I could stand to the heat of a blazing fire as I worked. 

I think in front of a fire is the perfect place to nestle in and read RED HOOD. It’s a wintry book, with forests and danger and dark nights. Steep yourself a pot of tea and find a soft blanket, and settle in.


Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish RED HOOD?

I have long been a fan of reading and writing fairy tales. I’d encourage readers to reach for DAMSEL, my last book, which is in many ways a thematic sister to RED HOOD, and further back into my catalogue as well, as fairy tales, mythology, and religious lore weaves through all of my YA work.

I’d also suggest the work of Margo Lanagan, especially her devastating TENDER MORSELS; the work of Anna-Marie McLemore, especially their newest book, just out, DARK AND DEEPEST RED, and the fantastic collection of stories, MY MOTHER SHE KILLED ME, MY FATHER HE ATE ME, edited by Kate Bernheimer and Carmen Giménez Smith. 


What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

Each book has its own most difficult part. For RED HOOD, it was plot revision. As this is a book that is based in part on Little Red Riding Hood, there were certain plot constructs that I wanted to remain true to, while reimagining them in my own way. This meant lots of drafts, lots of hard revision. I was lucky to have an incredible editor who got on the phone with me for more than a couple of very long calls to untangle plot issues, as well as wonderful friends and sisters who read multiple drafts of the book. 


What’s next for you?

Right now, I’m working on my next middle grade novel, entitled THE HOUSE THAT WASN’T THERE, and I’m doing research for my next YA, which will be a historical novel that is especially close to my heart and a real challenge.






ELANA K. ARNOLD is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, and Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat and its sequels. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets.



a Rafflecopter giveaway





View this post on Instagram

🐺 G I V E A W A Y 🐺 . . Happy Wendesday, beautiful bookish people! . . What is the animal/insect that scares you the most? I am terrified of spiders🕷. No matter how much my partner tells me they are probably more afraid of me than I am of them and that they are tiny. I am literally Ron Weasley in Harry Potter. . . Today I have another retelling for you that I have recently started reading and so far, I am loving it! #RedHood by Elana K. Arnold. This Red ridding hood retelling story is everything that you need these cold winter evenings and if you can't wait until February 25th when it comes out, you are lucky! We are currently giving away 1 copy of the book, RED HOOD, to 1 lucky winner based in the US. . . Entries for the giveaway: ▪︎Follow @theffbc & @whatmakespatri & @michellesulk ▪︎Follow @elanakarnold ▪︎Follow @epicreads & @balzerandbray ▪︎Answer my question #qotd . . Extra entries: ▪︎Tag a friend (each friend will be an extra entry). ▪︎Share the giveaway on your stories tagging @whatmakespatri & @theffbc ▪︎Follow any other FFBC team member participating in the tour (comment below who did you follow): @kaitplusbooks @kagunderman @writereadrepeat_ya @foalsfictionandfiligree @abronxlatinareads @womanon @bibliobibuliya @nicolefictionaddiction @flyingpaperbacks @fannatality @cassieopiabooks @mybookishbliss @krisvik_booktherapycafe @gwendalyn_books_ @sometimesleelynnreads @adreamindream @thereadingcornerforall @fortheloveoffictionalworlds @jenerallyreading @thecontentedreader @love2dazzle @l.m.durand @confessionsofayareader @bookloversbookreviews @novelknight @kjrogers3 . . #flatlaystyle #elanakarnold #epicreads #retelling #yareads #youngadultbooks #igreads #ireadya #booksoffeb20 #booksofinstagram #bookdragon #bookstagrammer #redriddinghood #bookcoverlovefeb20 #bookninja #bookgiveaway #bookdragonsclub #currentlyreading #bookaesthetic #readersofinsta #bookcommunity #allthingsbookish #booksbooksbooks #bookphoto #flashesofdelight #bookstagram #ilovebooks
A post shared by Patricia Lopez (@whatmakespatri) on