Author Interview with Jessica Spotswood!

We are so excited to start the new year off with Jessica Spotswood, whose trilogy of amazing historicals with witches, curses, and cults has finally come to an end. I picked up Born Wicked and didn’t put it down until I finished! She sent us a lovely package this summer filled with books and swag, and we’re so happy you guys get to read her books this year!

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BORN WICKED (Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1) 

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word… especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

Can you tell us a little bit about the contemporary books you’re working on right now? How was it to end the Cahill Witch Chronicles and start something so different?

WILD SWANS is my first contemporary; it will be out next April. It’s about a girl named Ivy whose mother – who abandoned her when she was two – comes back home with the two half-sisters Ivy’s never met. There’s a family legacy of brilliant but unstable women, and a tattooed poet love interest.

This book is pretty different for me – contemporary, no magic, a really different voice, set in a small Eastern Shore college town. It was a challenge, especially after spending three books and four years writing from Cate’s point of view. I know what Cate would say or do, how she’d say it; I had to learn Ivy. But I’m really excited to share her story with readers! Continue reading

Author Interview with Caragh O’Brien!

Well, it’s time for finals, so we thought we’d share something fun on the blog!

Today we have Caragh O’Brien here to talk about her newest release! This mind-game of a novel pulls you into the competitive world of the Forge School, and all it’s creepy secrets…

THE VAULT OF DREAMERS (The Vault of Dreamers, #1) by Caragh O’Brien

From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.

The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

Caragh M. O’Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O’Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA from Johns Hopkins University. She recently resigned from teaching high school English in order to write young adult novels and now lives in rural Connecticut.

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Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on right now? How was it to end the Birthmarked trilogy and start something new?birthmarked trilogy

First, Emily, let me say thanks for inviting me to do an interview. Happy New Year to you and your readers! I’m working on the sequel to The Vault of Dreamers, The Rule of Mirrors, which has been evolving slowly since last spring. I have a very patient editor who has been super supportive. Ending Gaia’s story left me with a mix of feelings: I was sad to leave my characters, but also satisfied that I’d left them in the right place. I was curious and excited about starting Rosie’s story, but the challenge was daunting, too. I hoped I would be able to do a decent job.

Describe The Vault of Dreamer’s heroine Rose in three words–using only nouns.

She’s creative, caring, and curious.

Where did the Forge School story start? How long from inspiration to publication?

The idea came from a combination of my interests in reality TV, education, and dreams. I had the first inklings back when I was working on the Birthmarked Trilogy, in 2011, I think, and then I had a full draft of Vault in 2012 when my editor bought it. I was still revising it in early 2014, and it came out last fall. So, what is that? Three years? I don’t really count the time. I just keep writing.

Did the plot of The Vault of Dreamers drastically change from first draft to publication, or was the story pretty well nailed down from the get go?

I had the basic concepts in the first draft (the school, the evil around the dreams), but the characters deepened and the layers of the plot had to develop a lot before the final draft. I had to discover the story with Rosie, who could only see the problems from her perspective, so it was tricky to develop what Berg was doing behind the scenes.

Has your writing process changed since writing Birthmarked?

I seem to write each book differently. The first draft of Birthmarked came out in a straightforward way, and then went through a dozen or so revisions. My first drafts since then have been more tangled, and they, too, have required many revisions. It might seem like I’m going backwards, but I have more faith now that I’ll eventually find solutions as long as I keep working, so I trust my process more. That’s an advance.

You have some amazing characters in The Vault of Dreamers, not to mention your Birthmarked trilogy! What character has been your favorite to write, and why?

Hmm. I loved writing Gaia’s character and oddly enough, I still wake up thinking about her sometimes. I have a similar investment in Rosie, especially in the book I’m writing now. She gets to me in ways I can’t quite describe and makes me care for her struggles. Leon, Will, Peter, and now Linus are favorites of mine, too.

Would you rather your books be made into a movie or a TV show? Why?

I’m very happy that the stories exist as books, and I don’t expect they’ll ever make it to screens. That said, I could see The Vault of Dreamers as a TV show. It would make sense, considering The Forge Show is a reality TV show.

What is your definition of a “bad writing day” and how do you deal with them?

I have days when I erase as much as I write, so I get to the end of the day and I’ve added no pages to my total, but those days are part of the process, too. The considering and rejecting of ideas counts as progress. I remind myself I’m in this for the long haul, and the point is to keep trying, keep thinking

Any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Explore the ideas that fascinate you, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

We know what you like to write–epic, thrilling dystopias!–but what do you like to read? Describe how your bookshelves are populated.

I love reading YA and have many recent favorites—The Winner’s Curse (Rutkoski), The Kiss of Deception (Pearson), Every Day (Levithan), and Belzhar (Wolitzer). I also enjoy historical fiction, romances novels, poetry, adult fantasy, and humor. I keep a list on Goodreads and update as I finish books in case you want to see more titles.

What’s one book you’re looking forward to being released?

I’m looking forward to the sequel to Pearson’s The Kiss of Deception. She’s a friend, and I’m hoping I can finagle an ARC out of her.

Thanks for these questions! Happy reading and writing!

Interview with Sara Raasch!

 We’re so excited to welcome debut author Sara Raasch to the blog today! She wrote the incredibly imaginative Snow Like Ashes, where countries and people are divided by Seasons. In this series, Winter isn’t coming, Winter has been conquered by evil Spring and the dictator Angra’s ensalved the Winterians.

sara raaschSara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, the first in a trilogy, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.

SNOW LIKE ASHES (Snow Like Ashes, #1)

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend and future king, Mather—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers and fighting enemy soldiers just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast tale of loyalty, love, and finding one’s destiny.

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Interview with Cate Tiernan

Happy Wednesday, Scouts!

We hope you enjoyed today’s late start. We’ve got a special treat today–Cate Tiernan, the NYT Bestselling author of Immortal Beloved trilogy, has stopped by our blog for a one-on-one interview!  Cate is just as fun as her heroine Nastasya, and we had so much fun coming up with questions for her.

I was born in New Orleans, LA, in 1961. New Orleans is one of the most interesting American cities, and it has an incredibly rich and exotic culture that had a profound influence on me. Kids in other cities have lemonade stands; we sold voodoo gris-gris and made wax dolls in the likenesses of our enemies.

The first book in the series, Immortal Beloved, is the best paranormal we’ve read in a long time, with a sarcastic heroine who’s too jaded for happiness and her struggle wit hlearning to live with everything she’s done in her long, long life–but we won’t spoil the adventure for you. You’ll have to pick up the book!


IMMORTAL BELOVED (Immortal Beloved, #1) by Cate Tiernan

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something’s got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe–until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

We want to thank Cate so much for taking the time to chat with us! With the Immortal Beloved Trilogy over, can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on now?

Cate: I’m in the middle of a new trilogy called Birthright. The first book, Darkest Fear, came out last January. It explores a new world for me–the world of shapeshifters! And of course it’s about a girl learning how to accept all the facets of her persona.

Describe Immortal Beloved’s main characters–using only nouns.

Cate: This is hard! I kept using adjectives and gerunds. Okay. Nastasya: train wreck. Reyn: fortress. River: willow. Incy: obsidian.

Haha, those are perfect! Nastasya is a train wreck, poor thing. You’ve got an amazing worldbuilding in Immortal Beloved–with organic homesteading and magick and Nasty’s flashbacks into her long life globe-trotting. What kind of research did you have to do for this series?

Cate: Oh my gosh. So much research. Massachusetts weather at all times of the year. What trees are there. Lots and lots and lots of history–Icelandic history, Mongol history,. The geological makeup of the Russian steppes, medieval buildings and roads, means of transport through the ages, how castles are made, French fashion of the 1700s, the oil boom in Texas in the 1950’s, slang through the ages, what kind of cars would be in France in the 1930’s, what kind of fabric was available in Sweden in the 1700s, various disasters and other pertinent cultural references, how weapons are made. And a lot of other topics also. So. Much. Research. Continue reading