Books To Watch For In 2015: Remember

It’s no secret that Eileen Cook is one of my absolute favorite authors and I cannot wait for her new book, Remember (out Feb. 24).  It sounds thought-provoking and like it has the potential to absolutely devastate me.

Remember

“A thrilling tale about what a girl will do to get back a memory she lost…or remove what she wants to forget.

Harper is used to her family being hounded by protestors. Her father runs the company that trademarked the “Memtex” procedure to wipe away sad memories, and plenty of people think it shouldn’t be legal. Then a new demonstrator crosses her path, Neil, who’s as persistent as he is hot. Not that Harper’s noticing, since she already has a boyfriend.

When Harper suffers a loss, she’s shocked her father won’t allow her to get the treatment, so she finds a way to get it without his approval. Soon afterward, she’s plagued with strange symptoms, including hallucinations of a woman who is somehow both a stranger, yet incredibly familiar. Harper begins to wonder if she is delusional, or if these are somehow memories.

Together with Neil, who insists he has his own reasons for needing answers about the real dangers of Memtex, Harper begins her search for the truth. What she finds could uproot all she’s ever believed about her life…”

Books To Watch For In 2015: An Interview With Courtney Summers

1)  What was the inspiration for this story?
All the Rage is an examination of rape culture and violence against women–it was inspired by the questions (and anger) I have surrounding those topics.
2)  A lot of your books center around what we will euphemistically call “unpleasant topics.”  Is it hard to write them*?  What do you do to get out of that head-space?
I’m very interested in writing about emotional survival and it can be hard to write about, for sure, but they’re the kind of stories I’m drawn to. It is not emotionally difficult for me in the sense of going there per se, but it can be very hard to make sure that you’re doing the topic, whatever it is, justice. There is a lot of pressure there–that you are contributing something worthwhile to a larger conversation. As far as getting out of the headspace… I like to de-stress from writing with video games. :)
3)  If this book were a movie, what would it be?
Aah! It’s hard to think of one. I hope if it became a movie, though, that it would be gritty and true to the book.
4)  What are you reading now?
I’m getting caught up on one of my critique partner’s WIPs. Can’t say what it’s about, but I can tell you it’s excellent!
5)  What are your five favorite books? (You can do authors if it’s easier)
I have so many! This is so hard to choose. :) The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami and The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams.
6)  If you could make one book mandatory, which would it be?
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. It’s brilliant. It is so brilliant people would not even mind the ‘mandatory reading’ part, they’d be so happy they read it.
7)  What books are you looking forward to in 2015?
So many! Tunnel Vision by Susan Adrian, The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn, About a Girl by Sarah McCarry, Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Boys) by Amy Spalding, The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent, just to name a few… !

Books To Watch For In 2015: All The Rage

One of the books I’m absolutely most excited for is All The Rage by Courtney Summers.  I’ve loved her since I read Cracked Up to Be, and each book has been better than the last (meaning that this one might literally kill me).  Everyone I know who’s read it has said that it’s easily her best one yet.  It’s out on April 14.

“The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything–friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time–and they certainly won’t now–but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?”

Books To Watch For In 2015: An Interview With Trisha Wooldridge

Thank you very much for having me on your blog, Kelly! The Earl’s Childe is a sequel to my first novel, The Kelpie, and it follows the adventures of Heather MacArthur, a modern day 11-year-old girl, as she tries to navigate her new position as Faerie Liaison for her family and the fey who also happen to share her family’s castle property.

1) Is there a character you identify with most?

Heather flows the most naturally from me; that’s why I feel I ended up writing this series in first person, her voice. I was a precocious girl who didn’t quite fit in, and who wanted that reason for not fitting in to be because I was “something special,” and I think a lot of people—particularly fans of SF and fantasy—can identify with that. We don’t fit in with “normal” society, and what better reason than we have a special quest or destiny that some “normal” person just couldn’t handle?

That said, there is a special place in my heart for Heather’s dad, Michael, because he’s rooted in several friends of mine, some of whom are bipolar and parents. You don’t get to see that much in books, and these are amazing people who I want others to understand and love, even when they have their difficult times.

Also any scene with Ehrwnmyr “Ermie”, the kelpie, pretty much wrote itself because he’s such a freaking diva.

2) Is it easier to write the second book in the series or the first?

The Earl’s Childe was definitely easier to write, though I had even more research involved in that. With the first book, there was so much to set up in the world building and in Heather’s huge family, that I thought I needed to include it all—though I really didn’t. There was a ton of cutting and reorganizing to do with The Kelpie.

Though, I’m currently working on a third book of adventures with Heather & Co., The Banesíth, and that seems to be coming even harder than The Kelpie. So, hey, each book has its own personality?

3) What was the inspiration behind the series?

I actually had the story of Heather’s parents in my head before Heather was “born,” which is why her family is so dang complicated. But, at some point, I had this picture of the first child of both Aimee and Michael being something special and interacting with something magickal (because I can’t seem to write stuff that magick doesn’t happen), and Heather and her adventures were born. I think the likely reason that her first encounter was with a kelpie—an evil faery horse that eats children—was because I was a very active volunteer with the Bay State Equine Rescue (www.baystaterescue.org) while this story was gestating, where I got to work with several amazing, powerful, beautiful, and truly terrifying horses who had suffered abuse and were recovering physically, psychologically, and emotionally. If you’ve never seen a furious horse throwing around it’s muscle-bound power, you can’t imagine how frightening it is. Even worse when you’re on the other end of that lead rope!

While I’m not as active with BSER as I was—I now have my own adopted rescue horse to love and nurture—I still help them out by donating a portion of all proceeds from any of my MacArthur novels to them.

4) What are you reading right now?

I read many books at once, actually. I just got What If? by xkcd’s Randall Munroe in the mail, and I’m going through that question-by-question. I’m re-reading my DragonLance novels because I’m in a kender-mood due to both my DMs (Dungeon Masters for the non-gamers) being open to me playing that race. I’m also getting acquainted with the D&D 5th edition rules. I also just picked up Jessica Brawner’s Charisma +1, The Guide to Convention Etiquette for Gamers and the Socially Awkward, because I was just at DragonCon (upon the time of answering these questions). I’ve received a few previews to beta read from some of my other favorite authors that I shouldn’t talk about yet but are awesome! And then I’ve got all the manuscripts I’m editing, which totally counts as reading, too.

5) If you could make any book mandatory, what would it be?

Ack! All the Books! Reading fiction, in general, ought to be mandatory, but I’ve gotten to know so many people through my work as a writer, journalist, and editor, that I can’t really recommend one fiction book that is a One Size Fits All. The closest I’d come would be Black Beauty, which I hope would show how powerful both kindness and abuse can be to all things. If not that (because we live in a world where boys are convinced they are not the audience for a girly horse book written by a woman), then Charlotte’s Web, which has a similar message.

6) What are your five favorite books? You can do authors if it’s easier.

More off the top of my head than if I spent hours debating, which I totally could do…

A Swiftly Tilting Planet – Madeleine L’Engle

The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle

American Gods or The Sandman series – Neil Gaiman

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. LeGuin

The whole War of the Lance series of DragonLance novels – Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (because the whole series ought to be binged as if it were one book… it’s not much shorter, all together, than Lord of the Rings or so…right?)

7) What books are you excited for in 2015?

All the Things written by Darby Karchut. :) (She’s got a few new ones and some re-releases.)

All the (other) things I know about coming from SHP, particularly my authors, like Kelly Hashway, Kimberly Miller, Jennifer Carson, and Jared Agard! (Go look all of them up!)

Mr. Neil Gaiman has a new short story collection coming out in 2015, too, which I can hardly wait for.

There are bunches more, but there are also a bunch I’m excited for in 2014 and 2016, and some release dates are blurring together, so before I get anyone else’s hopes up, I’ll just say Lots!

Books To Watch For In 2015: The Earl’s Childe

The Earl’s Childe is the sequel to The Kelpie.  (Both are by Trisha Wooldridge.)

The Earl's Childe cover FINAL

My chore after dinner is to feed my kelpie.  A kelpie, if you don’t know, is a carnivorous faerie horse. Until I accidentally gave him a piece of my soul, this particular kelpie had killed two kids near the hundreds-of-years-old castle my family and I live in.

Heather MacArthur had a hard enough time dealing with the arrival of a kelpie into her life, but that was only the beginning.

Summoned as liaison between humans and faerie, Heather is informed by the fey nobles that another danger has arrived in the area and is claiming rights to the MacArthur lands. The claimer of these rights is a particularly mad daoine síth named Calbraith, that even the kelpie finds “cruel and unusual.”

As luck would have it, twenty students have also just arrived at the castle for her mother’s riding camp.

It will take Heather, her whole family, the royal family, and a few friends she didn’t realize she had, to keep Calbraith from enslaving—or killing—all of them.”

This needs to show up at my house NOW, please!

Books To Watch For In 2015: An Interview With Leila Sales

1)  If you could live inside one of your books, which would you pick?
Well, I basically did live inside of Mostly Good Girls when I was in high school, so I probably don’t need to do that again. Past Perfect seems like it would be most fun. Warring historical reenactment camps! I bet it would be a little like living at Disney.
2)  If you could track down anyone, who would it be and why? (In the spirit of this novel, not in a creepy, Annie Wilkes-way.  Unless that’s your answer, in which case, have at it.)
Marc Bianchi. He’s a very talented musician who recorded for many years under the name Her Space Holiday. A couple years ago he put up a Facebook announcement about how Her Space Holiday was over, he wasn’t going to do it anymore, and then I’ve seen nothing about him ever since. Presumably he is still recording music, but maybe not, since there’s no record of him doing so on Google or Wikipedia or any music websites. I would track him down just to find out if he’s making new music, because, if so, I would like to hear it.
3)  What was the inspiration for this novel?
As you may be able to guess, I have done a lot of online stalking in my day. Not in a creepy way, I don’t think, but just learning a lot about people whom I don’t really know, through their online presences. It’s an odd, uniquely modern experience that you can develop an impression somebody based on their website and blog and Instagram and Twitter, and you may think that you know them–but you don’t, really; you just know the version of them that they are crafting for online audiences.
4)  What are you reading now?
I’m re-reading Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes, as research for the middle grade novel I’m writing (which is coming out in 2016–even more in the future!). I just started Lauren Oliver’s Rooms–she is a friend of mine and I love everything she writes. I’m in the thick of editing Diana Renn’s new mystery novel, set in Turkey, called Blue Voyage. And then I’m reading like a zillion manuscripts on submission. There is always too much to read!
5)  What are your five favorite books?  (You can do authors if that’s easier)
I have way more than five favorites, but here’s a brief selection of some of them: The Little Prince, by Antoine St. Exupery; anything by Dave Barry; To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis, The Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett; and Bink and Gollie, by Kate DiCamillo and Allison McGhee.
6)  What book would you make mandatory and why?
I don’t know… If you make any book mandatory, people won’t enjoy reading it so much. Most people don’t like being told what to read, and I don’t blame them. Still, maybe I’d do Miss Rumphius or Ferdinand, because I agree with the values of both those books. It would be nice if everyone refused to use violence like Ferdinand, or if everyone strove to make the world a more beautiful place like Miss. Rumphius.
7)  What books are you looking forward to in 2015?
I edited a YA novel called EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME, by Andrea Seigel and Brent Bradshaw, which is coming out in March. I am OBSESSED with it. It is so funny and smart and unusual and basically if it were a human I would want to be its best friend.

Books To Watch For In 2015: Tonight the Streets Are Ours

Tonight the Streets Are Ours cover

I have loved Leila Sales for years now, ever since I read her first book at BEA.  Her new book, Tonight the Streets Are Ours, looks to be potentially her best yet (high, high praise indeed).  And how gorgeous is the cover?!

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is a YA novel about a teen girl living in the suburbs who becomes obsessed with a blogger in New York City, and sets out to track him down in real life.

It’s not out until September, but I hope to snag a copy at BEA next year (and even that feels too far away).  I neeeeeeeeed.

Books To Watch For In 2015: An Interview With Jennifer Allis Provost

Today, I get to interview Jennifer Allis Provost! Welcome Jenn!

1)  This is the penultimate book in the series.  What’s it like to write a middle book in the series?  Is it hard to keep action going and provide some answers but not all?

COPPER VEINS was great fun to write, and it’s the most action-packed of the series. I find the hardest part about writing a middle book is to keep the story arc moving along smoothly. I try to keep the overall goal of the series in mind without giving away too much. And remember Sara’s best frenemy, Juliana? There’s a BIG reveal about her.

2)  Would you enter this world if you could?

Umm…maybe. The Mundane world is  pretty strict society, with the government regulating everything from food to who you can reproduce with. And, their food tastes like crap. (Interestingly, the Mundane realm, and Sara’s job in particular, were based on an actual job I had in the insurance industry.)

The Otherworld, while filled with beauty and magic, is also full of danger. Maybe I’d stop by the Whispering Dell on a Saturday night, just to see what Ash the blacksmith is up to.

3)  Mundane world or Raven clan?

Raven clan!

4)  What are you reading now?

DEADWOOD by Kell Andrews and THE WAYFARER REDEMPTION by Sara Douglass

5)  What are your top five books? (you can do authors if that’s easier)

MOON CALLED by Patricia Briggs

MAGIC BITES by Ilona Andrews

HOUNDED by Kevin Hearne

DARK CURRENTS by Jacqueline Carey

ANGEL’S BLOOD by Nalini Singh

6)  What book would you make mandatory reading?

The entire ELFQUEST series by Wendy and Richard Pini

7)  What 2015 books are you looking forward to?

DEAD HEAT by Patricia Briggs, MAGIC SHIFTS by Ilona Andrews, STAKED by Kevin Hearne, THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black, and REQUIEM by Maggie Stiefvater

Books to Watch For In 2015: Copper Veins

One of the things I’m most excited for in 2015 is the chance to read Copper Veins, which is the third book in Jennifer Allis Provost‘s Copper Girl series.  It’s coming out on July 7!

Summary:

Sara’s pretty sure her life is perfect.

Not only are she and Micah finally married, her father, who’d been missing since the Magic Wars, has been found. Actually, he just strode up to the manor’s front door, but whatever. Sara knows better than to look a gift horse in the mouth.

But Baudoin Corbeau isn’t content to return to family life. He’s decided that he will be the force of change in the Mundane world, and lead the Elemental resistance to victory with his children at his side. What’s worse, Baudoin doesn’t approve of Sara’s marriage, and makes every attempt to separate her from Micah.

After a visit to the Mundane realm leaves Sara, Max and Sadie imprisoned by the Peacekeepers, Sara’s doubts creep to the surface. Is her father right? Does she belong in the Mundane realm, not the Otherworld? Is Micah really the right man—make that elf—for her?

Was marrying him a mistake?

I love the idea that happily ever after isn’t necessarily all that happy and that the wedding isn’t the end of the story.  I can’t wait to see what Jenn does with this series.

Books To Watch For In 2015: An Interview With Lisa Schroeder

1)  What would be in your secret guide to Paris?
Hopefully a map for visiting all the best bakeries!
2)  What was the inspiration for this novel?
I’m a huge fan of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and as I was thinking about books set in other countries, I realized there isn’t a lot for the middle grade crowd. Once I figured out I’d love to write something set in Paris, it was a matter of coming up with a story that would be exciting and suspenseful. I can’t remember how it came to me exactly, but I knew I wanted a girl to find a map and some notes meant for her and that it all led to a treasure hunt around the city of Paris.
3)  Is your process different when you write for a middle-grade audience as opposed to a YA?  Is one easier than the other?
I’m much more of a plotter when it comes to middle-grade, probably because it’s usually a little more straight forward. It seems like with my YAs, I’m often playing around with the timeline or point of views, and when you’re doing different things, it can be hard to map it out. I’m trying to be better about that though, because I do think planning and plotting can help the book get written more quickly. Though there is also something fun and sometimes magical about discovery writing – not knowing what’s going to happen and letting things come about organically. I think generally, I do have a bit of an easier time with middle-grade. But I love writing both, and I love switching back and forth between the two.
4)  What are you reading now?
As far as middle grade, I’m reading BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson and holy wow, what a beautiful book.
5)  If you could make one book mandatory, what would it be?
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
6)  What are your five favorite books? (you can do authors if it’s easier)
Five of my favorite middle-grade books would be:
MRS. PIGGLE WIGGLE by Betty MacDonald
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH by Roald Dahl
BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo
BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA by Katherine Paterson
anything by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary
7)  What books are you excited for in 2015?
A couple of middle grades I’m excited about: BLUE BIRDS by Caroline Starr Rose and A HANDFUL OF STARS by Cynthia Lord