Final Round of Debut Giveaway Winners!

Today I’m announcing the last round of winners for the Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview giveaways! Thank you again to everyone who read the interviews and shared them online, to all the people who entered the giveaways and tweeted about the interviews—and to all the authors who answered my questions and offered up their books for prizes!

Here are the five winners from Week 2 of the interviews:

The winner of bookmarkers plus a signed and personalized finished copy of What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton:

HK Perkinson

The winner of a poster of the cover of Skylark by Meagan Spooner:

ETA: The first winner didn’t respond to requests for her mailing address… So the new winner is…

Enna P! Congrats, Enna!

The winner of a finished copy of Fall to Pieces by Vahini Naidoo:

Luna

The winner of bookmarks plus a signed ARC of Blind Spot by Laura Ellen:

theladyreads

And the winner of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, swag, plus a signed and personalized finished copy of Touching the Surfaceby Kimberly Sabatini:

Stephanie Ziegler

I’ll be in touch with all the winners to ask for their mailing addresses. Congrats, everyone!

Oh, wait… one more winner to announce.

THE WINNER OF THE INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY OF ANY DEBUT OF YOUR CHOICE IS…

Sarah…

…who is all mysterious because she didn’t leave a link. And what debut out of the ten featured did Sarah choose?

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond!

Congrats, mysterious Sarah! I will email you for your mailing address very soon.

And thank you again to the authors who took part in this series and all the readers who came to comment and enter the giveaways!

Fall 2012 YA Debut International Giveaway!

Want one last—international!—opportunity to win one of the Fall 2012 YA debut novels I featured in my interview series? Well, here it is. Enter and choose the book you most want from the ten I featured by filling out the entry form embedded in this post…

Need some help deciding? Here are the authors’ most favorite lines from their books…

“NERVE’s a game of truth or dare, without the truth part.” —Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

“The first time Miranda Blackwood checked the back of her closet for a portal to another world she was eleven.” —Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

“You’ve always been our monster,” says Adrian. “Don’t ever forget that.” —The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

“Tomorrow is nothing after two months of never again.” —Through to You by Emily Hainsworth

“Gyver—the boy who’d visited every day in the hospital, whose voice chased away my fear, and whose hands knew just when to hold me—wasn’t mine.” —Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt

“I think of a forgotten lake and hopeful poppies.” —What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

“I don’t want to be kept safe! I don’t want to be kept, not by anyone.” —Skylark by Meagan Spooner

“Sometimes when I fall, I don’t just remember. I forget.” —Fall to Pieces by Vahini Naidoo

“Winter stopped hiding Tricia Farni on Good Friday.” —Blind Spot by Laura Ellen

“As my head broke the surface it all became clear. I had died…again.” —Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Giveaway now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Don’t Miss These Debuts

If you missed any of the debut interviews this week, be sure to check them out:


What Happens Next and Colleen Clayton:

“There is nothing like holding a book in your hands with your name on the front of it. . . . I would run my finger down the spines and think: Wow. I did it. I really did it.”

Read my interview with Colleen Clayton and enter to win a signed and personalized finished copy plus 10 bookmarks!


Meagan Spooner and Skylark:

“I made a promise to myself that I would write at least 500 words a day, every day, until the book was done. Weekends, holidays, sick days, days I was on an airplane for 16 hours… didn’t matter, the writing still got done.”

Read my interview with Meagan Spooner and enter to win a 16X24 poster of the Skylark cover!


Vahini Naidoo and Fall to Pieces:

Fall to Pieces wanted to be written nearly nonstop during a crucial exam period in my senior year of high school, which was a bit bratty of it, really. I appeased it by giving it its way—what can I say, I’m a bit of a pushover.”

Read my interview with Vahini Naidoo and enter to win a pre-order!


Laura Ellen and Blind Spot:

“It is dark, 3 or 4 a.m. and just a small table lamp is on. My ideal reader is huddled in bed, hunched over Blind Spot, its spine clutched in her hands. She is dog-tired, eyes barely open, but she cannot put the book down because she has to see what happens next.”

Read my interview with Laura Ellen and enter to win a signed ARC plus bookmarks! 


Kimberly Sabatini and Touching the Surface:

“If I had to pick one moment that has made me suck in my breath and say wow, I think it was being given an ARC of Touching the Surface to give to Laurie Halse Anderson. She was the first person I ever heard speak at a conference and it changed me—deeply. I was able to give her the first book I’ve ever signed. It was a very moving, full-circle moment for me.”

Read my interview with Kimberly Sabatini and enter to win a signed finished copy, a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, and some swag!


And come back tomorrow for an international chance to win one of the ten Fall 2012 YA debuts featured… your choice!

First Round of Debut Giveaway Winners!

Today I’m announcing some winners for the Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview giveaways! First off, thank you so much to everyone who read the interviews and shared them online—and to all the authors who answered my questions and offered up their books for prizes!

Here are the first five winners from Week 1 of the interviews:

The winner of a signed finished copy of Nerve by Jeanne Ryan:

Catherine Knox

The winner of a signed finished copy of Blackwood by Gwenda Bond and a home-made swag duct tape rose pen:

Steve Thomas

The winner of a finished copy of The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna:

Jessica Secret

The winner of a signed and personalized ARC of Through to You by Emily Hainsworth:

Diana

And the winner of a signed finished copy of Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt:

Rachel Thomas

I’ll be in touch with all the winners to ask for their mailing addresses. Congrats, everyone!

I’ll announce the second week of winners next week.

And don’t forget: Even if you didn’t win this time, come back on Monday for an INTERNATIONAL chance to win the debut of your choice…

2012 YA Debut Interview + Giveaway: TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini


It’s the very last day of my Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview series! I’ve been excited to feature these debut novels from the fall season, and I hope you’re now as intrigued to get your hands on them as I am. Our final YA debut author of the series is Kimberly Sabatini—her first novel, Touching the Surface, comes out October 30 from Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster. Read on to see how Kim answered my Q&A…

…And be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a signed and personalized finished copy of book, plus swag, plus a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. (Wow!)


Coming October 30 from Simon Pulse!

Nova: I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?” (Feel free to use the jacket copy, or describe in your own words. Up to you.)

Kim: Life altering events are meant to alter lives.

When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

In my experience, every book wants to be written differently—and each one behaves differently from the one before it. Some novels like it out of order, and some rigidly insist on being written from start to finish. Some novels come out fast; others are excruciatingly slow. Some novels torment you, and some sing you to sleep. What did your novel want? How did you appease it? Did it ever misbehave? 

Touching the Surface is the story of my heart, only I didn’t know how to write it when I started. After attending my very first local SCBWI conference I learned that K.L. Going was going to be hosting an intimate local workshop where she would be providing critiques. I was so inspired by her and the conference that I decided to go and to start writing a novel to get critiqued.

One of K.L. Going’s workshops I attended.

That first one-on-one session with K.L. would begin a three-and-a-half-year growth period for me. I took in every piece of information and advice I could get, because the truth was that I knew nothing. But because I had so much learning to do during the writing process, I have enough drafts of this story to build a house with.

I tend to think of those three and a half years like one of those scientific pictures of the body with the clear overlays on it. Each time you lay down a new page, like adding the circulatory system or the digestive system, the picture gets more complicated. That was Surface. It started out kind of basic and thin, and with each thing I learned, I added another layer of depth and texture to the story.

It was a long, frustrating, amazing, completely satisfying experience. And I can’t believe I’m doing it all over again with book 2. You never stop learning and growing, so if you’re comfortable you’re probably not doing it right. *head thunk*

Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it.

My desk (signing my first book contract)

I’m a bit of a writing nomad. I write at my desk, on my bed (particularly if my hamstrings are being difficult after a run), and on my enclosed front porch. Sometimes I write sitting on the driveway while I’m waiting for the kids to get off the bus. I write in Panera and one of my local coffee shops. I’ve written at the playground and if I can’t squeeze in a spot to write, I write in my head while driving or taking a run, knowing that the words will go down so much smoother if I’ve laid them out in my mind ahead of time.

My writing buddy (Beans) when I’m on the bed. Or anywhere for that matter.

Imagine you’re on the subway, or the bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe him or her (or them?) for us.

For me it could be a boy or a girl. A man or a woman. Who they are isn’t what I focus on, because let’s face it, who doesn’t dream of reaching a broad audience? But what I would love to see is someone who is so engrossed in the story that the rest of the world has faded away. Why? Because that’s how I am when I read books that I love, and the perfect reader of me is someone who loves it.

What was the moment when the upcoming publication of your novel felt “real” for the first time—when you got your editorial letter, when you saw the cover, when you held the ARC in your hands… or something else? Or if it doesn’t feel “real” yet, when do you think it will?

It does not feel real yet. Not completely. Sometimes I hope that it never will—the way I secretly wished no one would spill the beans about Santa and the Easter Bunny—even when I knew inside. There is a piece of me that realizes there’s something special about the way this feels and I’m reluctant to completely give it up. But I also know that there’s something very exciting about what’s coming next. I think the trick is to live fully in every moment of the process.

But…if I had to pick one moment that has made me suck in my breath and say wow, I think it was being given an ARC of Touching the Surface to give to Laurie Halse Anderson. She was the first person I ever heard speak at a conference and it changed me—deeply. I was able to give her the first book I’ve ever signed. It was a very moving, full-circle moment for me.

A pic that was snapped when I gave my ARC to Laurie Halse Anderson. <3

Another pic that was snapped when I gave my ARC to Laurie Halse Anderson. <3

Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

Oh, man. This is just a fun question. I would go on tour with J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins because it doesn’t get bigger than that. And I’d sit right smack between the two of them. LOL! I would also try really hard not to embarrass myself by drooling and forgetting my own name. (But that could be really entertaining for those MILLIONS of people on line to see THEM.) And the truth is, if I got to hang out with THEM, it wouldn’t matter where we went—you know it’s true. But if I had to choose, I’ve been longing to back to Italy and eat pasta and gelato. And that would make the “delicious treat” part of this question easy to answer.

If you had to pick one sentence, and one sentence only, to entice someone to read your book, what would it be? (I almost hate myself for asking you this question and making you choose! Almost.)

“As my head broke the surface it all became clear. I had died…again.”

This is two sentences, but they completely functions as one. Don’t make me take out that period and add a double dash. That’s just mean. Pretend I hypnotized you and you don’t even notice. Great. Moving on.

Touching the Surface comes out October 30, 2012, from Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster. Read on for a chance to win a signed and personalized finished copy of the book and more!


Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a stay-at-home mom and a part-time dance instructor for three- and four-year-olds. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and three boys. Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. Touching the Surface is her debut novel.

Visit kimberlysabatini.com to find out more. 

Follow @KimSabatini on Twitter.


NOW ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

You could win: a signed and personalized finished copy of Touching the Surface plus a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, and some swag!

Coming October 30 from Simon Pulse!

How to enter:

1. Just leave a comment on this post, or

2. Fill out this entry form.

If you do both, you will be entered TWICE!

And to gain another entry, just tweet about this interview and giveaway—and let me know you did in your comment or on the form—and you’ll be entered THREE TIMES.

This giveaway is open in the US only. This giveaway closes on Friday, September 28 at 8pm EST. Good luck!


Thank you so much for reading the YA debut interviews this season! If you missed any, here are the rest of the debuts from the series:

…And come back on Monday for an INTERNATIONAL giveaway to win the featured debut of your choice!

2012 YA Debut Interview + Giveaway: BLIND SPOT by Laura Ellen


Welcome back to my Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview series! I’m excited to feature these debut novels from the fall season, and I hope you’re as intrigued to get your hands on them as I am. Today’s YA debut author is Laura Ellen—her first novel, Blind Spot, comes out October 23 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Read on to see how Laura answered my Q&A…

…And be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a signed ARC and bookmarks!


BLIND SPOT comes out October 23!

Nova: I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?” (Feel free to use the jacket copy, or describe in your own words. Up to you.)

Laura: Ugh, I am so bad at the “elevator pitch.” :) Quick version: Blind Spot is a YA thriller about sixteen-year-old Roswell Hart, who is legally blind and desperate to prove she is just like everyone else. When her special-education classmate Tricia Farni is found dead six months after the night she disappeared—the night Roz fought with her, the night Roz can’t remember—Roz finds herself in a desperate race to clear her name and find a murderer.

In my experience, every book wants to be written differently—and each one behaves differently from the one before it. Some novels like it out of order, and some rigidly insist on being written from start to finish. Some novels come out fast; others are excruciatingly slow. Some novels torment you, and some sing you to sleep. What did your novel want? How did you appease it? Did it ever misbehave? 

Blind Spot was that novel that had to be written; the one that wouldn’t let me give up on it no matter how many revisions it took to get there. I based Roz on my own experiences growing up with a visual impairment and there was just so much I wanted to say and so much I was afraid to say. I struggled quite a bit at first. I found as I wrote that there was a lot I had never actually dealt with—stuff that was bottled up inside, neglected, forgotten, ignored—and delving into that was difficult. On top of that, I wanted the focus to be this kick-ass, can’t-put-it-down thriller NOT Roz and her visual impairment, and I found those two plot aspects butted heads—A LOT! I had to write several versions—even switched from first to third and then back to first person—in order to find the right balance between the two.

Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it.

I wrote Blind Spot in my old home office (since then we have moved and I have a new office). At that time, it was the den and both my desk and my husband’s desk were in the room. Many times I’d be writing and my husband was a foot away watching some YouTube video or reading some joke email to me, so finally I asked if I could kick him downstairs and have the den to myself—of course, being the sweetheart he is he obliged. :) Once I had it all to myself, I filled the space with all that inspires me—wall-to-wall books, artwork and pottery by my kids, music readily available, and an area to sit by the window. My new office is very similar.

Imagine you’re on the subway, or the bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe him or her (or them?) for us.

It is dark, 3 or 4 a.m. and just a small table lamp is on. My ideal reader is huddled in bed, hunched over Blind Spot, its spine clutched in her hands. She is dog-tired, eyes barely open, but she cannot put the book down because she has to see what happens next. (I say she, but it could be a dude too, Blind Spot is definitely guy-friendly.)

What was the moment when the upcoming publication of your novel felt “real” for the first time—when you got your editorial letter, when you saw the cover, when you held the ARC in your hands… or something else? Or if it doesn’t feel “real” yet, when do you think it will?

This still doesn’t feel “real” to me—maybe when I see it in the bookstore? When I got my ARCs though and saw my words on the pages inside a book, that definitely was a feeling I can only describe as surreal. And weird. Very weird!!

Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

Hmmm, okay this would be a really strange combination for a book tour, but my ideal book tour companions would be Jane Austen and Holly Black. I know. I told you it would be strange! But I love everything Jane Austen and Holly Black. As far as locale, I would be totally selfish and choose Italy because I have always wanted to travel there. And food? I’d love to serve chocolate fondue even though it would be super messy and would probably get all over the books….but I could sign with chocolate fingerprints instead of my name.

If you had to pick one sentence, and one sentence only, to entice someone to read your book, what would it be? (I almost hate myself for asking you this question and making you choose! Almost.)

My first line. I LOVE that line:

“Winter stopped hiding Tricia Farni on Good Friday.”

Blind Spot comes out October 23, 2012, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Read on for a chance to win a signed ARC and bookmarks!


Laura Ellen spent many nights reading thrillers, horror stories, and mysteries into the wee hours of the morning in her hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, when she was growing up. She still loves the draw of the mystery, the suggestion of a conspiracy, the hint of the unknown and tries to infuse those aspects into whatever story she may be writing. Laura is a former language arts teacher and now writes full-time from her new home in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she lives with her husband, children and, yes, a dog :). Laura is represented by the awesome Jill Corcoran of The Herman Agency.

Visit www.lauraellenbooks.com to find out more.

Follow @lauraellenbooks on Twitter.


NOW ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

You could win: a *signed* ARC of Blind Spot plus bookmarks!

BLIND SPOT comes out October 23!

How to enter:

1. Just leave a comment on this post, or

2. Fill out this entry form.

If you do both, you will be entered TWICE!

And to gain another entry, just tweet about this interview and giveaway—and let me know you did in your comment or on the form—and you’ll be entered THREE TIMES.

This giveaway is open in the US only. This giveaway closes on Thursday, September 27 at 8pm EST. Good luck!


What’s the next Fall 2012 YA debut novel I’m looking forward to—and the very last book in the series? Come back tomorrow to find out.

…And stay tuned for Monday, when I’ll host an INTERNATIONAL giveaway to win the featured debut of your choice!

2012 YA Debut Interview + Giveaway: FALL TO PIECES by Vahini Naidoo


Welcome back to my Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview series! I’m excited to feature these debut novels from the fall season, and I hope you’re as intrigued to get your hands on them as I am. Today’s YA debut author is Vahini Naidoo—her first novel, Fall to Pieces, comes out October 2 from Marshall Cavendish / Amazon Children’s Publishing. Read on to see how Vahini answered my Q&A…

…And be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a pre-order of the book!


FALL TO PIECES comes out October 2!

Nova: I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?” (Feel free to use the jacket copy, or describe in your own words. Up to you.)

Vahini: To be honest, I usually say something along the lines of, “Um…” Accompanied by a nervous laugh and shifty eyes. Which gets me some weird looks in response. I’m pretty bad at pitching my work in person. If pressed a bit more, though, I’ll usually say that it’s about a girl committing suicide in front of a garden gnome and how that affects her best friends.

In my experience, every book wants to be written differently—and each one behaves differently from the one before it. Some novels like it out of order, and some rigidly insist on being written from start to finish. Some novels come out fast; others are excruciatingly slow. Some novels torment you, and some sing you to sleep. What did your novel want? How did you appease it? Did it ever misbehave? 

Fall to Pieces wanted to be written nearly nonstop during a crucial exam period in my senior year of high school, which was a bit bratty of it, really. I appeased it by giving it its way—what can I say, I’m a bit of a pushover—and it rewarded me by drafting itself in a period of three weeks. Unfortunately, the bratty streak returned during revisions and I had to smack away at the manuscript until it would behave.

Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it.

I wrote most of Fall to Pieces while lying on my bed. I’m one of those bizarre people that likes to eat, sleep, study, read, write, play, etc. all on their bed. I do also write in cafes quite often, and if I wasn’t supposed to have been studying for exams and I’d had more money as a seventeen-year-old, I would quite like to have written the manuscript at a quiet, charming cafe with an interesting clientele and an excellent cappuccino.

Imagine you’re on the subway, or the bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe him or her (or them?) for us.

Well, obviously my perfect reader is the most attractive person about. They’re decked out in gear that would make even the most ironic of hipsters shed a genuine tear of jealousy. He/she is sitting right up the back of the bus, and there’s a book in their hands. The book is anything but Fifty Shades of Grey or Freedom and they’re concentrating intensely enough that there’s a tiny furrow between their brows. They’re so lost in their story that they don’t even register that the guy beside them has farted and the entire bus has taken on the smell of rotten eggs.

What was the moment when the upcoming publication of your novel felt “real” for the first time—when you got your editorial letter, when you saw the cover, when you held the ARC in your hands… or something else? Or if it doesn’t feel “real” yet, when do you think it will?

It felt a lot less surreal when I first held the ARC in my hands, but I still don’t think it feels entirely real. I think it will feel entirely real once it’s realised. Or, if not, then when a friend gives me their likely overly candid thoughts on the book.

Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

Ooh, I’d like to tour all of the US, road tripping with Christopher Marlowe and JK Rowling and serving chocolate, orange and chilli tart at all book signings.

If you had to pick one sentence, and one sentence only, to entice someone to read your book, what would it be? (I almost hate myself for asking you this question and making you choose! Almost.)

“Sometimes when I fall, I don’t just remember. I forget.”

Fall to Pieces comes out October 2, 2012, from Marshall Cavendish / Amazon Children’s Publishing. Read on for a chance to win a pre-order of the book!


Vahini Naidoo is a University student from Canberra, Australia. She spends inordinate amounts of time consuming instant noodles and novels. Her debut, Fall to Pieces, will be released by Marshall Cavendish in Fall, 2012. You can read more of her rambly thoughts on her blog.

Follow @VeeNaidoo on Twitter.


NOW ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

You could win: a pre-order of Fall to Pieces!

FALL TO PIECES comes out October 2!

How to enter:

1. Just leave a comment on this post, or

2. Fill out this entry form.

If you do both, you will be entered TWICE!

And to gain another entry, just tweet about this interview and giveaway—and let me know you did in your comment or on the form—and you’ll be entered THREE TIMES.

This giveaway is open internationally—to wherever the Book Depository wil ship. This giveaway closes on Wednesday, September 26 at 8pm EST. Good luck!


What’s the next Fall 2012 YA debut novel I’m looking forward to? Come back tomorrow to find out.

…And stay tuned for the end of the interview series, when I’ll host an INTERNATIONAL giveaway to win the featured debut of your choice!

2012 YA Debut Interview + Giveaway: Skylark by Meagan Spooner


Welcome back to my Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview series! I’m excited to feature these ten debut novels from the fall season, and I hope you’re as intrigued to get your hands on them as I am. Today’s YA debut author is Meagan Spooner—her first novel, Skylark, is available now from Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner Books. Read on to see how Meagan answered my Q&A…

…And be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a poster of the book’s cover!


SKYLARK is available now!

Nova: I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?” (Feel free to use the jacket copy, or describe in your own words. Up to you.)

Meagan: Vis in magia, in vita vi. In magic there is power, and in power, life.

For fifteen years, Lark Ainsley waited for the day when her Resource would be harvested and she would finally be an adult. After the harvest she expected a small role in the regular, orderly operation of the City within the Wall. She expected to do her part to maintain the refuge for the last survivors of the Wars. She expected to be a tiny cog in the larger clockwork of the city.

Lark did not expect to become the City’s power supply.

For fifteen years, Lark Ainsley believed in a lie. Now she must escape the only world she’s ever known…or face a fate more unimaginable than death.

In my experience, every book wants to be written differently—and each one behaves differently from the one before it. Some novels like it out of order, and some rigidly insist on being written from start to finish. Some novels come out fast; others are excruciatingly slow. Some novels torment you, and some sing you to sleep. What did your novel want? How did you appease it? Did it ever misbehave? 

Meagan says this quote is “something I had hanging on my wall all the way through writing SKYLARK (and still have up, actually!) for inspiration through the tougher parts.”

Before SKYLARK, I had actually never finished a novel-length story. I think it was a combination of many things: not being ready yet, not enough discipline/drive, and not enough interest in the story itself. But when I got the idea for SKYLARK, I knew that I wanted to see it through to the end. So I made a promise to myself that I would write at least 500 words a day, every day, until the book was done. Weekends, holidays, sick days, days I was on an airplane for 16 hours… didn’t matter, the writing still got done. This meant that the book was finished pretty quickly, because usually I’d end up writing closer to 2000 words every day!

Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it.

I wrote almost all of this book while living with my amazing friends, Amie and Brendan, in Melbourne, Australia. They read the first few chapters when I was trying to figure out what my next move was—get a day job, etc.—and, being incredibly generous friends, they invited me to come live with them for a year and finish the book. So I spent most of my time in my bedroom at their house, at my computer.

As far as dream spots… I have to say, Australia comes pretty close! But I’d love to one day own a big house out in the country somewhere with an office in a turret, with windows all around and bookshelves lining every inch of wall space that’s not window. I’d love to be able to sit there and watch the weather roll in and out while I work.

Imagine you’re on the subway, or the bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe him or her (or them?) for us.

My ideal reader would be a teenager, probably around 13–14. She’s probably quiet, and probably prefers reading to parties. She might even get teased by other kids for reading so much, but she doesn’t care—books are better friends anyway! She’s that kid who brings a book to a family dinner, and reads under the table. She reads on the bus, and misses her stop. She reads so intensely that she becomes oblivious to the world around her, because nothing else matters but turning that next page!

[OMG, that was me! I was your ideal reader, Meagan! —Nova]

What was the moment when the upcoming publication of your novel felt “real” for the first time—when you got your editorial letter, when you saw the cover, when you held the ARC in your hands… or something else? Or if it doesn’t feel “real” yet, when do you think it will?

ARCs!

I think for me it was holding my ARCs for the first time. I think that there’s a lot of little “omg, it’s really real!” moments along the way, and those all hit me pretty good. But I think seeing the ARCs for the first time was the biggest shock to my system. I kept flipping through the pages and going “Oh my god, those are my words! On actual PAGES! Like it’s a real book!” I’d carry them around and show people—it was, in hindsight, SO ridiculous. But pretty freaking awesome, too.

Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

I’d love to have tea at the Savoy with Diana Wynne Jones and Robin McKinley. These two women are incredible sources of inspirations for me, and have been since I was a wee little girl. After our private tea, we’d then step into our teleporters (because hey, this is a dream!) and head to New York City for a signing afterward. There’s nothing like NYC for writers… authors everywhere, as well as agents and editors! Every time I go there it’s like stepping into Book Central.

If you had to pick one sentence, and one sentence only, to entice someone to read your book, what would it be? (I almost hate myself for asking you this question and making you choose! Almost.)

“I don’t want to be kept safe! I don’t want to be kept, not by anyone.”

Okay, so I cheated a bit and it’s technically two sentences, but they’re both part of the same speech Lark gives, so I’m doing it anyway! For me this is one of the major turning points in the book. At the beginning all Lark really wants is to be safe, but she’s woefully underprepared for life beyond the Wall. She grows, however, over the course of the book—and this is the moment when she realizes that it’s not about being safe or relying on someone else, it’s about living her life on her own terms. It’s a pretty big moment for her.

Skylark is available now fromCarolrhoda Lab/Lerner Books. Read on for a chance to win a poster of the book’s cover!


Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She’s traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there’s a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there’s no telling how long she’ll stay there.

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.

She is the author of SKYLARK, coming out August 1 from Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Books. She is also the co-author of THESE BROKEN STARS, forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion in Fall 2013.

Visit her at www.meaganspooner.com to find out more, add Skylark on Goodreads, and like Skylark on Facebook

Follow @MeaganSpooner on Twitter.

And check out the Skylark book trailer:


NOW ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

You could win: a 16×24″ poster of the Skylark cover!

SKYLARK is available now!

How to enter:

1. Just leave a comment on this post, or

2. Fill out this entry form.

If you do both, you will be entered TWICE!

And to gain another entry, just tweet about this interview and giveaway—and let me know you did in your comment or on the form—and you’ll be entered THREE TIMES.

This giveaway is open in the US only. This giveaway closes on Tuesday, September 25 at 8pm EST. Good luck!


What’s the next Fall 2012 YA debut novel I’m looking forward to? Come back tomorrow to find out.

…And stay tuned for the end of the interview series, when I’ll host an INTERNATIONAL giveaway to win the featured debut of your choice!

2012 YA Debut Interview + Giveaway: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT by Colleen Clayton


Welcome back to my Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview series! I’m excited to feature these debut novels from the fall season, and I hope you’re as intrigued to get your hands on them as I am. Today’s YA debut author is Colleen Clayton—her first novel, What Happens Next, comes out October 9 from Poppy / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Read on to see how Colleen answered my Q&A…

…And be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a signed and personalized finished copy of book, plus bookmarkers!


WHAT HAPPENS NEXT comes out October 9!

Nova: I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?” (Feel free to use the jacket copy, or describe in your own words. Up to you.)

Colleen: Before the ski trip, Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (on the bottom of the pyramid, but still…) and a straight-A student, with two of the best friends a girl could ask for.

When Sid finds herself on a ski lift with hunky local college guy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled. “Come to a party with me tonight,” he tells her, but Dax isn’t what he seems. He takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

After the ski trip, Sid is an insomniac and an obsessive late-night runner, unable to relate to her old friends.

Caught in a downward spiral, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey—slacker, baker, total dreamboat—Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if only she could shake the nightmares, everything would be perfect…

In my experience, every book wants to be written differently—and each one behaves differently from the one before it. Some novels like it out of order, and some rigidly insist on being written from start to finish. Some novels come out fast; others are excruciatingly slow. Some novels torment you, and some sing you to sleep. What did your novel want? How did you appease it? Did it ever misbehave? 

I am, by nature, a very linear writer in that I do not usually write scenes out of order. I cannot move on in a story until I am generally happy with what came before. While I had a very good idea about the opening scenes, I had no idea, beyond chapter two, what was going to happen from one page to the next. WHN absolutely wanted me to keep an open mind in regards to plot. I did not outline this novel so I was very open to the idea of the plot shifting to someplace unexpected. It may sound cliché but whenever I sat down to write, I followed the voice and let my main character, Sid, take me where she needed to go. I will say though that the novel misbehaved a bit in the end. I tend to panic at endings  and go way overboard. Luckily, I was reined in by my amazing editorial team at Poppy who encouraged me to tone it down a bit. The ending was so very explosive in the original manuscript. Very “Law and Order Special Victims Unit” as opposed to the quieter, more realistic ending that it has now. I love my ending so, so much. It’s just beautiful and I seriously can’t imagine it any other way now.

Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it.

My writing space consists of wherever my laptop happens to be sitting in my house. Usually in the middle of the living room, on my couch, TV blaring, and my husband, kids, cat, and dog sitting within arm’s reach. I have trained my brain to work in ten to fifteen minute increments with utter chaos surrounding me and to pick up where I have left off when I am interrupted. I made a “writing space” in my basement once. Ha! I have used it twice in the last year. I hate it. I feel like a fake writer when I go down there. I don’t have a writing spot fantasy. Truly, I can’t imagine writing anywhere else than in my messy, obnoxious house.

Imagine you’re on the subway, or the bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe him or her (or them?) for us.

It would be a female between the ages of 14 and 20. Someone who society maybe doesn’t view as traditionally beautiful, who might, for whatever reason, feel badly about the way she looks. It would be wonderful to see this person smile at something that my main character says and then, after turning a page, wipe her eyes in an attempt not to cry in public.

What was the moment when the upcoming publication of your novel felt “real” for the first time—when you got your editorial letter, when you saw the cover, when you held the ARC in your hands… or something else? Or if it doesn’t feel “real” yet, when do you think it will?

When I held my ARCs. There is nothing like holding a book in your hands with your name on the front of it. I was lucky, I was given a generous amount of ARCs from my publisher. I stacked them all up, rearranging them over and over…long ways, then into two columns, then three, then I would make a pyramid, lay them all out like playing cards, stack them in a shelf, take them out again, etc. This went on for days. I couldn’t stop looking at the spines for some reason. Seeing the title WHAT HAPPENS NEXT over and over, stacked up on itself, was so amazing. I would run my finger down the spines and think: Wow. I did it. I really did it. 

Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

I have not been many places outside of the U.S. I went to Mexico and the Caribbean once a very long time ago before the need for passports so I would very much like to go to Europe, I think, starting in Ireland then working my way down to Italy. While I am tempted to name-drop someone fabulous like John Steinbeck or Harper Lee, I don’t know them and can’t judge from their work what kind of travel partner they might be. What if they don’t travel well? There is nothing worse than being stuck for an extended period of time, in a strange place, with a person who doesn’t travel well. I’ve traveled with high-maintenance people before and wanted to cry about an hour into it. So, when choosing my Dream Book Tour partners, I am going to lean more towards a sure thing in the “travels well” department. (I only get one Dream Book Tour so I want it to be fun and stress-free, right?) I would take Alyssa Brugman, an Australian YA writer whom I am very good friends but whom I have never met in the flesh. She’s been very kind to me over the past few years and has been a big personal supporter of mine. I admire her writing so much and we have a lot in common. I want to hang with her in real life, not just through emails, chat, and Facebook. Also, I would ask Tina Fey who, while primarily a comedian and TV writer, is technically still a book author because she wrote Bossypants. I just finished it and howled laughing from page one to page 275. Plus, Tina Fey travels really, really well. There are whole chapters of the book that describe in microscopic detail how well this woman travels. I can say with 100% certainty that Tina Fey would not ruin my Dream Book Tour, therefore, I would love to have her along.

At my book signing I would serve various bakery treats mentioned in my book. Scones, pizzelles, macaroons, clothespin cookies and then also fancy coffees and teas out of real bone china cups.

If you had to pick one sentence, and one sentence only, to entice someone to read your book, what would it be? (I almost hate myself for asking you this question and making you choose! Almost.)

Just one, huh? Can I add semicolons and drag it out for a few lines? No? Dang. Alright. Here’s ONE of my favorite sentences:

“I think of a forgotten lake and hopeful poppies.”

What Happens Next comes out October 9, 2012, from Poppy / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Read on for a chance to win a signed and personalized finished copy of the book and more!


Colleen Clayton holds an MFA from the Northeast Ohio Consortium. Before she became a writer, Colleen was a social worker for teens in a residential treatment center and also Program Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mahoning Valley. When she is not writing or teaching at Youngstown State University, she is spending time with her wonderful husband, daughter, and son.

Visit her at colleenclayton.com to find out more. 

Follow @ColleenYA on Twitter.


NOW ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

You could win: a signed and personalized finished copy of What Happens Next plus 10 bookmarkers!

How to enter:

1. Just leave a comment on this post, or

2. Fill out this entry form.

If you do both, you will be entered TWICE!

And to gain another entry, just tweet about this interview and giveaway—and let me know you did in your comment or on the form—and you’ll be entered THREE TIMES.

This giveaway is open in the US only. This giveaway closes on Monday, September 24 at 8pm EST. Good luck!


What’s the next Fall 2012 YA debut novel I’m looking forward to? Come back tomorrow to find out.

…And stay tuned for the end of the interview series, when I’ll host an INTERNATIONAL giveaway to win the featured debut of your choice!

On Being a Debut

I’ve been feeling nostalgic all week as these Fall 2012 debut author interviews have been going up… Being a debut author is such an exhilarating, beautiful, promising—and even terrifying—time. There is no way to foresee or calculate what will happen or how you’ll feel about being published and out in the world. And once the debut days are gone, you can’t go back. I hope this doesn’t sound like a downer—it’s simply about appreciating those moments and remembering.

Published authors who’ve passed the debut year, y’know what I mean, right?

What’s your most vivid (visceral?) memory of being a debut?

I remember, one lunch break, sitting in my office at my day job staring at the cover image my editor sent me, completely taken by the idea that MY NAME was going to be on a hardcover BOOK. It wasn’t the book I thought would be my debut. It wasn’t the time or the place I thought I’d be in. It didn’t look the way I thought it would look, or feel the way I thought it would feel. I didn’t have an agent and I felt kind of afloat in a bubble someone was about to pop with a pin. But no one reached out with the pin and popped me. Because it was happening. Oh wowohwow it was happening.

I remember this particular lunch break when I spent an hour with my office door closed, silent, staring at the cover on my screen, unable to eat a bite of food. Then quietly and without ceremony I opened my door and went back to work.

A friend in the art department—ironically I was working for a book publisher at this point, though my book was being published by another publisher entirely, and I didn’t tell many people at work that I was going to be published—saw me staring at my cover and kindly printed out a color copy on the laser printers in the design department. She insisted I tack it up on the wall, so I did, in a small hidden corner on my bulletin board where most people couldn’t see it.

It felt private and beautiful and all mine for weeks and weeks. Sometimes I’d turn in my chair and see it there—THE COVER OF MY BOOK—and gasp out loud in shock. I kept coming back to that feeling at every book event and public appearance that debut season, like… Really? This is really happening?

Reading these debut interviews brings me right back to those glorious, surreal moments.

So if you missed any of the debut interviews this week, be sure to check them out:


Jeanne Ryan and Nerve:

“All of those events were milestones, but the one that delivered the biggest electric jolt was seeing my cover for the first time. The image the designer created was both totally unexpected and totally perfect. I cried.”

Read my interview with Jeanne Ryan and enter to win a signed finished copy!


Gwenda Bond and Blackwood:

“I went to grad school, worked on other projects, but this one was always in the back of my head. Finally, a couple of years ago, I was ready to get back to it. Once I did, the answer I needed turned up almost immediately in my research material. I’d probably read the key piece before—John Dee’s involvement in planning the voyage—and it just hadn’t registered. It wasn’t the book’s time to be written yet.”

Read my interview with Gwenda Bond and enter to win a signed finished copy!


Sangu Mandanna and The Lost Girl:

“A box of finished copies arrived, and I took them out and stuck them on one of my bookshelves, and suddenly it hit me. They were real. And sitting on my shelf next to other real books. Until then, I was so busy working on the book, and thinking about other projects, that it never really hit me, properly hit me, that my book was going to be out there.”

Read my interview with Sangu Mandanna and enter to win a finished copy!


Emily Hainsworth and Through to You:

“This is when I geeked out and started running through the house screaming because I couldn’t find a knife to open the box, and then I couldn’t find my phone so I could tell EVERYONE about it. I was 24 weeks pregnant at the time and I felt a little guilty about subjecting the baby to all that commotion, but I like to think my daughter was there to celebrate the moment with me when no one else was.”

Read my interview with Emily Hainsworth and enter to win a signed ARC! 


Tiffany Schmidt and Send Me a Sign:

“This wasn’t the first novel I wrote—just the first one I didn’t give up on. It was the novel I used to figure out my writing process. Instead of following others’ rules: write in order, use an outline, don’t revise until you have a full draft—I made up my own. I never write in order (kissing scenes & dialogue first!), outlines make me gag, and I revise whenever I want.”

Read my interview with Tiffany Schmidt and enter to win a signed finished copy!


And come back on Monday for 5 more debut interviews and giveaways!