Author Of The Week: Chat with Melissa Albert (The Hazel Wood), Plus Giveaway!!

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Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!

Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!

We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!

 

 

 

 

Introducing Melissa Albert, YABC's Author of the Week!!

Melissa Albert is the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and the managing editor of BN.com. She has written for McSweeney’s, Time Out Chicago, MTV, and more. Melissa is from Illinois and lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Hazel Wood is her first novel.

 

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Meet The Hazel Wood!

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

 

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YABC:   What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

It started with the image of a fairy-tale character breaking through into the real world. Remember the title of the first chapter of Peter Pan, “Peter Breaks Through”? I’ve always loved that: it’s such an evocative concept, someone punching with force through the wall between worlds. Initially I envisioned it as belonging to a genre that may or may not exist, that I like to call “fairy tale noir,” but over time the hardboiled voice receded to make way for something more natural to me. It’s stuffed full of so many of the things I love in books: doors to other worlds, uncanny happenings, a recognizable contemporary world made weird by supernatural things crawling through at the edges. I don’t pre-plot, so I figured out where it was going as I wrote it, but ultimately I realized I wanted to structure it as a creepy descent into fairyland, a journey through layers of weird that takes you, bit by bit, from the “real” world to a dangerous otherworld.

 

 

YABC:   Who is your favorite character in the book?

My heroine, Alice, is probably my favorite—we’ve spent so much time together!—but I have a lot of love for Ellery Finch, who joins her on the journey to figuring out what, exactly, awaits her at the Hazel Wood. He and I are waaaay more alike than Alice and I—though it’s funny to me, as a Ravenpuff, that I managed to write a book populated entirely by Gryffindors and Slytherins. Finch is a reader, a fantasy world fanboy, an introvert who wears an extrovert’s exterior like armor. He’s an imperfect person with a strong sense of fairness and a heart that’s a little too soft for his own good. He’s more adventurous than me, of course, but it’s more fun that way.

 

 

YABC:    Which came first, the title or the novel?

The book came first, but the title came early. I took it from the opening of the wonderful Yeats poem “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” which I also used for my epigraph. I recommend giving the whole poem a read, it’s so elliptical and enchanting.

 

 

YABC:    What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

Telling too much would be a spoiler, but there’s a sequence I had an absolute blast writing—and it ends with a scene I must’ve written and rewritten a minimum of twenty times to get it right. I’m proud of it now, because I can no longer see the amount of sweat and tears that went into it.

 

 

YABC:   Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

Follow the fear—but take breaks when you need them. I wrote The Hazel Wood over the course of about two and a half years, but I stepped away from it again and again, often for months at a time, both to work on other projects and because there were places I wanted to take the plot that I didn’t yet have the confidence to go. I’m not good at pre-plotting—I have to find the book as I go along—so every time I started losing my nerve I’d step away, work on other stuff, then come back with the overblown, wildly useful confidence of someone who has forgotten why they were scared. It’s okay to trick yourself like that. Staring at something too long when you’re just not pushing it forward can be soul-sucking. Let yourself step away to take a break, but don’t abandon something or change course because you’re worried your ambition outstrips your skill. You’ll catch up eventually with what you’re trying to do.

 

 

YABC:    What do you like most about the cover of the book?

My vain side says THE SHINY FOIL. My brain side says the way that every detail of that incredible cover, from the feather, comb, and bone to the car’s headlights to the wonderful fairy-tale-style gates, is a callback to something in the text. It’s gorgeous at a glance, and even cooler once you’ve read the book.

 

 

YABC:   What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017-2018?

Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince is my kinda book right down to the ground. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Ayedemi, looks and sounds fantastic. So many other debuts I want to get my hands on, but to name just a few: Emily X. R. Pan’s The Astonishing Color of After, Joy McCullough’s Blood, Water, Paint, and Ink, Iron, and Glass, by Gwendolyn Clare.

 

 

YABC:   What was your favorite book in 2016-2017?

I’m very very lucky, as the editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog, that I get to gush regularly about all the books I love and can’t wait to read, and it means I’ve always got about forty books I want to scream about on tap. But I’ll keep it to a handful: An Enchantment of Ravens, by Margaret Rogerson, is one of the BEST fey stories I’ve ever read. It feels so fresh and original and funny and fleet, yet simultaneously like a classic I could’ve devoured as a kid, with a box of Cheez-Its next to me and my feet on the heater. Jane, Unlimited, by Kristin Cashore, feels like a book written just for me: a genre-hopping big-house mystery that nods at classic Choose Your Own Adventure books (a childhood obsession for me), and that skates through five different genres in order of ascending weirdness over the course of one book. The Hate U Give—what can I say about that book that hasn’t been said? It’s a moving, timely, page-turning portrait of a family and a moment and a community under threat from within and without. It’s fantastic.  

 

 

YABC:    Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?

In the wake of the 2016 election it felt especially crucial to donate to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and LGBTQ centers, and sadly that feeling has only grown with time.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hazel Wood

By: Melissa Albert

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: January 30th, 2018 

 

 

 

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

One winner will receive a copy of The Hazel Wood (Melissa Albert) ~ (US Only)

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Rate this blog entry:
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Comments 23

Dianna G. on Monday, 05 February 2018 19:56

The cover is darkly intriguing. I like the old-fashioned motifs.
As for the summary...it already has me wanting to peek inside The Hazel Wood.

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The cover is darkly intriguing. I like the old-fashioned motifs. As for the summary...it already has me wanting to peek inside The Hazel Wood.
Penny Olson on Tuesday, 06 February 2018 22:53

The cover is like a dark fairy tale. The story sounds amazing.

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The cover is like a dark fairy tale. The story sounds amazing.
John on Tuesday, 06 February 2018 22:59

The covers suggests folk tales and legends. And the story has an intriguingly dark sound to it!

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The covers suggests folk tales and legends. And the story has an intriguingly dark sound to it!
shaina pierce on Wednesday, 07 February 2018 00:35

Looks really interesting

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Looks really interesting
Candice Gigous on Friday, 09 February 2018 07:57

The cover is very dark and has the look of an old fairy tale book. The synopsis is very interesting. Sounds like an exciting read.

0
The cover is very dark and has the look of an old fairy tale book. The synopsis is very interesting. Sounds like an exciting read.
Carissa on Tuesday, 13 February 2018 00:48

sounds great

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sounds great
Precious J Hernandez on Tuesday, 13 February 2018 08:16

One of my favorite covers I’ve seen so far this year.

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One of my favorite covers I’ve seen so far this year.
Kara S on Tuesday, 13 February 2018 11:07

The cover of this novel is one that draws my eye and engenders my appreciation without incorporating deep or bright color -- which is a rare phenomenon, believe me! As for the plot, I see this novel as a must-read for 2018. Thanks! --Kara S

0
The cover of this novel is one that draws my eye and engenders my appreciation without incorporating deep or bright color -- which is a rare phenomenon, believe me! As for the plot, I see this novel as a must-read for 2018. Thanks! --Kara S
Marisa Fort on Thursday, 15 February 2018 01:21

I love the cover - how it mixes real world with fantasy. The book sounds amazing, I can't wait to read it and find out what happens!

0
I love the cover - how it mixes real world with fantasy. The book sounds amazing, I can't wait to read it and find out what happens!
Agustina Gonzalez on Saturday, 17 February 2018 19:40

The cover is so beautiful!

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The cover is so beautiful!
Lily M. on Sunday, 18 February 2018 05:55

This cover is just so pretty,it has so much to look at ?

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This cover is just so pretty,it has so much to look at ?
Isabella Wojnarowicz on Monday, 19 February 2018 15:42

I love the cover- and everything about the book

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I love the cover- and everything about the book
vanessa on Tuesday, 20 February 2018 22:58

I love the cover. It's so pretty. I think it gives off the perfect vibe that goes well with the synopsis.

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I love the cover. It's so pretty. I think it gives off the perfect vibe that goes well with the synopsis.
Hannah on Saturday, 24 February 2018 23:42

Such a stunning cover

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Such a stunning cover
Holly Davis on Sunday, 25 February 2018 09:15

I love anything akin to fairytales, and The Hazel Wood puts a fresh spin on it! The cover is gorgeously detailed and I love the black and gold contrast. It pulls me into wanting to know more about this world!

0
I love anything akin to fairytales, and The Hazel Wood puts a fresh spin on it! The cover is gorgeously detailed and I love the black and gold contrast. It pulls me into wanting to know more about this world!
Courtney Gendreau on Tuesday, 27 February 2018 14:10

I love this cover! It sounds like an amazing read. I have been loving the fairytales lately!

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I love this cover! It sounds like an amazing read. I have been loving the fairytales lately!
Danielle Hammelef on Thursday, 01 March 2018 14:55

The cover is so detailed and stunning. The synopsis is so exciting.

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The cover is so detailed and stunning. The synopsis is so exciting.
Kelly G on Friday, 02 March 2018 15:01

This is SUCH a pretty cover! The details are amazing and the story sounds so exciting. Cant wait for this one!

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This is SUCH a pretty cover! The details are amazing and the story sounds so exciting. Cant wait for this one!
Patrycja on Friday, 02 March 2018 20:16

I absolutely love the cover. It is gorgeous. And I am sure I would love the novel. It sounds great!

0
I absolutely love the cover. It is gorgeous. And I am sure I would love the novel. It sounds great!
wendy rinebold on Saturday, 03 March 2018 14:36

The cover is great but I love the synopsis. This is my favorite kind of fantasy.

0
The cover is great but I love the synopsis. This is my favorite kind of fantasy.

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