Giveaway: Backpack Explorer Series ~ US ONLY!

May 24th, 2024 by

We are excited to share a giveaway for the Backpack Explorer Series!




About the Book:  Backpack Explorer Series

The best-selling Backpack Explorer series (Now on Roblox!) has become a favorite of nature-curious kids and families. Packed with prompts, activities, interactive field guides, and sensory scavenger hunts, each Backpack Explorer book gets kids outside and exploring the world around them. Colorful, lightweight, and durable, these books are designed to be popped in a backpack and taken along on nature walks—turning any outdoor adventure into an opportunity for nature science learning! In addition to the hands-on activities, the books include a real magnifying glass for outdoor and on-the-page observing, sheets of sticker patches for keeping track of nature finds, and a log for recording naturalist notes. This series is bursting with hundreds of activities for screen-free fun and nature learning for junior naturalists.

Purchase * Goodreads




Title: Backpack Explorer Series (Includes: Beach Walk, Discovering Plants and Flowers, Bug Hunt, Discovering Trees, Nature Adventure Sticker Book, On the Nature Trail, Bird Watch, and Rock Hunt)

Author: The Editors of Storey Publishing

Release Date: Most recent is Backpack Explorer Stickers: Nature Adventure (5/21)

Publisher: Storey Publishing (Hachette)


Backpack Explorer Stickers: 9781635868623

Beach Walk: 9781612129020

Bird Watch: 9781635862515
Rock Hunt: 9781635865530
Plants and Flowers: 9781635866759
Discovering Trees: 9781635863468
Bug Hunt: 9781635863130
On the Nature Trail: 9781635861976


One (1) winner will receive a copy of all eight books in the Backpack Explorer series ~US Only!


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

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Author Chat with Jonathan Fenske (A Fox, a Pig, and a Dig), Plus Giveaway! ~ US ONLY!

May 24th, 2024 by

Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Jonathan Fenske!

Read on to learn more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!




Meet the Author: Jonathan Fenske

Jonathan Fenske (he/him) is the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor-winning author and illustrator of easy readers like A Pig, a Fox, and a BoxA Pig, a Fox, and a Fox (a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection); We Need More Nuts!; I Will Race You Through This Book!; and more. He is also the author-illustrator of the picture books After Squidnight (a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection), Something Stinks!, and A Unicorn, a Dinosaur, and a Shark Walk into a Book! Jonathan lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina. You can visit him online at




About the Book: A Fox, a Pig, and a Dig

The stars of Jonathan Fenske’s 2016 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor book, A Pig, a Fox, and a Box, return in another humorous three-part story designed to engage early readers.
As in the precursors to this tale—A Pig, a Fox, and a BoxA Pig, a Fox, and Stinky Socks; and A Pig, a Fox, and a Fox—Jonathan Fenske tells the entertaining story of two friends, Pig and Fox. In this book, Fox plays tricks on Pig at the beach! With comic art and simple language, this title is sure to have kids rolling with laughter. Exciting, easy-to-read books are the stepping stone kids need to bridge the gap between being a beginner and being fluent readers.



~Author Chat~


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

The Pig and Fox series is probably a direct result of my love of old Looney Tunes cartoons, where character’s attempts to catch a Road Runner or get the better of Bugs Bunny are always thwarted. (Although I kind of wanted Road Runner to get eaten, or at least nibbled on, if I’m being honest.)

YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

Probably Fox, because, if nothing else, Fox is persistent. And so am I.

YABC:  What came first, the concept, landscape, characters, or something else?

In this instance, the characters, because there are three previous Pig and Fox titles. But I was born in Florida near the beach, so ocean themes tend to crop up in many of my books!

YABC: If you could only write one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Easy Readers. Because they are a challenge to do well and there is such a need for them.

YABC:   How do you keep your ‘voice’ true to the age category you are writing within?

Maybe this is a reflection on my maturity, but I tend to think like a child, so I find it easy to get in that storytelling frame of mind. It probably helps I have five younger siblings I often babysat when I was a young man!

YABC:   What can readers expect to find in your books?

I hope they find a story well told in a humorous way. If I make a reader laugh, then I am very happy!

YABC: If you were able to meet them, would you be friends with your main character?

I think I would be friends with Pig, because I appreciate Pig’s patience. And I would be friends with Fox as well, because I appreciate Fox’s love of a prank (and most of my pranks backfire, too!).

YABC:    What’s your least favorite word or expression and why?

“Juxtaposition.” Years of art school critiques have made me strongly dislike the overuse of that word. “The juxtaposition of lights and darks and blah, blah, blah.” Enough already!

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

Well, I have several projects in the works, and three more books coming out in the next year or so, but I’m really excited about getting to hike Mount Whitney in August. Hiking is my favorite way to recharge!

YABC:   Is there anything that you would like to add?

I would like to add a huge THANK YOU to the teachers, librarians and readers who make the children’s book world go ‘round! Their words and letters of encouragement keep me going!




Title: A Fox, a Pig, and a Dig

Author: Jonathan Fenske

Illustrator: Jonathan Fenske

Release Date: May 21, 2024

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers; Penguin Workshop

ISBN-13: 9780593661215

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Age Range: Ages 5-7




*Giveaway Details*

One (1) winner will receive a copy of A Fox, A Pig, and A Dig (Jonathan Frenske) ~ US Only!


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*


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Interview With Victoria Ying (Amber Brown is Not a Crayon – The Graphic Novel)

May 24th, 2024 by

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Illustrator Victoria Ying (Amber Brown is Not a Crayon)!




Meet the Illustrator: Victoria Ying

Victoria Ying is a critically acclaimed author and artist living in Los Angeles.  She started her career in the arts by falling in love with comic books, this eventually turned into a career working in animation and graphic novels. She loves Japanese Curry, putting things in her shopping cart online and taking them out again, and hanging out with her husband and cat, Bandito. She is the author and illustrator of her own series “City of Secrets and City of Illusion” as well as the Marvel/Scholastic “Shang-Chi and the secret of Immortality” and the illustrator of the DC series “Diana Princess of the Amazons.” Her YA debut “Hungry Ghost” was the recipient of the Harvey Award for best YA/Children’s Graphic Novel in 2023.

Website * Instagram* TikTok * X




About the Book:  Amber Brown is Not a Crayon – The Graphic Novel

Third graders Amber Brown and Justin Daniels have been best friends since the day they first met in preschool. How great of a team are they? Amber helps Justin with his handwriting, and Justin helps Amber with her fractions. They sit next to each other in class and hang out together after school every day—that’s just how it’s always been.

But when Justin finds out his family is moving away, everything starts to feel different. Amber gets sad whenever she thinks about Justin leaving, and Justin seems overwhelmed by all the change to come. Can the two besties figure out a way to say goodbye that will keep their friendship strong, no matter how far apart they are?

This graphic novel adaptation of Paula Danziger’s classic chapter book adds layers of nuance to all of Amber’s ups and downs, making her story burst from the page even more than before.

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound




~Illustrator Chat~

YABC: What are the challenges you faced with bringing someone’s story to life?

I was so honored to be trusted with a project as beloved as Amber Brown. Paula’s original story is so close to the hearts of so many people and I was definitely nervous when I was brought onto the project. I wanted to stay true to the original humor and heart of the story, but I also wanted to have a way to introduce it to a new generation of readers through the artwork. Paula’s direct storytelling style made it easy to adapt, but one challenging drawing aspect that I didn’t expect was how aware I had to be of all of the characters in every scene. Even if they weren’t featured in a scene, I had to know where all the characters were sitting in the classroom at all times!

YABC:  How long did it take you to create the artwork for this book?

The artwork for this book took about six months from sketch to final. I also had help from the wonderful Lynette Wong for colors and she worked an additional three months on top of me. I think the book looks wonderful thanks to her hard work!

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

It’s a simple scene, but when Amber and Justin kangaroo hop home from school it was so much fun to draw! I got to explore Amber’s curious and imaginative mind and also draw two kids full of joy and exuberance racing home.

YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

Drawing Amber was so much fun, she’s got so much personality and her hair was always wild and fun to scribble!

YABC: When did you start drawing?

I started drawing at the age everyone starts to draw! The moment I had a crayon in my hand, I was scribbling everywhere, on paper, on old bills, on walls, any surface would do. I think the biggest difference between me and most people is that I just simply never stopped. I kept drawing all through my life and now I get the privilege of doing it as my profession.

YABC: When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?

When I wasn’t much older than Amber and Justin, I learned that the comic books I loved were written and drawn by one person. I wanted to do that, I wanted to draw and tell stories just like my favorite authors and illustrators and I never looked back. I feel very lucky that the dream I had as a child never left me and that I get to do what that kid wished for.

YABC: What’s up next for you?

I have another Middle Grade adaptation in the works that I can’t quite talk about yet, but it’s another classic that I think many children of my generation grew up with! I also have another YA contemporary project with First Second called “Chasing Sunspots” about growing up in the 2000s as a young artist and navigating the adult world of comics.

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

Yes! Last year me and some other comics publishing professionals started a non-profit called “The Comics Advocacy Group” ( that is focused on creating equity and longevity for comics creators! Our first project was giving away 35 mini-grants for creators to help with whatever they might need to bring their comics to life. We hope to continue our mission and bring more creators into the fold and raise up their stories.




Title: Amber Brown is Not a Crayon – The Graphic Novel

Author: Paula Danziger

Illustrator: Victoria Ying

Release Date: May 21, 2024

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre: Graphic Novel/Humor

Age Range: 7 – 10

Interview With K. A. Cobell (Looking for Smoke)

May 23rd, 2024 by

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author K. A. Cobell (Looking For Smoke)!




Meet the Author: K. A. Cobell

A. CobellStaa’tssipisstaakii, is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she spends her time writing books, chasing her kids through the never-ending rain, and scouring the inlet beaches for sand dollars and hermit crabs. Looking for Smokeis her debut novel.

Website * InstagramX




About the Book: Looking for Smoke

Four teens on the Blackfeet Reservation find themselves the suspects of an investigation when a classmate is found murdered during the annual Indian Days celebrations. K.A. Cobell’s compassionate debut thriller casts a light on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic through a page-turning story that readers won’t be able to put down.

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound




~Author Chat~


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

 The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement (MMIW, MMIWG, MMIWG2S.) There’s a prevalent problem in the US that many people aren’t aware of. Native women are the victims of violent crime far more often than any other group. The murder rate of Native women is three times more than that of white women, and in some locations, the rate is more than ten times the national average. I wanted to shine a light on this issue and create characters who make readers feel something.


YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

 I like all four of my main characters for unique reasons, but Eli First Kill is my favorite. He’s rough around the edges, desperately keeping secrets, and giving his friends all kinds of reasons to doubt him… but he has his reasons.


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

 The title came about a third of the way through drafting the novel. Looking For Smoke is my fifth great grandfather’s name, and it slowly steered the atmosphere of the book until all of a sudden, I knew that was the title. I tried to honor my family by using a lot of their names throughout the book, so using one for the title was very fitting.


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

 I never cry in books or movies. Okay, maybe I’ve gotten misty-eyed a few times… but there are two scenes in this book that make me teary-eyed whenever I read them, which is saying a lot for me! One scene is too much of a spoiler to mention, but another is when a character discovers someone important to her is dead. I’m proud of the grief I managed to put into words. I feel it every time!


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

 Start with the characters. If you have fully formed characters with wounds, secrets, and desperate wants, the plot is much easier to find. I’ve had plenty of moments where I’ve been stuck wondering what to write next, but if I have a character who feels whole enough, most of the time they help me find the new direction.


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

 I love the smoke! I wanted a cover with atmosphere, and the way the smoke is surrounding the girl creates such a mysterious scene. It blurs her edges and makes us wonder if she is coming out of the smoke or disappearing with it.


YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2024?

 I’m really excited to add Megan Davidhizar’s debut YA thriller, Silent Sister, to my shelf. It’s about two sisters who disappear on a class trip, and only one of them returns—without her memories.


YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?

 I loved Megan Lally’s That’s Not my Name. In this thriller, a girl has disappeared, and her boyfriend seems to be the only person still looking for her… because everyone else thinks he killed her. The alternating points of view keep the pace tight, and the twist at the end gutted me. I highly recommend it!


YABC:   What’s up next for you?

I have another novel publishing with Heartdrum, date to be determined. I was also lucky enough to contribute to an anthology called Legendary Frybread Drive-In with Cynthia Leitich Smith and an incredible group of authors, which will release sometime in 2025.

YABC:   What advice do you have for new writers?

Find an uplifting writing community. It can be a big group or even just a critique partner or two. Feedback and support from other writers truly help your craft grow and sharpen. We all need an outside perspective to see opportunities for improvement in our stories that we can’t see ourselves.




Title: Looking for Smoke

Author: K. A. Cobell

Release Date: 6/4/24

Publisher: HarperCollins/Heartdrum

Genre: YA Thriller

Age Range: 13+

Giveaway: No One Likes a Burp (Zoe Foster Blake)~ US ONLY!

May 23rd, 2024 by

We are excited to share a giveaway for No One Likes a Burp (Zoe Foster Blake)!




Meet the Author: Zoe Foster Blake

Zoë Foster Blake is an Australian author, columnist, magazine editor, and cosmetics entrepreneur. She’s worked for over a decade in journalism, writing for publications such as Cosmopolitan, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Sunday Style, and is the founder of all-natural Australian skin-care line Go-To. Zoë has written four novels — Air Kisses, Playing the Field, The Younger Man, and The Wrong Girl — and a dating and relationship book Textbook Romance, written in conjunction with Hamish Blake. Her first picture book, No One Likes a Fart, was the winner of Children’s Picture Book of the Year in the 2018 Australian Book Industry Awards. She lives in Springfield, Australia.




About the Book: No One Likes a Burp

From the author of No One Likes a Fart comes a hilarious companion picture book that highlights the adventures of Burp and her friend Fart as they help others and learn that kindness can overcome first impressions. Burp loves wafting around the world. But everywhere she goes, people don’t seem to like her! So, Burp has an idea: she’s going to team up with her best friend, Fart, and they’re going to become Superstinkers and help others in trouble! With laugh-out-loud text from Zoë Foster Blake and engaging illustrations by Adam Nickel, readers will see that anyone can become a hero and save the day!




Title: No One Likes a Burp

Author: Zoe Foster Blake

Illustrator: Adam Nickel

Release Date: 5/21/24

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

ISBN-13: 9780593753118

Genre: Picture Book

Age Range: 3-7





Three (3) winners will receive a copy of No One Likes a Burp (Zoe Foster Blake) ~US Only!


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Interview With Hannah Reynolds (SUMMER NIGHTS AND METEORITES)

May 23rd, 2024 by

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Hannah Reynolds (Summer Nights and Meteorites)!




Meet the Author: Hannah Reynolds

Hannah Reynolds grew up outside of Boston, where she spent most of her childhood and teenage years recommending books to friends, working at a bookstore, and making chocolate desserts. She received her BA in creative writing and archaeology from Ithaca College, which meant she never needed to stop telling romantic stories or playing in the dirt. After living in San Francisco, New York, and Paris, she came back to Massachusetts and now lives in Cambridge.

Website * Instagram* Facebook




About the Book:  Summer Nights and Meteorites

From the two-time Sydney Taylor Honor author comes another sweet Nantucket-set summer romance, perfect for fans of Rachel Lynn Solomon and K.L. Walther.

Jordan Edelman’s messy dating days are over. After a few too many broken hearts, and a father who worries a bit too much, she’s sworn off boys—at least for the summer. And since she’ll be tagging along on her father’s research trip to Nantucket, she doesn’t think it’ll be too hard to stick to her resolution.

But hooking up with the cute boy on the ferry doesn’t count, right? At least, not until that cute boy turns out to be Ethan Barbanel. As in, her father’s longtime research assistant Ethan Barbanel, the boy Jordan has hated from afar for years. And to make matters worse, Jordan might actually be falling for him.

As if that didn’t complicate her life enough, Jordan’s new summer job with a local astronomer turns up a centuries-old mystery surrounding Gibson’s Comet—and as she dives into her research, what she learns just might put her growing relationship with Ethan in jeopardy.

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound




~Author Chat~


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

Growing up, my dad used to take me to a field near our house to watch meteor showers. I knew I wanted this novel to be the relationship between a girl and her father, and so it was natural for me to draw on some of my own experiences — aka the dad is super into space and science. I thought it would be fun to make the heroine, Jordan, fall for her dad’s assistant, especially if she already resented him for getting a lot of her father’s attention — it made the set up very fun and filled with instant tension.

YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

I loved writing Jordan, who is prickly on the outside to hide how soft she is inside, and how hurt she can get. It’s hard for my favorite character in each book not to be the POV one, but I also especially love the triplets — three thirteen year old menaces who inspire loving fear in everyone who meets them.

YABC: What research did you do to write this book?

One of my favorite things that I’ve been hearing from readers about Summer Nights and Meteorites is that they learned things from it – and that’s great to hear, because I learned so much while writing it. I researched the history of women in astronomy, from Maria Mitchell, a Nantucket women who was the first American to discover a comet, to the Harvard Computers, a group of woman at the turn of the 20th century who documented the stars. This whole book is about women astronomers, so I needed to learn a lot about them!

YABC: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer my entire life. As a teenager, I wrote fanfiction, which was the first place I found a writing community, and then I went to college for creative writing. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to have the career I’ve dreamed of since I was little.

YABC: What type of scene do you love to write the most?

I love banter! My favorite thing to do is to write the two main characters getting to know each other through sharp, witty exchanges… which inevitably turn romantic at some point. A book with great banter and chemistry is my favorite, and so I loved writing fierce, alternative Jordan and preppy, wealthy Ethan as they got on each other’s nerves… and realized how much fun they had doing so.

YABC:   What is your favorite writing space?

In my apartment, I write on the couch with the sun spilling over me, but I’m also a huge fan of writing in cafes. I live in Cambridge, a college town, so there’s a million different places to go. That’s also great because I have local writer friends, too, so we often combine a coffee date with a writing one.

YABC: How do you plan to celebrate the launch of your book?

Boston locals can find me at Porter Square Books (Cambridge edition) at 7pm on Thursday, May 23, where I’ll be in conversation with author Jenny Howe. (There will be treats). I love in-person events so I’m very excited for this one! I also plan to have many, many good meals with family and friends (it’s getting to be rooftop season, so if I can be constantly outside, I will be). I’m also taking a day off to go to the beach and relax – a must during such a busy time.

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

I have another YA book in the works! It’s kind of a new and different story, but I’m super excited to share it – and like all my books, it’s very romantic, and filled with a bit of mystery. Follow me on Instagram @HannahElisaWren to stay up to date on all my book news!






Author: Hannah Reynolds

Release Date: May 21, 2024

Publisher: Putnam, Penguin Teen

Genre: Contemporary YA

Age Range: 13+

Guest Post: Author Kristin Wright (Here’s Where She Meets Prince Charming), Plus Giveaway ~ US Only!

May 22nd, 2024 by

Today we are excited to share a guest post from author Kristin Wright (Here’s Where She Meets Prince Charming) !

Read on for more about Kristin, the book, and a giveaway!




About the Author: Kristin Wright

Kristin Wright is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and has simultaneously been a small-town general practice lawyer handling criminal defense and the vice president of the elementary school PTA. She lives in Virginia with her husband, sons, and two beagles. For more information about the author visit

Website * Instagram * Facebook * X




About the Book: Here’s Where She Meets Prince Charming

“…gorgeous, funny, and compelling.” —Mary Ann Marlowe, Some Kind of Magic

On paper, seventeen-year-old Natalie Tremayne has it all. She’s got stellar grades, a passion for theater, and more than enough talent in the swimming pool to make her plans for four parent-free years at the college of her dreams realistic. The only place she’s missing anything is socially: the tall and buoyant body that benefits her in the pool has only ever intimidated the boys at her school.

When the enigmatic new kid Campbell Adams gets the lead role in the school’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Natalie begins to wonder if her drought is about to come to an end. Their connection is instant: Campbell is a mystery that Natalie is determined to crack.

But when the secret he’s made himself invisible to hide has nothing to do with the Dread Pirate Roberts or sparkling in the sunshine, Natalie finds herself swimming in a whole new pool of reality. With her high school days coming to an end and college on the horizon, Natalie will have to learn that the best way to make the universe laugh is to make a plan, and that the lemonade you make yourself out of life’s lemons is the best drink in the world.

Purchase * Goodreads




~Guest Post by Kristin Wright~


I was fat in high school. Back then, being fat put me in a fairly predictable box. I wasn’t on the homecoming court. I was an active participant in theater with a good singing voice, but I never got any parts that didn’t involve playing an old lady with sprayed silver hair. I never got asked to prom. Graduation meant I was able to walk away from all those teenage anxieties and start over as whoever I wanted to be.

One of the best parts of being a writer is getting to rewrite history. My sons spent a lot of time on swim teams. Once, at one of their swim meets, I saw a girl whose confidence just surrounded her. Like me in high school, she was tall and carried more weight than the other girls, but unlike me, she wore that racing swim suit with the same unconcern with which I wear my pajamas in my bed. I was fascinated by that kind of strength at that age. I watched her as she dove in and killed it, beating the other swimmers in her heat by half a length. She was beautiful, and the “Belle” of the swim meet.

I wrote Here’s Where She Meets Prince Charming about that girl, or who I imagined she might be. I thought a girl like that would be involved in everything. She’d also do theater. She’d be an academic superstar and curious about everything. She’d be on a rocket ship to a prestigious college. She’d have good parents who understood that love means letting go. Nothing would derail such a girl.

Nothing except maybe romance.

In my book, that girl, Natalie, meets a boy and has to decide whether she has time to slow her rocket ship for a little detour. Campbell is a mystery. He’s a transfer student who keeps to himself and makes himself invisible. When he’s cast as the lead in the school musical Beauty & the Beast (Natalie, of course, gets Mrs. Potts, the old lady with the silver-sprayed hair), she can’t stop herself from trying to find out what he’s hiding behind his castle walls. What she finds makes her question the narrow path to the future her feet have always trod and lights up all the alternate paths for life after high school.

The last semester of high school is a mind-expanding time. College or jobs or the future yawns wide in front of you as you arrive dazed and blinking toward the end of the tunnel of childhood. You realize that that who you are, where you live, who your “family” is, and even what you enjoy are all open for change. I love writing about that time when all the doors are still open, and all the decisions are still revocable.

Here’s Where She Meets Prince Charming is my YA debut AND my romance debut (first but not last—watch for two more in 2025 and 2026!). I have three published thrillers for adults already out there, but something about the possibilities combined with the real anguish and serious difficulties of the transition from child to adult keeps drawing me back to writing for teens.

It has been a thrill to work with Owl Hollow Press on this book (and the next two) and I’m so excited for you all to meet Natalie and Campbell!




Title: Here’s Where She Meets Prince Charming

Author: Kristin Wright

Release Date: May 21, 2024

Publisher: Owl Hollow Press

ISBN-10 : ‎ 1958109584

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1958109588

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Age Range: 14-18+




*Giveaway Details*


Five (5) winners will receive a signed copy of Here’s Where She Meets Prince Charming (Kristin Wright) ~ US ONLY


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*


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Rockstar Tours: SPELLBINDERS: THE NOT-SO-CHOSEN ONE (Andrew Auseon), Q&A plus Giveaway! ~ US ONLY

May 22nd, 2024 by

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the SPELLBINDERS: THE NOT-SO-CHOSEN ONE by Andrew Auseon Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About The Book:


Author: Andrew Auseon

Pub. Date: May 14, 2024

Publisher: Yearling

Formats:  Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 448

Find it: Goodreads


“Ben may only be pretending to
be the ‘Chosen One’—but I’ve definitely chosen this one as my favorite new
fantasy series.”
—Max Brallier, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the
Last Kids on Earth series

How far would you go to play the hero? One seventh grader gets way more
than he bargained for when he is swept into the fantasy quest of his gaming
dreams in this funny illustrated series full of adventure and twists.

It’s not so easy being the Chosen One (or in Ben Whitlock’s case, pretending to
be the Chosen One). Sure, when you’ve been mistaken for a long-prophesied hero
by a teenage girl/mysterious assassin and transported to a fantasy realm you’re
supposedly destined to save, you don’t have to worry about things like math
homework. But when flying narwhals are trying to blast you into oblivion (gulp)
and a bunch of old mystics in flip-flops want you to enter something called the
Gullet of Eternal Torment (double gulp), suddenly a C in algebra doesn’t seem
like such a big deal.

Back in the real world, Ben preferred to escape into fictional adventures and
role-playing games. But the more he learns about his true quest, the more he
realizes that being a hero goes way beyond rolling a few dice. . . .



Spellbinders hooked
me from the beginning
, but it became one of my favorites around the first
flying narwhals.’“—James Riley, New York Times bestselling
author of the Story Thieves series

“Here comes a new series that brilliantly embodies the power of
….The book’s immersive fantasy world of Lux is one I did not
want to leave.”—George Jreije, author of the Shad Hadid series

“To use the local parlance, a “ridonkulously” entertaining kickoff.”

“The themes of interpersonal relationships and change give the work
emotional heft…A love letter to escapism and writing one’s own
Kirkus Reviews

“Through subversions of familiar fantasy tropes and a thoroughly engaging
plot, Auseon conjures an idiosyncratic realm replete with endearing
characters, madcap humor, and hijinks-filled adventure

Publisher’s Weekly

Book Trailer:


  1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I’ve always been fascinated by games, even before it was cool. Ha. I’m not mathematically inclined, or a particularly gifted thinker when it comes to logic, but there’s something about trying to navigate the world within a set of strict rules that I find endlessly compelling. Most games have a theme, offering players a fantasy: riding dragons, conquering Wall Street, time traveling, or even saving the world from slimy monsters with your best pals back in the 1980s. Like books, they offer escape, but games have an added layer that allows you to simulate a story or experience firsthand. Games let you take a deeper step into your favorite fantasies. What’s not awesome about that? I’m obsessed with understanding and building game systems, those unique sets of rules and mechanics that bridge the space between story and player, and every book I write expresses some of that obsession.

Spellbinders is the inevitable product of my two greatest creative pursuits: writing and game design. But there’s more to it. I’m interested in people’s fantasies, real and imagined. Kids dream about life when they get older, aspire for what they don’t have yet; and we all do that to some extent, we’re constantly on the search for a better situation. Honestly, I wish that wasn’t the case and more people found true contentment in life, but the truth is that we’re always casting a curious eye for ways to improve our lives or measure up. That’s especially true in the age of social media. Fantasies drive our perceptions of one another and the world around us. It’s very warped and confusing.

Ben, the main character in Spellbinders, uses his gaming fantasies as a way to escape the difficulties in his own life. Everything in those imaginary worlds works out just as he wants it to–he’s big, powerful, wise, celebrated, and infallible. Of course, Ben learns that fantasies can be misleading, and that it’s tough to balance daydreams and reality.

  1. Who is your favorite character in the book?

Normally, the cheating answer would be to complain that I can’t choose between them. (“It’s like choosing between my children!” cries Every Writer.) Instead, I’m going to say it’s a tie between two characters: Niara and Merv. Late in the book, Niara emerges as an important focal point for one of the story’s biggest emotional moments, and I hadn’t really expected that. She’s an incredibly rich character with a lot of personal issues at stake. It’s every writer’s dream! In many ways, Niara is the hero of the series. She’s such a driven, confident person, which isn’t something to which I can relate personally. (I’m an insecure weenie.) She’s certain of her beliefs, steadfast, and devoted, and I found that so endearing. As Niara’s point of view is challenged, she’s forced to reflect on who she is at a fundamental level, and that’s a hard thing for anyone to do. I have a lot of respect for Niara. She’s also the most unintentionally funny character.

Merv is also a huge favorite of mine, and a fan-favorite as well, which tickles me to no end. In the series, Merv is a bit of a late bloomer, playing a follower in some of the early adventures but then coming to the fore once they start to discover who they are and what they want. Most of the other characters start the story with much stronger visions of their identities and roles within in the questing party, but Merv is still trying to figure theirs out. Some of this is due to their life as a mimir, a shape-changer, but it’s mostly because they’ve moved around their whole life and never found the time or luxury to contemplate the future. Now, safe among friends, they’re experiencing that first taste of possibility. It’s been exciting to watch Merv learn about themself and start to try new things and contribute to the team. They really go play places in the later books, so readers should definitely come back to find out what happens.

  1. Which came first, the title or the novel?

Interesting. I’ve never gotten this question before. The novel, for sure. Titles are notoriously troublesome. That’s something books and games share. You stumble upon the perfect title maybe once in a lifetime. The name Spellbinders wasn’t the hardest I’ve ever had to settle on, but it certainly had its challenges, specifically because it’s my first series, so weighing title and subtitle became its own separate consideration. I liked Spellbinders because it has the element of magic with “spell,” but also the entrancing vibe you get when “spellbound” by a particularly good or immersive story. “Bind” has such a unique connotation in the context of books and bookbinding, but it also carries with it the slightly sinister “binding” meaning, which can be associated with ancient magical or spiritual rites, as well as the simple verb form to trap or hold something tightly. In all transparency, the first book was nearly done when I decided on the series title, and it was so evocative that I returned to the manuscript and made some changes to really play into the idea of power having the ability to trap someone. Sometimes the best things in the world can hold you back if you’re not careful. I thought that was interesting.

  1. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

Even with all its high fantasy trappings (and ridiculous humor), I tend to enjoy writing realistic fiction the most; and when I mean “realistic” I mean realistic for me, which always includes just a pinch of heightened reality, it’s just how I see the world. There’s a scene late in Spellbinders: The Not-So-Chosen One when we get a glimpse of Ben’s life before everything changed, before his family fell apart and he moved to a new town. I don’t know if it’s the scene of which I’m most proud, but it came very easily, which isn’t always the case when writing a book, and the emotions of longing and loss rang so true. It’s one of my favorite moments in the book because I hadn’t planned for it, and it ties so much of the story together. When I sat down to write it, the words just came splashing out.

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

I have an incredible editor. Correction. I’ve had several incredible editors, but my editor on Spellbinders is Incredible +10. She gets me. Nothing is more important in a creative relationship than mutual understanding. From the very beginning, Spellbinders was meant to be a comedy. No questions asked. Everybody signed up for the trip to Silly Town. However, one of the first lessons I ever learned as a writer was that there needs to be an authentic heart at the center of every story, an honest About with which readers connect and relate. People in my life know me as an empathetic and sensitive person, and I value emotion, but when I started getting goofy, weird, or silly… Watch out! If done right, humor and emotional honesty are a very powerful combination, maybe the most powerful, but it’s a challenging needle to thread. Doing it wrong can be disastrous. My editor, along with my other amazing readers, taught me the important balancing act of staying true to both my comic self and my dramatic self, and while I don’t pull it off perfectly 100% of time time, I’d like to think the series as a whole is successful.

  1. What do you like most about the cover of the book?

What’s not to like? Lisa Weber crushed every piece of art in the Spellbinders series–and there are a lot of illustrations. The covers are no exception. If I had to pick a favorite thing it would probably be the energy and dynamism she captured with Ben and Niara bursting from the center of the image. The flying narwhal is also a favorite. It’s hard to capture such a complex tone–funny and fantasy and friendship–in a single composition, but I think Spellbinders: The Not-So-Chosen One, and the subsequent books do as good a job as anyone could have expected. They certainly far surpassed any expectations. 🙂

  1. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2024?

I think the easy answer is The Sherlock Society by James Ponti. James’ books are always a rip-roarin’ good time, and I love a good mystery. I’m also hoping there’s a new volume in the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series. I’m a sucker for history, especially in graphic novel form.

  1. What was your favorite book in 2023?

(Checks GoodReads.) Okay, well… while it looks like a lot of the books I read are a few years old, I do try to stay current on what’s coming out in middle grade and YA, especially since so many of my friends write for those audiences. A book that stuck with me all through this past winter was Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow. It’s a charming, surprising, funny, and deeply moving book that feels both realistic and surreal in just the right doses. I tend to gravitate towards books that manage to do something I’m trying to do in my work, but more successfully. They teach me things, so I puzzle over them for long stretches of time, hoping to understand their secrets.

  1. What’s up next for you?

There’s never enough time. I look at what some people manage to accomplish and I scratch my head. How do they squeeze it all in? It boggles my small mind. To answer the question, I’m always working on a big new video game, which is an ongoing team project. I also continue to design small tabletop games on the side, as creative exercises. When it comes to writing, I’m finishing the third adventure in the Spellbinders series, and I have an idea for a fourth novel, but I don’t know if I’ll end up writing it. We’ll see! In addition, I’m working on a few new books that a very different from what I’ve done in the past. One is an anthology of horror short stories, and the other is a graphic novel about time-traveling kids. And guess what? Neither of them are funny! As a creator, I think it’s really important to always try new things and to stretch your comfort zone, so I’m diving headfirst into some new territory. I’m excited for what comes next? Are you?


  1. Is there anything that you would like to add?


  1. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?

The most emotionally charged scene for me, as the author, is near the ending of the book, when Ben and Niara encounter each other in the sewers under Lux. Ben is heading out, hoping to escape the palace with his life. Niara is heading in, on a mission that will put her in direct confrontation with him. These two intense characters have always had very different approaches to life, very different childhood experiences, and they come from different worlds–literally. At this point in the story they’re the closest they’ve ever been as friends, but they’re the farthest apart they’ve ever been when it comes to motivations and character development. It’s truly a moment where no one–not even the reader–knows what’s going to happen next. Both Ben and Niara need to make some big decisions, and those choices will shape who they ultimately become.

  1. Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

Ben Whitlock is always the most difficult of the Spellbinders crew to write, and that’s probably because he and I are very similar. It’s like trying to have a complicated emotional discussion with yourself, only it’s a version of yourself you haven’t really spent time with in 30+ years, and he’s very chatty and opinionated, oh, and full of energy. Ben is amazing, and I understand why he’s beloved by his friends, but his motivations and his desires are very alien to me now. He’s unpredictable and bold, qualities I may have once possessed when I was younger but have weakened with age. No matter how much I write Ben, I still feel like I’m still scratching the surface of him as a character. He grows up quite a bit in the span of the Spellbinders stories.

  1. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?

I adore revising because it means I never have to stare at a blank page. All your life, people tell you, “Starting is the hardest part!” And you know what? They’re so right! Ha! For me, the most fun is having a wild idea and playing with it for a while, scratching out scenes or character conversations and experimenting, but once I have to plot out a story and sit down to connect everything, it suddenly becomes science, engineering, all the subjects I struggled in when I was a student. Sure, I’m working with raw materials that I know well, such as sentences, scenes, mechanics, technique, but building the complex machine is so hard, so time-consuming and cumbersome. That’s why revising rules! You already have all the “lumber,” as my first editor used to say, and it’s all about following the flow, shaping the stone, and enjoying detail work that brings the whole story into clearer focus. Editing is a blast.

  1. What would you say is your superpower?

Can I say writing? Ha. Such a weak answer, I know. Some of my writing friends and I always joke that we’d be the first to go in a zombie apocalypse because we don’t possess any useful skills other than writing. We’re one-trick ponies, as it were. When you need to fix an air conditioner or forage for food, we’re the last ones on the recruitment list. Ha! But I’m mostly joking. It takes a whole toolbelt of skills to devise, write, finish, and revise a book. You have to bring plenty of talent and skill to the operation. So, who knows? We might be the most useful people in a zombie apocalypse. Let’s hope we never find out. 🙂

But to answer your question, I think my superpower is probably my writer’s voice. For whatever reason, I grew up trying to make myself laugh in nearly every situation, and I view the world in a unique and peculiar way. That perspective really shines in my style, description, and dialogue. I’d like to think my books have a singular authorial voice, regardless of the characters, and even when I’m tackling a common subject, I’m doing so in a way you’ve never seen before.

  1. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?

I’m a strong advocate for the rights and welfare of LGBTQ+ youth, as well as for the acceptance and support of autistic people. These two causes, which often overlap, are incredibly important to me.



About Andrew Auseon:

Andrew Auseon is the
author of several books for children and young adults, and he is the writer of
numerous bestselling and award-winning video games. A transplant from the
Midwest, he lives in Washington, D.C. with his family and two very naughty
cats. He loves breakfast cereal, the sound of the ocean, and the feeling of a
brand-new book in his hands.


Website | Book Website | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok | Amazon





Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a signed finished copy of SPELLBINDERS: THE NOT-SO-CHOSEN ONE & a swag pack. US Only.

Ends June 8th, midnight EST.

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Two Chicks on Books

Guest Post/IG Post


Wishful Endings

Guest Post/IG Post





YA Books Central

Interview/IG Post


A Backwards Story

Excerpt/IG Post



TikTok Spotlight



IG Post

Week Two:



IG Review/TikTok Post


Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post



IG Review/TikTok Post


Fyrekatz Blog

Review/IG Post


The Momma Spot




IG Review


Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Review/IG Post


Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post


Kim’s Book Reviews and Writing Aha’s

Review/IG Post



Review/IG Post/TikTok Post


More Books Please blog

Review/IG Post

Week Three:


One More Exclamation

Review/IG Post





The Book Critic

Review/IG Post


Author Chat With Randi Sonenshine (The Den That Octopus Built), Plus Giveaway! ~US/CAN Only

May 21st, 2024 by

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Randi Sonenshine (The Den That Octopus Built)!

Read on to learn more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!




Meet the Author: Randi Sonenshine

Randi Sonenshine grew up exploring the wonders of woods and watery places on Maryland’s Eastern shore. She is the author of nonfiction picture books, The Nest That Wren Built, The Lodge that Beaver Built, and The Den That Octopus Built, as well as the illustrated historical fiction chapter book, The Inside Name. Her books have earned starred reviews and appeared on many notable lists, including the Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best, Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, and the National Aquarium’s Favorite Conservation-themed Books. In addition to writing for children, Randi is a literacy specialist and instructional coach in northwest Georgia, where she does her best writing accompanied by birdsong and a good pot of Earl Grey tea.

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About the Book: The Den That Octopus Built

Follow one of the ocean’s most mysterious animals in this warm but candid look at its dramatic life cycle, from the creators of The Nest That Wren Built.

These are the shells she wears like a sheath,
keeping her safe from Tiger Shark’s teeth
when she’s far from the den that Octopus built . . .

The solitary and ingenious octopus is a master of disguise and invention, creating her den out of the objects of the ocean, from shells and rocks to tiny glass shards. Using creative methods of hunting and construction, the octopus prepares for the biggest task of her life: motherhood. With one last, poignant gesture of love, the mother octopus sends her hatchlings on their way, starting a new cycle of life for the tiny offspring who face peril of their own. Offering deeply informative back matter, including an author’s note, a glossary, and fascinating “octo-knowledge” (did you know that octopuses have nine brains, including one in each of their independently operating arms?), this third in a series from author Randi Sonenshine and illustrator Anne Huntercontinues the work of gently introducing children to the reality of the animal world.

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound




~Author Chat~


YABC:  What inspired you to write this book?

My agent, Kendra Marcus of BookStop Literary, called me one day after having watched My Octopus Teacher. She said, “You need to watch this. It’s your next book.” She was right. I was completely sucked in and plunged headfirst into the research that same day.

YABC: Which is your favorite animal you have researched so far?

They have all been fascinating, but the octopus is by far the most compelling and exciting. (See below!)

YABC: What fact did you find most interesting or surprising?

There are so many incredible facts about octopuses, not the least of which is the correct plural form I just used, rather than the commonly mistaken word, octopi! Like me, people are always shocked about that one. Also, they don’t have tentacles; their appendages are called arms, which have suckers on their entire length and can perform more complex actions than tentacles, which only have suckers on the ends. Octopuses’ arms, and even suckers, can act independently of each other, and not only that…they can smell, feel, AND taste with their suckers. Imagine being able to smell and taste your food with your fingers before putting it in your mouth!  I’m also thoroughly enchanted by octopus “gardens” and their penchant for collecting trinkets. See what I mean? There are so many amazing facts that I couldn’t fit them all in the book. I went through quite a few revision rounds with my editor (Liz Bicknell) to cut back on the back matter.

YABC:  What research did you do for this book?

Researching this book was so much fun! I read…a lot! Websites (National Geographic, NOAA, and The Cephalod Page were great for general information), blogs, research papers, database entries, news articles…you name it! I also read (and adored) Sy Montgomery’s Soul of an Octopus, which I highly recommend, watched YouTube videos, and followed experts on social media. Two of my favorite Instagram accounts were (and still are!) @theoctogirl, which is the account for Chelsea Bennice, a marine ecologist based in Florida, and @octonation, a nonprofit organization. I also interviewed and consulted with experts. Dr. Danny Gleason, Professor of Biology at Georgia Southern University and Director of the Institute for Coastal Plain Science was tremendously helpful and so gracious with his time and expertise. Without a doubt, though, the most memorable research was a close encounter with Rita, the Georgia Aquarium’s resident Giant Pacific Octopus, and her aquarist, Zelie Wooten. I got a behind-the-scenes experience, interacting with and feeding Rita. (She loved the shrimp, but was not impressed with the mackerel!) The best part? She thanked me with a hand, – well, armshake.

YABC: If you could only write one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

If I had to pick, I would say lyrical nature picture books like this one. I always thought I would be more of a novelist, but this genre is so wholly me. It ticks all my boxes as a literacy educator, nature-lover, and poet.

YABC:   How do you keep your ‘voice’ true to the age category you are writing within?

I’ve been an educator for over thirty years, and though I mostly interact with middle and high schoolers, I do get frequent opportunities to spend time with young children. Their questions and enthusiasm resonate a lot with me, so I try to keep that energy close while I’m writing picture books. I also don’t avoid “big” words because I think they’ll be difficult. I think it’s important to honor and spark the curiosity and intellect of young people. For example, my agent wasn’t sure I should use the words reptilian and persnickety in The Nest That Wren Built, but I felt strongly about including them. Readers, even young children, are adept at using context and illustrations to make meaning. New vocabulary also provides teachable moments if the book is being read aloud, as well as opportunities to use the glossary. Plus, it’s just fun to say those words aloud!

YABC:   What can readers expect to find in your books?

With my companion books from Candlewick, readers can expect to find the most intriguing facts about the featured animals and their homes presented in a way that (I hope!) is fun, engaging, and pleasing to read aloud. There is also much for information for curious minds in the back matter. Readers will also find illustrations that are scientifically accurate, while at the same time, kid-friendly and endearing. Anne Hunter has a remarkable gift for that! She camouflages other critters in the text. She even has “easter eggs” hidden on every page in The Nest that Wren Built (an ant) and The Den that Octopus Built (a puffer fish), which adds another layer of fun to the reading.

YABC: What is your favorite snack when writing?

It’s as if you knew me! I’m really bad about snacking while writing. (I think it’s a procrastination thing.) In fact, just while writing this, I’ve eaten two handfuls of almonds, a macaroon, two pieces of saltwater taffy, and a slice of leftover frittata. And Earl Grey tea. Always Earl Grey tea!

YABC: If you were able to be any animal which would you choose?

Well, an octopus, of course! Who wouldn’t want to be able to camouflage in an instant, use jet propulsion, regrow a limb, and slip through anything bigger than your beak? Of course there are downsides; they face extraordinary obstacles as hatchlings (few survive!) and most species only live for about a year and a half.

YABC:    What’s your least favorite word or expression and why?

 “Can’t.” Throughout my years as an educator, I have heard so many young people say that word in relation to something they are trying to learn, and as a writer, it drifts through my head unbidden more often than I’d like. It’s self-defeating, to say the least. I think it can and should be banished!

YABC:   What do you do when you procrastinate?

Snack. A lot. (See above!)

YABC:  What fandom would you write for if you had time?

Anything Jane Austen!

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

I have another nonfiction picture book that I’ve been working on. I’ve done most of the research, and I’ve been playing around with different ways to approach and structure the text, so it’s time to start drafting.

YABC: What is your favorite holiday or tradition and why?

Thanksgiving. Food and family. What more could you want?

YABC:   Is there anything that you would like to add?

For those who want to learn more about octopuses, some great websites are,, and

Thank you for having me!




Author: Randi Sonenshine

Illustrator: Anne Hunter

Release Date: May 21, 2024

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Genre: Nonfiction picture book

Age Range: 4-8




*Giveaway Details*

Five (5) winners will receive a copy of The Den That Octopus Built (Randi Sonenshine) ~US/CAN Only


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*


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Author Chat With Kaitlyn Hill (WILD ABOUT YOU), Plus Giveaway! ~US/CAN Only

May 21st, 2024 by

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Kaitlyn Hill (Wild About You)!

Read on to learn more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!




Meet the Author: Kaitlyn Hill

Kaitlyn Hill is a writer who lives to tell love stories and make people laugh. While books make up most of her personality, Kaitlyn also enjoys messy reality TV, has never met a tea she didn’t like, and thrives on overly ambitious home improvement projects. She resides in Kentucky with her real life romance hero. Kaitlyn is the author of Love from Scratch, Not Here to Stay Friends, and Wild About You.

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About the Book: Wild About You

Two total opposites. One race through the Great Outdoors. In this grumpy-sunshine teen romance from the author of Love from Scratch and Not Here to Stay Friends, the trail to true love doesn’t always come with a map.


Natalie Hart has always been loud, unfiltered, and unapologetically herself. But then comes her freshman year of college, when she loses her merit scholarship and gains one pesky little anxiety diagnosis.

Hesitant to take out more student loans, Natalie decides to shoot her shot and applies to Wild Adventures, a popular outdoorsy reality show. Sure, Natalie prefers her twelve-step skincare routine to roughing it on the Appalachian Trail while competing in challenges against other college kids, but that scholarship prize money is calling her name. High risk, high reward, right?

Enter Finn Markum, her randomly assigned, capital-Outdoorsy teammate whose growl could rival a black bear. These partners have more friction than a pair of new hiking boots. Or is it flirtation? Turns out falling in love might be the wildest adventure of all…





~Author Chat~


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

The main character of Wild About You, Natalie, was a side character in my first novel, Love from Scratch. I hadn’t planned on expanding her story back when I wrote LFS, but I love romance series in which each book follows a side character from a previous story, so I started thinking about that possibility for my third book. As I mulled over the supporting casts from my first two, I kept coming back to Natalie—she was somewhat of a one-dimensional “sassy best friend” in LFS, but what if she was more than that? Things spun out from there. I wanted to write one final reality show premise to make my reality showmance standalone duo into a trio, and as I developed Natalie more into this girly theatre girl who loves makeup and looking good, plopping her into a rugged, wilderness environment seemed like it could be a lot of fun. It was also around this time that I was going through an Amazing Race phase, and watched one season on which half of the teams were couples and half were total strangers paired up by the show in a (less than successful) matchmaking scheme. The romance novel premise was staring me in the face, and so was Natalie’s partner and love interest, Finn.

YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

I love all my books’ heroines, but Natalie definitely has a special place in my heart. I was a little daunted by writing her at first because I thought she’d be the most different from me—outspoken, brash, and on the surface, the “coolest” girl I’ve written. But there’s a lot more going on beneath the pretty exterior, and I loved exploring all of that. It was also fun to write all her funny one liners and inner monologues.

YABC: What research did you do to write this book?

A lot of my research was about the Appalachian Trail, particularly the section in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the book takes place. I wanted to use some real, recognizable points of interest, plants and animals Natalie and Finn would actually see, and give them the semi-authentic experience of backpacking on the AT that they’d have while filming a reality TV show. I enjoyed making up challenges for the fictional show, Wild Adventures, using random fun facts about the trail and the park. Whenever the characters learn a piece of AT or Smoky Mountains trivia, it’s definitely something I picked up while researching for the book and thought was worth including!

YABC:   How do you keep your ‘voice’ true to the age category you are writing within?

This is something I think about often—writing characters who feel authentic even though I’m not “one of them.” I try not to use much slang that seems specific to a moment, in part because as young as I feel, my uncool millennial self doesn’t always know current Gen Z slang and I dread becoming that “how do you do, fellow kids?” meme. But I also don’t want the book I’m drafting in 2024 to read as dated by the time it comes out in 2025 or 2026. Instead, I try to focus on the common experiences and feelings that young adults across generations share, because there are plenty, and on getting those across in a down-to-earth way that I hope is timeless. On the flip side, I find so much joy in writing for teens! I have a lot of respect for this generation of them, how much more they seem to know about the world than I did at their age, how much information and media they’re constantly inundated with. They can see through a lot of adults’ nonsense and will pull no punches, which can be intimidating, but also makes me feel even more honored when a teen reader loves my books.

YABC: What type of scene do you love to write the most?

I love writing flirty banter! The words flow the easiest when I’m writing a bunch of dialogue, especially of the romantic variety. My favorite is the kind of flirting that’s not overt—an enemies-to-lovers, snarky, witty back-and-forth that the characters would tell you is absolutely not flirtatious, but the reader knows better.


YABC:  What word do you have trouble overusing?

It’s not a single word so much as a description of an action, but my characters always have the most overactive eyebrows. They’re constantly raising one brow or their brows are furrowing, because I guess that’s my favorite way to express a lot of different emotions. I usually have to take out a fair number of brow movements during revisions.


YABC:   What is your favorite writing space?

I’m so lucky to have the coziest home office! It has pink walls filled with artwork and other things that make me happy, and some very full bookshelves. I have a super comfy lounge chair for lazy writing sessions, and a walking pad + standing desk combo when I feel like getting my feet moving. I’ve loved making the space my own!


YABC: How do you plan to celebrate the launch of your book?

I’m super excited to be going on tour for Wild About You! I’ll start with a signing in my hometown, Lexington, Kentucky, then moving on to Knoxville, St. Louis, and Chicago. All the details are on my website—





Author: Kaitlyn Hill

Release Date: 5/21/24

Publisher: Delacorte Romance

ISBN-10: 0593650956

ISBN-13: 9780593650950

Genre: YA Romance

Age Range: 12 and up




*Giveaway Details*

Three (3) winners will receive a copy of Wild About You (Kaitlyn Hill) ~US/CAN Only


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*


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