Interview with Lissa Price, Author of STARTERS

 

Lissa (pronounced LISS-sa) studied with Caroline Leavitt, Donald Maass and Janet Fitch, and read at the Iowa Summer Workshop. She has lived in Japan and India, but now resides in the Southern California foothills with her husband and the occasional deer.

She’s a member of SCBWI, SFWA, ITW, as well as one of the Apocalypsies, a group of 2012 debut YA and MG authors. In 2012 she joined Beth Revis and the talented gang of five 2011 and five 2012 debut YA dystopian and science fiction authors at The League of Extraordinary Writers.


Thank you for joining us on YABC today! First off, can you tell us a little bit about your latest novel, STARTERS?

Thanks so much for inviting me! STARTERS takes place in a future where desperate teens rent out their bodies to seniors called Enders so they can enjoy being young again. But one Ender plans to do more than just have fun, she plans to murder someone.  It is my debut and came out on March 13. The book trailer showed before The Hunger Games movie in selected theaters both in the U.S. and the U.K.

 

Were there any television shows, films, songs, or books that helped fuel your creativity and inspiration while working on STARTERS?

I was very encouraged by the writing of Suzanne Collins because she didn't talk down to the reader—she just told her story. I also loved the UGLIES series by Scott Westerfeld for his amazing world building.

But the films of Christopher Nolan were my biggest influences. I love to play with different levels of reality, and have scenes where at least one character doesn't know who the other one really is.


Are there any STARTERS contests our readers should know about and enter?

Yes, always! If you go to www.LissaPrice.com I have a page that updates current contests. And many are announced on Twitter. Follow me at Lissa_Price there or LissaPriceAuthor on FB for the latest announcements.


Which books or authors have inspired your craft?

In addition to the ones mentioned above, I love Dean Koontz, Catherine Fisher, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling and many more. For books about the craft of writing, Donald Maas is brilliant and all the James Scott Bell books on writing are great.


At what moment did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I always wrote and told stories. I didn't believe I was an author until a few weeks ago when I saw my book on the shelf in a bookstore!


What book would we find on your bedside table right now?

None. I don't read before sleeping. :)  But in my tbr pile is CINDER by Marissa Meyer, WHAT'S LEFT OF ME by Kat Zhang (not out yet), A MILLION SUNS by Beth Revis and THE ELEVENTH PLAGUE by Jeff Hirsch. Plus many more.


How much research did you have to do for STARTERS? What was the craziest search term you toyed while researching online?

I did quite a bit and then let it all go when I began writing page one.  "Temporary body rentals?" (jk)

 

What is your go-to writing snack/beverage?

Trader Joe's fake popcorn puffs and Decaf Diet Coke.


Where did your inspiration for STARTERS come from?

A failed attempt to get a flu shot when there was a shortage. They were only giving it to the very old, the very young, and the sickly. And I thought, what if this was a killer flu? Then all we'd have left is the very young, the very old and the sickly. What kind of a world would that be?


Who was your favorite character to write in STARTERS?

The Old Man. So creepy. And he always surprised me.


What is a book you have read lately and loved?

Marie Lu's LEGEND.


Where can our readers go to learn more about STARTERS?

www.LissaPrice.com is the best portal. From there you can find the other official sites, including www.startersbooks.com. Plus, gotta play the free FB STARTERS game!


So, what's next for Lissa Price?

I just ended my first national tour. Now I focus on finishing ENDERS. Then I write two more e-short stories set in the world of STARTERS (the first one, STARTERS—Portrait of a Starter, is out now). I have other ideas I'm eager to write.

 

Will we find out more about what started the Spore Wars?

 I might write more about them in one of the e-shorts that are set in the world of STARTERS.  


Last but not least, what has been your biggest SQUEE! moment since becoming a published author?

Oh, it happened a couple of days ago. Dean Koontz sent me an email that he loved STARTERS and gave me a great quote. Can you imagine my face when I got that? Triple SQUEE!

 

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Lissa!

It was great visiting with YA Books Central, thank you for having me!

 

Click here to buy a copy of STARTERS, read reviews, or write one of your own! 

An Interview with Jessica Shirvington, Author of EMBRACE

This week, we got the chance to chat with Jessica Shirvington, author of EMBRACE. Check out her answers to our questions (and that gorgeous book cover!) below.



Thank you, Jessica, for joining us on YABC today! First off, can you tell us a little bit about your novel, EMBRACE?

Thanks so much for inviting me!
EMBRACE is the story of seventeen-year-old, Violet Eden, who discovers that she is caught up in this ancient battle between exiled angels on earth and angel-human warriors that fight against them called the Grigori. Violet’s destiny is entwined in this eternal battle and she must make her choice – to follow the path that has been set for her, or turn her back on her destiny. 


It is a story of free will, choice and consequence. And at the heart of it all she is torn between the two men in her life; Lincoln – her long time crush and the one person she thought she could trust until she discovers he has been lying to her for the past two years, and Phoenix – the exiled angel who is supposed to be her enemy but somehow always seems to be there when she needs someone and stirs feelings that she doesn’t fully understand.




Which character was more fun to write? Lincoln or Phoenix?

They are both a lot of fun to write. At different points of the story I enjoyed Lincoln more and at other stages, Phoenix was very exciting to explore. Lincoln is someone I have had to dig deep to write and also show some restraint. He is a restrained character so it wouldn't do him justice to just have everything sit right on the surface. Phoenix on the other hand seems a very on-the-surface bad guy - but his layers come in more hidden ways, so whilst he is a lot of fun in dialogue and creating intense scenes, he has a lot of complexities too.



How did you come up with the idea of the Grigori?

The idea of the Grigori comes from old folklore. They were thought to be a rank of angels that were charged with the responsibility of overseeing humans on earth. It was thought that the Seraphim angels (the administrators) sent the Grigori to earth and left them here for so long that they started to fall in love with human women and desire families of their own. When the angels discovered this - knowing that this was forbidden - they sent a vengeful legion of angels to rid the world of these angels and their offspring (the Nephlim). In many stories it was believed that this was what caused the Great Flood.

My use of the tale brings in into the now - I asked the question: If angels failed in their earthly duties because of too many human temptations and had to be removed from the earth, who would protect us from those angels that chose to fall (or exile)? It didn't seem a logical idea that angels would again be able to roam the earth and risk the same problem, so I created a new version of the Grigori. Humans that have been given the power of angels that can defend humanity from the wrath of exiled angels on earth.




Why the seventeenth birthday? What was important about Violet finding out who she really is on that date?

Seventeen is such a crucial age. I loved the idea of making it then - old enough to be able to accept responsibility, but still not quite adulthood. It makes the tension of the story that much higher and seemed the perfect age for Violet to make such a major decision.



What inspired you to write EMBRACE?

I wanted to write a story that I would love to read. That was my original motivation. As I developed the plot and characters, I only became more passionate about it.



What song, if any, inspired you to write the scene where Violet embraces who she really is? When she’s with Phoenix?

Falling - Florence and The Machine



Were there any television shows, films, songs, or books that helped fuel your creativity and inspiration while working on EMBRACE?

A lot of music helped me get into the right headspace. This is big stuff going on in Violet's life, and to actually put my heart and mind into her story sometimes takes my breath away. Music helps with this. When writing EMBRACE I listened to a lot of Florence and The Machine, Sia, Anya Marina, Temper Trap and Broken Bells. 



Are there any Embrace contests our readers should know about and enter?

Yours, of course!! (Click here to enter.

There is a Skype & prizes sweepstakes being offered on
www.embracetheseries.com and a book giveaway on www.facebook.com/embracetheseries  



Which books or authors have inspired your craft?

All honest and emotional storytelling inspires me. I have to make a connection and whenever I read a story where I feel I've connected with the characters, have invested my heart in the outcome - I know there is something to be learned. I love the depth and awe inspiring genius of the likes of Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and have a lot of admiration for modern day writers that take on new concepts or make old stories new again.



At what moment did you realize you wanted to be an author?

After I completed my first draft. Up until that point, I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing, only that I was writing this story and I didn't seem to be able to stop. I heard a talk one day (I'm so sorry to the author because I forget who it was) but he said he never planned on writing a book, it just kind of snuck up on him. I feel that way, too.



What book would we find on your bedside table right now?

I'm about to read INCARNATE, by Jodi Meadows - it has had great early reviews and I'm looking forward to it. Apart from that I have quite a few patiently waiting.



How much research did you have to do for EMBRACE? What was the craziest search term you typed while researching online?

A lot. I'm addicted to research. Most of it never ends up in the story but I find it still influences my approach and I am always grateful for that. I draw on a lot of old mythology and folklore and try to twist it just enough that it fits nicely into my story. 

The craziest search terms online ... Ha! There have been a few. You have to remember I'm looking into a lot of dark stuff here and so 'evil' and 'hell' and 'death' are often in my keywords. One day I was researching for a couple of different reasons and I remember searching military planes, followed by an unrelated search on medical overdoses and chemical compounds, and then I finished the day by researching the world’s tallest buildings. Each on their own was one thing, but put them all together ... I'm pretty sure I have a red flag against my name somewhere.




What is your go-to writing snack/beverage?

Coffee and any kind of chewy candy.



Where can our readers go to learn more about EMBRACE?

The official series website is:
http://www.embracetheseries.com where anyone can sign up for updates etc. 

My website:
http://www.jessicashirvington.com

Or, chat with us on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/embracetheseries



So, what's next for Jessica Shirvington?

I'm going to write a book. 
*smiles*

The Embrace Series will be continuing. ENTICE will be out in September, EMBLAZE will follow closely behind in March 2013. I'm currently working on book 4, ENDLESS, and a few other projects that I am considering.



Last but not least, what has been your biggest SQUEE! moment since becoming a published author?

Honestly, I don't know. I feel like I have been squealing since the moment my now-agent rang and told me to send my full manuscript. I barely remember a world without the squee effect. Sometimes you just end up where you are supposed to be and since entering this world of writing and publishing I have loved every single second.



Thank you, Jessica. We've loved having you on YABC!

Rae Carson Interview

Posted by Melanie

Rae_Carson   The_Girl_of_Fire_and_Thorns_final

Here is an interview with the author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson. Enjoy!

The main character of your first novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, deals with her weight throughout the book. This is an issue that many teens deal with and like many teens, she's painfully conscious of it. How should teens deal with the constant onslaught of the importance of being thin?

This is a toughie, and there is no easy answer. I’m a big fan of focusing on health instead of weight, but that’s a lot easier said than done when we’re bombarded with media images that promote extreme thinness. I encourage teens to eat right and exercise regularly because it’s amazing what feeling good will do for your self esteem. And I also share my own personal experience: I used to compete in beauty pageants. I won swimsuit competitions all the time. But now, I rock plus-sized womanhood, and I can say with conviction that being thin did not improve my self satisfaction. I’m a much happier person now.

 

A good portion of your novel is set in the desert. Have you ever visited a desert yourself?

Oh, yes. I love deserts. I’ve spent lots of time in Southern California, including the Mojave and Death Valley. And driving Route 66 though Arizona and New Mexico is an experience not to be missed! The scenery is epic and amazing.

 

What kind of research did you do to realistically convey the warfare that takes place?

I was a history major in college, with a particular interest in the colonial era and American Revolution. Lots of the warfare in the book is based on the guerilla tactics used by American colonists.

 

Where will The Crown of Embers take Elisa on her journey?

Elisa is going to discover that leading a desert rebellion is nothing at all like being queen of a huge country, and she’ll be in more danger than ever. Leading her people—not to mention staying alive—will require that she embark on another journey, but this time there will be water. Lots and lots of water!

 

Elisa's religion is very important to her. Is the religion in the book supposed to be based on one that exists in our world?

I combined elements from all our world’s monotheistic traditions to create Elisa’s religion. But yes, there is one in particular that it most closely resembles, and there is an important reason for this, which won’t become apparent until book 3,The Bitter Kingdom. Saying anything more would be a spoiler… :-)

 

How long was the time period from the time you got the inspiration for The Girl of Fire and Thorns to the day it hit shelves?

Years! I have to let ideas stew in the crockpot of my weird brain for a long time before they’re ready to go on the page. Then it took me about a year of revising and researching to find an agent, and a year and a half between signing with my publisher and the book’s release. I keep telling myself that all the waiting builds character.

 

Is there a name for the trilogy overall?

The Fire and Thorns Trilogy.

 

What book would you have every person read, if you could?

Mine, of course--I have starving cats to feed! Seriously, though, I’m a big fan of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker. It’s not only beautifully written with stellar characters, it contains themes that are frighteningly relevant to our current world. I hope everyone reads it.

 

How did you celebrate the launch of your first novel?

Honestly, I wanted to huddle in a corner with my blankie and pacifier. It was a dream-come-true day, and I admit to being a bit overwhelmed. But I ended up speaking and signing books at my local independent bookstore, which was awesome. Lots of family and friends—old and new—came out to support me.

 

You've been on a cheerleading squad and a football team. Talk about both ends of the spectrum! Why'd you switch?

First, I tried to do both! My sophomore year of college, I was both a cheerleader and a football player. It was TOO MUCH. Something had to go. And I decided I preferred being inside the sidelines, making things happen. Also, I had pretty much tapped out my cheerleading potential. I was ready for a different challenge.

 

Since you're a self-professed geek, what's a good definition for someone wondering if they're a geek too?

My favorite definition of a “geek” is found on Wikipedia: “A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who passionately pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance.”

Is there something you’re passionately interested in that sets you apart from many of your peers? If so, you might be a geek. Fly your geek flag high!

 

What's the most important thing you've learned about yourself as a writer?

I have learned that I will never be good enough at writing to suit myself. This used to fill me with despair. But now I see it as a mark of my continual evolution and growth.

 

Have you read The Girl of Fire and Thorns? Write your review here!


Interview with Shannon Delany

YABC recently got a chance to interview Shannon Delany, author of the wildly popular 13 to Life series. Here are her answers to our questions below.



Thank you for joining us on YABC today! First off, can you tell us a little bit about the latest novel in your 13 to Life series, Destiny & Deception?

Thank you! Destiny and Deception brings more danger and excitement into the small town of Junction. Some new characters slip into the spotlight bringing a fresh batch of trouble into Jessie and Pietr’s world. And a character the Rusakovas hoped was gone shows back again, seeking revenge.


Who is your favorite character to write in the 13 To Life series?

Honestly it varies from day to day and scene to scene. I loved writing Jess except when I see too much of myself in her and I see her making mistakes. Dumb mistakes. “Stupid girl, stupid heart,” right? I love writing Pietr through Jess's eyes because we always color the ones we love. Let's be frank--no one has an accurate read on Pietr in this series because we never see through Pietr’s eyes. So that’s definitely been fun. But I'm going to say I like writing Max the most. He was going to simply be my cardboard sexy boy but he kept stepping into the spotlight, demanding to be a bigger part of the story. And that meant he had to grow up and become a serious character. What I didn’t expect was that the serious character would grow into a hero in his own right. I think I like that the best, really, when your own character surprises you with their growth.




Is there anything you can tell readers about what to expect with Rivals and Retributions?


Rivals and Retributions, or, as I call it, R&R, is anything but rest and relaxation. Everything finally breaks loose and comes to a head. It’s a big serving of hell, havoc and heartache... Well, maybe not exactly — as we know from my titles I am a sucker for alliteration. In all seriousness, R&R is going to bring an end and a new beginning for these characters. Some of them won’t survive this series and none of them will remain unchanged. The final book in the series will wrap things up. The cure will be dealt with, the food issue at the school, Derek... And the trouble that erupts in Destiny and Deception will come to a head and be resolved. 




Are you planning on writing another book/series after the 13 To Life?


Ohhh, yes. My editor (the fantabulous Michael Homler of St. Martin’s Press) says I’m allowed to say a little about this... I just signed a contract for a brand new YA trilogy. I can say there will be romance, paranormal powers and some definitely dangerous moments. Lots of action. I can hint that I’ve been influenced lightly by a character in the musical Wicked, Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” video (yes, that specific), that song “99 Luftballons”/“99 Red Balloons” by Nena, Neil Gaiman’s work, Orson Scott Card’s work, meteorology, the song “Battlefield” by Just a Memory, and the songs “Somehow” and “Antidote” by Autumn Fire and the song “Battle Raven” by the Crimson Pirates. AND I can say that the book trailers for this trilogy will be epic. I am SO excited!




Were there any television shows, films, songs, or books that helped fuel your creativity and inspiration while working on the 13 to Life series? 


For television: I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I think a bit of my snark comes from that (Amy and Buffy would’ve gotten along well, I think). I also enjoy watching Supernatural. I hint at a few movies in the books that I love (or get a kick out of for one reason or another)... The Princess Bride, Blood and Chocolate, the Twilight saga and probably a few more. As far as music goes... I love music like a mad woman. I made playlists for all of my characters and some of the scenes and I hope that readers listen very broadly to music the same way I hope they read broadly. Because of the 80’s themed Homecoming Dance in 13 to Life I listened to a lot of tunes from the 80’s while writing that book. If you want some wild music, check out the groups from the 80’s—I love them. Basically any group I mention or hint at, I really suggest you check out. As far as books that fueled my creativity for this series, check out Montague Summer’s The Werewolf in Lore and Legend and read the old “lay” (poetic story) “Bisclavret.”




Are there any Destiny & Deception contests our readers should know about and enter?


If readers find and follow me on Facebook and Twitter they can be assured of knowing about contests as soon as the contest mood strikes me. I do contests a bit randomly—often on a Friday the 13th or a day I get good news...




Which books or authors have inspired your craft?


Anne McCaffrey, Orson Scott Card, Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Ann Aguirre and far too many more to mention. They are (were, in McCaffrey’s case) all talented authors and all very unique individuals.




At what moment did you realize you wanted to be an author?


Great question. I think I always wanted to be a writer—to express myself with words—but an author... There are days I grind my teeth looking over 1st pass pages and I still don’t know if I want to be an author (they have real responsibilities). The first time I thought about being an author was in 8th grade. But that year I also contemplated being a vet, a firefighter and a forest ranger.




What book would we find on your bedside table right now?


Oh. I should really say something clever and name a deeply philosophical title that would make Pietr proud, but honestly it’s Clockwork Angel and (an all-time favorite) The Letters of Abelard and Heloise.




How much research did you have to do for the 13 to Life series? What was the craziest search term you typed while researching online?


I actually did a bunch of research for this series, but most of it was from older books. Unfortunately I didn’t have any really crazy search terms but this question makes me wish I did...




What is your go-to writing snack/beverage?


Beverage? Nescafe Frape from a local coffee shop called Capresso. It’s dangerously caffeinated and darkly flavorful. They also do a lovely Tiger Chai. But I have those two drinks too rarely. Most often I drink a standard coffee. For a snack, my brother’s gotten me addicted to Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds. 




Where can our readers go to learn more about Destiny & Deception?


To your local bookstore! Buy a copy! Seriously, though, readers can learn more at my Facebook fan page or personal page—go ahead, Friend me!—or through my website ShannonDelany.com.




So, what's next for Shannon Delany?


What’s next? 1st pass pages of Rivals and Retributions arrive shortly so I swing into perfectionist mode, then I need to complete a co-authored short story with singer/songwriter Max Scialdone for a Month 9 Books anthology coming out October 16 of this year and then, then... I dive into a new world for a new trilogy that I am amazingly excited about having the opportunity to write.




Last but not least, what has been your biggest SQUEE! moment since becoming a published author?


Wow. There have been a few... Knowing I was a YALSA Teen Top Ten pick, having the books picked up by foreign countries, being selected to speak at RT and RWA, finding out St. Martin’s Press wanted more books in the 13 to Life series, getting my amazing agent Richard Curtis, seeing the awesome book covers by Ervin Serrano, being asked to blurb awesome books for other authors, being invited to participate in anthologies and charities, getting my first royalty check... But now, the biggest is knowing I’m getting the opportunity to write a totally different series and build a brand new world. THAT’s exciting!





Thanks so much for being here, Shannon! And we're super excited for your new series as well.
 
For more info on Shannon Delany and her books, visit these sites:
13 to Life Facebook Page
Shannon's Website

The Iron Knight: Q&A with Julie Kagawa

Thanks to Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron Fey Series, for stopping by YABC to answer a few questions about her newest book, The Iron Knight!




Why did you decide to do The Iron Knight from Ash's point of view?

Well, Meghan’s story had come to an end in The Iron Queen. I had a very specific character arc in mind for Meghan when starting this series; she had to learn to accept responsibility and act for the good of all, even at great cost.  And she did.  Her story was done, so it was up to Ash to continue the tale, to figure out how far he is willing to go to be with the one he loves.

 

What is your writing space like?

I have an office, with a desk in front of a window so I can see out. Unfortunately, the window faces the rising sun, so the blinds are usually drawn because the sun blinds me, lol. My desk has my laptop on it, several books stacked and scattered about at random, and a constant supply of empty soda cans everywhere. Caffeine, I can’t live without it.

 

Being that The Iron Knight is written from Ash’s point of view, was it easier or harder to switch over and tell his story?

It was a little harder, initially.  I knew Meghan; after three books I knew her voice and her personality and her quirks.  It was difficult with Ash, because he was such a guarded character, and he never was really chatty.  And because he’s lived such a long time, and is an Unseelie fey, he’s done some things in his life that might change how some people view him.  It was actually kind of scary putting his story out there; what will people think now that they know the real Ash?  But I wrote his story as honestly as I could, and I hope they will come to love the Winter Prince as much as I do.

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