Blog Tour- The Accident Season Interview with Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Accident Season-socialassetsYou might have seen my review last month for The Accident Season and seen how much I enjoyed this story because of the strong characters, inventive plot and magical realism. I was completely entranced from the first chapter and I’m honored to have the author, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, here today to answer some of my questions.

About the Book

TheAccidentSeasonCoverThe Accident Season
By: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Release Date: August 18th 2015
Publisher:  Kathy Dawson Books

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

Interview

One of my favorite aspects of The Accident Season was the eerie atmosphere and haunting scenes you created (especially with the things that happen at the tree by the river). How did you come up with these creepy ideas? Did you pull from any folklore, dreams, etc?
A lot of the clearing-by-the-river details were poached from a short novel I wrote when I was sixteen, which had a character that ended up being a sort of precursor to Elsie. That story was actually a good bit darker than The Accident Season, so clearly I’ve always been a fan of eerie scenes. Also it’s funny you should mention dreams because the frozen river scene is something that almost happened to me, or that happened in a dream, or a daydream, or not at all (dreams and reality tend to intermingle a lot for me). It was the middle of a heatwave some years ago and I walking down to a lake by my grandparents’ house that I’d walked on when it was frozen over the previous winter. Something about the heat haze and the afternoon light made me think it was frozen that day too. It made me wonder a lot about time overlapping and ask myself what memories could get trapped under ice. Which is why something like that made its way into the book – and of course the water is so important for Cara and her family, and I loved the idea that the river itself could become something far more unexpected than just a river.

For me, I never exactly knew what was real and what was not which made my reading experience that much more incredible. Do you intend for the reader to be left in the dark for portions and to rely on their own conclusions about some of the events?
That was one of the most important things for me: letting the reader do most of the work. Whether it’s magic or madness, curse or coincidence depends entirely on the person reading the book, and I love so much hearing from people who are convinced I wrote it to be clear one way or the other. It means I’ve done what I set out to do, so thank you!

Your characters suffer from physical ailments during their ‘accident season’ a month once a year where the members of the family are more vulnerable to physical harm. This was something I’ve never read before and I loved it! Did anything in particular spur the idea?
I’m a pretty accident-prone person (I’ve broken five bones since I was seventeen – to say nothing of sprains and bumps and bruises) so that must have influenced the idea, although to be perfectly honest the concept of the accident season kind of just came out when I sat down to write.

Was there a certain character you found easiest to write or relate to?
I found Bea easiest to write because she’s the least secretive of the characters, and so reveals herself quite easily. For all her eccentricities she’s a fairly straight-forward kind of person. I think Alice was the trickiest because I wanted to be very subtle and stay true to her character while still filtering her entire personality through Cara’s arguably biased point of view. I suppose I find Cara easiest to relate to, but that’s not completely fair to the other characters, because after all I did give Cara the narrative voice.

I desperately want to read more from you can you give us any hints to what are you working on now?
Oh, thank you! I’m working on my second novel now, which is another stand-alone set in the west of Ireland. It’s about lost things in the same way that this one is about accidents – which is to say that they feature but ultimately aren’t entirely what it’s all about.

Thank you so much Moïra!

Blog Tour- A Book of Spirit & Thieves Interview + Giveaway

BookofSpiritnThieves-blogtour

With Morgan Rhodes latest, A Book of Spirits and Thieves, she brings the magic of Mytica into our present day world. We follow the story through two modern points of view as well as one from Mytica, 1000 years prior to the events of the Falling Kingdoms series. Not only was it incredibly interesting to incorporate a modern element into this well known and loved fantasy series it also gave me further insight into Mytica prior to what we’ve already read.

Interview

After reading ABoSaT I felt that even new readers would be able to jump in and read it prior to the Falling Kingdoms series. Was it difficult for you to make it tie into the original series so well yet be assessable for new readers?
Thanks! I must give credit to my editor for this. Originally, I had imagined the “fantasy world” in ABOSAT to be that of King Arthur. Then my editor said “what if it’s Mytica?” And – BAM – the exact way to tie the two series together, yet still keep them separate, came to me; a way to bring more clarity to the myths and legends told in Falling Kingdoms by seeing these legends play out on the page, yet not infringe on the plot and characters in the original series.

I absolutely loved seeing bits of Mytica brought into a modern setting. What benefits or struggles did you face in overlapping the worlds?
My main challenge when writing ABOSAT’s “modern day” chapters was to keep it from coming off like a cheesy “door to another world” story where anyone could use this magic to travel to Mytica and check things out. I knew the rules for this magic had to be very specific. I did know from the beginning how I wanted everything to tie together in the end, but unraveling the method to get to that end was the challenge. I tend to write complicated mythology and I wanted to make this as clean and simple as possible.

For this book you’ve introduced a wonderful group of characters: Maddox, Farrell and Crys, each had chapters told from their point of view. Of the new characters who was the most difficult to write?
Surprisingly, to me, the most difficult character to write was Crys. As a modern-day teen who discovers dangerous secrets that exist all around her, I struggled to keep her from being an character who just learns information for the benefit of the reader. I ended up writing her chapters in first person to really get deeper into her head, then I rewrote them in third to match the other characters. Maddox was a character who was easy to write – it’s like he always existed for me. And Farrell… well, it’s always fun to write the bad boy. ;)

Farrell and his family are involved with a secret society – did you do any research to help aid you in creating a realistic depiction to what that might be like?
I did lots of online research about secret societies, such as the Illuminati, the Freemasons, Skull and Bones, and others. I also tried to steer away from expected/clichéd secret society behavior as seen in movies and TV shows when it came to their meeting place and society motivations.

I’m so excited that the ending of ABoSaT allows for more books with these characters. How many have you planned for? What can we expect next?
I’m excited too!! There are three books planned and I’m currently writing book two, which will be out next June. In book two, Becca’s POV is added to the mix, and we will also meet a dangerous, magical character who could control the fate of both our world and that of Mytica. Also, both “spirits” and “thieves” continue to play a very large role in this series in new ways!

About the Book

A Book of Spirits and Thieves Cover

A Book of Spirits and Thieves releases today from Razorbill

Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.

Giveaway (US)

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Visit the Other Tour Stops

The Social Potato– 22nd June (Review)
My Friends Are Fiction– 23rd June (Interview)
Vi3tbabe– 24th June (Review)
Two Chicks on Books- 25th June (Would You Rather)
Effortlessly Reading– 26th June (Book Playlist)
A Dream Within A Dream– 29th June (Guest Post)
SciFiChick.com– 30th June (Giveaway)
Bookiemoji– 1st July (Interview)
Dark Faerie Tales– 2nd July (Review)
Young Adult Hollywood– 3rd July (Top 10 YA Boyfriends)
Alice Marvels– 6th July (Review)
The Fandom– 7th July (Interview)
Icey Books– 8th July (Guest Post)
Once Upon a Twilight– 9th July (Interview)
Chapter By Chapter– 10th July (Review)

Extras

  • Interview with Morgan Rhodes about the Falling Kingdoms Series
  • Review of Falling Kingdoms book 1
  • Review of Rebel Springs book 2

Blog Tour: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey- Interview

Melissa Grey’s debut novel The Girl at Midnight released a couple of weeks ago and has been widely anticipated and buzzed about.  I’ve had the joy of reading it already and found it to be such a fun read with so many elements I adore in urban fantasy.

Beyond Melissa’s talent for writing she is also an incredibly skilled artist- she creates the most beautiful nail art inspired by books. I had the pleasure of asking her about her book as well as her art.

About the Book

GirlatMidnightCoverBeneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

Available now from Delacorte Press

Interview

Thank you Melissa for taking the time to answer my questions.

In The Girl at Midnight magic is present in the everyday world though just out of the reach of most people. This gives the reader the feeling that if they look close enough they might glimpse some magic in their own lives. Do you search your life to see little bits of magic and have you always been drawn to fantasy in general?
Fantasy has always been my jam, ever since I was a little kid being read bedtime stories about fairies and wizards and trolls that lived under bridges. I don’t think I’ve ever been content with the world we live in, the real world, so creating new and exciting worlds with fantastical elements has always had great appeal to me. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I do think there’s magic to be found in the everyday world (how you want to define magic is up to you!) if only we stop to look for it.

Your main character, Echo, was such a delight to read about. I loved that she had made her home in a library and surrounded herself with books. Though my life differs greatly from Echo’s I still found her to be very relatable. Which character was easiest for you to write and/or relate to?
As much as I see bits and pieces of myself in Echo (her love of books, her appreciation of food, her use of humor as a defense mechanism), I have to say the easiest character for me to write was Dorian. He’s just so Over It, you know? He’s tired of dealing with everyone’s crap and harboring inconvenient emotions that he just can’t shake, but under all the layers of curmudgeon, he’s actually pretty squishy. He’s more sensitive than he appears though he tries very hard to hide it. I definitely know what that’s like.

I loved that you created a world with dragon people (Drakharin) and bird people (Avicen). Could you tell us a little about each and which you are more drawn to yourself (if you could even choose between the two)
The Avicen have feathers for hair and they live beneath the streets of New York. They’ve been around longer than human beings have and they’re too stubborn to leave their home, even if cohabitating with humans drives them to live in secrecy. They’re a vibrant people, who believe in community over the needs of individuals. This is reflected in the structure of their society, where everyone has a role (Ivy is a healer, Rowan is in the military, the Ala is a seer) based on their strengths and their government which is run by a Council of Avicen elders. They don’t think power should reside with a single person because people are inherently flawed.

The Drakharin (who have scales the way humans have freckles which are faint and iridescent against the skin), on the other hand, have a more traditional power structure in some ways. They have a nobility that comes together to elect their monarch (kind of like the way Polish kings were chosen before that monarchy went kaput), who goes by the title of Dragon Prince. Qualities that are prized in Dragons Princes are strength, first and foremost, with wisdom and cunning close behind. Their use of the word Prince instead of King is important on a few levels. They don’t have a word for princess in their language (Drakhar) so anyone can be a Prince regardless of gender and “prince” implies that the position can be fleeting. Kings might cling to power with absolute authority, but prince implies something more ephemeral. It’s a title that be bestowed but also taken away if they find you undeserving of it.

In TGaM Echo can travel quickly between locations with the use of magic- this allows you and the reader to venture many places within your book. You did a wonderful job changing the atmosphere of each of these settings and really made each feel like a different place. Have you done a good amount of traveling to draw inspiration from or did you pull from research?
The book is pretty much a love letter to all the places I’ve been, even the not so nice ones (like the desolate train station in Appenweier, Germany when Echo and her friends head to the Black Forest). I’ve lived in Japan, England, and France, so I had to throw Kyoto, Paris, and London in there. I combined my own experiences with research to make sure I got things right (memory is a funny thing sometimes). I hadn’t been to Scotland when I wrote the book, but I modeled the Drakharin stronghold after a place that already exists — Eilean Donan Castle – so I relied on travel blogs and firsthand accounts from friends for that. The only place I haven’t personally visited (yet) is Taiwan, but that’s where Google street view comes in handy.

Can you give us any hints about the sequel to TGaM?
I can tell you that it’s called The Shadow Hour and it deals with the consequences of what happens at the end of Book One. Echo’s personal journey is only getting started in The Girl at Midnight, and I plan on putting her and her friends through the ringer before everything is said and done.

Those that follow you on Twitter (if not you really should be) have seen your beautiful nail-art creations. Can you tell us about how you got started doing this and share a few of your personal favorites?
Procrastination is the mother of invention. Seriously. I got bored one day and didn’t feel like doing the work I was supposed to be doing so I started painting my nails to look like the nearest book, which if I remember correctly, was The Ring and the Crown by Melissa da la Cruz.

I had a great time doing the character manicures for The Girl at Midnight and the video tutorial for nail art inspired by the cover. I think my favorite designs for books I haven’t written are the ones I did for Rainbow Rowell’s Landline and Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap .

If you’ve not visited her Tumblr for nail-art you must do so (right now).

Giveaway

Thank you to Random House for providing a book for giveaway. U.S. only

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Interview- Renee Ahdieh author of The Wrath & the Dawn + Giveaway (INT)

9780399171611_large_The_Wrath_and_the_Dawn Renee

I recently had the pleasure of reading an early copy of The Wrath & the Dawn and I instantly fell in love with not only Ahdieh’s beautiful prose but also the sweeping scenery, characters and pacing. This book became an instant favorite for me and I’m delighted to have the honor of asking Renee some questions.

Interview

One of the reasons I was drawn to your novel was because of the reference to A Thousand and One Nights in the summary. I loved that you incorporated aspects of this folk tale into your own story and used a similar structure to frame your own. Was there any specific reason you chose the Middle East and A Thousand and One Nights for TW&TD?
I have to be careful when answering this question because sometimes I feel its answer could be a book in and of itself. My husband is Persian, and the first time he took me to visit his family, I saw this gorgeous tapestry hanging on the wall of their living room. At a distance, it looked like a hundred different vignettes strung together at random. When I asked his mother what it was, she told me it was tales from A Thousand and One Nights. Eventually, this inspired me to consider what it would be like to write a YA version of the tale of Scheherazade. I’m also a child of mixed-race, so I’ve always been fascinated with different worlds. I think all of these things along with many others contributed to what eventually brought about the book

You were able to give lush, vibrant descriptions of the scenery that made me feel that I was there. Have you traveled to this area of the world? If not, what resources did you use to help transport your reader?
Thank you so much for saying so! I’ve been to India several times, and I traveled through Greece and Egypt. Many of the things I saw and experienced served as inspiration for certain scenes in the book. I also watched several documentaries and read a lot of poetry and literature from the region, as well as had lengthy discussion with family members who lived in the Middle East for many years. I think it’s so important to make novels an immersive experience, both for the reader and the writer.

Since your novel has historical and folklore elements I imagine there was a good amount of research involved. What was the oddest or most interesting thing you learned?
Oh, lord. I think the day I learned about ancient Egyptian surgical procedures was a pretty fascinating/horrifying day. Also any research that goes into detail about old school waste disposal. That’s always fun ;-)

Your main character is a heroine to root for. Shazi is strong willed, cunning and incredibly likeable. In writing TW&TD did the characters or the storyline come first?
Thank you again! For me, character always comes first. I can read a book about two people stuck in an elevator for three hours if I find them to be compelling. Whenever I’m drafting, I begin with character sketches. These sketches usually detail specific traits I’d like a character to embody. From these, I craft scenes that, hopefully, convey those character traits.

Did any of your characters take on a life of their own and go off the original path you had set for them?
Hmmmm. The fun answer would be yes. But no. I’m a crazy plotter and a big control freak. One of those nutjobs prone to make lists about every inane detail. Seriously you can ask my agent. Her nickname for me is Crazypants. That being said, there were definitely moments characters said things that surprised me. But I always know what I plan to write when I sit down.

My favorite type of character is one with secrets that aren’t instantly revealed and straddles the line between good and evil, which you accomplished beautifully. Do you have a specific method for creating your characters and their personalities?
Thank you so much! I think I inadvertently started to answer this question above and then deleted some of it because I saw this one. What can I say; your questions are all so great and thought provoking! I usually start with a character’s name. I write it on a sheet of paper and create a web around his/her name with character traits, physical features, anything I think might be of relevance to that specific character. Sometimes I’ll write a short story from that character’s perspective just to establish voice.

Do you use music to help set the tone as you write? If so, what are a few songs that express the feel of your book?
Music is of absolute necessity when I write. The sound of silence drives me batty. Usually I’ll have a playlist on low, running on repeat. If other people are around me, I’ll put on noise-canceling headphones (see above re: control freak/Crazypants). I love all kinds of music, but I’m partial to anything by Explosions in the Sky, M83, Radiohead, Sevenlions, Bassnectar, Gemini, AWOLNATION, Massive Attack, Metallica, any of Stravinsky’s ballets, John Coltrane . . . I mean this list could get exhaustive.

Are you actively working on anything right now? Can you tell us anything about it?
I’m working on edits for the sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn, tentatively titled The Rose and the Dagger.

Thank you so much Renee!
Thank YOU, Kristen!! J

About the Book

9780399171611_large_The_Wrath_and_the_DawnEvery dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

The Wrath & the Dawn releases May 12th 2015 by Putnam Juvenile

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Extras

Interview- Sabaa Tahir author of An Ember in the Ashes + Giveaway (INT)

I recently had the good fortune to read the upcoming novel, An Ember in the Ashes. This book lived up to all my expectations and still, weeks later, haunts my thoughts. It has become a favorite and I’m honored to be featuring an interview with the author, Sabaa Tahir.

About the Book

EmberCoverSet in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Thank you for joining us!
I’m so excited to be here!

About An Ember in the Ashes:

The summary for your book compares your setting to a “brutal Rome-like world.” Did you do a lot of historical research to help build up your world?
Research was my favorite way of procrastinating. (Which is way nerdy, but that’s the truth.) I spent a ton of time researching slavery, both in the U.S. and in ancient Rome, as well as the system of social stratification in the Roman Empire. I also agonized over names—every character name in the book has deeper meaning. I made this massive list with etymologies and meanings and notes, and drew from it constantly.  I researched military schools too, and conducted interviews with soldiers and police officers to get a sense of what it’s like to be a warrior.

What came first the story or the characters?
The characters. Laia and her brother, Darin, were first. Their friendship and closeness came out of my friendship with my own two brothers. After Laia, I thought up one of the villains—the Nightbringer. Elias came next, and with him, Helene, the Commandant and the world of Blackcliff Military Academy.

I’m not a writer but I always imagine that characters often times take on a life of their own and demand to be written in a certain way. Was this true for Elias or Laia?
Such an astute point and yes, it was true for Laia. She started off as more of a rebellious heroine, and given her background, it just didn’t fit. I had to take into account her entire history and then reimagine how she would actually respond to the early events of the book.

I was awestruck with the depth you were able to give all your characters and their world—how long have you been dreaming up AEitA?       
I worked on the AEitA for 6 years. :)

Is there anything particular you’d like your readers to take away from reading your work?
Recently, someone who read an early galley of EMBER wrote me an email. She said: “I love that Elias and Laia have hope, even when everything is going wrong.” That’s it, right there. That’s what I want readers to take away—this idea that hope can fuel us, even in the darkest moments of our lives. I’d argue that those moments are when having hope is the most important—because it’s hope that carries us through.

Your writing process

AEitA is impeccably written with beautiful prose and well-rounded characters have you written any unpublished works prior to this book?
I’ve been writing since I was a little girl—angsty journals, short stories, bad poetry. But unless you count my fourth-grade opus about a birthday party—this is my first novel.

Please tell us that this will be a series? You left this first book off with so many possibilities of a follow-up (or few). If you do choose to write another do you already know where the story would go?
I’d love for it to be a series, because I have my characters’ whole lives planned out, but right now it’s a standalone. I’m hoping that readers will ask for more, though, and that Penguin (who is publishing the book) will want more, too!

When writing do you listen to music? If so can you tell us a couple of songs that you’d call your AEitA soundtrack?
I can’t write without music! I actually have an AEiaA playlist that’s a couple of hundred songs long. But if I *had* to pick only three songs (I know you said a couple, but I can’t bring myself to omit a single one of these), they would be:

Questions about An Ember in the Ashes Film Adaptation

It has been announced that the rights for AEitA have been purchased by Paramount. Did you ever dream it could possibly be a film while writing?
Oh my goodness, never. It blew me away when Paramount optioned the book. I sort of try not to think about it because it’s too exciting to imagine EMBER on the big screen!

Look for An Ember in the Ashes April 28th 2015 by Razorbill

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