Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Spotlight on Kristin Halbrook!

Hello all! I hope you are all enjoying the awesome blog tour that’s been going on for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, dosage which is going on THIS Saturday! Don’t forget to head on down because its going to be amazing. And if you can’t make it to the event, case stick around, learn a little about the amazing Kristin Halbrook, and enter our giveaway!

But first, some reminders of the details of this epic event.

GraphicOne

When:

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

9:30 am to 5 pm

Where:

Colony High School Branch Library
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 22nd – Spotlight on Andrew SmithWhat A Nerd Girl Says

February 23rd – Spotlight on Alexandra MonirThe Consummate Reader

February 24th – Spotlight on April TucholkeAdventures of a Book Junkie

February 25th – Spotlight on Alexis BassA Traveling Book

February 26th – Spotlight on Marissa MeyerRead Now Sleep Later

February 27th – Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth SantanaMovies, Shows and Books

February 28th – Spotlight on Robin ReulRecently Acquired Obsessions

February 29th – Spotlight on Katherine KottarasiFandoms Collide

March 1st – Spotlight on Stephanie DiazMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 2nd – Spotlight on Virginia BoeckerThe Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd – Spotlight on Mary McCoyBook You Very Much

March 4th – Spotlight on Brad GottfredSeeking Bazinga

March 5th – Spotlight on Michelle LevyMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 6th – Spotlight on Elana K ArnoldRead Now Sleep Later

March 7th – Spotlight on Kristin HalbrookWhat A Nerd Girl Says

March 8th – Spotlight on Jessica BrodyThe Windy Pages

March 9th – Spotlight on Nicole MaggiNite Lite Book Reviews

March 10th – Spotlight on Jay AsherA Bookish Escape

*****

Today’s Spotlight Features:

Kristin Halbrook

Taken from her website: When I was little, I wanted to be a writer, the President of the USA or the first female NFL quarterback. Despite being able to throw a wicked spiral, I didn’t really grow to the size needed for the NFL. Then, as I got older and studied more, I came to realize there were better ways to effect positive change than becoming president. The first one, however, stuck. Even when I was pursuing other dreams, I always took time to write here and there.

When I’m not writing or reading (which is what I do all day, in all of my work), I’m spending time with three pixies, my Mad Scot soulmate, and one grumpy cocker spaniel; traveling across oceans and time; cooking and baking up a storm; and watching waves crash and suns set on the beach. I currently live, love and explore in The Emerald City, though I occasionally make wispy, dream-like plans to move to Paris or a Scottish castle one day (if just temporarily).

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

Her Books

Kristin is the author of a couple amazing contemporary YA novels, but her most recent release, Every Last Promise, will be featured today!

Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn’t supposed to. But she hasn’t told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla’s coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.

Find His Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

*****

The Interview

*****

Nerd Girl: Give us a short pitch of your most recent novel

Kristin: At a party, Kayla Martin saw something terrible she wasn’t supposed to see. Now, she needs to decide to either stay silent, and be able to remain in the home she loves, or speak up and lose everything she has.

Nerd Girl: What is something you’ve learned about writing since becoming a published author?

Kristin: Everything takes times. A lot of time. Writing a novel, editing a novel, the whole publishing process. But that time isn’t a bad thing; novels become better when they’ve had time to rest, when the author has had time to rest. Coming back to a project after a period away brings freshness and clarity that can be lost when focus in incessant. The book will wait while you live your life!

Nerd Girl: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Kristin: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” That’s a (summarized) quote by Anton Chekhov. I didn’t receive it personally, of course, but it’s been a guide to me throughout my entire career as a writer. I think the quote holds a double punch; it’s phrased beautifully, showing the power of each word in a sentence, and it’s giving great show-don’t-tell advice.

Nerd Girl: What is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teenager?

Kristin: Sitting in a garage at night with friends, listening to someone strumming the guitar against the sound of rain on the rooftop, arguing about nothing in particular or cuddling with partners, or eating and drinking. Or all of the above.

Nerd Girl: Your book Every Last Promise tackles the very serious and very relevant issue of sexual assault and speaking up about it. Why did you write about this?

Kristin: All of my fiction tackles topics that are personally important to me, whether because I or someone dear to me experienced them, or because they are (unfortunately, too) prominent in the various segments of our national and/or world culture. A large number of small town sexual assaults were in the headlines as I was writing and revising Every Last Promise, and I started to wonder about the people in those towns: what they were thinking and feeling, whether they supported the victim, how hard it must have been for the victim to stand up against their very small, local culture. That last question, especially, was one I wanted to explore. Victims are silent for a variety of reasons, and understanding those reasons makes us all better advocates for those who need us.

Nerd Girl: Who have been some of your biggest influences?

Kristin: Melina Marchetta, Stephanie Kuehnert, and Meg Rosoff were three of the YA authors I read early in my writing career who taught me that yes, I can write YA. I have a story to tell. I can tell this contemporary, realistic tale with literary language and it will find a home. But all the influences that led up to me becoming a writer and writing the way I do would fill a book on their own! I’ve been a ready pretty much forever, and every book influenced me, somehow.

Nerd Girl: Who are some of your favorite authors to read?

Kristin: Again, there are so many! I’m currently on an adult women’s upmarket fiction kick, so I’m really into Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn. But I also love coming across a gorgeous YA contemporary, or a sweeping YA fantasy, especially if it’s based in an ethnically diverse setting. I recently enjoyed The Smell of Other People’s Houses and I’m really looking forward to reading The Star-Touched Queen, out next month.

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment with an author or celebrity?

Kristin: Not really, but I recently dreamed that James McAvoy bought all my daughters’ Girl Scout cookies and I was fangirling on him pretty hard, there. Both for just being James McAvoy, but also for taking all those boxes of cookies off my hands.

Nerd Girl: Who is your fictional crush?

Kristin: Lately, I’ve been devouring books about terrible people, hee, so haven’t crushed on anyone in a long time, but I’ve always loved Gilbert Blythe. Oh, and Jonah from Jellicoe Road.

Nerd Girl: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

Kristin: Thanks so much for having me. I’m really looking forward to the Ontario Teen Book Fest; it will be a blast!

*****

The Giveaway!

*****

One winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Spotlight on Andrew Smith

I am so pleased to, visit web yet again, approved bring the official Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour to What A Nerd Girl Says and other amazing Southern California bloggers! This event is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m sure this one is going to be just as great, even not better, than previous years!

When:

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

9:30 am to 5 pm

Where:

Colony High School Branch Library
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 22nd – Spotlight on Andrew SmithWhat A Nerd Girl Says

February 23rd – Spotlight on Alexandra MonirThe Consummate Reader

February 24th – Spotlight on April TucholkeAdventures of a Book Junkie

February 25th – Spotlight on Alexis BassA Traveling Book

February 26th – Spotlight on Marissa MeyerRead Now Sleep Later

February 27th – Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth SantanaMovies, Shows and Books

February 28th – Spotlight on Robin ReulRecently Acquired Obsessions

February 29th – Spotlight on Katherine KottarasiFandoms Collide

March 1st – Spotlight on Stephanie DiazMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 2nd – Spotlight on Virginia BoeckerThe Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd – Spotlight on Mary McCoyBook You Very Much

March 4th – Spotlight on Brad GottfredSeeking Bazinga

March 5th – Spotlight on Michelle LevyMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 6th – Spotlight on Elana K ArnoldRead Now Sleep Later

March 7th – Spotlight on Kristin HalbrookWhat A Nerd Girl Says

March 8th – Spotlight on Jessica BrodyThe Windy Pages

March 9th – Spotlight on Nicole MaggiNite Lite Book Reviews

March 10th – Spotlight on Jay AsherA Bookish Escape

****

Today’s Spotlight Is:

ANDREW SMITH 

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Grasshopper Jungle (2015 Michael L. Printz Honor, 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Carnegie Medal Longlist) and Winger. He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. The Alex Crow, a starred novel by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, is his ninth novel. He lives in Southern California.

His Website / His Facebook / His GoodReads / His Twitter / His Instagram

His Books

There are actually so many that he’s written, and all of them are absolutely fabulous. I encourage you to follow him on GoodReads and add ALL of the books. However, I am spotlighting Stand-Off since its his most recent release :)

It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.

Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?

Find His Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

*****

The Interview

*****

Nerd Girl: Tell us about your current work in progress. What can we expect from you in the future? 

Andrew: I just submitted a novel to my editor, and I’m not really allowed to give specific details about it at this time, but I can say it’s a crazy speculative futuristic space opera-ish kind of thing. With a giraffe in it. I put the giraffe character in the book as a nod to my friend Jandy Nelson.

 

Nerd Girl: Your most recent release is STAND OFF, the sequel to Winger: what made you decide to continue Ryan Dean’s story?

 

Andrew: Probably it was pressure from readers. I still get emails every day from people of all ages, all over the world, about WINGER. Also, I really missed those characters, and writing STAND-OFF was so fun.

 

Nerd Girl: Ryan Dean struggles a lot with anxiety and PTSD in the second book in STAND OFF, after what he experienced in WINGER. As someone who struggles with similar mental issues, it felt very realistic and relatable. Was it hard to write him with this change in his personality, and did you have to do any research in order to write it the way you did?

 

Andrew: Ha ha! Been there, done that, too. Also, I never actually used terms like PTSD or anxiety in the book, I only wanted to key in on the feelings Ryan Dean was going through, and I think that made those experiences more relatable on a broad level for readers.

Nerd Girl: What is your writing process like? How do you balance writing full length novels with working your job as a teacher? How do you keep yourself motivated?

 

Andrew: Whenever I teach writers, I stress that self-discipline is an invisible but perhaps most important ingredient in what we produce. It’s easy to talk about craft, mechanics, and technique, but if you don’t get off your butt and hit the keyboard, absolutely none of that matters. It’s very difficult at times, and time exists in finite quantities, so you just have to make sure what you’re doing is going to get you where you most want to be. But as far as my personal writing is concerned, I motivate myself by building puzzles into my stories, and by always trying to do something I’ve never tried, and something that nobody else is doing. At least, I try.

 

Nerd Girl: Seeing as this is a teen book fest, I’d like to ask what were some of your favorite books as a teenager? Also, what are some of your favorite current teen reads?

 

Andrew: I read a wide range of thick, weird books when I was a teen. I remember reading–on my own–books like MOBY DICK by Herman Melville, THE IDIOT by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov.

Current YA that I’ve enjoyed (and I hope you know my favorite author is A.S. King, so I’ll spare you the expected list of all her titles): THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER by Tim Federle and THE MEMORY OF THINGS by Gae Polisner. But I don’t think those are out yet.

 

Nerd Girl: What is one thing you learned about writing that you didn’t learn until after you got published?

 

Andrew: Like most people who get published, I didn’t know ANYTHING about the publishing industry when I got published. But, as far as writing goes, I think that working with the amazing editors I’ve had the opportunity to work with has taught me to recognize some of the common mistakes that young writers make in terms of craft, and this has definitely helped me to be a better, more efficient, writer.

 

Nerd Girl: You get the phone call that you’re getting published: what is your reaction? How did you celebrate?

 

Andrew: I kind of passed out, I think. And nobody in my family knew I’d been writing all those years. So I took my wife and kids out to dinner and told them what was going to happen.

 

Nerd Girl: You’ve often said that you don’t necessarily write books FOR teens but ABOUT teens…so why did you choose to write about teens? And why do you think its important to make the point that your books aren’t necessarily just for teens?
Andrew: Some of my favorite books ever have adolescent protagonists: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain, ‘SALEM’S LOT by Stephen King, and Cormac McCarthy’s ALL THE PRETTY HORSES and THE CROSSING. I’ve always liked writing about the adolescent experience for two main reasons: First, adolescence is universal; it’s something we’ve all gone through, and second, I think we all look back on our teenage years as being some of the most significant, shaping years in our lives; times we tend to think about every day.

 

Nerd Girl: What is one of your favorite moments from when you were a teen?
Andrew: Stealing my dad’s car, ditching school, and driving to the beach.

 

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush?
Andrew: Oh gosh. I’d have to say Buffalo Bill from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

*****

The Giveaway!

One winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

Pasadena Loves YA: Spotlight on Morgan Matson + Giveaway!

Hello everyone! And welcome to my spotlight in the Pasadena Loves YA blog tour on the wonderful and amazing Morgan Matson!

I am INCREDIBLY excited about this event and am honored to be hosting such a fantastic author today.

But before we get into that, help let’s find out more about this event!

plya_21_revised(1)

plya_square_2015(1)

When: 

May 23rd 2015 from 12pm to 4 pm

Where: 

Pasadena Public Library
285 East Walnut Street
Pasadena, click CA 91101

FREE EVENT! Giveaways and Refreshments! Free TOTE BAG to first 150 Guests! Make sure to share on Twitter, about it Facebook, Instagram using the hashtag #PLYA2015!

For most info, visit their website here.

Authors!

Keynote speaker Mary McCoy (author of Dead to Me) with Katie Alender, Victoria Aveyard, Alexis Bass, Julie Berry, Livia Blackburne, Virginia Boecker, Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky, Brandy Colbert, Ava Dellaira, Kody Keplinger, Liz Maccie, Morgan Matson, Lauren Miller, Alexandra Monir, Jennifer Niven, Romina Russell, Sarah Tomp, & Kiersten White

Book Sales

Provided by Vroman’s Bookstore, starting at 11 am! The event is also co-sponsored by Bridge to Books.

About Morgan Matson

d05a97b37bba3d40e3db934126215c15

Morgan fell in love with YA literature while working in Vroman’s Bookstore! Her first book, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, was inspired by her own road trips (and have inspired my friends and I to road trip as well!). She has written three novels with another on the way, and also writes under the pseudonym, Katie Finn. She lives in Los Angeles. All of her books take place during summer, which makes her perfect for this event!

Find Her At:

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / GoodReads

About Since You’ve Been Gone

Since You’ve Been Gone is Morgan’s most recent novel but make sure to check her debut novel, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, and her sophomore novel, Second Chance Summer. 

18189606

GoodReads Synopsis: The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.

Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a Stranger? Um…

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Wait … what?

The Interview: 

Nerd Girl: All of your books center on summer. What is it about summer that makes you want to set them during this time, both as Morgan and Katie? 

Morgan: I don’t know what it is exactly, but I certainly seem to keep returning to that time period, don’t I? I guess I like that there’s less structure during the summer — you don’t have the same school schedule, so you’re able to maybe have different experiences, maybe meet new friends, than you would during the school year. It also always seemed like there was the potential change in the summer in a way there isn’t in the school year.

Nerd Girl: What is your favorite part about summer? 

Morgan: I love it all! How long the days are, the weather, the feeling of possibility that seems to permeate every single summer.

Nerd Girl: Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on for the future? 

Morgan: I’m writing a book, as yet untitled, that’s coming out in 2016! I can’t say much about it yet. But rest assured, it’s also set in the summer! And then the conclusion of the Broken Hearts and Revenge trilogy, Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross, written as Katie Finn, comes out in summer 2016, as well.

Nerd Girl: What are three essential things you need for a good road trip? 

Morgan: Snacks, tunes, good road trip buddy

Nerd Girl: What are you currently binging on Netflix? 

Morgan: Just finished the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Loved it!

Nerd Girl: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received? 

Morgan: “You can’t fix a blank page”. Meaning, better to write something bad and make it better than to not write anything at all, trying to make it perfect.”

Thank you SO much Morgan for being a part of this spotlight and interview!

The Giveaway!

Any 3 Books from the Pasadena Loves YA authors!

The giveaway ends May 20th and is US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

Tune in next week for a spotlight on the super fabulous Lauren Miller!

LA Teen Book Fest Interview with Ned Vizzini

This weekend, cialis 40mg at the Los Angeles Central Branch Library, diagnosis teen librarian and soon to be published author, Mary McCoy is hosting a ton of fantastic YA authors for the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest, which I wrote about a few days ago. You can find out more information about the event here.

ikoafs_press_shot_Ned_Vizzini

One of the amazing authors that will be at this fest is Ned Vizzini. Ned is mostly known for his novel, Its Kind of a Funny Story, the story of a New York teen, Craig, who battles with depression. He’s also written the novels, Be More Chill and The Other Normals, both YA books. With Chris Columbus, he co-authors a children’s book series called The House of Secrets, the second of which will release in March.

Currently, Ned Vizzini is working on The House of Secrets, and as a TV writer, for a television show called, Believe, from JJ Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron, which will be premiering on TV in March.

Being able to interview Ned before meeting him on Saturday was a blast. It was my first over-the-phone interview, so I was a bit nervous but I think I did an exceptional job, and he was easy to talk to, and had great answers for my questions. Check it out.

Sara: Which book is harder to write: the first book, or the second? 

Ned: The second book was harder to write, although for me, the second book had a normal writing time. It usually takes me between one to two months to write a  book. I worked on one book for 22 months. It wasn’t good.

Sara: Does that go with the kind of writing advice you give to aspiring writers, then? 

Ned: Yeah. If it takes more than a year, its probably not good. If you’ve been spending more than a year on something, and there’s another idea, go for that one.

Sara: Where do you get your inspiration from? 

Ned: From being observant. If I observe something, fifty thousand other people have observed it too.

OtherNormals_jkt_c

Sara: I’m about halfway through Its Kind of a Funny Story, I haven’t finished it yet, but I know that it focuses on Craig and his depression. Why did you choose to focus on that? 

Ned: I went through a difficult time in my life, in my early twenties, and I found myself dealing with issues of life and death. This really spoke to me, and I chose to write about those issues.

Sara: What is the best part about being an author? 

Ned: You get to make your own schedule. Its also very rewarding to get emails from people, who say they didn’t like reading, but read your book and like to read it. Its a high reward in young adult and children’s books. Adults books can do the same, but I remember the books that me want to read when I was a child.

Sara: What are some things you enjoy doing besides reading? 

Ned: Going to the post office (Why?) Because I have to send books out to people, and its peaceful, and you pay for it, and things go out all over the world, and its exciting.

Sara: What are some of your favorite authors to read? 

Ned: Well, right now, I’m reading The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer. I don’t like giving out lists, because its always changing, so I always tell people what I’m reading now, so they know that I am reading.

Sara: What are you working on now and what can we expect from you in the future? 

Storm_King_Battle

Artwork from The House of Secrets

Ned: Right now, writing for a television show with JJ Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron, for NBC which will be premiering in March. I’m also working on a fantasy series for kids, House of Secrets, with Chris Columbus. The second book, The Battle of the Beasts, also comes out in March of next year. The Other Normals comes out in paperback. I’m having a lot happen in March.

Sara: Well, my last question is kind of silly but I ask everyone that I interview: who is your fictional crush? 

Ned: Is it okay if she appears in my own books?

Sara: Yeah, of course. I think we tend to write our own crushes. 

Ned: Ada Ember from The Other Normals. She has blue hair and her fingernails sparkle naturally because she is a fantasy character. She is also a safe crush to have, as my wife would rather me have a fantasy crush (laughs),.

*       *       *       *       *

Thank you SO much Ned for taking the time out of your VERY busy schedule to share a little insight on your writing, and your life, with What A Nerd Girl Says. It is ALWAYS so much appreciated. I can’t wait to finish It’s Kind of a Funny Story, and to jump into other novels.

Don’t forget that the second book in the House of Secrets series, The Battle of the Beasts, will be hitting bookstores on March 25, 2014!

I’ll be meeting Ned, and other authors, like Tuesday’s featured author, Francesca Lia Block, on Saturday at the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest. I hope to see some of you there!

All photos are courtesy of Ned Vizzini and are directly taken from his website. 

Exclusive Interview with the Ultimate Fangirl, Sasha Alsberg!

If you’re part of the Mortal Instruments fandom at all, generic and are on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook…well, I’m sure you’ve heard of Sasha Alsberg.

Sasha is the brains behind @TheShadowhunters on Instagram, an admin of Better in Black, and part of the blog Fandom News. She is also very well known for being Lily Collins doppelgänger.

1375751_10100419591187717_985015314_n

I’m not kidding. The girl looks SO much like Lily Collins, it took me awhile to learn to distinguish the two. Because of her uncanny resemblance to Lily, and her humor and charm in her Instagram videos, Sasha has grown to 28,000 followers on Instagram, and counting. But I’ve been curious, and I know you guys probably have to, to know the story behind the girl on Instagram. So I emailed Sasha, and we set up an interview, and now, everyone, sit back and learn more about this awesome fangirl!

Sara: Most people know you as Lily Collin’s doppelganger or as the admin of TheShadowhunters, but we don’t really know you. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Sasha: My name is Sasha Alsberg (as most of you know), and I live in the beautiful city of Chicago (Divergent). I go to an all girls high school, which I’ll be graduating out of soon, and I hope to go to college somewhere on the west coast. I have five sisters, and I’m the baby of the bunch! I’ve been in love with books for as long as I can remember, and it wasn’t until about two years ago that I decided to take my love for books online!

Sara: How did you get into the Shadowhunter Chronicles? When did you discover them and how did they become so important to you? 

Sasha: It’s a funny story actually. A year and a half ago, my friend told me to read the TMI books but I was in a dystopian phase at the time, so it wasn’t until the summer, when I went to Europe for a month, that I actually read City of Bones. Right then, I knew these books were something special. I read the whole series in one week and I decided once I got home, I had to make a TMI Instagram account. That’s where it all started, and @TheShadowhunters was made!

Sara: What is your favorite book in the Shadowhunter Chronicles, and who is your favorite character? 

Sasha: The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass, and Clary Fray :)

tumblr_mqnuxjXehU1qd55kqo1_500

Sara: How did you discover you looked like Lily Collins? What was it like meeting her, and the rest of the cast members? 

Sasha: I didn’t really think much of it until one day, I posted a photo of myself on my account and my followers told me.

It was surreal, I still cannot believe I met her. The whole experience was amazing. When Lily and Jamie spotted me in the crowd during the Q&A, I was stunned! I was especially surprsied when Lily wanted to take a photo of me and her on her cell phone! Jamie was just shocked; there’s a YouTube video of his reaction when he saw me; its quite funny.

When I met them again in Chicago, Lily told me how she sent the photo of me and her to her mother, and even her mother said we look alike!

I was still in shock when Lily said, “its crazy how we look alike!”

Sara: How does it feel to know that people recognize you from your instagram, your blog and from being Lily’s doppelganger? What is the coolest thing to happen because of that? 

Sasha: Its such a compliment because Lily is gorgeous and so self confident. It really makes me smile when I get compared to somebody like that.

Lots of cool things have happened because of it. I do cosplay as Clary Fray, and it has really opened doors for me. For example. I’m traveling to Kansas City this weekend for a TMI cosplay photo shoot, portraying Clary Fray because I look like Lily. It’s just all very exciting!

The photo shoot took place this past weekend, and the photos were done by Carmen Desiree Seda. You can see photos from it on Carmen’s photography facebook page, on her instagram account, and on Sasha’s instagram account and blog

1374891_10151901071099939_1259349404_n

Sara: What are some other authors and books that you enjoy to read? 

Sasha: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Hunger games by Suzanne Collins, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Sara: What are your goals for the future? I know that totally sounds like a college admissions essay exam haha but what are your goals, do you want to travel, what are your career aspirations? 

Sasha: My goal would probably be getting into a west coast college, going to conventions and studying social media or book publishing (marketing). I would also love to keep blogging about books and fandoms. I would love to travel to London again to meet my followers who live there, and just see friends. That would be amazing.

Sara: What are some things on your ‘fangirl bucket list’? Who are some authors or celebrities you’d like to meet, or places you’d like to go? 

Sasha: My fangirl bucket list was largely accomplished this summer but I would love to meet Cassandra Clare! I’ve never met her sadly. I was supposed to but she got sick and couldn’t make it. I would also LOVE to go to Comic Con this summer, which I’m planning to do.

Sara: What are some quirky facts about you that most people don’t know? 

Sasha: I’m not exactly sure, but I am a very stubborn and dedicated person. If I set my mind to something, I won’t let anything stop me.

Sara: Who is your fictional crush? 

Sasha: Jace Wayland, Daemon Black, Jem Carstairs, Will Herondale, Augustus Waters…the list is endless!

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 12.56.43 PM

*      *       *       *      *

Thanks everyone for tuning in to this AWESOME interview with a super cool fangirl. Don’t forget to check her out on Instagram, on Better in Black, on her YouTube channel and on Fandom News!

All pictures in this post are property of Sasha Alsberg or Carmen Desiree Seda. Please do not reuse or reprint for any reason. 

LA Teen Book Fest Interview with Francesca Lia Block!

This weekend, nurse at the Los Angeles Central Branch Library, teen librarian and soon to be published author, Mary McCoy is hosting a ton of fantastic YA authors for the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest, which I wrote about yesterday. You can find out more information about the event here.

One of the authors that will be attending the event is Francesca Lia Block, a veteran author of more than a dozen books. She writes mostly in the YA genre, and writings reimaginings of fairy tales, and infuses fairy tales into her novels.

francesca-lia-block

Her most recent novel, Love in the Time of Global Warming, tells the story of Pen, and her journey across post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, searching for her family, and a trusty copy of Homer’s The Odyssey in her back pocket to guide her.

Check out this awesome interview I was able to do with her . I can’t wait to meet her on Saturday!

Sara: Which book was easier to write: your first ever book, or the second one? 

Francesca: The first one! WEETZIE BAT pretty much wrote itself. WITCH BABY was a challenge and I had a lot of help from my editor at the time, Charlotte Zolotow. I had also written THE HANGED MAN before WITCH BABY but it wasn’t published until afterwards. That flowed pretty easily and is one of my favorites so I guess technically my second book was easier than my third.

Sara: You’ve written so many books, how do you keep yourself writing fresh and where do you get your inspiration from? 

Francesca: I look to my daily life and the lives of my friends. Human existence is full of love and pain so there is never really a shortage of inspiration if you stay open to it.

Sara: Was being an author something you always wanted to do or did you have other career aspirations? 

Francesca: I always wanted to be a writer. At first, it was poetry. I also wanted to be a fashion designer  or a modern dancer and am interested in psychotherapy, anthropology and art history.

Sara: What advice do you give to aspiring writers? What’s the best advice YOU’VE been given? 

44353

Francesca: Read. Write. Find a mentor. Never give up. Dig deep. Express your truth from your heart and because you have to do so.

Once I called my dad from my dorm room at UC Berkeley. I was crying because my writing teacher didn’t like something I’d written. My dad practically shouted at me, “You’re a writer!” This stuck with me always. I think if you are compelled to write, you are a writer. You just need the tools to do so. What my dad said wasn’t advice but I try to remind my students (at UCLA Extension, Antioch University Los Angeles and in my private class-francescaliablock@sbcglobal.net) that if you feel that complusion to write you must honor it.

Sara: What are some of your favorite things to do outside of writing? 

Francesca: Yoga, movies, reading, running, walking, listening to music, taking photographs, looking at fashion, eating at vegan restaurants.

Sara: What are some of your favorite books or authors to read? 

Francesca: Anais Nin, Emily Dickinson, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, JD Salinger, Harper Lee, Colette, among many others.

Sara: What made you want to spin fairy tales, and use fairy tale feels, into your novels? 

Francesca: I have always loved dark fairy tales and myths. They inspire me and make me feel less alone in the world because the truths they tell are still so relevant. I like to mix these ancient tales with things that re happening in my own life.

16059426

Sara: What has been one of the best parts of being an author? 

Francesca: Meeting my readers!

Sara: Who is your fictional crush?

Francesca: Atticus [Finch] from To Kill a Mockingbird

*       *        *        *

I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Francesca Lia Block, and are able to catch her at the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest this coming weekend! Check her out at the Classically Inspired panel with other awesome authors like Josephine Angelini, Gretchen McNeil and Cornelia Funke!

See you all there and Happy Reading!