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.

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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.

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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? 

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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),.

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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 Jewelry Designer Viviane Hebel!

Its not hard to be part of the fan girl world, prescription and not run into the awesome and talented, Viviane Hebel.

Vivi Hebel runs her own business, Hebel Design, which specializes in handcrafted jewelry based on your favorite novel series like the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, the Curse Workers and Faerie stories by Holly Black, Unremembered by Jessica Brody, the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, the Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout and SO many more.

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The first I heard of Vivi and Hebel Design is when I met Cassandra Clare back in March, and interviewed. As a gift, Cassie gave me a clockwork angel necklace, that I wear SO often. Almost exactly a month later, I met Vivi at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books when she pointed out that I was wearing her necklace. I’ve been addicted to her stuff ever since. Her family rings, rune bookmarks, and jewelry for all books are just TOO beautiful.

She’s also been featured in Huffington Post, Epic Reads, The Examiner and more!

So, of course, I had to try and get her on this blog, with an interview and I’m really excited to bring her to you guys today!

Sara: How did you get into jewelry making and jewelry design? What sort of skills did you have to learn? 

Viviane: I went to college for integral design-graphic, textile and industrial. So I had my base in materials and methods. I’ve always been more interested in 3D than 2D work so it was more of an evolution for me. Some 10 years ago, I took classes in silversmithing and so it began.

Sara: How did you get involved with all these authors like Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Anna Banks, Jessica Brody, etc? 

Viviane: I read Cassandra Clare’s 3 first books from TMI, what was published so far, and fell in love with the world and the Runes. I had some kind of vision and did some research before I contacted her to present my idea. There’s always been a market for movie props and replicas so I thought fans of the books would like them too. It’s been an evolving thing since then I thought of expanding to other series. So the process is the same, contacting the author and proposing my ideas. Since I’ve been in business for a bit, sometimes authors come to me with their ideas.

Sara: Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you read the books to design these pieces, or do the authors ask for something specific? 

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Viviane: I always like to read the book first, to get the whole context. Whenever there’s a new book in the series that is not available to read yet I have to rely on author’s descriptions. Then I try to get details of when, where, why, who…and so on.

Sara: What is your favorite part about having this business? 

Viviane: Being able to create an actual piece that an author just conjured in her head. Sometimes it’s a real challenge to go from imagination to reality, I like those the most.

Sara: Was having a jewelry making business always something you had wanted to do, or did you have other career aspirations? 

Viviane: As I said, its been an evolution as a designer. I like looking for new things to do. Jewelry has been the longest one so far, so many possibilities.

Sara: What is the process like when making a piece for your business? 

Viviane: First, I need to visualize how it would look more or less, then sketches and possible materials. Making samples and prototypes, sometimes it stops there, sometimes production of molds and such.

Sara: What are some of your favorite books to read, movies to watch and bands to listen to?

Viviane: The list is super long. I am a big fan of fantasy, paranormal and science fiction. In movies too, I like animated movies a lot! I just love their attention to detail. Music is very eclectic, if you looked at my playlist, it has all kinds of old and new, from pop to rock to latin, country, new age. All time favorites that I never get tired of are James Taylor and Prince…Goo Goo Dolls, see a pattern here? Not really.

Sara: What are some of your favorite book-related pieces that you have designed? 

Viviane: The ones that have been more of a challenge. The Clockwork Angel, the Morozova Collar, the Family rings. The Midnight Flower just came up in my head and it actually came out like I imagined. Not always it happens like that. I also like when I can reproduce exactly what’s described in a book, like the turquoise necklace. I love the new Lynburn hands.

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Sara: Do you have any pieces, or new collaborating authors that we can look forward to? 

Viviane: There’s always new stuff in the works…just to keep the interest up!

Sara: I ask this to all my interviewees, who is your fictional crush? 

Viviane: You’re allowed to have more than one, right? Rhett Butler, as a classic, growing up. Will Herondale tops this list, but there’s so many more, I could actually embarrass myself.

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I hope you enjoyed this interview with Viviane, and that you are able to head to her website, and check out her awesome work. I seriously want EVERYTHING, especially a stele pen and the Lightwood family ring. Her stuff is awesome.

All pictures are courtesy of HebelDesign.com

Exclusive Interview with Author Tammara Webber!

Today I am here to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite contemporary young adult/new adult authors, more about Tammara Webber.

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I first discovered Tammara Webber about a year ago when I was looking for something new to read on my Kindle and I needed something that was a little cheaper. Tammara’s book, price Between the Lines, sildenafil popped up and I was intrigued by it. It was only a couple dollars (and remains so, and the paperback is only 8.99) and so I decided to check it out.

I was sold SO fast. It tells the story of Emma Pierce, an aspiring actress, who lands a part in a major motion picture with the hot, and super famous, Reid Alexander. I am obsessed with that kind of pop culture, celebrity type of life (I even wrote a novel about it) and so it caught me SO fast. And Reid…Reid makes you fall in love with him so fast.

I consumed the next two novels, Where You Are and Good For You, in a matter of days. They are great books. Then when Tammara’s standalone novel, Easy, was released, I read that as well. Another seriously fantastic novel, Easy has been recognized all over the place for its merit.

Then I started to learn more about Tammara and I felt so inspired about the fact that she had self-published the Between the Lines series and that she had worked her butt off to get where she is now. For a struggling writer who often times doesn’t really see the white picket fence that is publishing a novel, she is a serious inspiration.

She is also what people have started to call “New Adult” literature, which is basically a way of saying, mature young adult lit. Young adult literature that may have more bad words, or (more likely) have more sex in them, and blatant sex, not just suggested sex. In my words, more realistic young adult fiction, because if you think teens aren’t cussing and having sex…well, you poor, naive thing.

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. The point is, I read Between the Lines, and noticed the difference in maturity and I liked it because I tend to write like that. My young adult characters say bad words and they have sex, and I’ve noticed a lot of YA doesn’t do that, or if they do, its only hinted at. I was so impressed by Tammara‘s books because of this, and it was like a little lightbulb over my head, ” I CAN write like this for teenagers!”

She remains one of my absolute favorite authors, and when she announced that there would be a fourth and final Between the Lines book, titled Here Without You, I was beside myself with excitement. Its hitting the ebook world on August 6th and the paperback version will be out on August 27th.

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Now I’ve had the LUCKY opportunity to interview her and share this awesome interview with all of you :)

Enjoy!

Sara: What can you tell us about the next Between the Lines book? Is this story told from a new point of view, or are we going to be seeing Reid Alexander, Emma Pierce, or any of those characters again?

Tammara: Here Without You is in alternating POVs – Reid, Dori, Brooke and one additional (new) character.

Sara: Where did you get the idea for the Between the Lines series?

Tammara: My oldest son was attending NYU (Tisch School of the Arts), when the Twilight films were being made. Several of the stars were in his age range, and he’s wanted to be an actor since he was 10. I began to wonder how he would handle crazed fan involvement in his life and relationships, at an age when he was still defining himself. It made me feel sorry for those actors, and the story started coming to me after that.

Sara: Where do you get your inspiration for your novels?

Tammara: All over the place – usually taking real life events out of their original context (sometimes from my life, but more often from friends, acquaintances, or news reports), wondering about them, taking them a step further or in a different direction.

Sara: What do you think of the term “new adult”? Do you like or dislike it? Do you feel like it helps or hinders your books?

Tammara: I wasn’t fond of the term when I first heard it coined by St. Martin’s in 2009. Now it’s just a term, and I’m used to it. I think it’s too early to tell what NA will turn out to be, especially since it appears that it will continue to be filed under Adult Romance. I wrote the BTL series and Easy with Young Adult audiences in mind. It’s not so much that “NA” hinders my books as the fact that they aren’t quite cutting edge when filed under NA – because NA is adult literature, but I wrote these books as YA. I’m not incapable of adjusting, however – and if my books are going to be called NA and filed under Romance instead of YA, then I need to write to that market if I expect to make a living as a writer.

Sara: What advice to give to aspiring authors? You self-published the Between the Lines series, so what advice to you have for authors who are considering self-publishing their novels?

Tammara: I don’t recommend anyone choose one or the other path, especially since lately, the literary landscape is shifting like crazy. I honestly have little idea of the difficulties facing new self-pubbed authors at the moment, or whether it’s now easier or more difficult for them to thrive. My main advice is do your homework. Read blogs of successful authors – but please don’t write to them and say, “How’d you do it?” If they want to tell you, they’ll tell you (and the hundreds of others who write with the same questions) in posts or FAQs on their websites. Some are super informative and blatantly honest. Find those – that’s what I did. Pay attention to what appears to work and what doesn’t. Don’t assume that because something worked for someone a year ago, it will work now (or vice-versa!). There are many more players in the market now.

Sara: Is this the last book that we will see in the Between the Lines series? What other projects/books do you have planned for the future?

Tammara: Yes, this is the last official BTL novel. I’m working on edits for it now (it will be self-published in the US, but published by Penguin Razorbill in the UK), and also starting to write Lucas’s story. I promised before I even published Easy that it would be a stand-alone novel, and that’s not going to change. I wrote the book to bring awareness to the issue of acquaintance rape, and books with sequels are simply less accessible to readers. I want Easy to remain accessible, so no sequel.

That said, Lucas was one of the most difficult characters I’ve written, because he’s just so secretive and introspective – even with me – which is why Easy was written in Jacqueline’s POV only. I never heard his voice while writing it. I had a typical novelist’s omnipotence going on, of course, but sometimes he did or said things and I wasn’t sure why. Unlike Reid or even Graham in the BTL series, I saw Lucas almost entirely from the heroine’s point of view. It wasn’t until recently that he began talking to me, at which point I realized that he was ready to tell his story.

Sara: What are some of your favorite books/authors to read? What are some authors that inspire you when you are writing?

Tammara: I read a lot of YA. Oddly, I haven’t read a lot of NA yet – except the NA that is sitting on YA shelves – and there is some (ex: Gayle Forman). I love Jennifer Echols. I enjoy a lot of fantasy, paranormal and dystopian YA (Cassandra Clare, Ann Aguirre, Maggie Stiefvater, Melissa Marr), though I wouldn’t read any of those genres in adult literature. I have no idea why that is; possibly YA novels are generally more hopeful, at least at the end.

Sara: Did you always want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations? What are some of the jobs you’ve done in the past?

Tammara: I’ve always wanted to write and I’ve always written, though it took me a while to give in to the notion of actually completing a novel. I don’t know if I’d call anything else a “career aspiration” so much as “a way to pay the bills.” I’ve done everything – waitressing, retail, clerical work, working at a tan salon, taking calls in a night-time radiology call center. The closest I came to feeling like I had a career  was when I was an undergraduate academic advisor – which is what I was doing when I began writing Between the Lines.

Sara: What are some of your favorite things to do in your spare time, besides reading or writing?

Tammara: Spare time?  I watch very little television (Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries and New Girl are it over the past year or two. I like movies, but don’t get to go often enough. If I’m out with friends or my husband, I prefer dinner and conversation to entertainment. I LOVE to read, so when I have time off (or need time off) from writing, that’s usually what I’m doing. My husband loves to read, too, so we’re often sitting together reading (or he’s playing some disgusting video game and I’m reading and trying to ignore the death throes on the screen).

Sara: What is the hardest part of being a writer? What is the BEST part of being a writer?

Tammara: Starting a book is easy. Continuing is hard, especially when I get blocked, which usually occurs at forks in the road, especially if I’m dealing with multiple characters. There’s also a point somewhere in the middle of every book where I loathe everything I’ve written. I see no possible way to finish. I can’t imagine why I think I can write at all, and I want to smash my computer and run away from home. That’s the worst. (I’ve learned to anticipate this now, so I’m not destroyed by it – but it’s still disconcerting.) Next to that is the not-writing business part of writing – whether you’re indie or traditional (I’ve done both now so I know!) is so time-consuming and sometimes just mind-numbing. Sometimes I open a blog post, write gibberish, delete it and sign out. Emails and posts and tweets pile up quickly and become overwhelming. I’ve had times when I was sick, or one of my kids needed me – or just life happened – and when I get back to my computer, it takes me hours or days to catch up, when I really just want to write.

The best part is simple. I get to tell stories for a living. I have to pinch myself occasionally, because I just never thought this would be my life.

Sara: What is the strangest thing a fan has said to you, or given to you? Do you have any funny fan stories?

Tammara: I probably shouldn’t reveal these, lol; those people tend to stalk and read everything. (*nervously looking around*) I love and appreciate my readers, and all their quirks. I’m a quirky, introverted reader… and so are many of the people who read my books! Most of the time, we get each other.

Sara: I ask this question to every person that I interview: Who is your favorite fictional crush?

Tammara: My forever crush is Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. But my strongest current crush is Jace. So many reasons. I recently read the Mortal Instruments series, one after the other, and I am so ready for the next book, and the first film, which has to have the best casting on a YA film series since HP. SO pleased with their choices for everyone. (Please be good please be good please be good.) Here’s the weird part, though: While reading about Jace, I could not stop thinking about my BTL character Reid, because Reid’s an actor, they sound physically alike, and their demeanors are so similar. I kept thinking, Reid could play this guy. Which is CRAZY… because Reid is just as fictional, for pete’s sake. But those cocky, sarcastic, literary Bad Boys remind me of my RL crush – who is my husband. Luckily.

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Can I just that Tammara‘s love for The Mortal Instruments, and the fact that she thought of Reid Alexander as Jace Wayland is just the cherry on top of an already awesome sundae that is Tammara Webber? I TOTALLY thought of Reid too, despite the fact that he is completely fictional.

I love that he is her fictional crush too, because he is totally mine, and I totally like those cocky, sarcastic bad boys because that’s exactly my boyfriend.

And you guys all know how I am about The Mortal Instruments and Jace Wayland (see: TMI tattoo, fave fictional crush, how many times I’ve met Cassandra Clare…)

Anyway, I really hope you all enjoyed getting to know Tammara a little bit more today and I hope those of you who have NOT checked her out, will do so :) You will LOVE her books, I promise you that.

And much thanks to Tammara Webber for doing this awesome interview. You can visit her website here, and can purchase her books here.

Check out past interviews with authors like Cassandra Clare, Jessica Brody and Eoin Colfer here.

Exclusive Interview with Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles and Seven Realms series

So today, find instead of having the usual Blogger Spotlight, page I decided to switch it up a little, and treat you to a very special blog post today!

Yesterday, I introduced you all to a favorite author of mine, Cinda Williams Chima.

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If you weren’t able to check out the article, you should definitely check it out now, here.

She’s the award-winning, fantastic author of both The Heir Chronicles, a contemporary fantasy series, and the Seven Realms series, which is pure fantasy, in the young adult genre.

Now, the Seven Realms series consists of The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne and the final book, which came out this previous fall, The Crimson CrownAs of right now, this series is concluded, and there isn’t any definite plans for more.

The Heir Chronicles, however, are continuing! So far they are The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir, which can be bought in a box set here. Hitting book stores this fall will be the fourth entry into the series, The Enchanter Heir

Here is the description of the book, taken straight from Cinda’s website :)

Also, an awesome note, you DO not have to read the first third of these books to enjoy The Enchanter Heir!

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Now, Cinda Williams Chima is one of my absolute favorite authors, and I’ve been lucky enough that she has taken notice in my blog, and has helped to support it. (I SO hope to get an ARC of Enchanter Heir!) She took it one step further and agreed to do an interview for me so here you go guys! An interview with the rockin’ Ms Chima! Enjoy!

Sara: What can you tell us about Enchanter Heir? Is it a continuation of the story that left off in Dragon Heir or is it a new story set in the same universe? 

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Cinda: The Enchanter Heir is both a continuation of the Heir Chronicles and a twist on the magical system readers have become familiar with. As usual, I’m introducing new viewpoint characters. Chronologically, it follows The Dragon Heir but new readers should be able to read The Enchanter Heir without reading the other three.

Sara: What inspires you to write? Where do you get your ideas and why do you generally stick to the fantasy genre? 

Cinda: The biggest inspiration for me as a writer is all of the wonderful books I’ve read.  As a professional writer, I can’t wait to be inspired, though. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” 

I stick to fantasy because I love to read it, and because its been well-received by readers. I may one day write in another genre, though.

Sara: What advice do you give aspiring writers? 

Cinda: Focus on craft first. Too many writers take their work to market before it’s really ready, getting distracted by a focus on query letters, agents and publishers. Marketing a bad book is like trying to push a boulder up hill.

Sara: Will we ever see any other books that take place in the Seven Realms universe or is the story over?

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Cinda: Possibly. There are lots of stories in the Seven Realms and I’ve told you one of them. For more info, read this on my blog: The Seven Realms Thank You!

(Sara: SO MUCH COOL INFO! I really hope one day we get to see these characters again, they are amazing and incredible characters!)

Sara: What are some of your favorite books to read? What books or authors inspire you when you’re writing? 

Cinda: I read a lot of young adult lit, and often it’s fantasy fiction. When I read really great fiction, it inspires me to do better.

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

Cinda: For me, first drafts are the toughest, because it’s very much like leaping into the abyss, with no idea where you’ll end up. Once I have the bones down, I can fix what needs fixing.

One of the best parts of being an author is getting to hang out with people who love books: writers, readers, librarians, teachers, editors, agents, booksellers, and so on. I always feel in context.

Sara: Did you ever want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations? 

Cinda: I began writing in third grade, but I never seriously thought I could make a living at it. When readers ask me what I’d be if I weren’t a writer, I tell them I’ve already been those things. I have a degree in philosophy and two degrees in nutrition. I’ve worked in advertising for a newspaper, typing and editing copy, which is great training for a writer. And I worked as a dietitian in various positions. In my last day job, I was a college professor, teaching nutrition.

Sara: How do you come up with names for your characters?

Cinda: For my Heir Chronicles contemporary stories, many of the names come from my family tree. Swift, Downey, Childers-they are all family names. For the Seven Realms, it’s a little more difficult. Sometimes, when I’m making up names. I realize that they all begin with the same letter! I love it when characters name reinforces a character-for example. Dolores Umbridge is the perfect name for that character in Harry Potter.

Sara: What other projects do we have to look forward in the future? 

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Cinda: I’ll be writing two more Heir Chronicles novels, The Enchanter Heir and The Sorcerer Heir. Then–I don’t know. Possible more Seven Realms or something completely different.

Sara: What do you like to do in your spare time, besides writing or reading? 

Cinda: I love to garden, and I love genealogy, though I don’t have much time to do it these days.

Sara: Last question, who would you say is your fictional crush? (Han is definitely one of my favorites!)

Cinda: Ha! I tend to create the kind of fictional heroes that I find to be hot. I mean, why wouldn’t I?

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THANK YOU SO MUCH Cinda for doing this interview for me. I seriously enjoy your books to no end, and I pretty much shove The Demon King, in everyone’s faces. And I will continue to do so haha.

If you guys want to learn more about Cinda and her two fantastic fantasy series, you can visit her on her website HERE, or you may read my post ALLLLLL about her, right HERE!

Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm Release Party!

So I feel like its been forever since I went to an author event. Its probably only been a couple weeks, sickness but it feels like SO much longer haha. I think the last one I went to was the Mission Viejo stop on the Summer Lovin’ Tour with Suzanne Young, ambulance Sarah Ockler, try Shannon Messenger, Morgan Matson, Jessi Kirby and Kimberly Derting.

You can read all about that here :)

So I was starving for some author interaction!

And luckily enough, my dear friend Perla told me all about Leigh Bardugo (who I met about a month ago at the Ontario Teen Book Fest, which you can read about here) and how she was having a super cool release party for Siege and Storm, the second book in her Grisha Trilogy, preceded by Shadow and Bone and followed by Rune and Rising (coming sooooon).

I was SO excited about this.

I just recently read Shadow and Bone, probably about two weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I am a big fan of YA fantasy writers like Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima, and this felt similar but also unique to these two, and she just created a great story. You can see me review for it here.

(Side Note: Follow my friend, Perla, on Tumblr! She goes to author events ALL the time. In the last week, she’s met SO many. She’s meeting Richelle Mead tonight! She’s bombtastic :) You thought I met a lot of authors!)

I have never been to a book release party before. I’ve been to events where the book is released for the first time, but it was never termed a “party”, and I was never told to dress up!

And I totally didn’t dress up by the way, because I’m uberly lame and impossible when it comes to costumes and such. My version of a costume is making a tutu in a specific color, pairing it with a tshirt of that fandom and calling it a day :) I did wear a dress and some nifty high heeled boots so I felt pretty awesome.

So me, Tatiana, Sylvia, and my awesome friend Erin headed down to the Hemingways Lounge in Hollywood, California to go to this book release party.

Can I just say it was SO weird having my little beat up Honda valeted? The guy took my keys and looked at my car, completely with personalized Harry Potter license plate (and frame!), Harry Potter stickers, Star wars stickers, Hunger Games stickers,…and he just kind of sighed haha.

But anyway! What an awesome, awesome, awesome event! They went above and beyond for all of this! First off, there was a raffle for every single person who attended and the prizes were SO cool. There was this awesome grab bag of all sorts of cool Grisha swag, that my friend Sylvia won!

They also had a prize that was like 15-20 brand new books of various authors in Los Angeles. I wanted that one so bad. I didn’t win though :( Which was okay!

I was one of the first twenty five people to arrive, so I was able to get a tote bag, which I LOVE. I love me some tote bags!

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I was also able to grab a TON of swag, like buttons and all kinds of stuff. I’m hoping to have a Leigh Bardugo contest by the end of the month, so check back to see if you can grab yourself some of this swag, and who knows, maybe a signed copy of Shadow and Bone ;)

Book Swaaaaaaaag

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They also had a really cool photo booth set up as soon as you walk in where you could pile in with your friends, get some props and make some awesome faces.

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It was a seriously awesome time though. I had never been to a book release party so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it, but if book release parties are all like this, I want to go to more! There was all the free swag and the photo booth to begin with. There was an open bar that was serving this sparkling sweet wine and waiters and waitresses were going around, passing out little hors d’oeuvres, like mini burgers and mac n cheese and all sorts of yummy.

Leigh was mingling with the crowd, hanging out, looking like she was having a seriously fun time :) I ran into her once, and she totally remembered who I was, and knew who I was, which was pretty cool, I’m not going to lie. She is so funny, and she’s so down to earth too. I honestly really love that she is so available to her fans through social media. I’m friends with her on facebook and she nearly always replies to my tweets. She is SO available to her fans.

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And she’s so hilarious! For her presentation, she read some writing she did when she younger about the kind of abilities that she wished she could have. There were the usual, like flight and invisibility and being able to read people’s minds (though with an on/off switch haha, but the best one was the ability to write and publish a novel.

I’m not going to lie, I kind of teared up at that. Because the fact that when she was younger, she paired writing and publishing a novel with something impossible like being able to fly. But she did it, and she’s a fantastic writer, and so popular, and her book, Shadow and Bone, has been optioned to be a film. It really gives aspiring writers, like myself, a lot of hope. Writing and publishing a novel seems as impossible as becoming a Major League baseball pitcher, or a Grammy award winning musician. But its possible :)

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Sorry for the blurry pictures. It was all dark and funky lighting so it was SO hard to take good pictures.

Moving on though, Leigh also did a Q and A, which was fun because most of the questions, and all of the answers, were making people laugh. She also read a little excerpt from Siege and Storm, a scene between Alina and the Darkling, which was awesome, and which you see above. (And yes, that is Margaret Stohl holding her flashlight for Leigh to read).

There were so many authors there as well :) I saw Morgan Matson and Jessica Brody, both of who were SUPER excited to see us, and remembered us (Morgan told us we needed our own reality show, and Jessica said we were loud, but in a good way). Jennifer Bosworth was also there, as well as Melissa de la Cruz, Lissa Price, and Marie Lu. I’m sure there were more, but it was hard to tell. Its always fun to hang out with authors, especially when you look up to them so MUCH. Such a fun time :)

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Meeting Leigh again was REALLY cool, and she’s seriously a fun lady. Her remembering me was a nice little cherry on top to a super fun night, and I loved that she really took the time to talk to each and every person who came and take pictures with them, and sign their books and all of that. She really reached out to all of her fans, and it was awesome. She makes me laugh, and she wrote “I’m hilarious” in her books, when I had a word vomit moment and asked her to write something funny in my book, because I’m awkward like that.

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I’m having SUCH a blast lately, with all these author events, and making author friends, and getting to meet the people whose books are so amazing, and inspire me so much. Its been SUCH a blast.

I just started Siege and Storm today (I had to read The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen first, and I finished that in less than a day), and I’m already loving it, and I’m only 50 pages in. I hope, hope, hope, and should be done with it by tomorrow and I’ll have an AWESOME review for you guys!

I’m going to see her again (and Marie Lu, and a couple other cool people) on June 26th at the Grove in Los Angeles so I hope to get a pretty copy of Shadow and Bone signed for you guys! You guys love giveaways, don’t ya? I know you do! And then I can throw some of those buttons in there too!

Hope you enjoyed my recap of Leigh’s party!

And come back tomorrow for the Book of the Week, and keep an eye out for Sara’s Quick PicksEpisode Three, and an interview with the AMAZING Cinda Williams Chima!

Happy Reading!

Interview with YA Author Jessica Brody!

 Before I get into the actual blog post, page I just want to say: This is my 200th blog post! Yay! The day before my blog turns one year old! I am so excited and happy about this :) What a milestone!

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So many of you may have noticed that in the last few months, I’ve been really getting myself out there: as a book lover, as an author, as a book blogger and I’ve had the opportunities to meet some really cool authors.

And the best part about going out there and meeting all these authors is that I’m not just meeting authors that I already know and I love, but I’m getting to meet new authors and discover new authors.

One of the authors I’ve had the seriously pleasure in meeting is Jessica Brody.

I had heard of her book, Unremembered, mostly because she started a blog post sort of thing where authors wrote about an event in their life that they’d like to “unremember”. One of them was Meg Cabot, who is one of my favorite authors EVER and it intrigued me on Jessica’s books. Then not soon after, I went to WonderCon and there was a panel entitled, “Writing for Teens and Tweens“, which is what I’m doing! I had to go!

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Jessica Brody was there, and she was super funny and super helpful in her advice and I was really excited to meet her later. She signed a bookplate for me for my own copy of “Unremembered” and I practically rushed home to finish it. Then I was lucky enough to meet her once more a couple weeks ago at the Ontario Teen Book Fest! And I must admit, when she remembered who I was and said “Oh, you’re the girl from WhatANerdGirlSays”, I was SO happy. I felt super cool :)

So, I asked her if she’d like to do an interview for WhatANerdGirlSays and she agreed! So here is the awesome interview that I was lucky enough to do with Jessica Brody.

And check out her books: Unremembered, My Life Undecided, The Karma Club, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and more!

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You can find Jessica Brody at:

Website

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

GoodReads 

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Sara: What inspires you to write your stories? Where do you get the ideas for them?

Jessica: I get my ideas from everywhere, really! Mostly just observing people and the daily life around me. For instance, I got the idea for 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER when I was watching a meter maid write a parking ticket and I thought, “It would be cool to be a meter maid, but only for a week.” And then I started to brainstorm all the other jobs I’d only want to do for one week. That led me to think, “Who is the funniest person to have to take on a different job every week?” The answer was instant: A spoiled heiress. And the idea was born!

UNREMEMBERED came when I read a newspaper article back in 2009 about a teen girl who was the sole survivor of a plane crash, instantly I had a fantastical idea of why she survived. That idea turned into a trilogy.

Sara: When I was a kid, I was convinced that I was going to be a dolphin trainer at Sea World. It wasn’t until high school that I realized I wanted to be a writer. Did you always want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations? 

Jessica: The short answer is yes, I always wanted to be a writer. Although it took me a long time to figure that out. In second grade I turned in a four page book report (the assignment was to write one paragraph) and the teacher made such a huge deal about it. I really couldn’t understand why. Writing just came naturally to me. At that moment I remember wanting to be a writer. But somewhere along the way I convinced myself that I needed to get a “serious” job…you know, one that comes with dental insurance. So I majored in Economics in college (very serious!) and went on to be a financial analyst for MGM Studios. It wasn’t until later that I realized “serious” wasn’t for me. So I quit to pick up where I left off at age seven.

 (Side Note: I totally realized that I wanted to write when I was in 4th grade because of a similar story! Check out my story on The Urge to Write’s blog here) 

Sara: Where do you come up with names for your characters? I’ve always used a ‘baby name book’, but do you have a different method?

Jessica: Haha. I do the same! NameBerry.com is my new favorite name website. They have these really cool name lists like, “Names for Girly Girls” or “Romantic Names.” Or “Fantasy Sounding Names.” I LOVE those lists.

I also collect cool names. I travel a lot for my books and whenever I meet someone who has a really cool name, I’ll write it down and store it for later. Then when it’s time to write a new book, I get out my list and see if any of them fit.

Sara: I know that as a writer, I get a lot of inspiration from the books that I read because I’m a BIG reader. What are some of the books you like to read? What books inspire you? 

Jessica: I’m inspired by any book that I can’t put down and that I feel like I “live” in (you know, when you think about the book even when you’re not reading it?) I read mostly YA (I just feel like all the good stories are told in the YA genre these days!) I love reading sci-fi and recently I’ve gotten into fantasy.

 Sara: What are some of your favorite things that you like to do in your spare time, besides reading and writing?  

Jessica: Spare time? What’s that!? Haha.

The spare time that I do have is usually spent catching up on my favorite TV shows and playing with my dogs.

I know, not very exciting, is it?

Sara: What are some things that we have to look forward to?  

Jessica: Oh, so much! LOL! Book 2 in the UNREMEMBERED trilogy will be out next March. It’s called UNFORGOTTEN and I’m gearing up to start writing book 3, which is currently called UNTITLED. Haha! I think I might keep that title. It has a nice ring to it.

Sara: What is the future like for Sera and Zen in the sequels to Unremembered?  

Jessica: Well, I can’t give away too much because anything I say might be a spoiler for those who haven’t read book 1 (which as you know, if you have read it, has a HUGE twist at the end!)

But I will say this:

Throughout the rest of the series, Sera will constantly be searching for answers about her past and the people who made her who she is. Also, the threats that exist in book 1 only get bigger in books 2 and 3 and with each story, Sera will have to step it up a notch and grow as a person and a human being if she wants to survive. Which, I think, is the point of any story worth telling.

Sara: When Sera wakes up from the plane crash, she has to relearn the world, as if from the very beginning. Was that difficult to write? 

Jessica: This was extremely difficult to write. Probably the hardest aspect of the book. How do you give someone a personality when they are virtually a blank slate? It was a very fine balance between staying authentic to her circumstances (severe amnesia) and creating an interesting character to read about.

Seraphina is like an alien visiting our planet for the first time. Anything an alien would find foreign about our world, she finds foreign too. That was kind of how I got into the mindset.

Sara: What is one question that you wish an interviewer would ask you? How would you answer that question? 

Jessica: TOUGH QUESTION! I love when interviewers ask questions that make me think about my motivations for writing things a certain way and make me question my own story.

Today at a school visit, I was asked a question by a student who’d read THE KARMA CLUB. She asked if a character who gets hurt in the book had purposely hurt himself? I never even considered that possibility! I was surprised and thrilled that someone had seen the story in a new way that I hadn’t yet seen. And I admit, given what happened to the character, I could see how he would have possibly hurt himself intentionally. Those kinds of questions, that make me rethink my own story, are so much fun to get!

Sara: What is your favorite part of being an author?  

Jessica: Fan mail and meeting readers! It’s so rewarding to know that people are out there reading and liking your book. And liking it enough to actually tell you about it! It really makes my day! As authors, we spend so much time by ourselves, locked in our little writing caves, we forget that there are people out there being affected by our books. It’s so nice to be reminded of that. It makes me feel like all my hard work that goes into bringing a book into the world is worth it in the end.

Sara: And I ask this question to anyone and everyone I interview so I hope you’re okay with it :) Who would you say is your fictional crush? 

Jessica: My latest crush is Augustus Waters! Oh man, he’s just too charming and ridiculously adorable.

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I hope you all enjoyed my interview with the wonderful and lovely, Jessica Brody. Definitely check out her books; they’re super fun and awesome. The sequel to Unremembered will be coming soon, which I am very excited about!

Check out my review for Unremembered here.

And come back tomorrow to celebrate my blog’s one year birthday and find out about the epic giveaway!