2014 Debut Author Intros: Episode 1

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Hi everyone! Welcome back!

This December we are starting to introduce the 2014 Debut Authors. So, of course, it had to be titled the 2014 Debut Author Intros. Each post (or “episode”) will feature 4-5 2014 debut authors. And I’m so excited to feature these fabulous ladies today! Take a look below! And don’t blame me when your TBR pile gets wayyyy too huge [;

5815432Michelle Krys author of HEXED

Michelle Krys is the author of HEXED, coming from Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books June 10th, 2014. Michelle is a shameless lover of bad reality television, celebrity gossip, dancing badly to good music, and queso by the spoonful. She lives in Northwestern Ontario with her husband and son. You can learn more about her at

www.michellekrys.com or by following @MichelleKrys on twitter.

How would you describe HEXED in 10 words or less?

The Craft meets Bring it On.

What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s easy—the party scene. It’s fun and edgy and got me feeling nostalgic for fun high school parties. Or, um, something else more responsible to say . . .

How much magical goodness can readers expect in HEXED?

The perfect amount of magical goodness can be expected.

Is there going to be a sequel? When can readers expect it?

Yep! The currently-untitled sequel to HEXED will be published in 2015.

What made you want to write about witches?Hexed_cover_7_30_13

I’ve been interested in witches as far back as the fifth grade, when The Craft came out and I started up an amateur witchcraft club in my bedroom (Go ahead and laugh!). But the idea for HEXED didn’t come about until after my sister, who is also a writer, announced she was ditching her plans to write an adult historical novel, which she’d called ‘The Witch Hunter’s Bible’. I’d openly loved the title since she’d first pitched the idea to me and promptly begged her to steal it. She graciously agreed, and thus THE WITCH HUNTER’S BIBLE was born . . . except the title changed to HEXED after I got a book deal

What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to besides yours?

That’s such a hard question! There are so many debuts I’m unbearably excited about. My top three would probably be BEWARE THE WILD by Natalie C. Parker, GATES OF THREAD AND STONE by Lori M. Lee, and OTHERBOUND by Corinne Duyvis.

 

Hexed Synopsis:

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13597755-hexed?from_search=true

 

 

 

 

5444060Elle Cosimano author of Nearly Gone

Elle Cosimano is the daughter of a prison warden and an elementary school teacher who rides a Harley. As a teen, she spent summers working on a fishing boat, baiting hooks and lugging buckets of bait. She majored in Psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. She lives with her husband and two young sons, and divides her time between her home near Washington, DC and a jungle tree house in the Mayan Riviera. Find her at http://www.ellecosimano.com

 

Can you tell us about NEARLY GONE in 10 words or less?
Math. Touching. Killing. Science. Kissing. Mysterious personal ads. More killing.
Did you ever freak yourself out while writing Nearly Gone?
Haha! I sort of counted on it. My agent kicked my first two versions of this story back to me, saying it wasn’t suspenseful enough. Her instructions? Make it scarier. By the third re-write, I realized that if I wasn’t scared while I was drafting the book, then my reader wouldn’t be scared either. So I didn’t consider a scene finished unless my own heart was skipping beats as I wrote it. There are some intensely suspenseful scenes in the book, and those were the ones I loved writing most.
The cover is gorgeous. Did you have any say in what it would look like?
Thank you! After a design comp was pitched by the artist, I did have an opportunity to provide feedback. The first two designs didn’t end up working out for various reasons, and this stunning cover was the third cover sent to me. I fell immediately in love with it. Hard. And then I crossed my fingers and hoped this would be “the one”.
Are you currently working on anything else?
I’m hard at work on the sequel to NEARLY GONE, tentatively titled NEARLY LOST. It’s scheduled for release in 2015. I also have a separate project I’m crazy-excited about, but I can’t quite talk about it yet.
Nearly Boswell is the MC in Nearly Gone. How on Earth did you come up with a name like that?13409664
Names, and their ties to our sense of identity, is a theme in the book. Nearly hates her name, and her relationship with both her name and the mother who gave it to her is a reflection of her struggle with her own self-worth. Nearly feels she’s not enough. I think we all have felt “nearly” at some point in our lives, and when I was creating her character, words like nearly and almost kept reappearing in my notes. Nearly was beautiful and perfect. And it stuck.
What was your favorite scene to write?
Not sure I could pick just one. I love to write a fiercely tense argument. And the really, really scary scenes, when a clock is ticking and someone is going to die and the protagonist is pushed to her physical and psychological limits. When everything is at stake. These are scenes I love to write.
What 2014 debut book are you most looking forward to?
Ooooh! So many great books are coming in 2014! If I had to choose one YA, I’d say I’m desperate to get my hands on BEWARE THE WILD by Natalie Parker. And for MG, I can’t wait for THERE WILL BE BEARS by Ryan Gebhart.
Nearly Gone Synopsis:
Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.

5749310Bethany Hagen author of LANDRY PARK

I have a basement full of books and a computer full of writing. I love drinking coffee and doing karate with my husband (usually not at the same time.)  I’ve been a model for a painter, stung by a sting-ray, stuck in a coma, and I used to dress up as a 1904 schoolmarm, but I got paid for it, so it’s not weird. Currently the day job is in a library, so every once in a while I throw a temper tantrum about the Dewey Decimal system.

 

My debut novel Landry Park will be out from Dial/Penguin in Winter of 2014. I am represented by Mollie Glick of Foundry Media.

Can you tell us about your book, LANDRY PARK, in 10 words or less?
Gone with the Nuclear Wind: Mansions, gardens, radiation, kisses, revolutions.
What was your favorite scene to write?
Ooh, this is hard.  Probably the whist scene in the latter half of the book.  It has all my favorite things: cards and tuxes and dresses and subtext and expensive drinks.  It also has some of my favorite characters–Madeline and David, of course, and Cara Westoff.
What authors inspire you?
I think if I could write like Charlotte Bronte, I would die happy.  (Although she was Charlotte Bronte and she didn’t die happy, so maybe not.)
If you could choose any actor to play Madeline and Captain David Dana, who would you choose?13479780
This is the hardest because I usually restrict my celebrity knowledge to British actors over the age of thirty.  That being said, I’ve been seeing a lot of this Dane DeHaan cat popping up, and he seems to have the right kind of charismatic intensity to play David.  Also, he’s pretty cute.  As for Madeline, I like Shailene Woodley.  It has to be someone who carries around a certain level of intellectual gravitas, I think, because Madeline’s mind is what sets her apart.
What was your initial reaction when you found out that LANDRY PARK was going to be published by Dial?
 When my agent called to tell me that Dial offered, I was in a car with my husband and shrieked and then he swerved because he thought we were about to hit a cat or something.  Dial was always my first choice from the very beginning and the fact that they were the first to offer made it all the more magical!
What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to? 
Oh, this is easy: Beware the Wild by my wildly talented friend Natalie C. Parker.
Landry Park Synopsis:
Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayalIn a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire

 

 

7169681

Alison Kemper author of Donna of the Dead

Alison Kemper grew up the only girl on a street with eleven boys. She spent her childhood going on adventures and having long discussions about monsters. Now that she’s grown up (sorta), she writes books about adventures, monsters and boys–especially cute ones.

Can you tell us about your book, DONNA OF THE DEAD, in 10 words or less?

DOTD is a funny, geeky romance set during a zombie apocalypse.

What sets Donna of the Dead apart from the typical zombie book?

It’s a zombie book for people who don’t typically like zombie books. I wanted to write a campy, tongue-in-cheek zombie story, but somewhere along the way, the characters took over. They stayed funny, but took on a lot more depth, endured a lot more heartache.

Why zombies? What made you want to write about them?

I have great zombie nightmares—I’d wake up and say, “Wow, that was exciting! I should write this stuff down.” Eventually, I did.

Is it safe to say that you’re a fan of the Walking Dead?

Yes, I LOVE Walking Dead. But my characters aren’t badasses like Rick or Daryl. No guns. No training. It’s just a bunch of kids figuring it out as they go.

 What was your favorite scene to write?

An early scene, when zombies take over a cruise ship. Donna has to fight her way from one end of the boat to the other with nothing more than a pink mini-golf club.

Did you ever find yourself getting jumpy?

No, I don’t scare easily. But I did start crying at one point. One character dies—gets zombified, whatever you want to call it—and I was so sad. I really, REALLY liked that character.

Can readers also expect a romance in Donna of the Dead?

Oh, yes. This is definitely a romance. There are LOTS of cute boys. But I’ve had guy writer-friends read the novels and love them, so I guess it’s not your typical romance novel.

This is going to be a three book series. Is there any information you can share about the next 2 books?

Book 2 is set in the same world, but with different characters. It’s more of a companion than a sequel. But we’ll see the Book 1 characters again. 😉

What 2014 Debut are you most looking forward to?

I keep hearing good things about Lydia Kang’s Control.

 

Donna of the Dead Synopsis:

A teen girl has to face the obliteration of the human race from a virus that makes people act zombie-like, with only the help of a rag-tag group of high school classmates, including her long-time crush, in the campy humor-meets-action vein of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18187168-donna-of-the-dead?from_search=true

 

4702610Nicole Maggie, author of Winter Falls

Nicole was born in the suburban farm country of upstate New York, and began writing at a very early age. Of course, her early works consisted mainly of poems about rainbows and unicorns, although one of them was good enough to win honorable mention in a national poetry contest! (Perhaps one of the judges was a ten-year-old girl.) Throughout high school, her creative writing was always nurtured and encouraged.

Nicole attended Emerson College as an acting major, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Post-college, she worked as an actress in New York City for over a decade, focusing mainly on Shakespeare and the classics.

Now living in Los Angeles, Nicole balances writing full-time with motherhood. WINTER FALLS (Medallion Press, 2014) is her debut novel. She is currently working on a stand-alone novel titled HEARTLINES, as well as the second book in the TWIN WILLOWS TRILOGY.

 

Can you tell us about your book, WINTER FALLS, in 15 words or less?
WINTER FALLS:  Alessia hates her boring small town…until she learns she is part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult sworn to protect the powerful magic hidden in the town.  Um…I think that’s more than 15…
When can we expect a cover reveal?
My release date isn’t until December, so a cover will probably come next summer.  I’m as anxious as you are!
What was your favorite scene to write?
My main character, Alessia, and her love interest, Jonah, go on a first date…in the town graveyard.  I loved writing it because the chemistry between the two characters is so strong, and this was the first time they really get to be alone together.  Also, while the rest of the book has changed drastically from first to final draft, this is the one scene that has stayed virtually unchanged.
What was the hardest scene to edit out?
I can’t go into specifics because it will spoil things, but there was a scene late in the book between Alessia and her mother where stuff gets revealed that was just so beautiful and touching.  Alessia and her mom have a very close relationship, and when Alessia becomes a Benandante she has to keep it from her mom and that’s very hard for her.  But my editor thought that the information that gets revealed in the scene would be better off getting revealed in a later book in the series…and I agreed, albeit reluctantly.  That was tough to cut…but I’m hoping some version of it will show up in the third book in the trilogy.
How many books are you planning for the series?
It’s a trilogy, so three. 🙂  I have the whole arc plotted out, and I don’t plan for it to go beyond three.
Do you have anything else planned or that you’re currently working on?
I’m currently writing the sequel to WINTER FALLS, tentatively titled IN THE MOUTH OF THE WOLF, which will be out in June 2015.  The third book in the trilogy will be out in January 2016, so I’ll be working on that next.  I also have a stand-alone book coming out from SourceBooks Fire, titled HEARTLINES, in February 2015.  And then I another as-yet-unknown book coming out from SourceBooks, probably in summer 2016.  I just pitched three ideas to my editor so I don’t even know what that book will be!  I’ll keep you posted!
What is the best book you’ve read recently?
Oh goodness.  I read so many great books, it’s hard to pinpoint the “best” one.  I’m really enjoying Maggie Stiefvater’s THE RAVEN CYCLE books, and I really loved her stand-alone THE SCORPIO RACES.  I also have a lot of friends who have had books come out this year and some of my favorites have been BRUISED by Sarah Skilton, THE WIG IN THE WINDOW by Kristen Kittscher, BELLE EPOQUE by Elizabeth Ross and NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland.  Also, let me tell you, 2014 is going to be a great year for YA and MG books!
What is currently in your TBR pile?
I’m currently reading fellow Class of 2k14 Tracy Holczer’s debut THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY, which comes out next April.  It’s beautiful.  Next up is THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater (the second in the series I mentioned above) and CANARY by Rachele Alpine, who is a fellow Medallion Press author.
Winter Falls Synopsis:
Alessia Jacobs is a normal sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small Maine town. Things start to perk up when a new family comes to town, complete with a super-hot and mysterious son, Jonah. But just as she begins to crush on him, Alessia’s world is turned upside down. She has visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon, and soon learns that she is a part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors who have the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies. In this transformed state, their souls take on the form of magnificent animals.Little did Alessia know that her small boring town is actually the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and their enemy, the Malandanti. Both sides are fighting to gain control of a powerful magic in the forest that surrounds the town. As Alessia is drawn deeper and deeper into the Benandanti’s mission, and her relationship with Jonah intensifies, her life spins out of control. Unable to maintain the balance between her two identities, everything begins to fall apart and her two worlds collide with devastating consequences.
editwcatDana Levy, author of THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER
Dana Alison Levy pursued English Literature and Marketing in school, and has worked for a variety of business and nonprofit organizations. Several years ago she began to write full time, working for corporate and academic clients as well as writing fiction. Dana lives in Massachusetts with her family. THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER is her first novel.

Can you tell us about your debut, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER, in 15 words or less?

A hilarious and heartfelt tale of a family with four boys, two dads, and an ever-changing number of pets. (close enough??)

Why did you decide to write middle grade?

I love middle grade books! They have so much room to be funny, scary, heartfelt…you name it, and kids are living it, feeling it, experiencing it. I have always read books for this age range, even before I had kids, even when writing fiction was only a twinkle my eye. Middle grade books have to be wonderful stories…beyond that, anything is possible.

What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s easy. Zeus the cat falling in the bathtub

What was the hardest scene to edit out?

Hmm…that’s harder. Probably a scene where the family went to New York City. I love New York, and it was fun to have them roaming around there, but I had to cut it.

Is this going to be a series?

Yes, No or Maybe. Take your pick.

Seriously, I hope so, but have no idea at this point.

Are you currently working on anything else?

Always! I’m finishing revisions on a Young Adult novel about two best friends attempting to climb Mount Everest, I’m partway into another Young Adult story that’s a *very* loose retelling of Cinderella, with a modern-day American girl living in Paris, and I’ve just starting dreaming about a new Middle Grade story, where a freak storm wipes out a rural school building but the principal decides to keep school in session all winter long – outdoors! We’ll see where that one goes…

What authors do you look up to?

Ahhhh!! I can’t answer that. Or I can, but do you have a while? Like, a few weeks? Let me get you some tea before I start…

Okay. Well, I adore JK Rowling because of her mad plotting skills, as well as her ability to marry humor and pathos in her work. I really enjoy Maggie Stiefvater’s work for the lyrical writing. I laugh out loud at Louise Rennison’s series. I absolutely love Melina Marchetta’s work – her novels are some of the most sophisticated and beautiful stories I’ve ever read. I could go on, but I’ll try and stop.

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

That’s hard. I recently read and loved Tommy Hay’s WHAT I CAME TO TELL YOU, which was at the suggestion of my ten-year-old daughter. And also Robin Sloan’s MR. PENUMBRA’S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE, at the suggestion of my mom. That one was awesome too.

What 2014 debut are you most anticipating?

These questions are too hard!! There are so many incredible books that I know are coming out in the next year…I am beyond excited. But honestly I have to say I’m most excited to see my pal and critique partner Kate Boorman’s Young Adult alternate history WINTERKILL hit the shelves. I’ve been watching this book incubate, and I can’t wait for it to be born!

 

THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER Synopsis:

Meet the Fletchers: four boys, two dads, and one new neighbor who just might ruin everything.

Sam, age 12 Mostly interested in soccer. And food. And his phone.

Jax, age 10 Psyched for fourth grade. Thinks the new neighbor stinks, and not just because of the skunk.

Eli, age 10 (but younger than Jax) Delighted to be starting this year at the Pinnacle School, where everyone’s “the smart kid.”

Frog (not his real name), age 6 Wants his new friends at kindergarten to save a seat for his invisible cheetah.

The start of the school year is not going as hoped for the Fletcher brothers. Their miserable new neighbor, Mr. Nelson, complains about everything. Even worse, each boy finds his plans for school success veering off in unexpected directions. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.

From camping trips to scary tales told in the dark, from new schools to old friends, from imaginary cheetahs to very real skunks, the Fletchers’ school year—as always—is anything but boring.

 

6886590Gayle Rosengren, author of What the Moon Said

Gayle grew up in Chicago.  Like Esther, she enjoyed school, was a voracious reader, and loved dogs and horses. Gayle never outgrew her passion for children’s books, and she worked as a children’s and young adult librarian in Illinois for several years, enthusiastically sharing her love of books with young people. 

 

Also like Esther, Gayle eventually moved to Wisconsin, but by then she was a mother with three children.  She worked at a children’s publishing company, first in the reference library and later as a copyeditor.  It was during this time period that she published short stories for children in Cricket, Ladybug, Jack and Jill and Children’s Digest magazines.

 

Now Gayle writes full-time in her home just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband Don and slightly neurotic rescue dog, Fiona. She is living her dream, Gayle says, writing books she hopes will make the same magical difference in children’s lives as her favorite authors made in hers.   What the Moon Said is her first novel.
Can you tell us about your debut, What the Moon Said, in 15 words or less?

Esther tries to earn a gesture of affection from undemonstrative, superstitious Ma during the Depression.

What was your favorite scene to write?

My favorite scene to write was the Thanksgiving dinner choking scene.  It was so dramatic! But it led to a very happy conclusion.  It allowed me to shift the tone from one extreme to the other in a matter of just a couple of pages.

What was the hardest scene to edit out?

The hardest scene to edit out…Umm, there really wasn’t one.  My editor only ever asked for more, never less. J I did have a very challenging time editing the scene where Esther is struggling to understand why Ma is so unaffectionate– toward her even more than toward her brother and sisters.  I tried to hint at a possible answer to readers without telling them outright.  It was a bit like walking a tightrope, but I really wanted to trust my readers to come up with an answer on their own–whether it was the one I intended or something else entirely.

Why did you decide to write middle grade?

Why MG?  Middle grade is the magic sweet spot in a child’s reading life.  For the first time they’re choosing their own books and17232550 reading them independently, and because their reading history is still pretty uncluttered, many of the books they read touch them in ways that are so “first time” and “unique” they literally will never forget them.  The books that touched me at this age are still precious and vivid memories.  They were doorways to places I hadn’t experienced before.  It’s a joy and a special kind of responsibility to write for this age group.  When I write I imagine a reader who is going to be impacted by my book the same lasting way that I was, and I continually push myself to do right by them and leave them in a better place than my book found them.

Do you intend to branch out to YA or is MG your calling?

I really think middle grade is my true calling, for all the reasons I shared above.  But that doesn’t mean I would never consider writing a YA.  If I felt I had a important story to tell, I’d write it.  For now, though, the focus is squarely on readers 8-12.

Is What the Moon Said a standalone or is it going to be a series?

WHAT THE MOON SAID was written as a standalone.  Of course, if down the road readers really clamored  to hear more about Esther’s girlhood, I have more stories I would love to tell, but for the moment there are no plans for that.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on another historical fiction novel tentatively titled Joanna’s War.  It’s about facing your fears and moving ahead with life in spite of them. I think kids today can (unfortunately) relate to that theme a little too well.

What 2014 debut are you most anticipating?

That’s a tough one. I’m excited about the debuts of all my fellow Class of 2k14 and One Four Kid Lit writers.  But if pressed to choose just one, I think it would have to be No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler.  It sounds incredibly powerful.  And luckily I won’t have to wait terribly long to read it, because it debuts in January!

 

What the Moon Said Synopsis:

Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can’t keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther’s family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a farm in Wisconsin.

Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?

Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17866844-what-the-moon-said

 

6868825Emily Lloyd-Jones, author of Illusive

Emily Lloyd-Jones writes words. She also works at an indie bookstore, where she sells words. She currently resides in northern California, with an overflowing bookshelf and a very neurotic cat.

Can you tell us about your debut, Illusive, in 15 words or less?

A super-powered girl robs a bank and things go downhill from there.

Why Science Fiction?

Because the possibilities are endless: you can write about aliens, or terrify yourself with mental images of robot take-overs, or dream about life in space. You can re-imagine our world or just create a whole new one. Science fiction also lets me explore modern-day issues in a whole new context. (If it isn’t obvious by now, I adore sci fi.)

What was your favorite scene to write?

Hands down, that would be Chapter Eighteen. It consists of the main characters regrouping and facing some very dire revelations. I17182499 think it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever written. I know “dire” and “funny” don’t usually go together, but I’m of the belief that drama needs humor to balance it out.

What was the hardest scene to edit out?

There was a flashback scene between the two main characters on a rooftop, drinking crappy beer and chatting about their pasts. I adored that scene but it was getting in the way of the pacing. As much as I loved the banter, it had to go.

Is this a standalone or a series?

It’s the beginning of a series.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m neck-deep in ILLUSIVE 2.

What authors do you look up to?

Well, my first literary love is Lloyd Alexander. The Prydain Chronicles will always be among my favorites. Then there’s the usual suspects: Tolkien, Rowling, Wilde, Shakespeare. I really look up to Jonathan Stroud – his Bartimaeus Trilogy is one of my all-time faves. I’m also a Richelle Mead fangirl; I adore her Bloodlines series.

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

THE FIERY HEART, by Richelle Mead. See previous question. 🙂

What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to?

I’m really excited about GILDED by Christina Farley. A fantasy book that takes place in Korea? Yes, please.

 

Illusive Synopsis

 

The X-Men meets Ocean’s Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of “super” criminals.

When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist…She’s also a thief.

After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn’t?

The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against he government that could cost them their lives.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17182499-illusive

 

jualie-mary-gibsonJulia Mary Gibson, author of Copper Magic

For a significant chunk of my life I worked with sprocketed celluloid, as a garage animator and in various capacities in the visual effects industry. My colleagues were geniuses and magicians and sorceresses. The work was a blast (sometimes literally – catch me as Frances McDormand’s double in an awesome old-school beamsplitter shot in Sam Raimi’s DARKMAN), but a time came when my own work cried out to be fostered again.

My first novel is being published in 2014.

I live in Hollywood, California, surrounded by my four-generation extended family of poets, thespians, dancers, filmworkers, and urban farmers.
Can you tell us about  your debut, COPPER MAGIC, in 15 words or less?

Someone with almost nothing finds something that she thinks can bring her everything.

When can we expect a cover reveal?

Soon!

What genre is COPPER MAGIC?

Mystical fantasy.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The violence in the story is mostly offscreen, but there is a fight scene between Violet, the 12-year-old protagonist, and her nemesis, an arrogant Copper-Magic-6cvrand ruthless boy.  It was sad to write it, because Violet is so full of rage, but it was satisfying to let her wild animal nature come forth.  Violet is a child who keeps her feelings and thoughts to herself, and she does a lot of keeping secrets and scheming, so this scene gave her an opportunity to be overt.

What was the hardest scene to edit out?

My editor very smartly got me to cut an entire subplot and character.  I was fond of both of them, and I was especially attached to a creepy scene in which a woman attempts to arrange to abort her unborn child, which was fathered by the ruthless capitalist whose money taints the small fishing town where the story takes place.  This storyline was too dark for middle-grade readers and distracted from the central narrative, but it was hard to let it go.  I liked the character and her weaknesses and her contradictory ethics.  Maybe she’ll appear in something else down the road.

Is this a standalone or a series?

I wrote it as a standalone, but a sequel would be possible.  I’m also using Violet as a character in two other works-in-progress, but the stories are very different from COPPER MAGIC.  COPPER MAGIC takes place in the early 20th century, when Violet’s still a child.  I’m using her as a woman in her twenties in a story set in the Hollywood silent era, and she’s a minor character (and dead) in a novel I’m working on that’s set in the 1960s when the Vietnam war was tearing the United States into ribbons.

What is your favorite quote from COPPER MAGIC?

“Magic was full of brambles and shadows.  It could help you keep to the path or it could make you lost.  It could let you find berries or it could let you starve.  It could eat you or seize your mind or break your bones or shelter you.  The worst thing was to be afraid of it . Once you let fear take hold, fear would be the conqueror.”

 

Copper Magic Synopsis:

If anyone needs magic, it’s 12-year-old Violet Blake. Her mother and little brother are gone, perhaps never to return. Violet’s morose, heartbroken father can’t seem to sustain their failing farm on the outskirts of a fading town, and summer people are invading the quiet woods.

Violet unearths an ancient talisman, a hand fashioned from copper. The copper hand makes its power known. Surely it can make things right for Violet and restore her fractured family. But the copper hand’s abilities are beyond Violet’s understanding – maybe even anyone’s.

 

LisaAnnOKaneLisa O’Kane, author of Essence

Lisa Ann O’Kane is a young adult author and former vagabond who once camped out in Yosemite National Park for an entire summer, an experience that inspired her debut novel Essence.

Her background is in zookeeping and environmental education, and she has been kicked, cornered, bitten and chased by nearly every animal she has ever loved. She currently resides in Florida, and she is now a huge fan of shooting stars, indoor plumbing and keeping both her feet planted firmly on the trail.

1. Can you tell us about your debut, ESSENCE, in 15 words or less?
 A girl escapes from a cult to join a community of thrill-seekers in Yosemite.
2. What genre is ESSENCE?
 YA Near-Future Thriller
3. When can we expect a cover reveal?
 Hopefully within in the next couple of months! I’m biting my nails in anticipation!
4. What was your favorite scene to write? 
My main characters are adrenaline junkies, and they have one particularly intense zip-lining experience. I got into such a “zone” writing it that I literally had to go back when I was finished to make sure my sentences made sense. (They did… Whew!)
5. What was the hardest scene to edit out? 
There actually isn’t a single scene that comes to mind, believe it or not. There were certainly many scenes that didn’t make it all the way to the final product, but I was very happy to see them go for the most part. No time for dead weight!
 
6. What is your favorite quote from ESSENCE? 
Wow, I’ve never actually thought about this before. Hmm… Here’s a good one: Jett’s hand clasped mine. “Autumn, you may think we’re wrong about Essences, but we just may be right. And your brother’s death will be meaningless if you don’t have the courage to find out.”
7. Is this a standalone or a series? 
ESSENCE is part of a two-book series, and the sequel will be released in June ’15.
8. What 2014 debut are you most anticipating? 
I have shared my publishing journey with so many amazing writer friends, and it seems like so many of us have debuts coming out in 2014. It would be impossible to pick just one, but needless to say, I will be doing a LOT of reading this year!
Essence Synopsis:
Neutrality is the key to longevity.This motto has governed 17-year-old Autumn’s life in the mid-21st-century Centrist cult, which believes that expressing emotions leads to Essence drain and premature death.But Autumn’s younger brother’s death casts her faith into question. While sprinting through a park in violation of Centrist teachings, she encounters Ryder Stone, an Outsider who claims Essence drain is nothing more than a Centrist scare tactic. She agrees to join his Community, a utopia of adrenaline junkies living in the abandoned remains of Yosemite National Park.

Autumn learns about sex, drugs, and living life to the fullest. But as she discovers dark secrets beneath the Community’s perfect exterior, she realises that this illusion of paradise could be shattered…

7009629Hillary Monahan, author of MARY: The Summoning
I’m Hillary! By day I’m a writer repped by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency. By night, I don tights and a cape and run into burning buildings to steal stuff while some other superhero actually takes care of the hapless victims. Someone’s gotta be shady around these parts.

Can you tell us about your debut book, MARY: The Summoning, in 15 words or less?

 

MARY is a horror novel about a group of teenaged girls who summon Bloody Mary.

 

When can we expect a cover reveal for MARY: The Summoning?

 

I would anticipate sometime in the spring!  The proofs are coming in and they’re excellently creepy.  I can’t wait to share Hyperion’s fantastic art with the world.

 

Holy smokes, that synopsis scared the crap out of me, and I haven’t even read it. Why did you decide to go with horror?

 

I’ve been a horror fan since I was a wee little nerdling.  From reading all the Christopher Pike novels I could get my hands on to staying up late at night with Stephen King and a flashlight, it’s been a fixture in my life.  When I was a teenager, I lived in an old New England farmhouse – there were bats in the barn, secret passageways, and the basement with its dirt-floor cellar was the stuff of nightmares.  It was the perfect place to host my horror movie slumber parties.  From The Exorcist to Candyman (which is a take on the Bloody Mary urban legend, incidentally) to Watcher in the Woods, if it was spooky, I probably inflicted it on my friends.  I’m surprised any of them still talk to me.

 

Can we expect any gore or is it just going to be the jumpy kind of scary?

 

Well, it is Bloody Mary so expect a little gore, but I consider it more the latter than the former.   There are some shudder-worthy scenes, but all in all I leave most of the gruesome stuff to the imagination.

 

What was your favorite scene to write?

 

Oh, I’d have to say when the girls summon Bloody Mary and everything goes awry.  It was the first scene I drafted oh-so-long ago, and despite numerous revisions, it’s stayed intact.  It packed the punch I wanted it to from its inception.

 

What was the hardest scene to edit out?

 

Interestingly enough, the original draft of MARY was set part in the present, part in the past.  It has since become all modern.  While I absolutely adore the story in its current form, some of the history I crafted is dearly missed.

 

Is this a standalone or will it become a series?

 

MARY will have a sequel, yes.  Inflicting the monster upon the reader is one thing, but you have to try to put the monster away for good or she’ll just keep coming back, right?

 

What else are you working on?

 

At the moment, I’m finishing my MARY edits before I venture off into Short Story Land for an upcoming Solaris horror anthology.  The working title is “The Bone Man’s Bride.”

 

What was your first reaction when you found out that you were being published by Disney Hyperion?

 

I was at work when I got the call that there was an offer on my book.  I was so excited, I forgot to breathe.  Then when my agent called back and told me other offers were coming in, and in the end, that Disney-Hyperion wanted to publish me, I cried and flapped my hands like a penguin.  In retrospect, it probably wasn’t all that attractive to witness.  My poor co-workers.

 

What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to?

 

Can I give two answers?  Let me give two answers.  The first is that my best friend and littermate Lauren Roy has her debut novel coming out through Ace Books in April, 2014.  NIGHT OWLS is a great urban fantasy read, and I’m so proud of Lauren for her publishing success.

 

The second answer is Courtney Alameda’s SHUTTER which sounds so moody and wonderful. I’m really excited to see what kind of twisted tale Courtney has spun for Macmillan!

 

MARY: The Summoning:

 

Shauna O’Brien is a seventeen-year-old girl who’s talked into summoning Bloody Mary by her best friend, Jess McAllister. With the help of two of their friends and classmates – Anna Sasaki and Kitty Almeida – the girls bring the impossible to life. In the impenetrable darkness of Anna’s basement, they conjure the legend herself.

The summons are under control until Jess begins to experiment with the nightmare creature. After a particularly harrowing ritual, Shauna finds herself stalked by the murderous, blood-thirsty ghost who can find her in any glass, in any mirror, anywhere. The girls must unravel fact from fiction before Bloody Mary comes to collect her ultimate prize: Shauna’s life.

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17661402-mary

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