2014 Debut Author Intros: Episode 4


Welcome back to the fourth episode of the 2014 Debut Author Intros! Come back every Saturday and Sunday this December to get a first look at this coming years debut authors. Take a look below for todays authors!


5228256Ryan Graudin, author of All That Glows


Ever since her first trip to London, Ryan Graudin has been a case study for wanderlust. She lives with her husband in Charleston, South Carolina and is always searching for the next adventure. Visit her online at ryangraudin.blogspot.com or on Twitter (@ryangraudin).


Can you tell us about your 2014 debut, All That Glows, in 15 words or less?:

A Faery guards Britain’s prince from assassins, falls in love and faces an impossible choice.


I love that cover. Who designed it?:

Alison Klapthor is responsible for the typography! (Which I’m head over heels in love with.) Authors have very little involvement when it comes to the cover, so I actually don’t know who else was involved in it. I know my editor, Alyson Day, went to all the model castings and helped pick out clothes and jewelry for Emrys. I wish I could have been there to help!


Why did you decide to write about fairies?:

The idea for ALL THAT GLOWS actually came from a short story prompt. I was trying to submit to an anthology about fairies and the requirements were to write a story that was about modern, sexy fairies. The first thing that popped into my mind was the concept of the traditional fairy godmother and what it would be like if today’s royalty had them. The novel took off from there.


What was your favorite scene to write?:

Action scenes are my favorite to write. There’s one that takes place in London’s super creepy Highgate Cemetery.12711662


What was the hardest scene to edit out?:

There was a prologue I wrote that I ended up nixing early on in the process. I still love it, but it doesn’t fit the story anymore.


Is this a standalone or a series?:

A series! I’m actually hard at work getting the sequel into shape! It should be heading your way February 2015!


If you could cast anyone to play some of the main characters, who would you choose?:

Karen Gillan, who plays Amy Pond on Doctor Who, is pretty much a spot on version of my main character Emrys. As for Prince Richard, I haven’t come across any actors I think embody him, but model Francisco Lachowski looks very similar to how I envision him. My ALL THAT GLOWS Pinterest board (

http://www.pinterest.com/rgraudin/all-that-glows/) has a lot of what I envision inside the novel!


Are you currently working on anything else?:

Plenty of things. I actually have two books coming out in 2014. ALL THAT GLOWS (HarperTeen, 2/11/14) and THE WALLED CITY (Little, Brown, Fall 2014). THE WALLED CITY is the tale of three teenagers desperately trying to escape a lawless, walled city. I’m also working on the second Faery book and a top secret duology that will be coming out with Little, Brown starting Fall 2015.


Can we expect you on Tea Time with Epic Reads anytime soon?:

No plans yet, but things are just getting started!


What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to?:

I just finished reading and ARC of CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it’s SO GOOD. It’s coming out in January and it’s definitely one I want to add to my library!


All That Glows Synopsis:

Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12711662-all-that-glows?ac=1


1436262Jaye Robin Brown, author of No Place to Fall


Jaye Robin Brown, or Jro to her friends, lives and writes in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina.  She is fond of horses, dogs, the absurd and the ironic. When not writing, you can find her in the art room of the high school where she teaches.

Her debut young adult novel, NO PLACE TO FALL, comes out in the fall of 2014 from Harper Teen. It’s about dreams, singing, friendship, love, betrayal, family, and mistakes. It’s also a love song to small town girls and mountain music, both of which shape the area that Jaye now calls home. 


Can you tell us about your debut, No Place to Fall, in 15 words or less?

Small town NC girl dreams of singing on bigger stages. Cute boy with banjo helps.

When can we expect a cover reveal?

I hope soon! I’ve seen it. I love it. I can’t wait to share it!

Why Contemporary?

I love people and their interactions, the nuance in the way we treat each other, the backstory that makes us that way – contemporary fiction is a way to explore relationships and situations and when it’s done well, it’s kind of like making new friends you want to hang out with for a while.

What was your favorite scene to write?

There’s a scene about midway through the book when Amber, my MC, gets a chance to sing on stage in a totally different sort of environment. At first she’s scared, but then she realizes all she has to do is open her mouth and the sound flows out. It’s daring, because she’s somewhere she’s not supposed to be with someone she’s not supposed to be with, but it’s also a pivotal moment in Amber’s quest for really knowing who she is, the dream she wants to chase, and having a glimpse that it might be possible. Plus there’s kissing and kissing is always fun to write.

What was the hardest scene to edit out?

There was a really funny scene, a phone conversation actually, between Amber and her best friend, Devon. Devon is explaining to her how his pseudo-date night went with hot boy, Kush. I loved that scene, but in the end it really didn’t advance the plot, so it had to go.

Is this a standalone or a series?

This is a standalone. I’ll have a second YA contemporary standalone following it in 2015.

What was your favorite quote from No Place to Fall?

What a great question and a difficult one (they seem odd to me out of context!), but here’s one from the scene I mentioned as my favorite to write above.

“When I open my mouth, the bird surprises me. She’s not scared one little bit. It’s like she knows she’s been waiting for this moment her whole life. She opens her wings and heads for the sky, soaring higher and higher with each note, and I forget that I’m in front of people. I forget about Will. I forget about Daddy and Whitney. I am free. Nothing holding me to the earth but the sound of the song, the music, and my voice pouring out of me.”

Are you currently working on anything else?

I’m working on a historical MG also set in the mountains of North Carolina (1900’s and the building of the Clinchfield rail lines) and scheming up another YA Contemporary with romance, betrayal, and a bit of mystery that could be a companion to No Place To Fall.

Can we expect you on Tea Time with Epic Reads in the near future?

I don’t know about the near future, with a fall release I’m still aways away from the marketing pipeline. But as my release date nears, I sure hope you’ll see me there!

What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to?

In Young Adult fiction (and of the ARC’s I’ve not yet read) I’m really excited to read Far From You by Tess Sharpe. I’ve enjoyed following Tess on Twitter and we seem to have a similar view point on the world. I have a hunch Far From You is going to be a beautiful book that makes you cry and breaks your heart.


No Place to Fall Synopsis:


Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16144570-no-place-to-fall?ac=1


6588802Christina Farley, author of Gilded

After teaching and traveling internationally for ten years, Christina started writing about her adventures, tossing in a little fiction for fun. This inspired her to write GILDED, a YA based on Korean mythology about a Korean-American girl who takes her destiny into her own hands.
Besides writing, Christina loves traveling, running, driving too fast, and eating dark chocolate.
Christina writes fantasy for teens. Her debut YA, GILDED, will be published by Skyscape/Amazon Children’s, spring 2014. She is represented by Jeff Ourvan of the Jennifer Lyons Literary, LLC.  Learn more about Christina by visiting her at www.christinafarley.com or by chatting with her on Twitter @christinafarley.

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


A Korean-American girl with a black belt and a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows.


Goodreads has Gilded listed as Asian Literature. I love that you included diversity in this book. Usually we read about a lot of white MC’s. What made you decide to take that route?


I wrote GILDED while I was teaching at an international school in Seoul, Korea so everything about GILDED was inspired by what I experienced and lived. While there, I also mentored a group of 11th grade girls and a lot of the feelings and struggles that my characters from GILDED deal with stem from the types of issues that the 11th graders at that school experienced.


When can we expect to see a cover? 


I’m so excited about the cover and I wish I could share it with you right now! I plan on doing a cover reveal in January.


What was your favorite scene to write?


Wow. I don’t know. There are so many scenes I absolutely love. In fact most of the scenes were inspired by personal experiences that I had while living in Seoul. It’s a toss-up between the ski scene and the final fight scene because not only were they fun to write, but they bring back great memories. Of course, all of my favorite cafés, restaurants and shopping hang-outs in Seoul are in GILDED.


What was the hardest scene to edit out?


I was lucky girl. I didn’t have to delete any scenes I was in love with. But I did add another 10k to the manuscript after it was acquired so there are actually a lot of new scenes in the book that my critique partners haven’t read yet.


Is this a standalone or a series?



When I first drafted GILDED, I planned it as a standalone. But as I started revising the book, I realized that there was actually so much more to Jae’s story and the Spirit World. A few months after we sold GILDED, I couldn’t get the more of Jae’s story out of my head. It was so compelling that I literally sat down and wrote a sequel without my editor even knowing. 

Who are some of your favorite authors?


For the classics, hands down C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Jane Austen. For contempory YA, Beth Revis, Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth.


Are you currently working on anything else?

Definitely! There are so many stories screaming to be written. Currently, I’m writing book 3 for the Gilded series (and I think it’s my favorite so far).


What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to?


I’m super excited about Emily Lloyd-Jones’ ILLUSIVE. Teens with cool powers and travel the world. Yep. My type of fun. And then there’s Lori Lee’s YA, GATES OF THREAD AND STONE, which as a lover of fantasy, I’m dying to get my hands on.

Gilded Synopsis:

When sixteen-year old, Jae Hwa, is uprooted from her home in L.A. to Korea, she thought her biggest problem would be fitting in with her classmates and dealing with her dismissive grandfather. But she was wrong. A Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16173250-gilded?ac=1


26823_379543888981_7502049_nAdi Rule, author of Strange Sweet Song


Adi Rule grew up among animals and writers. She studied music as an undergrad and has an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Adi is a member of, and has been a soloist for, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops. When she’s not writing or singing, she can be found playing Triple Yahtzee with her grandmother.
[If you do links, mine are:]

Can you tell us about your book, STRANGE SWEET SONG, in 15 words or less?

A young soprano enrolls at a remote music academy where nothing is as it seems.

What genre would you catagorize Strange Sweet Song?

Magical realism.

What was your favorite scene to write?

There’s a beast called the Felix who lives in the woods that surround the academy, and she has her own POV chapters. I loved writing those! The Felix’s origins are celestial, but she fell to earth and has since become very animalistic and brutal. So she’s this rather monstrous presence lurking in the woods who has the occasional flashes of memory of glittering galaxies. She’s my favorite character.

What was the hardest scene to edit out?

I don’t think any scenes ended up being cut altogether, but I did have to scale back on word count throughout for the sake of pacing and momentum. The toughest bits to 18112933let go of were character banter. I started out as a playwright, so I tend to think in terms of dialogue, and besides, it’s super fun to write! But you can’t hang on to an extraneous conversation just because you like it. It’s kind of like your own cats — no one else is as enamored as you are.

Is this a standalone or a series?


Do you have anything else planned or that you’re currently working on?

My second YA novel, REDWING, will also be published by St Martin’s Press. It’s a bit steampunk and a bit fairy tale. With bonus throat slicing and ostrich rides!

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

I know I’m late to the party, but THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. Oh, Toad, you rapscallion!

What is currently in your TBR pile?

ENTANGLED by Amy Rose Capetta, ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman, THE SWEETEST DARK by Shana Abé, PARADOX by Ammi-Joan Paquette, and TWILIGHT ROBBERY by Frances Hardinge.


Strange Sweet Song Synopsis:

A young soprano enrolls in a remote music academy where nothing, not even her mysterious young vocal coach, is as it seems

Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school; music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing for real. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth—not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians—but as an artist and leading lady in her own right.

Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talent are underscored by the fact that she is cast as the understudy in the school’s production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary?

Sing must work with the mysterious Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there.

Lyrical, gothic, and magical, Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule will captivate and enchant readers.


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18112933-strange-sweet-song?ac=1


bfdef4c8c7c7c4e4ce3f2f6614282eeb_waxd_7apgKym Brunner, author of Wanted: Dead Or In Love

Kym Brunner’s method of creating a manuscript:  write, procrastinate, sleep, repeat. She’s addicted to Tazo chai tea latte, going to the movies, and reality TV. When she’s not conjuring up dead people or forcing her characters into tense situations, Kym teaches 7th grade full time. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her family and two Shih-tzus, and is repped by Eric Myers of The Spieler Agency. Her two books,Wanted: Dead or In Love (Merit Press), and One Smart Cookie(Omnific Press) will both be out in Spring, 2014.


Can you tell us about your debut, Wanted: Dead Or In Love, in 15 words or less? Here’s the tagline: 

Two teens. Bonnie and Clyde.

Whoever inhabits the bodies at the deadline . . .survives.

What made you want to write about Bonnie and Clyde?
It didn’t start off that way. I read an article about 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore, the Barefoot Bandit who led the police on an international goose chase. I thought about writing about a story of an unsuspecting girl who gets charmed by a handsome criminal such as Colton while on vacation. One idea led to another, and I started thinking about Bonnie and Clyde, young lovers who went on a two-year crime spree, and thought, “Hmmm…what if modern day teenagers came face to face (or in my case, body co-habitation) with Bonnie and Clyde?” If you read Wanted:  Dead or In Love you’ll have my answer. 🙂
What genre would you categorize Wanted: Dead Or In Love?
My editor, Jacquelyn Mitchard (a famous author herself), likes to call it magical realism––the genre in which supernatural elements are present and operate in a very realistic environment.
What was your favorite scene to write?
This book features a dual-POV––one of Monroe Baker, my 17-year-old protagonist, and the other is Clyde Barrow himself.  My favorite scenes to18460429 write were the ones where Clyde invades the body of modern day teen, Jack Hale, and explores the current world with his 1920’s criminal brain. 
Is this a standalone?
Yes. Naturally, there are ways I could manipulate things to write a sequel, but none are in the making at this time. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. 
Are you currently working on anything else?
Always! My current WIP involves a college guy who meets a kind older man who lives upstairs from him, a man who turns out to have some very powerful secrets. I also recently sold another novel, ONE SMART COOKIE, to Omnific Press (spring, 2014) and am expecting my revision letter soon. It’s a humorous but heartwarming YA romance centered around the adorably inept Sophie Dumbrowski, a teen living above her family-owned Polish bakery with her man-hungry mother and her spirit-conjuring grandmother, who together, try to find Sophie the perfect boyfriend. 
What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to?

Beside my own two, lol, I’d have to say it is “The One” by Kiera Cass, book three in The Selection series. Loved the first two and can’t wait to continue the romance and the action.

Thanks so much for giving me a chance to talk about my books. I can’t wait to meet new readers and get my stories out into the world. See you around the internet! 🙂 KYM


Wanted: Dead Or In Love Synopsis:

Kym Brunner’s debut, WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE, about two teens possessed by the spirits of Bonnie and Clyde who soon discover that the legendary outlaws plan to continue where they left off.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18460429-wanted?ac=1


unnamedLisa Doan, author of The Berenson Schemes – Jack the Castaway

I received a master’s degree in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. My first books, a children’s middle grade series titled The Berenson Schemes, will be released by Lerner Publishing Group in 2014.

As a professional vagabond, I’m a dual citizen (U.S./​Ireland), have traveled throughout Africa, Asia and Central America, and lived on a Caribbean island for eight years. I once backpacked alone from Morocco to Kenya. (Tip on crossing the Sahara Desert – TURN BACK.)

My jobs have included Master Scuba Diving Instructor (nobody drowned), wall street headhunter (it did not involve shrunken heads, except figuratively), Owner/​Chef of a restaurant (I should have learned how to cook before I opened it), Set Medic for a reality T.V. show (I was broke, so standards had to be lowered. A lot) and Deputy Prothonotary of a county court (I’m pleased to report that lawsuits remain a popular American sport).

My dream is to dig up buried treasure, hit oil in the backyard, or discover that the fake diamond earrings I bought for five dollars are actually real. Finding myself suddenly rich, I’ll buy a series of tiny houses in far-flung foreign destinations and roam between them.

My other dream is to own a Tardis and roam through both space AND time. I would prefer it come with its own Time Lord, since you never know when you might run into one of those weeping angels. (Now that I’ve mentioned them, I’m afraid those creepy statues can read and are figuring out where I am)

What is that on my lawn…

Can you tell us about your debut, The Berenson Schemes – Jack the Castaway, in 15 words or less?

Jack is reunited with his irresponsible globe-trotting parents, and promptly lost in the Caribbean.


 That cover is so stinkin cute! Who designed it?

I know! I wish I had that kind of talent. The illustrator is Ivica Stevanović. I adore his use of color and how perfectly he captured the setting and tone on the cover. The black and white internal illustrations have a wonderfully skewed, ‘Roald Dahlish’ vibe


What made you want to write MG instead of YA?

I never made a conscious decision to write MG and don’t really think about that much – I just gravitate to the story worlds I find amusing.  I greatly admire those writers who can gather up the mental fortitude to live in story worlds filled with grim reality and then write a compelling story about it. But the idea of writing such a thing strikes me as similar to eating Brussels sprouts – they might be good for me, but I don’t care, I’m not eating them! I suspect I will never be mature enough to write YA…



How many books will be in the Berenson Schemes series?

Three have been scheduled – #1 Jack the Castaway, set in the Caribbean

#2 Jack and the Wild Life, set in the Masai Mara of Kenya

#3 Still untitled and set in Nepal.


What was your favorite scene to write?

The moment Jack Berenson realizes his parents have lost him in the Caribbean and he is on his own. He’d spent a great deal of time18228872 planning and writing safety checklists to make sure nothing like that would happen. But trying to anticipate everything that Richard and Claire Berenson might do is like trying to plug a hundred holes in a dam with only one finger.


What was the hardest scene to edit out?

The hardest part to lose was the extended details of the coral reef. As an ex-SCUBA instructor, I loosely based Jack’s reef on a Caribbean dive site I have explored hundreds of times. While I believe I brought Jack’s reef to life in the book, I really could have gone on and on. And on.


What are you currently working on?

Right now, I am currently wrapping up number two in the series – Jack and the Wild Life, and getting ready to revise number three. I’m also mentally mulling over another story idea unrelated to the series. (‘Mentally mulling over’ is highly technical writer’s jargon for “Haven’t written anything yet.”)


What authors do you look up to?

Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, Sue Townsend, Kathi Appelt, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Jane Austen, Lemony Snickett, JK Rowling, Anthony Trollope and a special shout out to Polly Horvath, because it takes mega-skill to make a mother’s guillotined head rolling through the garden funny (The Canning Season). I can only aspire to that kind of daring.


What 2014 debut are you most anticipating? 

Adi Rule’s Strange Sweet Song.


The Berenson Schemes – Jack the Castaway Synopsis:

Jack’s parents have been chased out of Tokyo, gone broke in Greece, and hosted Nairobi’s least successful safari. Next they’re taking Jack on a Caribbean vacation,whether Jack wants to go or not. The Berensons are about to start a snorkeling business. It’s their latest get-rich-quick scheme. With these experienced world travelers at the helm, what could go wrong? Jack is used to staying indoors and not taking chances. When his parents take him out on the water, he ends up shipwrecked. Now Jack has to survive on a tropical island…and avoid a whale shark that’s cruising along his beach.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18228872-the-berenson-schemes?ac=1


5815760Tara Dairman, author of All Four Stars

Tara Dairman is the author of the middle-grade novel ALL FOUR STARS, which will be published by Putnam/Penguin in 2014. She is also a playwright and a recovering round-the-world honeymooner (2 years, 74 countries!).

Tara holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. You can find her online in the following places:

Photo credit: “Tiffany Crowder @ Crowded Studios”

Blog: taradairman.com/blog

Facebook: facebook.com/TaraDairmanAuthor

Twitter: twitter.com/#!/TaraDairman


Can you tell us about your debut, All Four Stars, in 15 words or less?

Eleven-year-old Gladys Gatsby secretly becomes a restaurant critic for New York’s biggest newspaper.


Why did you decide to write middle grade?

Honestly, I’d never even heard of the term “middle grade” until after I’d finished writing the book and started researching agents and13598351 the publishing industry. I knew that the intended audience was a little younger than “young adult,” but I didn’t know that that category of books even had a name. But I will say that my favorite books as a kid (Roald Dahl’s, Judy Blume’s) and several favorites I encountered as an older reader (the Harry Potter series, the Lemony Snicket series) would be considered middle grade, so it’s no big surprise that I ended up writing in that category, too.


What was your favorite scene to write?

There’s a scene late in ALL FOUR STARS set at a very, very bad Broadway musical that was a lot of fun to write. I was a playwright before I turned to fiction, so it was a treat for me to slip a little satire about the theater industry into an otherwise very food-focused book. 🙂


What was the hardest scene to edit out?

Great question. In early drafts of the book, the “origin” story about how Gladys became a foodie involved visits to a restaurant in her hometown called “The Heights” that had been built on top of a garbage dump (and was slowly sinking into its spongy surface). I still love the quirkiness of that setting, but it turned out that the scenes set there didn’t really fit with the tone and storyline of the rest of the book.


Is this going to be a series?

Yes! I’ve signed the contract on a sequel (no title yet) that will be published in the summer of 2015, and beyond that…who knows? 🙂


Are you currently working on anything else?

I’ve got a couple of other projects in varying states of development, and I’m sure that I’ll have edits to work on for the ALL FOUR STARS sequel soon.


Do you plan to branch out to YA or are you going to stay with MG?

I think that MG is my “sweet spot,” but I wouldn’t rule out writing YA, or an adult book. I love experimenting with new genres and voices.


What authors do you look up to?

J.K. Rowling is a big one—in addition to loving her writing, every time I’ve read or seen an interview with her, I’ve found her responses to be so generous and well-thought-out that I’m just in awe. (And that Harvard commencement speech she gave about failure? Totally inspiring.)


What is the best book you’ve read recently?

I’ve read so many good ones this year! In kidlit, I loved RADIO GIRL by Carol Brendler, a historical upper-MG with a terrific humorous voice. And in adult, I loved THE DISASTER TOURIST by Aiken Avery—also very funny, though in a much snarkier way.


What 2014 debut are you most anticipating?

I recently read the ARC for Adi Rule’s dark, beautiful YA debut STRANGE SWEET SONG, and it blew me away. I can’t wait until it comes out next year and more readers discover it!


All Four Stars Synopsis:

Gladys Gatsby has dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic for New York’s biggest newspaper–she just didn’t expect to be assigned her first review at age 11. Now, if she wants to meet her deadline and hang on to her dream job, she’ll have to defy her fast-food-loving parents, cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy, and battle Manhattan’s meanest maitre d’.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13598351-all-four-stars?ac=1


unnamedPhilip Siegel, author of The Break-Up Artist


Philip Siegel grew up in New Jersey, which he insists is much nicer than certain TV shows would have you believe. He graduated from Northwestern University and promptly moved out to Los Angeles, where he became an NBC Page (proof below). He likes to think that the character of Kenneth on 30 Rock is loosely based on his life rights. Currently, he lives in Chicago and does his best writing sandwiched in between colorful characters on the El.

Book info:

Release date: April 29, 2014

Harlequin TEEN books

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17684323-the-break-up-artist

Find me online:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/philipsiegelwrites

Twitter: @fillupseagull

Website: www.philipsiegel.com

Can you tell us about your debut book, The Break-Up Artist, in 15 words or less?

A girl runs a secret business breaking up couples at her school.

Why contemporary?

It’s what I’m naturally drawn to. I like working within the constrictions of the real world. I never got into reading or watching sci-fi or fantasy. I fell asleep in the first LORD OF THE RINGS movie. I have total respect for readers and writers of these genres. It’s honestly just not for me.

Out of all of the debut authors I’m interviewing, so far you’re one of the few men I’ve come across. Do you think it’s harder for men to get published?

Nope. I think YA tends to attract more female authors because the majority of YA readers are female. But there are other genres where male authors dominate. Ultimately, it comes down to the book. If it’s a well-written book, it doesn’t matter who wrote it. That book will get published.

Or do you think that there’s just more female authors out there?

Here’s my theory: I think TWILIGHT opened up a whole new audience for YA. People (mostly women) who had never considered reading young adult devoured the books. And then they read about Stephanie Meyer’s backstory: wife and mom who had never written fiction before decides to give it a go after a vivid dream and becomes a bestseller. She did not fit the typical writer image (MFA graduate, NYC resident, starving artist) nor was she an already-established icon like Judy Blume or John Grisham. She was just like you and me. She was a suburban mom, and she made it. I think that inspired people, particularly other wives and mothers, to try their hand at writing, even if they didn’t have a fiction background. Her story gave them confidence (“If she could do it, so could I!”). And since this intersected with the heyday of blogs, these new writers had easier access to agents and editors than ever before. They also found other writers online, creating a support system that still exists today.

While people love to knock TWILIGHT, you can’t deny that she brought millions of readers to YA, and that the series’ success paid forunnamed (1) lots of smaller, wonderful YA novels. So thank you, Stephanie Meyer.

What was your favorite scene to write?

I loved writing scenes between Becca and her hyper, chatty best friend Val, especially as Val falls deeper into the rabbit hole of boyfriendland. I loved their back and forth; it came so easily. In fact, some of the crazy things Val says were said nearly verbatim by people I know.

What was your first reaction when you learned you were getting published by Harlequin Teen?

Surprise, which I’m sure most people say. But it’s true! Besides the usual “OMG someone wants to publish my book,” I was surprised that Harlequin TEEN wanted to buy it. THE BREAK-UP ARTIST is not a swoony romance at all. Once I signed though, I read a bunch of their books like SPEECHLESS and CONFESSIONS OF AN ANGRY GIRL, and I realized how off my first impression was. They publish a variety of quality books, and I feel so lucky to be part of the Harlequin TEEN family.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on an idea that’s like the TV show SCANDAL meets VERONICA MARS. I think I’ll always be drawn to characters who scheme.

What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to?

SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy. It sounds unlike anything else coming out next year. I’ve been interested in this book since I read Julie’s querytracker interview two years ago!


The Break-Up Artist Synopsis:

Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples.

After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17684323-the-break-up-artist?ac=1


7062305Robin Constantine, author of The Promise of Amazing

Robin Constantine is a born and bred Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round. She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene.
Her YA debut, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Can you tell us about your debut, The Promise of Amazing, in 15 words or less?

It’s a story about friends, family and the redemptive power of love.

I LOVE that cover. Who designed it?

Thanks for the cover love!  Erin Fitzsimmons designed it.   The first time I saw a cover comp was February 2013 and it was a bit surreal. I immediately fell in love with it. The cover lettering is lovely (and also echoed in the book) too.  I think it captures the vibe of the story perfectly!

What was your favorite scene to write?

My favorite scene to write was the scene that takes place between Wren and Grayson in Guinevere’s cottage.  Writing from an adult perspective, it’s easy to get carried away in a kissing scene – and on first go around, I know I usually write scenes that are too smooth and perfect in the way things unfold.  Most times, especially with someone new, kissing is awkward and funny and I loved trying to figure out where to put in those not so smooth parts.  The whole scene from the moment they arrive at the cottage until the end of the chapter was just a blast to choreograph.  There’s really nothing like that feeling when you find out the person you’ve been crushing on, wants to be with you too.

What was the hardest scene to edit out?

Originally both Madison and Wren’s brother Josh were in the scene at Andy’s house and there was a whole after party scene which I adoredunnamed because it showed the fun dynamic between Wren, her big brother and her friends but ultimately it didn’t do much to forward the story so I had to scrap it.

Why contemporary?

Contemporary is where my voice is – these are the stories that speak to me.  As a reader, I love stories that are relatable.  Growing up, my nose was usually in a Judy Blume or a Norma Fox Mazer book for just that reason – being able to see myself in the characters and know that what I was going through in my own life wasn’t all that strange.  As a writer, one of my goals is to have readers be able to see themselves in the story – to laugh, or be touched in some way.  If I’ve accomplished that with even one reader, I’m happy.

Is this a standalone or a series?

The Promise of Amazing is a standalone.

Are you currently working on anything else?

Yes, I’m working on a companion novel told in the POV of Wren’s best friend Madison and an entirely new character.  The story takes place a few months after the ending of The Promise of Amazing, so it’s not a continuation of that story but a whole new set of circumstances, although Wren and Grayson and Jazz will be in it too.  It’s been fun having these characters I love meet new characters that I’m falling in love with too.

Can we expect you on Tea Time with Epic Reads in the near future?

That would be fun!  No plans at the present but I have an awesome book shimmy.

What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to?

Oh, this is such a hard question.  There are some incredible books coming out. Sticking with the fun, contemporary vibe though I have to say I’m really looking forward to Open Road Summer by Emery Lord in the spring.

The Promise of Amazing Synopsis:

Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who’s always done what she’s supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17844678-the-promise-of-amazing?ac=1

6474501Heather Marie author of  THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME

Heather Marie writes YA supernatural horror, but sometimes dabbles with dark contemporary. She lives in Northern California with her husband and spends most of her time reading through a horde of library books. Her debut, THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME, is forthcoming from Curiosity Quills in Fall 2014.
Can you tell us about your book, THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME , in 15 words or less? 
A boy who crosses over the dead. And a Dark Priest that brings them back.
When can we expect a cover reveal?
This is a fantastic question. We’re currently working on ideas and such. I’m really hoping to nab a cover designer that I’ve been dying to work with. So, with that being said, I’m gonna say maybe early spring?
Supernatural horror, though, a lot of people recognize it as a thriller.
What was your favorite scene to write?
I’d have to say pretty much any scene that involved describing something grotesque. Finding the right words to articulate the damage to some of the Bleeders (what my MC calls the dead) is incredibly exciting to me. It’s all about making the reader cringe, in a good way, I mean.
What was the hardest scene to edit out?
Prior to signing my contract, I had to do extensive edits. It wasn’t so much taking out as it was adding things in. There were so many scenes that needed to be reworked because of this, which turned out to be quite a challenge. I’m pretty happy with it. Scratch that, SUPER happy with it.
Is this going to be a standalone or will it be a series?
I’ve always pictured it as a two part series.
Are you currently working on anything else?
What writer isn’t? haha Yes, I am. I have a completely different supernatural in the works, as well as a YA dark contemporary. I’m pretty excited about the latter because I’ve never written anything like it before.
What is the last book that you read and loved?
I haven’t finished REBOOT by Amy Tintera yet, but I’m about 50% in and I am absolutely loving it. Like, ridiculous amounts. The voice is perfect and the story itself incredibly unique. Highly recommend it.
What couple do you ship from a different book?
Hector and Elisa from THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series, without a doubt.
What 2014 debut are you most looking forward to? 
SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy. I’ve heard crazy good things about this book, and I adore Julie. So looking forward to this one.
To seventeen-year-old Aiden Ortiz, letting the dead walk through his body to reach the other side comes with the territory. Being a Gateway isn’t an easy job, but someone’s gotta send Bleeders where they belong. Heaven. Salvation. Call it whatever you want. Dead is dead. But when his search for Koren Banks––the girl who went mysteriously missing seven months ago––leaves him with more questions than answers, he finds himself involved in something far more sinister and beyond his control.

With the threat of the Dark Priest’s resurrection, and his plan to summon his demon brothers from hell, Aiden is left to discover his identity before the Dark Priest’s curse infecting his blood consumes him, and before the world as he knows it succumbs to the darkness of hell on earth.