Thursday, January 30, 2020

My Favorite Movies, TV Shows, and Music of 2019!


Hi, everyone! Today I'm going to be talking about what my favorite Movies, TV Shows, and Music were from 2019! I'm going to write this post a little differently than I have in previous years, because honestly? I'm kind of just done with 2019. I even contemplated not writing a favorites post for 2019. But I always post my favorites from the previous year, and I decided I should go ahead and try to post something. This post won't be as full as usual, because I'm not listing everything that I enjoyed last year, just my absolute favorites. And I know I'm going to forget something, because last year was a blur, and I know I'm forgetting something I loved. But these were all things I loved, and I wanted to give a shout out to them! Here we go!

Movies:
(I didn't watch many movies this year, but these were all excellent!)

Frozen 2
This was my favorite movie from last year! I loved it! Even more than I loved the first one, and that really says something, because I adore the first movie. And the soundtrack is fantastic!

A Lot of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Movies
I watched so many of these last year, and I loved all of them!

TallGirl
This was a really cute Netflix movie! I haven't heard many people mention it, but I really enjoyed watching it!

TV Shows:
(There are too many here, so I'm not going to write something for each of them. Just know that I loved all of them!)

DuckTales

The Mandolorian

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

Emergence

The Amazing Race

Happy Together

The Neighborhood

Bob (Hearts) Abishola

The Young and the Restless

The Bold and the Beautiful

The Good Witch

Chesapeake Shores

When Calls the Heart

America's Funniest Home Videos

DC Super Hero Girls

Carmen Sandiego

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir

Blood and Treasure

Celebrity Family Feud

The Worst Witch

Carol's Second Act

Merry Happy Whatever

Music:
(I'm just going to list one thing for this category. I listened to a bunch of music last year, but not as much as I normally do. This album was the one thing I listened to a lot last year.)

Lover by Taylor Swift
I love this album! I've listened to this album so much since it released, and I adore all the songs on it. I can't express my love for this album enough.

There we go! My favorites from 2019! Did you like any of these? :)

Saturday, January 25, 2020

2020 Debut Author Interviews Wrap Up!


Hi, everyone! The 2020 Debut Author interviews are now over! I had so much fun hosting the event again this year! All of the authors are absolutely wonderful people, and I hope you all are now looking forward to their books! I'm going to link to all the interviews below, that way if you missed any of them, you can go check the posts out!

I want to again say thank you so much to all the authors, for participating in this event and for letting me interview them! They are all fantastic people, and I hope you're looking forward to all of their books!

And thank you so much to everyone who read the posts, commented, tweeted, or in any way supported this event! You all are awesome!

Now onto the recap! :)













I hope you enjoyed this event, and look forward to the 2021 Debut Author Interviews! Have a great day! :)

Friday, January 24, 2020

Interview With Lorien Lawrence, author of The Fright Watch #1: The Stitchers!


Today is the last day of interviews! Tomorrow I'll be posting the wrap up post! But for today, I am happy to present an interview with Lorien Lawrence, author of The Fright Watch #1: The Stitchers, which releases this year!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, THE STITCHERS, in seven words?
Spooky, suspenseful, heartfelt, authentic, funny, sweet, atmospheric.  

THE STITCHERS is the first book in a series. What was the inspiration for this series?
I had just moved back to my hometown, which happens to have a lot of spooky New England folklore. One night my husband and I were walking our dogs around this pond. We had just had a hurricane and the area looked extra ominous with all of the broken branches everywhere. I immediately needed to write about it!

Random Question! What’s your favorite candy?
I've recently gotten into watermelon Sour Patch, but I also love Haribo gummy bears.

Haribo gummy bears are really good! :)

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
KEEP GOING! You're going to get a lot of rejections. The important thing is to think of this process as a craft that takes time and practice - there is no quick fix or race to the finish line. Publishing is slow. Along the way, try to learn from each rejection and make your writing better. 

Excellent advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
SO many good ones are coming out in 2020! I have read and loved Janae Marks' FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON, Shannon Doleski's MARY UNDERWATER, and Tanya Guerrero's HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE SEA. Seriously, though, there are so many great ones. If you check out https://roaring20sdebut.com/ you will see tons of great books debuting soon! 

There are a lot of good books releasing this year! :)

Thank you to Lorien Lawrence for participating in this event, and for letting me interview her! :)


Author bio: Lorien Lawrence graduated with creative writing degrees from Wheaton College and Bath Spa University in England. After college, she lived abroad in the UK for a few years, before returning stateside and becoming a middle school English teacher. On weekends you can often find her exploring New England haunts with her family, gathering more inspiration for her novels.

Here are a few links:

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Interview With Jennifer Gruenke, author of Of Silver and Shadow!



Today I'm pleased to present an interview with Jennifer Gruenke, author of Of Silver and Shadow, which releases May 26th!

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, Of Silver and Shadow, in seven words?
Characters banter while trying not to die.

It sounds good! :)

What was the inspiration for this book? 
This was the second book I finished. It followed a not very good sci-fi that was never going to go anywhere. It took me a while to come to my senses, but once I did, I thought to myself, "what if I took the premise of my first book and put it into a fantasy world instead?" Thus, Of Silver and Shadow was born. It's changed a ton since then, and you'd no longer be able to see the similarities between the two, but that first book was the genesis of this story.

Random Question! Do you listen to music while you write?
Short answer: sometimes. Long answer: I often like to write in silence, but in public places I have to plug in headphones and turn up the volume. I have multitasking issues and get distracted easily, so I can't focus on the words if there are conversations going on around me. For this reason, I can also only listen to instrumental music while writing.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Find your people! I would not be making it through this industry with my sanity intact if not for my writing group (shoutout to the Guillotine Queens). They'll be your trusted eyes when you're looking for critique, your cheerleaders when you need a pep talk, a sounding board when you're stuck on a scene, a guide to help you through the business, and much, much more.

Good advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
I've already read Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson and In the Shadow of the Sun by EM Castellan, both of which I enjoyed immensely and would recommend to anyone. I'm looking forward to so many 2020 books, but just to name a few: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, Glitch Kingdom by Sheena Boekweg, All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban, and The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson.

2020 is a really good year for books! :)

Thank you to Jennifer Gruenke for participating in this event, and for letting me interview her! :)


Author bio: Jennifer Gruenke is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, where she studied communication and writing. She grew up among the redwoods of Northern California, and now lives in Charlotte with her books and the houseplants she hasn't killed yet. If she's not writing or reading, you're most likely to find her in a cafe, music venue, or the aisles of Trader Joe's.

Here are a few links:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Interview With Lisa Katzenberger, author of National Regular Average Ordinary Day!



Today I'm happy to present an interview with Lisa Katzenberger, author of National Regular Average Ordinary Day, which releases June 23rd!

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, National Regular Average Ordinary Day, in seven words?
 A boy learns to celebrate the ordinary.

In the book, Peter creates his own holiday. If you could create your own holiday, what would it be?
National Be Lazy and No One Will Judge You (Not Even Yourself) Day! I like to stay busy, so I always have a few books or freelance projects in the works, and then kids, house stuff, some sliver of a social life. Balancing it all is hard, and when I take time for self-care I feel so guilty! If I could have one day to do nothing and not feel bad about it, that would be a win for me!

I like this holiday! :)

Random Question! What’s your favorite TV show?
Right now my husband and I are binging Schitt’s Creek on Netflix! Love it so much!

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Treat learning to write just like learning a sport. You need to practice – a lot – and you will likely make a bunch of mistakes in the beginning. But your writing muscles will get stronger the more stories you produce. Keep practicing, surround yourself with supportive coaches, teammates, and cheerleaders. You won’t get yourself to the big game overnight, but you can learn a lot along the way as you train. And when you finally make it to the playoffs, all the bruises you earned along the way will be worth it!

Excellent advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
There are so many great picture books coming out in 2020 that I can’t wait to read! Here are just a few! 

Extraordinary Ordinary Ella, Amber Hendricks
Two Biclyces in Beijing, Teresa Robeson
Two Dogs On A Trike, Gabi Synder
Lillybelle, A Damsel Not In Distress, Joana Pastro
Diabetes Doesn't Stop Maddie, Sarah Glenn Marsh
Dinosong, Tim McCanna
Jules vs The Ocean, Jessie Sima

These sound fun! :)

Thank you to Lisa Katzenberger for letting me interview her, and for participating in this event! :)


Author bioLisa Katzenberger has been creating stories since she was a kid. She loves to write books that make children laugh, escape, and dream. Lisa lives near Chicago with her husband and two children. Connect with her on twitter -- @FictionCity.

Here are a few links:

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Interview With Emma Lord, author of Tweet Cute!



Today I'm happy to present an interview with Emma Lord, author of Tweet Cute, which releases today!

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, Tweet Cute, in seven words? 
Yummy, cute, competitive, earnest, hopeful, current, sincere 

Reading Tweet Cute made me so hungry! There were so many good sounding desserts and grilled cheeses in the book. Were any of them based on food you’ve made in real-life?
Oh heck yes! Paige’s “sex positive brownies” were based on a beloved recipe that my sisters and I make at home — except we mix it up and do layers of Rolos, Reese’s, and Oreos between the cookie dough and brownie layers. The others were all ones I made up, but we made Monster Cake in real life, so a recipe is coming soon! 

Once a recipe releases, I definitely want to make Monster Cake! :)

Random Question! If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Oooh, love this question! I actually had a chance to do that out of the blue recently, a full week where I had airline miles saved and nowhere to be. I packed up and solo traveled to Edinburgh on my own, and had a lovely time visiting Harry Potter spots and Christmas markets and cafes and Loch Ness, eating my weight in “millionaire bars” (shortbread with caramel and chocolate), and hiking up green peaks. I think if I had another chance to go anywhere I wanted, though, I’d see where my friends want to go — I’m definitely into the idea of a group trip! 

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
I’d say the best piece of advice I could give is to write what your heart wants to write. Sometimes I was really down on myself as an author because all I really wanted to write was fan fic, and I thought it wouldn’t help my career — I felt super stalled during periods where I went down fandom rabbit holes. But it was always necessary in the end. It helped me explore tropes and storylines I loved best, and helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses all through my time as a writer. So my advice is to go where the writing winds blow — whether it’s a book idea you think will never sell, or a fan fic, or a short story about something that happened to you in line at the supermarket. Write whatever your fingers are most itching to write. 

That's excellent advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
Oh my goodness, I’m obsessed with Hannah Capin’s FOUL IS FAIR and Sophie Gonzales’ ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED, and super excited to read Erin Hahn’s MORE THAN MAYBE and the new Hunger Games book from Suzanne Collins. It’s going to be a great year! 

I agree, it is going to be a great year! :)

Thank you to Emma Lord for letting me interview her, and for participating in this event! :)


Here are a few links:

Monday, January 20, 2020

Interview With Amanda Sellet, author of By the Book: A Novel of Prose and Cons!



Today I'm happy to present an interview with Amanda Sellet, author of By the Book: A Novel of Prose and Cons, which releases May 12th!

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, By the Book: A Novel of Prose and Cons, in seven words?
Books, banter, family, romance, scoundrels, misunderstandings, rapprochement. 

The main character in your book loves classic novels. What’s your favorite classic book?
I have to go with PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, because it was the gateway classic for me, though as I get older my affections are shifting toward PERSUASION. 

Random Question! What’s your idea of a perfect meal?
The kind of dinner party that goes on for hours, with course after course of delicious food and amusing conversation. Ideally it would start with champagne and end with a decadent dessert. And if there happened to be duck confit and a triple cream French cheese on the menu, I wouldn’t object. Also we’d need at least one person with a magic wand to handle the dishes. 

This sounds fun! :)

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Don’t get so caught up in the business side of publishing that you forget about the art and craft of telling stories. 

Good advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
I am anxiously awaiting fellow May debut Jamie Pacton’s THE LIFE (AND MEDIEVAL) TIMES OF KIT SWEETLY, and fall releases A GOLDEN FURY by Samantha Cohoe and CROWNCHASERS by Rebecca Coffindaffer. 
And not to brag (narrator: she was totally bragging), but I’ve already gobbled up some outstanding 2020 releases, including WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU by Marisa Kanter; THE PERFECT ESCAPE by Suzanne Park; and THREE THINGS I KNOW ARE TRUE by Betty Culley. I highly recommended all three!

These sound good! :)

Thank you to Amanda Sellet for participating in this event, and for letting me interview her! :)


Author bioAmanda Sellet has strong opinions about books, movies, and baked goods, which led to a previous career as a professional critic. These days she channels those feelings into YA novels about smart girls who still have a lot to learn. She has lived in many different states and a couple of foreign countries, but now calls Kansas home, alongside her family and assorted cats. Visit her at amandasellet.com and on Twitter @amandajsellet.

Here are a few links:

Review: Tweet Cute

Review: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
-summary and cover via Goodreads

Plot: This book had such a fun premise! As soon as I read the summary of the book, I knew I had to add it to my TBR list. And I'm happy I did! This book was so fun, and I really liked the twists and turns the story took. The book didn't unfold the way I expected it to, which was a pleasant surprise to me. I also think this book had a perfect ending.

Characters: The characters were all fun! I really liked Pepper and Jack, and kept hoping they would realize their feelings for each other. I also really liked Pepper and Jack's family and friends.

The cover: It's a really cute cover!

Overall: I was bordering on getting into a reading slump before beginning this book, and I'm happy to say this book saved me from that! I couldn't stop reading this book. I'm very happy I read it! This book had me laughing out loud several times during it, which is one of the best things I can say about a book. It also kept making me so hungry! All the baking Pepper does in the book kept me craving all the food. (And also, I would please like some Monster Cake IRL.) This was a fantastic debut, and I look forward to reading more of this authors books in the future! I highly recommend this book!

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Interview With Amy Noelle Parks, author of The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost Kiss


Today I'm happy to present an interview with Amy Noelle Parks, author of The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost Kiss, which releases this fall!

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost Kiss, in seven words?
BFFs fall in love online and IRL

(Are the acronyms cheating?)

What are some of your favorite YA Romantic Comedies?
I loved The Last Best Story by Maggie Lehrman (who happens to be my editor!). It exactly captures the zany feel of old-time screwball romantic comedies. I also really enjoyed Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno. The setting in this one is amazing, and it gives me that warm, cozy feeling I'm looking for in a rom-com. And then, my favorite YA romantic comedy of all time has to be Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. It's laugh-out-loud funny, but the two main characters are so sweet together, and dual POVs get me every time.

I haven't read any of these, but I've heard good things about all of them! :)

Random Question! What’s your favorite movie?
One no one's ever heard of -- Kicking and Screaming by Noah Baumbach. It's about that weird, liminal space right after you graduate from college (which is when I saw it for the first time.) Twenty-five years later, my husband and I still quote it to each other constantly.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
This is maybe not so much advice, but encouragement. I'll be 49 when I debut. I know lots of people manage it, but I couldn't have written this book while I was getting my PhD or starting on the tenure track or caring for young kids, but I'm at a point in my life where time is opening up and all kinds of new things are possible. However old you are, you have lots of time.

This is fantastic advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
Unsurprisingly, I love a romantic comedy about smart kids so I can't wait for Amanda Sellet's By the Book: A Novel of Pros and Cons (such a great title!). Tweet Cute by Emma Lord seems adorable, and Sandhya Menon's new one, Of Curses and Kisses, looks amazing.

I'm really looking forward to reading By the Book, and Of Curses and Kisses! And I've read and LOVED Tweet Cute! :)

Thank you to Amy Noelle Parks for participating in this event, and for letting me interview her! :)


Author bio: Amy Noelle Parks is an associate professor at Michigan State University. When she’s not using One Direction lyrics as writing prompts, she’s helping future teachers recover from the trauma inflicted on them by years of school mathematics.  She lives in Michigan with her husband and two daughters. 

Here are a few links:

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Interview With Jessica Kim, author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!



Today I'm pleased happy to present an interview with Jessica Kim, author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!, which releases March 17th! 

Here's the interview! :)

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, Stand Up, Yumi Chung!, in seven words? 
Oh wow, this is so hard. Here's what I got:

Comedy dreams. Mistaken identity. Parents don't know. 

In the book, Yumi wants to be a comedian. Who are some of your favorite real-life comedians?
I'm a big fan of: Ali Wong, Tiffany Haddish, Mindy Kaling, Kumail Nanjiani, Kamau Bell, Trevor Noah among others.

Random Question! What’s your favorite Disney movie?
The Toy Story franchise! (Does Pixar count?)

Pixar definitely counts! :)

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write the story that only you can write. 

Excellent advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
Super excited about a ton of books that are coming out next year, especially Julie Abe's EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH, Janae Marks' FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON, and Ernesto Cisneros' EFREN DIVIDED

2020 is such a great year for books! :)

Thank you to Jessica Kim for participating in this event, and for letting me interview her! :)


Author bio: Jessica Kim writes about Asian American girls finding their way in the world. Before she was an author, Jessica studied education at UC Berkeley and spent ten years teaching third, fourth, and fifth grades in public schools. Like Yumi, Jessica lives with her family in Southern California and can’t get enough Hot Cheetos, stand-up comedy, BTS, and Korean barbecue.

Here are a few links:

Friday, January 17, 2020

Interview With Rebecca Mahoney, author of The Valley and the Flood!


Today on the blog I'm pleased to present an interview with Rebecca Mahoney, author of The Valley and the Flood, which releases this year!

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, The Valley and the Flood, in seven words?
The Odyssey by way of Twin Peaks!

What was the inspiration for this book?
That is such a tricky question for me, because so much of what this book meant to me to write is difficult to describe. It was in my head in a couple different forms for years, always with the same opening scene, in which my protagonist Rose, while in her broken-down car in the middle of the desert, hears a local radio station playing the voicemail her best friend left her hours before her death. But it didn't come together fully until I decided to structure the story as a loose remix of The Odyssey, focused around Rose's struggle to coexist with her PTSD. Trauma's effect on your body, memory, and way of thinking is so difficult to describe. Even when you find the words, sometimes your mind inherently encourages you to keep your mouth shut as a way to protect yourself. Using The Odyssey as an anchor gave me a way to untangle a very non-linear process into a story: a long journey home full of gods and monsters, not all of whom are as frightening as you think.

Random Question! What’s your favorite food?
This is almost as hard as describing the book!! There's just so much food I love. Could I just say potatoes? Fried potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potatoes in Japanese curry... mmmmmmm.

Reading this is making me want to go eat some french fries! :)

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
It took me a decade to get published - though if we're counting from the first manuscript I ever wrote, it's closer to 15 years. If I tried to tally up all the people I spoke to, close calls I had, and setbacks I encountered, this answer would get pretty long. Your experience and timeline may not be like mine, because publishing is unpredictable that way. But I think the one thing that holds true, no matter what, is that the only thing you can control in this industry is how many chances you give yourself to succeed. The more you write and the more you submit, the better chance you have of finding the people who are going to love your voice and want to be on your team. And sometimes those are the same people who said 'no' to you last time. Almost everyone I've ever worked with has rejected me at least once!

Good advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
OH MAN. Well, first I'd like to shout out my fellow Razorbill 2020s, the best cohort I could ask for: among those, I've been lucky enough to get an early read of Rebelwing by Andrea Tang and Layoverland by Gabby Noone, both of which I ADORED, and I can't wait to snag the rest. As for what I'm looking forward to? Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin, You Should See Me In a Crown by Leah Johnson, Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, The Silence of Bones by June Hur, Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters... I'm going to stop before I spend the entire day just naming books!

There are so many good sounding books releasing in 2020! :)

Thank you to Rebecca Mahoney for letting me interview her, and for participating in this event! :)


Here are a few links:

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Interview With KT Johnston, author of Railway Jack!



Today on the blog, I'm pleased to present an interview with KT Johnston, author of Railway Jack, which releases February 1st!

Here's the interview! :)

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, Railway Jack, in seven words?
Baboon as service animal: trouble or brilliant?

I was really interested to learn Railway Jack is based on a true story! What made you decide to write a book about it? 
Jack is not only based on a true story, it IS a true story. Every incident is citable.

I’d written three other manuscripts (not yet sold J), and in in the process I discovered a clarity around what I really want to write. I tell the stories of animals who have barely a footnote in history but made a difference in the life of an everyday person (or people); animals who embodied a bit of humanity that can still be felt today. When I saw an article on Jack, there was no question, he had hold of my heart. I told a literary friend about him over coffee, and he suggested the story would make a great children’s book. That day it all came together.

This is really interesting! :)

Random Question! What’s your favorite color?
I like the warm feeling of purple. The bold kind; I’m not much of a pastel person.

That's a pretty color! :) 

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Sometimes you need to tune out all the thou-shalts and thou-shalt-nots and write what’s knocking to come out. Focusing too much on what people say you “should” be doing can get in the way of finding your own voice and style. Writing shouldn’t feel like work; it should be satisfying.

Excellent advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
Well I have about 300 books on my list. That’s why I almost always have more than one book going at a time. But I presume you’re asking about titles releasing in 2020. If you’re wondering about adult titles, does Yann Martel have anything coming out, lol? As far as children’s books go, there are about 25 ‘20s on my list so far. I’d hate to choose from among them, but in general, for children’s titles I like narrative nonfiction, historical fiction, some action/adventure (fiction) and magical realism.… Is that answer a cheat?

Thank you to KT Johnston for participating in this event, and for letting me interview her! :)


Author bio: KT Johnston writes historical narrative nonfiction. She is the author of “RAILWAY JACK: The True Story of an Amazing Baboon,” a picture book set in 1880s South Africa about a railwayman and his very unusual service animal, a baboon named Jack. KT earned a degree in biology and conducted wildlife studies before settling into a corporate career as an analyst. KT’s stories advocate for unheard voices whose lives may not have been inherently spectacular, but nevertheless made a mark on history—and in a way, perhaps even on humanity itself. JACK is KT’s debut.

Here are a few links:

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Interview With Claire Swinarski, author of What Happens Next!



Today on the blog I'm happy to present an interview with Claire Swinarski, author of What Happens Next, which releases May 19th!

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, What Happens Next, in seven words?
Sisters, secrets, scientist, stars, summer, + sky-high hopes :)

Abby, the main character in your book, loves astronomy. Do you like astronomy, too?
Actually, no! I'm horrible at science and always barely scraped by in that department in school. The stars have always fascinated me and I've always found them beautiful, but I had no actual knowledge of our universe or the sky. I had to do a ton of research--watching documentaries, reading articles from science magazines, and trying to pull together enough information to make Abby an expert. 

Random Question! What’s your favorite time of year? 
Summer, 100%. There's something magical about having wide open days when you're a kid. You just have no idea what could happen over three months. Plus, my family has a cabin in the same town Abby lives in, and there's nothing better than paddle boarding on a clear lake before devouring smores around a fire. 

I love Summer, too! :)

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
Learn how to set deadlines + keep them for yourself. When nobody's holding you accountable, it's easy to say you'll finish something "one day". Treat your work like work even before you're paid for it, and you'll see incredible results. 

That's really good advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them? 
I'm really looking forward to a few different books! Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett sounds incredibly spooky, and as a spiritual person, I'm always fascinated by how groups transform from community to cult. For middle grade, I'm absolutely psyched to get my hands on From the Desk of Zoe Washington by my agent sibling Janae Marks, as well as Three Keys, the sequel to Front Desk by Kelly Yang!

2020 is going to be a great year for books! :)

Thank you to Claire Swinarski for letting me interview her, and for participating in this event! :)



Author bio: Claire Swinarski is the author of multiple books, including What Happens Next (coming in 2020 from HarperCollins) and Girl, Arise: A Catholic Feminist’s Invitation to Live Boldly, Love Your Faith, and Change the World. She’s also the founder of the Catholic Feminist Podcast, a top-ranked spirituality podcast with half a million downloads that discusses the intersection between faith and women’s issues. She has degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Seventeen, Milwaukee Magazine, and many other publications. She lives just outside of Milwaukee, WI with her husband and two kids. 

Here are a few links:

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Interview With Alechia Dow, author of The Sound of Stars



Today on the blog I am pleased to present an interview with Alechia Dow, author of The Sound of Stars, which releases February 25th!

Here's the interview! :)

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, The Sound of Stars, in seven words?
Rebel librarian and alien boy save world? HAHAHA that was so hard. 

Based on the summary for your book, it sounds like books and pop music are very important to Ellie and Morris. I’m not going to be cruel and ask you to list your favorite books, but what are some of your favorite pop songs? 
Music is everything to me and I tend to be ALL OVER THE PLACE but some of my current favorite pop songs (and forever) are: "Raspberry Beret," by Prince, "Killer Queen" by Queen, "Confetti" by Bien, "Changes" by H.E.R., Lizzo's "Worship", I legit know every word to most Stevie Wonder songs, I'm still in love with "All the Stars" by Kendrick Lamar feat. SZA, "You Ain't the Problem" by Michael Kiwanuka, "The Archer" by Taylor Swift, and I'm always in the mood for Beyoncé, Ingrid Michaelson, HAIM, Janelle Monae, ABBA... I don't think you asked for a novel so I'll leave it there. You can ALWAYS talk music with me!

I love so many of the songs you mentioned! :)

Random Question! What’s your favorite dessert to bake?
Oh man, this is so hard! But I'm a huge fan of making & baking pies. I feel a certain kind of peace when I'm making them; it really is a calming process of using your fingertips to crumble butter into flour, rolling out dough, making the filling, doing something pretty and intricate on top. With a bit of music on to keep you company, it's therapeutic and everyone should do it if they can :)) 

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Keep writing. Rejection is discouraging, but we all experience it---believe me. The only thing you can control in this industry are the words that you put down on the page. If writing makes you happy, if you feel good doing it, keep writing. That, in itself, is a huge success.

That's excellent advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
There are SO MANY books I'm looking forward to reading in 2020!! The ones I've read: I absolutely loved Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson, Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar is stunning, Glitch Kingdom by Sheena Boekweg was a hoot!, and Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin is intense, haunting, and so well written. I can't wait to read Legendborn by Tracy Deonn Walker, Namina Forna's The Gilded Ones, A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow, Where Dreams Descend by Janella Anngeles, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown, Rebelwing by Andrea Tang... I have so many more. But yeah, 2020 is going to be such a great year!

I completely agree with you, 2020 is going to be a great reading year! :)

Thank you to Alechia Dow for letting me interview her, and for participating in this event! :)


Author bio: Alechia Dow is a former pastry chef, food critic, culinary teacher, and Youth Services librarian. When not writing YA sci-fi featuring determined black girls (like herself), you can find her having epic dance parties with her daughter, baking, mentoring, or taking teeny adventures around Europe.

Here are a few links:

Monday, January 13, 2020

Interview With Rebecca McLaughlin, author of Nameless Queen!



It's the first day of the 2020 Debut Author Interviews! Today I'm happy to present an interview with Rebecca McLaughlin, author of the YA book Nameless Queen, which released January 7th!

Here's the interview! :)

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.

Would you please describe your book, The Nameless Queen, in seven words?
A thief becomes queen. Things catch fire.

What are some of your favorite YA Fantasy books?
Recently, I have really enjoyed CITY OF GHOSTS and TUNNEL OF BONES by V. E. Schwabb, and THE MERCIFUL CROW by Margaret Owen.

 I've heard a lot of good things about all these books! :)

Random Question! If you could sort your characters into Hogwarts houses, which would they be in?
It’s very tough to not cheat and use hybrid houses! But it’s always helpful to ask: what is the character’s core motivations, even if it doesn’t always match with their actions. Here’s the leading cast:
Coin - Ravenclaw
Hat - Gryffindor
Glenquartz & Esther - Hufflepuff
Marcher & Belrosa - Slytherin

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
It has to exist before it can become good. It has to be good before it’s great. But remember: it has to exist first. Make it exist! Write, write, keep writing.

That's very good advice! :)

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in 2020? And if you’ve already read some ‘20 books, would you like to mention them?
GLITCH KINGDOM - by Sheena Boekweg, a super fun story about a diverse set of teens who get trapped in a bio-entangled VR video game that is beginning to glitch and break down.

WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT - by Isabel Ibanez, a beautifully atmospheric Bolivian-inspired world with a unique magic system (weaving magic!) and a warrior posing as a betrothed.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH - by Adalyn Grace, a wildly anticipated story of pirates on the high seas, vengeful mermaids, destructive magic, and a fierce female lead.

These all sound good! :)

Thank you to Rebecca McLaughlin for letting me interview her and participating in this event! :)


Author bio: Rebecca McLaughlin graduated in 2014 with a BA in Chemistry and English Creative Writing. Since then, she has worked as a technical writer in Michigan. She still loves coffee even though she has recently switched to decaf.

Here are a few links: