Author Interview, Blogging, Book Love, writers life, writing

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon – Blog Tour and Q&A

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The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

Author Q&A

I would like to welcome amazing YA fantasy debut, Kelly Coon to my blog. I’m on her street team, the Skeleton Crew ❤ She answered some of my questions about her inspiration behind Gravemaidens, her writing process, and more. Let’s get started 🙂

Loie: Did Gravemaidens change a lot from the first to final draft? 

 

Kelly: What a good question! As a matter of fact, it DID. I’d say the finished hardcover is close to the 35th draft of this story. I dropped a POV character—the Boatman—and rewrote nearly every single scene from the book. It was a massive undertaking! 

 

Loie: When you’re brainstorming a new project, what do you start working on first? Do you like to research, think about the plot, or work on your characters? 

 

Kelly: I tend to start with my characters, because until I know who they are, I can’t know the plot. The decisions they make in their character arc will change the course of the plot, so I have to nail down what they want, what they need, the ghosts in their past, and the truth that they need to hear. I also need to know things like how they solve problems, how they view the world (because that impacts their voice), who they have conflicts with, and their values.   

 

Loie: Can you give us a hint at what you’re working on right now 🙂 ? 

 

Kelly: Yes! I just finished the last round of developmental edits on the GRAVEMAIDENS sequel (I cannot wait until I get to introduce you to some of the new characters) and am working on a contemporary stand-alone with speculative elements. It’s a daunting book, because one POV is written in verse and another POV is written in prose. =)

 

Loie: When were you first inspired to write Kammani’s story? 

Kelly: I wrote two completely different novels set in versions of Kammani’s world from 2013-2015, but the characters and plots did not work at all. I hadn’t yet gotten to the heart of the story she should be in. So, I scrapped those two novels completely and started over from scratch in 2016 with new characters, a new premise, and a whole new world. I queried it in early 2017 and got my agent, Kari Sutherland, who is amazing, in April of 2017, just a couple of weeks after she read it. =)

 

Loie: When you’re writing, do you need complete silence or do you listen to music?

 

Kelly: I actually listen to white noise for the most part. I’ve written six novels (and much of a seventh) with white noise, but the poetry I’m writing for my WIP has been written to loud, screaming, pulsing music. Haha

 

Loie: What was your favorite part about writing Gravemaidens? 

 

Kelly: There’s one scene near the end of the story where I felt myself let loose. Like I untied all my strings and allowed my imagination to take me wherever it wanted to go, plot outline be damned. This scene is still one of my favorite scenes in the whole book because it’s imaginative and weird and exactly the right fit for that part of the story. 

 

Sometimes writing this book was an absolute struggle, but other times—like that night—it was magic. 

 

Thank you a million times, Loie! These questions were amazing! =)

Loie: Thank you so much for answering all of my questions 🙂 If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy of Gravemaidens, you can find it here. It releases next Tuesday, October 29th. I’m anxiously awaiting for my own copy to arrive in the mail! 

Until next time,

Loie xo

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Author Interview, Blogging, Book Love, writers life, writing

Six Goodbyes We Never Said Blog Tour and Q&A

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SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID by Candace Ganger; on sale September 24, 2019

Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her. 

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects. 

Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.

Q&A

Loie: How long did it take you to write SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID?

Candace: Oh, boy! Longer than I wanted! I’ve been writing this story, in some form for about four years!

 

Loie: Can you share what you’re working on at the moment?

Candace: An adult project…that’s all I can say 🙂

 

Loie: Are you a pantser, plotter, or a mix of the two?

Candace: I like to plot but often find myself in a situation I don’t love and then I’ll change it. So, probably a mix of both.

Candace Ganger AP_Credit Candace Ganger

About the Author:

Candace Ganger is the author of Six Goodbyes We Never Said and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash as well as a contributing writer for HelloGiggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.

 

Twitter: @candylandgang + @WednesdayBooks

 

Buy your copy here!

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Author Interview, Blogging, Book Love, writers life, writing

Author Interview with Candace Robinson

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Hi everyone, I’d like to welcome author, Candace Robinson, to the blog today. Candace has written a number of dark, romantic, and quirky novels: QUINSEY WOLFE’S GLASS VAULT, THE BRIDE OF GLASS, HEARTS ARE LIKE BALLOONS, and co-authored BACON PIE with Gerardo Delgadillo.

 

Her upcoming release, CLOUDED ENVY, was one of my favorite reads of 2018. It releases on February 19th, 2019 but I was lucky enough to receive an ARC last year. I fled through this book in one day. It’s magical and romantic and at times scary.

Here’s the Goodreads summary:

“Brenik has always been envious of his twin sister, Bray. Growing up as fairy-like creatures, known as bats, everything came easier to Bray. While Brenik spent his time in her shadows, never feeling he was enough. After escaping their world of Laith, and living on Earth for ten years, Brenik attempts to strike a deal with the Stone of Desire to become human. Though true humanity is not an option, he will accept the curse that will alter him to get as close as he can.

 

Living in a tree trunk for the past year hasn’t been easy for Bray, more so after her brother disappears again. When a human boy and his brother, Wes, find her, a new friendship is struck. Through Wes, Bray learns there can be more to life than waiting within a tree. But worrying over where Brenik has vanished to always remains in the back of her mind.

 

When Bray reunites with Brenik, she realizes she must help him break the curse after she discovers the need for blood is beginning to overpower him. The curse not only damages those who get close to Brenik, but it could also destroy whatever is blooming between Bray and Wes.”

 

Candace runs an awesome book blog, at literarydust.wordpress.com

 

Loie: Welcome Candace 🙂 Can you please share with readers where your love of reading and writing began?

 

Candace: With reading, I first fell in love with R.L. Stine books way back, such as Goosebumps and Fear Street. Then I transitioned to Lois Duncan books when I hit junior high. Then my reading hobby kind of died for a bit. However, I did read 1984 back in high school and seriously fell in love with it. That book made me really think about the world. Anyway, so years pass, right? And I saw the second Hunger Games movie which ended on a cliffhanger. I was like, now what? So I picked up that trilogy and could not put it down, and after that, I needed more and more books. Reading is now my true escape!

 

For writing, I knew I wanted to be an author senior year of high school, but life kept getting in the way. But then a few years back I was like I need to just do it, otherwise it will never happen! So I started on Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault back in October 2016!

 

Loie: Eep! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Great books as well! Yes, life can get in the way. I’m so glad you decided to do it. I was kind of the same. Stopped writing during university and then sat down one day and decided I had to start somewhere 🙂

I loved CLOUDED ENVY. Could you please talk about the initial spark of inspiration behind this story?

 

Candace: Funny story. So I have the companion book, Veiled by Desire, coming out in late fall of this year. This was supposed to be the first book I ever wrote, but I couldn’t get the story right. Humans are in this world, so I thought, how did they get there? And then that brought me to thinking about how humans came to Laith and I had a whole story kind of come up from that! Enter Clouded by Envy!

 

Loie: That’s amazing 🙂 ! Awww, I cannot wait to read the companion book. What a journey :).

When you are writing, does it take you a couple of drafts to find the voices of characters or do some arrive fully formed in your mind?

 

Candace: For me, character voices is the easiest part since most of my stuff is character driven. Sometimes, I don’t know my characters voices before hand until I start writing the first chapter. Usually, it flows from there!

 

Loie: Awesome 🙂 Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What do you have with you when you draft?

 

Candace: I generally write when my daughter is at school. I have a spiral notebook I keep beside me where I write down main scenes of the story, but I don’t have a real outline! Is that bad? Lol!

 

Loie: Not at all 🙂 I write down main scenes as well and usually go from there.

Do you have any stories on the backburner that you can’t wait to write? 🙂 How do you choose what to work on next?

 

Candace: I do. I have a companion book for an unpublished book that I really, really, really want to work on. But I’m trying to figure out if anything is going to happen with the first book or not.

 

Loie: Cool 🙂 Good luck. What’s your most anticipated read (s) of 2019 🙂 ?

 

Candace: Oh man, so many! I’d have to say Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi. The Shatter Me series is my favorite ever. Since I already started King of Scars that one doesn’t count, but I’ve been waiting an eternity for this book!!

 

Loie: All awesome books 🙂 Thanks heaps for stopping by ❤ Can’t wait for Clouded Envy to arrive 🙂

You can find out more about Candace on her website or on Twitter and Instagram.

Author Interview, Book Love, writers life, writing

Author Interview with Amber R. Duell

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I’d like to welcome Amber to the blog today. Amber is a YA fantasy author of Fragile Chaos, The Last Goodbye, and the forthcoming Dream Keeper trilogy. The first book releases on January 29th from Parliament House Press. The book is called Dream Keeper, a deliciously dark and romantic tale. I had the opportunity to read an ARC and I absolutely loved it.

Loie: Thank you so much, Amber, for agreeing to be interviewed 😊 Can you please share that initial spark of inspiration behind Dream Keeper?

Amber: I was lying on the couch thinking about what to write next (I was querying Fragile Chaos at the time) when it hit me out of nowhere that I wanted to write something that included the Sandman. That was it—no plot or other characters which was obviously super helpful, haha. It took me days to come up with the rest.

Loie: Are there things you do before drafting that help open up new ideas for the plot or characters?

Amber: I wouldn’t say before drafting. My “first draft” is where things sort themselves out, but that’s really a glorified outline of 20-30k words. I know where things start and where they end, but I give the characters a good amount of leash to explore the rest. In writing book 3 of the Dark Dreamer trilogy, I realized I set up something in book 1 without knowing it so at least they know what they’re doing. 😉

Loie: How did you come up with the nightmarish world? I loved all the details and it really came to life. I felt scared and amazed at times while reading.

Amber: Thank you! It was my favorite realm to create! Everyone is afraid of different things, whether it’s a living thing or something emotional. For the emotional landscapes, I tried to embody the feeling it wanted the Dreamer to have, but the living ones were my favorite. Honestly, I just took something, like the clown, and kept twisting it until I knew it would freak people out. (Is my dark heart showing?)

Loie: Can you share who your favorite character is to write in this book?

Amber: Kail! He’s not in the first book much, but he’s so fun to write because he doesn’t give one single crap.

Loie: What’s next for you 😊? Do you have any genres you’d like to visit after this trilogy?

Amber: Don’t I wish I knew? 😛 I have a few ideas jumping up and down on the sidelines, begging me to pick them as soon as book 3 is finished. 1 involves magic, 1 science, and the 3rd, both.

Loie: Can you tell us what’s your most anticipated read (s) of 2019?

Amber: I already have it! The Wicked King! I’m rereading The Cruel Prince right now to savor the story a bit longer.

Loie: Thanks so much, Amber, for stopping by ❤ Can’t wait until the rest of the world gets to read Dream Keeper!

About Amber:

Amber

Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s constantly moving with her husband and two sons as a military wife. Before becoming published, she had a wide range of occupations including banking, bartending (though she’s never tried alcohol), and phlebotomy (though she faints with needles). She also volunteered as a re-enactor at the local Revolutionary War fort and worked near shelter cats which led to her previous crazy cat lady status.

She does her best writing in the middle of the night, surviving the daylight hours with massive amounts of caffeine. Her favorite stories are dark with a touch of romance and a villain you either love to hate or hate to love.

When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, snuggling with her cat, and staying up way too late to research genealogy. She loves to travel and has visited more countries than states. Kissing the Blarney Stone and hand-feeding monkeys in the mountains of France will be hard to beat, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find the next real-life adventure.

Website  | Twitter  | Instagram | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest|  Goodreads

Author Interview, Book Love, canadian authors, Literary Agent, writers life, writing

Interview with Author and Literary Agent Nicole Bezanson

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Back for another interview with a Canadian author and literary agent!

Here is Nicole’s bio, from her website:

“NICOLE BEA is a short story author, novelist, technical writer, and agent with Metamorphosis Literary who primarily focuses on writing contemporary teen fiction. An avid storyteller since childhood, she has honed her skills through a variety of educational programs including management, sociology, legal studies, and cultural diversity in the workplace,  most recently engaging in coursework about communication for technologists.

 

When she isn’t busy updating her manuscript portfolio or responding to queries, she can usually be found reading, avoiding domestic chores & pursuing her new hobby of learning to cook. She & her husband share their home in Eastern Canada with a collection of disabled cats and a lifetime’s worth of books.”

 

Loie: Hi Nicole! It’s so great to have you here on the blog today. I’m excited to chat with you 😊 I love meeting Canadian YA authors. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.

Can you share a little bit about your writing journey. When did you start writing, what do you write, and how did you get your agent?

Nicole: I started writing novels in January of 2017 after being diagnosed with clinical depression. I had always wanted to write a book growing up but never really knew how to go about it. Once I started to be treated, I decided to tackle my goal of writing a full-length novel. I’ve always loved young adult stories and thought that perhaps that would be a good place to start and I completed the first draft of my first book in about a month. It was such an exciting process and I found the ideas started flowing from that book very organically, and so I started my second book very shortly after, finishing that one in six weeks.  Over the course of the year I wrote five teen fiction books!

I ended up querying my fifth book, FORGET ME NOT, in January of 2018 and was picked up by my agent, Patty Carothers of Metamorphosis Literary Agency, in April of the same year. I was so happy to find someone who loved my story as much as I did and who was also willing to help me set some goals and teach me about the publishing industry, so it was immediately a great match.

Loie: Thank you for sharing ❤ That’s quite amazing that you wrote five novels in one year 🙂 ! Also, super encouraging that you found an agent after querying for a few months.

Can you tell readers a little bit about Wattpad and why you decided to post your stories there? What’s your favorite thing about Wattpad?

Nicole: Wattpad is such a great community to be part of, especially for a new writer. There are so many ways to grow your writing and share your stories with others that I think it’s a fantastic way to learn more about writing. There are people on the platform who like all different genres, so the nice thing about that is you’ll be able to find a group of people to connect with who have similar interests.

I joined Wattpad about a year before I started writing full-length fiction, mainly as a reader and poster of micro-fiction. I ended up turning some of my Wattpad pieces into novellas that were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing and it was then I realized that maybe I had the potential to turn writing into something more than a casual hobby. Wattpad definitely helped engage me with a network of wonderful people who were all very helpful in giving me direction and answering inquiries.

Loie: Wattpad is amazing. I’ve read some incredible works on that site. My friend and mentor from #WriteMentor, MB Dalto, posts stories there 🙂 That’s really neat that some of your novellas were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing!

As a literary agent at Metamorphosis Literacy Agency, have you noticed anything with incoming manuscripts? What are some things that turn you away from a manuscript? Have you noticed any trends? What do you love seeing in a submission?

Nicole: I absolutely love reading submissions. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job. I’ve received some really creative content and it always amazes me what people can come up with and the depth and breadth of creativity. I’ve received all genres and sub-genres and have become really engaged with some things I would normally not have thought I’d interested in. That’s kind of an interesting part of being an agent is the exposure to all these projects. 

Most submissions I receive are very well put together.  That being said, it is important to ensure you have the basics down in your query. Please double-check to ensure the agent’s name is spelled correctly, that you’ve included contact information, and you are following the submission protocol. I also personally like to know why the author thinks we would be a good fit, but if you’re including this, please make sure it is a personalized statement and not just something generic that may not actually apply (for example, don’t say that you’re sending it along because of the agent’s interest in romance if they’ve indicated they don’t wish to receive romance).

Loie: Wow, that’s super insightful. Thanks for sharing. What is your favorite genre to write and why?

Nicole: I generally only write teen fiction, but I have dabbled in adult romance. I like to use my own experiences as a teenager as the basis for my books and some of my stories directly reflect things that have happened to me growing up. I find when I write about things that are based on real life, it allows me to process them in a different way, plus I get to maintain some sense of nostalgia. In particular cases, like with my story SKIN, I get to re-write endings to stories that may not have had positive conclusions.

Loie: Can you share how you edit your novels? Do you have a checklist you go through after completing a draft? Do you send to beta or critique readers?

Nicole: I edit as I write, paragraph by paragraph. Because of this it takes me a little bit longer to get my writing done, but I find it less stressful than trying to get all my thoughts down without reviewing them. As I’m writing my first draft, I post the chapters on Wattpad for my dedicated readers and take their comments into consideration when putting together my manuscript for submission. Once my draft is complete and I’ve reviewed the comments on Wattpad, I employ a selection of beta readers.

Loie: That’s a neat method 🙂 Cool! What are you reading at the moment?

Nicole: Nicholas Sparks – The Last Song

Jay Coles – Tyler Johnson Was Here

and

Lauren Spieller – Your Destination is on the Left

Loie: Ooooo, I have Your Destination is on the Left on my TBR list 🙂 What are you hoping to find in your inbox as a literary agent? Do you have a specific #MSWL? Any fairytale retellings or fantasy, contemporary, or YA stories you’d love to see in your inbox?

Nicole: My #MSWL is as follows (at least for now!):

Contemporary fiction in ages 16+, and YA in all forms and genres, particularly with romance or mystery subplots. Manuscripts featuring animal appearances are always appreciated, cats and horses in particular, as are stories taking place in Canada.

Loie: Awesome! Yay, Canada ❤ Thanks so much for visiting, Nicole! So great chatting with you.

You can find Nicole on Wattpad and her website. For those interested in querying her, find out more information at Metamorphosis Literary Agency.

Until next time,

Loie xo

Author Interview, Book Love, national novel writing month, writers life, writing

25 Days of WinterDream: Interview with Author Chantal Gadoury

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About the Book

This Christmas Eve… no creature was stirring…
Except, maybe, a mouse.
At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?

For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount.

But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions, and one…special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse?

Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?

Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic.

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Author Interview

I would like to welcome the lovely author, Chantal Gadoury, to the blog today. Chantal is Senior Editor at The Parliament House Press. This is an amazing publishing house releasing some of my favorite books this year: Dream Keeper by Amber R. Duell, Two Thousand Years by M. Dalto, Clouded Envy by Candace Robinson, and Blinding Night by Chantal Gadoury 😊

Check them out if you love fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and more wonderful tales!

Today, we are celebrating and counting down the days until Chantal’s Nutcracker retelling, WinterDream, releases. Isn’t that cover gorgeous?!

Loie: Without further ado, welcome Chantal!

I love this time of year and am SO excited to read WinterDream. This is the perfect read for me. I know I’ll cozy up with a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate ❤

Can you please share the initial inspiration behind WinterDream? What led you to write a Nutcracker retelling?

Chantal: Loie, first – thanks for having me on your blog today! I can’t help but agree with you whole-heartily about cozying up with a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. That sounds so perfect.  As to answer your question, Christmas actually inspired my Nutcracker tale. I grew up going to the Nutcracker ballet with my mom, and the story has always been this magical love story that I’ve treasured for years. It was right around the beginning of the holidays last year that I had just finished writing “Between the Sea and Stars,” and I was pondering the question of “What else do I write?” And with a Christmas tree in front of me, it suddenly made sense to write my own version of the story I had grown up with – and loved so much!

Loie: Love it! That’s such a special inspiration ❤ When did you start writing this story and how long did it take to revise?

Chantal: I started writing this mid-November, early December of 2017, and I finished around February of 2018. I really pushed myself to get through the story while it was still winter, and cold (and while I still had an excuse to listen to Christmas music – and the Nutcracker score.) It sat for a while until Parliament took it, and it’s been in the revising process since August! It’s been happening fairly quickly, but I’m definitely excited to share this tale with everyone!

Loie: Awesome! Yes, perfect excuse to listen to Christmas tunes 😉 Did you come across any interesting tidbits of history about the Nutcracker story during your research?

Chantal: Not necessarily history – but cultural differences. So when I began to write the Nutcracker, I had to choose between setting this in Germany or in Russia. While the tale of the Nutcracker is a German tale, we all associate it with Russia because it originally premiered in St. Petersburg back in December 1892. As I researched the way Russia celebrates Christmas, it was vastly different to the way America and/or Germany celebrates the holiday. But for the sake of the tale, and the origins, I chose to go with Russia and tried to adapt around the cultural differences. It’s definitely worth looking up and seeing how we all celebrate the holidays differently around the world!  

Loie: Ooooo, how lovely! I’m going to go and look that up. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Are there any fairy tales you would love to retell in the future?

Chantal: Oh yes! I’d love to retell “Swan Lake” someday – and with a twist! I’m working on retelling the story of “Hansel and Gretel” with a very talented writer, Amanda Wright! I have a few other stories I’d like to tell, but we’ll see where my writing takes me! I still have to revisit Lena and Soren in the sequel to “Between the Sea and Stars,” and return to the Underworld with Darce and Summer in a sequel to “Blinding Night.”

Loie: Oooo Swan Lake 🙂 ! Can’t wait! Can you share a little bit about what 2019 holds in store for you?

Chantal: To be honest, a break! I’m not going to push myself the way I have the past two years. In two years I’ve published six novels! As I mentioned, I need to revisit two worlds that I’ve already established. I’d like to focus on Amanda and I’s retelling of “Hansel and Gretel.” But I plan to take 2019 pretty easy.

Loie: A break sounds perfect. You’ve done a lot in the past two years, wow. What is your favorite thing about the winter season?

Chantal: Christmas trees, lights, and music. Those are the three things that make the holiday the most magical for me. There’s nothing like setting up a beautiful tree, decorating it with beautiful lights (and seeing homes decorated) and blasting Christmas music! (And singing along!)

Loie: Mmmm, same ❤ Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month 😊?

Chantal: Not this year. After writing three novels just within this year, I’m focusing on “WinterDream” and allowing my creative juices to build up again. But I wish everyone luck as they write this year for NaNoWriMo!

Loie: Thank you so much, Chantal, for stopping by the blog! I love your books so much and cannot wait to read WinterDream.

Chantal: Thank you so much Loie! I really appreciate you welcoming me here today! “WinterDream” waltzes onto shelves November 27th! And you can all sorts of information about my books at www.chantalgadoury.com

Book Teaser Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMRGyNtnhZI

You can Pre-Order on Amazon and the Parliament House Publishing Website

About the Author:

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Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” and “The Songs We Remember,” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh,” “Between the Sea and Stars,” and “Blinding Night” with Parliament House Press. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-’brother’ Taran.

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Author Interview, Book Love, Uncategorized, writers life

YA Fantasy Author Interview: S.M. Beiko

As the winter ice begins to thaw, the fury of a demon builds  all because one girl couldn’t stay dead . . . 

Roan Harken considers herself a typical high school student ― dead parents, an infected eyeball, and living in the house of her estranged, currently comatose grandmother (well, maybe not so typical) — but she’s uncovering the depth of the secrets her family left behind. Saved from the grasp of Death itself by a powerful fox spirit named Sil, Roan must harness mysterious ancient power . . . and quickly. A snake-monster called Zabor lies in wait in the bed of the frozen Assiniboine River, hungry for the sacrifice of spirit-blood in exchange for keeping the flood waters at bay. Thrust onto an ancient battlefield, Roan soon realizes that to maintain the balance of the world, she will have to sacrifice more than her life in order to take her place as Scion of the Fox.

American Gods meets Princess Mononoke in this powerful first installment of a trilogy sure to capture readers’ imaginations everywhere.

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Welcome, S.M. We are so happy to have you here! Congratulations on your latest release, CHILDREN OF THE BLOODLANDS 🙂 Let’s dive into some questions.

Loie: I love Roan. I love her personality, her cleverness, and her spunk. Did you have an initial idea about Roan? Did you learn more about her during drafting?

S.M. Beiko: Roan was really interesting to write, especially because her voice comes from first person perspective. Because of this, a lot of my own mannerisms and interests came through—though she’s of course much taller than me, and a bit more athletic 😉

Whenever I create any character though, I try to put myself in their shoes and their situation, and I wanted her to headstrong, the type who rushes in, a bit emotional but also practical, and level-headed enough to be reluctant about the hard choices she had to make. At first, she was a pretty simple Chosen-One hero type, but the more I wrote her, the more it came out organically that nothing was going to be that easy for her, given the circumstances she ends up in. What came out of that were evident character flaws, which I feel are very important to making a protagonist believable! Now that I’ve finished a draft of book 3, Roan has changed quite a lot from an idealistic can’t-do-wrong prototype, and I hope everyone likes where her journey ultimately has led her!

Loie: Wow, that is so interesting! I love how you learned more about her as you wrote. Her voice is so strong and that’s one of my favorite parts. She feels three-dimensional and real. I can’t wait to read the final book 🙂

Where did the story of the Fox come from?

S.M. Beiko: I live in the far west side of Winnipeg now, but I used to live more centrally, near the Assiniboine River and Wellington Crescent. In fact, a lot of Scion was planned during my frequent walks to and from work from River Heights into Wolesley. One night, walking home along the river in late winter, a fox ran in front of me on the sidewalk, threw me some wicked shade, then bounded off into the night. A wild hypothetical popped into my head—what if that fox followed me home and gave me a cool mission? A lot of my stories crop up from random questions I ask myself, and I keep asking them until suddenly a whole novel—or three of them—have formed in my head.

Loie: Yay, Canada! Love it. It’s magical when a question or idea pops into your head and the story unravels from there.

Have you always been drawn to fantasy? Are there any other genres or styles you would like to try?

S.M. Beiko: Fantasy is definitely my bread and butter, and what I was ‘raised’ on. A lot of that influence stems from magical girl animes, or Hayao Miyazaki films, as well as comics and video games like the Final Fantasy series, and films like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Lord of the Rings, and hundreds of others. I love magic in all its forms, and pushing the limits of what is expected beyond the mundane. I’d like to someday try High Fantasy, where the world-building is much more extensive, or Historical Fantasy, which entails way more research and immersion.

I’m also very keen to start a comic/graphic novel (probably still in the fantasy genre!) that is a little more light-hearted than what I’ve been writing lately. Before I got into writing/book publishing, I was actually studying for a Fine Arts degree. I found the way my program was structured to be a bit stifling/confining, so I switched into Literature. As a result, art has been something I’ve ‘done on the side’ but I’ve let it go far too much. While I’m also a comics editor by trade, I’d like to hunker down and learn another dimension of comics by creating one. We’ll see!

Loie: I love magical girl animes as well ❤ Sailor Moon is still my favorite 😀 Wow! A graphic novel/comic would be fantastic.

I read that you work in the Canadian Publishing industry. Can you share a little bit about how it differs from the US? Or can you share about your experience working on the industry. What’s it like? Being on both sides?

S.M. Beiko: The general North American market is quite similar in terms of structure, but I’ve found (with a few exceptions) that fantasy, and all other Speculative Fiction genres (Sci Fi, Horror, Graphic Novels, romance, etc.) have a much livelier market in the USA than they do in Canada. The Canadian market is still quite focused on General Fiction, meaning the themes and characters take place in the modern, real-life world (often referred to as ‘Can Lit’), and as such, spec fic hasn’t thrived. I think a lot of it has to do with major publishing awards like the Giller and the Rogers Fiction Trust Prize being focused on the Can Lit experience, as well as population density; there’s just more people in the USA who are hungry for spec fic!

My experience working in the industry has been great, though. I’ve been working as a book and comic editor, as well as a packaging graphic designer and typesetter, since 2010, and at this point I’ve virtually worked in every part of the field as I’ve journeyed to full-time freelance sustainability. As a writer, my publishing education gives me insight and tempers my expectations for my own work, as well as buoying me forward when it comes to representing myself and knowing what I can ask for. It has definitely made me a much more proactive author when it comes to promoting myself, because I know how much work goes into getting a book to press, let alone making sure its visible on the shelf. The author has to take an active role in assisting the publisher rather than relying on them to do everything.

Loie: Wow. That is so cool that you’ve worked in all parts of publishing. Love it. That would really provide you with valuable insight. Thanks for sharing about the industry. I thought that might be a reason – re: larger population reading more spec fic in the US 🙂

Do you participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)?

S.M. Beiko: Unfortunately I don’t. I always say I’m going to every year, but the reality is that by the time November rolls around, I’m just coming down from either handing in a manuscript or resting after book touring. However, I do try to apply the principles of NaNoWriMo to my every day writing ethic and schedule, and while I won’t be Tweeting or updating constantly about where I am on a project, I do aim to write every day in November, even if it’s not 50,000 words, or the project isn’t complete by month’s end. November 9 is my last travelling book event—a book launch for Children of the Bloodlands in Calgary—and I can’t wait to just be at home, making things, for the rest of the year!

Loie: Thank you so much, S.M.! It was so interesting to hear you talk about the Canadian Publishing industry and also where your inspiration came from ❤ I hope you have a blast on tour!

Also, for my maritime friends, check out this tour that SM and Kristen Ciccarelli will be going on. They made a beautiful banner 🙂

Maritime+Tour

I hope you enjoyed the interview ❤ Thanks again, S.M.

Are you guys participating in NaNoWriMo this year? What are your goals? I would love to hear below ❤

Loie