Tag Archives: YA

Behind the Bill: Una LaMarche

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What was your favourite book growing up?

That’s such a tough question! The first book I can remember really loving was Kay Thompson’s Eloise, because I, too, am a city child—although I did not have a swanky upbringing at the Plaza Hotel, much to my chagrin. As a teenager, though, I really began to have an emotional reaction to books, and the ones that affected me most deeply were Little Women and Maeve Binchy’s Circle of Friends. Those two just killed me. I was so invested in the romantic relationships, I literally wrote passionate graffiti on the spines.

Tell us about the first piece of writing you ever finished.

When I was about three years old I wrote a book titled “FOOD BOOK,” in which I drew pictures of different kinds of foods. But that was really more illustration-heavy. My first truly finished work was “When Cathy Learned Sign Language,” a short story about accepting deaf people that I wrote in the first grade. My teacher laminated it and everything.

If you could have lunch with one author, alive or dead, who would it be & why?

 Fran Lebowitz, because she’s so quick and funny and brilliant, both on paper and in person.

If you could hang out with one of the characters from your book, who would you choose & why?

Jaxon (the male protagonist of Like No Other), because I just love him. I wrote him as a kind of John Hughes male lead, in the tradition of John Cusack in Say Anything, that sort of nerdy guy with a whip-smart wit and a heart of gold that you can’t help but fall in love with even though he’s your best friend.

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Una is doing a Canadian blog tour this week to celebrate her book birthday! Follow along with us:
July 25 Library of Clean Reads review

July 27 More Than Just Magic review + Q&A

July 28 Sam Couture Reviews

July 29 Words of Mystery

July 30 Pop Goes the Reader review + guest post

July 31 A Lot of Loves

Aug 1 Leonicka.com

Aug 2 Emilie’s Book World

Check out Una LaMarche’s fantastic LIKE NO OTHER, available now!

Saying Goodbye to The Gypsy King

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A guest post by Maureen Fergus

I finished writing Tomorrow’s Kingdom, the final book in The Gypsy King trilogy, on a Saturday morning in early June last year. I’d stayed up until two the night before, hoping to finish it off, but when I got so tired that I had to squint to keep from seeing double, I decided that perhaps a little sleep was in order. I staggered over to the couch and collapsed. Two hours later, I was back at work. Four hours after that, my family started to wake up. As the hours slipped by, a hush fell over the house.

From time to time, my husband or one of my kids would tiptoe by and whisper, “How much do you have left to go?”

“A couple of pages,” I would murmur, my eyes glued to the screen, my fingers flying across the keyboard. “Less than a page … a paragraph … a sentence …”

Then, before I knew it, the answer was, “I’m done.”

And just like that it was over.

The feeling that came over me then was a strange mixture of tranquility and emptiness. Tranquility because I’d driven myself rather mercilessly in an effort to finish this trilogy and I could hardly believe I’d actually done it; emptiness because the kingdom of Glyndoria, its cast of characters and their destinies had been my all-consuming passion for so long that I didn’t know what I was going to do without them.

It was an adjustment, to be sure. It took a few weeks for my brain to stop feeling like a sponge that had been squeezed too hard, and a few months for me to stop repeatedly waking up during the night because I was dreaming about some particularly dramatic or tragic scene from one of the books.

Recently, I was asked which characters I missed the most now that I was finished writing the trilogy. The answer is that it can be hard to let go of characters as complicated as Persephone, as irresistible as Azriel and as deliciously evil as Mordecai, but if I’ve done my job as a writer, by the time I’ve finished a book (or in this case, a trilogy) I’ve told that part of my characters’ stories that I was meant to tell. For me, there shouldn’t be a powerful feeling of wanting to stay connected to them. Sometimes we meet people who have a profound impact on us at a certain point in our lives. Then we or they move on and our time together becomes a special and important memory — an experience that helps to shape who we are and the path our lives takes.

The characters from The Gypsy King trilogy are like this for me. There are still nights when the citizens of Glyndoria, good and evil, visit me in my dreams. But while I enjoy connecting with them again, I don’t really encourage them to linger.

Because you see, I’m working on a new young adult novel about a different boy and a different girl in a different world, and I owe these new characters and this new story nothing less than my undivided attention.

TOMORROW’S KINGDOM is available from Razorbill Canada on July 8th 2014.

Top Ten Reasons Why We Love Lesley Livingston

Today is the book birthday for NOW AND FOR NEVER and we’re celebrating all things Lesley Livingston! Here are the Top Ten Reasons we love this brilliant Canadian author:

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1. She’s smart and not afraid to show it. Lesley has a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Toronto specializing in Shakespeare and Arthurian literature.  She is a fountain of all kinds of knowledge, including pop culture, literature, history, and folklore. She dropped by the Indigo Teen Blog to say a number of smart things about storytelling, history, and Star Wars.

2. She throws the best launch parties! If you’re in Toronto on Thursday, May 29th you should drop by Dominion on Queen at 7pm and find out:

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3. The girl can SING! The proof? Check out this impromptu performance at the launch of Starling. Did we mention she throws the best book launch parties?

4. Book Boyfriends. Lesley writes some of our favourite fictional crushes. Stoic Sonny, fiery Fennrys, and lovely, sweet Milo- whatever your type, Lesley’s got a (fictional) crush for you!

5. She is a great reader. Lesley often records her own audio books. Here she is reading from Every Never After at the launch party:

 

6. Lesley is the Queen of One-Liners. Like this one:

“Now that I’ve crossed ‘Paranormal Phenomenon’ off my life-experience to-do list, I might as well start working my way up to ‘Close Encounter.’ ” -from Once Every Never

Or this one:

“What did Shakepeare know? He probably would have rewritten that bit if he’d thought about it.” -from Wondrous Strange

7. Mythology Maven. Lesley has an extensive knowledge of mythology, which she incorporates into her engrossing, fully-realized worlds. You’ll find nods to Celtic, Norse, and Egyptian mythology- among others-in her books.

8. Kick-ass Heroines.

Lesley’s ladies are smart, witty, and capable heroines. You won’t find any shrinking violets or passive victims in her books. She writes the kind of characters you want to be BFFs with- especially if you’re traveling through time or trying to deal with an ancient curse.

9. She’s good on the twitter.

10. She’s witty. It’s no surprise that Lesley’s books are praised for being funny; her heroines clearly get their sense of humour from the author:

 

 

Be sure to pick up Now and For Never, in stores today!

 

 

Friday Reads: #WeNeedDiverseBooks Edition

Inspired by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks conversations happening on twitter this week, we gathered some of our favourite YA reads featuring diverse characters and experiences.

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NOT YOUR ORDINARY WOLF GIRL by Emily Pohl-Weary

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BLUES FOR ZOEY by Robert Paul Weston

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KARMA by Cathy Ostlere

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POINTE by Brandy Colbert

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UNDER MY SKIN by Charles de Lint

time to dance

A TIME TO DANCE by Padma Venkatraman

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YOU SET ME ON FIRE by Mariko Tamaki

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LIKE NO OTHER by Una LaMarche

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THE SECRET SKY by Atia Abawi

 

 

 

Friday Reads: The Inventor’s Secret

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Title: The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer

Story in a Nutshell: The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery. In this world, sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. When a new exile with no memory of his escape or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits.

For Fans Of: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen, Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

Awesome Quote:

“If you’re planning on sticking around, you’ll find girls here do a lot of things they aren’t meant to do.”

What People Are Saying:

“An entertaining romp in a richly imagined setting” -Kirkus Reviews

“Steampunk Pisces sub? Oh yeah! Flying steampunk dragonfly – even better! Loved the world building and the era setting” Goodreads

 

 

Cover Reveal: The Art of Getting Stared At

We’re at sales conference this week learning all about the fantastic Penguin Canada titles for fall 2014, including this contemporary YA novel from Canadian author Laura Langston:

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How much do you love this cover? Look for THE ART OF GETTING STARTED AT in September 2014. Here’s what to expect:

After a school video she produced goes viral, sixteen-year-old Sloane is given the biggest opportunity of her life – a chance for a film school scholarship. She has less than two weeks to produce a second video, something with depth, and she’s determined to do it. The trouble is she has to work with Isaac Alexander, an irresponsible charmer with whom she shares an uneasy history.

On the heels of this good news/bad news opportunity, Sloane finds a bald spot on her head. The pink patch, no bigger than a quarter, shouldn’t be there. Neither should the bald spots that follow. Horror gives way to devastation when Sloane is diagnosed with alopecia areata. The autoimmune disease has no cause, no cure and no definitive outcome. The spots might grow over tomorrow or they might be there for life. She could become completely bald. No one knows.

Determined to produce her video and keep her condition secret, Sloane finds herself turning into the kind of person she has always mocked: someone obsessed with their looks.  She’s also forced to confront a painful truth: she is as judgmental as anyone else…but she saves the harshest judgments for herself.

Dear Reader: A Letter From Emery Lord

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Dear Reader,

When you have a book coming out, one of the questions you get most often is: “So, what’s it about?”

I have a lot of answers: OPEN ROAD SUMMER is about best friends, about summer and travel and music. It’s about setting who are against who you want to be and trying to close that gap. It’s about all kinds of love–family and friends and yourself and the flirtation that might just become something more one day.

But, if we’re going behind-the-scenes here…the truth is, for me, this book is mostly about forgiveness.

It’s strange to me that forgiveness rarely gets talked about. No one ever says, “I like that girl. She’s really good at forgiving people.” But how and when and why to forgive? That’s one of the hardest, best things I’ve had to learn in my 20-something years.

So, OPEN ROAD SUMMER is about forgiving your family for not being perfect. Of course they’re not perfect. It doesn’t matter. They’re yours.

It’s about forgiving your best friend because, in some ways, she has what you want. It’s okay to wish that you could trade lives sometimes. She feels the same way about you. I promise.

It’s about forgiving the people in your life who bailed on or betrayed you. They hurt you. It wasn’t your choice, and that sucks. But the choice you do have? Who you’re going to be from here on out.

It’s about forgiving the girls who were bitches to you in junior high. Holding on to that bitterness doesn’t change what happened. And becoming a bitch yourself? That makes you the same as them.

Most of all, it’s about forgiving yourself. So you made a bad choice or six. Maybe you were reckless, with your choices or with others’ feelings or even with yourself. Being a teen and human is not about whether or not you’ll mess up. You will. It’s about you DO with that mess.

So, reader, thanks for taking a summer road trip with Dee, Reagan and me. I hope you see the concerts and the American landscape and the fireworks, and I hope you see yourself in one or two of the characters. But mostly, I hope it reminds you that, as our girl Taylor Swift would say, today is never too late to brand new.

Emery Lord 

Excited about OPEN ROAD SUMMER? Find out more when Emery drops by to fill out the Behind the Bill questionnaire next week! In the meantime, check out this awesome video:

Behind the Bill: Morgan Rhodes

Morgan Rhodes Author PhotoFALLING KINGDOMS, the first book in Morgan Rhodes‘ high fantasy quartet of the same name is in paperback today. We went Behind the Bill with the Canadian author to find out more about her world building and history as a writer.

What was your favourite book growing up?

The first thing that pops into my mind is the Adventure series by Enid Blyton – The Castle of Adventure being a particular stand out in my memory. My mother suggested I read these, since she loved the books as a kid. And I loved them too! I remember a pet cockatoo (which was awesome) and I remember lots of adventure and danger and mystery the kids would get themselves into. And treasure. I loved books about hidden treasure!

Tell us about the first piece of writing you ever finished.

I have a very earnest but aimless completed YA trilogy about angsty teen ghosts stuck in a small town due to a nasty curse. I absolutely loved these books and even considered self-publishing them recently…that is, until I opened them up for the first time in a decade and read them. Yikes! Nope. They would need far too much work to make them readable, but I still love the idea.

If you could have lunch with one author, alive or dead, who would it be & why? 

It would have to be J.K. Rowling since I am amazed by her success with her amazingly timeless series, her skill as a writer, and also her ongoing love of writing beyond the books that made her famous. She’s an inspiration in so many ways.

If you could hang out with one of the characters from your book, who would you choose & why?

Out of my four main characters – Cleo, Magnus, Jonas, and Lucia – I would have to choose Magnus. He fascinates me, how he says one thing but thinks another…I wonder if he could fool me too! Plus, he strikes me as somebody who needs a friend and a hug, even if he’d never admit it.

Describe your book in five words

Battle. Betrayal. Magic. Forbidden romance.

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Dear Reader: A Letter From Megan Miranda

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Dear Readers,

I want to tell you about the genesis for Vengeance, how it became an idea and grew into a book, but the truth is that it’s all tied up in you and a book that came out two years ago. This book exists because of emails and tweets and questions you sent to me. It’s because of messages you sent to my publisher. It’s because you asked, after Fracture came out: but what happens next?

And the truth is, at first, I thought—anything. Anything happens next. That was the journey of Fracture. Delaney had to discover, for herself, what makes life worth living. I also liked to image that the characters were happy for a time. In a way, the next phase of their lives was just beginning. They had made it through.

Right before Fracture was published, I had written a short story called Eleven Minutes from Decker’s point of view about the time Delaney was trapped under the ice and the days she spent in a coma. In a lot of ways, Decker’s story was just beginning at the end of Fracture. He was a hero—the guy who rescued her from the ice. But he was also the reason she was out there in the first place, and he had a lot of guilt about that.

Eventually, there was a tipping point. Suddenly when you asked, what happens next? I started to wonder, no, really, what does happen next? And for that, I thank you. Questions have always fueled my story ideas, and so I started to think:

What if a girl survives something that should be un-survivable, but there are several other deaths in her place?

What if everyone believes a guy is a hero, but he still sees himself as the reason behind all the tragedy that happened in Fracture?

What happens in a place like Falcon Lake—where there were too many coincidences surrounding a girl that miraculously lived?

What happens to people after the falling in love stage? After they have forgiven each other for everything? Are there things that are not forgiveable?

What makes someone believe in a curse?

What happens when you do believe?

I wrote a 1-page concept, just for myself, playing around with the idea. It originally turned into a pitch, in Decker’s voice, about Falcon Lake.

This is how it started: Nobody really believes in a curse.

This is how it ended: And I believed.

I spent six years living in Boston before they won the World Series, breaking their 86-year curse. Even though I wasn’t a RedSox fan, there was something about that curse that identified the city, that bound people together. Driving down a main street, there was a sign that said “Reverse Curve.” But someone had spray-painted over it, changing it to say “Reverse The Curse.” The city let it stand, because it was such a part of the identity, even when used in jest. But how many near wins and heartbreaking losses before it stopped being a joke, becoming something people kind of really almost believed?

I think there was some sort of identity in that sign. Some claiming of the curse: It’s our curse. We suffered through that. It belongs to us. So I took that idea, but changed the stakes. What if it’s not a game, but a life? How much coincidence before you really believe? Before nobody will touch the lake?

My parents recently took a trip to Hawaii and wanted to bring back a volcanic rock for my son who’s obsessed with volcanoes. A tour guide told my parents there’s a curse. It’s bad luck. My parents don’t really believe in curses. But they left the rock. There’s something about superstition that feels too close. Too possible.

This is a story about stepping across that line. For dipping a toe in the water and suffering the consequences. For trading in lives. It’s a story about what can be hidden in a place that embraces the idea of a curse.

It’s also about Decker and Delaney, and guilt and love, and grief and hope. I hope you enjoy the journey. I loved taking it. Thank you for asking the questions that sparked the idea. This book wouldn’t exist without you.

Megan Miranda