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*waves* I´m over on Alex´s blog today (and gave my first interview :D)

I´m still here.

Still sorry about not blogging as much these days but I´m spending as much time as I can with my manuscript and work has been very very busy!….But see those puppy eyes – those are exactly the same kind of puppy eyes I´m making right now!

By Deskana at en.wikipedia [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
I did answer some interview questions though! My FIRST BLOG INTERVIEW!!!!!!

It´s over on Alex´s blog…Alex is one of the wonderful and talented writers I met via Mandy´s class…

Hope you´re all doing well!  Can´t wait to catch up!

Giveaway, Happy Friday, writing

Happy Friday – Interview and Giveaway (MY LIFE NEXT DOOR)


Today is a SPECIAL HAPPY FRIDAY…I have a little something which pretty made me smile all week and which I cannot wait to share with all of you. Are you ready? 😀 

Do you remember when I gushed about the book MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick? Huntley was kind enough to answer a question I had on Twitter. I had read several of her interviews but I still had a lot of questions on how she came to this book, and the characters and her writing process…and…and…So I decided to send her an email and to ask her if she would be willing to do an interview here on my little blog. She said YES! AND…when I mentioned I was going to have a giveaway and would have loved for it to be a signed book but knowing since I lived in Germany and all it could be complicated: she said she WOULD do it! So, ladies and gentleman, you can WIN a signed copy of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR (and I´m throwing another non-signed copy so there will be TWO winners)! I´ll tell you how after the interview (oh and it´s open internationally)

INTERVIEW WITH HUNTLEY FITZPATRICK (or where I grin every time I read this :-))

MY LIFE NEXT DOOR was published on June 14th, 2012. It´s a story about first loves but also friendship, family and finding yourself.

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts.  All the time.”The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them…until one summer evening Jase Garrett climbs her trellis and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love and stumble through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first romance, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own—even as she keeps him a secret from her disapproving mother and critical best friend. Then the unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself? (From Huntley´s website)

Meet the author 😀 HUNTLEY FITZPATRICK: I was lucky enough to be born to parents who read every kind of written material with interest and enthusiasm, and let me do the same. From the start I searched for books that let me fall in love…with the story and with the boy. For most of my childhood I divided my devotion between Almanzo Wilder from The Little House books, C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian and Tom in Louisa May Alcott’s An Old Fashioned Girl. (more on Huntley´s website)

1. What is the first word that comes to your mind when thinking about the story of MY LIFE NEXT DOOR? Contrast

2. Jase, Jase, Jase…where did you find the inspiration for such a great guy? Thank you! Jase is actually a character who has been in my head for a long time.  I recently reread a story I wrote when I was fourteen and the hero was a good-natured boy who was close to his family, loved animals and was good with his hands (the last is something that has always appealed to me).  Like Samantha, I was never a fan of boys who were into lots of drama and I really wanted to write a book where the nice guy gets the girl, rather than losing out to the emo rebel bad boy.  The two manuscripts I’d completed before this both had challenging heroes, and I have to say it was a pleasure doing Jase after them.

3. What is one of your favourite sentences in the book? The first one that comes to mind is Jase’s response when he sees Samantha in her silly waitress uniform (short shirt, sailor top and little red scarf).  Embarrassed by his raised eyebrows, she hurries to tell him her boss designed the uniform. Jase says, “He must have a rich fantasy life.”  The understated humor of that is very Jase.

4. You mentioned in an earlier interview that like Sam, you enjoyed watching people. Did you ever see something funny? (or someone resembling Jase)? A few years ago, my father and I were sitting on a park bench in Boston Common on a beautiful spring day. A boy and a girl came walking along—she had long blond hair and was wearing a white dress and they were holding hands. Something about the way they looked—like real friends in addition to boyfriend and girlfriend, got to me and when I sat down to write the book, I remembered them.

5. You have a cast full of wonderfully fledged characters, which one was the easiest to write and which one was the hardest? Tim and Jase were the easiest. They just seemed to come to me. I struggled with Nan the most. I wanted to make it clear why they were friends, and also why that friendship was in trouble. I also worked really really hard not to make Grace and Clay into Disney villains, to give each of them some humanizing factors. I hope that worked!

6. Did you listen to a particular song while writing this book? Or what song would like to hear in the soundtrack if MY LIFE NEXT DOOR were to become a movie?  Seaside by the Kooks. And the Beatles Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da completely reminds me of the Garretts.  I listen to that song in the car a lot with my kids and they always sing along, so it reminds me of happy, messy but lovely family life.

7. Have you thought about writing a companion book like maybe about Andy or about Tim (I have a big soft spot for Tim and Alice and really enjoyed Andy’s first attempts at dating. Plus I would love to continue getting glimpses about Sam and Jase)? I’ve not only thought about it, I’ve done it. I did about ¾ of a book about Tim and Alice right after MLND, but that wasn’t the one that was picked up by my publisher, so I put it to the side (for now). I do hope eventually to return to it, though. Both Tim and Alice are a lot of fun to write. And I’d love to do a book where Andy finds someone.  I’d even like to do one on Nan where she figures herself out.

8. The querying process can be daunting while exciting. How was it for you? Did you send a lot of queries out? How long did it take you to snag your agent? I did send a lot of queries, and got some encouraging answers but I actually got my agent by button-holing a colleague of hers at a writer’s conference. We’d worked together when I was an editor, and I mentioned that I was writing now. She very kindly told me to send her my manuscripts, and encouraged me to keep going, even though the first two were not quite what she was looking for. MY LIFE NEXT DOOR was the third one and she passed it on to her co-agent, Christina Hogrebe, who liked it and signed me up. In short, I got really lucky.

9. What is an advice you would give to aspiring authors? Read, read, read. I am a huge believer that reading good writing sinks into your brain and helps you write better. There are some great books out there on how to write—notably Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD and Donald Maass THE FIRE IN FICTION, but what has helped me most to be a writer is being a livelong, passionate reader. I also believe in keeping a journal, and always carrying around a notebook to jot down ideas.

10. Can you tell us about your next project? It’s tentatively entitled WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE, and will come out next year. It’s set in the same area as MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, but with a very different cast of characters. It centers around Gwen Castle, a working class girl who has grown up on a privileged island, and Cass Somers, the boy who is her Worst Mistake Ever and inescapable crush, whom she thinks she can spend the summer forgetting, until she learns that he is going to be the “yard boy” onthe island this year—and has no intention of being forgotten.

GIVEAWAY OF ONE SIGNED COPY OF MY LIFE NEXT DOOR 

(and I´m adding a non-signed copy to the mix sent via the Book Depository)

How to enter? Since this is all about the book, you don´t even have to be a follower of this blog to enter (just make sure I have a way to contact you to let you know if you win). It would be great if you win that you share the love by writing a review but it´s up to you…

Tell me in the comments if you:

+2 Tweeted about the interview and giveaway (with the link)

+4 Blogged about it (with the link)

+2 Follow Huntley on Twitter or on Facebook

You automatically have one entry if you comment on this post 😀 The contest is open internationally and will end on August 3rd, 12pm (EST).

THANK YOU AGAIN SO MUCH HUNTLEY!!!!

Interview

Welcome to The Lichgates Hidden World Blog Tour…

I had the chance of connecting with the very talented S.M. Boyce on Twitter and as she announced her Hidden World Blog Tour, I immediately raised my hand (or sent her a message :D).

First let me introduce you to her book:

Lichgates (Summary from Goodreads)The Grimoire turns its own pages and can answer any question asked of it, and Kara Magari is its next target. She has no idea what she’s getting herself into when she stumbles across the old book while hiking a hidden trail. Once she opens it, she’s thrown into Ourea: a beautiful world full of terrifying things that all want the Grimoire’s secrets. Everyone in this new world is trying to find her, and most want to control her.  Braeden Drakonin grew up in Ourea, and all he’s ever known of life is lying. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. He has one question to ask the book – one question that can fix everything in his broken life – and he’s not letting Kara out of his sight until he gets an answer.  There’s no escaping Ourea. There’s no going back now.

Then we have a special message coming directly from S.M. Boyce:

And S.M. has been kind enough to answer the questions I sent her. It is the FIRST interview I publish on this blog (and I really enjoyed it so probably not the last :D)

  • When and where did you have the first idea for LICHGATES?

The first idea for Lichgates came almost a decade ago in my aunt’s basement, when my brothers and I were making little wands and spell casters and other fun things out of clay. I actually still have them, somewhere! These toys sparked a constant daydream about what creatures would use them, and that daydream snowballed into 7 years of development and world building — and, ultimately, the complete removal of the original spell casters from the series. Haha. But, as the old writing adage goes, you need to be able to “kill your darling passages” to write successfully.

The Grimoire Trilogy has been a long while in the making, and I’ve put every ounce of creativity I could spare into making it the best it can be. I really hope you enjoy it.

  • One sentence of your book which you’d like to share with us:

This one is really hard for me to answer. I hope you know that! One of the hardest from this entire blog tour! Ultimately, though, I have to say I’d go with this one:

“Kara thought of Twin and Adele and Garrett and Braeden and wondered how many of the few people she still had left in the world would survive, since she didn’t quite have the best track record with that sort of thing.”

  • What are you the most proud of when it comes to your writing?

I think we writers are inherently self-depreciating. It keeps us modest and constantly striving to improve, so it’s hard for me to be proud of anything more than having a published book. That is an incredible, surreal, tear-jerking feeling.

I guess if I had to pick any one thing, I’d say I’m fairly good at describing the world around the characters. I’ve had many readers compliment my world-building description, and I love immersing myself in the ‘where’. You can check out a few of these reviews here  and here .

  • Your most embarrassing writing moment was…

Contradicting myself in one of my first drafts of Lichgates. You know how you can get so into a story that you can’t see beyond the words on the page? I don’t remember the details, but the first reader draft had someone saying they would never do something one sentence…and then they did that without a second thought later on in the book. Oops! I turned red when my beta readers pointed it out, but that’s why we have writing circles!

  • Where do you usually write?

I live on the edge of a nature preserve, so I tucked my desk in a corner where I can look out the window. It’s beautiful! And when the wind gets going, there are all sorts of crazy noises. It’s both tense and beautiful. I love my writing spot.

  • One piece of advice for writers:

Write for yourself.

You are putting your name on this story, and it ultimately reflects what you think is artistic and beautiful. If you write for others and always bend yourself around others’ input, you will lose the story you originally wrote. It will lose its meaning. So write what makes you happy. You will never be able to please everyone else, so it’s crucial that you are happy with what you put out there.

  • Imagine you can go back in time and have a face-to-face with teenie S.M. Boyce: what advice would you give her? (yes I’m all about giving advice today :-))

I would probably tell myself to invest in Google. Short of that, I’d sit back and sigh deeply as I watched myself do stupid things. The mistakes I made make me who I am today, and I’m better off for them. It would be hard to watch, but I know it’s for the better that nothing in my past change. Except maybe a nice investment in Google. Money, I’d like. Haha!

For those who would like to snag their own copy of Lichgates, you can go to any of these sites:

And as S.M. Boyce explained, she prepared a treat for you 😀  By clicking on the Rafflecopter image, you will access the giveaway for an e-book copy of Lichgates or a set of Grimoire Book Swag…

And of course you can win a Grand Prize  – including Amazon gift cards, signed books… – on her blog (just click the banner below).

Thanks again for stopping by, S.M. Boyce :D!