Special Feature: Notable Quotable from THE EDGE OF OVER THERE by Shawn Smucker {giveaway}




The Day the Angels Fell, Book 2
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Number of Pages: 384
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Cover Hi res Edge of Over There
The captivating sequel to the award-winning The Day the Angels Fell
Abra Miller carries a secret and a responsibility she never expected.
Before the Tree of Life, everything in Abra Miller’s life had been predictable. Safe. Normal. But after the Tree, everything has felt fragile . . . like holding a soap bubble in the palm of her hand. After years of fruitless searching for the next Tree, she begins to wonder if it was nothing more than a vivid dream.
Now sixteen, Abra finds a clue to the whereabouts of the next Tree of Life when an ominous woman—who looks exactly like a ghost from her past—compels her to travel to New Orleans where she’ll find one of seven gateways between this world and Over There. But she’s not the only one interested in finding the gateway. There’s also a young man searching for his father and sister, who escaped through it years before. As Abra enters the Edge of Over There and begins her pursuit of the Tree once more, she doesn’t know whom to fear or whom to trust.
She’s also starting to think that some doorways should never be opened.


Praise for The Edge of Over There:
“Blending Biblical elements and urban myths, Smucker creates an enthralling story of supernatural battles between the forces of good and evil.” — Publishers Weekly

“The Edge of Over There is a mesmerizing, menacing fantasy. Shawn Smucker fuses New Orleans lore, Christian themes, and dystopian landscapes in a thorough exploration of love and its unintended results.” — Foreword Reviews (Starred Review) 

Notable Quotable
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Shawn Smucker is the author of The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There. He lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find him on his website, where you can also sign up for his newsletter in order to find out when and where the Tree of Life will turn up next.



GRAND PRIZE: Both Books in the The Day the Angels Fell series + Color Changing Tree Mug + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2ND PRIZE: Both Books + Tree of Life Journal
3RD PRIZE: Both Books + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

July 17-26, 2018
Author Interview
Book Trailer
Top 10 List
Notable Quotable
Author Interview
Guest Post
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Guest post: Series Playlist by Jus Acardo, author of ALPHA, Book 3 in The Infinity Division Series

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If there was a soundtrack for my life, it’d be diverse. Everything from Elvis – I can’t help falling in love with you to Five Finger Death Punch – Battle Born. Other than books—and food—music is my thing. Oh. And animals. And the outdoors…

I have a lot of things.

When I think about my husband, it’s Vain – Without You. He played it for me one of the first few times we hung out. When I hear Loudon Wainwright – Dead Skunk—yes, I have this on my phone—I think of the trip Hershey Park when I was a kid. There was a skunk, a Nun, and some candy bars. Don’t ask.

When I hear Muse – Supermassive Black Hole, I think about vampires. Playing baseball.

You know you do, too. No one’s judging.

But music is more than inspirational for me—it’s essential, an integral part of my writing process. Scenes play out in my head like a movie. And everyone knows all good movies need a killer soundtrack. The right song can help set the appropriate mood and put me in the headspace that I need for a particular scene. Anything from a high-octane chase scene or blood pumping epic battle, to those tragic backstory moments or heartwarming, awe inspiring declarations of love.

I have playlists for each book, many scenes, and most characters. Usually I start off with a few general songs. Ones that fit the overall mood of the book and the picture I have of it all in my head. From there, I add as I go along. As relationships develop, the list continues to grow.

Each of the three main couples in the Infinity Division series have their own song. Usually it takes me most of the first draft of a book to pick the perfect one, but when it came to this series, I had songs chosen for all three couples right after the first draft of the first book!

Infinity – Kori and Cade: Hozier – Take me To Church

Omega – Noah and Ash: Hailee Steinfeld Ft Zedd – Starving

Alpha – G and Sera: Stone Sour – Song #3

Each character had their own playlist, but also a key song. Something that, to me, embodied their personality, situation, and/or struggles. Since the books are all told from different points of view, these songs helped me get inside the head of each narrator.

Kori: Raise Hell – Dorothy

Cade: Dangerous – Shaman’s Harvest

Noah: Do I Wanna Know – Arctic Monkeys

Ash: Roots – In This Moment

G: Bury Me With My Guns – Bobaflex

Sera: Supposed to be – Icon For Hire

Dylan: Bad Man – Bobaflex

I can’t fathom living—or working—without music. I’d be utterly lost. What about you? Do you have a particular artist or song that’s your go-to? What’s your current fave?

**You can view the entire playlist for the Infinity Division series here!**


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Sera has no memory of her life before. Before captivity, before experiments, before the only lifeline she had was the voice of a boy in the cell next to hers. Before G.

G wishes he could forget everything before Sera brought him back to life. Forget his memories as a ruthless mercenary on an alternate version of Earth. Forget that he was part of an experiment simply known as Alpha.

Now on the run from their captors and in need of an antidote to save his life, G and Sera’s clock is ticking. And they’ll have to gamble everything on the bond they forged in captivity if they want to survive.

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Jus Accardo spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food. Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, as well as the Darker Agency series, and the New Adult series, The Eternal Balance. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.
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Guest Post: Top Ten by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of ZOMBIE ABBEY

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Being a former sort-of librarian myself, and being given the opportunity to post about something on The Librarian Talks, what else would I talk about? Words!

10. That – OK, maybe it’s cheating to put that here, but it must be my favorite since I overuse it in all of my first drafts and then wind up having to take a ton of them out during revisions. Other writers may be noted for their drinking problems. (I’m looking at you, Hemingway!) I have a that problem.

9. Criminy. This word from the late 1600s, used as a mild oath or to express surprise, wouldn’t even be on the list were it not for an exchange I had on Twitter the other day. All I’ll say is that the topic was politics and my use of that word, which I’d never used in my life before, was entirely warranted.

8. Ineluctable. A few decades ago, I noticed that Stephen King used this word all the time in his writing – so: overused. Why not just say inevitable, or unavoidable? Why must it be ineluctable…and so frequently? But it’s been a few decades since I’ve read a Stephen King novel, so I feel like this one can be safely pulled out of the word retirement village I’d banished it to.

7. Makebate. This is a simply marvelous word, the existence of which I’m only aware of because it appeared at the top of the page in the dictionary one day when I was searching for an entirely different word. (Yes, I use a real dictionary.) It’s an archaic word from the early 1500s and means “one that excites contention and quarrels.” I bet if I were a makebate I’d be more interesting but I suppose I might get invited less places too.

6. Dictionary. Because it’s this insanely wonderful thing, where you can be looking for one thing in it and come across a word you’ve never heard of in your very wordy life before and suddenly everything feels magical.

5. Chocolate. Should be self-explanatory.

4. Wine. Also self-explanatory.

3. Enisled. I first came across this word in Canadian author Wayne Johnston’s The Colony of Unrequited Dreams two decades ago and it still stuns me. Few words are so evocative in sound to me as what their meaning is. I would never want to be enisled…but there are a few people I wouldn’t mind seeing it happen to (one being the person I said “Criminy!” about).

2. Termagant. I actually have no idea what the source of me knowing this word is, but I do know that I’ve managed to use it in more than one of my novels; several, in fact. Sure, I could use shrew instead, but what can I say? My usage of termagant, particularly in any historical novel, feels ineluctable.

1. Jackie. I actually do know this isn’t technically a word. It’s my daughter’s name and it’s my single favorite arrangement of letters and sounds in the English language.


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Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 books for adults, teens and children, which have been published in 15 countries. Before becoming a writer, she was an independent bookseller (11 years), a Publishers Weekly reviewer (292 titles); a freelance editor, a sort-of librarian, and a window washer. She lives in CT with her husband, daughter and cat. Lauren prefers the nobility to zombies, as a rule, and so long as you’re not the latter, you’re welcome to visit her at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com.


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And the teenage Clarke sisters thought the entail was their biggest problem…

     Lady Kate, the entitled eldest.

     Lady Grace, lost in the middle and wishing she were braver.

     Lady Lizzy, so endlessly sunny, it’s easy to underestimate her.

Then there’s Will Harvey, the proud, to-die-for—and possibly die with!—stable boy; Daniel Murray, the resourceful second footman with a secret; Raymond Allen, the unfortunate-looking young duke; and Fanny Rogers, the unsinkable kitchen maid.

Upstairs! Downstairs! Toss in some farmers and villagers!

None of them ever expected to work together for any reason.

But none of them had ever seen anything like this.




Interview: Lisa Brown Roberts, author of SPIES, LIES, AND ALLIES

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Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I love writing about teens because I vividly remember how it felt to be on the cusp of everything. When you’re a teen, life is full of possibility and everything seems possible. You aren’t yet weighed down by adult responsibilities, for the most part, though I know some teens do face these challenges. And for some reason, writing in a teen voice comes naturally to me.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I’ve loved stories forever. I can’t remember not having my nose stuck in a book. My parents were big readers and my mom taught English, so no doubt that was a big influence.

How long have you been writing?

Forever. I have story notebooks going back to the second grade. However, in terms of buckling down and getting serious about making this happen, that started around 2011.

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

Spirituality is important in my life, and I think that’s the case for many readers, which is why I sprinkle in casual mentions of it. Also, my characters’ growth arcs have spiritual components – generosity, compassion, acceptance, etc.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Humor and heart, with a dash of nerdy.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Writing a romantic comedy while my dad was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. It was the hardest book I’ve ever written, but it ended up being an homage to dads and daughters, and I’m very proud of that.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?

If so, discuss them.The interns competing for the college scholarship are dealing with limited financial means, but this doesn’t define them. They’re all dedicated to their future and finding a way to pursue their dreams.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?

What was least useful or most destructive?Most useful has been studying story structure and story beats. I write character-based novels so plotting is sometimes challenging for me. Least useful is any advice that begins, “Every writer should(fill in the blank).” There’s no magic formula that applies to all writers.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I have a full-time day job so I’m technically a part-time writer, though most days it feels like I have two full-time jobs! Juggling the two means I’m not able to put as much time into promo as I should, and it limits my productivity. I say “no” to a lot of social engagements and don’t spend much time relaxing because most of my free time is spent writing/revising/marketing. Still, writing is my bliss so it’s worth the lack of sleep.

What do you like to read in your free time?

Lots of YA, of course, and lots of adult romance and women’s fiction. I also enjoy cozy mysteries and some spec-fic.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I just finished a spin-off of The Replacement Crush. I had a blast writing it and can’t wait to share it with readers who asked for this particular story. I’m also working on another nerdy YA rom-com, and several adult romance projects.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Judy Blume, Paula Danziger, Jane Austen, Kristan Higgins, Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, J.K. Rowling, and Julie Anne Peters.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

Names are very important. I often choose names based on their meanings. I use online resources to research names.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

She never gave up on her dreams and neither should you!

What literary character is most like you?

I hope I’m a bit like Lizzie Bennet.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?


If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

A penguin.




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Summers are supposed to be fun, right? Not mine. I’ve got a job at my dad’s company, which is sponsoring a college scholarship competition. I just found out that, in addition to my job assisting the competing interns, I’m supposed to vote for the winner. Totally not what I signed up for.

My boss is running the competition like it’s an episode of Survivor. Then there’s Carlos, who is, well, very distracting––in a good way. But I can’t even think about him like that because fraternizing on the job means instant disqualification for the intern involved.

As if that’s not enough, an anonymous informant with insider intel is trying to sabotage my dad’s company on social media…and I’m afraid it’s working.

Much as I’d love to quit, I can’t. Kristoffs Never Quit is our family motto. I just hope there’s more than one survivor by the end of this summer.




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About Lisa Brown Roberts:

Award-winning romance author Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage catastrophes of tweezing off both eyebrows, or that time she crashed her car into a tree while trying to impress a guy. It’s no wonder she loves to write romantic comedies.   Lisa’s books have earned praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and the School Library Journal. She lives in Colorado with her family, in which pets outnumber people. Connect with Lisa at www.lisabrownroberts.com.

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Interview: Diana Rodriguez Wallach, Author, LIES THAT BIND

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Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I’ll warn you, this story is kind of strange. I started writing my first novel because I had a dream one night that I was a young adult author, and I dreamt the concept for an entire series of books. Seriously. When I woke up and told my husband, he reminded me of a vacation we took five years earlier through New England.

We had stopped in Salem, MA to see the witches’ houses. While there, I decided to visit a psychic (when in Rome, right?). So I sat down and the psychic immediately said, “You’re a writer.” And I was; at the time, I was a reporter. I told her this, and she asked what I wrote about. Intentionally trying to be cryptic (I mean, she is a psychic, shouldn’t she already know?), I told her that I wrote about “business.” She swiftly said, “No. I see you writing books, little books, like children’s books.”

I had never considered writing a book before. But after the dream, and my recollection of the psychic, I figured it was “a sign.” So I sat down and started my first novel.


What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write young adult novels. My current book, Lies that Bind, is the sequel to Proof of Lies. They are the first two installments of a trilogy YA spy thrillers. They’re about a girl named Anastasia Phoenix, who is my personal blend of Nancy Drew meets Buffy Summers in the world of Spy Kids. Essentially Anastasia’s a combination of the kick-butt heroines I love from the mysteries and thrillers that have impacted me. The series also indulges my love of travel. Proof of Lies is set in Boston (where I went to college) and Italy. I take readers through the streets Rome, the vineyards of Tuscany, and the canals of Venice. Lies that Bind continues with more scenes in Boston, then whisks the reader to Bonfire Night in Lewes, England; a covert meeting on the London Ferris wheel; and finally death threats and confrontations in Rio de Janeiro. I went to a wedding recently in Rio, and the location features prominently in the book. Honestly, I don’t know how the novel would end if it weren’t for that trip! I feel like with a spy novel, you need a touch of the exotic—how interesting would James Bond be if every movie were set in Des Moines?

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love to travel. So you can trust that all of the scenes in both Proof of Lies and Lies that Bind—from Boston, to Italy, to England, to Rio de Janeiro—are based on places I’ve visited. Every hotel I describe is based on the exact room I stayed in with my husband. When Anastasia stops for fish and chips in London, you can bet I ate there. When she goes to a lavish wedding in Brazil, I can describe the exotic floral arrangements and gorgeous bartenders, because I attended a wedding there myself. My settings are real, vivid, and authentic, down to the salty humid air in Rio and the smoky fire festivals in Lewes, England. One of my favorite compliments is when a reader says my settings feel like a character in their own right. Big smiles for that one.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?  If so, discuss them.

I intentionally make the characters in my books very diverse, because I’m setting my stories in major US cities where I have lived. So when I think back to those times in my life, I think of the people I knew there and I purposely add characters that give a subtle nod to some of them. For example, large chunks of both Proof of Lies and Lies that Bind are set in Boston where I went to college. One of my college roommates was Filipina, so Anastasia’s closest school friend in the series is Filipina. Anastasia’s love interest in the books, Marcus, is from Mardid; I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain when I was a junior in college. One of Anastasia’s other close friends is half black, and one of my other roommates was half Chinese and half Jamaican. I’m also half Polish and half Puerto Rican, so I try to include a little Spanish in all of my novels. To me, this diversity is natural because it’s simply a representation of my own life experience.


Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

I grew up loving the YA thriller genre, so honestly, the Anastasia Phoenix series is a return to the books that inspired me. As a child of the 90s, I was obsessed with Christopher Pike. I vividly remember waiting for the release of each of his books—from Chain Letter, to Remember Me, to Fall Into Darkness. He’s one of the reasons I write for YA now, and I would completely geek out if I ever met him in person. I think that’s why I wanted to attempt a YA thriller of my own.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I published my first novel when I was 30, back when I still had a full time job working in communications for a nonprofit specializing in improving inner-city public schools. When my first novel sold, Amor and Summer Secrets, I decided to start writing full time. This was before kids, so I had plenty of time to write all day, every day. Ahh, memories. I had no idea how good I had it. Now, I’m a mom of two small kids. So writing is something I need to schedule into to my day and multitask. But it never feels like work. I love plotting new stories, doing research, creating outlines, and imagining my characters. Also, I love editing! Strange, I know. And I teach Creative Writing online for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m planning to return to YA contemporary romance. I’m currently working on a stand-alone title featuring an extremely gifted Latina student, under immense academic pressure and dealing with unresolved issues surrounding the death of her brother. It takes place during that space at the end of her senior year, when the college acceptances have rolled in and students start to check-out. But for this character, she’s not simply taking a mental vacation from stress, she’s considering a major life change that will mean standing up to her overprotective parents for the first time. I’ve been deep in research mode lately, conducting lots of interviews to really nail down the character. I’m so excited to start something new!


What do your plans for future projects include?

Book three of the Anastasia Phoenix series comes out next year, End of  the Lie! I’m in edit-mode for this one. It’ll be so sad to see Anastasia’s journey end, but at the same time I can’t wait to hear reader’s reactions to her story.

How do you get your ideas for writing?

Ideas come at random times—while watching TV, brushing my teeth, driving my car, etc. But usually the ones I act upon, the ones I start writing, are based on something true that happened to me at one point in my life. The first novel I ever wrote, still unpublished, was based on my bullying experience in middle school. The first novel I ever published, Amor and Summer Secrets, is based on my ethnic background and what it was like visiting family in Puerto Rico. And the first spark of inspiration that ultimately led to the creation of Anastasia Phoenix came when I was in high school. I was attending a college fair in Philadelphia, and I was listening to students talk about Boston University. One kid was glowing about the professors—Pulitzer-prize winners from the Boston Globe, The Washington Post and The NY Times. Then he spoke about a very unusual professor, one who was a former communist spy for Czechoslovakia during the Cold War and who now taught budding journalists how to tell if they were being fed false information or “fake news.” The tale of that rouge spy stuck with me.

But by the time I ultimately got to BU, Lawrence Martin Bittman, the spy-turned-journalism professor, had retired. I never got to take his course. However, years later when I decided to attempt an international thriller packed with super spies, that story came back to me as if it had always been waiting. I wanted my world of espionage to be focused on a unique specialty that offered me some creative freedom, and disinformation fit the bill.

I eventually meet the spy who inspired me, and we had a fascinating conversation in his home that led to many of the espionage elements in Proof of Lies and Lies that Bind, as well as the name of the CIA agent that appears in the novel, Martin Bittman.


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About Lies That Bind:

What if saving yourself meant destroying everyone you love?

Still reeling from everything she learned while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. Then she and her friends learn that Marcus’s—her kinda boyfriend—brother, Antonio, has also gone missing. Luckily, they track down Antonio in a fiery festival in England, only to learn he has been working for the enemy, Department D, the whole time. But Antonio wants out. And so does Anastasia.

But before any of them can leave espionage and their parents’ crimes behind them, a close friend turns up dead. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists. So Anastasia and her friends embark on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire, using every Dresden Kid they can find.

As their world becomes surrounded by spies, and the children of spies, Anastasia starts to question who she can really trust. Including her best friends…



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About Diana Rodriguez Wallach:

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix series, three YA spy thrillers set to debut beginning in March 2017 (Entangled Publishing). She is also the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection based on the Narcissus myth, entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013). In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins). It was the only essay chosen from the anthology by Scholastic to be used in its classroom materials. Diana is featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books, 2015), and she is currently on staff as a featured blogger for Quirk Books. In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by LatinoStories.com, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, and is a Creative Writing instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.


Author Links:

Author Website: dianarodriguezwallach.com

Author Blog: http://dianarwallach.tumblr.com

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dianarwallach

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dianarwallach/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1404210.Diana_Rodriguez_Wallach

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dianawallachauthor/

Interview: Chris Cannon, author of THE DATING DEBATE

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Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I write YA because I think everyone can remember what high school was like. For most people it’s like running an obstacle course, trying to get through four years in what is literally an institution so you can move on with your life and make your own choices. The lack of power and control at that age can be maddening. All the stress and pressure also provide for a lot of comic opportunities. And yes there are those people who had a golden story book experience in high school, but I don’t think that’s the norm. Whenever someone tells me high school was the best time of their life, I think they’ve got about sixty years of disappointment ahead of them.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My parents were both avid readers. My mother took us to the library almost every weekend.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for about ten years.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write Young Adult urban fantasy about shape-shifting dragons and romantic comedies.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

I think books bring people together and give them a common experience. Several decades ago, everyone watched the same movies or television shows because there weren’t that many to choose from. People quoted Star Wars and The Breakfast Club. Now there are dozens of movies playing every week and more television channels than you can count. People don’t have the same entertainment experience. With books people have that common ground. Fans of Harry Potter all have the same references they understand HP jokes and quotes. Books can be bonding.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I’m a huge fan of snarky dialogue and witty banter. I love to make people laugh. That’s what I try to do in my books.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

My romantic comedies are brain candy. They’re happy fluff that’s supposed to make you laugh, possibly tear up a little bit, and then make you smile like an idiot over the happily ever after. One of the hardest parts of this book was adding in some more serious emotional baggage for the main characters. West’s mom is a hoarder. His entire house is full of rubber maid storage containers stacked floor to ceiling. The containers are all neatly labeled because his dad is OCD. West lies and tells everyone that his mom is terminally ill and can’t have visitors to keep his family’s secret. Nina’s dad was an over the road trucker who had another wife and children two states away. Finding out her perfect family was the perfect lie has made her a pathological truth teller. The surest way to piss her off is to lie to her. Throw these two characters together, and it’s an interesting situation.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Nina is a self-professed nerd girl and a book junkie. She’s a huge fan of Harry Potter. While West comes across as cool and controlled, he’s also a reader and he loves Harry Potter, too. It was fun to have them banter back and forth about Hogwarts and wands.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I’m a speech therapist by day and an author by night. I dream of retiring early, so I can write more than two or three books a year.

What do you like to read in your free time?

Anything by Cassandra Clare. I love her snarky dialogue and her kick ass female characters.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I just turned in the 5th book in my shape shifting dragon series, Going Down In Flames.  Bryn turns sixteen, flames shoot out of her mouth, and that’s the first clue she has that she’s a shape-shifting dragon. (Not the gift she hoped for.)

I’m also writing another romantic comedy about two friends who pretend to date in the hopes of making the actual objects of their affection see them as datable. Of course, they end up falling for each other.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I’m working on another urban fantasy about crossroad demons:  All Meena wanted was a summer job that didn’t involve the phrase, “Do you want fries with that?” She never planned on working for a soul sucking demon with a hair fetish. If she can’t break her contract with Bane she’s stuck in Crossroads, IL. No college, no traveling the world, no escaping the small town where she’s never fit in. Will she sell her soul to escape hell on earth?

What book do you wish you could have written?

Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments series, and Welcome to Temptation

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I stay away from the death and dying topics. I know reading about someone with a terminal disease can be cathartic, but I find real life depressing enough. I want to read something that makes me laugh or takes me away to a fantastical world, which is why I write funny (hopefully)  urban fantasy and romantic comedies.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Just one more page.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to fly. When I’m really happy I dream that I can fly, which is also why I like writing dragons.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

They don’t have dragons at the zoo, so this is a tough one. Maybe a tiger or a lion because they’re so graceful and powerful.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Before I die, I want to write all the stories zooming around in my brain.


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Nina Barnes thinks Valentine’s Day should be optional. That way single people like her wouldn’t be subjected to kissy Cupids all over the place. That is, until her mom moves them next door to the brooding hottie of Greenbrier High, West Smith. He’s funny, looks amazing in a black leather jacket, and he’s fluent in Harry Potter, but she’s not sure he’s boyfriend material. 

West isn’t sure what to make of Nina. She’s cute and loves to read as much as he does, but she seems to need to debate everything and she has a pathological insistence on telling the truth. And West doesn’t exactly know how to handle that, since his entire life is a carefully constructed secret. Dating the girl next door could be a ton of fun, but only if Nina never finds out the truth about his home life. It’s one secret that could bring them together or rip them apart. 

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is not for anyone who has to get in the last word, but it is for all book nerds, especially those who live next door to so called unapproachable gorgeous guys. There’s no debating the chemistry. 

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0765 300 ChrisCannonpubphoto

Chris Cannon is the award-winning author of the Going Down In Flames series and the Boyfriend Chronicles. She lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and several furry beasts.

She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or romantic comedies. You can find her online at http://www.chriscannonauthor.com.

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Interview: Jaime Questell, Author of BY A CHARM AND A CURSE

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Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My family has always fostered my love of reading. I remember practically inhaling books when I was a kid, and I was never told no if I asked for more. I know that my love of reading led to my love of writing.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for about ten years. I didn’t always know it was what I wanted to do, but once I started, I couldn’t stop. Then my best friend found out that I had written a novel, and she knew I wanted to read her novel, so she withheld hers until I let her read mine. Best bribery ever. Because that led to me joining her writing group, and those people are not only the best influence on my writing, they’re also my closest friends.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

At the moment, just speculative fiction. I admire and wish I could write straight up contemporary fiction, but my brain always wants to throw in magic of some sort. But that said, I don’t want to rule it out.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

As I was writing, I kept telling myself “dark, but pretty.” I like to think everything I do has that thread of “dark, but pretty.”

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

There are so many! I’d have to say Holly Black, Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater, and Victoria Schwab. With all of them, I think they do descriptive prose paired with layers of tension layered in fantastic settings. It’s something I strive for in my own writing.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful thing to me was learning to keep what I call a graveyard document (I am by no means saying I invented this, just that this is what I call it). If I have some prose or dialogue that I know needs to go but I just love it to pieces, it goes into the graveyard. And maybe I pull it out and use it later. Maybe I use it in another project. Maybe it never sees the light of day again. But I feel less anxious knowing I can retrieve it when I need it.

And I’d say the least useful thing was this idea that (imagine me yelling like a drill sergeant) WRITING MUST BE DONE A CERTAIN WAY. Because that’s a lie. Writing needs to be done in the way that is most productive for that particular writer. Some people do best writing every day. Some people can write thousands of words and then not touch their project for days. Get the words on the paper. That’s what matters.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I have a full-time job with a two-hour round-trip commute, so writing time is precious. Usually, I try to write after my kids are in bed and during my lunch hour, if I can. When I have deadlines, I’ll walk over to the coffee shop next door to my apartment and camp out there while I write for a couple hours.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I love YA in pretty much all of its forms, but in particular, I love contemporary fantasy. Something grounded in the real world with enough magic to shake things up. My next project is a noir thriller, and I’m devouring everything I can find in the genre. And I even though it’s not my forte, I try to read at least a handful of non-fiction books every year.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m currently working on another YA contemporary fantasy set in a small Texas town I made up. There’s curanderas and a banshee, magic, and a town with more secrets than Riverdale.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I really want to write some horror. I don’t know if that’s YA or adult horror, but something scary, something that’ll make you keep all the lights on at night. And, to do a total 180, I kind of want to write something so achingly fluffy it’ll make your teeth rot just looking at it. 😀

What book do you wish you could have written?

I really, really, really wish I’d written Holly Black’s Curse Workers series. The world building is absolutely fantastic, and I love how ruthless her characters are. Nothing is black or white, and they way she layers tension and complications is amazing.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

Okay, so pretend everyone is the right age and give people mental dye jobs.

Emma: Kara Hayward

Ben: Taron Egerton

Leslie & Lars: Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman (because they were the inspiration for both of those characters)

Marcel: Trevor Jackson

Duncan and Pia, fortune telling twins: Cameron Boyce and Skai Jackson

Gin and Whiskey, equestrian sisters: Dakota and Elle Fanning

Sydney: Darren Criss

Audrey: Robin Wright

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Is “GET OFF MY LAWN” appropriate? Because I think that would be hilarious. But if not that, I’ll take “Mother, Partner, Artist, Wordsmith, Excellent Karaoke-er”

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

I am determined to get to France. I want to eat so much cheese that I won’t be able to look at the stuff for at least six months when I get back. And Greece. I want to be somewhere overlooking the water. Living near the Gulf of Mexico, I’m a complete sucker for a place with water that’s blue and not greenish-brown.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

An otter! I’d have a pool, and would float around on my back all day, playing around. Otters have it made.


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By A Charm and a Curse _ 500

About By a Charm and a Curse:

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for. 

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss. 

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Jaime Questell High-res

About Jaime Questell:

JAIME QUESTELL grew up in Houston, Texas, where she escaped the heat and humidity by diving into stacks of Baby Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High books. She has been a book seller (fair warning: book lovers who become book sellers will give half their paychecks right back to their employers), a professional knitter, a semi-professional baker, and now works as a graphic designer in addition to writing.


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Special Feature: Top Ten by Tawny Stokes, author of LIONS AND TIGERS AND BOYS

My Top 10 Female Characters in Pop Culture of Last Year

By Tawny Stokes

A big part of writing Lions and Tigers and Boys involved creating the character of Dani Gale, who I hope readers will love as much as I do. With that thought in mind, I thought I’d share with The Librarian Talks’ readers my top 10 female characters in pop culture from last year while I was writing and editing my latest YA paranormal romance. Now, in no particular order, check out my top choices:

June/Offred – The Handmaid’s Tale (actually the entire female cast)

The Handmaid’s Tale is by far my most favorite TV show right now.  And that has everything to do with the strong female characters portrayed.  The lead June/Offred played by the remarkable Elizabeth Moss is the toughest woman on TV.  She suffers constantly, but remains hopeful, remains fierce in order to fight for her daughter and for herself.  Every female character is outstanding on that show, including Moira, June’s BFF, poor tortured Offglen, the ferocious Aunt Lydia, and the misguided Serena Joy.

Diana Prince – Wonder Woman

I can’t remember the last time a movie made me so ridiculously happy. The moment Diana Prince walked onto the screen, I was hooked.  I loved that she was fierce and strong, and skilled in combat, but also feminine, and funny and charming and so delicately innocent.  

Elisa – The Shape of Water

If you haven’t seen this movie, I urge to go see it immediately.  It’s one of those movies that totally take you by surprise.  The big part of the film’s charm comes from the lead character Elisa.  She’s mute, lives in an old rundown building, takes care of her older neighbor, and works as a cleaning woman in this secret government installation.  Without a word spoken, this woman is fierce and doesn’t let anyone bully her.  She’s kind and loving, and takes the biggest risk of her life for love.

Zelda – The Shape of Water

Elisa’s friend and co-worker Zelda is a strong, no-nonsense kind of woman.  She’s Elisa’s protector and holds one of the biggest hearts in the movie.  I loved that she was so loyal to her friend, and believed in her and what she wanted to do.  Every second of her on the screen was perfection.

Joyce – Stranger Things

Stranger Things is one of my most fave TV shows ever.  Now, I love me some Eleven. She’s parts adorable and fierce.  But it’s Joyce that is the heart and soul of the show.  For someone so little, she packs the strongest punch.  She shows that a mother’s love is the boldest, strongest type of love ever to exist.  It is unshakable and unconditional.  Joyce is that unmovable rock who will always be there to support you no matter what.

Lorraine – Atomic Blonde

This was definitely in my top movies of 2017.  The movie is an action packed spy thriller set in the months right before the Berlin wall came down.  The main protagonist Lorraine is the coolest, sexiest bad-ass to have ever worked for British intelligence.  She makes James Bond look like a Girl Scout.  I loved everything about her character.  Her kick-ass skills, her wardrobe, the way she spoke, and the vulnerability she tries to hide.

Queen Elizabeth – The Crown

Not sure why, but I love shows and movies about royalty especially historical ones, but when I first started The Crown, I wasn’t quite sure I was going to like it.  The Queen is still alive, you can see her on TV, and read about her.  But within minutes of Claire Foy’s portrayal of Elizabeth I knew I’d be hooked.  And I can’t get enough of Queen Elizabeth.  To see all that she went through to be regent, all that she had to give up and deal with. She was and is a pretty interesting woman.

Madeline, Celeste, Jane and Renata – Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies is one of those shows that is packed with incredible talent playing very strong and interesting personalities.  Every one of these women characters stood out.  Each with their strength and their flaws and vulnerabilities.

Annie – Bellevue

Now Bellevue is one of those hardly seen Canadian TV shows, that I believe is getting a US debut soon.  This show is exactly the type of dark crime drama that I adore.  And at its center is the main protagonist Annie. She is a very flawed woman, who drinks too much, makes bad decisions, but at her core she is a loving mother who is just trying to do the best she can while doing what she does best, and that’s solve crime.  Anna Paquin delivers the performance with a ferocious vulnerability, that I think only she can portray.

Starr Carter – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:

I didn’t read a lot of current books this past year, but this one I did read and I’m sure glad I did.  It is equally a heartbreaking and engagingly well written novel with a likable protagonist in Starr. She is strong, and brave as she navigated the two worlds she is a part of. This is a book I wish every young adult and adult of all color and creed would read.  It’s an important book and a fabulous read.

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About Lions and Tigers and Boys:

The last thing a girl as awkward as Dani Gale should be doing is trying to learn the high wire. Yet that’s exactly where Dani ends up—at OZ, the Oswald Zinzendorf School of Circus Arts. Trying to overcome her shyness is near impossible when her new partner—the hottest guy she’s ever laid eyes on, and whose touch seems to give her poise she thought impossible—also seems to be sabotaging her progress. 

The last thing Cai Coppersmith needs is a distraction, especially in the form of the new, cute shy girl. He needs to focus on trying not to shape-shift into a tiger on school grounds, and completing his mission to keep Dani from winning the school’s high-wire competition. In fact, the entire safety of OZ is relying on Dani not succeeding. But there’s something about the girl that draws him in. She has magic, he can feel it. So he’ll do what he can to protect her, even if it means pushing her away. 

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Tawny Stokes

About Tawny Stokes:

Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens.

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Interview: Sara Baysinger, author of THE VANISHING SPARK OF DUSK

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Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I only read adult fiction in high school, so when I sat down to write The Vanishing Spark of Dusk, I wanted to write *that* book that I always wanted to read. When I started shopping this story around, the main feedback I got was that it should be geared toward the young adult market. I had no idea what they meant by that, so I started picking up YA books to see, and, MAN, I didn’t know what I was missing! I read YA book after YA book, and realized they were right. I was writing what I wanted to read, and what I wanted to read was YA fantasy/scifi/dystopia, etc. I didn’t even know half those books were out there. So I guess you could say I didn’t pick the field/genre, it sort of picked me. 🙂

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

My parents are booknerds, and so me and my sisters didn’t really stand a chance. 😉 When I discovered Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine, all the books by Bruce Coville, and of course the Harry Potter books, that’s when I first realized that I wanted to tell wild stories as well.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been *seriously* writing for about ten years. I’d written poetry and journaled long before that, but that’s when I decided I wanted to make a career out of writing.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

The hardest part was creating the politics and culture, and being consistent with them throughout the story.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved, LOVED creating a new exotic world with fantasy creatures and scifi technology.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in your book?  If so, discuss them.

I have a few queer characters in The Vanishing Spark of Dusk. I’ve honestly found it hard to find many books out there that represent the queer community without the fact that they’re queer being the main plot. I feel like the more the lgbtqiap (etc) people group are represented in books, the quicker their lifestyles will be accepted and normalized in society.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Tahereh Mafi influenced my writing. When I read her Shatter Me series—THAT’S when it clicked about how to show and not tell a character’s feelings/emotions/actions. Sarah J Maas inspired me to include more queer characters in my book without making a big deal about their lifestyles, but rather showing that they’re just like anybody else.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

Most useful: Reading. I’ve found that the more I read, the better my writing.

Least useful (And I’m going to get into trouble for this): Rules. I mean, rules are great and necessary, but MAN. They held me back as a writer for SO. LONG. Grammar rules, plot rules, character rules, POV rules, I couldn’t nail any of them down, and was hugely discouraged by them. Then I finally decided to write just for ME and not let the rules hold me back, and this book happened. My advice to new writers is always to just to WRITE the darn thing, and worry about rules later.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

Part time, since I’m a full time stay-at-home-mom. 🙂 It affects me in that parenting really limits my time. I remember before kids, when I had a *normal* job, I could come home and spend the entire afternoon writing with no interruptions. It was bliss. Now with kids, my time is really limited and constantly interrupted by my toddlers. The only way I can get any writing done is to set a chunk of time aside after the kids go to bed, and dedicate it to writing.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

I taught English in China for  a year, and traveling around China during that time has provided excellent world-building material. I also worked in a baby-wipe-making factory. That hasn’t impacted my writing, I just like telling people I worked there because it’s such a weird job. 😀

What do you like to read in your free time?

I love to read what I write, which is YA fantasy/scifi/dystopia—basically anything futuristic and/or with magic. 😉

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

I read a lot of Christian/historical fiction when I was  teen, so my main inspirations were Francine Rivers with her Mark of the Lion series, Angela Hunt with her Dreamers series, and Lynn Austin with her Fire by Night series. These books moved and changed me as a teen, and made me want to write life-changing stories for others.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

The main characters’ names are always important, and especially my main heroines’ names—which often set the theme of my books. I choose my characters names both on the way they sound and their meanings. 🙂

What literary character is most like you?

Can I choose my own?  If so, I choose Lark from The Vanishing Spark of Dusk. I basically fashioned her off of my former self. She’s shy, quiet, and has trouble speaking out or defending herself. A few readers had trouble with her because they want the badass heroine, (And don’t get me wrong—Lark grows into that), but I feel like YA fiction needs more of those quiet and reserved heroines who become strong. We’re not *all* naturally brave, extroverted, take-no-shit-from-anyone type of people, after all.  😉

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Rome. I would love to visit the ruins that are still standing from the ancient roman empire.

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About The Vanishing Spark of Dusk:

Stand up.

When Lark is stolen from Earth to be a slave on the planet Tavdora, she’s determined to find her way back home to her family, no matter the cost. Placed in the household of a notorious slave trader, Lark quickly learns her best assets are her eyes and ears. And if she’s brave enough, her voice.

Be heard.

Kalen is the Tavdorian son of a slave trader and in line to inherit his father’s business. But his growing feelings for Lark, the new house slave who dares to speak of freedom, compel him to reveal his new plan for the slave ships returning to Earth—escape. Together, they just might spark a change that flares across the universe.

Fight back.

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Sara was born in the heart of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador where she spent her early life exploring uncharted lands and raising chickens. She now makes her home among the endless cornfields of Indiana with her husband and two children…and she still raises chickens. Her dystopian novel BLACK TIGER was self-published in 2016. When not getting lost in a book, Sara can be found gardening, devouring chocolate, and running off the sugar-high from said chocolate. You can visit her online at www.sarabaysinger.com.

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Interview: Amber Hart, author of WICKED CHARM

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Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

Many frequent trips to the library as a kid, where I would tuck myself into a corner nook and disappear between the pages. I read for hours on end. It was my second home.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

Storytelling has been passed down through generations, and I think there’s something magical about that, the ability for a story to stand the test of time. It’s how we know about different time periods and myths and mysteries. It’s how we uphold cultures and traditions. I hope it never ends.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The storyline for Wicked Charm was completely stripped and started anew. The characters stayed the same. The setting, too. A few murders. Many secrets. But beyond that, I had to start over, which was definitely the hardest…and most rewarding…aspect.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love, love, love that the swampy setting is nearly a character of its own. A living, breathing thing. The southern accents, cadence, and shadowy woods. The romance, mystery, and intrigue in such an eerie setting makes for an interesting read.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?  If so, discuss them.

All of my novels feature diversity. The hero and his twin are Filipino. The heroine’s best friend is creole and African American. I think it’s incredibly important to feature minorities in novels. Everyone deserves to see themselves in books.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful thing I learned is how not to hold too tightly to first drafts. They are raw and messy and unrealistic. There’s always room for growth. Many times, the outcome is merely the bones of an original story.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

Yes! I was a waitress throughout college and in my first book, the hero worked in a restaurant. I also used to pet sit, which helped my love of animals transfer to the page in my second series. I think real life influences and experiences often times make their way into an author’s stories.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read broadly. Picture books through adult novels. I tend to lean towards young adult because I love the freshness of firsts—first romance, first friendships, first hardships—and adult because I love the complexity of characters and families. Also, I will never say no to a great fantasy book. Or a book with a brooding hero.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m currently in the middle of writing a novel set in a small town where nothing is as it seems and secrets are the most guarded possessions. There’s a troublemaker, a rule follower, and a past that could ruin them both.

What do your plans for future projects include?

An adult suspense set in the mountains where running from the past only lasts for so long and romance sizzles.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Ha! Actually, I do get many ideas in the shower. It’s the one place I can escape to in my house where no one can follow, and I can’t get distracted with a million things going on around me, and the sound of rushing water drowns out everything but my thoughts.

What book do you wish you could have written?

The Harry Potter series. Hands down. But, let’s be honest, I’d never due it justice. I don’t have the talent to invent entire magical worlds. I’m glad someone did.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Invisibility. The things I could do and see. Plus I could open a book and begin reading, and no one could bother me or find me for hours.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Ireland. I grew up on my great grandma’s stories of the countryside, cobbled paths, and adventure. Plus, there’s something magical about the place, like maybe the enchanted myths aren’t so far-fetched.    

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

Oh! What a neat question. I adore British and Scottish accents. I’m incredibly terrible at mimicking them, and embarrass myself horribly each time I try, but it’s so fun!

Thanks for the great interview, and I hope readers enjoy Wicked Charm!

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Nothing good comes from living in the Devil’s swamp.

Willow Bell thinks moving to the Okefenokee area isn’t half bad, but nothing prepares her for what awaits in the shadows of the bog.

Girls are showing up dead in the swamp. And she could be next.

Everyone warns Willow to stay away from Beau Cadwell—the bad boy at the top of their suspect list as the serial killer tormenting the small town. 

But beneath his wicked, depthless eyes, there’s something else that draws Willow to him. 

When yet another girl he knew dies, though, Willow questions whether she can trust her instincts…or if they’re leading to her own death.


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Amber Hart

Amber Hart resides on the Florida coastline with family and a plethora of animals she affectionately refers to as her urban farm. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of several novels for teens and adults, including Wicked Charm, the Before and After series for teens, and the Untamed series for adults.


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