Interview: Molly E. Lee, author of LOVE BETWEEN ENEMIES

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

I write young adult and adult books because that is what I love to read. Especially romance. I’m a sucker for a great romantic plot, so when I started writing, I knew I’d have romance in every story.

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

I fell in love with reading before I could actually read. I was lucky that my mother read to me all the time and developed a deep love for stories. By the time I was in second grade, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. An author. My teacher had given us a new assignment—write and illustrate our own stories into little hardback books. Now, I couldn’t draw, but I did fall totally in love with the process of creating a story (mine was about aliens), and after that, I was hooked. I’ve never wanted to be anything else, and I’m beyond grateful I get to live my dream.

How long have you been writing?

Since I learned how to scribble on a page.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Romance with strong female leads, and the men who aren’t afraid to follow them. I love having characters who challenge each other, who make each other better, stronger, sharper. That is something that is recurrent in all my books—the exploration of character development between two people, who couldn’t help but fall in love, and how that experience strengthens them.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

It was hard to write both parental dynamics within the same book. Gordon’s dad is extremely supportive of his dreams whereas Zoey’s parents have already made up their minds of what they want her to do. So nailing the completely opposite voices for each was difficult.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved writing these two voices—these rivals who have been at each other for years. It was fun watching them slowly realize they were a match in every way. It was also fun to return to the grad night party and experience it from a different point of view.

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

This is SUCH a hard question! I’m a fan of so many wonderful authors, but my absolute favorites would include: J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Kimberly Derting, and Molly McAdams. Each of these authors has taught me something through their work, and each of them have the ability to create such amazing characters the reader can’t help but blow through the books in one sitting. Every time I pick up one of their books I’m inspired to be better, to improve my craft, and to adapt a unique style all my own.

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

I’m a full-time writer and a full-time mom. I’m the luckiest woman on the planet. I may also be the most exhausted, but it is all absolutely worth it!

What do you like to read in your free time?

I love to read fantasy and paranormal romance! I read across all genres, but these two are my favorites.

What projects are you working on at the present?

Right now, I am focusing on finishing the final book in the Grad Night series, which I am super excited about because it is Lennon and Jade’s story. I’ve been dying to dig into their characters since book one!

What do your plans for future projects include?

I have a new secret young adult contemporary project I’m working on, but can’t say anything specific yet! Once I can I’ll be excited to tell everyone about it! Also, someday far in the future, I’d love to write a paranormal romance just because I love reading them so much!

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

I never say never. The books I choose to write really choose me. They’re characters with voices all their own and a story to tell. I’m not sure if there is anything that would hit me where I would say “no, I can’t do that.” The more a subject scares you, moves you, or saddens you…the more likely the story will be just as intense for the reader.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Oh, this is a tough one! I suppose I’d have telepathy? I have a knack for reading body language (I used to play poker…a lot. It paid for my books in college), and so that could be translated as a superpower. Though, that wouldn’t be as cool as flying or having super strength. LOL!

If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

It would probably be something super simple like, The Reader, and then I’d have a wicked cool, super comfy costume made from fabric with all my favorite books written on it.

Thank you so much for having me!!!

 Aboutthebook (1)

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About Love Between Enemies:

Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback.

Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends.

Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party.

Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks.

Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again.

So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two rivals who discover maybe they could be something much more…if only they’d stop fighting long enough to notice it.

Buy link: https://entangledpublishing.com/love-between-enemies.html

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About Molly E. Lee:

Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her debut novel EDGE OF CHAOS, and as a mentor at Pitch Wars – a program which connects promising writers to established authors in the community. Molly writes New Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.

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Author Website: mollyelee.com

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/MollyELee

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

Author Street Team/Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/434107490133398/

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mollyelizabethlee/

Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mollyelee/

Author Snapchat:  mollyeleeauthor

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14975678.Molly_E_Lee

Newsletter Link: http://bit.ly/2pKqfMa

Guest Post: Molly E. Lee, author of LOVE BETWEEN ENEMIES

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Writing for the Young Adult Audience

Thanks so much for having me to talk about audience!

This is always a fun topic to discuss because I’m lucky enough to write in both genres of Young Adult and Adult.

It’s always crucial to have your audience in mind when sitting down to write a new novel, but young adult is extremely important. Yes, the market trends for all genres are always changing, but the young adult audience in particular is on a constant evolution. The young readers who pick the books off the shelves are sharp, selective, and expect quality and authenticity from the author.

There is a balance the author has to possess when writing young adult novels. Teenagers are constantly revolutionizing the way they speak and interact with their peers as well as their preferred forms of entertainment. It’s the author’s responsibility to stay plugged in to these changes and be sure to incorporate them into the pages. The books teens loved even two years ago won’t be the same as the ones they’re craving today. But, on the same note, the current trends can’t be overdone, either. Young readers can spot falsehoods or ‘talking down’ to them in an instant. And they aren’t afraid to call you out on it either. That is the beauty of the young adult audience—they won’t give an inch and they shouldn’t have to. That’s why it’s such an honor and great responsibility to write for them.

It’s up to us to simply give them the best story possible; one they can get lost in without being kicked out of the story because they realize an adult is entering a world that the young reader owns. We must become invisible. We have to take the privilege of creating worlds they want to fall into and shape it with their gaze in mind. We can’t have scenes where characters react like adults would—they have to react the way the young reader would. And yes, that is true in all writing, but I find that teen readers are rapidly changing their tastes in a way that demands we as young adult authors keep up. I love the challenge the fast-pace market presents, and I appreciate the work that goes into creating the most authentic world possible. Research and balance is paramount in young adult writing, and I love being a part of it. Plus, there is something magical about writing for readers who are still shaping who they want to be as adults. Books helped make me who I am today, so it is amazing to be even a tiny part of that experience.

Thank you for having me at The Librarian Talks! It was so much fun chatting with you!

 

Aboutthebook (1)

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About Love Between Enemies:

Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback.

Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends.

Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party.

Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks.

Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again.

So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two rivals who discover maybe they could be something much more…if only they’d stop fighting long enough to notice it.

Buy link: https://entangledpublishing.com/love-between-enemies.html

 

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About Molly E. Lee:

Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her debut novel EDGE OF CHAOS, and as a mentor at Pitch Wars – a program which connects promising writers to established authors in the community. Molly writes New Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.

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Author Website: mollyelee.com

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/MollyELee

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

Author Street Team/Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/434107490133398/

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mollyelizabethlee/

Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mollyelee/

Author Snapchat:  mollyeleeauthor

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14975678.Molly_E_Lee

Newsletter Link: http://bit.ly/2pKqfMa

Interview: Danielle Ellison, author of the new YA Romance, THE SWEETHEART SHAM

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What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Fiction is my heartbeat, especially YA.

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

I love teenagers. I’m all about them. I think they are full of this spark, sometimes it’s bright and happy, other times it’s dangerous. They’re blunt and real and they have a respect for that. It’s such an important time, full of high highs and the lowest lows. This is not to say they are always the best at decision making or right, but I really respect them. I love writing for them—sharing stories about teens for teens. I think it’s important to show them that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to, and I hope that comes across in my writing.

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

I wish I knew. I’ve always been into stories and my own head, even as a kid. No one in my family really enjoys reading, so it’s something none of us are sure of. I watched a LOT of TV as a kid (still do) and I’ve always had a flair for escapism. Maybe it’s that. All I know is I’m grateful for it.

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

Our culture is entirely made up of stories. I mean, not to get nerdy, but our entire history as humans on earth is stories that people passed down until they became facts; history, faith, culture—the definition of how we came to be, why we exist, all of it—is based in storytelling. I think we live for stories in any form, be that gossip, television, movies, video games, twitter. We like to imagine that life is something more than it is, that someone out there is going through or has gone through a similar experience to us.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

It’s my characters. Some authors are beautiful wordsmiths (like Jennifer Donnelly, Jason Reynolds, Laini Taylor) and others are brilliant minds with incredible worlds they’ve built (like Victoria Schwab, Holly Black.) I used to think I had to be one of Those Kinds of writers in order to be a real writer. But then I’ve learned and grown over the years, and my biggest lesson has been to take what you do best and make it your selling point. For me, that’s characters. I strive to write real people, as real as you and me, who are relatable and have distinct voices. That’s what I loved about my favourite shows, movies and books, and there’s real value in that – so that’s what I try to do.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

It was really important to me show the friendship between these characters and I felt (in the beginning) it was truly Will and Georgie’s story, and I had to figure out how Beau and Georgie’s romance could fit in and be the story, without taking away Will’s voice. It tripped me up a lot. As an LGBTQ+ ally, as someone who works with teens, who was writing a book with a gay character, I really wanted to do his story justice. I wanted to represent him, but at the same time, his wasn’t the central love story. I think I really accomplished what I wanted to in this book. It’s truly a story about love, both romantic and that between best friends.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

From the beginning, I loved Georgie. She had such a fantastic voice and she was really very fun. I love getting into her head and viewing her world. I also love Culler itself, which I wanted to feel like a southern Stars Hollow (Gilmore Girls) and I think it turned out very colourful. I wanted a town that you wanted to come back to over and over, and I personally love spending time there.

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

I’ve had so many jobs, y’all. I’ve worked at Wendy’s (my first job), movie theaters, churches, as a nanny, teaching theater to children, offices, bookstores, libraries, taught online undergraduate courses. I’ve done more than most people. I think the best way to show that they have impacted my writing is just by the exposure to experiences and people.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read YA. Current reads (well as soon as I get to) are The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson and then Children of Blood and Bone by TomiAdeyemi.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on the next book in the Southern Charmed series.

What do your plans for future projects include?

More Southern Charmed books – and a secret we’ve-been-plotting-for-years project with my best friend, who is also a writer.

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?

The names come with the characters, especially for my MCs, so I have no say really in what they tell me their names are. If they are minor characters, I’ll just brainstorm ideas until something feels right and then I’ll try to make sure it’s not something I’ve used in a recent book.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation! It’d save so much on travel expenses and really help me keep my wanderlust at bay.

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

I’ve always thought I was a panda: cute, cuddly, but fierce and powerful. It’s pretty apt.

But I’ve got a friend who tells me I’m a cat. At first, I was resistant to this analogy but as time goes on I realize I am a cat. I like what I want when I want it, I do what I want, I love attention (but only sometimes), I could take or leave people depending on my mood, I’m a little needy, super affectionate and I have fallen asleep to having my hair petted.

What literary character is most like you?

Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice.

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About The Sweetheart Sham:

In a small town like Culler, South Carolina, you guard your secrets like you guard your cobbler recipe: with your life. Georgia Ann Monroe knows a thing or two about secrets: she’s been guarding the truth that her best friend Will is gay for years now. But what happens when a little white lie to protect him gets her into a fake relationship…and then the boy of her dreams shows up?

Enter Beau Montgomery: Georgie’s first love, hotter than ever, and much too much of a southern gentleman to ever pursue someone else’s girl. There’s no way to come clean to Beau while still protecting Will. But bless their hearts, they live in Culler—where secrets always have a way of revealing themselves.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a hilarious “fakeship,” a scorching-hot impossible relationship, and a heartwarming best-friendship that will make you want to call your best friend right here, right now. 

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About Danielle Ellison:

Danielle Ellison is a nomad, always on the lookout for an adventure and the next story. In addition to writing, she’s the founder and coordinator of the NoVa TEEN Book Festival. When she’s not busy with books, she’s probably watching her favorite shows, drinking coffee, or fighting her nomadic urges. She is newly settled in Oklahoma (for now) with her cat, Simon, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

Connect with Danielle online:

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

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danielle.ellison.3150

Author Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/daniellewrites

Newsletter: http://danielleellison.us10.list- manage1.com/subscribe?u=c31fbc28f04eb33f325285e75&id=9f3ac39dc4

Guest Post: Erica Cameron, author of the new YA release, SEA OF STRANGERS

How to Get the Most Out of Your Next Conference or Convention

Since I started writing in 2007, I have queried agents, gone on submission to editors, and attended dozens of conferences. Each experience has its own set of rules and expectations, and conference and conventions can be the hardest of them all to navigate if only because there’s far less information available online for them. Today, I have four points to help you make the most out of your next conference or convention.

 

Be aware.

 

There are hundreds of writing-related events all across the country. Some have particular focuses—SCBWI, for example, is a wonderful organization for those writing for children and teens—and others are going to be broader in scope and scale. Research organizations that match the genre you write in and see if they host any annual conferences. Pick the one that will help you learn and grow in your genre as much as possible. Those will also be the events that put you in contact with the people you need to meet.

 

Be prepared.

 

Once you’ve picked which conference you’re attending, start doing research on the attendees. Who’s speaking? Are any agents or editors taking pitches? What does each agent or editor specialize in? What were their recent sales or acquisitions? It doesn’t usually do much good to try selling a dark sci-fi series to someone who specializes in light-hearted women’s fiction. For agents, check out their submission guidelines and create a printout you can bring with you. If you’re meeting with editors and can’t find any submission guidelines, having one chapter and a one-page summary of your book is usually a good place to start. However, it’s expensive to travel. Agents and editors usually have to cram everything they need for the conference or convention into a small bag. It’s hard for them to carry stacks of printed pages and materials home with them again. A business card, though? That’s absolutely doable. Even if you’re coming as an aspiring author, it’s not a bad idea to have business cards. They should include your name, email address, the genre you write in, and any applicable website or social media information.

 

Be respectful.

 

Agents and editors come to conferences to find new talent. That is specifically why they’re there, so it’s okay to approach them with questions or to start a conversation. The thing to remember is respect. It’s business, yes, but they’re also people with lives outside of publishing. Don’t expect hours of attention. Try not to interrupt if they’re in conversation with someone else, though joining a conversation with a group is often fine if you have something to contribute. Whatever you do, don’t try to pitch a book in the bathroom. It sounds obvious, but it happens far more often than it should. I know this because industry professionals talk. They tell stories at events about all of the ridiculous, rude, and outlandish interactions they have had with authors in the past. Good stories won’t be passed around like office gossip, but a bad interaction absolutely will.

 

Be open.

 

Opportunity slips up beside you unexpectedly sometimes, but the only way to take advantage of the moment is to take every chance offered. In 2015, a group of young adult authors organized a lunch during RT, and I ended up sitting next to a debut author named Kate Brauning. What I didn’t realize at the time was that she was also an editor with Entangled Teen. That casual conversation sparked a second, more in-depth discussion, and eventually turned into a three-book deal for my young adult fantasy series, The Ryogan Chronicles. At the same convention, a panel appearance I did attracted interest from another publisher, and after another conversation and a proposal, I sold the Assassins duology to Riptide’s YA imprint Triton Books. The point is that you may go to an event intending to pitch to one person, but you never know who you might end up talking to. Be open to talking to those around you and ready to discuss what you’re writing, and you never know what a single conversation could bring.

 

Aboutthebook

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About Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles, #2):

Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.
Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

 

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About Erica Cameron:

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

 

Author Links:

Author Website: ByEricaCameron.com

Author Blog: ByEricaCameron.com/wp/blog/

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

Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ByEricaCameron

Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ericacameron

Newsletter: http://byericacameron.com/wp/newsletter/

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/byericacameron/

Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/byericacameron/

Author Tumblr: http://byericacameron.tumblr.com/

 

Interview: Amanda Ashby, Author of new YA Release – THE HEARTBREAK CURE

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

From my parents. Both of them were great readers and so I grew up around books. When I was ten my dad handed me The Hobbit and basically said, “if you don’t like this book, then we’re going to have a problem.” He also would take me to the bookshop every Saturday and buy me the new Trixie Belden as soon as it came out. While my mom would tell me about how when she was a child she’d get in trouble for reading books under the sheets using a flashlight – which of course just adds that bit of danger every child reader needs to be totally hooked!!!!

They also never censored what I read so it never became a chore or something that I didn’t want to do.

How long have you been writing?

I published my first book, You Had Me at Halo ten years ago and I started writing seriously about seven years before that. Which is crazy because every time I start a new book it still feels like I’m just getting started – such is the joy (and terror) or writing!!!

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write YA, middle grade and romance books, which sounds like I’m split in a few different directions, but actually I write them all pretty much the same way (though some books have less kissing in them!)

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

I LOVE this question!!!! My spiritual practice is hugely important to me and when I’m not reading YA books I’m reading self-development and spiritual books because that’s what I’m drawn to. I meditate and practice mindfulness (and even try very hard not to kill bugs – though that’s a tough one because bugs are ick!!!)

However, I’d never want to write a book where I’m preaching or trying to teach people a lesson, because that sounds the polar opposite of fun, not to mention hard work! However, my core belief is in the transforming power of love. So, my writing is all about characters who are being pushed out of their comfort zone and forced into transformation as they fall in love and become open-hearted.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I love being ridiculous and I’m a sucker for a good one liner so my writing is always light-hearted with some silly side character shenanigans!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

This was one of the easier books I’ve ever written and my favorite part was chapter one. I hadn’t even been thinking about a YA romance and then the chapter almost fell onto the page (which is such an annoying thing to say, I know!) I just really liked Cat’s character and the fact she was sitting under a tree wearing her pyjamas, and that image really drove the whole story.

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

Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Ursula Le Guin and Raymone E Feist are some of my all time favorite authors – and I re-read their books all the time. They all create such amazing worlds that make it hard for me to leave. And while my own books don’t really reflect these books in setting, tone or world building (hahaha – or anything) they have all inspired me to step into being a storyteller and to keep learning the craft!

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

When I first started writing I did a short course that was very dry. It gave me lots of character interview sheets and lots of rules of what I should and shouldn’t do and it almost turned me off. In the end the most useful thing I did was to just start writing. And the more I wrote the more I figured it out – and I still did lots of courses and reading along the way, but it was by starting the book that I actually began to work out my own system (which never includes character interviews – so if you ask me what Cat or Alex’s favorite color, I couldn’t tell you!)

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

I’m a part-time writer and this works best for me. I have been a full time writer before and discovered that if I have too much time on my hands I just figure out strange and interesting ways to use that time up (and not by writing). It sometimes involves the internet, sometimes it will be meeting up with other authors and talking about writing instead of actually doing it, and in one very low moment I even resorted to cleaning the oven! These days I schedule in my writing into shorter spaces and while my oven is no longer shiny, the words do flow better. For the rest of my time I help other authors manage their journey on the creative path and also work in a library.

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

I’m a part time children’s librarian, which, if you’re going to have a day job is a pretty great one to have! And honestly most of the time it doesn’t feel like work at all. I get to hang out with kids and send them home with huge reading piles, while also having great conversations with their parents (because I LOVE parents who make it a priority to bring their kids to the library). It really is such a joy to be part of someone else’s reading journey!

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read lots of YA, Fantasy and self-development books. I’m currently reading Into the Wilderness by Brene Brown and Warcross by Marie Lu

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m writing a middle grade series called Midnight Reynolds, under the name Catherine Holt and I’m just about to start book three. Plus I’ve got some women’s fiction small town romance books coming out next year, which I’m about to dive into!

What do your plans for future projects include?

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a YA single title and so that is something I’m planning to do.

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

There is actually something magical about water and I do a lot of my thinking in the shower and when I’m out walking! But as for daily habits, I must confess that I don’t have a writing desk. Instead I take my laptop and follow the sun around the house! In winter I’ve been known to write in bed. Right now I’m at the breakfast bar because that’s closest to the coffee!!!! Every now and then I attempt to train myself into staying at a desk but so far it hasn’t stuck!

What book do you wish you could have written?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Um, wow! I love that book so much!

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?

Naming characters is so much fun! There are lots of baby name sites that will break it down by popular names for each year, not to mention meanings. Some of the less obvious places are movie credits. For some reason the people who work behind the scenes in movies have The Best Names Ever!!!! I’m constantly finding cool ideas in the credits. Also, thanks to being in the library I get to meet young kids all the time who are rocking amazing names. I enrolled a young girl the other day whose name was Stevi and you can bet that I’ll be using that one sometime soon!!!

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Can I steal from Buffy? Her tombstone in season 6 read: She saved the world. A lot.

What literary character is most like you?

I’m a huge Jane Austen fan and I’d like to say I was Elizabeth Bennet but I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m more of a Bridget Jones!!!

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

Italy! When I was backpacking through Europe we went through Italy on the way to Greece and on the way back and for some INSANE reason, we never stopped there. That’s something that needs to be fixed. And I really want to visit New York City! I

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

A red panda. Those guys are soooo cute.

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

Too funny! I’m from Australia but have lived in New Zealand for a long time, plus in my husband’s home town of Liverpool, England (the land of the Beatles). So I have a very weird accent. I would trade it in for a nice English accent any day of the week!

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About The Heartbreak Cure:

How to get over a heartbreak:

Step one: Eat your body weight in brownies.

Step two: Throw yourself into your dreams of becoming a famous writer. 

Step three: Beg your (hottie) ex-neighbor to act as your fake boyfriend. 

Step four: Skip step three unless you’re ready for some serious fallout.

After being dumped and humiliated over the summer, Cat Turner does what any sane girl would do. She asks bad boy Alex Locke to be her fake boyfriend and show the world (and her editor at the school newspaper) that she’s fine. Problem is, the more time she spends with Alex, the more she risks getting her heart broken. For real this time. 

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a swoony bad boy who will melt your heart, brownies, and witty banter. One, two, or all three might prove addictive…

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About Amanda Ashby:

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture. She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Libraryʼs Stuff for the Teen Age.  Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

Author Links:

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.ashby.501

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authoramandaashby/

Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandaashby501/

Guest Post: Heidi R. Kling, author of the new YA Release, WHERE I FOUND YOU

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Writing About Underrepresented Groups in YA Fiction

WHERE I FOUND YOU takes place after the historic tsunami of 2004. The tsunami, a series of powerful waves that killed thousands of people, happened on December 26, “Boxing Day”. The fact that such an astounding tragedy occurred around Christmas greatly affected me and my husband, and he got a group together and flew to Indonesia, on his own dime, to help the many orphans with their PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

He came back a changed man.

Back then, disasters weren’t as plentiful, and we certainly weren’t suffering from any form of “disaster fatigue” In fact, most of us had no idea what it would be like to survive a nature disaster. I wanted to write a book that personified the tsunami. I wanted to create characters, like Titanic did so successfully—we cry because we love Jack and because Rose loves Jack, not because of a historic ship sinking— to bring a disaster to life in a way that profoundly affected the readers.

The fact that Deni is Muslim is almost an afterthought in the book, and this is what I wanted.

If the tsunami had occurred in Japan, perhaps he’d be Buddhist, or have no religion at all. If the tsunami occurred in Greece, he might be Greek Orthodox.

Religion comes up when Sienna and Deni explore the temple. Here we learn about all the major religions in the world sharing almost an identical origin story (most people in the world do not know this) and how we are all much more alike than we sometimes think.

Deni is Muslim because he was born in Indonesia.

Sienna is a child of hippies because she was born in a coastal hippie town.

What binds us together and attracts us to other people transcends religion, culture, background, race etc. and that’s what I try to convey in WHERE I FOUND YOU.

Thanks for reading!

☺ Heidi

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About Where I Found You (Sea, #1):

After her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call. 

Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami. 

The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn’t anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be…and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her. 

A woman he wants for his own.

Gulp.

But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again. 

Fortunately, this time, she has a plan.

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About Heidi R. Kling:

Heidi R. Kling writes about normal young women in not-so-normal situations – books that beg the question: what would I do in her shoes? Heidi majored in literature and creative writing in college and in grad school, where she earned her Master’s in Creative Writing from The New School in New York City. She’s honored to be included in New School Writing Program’s 2015 list of faculty and alumni. She works too much, reads a ton and is way too dedicated to serial TV (The Affair and Homeland are her faves) and dark chocolate. She lives in the California Bay Area with her lovely husband, two children and shaggy dog, Sailor Lily, right over the coastal mountains from the sea. She’s very grateful.

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Author Links:

Author Website: http://heidirkling.com

Author Blog: http://heidirkling.com/blog

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

Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HeidiRKling

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heidirklingauthor/

Guest Post by Christina Mandelski, author of the new YA release, THE FIRST KISS HYPOTHESIS

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Don’t Let Rejection Win!

Thank you so much for having me on the blog today!

I’d like to spend some time talking about rejection. It happens in love – like in my new release The First Kiss Hypothesis, and it happens in life too, especially if you’re in a creative field.

My book, about a girl who trusts that science will find her true love, and the boy who plans to prove her wrong, comes six long years after the release of my first YA novel, The Sweetest Thing. There were a few manuscripts shopped around in those interim years, which were subsequently rejected, and this led to lots of self-doubt.

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As in love, writing rejection can be devastating, paralyzing, and cause you to eat way more cake than anyone ever should.

And reader, I did.

Over the last six years, I’ve often wondered, what is it like to face rejection as say, an accountant?

Like, maybe your boss comes around and tells you your columns don’t add up? I don’t mean to make light of accountancy. As someone who can barely do math, I have huge respect for anyone who can make sense of it – but maybe there’s a comfort to knowing that if the numbers don’t add up, you can always re-work them.

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Not so in writing. If you write a manuscript that no one wants to buy, re-writing is always an option, but it’s not a guarantee. Yeah, that’s depressing. Which is why, if you are determined to see your story published, I highly recommend these three steps:

  1. Surround yourself with encouragers.
  2. Keep doing the work.
  3. Be open to new things.

I am lucky to have in my corner an amazing critique group. I’ve been with them for over a decade now, and we read, comment, edit, assist, chime in, and yeah, we eat cake too. It’s been important for me to have this support system. When our members sell a book, celebrating those sales gives me hope, reminds me not to give up. I also have a few other author friends who will willingly and honestly read my work if I need them, and I have fabulous agent, Danielle Chiotti, who never, ever lets me throw in the towel.

These last years of bubbling self-doubt bring me to bullet number 2 – keep doing the work. Write, write, write and don’t stop, don’t give up! I don’t think you have to write every single day, that’s a lot of pressure. But I do think that the more you write, the more likely you are to be published, and the more often you will be published.

Finally – if you are a writer – be open to new things! When my agent first suggested that I try writing category romance – I wasn’t sure. I’d written a contemporary YA with some romance – but all romance, swoon and heat? I didn’t know if that was for me.

After some thinking, I decided to take a chance. Long story short, I love it! I love working with Entangled – my editor and the staff are fantastic. I love the challenge of writing a fresh and fun romance, and because I was willing to give it a shot, I have a new book out – and another two in 2018!

I know it’s hard to do this job. There are days of woe, and days of pure joy. Today, I’m celebrating a new book, tomorrow I may write 1,000 terrible words that should all be deleted. The important thing is to focus on the successes, the possibilities. Celebrate the little things, like the days when you write a hundred beautiful words that can stay right where they are. When that happens – throw yourself a party – and make sure there’s cake!

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And always, always, just keep writing. Good luck!

Thanks again for having me!

 

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About The First Kiss Hypothesis:

Nora Reid believes scientific laws control everything, even love. With her grandparents’ epic first kiss story cemented in her brain, Nora develops a hypothesis she’s determined to prove:for each person in the world, there is exactly one other person, and at first kiss, they’ll experience an immediate and intense reaction. 

But after four years of zero-reaction kisses, she comes up with a new theory: maybe that pesky crush on her stunningly hot best friend Eli Costas is skewing her results.

She needs to get rid of him, and fast.

Eli Costas is an injury-prone lacrosse star with a problem—the one chance he had at winning over the girl next door resulted in the most epically sucktastic first kiss ever. And now she’s…trying to get rid of him? Hell no. It’s time to disprove her theory and show her exactly what she’s missing. 
Game. On.

Disclaimer: This book contains a stunningly hot lacrosse player who isn’t above playing dirty to win over the stubborn girl-next-door of his dreams.

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abouttheauthor

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Christina Mandelski loves to bring the characters in her head to life on the page. When she isn’t writing, she spends time with her family, working as a substitute teacher, eating (sweets, usually), traveling and reading (preferably under an umbrella at the beach).  Chris lives with her husband and two daughters in Houston. You can visit her at www.christinamandelski.com

 

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Interview: Melissa Eastlake, Author of the new YA Fantasy Release, THE UNCROSSING

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

The Uncrossing is a YA fantasy novel. I love how fantasy stories put characters in extreme situations that can reveal deeply human truths, and I also love playing with fun, high-concept stories.

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

Like many writers, I’ve loved to read and write since before I can remember—my mom is a devoted reader, too, and brought us up reading stories every night. An important moment I remember is when my second grade teacher gave me a copy of The BFG—I think once I opened it, I didn’t close it again until I was done!

How long have you been writing?

The short answer is, for my entire life! Longer: I studied creative writing (along with communications) in college, but took a break for a couple of years after that to recover from burnout and focus on my day-job career. I ended up learning a ton about writing and editing from my marketing jobs, which informed my writing when I returned to it, about five years ago.

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

I think in the largest sense, being able to share and pass down our stories is culture. Also, I’m a big believer in the way books help us learn empathy, standing inside a character’s head.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

I came to the book with a good amount of experience writing and revising, but this one required more grit than I’ve ever had to use, putting it through drafts and revisions, first on my own and then with my editor. Building that work ethic like a muscle was probably the hardest, though certainly also very rewarding, part of writing the book.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The Uncrossing is a Rapunzel retelling full of fairytale tropes, and putting in all those little references was definitely fun for me!

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

The Uncrossing is a queer fairytale, an exploration of how to make that happily-ever-after in an unjust, broken world. I’m a queer woman and it was core to the premise from the beginning.

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

What was most useful to me was learning the distinction between craft and process. When we talk about “learning to write,” we have to do both, but I spent a lot of time over-focusing on other writers’ processes, or trying to build a magical process of my own. Once I set that aside and let it form more naturally, instead focusing on concrete craft elements like conflict, character development, and line editing, I found my writing grew exponentially.

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

I’m a part-time writer with a day job. It’s a lot to balance and can definitely be overwhelming at times—sometimes I fantasize about how much I could get done if I didn’t have the day job! On the other hand, though, having a steady income and solid insurance has unquestionably given me the stability I need to get writing done, and I’m extremely grateful for my job’s flexibility.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read a lot of YA, romance, and fantasy, which I write in, and I also read widely in other genres, especially queer books. Sometimes, especially when I’m revising, I’m a little too focused on my own writing to read most other books, but during those times I find comics and graphic novels perfect.

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

I get a lot of “writing” done while walking the dogs—which basically means I figure it all out in my head, then rush back to get it written down before I forget!

What book do you wish you could have written?

This might be a cheat answer, but: there’s this book (about dragons!) hanging out on my hard drive that I have tried so many times, in so many drafts, to get right. It keeps stalling, and I can’t really figure out why. So, real talk—that book! Maybe one day.

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

I loved Francesca Lia Block’s books as a teen—she definitely inspired me to tell my stories, and to believe that kind of unique, contemporary magic belonged in the pages of a book.

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?

I love playing with names! In The Uncrossing, it was important that the characters’ names fit their cultural backgrounds, as well as having a feel or connotation that fit. The main characters, Luke and Jeremy, are both biblical references, but I try not to have every character’s name have the same kind of reference or meaning.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I would like to be able to make myself Godzilla-tall or Thumbelina-tiny at will—like the eat me-drink me in Alice in Wonderland, but without the hassle of the food and drink.

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About The Uncrossing:

Luke can uncross almost any curse—they unravel themselves for him like no one else. So working for the Kovrovs, one of the families controlling all the magic in New York, is exciting and dangerous, especially when he encounters the first curse he can’t break. And it involves Jeremy, the beloved, sheltered prince of the Kovrov family—the one boy he absolutely shouldn’t be falling for.

Jeremy’s been in love with cocky, talented Luke since they were kids. But from their first kiss, something’s missing. Jeremy’s family keeps generations of deadly secrets, forcing him to choose between love and loyalty. As Luke fights to break the curse, a magical, citywide war starts crackling, and it’s tied to Jeremy.

This might be the one curse Luke can’t uncross. If true love’s kiss fails, what’s left for him and Jeremy?

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abouttheauthor

Melissa Eastlake

About Melissa Eastlake:

Melissa Eastlake’s debut novel, The Uncrossing, is coming in 2017 from Entangled Teen. She is a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow and lives in Athens, Georgia with her partner and their dogs.

Author Links:

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Interview: Ally Matthews, YA Romance author, OFFSETTING PENALTIES

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

My mom. She stayed home with us when we were little, and she was always reading. My parents also made sure there were plenty of books in the house for us to explore and read.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Strictly fiction. I write YA romance and also historical romance under a different pen name.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

Trying to balance the conflict between Izzy and Garret so it was realistic, but wouldn’t make readers dislike either of the characters. I hope I succeeded.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

These two characters were a dream to write. This is going to sound weird, but there were times when they were dictating their dialogue to me so quickly that I could barely type fast enough to keep up.

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

I consider my writing a full-time job, but also work twenty hours per week as a reading and writing tutor at the local community college. I frequently try to remind myself that I’m a full-time writer to keep me on track with my deadlines. I have mixed results.

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

I worked as the librarian at a small, pre-K to 8th grade Montessori school, and being surrounded by books and kids all day was a dream come true. I was tasked with reading the middle grade and YA books to make sure they fit with the Montessori pedagogy, and during that process, I came to the realization that I could write a book. So I did. That first book was a mess structurally, but the second book I wrote was published.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on a proposal for two sequels to Offsetting Penalties, and I’m writing a YA speculative fiction romance.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I have so many things I want to write, but there just isn’t enough time in the day. I’m planning to write a YA book based on a Russian fairy tale, and I also have plans for a YA horror romance set inside the Hermitage Museum (I studied a lot of Russian history and culture in college and have visited Russia three times).

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

Madeliene L’Engle. She wrote in many different genres, and for children, teens, and adults. My favorite book when I was a teenager was A Ring of Endless Light. As an adult, I find myself delving into her Crosswicks Journals over and over again to bask in her skill and wisdom.

John Green has also inspired me. He never shies away from difficult subjects or awkward situations in his books, and he’s been very forthcoming about his struggles with anxiety and OCD.

The book I’m working on now has a protagonist that suffers from social anxiety disorder. I wanted to write this book because there are so many children and teens battling with both big and small mental health issues today, and I have more than one family member who suffers from depression. Though I started writing my book before I knew anything about Turtles All the Way Down, I was excited to read this book and be able to study how a master storyteller handles the difficult subject of mental illness.

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

I would choose relatively unknown actors because I wouldn’t be able to picture my characters as someone really famous. I think Australian actress Maia Mitchell would make a great Izzy, and she even has some dance experience. For Garret, I like Leo Howard, who was in the movies Logan and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. He also gets bonus points for being an animal lover and volunteering at shelters.

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?

It depends on the story, but I usually choose character names based on how they sound. Since I primarily write romance, I like to make sure the names of the hero and heroine sound good together. If I get stuck and just can’t come up with the right name, I peruse baby name websites until I find one I like.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Forgive me. I did my best.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

The ability to heal.

What literary character is most like you?

Vicky Austin from Madeliene L’Engle’s Austin Family series.

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

Austria. Since the first time I saw The Sound of Music as a small child, I’ve wanted to go there.

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

I’m debating between Russian, so I can scare my kids into listening to me, or British, so I can speak like all of Jane Austen’s swoon-worthy heroes.

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About Offsetting Penalties:

Isabelle Oster has dreamed of being a prima ballerina her entire life, so when the only male dancer backs out of the fall production, she’s devastated. Without a partner, she has no hope of earning a spot with the prestigious Ballet Americana company. Until hot jock Garret practicing stretches in one of the studios gives Izzy an idea, and she whips out her phone. But does she really want this badly enough to resort to blackmail?

All-state tight end Garret Mitchell will do anything to get a college football scholarship. Even taking ballet, which surprisingly isn’t so bad, because it means he gets to be up close and personal with the gorgeous Goth girl Izzy while learning moves to increase his flexibility. But Izzy needs him to perform with her for the Ballet Americana spot, and he draws the line at getting on stage. Especially wearing tights.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a bit of blackmail, a lot of sarcasm, and an ending guaranteed to melt your heart.

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About Ally Mathews:

Ally lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, four dogs, two cats, a rabbit, and assorted reptiles. Oh, and her husband. She likes to curse in Russian because very few people know what she’s saying, and spends most of what would be her spare time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She has many stories in her head waiting for the opportunity to escape onto paper. 

When she’s not writing, you can find her reading or binge watching Psych, Scream, Younger, and superhero movies. She loves to cook but hates to clean up afterwards, and strongly believes that Disney World is truly magical. You can find Ally on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, though she makes no claims of using any of them properly.

Guest Post: Mary Lindsay, author of the new YA PNR Release, HAVEN

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Writing is my Haven (See what I did there?)

I’m so excited to be on The Librarian Talks today! It’s been a crazy week for me answering interviews and doing a couple of podcasts for my new novel, HAVEN.

(releasing TODAY, November 7, 2017 in hardcover and ebook)

One of the most common questions I receive is, “Have you always wanted to be a writer?”

Short answer: No.

I never wanted to be a writer growing up. I successfully avoided all creative writing classes and projects all the way through college, even faking sick in grade school on poetry days. Creating something original terrified me.

Becoming a writer happened unexpectedly as the result of my losing a game of “Chicken” with my eleven-year-old daughter. Losing was one of the best things to happen to me. She was complaining about how heroes in young adult books she’d read believed themselves to be evil or cursed. Her rant morphed into how she believed heroes should be written and finally, to make her feel better, I bluffed and said, “Hey, tell you what… I’ll write that book for you.” I never expected to carry through. I mean, that’s the stuff of nightmares for me. I figured she’d be satisfied and we’d forget all about it.

Nope. She called my bluff.

She looked at me with those trusting, huge eyes and said, “Really? You would really write a book for me?”

Well, crap. Busted. I had no choice but to go through with it…sort of. Surely, after a chapter of the certain garbage I’d produce, she’d beg me to stop and I’d be off the hook. Instead, she loved the first chapter and asked for more.

After that, I was hooked. Completely and totally obsessed with writing—the very thing I’d avoided my entire life. Thirty days later, I handed her the last chapter of the seven-hundred-page manuscript, which, needless to say was not my finest work. But, it was my first work and led to where I am right now, celebrating my tenth published book.

Writing, once my personal hell, became my safe haven. << Look at that blatantly obvious segue into telling you about my book.

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About HAVEN:

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart. 

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

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BOOK IS AVAILABLE ON ALL PLATFORMS, AS WELL AS IN HARDBACK AT THE ABOVE LINK

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All About Mary:

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Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. Her books Shattered Souls and Fragile Spirits have been selected for the 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program. 

Mary lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband. Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

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