DEADLY COOL by Gemma Halliday


Sandy King and John Carpenter


Sean Penn


Nancy Richardson Fischer


Ashley Eckstein


Kendare Blake

TWO DARK REIGNS Official Blog Tour

D.J. MacHale

JBN Podcast

Pam McGaffin


Lawtence M. Schoen


David Carnoy


Peternelle van Arsdale


Paula Stokes


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Unzipping - Lisa Edelstein Interview

Photo Credit: JBN Media/James Vallesteros

From her role as Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the hit Fox series "House" to her starring role as Abby McCarthy in Bravo's first scripted series "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce," Lisa Edelstein's range of roles are as diverse as her talent. Set for a Summer 2018 Season 5 premiere, "Girlfriends' Guide" is a dramedy following a best-selling author of a self-help series who separates from her husband and must navigate big career changes and the dating world as a newly single mother. Created by Marti Noxon, the show not only gave Edelstein the opportunity to be the series lead playing everything from heartfelt drama to physical comedy, she also had the chance to expand creatively by being a writer, producer and director on the show.

Edelstein is developing a dramedy pilot with Universal Cable based on the book Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas. She is co-writing the script with Carol Barbee, will star in the lead role and executive produce along with Phoenix Pictures. She is also shooting a recurring role in the new Netflix series "The Kominsky Method," starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin and created by Chuck Lorre. Edelstein plays Phoebe, the drug-addled hot mess daughter of Arkin's character. The show will premiere later this year. In addition, she took the helm this year by writing, directing, and starring in the short film "Unzipping." Based on the short story by Etgar Keret, Edelstein produced the film with Jane Hollen and Kate Cohen of Straight Up Films. James Le Gros and Jason Lewis co-star.

No stranger to fearless and even some iconic television roles, Edelstein was the risotto-loving Karen on "Seinfeld," Rob Lowe's call-girl girlfriend Laurie on "West Wing," the transsexual Cindy on "Ally McBeal," and Rhonda Roth, the first out-lesbian on network TV in Jason Katim's "Relativity." Other guest and recurring appearances include "Scandal," "The Good Wife," and "House of Lies." She co-starred for seven seasons on the medical drama "House," which became the most watched show in the world and garnered Edelstein the People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Actress.

Edelstein's feature credits include "Keeping The Faith," starring Ben Stiller and directed by Edward Norton, Mel Gibson's "What Women Want," "Daddy Day Care" with Eddie Murphy, "As Good As It Gets," the dramatic Showtime feature "Fathers and Sons," "Joshy," and "Dr. Bird's Advice to Sad Poets." She also works in the realm of animation voiceover in such shows as "American Dad," "King of the Hill," "Airbender: Legend of Korra," as well as the character Mercy Graves in the "Superman" and "Justice League" series.

While honing her craft at the prestigious NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Edelstein appeared in numerous off-Broadway productions and then authored, composed and performed the AIDS-related musical "Positive Me" at Ellen Stuart's La Mama in Manhattan. It was one of the first productions in any medium about the crisis and New York's Common Ground bestowed to her a Humanitarian Award for her efforts to further awareness.

Edelstein resides in Los Angeles in a century old home with her husband artist Robert Russell, two step-sons, and several rescue dogs. She volunteers her time with a variety of charity organizations including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, The Anti-Defamation League, Planned Parenthood and The Center for Reproductive Rights.


What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in directing?
It’s wonderful to love what you are doing, even if you have to struggle to do it. Remember that a majority of people don’t have a dream, so just having one is a privilege. GO FOR IT!

What do you hope for people to be thinking when they watch the UNZIPPING?
Unzipping is a crazy ride! I love how the story keeps challenging the viewer. At first, it feels like a romance, then you realize you can laugh and finally it takes you to fairly deep place of tragedy. HollyShorts was the first time I actually saw it in a theater with a large audience. Hearing everyone respond to each and every moment that was planted in the script, on the set, with the shot choices and even the sound design, was enormously exciting. I was riddled with adrenaline and exhausted afterwards! But people take away different things from the story itself - and all of those things are valid. I’ve heard it described as being about everything from relationship issues to aging. I just love that it inspires further thought. Any thought is good!

What makes directing great for you?
Having been in this business as an actor for long time, getting to direct was like finally having permission to make all the decisions that I’ve silently stewed over for decades. As an actor your job is to make other people’s decisions work, feel natural, tell the story. But to be able to direct; to have a vision from bottom to top, it’s a wonderful expansion.

What was the most magical thing that happened during the production?
Well, as in most productions, there’s always drama somewhere. Ours revealed itself just 2 weeks before we were about to shoot when we realized our line producer had done literally nothing in regards to getting the skins researched and ordered. She essentially just told us it would cost 40 grand and wasn’t possible, shrugged and then took another job. So! Off to the races! We got a new line producer. Then I found a place called Dapper Cadaver where I was able to get the fresh skin made, or at least a version of it, super fast. it was stiffer then I wanted but in working with what we had, it really ended up being perfect. I was able to scrunch it up and hide all the things about it that looked fake while featuring a foot, just next to my face, that really sold the story. But there was still the rotton, decaying skin that we needed to deal with and by now we were just days away. I called special effects people I’d met in my time in this business, but was hitting a dead end. And I reached out to friends who were show runners or involved in special effect-driven shows. My neighbor, Bryan Fuller, created Hannibal so I asked him if his SFX guys happened to magically have an entire human body, flayed and decayed, just laying around. He thought for a moment or two then said… “I think I have one in my garage.” AND HE DID!!!!!!! It was the greatest hollywood moment ever! Who has a neighbor with an entire flayed and decayed human body in a box in their garage right next door?!?! ME!

What was the most difficult scene in the movie to shoot?
I thought the most difficult scene would be the party scene. We had quite a few background players and some moving shots. But it was magical, instead! Everyone was so enthusiastic about participating and took direction beautifully and we sailed through that complicated scene in no time! The kitchen scenes ended up being the most complicated. It was the first scene up and we were block shooting because the set changes so dramatically between her life with Tsiki (James Le Gros) and her life with Jurgen (Jason Lewis). The crew didn’t really know each other yet so it was stop and start, there were several reflective surfaces affecting the lighting, there was flashback scene fog that kept dissipating too fast, stuff like that. It was a stressful beginning, but once we got through it, we sailed for the rest of our 3-day shoot.

In your new film; UNZIPPING can you tell my Nerd community a little about it?
Unzipping is about a woman who knows her husband is hiding something from her. One night, when they are sleeping, she discovers what it is: there is a zipper pull under his tongue. Unable to resist, she pulls - and everything about her life changes.

Are there actors that you’re excited to engage/work with?
Oh, about a million. I love directing my fellow actors! The first time I did it was on Girlfriends Guide to Divorce. Everyone was so supportive and enthusiastic. Trying to figure out how to translate an inner language I developed for my own work as an actor into an external direction was a challenge! But everyone was really responsive, it was just beautiful. I just directed another short, this time with little kids - a different kind of directing to be sure, because you really need to get in there, sometimes line by line. But they worked so hard and were so into it. It’s wonderful to engage with people who are excited about what they do, who want to give you what you need, who put their trust in you.

For those who are unfamiliar with Ella and Tsiki, how would you introduce them?
Ella and Tsiki are a couple who have been together for a long time. They love each other and are kind to each other, but the spark of newness is long gone.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Acting-wise I am currently recurring on The Good Doctor on ABC and (as of November) The Kominsky Method on Netflix. I did a few indie films this spring that should be out next year: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, alongside Jason Isaacs, and Phoenix, Oregon, alongside my dearest James Le Gros. I’m directing a short film for a Google Initiative. It’s a series of shorts intended to inspire young girls to go into tech and sciences. I’m deep in the editing of that one so fingers crossed. I wrote a pilot with Carol Barbee based on the book Confessions of a Sociopath that we sold to UCP and are currently shopping to networks. So it’s been a fun, busy year.

Any Camp stories you would like to share?
For the most part I was miserable at camp. I didn’t fit in. It was too sports-oriented. I hung out with the horses. The counselors felt so bad for me they made up an award for me at the end of the summer: The Determination Award. Oh, and the Golden Shovel Award, because I scooped up a lot of horse manure. Good times.

Last Halloween Costume you wore and when?
Once I started getting paid to wear costumes I stopped wearing them for free.

What are you most passionate about today?
I’m extremely excited about being a content creator, about having deeper input into my own future, about creating jobs for myself and for others, about using more of my brain power. I absolutely love acting but after 28 years of being told where to stand, having someone constantly fix your hair, your face, your clothing, being followed to and from set and having to announce when you have to pee, it’s pretty exciting to get the chance to also feel like an adult on set. I hope I get to continue to act until the day I die, but I’m thrilled to add writing and directing and producing to the list of things I do on set.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
If I’m working I review the entire day and try and organize tomorrow. It’s a terrible habit. When I’m going that fast and that intensely, learning how to turn it off and REST has been a big challenge.

What did you do for your last birthday?
I was on location shooting Phoenix, Oregon and we had a cast and crew BBQ where I showed them Unzipping! They were an AWESOME audience and it was so exciting to hear their reactions. Then they surprised me with DELICIOUS vegan chocolate cupcakes and a rousing happy birthday song. Perfect!

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Many years ago I woke up from a surgical procedure that I didn’t think I’d make it through. I was just so happy to be waking up at all and the volunteer working in the recovery room said she’d never seen anyone come to with a smile like I did. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was the Auschwitz tattoo on her arm. Not only was I grateful to be alive, but her tattoo helped me move forward with a clarity I deeply appreciated. Changed my life forever.


  • It’s hilarious!
  • It’s deeply moving.
  • It’s beautifully shot!
  • It’s a thought provoking story.
  • My parents are in it!
  • My father can sleep on cue.
  • The SFX are simple, but tell the whole story.
  • It’s written, directed, produced, line produced and shot by women.
  • The crew was mostly women. (We let other gender variants in, too)

Ella and Tsiki embrace in a routine kiss when she is suddenly pricked on the lip by an unknown source - a zipper hiding under Tsiki's tongue. In the thrill of curiosity, and a chance to escape her mundane relationship, Ella pulls the zipper to reveal Jurgen lying underneath. Jurgen is the antithesis of Tsiki, and Ella finds temporary happiness in the change he brings to her life. However, as the bliss of new love fades, so too does Ella's sense of fulfillment. She pulls Tsiki's skin from its hiding place in the kitchen and longs for the man she cast aside. She sinks in the realization that happiness cannot be manifested in others; the change must come from within.To her surprise, Ella soon discovers a zipper under her own tongue. As she stares at herself in the mirror, she contemplates the difficult decision of whether or not to pull.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Vox by Christina Dalcher

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial--this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. 

Praise for VOX

"Christina Dalcher’s debut novel, set in a recognizable near future and sure to beg comparisons to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian The Handmaid’s Tale, asks: if the number of words you could speak each day was suddenly and severely limited, what would you do to be heard? A novel ripe for the era of #MeToo, VOX (Berkley) presents an exaggerated scenario of women lacking a voice: in the United States, they are subject to a hundred-word limit per day (on average, a human utters about 16,000). Considering the threat of a society in which children like the protagonist’s six-year-old daughter are deprived of language, VOX highlights the urgency of movements like #MeToo, but also of the basic importance of language.” —Vanity Fair

“The females in Dalcher’s electrifying debut are permitted to speak just 100 words a day—and that’s especially difficult for the novel’s protagonist, Jean, a neurolinguist. A futurist thriller that feels uncomfortably plausible.” —O, Oprah Magazine

“In Christina Dalcher’s Vox, women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day. Sounds pretty sci-fi, but the real-life parallels will make you shiver.” —Cosmpolitan

“Vox is a real page-turner that will appeal to people with big imaginations.” —Refinery29

“Fittingly, this book about women being silenced has got everybody talking and calling it The Handmaid’s Tale for 2018.” —Bustle

“VOX is intelligent, suspenseful, provocative, and intensely disturbing—everything a great novel should be.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Chilling and gripping—a real page-turner.” —Karen Cleveland, New York Times bestselling author of Need to Know

“A bold, brilliant, and unforgettable debut.”—Alice Feeney, author of Sometimes I Lie

“With language crystalline and gleaming, and a narrative that really moves, Christina Dalcher both cautions and captivates. The names that come to mind are Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley—had Orwell and Huxley had a taste of the information age. VOX is a book for the dystopic present. It woke me up.” —Melissa Broder, author of The Pisces

“[A] provocative debut…Dalcher’s novel carries an undeniably powerful message.” —Publishers Weekly

“A petrifying re-imagining of The Handmaid’s Tale in the present and a timely reminder of the power and importance of language.” —Marta Bausells, ELLE UK

“This book will blow your mind. The Handmaid’s Tale meets Only Ever Yours meets The Power.” —Nina Pottell, Prima

You can purchase VOX at the following Retailers:

Photo Credit: © B Dalcher

Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specializes in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and has taught at several universities.

Her short stories and flash fiction appear in more than one hundred journals worldwide. Recognition includes the Bath Flash Award short list, nominations for the Pushcart Prize, and multiple other awards. She lives in Norfolk, Virginia, with her husband.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Peng Shepherd Author Interview

Photo Content from Peng Shepherd

Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, and has lived in Beijing, London, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York. The Book of M is her first novel.


What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I am obsessed with yaks. Yes, yaks, the animal. It’s a silly thing that’s now a big inside joke with my friends—they draw yaks my birthday cards, or buy me cheap plush animals or art if they come across them in weird places.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I always wanted to write. I was that kid trying to write and illustrate my own books in kindergarten, and printing out hundreds and hundreds of pages of my “masterpieces” and putting them into three-ring binders in high school. I’ve been in love with books and storytelling for as long as I can remember.

If you could be a character in any novel you’ve ever read, who would you be and why?
That’s a really hard question! If I had to answer today, I think it might be Edith in Josiah Bancroft’s Books of Babel series. It’s such a fascinating premise: what if the tower of Babel, in all its mystery, glory, and danger, still existed today? Every level of Bancroft’s tower is so imaginative and full of adventure, begging to be explored. Plus, getting to captain an airship and wield a super powerful mechanical arm? Count me in.

Did you learn anything from writing THE BOOK OF M and what was it?
THE BOOK OF M was the first time I’d seriously tried to write something in first person. (I won’t go into details here because of spoilers!) I was nervous about it because I had so much more experience with third person, but that part of the book could be no other way. I had to do it. And I’m really glad I did.

What part of Ory did you enjoy writing the most?
I really enjoyed going into his backstory. The main action of the story takes place two years after the world has collapsed, but there are several chapters from Ory’s perspective that jump back, to the days just before everything ends, and then the first few months after, when those left are learning how to survive. Getting to write about him in a time when there were still cell phones and day jobs and television shows, and then when there suddenly weren’t anymore, was really interesting.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Max?
Actually, what’s surprised me most is how many people ask if Max is based on me, because she’s the main character. The answer is definitely no. She’s a completely different person! None of the characters in the story are really based on me—some might share a trait or two because that’s inevitable, we’re all humans, but Max feels especially different.

In your debut novel; THE BOOK OF M, can you tell my Nerd community a little about it?
The Book of M is a little bit sci-fi/fantasy, a little bit mystery, and a little bit dystopian, but at its heart, it’s a post-apocalyptic love story. It’s set in the near future, and follows a mysterious phenomenon that’s causing people’s shadows to disappear all over the world, with terrifying effects—those who lose their shadows gain mysterious abilities, but at the cost of a memory every time they use their new power, which plunges the world into chaos.

The book follows a husband and wife, Ory and Max, who have survived for two years by hiding… until at the beginning of the story, Max’s shadow disappears too, and forces them to confront the nightmarish land outside in the hope of saving her.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Write the first draft as quickly as you reasonably can. If you get tripped up before you get to the end—either by endlessly redoing a certain part or just losing the writing momentum—and never finish, then you have nothing. Even if it’s bad, you can always make something better in revision, but you can’t make nothing better.

What was the last thing you bought?
A book (it’s basically always a book).

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?

What did you do for your last birthday?
I had dinner with my husband and a few friends at a really awesome restaurant. That’s my ideal celebration—a small group, great food.

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why?
That’s a hard question! There are so many great restaurants. There is one place here that makes a creamy Chestnut soup with a little quail egg dropped on top. It’s impossible to describe and I always have to beg people to try it because it doesn’t sound particularly amazing, but it’s one of the best things on the menu. Everyone raves about it afterwards.

Have you ever written a love letter?
Yes! I write one every year.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Wow, my hair is finally starting to grow out a little! (I buzzed it last year for fun—it’s almost a bob now!)


  • 1. The “Zero Shadow Day” in the book is actually a real-life day that happens every year in India.
  • 2. The two elephant characters in the book were also inspired by real-life elephants.
  • 3. I used to live in the Arlington/Washington D.C. area where a big part of the story is set.
  • 4. It took nine months to write the first draft, and six more to revise the final.
  • 5. I wrote the entire project in Scrivener, which is my absolute favorite writing tool.
  • 6. There originally were nine (!!!!) points of view in the novel. Only four made it into the published version.
  • 7. My favorite thing that I had to cut during revision was a pair of talking crows that followed a group of characters around and told them riddles.
  • 8. The Amnesiac was one of the last characters to be created, but became one of the most important.
  • 9. Only one of the characters (a very minor one) was originally inspired by a person I know.
  • 10. I knew the ending almost immediately, long before I knew anything else about the story.

Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

You can purchase The Book of M at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you PENG SHEPHERD for making this giveaway possible.
10 Winners will receive a Copy of THE BOOK OF M by Peng Shepherd. 
AUGUST 21st TUESDAY Book Queen Reviews REVIEW
AUGUST 22nd WEDNESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
AUGUST 23rd THURSDAY Insane About Books REVIEW 

AUGUST 27th MONDAY A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW
AUGUST 28th TUESDAY Wishful Endings TENS LIST 
AUGUST 31st FRIDAY Here's to Happy Endings REVIEW

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Chloe Neill Author Interview

Photo Credit: Dana Damewood

Chloe Neill is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Devil’s Isle, Chicagoland Vampires, and Dark Elite series. She was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest. When not writing, she bakes, knits, Pins, and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys–her favorite landscape photographer/husband and their dogs, Baxter and Scout. (Both she and the photographer understand the dogs are in charge.)


What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I was in the midst of a very bad breakup, and reading was my outlet. Eventually, I ran out of the type of book that I wanted to read, so I decided to try my hand at it. Some Girls Bite (CV1) was my second manuscript.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I love the romance and cast of characters in J.D. Robb’s In Death novels, and the way Neil Gaiman creates magic from the mundane. Victoria Schwab’s worldbuilding is incredible.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I’m hoping it makes them laugh, that they enjoy the character interactions as much as I do, and that reading my books gives them a few hours away from the stressors in their lives.

Did you learn anything from writing WILD HUNGER and what was it?
I learned a lot about French pop music in the 1960s, although that didn’t make it onto the pages of the finished novel.

For those who are unfamiliar with Elisa, how would you introduce her?
Elisa Sullivan is the daughter of Merit and Ethan Sullivan, the Sentinel and Master of Chicago’s Cadogan House, respectively. She’s the only vampire ever born. She is obsessed with coffee, practices yoga, and has spent the last four years in Paris trying to figure out if she’s more than just Ethan’s and Merit’s kid.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Moses from my Devil’s Isle series, which is set in New Orleans. He’s a hoot, and I love him more with every scene.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Keep reading!

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?
I believe the possibility exists, as the universe is a very vast place.

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why?
Whoever is willing to sell me chips, salsa, and Diet Coke.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
I was on our local version of the Bozo show when I was a kiddo.

In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill's spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.
As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she's a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he's prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

Praise for WILD HUNGER

“Fans of urban fantasy will find their new favorite heroine in quick-witted, tough Elisa.” —Publishers Weekly

“Fans of Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series will rejoice to see the next generation in their spin-off. Featuring her trademark snarky characters and colorful backgrounds, this is a fun and action-packed urban fantasy launch.” —Library Journal

“Fans of the Chicagoland Vampires will be delighted by this new series, and all fans of urban fantasy should give it a try.” —Booklist
You can purchase Wild Hunger at the following Retailers:


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CHLOE NEILL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland #1) by Chloe Neill. 

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Peternelle van Arsdale Author Interview

Photo Content from Elena Seibert

Peternelle van Arsdale grew up in Newark, New Jersey, where she attended public school through the eighth grade. After that she attended three high schools in three different towns in four years, was deeply unpopular, and counted the seconds until graduation. She majored in English literature at Bryn Mawr College, and then landed in book publishing, thinking it was a good way to be paid to do what she liked to do anyway (she was only partly wrong). She worked her way up from editorial assistant to executive editor of adult fiction and nonfiction, and eventually struck out on her own as an independent editor.

Her first young adult novel, The Beast Is an Animal, is being developed by Amazon Studios for a feature film produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free and directed by Bert & Bertie. Her essays have been published by LitHub,, and Culturefly, and her short fiction has been published by The Whitefish Review.

Her second novel, The Cold is in Her Bones , will be published in January 2019. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she continues to edit and is at work on her third novel.


What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I was inspired by the classic fairy tales, especially my favorites recorded by the Brothers Grimm. I’ve always been fascinated by the especially dark and morally ambiguous ones such as “Rumpelstiltskin.” When I wrote my first novel it felt really natural to me to go back to that rich trove and create my own morally ambiguous fairy tale.

Tell us your latest news.

My second novel, THE COLD IS IN HER BONES, which is very loosely inspired by the Medusa myth, is coming out in January of 2019. I’m very excited about it.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
In addition to fairy tales and myths, I’m certainly influenced by everything I read and see—from books to artwork to forests. I try to create the transportive feeling in my writing that I seek in other experiences. I would love to write a novel as thoroughly engrossing and satisfying and artistically gorgeous as THE GOLDEN COMPASS (Philip Pullman) or THE HANDMAID’S TALE (Margaret Atwood). I’d also love to write a novel that makes the reader feel the way I do when I walk through a mossy forest. I hope I do a little of both in THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I’d love it if readers could really settle into the novel’s gray areas. I love it when I hear that a reader was surprised by a particular character and how their feelings toward that character changed over the course of the novel.

Did you learn anything from writing THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL and what was it?
I learned how to write a novel! It truly was a massive learning experience. While I was a book editor for decades prior to writing THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL, no amount of editing can really prepare you for what it’s like to construct a novel. I refer to BEAST as my amoeba. I didn’t so much construct it as it…grew. And it ended up being an organism that I love very much but I couldn’t possibly have imagined at the start.

What part of Alys did you enjoy writing the most?
Alys is a character very close to my heart and what draws me to her and to all my protagonists is their willingness to engage with their weaknesses and not just their strengths. Her determination to seek out her dark places and figure them out. I think she’s very brave.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Oh! What an interesting question. I would love to introduce Mother from THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL to Mary, the scientist who befriends Lyra and Will in the HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy by Philp Pullman. I think those two curious-minded women would have a lot to talk about.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would have to say Margaret Atwood, for sheer imaginative and artistic brilliance. I’ve never met her and never expect to, but I love that she exists in the world.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about what or who you truly love.

Last thing you made with your own hands?
I’m knitting a blanket—not finished yet. Last thing I finished was a painting for my son. He does gorgeous nature photography and I like turning his pictures into paintings.

What are you most passionate about today?
I’m in the early stages of working on my third novel and I’m really excited to see where it takes me.

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why?
Hm. I’m not a big restaurant goer. I eat at home mostly. If I could slightly bend the rules I’d say my favorite thing to do to feed myself is to go to the Prospect Park Greenmarket, which is right near my home, and then make whatever I find there. Especially in the summer, really all I need to be happy is a pile of lovely lettuce. I know, I sound like a rabbit. But there’s nothing like fresh-picked lettuce with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. And an avocado. And toast. I love toast.

Can you define love in your own way?
Love is vulnerability. And vulnerability is scary and honest and risky and beautiful.

What was your favorite childhood television program?
Ha! The first thing that comes to mind is this old scary black & white B-movie series called “Chiller Theater.” This was back when there was no cable and you just watched whatever was on TV. From a very, very tender age I loved those dusty old horror movies, and I really loved the opening credits prior to the movie coming on—it was this Claymation corpse-hand coming out of a grave. This reminds me, I have to do a YouTube search and see if I can find it.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?

Oof. My mind is always working, for better and worse. It’s hard for me to quiet it. That’s why it’s good for me to read fiction right before bed, and ideally I’m thinking about the last thing I read.

Where can readers find you?
Subscribe to my newsletter via my website (! I’m active on Instagram (@peternellevanarsdale), and I’m also reachable on Twitter (@peternelleva) and Facebook ( 


  • You love to be immersed. 
  • You love to be a little creeped out. 
  • You love to be surprised. 
  • You love a strong female protagonist. 
  • You love dark fairy tales. 
  • You love deep, thick forests and are curious about what lurks in them. 
  • You don’t want a retold fairy tale, you want something you’ve never read before. 
  • You like timeless stories that will still feel relevant ten years from now. 
  • You like a little romance. 
  • You’re a feminist and want to read novels that reflect those values.

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.


"A dark atmospheric fantasy debut...achingly poetic." Kirkus Reviews

"A swift and compelling read that will be popular with fantasy and retold–fairy tale readers." 

Rock-solid setting and a Salem witch trial–like culture ground readers in this slow-moving but psychologically intense fantasy.... Van Arsdale sets up her dominoes so that when the first is finally knocked over, subsequent events cascade the story forward in a rush of energy through to the final showdown. 
Horn Book

The opening chapter, detailing the origin of the sister soul eaters, sets the disturbingly eerie tone of the book, and the atmosphere becomes oppressive in its darkness as the years move on and Alys’ inevitable meeting with the soul eaters come closer.... The detached narration and prolonged timeline makes this a slow burn story with a slightly folklike feel, and the few pages from the sisters’ perspective ratchet up the suspense to an almost unbearable level. The unsettling actions of the Puritan-like Defaiders and the chilling legend around the Beast combine to create a truly horrifying tale of revenge, murder, and evil. 

Atmospheric and immersive, van Arsdale’s eerie fantasy keeps its focus on Alys’s struggle to reconcile who she is with what she wants to be as it builds toward a poignant and satisfying conclusion. 
Publishers Weekly

"The book reads like a historical fairy tale set in Puritan America. The mix of magic, folklore, and human struggle will appeal to a variety of readers. It explores the nuance of humanity, while also being about the things that go bump in the night." 
School Library Connection

You can purchase The Beast Is an Animal at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you PETERNELLE VAN ARSDALE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale. 

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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