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THE CHANGELING KING Official Blog Tour

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Impact Theory

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ECHOES BETWEEN US Blog Tour

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A KILLER'S ALIBI

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BETWEEN WILD AND RUIN Blog Tour

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THE LAST DRAGON

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Unwilling by Kelly Braffet



Brand: MIRA
Categories: Historical Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Epic Fantasy
On Sale Date: February  11, 2020
Publication Month: February 2020
ISBN: 9781488055393

Praise for THE UNWILLING

"Kelly Braffet is extraordinary... Familiar yet entirely unique, The Unwilling is the sort of story that seeps under your skin and pulses there, intimate and vibrant and alive. Fantasy at its most sublime." —Erin Morgenstern, New York Times bestselling author of The Starless Sea and The Night Circus

"A juggernaut of an epic fantasy novel with ingenious, thrilling twists and turns. Put this on the shelf beside Naomi Novik and George R. R. Martin. Kelly Braffet is a marvel and I'll read anything she writes." —Kelly Link, MacArthur Genius Recipient and and of Get in Trouble

"Kelly Braffet's The Unwilling is a viscerally powerful book. Full of complex and compelling characters, this is the story of the corruptions of power and the strength it takes to resist. This is an incredible, brilliant story." —Kat Howard, author of Roses and Rot

"Gorgeously told, The Unwilling is at once a sweeping epic and an intimate portrait of being trapped in an oppressive regime. Meet your new favorite fantasy writer." —Gwenda Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

"Suspenseful, magical, wonderfully written, and never predictable, Braffet's first foray into speculative fiction is an essential addition to all epic-fantasy collections." —Booklist, STARRED Review

"Wow...The characters, the world, the magic and greed and politics and pain--all of it adds up to something wonderful. I love it." —Ellen Datlow, award-winning editor and anthologist


A penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride…

The Unwilling is the story of Judah, a foundling born with a special gift and raised inside Highfall castle along with Gavin, the son and heir to Lord Elban’s vast empire. Judah and Gavin share an unnatural bond that is both the key to her survival…and possibly her undoing.

As Gavin is groomed for his future role, Judah comes to realize that she has no real position within the kingdom, in fact, no hope at all of ever traveling beyond its castle walls. Elban—a lord as mighty as he is cruel—has his own plans for her, for all of them. She is a mere pawn to him, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

But outside the walls, in the starving, desperate city, a magus, a healer with his own secret power unlike anything Highfall has seen in years, is newly arrived from the provinces. He, too, has plans for the empire, and at the heart of those plans lies Judah… The girl who started life with no name and no history will soon uncover more to her story than she ever imagined.

An epic tale of greed and ambition, cruelty and love, this deeply immersive novel is about bowing to traditions and burning them down.
You can purchase The Unwilling at the following Retailers:
        

Photo Content from Kelly Braffet

Kelly Braffet is the author of the novels The Unwilling, Save Yourself, Josie and Jack and Last Seen Leaving. Her writing has been published in The Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and several anthologies. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University and currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, the author Owen King.
      

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Friday, December 6, 2019

|Podcast| The Rat - Isabel Shill, Collin Kelly-Sordelet & Carlen May-Mann


Poster Design by Kevin Rogan
LOGLINE
It’s Halloween night, and Renee is madly in love with her boyfriend Jim. On their way to a party, Jim takes a detour to a haunted house, where Renee is forced to confront a terrifying situation.

SYNOPSIS
On Halloween night, 18-year-old Renee is going to a frat party with her boyfriend Jim. After picking her up, Jim takes a detour, driving his truck off the beaten path to a haunted house. They start to fool around on an old mattress, but after Jim leaves to retrieve a condom, Renee begins to hear unsettling noises echoing through the house and realizes she’s not alone. Creeping downstairs, she is confronted with a terrifying situation, and must come to terms with the thing that, deep down, she's most afraid of.



JEANBOOKNERD PODCAST 2019: THIRTY NINE
GUESTS: ISABEL SHILL, COLLIN-KELLY-SORDELE & CARLEN MAY-MANN
JOURNALIST: ERIK WERLIN
ISABEL - IMDB | COLLIN-KELLY - IMDB | THE RAT - IMDB | WEBSITE
JBN Podcast   JBN Podcast



WORLD PREMIERE
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2019

WINNER
BEST HORROR SHORT OF 2019, SOLZY AT THE MOVIES
AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FILM, METHOD FEST 2019
BEST DIRECTOR, HOME INVASION SHORTS, BROOKLYN HORROR FEST 2019

OFFICIAL SELECTION
METHOD FEST 2019
BLUECAT SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 2019
MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL 2019
STOKERCON FINAL FRAME FILM COMPETITION 2019
OVERLOOK FILM FESTIVAL 2019
CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES FILM FESTIVAL 2019
PALM SPRINGS SHORTFEST 2019
DURBAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019
BROOKLYN HORROR FILM FESTIVAL 2019
NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL 2019
IDAHO HORROR FILM FESTIVAL 2019



DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT 
With The Rat, I call into question what is really scary, both in film and in real life. I find that there’s a great deal of crossover. Fear requires a violation of trust -- trust that we can believe our eyes, our ears, our own thoughts, trust that what we see on a screen can’t hurt us, that the people we love have our best interests at heart. As a director, I am visually and thematically inspired by mainstream art horror of the 1960s and 1970s -- films like Rosemary's Baby, Carrie, and The Exorcist. These films are about the terror that emerges from below the surface of our daily lives -- the normalcy of a new relationship, a school dance, or a cocktail party suddenly becomes twisted, nefarious, infested with horror. These iconic films all address female terror in their own way. And yet, they were all made by men. Rosemary's Baby in particular has served as an inspiration for much of contemporary film’s most impressive horror, such as Get Out and Hereditary, but it cannot and should not be ignored that this film was made by a known rapist, by someone who inspired in real women and girls the very fear that his films so aptly depict. I want to do my part to steal back the genre by making a film that explores real fear. I want to tell a story that speaks to the unique ways that we are always frightened -- of late nights, of empty streets, of men. I want to tell a story about the debasement of women not because it’s provocative, but because it’s real, it’s happening to us every day, and it needs to stop.

Photo Content from Carlen May-Mann
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
CARLEN MAY-MANN is a writer, director, and artist dedicated to personal and emotive storytelling. Her short film The Rat premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and went on to play the Maryland Film Festival, Overlook Film Festival, Palm Springs ShortFest, and many others domestically and internationally. The Rat also won the Audience Award for Best Short at the 2019 Method Fest. Her feature length screenplay Strawberry Summer (which she will go on to direct) was a participant in the 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Intensive and is being supported by Cinereach. Carlen’s work as a director also includes several music videos and short films. She has been profiled and interviewed in numerous publications, including Indiewire, The Creative Independent, and Moveable Fest. Carlen produces her filmmaking through New York-based film and media collective NITE SHIFT, an organization she co-founded. Carlen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University with a degree in Film Studies and Psychology. She was also awarded the NNK Award for Best Undergraduate Screenplay and the Leavell Memorial Prize for Outstanding Work in Film Studies.

ABOUT THE CAST
ISABEL SHILL - RENEE (she/her) is an actress and writer living in NYC. She’s lived all over the world and is a dual national with the UK. She graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in Theater. Her past credits include Law and Order: SVU, Orange is the New Black and Manson’s Lost Girls for Lifetime. She was a co-writer and lead actress of a short film entitled Cuddle Buddy that explored the emergent professional cuddling business. It was a selection on Short of the Week, Fandor, and Fandependent as well as the Vail and Las Vegas International Film Festivals. Her most recent appearance was Off-Broadway with Wise Fish Theater’s production of Who Am I This Time?
Collin Kelly-Sordelet (Jim)

Photo Content from Collin-Kelly/Isabel - Photo Credit: Ryan C. Jones

COLLIN KELLY-SORDELET (he/him) most recently starred in Somebody’s Daughter at Second Stage. Previously, Collin shot a lead role in the independent feature Radium Girls, opposite Joey King and Abby Quinn. One week into starting his freshman year at Juilliard, Collin was cast in Sting’s Broadway’s musical The Last Ship. He received rave reviews for his portrayal of Young Gideon leading to a nomination and subsequent win for a Theatre World Award. He was also nominated for the prestigious Clive Barnes Award, honoring the most promising young actors and dancers. He was also recently seen on The Path for Hulu, and starred in the independent feature Wildling, directed by Fritz Bohm, and opposite Bel Powley.


Photo Credit Belongs to Alter
FESTIVAL RUN
  • WORLD PREMIER
    Sundance Film Festival 2019
  • WINNERAudience Award for Best Short Film, Method Fest 2019
  • OFFICIAL SELECTIONS
  • Method Fest 2019
  • Bluecat Short Film Festival 2019
  • Maryland Film Festival 2019
  • StokerCon Final Frame Film Competition 2019
  • Overlook Film Festival 2019
  • Champs-Elysees Film Festival 2019
  • Palm Springs ShortFest 2019
  • Durban International Film Festival 2019
  • Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2019
  • New Orleans Film Festival 2019
  • Idaho Horror Film Festival 2019
ABOUT ALTER
ALTER is a new horror brand for novel and grounded stories exploring the human condition through warped and uncanny perspectives.

Giving voice to emerging, diverse and established filmmakers, ALTER’s owned and operated channel is distributed across YouTube and Facebook where three short films or series are released each week. In addition to curating and distributing award-winning content, ALTER develops unique stories with some of the most innovative minds in the genre through its ALTER Studio projects - which are not bound to a particular platform or format.

Recent releases include the official 2018 Sundance Film Festival selection, Summer of 84, the thriller directed by RKSS (Turbo Kid); CAM (in partnership with Blumhouse), winner of Best Screenplay at last year’s Fantasia Festival, which was acquired by Netflix; and Goodnight, Gracie from Stellan Kendrick, one of ALTER's first exclusive premieres. Later this year, ALTER will release the SXSW selection Villains — starring Bill Skarsgard (It) and Maika Monroe (It Follows) — in theaters.

Projects currently in development include 50 States of Fright, in partnership with Executive Producer Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spider-Man) and DIGA Studios (MTV’s Scream). The anthology is the first announced series for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new mobile video startup, Quibi.
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Lost in Space Season 2 Official Debut Trailer



There’s more danger — and adventure — ahead for the Robinson family! With the Jupiter 2 stranded on a mysterious ocean planet without their beloved Robot, the Robinsons must work together, alongside the mischievous and manipulative Dr. Smith and the always charming Don West, to make it back to the Resolute and reunite with the other colonists. But they quickly find all is not as it seems. A series of incredible new threats and unexpected discoveries emerge as they look for the key to finding Robot and safe passage to Alpha Centauri. They will stop at nothing to keep their family safe... survival is a Robinson specialty after all.



LOST IN SPACE SEASON TWO
Season 2 Coming December 24
This reboot of the iconic 1960s series received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Visual Effects.

The Netflix original series is produced by Legendary Television.

After crash-landing on an alien planet, the Robinson family fights against all odds to survive and escape. But they're surrounded by hidden dangers.
Starring: Molly Parker, Toby Stephens, Maxwell Jenkins

Photo Credit: Netflix
Pictured: Taylor Russell, Toby Stevens, Maxwell Jenkins
ABOUT NETFLIX
Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without adverts or commitments.
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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Rachel Atwood Author Interview


Photo Content from Rachel Atwood

Rachel Atwood is the author of Walk the Wild with Me. She grew up enchanted with British History. Now she writes historical fiction with enchantments. Every time she visits the British Isles, she basks in the shadows of standing stones and glories in ancient crypts while drinking in the lush accents of the people she meets. She thinks driving on the left is natural and roundabouts are efficient as well as aesthetically pleasing.
  


Tell us your latest news.
After a rough year of surgeries and family crisis, I am actively writing again, walking a mile a day and line dancing. I finally feel like me again and am enjoying watching new stories unfold daily.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Of course I read Anne McCaffery, Ursula Le Guin, and Andre Norton to see how writing should be done. But I have also been a part of Book View Café, a publishing co-operative, since its founding in 2008. The fifty+ members amaze me everyday in their life experiences as well as their writing techniques. I’m getting advice and help at each step of the publishing process. Everything from a twist of a phrase to a short cut to wind up with a well formatted book inspires me to grow as a person and a writer.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Years ago, I received a letter from a teenage student. It was obviously one of the write a business letter for English class things. The girl opened the letter with the sentence, “I hate to read.” But a friend had given her a copy of “The Glass Dragon,” my first book, because the dragon’s name was Shayla, the same as the letter writer. The dragon and the story entranced her, and she couldn’t wait for her next allowance to buy the second book in the series. I had created a reader out of a non-reader. If I do nothing else in my career this girl’s story means I have succeeded.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
“Walk the Wild with Me” is a work of love. I have always loved the Robin Hood stories. I am enough of a historian to recognize the blending of folklore and hero worship. Robin’s character has been inflated so much I can’t really identify him. But I was an adventurous adolescent once. I can see the wonder of exploring a new world, new ideas, and new possibilities through Nick’s and Hilde’s eyes. I hope my readers can discover that they too have choices to determine their own journey, and help them explore the wonder of new experiences.

In your new book; WALK THE WILD WITH ME, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
Nick is an orphan raised in an Abbey. He knows nothing but the orderly existence of life under The Rule. Then the Pope and King John denounce each other, and the senior clergy is forced out of England. The bells no longer mark the time of day and there is no one tell the people that the Wild Folk do not exist or they are evil if they do venture forth from their shadowy shelters deep in the forest. Free of restraint, the creatures of the wood, half-mortal, half-animal, the spirit creatures of tree and brook and land are free to come out and play with those who venture beyond their previous boundaries.

For those who are unfamiliar with Nicholas, how would you introduce him?
Nick is smart and eager to learn. He needs to push the boundaries of his ordered life in the Abbey as far as he can. Having grown up an orphan he’s constantly looking for a family, be they human or fae.

What part of Elena did you enjoy writing the most?

The first time Elena said “Silly boy,” followed by a laugh as musical as silver bells, I knew her light-hearted approach to the mortals who carry her pitcher. She’s seen it all and laughs at most of it.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think Tess Noncroire—the unbeliever—needs to meet Abbot Maeson, a man of deep faith that is unshaken by the failure of the Church to cure England’s problems.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Open your eyes and your and discover the wonder of a walk through the forest. Absorb the wisdom of the green.

Best date you've ever had?

My first date with the man who became my husband of almost half a century. He took me Scottish Country Dancing. I’m still dancing.

If your life was a song, what would the title be?
“Playmate, come out and play with me.”

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?

I have few regrets about choices I’ve made. I’ve learned to live and learn from most of my mistakes. But I think I’d like to go back and observe my parents with grown up perspective and rejoice in the deep love they shared, appreciate the choices they made to stay together and raise a family together despite the difficulties presented by his military career.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Dance in a fountain and become one with the flow of water.

Where can readers find you?
I’m on Face Book as Phyllis Irene Radford. If you ask me to accept your friend request follow up with a brief message to assure me you aren’t a scammer.

TEN REASONS TO READ WALK THE WILD WITH ME
  • 1) I have read the Magna Carta and examined it as a legal document as well as an historical/cultural manifest
  • 2) Ancient trees don’t truly die, they become nurseries for new trees and shrubs
  • 3) Listening to water chuckle refreshes both mind and body
  • 4) The book is a fun romp through the wildwood
  • 5) You might learn something
  • 6) Nottingham Castle rests upon a series of caves and tunnels.
  • 7) Every crossroad offers a choice that might change your life
  • 8) Shadows may hide villains, but they also conceal the fantastic
  • 9) I love the characters in this book and hope you will too
  • 10)We can escape the real world and play together in Sherwood Forest.

Orphaned when still a toddler, Nicholas Withybeck knows no other home than Locksley Abbey outside Nottingham, England. He works in the Scriptorium embellishing illuminated manuscripts with hidden faces of the Wild Folk and whimsical creatures that he sees every time he ventures into the woods and fields. His curiosity leads him into forbidden nooks and crannies inside, and outside the abbey. He becomes adept at hiding to stay out of trouble.

On one of these forays he slips into the crypt beneath the abbey. There he finds an altar older than the abbey’s foundations, ancient when the Romans occupied England. Behind the bricks around the altar, he finds a palm-sized silver cup. The cup is embellished with the three figures of Elena, the Celtic goddess of crossroads, sorcery, and cemeteries.

He carries the cup with him always. The goddess whispers wisdom in the back of his mind. With Elena in his pocket, Nick can see that the masked dancers on the May Day celebration in the local village are the actual creatures of the wood, The Green Man, Robin Goodfellow, Herne the Huntsman, dryads, trolls, and water sprites, the imaginary faces he’s seen and drawn into the Illuminations.

Over the course of several adventures where Elena guides Nick and keeps him safe, he learns that Little John’s (the Green Man) love has been kidnapped by Queen Mab of the Faeries. The door to the Faery mound will only open when the moons of the two realms align. The time is fast approaching. Nick must release Elena so that she can use sorcery to unlock that door and Nick’s band of friends can try to rescue the girl. Will he have the courage to release her as his predecessor did n
ot?
You can purchase Walk the Wild With Me at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you RACHEL ATWOOD for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Walk the Wild With Me by Rachel Atwood. 

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jbnlatestinterviews

Locke and Key Debuts February 7th on Netflix - Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez



After their father is murdered under mysterious circumstances, the three Locke siblings and their mother move into their ancestral home, Keyhouse, which they discover is full of magical keys that may be connected to their father's death. As the Locke children explore the different keys and their unique powers, a mysterious demon awakens — and will stop at nothing to steal them. From Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) and Meredith Averill (The Haunting of Hill House), the series is a coming-of-age mystery about love, loss, and the unshakable bonds that define family.

Locke and Key on Netflix is the long awaited television adaptation of the best-selling comic book series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez for IDW comics.

Locke and Key stars Darby Stanchfield (Scandal) as Nina Locke, Jackson Robert Scott (IT and IT 2) as Bode Locke, Connor Jessup (American Crime) as Tyler Locke, Emilia Jones (Horrible Histories) as Kinsey Locke, Bill Heck (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) as Rendell Locke, Laysla De Oliveira as Dodge, Thomas Mitchell Barnet as Sam Lesser, and Griffin Gluck (American Vandal) as Gabe.

Executive Producers for Locke and Key are: Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, Aron Eli Coleite, Joe Hill, Chris Ryall with Lydia Antonini and Ted Adams for IDW, Lindsey Springer for Genre Arts, Andy Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti, David Alpert and Rick Jacobs for Circle of Confusion, Tim Southam, John Weber and Frank Siracusa for Take 5.

ABOUT NETFLIX
Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without adverts or commitments.
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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Jennifer G. Edelson Author Interview


Photo Credit: Shoshanna Bettencourt

Jennifer G. Edelson is a writer, trained artist, former attorney, pizza lover, and hard-core Bollywood fan. She has a BFA in Sculpture and a J.D. in law and has taught both creative writing and legal research and writing at several fine institutions, including the University of Minnesota. Originally a California native, she currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, kids, and dog, Hubble after surviving years in the Minnesota tundra. Other than writing, Jennifer loves hiking, traveling, Albert Camus, Dr. Seuss, dark chocolate, coffee, exploring mysterious places, and meeting new people—if you’re human (or otherwise), odds are she’ll probably love you.

        
  


Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: Bad Apple Books (October 6, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1733514007
ISBN-13: 978-1733514002


Praise for BETWEEN WILD & RUIN

“What could be a corny premise turns into an exhilarating, fun ride in Edelson’s adept hands. Her characters are smartly drawn, and readers will easily identify with Ruby, a strong yet insecure young artist on the verge of adulthood, who is still recovering from her tragic past . . . Fans of Twilight and modern fairy tales will fall in love with Ruby and root for her eventual romance.” — Blue Ink Review (Starred Review)

“Between Wild and Ruin is a stunning story of legends, romance, and destiny with themes of starting over, small towns, beauty, and community . . . Edelson perfectly breathes new life in mythology by honoring the oral tradition of a small community and the ruins that bring to life Ruby's destiny.” — Manhattan Book Review

“Highly recommended to mature teens through new adult and adult audiences, this is a story that lingers in the mind long after its final revelation.” — Midwest Book Review

“A great addition to young adult urban fantasy.” — Seattle Book Review

“Descriptions of the New Mexico landscape are rich and atmospheric, arousing the senses with references to the scent of smoke and juniper, the predatory roar of mountain lions, and the brilliant dazzle of stars in the desert sky . . . The writing conveys a sense of timelessness, making it easy to believe Ruby’s sense that the land is spirit-haunted and that Leo, the handsome young man she encounters near the ruins, is somehow connected to it all.” — Clarion Forward

“An intriguing historical tale and an over-the-top love-quadrangle romance.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The paranormal aspects of the tale are credible and richly steeped in traditional lore, and the plot is finely crafted . . . Between Wild and Ruin is most highly recommended.” — Reader’s Favorite (5-Star Review)



What inspired you to pen your first novel?
After I graduated from law school, I clerked for a judge who off-handedly mentioned that all of my briefs read like creative short stories (during law school, my mentor when I interned for the U.S. Fed said the same thing!). He asked me if I’d ever considered writing a book and encouraged me to get on it. At that point, I was like, well, yeah, okay, maybe there’s something to this writing thing. So I sat down and tried writing a memoir about growing up in Los Angeles during what felt like a pretty iconic period, just to see if I could. That was my first book and I’m not really interested in publishing it, but it opened the floodgates. I discovered that I love creative writing fiercely and have been writing like a mad person ever since.

My inspiration for Between Wild and Ruin though, which is my debut published novel, and actually the seventh novel I’ve written, is more specific. I fell in love with the Glorieta Pass and the Pecos Pueblo here in northern New Mexico after exploring the area, and desperately wanted to write a story that took place there. I’m a place-centric person, and often fall for scenery, land, and the feel of a location, and end up wanting to write a novel about an area long before I figure out the plot or story. In that way, my story’s setting is often as much a character as the people, which is definitely the case in Between Wild and Ruin.

Tell us your latest news.
Aside from working on Between Wild and Ruin’s sequel, Wild Open Faces, I'm currently working with a publisher on a YA contemporary/sci-fi mashup I pitched as 'Pump Up the Volume' meets 'Close Encounters of a Third Kind.' On the side, I’ve also been working on a novel adaptation of one of my short-stories that took a first-place prize in fiction a couple years back, about a young woman who travels across the U.S. on a Greyhound bus robbing mini-marts (you can find that one on line HERE). Like Between Wild and Ruin, the story mostly takes place in New Mexico, and I guess I imagine it as this maybe-romantic, definitely gritty YA neo-western. Other than that, I've got another two books outlined and ready to go, and a ton of promotional work for Between Wild and Ruin to get ahead of.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
My writing influences vary. I read A LOT, especially in the genre I most often write in, which is Young Adult fiction. But I've been in love with Albert Camus since college. His work inspires me; his writing, both his prose and the subjects he writes about, challenges me to examine meaning, to dig deeper when I write and when I interact with people. Vladimir Nabokov, Brett Easton Ellis, Heidi Julavits, Phillip Roth, and Chuck Palahniuk are also big writing influences, for many diverse, weird, and divergent reasons. Deeply flawed characters that still manage to capture and hold a reader’s interest, and stories that challenge notions of identity particularly interest me.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
It’s super rewarding to hop on Amazon or Goodreads and see new book reviews from strangers who really loved Between Wild and Ruin. I’ve got pretty thick skin, so I’m not terribly offended when people don’t love the book, but it is thrilling and definitely rewarding knowing something about the story really strikes a chord with people. Ultimately, for me at least, that’s what it’s all about. I write because I love writing, but I’m not going to lie and say I don’t want other people to love my writing too. Personally, I adore reading; reading a good book is the best kind of escapism. So it means a lot to me knowing I managed to return the favor where my readers are concerned.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I’m not sure I’m trying to communicate a message as much as a feeling. That exciting, sometimes breathless moment that comes from experiencing ‘firsts’ and facing the unknown. Of connecting over unexpected emotions, and backgrounds, and alliances, not to mention the rollercoaster that comes with being in love. A few reviewers mentioned how sensory and atmospheric Between Wild and Ruin’s writing is, that they could see, smell, and hear everything as they read, and that because of it, were right there in the Glorieta Pass with Ruby throughout the story. I agree and hope readers find themselves immersed in a story that wholly transports them both emotionally and intellectually to the heart of La Luna, New Mexico, and into Ruby’s unique world. Of course I’d also love it, if the story made readers wonder more about big picture things. But if all people ever get from Between Wild and Ruin is a few fun hours of enjoyable reading — if all the book is for people is super effective escapism — I’ll still be really happy.

In your debut novel; BETWEEN WILD & RUIN, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
Set against a Northern New Mexico backdrop, Between Wild and Ruin is a young adult paranormal romance-slash-coming of age story that captures the wild and whimsical pulse of New Mexico, through the eyes of its characters Ruby Brooks, Angel Ruiz, and Ezra Lucero. The first book in the Wild and Ruin series, Between Wild and Ruin explores the time-tested credo ‘never judge a book by its cover’ through a paranormal lens, weaving Puebloan, Mexican, and Hispanic folklore and Southwest cultural narratives into tightly written, high-concept fiction ‘brimming with mystery, intrigue,’ and as Kirkus Reviews puts it, an “intriguing historical drama and an over-the top quadrangle romance.”

I’m a bit of a (wannabe) armchair philosopher, and I really tried to subtly question concepts like ‘truth,’ ‘meaning,’ and ‘reality’ throughout the plot. Ultimately, I also wanted the book’s characters to be walking around wondering, “Who am I really?” in a way that caught my readers up in the mystery just as thoroughly. In that vein, on its face at least, Between Wild and Ruin is also a bit of a Beauty and the Beast story. In fact a lot of readers have drawn parallel references to that specific fairytale.

I’ll include the copy from the book’s back jacket below, but rather than give the plot away, I’ll just sum up the rest by saying that the book’s title is pretty apt. Overall, the story is as much about wild spaces, feelings, and people, as it is plot-driven. Plus the plot involves an old pueblo ruin. And Ruby and Ezra are caught between choices about their lives, the nature of reality, and each other, that could literally lead to ruin.

FROM THE BACK JACKET COPY
Truth, like love, isn't always obvious.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks has never had a boyfriend. After moving to small-town La Luna, New Mexico following her mother’s untimely death, boys aren’t even on her radar. Ruby just wants to forget the last horrible year and blend in. But when she discovers an ancient pueblo ruin in the forest behind her house, and meets Ezra, a bitter recluse whose once-perfect face was destroyed in an accident he won’t talk about; Angel, La Luna’s handsome sheriff’s deputy, and Leo, a stranger who only appears near the ruin, Ruby finds herself teetering between love, mystery, and other worlds. What happened to Ezra’s face? And why is she so attracted to the one boy in town everyone despises? As Ruby unravels her own connections to both Ezra and the pueblo ruin, she’ll learn surfaces are deceiving. Especially in the heart of New Mexico, where spirits and legends aren’t always just campfire stories.

What part of Ruby did you enjoy writing the most?
Even now, as I finish the sequel, I’m still getting to know Ruby. We’re still growing together. So this may change. But overall, I really enjoyed experiencing being in such a fantastical situation with her; discovering her quirks and flushing out how she reacted to the unexpected, not to mention how strong she is when it comes to sticking to her laurels. But the romance is my favorite part of the book, and I 100% loved falling in love for the first time with her. Fleshing Ruby out as a wholly independent person in relation to the males in her life, and in the context of her eventual romance, was, and still is, my absolute favorite part of developing her character.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’ve written numerous books and short stories, and in more than half of them I’ve really fallen for my characters. But if we’re talking Between Wild and Ruin, then oh my gosh, I’d LOVE to introduce Ezra to any number of Christina Lauren’s characters. I think one of the reasons the love story in Between Wild and Ruin works so well for people, is because the writer (me!) is absolutely smitten with Ezra. But because Ezra is confined to a young adult world, I’m less at liberty to flesh him out in ways I might in a ‘grown up’ love story. I love almost all of Christina Lauren’s female and male protagonists from across the spectrum because they’re usually smart, savvy, self-sufficient badasses who have their #$@! together, so it’d be hard to pick just one character from just one book. But if I were to pair Ezra with any one of them, aside from relishing seeing Ezra in what I’ll just nicely say are more ‘adult’ situations, I’d love to see how they’d all react and relate to a flawed and enigmatic, but equally strong male like Ezra.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
You are good enough. Trust yourself. And remember, you’re the best friend you’ll ever have. Don’t ever take advantage of that relationship.

Best date you've ever had?
Hmmmm . . . I’ve been lucky enough to have gone on a lot of great dates, so this one is harder to answer. Also, my husband will probably read this so in the interest of marital harmony, I should probably answer smartly. So — a couple months after I started dating my husband, he took me up to Northern Minnesota to visit an inactive mine where he was working with the University of Minnesota’s physics department on a neutrino experiment deep underground. After we toured the mine, we spent the weekend with one of his friends at a log cabin compound in the woods by a lake. It was a beautiful but crisp Spring weekend, and my then boyfriend now husband (who’s brain I’d become entirely smitten with that weekend), and I, slept in an open-air cabin under a zillion blankets that made us feel like we were roughing it in the tundra. One night we were outside around a bonfire, and in-between talking physics and the universe, my now-husband leaned over the campfire and mouthed that he loved me. It was the first time he said it, so I wondered if I imagined it. But when I asked him later that night, he confirmed he did. That night, but the whole weekend really, was pretty magical.

What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
Probably being a hostess at a coffee shop called Pages in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley that’s now long gone. It sucked! I waited on a lot of famous people who were total monsters. On the flip side, the coffee shop was also the setting for a couple of scenes in Brett Easton Ellis’ novel Less Than Zero, which had been released a few years prior, and some of the graffiti Ellis mentions in the book was actually still there on the bathroom walls. I was really into the book at the time, so my teenaged brain was really dazzled by it.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I tend to think that all the things I’ve gone through taught me something or another, and that going back or doing something differently would sort of be like looking a gift horse in the mouth. Theoretically, there are a lot of things in my life I’d change or do differently, but in actuality I’d probably never risk losing the things I have now that I love. So rather than plunge the depths of my would-have should-have arsenal — and trust me it’s there — I’ll just pick one of my various trips abroad. Narrowing it down, I might go with my last trip to Tokyo. I was in kind of funk last time I visited Japan, and I’d love to go back, hit reset, and knock myself into a better mood so I could appreciate the city more in that moment, then in hindsight.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?

True love. Every time. I’m a sucker for love and equally unapologetic about how much of a sniveling baby I am when it doesn’t work out. What’s the saying? “It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” Yep, I’m all about that.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I was a super difficult teenager. As in, really x a thousand difficult. I was also uber sensitive in this very lonely ‘who am I, what’s the meaning of life’ way. Because of that, I spent way too much time looking for ‘answers’ and ignoring consequences. There’s this quote by Albert Camus that goes: “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” Though I take it with a grain of salt, getting older and looking back at what felt so permanent at the time but wasn’t, has better enabled me to take ideas like this to heart. So though I still spend a good amount of time thinking about meaning, perspective has been a lifesaver. Still, the stuff that’s lingered . . . I know as well today as I did back then, that those feelings are not only part of the human condition, but a condition (maybe rightfully) endemic to teenagers everywhere. I still feel it, and it’s really informed everything I write. It’s also partly why I love writing in the YA genre. Most adults don’t give kids and teens enough credit for being the smart, savvy, sensitive, and super creative people they truly are. I acknowledge that, and I like writing stories that both resonates with them AND respects those feelings.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
Volume-wise, all the matter that makes up the human race could fit into a lump of silly putty. In other words, an atom’s nucleus is relatively empty; it’s made of 99.9999999999999 percent empty space. So if you reduced every human on Earth to their most basic components, and then squished all those components into a blob, you’d end up for real with a smaller than palm-sized lump of material. Weird. Ridiculous. Mind blown.

TEN FAVORITE READS EVER
(P.S. This one is super hard because I have A LOT of favorites, so I’m taking liberties here and making it a baker’s dozen J)
  • 1. The Plague — Albert Camus
  • 2. An American Tragedy — Theodore Dreiser
  • 3. American Pastoral — Phillip Roth
  • 4. American Psycho — Brett Easton Ellis
  • 5. Tie between Invitation to a Beheading and Bend Sinister — Vladimir Nabokov
  • 6. Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen
  • 7. Weathering Heights — Emily Bronte
  • 8. Beautiful Bastard — Christina Lauren
  • 9. Tie between The Bean Trees and Animal Dreams— Barbara Kingsolver
  • 10. All the Bright Places — Jennifer Niven
  • 11. Where She Went (The sequel to If I Stay) — Gayle Foreman
  • 12. Outlander — Diana Gabaldon
  • 13. I Was Amelia Earhart — Jane Mendelsohn

Truth, like love, isn't always obvious.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks has never had a boyfriend. After moving to small-town La Luna, New Mexico following her mother’s untimely death, boys aren’t even on her radar. Ruby just wants to forget the last horrible year and blend in. But when she discovers an ancient pueblo ruin in the forest behind her house, and meets Ezra, a bitter recluse whose once-perfect face was destroyed in an accident he won’t talk about; Angel, La Luna’s handsome sheriff’s deputy, and Leo, a stranger who only appears near the ruin, Ruby finds herself teetering between love, mystery, and other worlds. What happened to Ezra’s face? And why is she so attracted to the one boy in town everyone despises? As Ruby unravels her own connections to both Ezra and the pueblo ruin, she’ll learn surfaces are deceiving. Especially in the heart of New Mexico, where spirits and legends aren’t always just campfire stories.

 

Set against a Northern New Mexico backdrop, Between Wild and Ruin is a young adult coming-of-age story that captures the wild and whimsical pulse of New Mexico through the eyes of teens Ruby Brooks, Angel Ruiz, and Ezra Lucero. The first book in the Wild and Ruin series, Between Wild and Ruin explores the time-tested credo ‘never judge a book by its cover’ through a paranormal lens, weaving Puebloan and Hispanic folklore and Southwest cultural narratives into tightly written, high-concept fiction ‘brimming with mystery, intrigue,’ and as Kirkus Reviews puts it, an “intriguing historical drama and an over-the top quadrangle romance.”

You can purchase Between Wild & Ruin at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JENNIFER G. EDELSON for making this giveaway possible.

1 Winner will receive an Exclusive Swag Bag from Jennifer G. Edelson.
WEEK ONE - INTERVIEWS/GUEST POSTS
DECEMBER 2nd MONDAY BookHounds YA INTERVIEW 
DECEMBER 3rd TUESDAY Wishful Endings INTERVIEW 
DECEMBER 4th WEDNESDAY JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW 
DECEMBER 5th THURSDAY A Dream Within A Dream EXCERPT
DECEMBER 5th THURSDAY Stephanie's Life of Determination REVIEW & GUEST POST
DECEMBER 6th FRIDAY Gwendalyn's Books REVIEW

WEEK TWO - REVIEWS
DECEMBER 9th MONDAY Insane About Books REVIEW 
DECEMBER 10th TUESDAY Book Queen Reviews REVIEW
DECEMBER 11th WEDNESDAY TTC Books and More REVIEW
DECEMBER 12th THURSDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW
DECEMBER 12th THURSDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW
DECEMBER 13th FRIDAY Movies, Shows, & Books REVIEW

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Virginia Kantra Author Interview


Photo Credit: Michael Ritchey

New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra is the author of almost thirty novels. Her stories have earned numerous awards including two Romance Writers of America's RITA® Awards, ten RITA® nominations, and two National Readers' Choice Awards. Carolina Dreaming, the fifth book in her Dare Island series, won the 2017 RITA® Award for Best Contemporary Romance - Midlength and was named one of BookPage's Top Ten Romance Novels of 2016. Virginia is married to her college sweetheart, a coffee shop owner who keeps her well supplied with caffeine and material. They make their home in North Carolina, where they raised three (mostly adult) children. She is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling, and the power of love. Her favorite thing to make for dinner? Reservations.
        
  


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I’ve been making up stories all my life. I wrote fairytales for my younger cousins to bribe them to go to bed and plays that I performed with my sister on our neighbors’ porch. The idea that I could get paid to write always seemed like a dream come true. But it wasn’t until my youngest child started kindergarten that I began to write seriously for a particular market.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
This book is dedicated to my dad, who died before I could finish it, and my mom, who had some serious health issues after dad’s death, which was definitely distracting and made it fairly wrenching to write some of the father/daughter bits. Also the hospital scenes.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
I’ve got to say Little Women, right?

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Well, the RITA Awards stick out. Bounding onstage for that gold statuette was obviously a big moment.

But over the course of a career, you recognize it’s the little moments that matter most. When a writer you’ve idolized forever says something that makes you realize she’s actually read your work. When a reader tells you that your story helped her get through her kid being bullied in school or her mother’s illness. There’s no substitute for that.

In your new book; MEG & JO, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
Meg & Jo is a modern re-telling of Little Women, with the March sisters aged up to their twenties—what I think of as the contemporary “coming of age,” when you’re trying to figure out who you are apart from your parents and what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Meg and Jo?
The March sisters are so archetypal. Everybody thinks they knows them, either from the book or the movies (esp. the 1994 version): Meg, the traditional oldest sister; Jo, the smart, independent one; shy, sensitive Beth; and Amy, the artistic brat. But they really resist stereotypes. As I was writing them, they kept refusing to be pigeon-holed. That’s what I loved about the original Little Women and what I hope I captured—the diversity we have as women.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d love to introduce Jo March to Lizzie Bennet in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Who has had the most influence in your life?
I was my daddy’s girl, and sometimes I open my mouth and my mother’s voice comes out. But I’d have to say my husband, because he’s always seen me, you know?

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I grew up on the Main Line, going to camp and Cape Cod. My husband spent his summers working in the steel mills with his father. So, the summer after we started dating, I went home and took every temp job I could find—selling flooring, doing clerical work for this seedy insurance agency, sewing costumes for summer stock. Anything.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Take a risk—on a vacation, a move, a job, a love, a child.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I’m good, thanks. I never want to be a teenager again, that’s for sure.

Best date you've ever had?
My best date actually had a terrible start. My husband was in grad school, and we had one baby and maybe another on the way and no money. So I told him we should take things easy for my birthday that year, and I baked my own cake—with our toddler helping, of course. Well, by the time he got home, I was bawling on the kitchen floor, pregnant, with the cake in the oven and the kiddo on my lap. And within an hour that man got a babysitter and a dinner reservation at this little French bistro we used to go to when we were dating.

Which is why I sympathized so much with Meg in this book. And also why my husband will never, ever trust me again when I tell him not to make a fuss on my birthday.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
My hair looks like crap.

TEN REASONS TO READ MEG & JO
  • Because you loved Little Women.
  • Because you never read Little Women.
  • Because you can’t wait for the Little Women movie!
  • Because you have a sister and you love her.
  • But sometimes you can’t stand her.
  • Because you know that there are lots of different ways to be a successful adult woman.
  • But you don’t know what they are.
  • Because you love Christmas stories.
  • Because you want to be reminded that families can pull together in tough times.
  • Because you want to know if/who is the right match for independent Jo.

The timeless classic Little Women inspired this heartwarming modern tale of four sisters from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.

The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.

Praise for MEG AND JO

“I don’t know of another author who could do justice to Little Women. In a warm, realistic, and humorous voice, Virginia Kantra knocks it out of the park with Meg & Jo in this rich retelling of the beloved classic.” —New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins

“Kantra blends just enough of Alcott’s story of four close-knit sisters and their myriad tribulations with clever and timely new elements...The imaginative storytelling and sparkling prose make this a winner.” —Publishers Weekly

“Those who gravitate toward family-centric novels with twists along the way will enjoy this novel, and fans of Alcott's original will appreciate this modern take on the beloved classic.” —Booklist

“A thought-provoking adaptation of a beloved classic.” —Kirkus Reviews

You can purchase Meg and Jo at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you VIRGINIA KANTRA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra.

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