R.S. Belcher

THE SHOTGUN ARCANA Official Blog Tour

Anthony Breznican

Brutal Youth

Howard Shapiro

THE HOCKEY SAINT Official Blog Tour

Kass Morgan

Day 21

Karen Akins

LOOP

Michael Grant

BZRK APOCALYPSE

Mary Amato

Get Happy

Lauren Sabel

Vivian Devine is Dead

R.S. Belcher

THE SHOTGUN ARCANA

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth Swag Giveaway


Happy Birthday Jennifer!

Jennifer Bosworth lives in Los Angeles, California, where lightning hardly ever strikes, but when it does she takes cover. She is the writer half of a writer/director team with her husband, Ryan Bosworth.




Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.




Since it's Jenn's Birthday, I wanted to celebrate by giving away a complete Struck Swag by Jennifer Bosworth.
Alright Book Nerds, let's all Wish Jennifer an Amazing Birthday.
1 Winner will receive a copy of Struck, Signed bookplate & Sticker.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jay Mims Guest Post



Book Nerd Guest Post

I’m a writer, but in my day job I teach. September is the release date for the second book of the Dan Landis mystery series, part two of the Oncoming Storm Quartet. And by that I mean a four book series, not a Meteorological themed singing group. Though admittedly that would be awesome. I originally came up with the idea of Dan Landis, detective-extraordinaire when I hit my head. I was standing on the toilet, attempting to hang a clock. The porcelain was wet, my foot slipped, and I hit my head on the sink. When I came to I had a vision…no, wait that’s Back to the Future. I currently live in rural South Carolina, which is a roundabout way of saying I live IN South Carolina.

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Hello Gentle Readers

If you’re reading this on June 28th, then it’s my sister’s birthday. I only mention this because I forgot to get her a present, and I think name-dropping her on a prestigious blog such as this more than makes up for not getting a present. Plus I plan on stopping at Walgreens for a card and possibly a case of water before going to her surprise party. Which probably isn’t much of a surprise at this point. She’s gotten on this health kick lately, and healthy people like water, right? I don’t know, maybe a granola bar or something. Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE!

When I was in first grade my teacher was Mrs. Sanders. She was one of those unusual breeds of people that are patient, kind, intelligent, and have a general desire to see people reach their potential and excel at life. In other words a Teacher. And she saw this daydreaming kid who always had his nose in a book, talked too much, and tended to have the survival instincts of a beetroot. And she saw potential there. When I started making up stories about pirates and astronauts, and at one point a clever alliance between Blue Jays and Robins against the maniacal Squirrel army…she actually encouraged it. She made me promise that I’d dedicate my first novel to her.

Skip to October 2011. I’m at my first book signing at Fiction Addiction of Greenville, SC. And in walks Mrs. Sanders, looking exactly how I remember her. She hadn’t bought a book yet, and after the requisite hugs, I handed her one, and watched her start flipping through it. She stopped at the dedication page. For those who don’t have a copy of THE FIVE SANTAS on hand, here’s what she saw:

This book is dedicated to Mrs. Rita Sanders who in elementary school made me promise that I would dedicate my first book to her. Thank you Mrs. Rita.

Sometimes it’s nice to be able to give back. Sometimes it’s nice to let people know how much they mean to you. And maybe once in a lifetime you get to make someone cry tears of joy.

I hope you’ll give my books a chance. THE FIVE SANTAS is a cozy mystery where Dan Landis works at a Department Store, and discovers someone wants to kill Santa. It becomes his job to protect Santa, save the day, and try to discover the true meaning of Christmas. And get a present for his sidekick Abbey, steer clear of a gun-toting cowboy named Tex, and not get fired by the snooty Store Manager Mr. Peters. But, you know, that meaning of Christmas stuff is important too. The sequel CULT OF KOO-KWAY will be available in September. And don’t worry you frugal readers, barring global catastrophe Jean Booknerd will have an interview and giveaway for that book. In the meantime, my work is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or you can order directly from my publisher at Staccatopublishing.com.

You can follow me online if you’d like:
Twitter: @JayMimsey
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jay-Mims/159855220771076
Blog: http://themimsey.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5179719.Jay_Mims



Dan Landis is a private investigator used to peeping in windows and taking awkward pictures to make a buck. This winter, to make a few more, he agreed to help out a local department store by taking a job in their Loss Prevention department.

Boring right? Wrong.

A local jewelry store gets robbed and then the bodies start piling up. Red suited, fur trimmed, white bearded bodies. And Dan's the one who keeps showing up at all the wrong places. It won't be long before Dan is spending the holiday behind bars if he can't figure this one out.


You can purchase The Five Santas at the following Retailers:
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Jay for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive one e-copy of The Five Santas by Jay Mims.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Courtney Summers Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. When she was 14, she dropped out of high school so she could pursue her education. Now she writes gritty young adult novels.

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What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

That the traditional education system isn't for everyone.

Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?

It depends on what kind of story you're telling. :)

What are “Character Rules” and give us some examples.

I have never heard of Character Rules, but some things I keep in mind when I'm writing my own characters are to make sure their actions are consistent with the personality I've developed, so they are as realistic as possible.

What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?

Letting the work go can be hard. An author goes through that every time they release a book and sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's not. My advice is to always work on something new to make that easier.

In your new book, This is not a Test; can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?

This Is Not a Test is about six teens trapped inside their high school during the zombie apocalypse, told through the perspective of a girl who doesn't want to live.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Sloane?

I always assumed I would be AWESOME in a zombie apocalypse but when I started creating Sloane, I had to ask myself if that was really true. As I wrote, I realized I related to her take on things more than I didn't; it would be hard to continue in that kind of situation without having anything worth continuing for.

Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?

Nope. But when I'm in the thick of a book and it's getting hard, I try to remind myself "the only way out is through."

If you could introduce Sloane to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I like keeping my characters in the bubbles they live in. :)

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

My next book, All the Rage, comes out from St. Martin's in 2013. It's a psychological thriller about a girl who blackmails a rich classmate and then wakes up on a road with no memory of the night before.

What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

I'm fortunate that I'm asked pretty great questions!

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?

It's too horrifying to speak of!

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

I'm not ready to give up the lie enough to tell you.

If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?

I own a lot of Archie comics because Archie comics are awesome. (That and the bodies.) ;)

When was the last time you cried?

I cry easily! And sometimes over silly things like touching commercials, so it's hard to keep track. :)

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

My mom or my sister.

Where can readers stalk you?
They can check out my website: http://courtneysummers.ca
Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/courtney_s 
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Courtney-Summers/145262370138

Thanks for having me on your blog, Jean!



It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to? 


The raw and horrifying This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers delivers a very fascinating look into the alternate future. The main character, Sloane, is in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Along with several other teenagers, they are running for their lives and find their old high school as their sanctuary. Barricading themselves inside the school, they must figure out how they will survive. Although these kids are faced with the same predicament, differences overcome their need to stick together.

Courtney has devised an amazing story that will have readers truly feel the fear contained in this book. The zombie apocalypse that she describes is wonderful. She makes a horrifying incident into a magnificent work of literature. The interactions between characters are realistic and do not at all feel fabricated. It is also thought-provoking as it will have readers demising a survival plan in case of a life-threatening epidemic. Courtney digs deep into readers’ minds and leaves a bold feeling of fear and confusion.

Forget all the things you know about zombies. This is a unique approach to the zombie genre that generates a very intense and interesting story.Courtney presents us with such a simple situation but provides a deep analysis of how we interact with one another in the most severe survival situations. She even takes it up a notch as the story is told from the perspective of a depressed Sloan who has lost all interest of living. The psychological factor is very powerful and meaningful. This book has all the ingredients of a great story.


You can purchase This is Not a Test at the following Retailers:
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Courtney for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a copy of This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Veronica Rossi Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

VERONICA ROSSI was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Growing up, she lived in several countries and cities around the world, finally settling in Northern California with her husband and two sons. She completed undergraduate studies at UCLA and then went on to study fine art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. When not writing or painting, she chases after her boys, who make her laugh every day, and who teach her about love that's a million gazillion times bigger than the ocean. UNDER THE NEVER SKY is her first novel.

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Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

This is a tough question! I don’t think there was a defining moment, because I was always writing and sketching. For me, the two went hand in hand from the very beginning; I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t writing and doodling stories.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

Stories bring us together. They show us how we’re all alike. They teach us and entertain us. What’s better than that?

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Two things popped into my mind. The first piece of advice, given to me by a writing instructor years ago, was “Every scene has to have a heart.” For some reason, that really resonated with me. When I write I often ask myself what the emotional truth is. It’s a great question to keep in the back of your mind.

The second thing was said to me recently by Kimberley Derting, author of THE BODY FINDER and THE PLEDGE series. She told me to finish a book and move on and don’t look back. I’m getting to the point now where I have written a few books and I don’t want to spend any time wondering what I could have done better or different. I want to keep my sights focused on the next thing—on getting better and having more fun with each project. I don’t Kim has any idea how helpful that piece of advice has been for me.

In your new book, Under the Never Sky, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?

UTNS is a post-apocalyptic story about two teenagers from very different societies. Aria comes from a technologically advanced enclosed city, where there’s no pain or illness. Peregrine comes from the outer world, which is the exact opposite. It’s a harsh and violent existence and survival is the only rule.

The story begins when Aria is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, and she’s thrust to the outer world. She doesn’t have the immunities to survive on the outside for long, so it’s the journey she makes in trying to clear her name and return home. Perry has a parallel storyline—the book is told from both of their viewpoints.

There is plenty of action and romance, so readers who enjoy that should pick it up! UTNS is the first in a trilogy about Aria and Perry and their world. The second book, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, will be released in January of 2013.

What part of Aria did you enjoy writing the most?

I enjoyed writing her transformation, both emotional and physical. She grew a lot throughout the book. She inspired me.

If you could introduce Perry to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I have to say, I’d love to introduce Perry and Gale from The Hunger Games. They are both young men who had to grow up too quickly. They’re both loyal. They’re both hunters. I think they’d hit it off.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I’m working on a short story about Roar and Liv (secondary characters from UTNS) right now, which will be available this fall. It’s been so much fun to write in Roar’s point of view! Details on that will be on my website soon.

I’ve also started working on the next project, after the UTNS trilogy. I’m very, very excited about it, but I can’t provide any details yet or my agent will be displeased with me.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

How tall are you?

(I’m only 5’4” and I always say 5’5”. I don’t know why. Like that extra inch propels me into being considered “tall.” I just wish I were taller, I guess.)

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

Write. Read. Repeat.

Seriously. There are no shortcuts. Just practice, practice, practice and you’ll get closer every day.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

My husband. He’s my best friend. My mom would be a close second.

Who was your first boyfriend?

Whoa. This feels sort of private. Ummm…. Tyler Stewart. He was a nice guy. We went to the movies with his parents.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?

Cheese. Pizza. Pasta. Fish tacos. I’m sorry. I can’t come up with a single answer for this question. I love food too much. And now I’m getting hungry…

Where can readers stalk you?

I’m on facebook and twitter. (Veronica Rossi, Author and @V_Rossibooks)
And you can also reach me through my website: www.veronicarossi.com

Thank you so much for having me!



Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

In her enthralling debut, Veronica Rossi sends readers on an unforgettable adventure set in a world brimming with harshness and beauty.



In Under the Never Sky, author Veronica Rossi definitely delivered a worthy dystopian novel with very unique sci-fi elements. Readers are thrown into a world where the Earth is literally falling apart. “Aether” storms are consuming the grounds and leaving it unfit to live for the survivors. To protect their world and their sanity, a portion of the population determined it would build a giant dome to shield them from the destructive storms. To keep their mind occupied, they developed ways to interact with others by using virtual reality technology.

The main protagonist, Aria, has always lived a sheltered life away from the dangers of this crumbling world. When her mother goes missing, she discovers things the hard way. On the other hand, there is Perry who is an “outsider” that learned the basic requirements for survival outside of the dome. When these two meet, it is like two worlds colliding. Veronica provides readers with skillfully detailed descriptions of their relationship. Their steady development felt realistic and helped with the already intriguing story.

There is more to this story that is noteworthy. There are secrets that are just jaw dropping. Veronica’s writing etiquette is laced with style and care. She is an expert of writing the unimaginable and makes readers think twice that they can possibly happen. Her approach with the “Aether” storms is brilliant and provided a highly captivating concept with the civilized vs. savage variance. Under the Never Sky is excellently crafted. Great world-building, awesome character development, and a story that is truly thought-provoking.

You can purchase Under the Never Sky at the following Retailers:
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Veronica for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive a copy of Under the Never Sky & Signed Bookmark by Veronica Rossi.
2 Winners will receive one Signed Bookmark by Veronica Rossi.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Megan Crewe Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two cats (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she has yet to make friends with a ghost, though she welcomes the opportunity. Her first novel, GIVE UP THE GHOST, was published by Henry Holt in 2009 and is now out in paperback. Her second novel, THE WAY WE FALL, is coming in January 2012 from Disney-Hyperion.


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What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?

I don’t actually remember what the first YA book I read was, but I think I started reading YA via my cousins, who were two years older. They were both avid readers and had shelves full of YA horror—Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine and the like—and during family visits I’d often end up picking up one. I’d have been around ten. Not long after that, I started working through the small YA section at my local library, having exhausted the children’s section.

I didn’t know I was going to write YA until sometime in my twenties, though. When I was a teenager, I wrote about teens because that was what I knew. I always assumed when I got older I’d write about older characters. But it turned out that after I got older I still enjoyed writing about teenaged characters more than adult ones. There’s just something about that period in people’s lives: you’re experiencing so many firsts, and making decisions about what sort of person you want to be. It’s all very intense, which makes for powerful stories.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

The first book I queried agents with was not YA, but a chapter book (early MG). It’s the only book for that age range I’ve written, perhaps because it didn’t end up working out.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first book during most of my freshman year of high school (so I was 13 when I started and 14 when I finished). I’d tried to write novels before it, but the stories either turned out shorter than I expected or I wasn’t able to finish them. This one, which ended up being over 200 pages long, was a very derivative high fantasy novel, and I knew pretty much as soon as I’d finished the first draft that it wasn’t so great, but it was a big step just knowing I could finish a whole book.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

The most important thing I learned wasn’t anything explicitly taught, but more what I picked up through my experiences and observations. Which is that, everyone’s going to have expectations of you, and judge you, and many of those expectations and judgments are going to be contradictory, and there’s really nothing you can do about that. If you want to be happy, you’re best off doing the things you enjoy and as much as possible not worrying about what anyone else thinks of them or you.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Creative, determined, introverted.

Did you learn anything from writing The Way We Fall and what was it?

I learned an awful lot about viruses and epidemics during the research for the book. As for the writing itself, it was the first time I’ve written a book that focused so strongly on the mood, and so I’m sure I learned a lot about setting the scene and getting across a particular atmosphere, just by working through that.

For those who are unfamiliar with Kaelyn, how would you introduce her?

Kaelyn is a sixteen-year-old girl who’s always had interests most of her peers found kind of odd—she loves animals and would spend hours watching them and writing observations, wading through ponds or climbing trees to get a better look. She finds animals a lot easier to understand than people, and after moving to a busy and often overwhelming big city when her father was transferred for work, she retreated almost completely into her shell. But now that she’s back in her small home town, she’s decided it’s time to stop being so shy and awkward, and is making an effort to really get to know people.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I haven’t been directly mentored by anyone. I’d say the two writers who had the most influence over my writing as I was growing up are Roald Dahl and Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

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

If something’s really important to you, and makes you happy, don’t let anyone tell you that you have to give it up—that it’s too childish or impractical. There’s room in everyone’s life for dreams and pure fun.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

Well, I try to be honest as much as possible. The closest would probably be, if someone asks me about a popular book that I didn’t care for, I won’t say very much about it. I don’t believe in publicly bashing someone else’s work just because it’s not to my tastes.

Who was your first boyfriend?

My first boyfriend was a guy I met online when I was sixteen, through a local message board (so we lived in the same city and met in person soon after). We dated for four years.

What's the worst summer job you've ever had?

My least favorite summer job was my first one, temping as an admin assistant at my mom’s office when I was 15. It mostly involved filling out forms and photocopying, and there is nothing more boring than standing by the photocopier watching it copy and collate a hundred sets of some thirty page document. It would have looked unprofessional for me to have a book, so I really just had to stand there doing nothing.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

I don’t usually call anyone—I come home and talk to my husband about it. 

When was the last time you cried?

I have to admit I don’t remember, so it obviously wasn’t over anything very catastrophic.

Where can readers stalk you?

I can be looked up on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Tumblr, and I have a blog on my website as well. All my contact details and links are here: http://www.megancrewe.com/contact.html



When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.



Megan Crewe’s suspenseful and uniquely written book, The Way We Fall, is a read that many fans of Dystopian literature will enjoy. It is written through Kaelyn’s letters to her best friend, Leo. This approach may have readers question if it will supply enough development but as soon as the first letter is consumed, all presumptions are forgotten. In fact, it provided a more detailed and in-depth look at Kaelyn’s inner feelings that otherwise would not be presented.

The plot is truly amazing, thrilling, and gripping. All the details that revolved around the viruses and its repercussion were comprehensive and seemed practical. It is evident that Megan put in a lot of research into her writing. This kind of dedication set forth in a book makes for a wonderfully written story. Even through Kaelyn’s letters, readers get a full dosage of the secondary characters. Each administered their own weight to this very intriguing storyline.

Megan is a powerhouse storyteller. It was amazing to read a character’s letters that fully developed into a forceful story. It felt more personal with a journalistic approach. The ending presented a perfect way to close the curtain on the storyline’s first book and leaves a slight opening for what is to come next. Megan will have the gears in readers’ mind grinding and have them pleading for the next installment.

You can purchase The Way We Fall at the following Retailers:
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Megan for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive The Way We Fall Swag by Megan Crewe.
(Copy of The Way We Fall, Signed Bookmark, Pen, Bookplate & Magnet)
1 Winner will receive Signed Bookmark, Pen, & Magnet by Mega Crewe.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lewis Buzbee Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

Lewis Buzbee is the author of Fliegelman's Desire, After the Gold Rush, First to Leave Before the Sun, and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. Steinbeck's Ghost, his first novel for younger readers, was selected for the California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award, and was a Smithsonian Notable Book. His second middle grade novel, The Haunting of Charles Dickens, won the Northern California Book Award and was nominated for an Edgar Award. Bridge of Time, will be published in 2012. A bookseller and publisher for over 20 years, he has taught for the last 12 years in the MFA program at University of San Francisco.


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Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

Stories allow us to look at the chaotic world in a real but orderly way. We can better face our fears and disappointments, and the unknown, too, through stories. Humans seem hard-wired for stories, for finding coherent narratives in things, much the same way we seem hard-wired to find faces in patterns or in the cracks of an old painted wall.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

That I’m absolutely terrified of ghost stories and other monstrous tales. I love Poe, for instance, and greatly admire Stephen King, etc., but cannot for the life of me read such tales. And yet, each of my middle grade novels is filled with ghosts, fantastical creatures, weird goings-on. Don’t even get me started on haunted houses. This must be my way of coping.

You grew up in San Jose, was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Easy to pick out. I had never been much of a reader before, but when I was fifteen, I was assigned Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath for a book report, and it blew me away. The night I started reading it, I wrote my first short story—out of sheer compulsion—and haven’t stopped writing since. And within six months, I had read everything Steinbeck ever wrote and moved on from there, reading everything I could get my hands on. I actually put this story—in a slightly altered version—in Steinbeck’s Ghost, where it belongs to the writer Ernest Oster. A signal moment for me, reading that book, one that changed my life.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

This is also retold in Steinbeck’s Ghost. When I was a freshman in college, I had the joy of meeting with Ray Bradbury and spending a few hours talking with him. Among the great pieces of advice he gave me that day, this has ever been my favorite: Writers should eat sandwiches for lunch; that way you can read and eat at the same time. Sound advice that.

What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?

I suppose we all face the same challenges: ourselves. It can be daunting to continue writing, knowing that the world is filled with great books already, and there’s no real need for you to continue. You have to write because you have to write; it’s that simple. The joy is in the writing, and all the rest—publications or prizes or whatever—that’s all extra. I think beginning writers should beware of believing in “writer’s block.” There’s no such thing. If you can’t work on a give piece, write something new. If you can’t go on, you have to go on. Write anything. The only way to the other side of not writing is writing.

Your book Steinbeck's Ghost, can you tell my Book Nerd Kids Community a little about it and why they should read your novel?

It’s a mystery novel, of course. Every novel needs a good mystery, and that’s reason enough to read a book. But here, characters from John Steinbeck’s novels come to life and help the main character Travis see how big the world is, and dare him to go out into that bigger world. Books can give us courage to go out into the unknown; they’re not merely an escape from the bigger world. Books give you courage, I believe.

For those who are unfamiliar with Travis, how would you introduce him?

He’s a pretty typical middle schooler, actually. He’s kinda smart, kinda cool, but mostly, like all middle schoolers, he’s just trying to understand all the changes that are swirling around him. For Travis, he’s stuck between missing his parents—who are now a little too busy with work to spend time with him like they used to—and being on his own, earning his own independence. He, of course, like all of us—middle schoolers or not—simply trying to figure out what comes next in his life.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

What a great question! I suppose I’d like to introduce Travis to Meg the main character in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Travis has read and loves A Wrinkle in Time, and I think the two of them would get on really well. They’re both curious and smart, and they’re both bold and a little timid at the same time. It would be nice for Travis to have someone a little older to help guide him through the changes in his life.

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

Easy. If you want to do something do it, start now. If you want to write a book, or start a band, or paint crazy pictures, or get a job, or travel the world, start now. Don’t wait for some mythical time when “everything is right,” just do it. It may not happen right away, mind you, but it will never happen unless you start. And it’s fun, actually. All the joy is in the doing it. Start now.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished Life is But a Dream by Brian James, which is a beautiful young adult novel about a girl with schizophrenia. The writing is exquisite, and the characters are so compelling. The main character, Sabrina, even though she is ill, is just like the rest of us: the only one who feels different. And she both loves and fears that difference. A great book.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?

Prague, in the Czech Republic. It’s an incredible city that feels like it hasn’t changed in 600 years. It’s the closes I’ve ever been to time travel, like living in the 1400s.

What is your favorite room in your home and outside environment?

My study is in the corner of my living room, and it looks out over 7th Ave, a busy street here in San Francisco. I can read here and write and just stare out the window and watch people go by, and on good nights, I can see the moon rise from behind the houses across the street. And because it’s the living room, I also share time with my wife and daughter here. Feels like a very big room.

What's the worst summer job you've ever had?

I worked at a 7-11 in the summer after my freshman year of college. I’d worked all through high school, washing dishes at different restaurants, so I knew what work was about, and liked it. But being a Slurpee jockey just wasn’t for me. That summer there armed robbreries at 7-11s all around the country, and I was really nervous.

When was the last time you cried?

Probably last night watching some sappy commercial on TV. I cry at the drop of a hat. The last time I really, really cried was not too long ago while reading John Green’s YA novel The Fault in Our Stars, a beautiful and heartbreaking book.

What is your favorite food?

Pizza. Any kind of pizza. My favorite—which my wife and daughter don’t allow in the house—is sausage, pineapple, and anchovy.

Where can readers stalk you?

lewisbuzbee.com or on facebook. I’ve never had a stalker, and I feel a little left out.



It’s been two months since Travis’s family moved from their shabby old house to a development so new that it seems totally unreal. There’s one place, though, where Travis can still connect with his old life: the Salinas library. Travis and his family used to go there together every Saturday, but now he bikes to it alone, re-reading his favorite books: the works of John Steinbeck. Suddenly Travis is seeing Steinbeck’s characters come to life. There’s the homeless man in the alley behind the library, the boy who writes by night in an attic bedroom. Travis has met them before—as a reader. But how can they be here now? And why?


The story within Steinbeck’s Ghost is truly unique. Author Lewis Buzbee tells about a boy, Travis, whose life is turned upside-down when he moves to a new place. He is not adjusting well to his new environment. He find comfort in the library, a place he has always loved. He soon discovers that the library may be closing down due to budget and joins the committee to save it. A mystery quickly reveals itself that Travis and his friends try to solve.

Besides its very unique storyline, the greatest quality of this book is that it encourages young kids to read books. Steinbeck’s novels and its characters are mentioned but it does not require readers to know them beforehand to get a grasp of the plot. Lewis does a great job of describing the mentioned books and will leave readers feeling the need to read them. His writing style and approach of childhood is truly magnificent. Although it is intended for middle graders, young adults and adults will find it appealing. The author’s love for books is apparent as he writes an epic adventure that interlaces many references to Steinbeck’s work and beloved California locations. Lewis is a master at story-telling and Steinbeck’s Ghost just proves that he’s equipped with spectacular writing craftsmanship due to his love of reading. 


You can purchase Steinbeck's Ghost at the following Retailers:
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Lewis for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a HB copy of Steinbeck's Ghost by Lewis Buzbee.
1 Winner will receive a PB copy of Steinbeck's Ghost by Lewis Buzbee.

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