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Sylvain Neuvel

A HISTORY OF WHAT COMES NEXT Official Blog Tour

Sean Penn

BOB HONEY WHO JUST DO STUFF

Jeff Wheeler

KNIGHT'S RANSOM Blog Tour

Tom Bilyeu

Impact Theory

Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

KISSES AND CROISSANTS Official Blog Tour

William L. Myers Jr.

A KILLER'S ALIBI

Mel Darbon

ROSIE LOVES JACK Official Blog Tour

E.E. KNight

NOVICE DRAGONEER

Robert McCaw

DEATH OF A MESSENGER

Gregg Olsen

SNOW CREEK Podcast

Josh Duhamel

THE BUDDY GAMES

Trudi Trueit

THE TIGER'S NEST Offcial Nerd Blast

Evie Green

WE HEAR VOICES

Katherine Johnson, Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore

ONE STEP FURTHER Official Nerd Blast

Christopher Ruocchio

DEMON IN WHITE

Friday, February 26, 2021

Ilaria Bernardini Interview - The Portrait: A Novel


Photo Content from Ilaria Bernardini

Ilaria Bernardini is a prolific talent in Italy, where she has published eight novels, including Faremo Foresta (“We Will Grow a Forest”) which was longlisted for Italy’s presitigious Strega Prize. The Portrait too has been longlisted for the Strega Prize: it was nominated by Academy Award winning director Paolo Sorrentino ( “The great beauty”) She is a Vogue Italia columnist and regular contributor for Rolling Stone . Ilaria also co-wrote the late renowned director Bernardo Bertolucci's last film, The Echo Chamber. She splits her time between London and Milan.

      
  


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Milan, Italy. I now live between Milan, London and Spain, but I call home wherever my son, my husband and my computer are.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My last novel, We will grow a forest, is a very painful yet I think very uplifting, intimate and personal story that somehow managed to become universal for other people, and many women related to it. Touring with that novel was incredibly moving, there were many hugs, tears- we could still hug, remember that thing?- and many women would tell me ‘ this is my story’.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
Feeling lonely, different. And an overwhelming amount of thoughts that was clogging my brain.

Tell us your latest news.
My last three novels are being turned in tv series or movies! Also, I’ve bought a khaki tree and 4 chickens.

Can you tell us when you started THE PORTRAIT, how that came about?
I was sleeping at friends house, in the south of Italy. She is an actress and something about how she was telling me about her life- it was funny, yet painful- started the whole idea. The very slow train that brought me back to the North of Italy the following morning, made it possible for me to focus, dig into that intuition, and stay with the story. By the time I was in Milan I knew I had to begin writing immediately.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
That they stay with the deeper, more philosophical thoughts that the entertaining, fast paced and thrilling plot, forces you to face.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating characters?
That they do come with a voice, a story, and you just have to listen and download what they are already saying.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Anything really. Distraction per se. The phone, coffee, more coffee, water, the phone again, a bird outside.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Study philosophy.

Best date you've ever had?
At a fish&chips near the sea. A bonfire. Many cold beers. Lots of laughing.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
To breastfeeding my son when he was around six or seven months. I would like to see his eyes, the way they were when he was looking at me.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
I really don’t know. One of the dumbest ones was smoking crack whilst alone in Mexico thinking it was weed with some ( very handsome) stranger. Also, I used to sleep under the stars, in a hammock during those weeks.

First Heartbreak?
I had crushes on quite a few of my teachers so they all were impossible loves. And my heart was constantly broken.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
Traveling through South America for many months, with no phone.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
First one. I can then write about it!

Where can readers find you?
I am kind of a hermit and I spend most of my time near a forest. They can find me when I go collect my mail at the po box!

TEN RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME
  • I am a philosopher.
  • I used to be a theater actress.
  • I am a mother.
  • I have 3 sisters and a brother.
  • I don’t use lifts.
  • I walk at least 10 km a day.
  • I am scared of flying. But I fly.
  • I often hide alone in cinema’s and sometimes watch 2 or 3 movies in a row.
  • I drink way too much coffe.
  • I am very often counting, but I’m not sure what I’m counting.
Writing Behind the Scenes
I write every day, whatever happens, on my computer and never by hand. In the mornings I write my novels whilst afternoons are for the movies, columns, or any writing that implies working with other people. I never wait for inspiration and never ask myself about my process: I’m too scared it might interfere with something that is very natural for me.

“Electric. A wildly astute plunge into the depths of love, rivalry, betrayal and the power of women.” —Bill Clegg

An internationally renowned writer, Valeria Costas has dedicated her life to her work and to her secret lover, Martìn Acla, a prominent businessman. When his sudden stroke makes headlines, her world implodes; the idea of losing him is terrifying. Desperate to find a way to be present during her lover's final days, Valeria commissions his artist wife, Isla, to paint her portrait—insinuating herself into Martìn's family home and life.

In the grand, chaotic London mansion where the man they share—husband, father, lover—lies in a coma, Valeria and Isla remain poised on the brink, transfixed by one another. Day after day, the two women talk to each other during the sittings, revealing truths, fragilities and strengths. But does Isla know of the writer's long involvement with Martìn? Does Valeria grasp the secrets that Isla harbors? Amidst their own private turmoil, the stories of their lives are exchanged, and as the portrait takes shape, we watch these complex and extraordinary women struggle while the love of their lives departs, in an unforgettable, breathless tale of deception and mystery that captivates until the very end.

You can purchase The Portrait: A Novel at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ILARIA BERNARDINI for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Portrait: A Novel by Ilaria Bernardini.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Christopher Laine Interview - Screens


Photo Content from Christopher Laine

Christopher Laine is a writer, software architect, and founder of several business and tech ventures.

He studied literature and writing at San Francisco State University. His interests include world mythology and religions, philosophy, science, cooking, and martial arts.

Originally from San Francisco, he is a world traveller who eventually settled in New Zealand with his partner Mary and two children.

"There's a lot to know about ourselves which art and literature, mythology and psychology have yet to teach us. I write from this perspective, that we are not at the end of our story as a species, but clearly just at its beginning."

        
  


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born and raised in and around San Francisco. About 18 years ago, my family and I bailed on SF and moved to Wellington, New Zealand, where my partner and I live to this day.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Getting the chance to talk about Screens is a big one for me. It’s been a huge part of my life for 5 years, so finally getting to talk about it feels great. After that, making my book trailers with talented artists and an amazing filmmaker was huge fun for me.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I love to read, and I love to read strange, creative, edgy things, so that’s what I like to write. I wrote my first novel because I wanted to write something I’d love to read.

Tell us your latest news.
Not much to tell. I am busy promoting Screens, as well as planning my next book. I am an avoid gardener, so I’m rebuilding a garden for some friends, and I’m enjoying NZ summer as much as I can.

Can you tell us when you started SCREENS, how that came about?
Screens was the next of my Seven Coins Drowning series, each of the series focusing in on one of the Seven Deadly Sins. I was up to Sin #4.

I decided to write it in late 2015. I was back in San Francisco for a conference. It’d been a while since I’d been back to the states from New Zealand. I hadn’t really been back to my hometown since 2008 or so. I’d passed through, but not really hung out.

So, there I was on this Muni train, when I noticed something. Everyone on the train was on their mobile phones. I mean everybody. Train full of people, and only me and this older lady sitting by herself were not. Everyone else was gawking into a screen. Eyes glazed; mouths agape. While I watched them, a shudder went up my spine as my messed-up muse came calling with freaky inspiration.

It was existentially unnerving, that little epiphany I had right then. It was a personal epiphany, a stranger-in-a-strange-land dystopian epiphany. I was surrounded by zombies, junkies, all of them totally absorbed in their devices.

“They’re all doped to the gills,” the junkie kid in me chuckled. “Look at them, dude. Look at how much they look like you did back in the day with your tabs and your powder.” And that voice come slithering out of my past was not wrong. That junkie kid I was decided it was time to return, all in the name of what we were seeing. Everyone was completely high, totally hooked. This one guy’s hand was actually shaking.

That was the genesis of it, that little Muni moment. That was when I felt the pieces of my life coalescing around this story I wanted to tell.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope they’re just looking around at our world today, seeing how we’ve sunk into this new way with our technology, an evolutionary cul-de-sac in which we have turned ourselves into addicts for our digital media. Our relationship to our screens has changed us, particularly in the last 10 years. We are very much sunk into a new ‘virtual’ world, which of course means a make-believe one. Not that there isn’t truth on the internet, but we live in an age where what we find online can be manipulated, twisted, turned, reshaped to meet this or that narrative. Plus, we have become obsessed with our devices and the content they provide. I simply want people to bear that in mind as they read, and hopefully get a sense of what the book is driving at on this subject.

Plus, I really hope people find the book scary, interesting, and fun.

What part of your characters did you enjoy writing the most?
I love dialog. I love humour, even grim humour. When I get a chance to inject humour and good, realistic dialog into my work, I am thrilled. One of my favourite parts of Screens this monologue by a bike messenger about these family parties he attends and the guy he meets at them. I laughed out loud as I wrote it. The character was based on a couple guys I knew back in the messenger scene in the late 80s / early 90s, so reading it aloud had me in stitches, mostly because that’s how messengers talked.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d introduce my character Prof. Willingston Willingston to Brian Lumley’s Titus Crow, simply because of their arcane knowledge and time machines and their interactions with the Hounds of Tindalos. I do love a good mad scientist, especially one fighting the Old Ones and the Lovecraftian forces of evil.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
The Joe Job. I have a family to support, and bills to pay, so the day-to-day work I do to keeps us in food and home. However, it also kept me from dedicating myself to Screens. I am a solutions architect, so my job is pretty intense in the software world and requires a lot of thinking time from me. After a whole day of thinking hard about software design, sitting down to think hard for my book could often be a struggle.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Everyone should take a long period of time off if they can. We get stuck in our workaday lives and it can feel like that’s all there is. Taking a goodly chunk of time off gives us a chance to reflect on our lives outside what we do to pay bills and / or get by. It gives us a chance to spiritually reconnect with what matters most to us. Life is short and knowing thyself is the key to really enjoying our short, crazy lives. As my late mother said to me once “Christopher, no one gets to the end and thinks ‘If only I’d worked more’.” Truer words were never spoken.

Best date you've ever had?
Oh, gosh. I’ve not dated in so long, it’s hard to remember dating. I’d say the best I can recall was meeting my date for dinner, and then both of us realising we were way more into dangerous things than either of us imagined. We ended up getting pretty out of control that night. It was amazing for the immediacy of the moment. We only went out that one time, and in many ways the ephemeral nature of that one night only made it especially poignant. We spoke again, but never got to go out again, and then they moved away. Ah well.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I’d go back and tell younger, 20-something me to relax, to calm down, to stop taking everything so seriously, and just enjoy life more. I am a pretty chill guy now, but younger me was an absolute mess. He could have used someone to explain to him that life is about living, not about fretting about it. I’d go back to San Francisco when I first moved out on my own and live it with less anxiety, be more connected with who I am and what matters to me, not what others expected or wanted.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
This one is easy: My tattered but still intact Zo bag from the 90s, my canteen (yeah, I carry a canteen), my notebook for writing/drawing, my book or kindle.

Oh, and a pack of smokes.

First Heartbreak?
My first REAL heartbreak was in my early 20s. I’d had pain in breakups before, but those were all rather prosaic, the usual pain one feels when a relationship ends. It wasn’t until my 20s that I had my first crazy love. You know the one: That love where you’re obsessed with someone who is not obsessed with you. The one where you throw yourself too far into the game and end up getting addicted to the other person. She got bored of me and my obsession, and then bailed on me. I lay in bed for a couple months feeling woe and anguish and all that guff. That was when I realised one person can love another person TOO much, that love can be unhealthy if not tended carefully.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I was a teenager in the early and mid 80s. I will say one thing. Any sugar-coating of the 80s as an ideal time to grow up, especially for teenagers, is a crock. It had its good moments, but it also had plenty of racism and sexism and homophobia and nerd-bashing. In Screens, I talk about what it was like growing up in suburbia back then, and it was no paradise if you were different than the classic white male jock / white female cheerleader type. People my age babble on about how awesome it was. Fuck that. I refuse to play the old person game and rose-colour my youth. It was good and bad, like any youth.

I think if I was to pick a time / place I’d have like to live, it’d be the late 50s / early 60s in major cities. That time and place would have been pretty cool, given my love of the counter-culture and avant garde. Early on, during the beatnik times, I bet it was pretty awesome. The counter culture was small and unheard of by most, which is when it is truly amazing. Once the 60s rolled into the Summer of Love, all the goodness would have been drained out. It was commercialised, turned into just another consumable. But in the beatnik days, the early days of that counter-culture and the civil rights movement, that would have been a bad ass time. I’m not romanticising it at all. I know it was grim in many ways, but it was a time and subculture of change in a society hell-bent on conformity and pushing dead-end social norms. People were into new ideas, poetry, art, literature, film. People saw the power of being artistic, intellectual. Plus, they were all super into espresso, which suits me just fine.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
Ha, well, that’s an interesting one. In Screens, I talk a lot about time travel, especially the idea that any change you make on the ‘timeline’ only splits the timeline in smaller and smaller timelines, more and more universes. If you travel to the past and change things, you end up splitting the universe into two universes: the universe where you changed things, and the universe where you didn’t. I posit the idea that you cannot change the past, only cause it to fissure into more and more universes, all with tiny variations. You can CHECK this out as part of my answer.

If I could do one thing differently, it would be to work less, and spend more time with loved ones, especially those who are gone now. We have no guarantees. Life is far more temporary than we tell ourselves. Be with the people you love while you can. Life doesn’t go on forever.

Where can readers find you?
You can check me out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Medium. My handle on all of them is ‘domingoladron’.

Better yet, biff over to my WEBSITE. I am trying to create a fun writer’s site, one which has content and stuff which helps give my audience that little bit more from my fiction

TEN QUOTES FROM SCREENS
  • “By the summer of (2016), all posts on the internet, as well as all comments or queries to the Manuscript had been wiped from digital existence. Anyone known to have any association with these posts, the Manuscript, or even claiming to have communicated with one of its readers have disappeared or been killed under strange and suspicious circumstances.”
  • “I'm a nobody who's long dead, an anonymous statistic on an obituary you'll never find. I'm John Doe, a white chalk line on a murder scene floor. I doubt you could even find a trace left of who and what I was, no matter how many times you asked Google or Siri or Echo to find me. I am untraceable, a departed soul across an anonymous VPN. I do not register on your monitor, your search screen, or your smartphone. 404: narrator not found.”
  • “I sank into the dark intellectual life of San Francisco. It was the latter part of the 80s, and there was nothing one couldn't do in that haunted place. The 60s and 70s were long gone, so any hippies or swingers were rapidly bloating into middle age. San Francisco had fallen out of favour and was largely ignored by the world. It was the fucking best.”
  • “Let me not hear THEM coming for me. The breathing. That awful breathing, it is everywhere.”
  • “Look at you, Chumley. What are you addicted to? Maybe look at that mobile phone in your hand, that screen you’re gawking into. How much of your life is wrapped up in that digital bong hit? How many binged episodes a week does it take before you start calling it an addiction? A shit ton, apparently. How many likes and shares did your posts get this week, I wonder. You better go check.”
  • “I will never recover from Daniel Vela. I will do my job, and I will hunt this killer with all the rest of the police, but I pray every night to my dying day that I never again see what I saw that night.
  • Daniel Vela comes to me in the night as I sleep. It hunts me in my dreams, slavering blue from its rotten mouth, and eyes set ablaze in hellfire.”
  • “Was going insane supposed to be so full of scientific jibber-jabber?”
  • “We are, in due course, becoming a civilization of addicts. While many of my peers were quick to dismiss my concerns early on as scaremongering, with time, most have come to concur with my findings, if only in private. Our nation, and yes, our world, is slowly being consumed by a quickly rising state of perpetual and widespread addiction. I can see of no other way to categorize our current state.”
  • “(The anarchist bookshop) was just how I remembered it. The place smelled like old newsprint and pretension. Something approximating music was lolling from overhead. Images of Emma Goldman, Leo Tolstoy and Che Guevara glared at me from the walls. Anarchist and communist pamphlets and books, all of them badly printed or poorly bound, lined shelves. The front wall was an orgy of fliers and pamphlets, photocopied manifestos, you name it, on the “struggle” and every variation thereof. Nearby was a book section on feminism, LGBT, misogyny and sexism. Across from it, there was a section on government conspiracies, Noam Chomsky, the Illuminati, corporate greed. Row after row of bookshelves greeted me with every lefty concept under the sun. If it had a liberal agenda behind it, it was in there. The place was every conservative’s nightmare, a Bakunin Barnes and Nobles. Everyone browsing looked pasty and pointedly vegan. Everything from anti-globalization meetings to radical poetry readings to save the freaking whales accosted me from all sides.”
  • “Imagine the universe splintering again and again, each quantum-level decision tree branching to more and more branches. Imagine the universe not as a single thing, but as field of infinitely diverging sibling universes, all of them similar but for one quantum variant, and continuing to vary again and again from there. The cosmic constant is not a number, but fission, an ever-branching radiation of realities which flood away from one another, creating even more variance, even more diversity.”
Deleted Scene from SCREENS
I have one deleted scene in particular in mind. I loved the scene so much that though I removed it from the final published version of Screens, I later published it on MEDIUM.

The chapter is a story in and of itself, about an insane asylum spinning in an alternate reality. The lunatics have long since taken over the asylum (and we are led to believe why the asylum is trapped in this alternate universe), and now live in a horror show in this burnt, ruined madhouse which will tumble through time and space forever.

I loved the feeling of it, the allegorical nature of a madhouse lost in oblivion being run by psychopaths and delusionals. It struck me as a fitting piece for the rise of authoritarianism around the globe, and how people are dealing with the post-modern world in such a delusional and horrific way.

It was deleted from the book because it ended up being too jarring a transition in the novel. It worked on its own, but just didn’t work as a transition from one part of the book to the next. While I loved the writing, the piece itself just didn’t quite fit in as I’d hoped it would. As a writer, you have to accept this. You may love something you wrote, but that does not mean it’s meant for the novel for which you wrote it.


“You’ve found this, Chumley. Good for you. Now take my advice and put it back down. This manuscript isn’t meant for you. You don’t have the stomach.”

Sometime in 2016, dark web posts began appearing about a document known only as “the Manuscript.” Originally created with a manual typewriter and impossible to digitise, the Manuscript can only be read by those who can procure one of its precious few copies. It is said that the Manuscript contains horrific knowledge, and those who have read it have immediately disconnected from the internet, vanished off the digital grid, never to return.

In short order, all online posts regarding the Manuscript were gone without a trace. Everyone with any knowledge or connection to them has disappeared or been gruesomely murdered.

Something horrible is happening. Something unspeakable is coming.

And yet you can't seem to stop from staring at that television, that computer, that mobile phone. THEY have you, and for all your justifications and bravado, you never can turn away.

Why are you still looking?
THEY are watching you...
You can purchase Screens at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CHRISTOPHER LAINE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Screens: Seven Coins Drowning by Christopher Laine.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Ashley Shuttleworth Interview - A Dark and Hollow Star


Photo Content from Ashley Shuttleworth

Ashley Shuttleworth is a young adult fantasy author born in Canada and currently living in Ontario. They have a degree in English Literature from Trent University with an emphasis on Milton and the Romantic Period, as well as a focus on Ancient History and Classical Studies. They’ve worked many jobs in their life, roles such as a bookseller for Indigo Bookstore, a barista at Starbucks, a teacher in South Korea, and a Wine Merchant for their local wine store. In their spare time they enjoy cosplay and gaming (particularly The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts) and adding to their ever-growing collection of prop swords. They’re also pretty big into winter sports like skating and skiing and driving back and forth between work without snow tires. Despite the fact that there are roughly 9000 fanfics on their computer, A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR is their first published novel.

        
  


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Recently, someone e-mailed me from the contact form on my website just to tell me how much they loved my book and why. This is the first time someone’s ever done this, and when I think back to when I was a teen, and had wrote to an author I really admired, I’m just… filled with awe and gratitude to see myself on the other side of this years later.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
There’s so much that went into drafting A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR; I draw inspiration from many things. The shows I watch, the music I listen to, the books I read, the video games I play, what I studied at university and the experiences I’ve had just traveling around and living life. It all feeds into my creativity. A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR was also born out of my desire to put into the world both the queer content that my own childhood was severely lacking, and the lifeline that books were (and have always been) during difficult times while growing up. But what first inspired me to first put pen to paper (quite literally, I was way into handwritten stories when I was a kid)? Truthfully, I just really love to write. I love to see words on a page—world and characters that I created slowly taking life of their own. It’s a wonderful thing to me, magic of it’s own kind.

Tell us your latest news.
We just finished moving into a new place, big enough that I could take all my books out of storage, and for the first time in 5 years I have a proper bookshelf again. That might not be newsworthy to many but this is incredible to me. Book wise, I suppose my latest news is that A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR—my debut YA Urban Fantasy—has just released and I’m officially a published author!!

Can you tell us when you started A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR, how that came about?
I started planning A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR a while back—in 2016, where it was in the shape of a different story altogether that didn’t work so well. I gutted that story, took a few things I liked, a few characters I loved (hello Nausicaä, Aurelian, Vehan, Celadon, and Elyas) and wrote it all into an entirely new story that became the very first draft of ADAHS and led to getting my agent. It was a bit of a sad affair that prompted this story, but a long tale short, I was in my room packing my things, and listening to music. I started to picture this scene in my head of these random characters—a final scene, these random characters at the end of their journey—and ever since, this entire time, I’ve been working towards achieving this ending.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Well first and foremost that they’re enjoying what they’re reading! I hope readers think my book is good. I also hope that people will read my story and be inspired to write one of their own, so that new and better minds can broaden the horizons of queer YA fantasy, and teens can continue to see themselves represented for who they truly are.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating characters?
They really do just have a life of their own. There are so many characters I’ve created with XYZ in mind for them, only to discover they have a completely different story and get along much better with character I didn’t intend for them to. The best/worst is when a side character reveals themselves to be much more than a side character to you. *coughs into fist* Celadon

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I feel like I both want Nausicaä to meet Deadpool, and also hope they never do. It would be… an experience. They both have fairly similar personalities and competency with swords, so I feel like many things would get destroyed in the process—but they’d have so much fun together.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Final Fantasy and Breath of the Wild!!!! FFXV came out just as I finished the first draft of A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR, and then just as I was about to finish the last sweep through before it was sent off to print, FF7R released. Smack in the middle of this, I was gifted a Switch to celebrate getting a book deal and was able to finally play the latest LoZ game. I’m very much into both of these, so it was quite the balancing act and my eyes were very tired.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Play an RPG!! Particularly of the video game sort—I adore video games, I think they’re wonderful tools for fostering and cultivating creativity, and much like reading a book, there’s something very relaxing about channeling your focus into a completely fictional world.

Best date you've ever had?
I only ever went on one date with him but we went to the horse races with his grandfather and I ended up spending most of the time sitting with his grandfather, helping him choose which horses to bet on. For some reason, that was just a blast to me. But again, had more fun with his grandpa haha

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I feel like this depends on whether or not I get to keep the knowledge I currently possess. If I get to keep my current memories, I would probably go back to my first year of university and make myself try harder in those first couple of years. I’d also like to go back to living in South Korea because that was so much fun, but I’d make myself wear a mask while teaching because the kids gave me every cold they caught, and so I was ill for about a year straight.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
I went on a ski trip with some friend while I was living in South Korea, to the Yongpyong Ski Resort. I’d never been downhill skiing once in my life before then, and the very first time up, got on the wrong lift to the intermediate slope. Only one way down I told myself, so I just went for it. Please don’t do this, you can actually really hurt yourself!! Luckily, I’ve done enough winter sports in my life—figure skating and cross-country skiing—that I caught on pretty quick. I do think this scared me a bit though because I spent most of my time after that hanging out eating sweet potatoes and have no real desire to try downhill ever again.

First Heartbreak?
I’m dating myself here, but I think I have to say when the Spice Girls split up. I was devastated.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
Soppily, I always have the best time when I’m with my partner. We don’t get to see much of each other right now due to both our work schedules, but he’s an extremely intelligent and funny person so he never fails to make me laugh.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
I would definitely choose true love with a guarantee of heart break, because if I didn’t love things with my whole heart and soul, I never would have found my way to writing. You can recover from heart break—you can learn from it too; but there’s no benefiting from something you never try

Where can readers find you?
Twitter: @paperashes but I’m spending more time on Instagram these days, @paper.ashley

TEN FAVORITE READS EVER (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
  • THE SONG OF ACHILLES—Madeline Miller
  • CIRCE—Madeline Miller
  • STRANGE THE DREAMER—Laini Taylor
  • MUSE OF NIGHTMARES—Laini Taylor
  • THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN—Roshani Chokshi
  • JADE CITY—Fonda Lee
  • JADE WAR—Fonda Lee
  • A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN—Roseanne Brown
  • VALIANT—Holly Black
  • LEGENDBORN—Tracy Deonn
TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR
*Originally it was told from 1 POV—Arlo—save the prologue which has always been in the story and was always told from Nausicaä’s POV

*I’ve done more revisions and edits on this book than I have fingers

*Celadon was one of those characters I invented on the fly and had no intention of making anything much of, but then I fell immediately in love with him and now he plays a much bigger role in this story for it.

*Yes, I also named Celadon for Prince Cornelius from the 1994 film Thumbelina, which was one of my favourite movies as a kid along with the Swan Princess.

*Of all my characters Arlo was the one who underwent the biggest transformation through the edits to this story—believe it or not she was actually much quieter and more mild in draft zero.

*There was so much going on in this story I didn’t write any pets for any of my characters and my mother was extremely offended that I didn’t give my “children” pets when she made sure I had them growing up.

*I wrote the original draft in a blur of 1 month, but spent the next 4 years editing it to make it worth reading

*I can’t choose a favourite character. Everyone asks who my favourite character is, but I love them all so much and had so much fun crafting them that’s it’s impossible for me to say definitively I like one more than the other.

*I had the title planned for this book right from the beginning—I find it difficult to write a story that doesn’t have a title

*No matter how many times I’ve read this (and I’ve read this book a LOT) I’m still so excited to read it in its final form, and will probably never get tired of it. I’m very proud of myself for writing a book I would actually want to read.

 
Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.


You can purchase A Dark and Hollow Star at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ASHLEY SHUTTLEWORTH for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth.

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Kisses and Croissants by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau




Publisher : Delacorte Press (April 6, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 0593173570
ISBN-13 : 978-0593173572

Praise for KISSES AND CROISSANTS

A Junior Library Guild selection

“A charming story about family, first love, and chasing your dreams. Grab a croissant, because this book will leave you smiling, swooning, and desperate to visit Paris!” —Katharine McGee, New York Times bestselling author of American Royals

“Sweet and romantic! I couldn’t put it down.” —San Francisco Book Review, five stars

"Paris simply shines; readers’ senses will come alive with all the city has to offer." —SLJ


As sweet as a macaron from Laduree, with writing as crisp as a freshly baked baguette, this romantic novel set in Paris about an American ballerina and a charming French boy is parfait for fans of American Royals and Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Seventeen-year-old Mia, an American girl at an elite summer ballet program, has six weeks to achieve her dreams: to snag an audition with one of the world’s best ballet companies. But there’s more to Paris than ballet—especially when a charming French boy, Louis, wants to be her tour guide—and the pair discover the city has a few mysteries up its sleeve.

In the vein of romances like Love and Gelato, this is the perfect summer adventure for anyone looking to get swept away in the City of Love.

You can purchase Kisses and Croissants at the following Retailers:
        

Photo Content from Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau

Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau is a bilingual French author of young adult fiction and nonfiction. Her books have been translated into seven languages. Kisses and Croissants (Delacorte Press, 2021) is her U.S. debut. After graduating university in France, she moved to Amsterdam to begin a career in advertising. She then spent a few years in Melbourne before settling in New York City, where she lives with her Australian husband and their American cat.

        

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