JeanBookNerd Storytellers BOX

Let your adventure begin...

L.M. Elliott

LOUISA JUNE AND THE NAZIS IN THE WAVES Nerd Blast

Sean Penn

BOB HONEY WHO JUST DO STUFF

Leigh Lewis

PIRATE QUEENS Nerd Blast

Tom Bilyeu

Impact Theory

Veronica Henry

THE QUARTER STORM Official Blog Tour

William L. Myers Jr.

A KILLER'S ALIBI

Stacy Hackney

THE SISTERS OF LUNA ISLAND Nerd Blast

E.E. KNight

NOVICE DRAGONEER

Robert McCaw

DEATH OF A MESSENGER

Gregg Olsen

SNOW CREEK Podcast

Josh Duhamel

THE BUDDY GAMES

N.E. Davenport

THE BLOOD TRIALS Nerd Blast

Evie Green

WE HEAR VOICES

Jennifer Marie Brissett

DESTROYER OF LIGHT Blog Tour

Barbara Dee

VIOLETS ARE BLUE Nerd Blast

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Sarah Grunder Ruiz Interview - Luck and Last Resorts


Photo Credit: Joanna Sue Photography

Sarah Grunder Ruiz is a writer, educator, and karaoke enthusiast. Originally from South Florida, she now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and two children. She holds an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University, where she now teaches First-Year Writing. She is the author of two novels: Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships, and Luck and Last Resorts.
        
  

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I have always had a drive to create. Art, writing, music, I’ve been in love with all three since childhood. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love stories and want to create my own.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
If I had to choose an all-time favorite book, I suppose it would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, but I don’t think I have a favorite book. My favorite changes depending on the day. My favorite book I’ve read this year is The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson, which comes out August 30th. When I’m not reading romance, I love to read nonfiction. The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli blew my mind. Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee and Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang have had a significant impact on my creative process.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Interacting with readers! Having a second book come out has been a really wonderful experience because I actually have readers now. My favorite part of Luck and Last Resorts coming out has been getting DMs from my readers when they finish chapter four. Nina and Ollie, the main characters (who are also in the first book Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships) have a huge secret that is revealed at the end of chapter four, and I am so glad I get to talk about it with my readers now!

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Grading papers. My day job is teaching at a university, and with my ADHD, grading is a slow and painful task. I would take weeks off at a time to grade papers.

Can you tell us when you started LUCK AND LAST RESORTS, how that came about?
Nina and Ollie, the protagonists of Luck and Last Resorts, had a very contentious relationship in the first book, Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships, only I had no idea why when I was writing the first book! I never planned to write a book for Nina, but I fell in love with her and really wanted to know what was up with her and Ollie, so the obvious solution was to write an entire book to find out!

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT LUCK AND LAST RESORTS
  • 1. Before becoming a yacht stewardess, Nina was a gymnast. The only reason I came up with this backstory was because I had written a scene in which Nina teaches Ollie to do a cartwheel. My beta reader didn’t buy that Ollie would randomly ask Nina to teach him to do a cartwheel, so I invented an entire backstory for Nina about being a gymnast to make it work. In the words of Beta Reader Dani, “the most impressive gymnastics was what you did to make this work so well.”
  • 2. Ollie’s younger brother, Jack, is only in one scene in the book, but as soon as I wrote it, I fell in love with him. So much that I gave him his own book! Last Call at the Local comes out summer 2023!
  • 3. Make sure you have some pizza rolls on hand when you read Luck and Last Resorts. This isn’t really a fact, I guess, but readers tell me they crave pizza rolls while reading the book.
  • 4. There is a scene in the book in which Nina and Ollie are wearing the outfits on the cover. Originally, Nina’s dress was totally different in that scene. I changed the dress she was wearing to fit the cover!
  • 5. An early draft had a scene in which Ollie gave Nina a painting of the lead singer of the band Smashmouth. I was really sad that one didn’t work. Sigh, one day!
  • 6. Nina describes Ollie as a “hunky fridge” in chapter one. I didn’t actually come up with that line, Beta Reader Dani did.
  • 7. Chapter fourteen is my favorite chapter in the entire book, and my favorite paragraph is on page 169.
  • 8. I wrote the chapter that takes place in a nightclub while sitting in the gardens of the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, where I do a writing retreat each year. I was bumping along to club music, only to turn around and realize a man was proposing to his girlfriend right behind me! Thank goodness I was wearing headphones.
  • 9. In the book, there is a restaurant named Dreamland. It is named after Glass Animals’ (my favorite band) most recent album.
  • 10. I changed a lot of secondary characters’ names as I was working on this. While listening to the audiobook for the first time, I realized I missed one! There is a character named Matt who only appears in chapter 13. It was supposed to be Simon, who appears throughout the book. NO ONE caught it! My headcanon is that Matt is a temporary hire who was only on board for a few days.
What is the first job you have had?
I was a cashier at a water park as a teenager.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
I went to Ireland in March to do research for my next book (about Ollie’s brother, Jack). It was amazing to see Cobh, where Ollie and Jack are from. It was so familiar to me after all the research I did, even though I had never been there before.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I know this category is “fun questions” so I apologize that my answer isn’t very fun, but I try to raise awareness about this topic whenever I can!

My husband fell seriously ill in May of 2020 (while I was writing Luck and Last Resorts) and was diagnosed with Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which doesn’t exactly have the best prognosis. We’re currently in our thirties, and the median life expectancy for someone with vEDS is 48.

Luck and Last Resorts is dedicated to my husband, who is the absolute love of my life. We have been together since we were teenagers. When you marry someone, you envision growing old together. Realizing that we likely won’t get to grow old together has radically changed the future I envision for my family. On the bright side, it reminds me to make the most of every moment.

To learn more about Vascular EDS, check out the vEdS movement here!

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love with a guarantee of a broken heart. Not to be morbid, but I am basically expecting that outcome eventually, though I hope there will be advancements in medicine that prove me wrong!

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Extraterrestrials. Specifically the “grey” aliens. I grew up in the woods and was traumatized by the X-files. I can’t hear the theme song or see a photo of a grey without getting scared.


They have a second chance at love, but there are some rough seas ahead in the new contemporary romance from the acclaimed author of Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships.

Commitment-phobe Nina Lejeune lives by two rules:
1. Always have fun.
2. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself.
The first rule is easy; the second, she’s only broken once.

Ten years after fleeing home, Nina is the chief stewardess on the super yacht Serendipity, single by choice, and perfectly content with how life has turned out.

But Nina’s ex-coworker and old flame, Irish chef Ollie Dunne, isn’t so happy with the status quo. One year after leaving yachting, he’s returned as the Serendipity’s chef with an ultimatum: if Nina continues to deny she’s in love with him by the end of this charter season, he’ll go back to Ireland for good.

Nina and Ollie’s shared secret from their past threatens to shipwreck not only their relationship, but the entire boat. But as their connection grows amidst chaotic guests and crew drama, could there be smooth sailing in their future?

You can purchase Luck and Last Resorts at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SARAH GRUNDER RUIZ for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Luck and Last Resorts by Sarah Grunder Ruiz.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Christine Feehan Interview - Red on the River


Photo Credit: Michael Greene

Christine Feehan is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, with 83 published works in seven different series: Dark Series, GhostWalker Series, Leopard Series, Drake Sisters Series, Sea Haven Series, Shadow Series, and Torpedo Ink Series. All seven of her series have hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Judgment Road, the first book in her newest series, Torpedo Ink, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Christine lives in the beautiful Redwoods near the ocean on California’s Pacific North Coast surrounded by family, friends and several dogs.
        
  

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I have written since I was first able to spell and form sentences. I’ve always loved telling stories even as a child.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The most rewarding is interacting with readers and finding out how my stories have impacted their lives. It’s humbling but awe inspiring, too.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I get distracted when I’m doing research. I research heavily. I want the facts in the books to be as true as possible. That means I have to understand what I’m writing about in order for readers to understand it. If a subject fascinates me, I can get caught up in it very easily.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from RED ON THE RIVER
I love this from chapter one. To me, it help to encapsulate who the heroine, Vienna, is.

Normally, Vienna competed online. She’d built her reputation through her username luckypersiancat. She’d managed to pay for her mother’s cancer treatments. Her mother still lived in Vegas with her partner and Vienna paid her rent using her gambling money. She’d put herself through nursing school. She owned a nice house in Knightly, where she resided with her Persian cat, Princess. She’d put quite a bit away for retirement and invested most of the rest of her winnings. She gave a great deal of the money to the local hospital and also invested in Search and Rescue gear for the county she lived in. She had established a scholarship program for single mothers with children. She’d been careful to stay under the gambling radar, living and working in Knightly at the local hospital. She was also head of search and rescue for the county.

FIVE RANDOM FACTS ABOUT RED ON THE RIVER
  • 1. I had to learn Texas Holdem’ for this book. I had so many sources to help teach me and to review the games played in the book that you’d think I would be a master poker player. Alas, I am not. Not even close. Lol
  • 2. Because of all the detailed research I included in the book I had to create two glossaries. One is for poker and the other is for climbing.
  • 3. Because I’m not familiar with the area, I sent my daughter to Red Rock Canyon to climb, hike and do a lot of the things my heroine does in the book so she could tell me about it.
  • 4. While my daughter was researching Red Rock Canyon and Las Vegas I learned that she has a keen imagination when it comes to interesting places and ways to kill people. She had a lot of great ideas. Should I worry? LOL
  • 5. I learned a great deal about outside activities that I don’t actually participate in. I’ve hiked and camped, but I’ve not gone bouldering or climbing. I leave that to my daughter. But it was fun learning about it.
Meet the Characters
Vienna Mortenson is a true heroine. Not only is she a nurse but she is the head of Search & Rescue in a California small town. She is an amazing card sharp, which is what brings her to Vegas. She also has a secret “gift” that is both a blessing and a curse.

Vienna is beautiful and her friends consider her a “man magnet”. Long blond hair and an athletic, womanly figure. She’s highly intelligent and brave. And much to her friend’s dismay (they all have dogs), Vienna is a cat person.

Zale Vizzini is quiet, cautious, dangerous and hot. He’s also secretive and could stand to be a better communicator when it comes to his personal life. But one thing I really love about this hero is his utter desire not only to have Vienna for himself, but to do the right thing by her. Something that puts him at odds with his job and their relationship at time.

He's got those smoldering eyes and dark hair and a body that’s worthy of dreams. He has skills that make him both predator and protector which I think is super sexy.

Your Journey to Publication
I have always been a writer. Even as a child. I’d write stories and make my siblings listen to them. I have always been a voracious reader which helped nurture my imagination. As I grew older the writing was my escape. I’d write, finish, move on to the next book. I had no intention of publishing. For me, writing was personal. I would only share it with family and very close friends.

One of those friends, Kathie, loved one of the books I’d written and encouraged me to send it in for consideration by a publisher. I’d written the book as part of my grieving process when my oldest son, Calvert, died. It was a very difficult time as you can imagine. I wanted to write about a man who was immortal and who struggled to save his people. The book was called Dark Prince. It was the first book I had published.

My family and friends were supportive of my writing. The first time I actually felt like I was an official author was when I saw my book in the public library. I love the library and always have. Seeing my book there was such a thrill for me.

I’m fortunate in that I have so many people in my life who support and inspire me with my writing career. I realize how blessed I am.

Writing Behind the Scenes
Writing is my career and I am very disciplined about staying on track and being committed to writing at least eight hours a day and at least six days a week. I work from the quiet of my room or my office. My son, Brian Feehan, who is also an author, works with me and helps us keep to a specific schedule. We do “power hours” and take breaks in between.

Sometimes I’ll write one book during the day and another at night. I write six books a year so I need to keep things moving.

I do a lot of research for my books and find I sometimes get carried away with it. I find the research part of writing to be extremely fascinating. Only about ten percent of the research makes it into the book but I feel it’s so important to understand what you’re writing about even if you don’t use all the details.

As far as habits go I think the only one in regard to writing is my morning tea. I love my morning tea. Each morning my staff comes up for a morning meeting to discuss business. We all have tea as we talk and eventually, we find ourselves discussing kids, grandkids, life. It’s a nice way to start the day.

What is the first job you have had?
As an assistant in the library when I was a teen. I loved being surrounded by books!?

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Of course. I think most of us have that inclination to protect. I’m a third-degree black belt and ran a self-defense program for women who’d been abused. It was important to me to help those women reclaim their lives.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
I think about my family. Sometimes I worry. Sometimes I find peace in those thoughts. Often, I find humor.
I’ll think about the book I’m writing or the next one coming up.
I think about things I need to let go.
Sometimes it’s a wonder I sleep at all! LOL

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
I’m not sure how unique it is, but I am severely claustrophobic.


#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan goes all in with this sexy romantic thriller set among the dangers--both man-made and natural--of Nevada's breathtaking landscape.

Vienna Mortenson isn't your typical gambler. She prefers to stay under the radar, using her poker winnings to support her family and her community, including the local search and rescue team, which she heads up. Out in the backcountry there's no time for hesitation when lives are on the line. Vienna prides herself on being tough and decisive. She's not the sort to make a fool of herself over a guy, especially one who left her high and dry without a backward glance.

Zale Vizzini's job constantly puts him in harm's way. Working undercover and disappearing for months at a time isn't exactly a recipe for a stable relationship. Despite the challenges and the risks, Zale wants something real with Vienna. He just needed time to figure out how to be in her life without putting her in danger. Now, he's determined to win her back, and he's ready to lay all his cards on the table.

As their friends' wedding approaches, Zale takes advantage of the festivities to make a play for Vienna's heart. But there are more deadly forces waiting to strike in the rugged terrain of Nevada and the western Sierras. Soon both of their lives are threatened, and the odds are stacked against them....

You can purchase Red on the River at the following Retailers:
        

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Kate Stollenwerck Interview - Hello, Goodbye


Photo Credit: Agnes Lopez

Kate Stollenwerck, a fifth-generation Texan, was born and raised in Dallas. She graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in history and earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

Kate practiced law for several years at a large firm in Chicago. She left the practice to stay home with her young daughter and pursue her dream of writing. More babies arrived and took up more time than she imagined, and not much writing took place. She finally pulled out a rusty manuscript in the summer of 2019 and has been writing ever since.

Kate resides in Florida with her husband, three children, and a crazy cat. Her debut novel, Hello, Goodbye, will be released on August 2, 2022.
        
  

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m scheduled to give a talk at my hometown public library, and I’m filled with all the fuzzies about this event!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Criticism should be constructive, not destructive.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book?
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Greatest thing you learned in school.
How you treat people matters.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on a sequel to Hello, Goodbye and have also been outlining a legal thriller (I’m a former attorney) and another contemporary YA that revolves around elite high school swimmers.

In your newest book; HELLO, GOODBYE, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
Hello, Goodbye is a charming and heartfelt story about a girl helping her grandmother unravel an old family secret that leads to adventure and love over one unforgettable summer. The novel is a contemporary coming-of-age tale filled with adventure, romance, friendship, family drama, and a dash of mystery.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
That family is the true treasure in life. I hope they reflect on the importance of knowing our grandparents and their stories.

What part of Hailey did you enjoy writing the most?
Every scene with Gigi. They have a special bond!

What was your unforgettable moment while writing HELLO, GOODBYE?
SPOILER ALERT: Bawling my eyes out as I wrote Gigi’s death scene. I had fallen in love with her alongside Hailey and it was just horrible to say goodbye to her.

Choose a unique item from your wallet and explain why you carry it around.
My heart ring ID card. I had open-heart surgery at age 39 and I have to carry around the make and model of the ring on my heart that holds my mitral valve in place in case of an emergency!

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
A Polar Bear Plunge on New Years’ Day! On January 1st, you jump into a cold body of water to start the new year off with a refreshing cleanse . . . it’s especially fun if it’s freezing outside! I did it for the first time this year and I loved it!

Best date you've ever had?
I’ve been with my husband since I was 21 so it’s hard to remember!

What event in your life would make a good movie?
The semester I spent studying abroad in Prague in the mid-90s. Prague was a magnet for young, bohemian artists from all over the world and it was a very exciting place to be . . . and so cheap! You could live like kings in Prague in the 90s.

How far away from your birthplace do you live now?
A 2.5-hour plane ride or an 18-hour drive!

First Heartbreak?
Can’t discuss that one! Some things need to be kept private!

TEN FACTS ABOUT HELLO, GOODBYE
  • 1. The title is a play on a Beatles song, “Hello, Goodbye.” One of the main characters, Gigi, is obsessed with The Beatles but the real meaning of the title is revealed in a pivotal scene in the novel.
  • 2. The entire plot came to me while on a beach walk listening to This Is The Beatles on Spotify. I walked for about an hour and a half typing notes on my phone. I then raced home and sketched out the novel.
  • 3. I wrote this novel in two months during Covid when I was missing my parent so much and very reflective on the importance of family in our lives.
  • 4. My paternal grandmother was born and raised in the small Texas town that plays a part in this novel, but I had never actually visited the town, so I used Google maps for details about the location! Several months later I took a road trip to see it first-hand.
  • 5. I’m very close to my father and my daughter is very close with her dad, so I wanted to write the sweet daddy/daughter dynamic for Hailey with her dad. I do think so many of us are closer to one parent over another and that’s okay and should be celebrated!
  • 6. The painting referred to in the novel is a play on one of the most famous pieces of missing art from World War II – The Portrait of Trudie Steiner by Gustav Klimt
  • 7. The novel originally ended much earlier, but my mother read it and told me I absolutely could not end it with a cliffhanger, so I went back and wrote an additional 50 pages. She was so right!
  • 8. The description of Gigi’s house in the novel is based on my grandmother’s house in Texas. She passed away many years ago, but I can still see every detail of her beautiful home in my mind.
  • 9. My 14-year-old daughter and a few of her friends were my beta readers and made several helpful suggestions for the story.
  • 10. “Embraceable You” was a song my grandmother always played on the piano for me when I visited her home, so it was of course the love song I wanted to incorporate into the family history.
Journey to writing HELLO, GOODBYE
I wrote my first novel when I was in law school over twenty years ago. But I had no idea what I was doing, and it was quite awful, so I never even had anyone read it! It’s in a landfill somewhere in Austin, Texas, and I’m happy about that! I began to practice law at a big firm in Chicago and naively thought I would have free time to work on my writing after work. That didn’t happen, but I didn’t give up on my dream of being a writer. Several years later I had my first child and my push present from my husband was an antique typewriter because he knew I still dreamt of being a writer. Again, na├»ve me thought I would have all this free time to write when staying home but being a new mom is no joke! I did attempt four or five different manuscripts during the three years between my first and second child. I would get about 40 to 50 pages in, get stuck, and life would move on, but the stories didn’t. So those four or five manuscripts traveled from home to home, crossed state lines, and then settled in my linen closet for the next ten years. In the summer of 2019, I was cleaning out that linen closet and discovered the old manuscripts, which I had totally forgotten I had written! My husband and I dug out old hard drives and found the original files. There was one story that I felt strongly I could finish and so I committed myself to do just that. I wrote a few hours a day, six days a week for two straight months, and finally had a completed novel! I spent close to another year editing it before beginning the query process. As I waited for responses (of which I got none), I told myself I better get writing again. COVID hit, and writing became an outlet for me. Two months later, I had the first draft of HELLO, GOODBYE. I worked with a developmental editor and a copy editor before submitting it to publishers and agents. I knew this was the story I wanted to debut with and was fortunate enough to find a home with SparkPress. On August 2, 2022, my debut novel will release . . . twenty-two years after I started my writing journey!


Fifteen-year-old Hailey Rogers is sure her summer is ruined when her parents force her to spend a few days a week helping her grandmother, Gigi. Although she only lives across town, she never sees her grandmother and knows little about her. But Gigi is full of surprises--and family secrets. Throw in the gorgeous boy down the street, and Hailey's ruined summer might just be the best of her life.

Then tragedy strikes, lies are uncovered, and Hailey's life suddenly falls apart. After unearthing clues in an old letter written by her great-grandfather, she takes off on a road trip to solve the family mystery with the only person she can trust. In a forgotten Texas town, the past and the present collide--and Hailey is forced to choose what she truly values in life.
You can purchase Hello, Goodbye at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KATE STOLLENWERCK for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of Hello, Goodbye by Kate Stollenwerck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
jbnlatestinterviews

Monday, August 1, 2022

Julie Abe Interview - Alliana, Girl of Dragons


Photo Content from Julie Abe

Julie Abe is the author of the EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH middle grade fantasy series; the middle grade fantasy ALLIANA, GIRL OF DRAGONS; and the young adult novel THE CHARMED LIST. She has lived in Silicon Valley, spent many humid summers in Japan, and currently basks in the sunshine of Southern California with never enough books or tea.
        
  

Can you tell us when you started ALLIANA, GIRL OF DRAGONS, how that came about?
ALLIANA began as a line in Eva Evergreen. It was a bit of a joke of a line (that I can’t share because of spoilers, but you’ll recognize it if you’ve read Eva)... but it made me wonder, what if this does happen? And what is the rest of Alliana’s story? Before I knew it, the answers to those questions became a whole book of its own.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
More than a decade ago (wow, it’s been a while!) I was sitting at work, staring out the window wondering, “Isn’t there more to life than this?” That feeling sparked my inspiration for publication. After that, I began to write in any free time, trying and trying to become a better writer… and that endlessly determined eye on my dreams led to the publication of my first book, Eva Evergreen, and many books after that!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There have been so many rewarding experiences, big and small, but one that comes to mind, book after book, is the joy and excitement of seeing my cover art. When I see that “Cover Art!” email come in from one of my editors, I am so thrilled and excited to see what my book will look like to others.
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

Books are an escape. They harbor our hurt feelings in times of need, and inspire us when we’re looking for our next steps. I owe so much to the books I’ve read on a lonely day, and I consider them good friends (of a papery kind).
Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?

I read Goose Girl by Shannon Hale in a time where I was really struggling, and escaping into those pages gave me such relief from a time of pain. For me, that encapsulates the power of books, and I’m very thankful for everything that other authors have gifted to me, through their books.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from ALLIANA, GIRL OF DRAGONS
One of my favorite lines is Unravel your own tale. Alliana sews, something she learned from her dear Grandmother Mari, and the ‘unravel’ felt like it was the perfect connection to sewing. Then, a dear writer friend, Sarah Suk, mentioned that the ‘tale’ reminded her of Kabo, Alliana’s friend and dragon, and a very spiky tail of his own. This line felt like the perfect fit!

Another favorite section is the first few lines, because it feels like it teems with possibility for Alliana’s future:

There was only one set of crossroads on the dusty outskirts of town. Four paths converged and diverged, sending travelers to utterly different fates…

I’m so excited to hear from readers what their favorite lines are!

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ALLIANA, GIRL OF DRAGONS
  • I got really hungry for mochi while writing, so I wrote it into the story!
  • I was inspired by my friend CW’s chicken, Eggna, so I wrote her into the story.
  • Alliana is a prequel to my Eva Evergreen books, but you can pick up either Eva or Alliana without having read the other book.
  • Alliana is the only character I’ve written who doesn’t have magic—but she’s very much magical in her own way.
  • Kabo, Alliana’s dragon-friend, was an unexpected twist that I hadn’t expected, but much like Ember (Eva’s companion in the Eva Evergreen books), he showed up in the pages and just wouldn’t leave!
  • I had a lot of fun thinking about the core elements of Cinderella tale and adding in my own little twists to it!
  • When I commissioned art for Alliana’s preorder campaign, Kabo jumped straight into the art designs in the same way he jumped into the book—demanding to be included!
  • One of the buildings in Alliana is based on Himeji Castle in Japan, which is known for looking like a white heron about to take flight.
  • The cover art and all of the chapter header art is done by the magical Shan Jiang; his ability to create Alliana, Kabo, and their friends is one of my favorite parts of the book.
  • Baumkuchen, another of my favorite foods and a super-tasty cake, was also written into Alliana because I was hungry while writing!
Meet the Characters
ALLIANA OF RIVELLE

Alliana is a dreamer at heart, but her difficult life as an orphan subject to the whims of her stepmother has made her practical and a hard worker. However, she still dreams of going to the capital city and seeing the queen, her idol…

KABO, THE FEISTY DRAGON
Kabo is one of Alliana’s best friends. Prickly but sweet, and endlessly protective, Kabo helps Alliana find her own path, and was an absolute delight to write. Kabo is looking for his “thunder”—his family, in his dragon-speak, and I loved writing the relationship of Alliana and Kabo being a “thunder”, together.

And, for those who have read Eva Evergreen, there are (quite a few) cameos from characters, both big and small, that show up in the two Eva books!

Your Journey to Publication
I was the stay-up-all-night, reading-under-the-blankets kind of kid (even now!). I thought that becoming a writer and creating books for readers like me would be the coolest job ever. I just never thought that I could do something that had always seemed like an elusive dream.

I dabbled in writing when I was young and was amazed when my middle school teacher assigned us to write a story. I thought, “Is this even homework?” In high school, I wrote a lot, but I didn’t focus on craft or finishing stories. I didn't believe I could write as a career.

After I started working full-time, I needed an escape and started writing again. Then I couldn’t stop. I wanted to become an author.

It took more than twelve manuscripts, a lot of rejections, but I eventually got multiple (!!) offers for representation by agents, and then multiple offers for my debut book from publishing houses(!!). For someone who wasn't really sure if I'd be able to become an author, I realized… all along, I have been one.

Telling my spouse and best friends was the most exciting part. They've cheered me on and picked me up when I was feeling down and out about my chances. And, to finally be able to thank them for their support in my books is an absolute dream come true.

Writing Behind the Scenes
Three fun behind the scenes facts about my writing!
  1. I always write digitally: whether in Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or even in emails to myself.
  2. Water and tea are must haves. Also, snacks. Snacks are the best kind of writing motivation. Right now, my favorite snack is Jagabees (think french fries, but in potato chip form!)
  3. Lists always help me stay focused — which may be why my magical young adult debut is called The Charmed List!
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Everything I have to do during the day (yikes)!

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I was living in Japan during the Great Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. It was absolutely devastating for Japan; entire cities were wiped off the map. Because of that day, I remember that each minute of life is precious, and this also spurred me to follow my dreams of writing.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
Going back to Japan, where I was born, is one of my absolute favorite places to travel. I love to travel anywhere, really. One very memorable travel experience was Rome, Italy a few years ago — it was so majestic and beautiful. I could duck into the corner cafe and get a tasty espresso and pastry, or around noon grab one of the best pizza slices from the local bakery. An absolute delight of a trip, and I can't wait to go again someday.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
My first thought was that it wasn't a tea day. I NEED coffee. Which means I should probably go get a cup now… thanks for hanging out with me, and I hope you'll pick up Alliana, Girl of Dragons!


Once upon a time, Alliana believed in dreams and fairy tales as sweet as spun-sugar clouds. Alliana wished on shooting stars, sure that someday she and her grandmother would be able to travel to the capital city to see the queen. Then her grandmother passed away—and those dreams disappeared in a disenchanted puff.

Now Alliana’s forced to attend to the whims of her wicked stepmother—with long days of cleaning her stepfamily’s inn as her skin burns raw or staying up until the crack of dawn to embroider her stepsister’s ball gowns. Until she meets two beings who change her life forever—the first is a young nightdragon who Alliana discovers she can magically talk to. And the second is Nela, a young witch.

Nela needs Alliana’s help navigating the mysterious abyss, filled with dangerous beasts, a place Alliana knows by heart. Alliana sees Nela’s request as a chance to break free of her stepmother’s shadow and to seize a chance at a life she’s barely dared to hope for—but there’s a risk. If caught, Alliana will be stuck working for her stepmother for the rest of her life. Can Alliana truly make wisps of dreams into her own, better-than-a-fairy-tale happily ever after?

Inspired by the Japanese Cinderella story and set in the same world as the Eva Evergreen series, this story can be read as a standalone.
You can purchase Alliana, Girl of Dragons at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JULIE ABE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Alliana, Girl of Dragons by Julie Abe.

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