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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Forgotten Angels And More With GCC Member Suzanne Young

Who doesn’t love a rogue angel tempting fate? Because that’s exactly what you get in GCC Member Suzanne Young’s new novel, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL out this month through Balzer&Bray/HarperCollins.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte’s destiny is to be Forgotten…

Charlotte's best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she's cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what's really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become—her mark on this earth, her very existence—is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny—no matter how dark the consequences?

Here’s what Suzanne had to say:

Q: In AMIGAS AND SCHOOL SCANDALS, Mariana takes a road trip to Cornell. What’s your funniest road trip story?

Suzanne: Oh, gosh. Most of my college years were spent on road trips. How can I pick one?? Hm, maybe the time we took a trip up to Geneseo College and attended a party, only to have my car nearly explode on the way back to the dorms. It was actually kind of hilarious.

Q: I wrote the AMOR series organically, no outlines. My new manuscripts, I’ve outlined extensively. How about you? Are you an outliner?

Suzanne: It really depends on the story. Lately my stories have become more complicated, so I’ve had to jot down a sequence of events—not a real outline. Especially since I write them on the backs of restaurant napkins.

Q: Where were you when you found out that Endless Summer was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Suzanne: I was parking in my garage when my agent called me. When he first told me, my response was, “Seriously?” As if my agent has time to prank call me at 8am. I sat and cried in my car for a little while after, but it was all celebration that rest of the week.

Thank you, Suzanne! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Get All Brainwashed With GCC Member Elana Johnson

To think for yourself or not think for yourself, that is the question in GCC Member Elana Johnson’s new novel, POSSESSION out this month through Simon Pulse. Because really, who needs to pick their own husband anyway?

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Here’s what Elana had to say:

Q: In AMIGAS AND SCHOOL SCANDALS, Mariana takes a road trip to Cornell. What’s your funniest road trip story?

Elana: Well, I don’t know about funny ha-ha, but we took a road trip one Christmas from Utah—which gets a lot of snow in December—to Arizona, that doesn’t. Our car started making a funny sound, and it turned out that we had to replace all our tires in Kingston, Arizona.

Not fun. But we did it. About six weeks later, while I drove to school in 8 inches of snow, I slid right off the road. Turns out that Kingston doesn’t sell snow tires, so I had to replace them again!

So not funny ha-ha, but funny nonetheless.

Q: I often talk about how I didn’t always “know” I wanted to be a writer. Did you? Or did you have other plans when you were little?

Elana: Absolutely not! I actually took the AP English test as a junior in high school so I could skip English as a senior. I majored in Chemistry Education. I switched to Elementary Education with a Math minor, and that’s actually what I earned. So no creative stuff in sight.

I wanted to be a teacher when I was a child—and I am!

Q: Throughout the AMOR series, Mariana and her friends celebrate their Sweet 16s (and 15s). What did you do for your Sweet 16 or Quinceañera?

Elana: Nothing. We didn’t really celebrate things like this. Lame, I know.

Q: I wrote the AMOR series organically, no outlines. My new manuscripts, I’ve outlined extensively. How about you? Are you an outliner?

Elana: I’m a complete discovery writer. I don’t like to outline; it steals all the fun from writing. There’s nothing better than drafting with nothing but a wing and a prayer.

Q: Where were you when you found out that Endless Summer was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Elana: I was at home, and I got the email and just about died. Ten minutes later, my agent called. It was a bit premature; we just had interest, but it was serious interest and we had a date the editor was taking the MS to acquisitions. It was our first response, and it was an almost-yes!

I was thrilled when it became a real yes—and I hadn’t been rejected by any other editors yet! (Of course, I’d been rejected by hundreds of literary agents, so I’ve been told no plenty of times.)

With the real yes phone call, I was on the phone when my husband got home from work. So I scrawled on a post-it note “Simon Pulse bought my book!” and held it up for him to see. He whisper-screamed. It was awesome.

Thank you, Elana! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kick Some Evil Fairy Butt With GCC Member Amanda Ashby

Forget Tinkerbelle, the fairies in GCC Member Amanda Ashby’s new novel are evil and need to be slain. To make it worse, they’re sarcastic hipsters. Now tell me that isn’t a reason to read FAIRY BAD DAY out this month through Puffin/Speak.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

It’s going to be a fairy bad day.

First, my rightful designation of dragon slayer is STOLEN right out from under me by Curtis Green. Sure, he’s really cute, but that doesn’t give him an excuse.

On top of that, I am assigned to slay fairies. I know what you’re thinking—how hard could it be, right? Wrong! These menacing beasts with their tiny hipster clothes and mocking sarcasm love taunting me. And they won’t STOP!

But the thing that tops my list of stuff to ruin my day? That would be the GIANT KILLER FAIRY that I have to hunt down and slay because I am the only one who can see it. There is someone who can help me. Unfortunately…it’s Curtis.

Here’s what Amanda had to say:

Q: In AMIGAS AND SCHOOL SCANDALS, Mariana takes a road trip to Cornell. What’s your funniest road trip story?

Amanda: I met my husband in England and we were over in France working at a camping ground in Brittany, but we decided to hitchhike to Paris (kids, don’t try this at home). Anyway, we were totally standing in the wrong part of the freeway and were just thinking that we were idiots because even if someone had wanted to pick us up, there was no way they could pull over because they would have to cross a merging lane. The minute we had that thought this huge semi-trailer comes tearing toward us like something out of Mad Max and just cuts all the traffic off to stop and pick us up. The guy even looked like some crazy French cowboy, but he ended up being really nice and he just wanted passengers so that he could stay awake (we really wanted him to stay awake as well so we talked to him a lot even though he didn’t speak English and while my husband had school-yard French the only thing I could do was buy beer!!). The rest of the week in Paris was amazing as well, but one of my favorite parts was getting that lift!

Q: I often talk about how I didn’t always “know” I wanted to be a writer. Did you? Or did you have other plans when you were little?

Amanda: Snap! I didn’t know either! I knew that I loved reading books and that I was really good at creative writing, but being the slow learner that I am, I never managed to link the dots until I was in my mid-twenties. Weird thing is that I was recently talking to a friend from college and telling her this and she was really surprised, since she always seemed to know this was what I was going to do! As for what I was going to do, I really didn’t have a clue. I studied journalism but I knew pretty quickly that I wouldn’t be doing that because it was like the antithesis of everything I loved about writing. Still, it ended up being a great training ground!

Q: Throughout the AMOR series, Mariana and her friends celebrate their Sweet 16s (and 15s). What did you do for your Sweet 16 or Quinceañera?

Amanda: Nothing special. In Australia the big thing we all celebrated was turning 21, which is pretty weird when you think about it, since our legal drinking age is 18 so there is nothing ‘special’ that happens at 21 but for some reason everyone had the most parties! For mine we hired out a quirky vegetarian restaurant and all my friends and family were there—though I nearly didn’t make it after having spent the afternoon blowing up balloon. Why are they so hard to do?

Q: I wrote the AMOR series organically, no outlines. My new manuscripts, I’ve outlined extensively. How about you? Are you an outliner?

Amanda: I’m not a natural outliner but I’ve been trying to get better at it because when I fly by the seat of my pants, I do a LOT of rewriting and I get quite frustrated at how hard it is to find the ‘real’ story. So basically I’m looking for a shortcut!!!!!

Q: Where were you when you found out that Endless Summer was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Amanda: Fairy Bad Day is the second book in a contract so instead of being exciting it was sort of nerve racking because while I knew that my publisher like the first book I really didn’t have any idea if they would want this one until I got my acceptance payment on the revisions! In fact all of my call stories are very unexciting because I don’t live in the US so due to the time difference, my agent and I do nearly everything by email!

Thank you, Amanda! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Question Every Decision You’ve Ever Made With GCC Member Jessica Brody’s New Book

So can you remember that really horrible decision you made in high school? Yeah, so can Brooklyn Pierce, the main character in GCC Member Jessica Brody’s new novel, MY LIFE UNDECIDED out this month through FSG. But would you ever let the blogosphere decide your life for you? She did. And I can't wait to see what happens.

As always, here’s a little bit about the book to get you hooked:

PLEASE READ THIS! MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!

Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.

Here’s what Jessica had to say:

Q: In AMIGAS AND SCHOOL SCANDALS, Mariana takes a road trip to Cornell. What’s your funniest road trip story?

Jessica: Well, I’m not sure how funny it is. At the time it was actually kind of scary. My mom and I were driving from Colorado to California and we ran out of gas in the middle of Utah...in the middle of the night. It was totally dark and there was no cell phone reception so we couldn’t call AAA. We had to wait for a trucker to pull over. He offered to drive to the next town, buy us some gas, and drive back with it. Thank goodness he did, otherwise, who knows how long we’d be stuck out there!


Q: I often talk about how I didn’t always “know” I wanted to be a writer. Did you? Or did you have other plans when you were little?

Jessica: The short answer is yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Although it took me a long time to figure that out. In second grade I turned in a four page book report (the assignment was to write one paragraph) and the teacher made such a huge deal about it. I really couldn’t understand why. Writing just came naturally to me. At that moment I remember wanting to be a writer. But somewhere along the way I convinced myself that I needed to get a “serious” job…you know, one that comes with dental insurance. So I majored in Economics in college (very serious!) and went on to be a financial analyst for MGM Studios. It wasn’t until later that I realized “serious” wasn’t for me. So I quit to pick up where I left off at age seven.

Q: Throughout the AMOR series, Mariana and her friends celebrate their Sweet 16s (and 15s). What did you do for your Sweet 16 or Quinceañera?

Jessica: I drove. Seriously. I was so excited to finally get my license I think the first thing I did was hop in the car and speed off into the wind.

Q: I wrote the AMOR series organically, no outlines. My new manuscripts, I’ve outlined extensively. How about you? Are you an outliner?

Jessica: Outline! Outline! Outline! LOL. It’s true though. I never start writing until I have a concrete outline done. And I use a very special “tool” for my outlines. It’s called the Save the Cat Beat Sheet and it was invented by the amazing Blake Snyder, author of the Save the Cat screenwriting books. He’s a genius! The beat sheet was actually created for screenwriters but I found it works just as well for novels (or any story, actually!) and so now I never write another book without it!

Q: Where were you when you found out that Endless Summer was going to be published? Tell us the story.

Jessica: I was in my home office (which at the time was in the dining room of my tiny apartment) when I got the call from my agent. I remember it feeling very surreal. I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. To this day, four books later, it still doesn’t feel real. I wonder if it ever will!

Thank you, Jessica! And if you’d like a visual peek inside the world of Brooklyn, check out Jessica’s fantastic new book trailer. Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!


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