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I Belong

Author Interview: The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst

May 27th, 2014 Kristie Posted in Interview Comments Off

Sarah Beth DurstPlease welcome author Sarah Beth Durst here today for an interview about her newest novel, The Lost. I was really excited to get the opportunity to interview her about her first book for adults. The Lost is the beginning of a trilogy that is sure to be an emotional and exciting ride. This novel was released on May 20, 2014 from Harlequin/Mira. Want to know our thoughts on this book? Read my review here.

About Sarah:

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of seven fantasy novels for teens. Her latest, Conjured, came out in September 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker. Prior to that, she released Vessel, Drink Slay Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as Into the Wild and its sequel Out of the Wild from Penguin. Her first book for adults, The Lost, comes out in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira, and her next book for teens, Chasing Power, comes out in October 2014 from Bloomsbury. She was awarded the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times.

Sarah was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town that later became the setting for her debut novel. At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories. She attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her two children, and her ill-mannered cat.

You can visit Sarah around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Sarah Beth Durst?

IceDrink, Slay, LoveEnchanted IvyVesselInto The WildOut of the WildConjuredThe LostThe MissingChasing Power

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DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about The Lost?

Sarah: Lauren feels empty.  She’s in a dead-end job, her mother is sick, and nothing in her life has turned out the way she thought it would.  So one day, she gets in her car to drive to work, and instead of going left at the light, she drives straight.  And keeps driving and driving until she reaches a town in the middle of the desert called Lost.  Lost is surrounded by an impassable wall of dust, and it’s impossible to leave without the help of a man known as the Missing Man.  But he takes one look at Lauren and (inexplicably) flees.  So she’s trapped in a town full of only lost things and lost people, and she needs to find a way out…

DFT: Can you tell us more about the mysterious and beautiful Peter?

Sarah: Her first morning in Lost, Lauren tries to leave by driving through the dust cloud that surrounds the town.  And she ends up right back where she started, by the welcome sign.  She tries again — same thing.  And again.  Until her car runs out of gas inside the dust.  A man who quotes poetry and makes about as much sense as the Cheshire Cat pushes her car out of the dust and back into town.  She doesn’t expect to care about him, and he certainly doesn’t expect to care about her.  He’s the Finder, and he’s seen thousands of lost souls come and go.  But he is, at heart, a romantic, and he can’t help but hope that maybe this time, he’s found someone who won’t leave.

As to more than that… well, there’s a reason this is a trilogy.  :)

DFT: Are Peter’s tattoo’s symbolic of his position as the Finder? If so, do we learn more about them? Or are they just tattoos?( I’m curious since he runs around in a leather trench coat with no shirt a lot.)

Sarah: I’d love to say the answer is deep and mysterious, and that the black feather tattoos symbolize something grand and vast… but honestly, I just thought they looked cool.  That’s how I pictured him when he walked out of the dust in my imagination.

Writing this book was very much an act of discovery.  Claire, for instance, wasn’t in my original outline at all, but when I reached that scene, suddenly there she was, a six year old girl in a princess dress, holding a teddy bear and a very sharp knife.

DFT: Who was your favorite “lost” character in The Lost? (I was quite a fan of Claire! But Tiffany’s gallows humor almost stole the show.)

Sarah: I have to say Claire.  Maybe purely for this scene:

The girl switches direction, pulling me into the alley between the barber shop and a decrepit triple-decker house.  She still doesnt speak.

I dont know why Im trusting her.  “Are you helping me, or dragging me someplace private to cut me to pieces and feed me to your teddy bear?  Just curious.”

The girl looks at me with her wide eyes.  “My name is Claire.  And my teddy bear is not hungry today.”

DFT: What was your inspiration for the mysterious town of Lost?

Sarah: Early on, I had an image of the town with a single red balloon always floating overhead…  And that balloon led to a list of all the things that could be lost — everything from paperclips to children.  The town was born from that list.

DFT: What is your favorite part about writing The Lost?

Sarah: I fell in love with the town.  Lost was so much fun to create.  As I said, it’s full of only lost things.  So that means there are tons of keys, shoes, wallets, pens…  You have to scavenge and barter for everything you need.  I loved thinking up all the details — what it would be like to live there, who would come there, how they’d change…

DFT: Can you hint at what is next for Lauren in The Missing?

Sarah: I’m not sure I can think of anything that wouldn’t be a spoiler.  :)  I can say that we’ll learn a lot more about the Missing Man and about Lauren’s destiny…  There’s also a city known as Despair, which is not exactly full of sunshine.

DFT: What can you tell us about any other projects you are working on?

Sarah: THE LOST is the first book in a trilogy, but I am also working on a standalone YA novel.  It’s called CHASING POWER, and it will be coming out from Bloomsbury in October.  It’s an Indiana Jones / Jumper kind of adventure about a girl with telekinesis and a boy who can teleport.

DFT: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

Sarah: Thanks so much for interviewing me!

_________________________________________________________________________________

The Lost

Available May 20, 2014 from Harlequin/Mira

About this Book:

Lost your way?

Your dreams?

Yourself?

Welcome to Lost.

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost…well, it’s a place you really can’t leave. Not until you’re Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go-luggage, keys, dreams, lives-where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don’t want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible….

Until Lauren decides nothing-and no one-is going to keep her here anymore.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Author Interview: Chains and Canes by Katie Porter

June 28th, 2013 Kristie Posted in Interview 5 Comments »

Dark Faerie Tales is bringing you a little something different today for the adults. Everyone please welcome Katie Porter (Lorelie Brown and Carrie Lofty) here today to talk about her upcoming release Chains and Canes, the second novel in the Club Devant series. *Warning: this is a series for mature readers.* Chains and Canes is an erotic romance story about a ménage relationship between a dominant and two submissives. This novel will be released in eBook format on July 9, 2013.

Today’s giveaway is provided by Katie Porter! One lucky winner will receive one copy of Chains and Canes in any format, plus the first novel in the “Vegas Top Guns” series, Double Down.

About Katie:

Katie Porter is the award-winning writing team of longtime friends Lorelie Brown and Carrie Lofty. Both are multi-published in several romance genres. Carrie holds an MA in history, loves movies, and has no fear of gross things like dissecting formaldehyde sharks. Her two daughters aren’t appreciative. Lorelie is a US Army veteran and true-crime devotee, whose three boys love when she screams like a little girl around spiders. Now, after years of wishing and planning, they finally share an office in the Chicago area. Chains and Canes is their eighth co-written book.

You can visit Katie around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Katie Porter?

Double Down Inside Bet Hold 'Em Hard Way Bare KnuckleLead and Follow Chains and CanesCame Upon a Midnight ClearO Come All Ye Kinky

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Welcome Lorelie & Carrie!

DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about Chains and Canes?

Lorelie: “Happily engaged for three years, a repressed businessman and a dancer on the verge of stardom both fall for a troubled choreographer. He’s willing to indulge sexual desires, but it will take the love of both committed partners to explore their submissive sides, and to win his guarded heart.”

Carrie: In other words, two hot submissives double-team a Dom they both want. But, you know, jealousy and emotional baggage can heavy loads!

DFT: Could you tell us about your main characters in Chains and Canes?

Lorelie: Daniel is a high powered businessman who loves his fiancé deeply. Naya is a talented dancer who craves masochistic submission, but Daniel can’t bring himself to hurt his angel. Luckily they find Remy, a bad boy Cajun choreographer…who knows how to wield a belt.

Carrie: Along the way, they discover that Daniel has submissive tendencies of his own, but he’s no less of a willful, powerful magnate when outside of the bedroom. Remy learns that the hard way.

DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

Lorelie: Mine is Remy. Hands down. He’s so tasty, with the accent and the tumbled messy look and the growly way he has of dominating everyone around him. But then, Daniel’s no slouch either. He obeys Remy, but not easily. He’s a strong man and when it comes to defending Naya, all bets are off. So he’s completely tasty too. Wait. Maybe Daniel is my favorite…Do I have to decide?

Carrie: The boys are awesome hot. Seriously. But I adore Naya. She’s a peaceful soul who craves not-so-peaceful release. She trusts Daniel implicitly and comes to want that same trust from Remy. She knows exactly what she wants from both, and she’s not afraid to walk away if either crosses a boundary. I loved writing the contradiction between a fully independent woman who isn’t over-the-top bitchy—you can be in control of your life and decisions without being outwardly aggressive—but who also loves the endorphin release of serious BDSM and turning herself over, sexually, to the men in her life.

DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line in Chains and Canes?

Lorelie: It’s more than a line, but I think it’s filthy-beautiful (Carrie: I’ll just agree, because it’s a damn good excerpt. My favorite is the finale in the town car. You’ll just have to trust me!)

Although Daniel obeyed, he hesitated this time. He was at the end of his leash, which remained wrapped around Naya’s neck. Her eyes fluttered so fast and wide that he saw the whites. “Oh, Cristo,” she gasped. “Baby. Sir. Oh.”

“You better come fast, Daniel,” Remy said with that intoxicating brand of control. “Naya’s waiting on you. She’s waiting to breathe and for her turn to come.”

DFT: Chains and Canes is about a Ménage relationship. Is it more of a challenge or is it more fun to write that kind of relationship, than the more traditional relationship?

Lorelie: I’d say both? It’s a total blast, because there’s three people to play with, and the sex is all sorts of fun to think up. But it’s complicated too, because we had to figure out why these three people fit together. What bits of them did the others need? The process added extra layers to consider. Then personally I struggle with the element of making the after-effect believable. How will they set up their life so that a three-way relationship makes sense?

Carrie: On a practical level, this was the first ménage we’ve written as a duo. Normally one of us writes the hero. The other takes the heroine. But what about the third person?? We shared duties depending on the scene and our preference at the time. It was a fun experiment in stretching our technical boundaries as a partnership.

DFT: Tell us about your creative process when writing as a team. How does it differ from your solo process?

Lorelie: The brainstorming process is the same no matter what. That’s part of how we ended up working together as Katie Porter: we’ve talked out stories really closely for quite a few years already. It’s wonderful to have someone to bounce ideas off of and help refine what you’re looking for. Things usually veer off when it comes to drafting. If we’re writing as Katie Porter, we usually split up character POVs and take turns. But throwing in a third POV meant having to adjust. We divided Daniel’s pages pretty much in half, and each of us wrote different chapters.

DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) do you draw from while writing?

Lorelie: Lots and lots of music. I have playlists I create for each book. I’m so sad that my hard drive recently died and had to be replaced—my play lists were one thing I didn’t have backed up.

And I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t admit the influence that “So You Think You Can Dance” has had on the whole “Club Devant” series. They’re tiny stories told with bodies. I adore that show.

Carrie: WE adore that show! And yes, give me music all day long.

DFT: Which genre do you prefer to read? Do you have any favorite authors or series?

Lorelie: I read romance, for sure. I’ve been really, really digging both Charlotte Vale and Cara McKenna lately. I fan-girled when I heard they were co-writing a super sekrit project. I plan to stalk them until I figure out what they’re doing with it.

Otherwise I’ve adored Laura Kinsale for years. I’m doing some road tripping this summer and I’ve bought The Prince of Midnight on audiobook to listen to. I can’t wait!

Carrie: I am a damn slow reader. I recently finished Silver Linings Playbook, which was a strange thing for me—because I finished it. I have a difficult time shutting off my writing/editing/creative brain, so I tend to stray beyond romance…and then I watch movies or TV *g*

DFT: If you weren’t a writer, what would your dream job be?

Lorelie: But…writer is all I’ve ever wanted to do. There are other jobs? *dumbfounded* No, really, this week I’m home visiting Orange County where I grew up, and everyone’s reminding me how I’m doing exactly what I dreamt of. It’s kind of an excellent feeling. But I suppose if I had to pick, I’d say history teacher. Probably high school. (Because I’m obviously insane.)

Carrie: Ditto, and nearly ditto. I have a masters in history and intended to earn my PhD to become a history prof. Unfortunately for my career in academia, every time I pictured being published, the book had shiny foil lettering and a half-naked man on the cover!

DFT: Are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?

Lorelie: I’m hip-deep in edits for a solo contemporary romance due out from Signet in 2014, about a world class millionaire surfer and the girl he left behind! Plus we’ve just turned in Watch and Wait, the third book in the Katie Porter “Club Devant” series. The wrap-up to our “Vegas Top Guns” series, Bare Knuckle, will be out in October, all from Samhain.

Carrie: I’m in the process of launching a new pseudonym, Lindsey Piper, writing the paranormal “Dragon Kings” series that debuted in June with CAGED WARRIOR. I’ll also have a new adult contemporary out under my own name by December, all through Pocket.

DFT: What is your favorite fairy tale? Why?

Lorelie: The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen. I think because there are so many feels. Seriously, it regularly makes me cry. God, I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

Carrie: The original Brothers Grimm Cinderella (Aschenputtel) where the evil stepsisters are advised by their mother to mutilate their feet in order to fit the glass slipper, and then their eyes are pecked out by doves from Heaven during happy ending wedding. Ha!

[We’re pretty sure these choices mean we’re warped, and therefore perfectly suited writing partners.]

DFT: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

Lorelie: No problem! Thanks for having us to visit!

Carrie: Happy reading, everyone!

_________________________________________________________________________________

This contest is provided by Katie Porter!

One lucky winner will receive one copy of Chains and Canes in any format, plus the first novel in the “Vegas Top Guns” series, Double Down

Available July 9, 2013 from Samhain Publishing

About this Book:

A Dom double-teamed by two submissives? He doesn’t stand a chance.

Wealthy businessman Daniel Baker doesn’t have a creative bone in his body, but he knows art and craves beauty. Contemporary dancer Naya Ortiz, his fiancée of three years, embodies both. His protective commitment to her happiness extends to hiring Dominas to satisfy the sexual masochism she craves.

The balance of their relationship is tipped when Naya dances with reckless Cajun choreographer Remy Lomand. His magnetism as a Dom carries over to a backstage encounter that leaves Naya breathless—and Daniel unable to look away.

Remy knows the deal. The fancy people want to play with a disposable boy toy. He’s fine with that…but not with letting Daniel remain a bystander. As their sessions intensify, Remy guides Daniel’s awakening as a sexual submissive. Their no-strings threesome reveals the physical connection Daniel and Naya have lacked—and the emotional depth Remy fears.

When Remy and Naya tirelessly work to found a professional dance company, Daniel is left on the outside looking in. And although he and Naya are ready to submit to Remy for the rest of their lives, the man they call Sir may not want their love at all.

Warning: A sexy-as-hell Cajun choreographer plays slap, tickle, chains and canes with a muy caliente Puerto Rican dancer and her repressed businessman fiancé. What could possibly go wrong?

Click HERE to read an excerpt

Pre-order from

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Blog Tour & Interview: Undying Destiny by Jessica Lee

June 17th, 2013 Kristie Posted in Blog Tour, Interview 24 Comments »

Please welcome Jessica Lee to Dark Faerie Tales today with her new release Undying Destiny! The first novel in The Enclave series releases today from Entangled Publishing. Undying Destiny is a paranormal romance about a vampire fighting to avoid his sire whom has an unnatural fixation on him.

Enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. This giveaway is provided by Jessica Lee!

About Jessica:

Almost every author’s bio states they’ve been writing since they learned how to read. It’s what they’ve always wanted to do. Well, my journey wasn’t so straight and narrow. I was a nurse for over twenty years and hold a bachelor’s degree in science with a major in biology. So as you can see, my career path had originally gone in the opposite direction. I didn’t discover my passion for the craft until after I’d had my son and decided to work part-time.

I’ve always loved to read but had never read a paranormal romance. Then one night at work on break, I began reading Karen Marie Moning’s Spell of the Highlander. I couldn’t believe what I’d been missing, and I immediately fell in love with the genre.

I wanted to write like that. I wanted to create worlds where others could find the same escape and fascination I did when I read my first sensual paranormal romance.

And I hope that’s what I’ve accomplished in my work. Please dive in, hold on tight, and enjoy the adventure. Just be careful in the dark—you might find more than you expected waiting for you there.

Jessica Lee lives in the southeastern United States with her husband and son. She loves writing and can’t wait for that quiet time each day when her son is in school, and she can get lost in another place and world with the fantastical, sexy creatures in her head.

She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, FF&P, and Carolina Romance Writers.

You can visit Jessica around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Jessica Lee?

BloodlinesMake MeOn Thin IceIn the Pride's Best InterestDesire to Die ForDark Desires at MidnightAll She Wants 4 ChristmasPassion Awakened

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DFT: Welcome Jessica!

Jessica: I’m so excited to be at Dark Faerie Tales! Thanks so much for the interview opportunity.

DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about Undying Destiny?

Jessica: Undying Destiny is Kenric St. James and Emily Ross’ story. It’s also book one in the series and introduces you to the dark world of the Enclave.

DFT: Could you tell us about your main characters in Undying Destiny?

Jessica: Kenric is an over three hundred year old vampire whose world revolves around defending his community from the DEADs (death euphoria addicted vampires) and preparing for the day he can finally have his vengeance against his sire.

Emily is a nurse who is fresh out of an abusive relationship, and all she wants is a quiet life that doesn’t include a controlling, demanding man in her life. Unfortunately, her ex. isn’t finished with her, and her world becomes even more complicated when she stumbles into Kenric’s path.

DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

Jessica: Kenric, of course. Lol  Who doesn’t love a tortured alpha male!

DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line in Undying Destiny?

Jessica: Hmm… good question. Probably the opening: “Whoever you are, you’d best have a damn good reason to continue breathing.”

DFT: How much research went into creating this series?

Jessica: Being that these are my fictional characters and paranormal creatures who exist in a fictional town, I didn’t have to do any extensive research.

DFT: What is your favorite part about writing this series?

Jessica: The characters. :-) I love the vampire heroes of the Enclave.

DFT: Do you have a long term plan or goal for this story universe?

Jessica: There are four books planned for the Enclave.

DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or ritual?

Jessica: No rituals, except for having some sort of a snack on hand, iced coffee, and my ear buds.

My process is kind of a mix. I’m plotter and someone who writes by the seat of my pants. I usually have to see the beginning, middle, and black moment of my book, then I write up my character’s goals, motivation, and their conflict. After that, I get started allowing my characters to take me there.

DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) do you draw from while writing?

Jessica: Definitely music. It never fails with each book I will find a song that speaks to me about my characters and their trials. I tend to play that melody over and over while I write their story.

DFT: Which genre do you prefer to read? Do you have any favorite authors or series?

Jessica: I’m a huge paranormal romance fan! My favorite author…? Oh, there are so many, but I’ll always think of Karen Marie Moning as my favorite since she was the first writer to introduce me to the fantasy/pnr genre.

DFT: What can you tell us about any other projects you are working on?

Jessica: I’m in the process of writing the final book in the Enclave series, and I do have another project that is in the early stages of planning. But it’s too soon for me to reveal any of the details yet.

I’m also working on the third book in one of my erotic paranormal romance series, Ariel Estates.

DFT: What creature are you afraid of the most? Why?

Jessica: Interesting question… I’m not really afraid of any of the mythical creatures. I think the human race has them beat in the fear department. In the spiritual world, demons give me chills. I’m always one to pass on those movies. lol

DFT: What is your favorite faery tale? Why?

Jessica: Cinderella. Because I like cheering for the underdog, the one who’s always gotten the raw deal in life coming out a winner in the end.

DFT: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

Jessica: You are most welcome!  Thank you again for allowing me to be a guest. Great questions!

View Blog Tour Links

_________________________________________________________________________________

This contest is provided by Jessica Lee!

One lucky winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Available June 17, 2013 from Entangled Edge

About this Book

Kenric St. James is out for revenge. Over 300 years ago, an ancient female vampire turned him against his will and killed the woman he loved. He’s spent more than a century building an Enclave of warrior vampires who have sworn to defend humanity against his evil sire and her minions. But when Kenric finds a woman he finally burns to claim as his own again, Kenric knows loving her means giving his sire another target.

Emily Ross just wanted a fresh start. She’s a survivor, coming off the tail end of an abusive relationship, and craves time alone to learn who she is and to save the home that holds her heart. The last thing she needed was a controlling, alpha male calling all the shots.

Meeting Kenric might just have changed her mind, though. He is wrong for her in all the right ways. But in order to keep her heart from breaking, he first has to keep the hoards of evil vamps from stealing her very breath.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Interview & Giveaway: Prodigy by Marie Lu

January 28th, 2013 Kristie Posted in Interview 20 Comments »

Last week Kayla and a few other book reviewers had the opportunity to interview Marie Lu about her new novel Prodigy. Below is the entire transcript of the interview! Prodigy is the sequel to the amazing Legend. If you don’t believe me, read Kayla’s reviews for Legend and Prodigy! Prodigy will be released next Tuesday, January 29th. Click here to read an excerpt from Prodigy.

At the end of this post, we will be giving away a signed copy of Prodigy, thanks to the wonderful people at Penguin Group!

About Marie:

Marie Lu writes young adult novels, and has a special love for dystopian books. She likes food, fighter jets, afternoon tea, happy people, electronics, the interwebz, cupcakes, pianos, bright colors, rain, Christmas lights, sketches, animation, dogs, farmers’ markets, video games, and of course, books.

She left Beijing for the States in 1989 and went off to college at the University of Southern California. In her past life, she was an art director in the video game industry, but now she writes full-time.

Visit Marie and the Legend series around the web:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Legend Website | Legend Facebook

Want to read more from Marie Lu?

Life Before LegendLegendProdigy

_________________________________________________________________________________

Group Interview with Marie Lu

January 22, 2013

6:45 PM

Ms. Marie Lu:  Hi, my name is Marie, and I’m super glad to be on the phone call with you guys.  My voice is a little bit shaky today, so if you need me to repeat anything, just let me know.

A quick recap of Prodigy is it continues right where Legend left off, and Day and June are forced by circumstance to join the Patriot rebels, who want them to help assassinate the new Elector of the Republic.  But, of course, not everything is at it seems, and when June starts to wonder if killing the Elector might only make things worse, she and Day come into direct conflict.

They also explore a lot more locations in the Republic as well as uncover the truth of what happened so many decades ago.

Amy:  So, after the success of Legend, how do you feel having the second book come out, and the pressure that comes with it and the early reader reaction to it?

Ms. Marie Lu:  The pressure is definitely different.  I had a really hard time writing the second book, pretty much like every other writer I’ve ever talked to. With the first book, I wrote it and nobody knew that I was writing it and I was really in the vacuum of my own deadlines and schedules.

And with the second one, it was due on June 1st, I have to turn it in, there are readers who are expecting certain things and I can’t help seeing some things online where people are asking for certain things to happen and certain things not to happen.

So the pressure was definitely different.  And I kind of had to learn how to go back to writing in a vacuum. There were many nights where I was crying and eating chocolates over this book.

Rachel: Hi, Marie.  When you first began to write, what spurred you to create your fantasies that may not have been quite publishing ready, but they were still yours?  And is it the same thing now?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I lost a little bit of your question halfway through.  Would you mind repeating it one more time?  Sorry.

Rachel:  Sure. When you first began to write, what spurred you to create your fantasies?  Sort of like what inspired you?  And is it the same thing that inspires you now?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I first started writing when I was really, really young.  I think the first “story” that I wrote, which is like those stapled together papers, was when I was five. I think the inspirations are still pretty much the same though.

Back then, I was inspired by a lot of my favorite stories.  I remember reading Brian Jacques’ Redwall series back in middle school and loving it so much that I wrote a whole series of my own spin off Redwall stories in these 80 page bound journal books.  And I did that sort of thing all throughout high school, just getting really inspired by other people’s writing and by people in general as well as books, movies and games.  And they all sort of combine into one.

Legend in particular was inspired partly by Les Miserables.

Michelle:  Did you have a story arc already planned when you started writing Legend, or did the story develop as you wrote?  Like, for example, did you know what would happen to Kaede in Prodigy already?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I didn’t really know exactly what was going to happen to Kaede.  I sort of write by the seat of my pants. I have a very basic outline, and I try to follow it.  But I’m really, really bad at following my outlines.

The characters really get away from me, and they kind of take on a life of their own.

For example, Kaede was supposed to be a walk on character in book one.  She was supposed to appear in that bar scene, and that was it.  That was supposed to be her only scene.  But, somehow, she managed to worm her way into two of the three books.

So I definitely don’t always know what’s going to happen.  That can cause me quite a few panic attacks along the way, but it’s sort of more fun that way in hindsight.

Anna:  My question is what’s been the toughest criticism given to you as an author, and what has been the best compliment?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I would say the best compliment I’ve ever gotten is from actually, at that time, young seventh graders or eighth graders who have never finished a book before, very reluctant readers. I actually just got an email a couple of weeks ago from a little boy who had never finished a book before.  He belonged to a remedial reading class.  His teacher recommended Legend to him, and he ended up finishing it in two days, and he was really proud of himself.  And I was so proud of him.

It’s the stories like that really get to me.  And I find those the best compliments.

As for the toughest criticism, negative reviews are always difficult to read, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten anything that was extremely hurtful.  I tend to read all of my negative reviews just in case there’s something really valuable mentioned somewhere in them.

For example, one of my first negative reviews commented on how June in the advanced copy of Legend tells time in civilian mode instead of military time, using the 24 hour clock.  And I thought that was like a great comment.  I hadn’t even thought of that.  So that got changed for the final version.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten anything that was so tough that it broke my heart.  So far all of it has been actually pretty constructive and helpful in its own way.

Kayla:  What other project are you working on that you would like to tell us about?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I just finished up the first few drafts of Legend 3, so I am working on some new stuff now.

I am working on a new fantasy series.  Fantasy is sort of my first love.  It’s the first genre that I really fell in love with back in middle school, so I kind of want to go back to that.

The new story is set in an alternate fantasy version of Renaissance Italy.  And that’s hopefully what will be my next series.  So we’ll see what happens.

Amy:  So, since Legend was inspired by Les Miserables, have you seen the new movie version, and how did you feel about it?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I have seen it, and I really loved it maybe with the exception of Russell Crowe, who I just felt so sorry for.  I thought he was gonna pop a vocal cord.  But, other than that, I thought the movie was really, really good.

I loved Anne Hathaway as Fantine, and it was just really cool seeing the big screen version of the musical paying homage to the musical.  I’d seen like the old Les Mis movies, but they were movie movies and not so much the musical.  So I thought it was really, really fun.

Rachel:  In the book Legend, you created a contrast between the poor citizens and an elite military group.  Will the readers of Prodigy be able to look for another contrast as extreme?

Ms. Marie Lu:  In Prodigy, the contrast is a little bit different.  I think in Prodigy, a lot of the contrast comes from what one person thinks of the Republic and what the other person thinks of the Republic and also with the areas outside of the Republic that are very different from the Republic itself.

Pamela:  What was the hardest scene that you had to write in either Legend or Prodigy?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I find June incredibly hard to write. Every time one of her chapters comes up, I kind of have to stop and do random research for her lines because she just knows random things.  For example, in Prodigy, there’s an early scene where she starts listing off the metal composition of a paper clip.  So I had to stop and go online and read about the history of paper clips and just really random things like that.

So June’s chapters definitely are slow going for me, and they’re very challenging.

And a particularly difficult scene in Prodigy was when Day and June have a really drawn-out dramatic verbal fight. That took me 10 or 20 different tries to get their dialogue the way that I wanted to.  It was definitely a challenging scene.

Michelle:  If you could spend a day with any of the characters in Prodigy, who would it be and what will you do with that character during your day together?

Ms. Marie Lu:  That’s an interesting question.  I would really love to spend a day with Anden, actually.  I think it would be really fun to see from his point of view what it’s like to run the Republic from the inside.  I would probably like to tell him all of the things that people are conspiring to do against him.

And he seems like he would be a fun person to hang around because he’s very elegant and might take me to a really nice restaurant.

Anna: My question is what made you choose to write about a young adult instead of more of an adult?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I actually went into this story not knowing that I had written a young adult.  I think I had always been writing young adult without realizing it, ever since high school.

When I took Legend to my agent, I just gave it to her as  science fiction, and she was the one who told me that it actually fit really well into the young adult dystopian section.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was writing, but now that I know about young adult, I really find the genre fascinating, and pretty much everything I read these days is young adult.

In the future, I might write something for adults.  But right now, I’m having a pretty good time with the young adult category.

Kayla:  In an animated version of Legend or Prodigy, who would you want the voice of June or Day?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I would love an animated version.

Oh, gosh, I don’t even know. I think it would be really fun if Day’s voice was Leonardo DiCaprio because when I was a little girl, I was totally a fan of Leo DiCaprio, and his Romeo and Juliette personality probably inspired Day just a little bit.  So I think it would be fun if he was voicing Day.

For June, I’m not entirely sure.  But I really like the voices of the girls in Avatar:  The Last Airbender.  I really loved the voice actresses in Airbender and in Korra.  So I think it’d be fun if she was voiced like Korra or Katara.

Pamela:  While you were writing Legend, it says in your biography that you were an art director at a game design company. What did you like about game design, and were you a gamer growing up?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I definitely was a gamer growing up.  My first game was Sonic Hedgehog II on my Sega Genesis, and I’ve been a gamer ever since.

I find games to be so fascinating because it’s just another creative media.  All creative media inspire me, and they’re sort of interchangeable for me.

Playing games a lot and working in games definitely influences my writing.  When I’m writing, I tend to see in my head either a game sequence or some sort of movie sequence that’s kind of related to my former art director job.

In Legend, the seen where June and Kaede have their street fight, that was solely inspired by Street Fighter.  So in my head, I kind of picture it like a game scene.

And I just find it really fun.  Sometimes if I have writer’s block, I do like to put the writing aside and go play some games or watch some movies or something, get my creative juices flowing in a different sort of media.

Kayla:  What is your definition of a bad writing day, and how do you deal with those days?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I do get bad writing days quite frequently.  Usually, my best solution is to stop writing and to start drawing.  I notice that I can usually break a writer’s block if I stop and just start drawing my characters or the scene that I’m trying to write or some sort of landscape. I notice that switching the creative media will usually help me break that.

And sometimes reading books helps a lot. I can usually like go and read something and then get inspiration from that.

Rachel:  What was the most personally related event or thing or concept or maybe even a lesson you learned that you incorporated into your new book Prodigy that you really want your readers to digest and think about?

Ms. Marie Lu:  One thing that I really wanted to emphasize in Prodigy was the fact that everything is sort of gray.  There’s no black and white to anything.  The Republic is not completely evil. The people who live in the Republic are not all evil.  And the world outside of the Republic is not always good.

I really wanted to reflect some of the reality of our real world.  A lot of the political elements in Prodigy were inspired directly by the state of American politics right at the beginning of our Great Recession, which was around the time I had started to work on Prodigy and on Legend.

I think that that’s something that I really hope that readers will pick up on and be aware of – that dystopia is relative and it really depends on who tries it on and how you see it.  It’s something that I saw when I was living in China, and I see it in America, too.  So that’s definitely something that I wanted to come across.

Pamela:  I’m representing Surviving College, a site about surviving college life. Do you have any advice for college students who are looking to break into a creative industry like gaming or writing?

Ms. Marie Lu:  There’s definitely certain majors that you can pursue that will help you.  If I could go back to college, I probably would have majored in creative writing or game design.  I was a political science major, which is mainly because I was kind of afraid to take that jump.

I really hope that college students who are interested in the creative industry won’t be afraid to pursue those industries because I know they can be very challenging to get a foothold in, but your best bet is to try to steer your major towards what you want to do and start searching for internships.

If you’re looking to go into the arts – gaming or movies or any sort of art design – just know that your portfolio is king.  Even if you don’t have a major in art, you can actually get a job if your portfolio is strong enough.

Definitely do your research and go online and find certain people that you can look up to.  A lot of the great creative artists are online, and they have art blogs.  A game designer has game design blogs.  And you can probably get informational interviews with them to just ask them about how their industry works.

In the creative industry, like all industries, it’s all about who you know.  So building those early connections really helps a lot.

And as far as writing goes, there are a ton of resources online for aspiring writers and great writer communities.  Twitter is a great tool to follow established writers and see what they say and what advice they have to give.

I think the biggest thing is just don’t be afraid to pursue it. I was afraid for a long time because I thought I would be a starving artist.  But I think anyone can make it in the creative industry if they’re passionate about it and they have the talent.

Anna:  Where do you like to go to write, whether it be at your house or your local Starbucks?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I’ve sort of gotten in the habit of writing anywhere.  I used to not be able to do that.  I used to just write exclusively at home.  But I did a lot of traveling this past year, so now I kind of like writing in coffee shops more and writing on trains–I’m not sure why, but trains seem to be a fun place to do writing, for whatever reason.  And I do still enjoy writing at home, too, since it’s the most convenient spot.

Amy:  What are you most excited for readers to discover in Prodigy?

Ms. Marie Lu:  I would really love to see readers meet Anden and see what they think of him.  I had a lot of fun writing Anden.  A fun little piece of trivia is that he and Day were actually both in an old manuscript that I wrote back in high school, and they were best friends in that one.

So he was a character that I revised from the old one, although his personality iss a little bit different in this one.

I’m excited to see what readers think of him.  I’m excited to see readers meet Kaede again and see the role that she plays.

And I just hope people like the new direction that Prodigy goes in and the new characters that sort of take the reigns.

Michelle:  What was your inspiration for the colonies?

Ms. Marie Lu:  For the colonies?  It was definitely part of the whole feeding off of American politics during the Great Recession.  It was just sort of disturbing and baffling to see how extreme our two political parties had to go in order to face off against each other during dire circumstances.

I feel like, in the Legend world, since it’s very dystopian and there are a lot of crises, that was why the two countries became such polar opposites.  So that was definitely an inspiration, the whole American politics that we know for the last four years.

Chelsy:  Thank you all so much for being here.  Marie, thank you for your time and your patience and your willingness to go through a couple of different workarounds.  And all of you guys who were able to participate, as well, thank you.

Ms. Marie Lu:  Thank you! I had a great time talking with you guys.

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This giveaway is provided by Penguin Group

One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Prodigy by Marie Lu

Available January 29, 2013 from Putnam Juvenile/Penguin

About this Book:

Prodigy is the long-awaited sequel to Legend, the must-read dystopian novel for all YA fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth. A brilliant re-imagining of Les Miserables, the series is set to be a global film sensation as CBS films have acquired rights to the trilogy.

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—-June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Author Interview: The Governor Trilogy by Jay Bonansinga

December 8th, 2012 Kristie Posted in Interview Comments Off

Dark Faerie Tales is thrilled to have the talented Jay Bonansinga here today to  discuss The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor and The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury, the first two books in The Governor Trilogy written in conjunction with Robert Kirkman. Sheila recently reviewed the audiobook versions of The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor and The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury. Click on the titles to read her reviews.

About Jay:

Jay Bonansinga is a New York Times bestselling author of sixteen books, including the Bram Stoker finalist THE BLACK MARIAH (1994), and the International Thriller Writers Award finalist SHATTERED (2007).  Jay’s work has been translated into nine languages, and he has been called “one of the most imaginative writers of thrillers” by the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.  Jay has won major film festival awards, including a Gold Remi at the Houston International WorldFest and a Best Comedy Feature at the Queens International Film Festival, and his 2005 novel, FROZEN, is in development as a major motion picture starring Dennis Haysbert (THE UNIT).  Jay’s 2004 non-fiction debut, THE SINKING OF THE EASTLAND, won the Certificate of Merit from the Illinois State Historical Society, and is currently the source novel for the acclaimed musical “EASTLAND” at the Tony award-winning Lookingglass Theater.  Jay’s recently released non-fiction work, PINKERTON’S WAR, out from Lyons Press in 2011, is a true historical thriller about the creator of the U.S. Secret Service.  And Jay is currently hard at work co-writing a trilogy of original novels based on the universe of Robert Kirkman’s brilliant graphic novel, THE WALKING DEAD (the inspiration for the mega-hit AMC series of the same name).  Jay is also a Visiting Professor at both Northwestern and DePaul universities where he teaches screenwriting.

You can visit Jay around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Jay Bonansinga?

The Walking Dead: Rise of t...The Walking Dead: Just Anot...The Walking Dead: The Road ...Sinking Of The EastlandFrozenShatteredPerfect VictimTwistedThe Killer's GameThe Sleep PoliceOblivionHead Case: A NovelPinkerton's War: The Civil ...

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Welcome Jay!

DFT: In the first book, why did you choose Phillip to be so haunted by his own internal demons yet become the original group’s de facto leader?

Jay: Much of this was already cooked up by the great and powerful Robert Kirkman — I’m the one who simply puts the rotting flesh on the bones of the story — but I think this character was critical to set up a lot of things in the story and in Woodbury — not the least of which is the BIG twist at the end of the first book.  Plus… I think you want a bad-ass leading your group.  I would want the governor on my side in a dark alley, and then later, I would politely get the hell away from him.

DFT: Do you believe that Phillip’s fractured mind is an attribute or a hindrance?

Jay: Oh man I totally LOVE the weirdness of “Philip’s” mind — it jibes perfectly with the desperate times and the almost feral nature of protecting your family and friends no matter what the cost.  I guess you could say it cost Philip his sanity.

DFT: What would you say about Phillip that makes him so much more interesting than some of the other Walking Dead characters?

Jay: I always tell my creative writing students to make your heroes flawed and nasty, and your villains sweet and sympathetic… and I think Philip is the ultimate villain — savage, creepy, and yet almost sympathetic, full of love and neediness and warmth.

DFT: What was behind the decision of making ROAD TO WOODBURY from an outsider’s perspective?

Jay: Again, this was Robert’s decision early on — he gives me an 8-page outline and I turn it into a 400 page book — but for me, as a writer and storyteller, the outsider perspective works beautifully.  You need to see the freakiness from a character that you identify with, and you process it through Lilly’s point of view, and you go: “WHOOOOA KEEMOSABI, GET ME OUTTA HERE.”

DFT: Almost all of the characters have significant addictions (i.e. drugs, sex, violence), do you believe that to be the likely outcome of surviving a zombie crisis?  Why?

Jay: Oh my God yes… oh my God… if it were me, I would be drunk or stoned or zonked out on Xanax the whole time… I mean… well… not that I have any experience with these things… this is just a hypothetical… right?… um… anyway… from what I’ve read, a martini and an ambien, and maybe some superficial sex, can make a zombie apocalypse go down a heck of a lot easier.

DFT: What are the motivations driving Phillip once he takes on the mantle of “The Governor?”

Jay: He feels as though he is loved.  He feels as though he has the family that he so tragically lost.  He feels whole.  In a very warped, twisted, creepy way of course.

DFT: What are we likely to see for the last installment, without giving too much away?

Jay: You’re going to see a TOUR DE FORCE of action, a ZOMBIEPALOOZA, where all the strands and characters and storylines that have been both explored or hinted at come together!!!!!!!  I can’t wait!!!!!!

DFT: Are there any plans in the works for back stories of some of the other characters?

Jay: Yes… but that’s as far as I can go and stay breathing… otherwise, if I told you, I would end up in a trunk.  Or zombie lunch.

DFT: If you were to meet someone who has not seen either the show or read the comics, how would you a) sum it all up and b) entice them into reading or watching The Walking Dead?

Jay: It seems like everybody working in this field always says, “Well, you know, it’s not really about zombies.  It’s really about characters, or the human condition, or love, or the electoral college…” or some such crap.  I would tell people it is pure, unapologetic, kick-ass survival horror that does not pull any punches.  It is like rock and roll for the imagination.  There’s a lot of action and sex and violence and cool stuff that will make you shudder, scream, laugh, and gawk.  If you like classical music, wine, Oprah, and stinky cheese… this may not be for you.

DFT: Who is your favorite character and why?

Jay: Easy… so easy… hands down… no contest… the inimitible, sexy, exotic, dangerous, take-no-prisoners MICHONNE and her gorgeous dreadlocks and bad-ass kente sword.

DFT: What would you do if there was a zombie outbreak?

Jay: Take Xanax, enjoy stiff martinis, use lots of porn… and hide.  (See question 5)

DFT: What item(s) would you suggest that people have in case of a zombie outbreak?

Jay: Xanax, Ketel-One, lubricant, ambien, porn, valium, bandaids, a vibrator, Neosporin… and a chain mail suit.

DFT: Who do you normally root for in a horror movie; good guys or the monsters, and why?

Jay: Always the monster… even in zombie stories… because there always going to be characters like Shane and Laurie whom you just want to see get eaten.

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About this Book:

The zombie plague unleashes its horrors on the suburbs of Atlanta without warning, pitting the living against the dead. Caught in the mass exodus, Lilly Caul struggles to survive in a series of ragtag encampments and improvised shelters. But the Walkers are multiplying. Dogged by their feral hunger for flesh and crippled by fear, Lilly relies on the protection of good Samaritans by seeking refuge in a walled-in town once known as Woodbury, Georgia.

At first, Woodbury seems like a perfect sanctuary. Squatters barter services for food, people have roofs over their heads, and the barricade expands, growing stronger every day. Best of all, a mysterious self-proclaimed leader named Philip Blake keeps the citizens in line. But Lilly begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. . . . Blake, who has recently begun to call himself The Governor, has disturbing ideas about law and order.

Ultimately, Lilly and a band of rebels open up a Pandora’s box of mayhem and destruction when they challenge The Governor’s reign . . . and the road to Woodbury becomes the highway to hell in this riveting follow-up to Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga’s New York Times bestselling The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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