Category: Author Interview

INTERVIEW: Analiese Rising by Brenda Drake

I’m so excited to have Brenda Drake on our blog today!  I absolutely adored her Library Jumpers trilogy, so I couldn’t wait to hear more about her newest book that releases tomorrow!  Check out my interview and learn more about Analiese Rising below.  Enjoy!

About Analiese Rising:

American Gods meets the Da Vinci Code in Analiese Rising (Entangled; 01/08/19), a suspense-filled novel by New York Times bestselling author Brenda Drake. This first book in a new fantasy series offers a new take on the paranormal romance genre—with a mythological spin. Gone are vampires and werewolves; in are descendants of the God of Death.

Brenda Drake is known for creating addictive, entertaining series with strong female characters (Library Jumpers and The Fated) and her fans will not be disappointed.

“A fast-paced adventure brimming with romance, mythology, and dangerous secrets. I was hooked!” –Elly Blake, New York Times and international bestselling author of the Frostblood Saga

When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool. Her search for answers leads to the man’s grandson, Marek, who has dangerous secrets of his own. Both are determined to unlock the mystery of the list.

But the truth is deadly. Analiese is a descendant of the God of Death, known as a Riser, with the power to raise the dead and control them. Finding out she has hidden powers? Cool. Finding out she turns corpses into killers? No, thank you.

Now the trail plants her and Marek in the middle of a war between gods who apparently want to raise an army of the Risen, and Analiese must figure out how to save the world―from herself.

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Interview:

What’s one thing you hope readers will take away from Analiese Rising?

Enjoyment. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I had great fun researching gods and goddesses from mythologies around the world and creating how they’d be in modern times without their powers.

 

What was your inspiration for this book?

The idea came after watching American Gods on Starz. I wanted to write a young adult book with gods and goddesses from the different mythologies around the world.

 

What is something that we might not know about Analiese and Marek?

Hmm … this is hard without spoiling the book. I can say that their lives have been connected longer than they know.

 

What was your favorite scene to write?

I’d have to pick the haunted catacomb scene. I like writing spooky scenes. I don’t get to write them often. Maybe I should write a ghost story next.

 

Did you know how this book was going to end when you started writing?

I dreamt about the ending before coming up with the idea of the book. I felt desperate during the dream. It was like watching a loved one be murdered in front of you and not being able to stop it.

 

What’s your favorite quality to write in a character? And which of your characters, from all of your books, have that quality?

Loyalty. It’s important to me for my characters to have it. When someone they love and trust does something wrong, it causes them to struggle with that loyalty. Should you believe them? Trust them? Turn them in? How can you turn in someone you love and are loyal to? Gia from my Library Jumpers series is fiercely loyal. She’d sacrifice everything for the ones she loves. When someone she trusts does something that tests her loyalty, it crushes her.  

 

What do you do when you are not writing?

I read, hang out with friends and family, and haunt bookstores and coffee shops. When I’m not traveling, I like to go for hikes with my hubby, hunt for treasures at estate sales with my sister, or just binge watch Netflix. Nothing too exciting.

 

What was the last book you recommended to a friend?

The last book I recommended to a friend was STAR-CROSSED by Pintip Dunn. It’s a unique science fiction novel set on another planet from ours. Pintip is one of my favorite authors. Not only am I a friend of hers, but I’m also one of her biggest fans.

 

About Brenda Drake:

Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

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I hope you guys enjoyed today’s post!  I loved hearing Brenda talk more about this book and even mention Gia from The Library Jumpers Series….I loved, loved, loved Gia!  Analiese Rising is definitely on my TBR and I can’t wait to discover all that is inside the pages! ♥

BLOG TOUR + AUTHOR INTERVIEW + REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney Summers

BLOG TOUR + AUTHOR INTERVIEW + REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers doesn't need any introductions-her work speaks for itself. Howeverrrr...I am MORE than happy to give praise to such a creative, wonderful, and darkly imaginative woman who has never ceased to amaze me. Below is the blog tour for her current work, Sadie, which is claimed to be 'the breakout of her career'. So look below to find my review, an author Q & A with Summers herself (DYING! AGH! Such an honor!), an excerpt from the book, and all the praise she deserves. Enjoy!

BLOG TOUR + AUTHOR INTERVIEW + REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney SummersSadie by Courtney Summers
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.


I wish this was a love story because I know how it goes in one like mine, where the only moments of reprieve are the spaces between its lines. But here’s the thing I tell myself to dull the sharp edges of everything that’s surely left to come: 
The worst has already happened.

 

This book evoked many emotions within me-some good, some bad. And I think that needs to be explored more by authors. It’s no surprise to anyone that I am-and always have been-obsessed with Courtney Summers. From the moment I picked up This is Not a Test, followed by Some Girls Are, I was a goner. Her dark and languid writing has this way about it-it’s stark and blunt, yet draws you in because of the beautiful simplicity in which the words are sculpted. To get to the point? She’s an evil genius-no explanation needed.

It makes my stomach ache, how, at a time like this, I can’t make that word come perfectly out of my mouth enough to convince him. I can’t describe how bad it feels, this inability to communicate the way I want, when I need to.

 But I would be lying if this book wasn’t one huge trigger for me-and, yes, that’s a personal thing. AND it’s the ONLY flaw I really have with the book. But, as a very honest blogger and friend to many on GR, I must warn that, while Summer’s writing is always dark, this ventures into something far more sinister than anything she’s ever constructed before. Some will REALLY dig it-my best friend and blogger buddy ate it up. And, hey, so did I….but that doesn’t mean the content within (ie, child death and, um, other things?) didn’t hurt my soul a tad.

My body is sharp enough to cut glass and in desperate need of rounding out, but sometimes I don’t mind. A body might not always be beautiful, but a body can be a beautiful deception. I’m stronger than I look.

 And, with that being said, I fully support the direction Courtney is going with her work. It NEEDS to be said. The world is a dark place, and people turn their heads and are blind to most of it. Sadie was a tenacious, strong, young girl hell bent on vengeance, on making the world a better place for other kids-and that was the most alluring thing about this story. Her heart was so large, her soul so crushed-but her spirit, her will to fight, isn’t broken-no matter how shattered she may feel.
Last thing she said to me, my face cupped firmly in her hands, was <I>whatever you’re thinking, you get it out of that damned foolish head of yours right now</I>. Except it’s not in my head, it’s in my heart and she’s the same woman who told me if you’re going to follow anything, it might as well be that. 
Even if it is a mess.

 

Her story is something that was so palpable…you felt what she felt. The hurt. The pain. The soul-crushing panic. The hope. It was all so…addicting. But such is the nature of Summer’s writing. I’m no stranger to it, I’ll admit. I wait and I wait and I wait until she announces she has more books coming out, then I obsess until I get my hands on it. In this case, I bothered the publishers and got a copy-and, MORE AWESOMELY, I got to be a part of the blog tour and was able to do a Q & A WITH THIS AMAZING WOMAN.

And one of the more important questions, to me, that I asked was about what has taken her writing down this path. If you’re an avid reader of her work, you know that her earlier work was of mean girls, zombies, an unlikable heroine with a difficult story and-most importantly and perhaps the most recurring theme-her stories deal with difficult issues such as rape and attempted rape-murder. But All the Rage was the first time we truly saw Summers take the darker road. And I think it’s the story she’s trying to tell, something her work has built up to and she now wants to explore-and it’s truly amazing to see it all play out.

This story was also her first foray into a dual POV situation-but, more than that, it was like a radio show format when we weren’t in Sadie’s POV. West is the person investigating Sadie and it really put things in perspective for me. However, I enjoyed the book most in Sadie’s POV.

It’s about the lengths we go to protect the ones we love … and the high price we pay when we can’t.

 All in all, this story is something to behold. It’s dark, gritty, and without a doubt one of the largest shocks to my system I’ve ever read-and perhaps I needed that. And, for those of you on the fence-read it. It has so much to say with its gut wrenching narrative, and perhaps it can urge you to do more. To see more. Or, perhaps, it will just open your eyes in a way you never expected. Either way, this is Summer’s at her best, her most jarring-and it’s not a book you’ll soon forget. You won’t regret it.

*FYI- in the middle of this review my computer froze up, so my thoughts may seem a bit off or strayed-I promise my opinion is still the same, though. It just changed the flow of the review. But one thing I want to make perfectly clear that I didn’t get a chance to say in my review: If there’s one thing that stayed with me throughout this novel, its the pain. The deep, unfathomable pain of losing someone you couldn’t protect-but then going after it to make it right. It really resonated with me…even if it hurt deeply to think this way. Summers is just epic like that.

 

Q & A with Courtney Summers:

1. I have always been a huge fan of your books-they’re deep, insightful, dark, and they MEAN something-but Sadie is the darkest of your other works (in my opinion)-What lead you to write this particular story? What brought you here?

Thank you so much! That’s so kind and your support of my work means a lot to me. Looking back at my body of work, Sadie feels like a natural culmination of the stories that came before her. I think I was always headed that way. The longer I write, the more inspired I am to dig deeper—or, in my case, darker.

I love that she said this because, in retrospect, all her work really does seem to be leading up to this moment….and its just so pivotal and game-changing. It fits with everything so well. By far my favorite answer 🙂

2. Do you ever write your personality into any of your characters? If so, which characters have your personality?

I’m not my characters, but I sometimes put very little pieces of myself in them. I never reveal what they are because I don’t want to risk readers thinking of me at all when they pick up one of my books.

3. The world can be a dark place-your books don’t shy away from that. So that begs the question: What books [or authors] help you find your happy place?

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo, I Hate Everyone But You by Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn and Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt.

 

And check out this gripping excerpt! (If this doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will!):

THE GIRLS
EPISODE 1
[THE GIRLS THEME]

WEST McCRAY:
Welcome to Cold Creek, Colorado. Population: eight hun-
dred.

Do a Google Image search and you’ll see its main street, the
barely beating heart of that tiny world, and find every other
building vacant or boarded up. Cold Creek’s luckiest—the
gainfully employed—work at the local grocery store, the gas
station and a few other staple businesses along the strip. The
rest have to look a town or two over for opportunity for them-
selves and for their children; the closest schools are in Park-
dale, forty minutes away. They take in students from three
other towns.

Beyond its main street, Cold Creek arteries out into worn and
chipped Monopoly houses that no longer have a place upon
the board. From there lies a rural sort of wilderness. The highway out is interrupted by veins of dirt roads leading to nowhere as often as they lead to pockets of dilapidated
houses or trailer parks in even worse shape. In the summer-
time, a food bus comes with free lunches for the kids until the
school year resumes, guaranteeing at least two subsidized
meals a day.

There’s a quiet to it that’s startling if you’ve lived your whole
life in the city, like I have. Cold Creek is surrounded by a beau-
tiful, uninterrupted expanse of land and sky that seem to go
on forever. Its sunsets are spectacular; electric golds and
oranges, pinks and purples, natural beauty unspoiled by the
insult of skyscrapers. The sheer amount of space is humbling,
almost divine. It’s hard to imagine feeling trapped here.

But most people here do.

COLD CREEK RESIDENT [FEMALE]:
You live in Cold Creek because you were born here and if
you’re born here, you’re probably never getting out.

WEST McCRAY:
That’s not entirely true. There have been some success sto-
ries, college graduates who moved on and found well-paying
jobs in distant cities, but they tend to be the exception and
not the rule. Cold Creek is home to a quality of life we’re
raised to aspire beyond, if we’re born privileged enough to
have the choice.

Here, everyone’s working so hard to care for their families and
keep their heads above water that, if they wasted time on the
petty dramas, scandals and personal grudges that seem to
define small towns in our nation’s imagination, they would
not survive. That’s not to say there’s no drama, scandal, or
grudge—just that those things are usually more than residents of
Cold Creek can afford to care about.

Until it happened.

The husk of an abandoned, turn-of-the-century one-room
schoolhouse sits three miles outside of town, taken by fire. The
roof is caved in and what’s left of the walls are charred. It sits
next to an apple orchard that’s slowly being reclaimed by the
nature that surrounds it: young overgrowth, new trees, wild-
flowers.

There’s almost something romantic about it, something that
feels like respite from the rest of the world. It’s the perfect
place to be alone with your thoughts. At least it was, before.
May Beth Foster—who you’ll come to know as this series goes
on—took me there herself. I asked to see it. She’s a plump,
white, sixty-eight-year-old woman with salt-and-pepper hair.
She has a grandmotherly way about her, right down to a voice
that’s so invitingly familiar it warms you from the inside out.
May Beth is manager of Sparkling River Estates trailer park, a
lifelong resident of Cold Creek, and when she talks, people
listen. More often than not, they accept whatever she says as
the truth.

MAY BETH FOSTER:
Just about . . . here.

This is where they found the body.

911 DISPATCHER [PHONE]:
911 dispatch. What’s your emergency?

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About the Author:

Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario, 1986. At age 14, she dropped out of high school. At age 18, she wrote her first novel. Cracked Up to Be was published in 2008, when she was 22 and went on to win the 2009 CYBIL award in YA fiction. Since then, she’s published four more critically acclaimed books: Some Girls AreFall for AnythingThis is Not a Test and All the Rage, as well as an e-novella, Please Remain Calm which is a sequel to This is Not a TestHer new novel, Sadie, hits bookstores September 4th, 2018 and is available for preorder now. In 2016, Courtney was named one of Flare Magazine’s 60 under 30. 

Follow her HERE!

instagram: summerscourtney
twitter: @courtney_s
tumblrsummerscourtney.
official websitecourtneysummers.ca

 

More about THE GIRLS podcast (super popular podcast they are doing based after West’s journey to find Sadie in the book!):

THE GIRLS: Find Sadie is the first-ever YA thriller podcast. The Serial-like show is based off the novel Sadie by Courtney Summers. In a brilliant move, Summers scripted periodic chapters of the novel like a podcast script, hosted by fictional radio personality West McCray. The six-part podcast series brings these chapters to life with a 30+ person cast, music, and sound effects and was a collaboration between Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Podcasts, and Wednesday Books. Episode 1 launches on August 1st, and the show will air seven weekly episodes available on all the major podcast platforms. The final episode will feature a bonus interview with Courtney Summers and her editor Sara Goodman.

 

And, yeah, look at all this advance praise:

*THE GIRLS Podcast now available*
* A 2018 BookExpo America YA Editor’s Buzz Book Pick*
*Most Anticipated by BookRiot, Goodreads, B&N Teen Blog &  Buzzfeed *

“A riveting tour de force.”
 —Kirkus, STARRED Review

Summers’ novel is filled with her trademark biting commentary on sexual assault and the mistreatment of girls and women at the hands of predatory men…her hunt for Mattie’s killer is captivating, and Summers excels at slowly unspooling both Sadie’s and West’s investigations at a measured, tantalizing pace.—Booklist, STARRED Review

“A taut, suspenseful book about abuse and power that feels personal, as if Summers, like May Beth and West, can’t take one more dead or abused girl.”
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review

The fresh, nuanced, and fast-moving narrative will appeal to a range of YA and new adult readers, and serves as a larger examination on the way society interacts with true crime…It’s impossible to not be drawn into this haunting thriller of a book. A heartrending must-have.
—School Library Journal, STARRED Review

“An electrifying thriller, taut as a bowstring. A coming-of-age tale, both gritty and sensitive. A poignant drama of love and loss. This — all this — is SADIE: a novel for readers of any age, and a character as indelible as a scar. Flat-out dazzling. —AJ Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

 

And don’t forget to follow the rest of the tour! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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