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Amber Lough just released the first book in her JINNI WARS series, THE FIRE WISH, and we’re already intrigued. It’s always great to see YA heroines mingling with each other as well as with boys! We’re wishing her the best of luck and appreciate her being here today- thanks Amber!

YA Series Insiders: Besides your main character/s, do you secretly have a soft spot for another character?

Amber Lough: Definitely. Yashar has a small spot in the start of the story, but I loved him so much and wanted to know more about him, so I focused on him more in the sequel.

YASI: What recently published books do you wish you’d written?

AL: I wish I’d written CODE NAME VERITY. History, spies, war, tension, and lady pilots.

YASI: What is the core thing in your book? The one thing you would never in a million years have given up no matter how much money someone paid you?

AL: It’s hard to be the new, different person in a community, but beneath our differences, we all have the same fears and desires, and I wanted to capture that. We only seem different, and this causes too much strife in the world.

About the Book

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.

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About the Author

Amber Lough lives with her physicist husband, their two kids, and their cat, Popcorn in Syracuse, NY.

As a child, Amber moved about every two years and spent much of it overseas: preschool and kindergarten in Cuba, 4th-6th grade in a Japanese elementary school, 7th and 8th grade in Bahrain. Finally, she stayed in one place: all of High School in Charleston, South Carolina. Then she studied Russian at Saint Louis University, in Missouri, before heading into the Air Force. She was an Intelligence Officer stationed in San Diego, and travelled all over the Pacific Rim for her job. She also spent about 8 months in Baghdad, Iraq. Finally, after having her first child, she left the Air Force to begin writing full-time.

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Today’s secrets come courtesy of Erica O’Rourke, who is no stranger to the series game. Her TORN trilogy wrapped up in 2012, and this month, DISSONANCE, the first in her next series project, is out! Erica talks to us about motivation, the importance of the relationships between her characters, and the problem with revising by hand. Thanks for being here, Erica!

YA Series Insiders: How would you describe X character in one sentence?

Erica O’Rourke: Del Sullivan is smart and stubborn and snarky and secretive – and softer than she’ll admit.

Simon Lane is holding on to secrets even he doesn’t know.

YASI: If you were going to write a spin-off about one of your characters, who would it be and why?

EA: My initial response to this would have been Addison, Del’s older sister – but I got my wish, and an Addie-centric novella will be published in the spring of 2015. I think it would be fun to write a story from Eliot’s point of view – he’s absolutely devoted to Del, but he sees the world in a vastly different way.

YASI: What song best fits X character?

EA: Joseph Arthur’s “Honey and The Moon” is the perfect swoony fit for Del and Simon – but to tell you why would be a spoiler. “Right now/ everything you want is wrong and / right now all your dreams are waking up and /right now I wish I could follow you…”

YASI: What’s your weirdest writing habit?

EA: I have to revise by hand, not on the screen. It’s terribly inefficient, not to mention time-consuming, and I go through those pens by the (very expensive) case, but I can’t work any other way.

YASI: What motivates you to write even when you don’t feel up to it?

EA: Alas, I am what one might call an externally motivated writer. I need a deadline – preferably one imposed by my editor or agent. The knowledge I’ve signed a legal document promising to deliver a manuscript is incredibly motivating, as I have no desire to ever be sued for breach of contract.

EO: On a day-to-day basis, it’s all about the rewards. Meeting my daily word count earns me an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Doctor Who, for example, or a cookie. Finishing a book earns a bigger reward — when I turned in the last book of my previous trilogy, I bought an iPad and had it engraved with the series’ tagline. I’m pretty strict with myself, so the reward system is astonishingly effective.

YASI: What scene made you cry while you were writing?

EO: There are three in DISSONANCE that made me cry – The big blowout between Del and her best friend is one of them, because watching a lifelong friendship shatter is heartbreaking. The other two scenes were equally gutwrenching, but to tell you any more would spoil things. In the sequel, there were…a lot. The body count is pretty high, and Del has to make tough choices and go through some awful stuff. I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

YASI: What is the core thing in your book? The one thing you would never in a million years have given up no matter how much money someone paid you?

EO: The arc of Del and Simon’s relationship – the secrets revealed and the choices each of them made, both good and bad – including the ending. If I’d changed it, the entire book would have been for naught.

YASI: Did anything happen in your series that surprised you, that you didn’t plan?

EO: I didn’t anticipate the focus on Addie and Del’s relationship – I had initially planned for most of Del’s Walking to take place with Monty and Eliot. But the dynamic between the sisters was too rewarding not to explore on the page.

YASI: Any advice for writers currently working on a series?

EO: Play the long game. Think about how you want the story to end, and make sure the threads are there from the beginning. For example, there’s a reveal in the sequel to DISSONANCE that’s absolutely crucial to the entire story. Because I knew that I was working toward that reveal, I was able to insert clues throughout Book 1. You don’t have to plan out every single thing – part of the fun of a series is the twisty, turny nature of the story. But a little forethought saves you from writing yourself into corners, as well as those implausible deux ex machine, eleventh-hour saves.

The other thing to remember is that each book needs to stand on its own, as well as serve as an act in a larger overarching story. It’s easiest to see in a trilogy, of course – Book One also functions as Act One – but it holds true for duologies and larger series as well. That helps you create a sense of momentum and rising stakes throughout the series.

YASI: If you could pull one thing from your series world to have in real life, what would it be?

EO: Del’s kitchen. It’s an excellent kitchen and there are always homemade cookies.

About the Book

Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

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About the Author

I write books about girls who make their own fate and fall for boys they shouldn’t.

I live outside Chicago. I like to travel but I’ll never really leave this city.

I prefer cookies to cake (even cupcakes), television to movies, and autumn to all the other seasons.

I like sushi, naps, coffee, and driving stick shift.

I hate fish, emoticons, bridges, and talking about myself.

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martinaboone:

WIN ANY THREE OF YOUR CHOICE. Five easy ways to enter:
1. On Tumblr: Reblog and foliow MartinaBoone
2. On Pinterest: Pin and follow MartinaBoone
3. On Instagram: Share and follow MartinaABoone
4. On Facebook: Share and like Martina.Boone
5. On Twitter: Tweet and follow @MartinaABoone
The more you share, the more chances you’ll have to win.
Here’s how it will work:
I’ll use Random.org to choose a number from 1-5 to choose where the winner will come from. 
Next, I’ll find everyone who shared on that platform and use Random.org to choose the winner from among those who shared there.
Last, I’ll check to make sure the winner followed on that platform.
The giveaway is international and ends at 11:59 pm EST 8/18/14.
The books include:
Advance Reader Copies of:
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
Unmarked by Kami Garcia
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah
Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
BZRK Apocalype
Bonus Material Copies of: 
Lux Beginnings by Jennifer L. Armentrout
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Finished copies of:
Scintillate by Tracy Clark
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Good luck, everyone!
Martina

martinaboone:

WIN ANY THREE OF YOUR CHOICE. Five easy ways to enter:

1. On Tumblr: Reblog and foliow MartinaBoone

2. On Pinterest: Pin and follow MartinaBoone

3. On Instagram: Share and follow MartinaABoone

4. On Facebook: Share and like Martina.Boone

5. On Twitter: Tweet and follow @MartinaABoone

The more you share, the more chances you’ll have to win.

Here’s how it will work:

  • I’ll use Random.org to choose a number from 1-5 to choose where the winner will come from. 
  • Next, I’ll find everyone who shared on that platform and use Random.org to choose the winner from among those who shared there.
  • Last, I’ll check to make sure the winner followed on that platform.

The giveaway is international and ends at 11:59 pm EST 8/18/14.

The books include:

Advance Reader Copies of:

  1. Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
  2. Unmarked by Kami Garcia
  3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  4. Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah
  5. Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto
  6. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
  7. The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
  8. BZRK Apocalype

Bonus Material Copies of: 

  1. Lux Beginnings by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  2. White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Finished copies of:

  1. Scintillate by Tracy Clark
  2. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

Good luck, everyone!

Martina

Kate Brian is such a prolific, flexible writer! She just recently spoke to us about her modern, mythology-inspired TRUE LOVE series, and today she’s here talking to us about the conclusion of her darker SHADOWLANDS series. ENDLESS is out this month, and you know what the end of a series means, right? You’ll finish it knowing what happened! Be forewarned, the book synopsis contains spoilers for earlier books, as does one of her interview questions, which we did mark! Thanks for being here, Kate!

YA Series Insiders: Who or what was the inspiration for the villain in your book?

Kate Brian: I was thinking a lot about Regina from Once Upon a Time while I was writing this. In the first season she had that single-mindedness. The only thing that mattered to her was revenge (okay, and Henry, but I’m talking about the flashback scenes, mostly). The villain in this book has one goal and one goal only, and it doesn’t matter who gets hurt or what gets destroyed as he/she tries to reach that goal.

YASI: What is something about X character that you didn’t put in the book/series?

KB: [SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BOOK 1!]


We never find out how Tristan died, which was during the Civil War. The way I imagine it, one of his fellow Colonial soldiers draws his weapon on a very young British patriot and Tristan stepped in front of the shot. It’s very Tristan, to sacrifice everything for an innocent.



YASI: What’s the most common question fans ask you?

KB: Fans always ask me how I can write such crazy, evil characters when I’m so nice. First of all, thank you. Secondly, I think writing characters that are my complete opposite is more challenging and enjoyable than writing anything else. A lot of my protagonists are a lot like me. I think that’s pretty natural because you want to write what you know and write someone you understand. But then it’s great to write a villain that goes against your every instinct. To sit here and say, “What would I do?” and then write the character doing the complete opposite, is just so freeing. That was why I loved writing Ariana Osgood, the lead character/serial killer from the Privilege series. No one was ever more fun to write than her.

YASI: What question do you wish fans never asked?

KB: “Have you ever thought about making your book into a movie?” If I could somehow tell every single living soul on the planet how very little I have to do with decisions/miracles like that, and then have that question answered forever, I would. I am such a huge TV and film geek that I would KILL to get one of my books made into a TV show or movie, so explaining over and over again why it hasn’t happened is hard.

YASI: What scene made you cry while you were writing?

KB: My mom passed away while I was in the middle of writing this series, and there’s a scene in ENDLESS in which Rory gets to see her mom, who passed away a few years back. I can’t even READ that scene now without blubbering. Writing it, I was a mess.

YASI: What is your favorite quote from the book/series?

KB: From SHADOWLANDS, Book One, when Rory first spots Tristan. This quote pretty much sums up the series to me: “He was looking at me as if he knew me. As if we knew each other. But also as if he was sad to see me.”

YASI: Did anything happen in your series that surprised you, that you didn’t plan?

KB: SO much! The cliffhanger from book one was supposed to be the cliffhanger of book two, but then I realized I couldn’t draw that secret out for that long. The entire plot of book two changed once I moved up the cliffhanger, which led to Rory growing in ways I had never imagined and her relationship trajectory with Tristan completely changing. It was a rough go, re-plotting book two, but I think the series is better for it. Never be afraid to change your plan, even if it means more work!

YASI: Any advice for writers currently working on a series?

KB: See the above.

YASI: If you could pull one thing from your series world to have in real life, what would it be?

KB: I wouldn’t mind being the third point of a Tristan-and-Joaquin love triangle.

About the Book

An unthinkable betrayal threatens everyone Rory loves in the third installment of our dark, thrilling Shadowlands series from New York Times best-selling author Kate Brian.

Rory Miller didn’t just fall in love with Tristan Parrish. She fell in love with the idea of forever. He was the one who told her the truth about her existence in Juniper Landing: that her mortal life is over, and she will now spend eternity on the island, helping others in limbo move on.

But like Juniper Landing, a bright island with dark secrets, Tristan is too good to be true. The mysterious, heartbreakingly beautiful boy Rory thought she knew is responsible for unthinkable evil-sending good souls to the Shadowlands in order to get himself a second chance at life on Earth. He has already claimed Rory’s friend Aaron and her own father, but when SPOILER Tristan sends her sister, Darcy, to the Shadowlands, too, Rory decides to take matters into her own hands. She will do anything to save her family, even if it means going to hell and back

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About the Author

Kate Brian is a young adult author who was born, bred and still resides in New Jersey along with her husband Matt and her two-year-old son. A graduate of Rutgers University with a double-major in English and Journalism, Kieran worked as a YA editor for several years before striking out on her own as a writer. Her first hardcover novel Jingle Boy (Delacorte Press), was published in 2002. Her next book, I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2005) was an ALA Quick Pick, an NYPL Book for the Teen Age, and was featured on the Texas Library Association’s TAYSHAS Reading List for 2006-2007. The book spawned two sequels, Brunettes Strikes Back(2006), and A Non-Blonde Cheerleader In Love(2007). Kieran’s fifth hardcover novel, Geek Magnet was published by Putnam in 2008. She’s So Dead to Us, the first volume of her new trilogy about friendship, love and the things that really matter, was released in May 2010 from Simon and Schuster.

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Who doesn’t love a dramatic, post-apocalyptic, female-led story? Stephanie Diaz’s debut novel, EXTRACTION, comes out TODAY, and it’s the first in a trilogy. You can read the first chapter here, and we’re pretty sure you’ll be hooked. Today, Stephanie Diaz talks to us about her characters and what surprised her as she wrote EXTRACTION.

YA Series Insiders: What song best fits Clementine?

Stephanie Diaz: I have a couple theme songs for Clementine, the main character of Extraction, but if I had to pick one I’d go with “We Remain” by Christina Aguilera.

YASI: If you were going to write a spin-off about one of your characters, who would it be and why?

SD: I would definitely write a spin-off about Sam, a character Clementine meets during the book. He has quite an interesting back story, which I’d love to delve into more.

YASI: Who would you want to play your main character in a movie?

SD: If Annalise Basso were a year or two older, she would make a great Clementine.

YASI: What is your favorite writing treat?

SD: Reeses Peanut Butter cups. And milkshakes.

YASI: If you could pull one thing from your series world to have in real life, what would it be?

SD: I would love to be able to play some of the games in Recreation Division in the Core. A zero-grav machine, especially, would be super fun to have in my backyard.

YASI: Did anything happen in your series that surprised you, that you didn’t plan?

SD: Oh, definitely. A couple character deaths jumped at me out of nowhere.

About the Book

”Welcome to Extraction testing.”

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon’s lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet’s leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers, which means Logan, too.

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don’t want her running—they want her subdued.

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender’s Game, and leave them breathless for more.

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Goodreads

About the Author

Stephanie Diaz is 21. She grew up in sunny San Diego, wishing for rain. She studied film production in college. When she isn’t lost in books, she can be found singing, marveling at the night sky, or fan-girling over television shows. EXTRACTION is her debut novel. Her work is represented by Alison Fargis of Stonesong.

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