Interview with Brian Wilkinson, Author of Battledoors: The Golden Slate

Brian Wilkinson is a first-time author who was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto with his family. He has a background in journalism and a couple of degrees in the arts that have led him to his current career as a high school teacher and librarian.

Prior to all of this, Brian was a journalist who worked in various capacities for publications like the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, and Kidscreen Magazine. He even landed an issue of X-Men working for Marvel comics.

Combining his love of teaching and writing, Brian is releasing his first two young adult books, Battledoors: The Golden Slate, and Paramnesia, through Blue Moon Publishers in the fall of 2018.

You can find out more at his website, bewilkinson.wordpress.com.

Thank you for joining us today, Brian. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I have a great job working in education, a wonderful and supportive wife, two kids, a dog, the whole nine yards. It’s been a long road to get here with lots of hard work, setbacks of various kinds, and all the rest, but ultimately I have done my best and now here I am.

Now that I’m lucky enough to be writing books (and getting them published!) things are even better. I had some experience as a journalist and as a freelance writer for Marvel Comics, but all of that took a backseat to my main career as a teacher. Luckily, my career dovetails with my love of writing and has given me the opportunity to tell my stories!

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I remember quite clearly being in the 11th or 12th grade, in a creative writing class, and getting an assignment that was to put together a collection of poems or short stories, or to write a novel. I’m sure the last one was a bit of a lark on the part of a teacher who didn’t expect it, but I went home and wrote a 120 page novel over the course of a day or two. It wasn’t brilliant, but it also wasn’t too hard to put together.

I say that and people roll their eyes. But honestly, it wasn’t hard for me. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t so much an easy thing to do as it was something that I had a knack for. Kids who excelled in other subjects like science baffled me… how can you just take to that stuff? That’s how it was for me and writing. Yet, I didn’t push it any further. I was content knowing that it was something I could do. I was a writer who didn’t write. Until recently, that is.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

I write for young adults for a couple of reasons. One, they are my main audience as a professional and I interact with hundreds of them on a daily basis. They are amazing, intelligent people who are bursting with imagination and potential. Plus, they’re just fun.

As a teacher and librarian, I take in a lot of teenage culture both passively and actively. When I buy books for the school, I want to make sure that they are reading quality things. Part of that involves reading the books and YA in particular. Thanks to all of those influences and my personal enjoyment of the genre, it all naturally tends to bend in that direction. 

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

For me, it’s the instant feedback. I have groups at the school who share writing amongst each other and they just get really into things. Adults will read things, take it in and let it go, but kids breathe it. They become much more invested. Seeing kids argue about my characters and my work was just kind of surreal. They believed in my stories to a level that most others wouldn’t. It was humbling, to be honest.

Which is also where the challenge comes. You want to make sure that it rings true, especially the characters, that the book is accessible, it’s enjoyable, and that is has some staying power to hold their interest. You also want to make sure that it speaks to them about ideas and themes in a mature way that isn’t condescending.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

My books are meant to be fun. The tone is lighthearted, but there are serious moments and beats that hopefully make them a compelling read.

My first book, Battledoors: The Golden Slate, is about a teenager named Owen dealing with the loss of his mother and a move to Toronto for a fresh start. Though he tries to be invisible, he catches the attention both of a pair of bullies and a pair of girls, one of whom he has a crush on. All five of them then stumble across a magical object, called a Battledoor, which opens a doorway to a parallel version of our world. These kids need to make either/or choices that the Battledoor presents in order to get the story they are living to come to an end and get back home. It’s sort of a modern take on the old choose-your-own-adventure stories. They go to strange places, meet interesting people, and of course, take on the villain.

My other novel is Paramnesia. This is a supernatural story about a girl named Nora who finds she has the ability to see the dead after she and her boyfriend are attacked by a creature known as the Revenant. Her boyfriend dies and she tries to get on with her life, but it’s hard when he still comes to see her.  Nora meets other people, living and dead alike, who try to help her deal with her new reality. There’s a mixture of humour and horror here that I think works really well.

What inspired you to write it?

I wrote my books shortly before the birth of my children. I was a writer who didn’t write because I didn’t have a particular need. When my children were coming, I looked around my house to see what there was that I might leave them one day. What was here that would remind them of who their dad was and how much he loved them? When I realized I was just looking at a bunch of ‘things’ I decided to write them stories. What you have now are edited and evolved from those stories; the originals of which I’ll find some way in the future to put in their hands. Really, though, these books are for them.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The books aren’t out yet, but when they are, they’ll be available through most major book stores including Chapters/Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Order away! 

What is up next for you?

I have a sequel already written for Battledoors called The Black Spyre. Beyond that, I have several other books planned to follow up both Battledoors and Paramnesia. Hopefully people will want to read them!

Do you have anything else to add?

I’ve never written books before, certainly not on a scale like this. My hope is that people enjoy them and find something in them to connect with!

Thank you for spending time with us today, Brian. We wish you much success.

Thank you!

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Interview with Jill Bowers, Author of the Immortal Writers Series

Jill Bowers is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She’s the author of the popular Immortal Writers series, which is a five book young adult fantasy series. You can learn more about Jill’s books at her author website, immortalauthor.com.

Jill is a lover of all things literature and music. She is one of two composers-in-residence for the Westminster Handbell Choirs in Logan, Utah, and plays many instruments. She’s an alum of Salt Lake Comic Con, Fyrecon, and MisCon. She has a beloved long-haired dachshund who enjoys walks and snacks, much like Jill herself.

Thank you for joining us today, Jill. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m glad to be here. My name’s Jill, and I’m a young adult fantasy author. I love Netflix, Comic Con, music, and books. I’m an avid reader and I love to spend my time cuddled up with my dog in my TARDIS quilt reading.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I’ve always had the writing bug. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I knew how to put my letters into words and sentences.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

For one thing, I enjoy reading young adult books, so it’s natural for me to be writing them. Mostly, though, young adults have to face a lot of problems in life, and I want to help them. I include real-life issues in all of my books, because I think literature and art are both great ways to encourage people to hold on.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I love the fast pace of a YA book. I enjoy connecting with young adults; I often go to schools to teach classes and do assemblies, and I absolutely love it. My greatest challenge with writing for young adults is knowing what slang to use. I grew up in the “tubular” days, and people don’t say that now.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Immortal Writers is about an author whose words and stories become so powerful that she gains immortality and her characters come to life. She has to learn to use magic and slay dragons in time to save the world from the villain she created.

The entire series (book 2, Immortal Creators, comes out in fall 2018) follows authors who are in similar situations. If you like reading, you’ll love this series because you get to see your favorite authors (like Shakespeare, Tolkien, Poe, Hughes, Hemingway, Austen, and many more) as characters interacting throughout the series. If you’re not familiar with these authors, it’s a great way to be introduced to them.

What inspired you to write it?

One day I was really angry because I thought my life was so dull. I wanted magic to be real. I wanted to slay dragons and fight monsters and be a hero. But then I started thinking about what the consequences would be if all of my favorite stories came to life; it would be chaotic. The rest of the series grew from there.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

You can purchase a copy at Barnes & Noble and from Amazon.

What is up next for you?

First and foremost, I’m finishing the Immortal Writers series. Next, I have a middle grade fantasy that I’m wrapping up about a gnome and a magic garden, and then another series of young adult books, this time in high fantasy.

Do you have anything else to add?

Happy reading!

Thank you for spending time with us today, Jill. We wish you much success.

Clean Teen Publishing Giveaway: The Viking’s Chosen by Quinn Loftis

 

Clean Teen Publishing is giving away 3 print advance reader copies of THE VIKING’S CHOSEN by Quinn Loftis!

His orders are clear: launch a raid against England and bring home the spoils of war. But the prophecy is also clear: General Torben will take a foreign bride—one who is a seer and healer just like his mother. The eldest princess of England is said to be just that…a beautiful, charming, and headstrong woman. But he’s a Viking army general and she’s an English princess—and one who is already promised to the king of Tara.

Two worlds collide in this epic historical fiction centered on an undeniable chemistry that smolders against the odds. Richly written and injected with moments of humor, this action-packed romantic tale will leave you breathless.

Quinn Loftis is the author of twenty novels, including the USA Today Bestseller Fate and Fury.

Enter via Rafflecopter.

New Release: Beulah Land by Nancy Stewart

Seventeen-year-old Vi Sinclair’s roots run deep in the Missouri Ozarks, where, in some areas, it can still be plenty dangerous to be a girl who likes girls. Her greatest wish is to become a veterinarian like her boss, Claire Campbell. Fitting in at school wouldn’t be so bad, either. Only one obstacle stands in the way: She may not live long enough to see her wishes fulfilled.

With help from her only friend, Junior, Vi unravels a mystery that puts her in conflict with a vicious tormentor, a dog fight syndicate, and her own mother. Vi’s experience galvanizes her strength and veracity as she overcomes the paradox of mountain life, in which, even today, customs and mores seem timeless, and where a person can wake up dead simply because of being who she is.

EXCERPT:

The Blaylock Clinic’s parking lot’s empty as Mama’s church on a campground revival night. Looks like I beat everyone this morning. May as well hunker down in the truck till somebody with a key gets here. I fiddle with the truck key, and rummage through my briefcase, and worry about the pup for about twenty minutes until Nedda arrives.
“Hey, Nedda. I give her a sheepish smile. “Couldn’t wait.”
“Well, nobody’d blame you for that. I’ll open up, and you go have a look-see.”
My morning coffee lurches in my stomach. “Thanks.”
Quiet and warm, the Trauma Room has a seriousness about it. My sneakers sound like combat boots treading across the tile floor to the puppy’s cage. Still as death itself, she has an IV attached to her leg, and tubes are connected everywhere, same as yesterday. Trying to stay calm like a good vet, I wonder if a heart kicking out of your chest, and legs that may not hold you up, count as calm.
I turn on a low light over her crate. “Hi, baby. Let’s find out what’s going on.” I can’t see her breathing. I take the stethoscope from around my neck, but my hands are shaking so hard I’m scared I might drop it. When I listen, my heart crashes to the floor. No heartbeat. I reach under her blanket. Nothing. She’s still warm, but… listen again. The stethoscope’s slippery from sweat. I wipe it on my lab coat and put it to my ear. Wait. Something. A faint murmur. Again. A heartbeat. Slight, but there. “Stay with me, girl. You can do it, just like I did. We both have Doc to mend us.”
I jump at a soft sound behind me. “Doc. I didn’t know you were here.”
“You were so efficient, I didn’t want to disturb the… medical practice I saw happening.”
“Thanks, Doc. I… I thought she was gone, even listening through the scope. But now when I stroke her head, she tries to open an eye.”
“This puppy knows you saved her, Vi. I’m absolutely sure of it. She has a long way to go, but since she held her own last night, that’s a milestone. And how are you doing this morning?”
“Great. Wonderful. May be the best day of my life. All thanks to you.”
“Vi—”
“I know she may not make it. But if she doesn’t, at least she had a chance. You gave her that.”

Praise for Beulah Land

Nancy Stewart has produced a tough, courageous novel that belongs on the shelf next to young-adult survival stories like Hatchet and Bridge to Terabithia. Violette’s determination to see justice done drives her to the brink of destruction or danger. However, Stewart keeps her risks and the day-to-day struggle of being queer and out as a young person grounded in reality. Beulah Land is an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to grow up in a place where your very existence is challenged, as well as a reminder that the willingness to push on wins the day, every time.

Beulah Land is a much needed story of queer resistance and courage in the face of bigotry and intolerance.

Reviewed by Claire Foster
Foreword Reviews, November/December 2017

Pre-order the print version from the publisher at https://store.interludepress.com/collections/beulah-land-by-nancy-stewart/products/beulah-land-print-edition

A professor of education specializing in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Nancy Stewart is also the award-winning author of several bestselling books for young readers. The original manuscript for Beulah Land received the 2015 State of Florida Rising Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives with her husband and an adopted Bichon/Shih Tzu pup, Louie, in Tampa, Florida.

Website:  http://www.nancystewartbooks.com

Blog:       http://www.nancystewartbooks.blogspot.com

Twitter:    https://twitter.com/stewartnancy

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nancy.rosenthalstewart

Member:   http://www.scbwi.org

Coming Soon!: Beulah Land by Nancy Stewart

Seventeen-year-old Vi Sinclair’s roots run deep in the Missouri Ozarks, where, in some areas, it can still be plenty dangerous to be a girl who likes girls. Her greatest wish is to become a veterinarian like her boss, Claire Campbell. Fitting in at school wouldn’t be so bad, either. Only one obstacle stands in the way: She may not live long enough to see her wishes fulfilled.

With help from her only friend, Junior, Vi unravels a mystery that puts her in conflict with a vicious tormentor, a dog fight syndicate, and her own mother. Vi’s experience galvanizes her strength and veracity as she overcomes the paradox of mountain life, in which, even today, customs and mores seem timeless, and where a person can wake up dead simply because of being who she is.

Praise for Beulah Land

Nancy Stewart has produced a tough, courageous novel that belongs on the shelf next to young-adult survival stories like Hatchet and Bridge to Terabithia. Violette’s determination to see justice done drives her to the brink of destruction or danger. However, Stewart keeps her risks and the day-to-day struggle of being queer and out as a young person grounded in reality. Beulah Land is an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to grow up in a place where your very existence is challenged, as well as a reminder that the willingness to push on wins the day, every time.

Beulah Land is a much needed story of queer resistance and courage in the face of bigotry and intolerance.

Reviewed by Claire Foster
Foreword Reviews, November/December 2017

Pre-order the print version from the publisher at https://store.interludepress.com/collections/beulah-land-by-nancy-stewart/products/beulah-land-print-edition

A professor of education specializing in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Nancy Stewart is also the award-winning author of several bestselling books for young readers. The original manuscript for Beulah Land received the 2015 State of Florida Rising Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives with her husband and an adopted Bichon/Shih Tzu pup, Louie, in Tampa, Florida.

Website:  http://www.nancystewartbooks.com

Blog:       http://www.nancystewartbooks.blogspot.com

Twitter:    https://twitter.com/stewartnancy

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nancy.rosenthalstewart

Member:   http://www.scbwi.org

Princess Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure – Tour & Giveaway

 

You’re never too young to begin reading and it’s always fun to find a delightful story that you can follow. Today author Beverly Stowe McClure stops by as part of her PRINCESS BREEZE Blog Tour through MC Book Tours.

As part of the celebration you can enter the tour-wide giveaway (courtesy of the author) for one of two paperback copies of the book (U.S. only) being given away. Please see the end of the post for more details.

◊ PRINCESS BREEZE

◊ By Beverly Stowe McClure

◊ Series: Breeze (Book 2)

◊ Paperback: 236 pages

◊ Publisher: 4RV Young Adult (June 11, 2017)

◊ Language: English

◊ ISBN-10: 1940310555

◊ ISBN-13: 978-1940310558

For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam, the prince she met at school and who disappeared one night, without telling her goodbye. On the night, she graduates from middle school, however, he contacts her and invites her to visit Isla del Fuego, his home. Who could refuse such an invitation?

Breeze along with her whole family and best friends, Amy and Allison, soon sail to the island, where she and Cam renew their friendship. But danger lurks; a legend comes to life; and Breeze finds herself in the middle of a battle that can have one winner.

PRINCESS BREEZE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and 4RV Publishing.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds. She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.

For more on Beverly and her writing visit her at her:

Blog: https://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

Website: http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

Twitter @beverlymcclure

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/beverlysmcclure

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/author/show/11462.Beverly_Stowe_McClure

 

The first book in the series is JUST BREEZE.

◊ Paperback: 196 pages

◊ Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC (August 31, 2009)

◊ Language: English

◊ ISBN-10: 0984070826

◊ ISBN-13: 978-0984070824

Eighth grade starts out the same as every other year for Breeze Brannigan. She’s still the tallest student, boy or girl, in her class, wears shoes that would fit an elephant, and her smile reveals dazzling braces that blind everyone within ten feet. Then she meets Cam, the new boy in school who speaks with an accent and must be from another planet, for none of the earthling boys she knows are so polite. He also has a secret, a secret that could mean life or death for Cam and his mother and that Breeze must help him keep.

JUST BREEZE is available on Amazon. See our review of Just Breeze here.

Thanks for stopping by today during Beverly’s visit. Do you enjoy finding books to share with youngsters in your life?

 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This is a tour-wide giveaway (courtesy of the author) for one of two paperback copies of the book (U.S. only). The giveaway ends at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, July 25.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below (if it shows up) and follow the instructions. If the widget doesn’t appear, just click HERE and it will take you to the Rafflecopter page where you can enter. Be sure to make a comment here before clicking on the link above.

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Coming Soon!: Princess Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure

For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam, the prince she met at school, who disappeared one night, without telling her goodbye. On the night she graduates from middle school, however, he contacts her and invites her to visit Isla del Fuego, his home. Who could refuse such an invitation?

Breeze along with her whole family and best friends, Amy and Allison, soon sail to the island, where she and Cam renew their friendship. But danger lurks; a legend comes to life; and Breeze finds herself in the middle of a battle that can have one winner.

Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears.  When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds. She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.

Find Beverly online at:

https://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com
http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com
Twitter @beverlymcclure