Blogging at 4RV Blog

 

Every person has their favorite authors and books. Today, at the 4RV Publishing blog, I share some of my personal favorites from this publishing house. You can find the list at https://4rvreading-writingnewsletter.blogspot.com/2018/07/my-4rv-favorites.html

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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.

Coming Soon!: Scan by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine

scan

Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

All Tate knows–like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid–may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it. A riveting, fast-paced adventure, Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.

SCAN
By Walter Jury and Sarah Fine
Hardcover, $17.99
eBook, $10.99
ISBN: 978-0399160653
Science Fiction
336 pages
Penguin/G.P. Putnam’s Sons
May 1, 2014

Pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Walter Jury was born in London, has a background in the film industry, is a big fan of the New York Giants, and enthusiast of Jamba Juice’s Protein Berry Workout smoothie only with soy, never whey. “Scan” is his first book for teens. Oh, and under his real name, he’s a producer of one of 2014’s biggest blockbusters. Let’s just say he “diverges” in his career from film to literature quite well.

Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is the author (as Sarah Fine) of several young adult books, and when she’s not writing, she’s working as a child psychologist. No, she is not psychoanalyzing you right now.

Interview with Susan Wingate, Author of Spider Brains

Most recently, Susan Wingate’s novels, SPIDER BRAINS and DROWNING each reached Amazon Bestseller status in 2012. DROWNING won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Drama. She would love for you to read her books. You can find them all under the tab on this site labeled “Books”. SUSAN has written eleven novels, two short story collections, a few plays, one screenplay and tons of poems. Her latest 2011 novel DROWNING  (contemporary women’s fiction), won 1st place in the 2011 Forward National Literature Award and also won a finalist award for the category of Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit in the 2011 International Book Awards. A vibrant public speaker, Susan offers inspiring, motivational talks about the craft of writing, publishing and marketing, and how to survive this extremely volatile (e-)Publishing industry. She presents these lectures for private groups and at writing conferences, libraries and bookstores around the country.

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

Absolutely! Well, I love animals and always seem to include them in my writing. I live on a small island off the coast of Washington State where we have a beautiful country home that sits on five acres of lush earth. A large pond brings lots of wildlife to our spot. We see Great Blue Herons, bald eagles, mallards, wood ducks, fox, raccoons and herds of deer. As well, I have two dogs–a Cocker Spaniel named Rocky and a Westie named Robert. And, don’t cringe but we have twelve cats! That’s a bunch but they all came to me as feral cats (wild cats) from around this rural landscape on which we live. Now, they’re all quite tame, fat and happy! We also have fourteen birds–cockatiels, doves and pigeons. Obviously, my husband loves animals (and me) too.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

My father was a writer and I remember him reading to us his work way back when we were just small children. His bachelor’s degree was in English and he minored in speech. So, we always had reading in our lives. He influenced me a great deal. I think I’ve always hoped that one day I might write like him. He usually wrote these fun adventure stories with tons of humor.

But it wasn’t until I was thirty-nine when I began to take my writing seriously. At that point, I believed writing would be my future.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

I write both adult and juvenile fiction but with juvenile fiction I can explore the relationship between human beings and other animals. And, even more so with juvenile fiction, where I can bring to life animals who think, feel and act much like humans do. There are several studies that prove animals as being sentient beings, feeling and sensitive beings. I give this notion legitimacy in my stories. But I also like to explore the human condition. For instance, some of my stories like SPIDER BRAINS touch on other serious topics such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and the treatment of ADD. SPIDER BRAINS also deals with the topic of death and loss, hope and redemption.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

I’m not sure that either–adult fiction or juvenile fiction–is more difficult to write than the other. There may be different considerations for each but writing novels, no matter the genre or age, entails the same amount of work. A writer must to come up with a viable idea. A writer must create some sort of road map for the idea. In my case, I develop an outline. And then a writer must log 50,000 words and up, all that will hold a reader’s attention.

Another point for this question is that SPIDER BRAINS almost fell into my lap. Literarlly! I explain this point further in just a few more questions.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

I think nailing the younger characters in each story, in voice and style and action. Young people speak differently than adults and usually with tons more emotion. They talk with their entire bodies–they roll their eyes, flip their hair, make strange sounds when they need to add emphasis, they do this full-body-slump when they’re upset. For me, young people are more interesting to observe because they hold nothing back.

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

SPIDER BRAINS: A LOVE STORY tells the story of fifteen-year-old Susie Speider. She sees herself as a nerd and she’s a word freak. One night while Susie is lying in bed trying to sleep, she notices a spider traversing her ceiling. After getting a closer look at the spider and feeling as if they’ve bonded, she puts her finger next to the creature to see if it will climb aboard in order for Susie to put it outdoors. Well, one thing leads to another, as they say.

This is the book’s blurb. I think it tells the story best… “After her father’s death last year and, now, in the throes of a gnarly teacher’s whim, a small black arachnid bites fifteen-year-old Susie Speider on the finger. The bite sends her nights into fantastical dreams about taking revenge on the teacher who, ultimately, holds her college aspirations in the palm of her cold, calloused hand. But after Susie figures out the dreams are real, she begins visiting the teacher regularly… as the spider! And, oh, by the way! Who is that boy spider munching on flies, hiding over there in the corner?”

What inspired you to write SPIDER BRAINS?

One night in bed, I noticed something strange. It was very early in the morning. My husband had gotten up for work and flipped on the bathroom light switch. The brightness shone against the ceiling and there, not too far from the bed, was a spider making its way across the ceiling. I thought about retrieving it and then setting it free outside but before I could set one foot on the floor to do so, a story flashed across my mind. For about an hour I wrote notes covering the over-arching idea which resulted in the novel SPIDER BRAINS.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The paperback for SPIDER BRAINS can be found at bookstores and on Amazon.com.

The eBook for this book can be found exclusively on Amazon.com. http://astore.amazon.com/theoffwebo03e-20

People can also buy the book directly from the publisher, Roberts Press at http://www.robertsbookpress.com.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

I do! Thank you for asking. My website is http://www.susanwingate.com and my blog is http://susanwingate.wordpress.com/writing-from-the-couch-with-susan-wingate/

What is up next for you?

Well, right now, I’m working on two novels. One is the 2nd book in the Susie Speider Series. The second is in a new genre for me. It’s an apocalyptic thriller. It still falls into the category of Young Adult but the apocalyptic thriller will be new for me. I’m having tons of fun writing that one too.

Do you have anything else to add?

I just want to say thank you for having me on your great blog. It’s quite an honor for you to spend your valuable time featuring me and SPIDER BRAINS. So, thank you very much! It’s been a pleasure answering all of these great questions.

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

Interview with David Stahler Jr., Author of Spinning Out (Giveaway)

Joining us today is David Stahler Jr., author of the YA novel,  Spinning Out. Read to the end of this interview to see how you can win a Free copy of this book.

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

I live in the hills of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, where I was born and raised. I’m closing in on forty. I teach AP English at my alma mater, Lyndon Institute. I married my college sweetheart, whom I met when I was nineteen. I have a nine-year old son named Julian and a four-year old daughter named Maida. I love playing my Scottish smallpipes, listening to indie rock, hunting deer in the fall, and playing dorky boardgames with my friends. 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I’d done a little writing as an undergraduate at Middlebury College, working with the writer Jay Parini. But it was during my master’s degree program at Dartmouth where things clicked. I took a fiction-writing course with the author Craig Nova, then worked with him on my thesis, which turned into the novel Truesight. It was during this time when I realized I could actually do this whole writing business. To be honest, I sort of stumbled into the career. I was never one of those people who pine their whole lives to be a writer. I still don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. 

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

Again, I didn’t set out intentionally to write YA fiction. It just happened that the stories I found myself wanting to tell ended up having young adults as the main characters. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m a high school teacher. It certainly helps, anyway, to be tuned into that consciousness on a daily level.  

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

It’s hard to answer that question, because I never think of myself as writing FOR that particular audience. I just have a story to tell, and I tell it the way I’d want to hear it if I were on the other end. With few exceptions, I think adults could get just as much enjoyment as teens from reading my books, or any YA novels for that matter. It’s exciting that a lot of people are starting to realize this. The crossover audience for YA fiction is exploding right now. In terms of your question, I guess I would say that teenagers are full of passion, of both the light and dark variety, which can make things easy and sometimes difficult in terms of telling a story.   

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

Spinning Out is about a lot of things, but at its heart it’s a buddy story. What do you do when your best friend falls apart? And how do you handle it when you’re also dealing with your own upheavals and trying to discover who you are and what you’re going to do with your life? The narrator Frenchy is a kid who’s the perennial sidekick who ends up coming into his own and surprises himself in the process. It’s a bittersweet tale.

 What inspired you to write it?

It’s funny because I can pretty much remember where the ideas for all my books came from except this one. I came up with the idea seven years ago, then tucked it away into the back of my head and ruminated on it for about five years before putting it to paper. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The usual places—online at Amazon and B&N, as well as bookstores with discriminating taste.  

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Not yet, but I’m finally going to break down and join the world of social networking this summer. Look for it in July! 

What is up next for you?

I’m hard at work on a real genre-blending project—a gritty, futuristic, supernatural tale that involves reincarnation and a young woman’s struggle against an ancient enemy. It has all these framed narratives from different periods in history mixed with elements of horror. It’s been exhausting, but I’m very excited about it!

Do you have anything else to add?

Spinning Out taps into a lot of contemporary issues (teen mental illness, wind turbines, returning veterans with PTSD) and has some pretty heavy moments, but it is also a very funny novel. I think there’s something in it for everyone to enjoy.

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

Now that you’ve read a bit about David and Spinning Out, I’m sure you’ll want to own a copy of this book for yourself. Here’s how you can win a FREE copy:

 

1. Leave a comment with your email address for your chance to win. You can’t win if we don’t have your email address.

2. BONUS ENTRY: Follow our parent blog, The Book Connection, at http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ Leave a comment here that you are now following. +1

3. BONUS ENTRY: Like Chronicle Books on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/ChronicleBooks Leave a comment here that you have liked their page.  +1

4. BONUS ENTRY:  Follow Chronicle Books on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/ChronicleBooks Leave a comment here that you are now a follower. +1

Contest is open to residents of the United States only. Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM on July 10, 2011. A winner will be selected from all correct entries received. The winner will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond with mailing information. If we do not hear from the winner within the 72 hour time frame, a new winner will be selected. Book will be shipped via USPS. TC&TBC is not responsible for books lost or damaged in shipment.

Interview with Gary Ghislain, Author of How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend (Giveaway)

Joining us today is Gary Ghislain, author of the YA humorous sci-fi slash romance extravaganza also known as How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend.

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

Here is a bit a about moi: I was born in France and I grew up between Paris and the French Riviera. I studied literature and linguistics in Paris with the definite idea of becoming a fiction writer. After obtaining a master’s degree, I decided to travel the world while writing. I lived and worked in Amsterdam, Lodz (Poland), London, Wellington (New-Zealand), and Stockholm, before returning to France.  I read and write in English, though my first language is French and I do speak like Inspector Jacques Clouseau. I now live in Antibes, in the French Riviera, where I write my novels, haunt the fantastic public library (a.k.a. la médiathèque), and occasionally enjoy the sun and the Mediterranean Sea. 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I got bitten quite early. And it was quite a bad bite too. I submitted my first completed novel to uber French publisher Gallimard when I was 16. I punished them with one strange manuscript every year after that. Until I thought, ‘mince, alors!’ and swapped to writing in English.  I’ve always been bookish.  As a kid. As a teen. And now as a wannabe adult. And I’ve always pictured myself as a writer, especially after trying all sort of odd jobs (everything but hanging people, as one of my colleagues once told me) and becoming a real ace at resignation letters. 

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

I didn’t really choose that genre. I don’t even choose my characters or my stories. I don’t go like, “why don’t you write a vampire story where every teenager is either vampire, werewolf or food?”  and, poof, go off to a laptop and write a book. It goes the other way around for me: I need the characters and their story to choose me. I’m like Joan of Arc, in that aspect: to get into action, I need to hear a voice inside my head, the voice of my main character and narrator. If that voice belongs to a teenager, as David in How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend, then I will write a YA title. 

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

I love bringing back themes that were important to me when I was a teenager: first romance, the on-going war against adults, rebellion against the machine, the supernatural etc. I also love trying to impress the teen I used to be. I love nudging him and bringing him back to life and making him laugh too.

The greatest challenge, of course, is to stay true to that teenage boy I used to be, while at the same time staying true to the adult I’ve become. I remember my teenage years as being very intense and wild and dangerous and rebellious. But as an adult and a parent, I feel like I know better. I’ve given up on violence and destroying things and general wilderness. The hardest thing for me then, is to find a compromise between the adult I am and the teenager I used to be.    

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

How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend is about an earthling boy falling in love with a girl from outer space. David is the son of a famous French child psychologist. Zelda is his father’s new patient. Zelda believes she’s from outer space. David believes she’s TOTALLY BONKERS. But totally bonkers doesn’t mean much to a boy who’s 14 and in love, and soon David and Zelda are tearing around Paris as she looks for her chosen one so that she can take him back to her planet. And who is her chosen one? The same guy millions of girls wish they could fly away with: Johnny Depp!         

Interviewer’s note: I concur with that last statement, especially since the Pirates of the Caribbean movies–though I thought he was a cutie back during his 21 Jump Street days.

What inspired you to write it?

Somehow, I’m always getting my ideas while traveling. Trains. Airplanes. Automobiles or Converse shoes. Every means of transportation goes. This one, I got it in a train, while crossing Sweden. I was thinking about the Norse mythology, the Valkyries, the Vikings, and the crude violence of the early Scandinavian cultures. And, well, I was mostly thinking about Swedish girls! And suddenly, between Gothenburg and Helsingborg, SHAZAM! Zelda was born. A violent space girl, a rude warrior and religious fanatic from outer space who would destroy anyone on her way to her soul mate. A few days later, I was walking through a wood toward Gothenburg City, thinking about Zelda’s story. I needed something more. Something very funny that would drive the story forward. Right there, I had my second SHAZAM moment: she wants what every girl wants: SHE WANTS JOHNNY DEPP! I started to laugh out loud and nearly ran back to my flat to write that story. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

You can order it at my publisher website, www.chroniclebooks.com or add it to your cart at amazon.com, or just walk in your favorite bookstore and pick up a copy at the YA shelf, or just ask them to order it pronto. 

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, I do occasionally blog and drop ’10-points-how-to’ lists at http://garyghislain.blogspot.com.

What is up next for you?

Well, I’m working on a new hilarious YA title. Us versus the Galaxy – a fast paced humorous sci-fi meets romance YA extravaganza where all the adults turn into cold blooded Aliens (Invasion of the Body Snatchers Style) – and the teens/kids are left alone to do all the fighting and resistance– it has a good narrator with a funny voice and a deadpan sense of humor.

Do you have anything else to add?

Yes, I do: thank you so much for having me here

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

Now that y0u’re so stoked about this book, here’s how you can enter to win a free copy:

1. Leave a comment with your email address for your chance to win. You can’t win if we don’t have your email address.

2. BONUS ENTRY: Follow our parent blog, The Book Connection, at http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ Leave a comment here that you are now following. +1

3. BONUS ENTRY: Like Chronicle Books on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/ChronicleBooks Leave a comment here that you have liked their page.  +1

4. BONUS ENTRY:  Follow Chronicle Books on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/ChronicleBooks Leave a comment here that you are now a follower. +1

Contest is open to residents of the United States only. Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM on June 28, 2011. A winner will be selected from all correct entries received. The winner will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to respond with mailing information. If we do not hear from the winner within the 72 hour time frame, a new winner will be selected.

Interview with Sean McCartney, Author of The Secrets of the Magical Medallions

Joining us today is Sean McCartney, author of the young adult novel, The Treasure Hunters Club: The Secrets of the Magical Medallions.

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

I am currently a sixth grade Social Studies teacher at Glenwood Middle School in the Plain Local District of Canton, Ohio. 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I have always written stories even as a young kid, so it was something that I have always done it just took me some time to be able to write a novel. 

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

As a middle school teacher I saw a real need for books that would entertain and help the reluctant reader. We have too many kids that view reading as a chore but I was hoping to change that with The Treasure Hunters Club series. 

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

My most favorite part of writing for this group is taking them on an adventure that they could see themselves doing.

I think the most difficult part is keeping their attention with so many other things going on around them. 

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

The story is about thirteen-year-old Tommy Reed and his treasure hunting club friends who receive a medallion from his famous treasure hunting uncle, “Diamond” Jack Reed, and must find the secret behind it before and ancient evil hunts them down. 

What inspired you to write it?

As I said, I thought it important to have a book series that appealed to the reluctant readers as well as the ones who love to read. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

 Amazon is probably the best bet. With the trouble Borders has been having I am not sure which stores are left.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, the website is www.treasurehuntersclubbook.com and you can go there to see some short stories, videos and much more about the series. 

What is up next for you?

We are currently in the final edit stage for the second book in The Treasure Hunters Club series which will be released May 7th of this year. The title is Breaking the Beale Code and it is another fun action adventure for the club. 

Do you have anything else to add?

Yes, please go and get yourself a copy of The Treasure Hunters Club: The Secrets of the Magical Medallions. It is well worth it. I hate shameless plugs but I had to give one.

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

Thank you so much for having me.



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