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text 2015-09-25 11:40
Author talks: Tellulah Darling

 

A witty joker, fan of good love stories and quirky romance writer herself. Also, a real darling. That is Tellulah Darling, ladies and gents. Since her latest book, Get Real is available September 25th, what possibly could be a better excuse to have her over for a chat?! 

 

Enjoy the conversation BookLikes had with the author of My Ex From Hell and enter the Giveaway to win Tellulah's new book.

 

 

  

 

blWhat are you reading now, Tellulah?

 

 


TDTwo books that I just finished and loved were I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson and Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.

 

  

 

blDid your first kiss really suck?

  

 

TDUnbelievably so. Think attack of the giant fishy lips.

 

 

  

blGot you. So, let’s play a little game. Imagine taking back the time: which of your (or others) book character you’d like to get swapped for your perfect first time kisser then?

 

TD*takes a moment to review all kissing abilities of her male characters*

Okay, for a first kiss, it would have to be Sam from Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls. He’d make it perfect. Totally screw things up afterwards, but that first time? Yeah.

 

blYour new adult romantic comedy, Get Real, is about to be released (25th September!), congratulations! ‘Sass, sex, and swoon, set in the world of “Cadabras” -- humans with magical powers.‘ Now, that seems to be a really explosive mixture! Can you tell our bloggers more about the book?

 

TDThank you! I am a sucker for romantic comedies. They’re my happy place. Thing is, I don’t tend to write straightforward ones. Once I start thinking about plot, I get into crazy mythologies, made-up magic, and madcap urban fantasy adventures. It’s incredibly fun for me to set a romantic comedy against a backdrop of something more fantastic.

 

Get Real, however, actually came from a very different place. When I was growing up, I lived in a town where mine was the only Jewish family. I dealt with othering, ignorance, and flat-out racism. I was also a reader girl who wanted nothing more than to find someone like me in the pages of a book, having an adventure or being a romantic lead. Sadly, all I could find were issue books where being Jewish was treated like some kind of after-school special. I lived that. I didn’t want to read it. With my NA debut, I wanted an awesome heroine who happened to be Jewish. 

 

 

Once I’d figured out who Francesca was as this Jewish good girl, I needed the very bad boy who set her teeth on edge. That was Rafael. Then it was all about how much fun I could have with a sexy, sassy, swoon-filled urban fantasy adventure and how far I could take these two without having them kill each other. In the end, as it always is, their journey became about the impact these two have on each other in terms of their specific character issue, in this case getting real about what they want from their respective lives.

 

blWhat is the story behind this sass and humor loving author, how did you end up being a writer?

 

 TDI’ve always written though I never thought writer was an actual career path for an ordinary person. On the plane ride to university I was trying to pick my courses, and my mom said, “How about film?” I thought she meant as a degree. Apparently she only meant as an elective. :P Once I had my film degree in hand – my M.A. in Film Theory actually, I planned on staying in academia and writing film history and criticism.

 

Then I met a boy.

 

My now-husband actually, a filmmaker. We decided to write some shorts together which eventually led to a career in screenwriting. After a great twelve year run, I was burned out and wrote a YA romantic comedy novel for fun, because I love reading YA and I’m a romcom junkie. I wasn’t thinking of a career, more like just checking to see if I still enjoyed writing. Four YA books later and now my NA debut and that love is still going strong.

 

blThis is the question we had asked pretty much every author we had here and  that's because we are really nosy, nothing else: Do you have any writing habits, like drinking a coffee from your lucky mug, not writing on Mondays, inventing the plot while riding a bike?

 

TDNot really. I don’t even have a schedule. There are weeks when I do no writing at all. I’m scrawling furious notes on scrap pieces of paper and my iPhone and various files on my laptop. Waking up at 3AM to jot something down. Eventually, the time comes when I start compiling all my thoughts, outlining, researching and eventually writing my first draft. That’s when I become consumed to the point of resenting my family for having the audacity to want meals and clean clothes. Kidding aside, they are very patient with me in that state and know to yell my name several times before I’ll answer.

 

blYou have been previously writing for the TV & film industry for quite some time, actually. Usually, writers are interested in their career evolving the other way round: books to screen… How has your previous experience been valuable, later in your book author career?

 

TDAbsolutely. I knew some of my experience from the screenwriting world would prove invaluable, such as my understanding of theme, structure, and even marketing from the indie films I did. But on a film or TV set, there is a crew bringing your vision to life. So screenplays keep description and action brief. That was a big learning curve for me. How to flesh out my world, my five senses and bring it alive on the page. In the end, I’m glad I came to novel writing this way.


Get Real

 

 blSome would say, it’s easier to make the reader/audience follow the story when there is a visual layer to go with the content. How do you keep your books entertaining for the reader?   

 

TDYou might want to ask my readers that. :) Because I am such a fan of romantic comedy whether movies, TV shows, or books, I’ve consumed and studied a ton of them. What I found was a lot of storytelling billing itself as romcom that was missing the comedy. For me, romantic comedy needs an equal emphasis on both parts. The romantic ending needs to be earned and the journey needs to be hilariously painful. I think my strength is delivering both romance and comedy in satisfying amounts.

 

blWhich TV/movie screenwriter +  title/titles you think is absolutely brilliant?

  

 

TDHow long a list can I give? In terms of writer/showrunners - Joss Whedon for Buffy, obviously. Mindy Kaling for The Mindy Project (best romcom on TV!), Stephen Falk for You’re The Worst (best anti-romcom on TV!), Graeme Manson for Orphan Black, Ronald D. Moore for Battlestar Galactica, Vince Gilligan for Breaking Bad. Nora Ephron as queen of the film romcom, the wit and heart of Billy Wilder and screwball genius of Charles Lederer and Ben Hecht. There are literally tons and tons of screenwriters that I admire.

 

blYA is one of the most popular genders on BookLikes, but surely in a wider scoop as well. Although the demand is high, not every romantic novel has 'it'. What more besides the actual love bit should this gender offer to the readers?

 

TDDespite my love of throwing other elements like magic into the romantic mix, I think it comes down to voice and earning that happily-ever-after. Our job as writers is to make our readers emotionally connect with our characters. And all the vamps or magic or backwards storytelling or whatever are not going to matter if we haven’t done our job. 

 

Generally, readers already know going in to a romance whether there is a happily-ever-after or not waiting for them at the end. We authors need to make the audience doubt the outcome. Make our characters work for that ending. And do it with a voice that engages our readers. We need to spellbind and that comes from the essential nature of the story itself, not the bells and whistles.


blOne can find a lot of references to ancient mythology in your books. This is pretty unique -- where did this interest came from? Why did you decide to use this typology in your writing?

 

TDI grew up on a steady diet of myths and fairy tales and I always loved the idea of putting my own spin on them. After Sam Cruz, which was straight romcom, I wanted to delve into mythology and Persephone had always fascinated me. There was something unfinished about her and her story, like she was a passive player and not the MC of her own life.

 

I really wanted to write about a girl living under the radar, handed ultimate power whose journey becomes one of empowerment. What better way than to have a teen girl have a goddess awakening? Plus Greek myth meant gods behaving badly and my own addition of a bad boy ex-boyfriend god. All these elements made sense for My Ex From Hell and the two subsequent books in the trilogy.

 

blWhat are you working on now? New book? Screenplay?

  

 

TDSince Get Real is book one in a four-book series, each with it’s own self-contained romantic comedy set against this ongoing urban fantasy adventure, I was supposed to spend the summer writing Freak Out, which is book two. Except I got completely distracted (i.e. obsessed) by an adult romcom/urban fantasy that demanded to be written. I’m revising that one and have finally turned my attention to Freak Out. It’s great to be back with these characters.

 

blHumor seems to be your tread mark. How would you describe your sense of humor.

 

  

TDSkewed. Sarcastic, often inappropriate – but I hope not mean.  I was raised in a family where we poked fun at ourselves and our lives. We couldn’t help but laugh at a lot of things. That’s how I view the world. With a quip.

 

 

blSo, who do you enjoy more then: Woody Allen, or Amy Schumer?

 

 

 TDI was raised on a steady diet of old Woody Allen and Neil Simon movies so I will forever have a fondness for those. Nowadays, however, while there are incredible male comedians like Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais that blow my mind, I definitely identify more with the humour of the brilliant women like Amy, Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, and (my super crush) Mindy Kaling.

 

blMost definitely, we could carry this one on much longer, as it is a great fun talking to you. Thank you, Tellulah! 

 

However, let's give the BL bloggers a chance to get your new book, go to Get Real Giveaway (it starts Friday 25th September just after 4 p.m. CET).

 

TDThank you so much for having me!

xo,

 

Tellulah

 



Wonder what Tellulah Darling is reading herself

and what books you could find on her shelf?

 

Visit her BookLikes blog and catch up with Tellulah's reviews. 

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text 2015-09-15 11:07
Guest post by Rod Raglin: Rushing to publish could mean blowing your best opportunities
 
 
Rod Raglin is a journalist/photographer/writer living on the west coast of Canada. He is author of the five novels; THE BIG PICTURE - A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic, FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend, and the series ECO-WARRORS that includes SPIRIT BEAR, EAGLERIDGE BLUFFS, and NOT WONDER MORE - Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.
 
Someone one wise once said: There is no right way to write. So true. But we all want to do it the right way, right? 
 
Rod decided to share his writing process secrets in this little piece about his personal writing experiences with some essential tips & tricks that may come in handy not only for writers but also readers and reviewers. Enjoy! 
 
 
 
 
 
So you’ve finally finished your novel.

Congratulations. 

What you’ve accomplished is significant and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. How many people do you know who have spent countless hours by themselves sitting in front of a keyboard creating an imaginary world?

It’s only a matter of time before your creation changes your life, and that can’t happen too soon. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start submitting it to all those fortunate agents and publishers you’ve selected, right?

Wrong.

I was once like you, full of enthusiasm and hubris upon completing my first novel. To get my masterpiece published I pulled in all my favours, two actually. I had an acquaintance who knew Jeffrey Archer personally (yes, that Jeffrey Archer), and I had a business associate who was an editor in a well-respected publishing firm.

The first response came from Archer’s agent. She suggested I take some writing courses. A little while later the editor returned my manuscript. She’d taken the time to line edit the first chapter complete with margin notes. Suffice to say the editing notes all but obscured the original text.

At the time I didn’t realize it, but I had just blown two really good opportunities in my rush to get published.  That manuscript is still buried somewhere in my filing cabinet. I’m too embarrassed to look at it.
 
Most recently I’ve taken on writing and and doing video book reviews* of the work of new, self-published authors.
 
I’ve written a lot of book reviews, but in this category – new, self-published authors the average star rating is 2.8, a bit better than I didn’t like it, but not quite as good as I liked it.
 
A few of these authors are brilliant, but most, though they have potential, are hampered by lack of craft. If they continue writing and reading I know they’ll improve. Writing is like most things – the more you do it the better you get.
 
I have to add a caveat to that statement. Your writing will improve if you continue to do it while seeking out constructive criticism and taking it to heart.
 
Most of the novels I’m giving two stars to have been rushed into publication. I know you’re excited, but remember – it’s never as good as you think it is, and it can always be better. Yes, always.
 
 
Here are some suggestions you might want to consider when you’ve completed your novel. It’s what I do and though it hasn’t garnered me success, it’s at least saved me further embarrassment.
 
- I revise the manuscript a minimum three times or until I feel it’s finished.
- I read it out loud (it drives my cat crazy).
- Then I put it away for at least three months or however long it takes to get it out of my system.
- While I’m waiting to be purged, I work on something completely different.
- Once I’ve put some distance between my ego and the book, I’m ready. I take out the manuscript and send it to as many beta readers for comment as I can. If you don’t have a stable of readers who are free from conflict of interest – that means no family and no friends, join a writing group, online or otherwise, and workshop the novel.
 
 
Once I’ve decided it’s time for the final rewrite I gather all the comments and criticisms together and begin.
 
When I’m finished I have another decision to make. Do I begin the traditional submission process or save myself a lot of time and frustration and go directly to self-publishing?
 
If you follow this method I guarantee your final version will be different and better than it was when you deemed it complete. And if someone does recommend your book to Oprah or the New York Times decides to review it, it will be perfect – or as perfect as you could make it.
 
Keep writing and remember what Nietzsche said:
 
The doer alone learneth.
 
 
* Video book reviews of self-published authors now at
Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQN
 
 
 

 

 

Rod Raglin

rodraglin.booklikes.com

 

 

 

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin... Go to Rod's blog ->

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text 2015-08-04 11:11
Author Talks: Leah Grant / Anne Wentworth


Please welcome Leah Grant to BookLikes! Leah is a romance writer, known under two pen names -- you can meet both ladies on BookLikes, have a look the author pages of Leah Grant and her YA alter ego Anne Wentworth. And to be up to date with Leah's upcoming releases, make sure to follow her BookLikes webpage at leahgrant.booklikes.com

 

Leah aka Anne agreed to talk with us about her upcoming debut young adult release (the book is released with Finch Books), baking and wild animals in her countryside. Ready? Here we go!

 

 

Have you always wanted to become a writer? How did it all start for you?

 

I started to writer very early at around age nine. Stories just came to me and my father encouraged me to keep writing. It has always made my heart happy. Characters even wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me their stories. If I'm working on a book - it plays like a movie in my head and I try to type as fast as I can to keep up.

 

You’ve mentioned that you’re using pen names: Leah Grant and Anne Wentworth. Can you tell our readers more about the ladies inside you.

How they are different and what their contribution is to your writing process?

 

I am an intensely private person - so when I decided to take the plunge into the publishing world I wanted to use a pen name. For romance I chose Leah Grant. I've always loved the name Leah and Grant is a connection to someone very special.

Anne Wentworth came about for Young Adult as I needed to keep the two kinds of writing separate.

 

 

The two names are just fronts that enable me to be creative and tell my stories. Both Leah and Anne drink far too much coffee and tend to have a sweet tooth. I'm not judging them though...

 

Your new young adult novel will hit bookstores September 2015. Congratulations! Can you tell our readers more about the book and how the idea was born?

 

Shake The Spiders is my first YA to be published (Finch Books - a division of   Totally Entwined Group UK) and I am very excited. When the story for this young adult book came to me, I wasn’t surprised. The book is about Kim, a fourteen year old that has suffered for years trying to live around her alcoholic mother. She is tired and damaged and I needed to tell her story. There are so many teens/kids out there that live through this. Some make it and some don’t.

 

When her mother drops her off for the summer at her grandma’s place – it’s almost like she’s been left at that final bus-stop. It ends up being the best thing that could have happened for her. I know so many never get that chance – someone reaching out to help. More often than not

the alcoholic manages to ruin not only their life, but everyone around them.

 

You can see the cracks in Kim’s person – she drifts, doesn’t trust people, has had to take on the role of parent from a young age, continuously has to cover and clean up the messes her mother makes – leaving her a shell – someone desperate inside for love and belonging.

 

This book is about her journey of healing and taking chances on people. It is about Kim drawing a line and choosing not to be hurt anymore. Kim does this in the book when she decides she just doesn’t want to have to deal with her drunk mother any longer. I set the story in small-town Manitoba and had a great time conjuring some interesting if not ‘flawed’ characters.

 

Being a real lover of paranormal, I wove a ghost legend into the storyline and also gave it some historical elements. I wanted to tell the story from the other side - the person that is trying to rebuild themselves and their life after the fallout from being around someone with an addiction.

 

Leah Grant writes fantasy romances, Anne Wentworth goes for young adult novels -- how do you find yourself in those genres? Did you pick them or did the genres pick you?

 

The books just happen. I don't really know how else to say it. Literally the book will just begin in my head. I don't have a clue where it will go or what will happen. Essentially, I'm really the 'first reader' and just go with it. When people ask me 'how does it end?' I often have to say, 'how would I know?'. (you should see the looks I get with that one) It is a different way to write, but it works for me.

 

You live in Canada, you love the Prairies and the wildlife that surrounds you, and even call the place “magical”. Can you tell our readers how does the setting influence your writing process? We guess that such a spectacular place just must have an influence on an individual.

 

The peace and beauty here is amazing. I love living out in the country, being surrounded by trees and critters of all kinds. The seasons and weather here are extreme - summers have massive storms (can be tornados) and winter can hit with temps falling to -40's. When I first walked on this land, I knew we had to buy the place. I felt free here and this is the place where my writing has been most prolific.

 

If I am tired or need a break, I just go outside to watch deer feeding in the trees across from our place. Sometimes there will be twenty or more hawks flying over in the later afternoon. Watching a fox scamper through the property just after midnight or a lone wolf making its way along the edge of the property - I feel so lucky to be able to experience all of this. It leaves me refreshed and must feed my imagination - as ideas for books are non-stop here.

 

You’ve mentioned you’re a cat owner. BookLikes community as well as the BookLikes team adore cats :) Does Miss Fish has her appearance in any of your stories?

 

Miss Fish was a rescue in 2012. She had been abandoned (not very nice when you think of a prairie winter) and a very kind soul fed her until a home could be found. When I saw her picture on the rescue web site - it was LOVE!  She now is part of our family and very well loved and cared for. She is our heart.

 

Miss Fish may have been some of the inspiration for 'Jammer' the huge black cat in Shake The Spiders. She is a very loving and amazing companion. She sits beside me as I write each day.

 

 

Your motto is: Don’t be afraid to step into the storm. What does it mean to you?

 

 

I believe a person has to go out and live - sometimes life can throw difficult circumstances and trials at a person. I've lived through many and the only thing I can tell others is that you can't be afraid to move forward. Sometimes the crazy/difficult/unhappy times in our lives can sweep us along to what ends up being an amazing place. If we don't step into the storm because we are afraid, we might lose out on something really good.

 

You’re a coffee & chocolate lover with a twist for cooking. What’s your best and favorite recipe? Would you mind sharing it with our readers?

 

I do love to cook and bake. Best and favorite? Ahhh... How about I list a few: roast beef and popovers (Yorkshire Pudding done in muffin tin), lasagna (very rich and layered - I always eat far too much), apple/pear pie, cheese and basil biscuits, roast stuffed chicken with vegetables, homemade bread (loaves and rolls) - hungry yet? I am. Now see what you've started? ; )

 

Best tip for popovers - heat the pan until the lard is almost smoking (handle carefully) then fill with batter and get it into that oven! Don't open the oven door until they are done.

 

From your point of view: is it easy to be a writer nowadays?

 

Yes and no. With the ebook industry - many more people can get their work out there, but that means there is so much more competition.

 

Do you have any writing habits which help you keep the story going?

 

The stories don't stop or slow down. I have to make notes to keep up with it as things unfold/characters tell me more before it is at that point in the book so I can remember to include it.

 

I drink coffee +++++++ I snack and I soak in the beauty here.

 

Could you tell our readers which authors inspire you and your works?

 

 

Just a few books come to mind - there are so many more. Eclectic would be a good word to keep in mind here.

 

 

  

  

 

  

  

 

 

Just read Chris Ledbetter's Drawn (YA) - loved it. Also read The Cat and Mrs. Cary again (Doris Gates). 

 

I read. One of my favorite things to do was go to the library and just pick books out - historical/biography/anthropology/WWII/paranormal/cooking - you name it.

 

 

 

 

 

 What are you reading now? How do you like it?

Just finished reading Drawn by Chris Ledbetter  - loved it.

 

 

Do you read when writing a new novel?

Sometimes.

 

 

Are you a book collector or a book recommender?

My husband is the pack rat - he has boxes of books.

If I like something, I'll pass it on

 

 

Paper books or e-books? Why?

Paperback.

I like holding the book. Besides, what would shelves look like without books?

 

 

What are your favorite quotes?

 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade and then drink it!

*

Don't be afraid to step into the storm...

 

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write! Don't write to fit into what is popular. Write from your heart.

Don't give up - ever.

 

What’s your favorite writing and reading spot?

(our readers would love to see some photos)

 

My office. Miss Fish has her basket behind me and naps while I write.

Isn't that smile adorable?

 

Outside is my rock garden and I can watch as the birds and deer come to feed.

Baltimore Oriole came by. Our feeder is busy year-round.

 

The 'trio' come to our feeder and often empty it out in winter

for the black sunflower seeds.

 

Thank you, Leah!  

 

Leah Grant's books on BookLikes:

Wilde Jagd - Leah GrantOver the Hill and Through the Woods - Leah GrantDream Of The Raven - Leah GrantViking Grave (Encircled by Gold Book 1) - Leah Grant

see more on Leah Grant's author page

 

Anne Wentworth's book on BookLikes

Shake The Spiders - Anne Wentworth

See more on Anne's author page

  

Read other talks on BookLikes:

Read more
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text 2015-07-23 11:33
BookLikes Authors Recommend Great Summer Reads

Photo by Paula Borowska

 

Clean up your shelves, add a new collection to your e-reader, equip yourself with drinks and snacks. It's time for Summer recommendations! We've asked several of BookLikes authors to pick their perfect summer books. Here's a reading list that cannot be missed and a collection of reads that must be added to your TBR summer pile! 

 

Tellulah Darling author

Meet & follow Tellulah Darling on BookLikes ->

 

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab 

 

"I picked this up because I am a sucker for alternate versions of cities. Yes, Neverwhere is a fav of mine and so when I saw this had that vibe happening, I was in. Let's start with the good: crossdressing thieves, multiple Londons, super cool magic, chicks to the rescue, throne power plays, and an amazing mythology I want to fall into and stay suspended in for a very long time.


Now for the bad: book two doesn't come out for another year. Seriously. That's all I've got.

Kell and Lila are a fabulous swashbuckling duo. His backstory is totally compelling and fraught with mystery. His brother Rhy is a charmer with a heart of gold that I demand more of. The world building is insanely cool. This is an original, compelling, thoroughly engaging and entertaining book one of a new fantasy series. If you're looking for romance, you won't really find it in this book though it sets up tantalizing and frustrating (in good ways) teases to be played out. Bonus points for actually wrapping up the main plot while still creating enough questions about events to follow. 

Honestly, by partway through the first chapter I was excited in ways I hadn't been for a story in a while. Grab it!"

 

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

 

 
 
"Before I found this story, I was in such a bad reading slump that I couldn't even make eye contact with my Kindle because I felt like all the half-read books on it were glaring at me for not finishing them. Then in the space of a few hours, I discovered and read this book. Colours seemed brighter, my heart felt lighter - this beautiful, sumptuous romance made me so very happy. 
 
Mili, married at 4 in a small Indian village, hasn't seen her husband in 20 years. But that hasn't stopped her from being 100% committed to this marriage and the hope that eventually he'll come for her. Until that day, she pawns her dowery jewelry so that she can further her education in the US. And that's where her brother-in-law Samir finds her, hell bent on getting her to sign annulment papers. 
 
There was something magical about this romance, about each tiny step in Mili and Samir's developing friendship, made all the more fragile and heart-stopping by the secrets between them. I flat out loved it. There was no sentimentality, just genuine, raw, beautifully realized and flawed humans daring to hope for more than their pasts had dealt them."
 Edward Lorn author
 
 
Light Summer Read:
 
 
"Palisades Park is a touching story magically and masterfully told. If an amusement park in its heyday is where you want to be this summer, brothers and sisters, Alan Brennert will take you there.
 
It might take you a few other places, as well. I wish you all a pleasant journey."
 
Thrilling Summer Read:
 
 
 
"Vicki Pettersson is the love child of Dean Koontz and Gillian Flynn. Okay, she isn't, but she writes like she is. Swerve piqued my interest because I'm a sucker for scavenger-hunts-to-stay-alive books in the vein of Laymon's In the Dark.
 
I also love anything having to do with road trips and/or crazy stalkers. If you like the same kinda reads and are looking for a little thrill while lounging in the Summer sun, give this new release a try."
 
 
Tish Thawer author

Meet and follow Tish Thawer on BookLikes ->

 

 

As a reader, I love books that can transport you. With both of these novels, I felt as if I was "in" the story. The world-building was phenomenal and the paranormal elements were woven in so well, I no longer felt like I was reading fiction. Magic is real, people! :)  

 

The Life & Death of Jorja Graham by Brynn Myers   

 

 

 

"Once again I was blown away by the imagination and detailed writing that Brynn puts into her stories. She never fails to transport me into the world she's created, and in this case, the world was eerie and magical and filled with characters that captured my heart." 

 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness   

 

 

 

"This book was so engrossing. The amazing detail of the alchemic process and imagery was amazing. This author did her homework!"

 

 

Samantha Wilcoxson author

Meet and follow Samantha Wilcoxson on BookLikes ->

 

 

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman 

 

"This is my favorite book of all time by the author who sparked my obsession in medieval England.

 

Each of her books is wonderful with complex characters and impeccable historical research that transports the reader back in time.

Since Richard III, the main character in this book, has been in the headlines lately, this is an ideal time to get swept away in this novel."

 

Villette by Charlotte Brontë

 

 

 

"I recommend this book because it is lesser known than the author’s more famous Jane Eyre, but I feel that the story and characters are even more captivating.

 

Lucy Snowe felt like a kindred spirit as she attempted to make her way in the world. The realistic way that each person sees her differently, but none completely understand her is heart wrenching.

 

Anyone looking for a classic novel that is a little off the beaten path should try Villette."

 

 Rod Raglin author

Meet and follow Rod Raglin on BookLikes ->

 

 

I have made a commitment to read and review the work of individuals like myself, because no one needs recognition more than a new, independently published author (believe me, I know). I wouldn’t describe these books as “beach” reads, but they are very good novels that have received very little recognition.
 

War in a Beautiful Country by Patricia Ryan 

 

"It’s quirky, perceptive and funny. It’s poignant as well as enlightening, entertaining and original. It ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous and covers a lot of the stuff in between.
 
The protagonist in War in a Beautiful Country is Regina, a middle aged woman living in New York City. Regina begins getting surface mail from an anonymous person threatening to blow her up, literally. The idea her life might end abruptly and without warning makes her examine her existence, her art, her relationships, her activities, and her purpose.
 
War in a Beautiful Country is wickedly funny while at the same time wise and worldly with fascinating insights on art and relationships."

 

The Last Bad Job by Colin Dodds 

 

 

 

"The Last Bad Job is an apocalyptic story with a sense of humor.
 
What makes this novel standout, makes it exceptional is the writing – natural dialogue, characterization through action, exact diction and an imaginative plot that doesn’t let you catch your breath.
 
Our protagonist, best described as an anti-hero, is an investigative reporter assigned to do a story on an apocalyptic cult and it’s leader, Dizzy Sheehan. The assignment entails living with the group and right away he compromises his objectivity by participating in cult activities like having sex with the female members. This is the first, but certainly not the last demonstration of his almost complete lack of any sense of morals or integrity.
 
As the reporter’s life spins more and more out of control, and Dizzy’s prediction of the apocalypse begins to unfold our anti-hero comes to believe he has been chosen for some special purpose and, indeed, he has."

 

 
Sandra Gustafsson author

Meet and follow Sandra Gustafsson on BookLikes ->

 

 Someone by Alice McDermott 

 

 

"This author was new to me, and maybe it´s to soon to say this is my favorite author, but I really enjoyed reading this book. Here and there I stopped at sentences, just to read them again, and again because they were so well written. The details made me feel like I was there, beside the book´s protagonist. 

The story is told in a simple yet very straight-forward way and I didn´t want it to end.
If you like people and the stories behind them, I think you will like this book."

 

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore   

 

 

 

"This is a very well written and really tense short novel. It´s the sort of book were nothing seems to happen, and still - everything is happening in front of me. It´s melancholy, haunting and exquisitely written - a beautiful novel. If you enjoy a slow and intimate book this one is for you."

 

 

 

Amber Foxx author

Meet and follow Amber Foxx on BookLikes ->

 

 

Two books I’d recommend to people who share my taste for mysteries that venture off the beaten track are The First Lie, by Virginia King and When the Clocks Stopped by M.L. Eaton. These are totally different from each other, and yet have in common a thread of the mystical, vivid settings, complex and realistic protagonists, and excellent writing.  

 

The First Lie by Virginia King 

 

"The First Lie is set in Hawaii, where Selkie Moon has escaped from her former life in Australia. Her voice as the narrator is compelling, and the bizarre events that overtake her made it hard for me to stop reading. The layers of mythology and psychology in the intense plot gave it the kind of depth I like. I want more than to know the solution of a mystery, but to get involved with the characters’ lives."

 

When the Clocks Stopped by M.L. Eaton 

 

 

 

"When the Clocks Stopped takes place in a quaint English village with a dark history that comes alive. The main character, Hazel Dawkins, is utterly original, and so is the concept of this book, with the interweaving of the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, the crimes of both periods in time, and the ordinary and the extraordinary."

 

Anyone who likes a well-crafted and unconventional take on mystery will enjoy these books.

 

 

Jenny Schwartz author

Meet and follow Jenny Schwartz on BookLikes ->

 

 

Two perfect summer reads for romance fans.

 

Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews   

  

 

 

"The first is a fast-paced, sexy paranormal romance by one of my favourite authors, Ilona Andrews. Burn For Me has the ultimate alpha hero and a heroine unsure whether to love him or run."

 

Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold 

 

 

 

"My second recommended summer read takes you back in time to summer in Saxon England. “Naked” is the real story of Lady Godiva’s famous ride, beautifully told, and it’s special to me because it’s written by a good friend, Eliza Redgold, who is passionate about the power of Godiva’s legend and of Celtic women in general."

 

 

 

Murielle Cyr author

Meet and follow Murielle Cyr on BookLikes ->

 

 

Two of my summer readings picks swing precariously from the supernatural classic, Three Supernatural Classics, to the more lighter literary shôjo manga, The Heart of Thomas. Both are perfect for short and frequent time fillers needed while traveling, or even between beach dips. 

 
 
 
 
"Algeron Blackwood is the master of anything weird. “An idyllic camping trip along the Danube goes horribly wrong in The Willows”. In his second story, The Wendigo, “the dark terror of the remote Canadian wilderness unfolds where a hunting party encounters a creature from Algonquin myth.” In his third story, The Listener, a writer confronts his fears in a “rundown house in London” when he has “the sensation of being watched while he sleeps.”

   
 
 
"Moto Hagio is considered the “founding mother” of shôjo manga (manga graphic novels written and illustrated by women). “Unabashedly romantic and emotionally complex”, The Heart of Thomas, promises  a “richly imagined setting” and great memorable characters."
 
Happy reading, and have a magical summer!
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

"Anyone who has an interest in the creative process, from writers and artists to musicians and filmmakers, will find this book interesting and inspiring.

 

Catmull is the the president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. The level of struggle and revision that goes into making a Pixar movie is an inspiration, and the process they use to solicit useful and timely feedback on their work will be useful to all kinds of artists."

 

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley 

 

 

 

"A gorgeously crafted and designed book about the power of belief. Micah's journey may rekindle your own belief in magic.

 

I loved it so much that the moment I put down my library copy, I called the bookstore to order a hardback."

 

 

BookLikes authors recommendations made it to the reading lists on BookLikes. If you liked our authors' picks, you can easily add all books to your shelf through the Reading List: 20 great summer reads picked by authors ->

 

If you enjoyed the text, spread the word :-)

 

Tweet: Authors recommend summer reads on @BookLikes http://ctt.ec/em8w1+

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text 2014-11-04 11:18
Author Talks: Kate Brauning

 

Please welcome Kate Brauning to BookLikes' Author Talks! 

 

Kate is an Young Adult author with her debut novel How We Fall coming out November 11th. She writes contemporary and speculative suspense. Kate has written novels since she was a teen, but it wasn’t until she studied literature in college that she fell in love with the soul of young adult books.

 

You can follow Kate on BookLikes where she shares her favorite reads and reviews here: Kate Brauning. Read on to win Kate's debut novel. 

 

 

As a child you’ve enjoyed spending time in the library. Was it then when you thought “I want to be a writer!”?

 

I’ve always had fun writing stories, and I wrote a novel all through high school. I loved it, but it just never occurred to me that I could write for a career. I kept on loving it, though, and in college I decided that I loved it too much to not try.

 

 

You seems to be keen on Young Adult: you write and edit YA novels. Why have you decided to write in this genre, or did the genre pick you?

 

Oh, that’s a great question, with a tough answer. Yes, YA has really grabbed me. Young adult fiction explores the teenage years of a person’s life, and those years are a significant point of change for most of us. Teens are tackling adult issues for the first time—serious relationships, jobs, shifting authority structures, new limits and opportunities—but they’re doing it without the experience and often without the resources that adults may have. It’s a vulnerable, heady, thrilling stage in someone’s life. Teens are also adjusting to greater independence and more authority in their own lives, but might still be dealing with limitations at odds with those things, like curfews, not having a car, house rules, and the structures of school. YA tackles that.

 

The experiences we have in our teenage years are formative ones, and the mistakes and choices we make can follow us into adulthood. There’s great opportunity, uncertainty, and passion in those years, and they leave a mark on us. I didn’t start reading YA until I reached my twenties, and I wish I’d found it earlier—seeing so closely into the lives of other teens who are wrestling with the same changes and struggles I was would have been so helpful as a teen. I still find myself identifying with the characters in these stories, because people never stop struggling with change. You don’t grow out of YA.

 

A final reason I love YA is that there’s no reason not to. Teens are every bit as complex as adults, and they can think as deeply, too. Of course they can. Teens aren’t a more simplistic or less demanding audience, and their stories aren’t any simpler or less worthy. When I came to YA as an adult, what drew me in was the depth of these stories, and that’s what I’ve stayed for, too.



Your debut novel How We Fall is about to be released, congratulations! Can you tell our readers more about the book -- the plot is quite controversial.

 

I’d love to! Yes, the cousins relationship is unusual, but the complexities of it are why I wanted to write about it.  I love best friend romances, and to me, that’s essentially what this story is. I think best friend romances are sweet, and deep, and full of little tensions. There’s not much like discovering the person who knows you best is the one you want to share your life with.

 

To me, How We Fall is primarily a best friend romance, even though it’s a taboo one. I liked the idea of writing a sort of extreme best friend love story, and the cousin dynamic seemed like a fascinating one to use. For a lot of people, the cousin relationship is a unique one. Cousins know your family, but don’t necessarily share the same baggage. They know your siblings and parents and the special aggravation that can come with them. A lot of people grew up seeing their cousins frequently, so there’s no use having pretensions– they’ve known you since you were little. They’ve been there, they know you, and they’ll be there for the rest of your life.

 

And I mean, why not write about cousins? a) It’s not illegal. Cousin marriage is legal in about half the states, and is only considered incest in a few. b) It happens. Some form of cousin marriage accounts for 20% of marriages worldwide. I personally know of a few cousin marriages. c) People do write about it. We have a history full of famous cousin marriages, as well as a number of famous novels (including Mansfield Park) where cousin marriage is part of the story. d) Cousin crushes happen a lot. One thing I find really interesting is the stories people tell me when they hear about my book. Turns out, a lot of people kissed their cousin when they were little and a lot of people crushed on an older cousin. It’s there—we just don’t talk about it much.

 

Yes, there are safety issues, similar to other forms of nontraditional relationships, and yes, there are genetic issues, though the genetic issues with children from first cousin marriages are widely exaggerated. The risk of birth defects for children of first cousins is only 2% higher than for the general population.

 

The problems and issues surrounding cousin relationships are exactly why I wanted to write about it. Conflict makes a story, right? Usually, the deeper the struggle, the more fascinating the story. The problems with cousin relationships are a huge part of why I wanted to write about it. It would test my characters in ways not much else could.

 

To me, How We Fall is about self more than cousins. It’s about finding out what you really want out of life, and being brave enough to go after it. It’s about emotional dishonesty, and courage, and roots, and missed opportunities changing who you become. And really, I hope it’s a fun read. There’s humor, produce farming, and Casablanca quotes, and flirting, friendship, and sisters. It’s about parents, and being uprooted, and sneaking off in the dark, and Hitchcock movies. It’s about a girl and her family, and the guy she can’t/won’t/desperately wants to go after.

 

 

Literary genres mingle and mix with each other, YA is not only dedicated for teens and gathers more and more adult readers. You’ve worked as a high school English teacher and you have some experience with teenagers. In your opinion, what issues should Young Adult books touch to meet teens’ expectation and be well received?

 

Oh, tough question. Since YA explores the lives of teens, it can cover a lot of territory. Being a teen for one person may be an entirely different experience than being a teen is for someone else. However, dealing with the changes and struggles that go along with being both a person and a teenager is really what most YA explores. Independence. A changing identity. Choices that affect your future. Serious relationships. Friendships. Sex. Jobs. Those things are key to YA. And YA needs to be authentic and genuine about what it means to be a teen, for that character, in that culture and situation, because teens can identify pandering and preachy stories so easily, but also because I think most great authors write to explore, as a way to be genuine and interact authentically with the world.

 

If I write a story that’s not authentic, that doesn’t deal with real life and tough issues, I’m missing the whole point of why I write. I don’t know how other authors feel about that, but that’s how it is for me.

 

 

Apart from being a write, you’re also an editor. What’s more difficult: writing or editing? How these two jobs are different from each other?

 

They’re both challenging careers. Which one is tougher depends on the day and the book, I suppose! They’re very different from each other, though, because when I write, I’m creating—my own world, my own characters, my own vision for the book. When I edit someone else’s book, I’m evaluating and challenging the story, and helping that author figure out how to get his/her vision on the page. It’s a supportive position instead of a creator position.

 

 

How long does it take to write a book? Can you tell our readers about your writing process and its phases?

 

For me, it depends on the book. A few months to a year, depending on what else is going on in my life and how easily the book comes together for me. I like to spend time mulling over the characters and the conflict and even scenes before I ever start writing the book. I tend to fast-draft the first 30,000 words or so, and then take a step back and do heavy revisions to condense, focus, and shift anything that needs to change. Then I finish writing the book, and start revising again. Then it goes to my critique partners and agent, and I do more revisions.

 

 

Do you have any writing habits, like drinking a coffee from your lucky mug, not writing on Mondays, inventing the plot while riding a bike?

 

I think having a routine is important. It helps me stay dedicated, accountable, and avoid burnout. I like to turn on my playlist for the book, get coffee, and sit in my armchair with a yellow legal pad and jot down the conflicts, goals, and ideas for the scene I need to work on, and spend a while thinking it through. I then turn off the music so I can focus, and work through those notes while I write the scene. Doing this every day is my goal, but life gets in the way. The times I can do this consistently, every day, without interruption, are the times I produce the best writing and the times it comes most easily for me.

 

 

You run fiction workshops in your local library, what have you learned from teaching others how to write?

 

Teaching writing fiction to others has been one of the main things that has shown me how many varied ways there are to be a talented writer. Writing is made up of so many different skills, that even if you need to strengthen most of your skills in that area, there are likely several areas where you really stand out. The unique fingerprint of each individual writer on his/her story always surprises me. It’s a wonderful field to work in. 

 

 

Can anyone become a writer? What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

 

I think anyone with the passion to become a writer can. Some people have more natural talent than others, but writing is also a skill that can be developed if you’re determined enough. My advice to aspiring writers is to study writing fiction, and not just keep writing draft after draft. Practice is definitely important, but there’s so much to storytelling that I’d struggle to pick up just from practicing. How the human attention span works, what makes people curious, what puts them on edge, how to make concepts interesting, the difference between theme and message, identifying and then connecting with your readers, etc. Reading good books on craft and hearing great authors speak has been invaluable to me, so definitely do that.

 

Also, read. And read more than you think need to. At least a book a week, if not two. It will show you what’s out there, help you identify all-important voice, and help you see how others did what you want to do. 



Can you tell our readers what are you working on right now?

 

I’ve got a couple projects going! I’m working on a new adult contemporary right now, and I’ve got something really fun and different (not contemporary), too.

 

 

 

Do you read books during your writing process? Do they influence your work?

 

I do! I have to, or I lose touch of what great writing is. I usually try to be conscious of not letting the voice in another book bleed over into mine, but if I’m paying attention that usually doesn’t happen.

 

 

What are you reading now?

 

I just finished Carrie Mesrobian’s Sex & Violence, and it was wonderful and voicey and thought-provoking. I also finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette? So funny and charming and engrossing!

   

 

 

Are you a book collector or a book recommender?

 

Both. I love owning books I loved, and I love telling people about the great reads I come across. If I loved something, you’ll probably hear about it.

 

 

Paper books or e-books? Why?

 

I love both—but ownership is important to me, and I don’t feel like I own an e-book. I love e-books for sales and trying new authors and for bringing a tonof reading on vacation, but if I love a book or the author, I buy a physical copy. Just to make it mine.

 

 

What are your favorite books?

Please recommend some must read titles for our readers.

 

Gone Girl. The 5th Wave. What Alice Forgot. Warm Bodies. Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Under the Never Sky. This is Not a Test. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. This Song Will Save Your Life.

 

          

        

 

Every one of these books is imaginative, twisting, gripping, and completely engrossing. Read them all.

 

What are you favorite quotes? 

I have two that rank pretty highly for me:

 

The first comes from A Dance With Dragons, by George R.R. Martin: “‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.’”

 

The second is from The Deathly Hallows and J.K. Rowling, courtesy of Kingsley Shacklebolt:

We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.

 

What’s your favorite writing and reading spot?

 

I love to read on my couch at home, or in bed at night, but I most often write in the creative arts studio I run with my husband and a friend.


 

It’s a gorgeous studio with hardwood floors, a high table I use for a standing desk (important for people who sit all day!) and lots of natural light. It also shares a building with a café/wine bar, which is a great perk.

 

 

Thank you, Kate!

 

And here's a surprise from Kate Brauning: 

enter the giveaway to win How We Fall:

 

 

 You can find more information on Kate's author page

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