Author Spotlight: Caryn Lix Talks About Sanctuary

sanctuary | Author Spotlight | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com
Today I’m
shining the Author Spotlight on Caryn Lix and her debut novel SANCTUARY.

Title:     SANCTUARY

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Age Range: 14-99 (YA)

Launch Date: July 24 2018

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book.

Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this novel about prison-guard-in-training, Kenzie, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures.

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I love space. I love aliens. I love messy decisions and blurred moral lines and romances that transcend boundaries. I wanted to put all of these things together with that sense of claustrophobic horror you get from the very best creepy movies and video games, and that was why I decided to write about an alien attack on a prison – and one on a space station. You can’t get more trapped than that.

As for my characters, I love them all. I really do. They start as these vivid dreams and become my best friends and worst enemies, taking on a life of their own until I really don’t have much choice about getting them down on paper. They sneak out of my brain onto the page.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

Everyone has such a unique perspective on this, and I love hearing how other people write. For me, I often start with a rough outline, but before long that goes out the window, which means there’s usually a point halfway through where I’ve written myself into a corner and am curled up on the couch under a blanket yelling plot ideas at my dogs. Eventually my husband convinces me to go write some more, at which point I write a truly terrible chapter that has to be deleted later, but that’s enough to propel me back into the story and get things moving again. In this way, bit by bit, an idea becomes a plot.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a   librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

I had so many amazing teachers. I mention three in my acknowledgements. The first teacher who ever told me I could write was Ms Rochester, my grade 8 creative writing teacher. It had never occurred to me before that. In high school, my English teacher Mr Feschuk and my drama teacher Mr Montalbetti both had huge roles in encouraging me to write. I really don’t think I’d be where I am without them.

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

As a teacher myself, I think I have a pretty strong connection with what kids like to read. This is a great classroom pick for reluctant readers who want page-turning action, but will still appeal to a wide audience, making it a good whole class read. I’d love to see teachers use it to explore themes of isolation, of corporate entities and their control over the world, of what we can trust in terms of what we see and hear in the world around us.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

Um, YES. I have two dogs. Aleiah is a nine year old rescue. She’s a black lab with three legs. We think someone kicked her as a pup and her leg grew in crooked. The rescue organization had to amputate it before I adopted her. She is my very best friend and is always at my side. Archer is a three year old Boston Terrier. He is 50% adorableness and 50% nightmare. When he’s not curled up being the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, he’s attacking a wall because it looked at him funny. They are my constant writing companions.

Caryn Lix Aleigh | Author Spotlight | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Caryn Lix and Archer and Ali | Author Spotlight | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comarcher-anbd-ali

Caryn Lix and Archer | Author Spotlight | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

 

 

 

Caryn Lix | Author Spotlight | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comCaryn Lix has been writing since she was a teenager and delved deep into science fiction, fantasy, and the uncanny while working on her Masters in English literature. Caryn writes novels for teens and anyone else who likes a bit of the bizarre to mess up their day. When not writing, Caryn spends her time obsessively consuming other people’s stories, plotting travel adventures, and exploring artistic endeavors. She lives with her husband and a horde of surly and entitled animals in southern Alberta. Visit her online at www.carynlix.com or find her on Twitter and Instagram: @missrithenay

You can pick up SANCTUARY at your local indie bookstore or online July 24, 2018.

Thanks, Caryn!

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Author Spotlight: Adrienne Young Talks About Sky in the Deep

Sky in the Deep | Author Spotlight: Adrienne Young Talks About Sky In the Deep | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Adrienne Young and her debut novel SKY IN THE DEEP.

Title:  SKY IN THE DEEP

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Age Range:  14+

Launch Date:  April 24, 2018

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book.

Sky in the Deep is the story of a young warrior named Eelyn who was raised to fight in a generations-old rivalry against an enemy clan. But in the midst of battle, she sees her brother fighting alongside the enemy – the brother she watched die five years ago. The story follows her journey as she confronts what she has always been taught and decides for herself how she wants to live.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I’m a huge lover of history and the Viking-age is always a time that has fascinated me. I was also going through a significant evolution personally when I wrote it and I think that a lot of that worldview shift is reflected in Eelyn’s story.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I am a research junkie and often spend a lot of time on it, even for things that are not writing related. I usually go overboard because I really enjoy it. As far as writing, I feel like every single story has been different for me. Sometimes they need to marinate before they ever get on the page and sometimes they hit my like a train and I can’t write them fast enough. That was the case for Sky in the Deep.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

I had a high school literature teacher who had a huge impact on me as a teen. He treated me like an adult and like an intellectual equal, and that was transformative for me. I am so grateful for the influence he had on me. It made me a better, more confident writer.

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I think there’s a lot of Viking culture to take away from it, even if its fantasy, but what I think is the real takeaway is the fierce female main character and her willingness to push against what is widely accepted as truth in order to discover a new way of seeing the world. I think we could learn a lot from her.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

My brother has a dog named Savvy who was found on the side of the freeway and she is the most human-like dog I’ve ever met. She’s like a little baby and every time I see her I just want to hold her!

 

Adrienne Young | Author Spotllight: Adrienne Young Talks About Sky in the Deep | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAdrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

 

You can find Adrienne at her website or on Instagram and Twitter.

You can pick up a copy of SKY IN THE DEEP at your favorite indie bookstore or online on April 24.

Thanks, Adrienne!

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Author Spotlight: Sarah Nicole Smetana Talks About The Midnights

It’s a brand new year in YA and Children’s Literature – which means it’s time to pass the debut author baton to a new group of writers. It’s a pleasure to welcome the Class of 2k18 and their debut novels into the world this year, and I’m extra pleased to get to feature some of them on my blog.

Author Spotlight | Sarah Nicole Smetana Talks About The Midnights | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Sarah Nicole Smetana and her debut novel THE MIDNIGHTS

Title:  THE MIDNIGHTS

Genre:  Contemporary YA

Age Range:  14+

Launch Date:  March 6, 2018


Please tell us a little bit about your book.

Taking place in Southern California, THE MIDNIGHTS is about an aspiring musician struggling to hold onto herself and her music after her father’s unexpected death uproots more than just long-buried family secrets.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

The simple answer is that the book was inspired by my experiences in the music scene as a teenager, as well as California in general. But as a coming-of-age story, I’d also say it was inspired by the process most teenagers go through of trying to figure out who they are, where they belong in the world, and how to best pursue their passions.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

The writing process was… long. I began this book, in earnest, about six months before I started my MFA program, and then it went through two years of writing and scrapping and rewriting and tearing apart the insides just looking for the real story. After figuring that out, it took a few more years to write the darn thing. And, all in all, I probably wrote hundreds of pages that were eventually deleted or reconfigured entirely. Seven years passed between the time I started really working on THE MIDNIGHTS, and now, when it’s hitting shelves.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

Ms. Kim, my AP English Lit teacher in high school. She’s married now and has a different last name but I will forever call her Ms. Kim. I had her class for 0 period my senior year, which was pretty rough because it was so early in the morning, but Ms. Kim was such an incredible teacher, so passionate and so fun. I didn’t actually do any creative writing there, but the class definitely expanded my love of reading. We tore apart these complex novels that I never would have understood or appreciated otherwise, and I think working like that—really isolating and assigning meaning to all the pieces in a work of fiction—helped guide me when I decided to start writing fiction of my own.

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

Wow, this is a great question, and one I’ve never thought about! Other than it being a story about growing up and trying to figure out who you are (which I hope teen readers can identify with!), I think it would be a fun exercise to look closely at the setting as a literary device, and explore how it affects the protagonist and the story. The setting (and the weather in particular) was a big factor for me when writing, and it plays a very important role. We are, after all, a product of where we are raised. And sometimes, a place is really quite different from how it appears to an outsider.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I have two favorite dogs, but I’ll just talk about one: Juno, the white German shepherd that my parents got a few years before I was born. When I came into the family, Juno was already part of it—and this, I’ve always thought, was really special. I never knew the world without having a big, loving dog by my side. She was my best friend until I was about twelve, when she passed. I still miss her.

 

Author Spotlight | Sarah Nicole Smetana Talks About The Midnights | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSarah Nicole Smetana grew up in Orange, California, where she wrote songs, played in a few bands, and successfully pilfered all of her parents’ best vinyl records. She received her BFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University and her MFA in Fiction from The New School. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their three-legged cat. The Midnights (HarperTeen/HarperCollins) is her first novel.

You can find Sarah at her website and on:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Goodreads

You can pick up a copy at THE MIDNIGHTS at your favorite local bookstore on March 6, or pre-order online now.

Thanks, Sarah!

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2017 Debut Book Love – The Thing with Feathers

Fellow Class of 2k17 member McCall Hoyle’s debut novel, THE THING WITH FEATHERS, released earlier this month. This is YA at its best – and teachers and librarians are going to want more than one copy of this book on their shelves.

2017 Debut Book Love | The Thing with Feathers | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comEmilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”

THE THINGS WITH FEATHERS is a touching story and a compelling read. Teens will love it – but so will adults.

The Thing with FeathersThe Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful book – full of hope. McCall Hoyle’s YA debut captures the fears and excitement of edging past what’s comfortable and safe – and learning to trust the people around you. The writing is lovely and the characters are perfectly drawn – likeable but flawed, and at all times, believable.

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For readers

  • A relate-able hero.
  • A sweet romance.
  • A school environment/community that teens will recognize.

For teachers

  • Emily Dickinson!
  • Beautiful and heartfelt writing.
  • A close look at facing fears and finding your way to acceptance.

THE THING WITH FEATHERS is available now. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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Author Spotlight: Meg Eden Talks About Post-High School Reality Quest

Meg Eden Talks Post-High School Reality Quest | Author Spotligh Interview | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Meg Eden and her debut novel POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST.

Title: Post-High School Reality Quest

Genre: Magical Realism, YA

Age Range: 14+

Launch Date: June 13, 2017

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST is about high school graduate Buffy, who is trying to cope with transitioning to college, making life decisions, and the changes in her friend group. During these changes, Buffy starts hearing a text parser narrating her life (e.g., “You are in a room. There is a piano. Exits are: out.”), and feels stuck in this video game that the voice is creating. Is she actually in the game? Is it all in her head? How does she escape? Read the book and find out!

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

One day a friend said to me: “Hey, you should write a novel in the form of a text adventure game.” I honestly didn’t think much of the idea but tried it out one day for fun. Once I started, I got hooked! The original draft of POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST was really just a hot mess with no plot, focusing on the main “group” of friends: Buffy, Merrill, Tristan, Chase and Sephora. It was pretty much just me playing with people I knew and experiences from high school but nothing really happened. When I started playing with the text adventure idea, I tried it on this old draft, and everything came together really fast—I think I finished that draft in about a month. I also got strep like, three times in a row, so I was more or less bed-ridden and writing was the only thing I felt like doing. Since I already knew the characters from the older draft, plugging them into the text adventure framework was easy—and gave their narrative structure. The text adventure format helped induce a plot, as it created a conflict between Buffy and the Text Parser. It ended up making perfect sense: examining a group of friends in video game culture through the lens of a literal game.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I write in pieces and I write with a lot of drafts. I write the first ten drafts of a book just getting to know my characters. Then I start trying to figure out what they’re actually doing. If I know my characters in a fully rounded way like real people, it makes it easier to see what they’d do in the situations given by the plot. I can’t plan novels—if I know what’s going to happen in the end, I get bored. My writing, like my reading, is an act of discovery.

I do a lot of research for my novels—even ones from largely my own experience. I try to make dates line up (a lot of my writing is in the form of journal entries), and use google maps to “revisit” places I’ve been to write about them more accurately. I try to not let research consume me though, because I totally could let it do that to me. I usually try to research on “down” days where I’m physically and mentally tired. I watch a lot of youtube videos and take notes. I observe, and prepare for when I’m ready to write next.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

I’ve had a lot of amazing teachers along the way, but I think my writing started with my 8th grade history teacher. She’s the first person I remember commenting that my writing was good, and I felt like she took me seriously as an individual and writer, not just as a “student”. I remember when I went to high school I’d go back and visit her and have all sorts of discussions with her. I was inspired by her to work on my very first novel, a project inspired by some of the Saxon history from her class. I think she’s the first person I really shared my stories with.

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I think POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST would be a great book in particularly the college classroom, but also upper level high school classes. The book deals with quite a range of topics: suicide, eating disorders, coping with change, mental health, faith, alcohol and relationships. I’d love to see this book used to open up conversations about these topics and how they relate to students and readers. These conversations could also lead to freewriting exercises where students can process the book and put themselves into it: which topics resonate with them most, and how do they connect to that topic with their own personal experience?              

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I grew up with a dog named Wolfie, who was around before I was born and passed away when I was in 5th grade. Being an only child, Wolfie was like this rebellious older sister figure to me. She would run away to swim in the neighbor’s pool or the creek. She hunted gophers and chickens and brought them to our house like prizes. She wouldn’t let anyone tell her where she should be, and didn’t pretend that she liked people that she didn’t. I learned a lot from Wolfie.

Meg Eden | Author Spotlight; Meg Eden Talks Post High School Reality Quest | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Meg Eden | Author Spotligh Interview | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comheadshotMeg Eden teaches creative writing at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” is published with California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

You can grab a copy of POST-HIGH SCHOOL REALITY QUEST at your local bookstore or online.

Thanks, Meg!

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Author Spotlight: Joanne O’Sullivan Talks About Between Two Skies

Author Spotlight Interview | Joanne O'Sullivan talks Between Two Skies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on fellow Class of 2k17 member Joanne O’Sullivan and her debut novel BETWEEN TWO SKIES.

Title:  BETWEEN TWO SKIES

Genre:  YA

Age Range:  12-16

Launch Date:  April 25, 2017

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Most kids her age can’t wait to get out of tiny Bayou Perdu, a fishing town way, way down in Louisiana. But for sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley it’s home. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo and above all peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. Then Hurricane Katrina comes, and everything changes. Exiled to Atlanta, she longs for home. But when she meets—and falls for—fellow “refugee” and budding bluesman Tru, she has to decide if home is a person or a place.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I went to college at Loyola University in New Orleans and that area holds a special place in my heart. After Hurricane Katrina hit, I really wanted to do something to help. However, I was expecting my son, so I wasn’t able to volunteer for rebuilding. Instead, I read a lot about what was happening: a lot of first-person narratives. I was struck by the teens whose lives were interrupted by the storm. School had either just started or was about to start for many. The year that they though they would have—and for some the life they thought they would have—never happened.

I first read Wordsworth’s “Evangeline” when I was in college in New Orleans. This sweeping, melancholy love poem tells the story of a girl in Acadia (now Atlantic Canada) separated from her true love Gabriel on the eve of their wedding as the British forced French speakers out of Canada and they resettle in Louisiana. She relentlessly searches the frontier of the US for him, only to find him when it’s too late. The heroine of this story, Evangeline, is legendary in Louisiana.

When I read about the many people displaced by Katrina, I couldn’t help but connect the Acadians—exiled hundreds of years before—to this new catastrophe, this new exodus for some of their descendants. A new Evangeline and a new Gabriel took shape in my mind: Evangeline Riley, whose family’s fortunes are so entwined with the land and sea, and Tru Nguyen, whose family has endured exile before as war pushed them out of Vietnam. Like characters in the story that inspired them, they are caught up in circumstances beyond their control and driven out of the diverse and soulful place that is Southern Louisiana. Their lives are broken and bent into new shapes. The way they respond to this upheaval will determine their futures.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I typically start with a certain character or scene that’s intriguing to me and build out from there. I am a journalist as well, so I love research; so much so that I need to stop myself at some point so that I don’t lean to far into non-fiction! Once I’ve got some scenes written and the characters have introduced themselves to me I start to think about plot- where are we going with this? This may not be the most efficient way to write a novel, but that’s the way it happens for me!

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

My elementary school librarian Mrs. Johnson was a big influence in my life! At my school, being athletic was much more the norm than being bookish. Mrs. Johnson always welcomed me and found new books that she knew I would like, so the library felt more like home to me than any other part of the school. My second grade teacher Mrs. Hale also encouraged me to write and her encouragement stayed with me for a long time!

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

BETWEEN TWO SKIES helps to show the more human side of one of the biggest natural disasters in American history, Hurricane Katrina. While reading nonfiction and historical accounts helps us understand it on one level, fiction helps readers to understand it on the emotional level. I would love it if teachers used BETWEEN TWO SKIES to show how historical events can be brought to life in fiction. But it’s also an all-around coming-of-age, family and love story!

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I’m a little dog obsessed, too! My favorite real dog is, of course, my family dog Biscuit. He adopted us one weekend when we were visiting a friend’s weekend house. He arrived on the driveway and basically never left us again. We tried to find an owner, but no one came forward so he became our pup. He’s a bit shy with strangers, but he’s such a loving guy with us. He’s not the smartest dog in the world, but we think he’s the sweetest!

Author Spotlight Interview | Joanne O'Sullivan talks Between Two Skies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight Interview | Joanne OSullivan talks Between Two Skies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comJoanne O’Sullivan introduces fascinating people and places to readers through books, articles and blog posts. Her award-winning science, sustainability and travel books for kids include “Migration Nation” (Charlesbridge, 2015) and the 101 Before You’re 12 series. She has lived in a sixteenth-century Italian palazzo and a modern Korean high-rise, but now calls beautiful Asheville, North Carolina home. When she and her environmental activist husband and artistic kids aren’t out in the woods, she’s usually planning her next big trip to faraway places. Visit her at www.joanneosullivan.com or on Twitter and Instagram at jkosullian1.

Thanks so much, Joanne!

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2017 Debut Book Love – The Shadows We Know By Heart

the shadows we know by heartFellow Class of 2k17 Books member Jennifer Park’s incredible YA debut, THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART, releases today and it is quite simply the book you did not know you have been waiting for all of your life.

Leah Roberts’s life has never been the same since her brother died ten years ago. Her mother won’t stop drinking, her father can’t let go of his bitter anger, and Leah herself has a secret she’s told no one: Sasquatch are real, and she’s been watching a trio of them in the woods behind her house for years.

Everything changes when Leah discovers that among the Sasquatch lives a teenager. This alluring, enigmatic boy has no memory of his past and can barely speak, but Leah can’t shake his magnetic pull. Gradually, Leah’s life entwines with his, providing her the escape from reality she never knew she needed.

But when Leah’s two worlds suddenly collide in a deadly showdown, she uncovers a shocking truth as big and extraordinary as the legends themselves, one that could change her life forever.

Jennifer handles this Tarzan retelling perfectly. She tells this story about love and loss beautifully – with just the right blend of heart and mystery.

THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART is one of my favorite all-time YA reads. I cannot wait to share it with everyone I know.

The Shadows We Know by HeartThe Shadows We Know by Heart by Jennifer Park
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved every word of Jennifer Parks’s debut novel. The story is captivating from page one. Park plunges you into the East Texas woods until you feel like you’re part of the story and never want to leave. Great characters, a great setting, gorgeous writing and exactly the right amount of action/tension to keep you turning the pages. A haunting look at love, hope, and the lies we tell, this is a book I can’t wait to read again.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • An original love story.
  • A great, true-to-life sibling relationship.
  • A compelling mystery

For teachers

  • A beautifully drawn setting.
  • A unique retelling of a classic.
  • Flawed and likeable main characters.

THE SHADOWS WE KNOW BY HEART is on sale today. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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Author Spotlight: Shaila Patel Talks About Soulmated.

author-spotlightIt’s Valentine’s Day so I decided to get a little lovey-dovey here on the blog. <3 Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Shaila Patel and her debut YA  romance novel SOULMATED.

Title: SOULMATED

Genre: Young adult paranormal romance

Age Range: 12 and up

Launch Date: 1/24/17
Soulmated is OUT NOW!

 

SoulmatedPlease tell us a little bit about your book?

Soulmated is an #ownvoices teen paranormal romance about an Irish empath prince named Liam Whelan who is forced to search for his empath soul mate by his father. The rare union will solidify the Whelan family’s political power and standing, but Liam couldn’t care less. When they come to America in search of this elusive soul mate, Liam falls for a non-empath, Laxshmi Kapadia, and has to decide just what he’ll sacrifice to be with her.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I’d been thinking of how emotionally perceptive my mom was one day and thought that if there were such a thing as an EQ test (where the E stood for emotional intelligence), my mom would score through the roof. She’s always had this uncanny ability to read my feelings, so naturally, my writer-mind imagined what it would be like if empaths (people who read emotions) really existed.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I’m a pantser-plotter hybrid. For those of you who don’t know what pantsing is, it’s the process of writing where you just write your story, without an outline and without any plans. The story tends to develop more organically, but it also leads to a lot more editing for me once the draft is done. So, instead, I plan out a rough sketch of the story as a loose outline. Then I “pants” or free-write individual sections, and when my thoughts get too jumbled or the details get too difficult to juggle, I write up a more detailed mini-outline of the next few chapters so I don’t lose all my story threads.

As for research, I’m afraid I’m no different than most who encounter the rabbit hole of Google. Once I search for something it’s like “Oh, look, something shiny…”

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

Easy. My senior AP Lit teacher. She was the first teacher who taught me I could write—and gave me the tools to do so. Even though my love for the written word had started all the way back in fourth grade, she was the one who had me dreaming of writing a book someday. (Thanks, Mrs. B!)

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

 Soulmated is an #ownvoices novel, which means it portrays a diverse character like me, an Indian-American. Young readers might assume that if a character doesn’t look like them, they wouldn’t be able to relate. By reading #ownvoices novels, it teaches them that regardless of race, color, or religion—or anything else represented by a marginalized group—people have the same emotions, fears, goals, and needs as anyone else on the planet. Reading diverse fiction is a critical piece in teaching empathy and breaking down the “us vs. them” mentality. Presenting this “lesson” as entertaining fiction rather than a study in diverse characters might make it more accessible to young readers if they’re entertained at the same time.     

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I don’t have a dog right now, but oh my god…I can’t stop watching those adorable videos of teacup puppies! Have you seen them? Drop everything and check them out on YouTube. Now. Go. You’ll thank me later! Lol!

 

Shaila Patel SoulmatedShaila is a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night. Her debut multicultural paranormal romance, Soulmated, won first place in the Young Adult category of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she enjoys traveling, craft beer, tea, and loves reading books—especially in cozy window seats. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red light or connecting with other readers online.

Contact Shaila here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Feel like adding a little romance to your life? You can buy SOULMATED  at bookstores or online at:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Kobo | Google Play | Books-a-Million

 

Thank you, Shaila and Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Happy Book Birthday – ALLEGEDLY

Happy Book Birthday | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Happy book birthday to fellow Class of 2k17 member Tiffany Jackson!

Her YA debut, ALLEGEDLY, launches today!

Publisher’s Weekly called ALLEGEDLY “…intensely relevant, addressing race, age, and mental illness within the criminal justice system. Well conceived and executed, this is an absorbing and exceptional first novel.”

Kirkus described it as “Searing and true.”

 

I found it simply amazing.


allegedlyhc-003-285x430Nine-year-old Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly.

She didn’t say much during the trial but the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A three-month-old white baby had died under the care of a church going black mother and her daughter.
After spending six years in prison for the unthinkable crime, sixteen year old Mary discovers she is pregnant. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past while surviving life in a Brooklyn group home. But her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her mother.

Check out Tiffany at her website – and be sure to sign up for her Newsletter of Dopeness.

Then head over to you local bookstore or to one of these online vendors to pick up a copy.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Powells

Congratulations, Tiffany!

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Author Spotlight: Breeana Shields Talks about POISON’S KISS

author-spotlight

Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on fellow Class of 2k17 member
Breeana Shields and her debut novel POISON’S KISS.

Title: POISON’S KISS

Genre: YA fantasy

Age Range: 12 and up

Launch Date: January 10th, 2017

 

 

poisons-kiss-cover-small -

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Poison’s Kiss is about a girl who can kill with a single kiss. Since childhood, she’s served the Raja as one of his most lethal assassins. But when she receives orders to kiss a boy she knows—a boy she’s sure doesn’t deserve to die—she starts to question who she’s really working for. And that thread, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

 

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I often get ideas for books when I’m learning about something totally unrelated. It’s one of the reasons I love museums, classes, and documentaries. In this case, I was listening to a lecture on espionage and the professor mentioned something in passing—a legendary figure in Indian folklore called the poison damsel—that sent my imagination on a lengthy tangent. I didn’t hear the rest of the lecture, but I did walk away with a new book idea.

 

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I usually start a new project with a basic premise, a few major turning points, and rough idea of the ending. From there, I just dive in, start writing, and let the story unfold organically. Often it turns out very differently than the version I had in my head when I first started. Once I have a draft, I can edit to make sure that the final product is a satisfying story.

 

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

My writing teacher in high school, Mr. Beck, had a huge influence on me as both a writer and a person. He started out as my sophomore honors English teacher, but he also taught journalism and encouraged me to join the newspaper staff. Once I did, I was completely hooked. I had always loved writing, but getting to write every day, to decide on topics and layouts, and most of all, to have readers was more satisfying than anything else I’d experienced up to that point.

Some of my happiest memories of high school are being in the newspaper lab late at night with my friends, all of us rushing to get the next issue out on time. I loved printing out an article, feeding it into the wax machine and pasting it up at the light table only to immediately savage it with a blue editing pencil and decide I needed to start all over.

Mr. Beck demanded the best of his students and he didn’t tolerate anything less. Other teachers gave me a lot of praise for my writing—and they were instrumental in building my confidence—but Mr. Beck wasn’t so easily impressed. He challenged every weakly-written sentence, called out every bit of lazy writing, and always pushed me to do better. I still remember how thrilling it was to get an assignment back with the words, “solid writing” at the top of the page. From him that was high praise. I probably would have found my way into a writing career even without Mr. Beck—I think it’s in my blood—but it would have taken a lot longer to hone the skills I needed to succeed.

 

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I think Poison’s Kiss could be used in the classroom in a number of ways—as a jumping off point for discussing mythology, as an exploration of medicine and the different ways toxins affect the body, or as a character study in what people do when placed in morally complex situations. I’m also a huge fan of literature circles, where small groups of students who all read the same novel and then gather in class to discuss together. I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer to lead a few lit circles, and it was a complete joy. I love listening to students read something they chose themselves and hear their smart observations and spirited debates.

 

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I have an adorable miniature poodle named Molly. I call her my Velcro dog because she sticks to my side, following me from room to room throughout the day. She’s also really smart—she can dance on command and walk across the entire length of a room on her hind legs (as long as there’s peanut butter waiting at the other end.). And she has an uncanny sense of my schedule. As soon as my kids leave for school, she curls up under my desk ready to start our writing day.

molly

 

breeana-shields-small - Author Poison's KissBreeana Shields has a BA in English from Brigham Young University and is an active member of SCBWI. When she’s not writing, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband, her three children, and an extremely spoiled miniature poodle. Visit her online at breeanashields.com or follow her on Twitter at @BreeanaShields.

 

You can read my review of POISON’S KISS here, and you can buy Breeana’s book anywhere good books are sold, or online at:

Powells

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Thanks so much, Breena!

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