GCC Author Interview: Megan Kelley Hall

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This week the GCC welcomes author Megan Kelley Hall and her newest YA release, The Lost Sister   

(Kensington, August 2009)




Sisters are born, not chosen. . .

Maddie Crane is grappling with the disappearance of Cordelia LeClaire, and trying to escape the grasp of The Sisters of Misery—an insidious clique of the school's most powerful girls, whose pranks have set off a chain of horrific events, and who have Maddie in their sights...

Beware the sister betrayed. . .

Now in a prestigious boarding school far away from her mysterious hometown of Hawthorne, Massachusetts, Maddie feels free from danger. But when an unmarked envelope arrives at her dorm containing a single ominous tarot card, Maddie realizes with terror that some secrets won't stay buried. Knowing she must return to Hawthorne—a town still scarred by the evil of the Salem witch trials—Maddie prepares to face the fears of her past. . .and the wrath of the sister she wronged.


Praise for The Lost Sister:

A character driven tale containing a deep Gothic feel and haunting foreboding atmosphere that hooks fans of all ages....With strong ties to the late seventeenth century Salem Witch Trials, THE LOST SISTER is a super thriller. -- Harriet Klausner

Hall will have your heart racing and you will not be able to put this book down. With historical allusions to the New England witch trials and a touch of the paranormal, THE LOST SISTER is a thriller in a league of its own.
-- TeensReadtoo / Awarded THE LOST SISTER the Hall of Fame Gold Star Award for Excellence

Blown away... The suspense, mystery, intrigue, and drama steadilybuild up throughout the novel, making it impossible to put the bookdown. I would recommend it to almostall book lovers. It has made me hungry for more of Ms. Hall's work! - Mrs. Magoo Reads


The Author Interview:

Stacy:  If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?

 

Megan: Is Johnny Depp’s personal biographer still available? Wait that would be writing…. Um, how about being the caretaker of his island or boat? Are those positions available?

 

 

S: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?

 

Megan: The fact that I’ve had famous people (writers/screenwriters/directors) tell me that they’ve read my book and liked it. Those moments are indescribable.  But, just as powerful are the emails that I receive from teens who’ve written to me to tell me how much they loved SISTERS OF MISERY.  Teens are so passionate about what they read. It makes me just as passionate about writing for them.

 

 

S: What are you working on now?

 

Megan: I finished my third YA suspense novel and my agent is out with it right now! Fingers crossed!

 

 

S: Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?

 

Megan: I’ve been inspired by every Shakespearean professor I’ve ever had.  I think being interesting and engaging is a prerequisite for teaching Shakespeare. Although I was in the presence of greatness in college, studying under Pulitzer Prize winning author, Steven Millhauser (he hadn’t won the Pulitzer at that point), it was another professor that improved my writing. Tatyana Tolstoya (Tolstoy’s granddaughter) invited me to have coffee with her to discuss my writing.  I was very excited, wondering what words of wisdom she would pass on to me.  We were having coffee and smoking cigarettes at Skidmore’s coffee house.  I was looking forward to some form of praise for my latest short story.  Instead, she blew smoke in my face and said in her thick Russian accent, “You have too much vanity in your work.” I didn’t understand, so I asked her to explain. “You think you’re a better writer than you really are.” Way to bring someone down a peg.  Especially, since I really didn’t think that I was all that great a writer (not anymore, at least). From that point on, I never let myself have lofty visions of my work.  I always know that I can do better.  I’ll never allow myself to rest on my laurels. So, all in all, it was excellent, albeit harsh, advice.

 

 

S: What's your favorite kind of chocolate?

 

Megan: Dark chocolate. My husband once told me that he went to a corporate party that had a CHOCOLATE ROOM. Fountains of chocolate, chocolate covered fruit, every type of chocolate dessert imaginable.  That is my idea of heaven.

About the Author:

Megan Kelley Hall is a freelance writer and literary publicist living North of Boston. Her first YA novel, SISTERS OF MISERY, was published by Kensington in August 2008. Hall also has an essay about her recent open heart surgery in former CNN anchor Daryn Kagan's anthology, WHAT'S POSSIBLE! (Meredith Books, 2008). THE LOST SISTER, the second in the SISTERS OF MISERY series, is in stores now.

Hall regularly writes articles for a variety of local and national magazines and publications, including Elle, Glamour, Boston Magazine, Parenting, American Baby, Working Mother, The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and several other publications.


Find out more about Megan at:

www.megankelleyhall.com

 

www.sistersofmisery.com
 

www.kelleyandhall.com
 

GCC Author interview: Stephanie Kuehnert

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The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is pleased to present Stephanie Kuehnert and her brand-new YA novel, Ballads of Suburbia (MTV Books).

There are so many ballads. Achy breaky country songs. Mournful pop songs. Then there’s the rare punk ballad, the ballad of suburbia: louder, faster, angrier . . . till it drowns out the silence.

Kara hasn’t been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park. . . .

Amidst the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives.

Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

Here's what people are saying about BALLADS OF SUBURBIA:

"....an intensely real and painfully honest novel of high-school anxiety." and "....Kuehnert nails the raw vulnerability of teendom and delivers a hard-hitting and mesmerizing read." - Booklist

"Like an American Beauty for the teen set." - NewCity 

"With her first two novels, Kuehnert has created vivid pictures of teenage lives that lie in that borderland that abuts adulthood. It is a fertile, confusing and intense place, and Kuehnert never holds back. But like a good ballad, she keeps the stories taut and precise, with a touch of heart thrown in for good measure." - Chicago Sun-Times

"This book is powerful. It's been haunting me for days. Yes, haunting me." - The Story Siren, 5 star review, Recipient of the Luminous Pearl Award

"BALLADS OF SUBURBIA is a remarkable achievement that hits you right where it counts (your heart) and lingers where it matters (the brain). I’m truly looking forward to seeing what Stephanie Kuehnert will do next." - Steph Su Reads, 5 out of 5 rating

"This novel was addicting. It was harsh, raw, cruel, sad, and painful, but the scariest of all is that this is real. In one powerful novel, whole worlds are exposed. I recommend this novel to anyone ready to see the truth." - Reading Is Bliss

"All that really needs to be said about Ballads of Suburbia is that it's spectacular, and that I can't recommend it enough." - Frenetic Reader

The interview:

Stacy: If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?

Stephanie: Librarian. Not super glamorous I know, but I love librarians and would love to spend my days with them, surrounded by books if I couldn’t be writing books.

S: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?

Stephanie: I’m always pleasantly surprised by the reactions of readers. When I get emails or meet people in person who really love the book. I know it’s silly, but I’m still an insecure teenager at heart so to hear that I actually created something that impressed or really helped someone. That means the world to me.

S:
What are you working on now?

Stephanie: I’m in that place where I’m working a on a few different ideas, trying to determine what idea is working the best. At the moment, I’m most in love with a story I’m writing about a girl who goes on a road trip to each city she lived in, trying to figure out where she really belongs. I’m also toying with (as I have been for years) my re-telling of the Persephone myth and a post-apocalyptic story.

S: Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?

Stephanie: I had lots of great teachers over the years, but probably my favorite was a college professor, Randy Albers at Columbia College Chicago, who really pushed me to do my best writing and gave me so much feedback that was truly invaluable.

S: What's your favorite kind of chocolate?

Stephanie: Dark chocolate. I’m vegan so I don’t eat milk chocolate, but even when I was a little kid I loved dark chocolate best!


About the author:

Stephanie Kuehnert got her start writing bad poetry about unrequited love and razor blades in eighth grade. In high school, she discovered punk rock and produced several D.I.Y. feminist ‘zines. She received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago and lives in Forest Park, Illinois. Her first novel, I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, was released by MTV Books in July of 2008. BALLADS OF SUBURBIA, also published by MTV Books, is her latest release.

 Important Links:

 Website: www.stephaniekuehnert.com

Blog: stephaniekuehnert.blogspot.com A cyber launch party for Ballads of Suburbia is running there through August 14 with lots of guest bloggers and daily prizes!

 Link to Epilogue (ie the very first chapter of the book):
http://www.stephaniekuehnert.com/ballads/index.html#chap1

Link to Chapter 1 on Simon & Schuster’s site:
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Ballads-of-Suburbia/Stephanie-Kuehnert/9781439102824/excerpt

 Book Trailer for Ballads of Suburbia:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kiPRci2vG4







GCC Author interview: Melissa Walker

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This week the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit welcomes Melissa Walker, whose new YA novel, Lovestruck Summer, is out this month from HarperTeen.


Win a copy!
For a chance to win Lovestruck Summer, plus 3 other great beach reads, go to iheartdaily.com/Harper2009.html


About the book:

 

Quinn is an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas for a music internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts--and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she’s stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name “Party Penny.” Their personalities clash, big time. 

But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can’t Quinn keep her mind off Penny’s friend cute, All-American Russ and his Texas twang? 

Sebastian is the kind of guy Quinn wants, but is Russ the guy Quinn needs?  One thing’s certain: Quinn’s in for a summer she’ll never forget!


The interview:

Stacy: If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?

Melissa: Magazine editor, which I was and still am from time to time. Does that count? If it has to be out of publishing entirely, I choose librarian. And I want to be a chic librarian like the one in Beth Kephart's NOTHING BUT GHOSTS.

 

S: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?


Melissa:
Since the publication of LOVESTRUCK SUMMER, honestly, my biggest surprise is that my Violet Series readers have really like LOVESTRUCK SUMMER too (so far!). I was worried that if I didn't write about fashion/modeling, people might not like me anymore. But I think they still do. Yay!

 

S: You have smart readers! ;) What are you working on now?


Melissa:
A new book! But I can't talk about it yet. More soon!

 

 S: Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?


Melissa:
Yeah, his name was Dad.

 

S;that's such a sweet answer!! Speaking of sweet, what's your favorite kind of chocolate?


Melissa: Dark, dripping off of a big strawberry. Mmm....


About the author:


A former editor at ELLEgirl and Seventeen magazines, Melissa Walker knows her indie rock. She hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She loves talking about books, fashion, magazines and all kinds of pop culture. Visit her at melissacwalker.com or on iheartdaily.com.

LOVESTRUCK SUMMER
Isbn:  9780061715860
Ages 14 up
$5.99
On sale May 2009




GCC Author Interview: Lucienne Diver

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This week the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit welcomes Lucienne Diver, fellow Fluxian, LJer (varkat ), and author of Vamped (Flux, May 1 2009).

Your browser may not support display of this image.ABOUT THE BOOK:

    Rule #1:  Do not get so loaded at the after prom party that you accidentally-on-purpose end up in the broom closet with the surprise hottie of the evening, say the class chess champ who’s somewhere lost his bottle-cap lenses and undergone an extreme makeover, especially if that makeover has anything  to do with becoming one of the undead.  

Gina Covello has a problem. Waking up a dead is just the beginning.  There's very little she can't put up with for the sake of eternal youth and beauty.  Blood-sucking and pointy stick phobias seem a small price to pay.  But she draws the line when local vampire vixen Mellisande gets designs on her hot new boyfriend with his prophecied powers and hatches a plot to turn all of Gina’s fellow students into an undead army to be used to overthrow the vampire council.  

Hey, if anyone's going to create an undead entourage, it should be Gina!  Now she must unselfishly save her classmates from fashion disaster and her own fanged fate. 


THE INTERVIEW:

Stacy:  If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?
Lucienne: Taste tester for Lindt chocolate!  Oh, you want a serious answer?  I love being an agent.  I work with over forty of the most brilliant, creative, fabulous authors I can imagine and adore every second of it.

Stacy: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?
Lucienne: People actually like it!  I know, I know, that’'s what’s supposed to happen, but when you’'re on the six-millionth revision you lose all perspective.  I hit a point where I was convinced that I was a fraud and just hoping no one would notice.  But the publisher had already bought the book, invested in it.  There was no going back.


Stacy: What are you working on now?
Lucienne: A middle grade idea came to me last year on a trip to New York while I was in the midst of writing something else and couldn’'t let myself get sidetracked.  Now that I’'ve turned in Revamped, the sequel to Vamped, I can finally answer the other voices in my head.


Stacy: Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?
Lucienne: Absolutely!  My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Hart was the best.  I think that English was his real passion.  He had the entire class divided into writing groups and gave us regular free-writing assignments, sometimes with a first line or a topic to start with.  For a certain time our pens were not allowed to stop moving, even if we couldn'’t think of anything to say and just had to settle for “Nothing at all.  Nothing at all.”  Then we'’d read our assignments out loud or break into groups to read and critique them.  I give him a lot of credit for my work ethic.  I don’'t allow writers block.  If I’'ve set aside an hour to write, I sit with pen in hand.  Boredom, which is what happens when the pen isn'’t moving, is a great motivator.  He was the first person to really encourage my writing and to work with me to improve it.


Stacy: What's your favorite kind of chocolate?

Lucienne: Dark chocolate …or anything with toffee chips. Ooh, no, wait…a friend once gave me chili pepper chocolate.  It was perfect because you could only eat a little bit because of the burn, but it was so satisfying you didn'’t actually need any more than that!


THE REVIEWS:

"VAMPED is a total delight!  Diver delivers a delightful cast of undead characters and a fresh, fast take on the vampire mythos.  Next installment, please!"   — Rachel Caine, New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series.

"I really sunk my teeth into Lucienne Diver's VAMPED.  A fun, frothy, teenage romp with lots of action, a little shopping, and a cute vampire guy.  Who could ask for more?"  — Marley Gibson, author of Ghost Huntress: The Awakening.

“This book rollicked along, full of humor, romance, and action.  Gina is a smart-aleck heroine worth reading about, a sort of teenage Besty Taylor (Undead and Unwed) with a lot of Cher Horowitz (Clueless) thrown in.  Fans of Katie Maxwell will devour VAMPED.  — Rosemary Clement-Moore, author of the Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series 

"Move over Buffy! Lucienne Diver transfuses some fresh blood into the vampire genre. Feisty, fashionable and fun--VAMPED is a story readers will sink their teeth into and finish thirsty for more."   —Mari Mancusi, author of The Blood Coven Vampires series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lucienne Diver is a long-time book addict who went to work for NYC’s Spectrum Literary Agency fifteen years ago to feed her habit.  Recently, she traded in her high-rise for a lake view.  She now lives in Florida and works for The Knight Agency (www.knightagency.net).   Through various play-dates and in various coffee bars, on the backs of envelopes, carry-out bags and anything else within reach, including, sometimes, her checkbook, she's penned the serio-comic tale of what happens when a young fashionista goes from chic to eek. 

Now go! Read! Enjoy!

GCC Author Interview: Linda Gerber

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This week the GCC welcomes Linda Gerber, author of the brand-new YA novel, Death by Denim (Penguin), the third in the Death By series.


Aphra Connolly is being chased by some very dangerous people. She knows her survival depends upon staying far away from love interest Seth, and listening to her mom’s lectures on the finer points of anonymity and survival. But how is a girl supposed to live under the radar and not think about her boyfriend when she’s in Paris—the most romantic city in the world? When her mom’s contact in Paris is found floating in the Seine with a deadly message stuffed in his mouth, Aphra realizes that she will never be able to stop running unless she confronts the situation head-on. Sneaking away from her mom, Aphra tracks down the criminal mastermind in Italy, only to unwittingly reveal Seth’s location. And her mistake has just put them both in mortal danger. . . .



The interview:

Stacy: DEATH BY DENIM is set in France and Italy. Did you do any on-site research, I hope?

Linda: Ha! I would have loved to use this as an excuse to go back to Europe, but I was not so lucky. I have been to Paris, though, so I was able to use that experience in describing the settings there. I've also been to Italy, although not to the city Aphra travels to in the book. For that, I had to rely on a lot of books, pictures, maps and other travelers' accounts. Not quite as fun as going there...


Stacy: I see you lived in Japan for four years. What's been your biggest adjustment now that you're back in the US?

Linda: Where do I begin? We live in a suburb now with no public transportation to speak of, which means we have to drive to go anywhere. In Japan, we rode our bikes the train most of the time. My kids had more freedom there, not having to rely on me to take them places. Which brings up another huge adjustment. In Japan, even young children go places, walk to school, go to the store, ride the train, etc. by themselves. We would never dream of letting the same age kids out of our sight around here.

Stacy: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?

Linda: My 13-year-old daughter thinks I'm cool.

Stacy: What are you working on now?

Linda:  I'm just about to tackle the revisions for my first YA paranormal that will be released next year.

Praise for Death by Denim: 

“Starting with a heart-pounding chase scene… Gerber weaves in some major cultural landmarks as Aphra races through Paris and then Italy on a mission to expose the would-be assassin and rescue her love interest, Seth. Taut suspense… along with interesting tips of the espionage trade, will propel readers to the neat ending.”   - Booklist 

Death by Denim, the third book in Linda Gerber's fun, action-packed, and suspenseful series, is just as riveting as its prequels. Gerber's style is not only modern and down to earth, but cunning and intelligent as well… Aphra is an engaging and lively narrator whose bravery and smarts readers will admire. Equal parts action, romance, and mystery, Death by Denim is a fun-filled and engrossing read that will appeal to fans of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series.”  – The Compulsive Reader 

“Gerber does not disappoint with this exciting novel from her Death by… series. Gerber’s strength is by far in creating such a thrilling and fast paced plot that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. …Death by Denim is a wholly enjoyable read, full of action, romance, and international flair. Fans of Death by Bikini and Death by Latte, the earlier installments in this series, won’t want to miss Death by Denim. Teen girls in particular looking for a fast and fun mystery to devour will enjoy Gerber’s Death by… series.”  - The Book Muncher 

“Nancy Drew meets "Alias" in the latest fast-paced, murder-mystery romance.” - Paddyfield 

***  Top Choice Award - Flamingnet Book Reviews *** 

 

Praise for the series: 

“Will capture mystery fans.” – Booklist 

“Strong writing and plenty of plot twists.” -The Providence Journal 

“Fast-paced, fun, and maybe just a little scary.”-YA New York 

Just “the right amount of intrigue, suspense, humor and romance.”-Flamingnet Book Reviews 

“Five enchantments.”-Enchanting Reviews 

“Refreshing read.”-Simply Books

About the author:

Linda Gerber recently returned to life in the Midwest after four years in Japan, where she served as the Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Her books include SASS: NOW AND ZEN, SASS: THE FINNISH LINE and the YA mysteries DEATH BY BIKINI, DEATH BY LATTE and DEATH BY DENIM. She currently lives and writes in Dublin, OH, blissfully ignoring her husband, kids, and one very naughty puppy.  

You can find Linda online here:

http://lindagerber.com

http://www.new.facebook.com/profile.php?id=518643863

http://lindagerber.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/gerbsan



GCC Author Interview: Jennifer O'Connell

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This week the GCC welcomes Jennifer O"Connell, editor of  the YA anthology Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume.

 
Whether laughing to tears reading Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great or clamoring for more unmistakable “me too!” moments in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, girls all over the world have been touched by Judy Blume’s poignant coming-of-age stories. Now, in this anthology of essays, twenty-four notable female authors write straight from the heart about the unforgettable novels that left an indelible mark on their childhoods and still influence them today.  Drawing on their own experiences of feeling like a Fourth Grade Nothing before growing up to become Smart Women themselves, these writers pay tribute, through their reflections and most cherished memories, to one of the most beloved authors of all time.






The Interview:

Stacy: If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?

Jennifer: Chocolate chip cookie taster.

Stacy: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?

Jennifer: Judy Blume invited me to spend the day with her at her house on Martha’s Vineyard. It was awesome.

Stacy: What are you working on now?

Jennifer: A new teen book. I’m not very far along, but I know what happens. Which, unfortunately isn’t as important as WRITING what happens.

 Stacy: Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?

Jennifer: I’ve always loved to read and I had a teacher my senior year in my Women and Fiction class who had us read books I loved: The Awakening, The House of Mirth, The Women’s Room. I think she spoiled me. I rarely read books with male characters.

Stacy: What's your favorite kind of chocolate?

Jennifer: The ice cream kind (with rainbow sprinkles)

What the critics are saying:

“Funny, poignant, honest, and reverential, these stories will resonate strongly with the legions of readers who, like the authors, are grateful and lifelong Blume devotees.”Booklist

“From bittersweet to laugh-out-loud hilarious, the essays in this collection all sparkle with charm, style, and wit. No doubt about it, if you grew up reading Judy Blume, you will love this book.”—Sarah Mlynowski, author of Spells & Sleeping Bags and Me vs. Me

“Writing in the spirit of Blume, these women present their experiences as a series of personal truths: ‘girl moments. Woman moments. Human moments.’”Publishers Weekly

“Judy Blume’s adolescent books have left such an indelible mark that two dozen of today’s female writers of young adult fiction wrote essays about the impression her novels left on them. . . . This is the gift we Judy Blume-raised mothers can give our daughters now: the voice that told us everything we were feeling was normal.”The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

“By turns funny and poignant, this essay collection captures the essence of Judy Blume’s appeal.”Library Journal

“These stories are intensely personal recollections that offer an insight into the influence that Judy Blume’s works have had on everyone who reads them.”—Teens Read Too

About Jennifer:

Jennifer O’Connell is the author of ten books, the most recent of which are her two teen novels Local Girls and Rich Boys. She received her BA from Smith College and her MBA from the University of Chicago. Visit her website at www.jenniferoconnell.com and www.jennyoconnell.com.

 



GCC Author Interview: April Henry

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This week the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit welcomes April Henry (known on LJ as aprilhenry ), author of the new mystery-thriller, Torched  (Putnam).


When Ellie’s parents are busted for growing marijuana, the FBI gives her a choice: infiltrate the Mother Earth Defenders (MED), a radical environmental group, or her parents will go to jail. At first Ellie is more than willing to entrap the MEDics, but the more time she spends undercover—particularly with Coyote, the green-eyed MEDic that she can’t stop thinking about—the more she starts to believe in their cause. When talk turns to murder, Coyote backs out, but Ellie is willing to risk everything to save her family—even if it means losing Coyote and putting her own life on the line.

 



The interview:

Stacy: If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?
April: I thought about doing so many things: lawyer, doctor, researcher.  But please don’t take writing away from me.  It is the best thing ever.

Stacy: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?
April: Once a man recognized me in the grocery store and started heaping praise on me. And he turned out to own a well-known restaurant. After a few moments, he said, “I should let you go. I don’t want to interrupt.”  I wanted to throw my arms around his ankles and beg him to stay.

Stacy: What are you working on now?
April: I’m working on a new YA thriller, with the working title of The Girl in the Mini Cooper.

Stacy: Oh my gosh, the Mini Cooper is my favorite car! I can't wait to read that one.
Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?
April: Many! When I graduated high school, my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Dietz, sent me a note asking if I still wrote beautiful poetry. My seventh grade teacher, Mr. Perkins, praised my essays.

Stacy: What's your favorite kind of chocolate?
April: Dark chocolate covered cashews with sea salt. They are the best.

About the author:

April Henry knows how to kill you in two dozen different ways. She makes up for a peaceful childhood in an intact home by killing off fictional characters. April had one detour on her path to destruction:  when she was 12 she sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to noted children's author Roald Dahl.  He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children's magazine.

 By the time she was in her 30s, April had come to terms with her childhood and started writing about hit men, drug dealers, and serial killers. She has published six mysteries and thrillers, with five more under contract.  Her books have gotten starred reviews, been on Booksense (twice!), translated into four languages, short-listed for the Oregon Book Award, and chosen as a Quick Pick by the American Library Association.

 April writes for both teens and adults. This month Face of Betrayal will be published. It’s the first in a new series for adult mystery series co-written with FOX legal analyst Lis Wiehl. 

What others are saying:

Kirkus: "Romance and big explosions … the thrills and action will keep readers interested as she navigates her way between terrorists and self-centered Feds."

 Booklist: "The contemporary mix of politics and thrilling action will grab teens, not just environmentalists, as Ellie must decide how to save her parents and save the earth. Romance adds to the conflict as she falls in love with gorgeous MED member Coyote, who is both an activist and an ardent pacifist. Both the MEDs and the FBI have good guys and bad guys, and this suspenseful story will spark discussion about what it means to fight for right “by any means necessary."

 Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:

“Henry keeps a number of slick tricks up her sleeve, and when the plot takes off with a MED tree sit to stop clear cut logging, a cascade of treachery and betrayal is unleashed that should keep the pages flying. This is a far cry from the more whimsical take on environmentalism of Hiaasen's Hoot, but readers who cut their teeth on that amiable escapade may want to explore the ethical implications of wielding vandalism and violence to achieve a worthy end.”

 School Library Journal:

“Educators and environmentalists will appreciate the similarities between Ellie’s adventures and the exploits of Julia Butterfly Hill, as it will allow them to engage in a discussion about endangered species, corporate responsibility, and logging.”

 Teens Read Too: 5 stars

“Torched is an edge-of-your-seat thriller. The book starts with a prologue that puts readers in the thick of the action, and things don't slow down from there.”


Watch a Youtube video for Torched: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWGCnBHv1s4

 

 




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GCC Author Interview: Jennifer Echols

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This week the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit welcomes Jennifer Echols, author of Going Too Far (Simon & Schuster/MTV Books)


HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?


All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and  forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far… and almost doesn’t make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge—and over…

 

Taking readers on an unforgettable journey through the lingering effects of loss and the redemptive power of love, Going Too Far will appeal to fans of powerful and poignant teen novels by Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen.


The interview:

Stacy: If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?

Jennifer: I also work as a copyeditor. I feel very lucky to have both my #1 and my #2 dream jobs.

Stacy: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?

Jennifer: Mega bestselling author Linda Howard took me by the shoulders and told me I was cute.

Stacy: What are you working on now?

Jennifer: During National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org), I started a novel that’s a real departure for me. Mum’s the word on it for now, but I’m so excited about it!

Stacy: Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?

Jennifer: I had a lot of wonderful teachers, but in particular my ninth grade English teacher made us keep journals. I got in the habit then of writing every day, and I’ve never stopped..

Stacy: What's your favorite kind of chocolate?

Jennifer: It’s Cadbury Creme Egg season, you know. :)

Praise for Going Too Far:

“Naughty in all the best ways, Echols’s Going Too Far is the perfect blend of romance, wit, and rebelliousness.  I loved it!” - Niki Burnham, author of Royally Jacked and Sticky Fingers

 “Jennifer Echols has crafted a brave and powerful story, searingly romantic and daring, yet also full of hilarious moments. Meg’s voice will stay in your head long after the intense conclusion.” - R. A. Nelson, author of Teach Me and Breathe My Name

“Echols is a tremendously talented writer with a real gift for developing relationships between her characters.” - Romantic Times Magazine

“Jennifer Echols deals with the limits of life and shocking everyone in Going Too Far, a novel readers won’t want to put down.” - Teens Read Too

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Echols has written two romantic comedies entitled Major Crush and The Boys Next Door. She currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama. Visit her website and her blog, where she is jenniferechols .



 


GCC Author Interview: Amanda Ashby

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This week the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit welcomes Amanda Ashby, author of the brand-new YA novel, Zombie Queen of Newbury High (Puffin). (Newbury High -- I love that pun!)



Tomorrow is prom, and all Mia wants to do is cast a love spell on her date Rob Ziggerman to keep him away from cheerleading goddess Samantha and save him all to herself. But somehow she ends up inflicting a zombie virus onto her whole class instead. At first Mia loves all the attention her classmates are giving her; treating her like a queen,  compliments galore, and all the chocolate a girl could want.  But then zombie hunter hottie Chase explains they are actually fattening her up.  Why? Because in twenty-four hours, Mia will be the first course in their new diet. That’s what being the ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH means.  She’s sure she and Chase can figure something out, especially when the alternative means that her classmates and teachers will be feasting on her bones. But in the meantime, she’s suggests that no one wear white to tomorrow night’s prom, because she has a feeling that things could get very messy.

Love spells gone wrong, boyfriend-stealing cheerleaders, and Zombies who want to eat you for dinner.  In ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH by Amanda Ashby, love has never tasted— or rather felt— so good.

The interview:


Stacy: If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?

Amanda: I work part time at the children/teen desk at my local library and it’s just as much fun as I always imagined it would be. Actually, it’s better. I still can’t believe I get paid to talk books with people. Awesome!

Stacy: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?

Amanda: Getting emails from Complete Strangers to say that they’ve read my book – it’s always a bonus if they’ve enjoyed it as well! But I was so intent on selling a book that I sort of forgot that other people besides my editor and agent might possibly read it (sometimes I’m a bit slow like that!!!)

Stacy: What are you working on now?
Amanda: I’ve just finished a young adult book about a girl who can see invisible fairies (invisible killer fairies) and now I’m working on a mid grade book which is lots of fun.

Stacy: Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?
Amanda: In third grade we had this really old teacher called Mrs. Scheinder and she got the whole class to make a story about an elf. I was pretty pissed off that the elf got named Spike (not after Buffy, which wasn’t around back then, but after Fonzie’s cousin in Happy Days. Am I dating myself here?). Anyway, I remember loving the whole process but absolutely hating the fact that not all my ideas go used!!!!

Stacy: What's your favorite kind of chocolate?

Amanda: All kinds!!!!! Me and chocolate go well together so I don’t like to discriminate.


Praise for Zombie Queen:

"Zombie Queen of Newbury High is a delightfully fun, fresh, and funny read! Amanda Ashby creates a highly likeable heroine in Mia Everett, who, despite her best intentions, turns her classmates into zombies. And with prom quickly approaching, she must find a way to undo it before, well before she gets eaten! Never again will you look at prom, your classmates, or even zombies in quite the same way! ~Alyson Noel, New York Times Bestselling author of Evermore

"Zombie Queen of Newbury High is a delicious treat! Who knew zombies could be both fun and funny? It's Zombilicious!" -- Michelle Rowen, author of Bitten & Smitten

"Zombie Queen of Newbury High is where popularity can turn you undead (with an unsettling appetite) and Prom will be a little dangerous this year.  Amanda Ashby moves into the YA world with snapping prose and an entertaining high school mix of teen crushes, popularity drama, and a zombie squad. Zombies beware--you'll love to follow the twists and turns of this fresh and fun novel!" -- Kelly Parra, author of Invisible Touch

“Amanda Ashby's book, Zombie Queen of Newbury High, is filled with twists, turns and humor, sure to totally draw you in. I loved the fact that this read was more than your typical high school teen love story. If you're like me and can't get enough of books filled with mystery, suspense, with a dash of relatable relationship and friendship probs on the side, I def recommend picking up your own copy—you won't regret it!” -Jami Katz GirlsLife.com Book Club

 
“Amanda Ashby writes a very entertaining and quick read about a teenage protagonist who has to fix the catastrophic problem she created - or else she'll never be able to enjoy the ball with Prince Charming. Many readers will be able to relate to Mia and her quirky ways, and others will simply fall in love with her witty humor. And if that doesn't work, there are always hunks Rob and Chase. ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH deserves the five stars. This is a very original story that isn't too far-fetched that teenage readers can't relate at all - it's the perfect mix of reality and imagination.” 5 stars teensreadtoo

 
"...full of humor, romance and suspense, and her characters are well-developed and a joy to get to know. Five Stars."
- Bitten By Books

 
"Feel-good, fun and utterly lovely - if you're a Buffy/Angel fan, or a zombie, or both, or neither, don't miss this one! Highly recommended."
- Chicklish


About Amanda:

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and has spent the last ten years dividing her time between England and New Zealand. When she’s not moving countries, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to watch television, eat chocolate and sit around doing not much, but let's just keep that between ourselves, shall we?). She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two young children. Her debut adult book You Had Me at Halo has been nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award. This is her first book for young adults. Visit her on the web at www.amandaashby.com.

GCC Author Interview: Jennifer Banash

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This week the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit welcomes Jennifer Banash, author of In Too Deep (Berkley Trade), the second installment in the Elite series.

About the Book:

If you don’t belong here— you just don’t belong…

The Bramford building’s newest resident and small-town transplant Casey McCloy is adapting to life in the Big Apple and loving it. She’s got the look, the attitude, and a delish new boyfriend, Drew Van Allen. But she’s starting to have second thoughts as to whether the “New York” Casey is the real Casey. And she’s not so sure she likes herself much anymore. She’s not the only one.

Madison Macallister has always had her Manolo Blahniks firmly planted on the top rung of the social ladder—until that corn-fed cow Casey stole Drew away from her and made her look the fool. So what if Madison wasn’t exactly dating Drew at the time? She wanted him. And everyone knows that Madison gets what she wants, like Drew—and a little revenge.

The Interview:

Stacy: If you couldn't be a writer, what would your dream job be?


Jennifer: Film director or photographer. I studied photography in college and loveed it.

Stacy: What's the most surprising thing to happen since publication of your book?

Jennifer: Umm . . . that anyone actually read it? :)  That floors me every day, to be honest.

Stacy: What are you working on now?

Jennifer: I'm working on a YA series about a girl who moves with her family from Southern California to a castle in Romania. She discovers a diary in the cellar that belonged to one of the most prolific female killers in history--and becomes drawn into her story in ways she never imagined possible.
 
Stacy: Did you have a favorite teacher who encouraged your writing/reading habit?

Jennifer: I studied poetry in college with a number of encouraging professors, but I've never really had a mentor of any kind. 

Stacy: What's your favorite kind of chocolate?

Jennifer: The darker the better. I like it so dark that it's practically baking chocolate!


Praise for In Too Deep and The Elite series:


The Elite is Pretty in Pink for the millennium generation.” —Romance Reviews Today

"What's a Normal, Illinois girl to do when she enters the world of New York City's rich and bitchy? Hold tight, because this is one drama-filled ride." --Melissa Walker, author of Violet on the Runway.

"In Too Deep is a seductive read."—Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen Blog

“Fans of the drama, romance, gossip, and privileged lifestyle depicted in Gossip Girl and Blue Bloods will be drawn to In Too Deep... In Too Deep continues to showcase the glitzy and glamorous lifestyle of New York City’s privileged teens...Banash’s Elite series continues to rock above the rest.”—The Compulsive Reader Blog

“As you know, life in the posh and drama-filled Upper East Side is never easy! Hold onto your Hermes scarves and Coach handbags, the Bram Clan is back for more action and drama!”—The Book Vault Blog

“Banash is fabulous at creating relatable characters in over-the-top situations.”—In Bed With Books Blog

About the Author:

Jennifer Banash attended high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and currently lives in Southern California with her Beagle, Sigmund, and her vast designer shoe collection. She is the author of the Elite series, published by Berkley Jam. Watch for the third installment of The Elite, Simply Irresistible, coming in July '09!

Visit Jennifer at her website, her blog, at MySpace, or on Facebook. And read her books!



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Stacy DeKeyser ~~ Author of books for teens
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