Event Recap: YALLWEST 2016!

This past weekend was the second annual YallWest weekend. YallWest is a weekend all about young adult books. There are dozens of authors who do panels and signings, drug and free books and sing-a-longs and all sorts of things.

I had an absolutely blast! I was able to meet a ton of authors, this web some that I’ve already met in the past but was excited to see again, more about and some new ones. I got my hands on some new books and some incredible swag and hung out with my awesome friends. Hands down, it was an incredible weekend. I had such a blast. I can’t wait for next year.

What I think makes YALLWest so great is that its an event all about YA, which is my passion in reading and writing, and its organized by those who are just as passionate about it…YA authors and booksellers and bloggers and librarians and all of that and it all adds up to an incredible event. The YA community is amazing and I’m always so glad to be a part of it and I’m definitely reminded of that every single time I’m there. I hope very very much to make the transition from reader/blogger to author next year and we’ll see both The Awakened and The Sanctuary in hands of readers.

I’m exhausted but I have so many pictures to share so let’s do that! Because the pictures are the best way to share my weekend!

DAY ONE

Day one was intense! It was hot and I sprained my ankle last week and I was ready for a crazy day. But even with the running around like a crazy person for most of the day…I got all the authors I wanted to meet and got my hands on a lot of swag and ARCs and it was awesome. I missed some opportunities with some ARCs but it was no big loss :) I figure my TBR pile is so large it doesn’t need to be any larger!

I loved that this year’s setup was much different than last year’s! Last year, all the signings were in a super awkward area and there wasn’t a whole lot of room. I loved that the signing area was much larger this year and there was a sort of…staging area for future signings. It made more sense and was way more organized and it made things go by much quicker and cleaner than the year before. I did especially like that some authors were wristbanded. The authors didn’t seem to be as rushed and I was able to chat and take pictures with everyone that I met that day.

I also liked that there seemed to be more booths this year…or that it just maybe seemed that way because of how spread out it was. There were a lot of vendors to visit and swag to grab and it was a ton of fun. I loved everyone that was there and I hope they all return next year. I was also super glad to see that Mysterious Galaxy had been the book vendor this year; I adore them and think they did an amazing job with book sales.

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I was so excited to meet debut author, Evelyn Skye, whose debut novel, The Crown Game, comes out this May. It sounds absolutely amazing and she was SUCH a doll. We talked about how surreal the reality is of being debut authors, and she was just so cool. I’m glad to add her book to my pile!

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Always an absolute wonderful time to see one of my absolute FAVORITE authors, Rainbow Rowell. Her novel, Fangirl, is easily in my top five favorite books and she remembered me from Festival of Books a couple years ago!

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Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman were so totally awesome! I am sad to say that I have yet to read Illuminae yet but I’ve heard nothing but good things AND I got my hands on the sequel so I can’t wait to read it. Plus we took a pretty epic selfie so there you go.

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It was totally wonderful to see Richelle Mead again! Somehow, between meeting her at YALLWest last year and RT last year, I’d not gotten my copy of The Fiery Heart signed! But now I do so my vampire set is complete ;)

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Oh you know, just Veronica Roth, walking by casually, looking fabulous as always. I kept considering getting a wristband to meet her but…I have all her books signed and have met her several times so I left those wristbands to those who haven’t!

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Me with author Adam Silvera, who wrote More Happy Than Not, which was so fantastic. He was such a blast to meet, and I’m not saying that just because he indulged my total Hamilton obsession!

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Libba Bray! I adore her so much and even though I already have all her books signed, I definitely needed her to sign my copy of The Awakened, since I’m having all the authors that have been an influence for me sign it. She was so sweet and congratulated me. Such an awesome lady.

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So excited that I finally got to meet Alexandra Bracken! I feel so bad that I have never read her The Darkest Minds trilogy but after devouring Passenger this past winter, I needed to meet her. That book is just so so so good!

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Me and the totally darling Marie Rutkowski, who wrote The Winner’s Curse. I loved the first book and I can’t wait to eventually hopefully finally read the rest of the trilogy!

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So while I was waiting in line to grab an ARC from Epic Reads, my friend Carmen showed me that she got her hands on Shadowhunter tarot cards and I knew I NEEDED them. I went to the booth and after, maybe, possibly, flashing my two Shadowhunters tattoos, I managed to get my hands on them. It was my big score of the weekend; they’re absolutely gorgeous!

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It was amazing to be able to take my own book to YALLWest! I had several people come up to me and talk to me and I signed some books and bookmarks and got to talk about my book and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to hopefully share more of The Awakened world next year!

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Hanging out with my sisters all weekend at YALLWest was easily one of the best parts. My sister Jessica (right) has been a book reader like me for quite some time but my sister Dink (left) hasn’t and so it was great to bring her along and see her meet the handful of authors that she does love!

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From left to right: my sister, Jessica, my sister, Dink, me, and my friends Jade and Logan. The weekend would not have been nearly as fun as it was without them, and my friends Nicole, Erin and Mina as well!

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I got to go up on stage during the Smackdown and play Hollywood Squares with some pretty cool authors and I won! So that was super fun :)

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Last but certainly not least of day one at YALLWest, was Libba Bray’s band Tiger Beat playing some songs. My favorite was their incredible “Purple Rain” cover and the Time Warp with all the authors at the end!

DAY TWO 

Day two was so much more relaxed than day two, but in a good way. I had already gotten most authors the day before and I only needed a handful for day two. I spent most of the day wandering around and getting my hands on ARCs and swag and all that :)

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Up and ready to go for day two of YALLWest! I’m rocking a Doctor Who and Harold and the Purple Crayon crossover shirt by Karen Hallion and feeling good about that day.

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Tahereh Mafi looking fabulous as always. She’s another author that I’ve met many many many times and so I didn’t feel bad skipping her, and I’m glad my spot could be taken by someone that perhaps has never met her before. But seriously, those outfits are always SO on point!

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Holly Black is just one of the coolest authors and people I know. I was so glad to get her signature in my copy of The Awakened and to talk books and being published. Such an awesome awesome author.

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I was so glad that I finally got to meet my dear friend Kevin, who I have known on instagram for quite a few years now. Its so nice to meet your internet friends in real life; its one of the best parts about coming to events like this. Hanging out with book friends, meeting internet friends in real life and making new friends!

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This was the moment that I decided that Sara Raasch and I would be best friends forever. Not only do we spell our first names the same way, but we also have the same middle name! We bonded hardcore over this and I’ve now decided we are besties.

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Me and the epic Sara Raasch. I’m so glad to share a first and middle name with such an awesome author.

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It was so awesome to finally meet my dear friend Valerie Tejeda, the author of Hollywood Witch Hunter. She has been such an inspiration and friend and mentor the past couple of years and it was amazing to finally meet her in person!


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YALLWest tradition: a mac and cheese grilled cheese with tots from Grilled Cheese truck. Yum!

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It was so awesome to see David Peterson again! I met him a few years ago with my friend Erin (who is friends with him) at Leigh Bardugo’s release party for Siege and Storm. David is a linguist and literally comes up with languages for TV shows like Game of Thrones and Defiance and The 100. So. Freakin. Cool.


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My haul for the entire weekend. All but about five books were mine but everything else was given to me FREE this weekend, all the swag and posters and tote bags and ARCs and all of it. It was such an epic weekend and I love every single thing in this picture!

I love YALLWest and I loved it this year just as much as last year. I love the new things they brought in this year and I love the small changes they made, with the signing lines, the book vendor and the other vendors there. It made all the difference. I also super loved that both days were in the same location; that was SO much easier than two different ones last year.

All in all, another great year. I’m already counting down the days until next year!

I Read YA Week Interview with Nicole Maggi!

I hope you are all enjoying all the awesome interviews and guest posts coming your way this week! I absolutely LOVE I Read YA week and I love being able to share it with all of you! And I am so excited about all the authors that are with us this week.

Today I have a friend of mine, about it Nicole Maggi, approved on the blog. She is so fantastic and I’m so happy to have her here, more about so read on!

And don’t forget the giveaway details at the bottom of the interview!!

ABOUT NICOLE MAGGI

Nicole was born in the suburban farm country of upstate New York, and began writing at a very early age. Of course, her early works consisted mainly of poems about rainbows and unicorns, although one of them was good enough to win honorable mention in a national poetry contest! (Perhaps one of the judges was a ten-year-old girl.) Throughout high school, her creative writing was always nurtured and encouraged.

Nicole attended Emerson College as an acting major, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Post-college, she worked as an actress in New York City for over a decade, focusing mainly on Shakespeare and the classics.

Now living in Los Angeles, Nicole balances writing full-time with motherhood. WINTER FALLS, the first in her TWIN WILLOWS TRILOGY (Medallion Press, 2014) is her debut novel. She has a stand-alone novel, HEARTLINES, coming out in February 2015 with SourceBooks Fire, as well as the second and third novels in the TWIN WILLOWS TRILOGY in 2015 and 2016.

You Can Find Her:

Her Website / Her Twitter / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Instagram

HER BOOK

Add the first book of Nicole’s trilogy on GoodReads and make sure to find it at your local bookstore or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Book Depository

Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small town of Twin Willows, Maine. Things look up when a new family comes to town, but when she falls for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.

Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.

Alessia never would’ve suspected it, but her boring town is the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti to control powerful magic in the surrounding forest.

As Alessia is drawn into the Benandanti’s mission, her relationship with Jonah intensifies. When her two worlds collide, Alessia’s forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make.

HER INTERVIEW

Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?

Nicole: I started out writing historical fiction that I didn’t intend to be YA but I had a lot of editors come back and say, “you know, this feels like YA.” So my agent encouraged me to write it. Writing in a teen voice felt like coming home. I realized that it was where I was meant to be. I think the biggest reason why this is is because my teen years were tumultuous and difficult, and reading was my refuge. I escaped into books, and so I’m writing for other teens who might be having a rough time and need a book to escape into just like I did.

Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite YA reads?

Nicole: Well, Harry Potter, OF COURSE. I re-read the whole series every few years, or whenever I’m going through a rough patch. Harry always makes everything better.

One of my other very favorite YA books is I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith. It was written in the 1940’s, so before YA was a thing, but it is a classic coming-of-age store with an unforgettable setting and just a wonderful, wonderful read.

I read Harry Potter and I CAPTURE THE CASTLE as an adult, so I have to mention my favorite books when I was a teen: The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. I loved those books so much that no one else in my middle school got to read them because I always had them checked out. Those were the books that made me want to become a writer. Pierce created a world that I wanted to live in, and I realized that I wanted to do the same thing with my own writing.

Nerd Girl: What do you think is a big misconception about YA and why do you think its wrong?

Nicole: I think the biggest misconception is that YA is somehow “less than” literature that is written for adults. This attitude really bugs me. What could be greater than writing for an audience that is just starting to figure out who they are, shape their own beliefs and values, and what their place is in the world (ie, teens)? To be a part of their lives at that stage is incredibly exciting and humbling. Anyone who devalues that by looking down their nose at YA has obviously forgotten what it was like to be a teen.

Nerd Girl: Why do you think its important to have a “I Read YA” week?

Nicole: Building off what I said above, I think there are a lot of adults who read YA and feel like they have to hide it, or be embarrassed by it, because other people might look down on them for it. So I say, be loud and proud! Read your YA in public, without a cover, on the subway! There’s no shame in reading YA as an adult.

And I think the more public adults are about reading YA, the more likely the teens in their lives will read it as well. Reading begets reading!

Nerd Girl: Describe your latest work in five words or less.

Nicole: “A difficult choice creates an unlikely friendship.” Hey, it’s only five words if you remove the “A” and “an”!

Nerd Girl: What is something you wish you had known about writing/publishing before you become a published author?

Nicole: So much. SO SO MUCH. Haha! You know, I think I thought that being published would solve all my problems, and even though many people told me that it didn’t, I don’t think I really believed them. Then I got published and it not only didn’t solve all my problems, it also brought in a whole host of new ones! I am so incredibly grateful for and proud of everything I’ve achieved so far, but I think I thought that getting published was the top of the mountain when really it’s only Base Camp 1. Still, I wouldn’t trade this trek for anything else.

Nerd Girl: What was some of your favorite parts about writing the Twin Willows stories? Would you ever return to that world again?

Nicole: Oh, I love that world so much. I think my favorite part about writing it was the relationships between all the characters. Not just the central romance between Alessia and Jonah, but also the mentor-mentee relationship between Heath and Alessia, the mother-daughter love between Alessia and Lidia, the friendships between Alessia and Jenny, and Alessia and Bree, the tortured love between Heath and Nerina, and the interplay of all the neighbors of Twin Willows. It was really the characters that made that world so rich and three-dimensional, and I just loved them all so much.

I don’t have plans to return to Twin Willows. I feel like I told that story exactly the way I wanted to, and I completed the journey with all of the characters. I do have an idea for a prequel story with Heath and Nerina that I may write as a novella and put up on Wattpad, but who know when I’ll have time to write it! Other than that, I’m happy and satisfied with the trilogy as a whole, and don’t feel the need to add to it. Honestly, how often do we as writers get to say that?! I feel very blessed that I got to tell that story in exactly the way I wanted to, and hope that readers enjoy the journey as much as I did.

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HUGE thanks to Nicole for joining us today at What A Nerd Girl Says and for being a part of I Read YA week!

And don’t forget to find this image below on my instagram in order to enter the I Read YA Week giveaway! SO. MUCH. SIGNED. SWAG.

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I Read YA Week Interview with Jessica Brody!

It’s that time again! Time for another I Read YA week interview. This interview is with one of my absolute favorites…favorite author, stomach favorite friend, favorite people, favorite period. Jessica Brody is an awesome person and I’m so glad to host her, yet again, on What A Nerd Girl Says!

Also stay tuned to the end of the post to find out more about the giveaway!

ABOUT JESSICA BRODY 

Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples, and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.

You Can Find Her:

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

HER BOOK

Add Jessica Brody’s latest release on GoodReads and pick up a copy at your local bookstore or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Book Depository

Best friends since they were kids, Grayson, Mike, and Ian were hoping for another epic summer on “The Locks”, filled with clam bakes, bonfires, and late-night swims in the ocean.

But that was before Ian’s dad never returned home from his last deployment. Before Mike had to take on more responsibility in order to help provide for his family. Before Grayson’s accident left him with an injured throwing arm and an uncertain future.

It’s clear this summer on the island is shaping up to be very different from those Grayson, Mike, and Ian have come to rely on. And when the sacred code of dating a friend’s sister or ex is broken, it will push their friendship to the absolute limit, testing their loyalties in a way that could either break them—or save them.

THE INTERVIEW

Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?

Jessica: Because I’m still emotionally stuck at age 15. And therefore it feels the most natural to me. However, I do have a middle grade (tween) book coming out in February in which the character is 12. It’s called ADDIE BELL’S SHORTCUT TO GROWING UP, and I have to say that felt pretty natural to write too. So maybe I’m emotionally stuck at age 12 too. Bottom line, I’m not my age.

Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite YA reads?

Jessica: On which day? Haha. But seriously, I have so many! To name a few (in no particular order!): THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson, ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell, WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson, THE FORBIDDEN WISH by Jessica Khoury, and FREE TO FALL by Lauren Miller.

Nerd Girl: What do you think is a big misconception about YA and why do you think its wrong?

Jessica: That it’s only for teens. I know this is an old misconception, but I still hear it all the time! I’ll tell people I write young adult fiction and they’ll write it off as “not for me” because “I’m an adult.” And I’m like, “Yeah, so am I, and I write it…and read it.” Teen fiction is written about teen characters. That’s it. You don’t have to be a superhero to watch a Marvel movie. And you don’t have to be a young adult to read young adult.

Nerd Girl: Why do you think its important to have a “I Read YA” week?

Jessica: I think it’s important to have any week that celebrates reading and books. Football owns a entire day of the week (actually more than one now!) Anything we can do to pull our focus back to reading and books is a good thing.

Nerd Girl: Describe your latest work in five words or less. 

Jessica: Three boys. One Hot Summer.

BAM!

Nerd Girl: What do you think the hardest part is between writing science fiction and contemporary books?

Jessica: The pacing. A sci-fi thriller is paced very differently than a contemporary teen drama. But they both have to engage the reader, they both have to read quickly, and I try to put cliffhanger chapter endings in both. The cliffhangers just center around very different things.

Nerd Girl: What are you most excited about when it comes to the film adaptation of Unremembered?

Jessica: Okay, this is weird, but I’m just super excited about seeing Seraphina’s purple eyes! I know, I know, it’s not what you expected. But I spent so many days and nights imagining them, and picturing the very exact shade of purple, I just can’t wait to see them brought to life. Also, I’m SUPER excited to see how the movie adaptation handles the “stolen memories” and the way they’re returned to her in the first book. I tried to write that scene very cinematically and I’m curious to see if or how they use what I’ve done. Or if they make up their own cool stuff!

Nerd Girl: You sort of fell into YA accidentally when the idea of The Karma Club didn’t work quite well for adult audiences. Now you have written quite a few YA novels. How do you think switching from adult to YA changed you as a writer and person?

Jessica: I think it’s made me a more organic writer. It’s not that I’ll never write an adult novel again but I do feel more at home in the YA space. I think when I was writing adult characters, I felt like a bit of a fraud, because I really just don’t see myself as an adult. It almost felt like I was playing dress-up with my mom’s too-big clothes. YA fits me. I feel like I can be myself.

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Thank you, as always, Jessica for being a welcome guest on What A Nerd Girl Says!

And don’t forget everyone, stick close ALL week for interviews and guest posts with more YA authors!

Lastly, head to my instagram and find this photo below to enter my giveaway. SO.MUCH.SIGNED.SWAG.

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I Read YA Week Interview with Robin Reul!

Hello everyone! Welcome to day three of the epic I Read YA week. Let’s jump in today with an awesome interview with my good friend and fantastic debut author, click Robin Reul!

ABOUT ROBIN REUL

Taken from Robin’s website: My name is Robin Reul, and I’m a YA author represented by Leigh Feldman at Leigh Feldman Literary. I write contemporary YA fiction, and in my spare time I love to foster my Facebook addiction, drink copious amounts of caffeine and enjoy my good standing as an equal opportunity cupcake lover.

You Can Find Her:

Her Website / Her Twitter / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Instagram

HER BOOK

Find Robin’s beautiful debut novel on GoodReads and purchase a copy at your local bookstore or either on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Book Depository!

Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

THE INTERVIEW

Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?

Robin: I’ve always been drawn to this period of time because I think it captures something so exciting. It’s a time filled with firsts, awakenings and being on the verge of things – not who you’ve been and not yet who you’re going to be. I find the kind of stories I love to tell (and read) are the ones that tap into the current of that, those moments and experiences that shape us and change everything.

Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite YA reads?

Robin: I tend to gravitate towards contemporary YA, and usually stories that are character-centric with great dialogue. Some of my favorites include THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Tim Tharp, ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven, SWEETHEARTS by Sara Zarr, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson, DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, WINGER by Andrew Smith and SIMON VS. THE HOMO-SAPIEN AGENDA by Becky Albertalli.

Nerd Girl: What do you think is a big misconception about YA and why do you think its wrong?

Robin: That it isn’t “quality literature” and that it isn’t taken as seriously as adult fiction simply because the target age of its intended readership is teenagers. There are an amazing amount of crossover readers that are well past their teens so to pigeonhole young adult novels as being suitable merely for a teen audience is simply untrue. Young adult protagonists can be deeply complex, the stories layered and filled with a certain raw honesty that is inherent to that time of life, the world-building vivid and wildly creative, the plots engaging and as high concept as any Clancy novel, the romance no less satisfying. Good writing is good writing, period.

Nerd Girl: Why do you think its important to have a “I Read YA” week?

Robin: I think it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of how many fantastic books are out there for teens today. When I was growing up, there was never the kind of variety there is available to teen readers now. It’s an opportunity to introduce readers to smaller books that may have been buried on the radar but may be similar to other books they’ve enjoyed. It’s a chance for authors to interact with their readers, whether they be fourteen or forty. Young adult novels give us a unique window into ourselves and the lives of those around us.  Getting people to rally around a love of reading and celebrating books is always a great thing.

Nerd Girl: Describe your latest work in five words or less.

Robin: Last day of high school

Nerd Girl: My Kind of Crazy was NOT the first novel that you wrote, but it is your debut novel. What advice would you give to someone whose first novel might be in the throes of rejection?

Robin: That’s a tough one to go through, I know. First of all, know that while it does happen, it is rare that someone sells their first book right out of the gate, as much as we all dream of that scenario. It’s easy to feel discouraged, but this business is about being in it for the long haul, not a single book. Writing a book is a HUGE accomplishment – so first of all give yourself credit for that – but also know, should this not sell, that you are capable of doing this and will be able to do it again. And again after that. Because that’s what writers do. We have more than one story within us, and although it may take a bit to mourn the loss of your project not finding a home and shifting gears to let new characters and ideas in, it WILL happen. You can’t shake your belief that this is what you want to do, and you keep writing until you find the story that connects at the right time. Because often that really is what it comes down to – a perfectly great book may not sell at any given time because that is not what the marketplace is looking for. For publishers, it’s business. They are looking to buy what sells. For writers, it’s personal. We write the stories we want to tell. Sometimes those factors align, sometimes they need to simmer on the back burner, and sometimes, years can go by and you can revisit and realize that that particular story was honestly best served as kindling. Just keep working at it. One thing is for certain – it will never happen if you stop writing.

Nerd Girl: What do you have planned next for readers? Do you plan on sticking with contemporary or do you ever think of expanding into other genres?

Robin: I can’t say much about my next project yet, only that it’s another YA contemporary stand-alone with a lot of humor and heart and characters that I hope will really stay in the readers’ hearts. Contemporary is my jam – even if I were to write something with more serious overtones, it would definitely still be contemporary. One day I would love to also write adult fiction, but for now, the stories I want to tell all seem to fit right here.

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A huge thanks to Robin for hanging out on What A Nerd Girl Says and talking about My Kind of Crazy.

Don’t forget to tune in all week for all the guest posts and interviews. And don’t forget to head to my instagram to win the epic prize pack pictured below!

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I Read YA Week Interview with CM Lucas!

I am so insanely excited to be bringing you this awesome interview for I Read YA week! CM Lucas is one of my many author siblings at the fantastic OfTomes Publishing, page and I am so glad to have her here on What A Nerd Girl Says to celebrate the love of reading and writing YA!

Let’s do this!

ABOUT CM LUCAS

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Claire Marie Lucas lives in South-East England with her husband and three children. She began writing stories from inside her wardrobe at the tender age of six and hasn’t stopped writing in obscure places since; her current favourite being the cupboard beneath the stairs. The Weaver’s Riddle: Mists and Whispers is her debut novel.

You Can Find Her:

Her Website / Her Twitter / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Instagram

HER BOOK 

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Find CM Lucas’ novel on GoodReads and purchase either an ebook or paperback copy on Amazon now!

Imagine a world in eternal darkness. A world where skeletal beasts lurk in the forest. Where the women are missing, and the men are in need of salvation…

In the West-English town of Little Wolf Green, Scott’s bookshop is about to close down. Convinced the bookshop holds the key to her mother’s identity, sixteen year old Anya Piddling vows to save Scott’s, whatever the cost.
When four books of magic and myth take the world by storm, Anya begins a journey to discover the truth about the author, known only as the Weaver. Followed closely by her friends, and one surly, bitter ex-boyfriend, Anya soon realises a whole new world awaits: a world gone very wrong, with maddening whispers in the forest, magical winged Kings and a dragon-boy that understands her, inside and out. But this world needs a saviour… and everyone is looking at her.

HER INTERVIEW

Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?

Claire: I write YA because it’s the genre I most enjoy reading. There is a certain sense of adventure that only YA novels seem to capture, and satisfy, and I think it’s important for teens, and indeed, people of all ages, to feel that rush of adventure, even if it is just through reading. It helps you feel connected to the world and inspires you to go out and really live. I think YA’s reoccurring theme of self-discovery is also very important for all readers to experience, as no matter your age, you should never stop learning about yourself. I mean, how can anyone truly discover their full potential if they stop growing as a person?

Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite YA reads?

Claire: One of my favourite YA series is Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It still leaves me speechless to this day, and I always think about Akiva and Karou, and the adventures that continued for them beyond the series. Laini Taylor is simply amazing, her writing is pure magic!

Ooh, and “Ob….viously,” Harry Potter kind of goes without saying, even though the series is technically middle grade, I do feel the later books cross over into the YA category too.

Nerd Girl: What do you think is a big misconception about YA and why do you think it’s wrong?

Claire: I think the biggest misconception about YA is that it is easy to write. I’ve heard many people say it in the past, but they are, in my opinion, completely wrong, because teenagers are not the ‘simple’ minded creatures many adults mistake them for. They have brilliant, sharp minds and can spot a mistake or a plot hole a mile off, and they are not afraid to speak their minds about it if an author gets it wrong. With YA, it’s not about creating a world that is believable, it goes beyond that. You have to create a world that is real, with rich, diverse characters that they can relate to, that make them feel a broad spectrum of emotions and that help them to make sense of what they are going through in their own lives, as well as delivering entertaining and intriguing plots that keep them interested throughout the entire series. It’s a big task, but a very rewarding one!

Nerd Girl: Why do you think it’s important to have an “I Read YA” week?

Claire: I think encouraging teenagers to read is paramount to the future of the human race. The teenagers of today will be the pioneers of tomorrow, but without well-exercised imaginations, how can we expect them to have the kind of vision they will need to take this world further forward into the future?

Nerd Girl: Describe your latest work in five words or less.

Claire: Magical, mysterious, action packed adventure!

Nerd Girl: Your series is literally an epic. The thought of seven books blows my mind and I totally admire you for it! How do you tackle a series that is more than a couple books?

Claire: Thank you! I’m not sure how many other authors work the same way, but I plotted out the over arcing story for the series first, in unison with the characters and their back-stories. I literally took over our front room and pinned up a series timeline that spanned the length of the entire wall! Then I just kept adding in the details for each book via post-its until it got too big for the wall! After a whole year of planning and research, I began writing the first book.

Nerd Girl: Where did the inspiration for your series come from? How did the idea form, and are there authors that have inspired it?

Claire: Well, as a child, I was a huge C.S. Lewis fan. He really sparked my fascination in the concept of multiverses, and that is something that has always stuck with me. In my new adult years, I began writing screenplays and making short films, so when I got the idea for the Weaver’s Riddle series, I was originally going to write it as a movie. But when I realised the depth of the series, I decided it was time to make the leap from screenplays to novels. I was lucky enough to meet JK Rowling during a signing event for her novel, The Casual Vacancy, and ask her a question, so naturally, I asked about writing. I put her advice into practice, and a few years later, here I am!

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Thank you darling Claire for stopping by and being a part of I Read YA Week on What A Nerd Girl Says!

And don’t forget, we have amazing interviews and guest posts all week! Also, head to my instagram for the giveaway, including all sorts of signed YA author swag, and TWO advanced readers copies of some YA novels!

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I Read YA Guest Post with Author Mary McCoy: Why I Read and Write YA!

Welcome to the first guest post of my celebration of I Read YA week! I am so excited to have this amazing author as a guest today, order on What A Nerd Girl Says, because she is an awesome presence in the YA community and I love having her as a friend. Please read on to learn more about the epic Mary McCoy!

ABOUT MARY MCCOY 

Mary McCoy is a writer and a librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. She has also been a contributor to On Bunker Hill and the1947project, where she wrote stories about Los Angeles’s notorious past. She grew up in western Pennsylvania and studied at Rhodes College and the University of Wisconsin. Mary now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. Her debut novel,Dead To Me, is a YA mystery set in the glamorous, treacherous world of 1940s Hollywood.

HER BOOK 

Add Mary McCoy’s amazing debut novel on Goodreads, and buy it at your local bookstore or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Book Depository. 

“Don’t believe anything they say.”

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her–and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn’t a kid anymore, and this time she won’t let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets–and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie’s attacker behind bars–if Alice can find her first. And she isn’t the only one looking

Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.

WHY MARY MCCOY READS AND WRITES YA 

When people ask me why I read YA, I always say that I appreciate young adult fiction because it respects the reader’s time. I like that YA gives me complicated human emotions and experiences, fast-moving prose, richly drawn characters, and stories I can get lost in even if I can finish them in a sitting or two.

But it also goes deeper than that. YA is not staring at its own belly button, contemplating how special and clever and wise it is. It’s fiction that’s inviting me as a reader to ask, “What do *you* think?” It’s fiction that doesn’t claim to have all the answers. It’s fiction that encourages readers to figure out how they feel and gives them permission to formulate opinions – even if they’re different from the author’s.
As for why I write YA, I think it’s because the experience of time and place is so strange and frustrating when you’re a teenager. You live on a schedule imposed by someone else, and you don’t get to make a lot of the choices that impact you. That’s interesting to me because I find that – both as a writer and as a person – those limitations suck, but they can also lead to creative breakthroughs and help you punch through, leap over, and sneak around the lousy, boring choices you might make if you had limitless resources.
When you’re stuck in the box that is high school, YA tells you there’s no point in waiting around for someone to rescue you. You can sit around waiting for things to change, or you can turn into Harry Houdini, wiggle your way loose, and astonish them all. You can do it on your own terms, and that’s true whether you’re talking about writing YA or living it.

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Thank you so so so much Mary for being a part of I Read YA week! Remember to tune in all week to keep up with all the interviews and posts!