Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Spotlight on Kristin Halbrook!

Hello all! I hope you are all enjoying the awesome blog tour that’s been going on for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, dosage which is going on THIS Saturday! Don’t forget to head on down because its going to be amazing. And if you can’t make it to the event, case stick around, learn a little about the amazing Kristin Halbrook, and enter our giveaway!

But first, some reminders of the details of this epic event.

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When:

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

9:30 am to 5 pm

Where:

Colony High School Branch Library
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 22nd – Spotlight on Andrew SmithWhat A Nerd Girl Says

February 23rd – Spotlight on Alexandra MonirThe Consummate Reader

February 24th – Spotlight on April TucholkeAdventures of a Book Junkie

February 25th – Spotlight on Alexis BassA Traveling Book

February 26th – Spotlight on Marissa MeyerRead Now Sleep Later

February 27th – Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth SantanaMovies, Shows and Books

February 28th – Spotlight on Robin ReulRecently Acquired Obsessions

February 29th – Spotlight on Katherine KottarasiFandoms Collide

March 1st – Spotlight on Stephanie DiazMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 2nd – Spotlight on Virginia BoeckerThe Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd – Spotlight on Mary McCoyBook You Very Much

March 4th – Spotlight on Brad GottfredSeeking Bazinga

March 5th – Spotlight on Michelle LevyMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 6th – Spotlight on Elana K ArnoldRead Now Sleep Later

March 7th – Spotlight on Kristin HalbrookWhat A Nerd Girl Says

March 8th – Spotlight on Jessica BrodyThe Windy Pages

March 9th – Spotlight on Nicole MaggiNite Lite Book Reviews

March 10th – Spotlight on Jay AsherA Bookish Escape

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Today’s Spotlight Features:

Kristin Halbrook

Taken from her website: When I was little, I wanted to be a writer, the President of the USA or the first female NFL quarterback. Despite being able to throw a wicked spiral, I didn’t really grow to the size needed for the NFL. Then, as I got older and studied more, I came to realize there were better ways to effect positive change than becoming president. The first one, however, stuck. Even when I was pursuing other dreams, I always took time to write here and there.

When I’m not writing or reading (which is what I do all day, in all of my work), I’m spending time with three pixies, my Mad Scot soulmate, and one grumpy cocker spaniel; traveling across oceans and time; cooking and baking up a storm; and watching waves crash and suns set on the beach. I currently live, love and explore in The Emerald City, though I occasionally make wispy, dream-like plans to move to Paris or a Scottish castle one day (if just temporarily).

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

Her Books

Kristin is the author of a couple amazing contemporary YA novels, but her most recent release, Every Last Promise, will be featured today!

Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn’t supposed to. But she hasn’t told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla’s coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.

Find His Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

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The Interview

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Nerd Girl: Give us a short pitch of your most recent novel

Kristin: At a party, Kayla Martin saw something terrible she wasn’t supposed to see. Now, she needs to decide to either stay silent, and be able to remain in the home she loves, or speak up and lose everything she has.

Nerd Girl: What is something you’ve learned about writing since becoming a published author?

Kristin: Everything takes times. A lot of time. Writing a novel, editing a novel, the whole publishing process. But that time isn’t a bad thing; novels become better when they’ve had time to rest, when the author has had time to rest. Coming back to a project after a period away brings freshness and clarity that can be lost when focus in incessant. The book will wait while you live your life!

Nerd Girl: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Kristin: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” That’s a (summarized) quote by Anton Chekhov. I didn’t receive it personally, of course, but it’s been a guide to me throughout my entire career as a writer. I think the quote holds a double punch; it’s phrased beautifully, showing the power of each word in a sentence, and it’s giving great show-don’t-tell advice.

Nerd Girl: What is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teenager?

Kristin: Sitting in a garage at night with friends, listening to someone strumming the guitar against the sound of rain on the rooftop, arguing about nothing in particular or cuddling with partners, or eating and drinking. Or all of the above.

Nerd Girl: Your book Every Last Promise tackles the very serious and very relevant issue of sexual assault and speaking up about it. Why did you write about this?

Kristin: All of my fiction tackles topics that are personally important to me, whether because I or someone dear to me experienced them, or because they are (unfortunately, too) prominent in the various segments of our national and/or world culture. A large number of small town sexual assaults were in the headlines as I was writing and revising Every Last Promise, and I started to wonder about the people in those towns: what they were thinking and feeling, whether they supported the victim, how hard it must have been for the victim to stand up against their very small, local culture. That last question, especially, was one I wanted to explore. Victims are silent for a variety of reasons, and understanding those reasons makes us all better advocates for those who need us.

Nerd Girl: Who have been some of your biggest influences?

Kristin: Melina Marchetta, Stephanie Kuehnert, and Meg Rosoff were three of the YA authors I read early in my writing career who taught me that yes, I can write YA. I have a story to tell. I can tell this contemporary, realistic tale with literary language and it will find a home. But all the influences that led up to me becoming a writer and writing the way I do would fill a book on their own! I’ve been a ready pretty much forever, and every book influenced me, somehow.

Nerd Girl: Who are some of your favorite authors to read?

Kristin: Again, there are so many! I’m currently on an adult women’s upmarket fiction kick, so I’m really into Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn. But I also love coming across a gorgeous YA contemporary, or a sweeping YA fantasy, especially if it’s based in an ethnically diverse setting. I recently enjoyed The Smell of Other People’s Houses and I’m really looking forward to reading The Star-Touched Queen, out next month.

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment with an author or celebrity?

Kristin: Not really, but I recently dreamed that James McAvoy bought all my daughters’ Girl Scout cookies and I was fangirling on him pretty hard, there. Both for just being James McAvoy, but also for taking all those boxes of cookies off my hands.

Nerd Girl: Who is your fictional crush?

Kristin: Lately, I’ve been devouring books about terrible people, hee, so haven’t crushed on anyone in a long time, but I’ve always loved Gilbert Blythe. Oh, and Jonah from Jellicoe Road.

Nerd Girl: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

Kristin: Thanks so much for having me. I’m really looking forward to the Ontario Teen Book Fest; it will be a blast!

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The Giveaway!

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One winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review: The Power by Jennifer L Armentrout

Genre: 

New Adult, order Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 

344 pages

Part of a Series?:

Second in the Titans series, companion to the Covenant series

Release Date: 

February 23rd, 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

With any great change, there is always strife, and the Covenant University has become the frontline between pure-bloods who want the Breed Order reinstated and the half-bloods who want the right to control their own destinies.

Fate has other plans.

 The violence is escalating and war between the races seems inevitable, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. Hyperion may be out of commission, but Josie and Seth know they have only earned a reprieve.  Seth must get Josie fully prepared, which means controlling her newfound abilities, and they need to find the other demigods before the Titans do.

 But the gods are sensing a greater threat. 

 Only one thing is more dangerous than a bunch of starved Titans, and that’s an out-of-control Apollyon. The aether in Josie is drawing Seth in deeper, and when lust mixes with love and gives way to power, he knows being close to her is not only dangerous to her, but to everyone around them, but letting her go requires a level of selflessness that just isn’t Seth’s style.

 The paths taken in the past are becoming the roads of the future.

 Just as chaos breaks out, familiar faces from the past return, complicating the already strained bond between Josie and Seth, and when the danger from the Titans erupts with devastating consequences, the dark allure of power calls to Seth again, but this time Josie might not be able to pull him back.

 And when the struggle between power and love becomes the deadliest battleground, there may be no salvation.

 

My Review:

I was so afraid that when I went to read this book, I wouldn’t remember a thing about the first book and I was mostly right about that. I read the ARC of the first book nearly two years ago, so I had forgotten a little bit about what was going on. Luckily, the story picks up quickly and I was caught up fast. I immediately fell back in with Seth and Josie, both of whom I love to death.

What I really loved about this book was the struggle that both of the characters were going through. Seth really is trying so hard to be different than literally what he was born to me. And its a physical struggle for him and there are times when I want to throttle him and there are times when I just want to wrap him in my arms and cuddle him like a little baby. Oh, Seth, he does things to a reader’s emotions, especially since we had gotten to know him so well, as the bad guy, in the Covenant series. But I adore him, and I feel so much sympathy for his struggle, especially since he cares for Josie so insanely much.

Oh, and Josie! This is a girl after my own heart! I love her stubbornness and I love her flaws and I love how she is trying so hard to be a demigod and learn and harness her powers to get ready to fight the Titans but she’s also in love with French fries and she struggles with her feelings for Seth. I love that she’s SO incredibly human, because despite the fact that she’s this great power and she’s intended for great purpose, she’s so relatable. She reminds me of Alex that way.

Which brings me to my FAVORITE part of the whole book, the fact that we get to have Alex and Aidan back! I love the Covenant series so much, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love that series and Alex is one of my favorite characters ever, period, and that series has been so incredibly influential to me. So having them back, both evolved characters from when we knew them in their own series, but also so so…them, was amazing. Any time they were on the page, I did a little happy dance in my chair. I hope to see more of them in the next book!

And the next book! I need it now. Its called The Struggle, which is a fitting title since it doesn’t come out til NEXT YEAR. I don’t like waiting, especially after that incredible ending. I knew something big was coming but what happened was so unexpected and I am dying to find out what happens next!

All in all…another fantastic book by JLA!

 

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Top Anticipated March Releases!

WHY DO ALL THESE BOOKS COME OUT THE SAME DAY?!?!?!?!

Young Adult 

*****

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The Darkest Artifices #1

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, healing but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Release Date: March 8th, 2016

My Thoughts: Honestly, with the way the last three TMI books went, you’d think I’d have no desire to read this book. However, CoHF made me seriously love Emma and Julian so much and it does take place basically in my backyard so I’m seriously excited about this book.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands #1

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

Release Date: March 8th, 2016

My Thoughts: I have heard so many amazing and good things in this book and it keeps popping up on my radar. I seriously want this book in my life. Plus this book cover is so freakin’ gorgeous.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.

Release Date: March 8th, 2016

My Thoughts: This is another book that has been on my radar for the past few weeks. The cover is gorgeous and Jeff and I became friends on various social medias and I love love love the sound of this book, and definitely can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

A Thunder Road Novel #2

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

Release Date: March 29th, 2016

My Thoughts: It had taken me a long time to give Nowhere But Here a chance but once I did, I was just so in love. I have never really been into motorcycle gang/family sort of stories but oh wow this one was just so freakin’ good so I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.

*****

New Adult

*****

Us by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

Us #2

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves–Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they? When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Release Date: March 8th, 2016

My Thoughts: I loved loved loved the first book so much and I think that Elle and Sarina are two of my favorite NA authors, hands down. They write such great hockey romance and I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on the continuation of Jamie and Wes’s story.

*****

What are some books you’re looking forward to this month? Share in the comments!

The Awakened Sequel News, A Special Ash POV and More!

I have so so so much news everyone!

As all of you know (or I hope you know lol), there my debut novel, The Awakened, came out through OfTomes Publishing this past December. Its been doing quite well and I’m loving all the incredible responses you’ve all thrown my way. Its been a sort of surreal last few months…The Awakened has officially been out for 3 months today! How crazy.

And to celebrate that, I’m sharing four things. Three of these were shared just this past Saturday, in celebration of my birthday, but I didn’t post them here so I wanted to make sure everyone saw it!

One and Two:

This past weekend, OfTomes and I announced the title of the hopefully highly anticipated sequel to The Awakened and the release date.

The Sanctuary follows the continuing story of Zoey, Ash, and Liam and introduces even more characters. I’m so excited to say that it’ll be releasing December 1st of this year!

Three:

However, if that wait is quite long for you, I’m working on something new to tide you over in the meantime. When I first began writing The Awakened, I didn’t realize that Liam would resonate so much with the readers. In fact, I didn’t realize he would have been such a big deal to me, or my story. He sort of snuck up on me. When Zoey sees Liam again at Sekhmet, I was just as surprised as she was! I adore him to pieces and I know that you do too!

So I’ve been thinking about Liam, the person that he is, where he came from, where he’s going and how he ended up in Sekhmet. And I talked about to Ben about it and he agreed and was as excited for me to tell a little bit of Liam’s story as well.

So! Coming sometime this spring/summer, we will have a brand new novella release for you, untitled at the moment, but hopefully that’ll change soon. It’ll be fairly short, not quite prequel, not quite book 1.5. I like to think of as a companion to The Awakened, and I can say that it’ll have small sneak peeks of what is to come in The Sanctuary.

More information is to come, so keep your eye out on that!

Four:

On Christmas Day, I did something special for a select group of people who had preordered The Awakened. I had written a short piece of The Awakened in Ash’s POV. Since then, only about 30 people, if even, have seen and read this. Because you guys have been SO insanely awesome, I’ve decided to share it for the first time with all of you!

Click the link here to read it! 

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Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Spotlight on Andrew Smith

I am so pleased to, visit web yet again, approved bring the official Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour to What A Nerd Girl Says and other amazing Southern California bloggers! This event is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m sure this one is going to be just as great, even not better, than previous years!

When:

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

9:30 am to 5 pm

Where:

Colony High School Branch Library
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 22nd – Spotlight on Andrew SmithWhat A Nerd Girl Says

February 23rd – Spotlight on Alexandra MonirThe Consummate Reader

February 24th – Spotlight on April TucholkeAdventures of a Book Junkie

February 25th – Spotlight on Alexis BassA Traveling Book

February 26th – Spotlight on Marissa MeyerRead Now Sleep Later

February 27th – Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth SantanaMovies, Shows and Books

February 28th – Spotlight on Robin ReulRecently Acquired Obsessions

February 29th – Spotlight on Katherine KottarasiFandoms Collide

March 1st – Spotlight on Stephanie DiazMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 2nd – Spotlight on Virginia BoeckerThe Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd – Spotlight on Mary McCoyBook You Very Much

March 4th – Spotlight on Brad GottfredSeeking Bazinga

March 5th – Spotlight on Michelle LevyMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 6th – Spotlight on Elana K ArnoldRead Now Sleep Later

March 7th – Spotlight on Kristin HalbrookWhat A Nerd Girl Says

March 8th – Spotlight on Jessica BrodyThe Windy Pages

March 9th – Spotlight on Nicole MaggiNite Lite Book Reviews

March 10th – Spotlight on Jay AsherA Bookish Escape

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Today’s Spotlight Is:

ANDREW SMITH 

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Grasshopper Jungle (2015 Michael L. Printz Honor, 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Carnegie Medal Longlist) and Winger. He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. The Alex Crow, a starred novel by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, is his ninth novel. He lives in Southern California.

His Website / His Facebook / His GoodReads / His Twitter / His Instagram

His Books

There are actually so many that he’s written, and all of them are absolutely fabulous. I encourage you to follow him on GoodReads and add ALL of the books. However, I am spotlighting Stand-Off since its his most recent release :)

It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.

Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?

Find His Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

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The Interview

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Nerd Girl: Tell us about your current work in progress. What can we expect from you in the future? 

Andrew: I just submitted a novel to my editor, and I’m not really allowed to give specific details about it at this time, but I can say it’s a crazy speculative futuristic space opera-ish kind of thing. With a giraffe in it. I put the giraffe character in the book as a nod to my friend Jandy Nelson.

 

Nerd Girl: Your most recent release is STAND OFF, the sequel to Winger: what made you decide to continue Ryan Dean’s story?

 

Andrew: Probably it was pressure from readers. I still get emails every day from people of all ages, all over the world, about WINGER. Also, I really missed those characters, and writing STAND-OFF was so fun.

 

Nerd Girl: Ryan Dean struggles a lot with anxiety and PTSD in the second book in STAND OFF, after what he experienced in WINGER. As someone who struggles with similar mental issues, it felt very realistic and relatable. Was it hard to write him with this change in his personality, and did you have to do any research in order to write it the way you did?

 

Andrew: Ha ha! Been there, done that, too. Also, I never actually used terms like PTSD or anxiety in the book, I only wanted to key in on the feelings Ryan Dean was going through, and I think that made those experiences more relatable on a broad level for readers.

Nerd Girl: What is your writing process like? How do you balance writing full length novels with working your job as a teacher? How do you keep yourself motivated?

 

Andrew: Whenever I teach writers, I stress that self-discipline is an invisible but perhaps most important ingredient in what we produce. It’s easy to talk about craft, mechanics, and technique, but if you don’t get off your butt and hit the keyboard, absolutely none of that matters. It’s very difficult at times, and time exists in finite quantities, so you just have to make sure what you’re doing is going to get you where you most want to be. But as far as my personal writing is concerned, I motivate myself by building puzzles into my stories, and by always trying to do something I’ve never tried, and something that nobody else is doing. At least, I try.

 

Nerd Girl: Seeing as this is a teen book fest, I’d like to ask what were some of your favorite books as a teenager? Also, what are some of your favorite current teen reads?

 

Andrew: I read a wide range of thick, weird books when I was a teen. I remember reading–on my own–books like MOBY DICK by Herman Melville, THE IDIOT by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov.

Current YA that I’ve enjoyed (and I hope you know my favorite author is A.S. King, so I’ll spare you the expected list of all her titles): THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER by Tim Federle and THE MEMORY OF THINGS by Gae Polisner. But I don’t think those are out yet.

 

Nerd Girl: What is one thing you learned about writing that you didn’t learn until after you got published?

 

Andrew: Like most people who get published, I didn’t know ANYTHING about the publishing industry when I got published. But, as far as writing goes, I think that working with the amazing editors I’ve had the opportunity to work with has taught me to recognize some of the common mistakes that young writers make in terms of craft, and this has definitely helped me to be a better, more efficient, writer.

 

Nerd Girl: You get the phone call that you’re getting published: what is your reaction? How did you celebrate?

 

Andrew: I kind of passed out, I think. And nobody in my family knew I’d been writing all those years. So I took my wife and kids out to dinner and told them what was going to happen.

 

Nerd Girl: You’ve often said that you don’t necessarily write books FOR teens but ABOUT teens…so why did you choose to write about teens? And why do you think its important to make the point that your books aren’t necessarily just for teens?
Andrew: Some of my favorite books ever have adolescent protagonists: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain, ‘SALEM’S LOT by Stephen King, and Cormac McCarthy’s ALL THE PRETTY HORSES and THE CROSSING. I’ve always liked writing about the adolescent experience for two main reasons: First, adolescence is universal; it’s something we’ve all gone through, and second, I think we all look back on our teenage years as being some of the most significant, shaping years in our lives; times we tend to think about every day.

 

Nerd Girl: What is one of your favorite moments from when you were a teen?
Andrew: Stealing my dad’s car, ditching school, and driving to the beach.

 

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush?
Andrew: Oh gosh. I’d have to say Buffalo Bill from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

*****

The Giveaway!

One winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****