I Read YA Week Interview with Melissa Landers!

I am so insanely excited to bring you the second interview with an excellent YA author, information pills Melissa Landers! She is one of my favorite authors and a huge influence on my own writing. I am so pleased and honored to have her here on What A Nerd Girl Says and I’m ready to jump right in so let’s do this!

ABOUT MELISSA LANDERS

Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, price she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati in the town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio”.

You Can Find Her:

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

HER BOOK

Add Melissa’s fantastic sci-fi novel on GoodReads and buy a copy at your local bookstore or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Book Depository!

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

HER INTERVIEW

Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?

Melissa: Quite simply: because I want to. There’s so much to enjoy as a YA author: a supportive writing community, enthusiastic fans, limitless story possibilities. I’m having a lot of fun writing for this market. Maybe that’s a selfish reason, but it’s true. :)

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

Melissa: For me, nothing tops Harry Potter. The series started as middle grade and transitioned to YA in a smooth, seamless way that mirrored Harry’s growth. I enjoyed these books so much, and now I’m reading them to my children. It’s great to share that love of the series with them.

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

Melissa: Let’s battle an intergalactic mafia!

Nerd Girl: What advice would you give aspiring science fiction authors, especially those who want to dive into space/alien stories like yours?

Melissa: Don’t be afraid to get WEIRD. In this genre, weird is good! I’ll bet Frank Herbert’s friends gave him the side-eye when he said, “I have a story idea about a desert planet where giant sandworms poop out an addictive drug called spice!” But look how that turned out. Dune is (IMO) the gold standard for science fiction.

Nerd Girl: Both the Alienated series and Starflight do such a wonderful job of balancing a science fiction story and fun and awesome romance. How do you balance the two of them when writing?

Melissa: Thank you! Over time, I’ve learned to become more aware of that balance. My natural inclination is to veer toward romance, (I love making characters fall in love!), so I have to remind myself during the plotting stage not to let the romance take over. It helps to have an experienced editor in my corner. She’s good at pointing out imbalances. In fact…she just sent me an edit letter for Starfall, so I’m going to say “goodbye” and get to work. :)

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Thank you, again, Melissa, for joining us! We were so happy to host you during I Read YA week! I can’t wait for United this summer! EEK!

And you guys, don’t forget to head to my instagram, to enter my I Read YA Week giveaway! It runs until May 8th and includes two contemporary YA ARCs and a ton of signed swag!

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I Read YA Week Interview with BT Gottfred!

Happy Friday everyone! The best day of the week in my opinion and today is no exception since I’m bring you not one, more about not two, viagra dosage but THREE awesome interviews with three equally awesome YA authors. Lets jump into the first one, with one of my absolutely favorite people ever, Brad Gottfred :)

ABOUT BT GOTTFRED

Taken from Brad’s website: Wrote and directed the play, “Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A**holes” that has played over four years in Los Angeles and Chicago and just made its Off Broadway premiere at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre. Los Angeles Times said: “Seldom have I been a part of a more enthusiastic and vocal audience. Brad T Gottfred’s play about young couples stumbling through the minefield of codependency taps a universal nerve.”

Wrote, directed, and executive produced the feature film “The Movie Hero” which played at over 20 film festivals worldwide, winning numerous awards including First Prize at the Rhode Island Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival.

My first play, “Marry, F**K, Or Kill” was called “a guilty pleasure for veterans of the single life” by the Los Angeles Times. It went on to an Off Broadway premiere in the fall of 2011.

First web series “Sex and Love Conspire to Destroy the World” was released by MyDamnChannel in 2013.

My first-ish novel, “Forever for a Year”, was released in July 2015 by Macmillan/Holt. My second-isa novel, “The Nerdy and The Dirty” arrives November 2016 from Mac/Holt.

You Can Find Him:

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

HIS BOOK

This book comes out in November 2016. I just started reading it and I already totally love it! Add it on GoodReads and preorder it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Pen Lupo is sick and tired of hiding who she is. On the outside, Pen is popular, quiet, and deferential to her boyfriend. On the inside, however, Pen is honest, opinionated–and not quite sure that she’s like other girls. Do they have urges like she does?

His classmates may consider him a nerd, but Benedict Pendleton knows he’s destined for great things. All he has to do is find a worthy girlfriend, and his social station will be secured. Sure, Benedict is different–but that’s what he likes about himself.

When fate intervenes, both Pen and Benedict end up at the same vacation resort for winter break. Despite their differences, the two are drawn together. But is there such a thing as happily ever after for a nympho and a nerd?

THE INTERVIEW

Nerd Girl: Why do you write YA?

Brad: Because the not-really-a-secret of the universe is that no matter how old you get, you’re always a ‘young adult’ inside and so this allows me to express all my crazy emotions while not-so-secretly-hiding them in the lives of teenagers.
Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite YA reads?
Brad: I fall in love with strong voices, ones so vibrant that you can feel them thinking inside your own brain. ‘Catcher in the Rye’ is the parent of all such books. Sherman Alexie’s ‘Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ was a recent favorite.
Nerd Girl: What do you think is a big misconception about YA and why do you think its wrong?
Brad: That all the books are the same. The variety is just as wide and interesting as work for ‘adults’. (Note the quotes are the word ‘adult’ ;)
Nerd Girl: Why do you think its important to have a “I Read YA” week?
Brad: All of us ‘adults’ will be forever dealing with issues that first rose in childhood so it’s vital everyone encourages everyone else that they should be proud they are exploring these issues through YA.
Nerd Girl: Describe your latest work in five words or less.
Brad: Brainy boy, fiery girl: collision
Nerd Girl: You have worked in both theatre and fiction. How do you tackle each one? What are some similarities/differences?
Brad: Both require me to be relentless in my pursuit of honoring the authenticity of the characters. In fiction, I get to explore their inner life a thousand fold while in theatre I have to reveal character through their interactions with others.
Nerd Girl: Do your kids have any influences over the stories that you create/do you think they will influence you in the future?
Brad: Much of what draws me to stories are wanting one-of-a-kind characters to have a voice and a place in the world. And I hope my kids feel empowered to be their own kind of one-of-a-kind ;)

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Thank you again Brad for lending yourself to What A Nerd Girl Says to celebrate I Read YA Week! You are awesome and I can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy of The Nerdy and the Dirty!

Don’t forget everyone, head to my instagram to enter my I Read YA Week giveaway, which includes two YA contemporary ARCs and a TON of signed swag!

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Pasadena Loves YA: Spotlight on Morgan Matson + Giveaway!

Hello everyone! And welcome to my spotlight in the Pasadena Loves YA blog tour on the wonderful and amazing Morgan Matson!

I am INCREDIBLY excited about this event and am honored to be hosting such a fantastic author today.

But before we get into that, help let’s find out more about this event!

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When: 

May 23rd 2015 from 12pm to 4 pm

Where: 

Pasadena Public Library
285 East Walnut Street
Pasadena, click CA 91101

FREE EVENT! Giveaways and Refreshments! Free TOTE BAG to first 150 Guests! Make sure to share on Twitter, about it Facebook, Instagram using the hashtag #PLYA2015!

For most info, visit their website here.

Authors!

Keynote speaker Mary McCoy (author of Dead to Me) with Katie Alender, Victoria Aveyard, Alexis Bass, Julie Berry, Livia Blackburne, Virginia Boecker, Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky, Brandy Colbert, Ava Dellaira, Kody Keplinger, Liz Maccie, Morgan Matson, Lauren Miller, Alexandra Monir, Jennifer Niven, Romina Russell, Sarah Tomp, & Kiersten White

Book Sales

Provided by Vroman’s Bookstore, starting at 11 am! The event is also co-sponsored by Bridge to Books.

About Morgan Matson

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Morgan fell in love with YA literature while working in Vroman’s Bookstore! Her first book, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, was inspired by her own road trips (and have inspired my friends and I to road trip as well!). She has written three novels with another on the way, and also writes under the pseudonym, Katie Finn. She lives in Los Angeles. All of her books take place during summer, which makes her perfect for this event!

Find Her At:

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / GoodReads

About Since You’ve Been Gone

Since You’ve Been Gone is Morgan’s most recent novel but make sure to check her debut novel, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, and her sophomore novel, Second Chance Summer. 

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GoodReads Synopsis: The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.

Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a Stranger? Um…

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Wait … what?

The Interview: 

Nerd Girl: All of your books center on summer. What is it about summer that makes you want to set them during this time, both as Morgan and Katie? 

Morgan: I don’t know what it is exactly, but I certainly seem to keep returning to that time period, don’t I? I guess I like that there’s less structure during the summer — you don’t have the same school schedule, so you’re able to maybe have different experiences, maybe meet new friends, than you would during the school year. It also always seemed like there was the potential change in the summer in a way there isn’t in the school year.

Nerd Girl: What is your favorite part about summer? 

Morgan: I love it all! How long the days are, the weather, the feeling of possibility that seems to permeate every single summer.

Nerd Girl: Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on for the future? 

Morgan: I’m writing a book, as yet untitled, that’s coming out in 2016! I can’t say much about it yet. But rest assured, it’s also set in the summer! And then the conclusion of the Broken Hearts and Revenge trilogy, Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross, written as Katie Finn, comes out in summer 2016, as well.

Nerd Girl: What are three essential things you need for a good road trip? 

Morgan: Snacks, tunes, good road trip buddy

Nerd Girl: What are you currently binging on Netflix? 

Morgan: Just finished the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Loved it!

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

Morgan: “You can’t fix a blank page”. Meaning, better to write something bad and make it better than to not write anything at all, trying to make it perfect.”

Thank you SO much Morgan for being a part of this spotlight and interview!

The Giveaway!

Any 3 Books from the Pasadena Loves YA authors!

The giveaway ends May 20th and is US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tune in next week for a spotlight on the super fabulous Lauren Miller!

Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer

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I am so pleased to be bringing you the Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour once again! This is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m honored to help promote it as much as I possibly can. There are a ton of wonderful authors this year and an equally wonderful batch of bloggers to help me spotlight them.

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When: March 21st, advice 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
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 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 3rd: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 10th: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

*      *      *      *      *

Today’s spotlight is on:

Mary Elizabeth Summer

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Taken from her Website:

Mary Elizabeth Summer contributes to the delinquency of minors by writing books about unruly teenagers with criminal leanings. She has a BA in creative writing from Wells College, and her philosophy on life is “you can never go wrong with sriracha sauce.” She lives in Portland Oregon with her wife, their daughter, and their evil overlor—er, cat.

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

Her Book

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Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

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

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

The Interview

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Nerd Girl: Trust Me, I’m Lying is your debut novel. Talk about what it was like to find out your novel was going to be published? 

Mary: I believe the first words I said when my agent called to tell me about my first offer were: “I think I’m going to puke”. She very calmly told me to not do that until after we finished discussing the details. As it turned out, I had a couple additional offers after that initial one, so there was a whirlwind of editor calls and figuring things out. When the dust finally settled, and I had officially accepted an offer, I walked around with wings on my feet for weeks. The only thing that gave me an equivalent feeling was seeing the finished book on a shelf in my favorite bookstore. Its euphoric. And slightly frightening. But mostly euphoric.

Nerd Girl: Where did the idea for Trust Me, I’m Lying come from? 

Mary: I got the idea for the Trust Me series one night while watching back-to-back episodes of White Collar and Leverage. I thought, “Man, I’d love to read a book about a teenage con artist, but I don’t think there are any.” (It turns out there are several, I just didn’t know about any of them.) Then I didn’t think any more about it till I woke up the next morning with Julep’s snarky voice in my head, demanding to be written. As you’ll discover reading the book, Julep doesn’t take no for an answer. So I spent the next year with her poking me until I finished.

Nerd Girl: Julep is a unique character in her own, a little more anti-hero than straight up hero. Is there a reason(s) that you created a character like this and can we expect more characters like this in your future?

Mary: Oh, yes. I have always loved the villains-turned-sort-of-heroes trope. There was a storyline in the original animated Voltron where the son of the Big Bad had a thing for the Princess, and he would often mess up his father’s plans (against his own best interest) to save her. And in He-Man, my favorite episodes were always the ones where Skeletor and He-Man had to team up to defeat a common foe. And then Firefly happened, which just had my villain/hero-loving heart all in a pile of mush for every episode. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a tender-hearted villain. So the answer to your second question is a resounding YES — all of my protagonists in every book I write will be at least half evil.

Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite books to read? 

Mary: I love sci-fi. I could read sci-fi every day of the week. My favorite sci-fis I’ve read recently are Alienated by Melissa Landers, Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones, Run to You by Clara Kensie and Beyond Our Stars by Marie Langager. I also like paranormal and fantasy — Cracked by Eliza Crewe was one of my favorite books I read last year. And of course, myster: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano, Far From You by Tess Sharpe, The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie E. Hall and Tabula Rasa by Kristsen Lippert-Martin are all amazing.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write for teens as opposed for adults? 

Mary: I like writing for teens, because I like writing about teens. I like how cagey they have to be, how observant and opportunistic, just to get a ride to the mall. I like how vulnerable they have to stay in order to keep their lives in order and their loved ones happy. They’re the ultimate martyrs, really, and oh, how I love to sacrifice them on the alter of…er, *cough*, I mean, bring to light the inner depths they’re capable of when their lives get turned upside down.

All joking aside, YA is a powerful genre. It challenges us to grow up before our time and yet be strong enough to hold onto our innocence and belief in magic. No other genre can say that.

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment and who was it with?

Mary: I’ve had a lot of fangirl moments at book signings (because authors! :-D) But my favorite story is when I had Margaret Stohl sign my copy of Beautiful Creatures. I told her how my wife read it to me aloud while I was in labor with our daughter, and she jumped out of her seat and asked one of the other authors there to take our picture with her camera, as if were the celebrity. LOL I loved it.

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen? 

Mary: Several good moments come to mind — musical solos, murder mystery parties, a popular senior guy (who didn’t know me) asking me if I went to the Starfleet Academy because I had the sticker on my car (there was much laughter and an ‘I wish’ on my part). But if I’m being honest, my favorite memories all happened in books. I was a book addict, and every story was another set of best friends and another opportunity to save the world.

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush? 

Mary: This is a tough one for me because I like girls, but not the kind of girls that usually get written about. So I’m going to plead lack of options to choose from here. If I were into boys, though, I’d say my fictional crush would be Chuck from Chuck. He’s such a woobie. Or maybe Seth from The O.C. (for the same reason). I prefer smart, sensitive dudes.

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The Giveaway 

Two Prizes, Two Winners!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015 Blog Tour: Spotlight on Melissa Landers

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I am so pleased to be bringing you the Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour once again! This is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m honored to help promote it as much as I possibly can. There are a ton of wonderful authors this year and an equally wonderful batch of bloggers to help me spotlight them.

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When: March 21st, treat 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, buy 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 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

*      *      *      *      *

Today’s Spotlight is on the one and only:

Melissa Landers

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Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati and writes adult contemporary romance as Macy Beckett.

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

Her Books

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Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

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

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

The Interview!

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Nerd Girl: This first one is kind of typical: where did the idea for Alienated and Invaded come from? Why THIS story? 

Melissa: Right before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2009, I was driving down the interstate thinking, “If I’m going to do this whole NaNo thing, I need a plot. What am I going to write about?” Several ideas came to mind, but I dismissed them because they were boring or cliched. Then – out of nowhere – I thought, “What if a high school senior had to host an alien exchange student?” Boom! I fell in love with the concept, and the rest is history.

Nerd Girl: Congrats on Invaded being published recently! What can we expect from you in the future?

Melissa: Right now, I’m wrapping up STARFLIGHT, a new stand-alone sci-fi romance that should release in 2016.

Just announced as well…

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Nerd Girl: What are some of the things that you strive for when you’re writing, knowing that teens are going to be reading it? 

Melissa: My process is pretty organic, meaning I don’t have any ulterior motives or anything I “strive for” while writing. I just let the story unfold.

Nerd Girl: Cara and Aelyx have easily become one of my favorite book couples! Did you have any inspiration from other fictional couples or even real life couples when creating their relationship?

Melissa: Thank you! I love their relationship, especially the way it gradually evolved from reluctant acquaintances to friends to more-than-friends. No, I didn’t find inspiration from any other couples. Aelyx and Cara are one of a kind.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write for teens as opposed to adults? 

Melissa: Actually, I never made the choice. As stated above, my process is very organic. I had an idea to write about a teenage girl hosting an alien exchange student, and the story unfolded from there. The second book I wrote (under a pen name) was for adults. Again, not an active choice. The story ideas come to me, I write them, and then figure out who the audience is.

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen? 

Melissa: My favorite teen memory is probably my first date, which didn’t happen until I was sixteen. (My parents were strict.) The night was incredibly special, and as a bonus, it led to my first kiss and my first love. I dated that boy on and off for almost a year.

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush?

Melissa: I have a fickle heart when it comes to literary crushes. With so many amazing book boyfriends out there, who can choose just one? Not this gal!

Giveaway!

Two Prizes, Two Winners!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ontario Teen Book Fest-Author Spotlight on Jessi Kirby and Giveaway!

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Hello everyone, visit this site and welcome to my second stop of the blog tour for the Ontario Teen Book Fest :) You can read my previous stop with Jessica Brody and all other previous stops by clicking the links further down in this spotlight. But let’s jump and start talking about this wonderful event happening next weekend!

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When: May 17th, sickness 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, cialis 40mg 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!

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

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Mrs. Nelson’s 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. I’ve got some great bloggers helping me out to profile these amazing authors. Check out the full blog tour here!

May 2nd: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 3rd: Spotlight on Elana K. Arnold — Nite Lite Book Reviews
May 4th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Fangirl Feeels
May 5th: Spotlight on Livia Blackburne – The Thousand Lives
May 6th: Spotlight on Lauren Kate — She Reads She Blogs

May 7th: Spotlight on Katie Alender — Movies, Shows and Books
May 8th:Spotlight on Lauren Miller — A Bookish Escape
May 9th: Spotlight on Sarah Skilton — Read Now Sleep Later
May 10th: Spotlight on Lissa Price — Recently Acquired Obsessions 
May 11th: Spotlight on Jessi Kirby — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 12th: Spotlight on Katherine Ewell — iFandoms Collide
May 13th: Spotlight on Mary Pearson — The Windy Pages
May 14th: Spotlight on John Corey Whaley — Read Now Sleep Later
May 15th: Spotlight on Robin Benway — Adventures of a Book Junkie
May 16th: Spotlight on Ava Dellaira — Fangirl Feeels

So today’s kick off spotlight of the tour is on the one and only:

Jessi Kirby

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Jessi Kirby is the author of  Goldenwhich will be released in May of 2013, MoonglassIn Honor.  She is also a former English teacher and librarian, wife, mom, beach lover, runner, and lover of Contemporary YA, strong coffee, and dark chocolate.  In that order. You can find her at:

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

Her Books

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Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her. 

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn . . . and ruggedly good-looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn–but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

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Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

Interview!

Nerd Girl: All of the characters in your novels have degrees of strengths and weaknesses and go through lessons and self-discovery. Was it important to you to represent these kind of characters in books for young people, especially as a mother?

Jessi: I think all of us, as people, no matter what age, gender, etc., have different degrees of strengths and weakness, and that these things shift and change as we go through, life, with all of its lessons and self-discovery. It’s extremely important to me that my characters reflect that, because that means they’ll read as genuine people, who are strong sometimes, and weak at others, but who are always growing, hopefully for the better. That’s the goal, anyway, both as a writer, and a mother – to portray those things that make us human.

Nerd Girl: Your most ‘recent’ novel, Golden, was published in May 2013. What can we expect from you in the future?

Jessi: I’m very excited about my next book, Things We Know By Heart, which comes out in Summer 2015. It’s about a girl named Quinn Sullivan, who lost her first love in an accident, and as a way to deal with her grief, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs. All of these people write her back, except the one she deems most important, which is, of course the one who received his heart.

Unable to let it go, she goes outside of the guidelines for privacy and finds out who he is. She tells herself she just needs to see who he is, see him living his life and then she can let it go, but when she goes to his small beach town and literally runs into him in a cafe, things get complicated fast. He’s completely fast. He’s completely taken with her, and no matter how much she tries to deny it, the pull of him is so strong that before she knows it, she’s falling for him too. The problem is, he has no idea who she is, and a relationship built on omissions and half-truths can only last so long before the truth comes out.

Nerd Girl: Have you always imagined yourself as an author, or did you have other career aspirations in the past?

Jessi: I’ve known since 3rd grade and my first Judy Blume book that I wanted to be a writer. I’ll never forget listening to her words, read by my teacher, and thinking “I want to do this. I want to make stories like Judy Blume.” I started writing then, and never stopped. But in high school, I had an English teacher (Mr Kenny, who is Mr Kinney in GOLDEN), who so inspired me that he got me thinking about teaching as well. I taught middle school and high school English for 5 years, and while trying to inspire these kids to go after their dreams, I ended up prodding myself to do so as well, and started writing Moonglass.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write about teens instead of adults or children?

Jessi: Like I’ve heard many YA authors say, it wasn’t really a conscious decision. That’s just the way that my first story came out, and it’s the way they all have since then. For that, I feel lucky, because writing about teens is full of so much potential.

Nerd Girl: What are some important things that you strive for when writing your novels, knowing that teens are going to be reading them?

Jessi: I don’t think I treat teen readers any different than adult readers. I just try to tell a story where the characters read as genuine people, who, as you mentioned earlier, have strengths and weaknesses, make mistakes, fall down, pick themselves, grow as people. Those things are for all readers.

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment and who was it with?

Jessi: I have, and of course it was with the one and only Judy Blume, who I met for a half second where instead of telling her everything that was on the tip of my tongue about how much she inspired me, and how I’ve loved all of her books ever since I can remember, I shook her hand, a friend took a picture of us, and it was over so fast I actually have to look back at the picture to believe it really happened!

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen?

Jessi: Senior prom night — the after party. Someone had rented a condo for the party, and just about everyone from our class was there — we had we had a tiny senior class. It was one of those nights where we all knew the end of the year was coming and everyone was friendly and nostalgic, and we danced all night then watched the sun rise from the roof — (almost) all of us. It was special. Like we could feel how much big chance was coming.

Nerd Girl: Last question: who is your fictional crush?

Jessi: Ooh, that’s a tough one. It has to be a tie — between Wes, from The Truth About Forever, and Dexter from This Lullaby. Dessen writes the best boys!

The prizes include: 

Grand Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Poster Signed by All Attending Authors and a Swag Pack!

Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!
Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!

First Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Signed by All Attending Authors!

Second Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Shirt Signed by All Attending Authors!

The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!
The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!

And its easy to enter, in the rafflecopter below! Sorry, no international this time around!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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