Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween with a YA Misfit

Happy Halloween, lovelies!! We get to celebrate today with a guest. Who, you say? I've got the beautiful Jenny Kaczorowski from the YA Misfits to do an interview with me, right here on this very blog. Are you ready? 

Say hello to Jenny!! 

What do you love about the YA genre?

The intensity. When I was teenager, EVERYTHING was life or death. Everything. There’s a level of passion that adult fiction just doesn’t match for me. All the angst and the drama and the discovery makes for wonderful stories. YA lets me see the world through newly opened eyes again. It lets me fall in love for the first time, experience heartbreak for the first time, discover myself for the first time.

What book made you feel ALL THE THINGS and inspired you to write?
You might laugh, but probably a Beatrix Potter story. My mom read to me and my siblings every night when we were little. I remember trying to write my own story about the rabbits in our backyard because I wanted my little sister to have her own Peter Rabbit story. I began taking my writing seriously after a friend loaned me Twilight. I know those books get a lot of hate these days, but my inner 15-year-old ate it up. It made me realize that all those bits of stories stashed on my computer might have a place after all. Of course I started querying about a year too late and the market is pretty saturated, but I love a good paranormal story and I write what I love.

What genre do you write?
I like to call my writing “beautiful-dark fantasy.” I love to have some kind of otherworldly element, but usually in a contemporary setting. The manuscript I’m querying is an urban fantasy with a strong mystery element. My work in progress is somewhere on the border of contemporary fantasy and magical realism. I’d love to write Science Fiction, but my brain overloads when I try to make the fantastical elements make sense.

Name your top five favorite YA books.
I have to go with something published, right? Because I’ve beta read some AWESOME books that just haven’t found their homes – yet. My list of favorites is ever-changing, but here’s the first five that popped into my head:

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

What YA book would you love to see as a movie?
My husband works in the movie industry and I love film to an unreasonable level. But honestly, I prefer most books to stay as books. Big screen adaptations are almost never as good as the books are in my head. I watched The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at one of the big theatres in Hollywood, with fake snow falling on the audience and an organist performing before the show. Then all I could do was pick out the flaws in the movie. I like my books as books.

Who is your favorite villain?
The best villains are the ones who you understand on some level. The ones you almost find yourself rooting for. Their means might be flawed, but their motives make sense. I also love super-intelligent villains – like Hannibal Lector or the Scarecrow from Batman. I’d much rather be taken down by someone smarter than me.

Are you working on something now? What is it about?
My work in progress is currently called Signal Hill. It’s about a boy who controls lightning and the girl who protects him from people who want to exploit his gift. I’m about halfway through and there is a whole lot of kissing.

If you could give one piece of advice on writing, what would it be?
Write what you love and keep writing it. The publishing industry is brutal. If you’re writing for anyone other than you, you won’t make it. You have to love every story – they need to burn inside of you – or it’s far to easy to give up. If you believe in your stories, agents and publishers will recognize that and, if my critique partners are any indication, you’ll find someone who loves your story as much as you do and it will be magic.

Thank you so much to Jenny and the YA Misfits for letting me feature them on my blog today. You can follow Jenny on Twitter and be sure to check out their blog. 

Monday, October 29, 2012


For the first time ever, I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I wasn't sure if I could handle the pressure, but I'm willing to take the challenge. If you're not familiar with it, it's basically a way to encourage writers to complete a novel within one month. Signing up gives you a place to meet other writers and to hold you accountable when it comes to getting those words in. It's especially helpful for those who need that extra push to stare at the computer for hours and hours, and to write a novel without constantly editing. I used to be really bad at that when I first started. I'd write a chapter or two, then go back and edit the thing to death before I even got the guts of the story in place. Now that I'm more familiar with my craft, I feel that NaNoWriMo will be a fun way to interact with other people and to cheer on my fellow writers.

If you're participating during the month of November, feel free to add me here! It kicks off November first, so be sure to sign up soon. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spooky Books for a Spooky Month

I've been M.I.A. on the blog lately. If you don't follow me on Twitter, which I believe most of you do, you might have missed some big news. Two weeks ago I announced that I am officially represented by Michelle Witte from Mansion Street Literary. This is HUGE news and I'm thrilled to be a part of the Mansion Street Team. I haven't decided whether I'm going to post an agent story or not, but believe me when I say that I knew it would be Michelle all along.

I also celebrated my birthday on the tenth, so I guess you can say that October has been pretty awesome. And to celebrate this month, because it's my ultimate favorite, I've been sticking with some pretty spooky and creeptastic books.

If you haven't checked out The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, then you are seriously missing out. Maggie's writing is hauntingly beautiful, telling the story of four boys and one girl on the search for spiritual energy that will lead them to the source of an ancient legend. Each character has intriguing backstory, and as their worlds collide, more and more secrets are revealed. I couldn't put this book down.

I have yet to finish my next book, but I have to share it because it fits right along with the theme.
The Diviners by Libba Bray is the first book I've ever read by her, and it's a wonderful story with a curious mystery I'm anxious to find the answer to. The concept is intriguing and the killer is one who will definitely give you chills.

Are you celebrating October with a creeptastic YA? Do share!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Book Got You Reading?

This post is inspired by my 3rd/4th grade teacher, whom I've just found once again after all these years. It reminded me of the time she read this book in class that had me completely intrigued. The characters and story were both relatable, as a girl with an older brother who acted more like a younger brother, and funny, because the things the MC got himself into were hysterical. I remember being fascinated by this story and I couldn't wait for her to read more every day, if even just for a few minutes. I got so sucked in that I just had to have this book. I remember asking my mom over and over again, "Can I have this book? Can I have this book? CAN I HAVE THIS BOOK?" Until finally! *a light shines down from the heavens* There it was in my hands.

I read this book so many times, there was a point when I could have told it to you by heart. This story had me grabbing for every book in the entire series. I couldn't stop myself. I was a reading machine! It was the book that started it all. Reading had become the one thing I loved most because of that book, and since then I never looked back.

What book was it, you ask?

I still look at this cover and see the little boy who opened his eyes to all these strange faces staring down at him. The little boy who discovered these strange things called hands, and the excitement of this little boy named Sam walking for the first time. Just thinking about it makes me want to run out the door, head straight to B&N, and buy this book. I can't even believe I no longer have it.

So tell me, friends. What book got you reading?