Saturday, September 20, 2014

Author Interview - Heather Hildenbrand!

Do you remember when I posted my review of Imitation at the beginning of September?  The really cool book about clones being used for replacement parts, or as body doubles, or in Ven's case, as...bait.... well today I have the author, Heather Hildenbrand as my special guest on the blog!

Mini Biography:
Heather Hildenbrand is the bestselling author of the Dirty Blood series and the epic sci-fi adventure Imitation. She was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was home-schooled through high school. She’s only slightly socially awkward as a result. Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels.

Heather splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. Her most frequent hobbies are riding motorcycles and avoiding killer slugs. [Taken from Alloy Entertainment]
Heather graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her writing and Imitation for me today.  So, here we go:
1. How long did it take you, from first spark of idea to final proofs to write your newest book, Imitation?

Well, originally, it took about 3 months and then in March 2013, I self-published it. The version you’re reading now is a slightly tweaked/changed story from the original. The changes I made this time around (when I signed it with my publisher) took about 3 months again.

2. I know that Imitation deals with clones and organ donation. What type of research did you do for this book?

I googled cloning and checked out books from the library. I didn’t go too far in detail with the science of it because, frankly, it boggles my mind and I don’t understand things like split chromosomes and such. But I think it’s VERY interesting that the technology for something like this already exists. But our laws prevent it currently. Hmm. What if …

3. If you could write a book under a pseudonym that no one would ever connect to you, are there any genres you would love to secretly explore?

Oh I don’t know about that. I wrote a New Adult last year with some sexy scenes that go all the way and it was so hard for me! All I could think about was Your mother will read this! So I think I’m good for now. 

4. If you could cross one thing off your bucket list tomorrow, what would it be?

Riding an elephant!!! It’s definitely on the list for 2015!

5. Quick Picks List:
Favorite vacation destination- out of places I’ve been, Dominican Republic. Out of places I want to go, Thailand.
Favorite childhood book- A Hole is to Dig. Or Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Favorite writing snack food- Peanut M&Ms.
Favorite clothing item- Boots! (and jeans)

As I mentioned before, I love thinking about all the nuances and ramifications that arise from cloning.  The ethical issues, the potential good... and bad that can be done.  I find it fascinating! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to answer my questions, Heather. I really appreciate it.  

For all of you, if you'd like more info on Heather you can check out her blogFacebook, or Twitter.  For more info on Imitation, you can check out Goodreads, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Author Interview - S. S. Taylor!!

So, last year I gushed over the first book in a fabulous middle grade steampunk adventure series, The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon. I was SUPER excited to get a signed preview copy of the next book at the 2014 Book Expo in New York.  I was even MORE excited to meet author, S. S. Taylor, and illustrator, Katherine Roy.

They were both super sweet and I couldn't express to them how excited I was for the second book! Today, I get to share with you an interview that I did with Sarah [S. S.] to see if I can't get you almost as excited about the upcoming second book, The Expeditioners and the Secret of King Triton's Lair, which comes out September 23rd!

1. How long did it take you, from first spark of idea to final proofs to write your newest book, The Expeditioners and the Secret of King Triton's Lair?

It’s hard to say with the second book in a series because on some level, I was thinking about this book the whole time I was writing The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man’s Canyon. But I suppose that it was about a year and a bit from the time I started working on it in earnest to those final page proofs. I did a lot of revision on this book. Structure and character development seemed especially important in a second series book and I really wanted to get it right.

2. I love the steampunk aspect of this adventure series, did you purposely set out to create that vibe in the books or did it just naturally evolve that way?

I knew I wanted to set this series in a world where archaic technologies were the norm and I could play with some of the visual trappings of Steampunk, but I didn’t necessarily set out to write a book within the genre. As I worked on it and learned more about the world I was creating, it sort of evolved into something that looked more Steampunky every day. I’ve really had fun with that part of it.

3. If you could write a book under a pseudonym that no one would ever connect to you, are there any genres you would love to secretly explore?

I don’t know that I would even need to use a pseudonym, but I’m kind of obsessed with spy fiction. I’d love to write a spy novel. The third Expeditioners novel actually has a little bit of espionage going on, so I’m getting to do as part of the series and I don’t even have to hide my identity!

4. If you could cross one thing off your bucket list tomorrow, what would it be?

I couldn’t cross it off in one day, but one of my personal bucket list items is hiking the Appalachian Trail.

5. Quick picks list:
Favorite vacation destination – I went to graduate school and lived in Ireland for a couple of years in my twenties and boy do I love that country. I never get tired of visiting there and discovering new things about Irish history and culture.
Favorite childhood book – I loved The Secret Garden. I went back to it over and over again.
Favorite writing snack food – Chocolate. Dark. That is all.
Favorite clothing item – I have a tweed walking cape that I adore, though I’m trying to figure out how to pull it off on a daily basis. It still gets me some strange looks at school pick-up or the supermarket, but when I wear it I feel adventurous and dramatic.

Thank you SO much, Sarah, for stopping by the blog and answering my questions.  

Sarah Stewart Taylor has been fascinated by maps ever since the age of 10, when she discovered an error on a map of her neighborhood and wondered if it was really a mistake. She has a strong interest in books of all kinds, expeditions, old libraries, mysterious situations, long-hidden secrets, missing explorers, and traveling to known and unknown places. She lives in Vermont.

This was absolutely one of the top five books that I HAD to get at BEA this year. I cannot wait to share my review with you in a couple of weeks.  Stay tuned and in the meantime, check out book one!!!!! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014


by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan... But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? 
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? (Description from

As a fangirl, myself...though I don't write fanfiction...I really loved and connected to Cath.  Not only did I love her geeking out and feeling compelled to be an active part of the fandom, but I also really connected to her as I remembered what it was like to start college.  Thank goodness I met my friends, now my best friends, in the dorms in the first few months, and just like Raegan pulled Cath out of her room and made her interact, my friends encouraged me to do the same.  Without them, my college experience could have been totally different. Quiet, full of nothing but homework, boring... 

This is actually the first Rainbow Rowell book that I've read and I really enjoyed it.  It was sweet and well done in its own right and then had all these nods to fandoms that added an extra layer of fun.  My only complaints were that A - We don't actually get to read "Carry On, Simon" now and B - That even though the fictitious author makes a slight nod to Cath's fanfiction in basically refuting it, there wasn't a more direct sort of acknowledgment of all her hard work.  I know it's not realistic, but honestly I would have loved if Gemma had actually acknowledged Cath in some fashion... 

Now, I REALLY need to read Eleanor and Park, which I've heard is EVEN better! 

Full disclosure: Audio Book borrowed from my Library, eBook purchased for my Nook