Blogger-Thon Interview


Hello friends!  A few months ago, I signed up for something called a Blogger-Thon put on by Bemused Bookworm, where bloggers could interview each other and kind of share experiences in the hopes of making new friends.  It’s been a really cool experience and I’m here to share with you my interview with Heather from Random Redheaded Ramblings.  While she doesn’t read near as much YA as I do, she’s certainly read a lot of awesome stuff!  If you like what you see here, I encourage you to head over to her website and check her out.

(Also, my interview should be posted soon on Book YAbber, courtesy of Elizabeth.  Keep on the lookout for it!)

On to Heather’s interview!

Belle: What author have you read the most books from?  Why?
Heather: It would probably have to be JD Robb, I have read about thirty of her In Death novels! She is yet to release a bad book in this series.
Belle: E-reader or physical books?
Heather: A couple of years ago I would have told you I would never have a Kindle but I got one for my birthday and I very quickly got hooked.  The downside of Kindles is that I am now on my third, they are not built to last.  I still love physical books and nothing gives me the warm and fuzzies more that seeing a series on my shelf!
Belle: What was an important moment in your reading life?
Heather: Reading The Hobbit in English in secondary school (high school), through that I read the Lord of the Rings and that encouraged me to read out with my comfort zone.
Belle: What are three of your all-time favorite books?
Heather: I could cheat and say The Lord of the Rings in its three parts but I better count that as one choice, the second would be Wool by Hugh Howey it really blew me away and the third would be Ready Player One, I loved that book it is just a great read and being a child of the 80’s I loved all the references.
Belle: What are some series (book or otherwise) that you are a fangirl of?
Heather: OOooo, well to name a few – Firefly, Star Wars, Disney, Discworld, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Wool, LOTR, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, JD Robb’s In Death series, Harry Potter, Parks and Rec, Marvel, not many!!!!
Belle: Favorite new author you discovered this year?
Heather: Patrick W Marsh, the author of the Greenland Diaries, his book is scary as anything and an amazing read.
Belle: Best book from a genre outside of your comfort zone?
Heather: I never been a huge fan of biographies but this year having read Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling’s my mind is changed, these are such funny reads!
Belle: What is the most thought-provoking/life-changing book you’ve read?  (This year or ever.)
Heather: Ever, it would have to be The Lord of the Rings, when I first read it I was totally blown away by the maps, this whole new world that Tolkien had created.  I wanted to find out more about Middle Earth, its inhabitants, their lives, it is just such an immense creation.
This year it would have to be Felicia Day’s I’m never weird on the internet, she is the queen of all things geek and she is such an icon, she is truly inspirational as when she puts her mind to something she does it.  I just felt after reading it I could do anything!!
Belle: Best blogging moment this year?
Heather: Cheesy I know but blogging just makes me happy all the time, I finally got more confident in leaving comments on other blogs this year and I have discovered so many great blogs out there, and in turn they have inspired me so much!  The best part is getting comments on my blog, it means so much that people come visit my wee corner of the blogosphere!
Non-cheesy it would have to be get a personalised signed book from Lisa Dickenson one of my fave chick lit authors or any time someone I love RT’s or Favourites my tweet.
Belle: What sequel or series finale are you most looking forward to?
Heather: The third book in Justin Cronin’s The Passage series and Stiletto the sequel to The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.
Belle: Favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Heather: Can I make it book to tv? Movies tend to condense so much! My vote would be Game of Thrones, the tv show is brilliant but I wish GRR Martin would hurry up and write the next book!
Belle: Favorite classic novel?
Heather: Pride and Prejudice, it has Mr Darcy in it, that is reason enough for me!
Belle: What book do you wish you could live in?
Heather: I would say Middle Earth but those Black Riders and Sauron could be a problem, The silos of Wool fascinate me too but again that doesn’t end well so I would probably go with my favourite books from when I was little, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five! They always had such a marvellous time, they ate super food and they didn’t have to worry about lack of WiFi or nowhere to charge your phone!  Discworld would also be fun, it is crazy!
Belle: What is your least favorite/most overused plot device?
Heather: As a massive dystopian fan it would have to be the well overused kickass (who was a princess  pre-apoc) girl in apocalyptic world, she is the only person who can stop evil tyrant/government/general bad dudes and she falls in love with soldier/boy from wrong side of tracks/guy she wouldn’t normally look twice at whilst dealing with absent parents/siblings.
Belle: Favorite quote?
Heather: Not all those who wander are lost – Tolkien
Belle: Biggest bookworm/nerd/geek moment?
Heather: Getting RT’d by Neil Gaiman was pretty awesome and a tweet from Hugh Howey was amazing!
Belle: Why did you start blogging?
Heather: I started off as a food blog as I was (and still am) a heavy user of Pinterest, I had came across as lot of great food sites and they inspired me to start a blog but I quickly realised that taking food photos is hard work and what the heck was I doing trying to be a food blog when book where much more important.  Blogging is my way of trying to meet other like minded souls who love what I love and I think I have succeeded so far! I love it, it can be hard work and I do get some weeks where I get a slump but I wouldn’t change anything!

Belle: Thanks Heather!

Interview with Shari J. Ryan!

Hey everyone!  I’m pleased to be sharing with you an interview I did with Shari!  Enjoy!

coverSchasm – Chloe Valcourt drifts between two worlds: the dark reality of her domineering mother and feeble father and the vivid fantasy of her imagination. With her condition comes the harsh observation of doctors who intend to cure her of it. But a chance encounter with a handsome and vaguely familiar young man in her dream world hints at the possibility of hidden truths—and a life she can’t remember. As her drifts become a greater escape from the cruelty of the real world, Chloe finds herself lost between what is real and what is imagined, questioning her very existence. Can she remain in the lush new imagined landscape to find happiness in a realm of her own invention? Is she doomed to return to the harsh reality of the outside world forever? Or will she become trapped somewhere between the two…unable to return to either?

Shari J. Ryan, author of Schasm


Belle: Chloe seems to drift between two worlds: reality and fantasy. Have you ever found yourself caught between two different worlds?
Shari: I’m a daydreamer, and whenever things get too stressful in life, I try to imagine myself somewhere better. For me, that’s usually the beach. It’s the one place that always takes my stress away. As much as I wish I could get stuck there sometimes, reality usually pulls me back in with a screaming child. 🙂
Belle: What do you think Chloe would think of you if she ever met you?
Shari: She might think her personality is eerily similar to mine. Plus, I’m confident she’d be happy to meet her creator ;).
Belle: What or who influenced you to be a writer?
Shari: Life changes have influenced me to write. I suffered from a bout of postpartum depression after my first son was born, and I found writing to be very therapeutic and somewhat healing. Because I felt the improvement within my mental health every time I sat down to write, I continued writing. One day, I realized I had concluded the end of my first book, and it was then that I realized I had turned something bad into something amazing.
Belle: Is there anything you haven’t written about yet that you’d like to in the future?
Shari: I’m really fascinated by psychological conditions, so I’ll probably continue to delve into this genre for as long as I can. And the ideas just keep coming.
Thanks Shari!
Book Links:

Interview with Justine Erler, Author of Starcrush

Hey everyone!  I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Justine Erler, who has written a series called Starcrush.  You should absolutely keep reading to see why aliens could be cooler than vampires and werewolves.

Starcrush CoverStarcrush, A Novel by Justine Erler


Book blurb:

Close encounters of the crush-worthy kind. In the first novel of the Starcrush series, author Justine Erler introduces Genna Savoy, a psychically-gifted high school senior who finds herself torn between rival aliens who look … spectacularly human.


I drifted into silence as my eyes fell over him, the way he leaned over the desk, chilled to the extreme. Yet there was something overpowering about him. That “easy does it, rule-the-world” attitude felt good to be around but just now I couldn’t decide whether this made him the most incredible guy I ever met — or the most obnoxious. 

I was relatively sure that the answer was not somewhere in between.

About Justine


Justine Erler is a consultant with a background in health care management. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband and daughter. Starcrush is her first novel of the series, combining Books I and II, and was written while in search of the perfect vampire-alternative story.

The Interview

Belle: I think almost every girl at one time had an idea of what a perfect boyfriend should look like and act like.  Did your idea of a perfect boyfriend make its way into one of the characters?

Justine: Yes — absolutely!  The book alternates between two extreme versions of the perfect boyfriend.  In the first half of the book, Byron is described as rock-god cool with a moody-perfection that lends enough resistance to make him completely irresistible.  In the second half of the book, Elon is bold and flirty … and yet laid-back and sensual, as if the kiss is never far from his mind.

My personal idea of the perfect boyfriend is caught somewhere between the two main characters.  Part of me wants the dark, romantic and slightly gothic version … while another part wants the super-relaxed, openly seductive “unafraid to dive head-first into fun” version.  Differences aside, my personal ideal is seen in both characters … overwhelmingly handsome with stylish chin stubble and edgy, hip clothes.

B: So … aliens.  In the YA world of vampires, angels and werewolves, what made you want to write about aliens?

J: I refused to be bound by “the rules” that exist with the usual cast of characters: vampires, angels and werewolves. They’re incredibly fun and won’t disappear anytime soon, yet writing about “an unknown” gave me the flexibility and license to do almost anything.

From the start, it was challenging to escape the expected biases against the alien subject. Typically, they’re associated with a super-horror extreme that can easily turn ridiculous if mishandled. The secret to making the idea work was to ground the story in a YA reality … real characters and places with a dialogue-driven plot that’s plausible, and to some degree, based on science. That being said, I didn’t want to go “off world” in the book, or show any of the stereotypical sci-fi scenes. I wanted readers to recognize their own lives in the book.

It’s also important to remember that Starcrush is first and foremost a love story, so I intentionally played down the sci-fi elements and made it relatable to a young, hip audience — set at the amazingly awesome Jersey Shore.

B: What part (or parts) of the story was most fun to write?

J: Of course, the love scenes were incredibly fun to write.  I prefer building sensual tension by pulling back at strategic moments, under the notion that anticipation is almost more intense than action. The book moments where the characters tease each other relentlessly were my favorite scenes to write. I also enjoy teasing the reader by being both subtle and direct at the same time … so the shock value is there, but immediately tempered by something less than obvious.

B: How did you come up with your title?

J: I was looking for an astronomical term that was easily recognized. “Star” seemed like an obvious choice. Since the book is about crushing on ETs, I naturally merged the two ideas into “Starcrush.”

B: What advice would you want to give anyone who wants to be a writer?

J: Read good books and watch good movies. Then read every review you can get your hands on, so you can get outside of your own perspective and learn how others view things. Do this enough, and you’ll be able to anticipate scenes, identify both weak and strong points and apply an “exaggerated awareness” to your own work.


Starcrush Series Website:

Facebook:  Starcrush Story                        Twitter:  @StarcrushStory

Amazon Purchase Link:

Thanks Justine!  Happy reading, everyone!

Interview With Julia Swift and Andrew Landis, Authors of Bold

Hey everyone!  I recently had the privilege of interviewing a writing duo, Julia Swift and Andrew Landis, authors of the new YA book, Bold, the story of two 15-year-olds who want to live life to the fullest.  Their words are moving and inspiring, and I hope everyone enjoys what they have to say!  Book blurb at the end of the interview.

Your book is about a girl who barely survives a car crash.  Have either of you had experiences that made you realize you weren’t living life to the fullest, or wanting to do more with your life?

Julia:  I wasn’t in a car crash, but the emotions and fears Sasha goes through are all experiences I went through when I was diagnosed with cancer.  I found myself making deals — if I live through this, I won’t waste my life being afraid.  I was always extremely shy and way too concerned with what everyone else thought about me.  Almost dying imbued me with a kind of super power.  No one could hurt me as much as I had already been hurt.  I had faced the worst and survived.  But it’s not so easy to just will yourself to be bold.

Andrew:  I grew up in a small, small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business.  People are born there, they marry locally and they die there.  I knew deep down inside that was not the life for me so I applied to spend my junior year living abroad as an exchange student.  I was selected to go to exotic Brazil — but not for my junior year.  I would have to forego my senior year.  I weighed carefully the experiences I would miss — homecoming, senior class trip to Florida, prom, running track — against the possibility this opportunity to escape and see the world might never come again.  So I grabbed my passport and took off for South America.  Without a doubt, I made the best friendships ever and enjoyed a life-changing year.

Why did you decide to aim this book at a Young Adult audience?

We have always written for the young adult audience with our TV writing on The CW, NBC and The WB.  That’s the time when we are all so vulnerable and unsure, but also so full of possibility.  We find it much more exciting to write for characters whose lives can go anywhere than for adults who have already decided who they are and are settled.  Even in film school when everyone else wanted to direct the next big action movie, we wanted to write “Party of Five” and “My So Called Life.”

Who influenced you to become a writer?

A:  I had been working on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator when I enrolled in a class at Georgetown University.  I knew I had a more creative side to explore, but I didn’t know precisely what I wanted to do.  My first screenwriting professor, Jon Eig, encouraged me to write my first script, which got me into USC Film School where I met Julia.

J:  I had a tough childhood so I didn’t really have a choice.  It was write or collapse under my pain.  Writing saved me.

What was one of the most surprising things you discovered about writing this book, maybe about yourself, the process, or the characters?

A:  When I was in ninth grade, I lost my older brother to suicide right before Thanksgiving.  The holidays were terrible that year.  Everyone came together as a family, but no one was in the mood to celebrate.  Over time, I grieved and eventually moved on with my life, but when I had to write about having lost a family member who was taken too soon, I was floored by how many emotions surrounding his death resurfaced again and by the realization I guess I’m not totally over his death.

What do you think Sasha and Will would think of you?  If you were 15 again, would you all be friends?

J:  I would definitely be friends with Sasha.  I would have loved to have a friend like Sasha who could understand me and really listen, and push me out of my shell.  Andrew and Will would know each other, Will is everyone’s bud, but he doesn’t have any real friends, not until Sasha shows him how.  Plus, Will would probably think we weren’t cool enough for him.  At least the Will in the beginning of Bold.

What’s one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

All of us always imagine everyone else is judging us, but what if instead we could imagine everyone else is rooting for us?  What would we do differently?  What chances would we take?  Our dream is that a shy kid somewhere will read this and realize they are not alone and try to open themselves up more to life.  In the long run, people don’t regret embarrassing things they’ve done, they only regret what they were too scared to do.


Book Information

Sasha, a shy, 15-year-old girl who hides from the world, almost dies in a car crash and vows that if she survives, she will be bold and live life to the fullest. Her newfound courage is tested when she meets Will, who just moved to her Air Force desert town after his journalist father’s disappearance. Will is fascinated by Sasha’s brush with and secret knowledge of death.

Sasha and Will push each other to take chances and break out of their sheltered suburban world. But will they discover there is a difference between being bold and being stupid before they put themselves, or someone else, in danger?

(This book is $2.99 on Amazon.)