Interview: There’s Something About Nik by Sara Hantz

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Nik Gustafsson has a secret: He’s not really Nik Gustafsson.

He’s not a spy. He’s not crazy.

He’s just the son and heir to one of the most important families in Europe—one where duty always comes first. And his posh, too-public life is suffocating him. So when he gets the chance to attend boarding school in America, pretending to be an average exchange student is too big of a temptation to pass up.

Then he literally runs into Amber on campus. And she hates him at first sight.

It’s kind of exhilarating to be hated for who he is, not for his family name or his wealth. Maybe if he turns up the charm and turns down the aloof mask he habitually wears, he can win her over. Even though a bad past experience has made her swear off dating this year.

But the more he gets to know her, the more uncomfortable he is keeping things from her.

Because Nik Gustafsson has a secret. And it’s a big one.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a hot boy who’s the strong and silent type, a studious girl who refuses to believe in fairy-tale romance, and one epic secret that could be disastrous if it comes to light.

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Thanks Jordan for inviting me onto your blog to talk about There’s Something About Nik.

YABM: In the story Nik comes from a small principality in Europe, is this country modeled off on any real life place? Or if not, where would you compare Lutgenstadt to?

SARA: Lutgenstadt is a country that I made up. If I was to compare it with any other country it would be Monaco, which is small and very wealthy.

YABM: The storyline is similar to The Prince & Me, a romantic favorite. What would you say inspired you to write this story?

SARA: I haven’t actually read The Prince and Me. I was inspired to write the story because of my interest in the British royal family – I come from the UK and royal watching seems to be a national pastime.

YABM: In the book, Amber is in remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, how would you say that influenced Amber’s characterization? 

SARA: The illness definitely influenced Amber’s character. She went through a terrible experience, made even worse by the way her ex-boyfriend treated her. It made her very wary, but also made her stronger.

YABM: Sometimes cancer is presented like a dirty secret that people need to hide in order not to make others feel uncomfortable, this is addressed in the book. What made you choose that route? 

SARA: I chose to have it this way based on an experience of someone I know and how others reacted toward them.

YABM: What do you want the reader to take away from this story?

SARA: I’d like readers to take away the view that trust is one of the most important things to have in a relationship. Lack of trust can only lead to disaster.

YABM: Tell us about Amber in 5 words or less.

SARA: Amber is: strong, vulnerable, warm, unaffected and humorous.

YABM: What makes Nik special?

SARA: Nik is special because he’s loyal and always wants to do the right thing. He’s very serious about his royal duties, even though he finds them suffocating.

YABM: Friendship is huge in this story. What is your favorite TV friendship?

SARA: My favorite TV friendship is Penny and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. I love how two people so very different can also be close friends and help each other.

YABM: You make referenced to Darcy in the story, who are some of your favorite literary couples?

SARA: My favorite literary couple is Darcy and Lizzie, from Pride and Prejudice. I also love Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra.

YABM: What are some of your book pet peeves?

SARA: I get really frustrated with books that have too much description. I also don’t like glaring logical errors.

YABM: What would you like to see more of in YA books?

SARA: I’d like to see even more darker contemporary YA books, which focus on uncomfortable, but realistic, areas of human life.

YABM: Tell me about your writing habits.

SARA: I have trouble concentrating for long periods of time, so I always try to write little and often. That way, I don’t have to keep going over what I’ve written earlier because it’s been so long since I read it. It also means that I’m okay with interruptions.

authorsara-hantzFacebook/Twitter/Website/Instagram

Sara Hantz has been a prolific reader all her life, but it wasn’t until she was an adult that she got the writing bug. She writes contemporary adult and young adult fiction and her debut book The Second Virginity of Suzy Green made the prestigious list ‘New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age’. Sara lectured for many years before deciding to devote more time to her writing and working in the family hospitality business. She has two grown-up children and when not writing, working, or online with her friends, she spends more time than most people she knows watching TV – in fact if TV watching was an Olympic sport she’d win gold.

Playful reading, 

Jordan

 

 

Tour, Interview & Giveaway: Wax by Gina Damico

WAXWAX cover_hresAmazon/Barnes & Noble/iBooks/Goodreads

Pub. Date: August 2, 2016

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Paraffin, Vermont, is known the world over as home to the Grosholtz Candle Factory. But behind the sunny retail space bursting with overwhelming scents and homemade fudge, seventeen-year-old Poppy Palladino discovers something dark and unsettling: a back room filled with dozens of startlingly life-like wax sculptures, crafted by one very strange old lady. Poppy hightails it home, only to be shocked when one of the figures—a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to know what he is—jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. She tries to return him to the candle factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop—and the old woman is nowhere to be seen.

With the help of the wax boy, who answers to the name Dud, Poppy resolves to find out who was behind the fire. But in the course of her investigation, she discovers that things in Paraffin aren’t always as they seem, that the Grosholtz Candle Factory isn’t as pure as its reputation—and that some of the townspeople she’s known her entire life may not be as human as they once were. In fact, they’re starting to look a little . . . waxy. Can Poppy and Dud extinguish the evil that’s taking hold of their town before it’s too late?

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  1. Describe Wax in the length of a tweet.

Girl sneaks into creepy candle factory, girl meets creepy old lady who sculpts wax figures, girl accidentally adopts wax boy who comes to life, chaos ensues.

  1. What inspired you to write Wax?

I’d been itching to write a book with a character like Dud, someone who has suddenly been thrust into being without any past or childhood or context with which to view the world. Someone who’s just been dropped off on earth without any explanation and needs to figure out how to be human. Also, I really wanted to write about a crazy candle factory. I live near a rather popular flagship candle store and the insanity therein was something I couldn’t not write about.

  1. Poppy is quite the sleuth, who are some of your favorite pop culture investigators?

Veronica Mars has them all beat. Snark is the most powerful tool to have in one’s arsenal.

  1. How would you classify Wax? Is it more horror than mystery or is there a little romance on the horizon?

I’d argue it’s more humor than anything, but there’s certainly enough horror and mystery to keep it humming.

  1. Why should we root for Poppy?

When we first meet Poppy, she’s still raw from the most mortifying event in her life – appearing on a reality show talent competition where she slipped and fell and bled all over the stage, and all of it captured on national television. Her humiliation has gone viral, she’s a national joke, and her dignity is all but gone. But Poppy doesn’t want the rest of her life to be dictated by those few precious seconds, and so she’s striving to push past all that, to restore some of her reputation, and to do something that actually matters.

  1. Wax sounds a little like a fairy tale, would you say you draw inspiration from that?

A twisted fairy tale, absolutely. There’s a reason so many fairy tales are set in and around forests –they’re scary, dark, inscrutable places where magic lays in wait and almost anything can happen. Like rumors of living wax creatures skulking through the trees…

  1. Describe Dud in five words.

Puppy dog in “human” form.

  1. Do you have any favorite lines from Wax?

When Poppy and her friend Jill visit the Grosholtz Candle Factory: 

Poppy tried to ignore the costumed musical atrocity that was befalling the food court, but it was not designed to be ignored. A dancing pig dressed in overalls swung his bucket oh so merrily across a raised stage while a trio of cows sang and wiggled their udders. There was also a terrifying anthropomorphic representation of the state of Vermont ambling and cavorting about, his ceaseless, dead stare no doubt sucking the souls from the slack-jawed children who had the misfortune to fall under his tyranny.

“I will miss my eyes,” said Jill, “when I gouge them out. But I see no other course of action.”

  1. What do you want the reader to take away from Wax?

As always, I just want the reader to have fun. If I’ve made you laugh, I’ve done my job. Though an increased awareness of sentient wax beings possibly STANDING RIGHT BEHIND YOU would be beneficial to readers as well.

  1. Is Poppy a heroine? If so, what makes her so?

Yes, but for more subtle reasons than plucky-heroine-saves-the-world. She soldiers on even though literally everyone in the country thinks that she’s a failure and a laughingstock. She knows what people think of her, and still she looks them in the eye and defiantly holds their gaze. She knows she’s better than the horrible thing that happened to her, and she is determined to prove it. And then she goes and does just that.

authginadamicoGina Damico is the author of Croak, Scorch, and Rogue, the grim-reapers-gone-wild books of the Croak trilogy. She has also dabbled as a tour guide, transcriptionist, theater house manager, scenic artist, movie extra, office troll, retail monkey, yarn hawker and breadmonger. A native of Syracuse, New York, she now lives outside Boston with her husband, two cats, and one dog, and while she has never visited hell in person, she has spent countless waking hours at the Albany Regional Bus Terminal, which is pretty darn close. Visit her website at www.ginadami.co.

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3 winners will receive a hardcover of WAX! US Only.

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER STOPS ON THE TOUR 

8/1/2016- Here’s to Happy Endings- Review

8/2/2016- Ohana Reads- Guest Post

8/3/2016- A Dream Within A Dream- Review

8/4/2016- YA Book Madness- Interview

8/5/2016- A Gingerly Review- Review

Happy reading, 

Jordan

Blog Tour and Interview: Enthrall-M.R. Reed

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After years of being a helpless witness to his alcoholic father’s abuse towards his family, seventeen-year-old Miles Boswell has just about reached his breaking point. He dreams of the day where he can leave everything behind and begin a new life on his own — that is, until he discovers that he has the ability to control people’s minds. Suddenly, the odds are overwhelmingly in his favor.

But what begins as the answer to all of his problems soon causes him to question his every thought when he captures the attention of August Sylvan, who seems to be the girl of his dreams. As someone who has limited experience with girls, Miles can’t help but wonder — where do his powers end, and where does reality begin?

At the same time, he finds himself at constant odds with his morals and his potentially warped sense of justice…and soon discovers that nothing is as simple as it seems

***This book contains strong language, violent scenes, and some sexual content.

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  1. Enthrall deals with the heavy subjects of alcohol and abuse, was it challenging to write those scenes?

            It wasn’t challenging so much as the fact that it needed to come out. I grew up in a household with an alcoholic mom, and a dad who beat my mom, and it was due time for me to write about it as a way to cope with it myself.

  1. Miles struggles with morality. Sometimes the lines of right and wrong, good and bad can blur, how does this affect Miles’ character?

            It affects Miles’ character immensely! He’s faced with the reality that he can do anything he wants, with no potential repercussions. I think it’s something that anybody would struggle with, because even though –most of us– are taught right from wrong, the lure of getting away with doing immoral things is always going to be there. And his battle with that seduction to the dark side is what begins to distance him from those whom he loves the most.

  1. What do you want the reader to take away from Enthrall?

            Most importantly, I want readers to see that not all relationships run a perfect course. Sometimes people in a relationship mess up, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. I hate seeing guys being horrible to girls in books/movies, and then the girl pouts a little bit and she’s over it. That’s so insulting to the girl involved, and to anyone who may think that it’s acceptable or normal! So…respect yourself! If you don’t like the way that someone is treating you or the things that they’re doing, don’t be afraid to walk away.

  1. What are some important themes in the book?

            Absolute power corrupts absolutely, for starters. I think it’s a great lesson in what happens when you let your demons take over. The premise may be fictional, but we all have our problems that can take control over us if we allow them. And then there’s the idea that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I really love Miles and August, but what’s interesting about a story where nothing ever goes wrong? 🙂 I also really like how August learns to value her family and understand how important they can be in a person’s life.

  1. Do you have a favorite line?

            I have many, but this one definitely stands out: “[It was]One of the most fulfilling and gratifying unions I had ever experienced, teetering on a wire dividing common sense and devotion.”

  1. What are some of the things you love about Miles and August?

            For Miles, one of the things that I love about him is the fact that he thinks he knows everything, but he’s so hopelessly clueless. I find that adorable, for some reason. I also love that he’s so devoted to the people he loves, even if he doesn’t always like to admit it. For August, she’s everything I wish I could have been as a teenager in many ways. She’s not flawless, but the fact that she cares so little about what others think about her is a trait to be desired, especially for a sixteen-year-old. I also admire that she knows the difference between right and wrong — an instinct in which Miles is sorely lacking — and she tries to instill that in him. And even if she’s unsuccessful, she doesn’t stray from what she knows is the right thing to do.

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Our formative years are the ones that stick with us the most–you know, those tirelessly frustrating yet unforgettably magical moments that shape us into the people that we will become. The music that I liked as a teenager, the books that I read, the relationships that I created (and destroyed)…those are the things that I think truly formed the adult that I am today. I still love those things. I still think about those things. I still harbor a lot of anger in relation to the events that I experienced as a teenager, and it does nothing but fuel my creative spirit.
 
And that’s what I like to write about: Teenagers, and all of their idiosyncrasies, and concerns, and that whole unintentionally egocentric view that they have about their worlds. I find it fascinating. I’m thankful every day that I’m no longer a teenager, but I have to admit that it’s a interesting time to look back on.
Miles and August encompass a lot of me, and my experiences, and my observations. The music, books, and beliefs that I held at that time inspired me to write about the events that take place in Enthrall. My intense hope is that somebody reads it and is able to relate, or get through a difficult time, and just know that somebody understands what he/she is going through (at least a little bit.) That’s what music and books did for me. I hope to pay it forward.
Keep reading, 
Jordan