Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:

COPPER MAGIC through August 23rd

Beach Reads Giveaway Hop through August 15th

GATES OF THREAD AND STONE through August 23rd

Pre-Release COMPULSION Giveaway YA Book of Your Choice through August 31st

COMPULSION PRE-RELEASE GIVEWAY: WIN A YA BOOK OF YOUR CHOICE

Hi All! I'm so happy to help Martina Boone celebrate the upcoming release of her YA southern gothic romance COMPULSION that releases October 28, 2014. And I'll be having Martina back with another giveaway when her book releases.

Here's a blurb of COMPULSION:

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson had been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Doesn't it sound fantastic? 

And here's some info on Martina. If you don't follow her blog, I highly recommend it. She does a ton of awesome giveaways and contests to help writers.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martina Boone is the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com  a two-time Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site. She is also a founding member of YASeriesInsiders.com and the First Five Pages Workshop   When she isn’t writing, she loves to ski, ride dressage horses, travel, and read beautiful, slightly-twisted fiction. She eats Nutella on pretty much anything, adores marzipan, has guilty cravings for stale sugar-free licorice, drinks chocolate-flavored tea with milk, and watches Doctor WhoChicago FireNashville, Suits, Top Gear, So You Think You Can DanceHart of DixieVampire DiariesWalking DeadGame of ThronesGrey’s Anatomy, and Downton Abbey. She’s on the fence about The Blacklist, and she’s so, so done with Scandal. You can find her on her website or on Twitter as @MartinaABoone

Now onto the giveaway:

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here's what's coming up:

I’m taking a blog break for two weeks until Monday, August 25th when I have a guest post by Holly Schindler and a giveaway of FERAL, her new YA psychological thriller.

Then I'll be back in September with a great line up of debut author interviews and giveaways.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on August 25th!

LORI LEE INTERVIEW AND GATES OF THREAD AND STONE GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Can you believe it's August? For me, it means swim season is starting and this is probably going to be one of the busiest months.  We've got pool pride day, our annual informational picnic, two bonding events, a 8 team relay we host, and a U of M concession working day. And of course the girls start swim practice soon. It'll be fun and will feel good to have accomplished it all.

First I have a winner to announce.

The winner of EXTRACTION is Gina Gao!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Lori Lee here to share about her YA fantasy GATES OF THREAD AND STONE that releases tomorrow. I’ve been waiting for this for ages and it was worth it. The world building is fantastic and I loved Kai’s power to manipulate time.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

Hi Lori! Happy Release Day Tomorrow!

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer. 

I sort of equate reading with my intellectual “awakening” lol. And by that I mean I had really terrible grades and trouble understanding school lessons until I discovered a love for reading in second grade. That might not seem like a big deal since it was only second grade, but it might make more sense to know I flunked kindergarten. To be fair, I was three years old when my family relocated to the US, and I probably wasn’t the greatest English speaker yet by the time they put me in school.

Once I discovered how much I loved books and reading, however, everything changed. I began writing in third grade during an after school program, and I haven’t stopped since. I wrote tons of short stories and my first (terrible) book between fifth and seventh grade, totally made up the “essay” about my grandmother in high school, and exchanged notebooks with my friends, filling the pages with letters and thoughts and stories.

2. Awesome how writing changed your life. Where did you get the idea for your story?

Kai developed out of something a writing friend said in passing about time. That, combined with my fascination of mind-controlled super soldiers, was the spark for the plot of Gates of Thread and Stone.

3. I loved the world building and the fact that we get to see more than the world Kai grew up in. Share about your world building process and some of the questions we need to ask ourselves when creating our new worlds.

The details of her world came together in bits and pieces. On the way home from work one day, I was
driving over a bridge and it was so foggy that I couldn’t see the other end. It simply disappeared into the mist. And perched on top of every lamp post on either side of the bridge was a single seagull. This became the spark of an idea that led to one of my favorite places in the book.

When world building, an important thing to focus on is your world’s history, even if most of it never makes it into the book. Your world’s back story is just as important as your characters’, and it’s something I almost always think about first when approaching a new book. Kai lives in the Labyrinth, the worst part of the city, but how did it become that way? Why and how did the Labyrinth form? In what world would such a place exist? These things might not be relevant to the plot, but they’re important to making your world more dimensional.

4. So cool how your world building came in part from every day life. And the questions you share to ask ourselves are really good ones to consider. I read you are a total outliner and can write a 50 page outline. That’s pretty detailed. What was the outline process like for GATES OF THREAD AND STONE and how long did it take to write your first draft?

I made a document for character profiles, a document for world building details, and a document with the overall story structure (e.g. Act I, II, turning point, Act III, climax, etc). Then there was the actual detailed outline, which was 24 pages long. Just preparing to write the book took some time. But once I sat down and began writing, I finished the first draft within four weeks.

5. I wish I could outline like you because maybe then I’d be able to write my first draft quicker. Kai is such a loyal, one-pointed character. Share a bit about her and any struggles you had in developing her as a character.

Like I told a friend recently, Kai has “crazy loyalty issues.” She doesn’t trust easily, but when she does choose to trust someone, she does so implicitly. Loyalty is an admirable quality, but it becomes problematic when it blinds you to the truth. I didn’t have any particular struggles developing her because much of her internal conflict and growth reflects external events, so it happened naturally.

6. Your agent is Suzie Townsend, who sounds like a fantastic agent. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

Suzie is a rock star. She had sent me the most awesome rejection + notes on a previous manuscript, so she was already familiar with my work when my second manuscript came to her attention. That’s why it’s so important not to burn your bridges. A rejection on one book might turn into an acceptance on the next.

7. Yes, I’d love to have her as my agent. I saw on your website that you’ve already been interviewed a number of times on other blogs. How did these come about and what other plans do you have to spread the word about your book?

A couple of those interviews I sought out on my own, but most of them happened simply because they asked to interview/feature me, which was lovely. My publisher is doing a number of things, but I’m also doing what I can to get into libraries and schools. I’m not having an official blog tour, but the blogging community is wonderful so we’re doing some blogger outreach as well.

8. Getting into libraries and schools is a big key in getting the word out about your book. Share something that’s surprised you in the time from signing your publishing contract to reaching publication release day.

It’s not so much a surprising thing as it is just frustrating—which is that SO MUCH is out of my control. Deadlines and covers and marketing and ARCs. So many things to stress over, but I’ve learned that the best use of my time is simply to work on that next book.

9. That is one of the most frustrating things about this profession. What are you working on now?

Getting the sequel ready for release next Spring, and working on a new fantasy WIP. I’m very excited about it :)

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Lori. You can find Lori at:
Author Links:


Author Links:


Purchase Links:


Lori has generously offered a copy of GATES OF THREAD AND STONE for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through August 23rd. I’ll announce the winner on August 25th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is an International giveaway as long as you live where The Book Depository ships for free.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday I'm hosting a pick any YA book giveaway to help Martina Boone celebrate the release of her YA debut COMPULSION in October.

Then I’m taking a blog break for two weeks until Monday, August 25th when I have a guest post by Holly Schindler and a giveaway of FERAL, her new YA psychological thriller.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!



BEACH READS IN AUGUST BOOK GIVEAWAY



Hi Everyone! Hope you're having a great summer. Can you believe it's already August? Mine is going to be a busy one because it's the start of the high school swim season this month. My daughter is one of the captains so I've got lots of swim captain mom duties this month. So I'm going to be blogging less this month so I can focus on what I need to do for the team and hopefully enjoy it all. And hopefully I'll get more reading in.

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the Beach Reads In August Book Giveaway Hop sponsored by Stuck In Books. I’ve got lots of great newer released YA book choices. I admit I went a bit nuts this month but they’re all books I’ve read am hoping to read, or know are ones you'd want to read. And if you’re reading a different book in the series listed, I’m glad to get you that book instead as long as it doesn't cost more than the book I've chosen.

Don’t see a book you like? You can win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card instead.

So here are your choices. Click on the title to read a blurb from Goodreads.


 


 


 


 


 
 










  

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN
CRESS
DELIVERANCE
DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS
HEIR OF FIRE Pre-Order
IGNITE ME
ILSA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER
LUX: OPPOSITION
MORTAL DANGER
OF METAL AND WISHES
RUIN AND RISING
SINNER
SISTER'S FATE
WINTERSPELL

Or if you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card


To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through August 15th telling me the book you want to win or if you want to win the Gift Card instead. I’ll announce the winner on August 25th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as The Book Depository ships to you for free.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Monday I’m interviewing debut author Lori Lee and giving away her YA fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone. I waited for ages for this and it was worth the wait.
 
Next Wednesday I'm hosting a pick any YA book giveaway to help Martina Boone celebrate the release of of her YA debut COMPULSION in October.

Then I’m taking a blog break for two weeks until Monday, August 25th when I have a guest post by Holly Schindler and a giveaway of FERAL, her new YA psychological thriller.

Then I'll be back in September with a great line up of debut author interviews and giveaways.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here's all the other blogs participating in this Blog Hop:






JULIA MARY GIBSON INTERVIEW AND COPPER MAGIC GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Can you believe it's the end of July? Anna Li had a good championship meet and enjoyed even more being a guest coach for two days of the championships. Then she went to an adoption teen camp for 4 days and I had my first time living alone for a few days. Glad to report that I kept busy and did fine.

I may be a bit late today reading your blogs. I'm taking Anna Li on her last college visit this morning.

Before we get to our interview, I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of MIDNIGHT THIEF is Jamie Ayres!

And the winner of my Just Couldn't Put It Down Giveaway Hop is Paula who picked CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Julia Mary Gibson here to share about her MG novel COPPER MAGIC that was released on July 1, 2014. I loved the upper Michigan setting since I grew up on Lake Michigan and the touch of magical realism with the copper hand. And the story has a real contemporary feel to it with Violet’s growth through the story.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Can an unearthed talisman found on the shores of Lake Michigan save 12-year-old Violet’s fractured family? Exploring themes of Native American culture, ecology, and conservation, this historical fiction novel comes brilliantly to life.

The year is 1906, and twelve-year-old Violet Blake unearths an ancient talisman—a copper hand—beside the stream where her mother used to harvest medicine. Violet’s touch warms the copper hand and it begins to reveal glimpses of another time. Violet is certain that the copper hand is magic—and if anyone is in need of its powers, it’s Violet. Her mother and adored baby brother are gone, perhaps never to return. Her heartbroken father can’t seem to sustain the failing farm on the outskirts of Pigeon Harbor, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Surely the magic of the copper hand can make things right for Violet and restore her fractured family. Violet makes a wish. But her ignorant carelessness unleashes formidable powers—and her attempts to control them jeopardizes not only herself, but the entire town of Pigeon Harbor.

In Copper Magic, land and waters are alive with memories, intentions, and impulses. Magic alters Violet and brings her gifts—but not always the kind she thinks she needs. First-time author Julia Mary Gibson brings Violet and her community to life in this impressive and assured debut.

Hi Julia! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became an author.

My parents are both writers and we didn’t have TV, so I inhaled books as a kid and scribbled little poems and stories. I had a buried dream of being a writer that stayed with me as I grew up, but I was intimidated by the idea of being one. I wrote things and some of it got some attention, but I had other jobs and priorities. Later, I began to form a more concentrated vision for what I wanted to write. For a long time I was reluctant to show my work, but thanks to the encouragement and persistence of friends who just happened to know people who knew people, I began to let people read my stuff and wound up with the perfect agent. My first book didn’t sell, but the second one did. I worked hard for years without even thinking about publication. I’m not recommending that others do the same, but that’s how I eventually got published. Luck had a lot to do with it.

2. So awesome your parents are writers too. Where did you get the idea for your story?

The story grew from the place in Michigan where my mother was conceived and where she conceived me. The place has a certain power, a quiet beauty. I spent summers there and read a lot under and in trees. My favorite books were the ones where magic happened to regular, normal kids. E. Nesbit, Edward Eager, Mary Norton, P.L. Travers – those writers shaped me and encouraged my childish beliefs in elemental magic that exists in nature. From a young age I carried the germ of an idea to write a story about magic (or the possibility of magic or a kidlike belief in magic) that would honor those writers and would take place by the woods and water that sustained me as a child.

3. Awesome that you drew on your life to come up with the idea for your book. I loved that you chose the early 1900’s and small town life on Lake Michigan for the setting of your story. What drew you to this setting and what made you decide to write about this era?

I set the story in 1906 because that was the year that my great-grandparents were among the first summer people in the town that was the model for Pigeon Harbor. That was also the year that a fancy hotel was built on the lakeshore and the rich summer people began to come to a place that had been about logging and fishing until the white pine got used up and the sturgeon declined. My forebears were not the rich kind of summer people – they were ministers and teachers and lived very simply. I based some of the characters in the book on them. It was both challenging and fun to braid the real history of the area and of my family into a fictional narrative.

4. You did a fantastic job weaving the copper hand into the story and the symbolism of it granting wishes tied into Violet’s own deepest desires. Share a bit about the idea for the copper hand and any tips on using a symbol like this weaved into your story.

I knew early on that copper would play some kind of role in the story, because copper is such a key
element in Michigan’s story. Copper was mined for hundreds of years by indigenous people to be used in a sacred manner. When the copper started being mined by whites for use in industry, miners from Finland and Cornwall were shipped over to do the work. My ancestors were from Cornwall, so that was another personal connection for me to copper. I chose the symbol of a human hand because, like copper, the hand is a conductor between our humanity and the non-human realms.

As the story developed, I became aware that the copper hand was revealing itself to me just as a human or animal character would do. It had personality, desires, memories. It wasn’t really a symbol to me, but a being. I tried to make Violet as deprived as possible so that she would need magic badly and need to believe that the hand’s power was meant to help make her life better.

5. I didn’t realize Michigan had such a connection to copper. Share a bit about Violet and her Native American roots. Did you have any challenges in developing her as a character or did she just come to you?

I won’t say that writing Violet wasn’t challenging, but she did present herself fairly clearly most of the time. It was a matter of keeping up with her. I didn’t hook into her loneliness right away, even though that’s the part of Violet I can most identify with. I wasn’t exactly lonely as a child because I always had friends, but I was alone a lot and I felt different from other kids like Violet does. I resisted writing Native characters, but much of the story has to do with the history of the land and the way that the power of nature has been decimated, so omitting Native people from the story seemed ultimately disrespectful and wrong.

6. So glad you decided to keep the Native American theme of the story. What’s something you learned craft-wise from working with your editor? What advice do you have for a debut author as he/she starts working with their editor?

I learned a ton from my editor, Susan Chang, who handled the changes to the storyline and character shading with great delicacy. She helped me to be bolder, she showed me ways inside a child’s heart, she articulated themes that I didn’t even see. She showed me how often my scenes were about talking and not about deciding or doing. I thought that was called character development, but it’s really called bringing the plot to a dead halt. I could talk for days about her wisdom and skill.

Editors have boatloads of experience and savvy about storytelling, style, writing for the marketplace, and all other aspects of creating a book. The tougher they are with the work, the better. Try to enjoy the process, even if it’s scary and difficult at times. Go deep. Open yourself up. Let the work expand you.

7. That’s great that you learned so much from working with your editor. Your agent is Ginger Clark. Share how she became your agent and your road to publication.

Ginger was the first agent I queried, because a friend of a friend had dealt with her professionally and told me that she would be the right agent for me. Ginger passed on the project I submitted to her, but I went back to her later when I had found an editor who expressed interest. She and three other agents offered representation. I resonated the most with Ginger. The project didn’t sell, but Ginger stuck with me until another project found the right editor. She is insightful, tough, creative, loyal, patient, and divine and I feel incredibly lucky to be a client of hers.

I was very shy for a long time about my writing. I didn’t like to talk about it. It can be obnoxious and insufferable when people endlessly yap about their work, but I would have been better served if I’d been a bit more upfront – even with myself – about where I wanted to end up. It took me many years to realize that I actually wanted to be published. Despite all that, a lot of people offered me assistance, advice, and resources. I had to learn to accept their generosity.

8. That’s so cool that you contacted Ginger again even though she passed on your first project. Your book was set in the summer and is releasing in the summer. And I read that you’ve got a schedule of book signings in upper Michigan, which sounds fantastic given your story. Did you intend for your book to release in the summer months or did it just work out that way? And share how and why you decided to focus your personal appearance in Michigan at the release of your book.

I had always hoped that the book would release in the summer. My fantasy was that the people who love the midwestern lake country, as I do, would enjoy a summertime read about a story set in the north woods. There are a number of small towns near my summer home that I could easily make a day trip to visit, so I contacted a bunch of independent bookstores in the northern part of the state and everyone has been completely receptive and friendly, as people from that part of the world just are.

9. That’s a great way to spread the word about your book. What are you working on now?

I have a few projects in various stages of development. The one closest to my heart at the moment is a story set in the Vietnam war era about a family of radicals in the midwest, very loosely based on my own family.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Julia. You can find Julia at juliamarygibson.com and @juliamarygibson.

Julia has generously offered a signed ARC of COPPER MAGIC for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through August 23rd. I’ll announce the winner on August 25th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US and Canada residents.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. Find all the bloggers participating this week on her blog.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Friday I’ll be participating in the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great book choices and will also be offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Next Monday I’m interviewing debut author Lori Lee and giving away her YA fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone. I waited for ages for this and it was worth the wait.

Next Wednesday I'm hosting a pick any YA book giveaway to help Martina Boone celebrate the release of of her YA debut COMPULSION in October.

Then I’m taking a blog break for two weeks until Monday, August 25th when I have a guest post by Holly Schindler and a giveaway of FERAL, her new YA psychological thriller.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Friday!

STEPHANIE DIAZ INTERVIEW AND EXTRACTION GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday! Anna Li and I had a fun week. We went to the mall to catch some July sales and out to dinner to celebrate my birthday on Tuesday since Anna Li works that night. And we/I had two dinner birthday celebrations with friends. And we're going to the Ann Arbor Art Fair this week. I confess that I haven't gone in years. But Anna Li has never gone so I told her we'd go this year.

I'll be late in getting to your blogs today. It's the summer championship swim meet for Anna Li. It's her last year to be able to swim this so we're going to definitely enjoy it.

FOLLOWER NEWS

David Powers King and Michael Jensen just released the cover for their YA fantasy WOVEN that's being released by Scholastic on January 27, 2015. Go to David's blog for more info.

And C. Lee McKenzie is sharing a cover reveal for her new YA contemporary Sixteen-year-old Hutch McQueen is a smart kid who can barely read. He makes one bad choice after another, trying to find a way to escape his rotten life at home and at school. Each time he gets into more trouble.
DOUBLE NEGATIVE that releases July 25th. Here's a blurb:

And a few links:
Buy Link:




 And I have a few winners to announce.
The winner of  THE ACTUAL &TRUTHFUL ADVENTURES OF BECKY THATCHER is Tara Tyler!
 The winner of ALL FOUR STARS is Jenni Enzor!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me before the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m excited to have debut author Stephanie Diaz here to share about her new YA sci-fi EXTRACTION that released two days ago. I found the world building about a world where many people lived in different layers under the planet fascinating. And Clementine is such a sympathetic character desperately trying to rescue her friend Logan.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon's lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet's leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—and that means Logan, too.

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don't want her running—they want her subdued.

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender's Game and leave them breathless for more.

Hi Stephanie! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Hi there! I started writing stories pretty much as soon as I learned how to read. First they were short stories, sometimes only a couple sentences long, and gradually they grew into things shaped like books. I knew as early as second grade that I wanted to be a published writer. In seventh grade, I queried my first full-length novel. It took another nine years before I landed an agent and sold a book (EXTRACTION). But it did happen!

2. Wow! That was really brave for you to query in 7th grade. Where did you get the idea for EXTRACTION?

I wondered, really out of nowhere, what the world would be like if the moon were a giant, poisonous threat in the sky. Then I made up a planet, Kiel, in a distant galaxy, put the poisonous moon in orbit around it, and put Clementine on the planet's surface. The plot line for her story slowly came to me after I'd created most of the world.

3. Cool how the world building came first. I loved the idea of a planet where it wasn’t safe to live on the surface. And you took it to another level by creating different underground levels. Share about your world building process and some of the limitations you struggled with in creating a world underground.

I conceived of the different levels of the planet Kiel before I came up with the actual plot of the story. I wanted to create something almost like the Death Star, but make it part of a terraformed planet. It was pretty challenging to work out the kinks, and as I've worked on book two—and now book three—in the series, I've run across more questions I've had to figure out answers to. But hopefully I've managed to create a world that could potentially exist in some far-distant galaxy.

4. I’ll be interested to see if we learn about some of the other levels in Book 2. The plot is fast-paced and Clementine is constantly facing challenges. What was your plotting like?

I am a horrible plotter. When I sat down to write EXTRACTION, I knew the beginning, the midpoint, and
the ending, but everything in between took forever to come together. Basically, I would plot a couple chapters, write them, and then plot the next set. It was a rough process.

5. That’s similar to how I plot. I hope mine works as well as yours. Tell us about Clementine and some fun facts about her. Is she at all like you and if so, how?

Clementine is the clever, fearless heroine of EXTRACTION. An author friend of mine once said Clem reminded her of Arya Stark, which made me grin since I'm a huge fan of Arya. I did write some of myself into Clem; I gave her a number of my weaknesses. I wish I could say I'm as brave as her, but sadly I'm still working on it.

6. Ha! I’d need more than one life to get to her level. I read you wrote this in college. How did you juggle the demands of writing and planning your debut with the demands of school?

Luckily, my particular major in college (film production) was the sort that didn't require a huge amount of work outside of school, except on specific production days when I was on set for hours at a time. So I really had a good amount of free time to fit writing into my schedule, though it did conflict with schoolwork sometimes, especially on those production days. But I managed to balance everything and make it work. I also made use of lulls during certain class lectures.

7. You were lucky to have some days the load was easy. Your agent is Alison Fargis. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

Alison is fabulous. I originally queried another agent at her agency, Stonesong, simply because I ran across that agent's name before I found Alison's. The first agent already represented a book with subtle similarities to mine, so she passed off my manuscript to Alison, who loved it enough to make an offer. She won me over within a couple minutes of our first phone call, and she's been my rockstar champion ever since. We spent a few months revising EXTRACTION together before it went out on submission. It sold to St. Martin's about six weeks later.

8. What an awesome road to publication story. You make it sound easy. What’s surprised you about the process leading up to your book being published?

The support from bloggers and fellow debut authors has really astounded me, in a good way. I'd heard other authors say something similar, but it didn't quite hit me until I started experiencing it myself. Basically, there are a lot of awesome people in the sphere of booknerdigans.

9. Yes, it is a really supportive community. What’s your favorite social media platform and why? Do you feel you’re connecting with teen readers more easily because you’re closer to them age-wise and if so, how are you doing that?

Tumblr is my favorite, though twitter is a close second.


10. What are you working on now?

I'm currently drafting book three of the EXTRACTION trilogy, which I can't reveal the name for yet. Suffice to say, it's already giving me lots of feels.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Stephanie. You can find Stephanie at:

http://www.stephaniediazbooks.com/
https://twitter.com/StephanieEDiaz
Add Extraction on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16210411-extraction

Stephanie has generously offered a signed ARC of EXTRACTION for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through August 2nd. I’ll announce the winner on August 4th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. This is for US and Canada residents.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday I'm interviewing debut author Julia Marie Gibson with a giveaway of her MG fantasy COPPER MAGIC. I really enjoyed the contemporary feel of it too.

Next Friday I’ll be participating in the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great book choices and will also be offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Lori Lee and giving away her YA fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone. I waited for ages for this and it was worth the wait.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!