Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


First I'll announce the winner of SECRETS OF THE CROWN. The winner is:


Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book.

Today I’m excited to interview Hikari, a follower and a ninth grader who is Kris’ blog partner at Imaginary Reads. They have a fantastic blog where they review books and do some book giveaways. I recommend it.

Hi Hikari. Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live, your school, and what you like to read.

I’m a ninth grader (we call it year ten over here) in Hong Kong. I go to an international school and I’m bilingual in Chinese (Cantonese, though I’m fluent in Mandarin) and English. I love writing, blogging, and of course, reading. I’ll read practically anything that has words in it, YA, adult fiction, literature, inch-thick computing books (don’t ask—tech geek here), manga—you name it, I’ll probably read it. I do love YA best though, especially contemporaries and dystopias.

2. Wow! That's awesome that you live in Hong Kong and can speak in Cantonese and Mandarin. My daughter is Chinese and we've tried to learn. It's not easy. Before you started blogging, how did you find out about the books you read? What about new books coming out?

Before I came to know about the book blogging community, all I had was one bookshop, really. It’s pretty far from where I live, about half an hour by public transport (which is far HK-wise). Page One is one of the few book retailers specializing in English books in HK. So every time I went there, I’d buy loads of books. I generally spent over $500 (~US$80) every trip—I didn’t get that many books either, English books are really expensive here. It ate up all my pocket money, this book addiction of mine.

3. That's true dedication to spend so much on books. What made you decide to start blogging? How did your blog partnership with Kris come about and how did you find each other living in two different countries?

Well, I’ve always thought that blogs were really cool. I started stalking publishers at some point, and then somehow, discovered the world of book bloggers. Kris had her exams back then, and she had her own writing blog. She started a reading blog but didn’t have the time too keep it up, what with her exams. The idea of blogging together came up, and bam—that was it.

It’s funny how we met, considering that we’re running a reading blog together, because I met Kris through writing. We were both writing novels at the time, and our friendship started off as critique buddies. Somehow, we evolved into blogging partners, and I’m glad. As Kris said, we’ve gotten a lot closer.

4. That's awesome how you connected. Though Casey and I aren't critique partners, I followed her blog for a long time. When she needed a blog partner, I took the plunge and e-mailed her and am so glad I did. You and Kris seem like a good match too. How has blogging changed what you read, if at all? What books are you waiting to be released?

Blogging has given me the opportunity to find out about new books a lot quicker. Now, I know about books with incredible hype around them and which books are coming out soon. The ratings and heartfelt reviews from fellow bloggers make me want to read books I never dreamed I’d read. Before, I’d have to wait until my once-in-a-while bookstore trip to hunt for books with interesting blurbs and pretty covers. I’m waiting for Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, Isla and the Happily Ever After and a lot more… I’m sure I’d bore everybody to tears if I kept going.

5. We're looking forward to a lot of the same books. Do you buy most of your book, receive ARCS, or get them at the library? How often do you go to a bookstore?

I don’t get a lot of ARCs compared to Kris and other book bloggers. Nobody likes international shipping, especially to some part of China that isn’t really China that you can’t even see on a map—and I don’t either. HK libraries are seriously lacking in the English department and our school library is really slow updating new releases. So I guess, in the end, I’m still buying most of my books. But I’ve been using The Book Depository and buying Kindle ebooks more.

6. That's too bad you can't get ARCs mailed to you. But you gave me some advice on getting ARCS online from book publishers so at least that's a way you can get get them. Thanks for the advice BTW. Do you read any teen book blogs, book blogger review blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why?

Yups! I do all of the above. After you’ve read some of the reviews of a certain blogger, you get a feel for their tastes. If they’re similar to mine, I’d be more inclined to try out some of the books they’ve liked. I read author blogs because most of the time, they’re really interesting. I love how they’ll dish out writing tips sometimes, complain about the weather some other time, and release snippets of information about their books that always leaves me drooling. Publisher websites are just for me to stalk to-be released books though.

As for Facebook… If I like an author, why not show some appreciation? Facebook’s a major meter for everything nowadays, and it’s only one click on my part. As a bonus, I get news about their new books, possible competitions, giveaways, etc. It’s win-win.

7. Do you have any teen or book blogger review blogs you’d recommend we follow and why?

The Story Siren has brief reviews that leave you wanting to read the book anyway. Mundie Moms are looking better in black since 1234 (no, really, they host a lot of interviews and live author chats). Alison Can Read’s reviews are compulsively readable and I love that she’s reviews manga too. There are a lot-lot-lot of others and I could probably go on forever—but I won’t.

8. I love The Story Siren and Mundie Moms too. I find out about a lot of books from them. Have any of your teachers recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?

My current English teacher is a huge fan of classics. Just a few lessons ago, he recommended works by Zola, Lermontov, Emily Bronte, Tolstoy, Maupassant, Hardy, Eliot and Balzac to me. I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which was recommended by him too. By recommended, I mean “threw at me in the library and went ‘You should read this.’” None of my teachers have recommended blogs or websites though.

9. Are there things your favorite authors could do that would make you more likely to visit their website, their blog, or become a fan on Facebook?

There are only two things, really. One, write a mind-blowingly amazing book. Two, have a sense of humour. Because if the book is that amazing, I’ll probably stalk the author in hopes of hearing about a sequel or other books by the same author, which will lead me to their site/blog/fb page. And if they have a sense of humour, it’ll probably keep me there.

10. That's great advice. Have any authors visited your school? Who? Is there anything you’d recommend that an author do to make their presentation more interesting to you and other kids at your school?

Not a single author has ever tried to cross the Pacific Ocean to reach this little school of mine at the tip of South-East Asia—to my dismay. Thomas Friedman (The World is Flat) visited the university my mom works at, but it was during my school time, so I didn’t get to listen to him. The only thing I’d like to say to authors doing presentations is to ask themselves, “What would Steve Jobs do?” Steve Jobs doesn’t have anything to do with books, but he made his presentations magical.

…Okay, maybe that was a bit too geeky of me.

That's a great tribute to Steve Jobs. Thanks Hikari for all your advice.

Today I'm giving away an ARC of ENTICE by Carrie Jones. I won this ARC and quickly read the first two books in the series so I could read it, especially since CAPTIVATE (Book #2) ended with a bang. Talk about a cliffhanger. SPOILER ALERT: DON'T READ THE GOODREADS BLURB IF YOU DON'T WANT ANY SPOILERS! I loved that this is an urban fantasy with pixies as the magical creatures, something you don't read about too much.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever.
But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead.
Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing ever
y day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned...she's Astley's queen.

I'm giving away my ARC of ENTICE. All you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you're not a follower) and leave a comment on Hikari's interview by midnight on December 3rd. I'll announce the winner on December 5th.

If you mention this contest on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, please let me know in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry.

Here's what's coming up. Next Monday, I'm interviewing debut author Scott Tracey and giving away a copy of WITCH EYES.

Then on Friday December 2nd, I'll be participating in an awesome book lovers holiday giveaway blog hop. I have some fantastic offerings for you to say thanks for all the support you've given me this year. And hop around for other giveaways.

Then on December 5th, I'll be interviewing debut author Karsten Knight and giving away a copy of WILDFIRE.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all enjoy the holiday. And hope to see you next Monday!


Wendy Chen said...

Hey Hikari! I just wanted to say that I really liked your interview, and that Imaginary Reads is a great blog. I'm also looking forward to The Future of Us and Insurgent -- such great authors!

I also speak Chinese (Mandarin) and am in ninth grade, by the way. :)

miki said...

Great interview, i was happy to discover you

thanks you fror the opportunity to win ( i would like to read more about pixies^^)

gfc follower: miki ( or isabelle frisch)


Sophia Chang said...

Great interview!

Aw geez, Natalie, spoiler alert next time before you go and ruin the ending of Book 2 will ya? ::cries::

Hikablack said...

Thanks for having me, Natalie! I hope whoever reads this will get something from it.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks Hikari for agreeing to be my expert this week. Your answers were fantastic.

Beth said...

Thanks for this great interview with Hikari. It was so interesting to read about getting books in Hong Kong. I live in Canada, and sometimes it can be a little difficult getting books over the border from the U.S. After reading this interview, though, I feel very lucky!

Unknown said...

I just read NEED last weekend, so your contest came at the perfect time. I nibbled at the spoilers and read the goodreads description. OMG, I need to read book to right away.

Barbara Watson said...

I think I might go mad without my public library. Hikari, thank you for sharing your passion for books!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Fascinating interview, Natalie! Hikari, that's such a shame that you don't get many ARCs and that new books are so hard to come by.

I'm looking forward to INSURGENT too!

Jessie Humphries said...

Hikari is rad! I love her. Such a cool perspective from the other side of the world!

Bidisha said...

Woah..I really want this. Although I have to read up the first book of the series. Pixies are cool :)


Stephsco said...

I'm sure many authors would love to go to Hong Kong, but maybe the expense is keeping them from it. I love your dedication to reading and blogging - it's inspiring!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not entering to win, just amazed she's such a young book blogger, because her 'voice' is so adult.

Stina said...

I keep forgetting about Story Siren even though I see it mentioned everywhere.

The danger of blogging is that your TBR list never stops growing. I keep finding so many great books I want to read.

Unknown said...

Great interview . . . but sad about how hard it is for you to get the books you want. Or authors to visit . . . maybe a skype author visit ????

Michael Di Gesu said...

Very impressive interview. Todays teenagers are truly amazing and intelligent!

I will twitter about the contest...

Happy Thanksgiving Natalie and Casey....

Len Lambert said...

What an amazing child you are, Hikari!!! You are awesomeness! :)

Thank you, Natalie for this fab interview!

Congratulations to Cathe Olson for winning the giveaway of entice!

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm celebrating Friendships this Thanksgiving on my blog with goodies and book giveaways! Hope to see you there!


Reading Mind / The Loyal Book said...

Nice interview! Loved to read it! And great ARC!!!

GFC follower reading mind

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great interview with Hikari! I am so sorry that she hasn't had any author visits to her school. For me and my students (when I was a teacher) it was so inspiring to meet authors. That was before I really got on line and met people. I'm so glad you were able to introduce us to Hikari, Natalie.

Christina Lee said...

What a great (and fascinating) interview!!! The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorites!!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Super cool interview! I'm so impressed at how articulate this ninth grader is, and how passionate. Love it!

Christina Farley said...

I really loved Hong Kong. It's probably my favorite international city. I think it's awesome you know so many languages! My husband and I taught at international schools in Asia and considered Hong Kong.

I'm anxious to check out your blog.

Great interview!

Casey McCormick said...

Fantastic interview, Hikari and Natalie.

Hikari, I'm so glad you're able to access more books with e-books now. Voracious readers need reads! It sounds like you have a really bright future ahead. So great to meet you!

Kris @Imaginary Reads said...

Okay. I read this back when it was published, and I'm shocked that I haven't left a comment yet. I must have wandered away from my laptop.... Even though this is late, I have to comment because Hikari deserves this. Hikari is an amazing blog partner. I am so lucky to have her!! :)


Kiera Paul said...

Better to leave a comment late rather than not at all, right? ^_^ I loved reading this interview and getting the persceptive of a teen. Thanks Hikari! And thanks Natalie!

I posted about the ENTICE ARC contest on my blog: http://kierapaul.blogspot.com/2011/12/chance-to-win-entice.html. I love LR and will tell anyone who's willing to listen about it :)

Anonymous said...

Amazing interview! I would love to win a copy of this book!


Unknown said...

really enjoyed this interview! and thankyou for the giveaway! :)


jacque said...

So great to see a voice behind the blogs! Great interview.. I like IR too!
twinmomx5 at gmail dot com

I do follow gfc and thank you for the chance to win Entice!

Christina Kit. said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

GFC follower Christina Kit.

ccfioriole at gmail dot com

Nedraw said...

Loved the interview Hikari. You are an excellent example of a role model for young teens.

Thanks for a great giveaway. I really want to pick up this series now.

GFC follower Nedraw


Persephone said...

I love the cover, it is so pretty and the blurb is really interesting.

wingedpersephone at gmail dot com

Samantha Jean said...

Great interview Hikari! BTW, I love your name. I was surprised to learn you are so young, because (as another commenter wrote) your blogs sound so adult. I share your book addiction but haven't the $ to spend on books, so I frequently request my library to purchase books for me. Thanks for the giveaway...maybe I'll win this one and not have to wait for the library to get it in. :)

GFC: Samantha Jean
mr.boardgame AT yahoo DOT com

Devon Ashley said...

I have NEED sitting on my bookshelf staring me down at this very moment. :) Would love to get my hands on this one too!


Laura H. said...

What an impressive young blogger! And it's really sad that there isn't a local library you can go to! :-( But hopefully your blogging will help to connect you to more books! I'm a new follower via GFC (MamaHendo3).


Laura H. said...

Tweeted giveaway: https://twitter.com/#!/MamaHendo3/status/143155505186082819


Vaibhav Gupta said...

I would love to get my hands on this book. The best part is, who doesn't love free giveaways.