Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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  • 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.


Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend. It was my daughter's 16th birthday on Saturday. She'd already had a sleepover the weekend before. But we had a fun day going out to breakfast, getting her hair cut (six inches) and her new hairdo looks cute, and the big sister/little sister group she founded and volunteers at played lazer tag for their monthly meeting. We brought a cake so it was kind of a birthday party. And our new puppy, Ellie Mae, is such a sweetie. We're still working on no pee accidents in her crate. She had a no accident day on Friday!

Before I get to my interview and book giveaways, I want to announce the winners of a few contests.

The winner of EMBLAZE is Jill at the O.W.L.!

And the winner of WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME is Nicole!

Congrats! E-mail me your addresses 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 excited to interview, J.P (her first and middle initials), a 7th grader, and the daughter of Barbara Watson, an aspiring author, blogger, and follower. I follow Barbara’s blog and recommend you do too. You can find her blog here.

Hi J.P. Thanks for joining us.

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

A little bit about me is I love basketball. Anytime I see a basketball hoop or a ball, I get excited. I also play on a traveling basketball team. I like to play any games that include running, and I am very competitive. I also love animals, hanging out with friends, reading, and trying new things. I am homeschooled by my mom. Fantasy is my favorite genre, but a book just has to be good (to me) for me to like it.

2. My daughter’s a competitive swimmer so I can relate to how much time you must spend on basketball. Fantasy is my favorite genre too. How do you find out about the books you read? What about new books coming out? Does the fact that your mom is an aspiring author and blogger influence what you read?

I find out about the books I read from friends, my mom, posters at book stores, browsing the library and bookstores, and I have certain authors I like and read all their books. I always know when an author I like is coming out with a new book from posters or their website. The fact that my mom is a writer and blogger does sometimes influence what I read. She will say, “Hey, does this sound interesting?” or “You might like this one.” But I also pick up books at the library on my own.

3. That’s so awesome that you check for favorite authors’ websites to find out about upcoming books. I bet your mom has lots of good book recommendations for you too. What are you reading now? What books are you waiting to be released?

Right now I am reading A Dash of Magic by Kathryn Littlewood. Next I will read the third Beyonders book by Brandon Mull. I am waiting for the the fourth book of The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan to come out.

4. Reading a book in the Beyonders series is on my list to read too. And I love Rick Riordan too. It sounds like we have similar reading tastes. Do you buy most of your books or get them at the library? How often do you go to a bookstore?

Almost all of the books I read come from the library. Occasionally my mom buys me a book I really, really like. I also sometimes read books my mom wins off blogs. I go to a bookstore about once a month.

5. Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Are you a fan of an author on Facebook? Why?

No, I don’t read any blogs or websites, and I am not a fan of any authors on Facebook. I sometimes read my mom’s MMGMs (Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays) or write an MMGM on her blog. I like reading books better than reading blogs or websites about books. I only go on author websites very, very rarely when I want to find out when their newest book is coming out. Sometimes I go to author talks with my mom. We just saw Brandon Mull a few weeks ago.

6. I’ve enjoyed the MMGM posts you’ve written for her. Hope you write more of them. Has your teacher recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?

My mom is my teacher and she reads all the MMGMs and tells me about books I might like.

7. Well, I know your mom is a good recommender of books from following her blog. 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?

No, not really. I can’t think of anything.

8. 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?

No, not my school since I am homeschooled, but I do go to a homeschool book club and five local authors have visited there. I have also seen some at bookstores and a few at libraries. Here are a few I’ve seen: Brandon Mull, Lois Lowry, Brian Selznick, and Anne Ursu. I like when they talk about how they started writing, how they chose the plot and setting, about the characters, and I like when they leave a lot of time for question and answer.

I loved meeting Brandon Mull. There were tons of kids who were his fans at his book signing. Thanks for sharing all your advice, J.P.

Thank you, Natalie, for interviewing me!

So today I’m also doing a few mini reviews of books I want to share with you so I can get more books out to you without having blogging every day.

First, I’ll share MILA 2.0. Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the seque.

The idea of someone being part robot/part human intrigued me. The story moves quickly from Mila’s current life where she’s trying to figure out why there’s big chunks of her memory missing to discovering what she really is. I found Mila’s reaction to the big shock of discovery what she was really is very realistic.

I really thought this was well plotted. There is lots of action, problems and revelations and Mila and her mom go on the run to where they end up.

Mila is sympathetic as a character. My heart went out for her as she struggled to accept the machine parts of herself through her human feelings. And she always tried to keep that human part of herself. The secondary characters were not around as much as some stories, but I really enjoyed the parts with her mom, Hunter, and Lucas. I really recommend this to sci fi/dystopian readers.

Second up is BLACK CITY. Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

This is a combination dystopian/vampire story. And I really liked the fresh look at a vampire story. The Darklings aren’t the strong ones, are kept separated in a ghetto, and are discriminated against by the humans.

Ash is stoic and broody. Natalie is a privileged human. I enjoyed seeing how they both grew as the story progressed and they found themselves falling in love. And I’m always a sucker for forbidden love.
There was plenty of action and secrets revealed. I found this to be a really quick read and I can’t wait to read PHOENIX, book 2 in the series which releases on June 4, 2013.

The last book is an upper middle grade book, THE COLOSSUS RISES. Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

One Boy

Jack McKinley is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die.

One Mission

Jack needs to find seven magic loculi that, when combined, have the power to cure him.

One Problem

The loculi are the relics of a lost civilization and haven’t been seen in thousands of years.

Seven Wonders

Because they’re hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Rick Riordan wrote a blurb about this: “A high-octane mix of modern adventure and ancient secrets.” I think that’s so true.

Very soon after the story begins, 13-year-old Jack is whisked off to a secret hospital where he discovers he has a rare genetic problem that’s going to kill him. He goes on an adventure with his friends Marco, Aly, and Cass to find the Loculi. The plot moves quickly, filled with action, exploring new parts of their world, and danger.

Jack is a great character whose view on life I immediately liked. His voice really came through. Marco, Aly, and Cass have their own unique powers and idiosyncrasies which make them great characters too. With all the action and the story being told from Jack’s POV, I can see a lot of boys liking this as well as girls.

And I also have a small backpack that I thought one of your kids would like, including a teddy bear and a thumb drive with a sneak peak into THE FIFTH WAVE, by Rick Yancy, that has gotten great reviews.

So I’m giving away an ARC of MILA 2.0 and BLACK CITY a print book of THE COLOSSUS RISES, and the backpack. Thanks to Harper Collins and Penguin for these books and the backpack.

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 by midnight on April 27th. Please let me know your first two choices of books and I'll try to match the books to the winners. I’ll announce the winner on April 29th.

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 except for the backpack due to postage costs. I will pick no more than one international winner because of postage costs so please let me know if you live outside the US or Canada.

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find the links to all the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday bloggers here.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Tomorrow, I have a Tuesday tip by Stephanie Keyes and a giveaway of THE FALLEN STARS, a YA paranormal romance.

On Wednesday I’m interviewing agent Jill Corcoran about her new A Path to Publishing workshops and of course I asked her what submissions she’s looking for right now. There’s a giveaway too! I can’t wait to share Jill’s interview with you.

Next Monday I’m interviewing Lisa Rojany Buccieri and giving away a copy of WRITING CHILDREN’S BOOKS FOR DUMMIES. I worried a bit that this book might be too basic for many of you, but one of the things I liked about this book was that Lisa hit the key elements of each subject she presented, for example, developing engaging characters, plotting, and revising. And she had a few great tips I hadn’t thought about for many of these subjects. Lisa has a lot of editorial experience so I know you’ll enjoy her interview. And once you read this, you might want to pass it on to a newer writer to help them out.

Next Tuesday, I have a Tuesday tip by Judith Roth and a giveaway of SERENDIPITY AND ME, a middle grade contemporary novel.

Wednesday next week, I’m participating in the Shower of Books Book Giveaway Blog Hop. I’ve got a great choice of new YA books to choose from.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you tomorrow and Wednesday!


Dianne K. Salerni said...

My editor mentioned Brandon Mull to me in her editorial letter. Sounds like I ought to check him out.

J.P. sounds a lot like my own seventh grade daughter: She's aware of blogs and websites because of my writing and is more likely than other kids her age to check out an author's blog because she knows they exist.

Neysa Kristanti said...

It's lovely to see a 7th grader like J.P, who loves reading and are aware of the reading world. Not many 7th grader on my country are like J.P :D

Thank you for sharing, Natalie :)

Would love to win Mila 2.0 (Since I've heard many good things about it) and Black City.

Email : mnkbooklife(at)yahoo(dot)com
[I'm live in Indonesia, btw :)]

Kristen Wixted said...

Loved the interview with JP--I follow Barbara too. That was an interesting perspective on her mom, as well as books. :)

Kristen Wixted said...

Oh, btw, congrats on the puppy! We are getting a puppy today and I am sooooo excited.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Love the interview with JP. Mila is so on my to read list now. lol

Reader said...

This is a fantastic interview. I enjoy Barbara's blog also.
J.P. really has her head on straight. It seems like a smart way to be to read books versus author website/blogs. Read and write! Maybe author websites serve more of a purpose for the self or for the connection with others in the business/writers....but at the end of the day maybe this internet thing is kind of a distraction ;) (at least for me :) ).
Read and write FTW!

I also love that she gets her books from the library! Excellent.

Great giveaway. Very exciting.

And Happy belated B-day to your daughter. Sounds like you are both close. (Love the name "Ellie Mae" for a dog by the way, so sweet).

Okay, ridiculously long comment. Just a good overall post and much to comment on.

Janhvi said...

Thank you so much for the interview and giveaway! :)
I follow via GFC and I tweeted-https://twitter.com/justjanhvi/status/323778158157512704
I have been super excited for Mila 2.0 and Black City.
I'm an international follower :)

S.P. Bowers said...

Love the interview. I follow Barbara and am a big fan of hers.

Happy birthday to your daughter!

Mila 2.0 sounds very interesting.

Linda Gray said...

Your interviews with teens are terrific, Natalie. Loved reading what J.P. had to say and learning how she finds books.

mshatch said...

Mila and Black City both sound like kick butt books! And great interview with JP - my niece is a big basketball fan/player and I love going to her games :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Natalie,

Sounds like you had a busy weekend. Glad you and the "pup" are making progress. LOL.

Enjoyed the interview with JP .. All three books sound AWESOME! But Mila 2.0 and Colossus really peak my interest.

CYP @ A Bookalicious Story said...

Hey great interview! I'm not usually a big fan of fantasy, but I'm not sure why I've been craving YA fantasy novels with badass heroines like Graceling and Throne of Glass nowadays. But I can't seem to find any that are good!! (As in 5 stars good)

I can't buy books myself cause I'm still in junior college, and my mom only buys for me those that I REEEEALLY like and will reread. Sigh.. I am going to buy my own floor to ceiling book shelf next time and stock up on ALL the books I like. ;)

Thanks for the giveaway!

I've been intrigued with Mila 2.0 and Black City for quite awhile already! I'm an international GFC and google reader follower. :)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

So glad I started following this blog. I loved the interview. It's great to see from a young adults perspective what they're interested in reading and why.

Mila 2.0 is on my wish list to read and I haven't heard of Black City before now, but it sounds interesting. Thanks for showcasing it!

Rosi said...

What a fun interview. Thanks for posting that. I like the look of Seven Wonders and Black City. Thanks for running the giveaway. I tweeted: https://twitter.com/rosihollinbeck/status/323817231060451329

miki said...

thank you a lot for this giveaway

i would like to win black city or the collosus rise ( i admit teh backpack is calling to me^^;;)

i'm international ( belgium)

email: isabelle(dot)frisch(at)gmail(dot)com

Stephanie Garber said...

What a fun interview, and what a great giveaway!

I've been dying to read Black City, so that would be would my first choice, and my second choice is Mila 2.0! Thanks so much!

Kris @Imaginary Reads said...

Thanks for sharing the interview. I enjoyed reading it! Also thanks for your reviews. I hadn't read any of these yet (though I have a copy of Black City). THE COLOSSUS RISES especially sounds like a book I'd love to read.

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/ImaginaryReads/status/323845042819194880

Bethany C Morrow said...

Thanks for the interview! I'd love to read Mila 2.0 and Black City!

nutschell said...

great interview. I'm so happy to read about kids like J.P. who start out so young! Mila 2.) and Colussus Rises both sound like awesome books! Crossing my fingers I get to read them.


Cynthia said...

I'm sure it must've been so fun for J.P. to be interviewed. I'd love to win a copy of Mila 2.0--- the story sounds very interesting.

Lydia Kang said...

So much good stuff in one post. Thanks Natalie for the interview (I love these teen/tween interviews!) and the reviews. :)

Barbara Watson said...

Thanks so much for interviewing my daughter! She so enjoyed answering your questions.

Also, thanks for the giveaways. I would love Seven Wonders (and am pretty sure my daughter would too!).

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad your daughter had a good birthday!
I wonder how many other teens don't visit blogs and websites? Might be an interesting statistic.

cleemckenzie said...

Congratulations to Nicole for winning. I really liked this interview and I've been a follower of Barbara's for a long time now, so that made your post today even more special.

Great giveaway. It feels like Christmas here today.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow, you have been busy, Natalie!! Lots of great stuff here today. :)

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

Aww, how sweet to hear from a 7th grader! I liked hearing how she gets book recs. I think book posters always worked for me at that age. :)

Robin said...

Great interview J. P. Friend recommendations seems to be the best way to hear about a good book. Even with how much I'm in book blog land, I still find more of my fav. books from my friend recommendations. Mila and Black City sounds really interesting to me.

And happy birthday to your daughter. Sounds like she's one impressive girl, doing service on her birthday. Love that.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Happy birthday to your daughter Natalie! Fabulous interview J.P! I love your mom and her blog - that's wonderful you also want to be a writer. The talent runs in the family. ;)

Natalie - those books look really, really good. ;)

Stina said...

I love the teen expert interviews. They always confirm what I already know. That teens aren't checking out author blogs or websites. My son doesn't. He hangs out on Ytube.

jpetroroy said...

These teen interviews are great!

Tricia C. said...

7th graders are the best!! Everything I read about these three books makes me want to read them even more. Thanks so much for the interview and the giveaway.

Theresa Milstein said...

Oh, I'd want Mila or Black City.

Congrats to the person who won When the Butterflies Came. I can't wait to read it.

Amber said...

I'd love Mila or Black City~ they both seem to have such interesting plots and characters~

I live in canada~

CG @ Paper Fury said...

So awesome! I'd LOVE to read Mila! I'm a follower, and international.

Candace said...

Very cool! I love hearing how kids/teens hear about books and how they decide to pick them up to read them. I've read Black City (though I don't own a copy) and I it was pretty good! The other two are on my WL. :) They all sound great! I don't even know which I would want the most. I guess Mila or the Seven Wonders book.
Of course I'm a follower!
candace_redinger(at)yahoo dot com

mariska said...

my first choice is MILA 2.0 and then BLACK CITY :)

An international follower !

Jocelyn Rish said...

That was a very eye-opening interview with JP. I've read in a few places people mentioning that many of the things MG/YA writers do for social networking does not actually connect us with young readers, only fellow writers. And JP's answers really seem to support that. And she'd probably be more likely than most teens to do those type of things because of her mom. Getting to know fellow writers is so much fun that I wouldn't give it up, but it's important to be mindful of what the time spent networking is and is not doing for us.

Danielle H. said...

I enjoyed reading the interview and found that it mirrors my own daughter's experiences when choosing a book. Sometimes, she recommends books to me and I really like when she does. I would love to win the copy of Colossus Rises as my first choice, then Mila 2.0. Of course, the backpack sounds great too! I will post on Facebook!

Eli Yanti said...

I will love to win Mila and One boy, I already have black city and i really enjoy reading this book and phoenix is on my TBR, planing to read it this week (I got the ARC from author :)

I'm international

thanks for the giveaway

Anonymous said...

Congrats Jill and Nicole...happy reading!

And what a great interview. I know what you mean on loving fantasy but reading anything that catches your eye. Speaking of that-what great resources you have, sounds like you can keep yourself well read with a book always at hand.

One Boy and Black City (omg on that cover!) are my picks. I'm international. Thanks Natalie!

Julie R said...

I would love to win Milan or Black City. Great interview, thanks for the giveaway.

Carina Olsen said...

Ahh, awesome post :D Love it. <3 Thank you for the perfect giveaway :) I live in Norway, and I would love love love love love to win THE COLOSSUS RISES <3 sounds and looks amazing :) Thank you for sharing. <3 (GFC as Carina Olsen)
Love, Carina

Jessa said...

Seven Wonders and Mila 2.0 sound incredible. And it's nice to hear from another aspiring teen author. :)

Ashfa said...

Love the interview with JP. Would love to get Black City or Colossus.
I'm form Sri lanka.
GFC- Ashfa Anwer
Tweeted: https://twitter.com/TopsyTurvy_Ash/status/324391667803238400

Rachna Chhabria said...

I would love to read Mila 2.0. I have not read any sci-fi books, so looking forward to it.

Natalie @ Book Lovers Life said...

Thats an awesome interview!! Three great book choices also :) Id love either THE COLOSSUS RISES for my son or MILA 2.0.
Follow through email as natcleary at gmail dot com
Tweeted https://twitter.com/natcleary/status/324883049290547200
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/natcleary/posts/518571881511195

Natalie @ Book Lovers Life said...

Also Im in Ireland so Im International :)

Unknown said...

Great interview! I think I would want Black City or Mila 2.0.

GFC: Darith L.

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/bookbrews/status/325042597431242752

Email me at: Darith8ly(at)yahoo(dot)com

Unknown said...

Awesome interview :3 I would like Mila 2.0 or Black City please <3

I followed by the name: Kayla DeGroote

I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/KaylaDeGroote/status/325045269974622209

My email is: sonic_girl_905(at)hotmail(dot)com

From the US by the way :) Thanks for the giveaways here! :D

Beth said...

Wow, I'd love to win The Colossus Rises!
And lucky J.P. I'd love to meet Brandon Mull!

DMS said...

I loved this interview! I think it is so important to hear from readers who are in the age group we are writing for. I think it is awesome that she has met so many wonderful authors and I enjoyed learning what she enjoys in an author talk. I met Brandon Mull two years ago and he is so nice! :)

Thanks for the giveaways. :)

Veronika said...

Amazing titles for the giveaway! I would like to win Black City or Mila 2.0.
GFC: Veronika (International follower)

verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read those books, especially Mila and Black City.

I find other people's reading habits interesting.

Eisen said...

Thanks for the giveaway and the interview! :) I'd love to win Mila 2.0 or Colossus Rises! I also tweeted it: https://twitter.com/eisen5585/status/326140411812913152
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

All those books sound amazing.
Thank you for a fun interview of J.P.


Bryann James Almeda said...

HI Im from the Philippines and I always found your blog awesome! :)

Mia Kim said...

Loved the interview! And thanks for the giveaway :) I couldn't choose two out of the three books as I wouldn't mind any of them. BUT Mila 2.0 would be my first choice. (South Korea)

Vanessa K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vanessa K. said...

My first choice would be Mila 2.0, and my second choice would be black city. They both sound like great books. Thanks for the giveaway

Ashley Morrow said...

GFC: Ashley Morrow

My first choice is Mila 2.0 and second is Black City.

Chantelle said...

Thanks for the giveaway! My first two choices would have to be Mila 2.0 and Black City.
GFC: chip

Chantelle said...

hi, sorry, forgot to mention that I live in Australia. shared on twitter: https://twitter.com/Readingfordays/status/327421600414707712

Vanessa K. said...

Email: littlewizzo@gmail.com
Twitted it here: https://twitter.com/JacquelineW5555/status/327539370468978689

Videoclimber said...

My picks would be Black City and Mila 2.0. Younger readers are Awesome! My son gives me good suggestions

Mia Kim said...

Email : miakim777 (at) gmail (dot) com
Tweeted : https://twitter.com/MiaYKim/status/327762612592988160

iLuvReadingTooMuch said...

Hi thanks for the amazing giveaway! I really want to read all of these– they’re all on my wishlist! I’m from Singapore, so I’m INTERNATIONAL.

GFC: iLuvReadingTooMuch

iliveforreading AT hotmail DOT com

Jana said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win!
GFC: Jeanne

Alison Lan said...

I would want Mila 2.0 and Black City!

GFC- Alison Lan

Kiera Paul said...

My nephew is a 7th grader who loves basketball too. He LOVES to read and devours anything his hands come within reach of. I blogged about all three books and the interview in hopes that more people might stop by and check them out. For my nephew I'd prefer Mila 2.0 since he loves AI and sci-fi so much. Thanks! :)