Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
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  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
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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.


Hi Everyone! Hope you're having a great summer. Today's Anna Li's summer swimming championship meet. So that's where I am for most of the day. I may not get to quite as many blogs today or will stop by later today. Hope you understand.

We're looking forward to a 2 1/2 week break in being so busy before the pre-season for the high school swim season starts and the two practices a day most days. I'm looking forward to not driving her around so much. It really takes a big chunk of my morning before I go to work.

First I'll announce the winner of PARCHED.

The winner is Brenda

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 excited to interview Gina, the thirteen-year-old daughter of Dianne Salerni who’s going into 8th grade in the fall. She’s a voracious reader and sometimes shares her awesome reviews on Dianne’s blog. Dianne is a middle grade and YA author and her most recent book is THE CAGED GRAVES, I’m so looking forward to learning where Dianne’s daughter finds out about books.

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

My name is Gina Salerni, I just turned 13 last month, and I like to read. I go to middle school. My school is full of identical looking gray hallways with the occasional “stop bullying” poster. It’s very exciting. I like to read fantasy, realistic fiction, mystery, and some nonfiction. My favorite nonfiction books are the Worst Case Scenario books.

2. One of my favorite genres is fantasy too. How do you find out about the books you read? What about new books coming out?

Well, most recently, I had several books forced upon me by my summer reading packet. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was one that I enjoyed a lot though. (Although most of my grade says, “What? Three whole books over the summer? That’s ridiculous!”) I also find them online, or in the bookstore, and my mom recommends some too. Amazon tells me when new books in a series that I’m reading come out. And sometimes I will hear about them from my mom and her author friends.

3. I’ve heard really good things about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, but haven’t read it yet. That’s awesome that your mom recommends books to you. Hopefully you have some to share with her too. That’s what my daughter and I do.

What are you reading now? What books are you waiting to be released?

Right now I am reading Story’s End by Melissa Burt. It’s the second book in a really good series. I’d recommend it to anyone. I am also reading the Phantom of the Opera which I got for free on my kindle.

I’m not currently waiting for anything to be released, but a book I had been waiting for was just released recently. It was Fyre, by Angie Sage. It’s over 600 pages, but I read it in three days. It was very good.

4. I read Story’s End not too long ago. And I love Angie Sage’s series and am jealous you’ve already finished FRYE. I reserved it at the library in an audio book and it just came in. I can’t wait to read it as soon as I finish SERAPHINA. Does the fact that your mom is an author influence what you read? How?

Sometimes my mom will recommend a book to me from one of her fellow authors, and I often review them on her blog. In fact, she recommended Storybound, the first book for Story’s End.

5. I really liked Storybound too. And I love when you review books on her blog. Do you buy most of your book or get them at the library? How often do go to a bookstore?

I usually buy my books on my kindle and read them there. However, whenever my mom has a book event at a bookstore, I always pick a book (or ten) out.

6. Ha! Can I go to her book events and get her to buy me some books too? Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why?

I only read my mom’s and a few of a couple authors I find interesting, and I don’t want or have a Facebook account.

7. I’m not surprised that you don’t read more of them. Most kids I interview don’t read blogs or visit author websites. Has your teacher or mom recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?


8. 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?

If they update regularly and give you a chance to be active and participate in the blog. There was one blog by an author I liked where I commented a couple times, but he didn’t update it in over two years and I stopped going.

9. That’s great advice to keep the blog (or website) current and to have ways for kids to participate in them. 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?

Recently I had Brandon Mull visit my school. I thought it was interesting because he visited over the span of three days. On the first day, there was a drawing of anyone who wanted to eat lunch with him. (And it wasn’t cafeteria food!!!!) I didn’t get picked for that, but I think that would have been cool. On the second day, there was a drawing for a writer’s workshop, which I did get picked for. We made short stories, and he talked about characters and other plot related things. On the third day the whole school went to a presentation of his where he showed us about his books, and had a little story writing game. I thought this was a good author visit.

That’s so awesome he was there for three days. I went to one of his book signings in Ann Arbor where I live. I was the only adult there without a kid and I was impressed by how many fans he has.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Gina.

Today I’m also giving away an ARC of THE 5TH WAVE. Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

I read this on my vacation and was so glad I brought it with me. It’s a fantastic sci-fi/dystopian novel. I loved that it was told from not only Cassie’s POV, but also her brother’s and Ben’s POV. It really gave a better feel for what’s happening in the world because Ben and Cassie’s brother are in such a different place than her.

Cassie is a fantastic character. She was an ordinary girl with ordinary high school concerns before the beings come to Earth and start destroying our world. But she becomes amazingly resourceful and brave from experiencing and surviving these brutal waves and losing everything. And I loved that she didn’t give up when she thought she might be the human on Earth until she meets Evan Walker, a mysterious guy who helps her on her quest to save her brother.

This is a very fast-moving, action packed story. And because it’s also told from the POV of two guys, I think it’s one that would appeal to guys as well as girls.

A special thanks to Penguin for providing an ARC for a giveaway because they also gave me one for another giveaway a little while ago. 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 about my interview by midnight on August 3rd. I’ll announce the winner on August tth.

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.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday, I’m giving away a copy of SHIP OUT OF LUCK by Neal Shusterman. It’s an adventure story about Antsy, a middle grader, who goes on a cruise with his family to relax. Only it doesn’t work out that way. It’s gotten great reviews that also say it’s funny. I’m hoping you or one of your middle graders would enjoy this. I know my daughter and her friends all loved Neal Shusterman’s books when she was in middle school. That’s how I learned about him.

Next Monday, I have an interview with debut author Corina Vacco and an ARC giveaway of MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN, a YA story about living in a small town that’s a toxic waste grounds. I found it fascinating contemplating what it would be like living somewhere like that where swimming in a really toxic stream is no big deal and I enjoyed that the story was told from a male POV.

Next Wednesday, I’m interviewing debut author Lisa Amowitz and giving away an ARC of BREAKING GLASS, a mystery about a guy who is receiving messages from the dead. It got great reviews on Goodreads so I’m excited to share it with you. And Lisa is also a talented cover designer who designed Lisa Gail Green’s gorgeous cover for DJINN: THE BINDING STONE. We’ll be talking about cover designs as well.

Next Thursday I'm doing a Summer Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great choices to pick from.

The following Monday I'm interviewing Cristin Terrell and giving away an ARC of her YA book, ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. This is a fantastic dystopian/time travel story that I loved. I can't wait to share it with you.

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

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Joni said...

5th Wave has gotten a lot of hype it seems... I've been wanting to read it to find out if it's worth all the raves! ^.^ Thanks for the giveaway!

Swordlily said...

I have it in my TBR -also want to see if it's so good as many say :)
I follow on bloglovin (swordlily)
shared: https://twitter.com/Swordlily_girl/status/359262054269468672
thank you!

S.P. Bowers said...

Good luck to your daughter!

I love young reader interviews. It's great to see how they react to the world of marketing and blogs and to get their opinions on books.

5th Wave sounds really interesting, I'll have to put it on the read list.

Jess said...

What a great interview! So cool that Brandon Mull visited her school :) And The 5th Wave sounds awesome!

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

Aww, I love hearing about a 13 year old's reading habits and where she finds new books to read. :)

Bethany said...

great interview! i love these for their unique perspective!

mshatch said...

Hi Gina! Nice to see you over here! And I would love to read The Fifth Wave!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the ideas on websites. My 13 year old and I co-authored and self published a story and are trying to create a website for it. The book is Mason Davis and the Rise of the Storm Makers and is available online at Amazon. We are still tweaking our webiste and hope to have it up soon. Again thanks for the ideas on what to include.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Great interview, Gina! I used to read that much over the summer too and all my friends thought I was weird. I'm heading over to read more of your reviews now!

Martina Boone said...

Great insight about author websites, thanks! And what a stellar lineup! And I adore multi-POV dystopias. The 5th Wave looks GREAT!

Thanks, Natalie!

Crystal Collier said...

I can't wait to read the 5th Wave! I have to get through that one before the movie comes out. And I really liked Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was a little slow, but what a twist! Whew! And thanks to Gina for a new recommendation. Storybound...

Emily R. King said...

Fun interview! I wish someone like Brandon Mull had visited my school growing up.

I tweeted about the giveaway:

And added it to the bottom of my book giveaway blogpost:

Thanks, Natalie! This is a book I've been dying to read!

erittelking at gmail dot com

Robin said...

I've read some of Gina's posts on her mom's blog. She's so fun to read and real. That Brandon Mull 3 day visit sounds incredible. We have yet to have an author visit my kids' school. Hopefully one day it can be me-LOL!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interview. I've heard nothing but praises for The 5th Wave.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like some authors are missing an opportunity with Gina by not updating or interacting.

Jemi Fraser said...

5th Wave is on my wishlist - sounds great.

Great interview with Gina. I just started Miss Peregrine's and I'm loving it so far - it's unique. I would love to have Brandon Mull come to our school - that would be awesome!

Lydia Kang said...

So much buzz for this book. I'm looking forward to it. Great interview, too. Thanks Gina!

CYP @ A Bookalicious Story said...

I've heard so much about The 5th Wave that I'm dying to get my hands on a copy of it! It's so cool how Gina's mom is also a writer! Haha. :) Great interview, and thanks for the giveaway!

Jessie Humphries said...

Good luck at the swim meets! But you remain busy as ever with all your awesome interviews and giveaways. Such great perspective here from a smart 13 year old. Good advice on keeping the blog active and participatory. :)

Anonymous said...

Miss Peregrine's is great! I didn't read too many author blogs regularly until I started book blogging, so I'm not surprised that Gina doesn't. There were one or two that i would check out for release dates and stuff. Now I follow all of my favorite authors!

Beth said...

I'd love to meet Brandon Mull - either with or without my kids! And Storybound is still on my list of books to read.

Nicole said...

Great interview! Loved all those insights. Good luck to your swimmer - I remember those day from h.s. :)

Stina said...

I'm looking forward to the cover design post!

I've heard Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is being made into a movie.

Thanks, Natalie and Gina, for a the great interview. My 13 year old son doesn't follow blogs or author websites either.

Angela Brown said...

Thanks, Natalie and Gina, for such a great interview. It is always a pleasure to get some inside scoop directly from the Experts :-)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Love it when you interview the kids! And Gina sounds as cool as her mom - no surprise there! :)

Anonymous said...

Great interview and real interesting. I think this is the first time I've read an interview with the child of an author.

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

Fun post! Gina is super cute. I really enjoyed Miss Peregrine as well and have been anxiously awaiting the sequel Brandon sounds like an awesome author to spend three days at your school! Thanks for sharing. Have a fantastic day!

Carina Olsen said...

Aw, I loved this interview! Gina sounds like such a sweet kid :) Thank you both so much for sharing. <3 (Would love to win an ARC of The 5th Wave; I loved the book :D) Hope you are having an amazing summer :)
Love, Carina

Vanessa K. said...

I loved the 5th wave. thanks for the great giveaway.

Carol Riggs said...

THE FIFTH WAVE looks good! Would love to be entered. :)

Thanks for the fun interview, too. :) I really need to read that MISS PEREGRINE book...

Christina Lee said...

YAY Gina!!! Great interview (love the kid interviews) and The Fifth Wave is on my list!!

Stephanie Garber said...

Great interview! It's good to know what makes you stop commenting on a blog.

And thanks for the great giveaway! I've been wanting to read The 5th Wave!

Unknown said...

Loved this book too! Really enjoyed the fast pace and multiple pov. Thanks for your thoughts!
saltsnmore at yahoo dot com

Danielle H. said...

This book sounds like a fun book to read. I hope to win a copy and share with my daughters who love this genre.

Janhvi said...

I have read really great reviews of the 5th Wave and it looks like a unique dystopian. Would love to get my hands on it! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

Rosi said...

Fun interview! The 5th Wave looks great. I don't usually choose dystopian, but this one sounds pretty irresistible.

Jocelyn Rish said...

Thank you to Gina (and you too, Natalie!) for sharing some insight into how a teen reader picks books. I always wonder how much an online presence actually influences the MG/YA readers.

Natasha said...

Thanks for the chance to win!
I can't wait to read The 5th Wave!!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

Hello Natalie! I followed you from my bloglovin, long ago. I'm so surprised could hear she is a 13 years old bookworms, because I have some of bookworm friends with age 16+ and so sad they are older than me, but know, if I could be a friend with her it's very amazing thing! I have younger-bookworm-friend. Wow :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Enjoyed the interview with Gina.

Would love to read The 5th Wave.

Unknown said...

Love the interview! :) That's awesome that a 13 year old is in love with books. Course I was too at that age. :)

I have been wanting to read the 5th wave. thanks for the chance to win it!

Krystianna said...

I wish my summer reading packet had such good books like Miss Peregrine's! That was a great interview. :D I'm a bloglovin follower and I mentioned this on Twitter from @DwnritDystopian.

Chantelle said...

Haha I love how much attitude she has! Great interview, definitely made me laugh, even at the beginning, "I had several books forced upon me". It's so awesome that she's so immersed in writing etc. at such a young age.

GFC follower: GFC
Tweet: https://twitter.com/Readingfordays/status/363647027629932544

Carrie said...

I love hearing about young people reading! I was one of those girls that read for fun and got teased for it. I'm so glad I've kept my reading habit though.

GFC Carrie Ardoin
Tweeted: https://twitter.com/celjla212/status/363716154876899328

celjla212 at aol dot com