Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

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.


Hi Everyone! Just a few things before I get to my fabulous interview. First, just to let you know, I may not be around as much this week. My mom is coming in for a visit on Thursday so I'm getting ready for that. Yay! The house is finally clean. And of course the night before her visit I have a potluck meeting for the swim team and need to register Anna Li for school the day my mom comes. It'll be a bit crazy.

Next the winner of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS is Amanda!

Congrats! Please 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 Gabbey, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Dianne Salerni who’s going into eleventh grade in the fall for my ASK THE EXPERT series. She’s an avid writer and occasionally contributes a guest post on Dianne’s blog. Dianne is a middle grade and YA author and her most recent book is THE CAGED GRAVES.

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

I am 16 years old and I will be a junior at Avon Grove High School in the fall. I really like the Legend of Zelda and Doctor Who, and I enjoy reading classic literature as well as some science fiction and fantasy. I have tried writing with several different genres but the one I like best is fantasy. I get to use more imagination. :D

2. I love fantasy and sci-fi too. And I love writing fantasy too. That’s great that you’re starting to write now. Does the fact that your mom is an author influence what you read or what you write? How?

I guess it does, because I usually end up going to a lot of events like PAYA and getting signed copies of books from the authors there. I wouldn't say it has much of an impact on what I write.

3. Awesome you get to meet authors and get signed books because of your mom. What are you reading now? What’s the last book you read for pleasure instead of for a school assignment?

Right now I am reading the Glass Castle for my AP English summer assignment. I'd be enjoying it more if I didn't have to complete a dialectic notebook on it. Blech. The last book I read for pleasure was actually a manga, which is a Japanese graphic novel. It was the fifth volume in a series called Yu-Gi-Oh, which is about a shrimpy high schooler who is occasionally possessed by the spirit of an incredibly good-looking Egyptian pharaoh.

4. My daughter’s reading East of Eden for her AP English class. She doesn’t have as much time as she’d like to read for pleasure either. Do you buy most of your book or get them at the library? How often do go to a bookstore?

Usually I buy books from Amazon...I don't go to bookstores too often since there aren't really any good ones that I know of nearby.

5. Oh, that’s too bad there aren’t any good bookstores near where you live. Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why?

I just started my own blog (http://writerssword.blogspot.com/), but as I have just gotten started, I don't have too many blogs that I follow. As for Facebook, I don't really go around liking too many author pages. I don't know why, it just doesn't occur to me to look up authors I like.

6. That’s so cool that you’re starting your own blog. Has your teacher or mom recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?

Yes, my mom has e-mailed me lots of links to blogs and as I said I am trying to immerse myself in the blogging world. However my teachers don’t really do that sort of thing. My school is more interested in standardized test results than it is in helping creative minds to blossom.

7. I bet your mom has lots of blogs to recommend to you. Tell us about the Writing Club you founded at your school? What inspired you to start your own club?

I am very happy with the success we have had with the Writing Club so far. We have quite a few members and through the club I have met and gotten to know a lot of people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. The idea for the club actually came when I was in ninth grade, and a friend of mine from middle school was still in eighth grade. We noticed that the high school didn’t have a writing club, and my friend said that once she got to high school we would start one. So the next year we did!

8. The writing club sounds like a great way to become friends with other aspiring writers. Are there things authors could do that would make you more likely to visit their website, their blog, or become a fan on Facebook?

Hey, as long as they don’t write books about sparkly vampires, I’ll visit any website they want me to.

9. Have any authors visited your club in person or by SKYPE? What are you looking for in a guest author?

No, as we were just getting started this past school year, we did not get any guest authors. We hope to find some volunteers for this in the coming year. We are just looking for someone who writes YA books and is willing to talk to teens and answer questions.

Having Skype visits sounds like a great way to connect with authors. Thanks for sharing all your advice, Gabbey.

Now onto my giveaways. First, I’m sharing ICONS with you.

Here’s a description from Goodreads:

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.

I read this right after I finished THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancy. Both are sci-fi/dystopian stories where aliens take over our world. I was struck how different these stories are and how amazing the power of imagination is and how you can put fresh spins on a story. In ICONS, our world is not as destroyed as in THE 5th WAVE, though things are pretty bad.

This was a fast paced story with lots of action and twists. I loved figuring out what Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas’ connection is to each other and what their captors want with them. The interactions between all four of them and their developing relationships really kept me reading. They all grow through the story. And I wasn’t always sure whose side some of them are on. And there’s a conspiracy and rebellion too. I found this to be a fast read.

The second book I’m giving away is an ARC of THE TESTING. The reality is that I can’t read all the books and ARCs I receive. But many, like THE TESTING, have gotten good reviews and I want to pass them on to you while they’re still fairly current. I’ll be doing more of this type of giveaways as my schedule and budget permits.

Here’s a description of THE TESTING from Goodreads:

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close
when they may be one in the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

I’m giving away my ARCs of ICONS and THE TESTING. Thanks to Little Brown and Company for the ARC of ICONS and Houghton Mifflin Books for the ARC of THE TESTING. To enter, 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 September 7th. I’ll announce the winner on September 9th. 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, but I’ll only pick one international winner at most.

Here’s what’s coming up:
On Wednesday, I’m interviewing Darcy Pattision and giving away a copy of her new book, START YOUR NOVEL-SIX WINNING STEPS TOWARD A COMPELLING OPENING LINE, SCENE, AND CHAPTER. Darcy’s the author of picture books, non fiction books, and a YA novel. And she’s also the author of NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS: UNCOMMON WAYS TO REVISE NOVELS, a fantastic book that I found really helpful when revising my novel. I know she’ll have lots of great advice to share with us.

Next Monday I’m thrilled to have C.J. Redwine back to talk about her new book, DECEPTION, the sequel to DEFIANCE. I really loved how C.J. took the story in a totally different direction I didn’t anticipate. And of course, I’ll be giving away an ARC of this.

The following Monday is Labor Day and I’m participating in a Sequels Blog Hop Giveaway. I’ll have lots of great sequels for you to choose from. Don’t worry if you’re busy on Monday having fun. The contest will run through September 9th.

Wednesday that week with an interview with Mari Mancusi and a giveaway of SCORCHED, a dystopian/fantasy/time travel story. I’ve been excited about this book since I read the book sale blurb in PW Children’s Bookshelf. And I was not disappointed. It’s fantastic and I can’t wait to share it with you. I’m sure Mari with have lots of advice for us because she’s also the author of another 8 book series.

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

Hope to see you Wednesday!


Steve MC said...

Methinks Gabbey will be a fine writer - she not only tells it like it is, but had me laughing, too. :-)

Ann Finkelstein said...

Wonderful interview. So nice to meet Gabbey!

Unknown said...

Both books sound great. Would love to win an arc of one of them. :) Amazing giveaway. Peace out.

Denise Covey said...

Lovely books. Gabbey sounds fun.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love the interview with Gabbey. I know several authors now whose children are following in their footsteps. I think it's awesome.

Linda Gray said...

How wonderful that Gabbey is invested so much in her writing at sixteen! I hope she keeps it up and loves every day of it. (Please don't enter me in the giveaway, Natalie--can't keep up w/what's on my night stand to read as it is, and would hate to keep such cool books from someone else!!)

Jemi Fraser said...

Great interview with Gabbey! I love hearing from kids who love to read and write. Her statement about the school being more focused on standardized testing makes me sad though.

Kristin Lenz said...

Congrats to Gabbey for starting a writing club at school at her own blog! Good luck with all the busyness to come, Natalie. No need to enter me in the drawing - I have a lot of reading to catch up on.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

I love teen reader interviews! It's too bad she doesn't have a bookstore near by.

The Testing was really good! I haven't dived into my copy of Icons yet. :)

Stephen Tremp said...

It's great to meet Gabby! good luck with the writing club.

And enjoy the time with Mom. And the clean house. Around here, a clean house needs to be appreciated fast because it doesn't last long hahaha.

Beth said...

Enjoy your mom's visit. And good luck with your busy week ahead!

Vivien said...

The schooling nowadays really is atrocious. I can't even imagine sending my future children to them. Great interview!

GFC: Vivien

kellis_amberlee at yahoo dot com

Angela Brown said...

Awesome interview Natalie and Gabbey. I liked quite a bit of the insight Gabbey shared.

Natalie, hope things go as smoothly as possible as things start colliding together :-)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Natalie, thanks for having Gabbey visit!

And both ICONS and THE TESTING sound really intriguing!

Gabbey Salerni said...

Thanks for posting my interview, and I'm really glad you all enjoyed it! :D

Crystal Collier said...

The writer's club sounds awesome. I love it when the community comes together to nurture one another's growth.

Heather said...

Wow you are busy this week indeed! Hang in there. Gabbey sounds like an amazing girl, yay for starting the writer's club Gabbey!!!

Thanks for the fabulous giveaway, I have tweeted and mentioned it on Google +.

Unknown said...

What a jam-packed post! I enjoyed reading Gabbey's interview and think she's awesome for starting a writing group. (Dianne must be so proud!) ICONS sounds very unusual and exciting, and THE TESTING reminds me of THE HUNGER GAMES. (I'll skip the giveaway - I already have way too many books and no time to read.)
Have a great week, Natalie! :-)

PK HREZO said...

Doctor Who and Legend of Zelda??? My kind of girl! How awesome to meet Dianne's daughter. Love that she started a writer's club.
And wow these new releases sound stellar!!Have a great week, Natalie! Hope you get some R&R sometime soon!!! :)

Gwen Gardner said...

Great interview, Gabbey and Natalie. I really enjoy the perspective of teenagers. Good luck with your writing club, Gabbey.

Yolanda Renée said...

Natalie, wow, so much going on - great interview, how exciting to be so knowledgeable so early in your writing career Gabby! I foresee great success for you.

Such a great review for ICONS, and then a giveaway too!

Thank you for your kind comment on Alex's blog. I don't know how to flirt either, maybe I'd have sold the book if I'd known! :)

cleemckenzie said...

Where to start? Well, first congrats to Amanda on winning. That's wonderful.
Second, I loved the interview. It's always interesting to read what the teens are up to. I felt sad that she doesn't have a decent bookstore near her. I hate that we are losing our local bookstores.

Brenda said...

Natalie, I hope you have a great visit with your mom. What a great interview with Gabby. I can relate about the local bookstore, but there are a few good used ones around here. Plus, I seem to get pretty lucky with the Public Library having fairly new releases. I so would have loved a writers club at her age. (I'll skip the giveaway, I have some books yet to finish).

Cherie Reich said...

Wonderful interview! Nice to meet you, Gabbey!

Theresa Milstein said...

Nice to meet you, Amanda. I wish schools built in more reading for fun and discussion instead of all these assignments.

Great books listed. If I win: tmilstein at gmail dot com.

Jessie Humphries said...

So much great practical information from our expert teen! Buys from Amazon (good), doesn't like authors fan pages often (good to know), and started a writer's club (awesome). Love it.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Glad you're getting some time with your mom, Natalie.

What a fun interview. Gabbey, I love your honest reaction to having to complete a dialectic notebook for your summer reading assignment. Too bad they don't let you read Yu-Gi-Oh. And good for you for starting a writing club and keeping it going. It's a shame you have to support Amazon instead of having a local bookstore, though...

Natalie, I'm longing to read both of these books. Thanks for the giveaway.

mshatch said...

*waves at Gabbey* nice to see you here!

Those look like some interesting books :)

Gabbey Salerni said...

Ha ha, if only my teachers understood the value of Japanese manga. :P

S.P. Bowers said...

How awesome she started a writing club! I never would have had the guts to do that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hope she gets some guest authors. Even if it's just by Skype or email. (I've done email with a class and it was a lot of fun.)
And she likes science fiction = very cool!

Anonymous said...

It's great to meet Gabbey and I wish her much success on her blog and her writing.

T.F. Walsh said...

Two great sounding books... I'll be adding these to my TBR list...

CK said...

I absolutely loved The Testing! Awesome debut! FOllowing via GFC under CK username.

Danielle H. said...

Thanks for the giveaways! Both books sound exciting--definitely page turners! I will post on Facebook to share! Keeping my fingers crossed to win and share with my daughters.

Janhvi said...

I am super excited for Icons. It sounds really good :)
Thanks for the giveaway!

Unknown said...

Very insightful. Thank you for talking to us Gabbey. Wishing you lots of luck on your blogging and writing journey :)

Lisa Gail Green said...

Wow! What an awesome interview. I love connecting with teens. I'd be happy to volunteer to do a Skype visit for Gabbey. :D

Rosi said...

Great interview. I'm looking forward to seeing Darcy Pattison here. Please don't enter me in the drawing. My TBR list is way too long right now.

Natasha said...

Great interview!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Mary Preston said...

I enjoyed the interview thank you.


Rachna Chhabria said...

Icon and The Testing both have great premises. I am going to look them up on Amazon.

Nicole said...

Great interview choice! So fun to hear her fresh perspective. The books also both sound intriguing.

Jocelyn Rish said...

I recently read an article about Dianne and the real life inspiration for Caged Graves (creepy!), so it's fun to see an interview with her daughter. I wish I'd had a writing club in high school, but I never would have been brave enough to start my own. Good for Gabbey!

Tabby Williams said...

I am dying to read Icons!

Ashfa said...

Loved the interview!
GFC-Ashfa Anwer
Tweeted: https://twitter.com/TopsyTurvy_Ash/status/370924384019431425

_Sandra_ said...

What a fun and insightful interview, thanks Gabbey for being part of it and sharing it with us. Good luck with your writing club! :)
Thanks for a giveaway!
sandra.zg.13 @ gmail.com
following via GFC - Sandra K
tweeted - https://twitter.com/_Sandra_R_/status/372789334107107329
shared on Google+ - https://plus.google.com/107598100375357110332/posts/NXPN7iDjJsT

fhms97 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have heard so many great things about both of these!!! I would love to read them!!

Morgan @Remembered Deservedly

Following with Bloglovin
Also tweeted about your lovely giveaway!! https://mobile.twitter.com/munchie_11_/status/374615553958092800

Email: slowmodancer@Yahoo.com

Ari said...

Thank you for the giveaway!
Follow via Bloglovin: Ariel Tam
Tweeted: https://twitter.com/ArielSmith24/status/374700841061474304
Email: puppy(dot)lover2417(at)yahoo(dot)com

Amber said...

I loved the interview... I really like how Gabby already has a goal in life, and a love for writing... because its really not easy... Thanks for the giveaway! I really love the post apocalyptic genre~

GFC. Amber hsu
email= bookworm.hsu@gmail.com

HelloJennyReviews said...

That was such an awesome interview. I love when authors are very friendly and fun. I would love to read both icons and the testing. Such awesome book choices!

Thanks for the awesome insight on Gabbey and thanks for the giveaway!

GFC - Jenn Christensen
Email - beadnread@gmail.com

Chenise Jones said...

I'm so excited to read both of these! They look fantastic!

GFC: Chenise Jones

Videoclimber said...

Both of these look wonderful!