CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

PIPER MORGAN PLANS A PARTY through December 9th
THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES through December 23rd
COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS through December 23rd

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Elizabeth Bewley Agent Spotlight Interview on 1/10/18
Molly O'Neill Agent Spotlight Interview on 1/22/18

MEAGAN SPOONER & AMIE KAUFMAN INTERVIEW AND THESE BROKEN STARS GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! For those of you doing NaNo, hope you’re getting off to a great start. Sadly, NaNo doesn’t work with working full-time and swim championships this week and then the state swim meet in two weeks for my daughter so I’m not doing it. But this is going to be a good month. With the holidays and days I need to take off at work or lose them, I’m not going to be at work more than 4 days every week in November. Yay!

First I have a few winners to announce:

The winner of the Spooktacular Giveaway is Erica who picked ALL OUR YESTERDAYS!

The winner of KEEPING THE PEACE is Christina Rains!

The winner of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US is Holly Leston!

The winner of THE HERO’S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE is Martha Ramirez!

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 Meagan Spooner and debut author Amie Kaufman here to share about their new book, THESE BROKEN STARS, which releases December 10, 2013. Meagan is also the author of SKYLARK and the recently released second book in the series, SHADOWLARK, a YA fantasy/dystopian series.

I loved THESE BROKEN STARS! It really put me in touch with how the world building for sci-fi can be so much like fantasy world building. And you know I love fantasy. Meagan & Amie create a fantastic world both on the spaceship Icarus and the planet it crashes on. And OMG, they keep dishing out more and more bad things for Lilac and Tarver to deal with that kept the plot fast paced with twists I wasn’t expecting.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Hi Meagan and Amie. Thanks so much for joining us.

Thank you! It’s lovely to be here, Natalie—thanks for having us!

1. Tell us how you became writers and how you began writing together.

Meg: We’ve always loved books, and like many book-lovers, always harbored dreams of one day writing them, too. But we actually began writing together through a collaborative role-playing game, rather like a round-robin writing group where one person writes a paragraph from one character, then hands it on to the next. Amie and I clicked right away, and continued to “play” together in that way long after we’d stopped playing the games.

Amie: We came across the idea of These Broken Stars when we were looking for something to write about next. I wanted to write something around a shipwreck, and Meg was interested in space, and…voila! These Broken Stars started out as a project just for fun, and it was a while before we realized it could be a book.

2. That’s an amazing way to come up with a story idea. I’ve always been curious about how authors collaborate on a book and make it seem like it’s written by one person. And you have the challenge of Meagan living in the U.S. and Amie living in Australia. Share about your collaboration process and any tips for other writers thinking of co-writing a book.

Meg: It helps to be extremely familiar with the other person’s writing and creative process before
beginning. Amie and I had been writing together for fun for six years before we ever tried to write a novel together, so we know each others’ writing almost as well as we know our own.

Amie: There are definitely advantages, too! Being in different time zones, we can hand off the manuscript before bed. When you wake up, it’s like elves worked on it overnight! In terms of tips, we’d say you need to communicate extremely well, and set out your expectations clearly in terms of timeframes, contributions and everything else you can think of. Make sure you’re on the same page, so you don’t get tripped up later!

3. I don’t think many writers would be as dedicated as you two to write for fun together for so long before starting a project like this. And it’s even more amazing that you live in different countries and write together. What was your world building process like? And Meagan, did you find the world building different than your fantasy series?

Amie: At first our world-building was pretty organic (no pun intended), as we got to know the characters and the world all at once. Then the research began, and by the end of our revisions, our editor had us putting together what we call the Starbound Encyclopedia (Starbound is the series title), dozens of pages of everything from government to ecosystems to social boundaries, terraforming and education. It’s proving truly valuable for the sequels!

Meg: In some ways, world-building for TBS was very different from SKYLARK, but in other ways it was exactly the same. For SKYLARK, I used a lot of real-world tools like Google Maps and botany textbooks and so forth to make sure the wilderness felt like a real place. For TBS, we had to be a little more creative and think about what the universe would be like in the future. But we still had to make the planet feel like a real place, despite all its mysteries, so there was a lot of geography and other sciences that went into making it accurate and real.

4. That’s a great idea to write out an encyclopedia-like document about the important aspects of your world. I loved both Tarver and Lilac. Lilac especially goes through so much and changes tremendously as a character. And the story is mostly focused on only them with no other characters, which is hard to pull off to keep interesting like you did. How did you plot out the character arcs for Tarver and Lilac?

Meg: Thank you for saying we pulled it off! I mainly wrote Lilac, while Amie mainly wrote Tarver. With Lilac, I always knew I wanted to write this spoiled, bratty girl, because it’d be fun, and be so different from my other series. But I also knew that the brattiness was only one layer to a much more complicated character, because two-dimensional characters are not interesting over the long haul. I definitely believe that times of intense challenge peel back the superficial layers and reveal a person’s true character, and that’s definitely what happens to Lilac in THESE BROKEN STARS.

Amie: Meg’s right about intense challenges revealing who someone really is, and distilling them down to their essence. I spent a lot of time thinking about who Tarver was, and about his past experiences—over the course of the book you learn about his family, and we already know he’s been to war, fighting in the border planet rebellions. I thought about what those experiences would do to him, and how that would reveal itself at each stage of the book.

5. You did a great job making both Lilac and Tarver complicated characters that grow through the story. Share a writing challenge you faced in writing THESE BROKEN STARS and how you overcame it.

Amie: In between each chapter, we get a snippet of a scene in which Tarver is being interrogated—though we don’t know why. We soon realize he’s not telling the truth, but as his story and the facts diverge, the mystery of what he’s trying to hide grows deeper and deeper. Writing those was definitely a challenge, but absolutely worth it!

Meg: As you already mentioned, there are really only two characters in this book. It was definitely a challenge to put so much weight on their shoulders. There was no one to come in and impart information, for example—they had to learn everything themselves. There was no one for them to talk to about their feelings for each other, so we had to show their relationship with actions and thoughts. It was a challenge, certainly, but it’s also why this book is unique, and I’m so glad we kept it as is!

6. I did like all those interrogation scenes. Tell us how Tracey Adams became your agent, Amie. And Meagan, how did Josh Adams become your agent? I’d love to have either of them as my agent.

Meg: My agent story is pretty straightforward. I studied for quite a while how to write a good query letter, based on success stories and advice from other writers, and I compiled a list of agents who I felt, based on their clients and whatever interviews I could find, would be a good match for me and my work. I did a ton of work before querying, so once I finally sent the letters out, I got responses right away. Josh was one of several agents to offer, but I chose him because of his business savvy and his obvious enthusiasm for my book. You want your agent to be competent and well-connected, but above all, you want them passionate!

Amie: When it came time for me to hunt, Meg and I were already working on These Broken Stars together, so it was a natural choice for me to check in with Josh and Tracey. They knew the book was in the works and they were interested to see it. Fun fact: I got Tracey’s email offering representation in a hotel room in Madrid while my husband and I were on holiday. I was so excited I cried—and since I was also so sick I had literally NO voice, my husband thought something terrible had happened!

7. That’s a funny story, Amie. Sorry you were sick though. I know you’re going on a blog tour. How was that set up and how are you splitting up the marketing of your book? Do you have any tips on marketing for the rest of us?

Amie: The amazing Wendy Darling over at The Midnight Garden is running our blog tour, and our fab publicist Jamie Baker has been heaps of help as well. There’ll also be an Aussie blog tour coming up – keep your eyes on our Twitter feeds or subscribe to our newsletter for lots more details!
Link: http://www.themidnightgarden.net

Meg: When it comes to divvying up the marketing tasks, we tend to go each by our strengths. I’m a bit more visual and introverted, so I tend to handle things like designing swag, compiling our monthly newsletter, creating banners for our websites, etc. Amie, on the other hand, is a champion extrovert, and super charismatic! So she’ll often do a lot of the outreach to bloggers and industry professionals, all the stuff that makes me want to hide under my desk. It works out pretty well! As far as advice is concerned, I’d tell people to do what they enjoy doing. The possibilities for marketing are limitless, and it’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t, so you should concentrate on the stuff you like. That passion and enthusiasm will come through, and attract your readers!

8. That’s great you balance each other so well. What are you working on now?

Meg: Well, we’re just finishing up revisions on the second book in the Starbound trilogy, and working on the first draft of book three. We’ve each got other projects in the works, too, but right now, they’re all top secret!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Meagan and Amie. You can find them at:





Sign up for their newsletter here,  and get the latest dish before anyone else!

Meagan and Amie’s publisher Disney Hyperion generously provided an ARC of THESE BROKEN STARS 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 November 16th. I’ll announce the winner on November 18th. 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/Canada residents only.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Tomorrow I have a Tip Tuesday by S.J. Lomas and a giveaway of her YA novel, DREAM GIRL.

Next Monday I have an interview with a 9th grader for my ASK THE EXPERT series and EARTHBOUND and UNTHINKABLE giveaways.

Next Wednesday I have a big Indie giveaway. I'll have lots of great book choices by our followers. I'll also be announcing a new feature to help all of my followers on their writing journey and will be asking for some advice on promoting our Indie authors.

Next Friday I'll be doing a Gratitude Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great choices of YA books I've either read or am dying to read.

The following Monday, I’m interviewing debut author and follower Crystal Collier and giving away a copy of MOONLESS, , her fantasy she describes as “Jane Eyre meets supernatural.”

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

Hope to see you on Monday!

42 comments:

  1. I always thought it would be fun to co-author something with someone… Sound like you guys make it work well! ^^
    Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!
    blacklaceblonde(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  2. I am so looking forward to reading this book. I've been following Amie ever since I started blogging, and couldn't be happier for her!

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  3. Hi Meg and Amie and Natalie! It's always great to read how authors collaborate to write a story! Love that one was Lilac, one was Tarver! All the best with These Broken Stars! Take care
    x

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  4. Yay. I'm so excited for this book! I love me some SciFi and it thrills me to see more of it being written. That cover totally rocks. Any idea if this is coming out in audiobook?

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    1. Hi Donna! Yes, it'll be coming out in audiobook form simultaneously with the hardcover release. We actually previewed the first 10 minutes today in our newsletter, if you want to listen! http://bit.ly/17HsF1K

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  5. I love the play of opposites in this book!

    Thanks for another great interview, Natalie!

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  6. Great interview! Love to hear about other writer's journeys. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

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  7. This book sounds amazing! Can't wait to see how this collaboration works out!

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  8. I can't imagine writing a story WITH someone else. Probably my control personality... :-)

    This sounds like a fun read.

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  9. Great interview. This sounds like a great series, can't wait to read it.

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  10. Natalie, what an awesome interview pal. You rock! What a super de duper series Meg and Amie. I cannot wait to read it. Only two characters. wowowow!

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  11. I've been tempted to collaborate with another writer, but we've never had been able to schedule that. This sounds like a great team.

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  12. I'll be reading this one for the cover alone, say nothing about the premise. The only thing that would make it even better would be winning a copy of the book and getting to read it for free. (Hint, hint.) ;)

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  13. Hmm, the book sounds a little too romantic for my taste, but still an interesting interview. I was especially interested in the collaboration process of the two authors.

    Giving up a portion of creative control and counting on someone else to make deadlines with you...cue memories of "group" projects gone wrong at the last minute. Not that it's impossible (with the right people), but that's a lot of trust. Kudos to Meg and Amie for pulling it off and still wanting to work together again. ;)

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  14. Only two characters - that does sound challenging.
    Like elves worked on it - that made me chuckle.

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  15. You know, I never seem to win your giveaways. One day, though! <3 Not entering for this, since US only. But I love the post :) Thank you for sharing. <3 I still need to read my ARC of this book.. hopefully soon :)

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  16. I have been talking with my own CP about writing a book together, so this really was an interesting interview. Plus, I love Meagan Spooner's writing so I'm fairly certain I will love this series as well :)

    jawardwrites at gmail dot come

    I also mentioned this on Twitter! https://twitter.com/JAWardWrites/status/397470198384828416

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  17. What a FANTASTIC interview! I loved learning more about their writing process (I'm always curious how writing partners work together). I definitely agree that they pulled this book off really well! They did a stunning job with only two characters, and those interview scenes in between each chapter.

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  18. I always admire writers who can co-write. Megan and Amie look like they complement each other. I'm looking forward to reading their book. I could use some romantic science fiction.

    ~Akoss

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  19. I can't wait for this book. Great interview!

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  20. That's wonderful to find someone you can work so well with. Congrats!

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  21. This sounds like a must add to my list. And I think it's amazing when two people can work together and produce a single work of art. Gorgeous cover, too :)

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  22. I've always wanted to collaborate on a novel so I love reading interviews like this. Thanks so much for the giveaway, Natalie!

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  23. tweeted https://twitter.com/BECCAB00972/status/397545707197833218
    follow via bloglovin (beccaf972)
    beccaboo97200(at)att(dot)net

    this book sounds so amazing! a titanic in space?? right up my alley! cannot wait to read this one! thanks for the giveaway!

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

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  25. These two definitely have my respect. I don't think I could pull off the whole co-writing thing!

    Great interview! :)

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  26. Your book sounds amazing! I can't wait to read it! I am inspired by your collaboration as authors. You have a connection, a chemistry most friends do not have. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book.

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  27. This is quite a story. I can't imagine collaborating across the world as they did, but it was fun to read about. I am collaborating on a poetry collection with a critique partner, but that is a whole different thing. Thanks for the interesting interview. Please let someone else win. My TBR list is overwhelming.

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  28. Loved the interview. The cover is really, really beautiful. I hope the story is just as wonderful. The authors sound like they are just fabulous. Thank you for the chance to win it. I am a follower of your blog thru GFC & Bloglovin (Misti) and email (Areuscared66@yahoo.com)
    Tweet https://twitter.com/MistiSomething/status/397845493654368256
    Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MistiSumthing/posts/553596818049845

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  29. I LOVED this book - read it as an ARC and it's fabulous. Great interview!!

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  30. The part about elves cracked me up. I've seen a lot authors work together on a book, but I've wondered how things work when they live in different countries. There are more challengesbecause of various elements such as taxes.

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  31. How Fun! I love the worldbuilding part of story crafting, and doing it with someone else would be a total hoot. It sounds fab! Congrats to Meg and Amie!

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  32. This book has been on my radar for a while. I look forward to reading it! And I've heard great things about Josh Adams. Good agent!

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  33. I can't wait to read this! I've heard it's amazing

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  34. I can't wait to read this! I've heard it's amazing

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  35. I can't wait to read this! I've heard it's amazing

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  36. I can't wait to read this! I've heard it's amazing

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  37. Great interview! I've been so excited to read this book ever since I first heard about it! A friend of mine was lucky enough to read an ARC and she said it was the best book she's read all year.

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  38. Thank you for the giveaway! I can't wait to read These Broken Stars! It looks amazing and the cover is gorgeous.
    Follow via Bloglovin- Ariel Tam
    Tweet: https://twitter.com/ArielSmith24/status/400071067303038976
    Email: asian2417(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  39. I like this book, both the title and the cover have hooked me. I can't wait to read it.

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  40. GFC Tia
    Thank you for posting this interview
    videoclimber(at)yahoo(dot)com

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