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.


Happy Monday Everyone!

First, if any of you got a weird e-mail from me asking for money, I'm sorry. My yahoo e-mail account got hacked for the second time this year. Hopefully I fixed it.

I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of MARK OF THE THIEF is Emily Moore!

And the winner of VILLAIN KEEPER is Bish Denham!

Congrats! E-mail me your address 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 thrilled to have debut author Karen Bao here to share what influenced her to write her YA science fiction DOVE ARISING. It sounds really good and I love science fiction so it's on my TBR list. Details of the giveaway will be at the end of the post.

Here's a blurb of DOVE ARISING from Goodreads:

Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble...

Suspenseful, intelligent, and hauntingly prescient, Dove Arising stands on the shoulders of our greatest tales of the future to tell a story that is all too relevant today.

Now here's Karen!

How my childhood inspired me to write Dove Arising:

Looking back, I feel that I’d prepared my whole life to write Dove Arising. I’d always loved science, especially biology, and my scientist parents encouraged me to pursue it as a career – Mom’s a telecommunications engineer, and Dad’s a medicinal chemist. Early on, I realized that human activity endangered the living things that fascinated me, and decided to study and preserve wildlife as a career.

But science wasn’t my only passion. I couldn’t get enough of literature and history in school; reading Victorian novels and studying twentieth-century world history made me actually want to go to class. I learned that my own parents had lived through a pivotal episode in world history: China’s Cultural Revolution, in which Mao Zedong tried to purge capitalist ideas and traditional Chinese thought from the country. The authorities sent my mother’s father, a professor, to a labor camp in the countryside – for ten whole years. Because I grew up in a liberal democracy, I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

My interest in science and my family’s history came together, informing the worldbuilding for Dove Arising. The idea of living on the moon came out of my worrying over Earth’s environmental devastation: I predicted that hundreds of years from now, after decades of government inaction, scientists from all over the world pool their funding to set up lunar colonies. They’re concerned for our species’ survival, and they mean well. But because the Moon’s environment is so hostile, scientific progress is paramount and surveillance necessary for citizens’ safety. It takes only a small scuffle with the remaining nations of Earth for the Lunar government to seize “emergency powers,” take total control, and become truly oppressive.

That’s where my mom’s stories about her childhood came in. The corruption, surveillance, emphasis on
science for progress’ sake, and separation of family members all featured into the Lunar society. Also, smaller things – like when Mom’s school ranked students on monthly exams, and the government made her study chemistry in college – fit right into Dove Arising’s manuscript.

Next, I thought about what a perfect Lunar citizen would look like – and this person became Phaet, the protagonist. She’s a stellar science student. And her quiet personality is a product of her totalitarian society: the less she talks, the less likely it is that she’ll get in trouble. Although quiet people may seem shy or weak, I know that they aren’t; for example, my best friend doesn’t talk much, and truthfully, I don’t either. I wanted to convey that Phaet had inner resolve despite her quiet exterior, and hopefully it worked!

So there you have it: Dove Arising was the product of my interest in science, my mom’s stories about China, and my interactions with introverts. Hope you had fun reading this post, and thanks to Natalie for having me on the blog!

Find me at: 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/karenjbao/

Karen's publisher, Penguin Young Readers, generously offered an ARC of DOVE ARISING 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 March 7th. I’ll announce the winner on March 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. This is for US only.

Here's what's coming up:

On Wednesday I have a guest post by debut author Alison DeCamp on marketing middle grade novels and a giveaway of MY NEAR-DEATH ADVENTURES, her MG historical fiction similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. 

Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Victoria Aveyard and a giveaway of RED QUEEN, her YA fantasy/dystopian.

And next Wednesday I have an interview with agent Alex Slater at Trident Media Group with a query critique giveaway. And he has great advice for self-published and small press authors too!

Friday next week I'm participating in the Lucky is Reading Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great new releases for you and an Amazon gift card if you don't like my choices.

The following Monday, I'm interviewing debut author N.A. Traver and giving away DUPLICITY, her YA cyber thriller.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Greg Pattridge said...

Very intriguing storyline and I love the cover. This one should do well!

Kristin Lenz said...

I've never been much of a sci-fi fan, so it was interesting to read how your passion developed. Congrats on your novel. Cool cover!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Love the premise of this book. I'm a huge SciFi fan and I love that it's making a come back! And this book is on audio. I've preordered it.

Peaches D. Ledwidge said...

The cover is beautiful and the storyline is appealing. Congrats and much success, Karen.

Bish Denham said...

Wow! I love this premise. Good YA scfi is hard to fine. I like that Karen was inspired by her parent's experience. Congratulations!

Karen Lange said...

It's nice to meet Karen and learn how the book came about. Sounds like she poured a rich and interesting history into each page. Wishing her all the best!

Thanks for the intro and interview. I'll pass on the giveaway. Have a great week!

Jessica Lawson said...

I loved reading about the background that went into this novel~ it sounds like an amazing story. Thanks for the post!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What a scary world your parents lived in, but that's wonderful you were able to channel it into a great story.

cleemckenzie said...

Sounds like a great story and the cover is such an asset. I get the feeling of the book from it.

Yay for the winners!

Eileen said...

Been looking forward to this one! Thanks for the giveaway :)

Patchi said...

What a great premise! I love when science and history come together in world-building. Thanks for the chance to win!

~Sia McKye~ said...

What a fascinating background to create a story from. Very thought provoking. This one sounds a story I'd enjoy.

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Liz Brooks said...

Once again, thank you for sharing this! Since I'm a Sci-Fi geek, and since the moon has always struck me as a great place to live, I will definitely add this book to my reading list. :)

Jenni said...

This book sounds really intriguing! I love the lunar setting and how the story grew out of Karen's family history. Can't wait to read this one! Congrats to Karen!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Fascinating behind the scenes glimpse into how this novel came to be. I worry about the Earth's environmental devastation too, but I'm not sure I'd want to live on the moon!

DL Hammons said...

The best of luck to Karen. It looks like a very interesting read.

And I did receive an email from you...but it said you were going to send me money. I'm still waiting! :)

DMS said...

Fascinating to learn about the way Karen's book came to be. It does sound like she was preparing for it her whole life. Wishing her the best of luck! :)

Christine Rains said...

Congrats to Karen! The books sounds awesome. I love reading how it all came together.

S.P. Bowers said...

Wow, it's amazing how you were able to bring all those things together for this novel. It sounds amazing. Congrats on the book!

Connie Arnold said...

How very interesting! Thank you for sharing, and best wishes to Karen.

Nicole said...

Ooh, LOVE the cover on Dove Arising. Neat backstory too. Thanks to you both!

Stephen Tremp said...

Wow! Now that's some interesting background. It is hard if not impossible to wrap our minds around a world like that. Just hearing the word "purge" brings all the worst things to mind. Glad to see you were able to incorporate that into the book. Best wishes to you Karen and Dove Rising.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Love the cover of Dove Arising and the title is intriguing. Congratulations, Karen.

LSpeers said...

This book sounds awesome! I look forward to reading it!
email: lcspeers@gmail.com

erin said...

sound fantastic! THanks for sharing :)
email:efender1(at)gmail gfc: erin

Robyn Campbell said...

That book sounds great. I have to have it! Will buy it if I don't win. Awesome cover. Awesome title.

Margo Berendsen said...

This book has been on my list since last fall but now I'm especially excited to read it after hearing more details how it came to be, the parallels to China's cultural revolution. I love it when books lead me to important historical events we should learn from. Hope to win!

Rosi said...

Love that cover! Wowser! Thanks for telling me about this. It sounds interesting. But please let someone else win. My TBR pile threatens to topple.

Danielle H. said...

I also love the cover and I love the romantic tension that builds between the two characters. Thanks for the giveaway! I tweeted: https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/570309038006771713

Valerie Bodden said...

So interesting to see how you developed the premise for this book. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the giveaway.

Stina said...

Love the cover! And wow on the parents' education backgrounds. Impressive!

Natalie, I'm looking forward to next wednesday's interview.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading about the background info and inspiration for this book. Congrats to Karen.

Jocelyn Rish said...

This book sounds powerful, and Karen's explanation of how she pulled the things in her life together to create this story was very interesting. And that cover? GORGEOUS!

Natasha said...

Sounds like an amazing read!!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com