interview

Saturday Night Author Fever #19 with Alex Whitehall

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Alex Whitehall. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Alex, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

My name is Alex Whitehall (they/them), and I grew up in a small rural/suburban southeastern Pennsylvania area. When I’m not working and writing (also known as “checking Twitter and Tumblr obsessively”), I’m watching anime and playing tabletop role-playing games with my friends. I am the epitome of cool. I currently have one novel out (Sharing a Pond) and two novellas (A Christmas for Oscar and Second Skin).

Music from the seventies is, well, classic. It’s the stuff that comes on the radio and I can sing almost every word (or hum the parts I don’t know…) and happily feel a little ridiculous as a rock out to it in my car. It’s not my primary music, but there are very few songs (that have survived on the radio to today) that I wouldn’t let play. I guess time weeds out the bad ones.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #18 with Melissa Sarno

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Melissa Sarno. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Melissa, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

My debut middle grade novel JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS is due out from Knopf Books for Young Readers in summer of 2018. It’s about a homeless girl who tries to figure out where she belongs by tracking all the trees, plants, and growing things around Brooklyn. But it’s also about new friendships and sisters and what it truly means to have a home.

When I think of 70’s music, I always think of Anita Ward and, especially, “Ring My Bell”. When I was a kid, I danced all around the house to that song and her albums. But I also think of Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, and Carole King, who sing the words of my soul.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #17 with Zoë Sumra

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Zoë Sumra. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Zoë, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

I’m a child of the 80s and, as such, a lot of my favourite bands or soloists started their careers in the 70s and continued into the 80s – particularly I’d like to single out Queen and Meat Loaf.  My first published book, Sailor to a Siren, is named after a Meat Loaf song (from 1984… my favourite Meat Loaf periods are probably the 70s/earliest 80s and the 90s, but this one song from the mid 80s always stood out to me).  Sailor to a Siren is a space opera novel: it’s a gangland thriller set on an alien planet, with magic, explosions, and quite a lot of shouting.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #16 with Miri Castor

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Miri Castor. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Miri, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

Hey there! My name’s Miri and I’m a YA SFF author for the Opal Charm series. It follows Opal Charm, a young bisexual black girl through her destiny to save Earth and an alternate world from a mysterious overlord. My books tend to be about self-discovery, love, and the power of friendship!

This is what I think of 70s music: Saturday Night Fever! Disco parties! Black people with the huge fros! 70s music made the 70s a time to be alive.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #15 with Hayley Chewins

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Hayley Chewins. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Hayley, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

Sure! My debut is called THE TURNAWAY GIRLS and it’s a middle grade fantasy about girls who are trained to turn boys’ songs into gold but who aren’t permitted to make any music themselves. The main character, Delphernia Undersea, sings in secret—and discovers a new kind of magic that changes her whole world. It’s coming out in September 2018 from Candlewick in the US and Walker Books in the UK and Australia.

Music is a huge part of my life. In fact, until I was eighteen I wanted to be a professional singer. I really connected with the singer-songwriter tradition of the 70s when I was a teenager. I loved Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan. I also listened to a lot of ABBA growing up, because my mum loves them. That music is pure happiness to me.

I hardly ever perform, but I still love singing. I’m writing some songs as an accompaniment to THE TURNAWAY GIRLS—hopefully I’ll be brave enough to share them closer to my release date.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #14 with Kim Turrisi

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Kim Turrisi. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Kim, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

I’m an Air Force brat, dog lover, die hard Florida State fan and have a killer sock collection. JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY is my debut and quite close to me. It deals with the aftermath of suicide, something I experienced first-hand. After spiraling out of control, fifteen-year-old Kai Sheehan lands at Grief Camp. JANT offers a roadmap for anyone who has been touched by loss and anyone who is looking for hope in a broken world.

What do you think about 70s music? I love it!! I write to music so often times, it’s 70’s music that inspires me. I’m listening to it right now.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #9 with Maria Hollis

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Maria Hollis. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Maria, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

I’m Maria Hollis and I write F/F stories, usually romance and paranormal. My contemporary New Adult series is called Lillac Town and has two novellas published so far. The Melody of You and Me is about a girl who dropped out of school, is feeling a little bit lost in life and suddenly finds herself falling for her new coworker. And The Paths We Choose is about two girls who have a one night stand and need to figure out if they want something beyond that. It also touches in the subject of homophobic families and how the main girl had to leave her home because she wasn’t accepted there. All of them have happy endings and hopeful stories for women who love other women.

I love 70’s music! I grew up listening to this kind of sound because it’s the music from when my parents were young. So, I was used to it since I was a kid and until today they are still listening to it and influencing my taste.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #8 with Jay E. Tria

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Jay E. Tria. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Jay, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

Hi, my name is Jay E. Tria. I’m an author born and bred and living in the Philippines. I like walking and flying (via plane, no wings), so I try to do those as often as I can. I am a proud and grateful member of #romanceclass, a community of Filipino authors and readers. I write contemporary romance, these days mostly about Pinoy indie rock boys and girls and a Japanese idol. I’ve written YA too, a Japanese high school romance where I poured out all my J-dorama/manga dork feels. Also YA urban fantasy, about a beautiful ghost haunting the best friend she left behind.

I think 70s music is funky and bright and edgy and is the perfect soundtrack to get people up and dancing. My parents are fans of this music era, so I have fond memories of waking up every Sunday hating that the radio is so loud and that the songs are so big but eventually getting into the vibe and learning all the lyrics.

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{THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN} Interview with Author Julia Ember

THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN: Three Days Left – Interview with Author Julia Ember

Hi readers, and welcome to my The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember countdown. It’s only three days left now until the release, and I’m sure you guys are as excited as I am for this book to be released into the world. Today I have an interview with Julia Ember, the author of the book. She answered a few questions about The Seafarer’s Kiss and what it’s like being a writer and reader. You don’t want to miss this.

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1. What inspired you to write The Seafarer’s Kiss?

Well, I’ve always loved the story of The Little Mermaid. My mom likes to remind me now that when I was about three, I watched it continuously as my “go-to” film for about six months. The other part of my inspiration came from my postgraduate studies. I was a medievalist and as part of my study, I learned old English, studied both the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons. I’ve always found the Vikings fascinating. If you read the original text of the Little Mermaid, it talks about her floating on an iceberg … I always thought that fit much better with the Northern sea, than the kind of tropical world portrayed by Disney. The title of the ‘Seafarer’ comes from an Anglo-Saxon poem called The Seafarer, which is about a sailor who is alone at sea. There is a very melancholy feel to the poem, and a kind of loneliness that I wanted to explore.

2. The Seafarer’s Kiss is your second published book, your debut book Unicorn Tracks came out last year, what was different this time around for you?

In a lot of ways, Seafarer’s Kiss was a much more personal book for me to write. Mnemba (the protagonist in Unicorn Tracks) is athletic and outdoorsy and brave. She loves animals and her work. She’s dedicated to the wildlife she tracks. She’s overall a much less morally grey character and she’s a lesbian rather than bisexual. Ersel is much more introverted. She’s fat and bi. She’s been an outcast. She has unpopular political beliefs. She sometimes acts before she thinks through all the ramifications. She’s so much like me that writing her at times was genuinely painful in a way that writing Unicorn Tracks never was.

I think part of that is also a question of authorial intent. When I wrote Unicorn Tracks, I wanted to write a fun, short novella about two girls falling in love on safari and save mythical creatures. It did evolve a bit beyond that, but that was the original impetus. With Seafarer’s Kiss, I really wanted to capture the tone and the emotions of the Anglo-Saxon Seafarer. It’s a much darker, deeper book. I think that has both come with improvements to my craft as a writer, experience and a different starting outlook to the project.

3. What was the hardest scene to write in The Seafarer’s Kiss?

I’m not sure that I could pinpoint a specific scene because so many scenes were written, then re-written, then scrapped and re-incorporated. However, I will say that the writing the dynamic between Ersel and Havamal was the hardest part of the book for me. Forgiveness has never come easily to me. Moving past huge conflict, hurt feelings, betrayals, to come out the other side with someone as friends, has never been something that I am good at. In real life, it causes me enormous stress and pain. I really felt that stress when I was writing the dynamic for Ersel. In Havamal, she has a best friend, who she was once in love with, who betrays her in almost unspeakable ways throughout the course of the book.

In the latter half of the novel, Havamal does his best to atone, and in order to do what is best for everyone else, Ersel has to work with him. She doesn’t forget what he did to her and in a sense, she never really forgives him, but she is able to put it aside and build a friendship with him again. It’s a different sort of friendship. Ersel acknowledges that the blind trust she had in him when they were kids is ruined. She realises ultimately that both of them have hurt people, made horrible mistakes and maybe it’s not fair of her to hold him to a higher standard than she holds herself. It was really difficult for me to capture the nuances of those changing feelings and the internal conflict that goes along with them.

4. As a writer, do you find you have time over to read?

Ha! With enormous difficulty, and yet I seem to read more and more books year on year. One of the best things for me are audiobooks. I love them because I can listen to them while I do things around the house, cooking or driving.

5. What are some of your favorite books that you feel everyone has to check out?

I have so many that I’ll just give a few from the last six months! I’ve recently read and DEVOURED:

What did you think of the answers? And have you pre-ordered The Seafarer’s Kiss yet? If not, let me show you where you can:

You can pre-order The Seafarer’s Kiss on Amazon, The Book Depository or on Duet Books’ website. Add the book on Goodreads here.

About the Author

Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.

Connect with author Julia Ember at Julia-Ember.com, on Twitter @jules_chronicle, and on Facebook at facebook.com/juliaemberwrites.

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{The Paths We Choose Release Week} Interview with Author Maria Hollis

The Paths We Choose Release Week: Day Four – Interview with Maria Hollis

Hi everyone, there’s only one day left now until The Paths We Choose is out and free in the world. To celebrate this I have an interview with the author Maria Hollis as a part of the blog tour for her book. Check out the other blog posts for the tour here. I seriously love her answers to my questions and hope you will too. Exciting things are coming so I hope you’re ready. Now don’t forget to pre-order the book on Amazon here and to add it on Goodreads. To see my earlier posts for my The Paths We Choose Release Week feature, go here.

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1. What was your favorite part about writing The Paths We Choose?

So many things! This is definitely a story that felt so close to my heart. Writing about a Brazilian girl like me was such a nice experience. I could include little bits of things here and there that only Brazilian people would understand. There are so many books written by U.S. authors that just don’t get what being Latinx means so being able to bring all these different characters to talk about themselves was something I loved to do. And I hope to keep doing that in the next books.

The friendship between all the girls was also a really important thing. My friends have been my strength for such a long time and having a story like that is such a gift. We need more books with female friendships as the driving force of a story.

2. What do you feel is the biggest difference between The Melody of You and Me and The Paths We Choose? 

Writing The Paths We Choose made me a lot more self-conscious and nervous about other people’s reaction. I didn’t plan myself a lot for how The Melody of You and Me would look like for other people because I truly believed only a few of my friends would read it. My thought was “well, if I get 10 dollars out of this novella it’s a win already!”. Now I’m trying to change a bit to fit what a bigger range of readers want to read. The main plot will stay the same, that’s not changing. But receiving feedback from so many people is definitely helping me go a step further to make the characters and the story always better.

As to the story, I think TPWC brings a romance that is a bit less typical for the genre. There are a lot of stories where the couple falls deeply in love and they know this is the right thing to do and they’ll do everything for each other. I love that Lily and Mayte work so well as a couple but they aren’t sure of anything. And that sometimes the journey and experience of being with someone is already worth it.

3. Your books take place in a town called Lillac Town and I was wondering if we could get some more information about this town?

I created Lillac Town because I’ve never been in the U.S. so I couldn’t be completely accurate if I choose an actual city that exists. But also, because I never really like describing cities in my stories, not even when I’m writing about my own. It’s just a personal thing, I guess. It’s supposedly set in an imaginary area of Pennsylvania. In the text, I describe just a few things here and there because I feel that this isn’t that relevant for the stories I’m telling right now. How most people move there because of the University and the Callaway School of Music and Ballet. It has this small town feeling but its population is mainly students with a few family neighborhoods and commercial areas. I have a little map I created to know where each character lives. Maybe I’ll ask for a friend to make a better version of it and show it to the readers until the end of the series.

4. Lily and her friends every Wednesday evening have Girl’s Night, what are some of the things they have done in the name of Wednesday’s Girl’s Night?

Usually, they set up board games or watch movies together. I feel like there would be many discussions on what movie to choose since they have very different tastes. We have Anika who likes the typical romantic comedy, Hope’s a sci-fi enthusiastic and Lily’s bored by most movies. In the end, Karen probably chooses an indie LGBT+ movie that will make everyone happy. Cooking together, sharing things about their lives and cleaning the house are a few other things they do. Sometimes, if they’re feeling in the mood, they even go out to karaoke night. The idea is that they always do things together without the interruption of outsiders or partners. The next book will also have more things about the girls so I don’t want to give everything away in case I want to use it in the future.

5. What does the future look like for the Lillac Town series?

Well, by now most people know that Karen is the next POV. And if you read TPWC, you obviously know who’s her love interest. It’ll be an interesting book to write. What I can say right now is that there’s a very personal reason as to why Karen moved to the U.S. and we’re gonna go deep on that. She has a lot of sadness that she tries to hide with her charming personality.

Since the beginning, I decided that if TMOYAM did well enough I’d publish 4 novellas in the Lillac Town Series about women falling in love with other women in many different ways and I’m standing on this decision. I hope to get all of them out until 2018. It’ll be hard to say goodbye now that I feel so attached to all these characters but I think we’re all ready to start new adventures too! But for now, we still have more two love stories that I know people will love to read.

What did you think of the interview? Are you as excited as I am for the book to come out tomorrow?

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