Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Natalie Murray | Why We Still Love to Follow the British Royals (and Write About Them)
Author Guest / June 14, 2019

When I worked as an entertainment reporter for a television news channel, we weren’t allowed to file stories about the Windsors under ‘entertainment’. Instead, they were to go beneath the banner of ‘world’ news, besides elections in India and China trade tensions. There’s a reason that felt misplaced: because the British royals are unquestionably a source of entertainment, once described by a psychology professor as “one of the longest-running reality TV shows in history” (which means we’re currently on season nine-hundred-and-fifty-something). At the time of writing, Princes William and Harry are jousting for the highest number of Instagram followers (William has 9.1 million and Harry has 8.4 million—that’s around the same number as Walt Disney and Game of Thrones). Nearly 23 million US viewers watched Prince William marry Kate Middleton in 2011, with viewers tuning in from more than 180 countries. The acceleration of technology has handily turned the British royals into a global brand, with millions following them by choice rather than decree. Plenty of fans worship the Windsors to connect with their past and preserve British tradition, but why are the rest of us still so captivated by the Elizabeths, the Williams, the Henrys, the Georges, and the…

Victoria Scott | Exclusive Interview
Author Guest / February 5, 2019

Welcome YA Author Victoria Scott! Her Young Adult mystery author, WE TOLD SIX LIES, is in stores today. What is We Told Six Lies about in your own words? It’s a story about eighteen-year-old Cobain Kelly, whose girlfriend goes missing. As Cobain searches for Molly, the police look at him as their primary suspect, and as more of Cobain’s friends and family members start accusing him of hurting her – and he replays the memories of their relationship – Cobain starts wondering if maybe he did do something to Molly. You’ve published eight other books. How difficult was this one to write comparatively? This was by far my most challenging book. It’s told in first, third, and second person. You read that right. A good 25 percent of this book is in second person. There are also time jumps between when Cobain is reliving his relationship with Molly, and the present when he is trying to find her. If that wasn’t enough, there are also location jumps. So yes, a challenging book to be sure. What are some fun facts about We Told Six Lies? Cobain gets his name from Kurt Cobain (name that band!), there are handwritten journal entries…

The Gods and Goddesses of ANALIESE RISING
Author Guest / January 7, 2019

Many gods and goddesses from the many mythologies around the world populate the pages of my newest release, Analiese Rising. I had a lot of fun researching and learning about them. Some I’ve heard of before, others I didn’t even know existed. The challenge was taking from their stories and creating a modern version of each—giving them unique personalities based on their legends. Today, I thought I’d introduce you to many of them from my book. I’ll start with Sid, aka Sidapa, and Bulan. Sidapa and Bulan are gods from Philippine mythology. Theirs is a love story between two male gods. Sidapa admired the seven moons’ beauty that he tried to romance them until one, Bulan, answered Sidapa’s attempts to romance the moons. He came down to Earth, and they lived together as lovers on Mt. Madjaas. This story intrigued me so much that I had to add the gods to Analiese Rising. In my story, Sid loves to wear makeup and seems like a player, but when the moon calls, he’s off to spend time with Bulan who only comes to earth on a full moon. Lugh, a Celtic sun god of many skills. He’s a trickster god and…

Fresh Fiction Favorite Young Adult Novels of 2018!
Author Guest / December 27, 2018

Over the last week and for the rest of this week, the Reviewers of Fresh Fiction will be sharing some of our favorite reads in various genres. We hope you’ll take another look at these titles, and maybe share your favorites in the comments. We’ll have a different genre featured each day! Be sure to check the blog to see what we’ve already covered. Admittedly, we don’t read a ton of YA on Fresh Fiction, but it’s one of the areas we want to expand on in 2019! Nonetheless, here are a few of our favorite young adult titles of the year. SHADOWSONG by S. Jae-Jones Wintersong #2 Reviewer: Magdalena The gripping sequel to the Wintersong. I found the book to be engrossing from the beginning until the end. Young Adult Fantasy [Wednesday Books, On Sale: February 6, 2018, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781250129130 / eISBN: 9781250129147] Shadowsong is a beautifully written story that makes you wish for magic in the world… Buy SHADOWSONG: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Ripped Bodice | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR ***…

Erica Cameron | Why Fantasy?
Author Guest / November 8, 2018

One question I get asked the most is, “Why of all the genres did you choose to write a fantasy series?” I have always loved the fantastical. Epic adventures captured my imagination. Impossible magic enthralled me. Dragons, mermaids, fairies, and monsters thrilled every time I met them. One of my earliest book-specific memories is my father reading The Hobbit to me and my younger sister chapter by chapter every night, beginning to end. Twice. My first favorite author—at least the first I discovered for myself—was Tamora Pierce who gave children of the 80s and 90s female knights, demigods, and heroes, and from her, I branched deeper into the science fiction and fantasy section of the library and the bookstore. It was basically a given that when I committed myself to write a book, I wanted to create a fantasy world. It took me about fifteen years between the first attempt and first published fantasy novel. It took me a little longer than that to truly understand all the reasons why writing the book was so hard as well as why I loved fantasy for far more than the layer of magic on its surface. Speculative fiction—which includes fantasy, science fiction,…

Christopher Krovatin | Five Questions to Ask Yourself While Writing Paranormal Fiction
Author Guest / October 11, 2018

Writing my latest novel, FREQUENCY, was a blast. The book is a YA retelling of the Pied Piper fairy tale that’s steeped in music—hard rock and EDM, primarily—so it gave me a chance to get weird and imaginative with how different forms of music affect different people in a supernatural way (plus, any chance to reference Motörhead in a novel is a gift from the universe). But one obstacle I kept encountering is that paranormal stuff allows for laziness. How does the hero escape the clutches of the villain? Magic! How does the villain know about the well-laid scheme against them? Werewolf! You get the idea. All these tricks are easy and played out, and as a reader, I hate books where paranormal elements were conveniently placed because the author obviously wanted to knock off early for lunch. So if you’re writing paranormal literature, here are a few questions to ask yourself to keep your writing challenging, entertaining, and grounded in just enough in reality to create real conflict. 1. “What if there was no magic?” The most important question. Back when I was brainstorming worlds for a sci-fi publishing imprint, I had a colleague who asked this all the…

Pintip Dunn | The Top 10 reasons Why You’ll Love Star-Crossed
Author Guest , Top 5 / October 4, 2018

10. The world. The planet Dion is absolutely breathtaking! Although my characters are confined to a small piece of land protected by energy shields (the result of a terraforming experiment gone wrong), the outside planet is characterized by brilliantly colored streams of water. As Vela says, “If a nebula broke off and fell into the water, this is what it would look like.” In addition, when the rain falls on the energy shields, the water explodes into different colors depending on the weight of the drop. 9. The food. Land is scarce, so there’s not enough food to feed the colony. Enter the Aegis, who have accepted a genetic modification so that they may convert food into energy more efficiently. The nutrition is then extracted from them via a pill and distributed to the rest of the people. However, when eating becomes your duty, and you must imbibe food all day long, it is no longer pleasurable. Thus, the food preppers’ task is to produce the must luscious, mouth-watering spreads possible, in order to entice the Aegis into taking one more bite.  8. The sacrifice. An Aegis may get to experience the taste of real food, and they have the…

Christine and Ethan Rose | YA Fantasy: It’s Not Just for Kids
Uncategorized / December 16, 2008

As we tour around the country signing our book, Rowan of the Wood, we are frequently asked this question: “What age group is your book written for?” It’s a very difficult question to answer because we write for young readers of all ages. The content is appropriate for younger readers but it’s enjoyed by young and old, alike. I learned to read at the age of six. A year later, I read Gulliver’s Travels. By the time I was ten I was reading Frank Herbert‘s Dune, and now, at the age of 40, I consider Tove Jansson‘s Moomin books some of the best ever written. I read nearly as many young adult books as anything else. Many of the books I read in childhood were not fully understood by my younger self, but I enjoyed them anyway. They also helped me get a jump start on many difficult subjects that I would have to wrestle later in life. The mind of a child is much more curious and agile than that of an adult, as well as being infinitely more creative. It should be fed to the limit of its capacity. Good stories, well written and enthralling, are a great…

Margo Candela | Little Darlings
Uncategorized / September 22, 2008

I spent most of my spring and all of my summer finishing my fourth novel, How Can I Tell You? (Touchstone, August ’09). Hours blurred into days which turned into weeks which…well, you get the idea. The only thing I really remember about this time is asking myself every morning as I sat down and every night as I curled up into a fetal position in bed was, “How the heck did I manage do it the last three times?” You’d think that I’d have some sort of idea of how to write a book by now. I’ve even taught a course on it. True, I have the basics down, but somewhere in the midst of the process, I always find myself scrambling. The worst thing I can ask myself is: What am I doing? Nothing derails a productive, if not creative day, in front of the computer more than self-doubt, self-pity and all those other wonderful little demons that run rampant when the mind is looking for reasons to shut down and take the body to the movies. This time, around late May and early June, I abstained from playing hooky and instead invested in books on plot and…

Christina Meldrum | When a Plot and Its Characters Collide
Uncategorized / June 16, 2008

How does a writer create a story with a compelling plot AND compelling characters? This was a question I asked myself throughout my writing of Madapple (Knopf), my debut novel. Released last month, Madapple is a crossover novel intended for older teens and adults. Part literary mystery, part psychological thriller, I knew the success of Madapple would depend at least in part on my ability to devise a page-turning plot acted out by well-developed characters. I expected this would be difficult, because often novels provide either an intricate plot or complex, richly developed characters. Rarely does a novel provide both. But why? But why? As I was writing, I quickly realized why. An intricate plot makes demands on its characters, requiring them to act according to its mandates, which may well be inconsistent with what turns out to be any given character’s inclinations. I’m referring to characters as if they are alive, I know—as if they have inclinations separate from an author’s intent. Well, I think they do sometimes: the characters of Madapple certainly did. As an author, I may have given birth to my characters but, like children, my characters seemed to have minds of their own. My plot…