NetGalley Author Interview

From New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes The Wedding Shop.

Two women separated by decades. Both set out to help others find their dreams when their own have crumbled. As Cora’s and Haley’s stories intertwine through time in the shadow of the beloved wedding shop, they both discover the power of their own dreams and the magic of everyday love.

The Wedding Shop

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Pub Date: August 16, 2016
Romance
Published by Zondervan Fiction

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Exclusive Interview with Beth Revis

LYA01JustBoxA World Without You by Beth Revis has received a tremendous amount of interest on NetGalley–and we’re excited to share this special Q&A with Beth about the book and something cool she’s doing with Quarterly:

Beth is curating their first-ever Literary YA box! This box includes an exclusive version of A World Without You with Beth’s handwritten annotations, 2 more books hand-picked by Beth, and some fun bookish goods. Order your box now, plus get an exclusive 10% discount! Just enter the code: NETGALLEY at checkout. (Psst: Act fast, the box ships out this week! Subscribe by 7/22 to get it.)

NetGalley Author Interview

A World Without You

Pub Date: July 19, 2016
Teens & YA
Published by Razorbill

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Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into writing?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer; I remember writing a short story in first grade that was hung up on the teacher’s wall and feeling like it was destiny! Maybe it’s because I’m from the south, where nothing is ever fact, just a tale to expound upon, but fiction has been my first and truest love for as long as I can remember.

What is your favorite novel of all time?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis changed my life. I read that novel when I was a little girl in my local library, hiding under the stairs that led to the children’s section. I’d read it before, but there was something about that moment when I realized that Aslan was a lion in a story, but also represented something more. That revelation that books where more than paper and ink and could have deeper meanings really impacted me and made me look at literature in a new way.

In your opinion, has there ever been a movie that is better than the book?

That is such a difficult question because it’s so, so rare. But I’m going to go with Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, in part because even he himself felt the movie added to the story in ways the book didn’t.

Which three authors would you invite to a dinner party?

JK Rowling, so she can tell me all about Hogwarts and make my fan fic dreams come true, Mary Shelley so we can talk about how useless Percy was and how cool it was that she invented horror writing in her spare time, and Oscar Wilde (no explanation needed).

In your book, Bo has the power of time-travel. What would your power be?

I don’t really want the power to travel through time, but I’d love the power to pause time. I just want to take a nap and read books without getting behind on all my work!

If you could visit one fictional world, which would you chose?

Hogwarts, after Voldemort’s fall. I don’t want to fight in the battles, I don’t want to live in peril. I just want to cast cool spells and hang out with Hagrid and play quidditch.

Do you have any advice for young writers?

When given the choice between staying inside and writing or doing something new, do the new thing. The best stories come from a life lived well, so constantly push yourself to explore and discover and meet new people.

What was the thought process behind curating your Literary YA Box?

I wanted to tap into the key values of the book. I feel like each book has a beating heart, and that’s what I wanted to reach. A World Without You is about time travel and death and life and reality and mental health and family and friendship, but the beating heart lies in the connections we all have to each other. It’s what the strings on the book cover represent, and it was a key part in developing the contents of the box.

Click here to get Beth’s Literary YA Box, complete with an
exclusive, annotated print edition of A World Without You!

What is your favorite thing that you have received in the mail?

Fan mail! I always hope that people read and connect to my words, and hearing back from readers that they read my book is really just awe-inspiring.

What is your longest running subscription?

I had a CD subscription service that saw me through my teenage years. I still remember struggling with the plastic to get to those CDs!

Exclusive NetGalley Question

What inspired you to write A World Without You?

I never know where an idea starts. It just sort of forms in my head, slowly bubbling to the surface. And then one day, it’s there. Characters and plot and story, and I just have to peel back the layers as I write to discover it all.

But I think, subconsciously at least, this story started with my desire to change the past. My brother struggled with mental illness growing up, and as a kid, I know I didn’t understand and didn’t handle it as well as I should have. Our relationship faltered. And then, one day, it was too late. So I wanted to change the past, at least fictionally, and wrote a story about time travel.

As I wrote, however, the story shifted. I found out I was pregnant while I was still drafting and editing the novel, and this story about the past became a story about the future as well. Regrets turned to hope. The end result is a book that I think blends what’s real and not, what happened and didn’t, what could be and what will never be.
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Author Chat with Judy Duarte

Live on June 7th at 4pm EST!

Graham has always thought of Sasha as his "little sister."

Sasha has always considered the rugged rancher out of her league.

Now that Sasha is all grown up, there is nothing keeping them apart… Except she has a daughter. An ex-husband. And a very noticeable baby bump. And the always proper Graham suddenly finds himself thinking very sexy thoughts about the sweet single mom!

Perhaps Fortune is finally smiling on Graham—in the form of the true love this rich, unencumbered cowboy has always longed for!

Wed by Fortune

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Pub Date: May 24, 2016
Romance
Published by Harlequin

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Author Chat with Brenda Minton

Live on June 3rd at 4:30pm EST!

Bodyguard Boone Wilder isn't keen on his latest mission: watching over a pretty politician's daughter. Boone is from quiet Texas Hill Country, and Kayla is a showy city gal. But once safely settled at the Wilder Ranch, Boone watches Kayla enjoy cooking with his family, caring for his relatives and bottle-feeding calves. There's more to her than he ever knew. Still, the former soldier's wounds are way too deep to let Kayla close. But when he discovers that someone wants to hurt Kayla, Boone must risk his heart to protect what he cares about most.

Her Rancher Bodyguard

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Pub Date: May 24, 2016
Romance, General Fiction (Adult)
Published by Love Inspired

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Author Chat with Lisa Unger

Live on June 8th at 4pm ET!

An instant page-turner (Lisa Gardner) that straddles the line between thriller and horror…sure to appeal to a wide range of readers, including Stephen King fans. (Booklist, starred) A young woman’s mysterious gift forces her into the middle of a dangerous investigation of a little girl’s disappearance.

Ink and Bone

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Pub Date: June 7, 2016
Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction (Adult)
Published by Touchstone

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Author Chat with Robert Dugoni

Live on May 17th at 4pm ET!

From the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series : My Sister’s Grave, Her Final Breath (September 2015) and In the Woods (May 2016). He is also the author of the critically acclaimed, David Sloane series: The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One and The Conviction.

In the Clearing

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Pub Date: May 17, 2016
Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction (Adult)
Published by Thomas & Mercer

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Author Chat with Marcus Sakey

Live on January 12th at 4pm ET!

From “one of our best storytellers” (Michael Connelly) comes the blistering conclusion to the acclaimed series that is a “forget-to-pick-up-milk, forget-to-water-the-plants, forget-to-eat total immersion experience” (Gillian Flynn).

Written in Fire

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Pub Date: Jan 12, 2016
Mystery & Thrillers, Sci Fi & Fantasy
Published by Thomas & Mercer

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Author Chat with Camille Pagan

Live on November 19th at 4pm ET!

Camille Pagán‘s work has appeared in dozens of national publications and websites including Fast Company, Forbes, Men’s Health, O, The Oprah Magazine, Parade, and Women’s Health. She is the health editor at Real Simple magazine, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her family. Visit her at www.camillepagan.com.

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences

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Pub Date: Nov 1, 2015
Women's Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
Published by Lake Union Publishing

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We’re excited to be sharing author interviews with our community, in partnership with Feedbooks.

Yiyun Li

Interviewed by Lara Touitou - Yiyun Li is a Chinese American award-winning writer. She was named a MacArthur fellow in 2010. Kinder Than Solitude is her second novel.
*Author photo © Randi Lynn Beach

Kinder Than Solitude

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Kinder Than Solitude published by 4th Estate (UK) & Random House (US)

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The novel deals with the weight of the past and how we choose to deal with it. Do you think that, whatever we make of it, past ends up being what defines us?

My major motivation to write the novel was to see how one thing can cast a long shadow on those characters’ lives. Things never die. People never die, they are always in us. I’m always curious about that. Even small things in life would cast a big shadow. Personal and private history are what I’m interested in, and they never die.

Do you feel that the behaviour of the characters in the novel mirror the behaviour of your own generation?

I think that in my generation, marriages have fallen apart much more frequently in recent years. I think there’s the instability of marriage, but also people moving around. People used to stay in the same place all their lives, now they change careers and countries, and all these things add to the instability of marriage.

I think people on China looked to the West, to America, and would say “oh, they’re free”, as in “they’re free to divorce”, but now, in China, people are free to divorce too, so it’s an interesting journey that these characters came to America.

One particular element in Ruyu and Moran’s lives is that they make a particular choice of solitude. As a way to preserve themselves?

I think it’s interesting, because Ruyu has solitude, but at the end of the novel, she admitted she never had solitude: what she had was loneliness. This is a huge difference. What she had was a life-long quarantine against love, which, again, was not solitude. I think that for Moran, solitude was a dream she had. She thought that with solitude, she could protect herself from the world, but she did not succeed. For Ruyu, I think people like her would be better staying off of people’s lives, and I think she knew that too. She doesn’t really desire to get into people’s lives, she thinks it’s easier to be on her own.

Do you think that solitude is given a bad name in our world where we are supposed to connect with each other?

Absolutely. You feel like a dinosaur if you are not on social media, and I think people forget how to be with themselves sometimes. They always have to have a witness to anything! To their lunch, or their drink, or their party. But I think the best life, the most solid life, is a life without a witness, and that’s when solitude really works for us. I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere, but in America, people really don’t like solitude.

Although there are four characters in the novel whose stories are interconnected, each chapter is dedicated to one character or the relation between two of them. Why this choice?

When I structured the novel, there were two timelines: 1989 and 2010. To me, it’s important, because we have to know both timelines at the same time. What’s important to me is that all the characters are together in 1989, and they dispersed, they never got together again, but they are lonely back in 1989 too, for this and that reason, and they never changed that much.

One of the running interrogations in the book is what makes a family, which is not necessarily a biological family, but rather what you make of a family.

I think family is always the backbone of any person’s life. Some of the characters in the novel have parents, but they don’t have them around. Ruyu is abandoned, brought up by these two strange ladies. Moran has a good family, but she orphaned herself from her parents. For me, through these kinds of people, it’s always interesting to look at life that way: orphans want a family, and children with parents want to be orphans.

What led you to write on the subject of Tiananmen?

It really is my generation’s history. I think the poisoning and all those things would have happened without Tiananmen Square, but if I wrote about China without writing about this, it’s like writing about Europe in the 1940s without any war going on in the background. I write about those people because history already happened to these people’s lives.

History, especially big events, happens always on the surface. I look at Tiananmen square, and it has a lot of lies. So I think personal history is more interesting, because you cannot lie about people’s personal history. The moment Shaoai was poisoned, she could never be unpoisoned, you cannot write that out. But in China, if you are in Tiananmen Square, they can write you off as if you never existed. I think physical violence is not as interesting as psychological violence, and Tiananmen Square was physical violence, but psychological violence is what I am interested in.

To read more interviews please visit the Feedbooks interview archive, and stay tuned for your favorite authors!

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logo_feedbooks Author Interview

We’re excited to be sharing author interviews with our community, in partnership with Feedbooks.

Christos Tsiolkas

Interviewed by Lara Touitou - Christos Tsiolkas is an Australian writer. Barracuda is his latest novel since his bestselling novel The Slap.
*Author photo © Zoe Ali

Barracuda

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Barracuda is published in the UK by Hogarth

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Barracuda deals with the violence and frustration and blind dedication that comes with high-level sport training, in this case the world of swimming. Water is Daniel’s greatest ally and but also his worst enemy. Why did you choose this sport in particular?

The most immediate reason is that I swim. Never professionally, but I know something about the movement of the body in water. I knew that I could rely on my knowledge to help create the character and the situation. The notion of the athlete was how I made my entry into the novel, when I thought about what I wanted to create. I knew Danny couldn’t be involved in a team sport, he couldn’t be play football or basketball. It had to be an individual pursuit. Swimming is one of the most individual of sports, because it is yourself and the water. The other reason is the cultural meaning of swimming in Australia.

I come from a country that is an island and also an immense continent. It’s an island surrounded by water, and because of a very conflicted colonial history, there’s something about water that could represent a lot of things for me, and for Danny Kelly.

The book is about a lot of things, but it is about belonging. It is about where Danny belongs. He is this working-class boy who is broken from his world and sent to another world because of his phenomenal talent. Water is the only place he has that he feels a belonging to. He feels he can be something in water, but that too is taken away, and that’s when, I think, the real battle begins. From this moment, he really doesn’t have a place to belong.

I guess there are three reasons why I chose this sport: because I swim, because of what swimming means in the Australian context, in terms of a nation still trying to define itself, where sports become an obsession by definition, and of course because of the metaphor of water.

In the uncompromising picture you paint of Australia and its many disparities, in terms of class, race, or even religion, Daniel Kelly seems stuck between two worlds, between his working-class family and another world he would eventually aspire to. Do you feel he echoes a certain kind of malaise among the young generation in Australia?

I began writing Barracuda by wondering how to enter into the novel. I began by hearing the voice of a 14-year-old boy, a kind of insistent angered voice, and I started writing down in this voice. It was the germination of the book. I started to wonder what to say about this place, what to say about Danny Kelly, what to say as a writer. In that moment, after having had a significant success with the last book, I wondered what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about something called class, which I think had disappeared from Australian literature, or that we no longer were talking about. I think that the great success of the previous novel, The Slap, had taught me something. For the first time of my life, I had money, and I realized that it is true: money does change things and does lead to enormous opportunities. Barracuda was a kind of return to thinking about the journey I’d made, in my life, as a writer. That break had come, for me, with going to university and suddenly going from one class to another class. It was particularly acute, I think, as a child of immigrants. I think you carry the weight of that history with you, when you have that background. It seems that there was an immense pressure on young people in Australia that wasn’t being articulated. One of the reasons why it wasn’t being articulated is because we had lost the language of class.

As the novel developed, and as I built the structure, I realized that another story was developing along something called shame, and the kind of violence that can come from the experience of shame. That became almost more important than the question of belonging.

Danny has his grandparents, he has his immediate family, and I think they’re really good people. I wanted to paint a portrait of a young man who does something shocking but who has got really good people around him. The difference between Danny and his family is that his parents have a language of class, his grandparents have a language of class, and he’s part of a generation that doesn’t have this kind of language.

I think that Danny’s story is different from Christos Tsiolkas’s story, because he doesn’t go to university but to a private school. It’s the scholarship that he gets that begins that break, but I did draw on my own experiences.

If you were to sit down with any of us from a wide variety of groups, religions, or races—we were the first generation to go to university and to leave that working-class life, I think we’d all share an understanding of how dislocating that experience is. You have this astonishing opportunity where you are introduced to this world that you had no idea existed, it could literally be just a few kilometers down the road from where you grew up, and you did not know that this world and these opportunities were there, but you find that you go back, and you no longer know how to use a language that once was central to your identity and who you were. That was very much my experience.

If you come from an immigrant background, that break is also linguistic. You lose the language of your home. At university, you’re introduced to some very sophisticated and astonishing language. When you go back home, you’re still speaking in Greek or in Arabic or whatever the language is, and you become less and less confident in the language, because you don’t speak it anymore. In France, you speak French, in Australia, you speak English, but you don’t know how to translate your world back to your parents, or your old friends, or your sisters, or your brothers.

How do you speak when the two languages are no longer in balance? It’s almost as if there’s no translation possible. Part of what I’m trying to do with my writing is to translate that shock, to give it a voice.

How different was it for you to write Barracuda, compared to your precedent books?

I think each book has its own history of creation. It wasn’t that Barracuda was particularly hard to write. Writing for me is an apprenticeship: you learn how to do a particular craft, but unlike apprenticeships, it never finishes, it goes on until the rest of your life, so you’re always learning.

It’s true that after a while, you get confident in what you do. That doesn’t mean the self-doubt goes away, but you know how to structure a novel.

It felt that, after The Slap, I had to dive back in. I had to reconfirm to myself what I wanted to do as a writer. I wanted to find a language to talk about, so in some ways, Barracuda is closer to the first novel I wrote, both thematically and also as an experience I had as a writer. It felt as if I was writing a first novel again, but with a 25-year experience.

Do you feel there would be any distant connections between Danny and Ari, the protagonist from Loaded, your first novel?

I think they share the rage and the shame. The difference is that I was in my twenties when I wrote Loaded, and I was in my mid-forties when I wrote Barracuda. I have a very different relationship to the characters. In Barracuda, I wanted him to survive, I wanted to take care of him, so I think that corresponds to the older Christos Tsiolkas. There is a ways to atone, to reconstitute oneself, there is a ways to finding how to speak, in life.

Another thing that connects those two characters is inarticulateness. When Ana Kokkinos directed the adaptation, she thought the novel was very cinematic. When she and Andrew Bovell came to writing the script, they realized that Ari hadn’t said anything at all! I think that inarticulateness is something that connects those two young men, that experience of translating yourself in a language you don’t know.

Literature is one of the things that allows Danny to breathe again, in many ways.

Yes, and as I said, writing it felt like writing a first novel. I’ve been touring for the book in several different countries, and what struck me in the Francophone countries is that no one asked me “who do you write for?”, whereas the English and Australian journalists always ask that. I’ve always found it a hard question because the only answer I could give is that I write for myself.

Writing Barracuda, I found myself answering the question the way I had 25 years ago, which is that I write for myself. The way I got confident about my writing was by re-reading the books that had inspired me as a young person. Some of those are the books that Danny Kelly is reading: Dickens, Malouf. For me there is something about the humanism of the great novels that can actually shine a light into your misery, into your darkness, into your shame, into your fear. That is what brought me to writing, and before writing, to reading. I think it’s very easy to lose sight of that, we’re all so suspicious of words like humanism these days. It made perfect sense to me that when Danny was at his most miserable, the light would come from those books, because those are the books that shone a light for me.

To read more interviews please visit the Feedbooks interview archive, and stay tuned for your favorite authors!

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