NetGalley Author Interview: Benjamin Ludwig

Watch our author video interview, “15 minutes with… Benjamin Ludwig,” now! Here, we talk about his debut release, Ginny Moon, how his daughter was a big inspiration for the book and what Ludwig wants to write next! You don’t want to miss this interview brought to you by NetGalley, Meryl Moss Media and BookTrib.com.

Ginny Moon

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Pub Date: May 2, 2017
General Fiction (Adult)
Published by Harlequin

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See the world differently.

Ginny Moon is a recently adopted teenager with autism. She has a new home, new parents, and a new last name.

Before Ginny arrived at her new house, she spent years living in danger with her birth-mother. Her world is a much better, safer place now, and everyone tells her that she should feel happy. But Ginny is stifled. Her voice is pushed down. Silenced. Bottled up for too long now. It’s ready to burst.

Ginny is desperate to get back to where she came from, back to what she left behind. Because something heartbreaking happened there—something that only Ginny knows—and nothing will stop her from going back to make it right. She’ll even get herself kidnapped.

Ginny Moon is an illuminating look at one girl’s journey to find her way home. In this stunning debut, Benjamin Ludwig gives a voice to the voiceless, reminding us that often we only hear those who speak the loudest, and there’s much to be learned by opening up our ears and our hearts.

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NetGalley Author Interview: Sara Ella

Watch our author video interview, “15 minutes with… Sara Ella,” now! Here, we talk about her latest release in The Unblemished Trilogy, Unraveling, world building and how she got so attached to stories with a HEA (Happily Ever After)! You don’t want to miss this interview brought to you by NetGalley, Meryl Moss Media and BookTrib.com.

Unraveling

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Pub Date: July 11, 2017
Teens & YA
Published by Thomas Nelson

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What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about—like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something—or someone—is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections—and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

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NetGalley Author Interview: Marc Elsberg

Watch our author video interview, “15 minutes with… Marc Elsberg,” now! Here, we talk about his TedxBerlin talk, where the inspiration for Blackout came from and how we should all truly be thinking about what would happen if we experienced a full technology blackout in our world. You don’t want to miss this interview brought to you by NetGalley, Meryl Moss Media and BookTrib.com.

Pub Date: June 6, 2017
General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark

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When the lights go out one night, no one panics. Not yet. The lights always come back on soon, don’t they? Surely it’s a glitch, a storm, a malfunction. But something seems strange about this night. Across Europe, controllers watch in disbelief as electrical grids collapse. There is no power, anywhere.

A former hacker and activist, Piero investigates a possible cause of the disaster. The authorities don’t believe him, and he soon becomes a prime suspect himself. With the United States now also at risk, Piero goes on the run with Lauren Shannon, a young American CNN reporter based in Paris, desperate to uncover who is behind the attacks. After all, the power doesn’t just keep the lights on―it keeps us alive.

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Exclusive Interview with Rory Harrison

We’re excited to share this special Q&A with Rory Harrison about her book, Looking for Group, and something exciting she’s doing with Quarterly:

This quarter’s box is curated by Rory Harrison, featuring an exclusive, print copy of Looking for Group and a letter from Rory herself! Also find in the box two more books, handpicked by Rory that inspired her as an author, plus awesome bookish goods — perfect for YA book lovers. (Psst: Act fast, subscribe by April 21st to get this box and use the discount mentioned below)

NetGalley Author Interview

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

I was a poor kid, who grew up in a lousy neighborhood, and my mom took me to the library every single Saturday. I was allowed to go anywhere in the library, pick out any book, and just be. It was my happiest place; my safest place. But sometimes the stories I loved best would run out — one book and over. I wanted more. So I started writing the more for myself. Some of my earliest works included Sarah returning to the Labyrinth when she realized that the real world was dull, and a companion novel to Lois’ Duncan’s Stranger With My Face — it turns out the twins were triplets, and I too, could astrally project!

Now I’m a grown up, in a better neighborhood, and I can take myself to my library. (Or bring the library to me — I love checking out e-books!) I live in a yellow house with a red door, with my wife and my youngest daughter. My eldest daughter is grown and lives in a town not too far from here.

I still read and write fan fiction, by the way. It’s just now I spend most of my time writing books, first. (Usually.)

What is your favorite novel of all time?

Completely impossible question to answer. But I will say that The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, IT by Stephen King and The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause were my best friends as I was growing up. And I admit, every summer, I re-read all of Harry Potter. I appreciate The Deathly Hallows a lot more each year.

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

Oh absolutely. Going way back, The Godfather was an amazing book, but the movie completed it. And I’ll probably get eviscerated for this, but I think the first Twilight movie was better than the book. Melissa Rosenberg’s screenplay cut down to the heart of what made Twilight a sensation and Catherine Hardwicke’s choices as a director were disconcerting and beautiful. (And you can check out Rosenberg’s work now in Jessica Jones. She’s just so great!)

Which three authors would you invite to a dinner party?

I’d love to have dinner with Malinda Lo, Shaun David Hutchinson and Anna-Marie McLemore. I follow them on Twitter, and I think that would be an amazing, illuminating night. And if I could cheat and invite one more, Mary Roach. She’s hilarious and has researched so many things, who knows where the conversation might go?

Your novel, Looking for Group, features two very real and relatable--though not frequently depicted in YA fiction--characters. Did you always plan on writing the characters as is? What inspired you to get them on paper?

In the beginning, I wanted to, very much. I wanted to tell stories like mine and my wife’s and my friends’, because so often, you’re allowed to be One Thing in a book. You can be poor, and that’s all Or you can be queer. Or you can be sick. Or you can be a gamer. But real life isn’t like that; a lot of times, those things stack because of each other. So I wrote the book of my heart, and made my wife cry each day, when she read my pages.

But when it was done, and it came time to do business, I was afraid that a book about a queer boy and a transgender girl wouldn’t sell. So I broke my own heart, and straightened everybody up, and sent it to my agent. He realized something was missing — I’d never told him about the original version. Finally, though, I did, and he was loving and stern and said, “I’ll worry about what sells. You worry about writing a great book.”

So I put Looking For Group back the way it was supposed to be. And now it’s a real book, in the real world, with the real characters I hoped and dreamed and wished for all along.

There is so much travel in Looking for Group. Are you yourself a traveler? How did you pick the places Dylan and Arden visit?

I love to be in new places, but I hate to travel. Ugh, getting there is awful. I hate that part the most! But I do enjoy weird roadside attractions — some of the things that Dylan and Arden see in the book are from my real life. Others, are things that I looked at online. I “drove” to the Salton Sea probably fifty times on Google Maps.

They’re all special and have stories behind them. But here’s a tiny spoiler: when I was a kid, my parents would save up all year so that we could go to King’s Island — an amusement park — in the next state. They’d pack us in the car when it was still dark, and we’d go back to sleep for the drive. Mom would wake us up when we were close. She’d say, “Watch for the Eiffel Tower,” because in the middle of King’s Island’s International Street, they have a replica of the Tower, light blinking on top and everything. Seeing it was a revelation, every single time.

It meant so much to me that I deviated Dylan and Arden’s “I-70 or bust!” driving plan, just so they could go down the right highway to see it.

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

I expect I would go to Hogwarts. Aren’t you still waiting for your letter, too?

Do you have any advice for young writers?

Read, read, read. But mostly, only listen to advice that makes you feel like a better writer. Everybody has their own process. There’s no one way to write a book. Trying to follow the wrong advice can make you feel defeated and small.

I’ve tried to follow both good and smart advice that wasn’t for me, and stupid advice that was just stupid, and none of it helped me to write a book. The advice that felt like blooming instead of burying worked for me. So read, read, read. Learn how your favorites tell a story. But only listen to advice that helps you grow.

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

This is the best question ever. When I was in high school, I had several Japanese pen pals. We’d write snail mail* to each other; we corresponded for years. And one of them, Michiko, taped several entire anime series for me on VHS tapes, as a surprise. It was this HUGE box, full of anime, turning up out of nowhere — back in the 80s. It was unexpected, and anime in the US back then was so rare, it was like getting a box full of gold.

(*Because we had to. There was no Internet yet. SpoOooOoky!)

Click here to get Rory Harrison’s YA Fiction Box, complete with an exclusive, annotated copy of Looking for Group! (Plus! As a NetGalley member, you get an exclusive 10% discount! Just enter the code: NETGALLEY10 at checkout – expires April 21st.)

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Exclusive Interview with Jeff VanderMeer

 

 

 

 

 

We’re excited to share this special Q&A with Jeff VanderMeer about his book, Borne, and something exciting he’s doing with Quarterly:

This quarter’s box is curated by Jeff VanderMeer, featuring an exclusive, annotated copy of Borne, already named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Chicago Reader, The Week, and Publishers Weekly. Also find in the box two more books, handpicked by VanderMeer that inspired him as an author, plus awesome bookish goods — perfect for book lovers. (Psst: Act fast, subscribe by April 21st to get this box and use the discount mentioned below.)

NetGalley Author Interview

Pub Date: April 25, 2017
General Fiction (Adult)
Published by MCD/FSG

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Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into writing? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It all kind of started with bird watching. I kept a bird list in Fiji, where I spent four or five years of my childhood. Kingfisher! (For example.) But I got bored with that, so I started a personal diary in the journal instead (although I never gave up bird watching!). I think I was seven or eight. But I got bored with that, too, so I started writing poems, which since I was so young were titled things like “Oh, how I love the sea!” And I also wrote down little fables, sometimes actually rewriting Aesop’s fables. At that same time, my parents were reading me things like William Blake’s Tyger Tyger Burning Bright and giving me classics new and old. From that moment on, I didn’t really think about it–I just felt like I was a writer and although I was briefly dazzled by the idea of being a marine biologist, it turned out I just loved looking into tidal pools.

In my teens I wrote and published a lot of poems, some short stories, started and edited a literary magazine, ran a community reading series, and wrote two terrible fantasy novels based on my love of Patricia McKillip and others. This all helped me very early, by about sixteen, to have a good lay of the land. I was also lucky enough to be mentored by people like the poet Enid Shomer, the novelists Jane Stuart and Meredith Ann Pierce, and in general to get a good start on a lifelong devotion to writing fiction.

How did the idea for Borne come about?

Just as with Annihilation I had put into the back of my head years earlier, “I want to write in some way about Florida,” I had also put in my head “I want to in some way write about my childhood.” But that wasn’t as easy a proposition because I had a kind of block in that direction, I think because I instinctively knew that I needed more distance and that, you know, even though I lived in Fiji, I wasn’t from there. This actually created a lot of angst early on in how to write fiction because I felt like I’d been everywhere but belonged nowhere.

But then one day I had this sudden inspiration, an image in my mind of the flank of a giant bear and entangled in it something that looked a little bit like a closed-up sea anemone…and a woman named Rachel who found it…and realized it was something more than what it looked like. And I knew that Rachel didn’t belong in the city–that she had come from somewhere else, and that, although, it’s never named in the novel, that place was the South Pacific. And suddenly, I could write about the places I knew as a child, as part of her backstory.

How has it changed since you first began writing it?

I don’t seriously start to put words on the page until I’ve thought about a novel for a long time, so that when I do most of what changes is at the level of scene or paragraph, and sometimes, of course, structure will change as a result, but not always. The story I wanted to tell didn’t change, but as time went on the relationship between Rachel and her boyfriend Wick deepened and grew and the character of the Magician, Wick’s rival, came into focus in interesting ways. But Rachel’s voice always came very naturally to me.

Do you have any specific or strange writing rituals that get you into a groove?

I used to need special pens and pencils and journals. No more! These days, I’m just as happy to scribble an idea or scene fragment on the back of a leaf while I’m hiking. I also don’t really care what time of day I write, although some books feel like night-time narratives and so I might write late at night for something like the novel I’m working on now, Hummingbird Salamander. But the key things that never change is that I write my drafts long-hand and that I get my best ideas while hiking out in the wilderness or while lifting weights in the gym. That probably has to do with having to live in the moment and not be distracted, which gives my subconscious and imagination room to operate.

Do you have a favorite character from Borne?

I know that Borne himself–shape-shifting and spectacularly tentacular!–is a big draw, as is Mord, the giant psychotic bear. But my favorite character is Rachel, the narrator, who just simply keeps keeping on and trying to do her best as she navigates a landscape both physical and ethical that’s complex and difficult. I feel immense sympathy and love for her.

What is your favorite novel of all time?

I wish I could answer this question, but there are too many. So instead I’ll tell you an anecdote about one of my favs, Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. Recently, as guest speakers at a Sigma Tau Delta conference, my wife Ann and I snuck out long enough to get some shopping in and in a men’s consignment shop, the owner (Hank Bullitt–great name!) found out I was a writer and asked what my favorite book was. For some reason I was thinking of meeting Marty Wilson-Piper of The Church on Bondi Beach, and how he’d had a battered copy of The Master and Margarita, so that’s what I said was my favorite. And Hank Bullitt just about jumps out of his skin and tells us that his late cousin was the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union and knew Bulgakov and was the inspiration for a character in the novel and told us a lot of interesting stuff about that time period and his cousin. Talk about an odd coincidence!

Which three authors would you invite to a dinner party?

From any time period? Vladimir Nabokov, Angela Carter, and Amos Tutuola. Now that would be a party!

Do you have any advice for young writers?

Go with your heart. Write what is personal to you and that you’re passionate about. Never worry about trends and be true to yourself. No trend is worth chasing and the landscape changes so frequently anyway that the most important thing is that you are happy with and proud of your writing. When you achieve success, you want it to be on your own terms.

Do you read multiple books at a time or do you focus on just one?

Usually, I focus on just one, but it just depends. If I find two novels different enough or a novel and a nonfiction book, I’ll read more than one. I was just reading Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan and Rooted: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction at the same time, alongside Wendel Berry’s The Mad Farmer Poems.

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

Gosh, this is tough. For years, because of a prior novel, I got pounds and pounds of dried squid in the mail. I wouldn’t say that was a favorite, but it was a thing that happened. I’ve also received a stuffed-animal meerkat head glued to a plate in the mail because of another novel, along with lots of fan art over the course of my career. I guess, honestly, the heartfelt letters from readers who appreciated some aspect of my fiction have been the best, especially where it’s clear that something therein made them happy or took away their stress or in another way were of use.

Also, I’m really looking forward to getting a woodcut in the mail soon from the artist Theo Ellsworth–a 2-foot-tall illustration of Mord.

Click here to get Jeff VanderMeer’s Fiction Box, complete with an exclusive, annotated copy of Borne! (Plus! As a NetGalley member, you get an exclusive 10% discount! Just enter the code: NETGALLEY10 at checkout – expires April 21st.)

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NetGalley Author Interview: Kate Moore

Watch our author video interview, “15 minutes with… Kate Moore,” now! Here, we discuss the different genres Moore writes in, her inspiration behind writing about this American scandal and what new project she’s working on. You don’t want to miss this interview brought to you by NetGalley, Meryl Moss Media and BookTrib.com.

The Radium Girls

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Pub Date: May 2, 2017
History, Nonfiction (Adult)
Published by Sourcebooks Non-Fiction

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The incredible true story of the women who fought America’s Undark danger

Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive ― until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.

Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives…

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NetGalley Author Interview: Terri Blackstock

Watch our author video interview, “15 minutes with… Terri Blackstock,” now! Here, we discuss Blackstock’s If I Run series, writing in multiple genres and the inspiration behind her novels. You don’t want to miss this interview brought to you by NetGalley, Meryl Moss Media and BookTrib.com.

If I'm Found

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Pub Date: March 21, 2017
Mystery & Thrillers, Christian
Published by Zondervan Fiction

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Is Dylan hunting Casey to prosecute her or protect her?

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist that he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and just may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail.

In this riveting sequel to the USA Today bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness. Is Dylan a provision from the God who loves her, or another heartache yet to happen?

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NetGalley Author Interview: Cara Putman

From veteran author Cara Putman, Beyond Justice weaves a tale of mystery and suspense as up-and-coming lawyer Hayden McCarthy takes on the government in a controversial wrongful death case.

Beyond Justice

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Pub Date: April 4, 2017
Mystery & Thrillers, Christian
Published by Thomas Nelson - Fiction

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Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she’s just been handed doesn’t destroy her first.

Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It’s why she became an attorney and why she’s so driven in her career. When she’s handed a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership-or an attempt to make sure she never gets there. She keeps the case alive through sheer determination and more than a little creativity, but then she’s fired by a partner with a vendetta.

Further complicating matters, Hayden keeps finding herself completely distracted by Andrew, her roommate’s cousin. But his father is a Congressman and she’s currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?

The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to see either the case-or her-die. Should she fight alone for the dead young man by launching her own unfinanced firm, or abandon the case in order to save her own life?

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Exclusive Interview with Jeff Giles

We’re excited to share this special Q&A with Jeff Giles about his book, The Edge of Everything, and something exciting he’s doing with Quarterly:

This quarter’s box is curated by Jeff Giles, featuring an exclusive, annotated copy of The Edge of Everything, an action-packed fantastical thriller. Also find in the box two more books, handpicked by Giles that inspired him as an author, plus awesome bookish goods — perfect for YA book lovers. (Psst: Act fast, subscribe by January 27th to get this box and use the discount mentioned below.)

NetGalley Author Interview

The Edge of Everything

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Pub Date: Jan 31, 2017
Teens & YA
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

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

I grew up in Massachusetts in a pretty loud, unhappy family, so I spent a lot of time holed up in my room with my baseball cards and my guitar and my fantasy novels. I wasn’t much of a baseball player, and I was really bad at guitar (I still play and I’m STILL bad, actually). So I guess what I’m saying is: writing was the only thing I loved that I didn’t suck at. I tried writing all kinds of things when I was young: plays, song lyrics, short stories, poems. By the time I went to college, I’d decided to try being a journalist. My dream was that I’d write articles for a living until I wrote a novel good enough to be published. That took MANY more years than I thought it would!

What is your favorite novel of all time?

Please don’t make me answer this! It’s too hard to choose!

Let me try this: My favorite YA novel right this second is Still Life with Tornado (A.S. King).
My favorite novel to recommend to “grown-ups” is Bel Canto (Ann Patchett). My favorite funny novel is Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple). My favorite weird novel is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Haruki Murakami). My favorite sci fi novel is Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro).

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

I know this will be controversial, but I actually think there are a lot. It usually happens with action and suspense, because those genres are just MADE for the big screen. One really old example is “Jaws.” I’m sure the novel was a fun summer read, but Steven Spielberg’s movie was the first blockbuster and changed Hollywood forever. I won’t say that Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” movies are BETTER than the Tolkien novels—mostly because I don’t want all your subscribers to hate me—but I do think they’re every bit as good, and maybe even more exciting.

Which three authors would you invite to a dinner party?

J.K. Rowling, because obviously! Charles Dickens, because J.K. Rowling would love to meet him, I bet. And E.M. Forester, because I love his novels—and I think Dickens would feel bad if he were the only dead guy there.

Your debut novel, The Edge of Everything, has a leading female protagonist, how did you get into character and develop her voice throughout the novel?

I began writing the novel while I was living in Brooklyn, and I finished it after we’d moved to Montana, so Zoe is sort of a combination of what I love most about both places: the funny-smart/take-no-crap NYC thing mixed with the outdoorsy, self-reliant western thing. More importantly, my daughter is a big reader, and I knew she’d read the novel some day. There is NO WAY she would approve of a female character who wasn’t tough and brave and badass. Zoe sort of has my sense of humor, but she’s cooler than me in every other way.

Do you have any advice for young writers?

Tons! Try to write on a regular schedule. Turn off the WiFi or you won’t get anything done. Read everything you write out loud—both to yourself and others. There’s no better way to tell if something flows and makes sense and if you’re proud of it. Remember that absolutely everyone writes a lot of bad stuff on the way to writing good stuff. Make sure there are enough snacks in the house.

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

I had so much fun! I wanted to share books about girls with real purpose—and who were in the midst of figuring out who they were. Then I picked some cool odds and ends to make the whole reading experience a little brighter, warmer and more special.

Click here to get Jeff Giles’ Literary YA Box, complete with an exclusive, annotated copy of The Edge of Everything! (Plus! As a NetGalley member, you get an exclusive 10% discount! Just enter the code: NETGALLEY10 at checkout.)

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

I sent an advance copy of The Edge of Everything on a little “tour” of other YA authors, and they all wrote and doodled all over it and told me what they liked best. One friend, the middle grade author Melanie Conklin, even drew a great picture of my leading man X’s tattooed arm. It was the first piece of fan art I ever got, and it really made me glow.

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Exclusive Interview with S.J. Kincaid

The+Diabolic+YA+boxWe’re excited to share this special Q&A with S.J. Kincaid about her book, The Diabolic, and something cool she’s doing with Quarterly:

This quarter’s box is curated by S.J. Kincaid, featuring an exclusive, annotated copy of The Diabolic, an action-packed psychological thriller/fantasy. Also find in the box two more books, handpicked by Kincaid that inspired her as an author, plus awesome bookish goods — perfect for YA book lovers. (Psst: Act fast, subscribe by November 7th to get this box.)

NetGalley Author Interview

The Diabolic

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Pub Date: Nov 1, 2016
Teens & YA
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

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

I’m originally from Alabama, but I’ve spent most of my life moving between California and Chicago. I’ve written as a hobby ever since I was very young, mostly because my older sister was a writer, and I liked to do everything she did (and I still am! We’re both professional writers now!) Before getting published, though, I moved between several different jobs, and then went to nursing school. I was not a very good nurse.

What is your favorite novel of all time?

It has to be Legacy by Susan Kay. It was a hugely influential novel for me. This is a book I can say literally changed the course of my life, because it ignited a fascination with Tudor history that became the first of many intellectual pursuits born purely out of curiosity, not just because I was assigned research for school.

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

I think this could be incredibly subjective, but for me personally, Starship Troopers the movie was more to my taste than the book. They were drastically different, actually, and I saw the movie first. Science fiction purists will probably mock me for this, but I can take it. I just really enjoyed the campiness, and some parody aspects of it. (The good guys in the movie basically could be interpreted as pretty evil fascists vs. the book with a different theme.)

Which three authors would you invite to a dinner party?

Whoa, tricky question. There are so many possibilities. Can I choose dead people? I think I’d invite Howard Zinn who wrote A People’s History of the United States, and then Ayn Rand who wrote Atlas Shrugged, and then just stay totally silent and let them argue and maybe film it and put it on YouTube. Third author I’d invite would be my sister, so she could argue along with me.

How did you come up with this new fascinating world with Diabolics?

The primary thing I had in mind was that this future is set so far from now that the automatization we are already facing (human jobs supplanted by machines) has progressed to a point where the mechanical underpinnings of society are totally self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. That means a few things 1) it’s not critical for people to be able to understand how the machines work, once they totally sustain themselves, and 2) people are relatively extraneous, and unnecessary. Since I wanted an I, Claudius type of story, I envisioned an Empire with these conditions. Power would exist among those who ultimately had control over the machines, and the fact that most people are extraneous and unnecessary would reduce their status immensely. And if the great mass of humanity is deemed ‘Excess’ because they aren’t viewed as important, then it made sense that there’d be no compunctions about creating humans with certain qualities just for the service of ‘real’ people. Those factors, all together, sort of led to the universe of The Diabolic as I imagined it.

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

Star Trek! Their future is my idea of a utopia. Of course, in that universe, I’d probably spend all my time in the holodeck.

Do you have any advice for young writers?

Read a lot and write a lot! Also: I was a very sensitive person easily hurt by rejection—and yet I overcame that when it comes to writing by trying again and again and again, and failing over and over. My advice is, if you want to do this for a living: get used to bashing your head against the same wall time and again, because everyone gets rejected. A lot. It took seven books for me to sell one, and then several more to sell another. If you grow a thick skin, you will make it.

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

I gave a lot of thought to what might interest the same readers of The Diabolic, yet also prove relevant to the themes of the story. I am so thrilled, also, that I managed to get a card game in there!

Click here to get S.J.’s Literary YA Box, complete with an
exclusive, annotated copy of The Diabolic!

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

Of all time? It was when I got into the school of my choice. My dad picked me up, handed me a thin envelope and said, “Well, you got a thin letter from [this school I didn’t really care about]… And a thick one from here!” Most delightful mail of my life.

What is your longest running subscription?

Publishers Marketplace. I always vowed before I sold a book that I wasn’t going to spend any money on writing type stuff (conferences, membership to places) until I sold, because I couldn’t yet justify it. I always broke this rule when I had a book about to go on submission. I’d subscribe to PM for a month and look up all the recent sales, editors, etc. Once I finally sold Insignia, I had no reason to end my subscription. It’s not really necessary for me, but I just love checking it every day and seeing what’s coming in the book world.

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