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.


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.


Reader Spotlight

Blog name: The Book Addict’s Guide
Your name: Brittany Smith

Let’s start with your origin story - how long have you been blogging about Mystery & Thrillers, and why did you start?

This is a really fun question because mysteries and thrillers really were my origin! I started my blog in April of 2012 after my friend and I started haunting a local used book store. I was really into adult cozy mysteries at the time and my shelves are still filled with all of the cozies I bought there! I wanted my own place for my reviews outside of Goodreads so I had decided to start a blog. I really wanted to share what I liked or didn’t like about a book and really help people find some good recommendations. I also “discovered” YA around this time with the dystopian trend and I quickly started devouring young adult books as well! My blog quickly became a combination of adult mystery and anything YA, although now it definitely has a strong YA focus.

Are there particular subgenres that you prefer or find more interesting at the moment? Are there any trends that you are excited to see come or go?

I used to not be a fantasy reader (I know!!) because I just hadn’t found the right books for me and now I truly can’t get enough! I used to immediately say no to magical realism because again, I hadn’t read the right books for me, but when it’s done well, it’s SO incredible.

I’m also really excited to see a lot more mystery/thrillers in YA now because there was a long while where I really couldn’t find many, or they at least weren’t getting a good spotlight. And I cannot get enough books about heists/spies/espionage!! (And can we just say how AMAZING it is when heists & fantasy meet? It’s all of my loves together!)

I used to be so in love with dystopian but I think that’s really fizzled out and I totally burned myself out on it for the time being.

Do you have a preferred approach to writing reviews for books? Has your style evolved over the years, particularly since becoming a blogger?

My review style has totally changed since I first started blogging! My very first reviews are so embarrassing! I basically wrote a few sentences and called it a review. I mean, there’s no “right” way to write a review but now I really get into plot, world building, development, and even have sections talking about characters and specific points that I really enjoyed or conversely, things I was missing. I hope my reviews are helpful tools for people who are looking to find some spoiler-free feedback on a book because that was the whole reason I started my blog!

I used to try to take notes about what I read or marking quotes but I found that stopping to write things down really took me out of that reading experience, but I do still update Goodreads along the way! It took me a while to find my own personal reviewing groove but I’ve been sticking with this one for the past couple years and it’s really worked well for me!

On your blog, you publish a “Book Title Buzzwords” series, as well as other features. Can you briefly explain how you came up with these, and how they help structure your blog, which titles to review, etc.?

Book Title Buzzwords is one of the newer features on my blog. I came up with it after noticing some title trends in titles to include similar words, especially within the YA community, and thought it would be fun to talk about titles that featured them, both old and new! It was a great way for me to bring up some older titles, titles that I had just read and not yet reviewed, and titles that I planned to read in the future.

I also have some other staple features like Book and a Beverage, which is a blogger (and sometimes author) spotlight feature! I found myself frequently photographing my current read with my current beverage and I figured other people did too! I invite bloggers to share their current book and beverage as well as some things about themselves & their blogs.

I love the different features because it brings something new to my blog. I’ve been blogging for over four years and as much as reviews will always be a staple, I like having a different way to talk about books that’s a little something different and keeps the conversation fresh!

Which upcoming book(s) on NetGalley are you the most excited about reading and recommending to your followers? And are there any covers on NetGalley that you’re loving?

My wish was just granted for The Bear and the Nightingale and I’m so excited! I’m also loving the covers for Caraval and The Bone Witch and can’t wait to read those too!

The Bear and the Nightingale    Caraval    The Bone Witch

Lightning Round!

Your blog in two sentences:

A place to share bookish obsessions. A happy mix of reviews and fun features.

Your favorite snack(s) to eat while reading:

Popcorn! Mmmm

The 1 book you wish was never-ending:

Just one!? Ummm. THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater because I wish the series would never end.

And to finish off our interview, if you could go on a road trip with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and where would you go?

Can I take two? (Do people totally always cheat on these questions?) I would take a road trip with Maggie Stiefvater because 1) she’s so much fun, 2) she has amazing cars, and 3) she knows really cool places. I’d also love to take a road trip with Leigh Bardugo because I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her several times and she’s one of my favorite authors to talk with and meet in person! She’s so kind, really cracks me up, and I bet between her, Maggie Stiefvater, and myself, we could discover a whole lot of interesting places in our travels that we never knew existed!

Thanks so much Brittany, for spending time with us and answering our questions!
Please make sure to check out The Book Addict’s Guide and more Teens & YA available on NetGalley! 

Would you like to nominate your blog, or a blog you admire, to be featured in our Reader Spotlight series? Fill out this form!

*Interviewed by Tarah Theoret


Reader Spotlight

Blog name: Intellectual Recreation
Blog URL: http://www.intellectualrecreation.com/
Your name: JoLee

Let’s begin with your blogger origin story - how long have you been blogging about books and why did you start?

I had been a really active member of Goodreads for years, and, when I finished graduate school, I decided that I wanted to put all of that effort into a blog. This was about four years ago, but Intellectual Recreation really took off a couple of years later when I brought my sister on board and started coming up with different blog series. Our first series kind of started by accident. I just happened to read five young adult books that had some tie to Russia right in a row, and I decided to put them all together in one post that I called “Reading on a Theme: Russia and YA.” The “Reading on a Theme” series quickly became the backbone of our blog, inspiring us to feature more than one book in almost every post.

What genres and subgenres does your blog focus on? Are there any trends within these that you’re excited to see, or would like to see disappear?

Our blog focuses primarily on young adult fiction, but, we read all types of books so occasionally we’ll feature adult fiction, non-fiction, and middle-grade books. There’s been a lot of ink spilled lately about how adults are reading young adult fiction and why that is and whether or not that’s a good thing. Personally, I’m all for adults reading YA (obviously), and I think the reason we are is simply because there is more exceptional young adult literature out there than ever before! I love how vast the genre is becoming.

How has being a NetGalley member and having access to digital galleys impacted your blogging?

It’s been huge. I don’t think that we’d be able to do what we do without NetGalley. Because we organize our content thematically, it’s very important for me to be able to see what types of books are coming out so that I can know how to organize the galleys that we receive. Also, I think NetGalley helps us to stay current. It’s given us the chance to read books and authors we might not have found otherwise. Plus, I love reading on my Kindle!

On your blog, you publish book roundups, a “Long-Distance Book Club” series, as well as other blog series. Can you briefly explain how you came up with these, and how they help structure your blog, which titles to review, etc.?

Our entire blog is structured around our blog series and most of them developed pretty organically. We wanted to feature more than one book in nearly every post, so we came up with series like “Reading on a Theme” and “Pair It With” to serve as our review posts. The blog was kind of becoming a long-distance book club for Paige and me, so we decided to formalize that with our “Long-Distance Book Club” series. That’s a fun one for us to because we get to read the same book at the same time, discuss it, and come up with book club questions together. We wanted to talk about bookish things like bedtime stories and star ratings so we started the “A Few Thoughts” series. One of my favorite series is our “Most Read Author” series. Those post are very nostalgic for me as they allow me to think back on all the books I have read by a particular author and what I was doing in my life when I read them. They are also a lot of fun because Paige and I work on them together. Perhaps unsurprisingly many of our most read authors are the same.

Do you have any advice for book bloggers who are just starting out? Perhaps advice about co-blogging, and how to come up with a structure and schedule that works best?

Do what works for you. Find a structure that suits your needs. Don’t feel like you have to do what you think everyone else is doing. A unique format will make you stand out. For example, we each started out doing our own posts but then found that, for us, working on posts together actually worked a lot better. That means that we spend some time every week talking about what posts we need to work on and dividing up the reading. It works great for us because we like talking and planning, but I know that wouldn’t necessarily work best for a lot of people.

Are there any titles on NetGalley that you’re looking forward to reading/reviewing?

I’m really looking forward to reading Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley. It’s a story about the Brontë siblings and their vivid imaginations. And speaking of the Brontë’s, I’m also really excited about Stone Field by Christy Lenzi. It’s a reimagining of Wuthering Heights set in Civil War era Missouri. For something completely different, I’m eager to read Jennifer Longo’s Up to This Pointe. I love books about ballet dancers, and I’m interested to see how this dancer ends up in Antarctica.

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Lightning Round!

Your favorite snack(s) to eat while reading:

No snack is the best snack. Eating gets in the way of reading!

Your current favorite authors:

Kasie West – Reading a book by Kasie is like giving yourself a little reward.

Rachel Hartman – Seraphina and Shadow Scale are 5-star fantasies.

Maggie Stiefvater – I’ve read everything she’s written.

Your blog, in 2 sentences:

We’re sisters who love to read. We share what we are reading in thematic posts that feature multiple books with similar topics.

The 1 book you wish was never-ending:

Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. I want to read a new story about Lockwood, Lucy, and George every Halloween season for the rest of my life.

And to finish off our interview, if you could have coffee (…or something stiffer) with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

Definitely Shannon Hale. First of all, I love Shannon’s books. The finale to the Princess Academy series was just divine. Secondly, I really admire everything that Shannon has said and done about erasing the boundaries between “boy books” and “girl books.” Finally, Shannon is really funny, and I want to be her friend.

Thanks so much for spending some time with us and answering our questions JoLee!
Please make sure to check out Intellectual Recreation and the Teens & YA titles now available on NetGalley! 

Would you like to nominate your blog, or a blog you admire, to be featured in our Blogger Spotlight series? Fill out this form!

*Interviewed by Tarah Theoret