The Clockwork Dagger Author Beth Cato has now published the second book of the duology, The Clockwork Crown, and The Daily Quirk got the chance to chat with Cato about it during San Diego Comic-Con. Check out the video below to hear what inspired her to write about the steampunk genre, what her favorite book was as a teenager and advice to others who want to take up the same career path as Cato! Continue reading
As part of the blog tour celebrating the release of Tamara Ireland Stone’s Every Last Word, The Daily Quirk is thrilled to feature a guest post from Tamara, reflecting on her own high school experience.
Keep reading for Stone’s insights on the difference between high school friends and high school tribes, and be sure to check out our review of Every Last Word (spoiler alert: it’s amazing!) and enter the giveaway below to win a copy for yourself and your best friend!
Friends vs. Tribes: A Look Back at High School
by Tamara Ireland Stone
It’s easier to see some things from a good long distance.
If you asked me about my friends when I was back in high school, I would have told you they were funny, smart, outspoken, and genuinely wonderful people. Decades later, I can say with certainty that those things were true. But now, I can also admit that I never quite felt like I belonged with them.
We moved a lot when I was young, and I didn’t attend the same school two years in a row until high school. Once I got there, I desperately wanted to be liked, to find a niche, and to feel like I fit in.
The girls I met welcomed me right away, but I was also keenly aware of the fact that they’d known each other all their lives. They had stories and secrets and inside jokes, and when we were together as a group, that history often felt front and center. I often felt awkward. And I spent far too much time wondering what they were thinking of me, worrying that they didn’t thing I belonged, which probably made it even more awkward.
In my sophomore year, I took a journalism class, and found a way to channel my love of writing into the award-winning newspaper, The Oak Leaf. One journalism class turned into two, and then into three. I was elected editor-in-chief my senior year, and by then, it’s safe to say I was spending more than three hours a day in the newspaper staff office.
There were a bunch of us—reporters, editors, typesetters, layout staff, illustrators, columnists, headline writers—and we each had our place on the masthead. But I was interested in all of it. I wanted to learn about every aspect of the newspaper’s production.
I remember spending many lunch hours and late nights in the newspaper office. That room never seemed to be empty, and there was always good music on the stereo. Even if we weren’t talking, we were side-by-side, head-bobbing to the beat while doing our respective jobs. It was comfortable.
In Every Last Word, Samantha is introduced to a secret poetry club hidden beneath the school theater. The Oak Leaf office was in plain sight, but it’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to Poet’s Corner.
I loved that room. Looking back, that was where I felt like I belonged, felt like I fit in, felt at home, always. The people there were writers and I was a writer and we understood each other in a way I can’t quite explain.
I had wonderful friends outside those four walls, but looking back, my journalism team was more than that. They were my tribe.
It’s hard to articulate, but there’s something profound about being around people who love something with the same intensity you do. When I attended my first writing retreat five years ago, I felt it again, possibly for the first time since I left The Oak Leaf office.
As part of my marketing career, I’d been presenting to high-level executives for fifteen years, but sitting around a table and reading my own manuscript to nine total strangers felt overwhelmingly scary (if I’d known I was going to have to read aloud I never would have signed up for that retreat!). But I did it. And my fellow writers gave me praise and feedback, and man… it was so good to be in a room with word-nerds again! I felt such an incredible sense of support and belonging.
Those strangers quickly became my tribe.
It took me a while to learn how to surround myself with people who get me. It’s easier to stay put, even if you’re in a place of discomfort. And it’s tempting to try to morph into someone you think people want you to be, but if you’re with your true tribe, you’ll never feel like you have to.
If you’re interested in checking out Stone’s Every Last Word (a perfect summer read), enter to win a copy of your own courtesy of Disney Hyperion with the Celebrate Your Unique Selves prize pack. One winner will receive:
- Two copies of Every Last Word for you and a friend
- A $50 Visa gift card to enjoy a day out celebrating your friendship
Enter to Win!
Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing and samples provided by Disney Hyperion.
Be sure to check out all the stops on the Every Last Word blog tour:
June 15: AliceMarvels.com – Introducing the tour and Every Last Word
June 16: ForeverYoungAdult.com – An Inspiring Mind: On Writing a Positive Character with OCD
June 17: Fangirlish.com – Words, Walls and Wonderment: Welcome to Poet’s Corner
June 18: TheDailyQuirk.com – Friends vs. Tribes: A Look Back at High School
June 19: Hypable.com – Exclusive Excerpt: Every Last Word Chapter 2
June 20: GoneWithTheWords.com – The Final Every Last Word Playlist: “In The Deep”
To celebrate the release of her new YA sci-fi thriller, Nova (available 6/2/15), author Margaret Fortune was kind enough to answer a few questions for The Daily Quirk! Be sure to check out our review of Nova and keep on reading to learn more about Margaret and her writing.
The Daily Quirk: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer?
Margaret Fortune: My first story was written in first grade. According to my mom, my older sister came home from school with the assignment to write a story, to which I said, “I could write a story if I wanted to!” So I did.
While I did write some as a child, I didn’t seriously start writing until I graduated from college. I needed something to do while looking for a job. After a few short stories, I decided to take a go at a novel, and found to my surprise that I liked writing novels more than short stories. So even after I found a job, I continued to write. Eventually, I realized I wanted to try and get my books published. It took about a decade of hard work, as well as many, many failures along the way, but in the end I’m proud to call myself an author.
TDQ: Nova has such a unique and engaging concept. How did you come up with the idea for the plot? Did your original vision change at all once you started writing?
MF: Oftentimes, my stories start with a setting, and this is true of Nova. This story started with a random thought along the lines of, “I want to write a story that takes place on a space station!” As I was brainstorming ideas for the novel, the line “My name is Lia, and I’m a genetically engineered human bomb,” popped into my head. I knew at once I’d struck gold.
The story began evolving the moment I started setting it to paper. When I write a novel, I’ll generally start with a very basic plot and character. I’ll have the beginning, the ending, and a general idea of how to get from here to there, but not much else. As a result, there’s a lot of room for the story to grow and change during the writing process. Most of the main plot elements and twists in Nova developed during the writing process, rather than being pre-planned.
TDQ: What was the most challenging part about writing Nova?
MF: Because I know the general plot of the story but not all the events, when I write I’m basically trying to get from one catalyst or inciting event to the next. There were days when I went to start the next chapter and found myself staring at the blank page going, “I have no idea what’s supposed to be in this chapter.” Those were probably the most challenging days.
TDQ: Science fiction hasn’t always been particularly popular in Young Adult, but that seems to be changing over the past few years. Can you talk a little bit about why you chose YA sci-fi for your first novel and your love of sci-fi in general?
MF: My love of sci-fi started as a child, growing up on episodes of Star Trek TNG, Seaquest DSV and Earth 2. While there wasn’t a lot of children’s sci-fi to be found in my local library, what there was I devoured. It was children’s sci-fi from the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s, by authors such as H.M. Hoover, Louise Lawrence, and Monica Hughes, that sparked my love of sci-fi literature.
Nova was born of love for the genre, as well as strategy. At the time I wrote Nova, YA sci-fi was just starting to emerge in the market. Between Nova’s high concept and the direction of the market, I felt the book would have a really good shot at catching the eye of an agent and/or publisher. While Nova is my first book that readers will see, it certainly wasn’t my first completed novel or my first attempt to sell a novel. As much as we writers want to believe that good writing will always win the day, the truth is: Genre matters. Concept matters. It’s not just about writing a great book you love, but also writing a great book you love that will be salable. Lucky for me, I love sci-fi! Nova allowed me to successfully combine both my love of the genre and the current market trend to a successful end.
TDQ: What’s the last fantastic need-to-tell-all-your-friends-about-it book you read?
MF: I really enjoyed Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. It was just so much fun to read, I had to share it with others!
TDQ: Nova the first book in a series (which is a very good thing considering the craziness at the end!) – can you tell us anything about the next book in the series, or any other upcoming projects?
MF: Nova is the first of a five-book series, so expect four more books to be coming in the not-too-distant future. Each book features a different setting and MC, so readers can look forward to seeing much more of their favorite secondary characters like Michael, Teal, and Shar. While each book has its own standalone plot, each is a piece in a much larger story that will finally be put together in the fifth book. I hope readers that enjoy Nova will come back and join me for book two, which stars Michael as he takes on a very unique—and dangerous—role in the ongoing war!
To celebrate the release of Elle Cosimano’s Nearly Found, the sequel to last year’s Nearly Gone, Elle was game enough to tackle The Daily Quirk’s version of 20 questions. Keep reading to learn more about Elle and her writing, and be sure to check out our review of the fantastically twisty and ambient Nearly Found.
Getting to know Elle
- Can you tell The Daily Quirk a little about yourself and how you became a writer?
I was a real estate sales and marketing professional for 14 years before I started writing. I was highly successful, but deeply unsatisfied in my career. I had always joked around that one day I would have midlife crisis, quit my job, and write a book. And with the support of my family, that’s exactly what I did. That book was Nearly Gone.
- Do you have any special writing habits or routines?
I spend a lot of time thinking, and I do my best thinking on the beach at the end of my street — pen in hand, toes in the sand, and headphones in my ears.
- How was your process writing Nearly Found similar or different than your process writing Nearly Gone?
I had a lot of creative freedom writing Nearly Gone. It was my first draft of my first book, and I had no idea if it would ever make it out into the world, so I was writing the story I wanted tell. Writing a sequel is a very different experience. Readers have hopes and expectations for the next book, and there’s a lot of internal pressure not to let my fans down. Also, the research for book 2 took me in a very different direction. I had to learn a lot about forensic science, which included a field trip to a regional forensics lab, and that was REALLY fun!
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love cooking, hanging out on the beach, and spending times with my kids. I’m also a volunteer librarian at my local biblioteca, and we’re ramping up a YA book club and writing group for community teens.
- Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
Holding Smoke, described as The Shawshank Redemption for teens, releases in 2016 with Disney*Hyperion. I love this book so much! I can’t wait to share it with readers. I also write short fiction on Tumblr with a talented group of YA authors. You can find my short stories here: http://hanginggardenstories.tumblr.com/TOC
- …the last movie or TV show you watched that made you cry? I bawled like a baby at the end of the movie Odd Thomas.
- …your favorite place for fast food? I’m not a fan of big fast food chains. There’s a cool little taquería near my house called Paco’s that serves up some amazing shrimp tacos.
- …your biggest pet peeve? Unmade beds. I’m like the Princess and the Pea when it comes to wrinkly sheets.
- …your favorite smell? Homecooking.
- …a song you never get tired of hearing? Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks
- …your biggest guilty pleasure? Chocolate. I have a terrible sweet tooth.
- …your favorite website or app for killing time? Facebook. We have a love/hate relationship, but dammit Facebook, I can’t quit you!
- …a hobby or skill you wish you had? Math.
- …the last book you read that you just couldn’t put down? Soulprint by Megan Miranda.
- …your go-to movie theater snack? Sno-Caps.
Would you rather…
- …eat pizza every day or eat ice cream every day? Ice Cream
- …have free Starbucks for a year or free itunes music for a year? Music
- …travel back in time or visit the future? Back… otherwise, it spoils the surprises.
- …be a celebrity for a day or hang out with your favorite celebrity for a day? Neither, I’m terribly shy, and I get awkward when I fangirl.
- …wear only 80s clothes and hairstyles forever or wear only 90s clothes and hairstyles forever? 80s, but only if I can listen to all the music too.
If you read just a few pages of Rachel Hawkins’ Rebel Belle series, you will definitely notice that Hawkins has a fantastic sense of humor. We love to have a laugh here at The Daily Quirk, so to celebrate the release of the second book in Hawkins’ Rebel Belle series, Miss Mayhem, Rachel answered a few questions from The Daily Quirk about her books, along with a few silly ones thrown in for good measure! Continue reading
Debut author Amy Engel may be fairly new to the world of young adult fiction, but you would never know it from her twisty and addictive first novel, The Book of Ivy. Ivy has a bit of everything, from romance to dystopia to espionage, and trust me – you’ll be hooked after just a couple of chapters. Amy was kind enough to answer a few of The Daily Quirk’s questions about her new path as an author and where The Book of Ivy series is headed.
The Daily Quirk: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer?
Amy Engel: I always wanted to be a writer, but after college I took the practical route and went to law school. I worked as a criminal defense attorney after graduation and then left the practice of law to stay home with my kids. I promised myself that I would try writing a book and just see what happened. I wrote one novel that wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t very good, either, so I trunked it. After that, I got the idea for The Book of Ivy and was lucky enough to have Entangled Teen pick it up.
TDQ: What was your inspiration for The Book of Ivy? Does the finished story pretty well match up with your original idea, or did it evolve as you wrote?
AE: I’m not really sure what my inspiration was for the book, to be honest. I’ve always been interested in family dynamics and the ways our families influence us, both for good and for ill. But the initial idea pretty much came to me in a flash one morning. I had just a broad idea for the story and knew how I wanted it to begin and how I wanted it to end. The rest was pretty murky and definitely evolved as I wrote. I’m not a writer who outlines; I like discovering the book as I write.
TDQ: For me The Book of Ivy was a page-turner; once I started reading I could have kept going for a few hours straight until I finished. What’s the last book you read that gave you that feeling?
AE: First, I’m so glad Ivy was a page turner for you. I definitely wanted readers to be engaged with the story. As for the last page turner I read, it was probably Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell. I was late to the party on that book, but once I began reading I devoured it!
TDQ: What has been the most exciting part of being a published author?
AE: With writing, you often feel like you’re existing in a vacuum. You are alone and writing and pretty much living inside your own head. It’s nice to have my book out in the world where other people can read it. Ivy and Bishop have belonged to only me for so long; I love introducing them to other people.
AE: I probably feel a little more pressure with the sequel. With The Book of Ivy, I was writing for myself only. Now that readers have connected with Ivy and Bishop, I feel an even stronger obligation to make sure I write the best sequel I possibly can.
TDQ: Speaking of which, The Book of Ivy ends on a pretty major cliffhanger. Is there anything at all you can tell us impatient readers about The Revolution of Ivy, or any other upcoming projects?
AE: This is a hard one because I don’t want to spoil anything major! I guess I can say that although The Revolution of Ivy is again Ivy’s story, Bishop is a huge part of who she is now, so her story wouldn’t be complete without Bishop being involved. Also, Ivy is going to learn a lot about who she is, how strong she can be, and what she has the power to endure.
Julie Cross is an ambitious lady. Here’s how I know: not only is Cross a former competitive gymnast and coach – a sport that requires extreme commitment and attention to detail – but she also tackled time travel in her first young adult series, Tempest. Time travel and triple twists are no small potatoes, folks. Continue reading
For many authors, tackling a true story and turning it into a work of fiction may seem like a daunting task. Louisa Treger did just that in her debut novel, The Lodger. The novel follows the life of the writer Dorothy Richardson through her affair with famed author H.G. Wells, many personal tragedies, and the beginnings of her own writing career (read our review).
Treger was kind enough to chat with us about how she discovered Dorothy Richardson’s story, what it was like to write a novel based on real people and events, and her upcoming projects.
The Daily Quirk: Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
Louisa Treger: I was born and bred in London which is the setting of this novel, and I actually started life as a violinist. That was my passion growing up. I went to music college, I freelanced for a couple of years – you know, played in orchestras and taught – and then switched to English and got a degree in English Literature and started writing fiction. I then had three children fairly quickly which led to a sort of career hiatus, and I carried on writing fiction.
TDQ: How did you become interested in Dorothy Richardson?
LT: I found her by accident. I’d been interested in Virginia Woolf, and I wanted to write actually a Ph.D. thesis about Virginia Woolf, but it was difficult to find something fresh to say because so much has been written about her. And then I found this review that she’d written about Dorothy Richardson, and that’s how I became interested in Dorothy. Virginia said, ‘Miss Dorothy Richardson has invented a sentence which we might call the psychological sentence of the feminine gender. It’s a more elastic fiber than the old, capable of stretching to the extreme, of suspending the frailest particles, of enveloping the vaguest shapes.’ And I was really riveted by that. I thought, ‘Who is she? She seems to have reinvented the English language.’ And that was the start of my fascination with her.
TDQ: What was it like to write a novel based on real people and real events?
LT: It was quite a responsibility. Especially, it was one of those characters, H.G. Wells, who was very well known. And I felt that Dorothy deserves to be better known. So I did feel it was a responsibility. What I liked was I knew there was a really interesting story there. I was absolutely sure of that. And there was a framework of facts on which to hang my story, but at the same time I had a bit of wiggle room to be creative and sort of put in my own interpretations. I think that’s a very nice balance to have.
TDQ: The Lodger deals with many heavy issues – mental health, sexuality, adultery to name a few – were there any particular scenes or storylines that were challenging to write?
LT: I found it all really interesting, so I don’t think it was particularly challenging. I mean, I haven’t been in any of those situations, really, that she’s been in, but I felt very close to her. So I wouldn’t say there was anything that was more challenging than anything else. I admired her for not letting any of it break her. She just kept going. She was incredibly strong. Also, in that day and age, you couldn’t really talk about anything in the way that we do now. So I thought that was interesting as well. She really had to deal with a lot without speaking of it, but she found herself through writing. That was her salvation in the end.
TDQ: What was your favorite scene to write?
LT: H.G. Wells. I must say, I developed a bit of a crush on him while I was writing. I found him completely fascinating. I also found his marriage very interesting. He was so charismatic, really, and not particularly good looking, but he just won all these women over with his intellect and by making them feel that he was interested in their thoughts as well as their physical qualities. So I think in a way, I was won over by him in the same way that he won over all his girlfriends. I found those qualities very appealing. I was also interested in his open marriage, the sort of agreement he had with his wife that he would go off and sort of do his thing and have other relationships, but he was devoted to her. He couldn’t do without her.
TDQ: What about Dorothy’s story do you think will appeal to today’s readers?
LT: I think in a way she was a very modern character. A lot of the dilemmas she faced are very modern dilemmas like the work-life balance and being independent and being single. I hope that readers will very much relate to those issues. I think Dorothy trying to be independent and in a low-paying job, deciding not to marry and being independent in a big city, I think those are really important issues to girls still today.
TDQ: Do you have any projects currently in the works?
LT: I just submitted my second novel to my agent for his comments. So, yes, I have a second novel in the pipelines. It’s also sort of got a foot in history. It’s about the Kindertransport, which was a sort of rescue mission that brought thousands of Jewish children from Nazi occupied Europe to safety in England. And I’ve got an idea for a third novel as well, so I hope to write many more novels.
TDQ: What is a book you’ve read recently that you’ve particularly enjoyed?
LT: A debut novel by an English author called Sara Perry called After Me Comes the Flood. I really loved that. I thought it was so beautifully written, and she really created a very eerie, strange atmosphere. Another one I really loved was The Medici Boy by John L’Heroux, and it was about the sculptor Donatello and it was set in fourteenth century Florence. It was just extraordinarily vivid. You really feel like you were just seized and put in this little hot street in Florence. Few novels have just grabbed me like that.
- Book Review: ‘The Lodger’ by Louisa Treger
- VIDEO: An Exclusive Interview with ‘The Maze Runner’ Author James Dashner!
- VIDEO: An Exclusive Interview with Author Barbara Taylor Bradford
Hi! I’m Abbie. I’m a Wisconsin girl who just completed a degree in journalism, which I hope will help me achieve my goal of reading books and writing about them for a living. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching Doctor Who and hanging out with my boyfriend and his two cats.
Check out more from Abbie Reetz on TDQ…
The Daily Quirk was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with James Dashner, best-selling author of the wildly popular The Maze Runner series, at this year’s New York Comic-Con. A self-proclaimed movie nut, Dashner tells us that his successful book franchise making the big transition from the page to the big screen is “the highlight of his career.” In addition to insight into the new film and its sequels to come, the Dashner also opened up about his writing process and current works in progress, specifically The Morality Doctrine series. Dashner proves that his amazing success has not caused him to stray from a humble nature (he confided that in the world of the maze, he probably would have strayed from heroics and been a slopper) and offers words of advice to all aspiring writers out there. For all of this and more, check out the video below! Continue reading
The Daily Quirk met up with author Morgan Matson after her Zola Books signing at the inaugural BookCon in New York City for an exclusive interview about her latest Young Adult novel, Since You’ve Been Gone. Watch the interview below to find out more about Matson, what inspires her as a writer and Since You’ve Been Gone. Continue reading
The Daily Quirk met up with author Emmi Itäranta after her Zola Books signing at the inaugural BookCon in New York City for an exclusive interview about her debut novel, Memory of Water. Watch the interview below to find out more about Itäranta, Memory of Water and what inspired the award-winning speculative novel. Continue reading
The Daily Quirk sat down with prolific author Barbara Taylor Bradford after her Zola Books signing at the inaugural BookCon in New York City for an exclusive interview about her latest novel, Cavendon Hall. Watch the interview below to find out more about Bradford, Cavendon Hall and what inspired the engaging saga of love, war and family struggle. Continue reading
Author Melissa de la Cruz is no stranger to success, with smash hits like her Blue Bloods series and Witches of East End, now a hit series on Lifetime. And her newest novel, The Ring and The Crown, will surely add another accomplishment to the list.
To celebrate the release of her latest novel on April 1, de la Cruz was kind enough to talk with us about her inspiration for the magical world of The Ring and The Crown, what time period piece of clothing she’d love to bring back to 2014 and what reader’s can expect from the next book in The Ring and The Crown series.
Have you seen the exciting previews for The CW’s new science fiction series, The 100? The action-packed TV spots promise adventure, mystery, and a new twist on teen drama wrapped up in an engaging premise: one hundred teenage delinquents of the future are sent to Earth to establish its safety for re-colonization after a nuclear catastrophe left it barren and unlivable. But did you realize that this epic series is actually inspired by a book series of the same name, written by Kass Morgan?
While Morgan began her career in publishing as an editor (which she still continues to do when she’s not writing), she recently leapt into the exciting world of novel-writing with the first book in The 100 series. With the premiere of The 100 TV series on the horizon and Day 21, the second The 100 novel, in progress, The Daily Quirk is thrilled that Morgan found the time to chat with us about her books, what it’s like seeing them come to life on TV, and what to expect from Day 21. Continue reading