Friday 28 September 2012

So, I Met JK Rowling Last Night...

I like that no matter how casually I title this, I feel like screaming, shouting, crying and in daze as I don't HONESTLY know if this has actually happened or if I dreamed it...

So, the short version. Me and my other half went to the South Bank Centre, met up with some book sellers and book bloggers, watched JK Rowling do two readings and answer some questions from the interviewer and the audience, then get my copy of the Casual Vacancy signed.

That is the short version. The long version is that my other half and I got there REALLY early (we got lost round London so we just decided to go there and get a coffee) and we bumped into two people who work in my local Waterstones (whose names I have COMPLETELY forgotten so for that, I am sorry and I will come in soon and buy something as an apologise!) who run their store's Twitter (@WatChelmsford). They've uploaded pics here so you can see who I met. It was a tad surreal as they went, out of nowhere, "Excuse me, are you Andrew?" and we chatted about me never tweeting the sentence "Am in @WatChelmsford, sneaking round the shelves!" EVER again. After that, I bumped into Leanne from District YA & her Mum (who is a lovely woman! She reads more books than I do!) and I met Daphne from Winged Reviews. I knew that Sarah from Hot Key Books was there (but never saw her). Later that evening (when the audience Q&A), I discovered that one of the editorial director from Leaky, Rosianna, was there and then, this morning, I discovered that one of my fave YouTuber Lex was there too.

I know that means nothing to you, but to me, this is HUGE!

Anyway, after this, we all went into the hall and sat in our seats. After a quick "Hello" from the South Bank Centre's Artistic Director who compared JK Rowling to Lady Gaga with the amount of buzz surrounding her and  her The Casual Vacancy, she introduced JK Rowling and her interviewer, Mark Lawson. When she came on stage, JK Rowling got a standing ovation! And she hadn't even said a word!

After that, JK Rowling (I know I write her name in full but I can't write "Jo". I can't!) read a brief section from the "Prologue", Mark asked her questions about the book, the characters and tackled the themes that are in the book such as death, morality and sikhism.

After this, the live web stream was turned off (highlights of the event is here [I can't embed it into the blog. Sorry]), JK did a second reading, which had several swear words in it (yes, this is an adult book and yes, a tiny part of me was overjoyed to hear JK Rowling swearing! I'm not sure why, but am sure most people wear shocked [I hope not though...]). Not sure what page it was but I will tweet it when I get there... And then, after that, questions were taken from the audience (I think it was meant to be taken from Twitter as well, but I can't remember if any were used). These questions ranged from advice about writing, death, if there were characters she liked and disliked. One person gave her a gift.

And then, the mad rush to get your copy signed. Oh dear Lord. The less I say about this, the better. I am not in a ranty mood. I won't go there. If you were there, you understand. If not, YOU GUYS COULD BREATH WITHOUT FEARING THAT YOU WOULD HIT SOMEONE! Anyway, after an hour (that's SHORT!) I got my copy of The Casual Vacancy signed. You couldn't take pics of JK Rowling (plus the only one I have on my photo makes her look like one of the faceless people from that Doctor Who episode, The Idiot's Lantern), you couldn't talk to her nor ask for a dedication. I was ok with that. I WAS GOING TO MET JK BLOODY ROWLING! And when she was signing my copy, all I could say was "Thank you." She said thank you back (*faints with delight*) and I went off bouncing, skipping and probably looking like a completely idiot. I smiled a lot that train journey home.

And still, it feels one very surreal moment...

Now, I know you guys are probably going "All you said was thank you?" and the answer is yes. That's all I could say. But within that, I wanted to thank for her making me fall in love in reading. I wanted to thank for making me want to write. I wanted to thank her for being my childhood and now really enter being an adult with this book (I giggled when I read the first swear word and howled with laughter when I read the word masturbation). Thank you was all I could say. There was nothing else to say to a woman who I see as one of my idols.

So, JK Rowling, if you are reading this (highly unlikely but you never know...) thank you.

(PS - for those of you wondering, I'm not far in. I only read up to page 27 yesterday [busy day] and am in no hurry to read this. I am going to take my time and savour it.)

(PPS - I have been told by Daphne from Winged Reviews that I was frighteningly calm while in line and then meeting JK Rowling. I have no idea why I was so calm. I think I must have gone into shock or something... Hence the whole "this is surreal" moments I'm having...)

Thursday 27 September 2012

GoodRead - Wicked

I know I should be sitting down and talking to about the new book by JK Rowling, The Casual Vacancy. But at the time of writing this, I don't have my copy. And by the time you'll probably be reading this, I will be either waiting by my front door for my copy or I will be in London, listening to JK Rowling speaking (I CAN NOT EFF-ING WAIT!) or I will be reading this into the wee hours of the morning.

So, while you wait, let me give you a review of Wicked, the first book in The Wicked Years series, written by Gregory Maguire. Now, before you ask, when I bought this, I knew this was the inspiration behind the West End & Broadway musicals and I knew that the book would be much darker, dealing with sex and politics. So, I went into read this eBook with my eyes open.

So, we all know the story of The Wizard of Oz, don't we? So, what happened before Dorothy arrived in Oz? In truth, what made the Wicked Witch of the West - Elphaba - be called wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?

I am in two minds over this book. I am. I haven't seen the musical and I'm pretty sure that, if I did, I would love it. But this book... it's a fickle creature. There were times over the month I read it when I enjoyed reading it, and other times, I grew more and more frustrated over the characters and their reactions. Or the things that were mentioned and then never discussed in depth again.

It's an OK read. And, to me, that's it. It was OK. Out of the five parts this book was split into, I was expecting to enjoy the final part where the Elphaba came face to face with Dorothy, but actually, I found the third part of the book most gripping. The part where Elphaba has an affair with a married man - but not out of spite, but because they both fell in love with each other and needed each other.

But I did find this book taxing at times. I think this is because I like all the book I read to have a feeling of reality to them. Even in the most magical world as Oz, I want there to be a feeling of reality in it and its characters, who have emotions, flaws, fears, etc. But with this book... I never felt that. I never felt a connection to the characters and their reasonings/reactions.

Not only that but they would do things or lines would be said that grated on me. For example, a child went missing for several days and, yet no one notices. And when he is discovered and everyone is trying to save him by trying to tear off his wet clothes and smear him with lard to keep him warm, this line pops up in reference to one of the other child: "This gave the children a case of the giggles, and made Irji feel very funny in his trousers, for the first time in his life." For some reason, this whole sentence just grates of me. For an adult read, to take the issue of a young boy maybe getting his first erection in this slightly trivial way is a bit unnerving.

Maybe I am reading too much into this one sentence. Maybe Gregory is doing something quite clever and writes it as if from the child, Irji, point of view. Something funny happened in his trousers, yet he has no idea what or why. But still, it bothers me so.

This was written to be a standalone, yet several years later, Gregory Maguire made it the first in a four book series with the sequels: Son of the Witch, A Lion Among Men and Out of Oz. But after what I've read in Wicked, would I go buy the rest of the series? Not really, no. I know there are fans of this series and they are probably going to hunt me down as I speak, but this wasn't my reading of tea as I hoped. Sorry.

Maybe I should just go watch the musical up the West End... Anyone fancy coming with me?

Tuesday 25 September 2012

GoodRead - Dream Dark

When I said, quite casually on Twitter, that I was going to buy this, people of Twitter got upset. "But you haven't read the series!" they cried. "You're spoiling yourself if you read this series!" (my fave response was "NO YOU CAN'T DO THAT BLASPHEMY!") So, I have to explain why, even though I said I won't read it to several people on Twitter (*looks sheepish as the stares of @JeffreyWest & @CassJayTucker* hi).

Because I wanted to read it. Plus I do this all the time with series (have you not seen me attack the free short stories for the Soul Screamers series) so I can get the feel for the writing style so I know if I will get on with the series...

So, Dream Dark takes place between Beautiful Darkness and Beautiful Chaos so if you are reading this series, SPOILERS AHOY!

Following the events of Beautiful Darkness, something isn't right with Link. He seems to have gone off his food. He seems to have grown several inches taller. And when did he develop muscles like that from? And how did he heal from that bite so fast? Look out Gatlin, South Carolina, here comes the first Linkubus...

This is a story for the fans. I have to say this first and foremost so, if you're like me and know nothing of the series, BACK AWAY! This isn't for you.

But saying that though, I quite liked this story. Link was a fun character. Do you know how hard it is to find a fun character from a series which is quite dark? And the writing was good! Which solves me question over if I'm going to read the series or not...

Of course I was. I'm going to see the movie (It has Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis in it! And have you not see that pic of Emmy Rossum being Ridley?! THIS FILM BETTER BE RELEASED IN THE UK!!!) so, of course, I'm going to read the book.

My main problem is the length. I wish the short story was longer (TEASE THE FANS!). I spent 49p on this (not much, I know), but I want more money's worth. And if I was a fan of the series, I wouldn't want to pay this, only to get 56% of Beautiful Chaos teaser, which is a good teaser for those about to read Beautiful Chaos, but not me who hasn't read the series (I didn't read this so NO MORE spoilers than what I read [which by the time I read Beautiful Creatures, I would have COMPLETELY forgotten!]).

If you are a fan of the series (and/or you're lusting after Link), this is essential. If you're like me and unsure over the series, go to your local library or download a teaser of Beautiful Creatures on your eReader and see what you think...

PS - I wrote this several days before the Beautiful Creatures teaser trailer come out and the same song I chose as my theme song for Dream Dark was used on the teaser trailer! I'M PSYCHIC, PEOPLE!!!

Thursday 20 September 2012

UNDONE Cover Reveal!

As you guys know, I LOVE Cat Clarke! LOVE HER! So, when I was asked to Quercus earlier this year for a tiny reveal over Undone, OF COURSE I WENT! We were show a draft of the cover but told not to tell anyone about it as it still needed to be finalised.

But this morning, the bloggers who went were sent an email with the FINAL cover and told to share with the world. So, ladies and gentlemen, here is the cover for Cat's new novel, Undone!

Isn't it great?! Very different from Cat's previous covers but just as stunning. So different and there's always something new about it every time I look at it. And here, thanks to my lovely friend Laura (aka Sisterspooky who posted this moments ago) is a quick summary!

Jem Halliday is in love with her gay best friend.
Not exactly ideal, but she's learning to live with it.
Then the unspeakable happens.
Kai is outed online...and he kills himself.

Jem knows nothing she can say or do will bring him back.
But she wants to know who was responsible.
And she wants to take them down...

A searing story of love, revenge and betrayal
from a bestselling author,
UNDONE will take your breath away.

Oh my God! This is going to be GREAT! From the little bit Cat read to us at the event (which was barely anything, in my honest opinion. I wanted more, damnit!), this will be her most powerful and her most heartbreaking book to date. And I can not wait! 

My thanks to Alice at Quercus for the cover and Laura for the summary! And Cat for writing this book! 

Beautiful Creatures Teaser Trailer!

Yes, I know I haven't read the Beautiful Creatures series, but I am SUPER EXCITED about the movie. I just love the idea of it. And, earlier today/yesterday, the teaser trailer was released!

OH MY GOD! Doesn't it look GREAT?! Sorry friends and family members of mine. We are going to watch this when it comes out! And I look like I have to attack my local bookshop/Amazon for the series (unless Puffin UK would like to treat me... ONLY JOKING, PUFFIN! Will happily buy this myself!). Sorry in advance to my poor bank account/credit card.

Also, it was revealed the poster!

I LOVE how the words Beautiful Creatures is in the same style as used on the US and UK covers!

So, reactions? Do you love the trailer? Or not? Or did you squeal when you heard Florence and the Machine? LEAVE COMMENTS AND LET ME KNOW! 

(Oh, before I sign off, I want to thank Braiden from Book Prode for showing me the trailer & poster and Jeffrey West, Girls in the Stacks and Cass Jay Tucker for hyperventilation with me. And of course, Cass for her reaction video (Jeffrey will do one tomorrow, I hope!). I love Cass's reaction. "OH! THAT'S FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE!" I love her!)

GoodRead - The Art of Marvel's The Avengers

As you guys probably guess from my previous review of Harry Potter: Page to Screen, I'm a bit of a movie geek and I love the artwork that inspire a movie to be made. And after the beast that was Harry Potter: Page to Screen, I wanted another movie book that showed me the artwork. I was thinking of a Pixar movie (I would LOVE The Art of Finding Nemo or The Art of Up...), but after chatting to the lovely Jenny from Wondrous Reads via Twitter about the Avengers Assemble movie (as the movie was called in the UK, even though we called it Avengers) and that there was a book showing off some of the art linked to the movie. As soon as she tweeted me that, I knew that I had to get my hands on this book.

With the book giving the briefest of plots to the movie (Nick Fury at S.H.I.E.L.D decides to gather Earth's greatest superheroes - Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye - to defeat Loki), it's mostly the artwork that sells this and having some of the people involved in the artwork, including the director, Joss Wheldon (who has signed a deal with Marvel Studios to stay with them for a few more years to create a TV show entitled S.H.I.E.L.D for the american network, ABC [You can be damned sure that this will be showed in the UK!], and he will write and direct the second Avengers movie).

Now, the art is brilliant. It's always interesting to see how the ideas of the artists designs went onto the big screen and where the ideas came from, and with this begin so closely related to Marvel Comics, the inspiration to be loyal to Marvel's roots and yet making the designs fit in the modern world...

There were one or two sections that I wish were shorter (the Helicarrier section was over 20 pages and talking about the return of the Incredible Hulk was, while interesting, took a good ten pages), but if you are a movie buff or a huge fan of The Avengers movie (or maybe you're a fan of Joss Wheldon), this is perfect for you!

Oh, here is a trailer and a deleted alternate opening... enjoy!

Wednesday 19 September 2012

GoodRead - No, It's Us Too!

As you guys are probably aware if you have followed this blog for a good year, I love Miranda Hart. Just love her. So, when I heard that Hodder was publishing Miranda's first book, Is It Just Me?, I got very excited (and I have preordered it for my Kindle)! So, when Hodder revealed that they & Miranda were going to ask the general public for their embarrassing stories to go into a free eBook, via the power of Twitter (@NoItsUsToo) & Tumblr (

This little free eBook was then filled of the best embarrassing stories from the general public with Miranda writing some comments at the start and end of the collection (and a little taster of Is It Just Me?).

I read this in two sittings and I was snorting with laughter, then cringing away from my Kindle then snorting with laughter again within a space of a few clicks. It instantly made me feel happier. Laughter is the best medicine and all... (and sad to say, I have done one or two of the tweets mentions).

If you want something fast, free and having you snorting with laughter, this is perfect! And because this was such a short review, have some youTube videos... You're welcome.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

GoodRead - The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit

I really wish I can turn round to you and say I bought this for my nephew (who I spoil rotten). I REALLY wish I could say that I bought this for him. But he's too young to read Beatrix Potter so this was for me!

You guys must read my blog and dread what book I'm going to read next...!

I always thought I was a Beatrix Potter fan. I loved Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Tom Kitten. I always thought that Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Mr Jeremy Fisher would make the perfect couple (I have no idea why!). And my favourite tale by Beatrix Potter is The Tailor of Gloucester. So, when I heard that Emma Thompson was writing a "further tale", I decided to do some research... and discovered that I haven't read even half of the Beatrix Potter collection. I never even heard of Mr Tod, before Emma Thompson mentioned him in an interview!

So, The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit. Peter Rabbit is in low spirits. He sneaks into Mr McGregor's garden to discover a picnic basket. Hiding inside for a sleep, he wakes up to discover that he's in Scotland and is face to face with a giant black bunny, Finlay McBurney...

Now, this must be a daunting challenge for both Emma Thompson and the illustrator, Eleanor Taylor. To write and draw a new story and, at the same time, capture the spirit and essence of Beatrix Potter. And, dare I say it, I think they both do it while, at the same time, being themselves.

I know some of you have told me that the story, in your opinion, has a slight politic edge, but I didn't see it. It must have been blindsighted by the illustrations, which are so pretty. I will put some below.

But I really like this. I think this will fit the Beatrix Potter stories really well and with Emma Thompson being asked to write a further two tales (thanks for the heads-up), I'm sure young fans of the book will love this and the further tails... sorry, tales.

(Oh, how I love this close up! So cute!)

PS - I just went on the official Peter Rabbit website and they are giving away a copy of The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit. Closing date is 31st October 2012 so if you want to enter, go here!

Thursday 13 September 2012

GoodRead - Maggot Moon

I've moved the review that was meant to be up today to next week as I finished reading this last week and KNEW that I needed to talk about it AT ONCE! But because I am a stupid human that likes some order in my blog (hard to believe, I know!), it's up today.

So, Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. In an alternative universe, in 1950's, the space race is on and the Motherland is desperate to be the first on the moon. At all costs.

So when his friend Hector vanishes, Standish Treadwell is determined to discover the truth, and so realise that he, his Grandfather and a small band of rebels must stop the Motherland... but how will the moon landing stop them? And can one dyslexic boy make all the difference?

I got my copy of this from when I went the Hot Key Books launch party and, very briefly, chatted to Sally. I met her once before at the Indigo Launch Party when she chatted about her previous novel, Double Shadow (a book I still haven't read). Both times, I have been utterly charmed by this woman and mentally swore I would read her books. I failed. Badly. Sorry Sally! So, when I was about to read another of Hot Key's books (The World Between Us by Lydia Syson), I had Twitter scream at me, "NononoNO! You have to read Maggot Moon! Trust us on this! You need to read this book!". Fine, I thought, and I read Maggot Moon, instead.

I read this over three days. I forced myself to read this over three days as, if I hadn't, I would have read it in one sitting and sobbed my heart out when I finished this book. This book is wonderful! Wonderful and gripping and heart breaking and completely thought-provoking!

I mean that last part about Maggot Moon being thought-provoking. I finished the book around 4:10pm (strange how I remember the time) and I spent the rest of the day just thinking about it and mourning it. I MOURNED FINISHING A BOOK! That rarely happens with me and only a few books have done that. Also, as a book blogger, you can't really do that. You're meant to (or in my case) finish a book, think about it for an hour or two, or start another book. But with Maggot Moon, I spent the rest of the day just thinking it over and going "What happens?" and "what if?". There's a youTube video at the bottom of this post which kinda explains what I went through when finishing this book (I'm still very much in denial over the last chapter...)

Ok, before I go completely gushy over this book, I suppose I better give you some negatives over this book. First, the cover. A lame excuse, I know, but I HATE IT SO MUCH! I don't know why I hate it, but I do, even though I get why the cover's the way it is (it's inspired on 1950s posters). It just doesn't feel like the cover this book deserves, you know? Also, some of you guys won't like the swearing in this book, nor the violence used in this book. There are two scenes of violence that jump to mind, but I feel these are important to show the horror that is the Motherland, but I know some of you will disagree.

Another fault you guys might have is the fact that Standish is dyslexic. Not a big deal, but I know some of you guys are grammar freaks so seeing grammar misused, words the wrong way round, some spelling mistakes [not many, by the way], etc (if this is you, how on EARTH can you stand my blog?) will upset you. But, if you read it like I did, where you imagine Standish sitting next to you and him having a conversation with you, you'll be fine.

I am ashamed that I haven't read Sally Gardner sooner. But am so glad that Maggot Moon was my first and I can not wait to read more of her works! And, Maggot Moon... I don't know how to rave about this book so I won't. Just go. Go get a copy and read it. Please.

Oh, by the way, am still in the stages of "The Aftershock" over this book and, to make me smile a lot more, Hot Key Books actually blogged this video and my tweets of "I need counselling". So, the publisher has shown my grief and heartbreak to the world... You have been warned...

Monday 10 September 2012

Sunday 9 September 2012

International Contest Time!

Random post guys so bear with.

As you know, at the end of this month, a certain JK Rowling will be publishing her first adult novel. And, somehow, I've been roped in with my lovely pals at Hot Cherry to give away five copies of a parody book based on JK Rowling unpublished novel...

The Vacant Casualty is set in the small country village of Mumford where, shockingly, a man with an axe in his back doesn't raise an eyebrow. But the fact he's left a vacancy at the Parish Council does. Enter Detective Inspector Bradley who is, basically, a buffoon of a man, to try and solve this. When he teams up with an author trying to research a detective novel (hmmm... I wonder who the author based that on?!), the two must solve who the The Vacant Casualty is, before the whole village gets killed off.

And with country being filled with a granny mafia, farting tea-ladies, swearing, casual violence, car chases and tortoise milk, that might be easier said then done...

So, I have five copies of this to give away. It is international (I'm not doing to posting so HURRAY!) and you have till midday on Wednesday 19th September to enter. Three of you will win by filling in the form below and answering the question correct and the other two will go to those of you on Twitter who use the hashtag #TheVacantCasualty...

Good Luck Everyone!

Friday 7 September 2012

Defiance Blog Tour - Interview With CJ Redwine

Why, hello there! Thank you for popping along to my blog. Today, as part of the Defiance Blog Tour, the lovely Madeleine at Atom Books manage to get CJ Redwine to answer some of my questions. So, my thanks goes to Madeleine for getting these questions to CJ and CJ Redwine to finding the time to answer them.

For those of you following the blog tour, tomorrow's stop is at YA Indie Princess. Anyway, enough of my waffle, let's get on with the interview!

Thank you for spending some time answering of my questions. How would you describe Defiance to someone who hasn’t heard of it?
Defiance is a post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure in which Rachel Adams commits treason against her brutal leader to escape her city so she can search for her missing father in the Wasteland beyond, but the truth she discovers will start a war two decades in the making. (Also, there’s a cute inventor who is also really good with a sword!)
Where did the inspiration for the trilogy come from? Also, could you confirm what the trilogy name is (as I keep hearing different names)?
In the UK, the trilogy is called The Courier’s Daughter Trilogy.
For years, I’d had the idea of a Leviathon-like creature living underground with the capability to destroy our world if anyone accidentally released him. Then one day I saw a picture of a fortress and it reminded me of a city-state. I said “What if we lived in city-states again? Why would we do that?” One idea collided with another, and Defiance was born.
With Defiance, the story is told from two characters points of view: Rachel and Logan. Was this an organic idea that happened while you were writing or did you always know that Rachel and Logan had to the share the story equally?
After writing half of the book from Rachel’s POV only, I realized that Logan had an equal stake in the trilogy (both with his backstory and with his actions), and so he deserved a chance to tell his story. Plus, he was going to do some REALLY cool things while apart from Rachel, and I wanted the reader to be able to see that.
How did you keep Rachel and Logan’s voices different?
Rachel is driven first and foremost by her emotions. She also loves to improvise instead of taking the time to come up with a meticulous plan of action. Logan is a planner, a thinker, and a master of figuring out every possible scenario before taking action. His go-to method for fighting is science whereas Rachel’s is weapons. Making sure I kept the emotions in the forefront for Rachel and the science/logic in the forefront of Logan’s scenes kept them different.
As I was reading Defiance, I got the feeling that while this book is a fantasy novel, it had elements of being a dystopia novel as well? Was this intentional or pure coincidental?
I set out to write a post-apocalyptic novel. When I finished, I discovered it had elements of fantasy, dystopia, steampunk, and some light sci-fi in it as well. I read those type of books voraciously, so it isn’t a surprise that those elements came into the story, but the dystopian aspect of Rachel’s city is truly caused by the personality of the leader. I didn’t know what kind of culture the city had until I understood him. Once I knew him, I realized the things that drive him would cause him to motivate his people to obey him out of fear, and thus the dystopian aspect of Defiance came to be.
With Rachel knowing so much about weapons and Logan knowing technology, did you have to do much research in these fields?
Yes! I was constantly stopping and looking up sparring videos or weapons descriptions or how to make a homemade battery etc.
I want to ask something about Rachel – all women in Defiance – needing a Protector and then having to a Claimed. With this being, in my opinion, extremely sexist. Is this the Commander’s ideal, or is this a subtle attack at sexist in the fantasy genre as a whole?
It’s truly awful, isn’t it? Sets my teeth on edge just thinking about it. The answer to your question is that it’s both the Commander’s ideal and my attempt to use the lens of dystopian fiction to deconstruct what it looks like to “protect” women… taking some of our ideals today and pushing them to the extreme edge of that protection. By using Rachel’s father, who protects Rachel by giving her the tools to protect herself, and Logan, who protects Rachel by fighting at her side as her equal, and by using that dynamic to upset the system the Commander put into place, I wanted to show my readers what true protection looks like. It isn’t a demand that you not bother your pretty little head about things, or that you stick with the roles a male-dominated society carved out for you. It isn’t being dependent on a man for every little thing. It’s understanding what makes YOU strong, respecting that, and expecting others to respect you and treat you as an equal.
Now, I want to ask about your journey into becoming a published author. Was it quite an easy journey or was it quite hard going?
It was a long journey. I signed with my agent in early 2009, and we subbed an adult urban fantasy to many, many editors. All of them said no. I wrote another urban fantasy, and we did the same thing all over again. I kept hearing things like “we don’t know where to shelve this” and “it doesn’t conform to the genre rules,” which was true. It didn’t because I like to combine genres as I write. I write what the story needs without worrying about whether that lines up perfectly with shelf space in a bookstore. :) It was a two year process of hearing constant “no’s” and that got discouraging some days! I finally sat down and said, “I can quit. Or I can switch to the genre I read the most and try the idea that scares me because it feels too big for me to handle.” I’m not a quitter, so two and half months later, I had a finished draft of Defiance. A few weeks later, my agent sold it at auction, and it took me soooo long to go from feeling like the poster girl for “Can Not Sell a Book to Save Her Life” to realizing I’d reached my dream.
How long did it take you to write Defiance from the original idea?
The idea was rolling around in my head in one form or another for months, but once I started writing, it only took two and a half months. That’s super fast! I think some ideas just burn their way out of you, and this was one of those.
While you were writing Defiance, there must have been scenes or moments that you, sadly, had to edit or completely cut out? How did you decide what stay in and what “little darlings” you had to cut out?
Yes, I cut entire chapters and combined others. My editor helped me decide where we needed to cut or combine and then I took that feedback and made decisions from there.
Was there a scene that you loved writing but you had to edit out? 
There was a scene that I’d originally written from Rachel’s point of view that finally had to be switched to Logan’s, and I was reluctant because I wanted the reader to see it from her eyes. However, once I made the change, I loved having the reader see it through his eyes instead. :)
What do you feel when you see people chatting about Defiance and their reactions on their blogs/Facebook/Twitter? Does it feel surreal?
Very surreal! I try to avoid it as much as possible. I don’t mind people talking to me about it on Twitter or Facebook, but I don’t go searching for it at all. I feel that once I’ve released the story to the public, it isn’t mine anymore. It’s theirs to read and discuss and interact with at will. I don’t want to interfere with that.
Sticking with this, the UK publisher has called Defiance perfect for fans of Trudi Canavan and Christopher Paolini and I have heard a few well respected book bloggers calling Defiance the perfect hangover cure for the Hunger Games. How do you feel to be compared to well known and well respected authors and series?
That is just as surreal as having people tell me the book made them cry or ended up on their all-time favorites shelf. It’s SUCH an incredible honor, and I have to pinch myself, and then push it from my mind and get down to the business of writing the next book.
Now, I have to ask this (because I need to know!) can you reveal any titbits that you could reveal for the second book in the trilogy?
Hmm … I’m not authorized to reveal much, but I can tell you that we get a LOT more of the secondary characters in this book, and that there are several enemies hunting Rachel and Logan, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. :)
Before I finish this interview, I have to talk about the striking cover. Did you have any input into the cover?
A bit! Harper [CJ's US publisher] came up with the amazing cover concept, and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. They discussed what they wanted to do at every stage (there were several cover comps before the final cover) and always took the time to ask for my opinion. My opinion usually consisted of HOLY WOW YES PLEASE I MIGHT LICK MY SCREEN I LOVE IT SOOO MUCH, so I was probably not that helpful. :)

Thursday 6 September 2012

GoodRead - Defiance

When Madeleine from Atom asked me if I wanted to take part in the blog tour, I was intrigued over the book and said yes very quickly after I saw the cover. I mean, have you seen it? Very striking, don't you think?

In the city of Baalboden, Rachel waits for the return of her father, a courier, to return from the Wasteland. But when he doesn't, Rachel is forced into the protection of her father's apprentice, Logan. But Rachel knows her father is alive, and plots to escape for the city. Even though the cruel city ruler is watching her, and the dangers of the Wasteland such as violent wanderers and highwaymen, unforgiving terrain and, more terrifying of them all, the Cursed One. 

But if Rachel and Logan could escape the city, could they find Rachel's father? And could they set their people free? 

Right, from the reviews that I have read online, I know that people either love this book (and have said things like "the perfect Hunger Games hangover cure". Atom has compared Defiance to Game of Thrones and say this is perfect for Trudi Canavan and Christopher Paolini fans) or hate this book. I am in the middle. I get why people are so excited over this book - I can see the elements that will make an exciting fantasy trilogy. But I can also see elements of why people are disappointed. 

I'm not sure where I stand on this book. The main reason with this is because... well... I feel like this book lacked something. There was something missing and I can't put my finger on what was missing or why it bothered me so much.

To me, this book feels ok. Just ok, though. Nothing more, nothing less. I do hope that if/when I do read the sequel, I get more that changes my mind. 

And because of this "it's ok"ness, I'm unsure on whether I should go to you guys "Go! Buy this book!" or "Flee from the book for your lives!" as this is my opinion. Mine and mine only. However, I'm going to say read other reviews and make your own minds up. If this book sounds up your street, go for it. Read it. However, if this does feel like something you enjoy, then don't. I want you all to find a book that you will read and love!

Anyway, here's the the book trailer and see if that wets your appetite for those of you who might/are going to read this... 

Monday 3 September 2012

Sunday 2 September 2012

Defiance Blog Tour

Just a quick note to let you guys know that I am taking part in the Defiance blog tour. As you can see, there's a few of us taking part and I do hope you all join us if you want to know more about the book and the author, CJ Redwine (I'm sorry, but her surname! I love it!)

As you guys can see, my post for the tour is 7th September (aka this coming Friday) and I should be having my review of Defiance in the coming few days (Thursday, hopefully, as I always like my reviews on a Thursday now...). So, I do hope you pop back on these days or take part in the blog tour! I shall see you all soon! 

Harry Potter's BIGGEST UK & Ireland Fan Has Been Revealed!!!

Alissa Howard, a 17-year-old from Somerset, has been selected as the UK and Ireland’s biggest Harry Potter fan. Her entry was chosen as the best in the recent competition run by Bloomsbury to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

Alissa’s entry (see below) was selected from over 6000 posted in bookshops and libraries throughout the UK. Alissa’s piece stood out for the originality in her poetic wording and in her colourful and neat artwork. Her last line of “You inspired a generation, now that’s magical” was especially loved.

After hearing of her win Alissa said: "I was quite surprised to hear that I had won, and now I just can't believe it. It'll take time for it to sink in but I am really happy to have been chosen as the winner."

Alissa has won a family holiday to experience the magic and excitement of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ only at Universal Orlando® Resort, plus a leather-bound and numbered 15th Anniversary Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, signed and dedicated by J.K. Rowling. 14 runners-up have also won copies of the leather-bound and numbered 15th Anniversary Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, signed and dedicated by the author. With only 15 of these exclusive editions being signed by J.K. Rowling for the UK, the books will be a rare and unique item for the lucky Harry Potter fans.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury launched a nationwide competition to find the UK’s biggest HARRY POTTER fan. Bloomsbury invited fans to write a letter of no more than 50 words explaining why they love HARRY POTTER. Fans could only enter by visiting a local bookshop or library and posting their letter in the specially designed postboxes. Over 1800 bookshops and libraries signed up to take part.

From an idea born on a train journey, to its creation in a small cafĂ© in Edinburgh, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the book that started a global phenomenon.  Rejected by many publishers and with an initial hardback print run of 500 copies, it is the book that put Harry’s destiny in motion and created a whole new generation of readers. It is hard to think now that before 1997 none of us knew about Hogwarts, Quidditch or Voldemort (who was voted as the favourite literary villain in a recent Bloomsbury poll).

The competition results will be available to view from Saturday 1st September on the HARRY POTTER competition website –

(This was the press release [which was embargoed, FYI] but as a Harry Potter fan, I am thrilled that Alissa has been called the UK and Ireland's Biggest Harry Potter Fan! Congratulations!)

Saturday 1 September 2012

This Has Blown My Mind A Little...

This time last week, my other half and I started the scary process of putting a collection of short stories self-published via Amazon (it took us till half six as Amazon wanted Page Breaks and no tabs, and we edited it and, at the very last minute, added two stories [as I felt it needed some humour] and changed the title of the whole collection from The Emancipation of the Pewter Wolf to The Perfect Day). I told you guys on Tuesday (but family knew on Saturday and my other half started tweeting the news when I wasn't looking!), and, within the space of a week, I was told to go to Amazon and type in The Perfect Day in the Amazon search bar.

Now, I haven't looked at how well it's been selling/reviews/anything so, against my better judgement, I did. And this is what I found:

MY THE PERFECT DAY IS THE FIRST RESULT WHEN YOU SEARCH THE PERFECT DAY! I have no idea how many of you guys have searched for my little eBook, let alone BUY it. So, you guys are... Oh, wait! I have another pic for you... And this BLEW my mind!


I can not tell you how weird and mind blowing and completely freaked out I am at the moment. But I want to thank you. THANK YOU! You guys have blown my mind! 

Anyway, I better get the boring stuff out of the way. If you want to buy The Perfect Day from, please click here. If you shop on, click here for your copy. And the Friends pic is taken from Again, thank you. Now enjoy the rest of your Saturday!