A Writer in the Spotlight – April G. Tucholke

A Writer In The Spotlight Logo

Hello gentle reader,

I’m delighted to share with you another interview with a YA author! This week it’s April Tucholke, whose debut BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA is a great Gothic Mystery/Thriller/Romance. The sequel BETWEEN THE SPARK AND THE BURN is out now!

A writer in the spotlight – 23

April Tucholke

Author: April G. Tucholke

Genre: Young Adult, Gothic, Fantasy

Website: http://apriltucholke.com/

Books: BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA (published 15th August 2013 by Dia)

BETWEEN THE SPARK AND THE BURN (published 14th August 2014 by Dial)

Biography:

April Genevieve Tucholke loves classic horror movies and coffee. She has lived in many places, including Scotland, and currently resides in Oregon with her husband Nate Pedersen. (Author Photo by Sung Park)

 

My interview (21st August 2014)

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Oh, I thought about it as a kid, but mainly because I was a big reader. I got a degree in creative writing when I was in my early twenties…but I don’t think I ever believed I’d actually finish writing a novel. And yet, here I am.

What do you say to writers who want to be published one day?

A. Read. Read everything. Every genre, the new books and the classics.
B. Give up watching TV for a year. Spend the time writing instead.
C. Pick up ten of your least favorite books…and then write down 5 things that each book did very well. This is an enlightening experience. Trust me. Figuring out what’s bad about a book you didn’t like? Easy. Figuring out what’s good about a book you didn’t like? Far more valuable.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

To write BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, where did you get your inspiration from?

A. From this true story out of Glasgow, Scotland: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/8574484.stm
B. From all the places I’ve lived, and all the gothic books I’ve read.

What are you working on now?

I organized a YA horror anthology that will be published by Penguin in fall, 2015 called Slasher Girls & Monster Boys.

I’m also working on a dark, twisting, voice-driven YA mystery that will be published by Penguin in early 2016.

Between the spark and the burn

Which authors inspire you now? Any books you’d recommend?

Susanna Clarke. I’ve read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell three times. I’m in awe of authors who can write long books with epic world building. This is something I’ll never be able to do. George R.R. Martin, Scott Lynch, Diane Gabaldon, Connie Willis…

I’m drawn to dark, odd, beautifully written YA—books by Nova Ren Suma, Chris Howard, Laini Taylor, Melina Marchetta…

I’m inspired by the beautiful language in Zane Grey’s westerns. Truly. It—and I never use this word—transports me, into a world without the internet, and cell phones, and car alarms, and blasting music… Zane is marvelous.

Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’m the descendent of pioneers, and this is my history. I reread the series every year or so. The writing style is very simple and direct, but the stories aren’t. Laura and her family are often in serious danger, from wolves, from illness, from hunger…and yet the feeling I’m left with after reading is one of…peace.

Thanks for the interview, April!

On Querying and Originality in Fantasy

NB: this was originally posted on There And Draft Again in January 2014, but I have tweaked it slightly to share with you again today.

Hello gentle reader,

If you’re a writer in the query trenches now or if you’re planning on looking for an agent and getting traditionally published in the future, you know that getting rejections is part of the process.

For the purpose of this post, we are going to assume the Querying Writer has done her research, finished and polished her manuscript, written a professional query letter and put together a list of relevant agents to contact, along with their submission guidelines.

There are many, many reasons for an agent to send the Querying Writer a rejection, and for nearly every single one of them there’s a solution. Sometimes, the agent will tell you what’s wrong with your submission: it’s called a personalized rejection. Other times, the agent won’t tell you why she’s rejecting your manuscript: it’s the infamous Form Rejection.

Thankfully, a few agents use Twitter to reveal the most common reasons why they reject a submission. They use the #10queriesin10tweets or #tenqueries hashtags. And one reason that keeps popping up when it comes to Fantasy manuscripts is this one:

sara-megibow-tweet

The premise isn’t unique/original/inventive enough.

In a sea of submissions, agents and editors are looking for a Unique Concept. Or a Familiar Story With An Unexpected Twist. They want the Unfamiliar. They want to be Surprised. As we do, as readers.

So how do you avoid being rejected for lack of originality? Here are a few pointers:

  • Research the industry: find out what’s on the shelves right now or what will hit the shelves in the next 18 months. This will give an idea of what agents/editors have already seen and aren’t looking for.
  • Avoid tropes in your writing: I recommend this website to find out which writing devices have been overdone.
  • Read: writing a Fantasy book requires reading Fantasy books, to avoid the annoying predicament which consists in writing a book that already exists.

Are you worried about how original your manuscript is or isn’t? Have you had rejections stating your premise felt too familiar? What have you done to ensure your book was as original as possible? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 48

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m waiting on A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by Victoria E. Schwab (expected publication: 24th February 2015 by Tor Books). It’s a Fantasy book which sounds utterly unique and quite amazing.

A Darker Shade final for Irene

From Goodreads:

From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London…but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

Two Year Blogiversary and Leap Into Books Giveaway! (closed)

Hello gentle reader,

My blog is two years old this week! To thank you all for following me on this journey, I’m taking part in the Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Jinky is Reading.

Leap Into Books Giveaway2

The giveaway runs from today until Friday 7th March 2013. It is a chance for you to win:

a hardcover copy of The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

(expected publication: 4th March 2014)

The Winner's Curse

Giveaway information:

The giveaway is open until Friday 7th March 2014 at 11pm (BST time).

To enter please fill in the contact form below with your name and email. If you follow my blog by email or WordPress, if you are a Twitter follower, if you like my page on Facebook, if you follow me on Pinterest or Tumblr, or if you tweet about the giveaway, this will grant you an extra entry. Mention it below.

Entrants must be at least 13 years of age.

This giveaway is open Internationally, as long as the Book Depository ships to your country.

The winner will be chosen randomly, notified by email and will have 72 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.

I hold the right to end the giveaway before its original deadline without any prior notice.

I hold the right to disqualify any entry as I see fit.

Privacy information: no information given for this giveaway will be used for other purpose than this giveaway. All information provided (names, emails and mail addresses) will be deleted after the giveaway.

This is a blog hop! Check out the other giveaways here.

Good luck and feel free to leave me a comment below!

End of Year Book Survey – 2013 Edition! (Part 2)

Hello gentle reader,

Last Sunday I filled in the first part of The Perpetual Page Turner’s End of Year Book Survey. Today I’m answering the “Looking Ahead” part of the survey.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Coldest Girl In Coldtown

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

I know, I can’t believe I STILL haven’t read those two books either.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

The Winner's Curse

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Lair of Dreams

Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2) by Libba Bray

Erased

Erased (Altered, #2) by Jennifer Rush

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Dorothy Must Die

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

Guardian

Guardian (Proxy #2) by Alex London

retribution_510x510

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3) by Michelle Hodkin

Ignite Me

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Strange Ever After

Strange And Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly, #3) by Susan Dennard

(no cover art yet!)

The Forever Song (Blood of Eden, #3) by Julie Kagawa

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

Read more books! Always read more books…

Which books are you most looking forward to reading in 2014? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 35

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m waiting on Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (expected publication: 1st April 2014 by HarperTeen). It’s a YA Fantasy Retelling (based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, as you might have guessed). I find the cover very eye-catching and the fact that this book sounds very Wicked-like doesn’t hurt either… I’ll definitely read it when it comes out!

Dorothy Must Die

From Goodreads:

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.
I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I’ve been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart.
Steal the Scarecrow’s brain.
Take the Lion’s courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

There is a prequel to this story: an e-novella published on 12th November 2013 by HarperCollins. It’s called No Place Like Oz.

No Place Like Oz

In this digital original novella, Dorothy travels back to Oz to reunite with old friends, but her story may not have a happy ending. No Place Like Oz is a prequel to the forthcoming novel Dorothy Must Die. Perfect for fans of Alex Flinn, Marissa Meyer, and Gregory Maguire, No Place Like Oz is a dark reimagining of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Building off of its rich mythology, Danielle Paige creates an edgy, thrilling story for teens that chronicles the rise and fall of one of the literature’s most beloved characters.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard of Dorothy Must Die? Is it on your TBR list? Have you read No Place Like Oz yet? What are you waiting on this week?

Waiting On Wednesday – 33

Hello gentle reader,

this week, I’m waiting on Hexed by Michelle Krys (expected publication: 10th June 2014 by Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books). It’s a YA Fantasy about witches. I’ve been following Michelle Krys online for a very long time, and I can’t wait to finally read her book!

Hexed

From Goodreads:

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard of Hexed? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?