A Writer in the Spotlight – Kat Ellis

A Writer In The Spotlight Logo

 

Hello gentle reader,

I’m very pleased to share another interview with a YA author today! The wonderfully kind and talented Kat Ellis, whose debut BLACKFIN SKY came out in 2014, hasn’t got one but TWO books being releasing this year!

My interview (7th February 2016)

Kat Ellis

BLACKFIN SKY came out in 2014. What were the highlights of your debut year? Anything you’d do differently?

There were so many amazing firsts during my debut year – my first author panel, first book launch, first sighting of BLACKFIN SKY out in the wild – and it really was an overwhelming and incredible experience. I think the best feeling overall was hearing a pair of teen girls whispering about how much they loved the characters (*cough* Sean, the love interest, might have been mentioned in particular). I’ve felt that way about characters in books I’ve read, and it was so wonderful seeing it from the other side.

As far as things I’d do differently… I did a lot of events, school visits, interviews, etc. but I felt like I should have done more, got out there more and shouted about my book to more people. Maybe that’s just my own inner critic at work, though, because I always feel I could do more, about everything. Especially housework.

blackfin sky jpeg

Now that you’re a published author, what would you say has changed in your writing life?

The major thing has been changing how I view writing itself; I went from viewing it as a hobby to seeing it as my job. I felt like a fraud at first, telling people I was working on my book when they wanted me to go shopping or to a party or something. They’d look at me as though I’d just said I was busy playing with my Barbie dolls. But it takes a lot of hours to write a book, so I have to be strict with myself if I want to keep writing one or two books a year.

You have two books coming out in 2016, BREAKER and PURGE, can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for those stories?

BREAKER comes out in May, and tells the story of Kyle, whose father has recently been executed for a string of brutal murders, and Naomi, whose mother was the Bonebreaker’s last victim. When Kyle moves to a new school and sees Naomi, his hope for a fresh start is thrown under the bus. Except she doesn’t recognise him, and as much as Kyle wants to pretend Naomi doesn’t exist, he can’t deny the spark between them. But someone isn’t prepared to let the past die, and when bodies start piling up on campus, it seems the Bonebreaker’s legacy is very much alive.

The inspiration came from thinking about how violence leaves scars beyond the obvious ones you see — beyond the victim of the serial killer. Naomi and Kyle wear their scars differently, but their lives are shaped by them, and I wanted to explore how two people might find one bright, shining, happy thing in the wake of something so terrible. And because I’m a sadist, apparently, I then decided to inflict yet more trauma on them by unleashing a new killer. As you do.

Cover - low res

PURGE will be out this autumn, and is a YA sci-fi set on a flooded Earth where the last survivors live in sealed, floating communities. Mason is 17, and already has a rap sheet too long to remember. So he isn’t exactly high on the list to be allowed into any community — which is how he ends up at Alteria, living among a cult-like group who purge negative behaviour through a mind-altering virtual reality programme. Mason knows he has to stay on the straight-and-narrow, but that’s not easy when he falls for a girl who has a few bad habits of her own. When she’s caught with drugs and thrown into the programme, Mason risks everything to go in after her, not knowing if either of them will ever be the same.

In PURGE, I wanted to write about someone who at a young age has already been judged as worthless by society, and show how he could defy expectations to become a hero. This book has been several years in the making, and Mason is probably my favourite character I’ve written to date. I hope readers like him, too!

Can you talk about what you’re working on right now?

Well, right now I’m dabbling with a few projects — there’s a fantasy about a boy raised in a rainforest, a magical realist story about a girl who has out of body experiences, and a thriller set in a 1920s theme town. Aside from those, I’m working on a few things for the launch of BREAKER, and editing PURGE.

Finally, do you have any reading recommendations? Recent reads that stood out? 

So many! Some of my recent favourites are Bryony Pearce’s WINDRUNNER’S DAUGHTER, THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE by Jonathan Stroud, THE ACCIDENT SEASON by Moira Fowley-Doyle, and Cat Clarke’s THE LOST AND THE FOUND. I’m looking forward to reading Alwyn Hamilton’s REBEL OF THE SANDS, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES, Tatum Flynn’s HELL’S BELLES, and I’ve also just got my hands on an early copy of Martin J Stewart’s RIVERKEEP, which comes out in April.

Thank you for the interview, Kat!

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Eve!

2016 – Most Anticipated Books

Hello gentle reader,

2015 is coming to an end and it’s time to look ahead at the books I’m anticipating to read in early 2016.

This year I read 39 novels, 3 novellas, 4 unpublished manuscripts and I re-read 8 books. That’s basically a book a week, and my goal is to read as many books in 2016.

In my Waiting On Wednesday posts, I already mentioned YA books I’m eagerly waiting for: TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard, REVENGE AND THE WILD by Michelle Modesto, THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater, OUTRUN THE MOON by Stacey Lee, FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP by Sarah Glenn Marsh, REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton, THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN by Sarah Fine, and THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp.

Now let’s add a few books to this list:

Sword and Verse

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

YA High Fantasy

(expected publication: 19th January 2016 by HarperTeen)

Why I want to read it: A Fantasy world where literacy is a capital offense? Colour me intrigued.

The Dark days Club

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

YA Historical Fantasy

(expected publication: 26th January 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers)

Why I want to read it: “a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter”? Yes, please.

Assassin's Heart

Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

YA Fantasy

(expected publication: 2nd February 2016 by HarperTeen)

Why I want to read it: “With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this fantasy is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.” Assassins and revenge? I’m curious…

TheGirlFromEverywhere

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

YA Fantasy

(expected publication: 16th February 2016 by Greenwillow Books)

Why I want to read it: A time-traveling ship! Need I say more?

Burning Glass

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

YA High Fantasy

(expected publication: 1st March 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books)

Why I want to read it: “a 17-year-old girl who is forced use her gift for feeling—and absorbing—the emotions of others to protect her nation’s emperor from would-be assassins.”

Tell the wind and fire

Tell The Wind And Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

YA Fantasy

(expected publication: 5th April 2016 by Clarion Books)

Why I want to read it: New York! A city torn between two very different kinds of magic! Sarah Rees Brennan! I CAN’T WAIT.

What about you? Which books are you most looking forward to reading in 2016? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

All Hallow’s Read Giveaway – 2015 (closed)

Hello gentle reader,

this year again I’ve decided to join the initiative called All Hallow’s Read. The idea? Give someone a scary book for Halloween.

AHR13_WebBanner

Fantasy author Neil Gaiman made a lovely (!) video to explain this Halloween tradition:

So I’ve chosen to join this initiative by giving away a copy of SLASHER GIRLS AND MONSTER BOYS, a YA anthology curated by April Genevieve Tucholke.

Exclusive_Slasher-Girls-and-Monster-Boys-cover

From Goodreads:

For fans of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lois Duncan, and Daphne Du Maurier comes a powerhouse anthology featuring some of the best writers of YA thrillers and horror.

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through tales by these talented authors: Stefan BachmannLeigh BardugoKendare BlakeA. G. HowardJay KristoffMarie LuJonathan MaberryDanielle PaigeCarrie RyanMegan ShepherdNova Ren SumaMcCormick TemplemanApril Genevieve TucholkeCat Winters.

Giveaway information:

The giveaway is open until Sunday 2d November 2015 at 9am (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.

Waiting On Wednesday – 65

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich (expected publication: 6th August 2015 by Orion/Indigo in the UK and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in the US). It’s a YA novel, “part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend: an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes.” I know Dawn from Twitter and I think her book sounds unique and awesome! I can’t wait to read it…

The Dead House

From Goodreads:

Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you’ve finished reading.

“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?

TBR Books Tag

Hello gentle reader,

I came across this blog hop on Sara Letourneau’s blog and I thought it could be interesting to join in the fun.

1.       How do you keep track of your TBR books?

Behold my highly-sophisticated tracking system:

–          With printed books, I keep all the books I’ve already read on my bookshelves. Therefore all the books that aren’t on there, but instead on my coffee table, bedside table and dining table? They’re my TBR books.

–          – With ebooks , I have a hand-written (!) list of my TBR books which I keep inside my Kindle cover.

2.       Is your TBR pile mostly print or ebooks?

I had to check numbers to answer this question. It turns out I have 10 TBR ebooks and 14 printed books.

3.       How do you determine which book from your TBR pile to read next?

It depends entirely on my mood. I also like to switch genres and categories, in order to avoid comparing books too much. For example I’ll read a YA Fantasy, followed by a YA Historical.

4.       What’s been on your TBR pile the longest?

The assassin's curse

It has to be The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke. I bought it when it came out, in 2012, but didn’t read it then. It’s rare for me to wait a long time before reading a book I bought, but for some reason I never got around to read this one.

5.       Pick a book you recently added to your TBR pile.

AGreatAndTerribleBeauty

My most recent bought-but-not-read-yet book is A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. I love Libba’s writing, so I’ll probably read it soon.

6.       Pick a book that’s on your TBR pile strictly because of its beautiful cover.

None. I don’t buy books because of their covers, but because I like the author, the blurb or because I’ve read good reviews.

7.       Pick a book on your TBR pile that you’re apprehensive about reading.

the_knife_of_never_letting_go

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. It’s been recommended to me numerous times, which is why I bought it, but I still need to work up the courage to read it.

8.       Pick an unpublished book on your TBR list that you’re excited for.

Half Wild

Easy: Half Wild by Sally Green (Half Bad #2). I just CAN’T WAIT.

9.       Pick a book on your TBR pile that basically everyone has read but you.

Throne of Glass- UK cover

It must be Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. The only reason I haven’t read it yet is because I’m worried I’ll read the series very quickly, then I’ll have to wait for the next books to come out…

10.   Pick a book on your TBR pile that everyone recommends to you.

The Winner's Curse

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. I own a signed hardcover copy of it, but I haven’t read it yet for fear of having too long to wait for Book 2 (are you noticing a pattern here?)

11.   Pick a book on your TBR pile that you’re dying to read.

daughter of smoke and bone

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. I own it, I want to read it, but I need the time and the right frame of mind to do it properly, so it hasn’t happened yet.

12.   How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

I’m not on Goodreads… yet. One day, I promise.

13.   Tag some people!

I’ll tag friends who are always recommending books to me : Lauren Garafalo and Jessica Rubinkowski .

What are some of the books on your TBR pile? Have you read any of the books listed above? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

2015 – Most Anticipated Books

Hello gentle reader,

Happy New Year!

In 2014 I read 41 novels, 16 novellas, 3 non-fiction books, 5 WIPs and I re-read 4 books. I’m very pleased with all the books I read last year, and I’m already looking forward to all the books I’m going to read this year!

In my Waiting On Wednesday posts, I already mentioned YA books I’m eagerly anticipating: THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT by Melissa Grey, HALF WILD by Sally Green, THE SHADOW CABINET (Shades of London #3) by Maureen Johnson, THE WICKED WILL RISE (Dorothy Must Die #2) by Danielle Paige, A WICKED THING by Rhiannon Thomas, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir, UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by Victoria E. Schwab, and LAIR OF DREAMS (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray.

Today I’d like to add four books to this list:

Magonia

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (Expected publication: 28th April 2015 by HarperCollins)

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds…two races…and two destinies.

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

The Game of Love and Death

 

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough (Expected publication: 28th April 2015 by Arthur A. Levine Books)

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured — a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (Expected publication: 5th May 2015 by Bloomsbury Children’s)

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

The Wrath and The Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (Expected publication: 12th May 2015 by Putnam Juvenile)

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

So tell me, which books are you most looking forward to reading in 2015? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

All Hallow’s Read Giveaway! (closed)

Hello gentle reader,

this year again I’ve decided to join the initiative called All Hallow’s Read. The idea? Give someone a scary book for Halloween.

AHR13_WebBanner

Fantasy author Neil Gaiman made a lovely (!) video to explain this Halloween tradition:

So I’ve chosen to join this initiative by giving away a copy of The Diviners by Libba Bray (YA Historical Fantasy, UK paperback).

Diviners-PB2

From Goodreads:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Giveaway information:

The giveaway is open until Saturday 1st November 2014 at 9am (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.

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