Monday, October 22, 2012

#Giveaway & Recap of #FierceReads Tour in Oxford,Ms.

From L to R: Leigh Bardugo, Me, Marie Rutkoski, Gennifer Albin and Caragh  O'Brien

I was chosen as the featured blogger for this stop on the Fierce Reads Tour  at Off Square Books located in Oxford, MS on October 19th. I had the opportunity to sit down an chat with these ladies and let me just say, they are all so very nice and entertaining. You can feel the camaraderie, it was like sitting in with friends that had known one another forever. I hope that you get a sense of this in the interview. 
Marie Rutkoski, Gennifer Albin, and Leigh Bardugo(far right) listen on as Caragh O' Brien  tells us about her books.
LLM: Why do you think the appeal for dystopia is so strong right now?
Gennifer-Dystopia, I think derived from current issues that concern us and they are the extreme versions of those issues. She goes on to say, she believes "most teenagers feel like they live in a dystopia" because someone is always dictating what they are allowed to do and they really have limited control over their lives. She then states "doesn't that feel dystopian?
Caragh: I think that is true for teenagers throughout time, I don't know why especially now. I think that people feel more afraid than they used about things that are outside of their control. She feels "the economy has really shaken people" and fear of the environment... 
On a real deep level people are concerned about those issues and stories just give us a way to encounter some of them in ways that are safe enough. The young adult dystopias tend to be more hopeful. We read them because we want to see that there will be solutions. I think that's why they may be so popular at the moment.

LLM: If you hadn't found publishers for your work, do you feel you would've self-published like so many authors are doing lately?
Gennifer: At the time that I wrote it, I would've said, no. At this particular moment, I would say, yes. I think there are benefits to having a traditional publisher; they do a lot of things that I can't do or that would take up so much time. I have a really good friend who I never anticipated self-publishing. He's wildly successful at it right now and making a very good living. It's something a year and half ago, I wouldn't even considered and now I kind of go, oh, this is totally viable and kind of cool. Most of them actually work with editors; there is this stench that people just throw whatever crap that's on the internet.
Caragh: No. She does mention that she saw that there are a large number of self-published authors.
Leigh: I don't honestly know because I knew nothing about the publishing industry when I was looking into it. I didn't know that self-publishing was a thing. Only reason that I know anything about is because now people ask about it at panels about self-publishing. I will say that I suspect that if I had self- published, I think what I probably would've done is written another book and tried. But had I self-published, I doubt anybody would've bought my book in stores.*this is as close to what I think she said*
Marie: I don't think that I would have, I think because I would've felt discouraged. My response has everything to do with the sort of person I am and nothing do to with what self-publishing means now. It's just that I think that if I hadn't found a publisher, I would have said 'Oh, well no one really wants to read this' and then given up on it. I wish that wasn't the case but I know myself well enough to say that's what I would've happened.
Leigh: I think I would've been in the same boat; I just wouldn’t have had the confidence.
The opening act, a little "fierce" rocking 
LLM: Do you root for the villain or the hero? 
Leigh: I don't think there are villains and heroes, generally. I think there are people that do really bad things. As a writer, it gets really dangerous when you get too invested in one persons goodness and another person’s badness... You know, I take that back. I really do believe in heroes, I do. I believe in people doing good but I also believe that people that do good are often not the people you expect. Sometimes they have to work a little harder for it.
Caragh: I also believe in villains.
Gennifer: I think the most compelling villains have a reason for why they do what they do.
Marie ponders if the question should be the antagonist vs. protagonist
Marie: Antagonists are very fun to right.
Leigh: But the question is who you root for...I liked Darth Vader but I didn't root for him.
Marie: I wouldn't say I root for the antagonist but I do take some pleasure in writing the antagonist.

LLM: How much of your time do you spend on research?
Gennifer: I'm sure some people have really well structured research. I tend to be like, oh!, I need to know what that is, then I dig into and then I forget what is and have to go back to it like two weeks later. I'm constantly researching. 
Leigh: It’s so fascinating because we have completely different writing processes and we are figuring this out as we do these interviews. When I'm writing the first draft, I put question marks in threes and  I don't let myself stop to research or get online. I go back and do those things and sometimes they're very heavy structural things that may be a really big point. I take a specific amount of time. When I was writing book one, I let myself have two months to do research and that was it. I knew I would fall down the rabbit hole and never come out. It's also a good excuse to not be writing. 
She laughs and says, I couldn't possibly go back to writing, I really have to research this old book of recipes and I should make them. I should eat them. 
I knew it would be too easy for me to do that so, I tend to research in blocks. Of course, when I go into the drafting process then I have to start looking up [information].
Caragh: I think I'm sort of a cross in between. I had to do research to know what was happening. With the genetics in the first book and finding the suppressor gene that was going to provide a solution to a problem that I had in a book. So, I needed to do the research to do it... If I'm stuck on something, I go do research and that helps with my ideas, then I can write more.
Marie: When I started writing, I felt like I couldn't research because I was an academic and I did so much research for my dissertation. I felt almost resentful at the idea doing research for a creative project. That said I did draw on a lot of research that I had already done. Definitely things I had encountered in the process of my own research and they worked there way into my books. I'm becoming more and more of a researcher with every novel that I write. I'm beginning to reject it less out of personal issues and realize that this is an important part of me and my writing process. For the book I'm working on now, I need to read Herodotus and I recently read Euripides the Peloponnesian War. I'm doing more research than I used to, like for the Shadow Society, I did very little research for that beyond asking people how to do stuff. How do paint with oils? How do you fix a carburetor?
Caragh: But you already had in groundwork for the Chicago Fire, you knew the things you wanted to undo and say that they were myths.
Marie: Yeah. 

Leigh Badugo conversing with a fan
LLM:How much input do you have in the cover art process?
Someone says, We pray
Gennifer: I asked about the font and they gave me a different font.
Leigh: I don't know how much input I had. I know that I pushed very hard, my book is set in a fantasy inspired by Russia.So, I wanted it to be clear that there was a Russian influence. I wanted it to be like, 'it's different'. I pushed hard for that but they may have been planning to do that anyway,I don't know if that was me.At least, as a debut author, they were really good to me but it's really about what they want to do and you just keep your fingers crossed.
Caragh: I didn't have much input into the first cover but by the time they made the third cover... it gave me the idea of actually changing something in the book to match the cover. Which is different from how it usually works.
Marie: I had no say whatsoever in the Shadow Society yet and still I love the cover so much. The first cover, I wasn't crazy about but my publisher decided to do something totally new.  

LLM:Favorite literary character?
ALL: Laughs
Marie: Favorite like we want to be friends with this character or we want to marry them or best constructed...
LLM:How about marry, that sounds good?
ALL: laughing (I think they were plum tickled at this question, makes me wonder)
Marie: Sorry guys
ALL: Laughs
Leigh: I'll go with Lymond from the Lymond Chronicles
Gennifer: I'm glad you have an answer but I plead the 5th. 
Caragh:I also have an answer but I'm going to keep it to myself.
 Leigh's choice baffles Marie...she wonders does that character get better in the books, apparently he must not be a very good guy, maybe.
Leigh: I find him delightful.
Caragh: I find that this question really surprises me.
I think she found the idea of merging the real world with the fictional world strange.
Caragh: I'm married, I'm a married woman.
Leigh boisteriously says, "I'm a single lady, I can do whatever I want."
Gennifer: We're all married but Leigh, so we can't say anything.
Marie says she feels that her significant other might not care about her fictional crush.
Leigh:Well he shouldn't, what with him being fictional.
They all laugh, I think this might be my favorite question of the night. 

Moving down the assembly line...getting books signed!

LLM: How do you feel about all of these young adult novels being translated to the screen?
Leigh says that she is in talks with DreamWorks and the producer of Harry Potter about making Shadow and Bone into a movie but nothing is set in stone right now.
Leigh: I’m very excited about that possibility.
I should have asked her would she be doing the makeup for the movie.

LLM: If you had to choose, would you choose invisibility or the ability to fly?
Marie: My character gets both. I think she chose invisibility.
Gennifer: Fly
Caragh: Fly, I've been invisible before. If had to choose I would be invisible because I don't like to fly.
Leigh knew why I asked the question. Darn, lol.
Leigh: I've never been able to choose. I had dreams of flying and being able to experience that is something I can’t pass up. Then on the other hand... but I need to live and with invisibility I could steal things. I'm torn. 
They all laugh at this one.
LLM: I think to myself she could basically get her Harry Potter on, mischief managed!

LLM: Favorite character to write?
Leigh: Book 1Genya, she's the most fabulous of the characters and Book 2 Stermhond 
Marie: Jims, I would want to hang out with Jims. He actually is based a bit on a friend of mine and not just on him but also myself when I’m around him. Some of the things he says, I think that either I said or he said to me.This friend of mine is very intelligent, clever and light-hearted. Even when we talk about serious things; it’s always in this light way. I don’t have that kind of dynamic with anybody else. I enjoyed imparting some of that quality into Jims.
Gennifer: Cormac, he’s just interesting and he sees himself as the hero in the story. When he’s around the main character, though he does actively control her and her world, he treats her with a certain amount of mutual respect. He doesn’t lie to her. He tells her like it is. I think that is very telling about the dynamic of their relationship and their world. I find him fascinating.
Caragh: Gaia, my main character, I just find her fascinating. I like how she deals with difficult ethical situations. She seems impulsive and she really makes terrible mistakes sometimes.

L to R: Marie Rutkoski, Gennifer Albin and Caragh O'Brien

LLM: Is there a question you wished interviewers would ask you?
Leigh: Would you like some cake?
Someone says pie
Caragh: People really come up with some great questions, I feel like I’ve been asked everything. I wish there was a question that was asked that would get me to reveal who I am but I don’t know how I would answer it.
Leigh: I am always excited when somebody asks me new questions and specifically about my book. I like to be surprised and offered cake.

After my one on one session with authors, the main event opened up with a musical act pictured above. After this the author introductions about their books began and then floor was opened up to questions before the book signing. 
View more photos here & the video here

That’s all folks, I hope you enjoyed this chat with these lovely ladies, I know I did. I also want to thank them all for sitting down and speaking with me and MacmillanKids for picking me do to so. A special thank you to my two little brothers for taking the trip with me, love them both very much. 

Now for the giveaway. It is going to be US only. Just fill out the rafflecopter and you are good to go.
What’s up for grabs?
Prize#1 Signed set of the Birthmarked Trilogy by Caragh M. O’Brien.
The first two books in the series are paperbacks and the last book is hardback.
Prize #2 (3 )winners get to choose between a signed copy of one of these books: The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, Crewel by Gennifer Albin or Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. 
Caragh asks the audience "How many of you are writers?"

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Caragh's answer to favorite literary character really cracked me up *I'm married woman* lol

    Thank you for this enjoyable interview/post, and of course thank you to everyone for the wonderful giveaway! <3
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

  2. Aaah, the cover ISSUE. We pray, jajaja, well at least, Fierce Reads does a great job on their covers.
    Specially the one of Shadow & Bone! Yeah, who knows if Leigh pushed too much or not, I LOVE the onion-shaped roofs!

  3. Sounds like you had a great time. All of the authors seem great.

  4. Holey Moley what an AWESOME lineup of lovely ladies!!! I am completely green with awe that you got to interview them so Wow..just, wow... and amazing!
    I thought you had great questions and they were all just so easy going and - real with their answers. I'm surprised the authors have little to no input on their covers. O_o

    I will do the BIGGEST Happy Dance if I win any part of this giveaway - ALL of these books are in my TBR list. Thanks for this opportunity!

    1. Hopefully the next time the are out and about, you will get a chance to see them, too. :)Thanks, I was trying to ask some different questions than I usually do and yeah, they are pretty down to earth.

  5. Pat- I can't wait to get the beautiful book of Crewel! Thanks so much!!!

  6. This interview made me smile. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  7. Thanks for running the giveaway!!! Love it when authors have humour!

  8. Awesome awesome transcription of the event! Thank you:)

    It's interesting how Leigh said that you can't get too invested in someone's goodness or not. That's so true:)

  9. Great interview! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  10. I really liked how they answered about the self-publishing thing. Those were some of the most honest answers that I've ever seen. Thanks for the great interview! :-D

  11. Loved the interview! Looks like a lot of fun :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. Loved reading this! I bet it was so fun! Thanks! (:

  13. I like the cake part. Who would think of that? Next time I see an author, I will offer them some cake!!

  14. Who doesn't want cake? I want cake! And Caragh M. O'Brien deserves nothing less than am incredibly large piece of cake for the awesome books that we get to read. Anyway, I loved her interview. She is just awesome, no two ways about it! Thanks so much for the amazing giveaway!

    1. I love cake myself, and baking. Caragh is great.

  15. Sounds like you had an awesome time, i'm dying to meet Leigh Bardugo!!

    1. She is pretty cool! So, I hope you get to see her, soon.

  16. You always have the best interviews. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I wish we could have went with you. Maybe next time. :)

  17. Pat- thanks!i can't wait to wina book., you're awesome!

  18. What a fun event. I would love to be able to meet and discuss books with authors, I live in a small town. No one ventures by this way. :)

  19. Wow! What an awesome interview! I loved getting each author's answer to all the different questions so I could get to know them each a little bit better:)

  20. Great interview! I really enjoyed reading it!

  21. Jealous! I want to do author interviews! Also: "plum tickled." Love. I'm from Arkansas. I say this, too! :)

    1. Lol, I guess it's a southern thing. :)

  22. Gennifer Albin is so great. I am so excited that Crewel is out now. I am dying to read it. Wonderful interview! And, thank you for the giveaway.


  23. Caragh made me think of the fact that authors get asked nearly every question, so the next time I get to ask one I will think long and hard about it.

  24. I sure hope Shadow & Bone gets made into a movie! That would be AWESOME! So many books get optioned for film though and the companies just sit on them. But Shadow & Bone has done so well in the media that it would definitely be a smart bet for the film company to make.

  25. Would love to win the Birthmark Trilogy or Crewel.

  26. Replies
    1. it was nice...they really are cool ladies.

  27. great interview thanks for the giveaway - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  28. Great interview! I wonder what KIND of cake they want, that could be a follow up question. ;)

  29. I like the discussion about heroes and villains or protagonist and antagonist. It is fun to write from the villain's POV but not become over obsessed with the fight of good and evil. I like when background is given as to why a character acts such a way or believes is something so devotedly. Great Interview!! :)

  30. What a great interview/discussion with the Fierce Reads ladies! I loved all of it. Thank you so much for posting this and for the chance to win a signed book from the authors. If I could choose, I'd pick SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo. Thank you very much! :D

  31. I'm jealous! These are all fabulous authors. Thanks for sharing!

  32. Interesting interview XD
    I really to read all those book!

  33. I'm jealous I've never got to go meet an author before of course I'd probably be to shy to talk to talk to any of them lol. Thanks for the interview/giveaway!

  34. Great interview, it was nice to learn abouth the authors and their process or thoughts on YA in general. All books sound like great reads, thanks!

  35. Great interview, with so many awesome authors.

  36. I wanted to go to this so bad, but I had to miss it :( I'm glad you had a great time!

  37. I love the questions and answers - especially which they would choose between invisibility or the ability to fly. I think I would pick invisibility! Thanks for this amazing giveaway - I would love to win!

  38. That sound like such a fun panel! I would have loved to go to that! Thanks for telling us all about it.

  39. Sounds really fun! I haven't gotten to go to a panel like this before, I wish I could.

  40. The pictures really enhance the interview. I wish I could've been there, it seemed like it was a good time for everyone.

    1. Thanks trying to use my photog

  41. Wow, that's awesome. Definitely jealous! Thanks for the giveaway!

  42. I love the interview. I love the authors answers to them.

  43. I guess the take away is that authors want cake and pie :)

    It sounds like you had a great time with the interviews, I liked the answers for why dystopians are so popular right now - they do seem to be everywhere!

  44. Awesome interview! All these authors seem so nice.

  45. Woow! There's a possibility Shadow and Bone will be made into a movie by the producers of Harry Potter! *crosses fingers it'll happen* ^__^

  46. I love how the reacted to the favorite character!!!!

  47. Loved the interview!!! Thanks for the great giveaway and chance to win

    Jolene A

  48. I'm excited to read some of these!

  49. Thanks again for this great interview. I appreciate your cool pictures and interview questions. I can tell you've got an eye for photography.


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