Search

YA Author Rendezvous

Creativity Unleashed: Books for the young and the young at heart

Month

July 2016

Finding Inspiration: an interview with Siobhan Quinlan.

Margaret Mead Quote - Young Adult Author RendezvousFinding Inspiration: an interview with Siobhan Quinlan.

Interview by Michelle Lynn

A lot of awful things are happening in the world right now. We see them every day. No matter where we live, no matter who we are, we are being continually touched by tragedy, our worlds dimming each time. There’s not a lot we as individuals can do to fight these bigger problems and we all deal with them in different ways. As writers, most of us here at the YA Author Rendezvous use our words to try to make a little sense out of all the madness.

Despite a feeling of overwhelming darkness that sometimes seems to be covering our planet, this past week has reminded some of us that maybe we can still make a difference. Most of us will never be on the front lines fighting terrorism or saving babies from burning buildings, but this week a community came together to do something good, great even.

This post was just supposed to be an interview, our first with someone who wasn’t themselves a writer, but when opportunity strikes to be inspired and to possibly inspire someone else, we take it. Siobhan Quinlan has been with us from the beginning. She isn’t an author, but she loves books with a passion I’d never seen before. She’s a reviewer for Reader’s Favorite and our number one cheerleader – our very own Irish Pirate.

Well, this pirate of ours needed some help. It was time for a pirate to get a new eye, a prosthetic that would cost $1200. K.R. Conway, one of our authors who writes Siobhan’s favorite book series, decided it was time to step up. A girl in the Netherlands tagged her in a video on YouTube about Siobhan’s need and became determined to make it happen. She turned to the author community, issuing a call to members of YAAR that was also eventually answered by the Indie Author Support and Discussion group as well as other friends. Within three days, the GoFundMe campaign had more than enough.

Desmond Tutu Quote - Young Adult Author Rendezvous“Sometimes the world is brutal and fate throws you the worst curveballs,” K.R. Conway said. “But when people pull together, they can do amazing things. It goes to show you that human compassion is still alive and well, despite the daily news.”

It was unbelievable to see something so inspiring on Facebook among the fear and anger that’s been going around. I don’t know about anyone else, but this writer hasn’t stopped smiling.

Now, we know many people who read our blog are other authors, so this month we decided to interview a reader to get some real answers to many of the questions floating around out there. And Siobhan is the ultimate reader as well as being a fantastic person in general.

As someone who isn’t the typical target age for YA books, what does the term Young Adult mean to you?

Young adult is usually aimed at 12 to 18 year olds and I’m 31 so I am a bit passed that, but to me the term young adult means I can relate with the characters as I have experienced the same things and having been that age and being able to look back on that I can relate and say whether I would have been the same or not.

What is it about Young Adult books you love so much?

I love being able to get lost in a young adult book. I love the wide range of books about all different things that are available in the YA section

Favorite genre? Why?

Horror. I love a good scare that will keep me up at night and worried every time I hear a noise.

You don’t just read the books, you write reviews. Why do this? What is the importance of reviews?

I write reviews and I make YouTube videos as I feel reviews and ratings are the best way for authors to be found. I also like to talk about the books I have read and authors I have discovered whether it’s good or bad

Describe your ideal heroine.

A strong independent lady who can hold her own and knows she doesn’t need a man to have her back.

Describe your ideal leading man.

A man who knows how to treat women as an equal. One who isn’t afraid to show his soft side and even flawed knows he isn’t perfect and doesn’t pretend to be

Favorite book of all time?

Well this will be a shock to anyone who knows me. My favorite book of all time has to be Undertow by K.R Conway.

What made it special?

Everything 🙂 I love the writing style, the amazing characters, and the inability to put the book down every time I reread it.

What is the one thing you hate to see in a story?

Insta-love. I cannot stand insta-love

Cliff hangers. Yay or nay?

Yay, but at the same time nay. I Love a cliff hanger if I know I don’t have a huge wait for the next book, which is why I tend to read series when they are fully or close to done so I do not need to wait so long in-between books if I fall in love.

Do you notice a difference between the indie published books and traditionally published ones?

I have found that for me indie published books seem to have more individual art work. I prefer reading indies and I find the authors seem to have more freedom with what they say.

Werewolves or Vampires?

I am a lover of vampires. There’s nothing scarier then knowing there could be a vampire lurking outside my house right now waiting to get me

Do you like books that make you cry?

I am a book crier. In fact, I can become a total mess while reading. I love books that can hit me right in the feels and have me sobbing in starbucks while being stared at by the staff and customers (thanks for that K.R Conway)

If a book has a less than happy ending, does it affect your overall feelings about it?

Sometimes I love an unhappy ending, especially if it fits in with the story and makes sense. It will probably make me cry, but leave me satisfied

Romance. Many people think books need some sort of love story, even if it’s in the background. Do you agree? Why or why not?

I do not think a story needs a love story. I can very happily read a book without a love interest. I’ve found a lot of relationships are portrayed as amazing and perfect in books and that just isn’t real life or they come across as abusive and played off as normal which gives young people the wrong idea about relationships

What are you reading now?

I am reading a few different books right now. I’m a multi reader ( no wonder I don’t have a big monthly read figure ) on my currently reading pile right now I have School of deaths by Christopher Mannino, Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, and a scary number of review copies of books.

How many books would you say you get through a month?

This varies from month to month depending on work. Some months I could get through 10 books others 1.

And finally, the big one. Why do you read? There are so many other things that can occupy your time. You have a child. There are great TV shows and movies being made of a lot of these books. So why should someone pick up an e-reader or flip through the pages of a paperback?

I love watching certain T.V shows and movies, but I have found a lot of the shows have pretty much the same story line and they just do not make movies the way they used to I feel with reading. I can get lost in many worlds and read about many different things in the space of time it takes me to watch a movie.

There you have it folks. Most of what we do here at the YA Author Rendezvous is for the readers and that hasn’t changed, but today, this week, this is also for the author community.

Thank you to everyone who inspired me this week.


Miss last week’s post? Check it out here!

Are you a teenager or know a few who love to write? Our Flash fiction contest is now open. Find out how to enter to win some great prizes. Contest details.

Author Spotlight: Lili Mahoney

lili mahoney - authorInterview by Michelle Lynn.

An interview with Lili Mahoney.

Hey Lili! Thanks for doing this interview. We’re excited to share your wonderful book with our readers. What can you tell them about it?

My debut novel is Barefoot Pastures and is the first of four in the saga.  It’s a young adult novel about a Texas cowgirl who is finishing her senior year in high school and trying to figure out where she wants to go next.

Do you have a favorite character? I know, that’s like asking someone to choose which of their children they love more.

To pick just one is really hard. Does Rusty count? I mean I know he’s a horse, but he’s got such personality! Tory’s gang, as I like to call them, is made up of characters I love for different reasons.  Of course there is Megan, her best friend who counter balances Tory and is light and carefree.  I also love Dillon and the support and loyalty he shows.  But the twins are her pillars and comedy relief as well.  I guess if I had to pick just one that I always go to, it would be Tyler.  He just makes me laugh so much.

Tory works the rodeo circuit, something that I loved. I know nothing about it so I found that world fascinating. Do you have a lot of experience in that world?

I do and I don’t.  I wasn’t born on a farm or ranch, so compared to individuals who were, I’d so no.  They are the true cowboys and cowgirls.  Folks that live that life in order to survive.  However, I did start barrel racing when I was about 12 years old and continued throughout college.  Though it was a “hobby”, I worked my horse every single day, for hours and hours, and raced most weekends, all over the great state of Texas.  It’s a world that I feel truly at home in, the people and the animals are where my heart is.

When most people think about rodeos, they picture bull riding and the other big events portrayed by movies. But this book is about the horses and there’s something so pure about the bond between Lili and her horse. What is it about horses that you love so much?

Horses have a way about them that is hard to explain.  Besides the obvious, being huge and powerful, yet soft and furry, they are also magnificent creatures whose soul reaches something deep inside you and both calms and ignites a fire.  When you work with a horse, it’s a partnership built on trust and a drive to work hard, to give all of yourself to each other in order to accomplish the goal. A horse doesn’t know how to hold back. That is what I love.

Tory goes through a lot, yet remains strong and confident in herself. What are the keys to writing a character like this?

Tory has accomplished a lot in her young life and that builds a certain level of self-worth.  She is flawed though, and she knows it.  To create a character, a teenage girl that other teenage girls can relate to, is a challenge.  But to be honest, Tory really took on a life of her own.  She is loosely based on my daughter.  A strong-willed, independent, and feisty female who will not be held back by gender roles.  Sometimes that makes her annoying.  She can be too stubborn at times, but like all young females, she’s still learning and growing.  Tory is fighting to find out who she is deep inside, who she truly wants to be, and that is the key to her character.  I think we all continue on that journey of finding ourselves, or at least a version of ourselves that we like and are proud of.

Were there alternate endings that you considered?

Tory’s journey was written in one document and in about four months. It was only after the story was “purged” that I began learning about publishing, (ie. book length) and discovered that it would need to be broken up into four books, thus creating a saga.  So, the “ending” had to be a point along that journey that could sort of be a break, or a timeout so to speak.

What authors have inspired you to write?

It never crossed my mind, being a writer.  I wasn’t even a reader, honestly.  Reading takes work for me, being dyslexic, and it was not a pastime I enjoyed.  The way it happened is sort of strange, I have to admit.  Some fellow teachers who were reading the Twlight series talked me into reading the books (of course I was hooked) and as I was reading them, “Tory” began telling her story.  My daily thoughts became consumed with in inner dialogue and I simply had to write it down to get it out of my head. 

What age were you when you started writing?

In my 30’s

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

My stories don’t seem to develop that way, so no, I haven’t.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I just write and as I get it put down on paper, the story just progresses.

Do you ever get sad when you realize that the characters that you’ve created aren’t real?

What do you mean they aren’t real?

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I tried traditional publishing first.  I had two agents that were interested in representing me, but insisted the book be shortened, by almost half, since I was an unknown writer.  They both said it would be hard to find someone to publish it because of the length.  After a lot of consideration, I just couldn’t change the story from the way it was written and proceeded to learn about Indie publishing. 

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

There was a lot to learn, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way.  Except maybe to not be in a rush once I had the book polished and ready.  I should have done a bit more exploring about publishing companies and marketing.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I have two books ready to be published, I just need the time to put into the marketing and release.  One is the continuation of Barefoot Pastures, and is Young Adult.  The other is Contemporary Romance that I will publish under another name.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I have been told that Tory is annoying, more than once.  And in a way, I already knew that.  She’s slightly flawed, but she’s growing and maturing.  Still, it hurts when someone doesn’t like your character.  It’s like someone saying they don’t like you or your friends. 

The thing I’ve heard more than once, and makes me the happiest about my book is when they stayed up all night reading, that they couldn’t put it down.  My favorite was someone telling me they called in sick to work so they could finish reading!  LOVE THAT.  I’m selfish that way.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

I’m probably not the best to give advice since I just starting writing, and with no prior training.  But I think it’s important to do what you think you would be good at, what you dream of.  So learn all you can learn about that “craft”.  Research and research some more.  Then share your work with someone you trust will be honest with you.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

When I write I like to have headphones on to help me block out the things happening around me.  I like to snack, and not be interrupted until I get out what is currently playing in my head.  Which I guess isn’t very weird, but for me it’s a big thing.   (snacks vary between sweet and salty.  I love popcorn and reeses pieces mixed together)

Thanks for the chat Lili! For anyone considering reading about this crazy and complex world of rodeo and the pure, sweet bond between girl and horse, here are what others are saying.

“Tory’s awkwardness was cute and her brothers made her all the more endearing. They provided both the humor and a large part of the heart. The theme of family is very strong and I could fall in love with the story on that alone. “

“I would recommend this book as a great coming-of-age story about what it means to be a teenager. Whether you’re familiar with Texas or tending horses (both of which you’ll get a real education about in this story) or not, the familiar teenage themes will resonate with you whether you’re currently living your teen years or well past them.”

“Lili Mahoney does a great job at creating an introverted and socially insecure character and then allowing her to grow and blossom throughout the story. She paints a wonderful setting and I really enjoyed reading Barefoot Pastures.”


Miss last week’s post? Check it out here!

Are you a teenager or know a few who love to write? Our Flash fiction contest is now open. Find out how to enter to win some great prizes. Contest details.

Please Don’t Make Me Read a “Real” Book

Young Adult - Kindle vs Paperback BooksPlease Don’t Make Me Read a “Real” Book, by T.D. Shields.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love books. I mean, I REALLY love books.

I read at least a few books a week, and on a really good week, I might read a dozen or more. I love to fall into a new story and lose myself in the author’s world. Some books are so magical that you can barely pause for sleep or work… some books are less transporting, but still a fun break from everyday life.

So I love books… but I don’t love “real” books. I’ve heard many people say (or post on Facebook, which is totally the same thing) that they just don’t like e-books. They prefer the smell of a real book and holding it in their hands and the whole tactile experience. I’m not going to argue – who am I to tell them what they should prefer? But here are a few thoughts from the other perspective.

“Real” books are heavy.

Does that make me sound like a complete wimp? It does, doesn’t it? Still, it’s true. One paperback doesn’t weigh a lot, but the weight adds up quickly when you read as much as I do. I remember a LOT of vacations in the years before e-books when I had at least one bag devoted entirely to bringing along enough books to make it through the trip. A big tote bag stuffed with books is hard to lug around! With my e-reader, I can bring dozens – or hundreds! – of books everywhere I go for less than a pound.

“Real” books are harder to hold.

This might just be my thing, but it’s a real factor for me. I have a touch of arthritis in my hands and wrists, and something about holding a book and closing my hands correctly to hold the pages open creates massive hand cramps. My e-reader can lay flat on my hand or on the arm of my chair and I never have to worry about the pages flipping and losing my spot because of a stray breeze.

“Real” books need bookmarks.

And speaking of losing my place in the book… whenever I’m reading a print book and need to take break, I have to find a bookmark. I cannot tell you how many bookmarks I have bought or picked up as a freebie over the years, but I can tell you that when I need to mark my spot I can never seem to find any of them. They disappear into the world of lost socks and disappearing remotes and I end up marking my place with any scrap I can find. Sure, it works, but it’s frustrating to me. I love the fact that my e-reader automatically brings me back to the right page with no effort required from me.

“Real” books get lost.

I admit to being ridiculously absentminded. I can rarely find my keys or wallet when I need them. My long-suffering husband often has to search the house to help me locate something I’ve misplaced. Just today I had to enlist the help of my husband and all the kids to track down my cell phone. (It was next to the couch – where I remembered leaving it as soon as someone else found it.) So I have OFTEN been in the middle of a great book and suddenly been cut short because I couldn’t find the book anywhere. It’s terrible! Sure, I can switch to a new book until I stumble across the missing tome, but again, the frustration looms large. I love the feature on my e-reader that lets me go to my computer and set off an alarm that helps me track down the e-reader. I need this feature for pretty much everything in my life, including keys, glasses, remotes, single shoes, the Pepsi I started drinking an hour ago, and anything else I might have touched today.

“Real” books are expensive.

It costs a lot to get a new print book; anywhere from 2x to 10x as much as the same book in e-book format. There are so many authors out there who I might have never read if I was limited to print books, because I can afford to spend 99 cents to try a new author, but $5 or more is just not in my budget. (Again, consider how many books I read in a week.) And yes, I am aware of the wonders of the library and have spent a lot of happy hours there. I love the library! But it comes back to that ‘books are heavy’ argument when I’m leaving the library with a stack of books so tall that I can barely see over it. (I’m actually not exaggerating with this description. The trick is to limit yourself to a stack no taller than your chin – then you can use your head to hold the wavering stack in place on your way to the car. Or you could be more prepared than I usually am and remember to bring a book bag to the library. Either way, still heavy.) By the way, the library has e-books, too.

“Real” books make you wait.

I’ve never grown up enough to get past the need for instant gratification – at least not when it comes to books. Is there anything worse than reaching the end of a book only to discover a major cliff-hanger? When I hit that, I want the next book immediately. As in, it’s two a.m. and I should definitely go to bed, but I wonder if the 24-hour Wal-Mart carries the next book? With e-books, if the next book has been released, I can get it RIGHT NOW.

 

So you can go ahead and enjoy your “real” books all you like – after all, the point is to relax with a good story and you should do whatever works best for you. And I freely admit that I still have a large library of print books – they are my backup in case of power outage or dystopian apocalypse.

But for the most part, I’m going to be over here happily enjoying my e-reader (with an enormous library at my fingertips). And if you have a new book to recommend, please point me to the download link.


Miss last week’s post? Check it out here!

Are you a teenager or know a few who love to write? Our Flash fiction contest is now open. Find out how to enter to win some great prizes. Contest details.

Save

YA Authors to Check Out

Sonya Sones Contemprary Young Adult BooksYA Authors to Check Out, by Beth Rodgers

I love reading young adult novels. There’s really no other way to say it. It’s a fact. Even though I have a special leaning toward contemporary novels, I have found that young adult genres such as fantasy, paranormal, and dystopian can fascinate me as well – albeit not quite as much. This is likely why I myself gravitate toward writing in the contemporary genre. It just rings truer and more realistically to me, and therefore, it is easier to write in that vein.

There are several contemporary young adult authors who stick out in my mind as the cream of the crop – but take note that despite my love of the genre, I have not read every book out there (I’m trying, though!), and therefore there must be more authors who will one day fall into this category for me. For now, I’d like to give you a sampling of some of my favorite contemporary YA authors.

Sonya Sones. My novel, ‘Freshman Fourteen,’ thanks Sones in the acknowledgments for being one of my inspirations for making writing seem so effortless and for helping me maintain my focus, energy, and love of writing through her words. She writes spectacular novels-in-verse that are not only fast and easy to read, but that connect readers through creative and metaphorical ways with words. Start with ‘What My Mother Doesn’t Know’ – it’s the one that pulled me in and got me so invested in finding and flying through the rest of her novels!

Meredith Zeitlin. I have only come to know of Zeitlin and her novels pretty recently, but she has quickly become one of my all-time favorite YA contemporary authors. She writes in much the same manner that I feel I do, with a female protagonist who is not quite sure of herself all the time, but finds strength in her convictions when necessary and finds herself in predicaments that are annoying to her, yet humorous to readers. Her writing is crisp and clear, and always has me eager to read more. Check out her novels, ‘Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters’ and ‘Sophomore Year is Greek to Me’ – you’ll be hooked in no time!

Alyson Noel. I first found one of Noel’s books at a local library book sale. The title was ‘Kiss & Blog,’ and I thought it sounded right up my alley. Besides being a fast and fun read, it spurred my interest in reading more of her novels – I’ve read six of hers in total so far. She captures teen life in a way that has more sex, drugs, and other not-so-wholesome issues included, but she does so in a way that doesn’t detract from the innocent values that her main characters still find a way of exhibiting. Even though my novel, ‘Freshman Fourteen,’ is more wholesome overall, reading about the troubles and indecision of teens who are not so much like my main characters still resonates with me and allows me to think about how I might incorporate different values and lessons into my own writing.

YA Author Rendezvous (YAAR). This fabulously gifted group that I am lucky to be a part of (and whose website you are reading this blog post on) includes some of my favorite new authors. With genres ranging from contemporary to paranormal, dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, and mystery, there is something for everyone. I highly encourage you to pick up some of the books mentioned on this website. You won’t be sorry you did. They are compelling in so many ways – motivationally, metaphorically, and because all the novels by authors in this group are written with the reader in mind (I’m sure the other authors mentioned above do this as well!). As readers ourselves, we take pride in providing you with what you want, because it’s what we want too!

I hope this listing of authors gives you a basis of where to start. And please note that this list is not by any means all-inclusive. There are so, so, so many authors and books out there that are begging to be read that can easily fall into the category of greatness. However, knowing what you’re looking for and what/who you already like in terms of your favorite genre or writing style will help you figure out new potential reading interests that much quicker. Good luck and happy reading!


Miss last week’s post? Check it out here!

Are you a teenager or know a few who love to write? Our Flash fiction contest is now open. Find out how to enter to win some great prizes. Contest details.

The Fate of Ten – Pittacus Lore

The Fate of Ten by Pittacus LoreThe Fate of Ten – Pittacus Lore – 5 Stars, by Lauren Mayhew

Blurb: For years the Garde have fought the Mogadorians in secret. Now all of that has changed. The invasion has begun. If the Garde can’t find a way to stop the Mogs, humanity will suffer the same fate as the Lorien: annihilation.

There is still hope. When the Elders sent the Garde to Earth, they had a plan-one which the Garde are finally starting to understand. In the climax of The Revenge of Seven, a group of the Garde traveled to an ancient pyramid in Mexico known to their people as the Sanctuary. There they awoke a power that had been hidden within our planet for generations. Now this power can save the world . . . or destroy it. It will all depend on who wields it.

I cannot even begin to explain how much I love these books! As far as I can remember, I have been reading them since the first one – I am Number Four – came out, so I’ve had a lot of patient waiting to do. And guess what… It’s still not finished!

I don’t mind there being another book because I’m really not keen for this series to be over, I just can’t believe the cliffhanger that it ended on.

I think I was supposed to be a bit more upset than I was at the ending of this book, but the character that we say goodbye to just seemed to be a bit of a spare part to me. I’m more worried about the impact this is going to have on a certain other character that I love!

This book was action packed from page 1. This one didn’t swap between too many different characters either, it was only John, Six and Ella occasionally. It made it a lot easier to read because I wasn’t having to try and remember which font applied to which character! The previous books had a habit of doing this and it got really confusing.

I think the whole book takes place in about 48 hours or so and a LOT happens in that time. I really don’t want to give too much away with this one, unlike some of my other reviews.

I’m loving the development of humans getting Legacies, though I do see this backfiring at some point. Maybe I’m too sceptical.

It was interesting to see some of the back story of Setrakus Ra. And one of my favourite lines during this sequence came from Six to the big bad himself – I would write it here, but it’s a little bit rude!

Ella really grows as a character in this one and I love her to pieces. There was a heart stopping moment involving her in this one. I’m not even joking, if Ella doesn’t make it, I will not be happy. Same goes for Sam, Marina and John. Six too. And Nine. Basically, no more Garde are allowed to die – apart from Five. I still haven’t quite figured him out.

I’m eagerly awaiting book 7. Hopefully it doesn’t take longer than a year.. This is definitely going onto my all time favourite books list.

Save

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: