Thursday, July 28, 2011

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Tour - Jennifer Echols & LOVE STORY

Hey everyone! Thanks to all of you who voted for Zachary in Round 3 of the YA Crush Tournament. Another miracle occurred, and he won! He heads to the Final Four on Friday, August 5. Plenty of time for me to pinch myself, when I'm not catching up on sleep.

More on that tomorrow. Today my guest on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit is my dear friend Jennifer Echols, who also happens to be an amazing author of contemporary YA novels. She writes romantic comedies for Simon Pulse and teen dramas for MTV/Gallery Books (equally well, I might add), like Going Too Far and Forget You.

Like her newest book, Love Story, which just came out last week. From the description, it promises to be another delicious, provocative read--the kind of story I love best!

She’s writing about him. He’s writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines.

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions – it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter… so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter… except this story could come true.

“A tremendously talented writer with a real gift for developing relationships.” –Romantic Times Magazine


And now, my interview with the wonderful Jenn!

Is there anything most people are able to do (such as drive a car, swim, ride a bike) that you can't?

I can’t cook. I do prepare food, but I have no talent for it. I can’t taste it and know what it needs. I can’t go off-recipe because I will ruin it. I have absolutely no ethnic food culture passed down through my own family. My Thai mother-in-law has tried to teach me to cook Southern soul food, which I think is just sad.

Which moment(s) during the writing/rewriting/editing of this book made you tear your hair out?

Originally I set the book in Atlanta, where I could easily drive from my home in Birmingham to do research. At some point it became clear to me that the book needed to be set in New York City, because the heroine wants to be a writer and work in publishing. I had to rely on my memory to reconstruct the city, and during copyedits I was informed that I’d gotten some things wrong.

Which moment(s) made you think, "ah, THIS is what carries me through the hair-tearing bits"?

To solve that problem, I called my best friend from high school, who lives in New York now. She dropped everything to talk me through New York and save me from massive rewrites, and then she called her New York cop friend to help me with more details. It is wonderful to have creative friends who don’t think my writer questions are the least bit weird.

Turn to page 99 of your latest novel. Which word on that page best evokes your story or main character?

Even though page 99 only has a few sentences, it’s a turning point in the novel with lots of possibilities, but I chose “home.”

Have you ever been starstruck when meeting another writer? If so, by who?

I met Jennifer Crusie at the Booksigning for Literacy at the Romance Writers of America conference a few weeks ago. I stood next to her name on the table and waited for her to show up so I could get a book signed for a friend before she ran out. I absolutely love her adult romantic comedies. I’m sure I didn’t make a great impression, but I didn’t fall on her or anything, and for that I was very grateful and proud.


Yay for small miracles! And I'm glad I'm not the only one who can't cook without a recipe.

Thanks to Jennifer Echols for stopping by to chat with us. Big congrats on the new release! And people, if you haven't read her books yet, you need to check them out. Like, now.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Zach's Round 2 teasers, Twitter chat with Logan, & on to Round 3!

Wow! In a very close race with the adorable Etienne St. Clair from Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss, Zachary survived Round 2 of the YA Crush Tournament.

Team Kilt gets no rest, though, as Round 3 has already started! Voting continues until 8am Central time tomorrow.

If Zachary wins Round 3, I will

a) die of shock

b) but before that, post another SHINE teaser, though probably not from the castle, since I've excised all the spoiler-free bits

c) but before that, donate $100 to the Tartan Army Children's Charity, a group of football supporters who raise money to help needy kids in Scotland and in the countries they visit while following the national side.

TACC's most famous fundraising event is the annual Kiltwalk, where each spring, people (in kilts or not) complete a marathon-length walk from Glasgow's Hampden Park out to Loch Lomond National Park.

One reason why I'm donating is that we'd hoped to do the Kiltwalk next year with some friends, but I'm pretty sure it's going to fall on the same weekend as the RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago, which I've already committed to (and am very much looking forward to--RT is like Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth). So probably no Kiltwalk 2012 for me. But 2013 for sure! I need both an excuse to get in shape and an excuse to return to Glasgow, to pick up the piece of my heart I left there. *Drama Hand to forehead*

The $100 will probably take the form of a 10-pound/month automated donation for six months (roughly $100, depending on the exchange rate). Knowing me, I'll forget to end the automated payment in January, so years from now this win could be worth THOUSANDS.

So vote for Zach, and help some weans! (weans=kids)


Yes, yes, I know you're really here for the spoils of yesterday's victory. The Twitter chat between Logan and Zachary will take place from 9-10:17pm Eastern time tonight. Hashtag: #SHADEboys. (I wanted something fancier like #SHADEboyzsmackdown, but that takes up a lot of characters.)

Come and ask them anything. If you don't have Twitter, or you can't make the chat, leave a question (for either or both boys) here in the comments, and I'll ask them for you.


A couple of people requested a Logan-related snippet from SHINE, and being a complete pushover, I said sure. So here you go, Logan lovers. We appreciate your support!

This scene takes place at the headquarters of the Department of Metaphysical Purity, where Aura is being interrogated, as planned at the end of SHIFT. It's the day after SHIFT has ended. Something terrible has happened, but it's not referenced in this snippet.

(Obligatory disclaimer: this is a relatively rough version. It hasn't even been line edited, much less copyedited or proofread. So it's likely to improve a ton before the final version.)


"Yes, our PA folks are experts at calming the public." Agent Ritter's smile was full of ironic admiration. "When did Logan pass on, Aura?"

I looked at Gina, as if for permission, but really to pretend it was killing me to reveal the truth. She nodded and touched my hand soothingly.

I bit my lip. "Last night with me, alone in the cemetery near his grave."

“What time exactly?” Ritter asked.

“About nine o’clock.”

"And you're certain he’s gone?"

I nodded, my throat too tight to speak, feeling and showing the first genuine emotion of this interview. “He’s gone for good,” I whispered.

“Hmm.” Ritter leaned over and pulled up a briefcase that had been sitting on the floor next to his chair. “Let’s confirm that, shall we?” He snapped the briefcase’s lock and lifted the lid with a flourish. Before I could ask what he was doing, Ritter pulled out a small disc of clear quartz and set it on the table between us.

Gina pointed at it. “Who’s the summoner for?”

“Who else?” He tapped its shiny surface. “Logan Keeley was tagged before the concert last week, so that he could be retrieved in the event of a disruptive incident, either for his safety or that of others.”

I was ninety percent sure that Ritter was bluffing. Logan would’ve told me if he was tagged again, the way he’d been before testifying at his family’s wrongful death suit trial. The summoners allowed ghosts to be called to a place they’d never traveled in life—like a courtroom, for instance.

Ritter watched my face carefully. He obviously didn’t believe me when I said Logan was gone. Even now, a tiny part of me wondered: if Logan could cross the boundary between shade and ghost—and ghost and human—maybe he could also cross the boundary between realms.

“That won’t work,” I said. “He’s in another world now.”

“Maybe.” Ritter slid his thumb under the disc and clicked it on. The clear quartz began to glow with a pure white light.

Inside, my heart pounded, waiting for Logan to manifest right here in the room, standing beside me with a bewildered grin. Inside, my lungs tightened with tears at the warring fear and hope of seeing him again. Inside, I was a boiling cauldron of emotion.

On the outside, I yawned.



Before I get to the Ballyrock castle teaser, I wanted to mention, I saw the last Harry Potter movie last night (which was awesome). Cried for the dead and broken-hearted, and cheered for my favorite underdog, Neville Longbottom!

I don't know if you've seen the actor who plays him lately, Matthew Lewis? He's, uh, grown up. So he's my new favorite choice for Zachary (sorry, other guy whose name I've forgotten Tom Sturridge!). And he's from Yorkshire, which'll make the Scottish accent easier to pull off than it would be for a southern English actor. (It's important to carefully consider things that will never happen.) So as you're reading the teaser, picture this:

And finally, here's your Ballyrock castle teaser. It takes place late at night. The rest is self-explanatory.

(Repeat disclaimer from above. It's rough.)


A violet light seeped through our translucent balcony curtains, casting a glow on the ceiling of the living room area.

I sat up in bed, my last trace of exhaustion chased away by excitement. This was the first ghost I’d seen in Ireland, thanks to Zachary’s near-constant presence.

Maybe this ghost would know something about Newgrange. Maybe it’d be old enough to remember what happened during the Shine.

I slipped out of bed, grabbed my sweater, and hurried to the balcony door, where I parted the curtain in the middle to get a better look.

The ghost was a middle-aged man in a classic Irish cap, like the ones worn by the older guys in the pub. His trousers were a bit baggy, as was his tweed coat. He could’ve been from any time, in the distant or recent past.

I opened the door. “Hi.”

He gave a warm smile and said something I couldn’t understand.

“Uh, do you speak English?”

His smile turned to a scowl, and he began to rant, throwing up his arms and gesturing wildly.

I held up my index finger. “Hang on.”

I closed the door, then ran to the bed and almost pounced on Zachary, but held off at the last second. Probably not safe to surprise someone so vigilant.

Instead I crawled in next to him, snuggling close. “Zach, wake up.”

“Can’t. Sleeping.”

I pressed my mouth to his and gave him a full, deep kiss.

“Second thought, not sleeping.” He rolled me atop his body and kissed me hard, one hand full of my hair and the other sneaking up underneath my shirt.

Though it tore my heart (and the rest of my body), I pulled away far enough to speak. “There’s a Gaelic ghost on the balcony.”

Zachary blinked hard. “Heh?”

“I think he speaks Gaelic. Obviously I don’t, so this is your interview.”

His hands dropped to the bed with twin thuds. “That’s why you’re kissing me?” His voice pitched up in frustration. “Taking my red so I can have a chat with a ghost?”

“Hurry.” I hopped off the bed, pulling his arm. “Ask him about Newgrange, ask him how long he’s been haunting this place, if it’s before or after the Shift. Ask him anything.”

“The dialect’s different here.” Zachary picked up his sweater from the back of the sofa, and the notepad and pen next to the room phone. He shuffled to the balcony doors, rubbing his face, then smoothing his tousled hair. “But I’ll try.”

I sat cross-legged on the bed, listening to Zachary’s muffled foreign words through the door. At one point, he repeated the same phrase three times, slower with each pass. Either he had run up against a Scottish-Irish language barrier, or he couldn’t believe his ears and had to confirm what the ghost was telling him.

Finally the violet glow disappeared. The balcony door opened slowly, and Zachary came inside.

I bounced off the bed. “Anything interesting?”

“Aye.” He wiped his feet on the woven rug, and I realized he hadn’t put shoes on to go outside.

“You must be freezing.” I hurried to the bathroom to get a towel for his feet. He took it from me, a dazed look on his face, then moved almost zombie-like to sit on the sofa.

“Must be hard to get used to,” I said. “Talking to ghosts?”

He held up a hand to silence my babbling. “Aura, that wasn’t just any ghost."


Hope to see you tonight at the chat. If not, leave your questions for Logan and Zachary here in the comments.

And don't forget to vote for Zachary--think of the weans!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

YA Crush Tourney Round Dhà!

(Dhà means "two" in Scots Gaelic, and it's pronounced ghah, because nothing in Gaelic is pronounced the way it looks. Nothing! Argh!)

Thanks again to everyone who voted for Zachary in the YA Crush Tournament’s first round July 8-9. Because of your support (especially the artful advocacy of Fictitious Delicious), he won, in a major, major underdog upset! As promised, I posted a SHINE teaser from Ballyrock Castle.

In Round Dhà (2), the stakes are even higher. If Z-Mo wins, I will:

1) post another SHINE teaser from Ballyrock;

2) host a live Twitter chat between Logan and Zachary. For one hour and seventeen minutes (yep), you can ask them anything, and they’ll be able to talk to each other. (Follow Logan and Zachary on Twitter. You may notice that Logan can only tweet in all caps or all lower-case. It’s because he can’t use the Shift key. GET IT?? Heh.)

3) as an extra special payoff incentive to Team Logan members, I will also post a short Logan-related teaser from SHINE.

So go vote! Only one vote per computer/phone, or possibly per location, so tell your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and even--gasp!--real life to help out, too. Thanks!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Melissa Walker

Hey, folks! Hope my fellow east coasters are holding up under this BRUtal record-breaking heat wave.

A few suggestions for ways to beat the heat:

1. Listen to Christmas carols. This morning, our local classical radio station played "The Nutcracker Suite." Within an hour, the heat index dropped from 113 to 111.

2. Pay a local eight-year-old to set up a lemonade stand in your kitchen or office.

3. Give up on all those pesky errands and relax with a great book! (You knew I was going to say that, didn't you?)

If you go with the third option (or even better, all three), you're in luck. A book I've been dying to read for months is out this week, Small-Town Sinners by Melissa Walker. I was privileged to be on a YA reading panel at the Brooklyn Public Library earlier this year during the NYC Teen Author Festival. Melissa was also on it, and read from Small-Town Sinners. I was hooked!

A few years ago, Melissa wrote an article for ELLEgirl magazine on the topic of "Hell Houses," which are like haunted houses, except that instead of encountering ghouls and ghosties, visitors learn about all the sins that can land them in Hell (and cause much misery in this life, too).*

“I was so intrigued by the small town I traveled to and the warmth of all the teenagers I met, plus their obvious passion for this production, that I had to revisit that world,” said Walker.

From Bloomsbury's press release:

Small Town Sinners is the story of Lacey Anne, daughter of the pastor and perennial good girl, who is eligible for a lead role in the season’s Hell House production—a role she’s been coveting for years. But when Ty moves to town as casting begins, a new perspective is added to Lacey Anne’s world and she starts to see her tight-knit, Evangelical community in a different light. With the help of her two best friends Starla Joy and Dean, and her potential first love Ty, Lacey Anne begins exploring her own thoughts and feelings about her religion, her community, and her place within both.

Author Lauren Myracle called it a "devilishly good read," and Kirkus said, “This secular story about religious people could easily devolve into camp mockery, but because Walker takes her character’s crisis of faith seriously and sensitively, readers will, too.”

The New York Times reviewed the book which, as you may or may not know, is a really huge deal. Ninety-nine percent of authors (not an exact figure) go their entire career without being reviewed there. They even compared it to Friday Night Lights!

I literally just ordered it myself (it's taken me two hours to write this post, because I was fighting the urge to order MORE books besides this one). Since hearing Melissa read from Small-Town Sinners, I have another reason why this is on my Absolutely-Must-Read-No-Kidding-Do-It-Now list. Can't tell you why just yet, but soon you'll understand. *flaps hands excitedly*

And now, my interview with the amazing Melissa Walker!

1. Which moment(s) during the writing/rewriting/editing of this book made you tear your hair out?

I had a moment where I felt like the scenes were ALL in the wrong places. I used a post-it note technique to fix it... but it was tough!

2. Which moment(s) made you think, "ah, THIS is what carries me through the hair-tearing

Getting this review in the New York Times made that sticky-note moment worth it!

3. Turn to page 99 of your latest novel. Which word on that page best evokes your story or
main character?

The word "breaking" appears on this page, and I think that in Small Town Sinners, breaking down beliefs, breaking open new possibilites, and breaking rules are definitely big themes.

4. Which book/movie/TV show have you recently discovered that made you want to kick yourself for not reading/watching sooner?

"Gilmore Girls." I KNOW! I can't believe I didn't watch it as it ran, either. But I'm making up for it with the DVDs!

5. If your house was on fire, what object (not including living creatures, human or non-human) would you grab on the way out?

My Time Machine--it backs up the computers in the house so at least all of our photos and music and my works-in-progress would survive!


You can visit Melissa at her website, her e-newsletter I Heart Daily, and on Twitter. Have a great weekend, and stay cool! (you knew I was going to say that, too, didn't you? Wahhh, it's too hot to be unpredictable....)

*One of my favorite King of the Hill episodes tackled this subject, to hilarious effect.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

ZOMG: Zachary wins Round One! (and promised SHINE teaser)

Thanks to the heroic (and I mean Braveheart/David-and-Goliath/300-Spartans heroic) efforts of Team Kilt, 25th-seeded Zachary Moore beat his 8th-seeded rival in Round One of the YA Summer Crushin' Tournament, in a huge upset!

If you haven't read Fictitious Delicious's amazing ode to Zachary, take a minute and check it out. It's sweet and hilarious, and I am in awe of their talent.

Round Two will be some time next week Monday, July 25 through Tuesday, July 26, and it's a perfect matchup. Zach's fellow foreign-accented, awesome-kisser rival is Etienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Should be a funny and friendly contest!

Anyway, I promised last week that for every round Zachary won, I would post a short teaser from Shine, and that each would take place at Ballyrock Castle. None will contain spoilers for those who've read Shade and Shift.

This first one takes place a few minutes after they arrive at their room, after Aura has flown across the Atlantic to meet Zachary in Ireland to celebrate their birthdays , witness the winter solstice at Newgrange, and hopefully solve the mystery of the Shift. And maybe do a few other things.

(Please note: this is a relatively rough version. It hasn't even been line edited, much less copyedited or proofread. So it's likely to improve a ton before the final version.)

Like the rest of the series, it's from Aura's (nervous, at this moment) point-of-view.


Our hands lay a few inches apart on the balcony’s cold stone railing, but the distance might as well have been a few miles. That’s how hard it would be to join them. Because of what lay beyond.

But I spread my fingers wider, and he did the same, until the tip of my right pinky and the tip of his left pinky almost brushed. Almost.

The thick Irish mist seemed to fill my lungs, drowning me in fear and anticipation. I wasn’t sure what would kill me faster—touching Zachary or not touching him.

“Are y’hungry?” he finally asked in a low voice.

“No,” I whispered, not looking up.


“Uh, yeah. No. I don’t know. Maybe.” I risked a glance at him. “What’s there to drink?”

“Water from the tap?” He gave a short, hoarse laugh. “I dunno why I’m acting like a waiter.”

I smiled, but looked away, down at the River Boyne, wishing it could lend me some of its silent silver serenity. “I don’t know, either.”

“I suppose, now that you’re in my part of the world, it feels like you’re my guest, and I want to make you, em...”



I summoned every scrap of courage and turned to face him full on. “You do. You always...” My voice trailed off, because I’d run out of breath.

"Aura." Zachary drew his top lip between his teeth, then spoke to the stone surface just beyond my feet. “I’ve tried to think of what I’d say and what I’d do right now. How I could make it everything you want.” With each quickening blink, his eyes shifted, never leaving the ground. “But then, I started to think it would never happen, that I’d never even see you again. And then every time I turned my mind to this moment, it went blank.” His lashes lifted to let his gaze meet mine. “I couldn’t imagine a future that would be so kind to us.”

My eyes burned with tears—of anger as much as sorrow or love. Whatever those bastards had done to him, the one thing I’d never forgive was the haunted look they’d put in his eyes.

“So I’m sorry,” he continued, “if I’m no’ quite the most, em, smooth person when it comes to these things. I never did sort out what to say and do, how to get from here—” He pointed to the space between our feet. “—to there.” He gestured behind him, toward the door, but at an angle. Toward the bed.

I took a shaky step forward, so that we almost touched. “You’re not the only one who can sort stuff out.”


Whaddya think? Be nice--it's my birthday.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Zachary in the YA Summer Crushin' Tournament!

Holy flaming toads, it's hot out there! And what better way to pass the summer days than with hot imaginary guys?

So says bloggers at the YA Sisterhood, who just devised a March-Madness (uh, July-Madness)-style tournament for crush-worthy guys in YA fiction, the Summer Crushin' Tournament!

There are some surprising entries, including...Zachary Moore! Okay, maybe not that surprising. If you're reading my blog, you've probably read Shade and/or Shift, so you know he's got the whole Glaswegian dialect and being-alive thing going for him. Plus the kilt.

But Zachary is much more than just an accent, a clothing item, and a pulse. Zach is...well, hey, it's not the authors' place to tell you how crush-worthy their boyz are.

For that, we have champions! Different bloggers have signed up to argue for their favorite dude. The first two contests, between Puck from Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series vs. Etienne by Stephanie Perkins; and Nash from Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series vs. Hale from Ally Carter's Heist Society series are going on now. (Links: Nash vs. Hale; Puck vs. Etienne).

Zachary's champion is Fictitious Delicious, who wrote a lovely review of Shift and a limerick-style ode to Aura and Zach. Best of all, they rate books in terms of food. Books + food = My Entire Life.

Being a veteran of the DA BWAHA tournament, I just couldn't stand by and watch my lad get hammered by a character who is apparently more popular than Jesus. No no no! I've learned how to bribe provide incentives.

So here's my offer, to ALL of you.

For every round in the Summer Crushin' Tournament Zachary wins, I will on this blog...a teaser from Book 3, SHINE...from Ballyrock Castle.

If you've read Shift, then you know what I'm talkin' about. Uh-huh. (Don't worry, I promise to edit so as not to spoil anything--the whole point of a teaser is to, well, you know...)

So ready your troops! Come Friday and Saturday, vote (apparently as often as you want), spread the word, and support the one who is, as Logan would say, "so f*cking pure of heart."

Alba gu bràth!

St Andrews Saltire

P.S.: If you're wondering why I'm posting this early, it's because on Friday I'll be at Cape Canaveral watching the very last Space Shuttle launch EVER! Unless it rains, in which case I'll be at Cape Canaveral NOT watching the very last Space Shuttle launch ever.

P.P.S: "Alba gu bràth!" means "Scotland forever!" According to EVERYDAY GAELIC by Morag MacNeill.

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Suzanne Young and A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL

Happy [insert applicable national holiday here] to my Canadian friends and fellow Americans! I'm off to see some amaze-tastic fireworks at Oregon Ridge Park in Hunt Valley (yes, that Hunt Valley, home of the Keeley family. The fireworks and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performance just might be the setting for a scene from SHINE.) Fingers crossed it doesn't storm--our poor dog is afraid of thunder, which makes every summer social activity "tentative" for us.

Last week's winner of a copy of Elana Johnson's Possession, courtesy of Simon Pulse, was...commenter #5, Julie! Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented.

This week's guest is Suzanne Young, author of the just-released A Need So Beautiful, which just yesterday was named one of Amazon's five Best Books of the Month. Woo-hoo!

So what's it about?

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte’s destiny is to be Forgotten…

Charlotte's best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she's cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what's really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become—her mark on this earth, her very existence—is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny—no matter how dark the consequences?

WOW! I love books where the characters question fate and fight to choose what's right for them. Another must-read for me. *glares at TBR pile*

Read the first 50 pages of A Need So Beautiful.

Booklist gave it a starred review, calling it, "A clever and well-written fantasy. Whether Charlotte is an angel or a being less freighted by religious tradition is left up to the reader, but the dilemma of how we can make a lasting impression is a very human concern. Young offers an elegant solution that is well worth consideration."

And the very awesome Carrie Ryan (author of the Forest of Hands and Teeth series) said it was, “A beautiful, poignant, and gripping tale of love and sacrifice.”

A bit about Suzanne:

Suzanne Young currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she uses the rainy weather as an excuse to stay inside and write obsessively. After earning her degree in creative writing, Suzanne spent several years teaching middle school language arts. Now she can be found at home chasing after her two children and poorly behaved dog and writing novels for teens. You can visit her online or follow her on Twitter.

And now, my interview with the lovely lady herself!

Which moment(s) during the writing/rewriting/editing of this book made you tear your hair out?

Trying to explain the mythology. It wasn’t based in any particular faith, so I had to make it up as I went. So there were times when I wanted to bang my head on the keyboard.

Which moment(s) made you think, "ah, THIS is what carries me through the hair-tearing bits"?

I had the ending written before most of the book. And knowing I was going to get there was a real motivator.

We're told we have to "kill our darlings" when we edit. Can you share a deleted line or paragraph you would've loved to have kept? Bonus question: tell us why you decided to cut it.

I cut this quick paragraph, but honestly, I think it was just trimming and not for any huge reason.

“I yelled and tried to help him, but it was no use. He was dead. And when I looked back over my shoulder at Onika… she was smiling. She was smiling and for second, I saw her face. Her true face. And it was horrible.”

Turn to page 99 of your latest novel. Which word on that page best evokes your story or main character? (Side note to writers: feel free to use a different page if 99 is only a few sentences long.)


Which book/movie/TV show have you recently discovered that made you want to kick yourself for not reading/watching sooner?

The Killing

If your house was on fire, what object (not including living creatures, human or non-human) would you grab on the way out?

Picture of me with my grandmother.

Is there anything most people are able to do (such as drive a car, swim, ride a bike) that you can't?

I’m a terrible swimmer. I don’t really like water all that much.

Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?

When I was a server I’d have a reoccurring dream of trying to get the order of a table, but being too busy. It was horrible!


Argh, I still have that dream, and I haven't waited tables in ten years!

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This Side of Salvation

This Side of Salvation, Jeri's new contemporary YA novel!

Now available in hardcover and ebook.

“A smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self.” —Booklist, **Starred Review**


Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or



"Shattered," a Shade novella!

Available here on this website as a free download in all major ebook formats, as well as a printable PDF (now with photos!).

More about "Shattered"

About the author

Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

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