Saturday, June 25, 2011

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Elana Johnson - Now with Giveaway!

[EDITED TO ADD: Simon Pulse has generously offered to donate a signed copy of POSSESSION! See details below.}

Happy weekend again! Unlike last weekend, when I went to a wedding and did a booksigning, this Saturday finds me at home working hard on SHINE revisions. Right now I'm rereading SHADE and SHIFT. This helps in three ways:

1. I find loose ends that must be tied up in the final book.
2. Small details introduced in earlier books can turn out to be a plot or character key in later installments.
3. I avoid embarrassing continuity errors.

Most authors hate reading their old books because they find things they wish they could change, but I enjoy it. Once a book is published, it's final, so what's the point in wanting to change it? And the way I let my perfectionist-freak flag fly during page proofs, the novel is truly the best I could make it.

Besides, if you can't enjoy your own books, which are written about the subjects you love and in the style you love, what books CAN you enjoy?

Enough about me. This week's guest on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit is one of my fellow Simon Pulse authors, Elana Johnson! Her debut novel, Possession, just came out this week.


Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Reviewers are loving this latest addition to the YA dystopian genre!

"Possession held me completely captivated from beginning to end. And what an end! I fell in love with the characters and had countless moments of 'Wow.'"
--James Dashner, bestselling author of The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials

"Who Should Read This: Anyone who wants a challenge: This plot is so twisty, I had to read the last chapter twice before I could believe what happened. There's also a very nice balance between badass action and romantic tension for readers who like a good mix of the two."
--MTV.com

“Most [readers] will be drawn in by the love triangle, revelations about Vi and her family, and a dark twist ending that maintains the faintest glimmer of hope.”
--Publishers Weekly

"This debut dystopian succeeds at suspense and tension.... Revelations come hard and fast." --Kirkus

“Emotion pumps through every scene of this thriller. Given all the urgency and action, the novel’s ending may surprise readers as the heroic adventure turns into a tragic love story.” –School Library Journal

“An intriguing dystopia…A good choice for fans of Pam Bachorz and Ally Condie.” --Booklist

Read the first two chapters at the Possession website.

And now, my interview with the fascinating Elana Johnson!

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

There’s this one scene in POSSESSION that I had to write like, 50 times. It’s the part that deals with the simulators. I seriously could not figure it out. At one point, I deleted something like 30 pages and started completely over from blankness.

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

There is a point in the book where my heart cracks a little every time I read it. That’s the moment when the baldness is worth it.

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

Ache.

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

Modern Family. It’s hilarious!

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

My 72-hour-kit. That thing has all the essentials in it! Food, important papers, fuel, money, everything.

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 whistle. Like, at all.

Is there anything YOU can do that most people can't?

I’m double-jointed, so I can bend the first knuckle on all my fingers without bending any of the others. It’s creepy.

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

Absolutely! I was a little star-struck when I met Sara Zarr, and definitely when I met Scott Westerfeld!

Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?

I exhaust myself so completely that I can’t remember my dreams. Back when I used to get a decent amount of sleep, I used to consistently dream about being chased through an airport.

---

Possession sounds amazing, doesn't it? I've been hearing so much about it, but I think the time has come to read it myself. And so should you.

[Edited to add: And now you can! Just comment on the interview (a comment on the questions and/or answers, not just "Great interview!") by Friday, July 1 at 11:59pm eastern. I'll draw a winner using a random number generator and post it in the comment thread. So PLEASE subscribe to the thread or check back here on Saturday to see if you won. US addresses only. Copy will be signed but not personalized, since it's coming from the publisher, not Elana herself.]

Congrats to Elana on her fabulous debut! See the rest of you next week...maybe with some more Ireland pictures? Maybe? No pressure, though. Can't take the pressure.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

This week's chats, and Girlfriends Cyber Circuit presents Amanda Ashby!

Hey, it's almost summertime! Which means it's time for me to estivate (hibernation for summer--look it up, I swear I didn't invent it) and dive into revisions for Shine.

But first I have two chats coming up this week at Eve's Fan Garden. Monday night at 8:30pm eastern time, the topic will be Fun in Writing, and the topic Wednesday night (also at 8:30pm) will be Romance in YA. Should be lots of fun!

But enough summer talk. For today's Girlfriends Cyber Circuit guest, it's almost winter. One of my favorite Twitter buds, Amanda Ashby, has a new book out: Fairy Bad Day! How much do you love that cover?

About the Book

It’s going to be a fairy bad day.

First, my rightful designation of dragon slayer is STOLEN right out from under me by Curtis Green. Sure, he’s really cute, but that doesn’t give him an excuse.

On top of that, I am assigned to slay fairies. I know what you’re thinking—how hard could it be, right? Wrong! These menacing beasts with their tiny hipster clothes and mocking sarcasm love taunting me. And they won’t STOP!

But the thing that tops my list of stuff to ruin my day? That would be the GIANT KILLER FAIRY that I have to hunt down and slay because I am the only one who can see it. There is someone who can help me. Unfortunately…it’s Curtis.

The Peoples are loving Fairy Bad Day:

"Laced with humor, danger, and romance, this book will have readers smiling all the way to the last page." -- Publishers Weekly

"If Buffy and Harry Potter got together and threw a magical slayer party, it would be the world Amanda Ashby created in Fairy Bad Day." -- Tera Lynn Childs, award-winning author of Oh. My. Gods. and Forgive My Fins.

Details on how awesome Amanda is (aka, her bio):

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia, and has spent the last fifteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand before finally deciding that to move home. When she's not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let's just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)/

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. As well as writing, she works part-time at the children/teen desk of her local library, which basically means that someone pays her to talk about books. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library's Stuff for the Teen Age 2010.

Follow Amanda on Twitter--I do!

And now, my interview with the lovely Amanda herself:

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

All of it. Considering I write light-hearted books, this one was a lot of hard work. It was revised numerous times as my editor/agent and I tried to find the ‘real’ story. Even though it stayed the same in essence, it just seemed to take forever to get finished and by the time it was done my critique partners and I were heartily sick of it. Thankfully, it’s been fully edited for about eighteen months now and I have a very bad memory, which makes it possible to now look on it fondly without remembering the drama!!!!!

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

My husband and I only started watching Deadwood last year, well after it had finished as a series and we were just staggered at how amazingly perfect it was. Especially if you’re writer—it’s like taking a master class in characterization and it just left us in total awe (though for awhile it was impossible to stop swearing Deadwood-style!!!). And even cooler is the fact that Trixie is going to be playing Katniss’s mom!!!!

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

Honestly, there isn’t anything special. It probably helps that we have moved country SO many times over the last fifteen years that we’ve become quite zen about owning things. I’m not saying that it stops us from owning things (with particular reference to retro handbags) but I don’t get attached to things the same that I probably did when I was younger.

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

Well, I can do all of the above things and nothing normal springs to mind that I can’t do, though there is one dumb thing that I absolutely cannot/willnot/don’ttrytomakeme and that’s clapping my hands in time to music. It literally makes my skin crawl, which my husband—who is the most amazing guitarist ever—finds totally weird since he thinks in music. In fact it literally took me about five years to figure out when to clap on the Friends song!

Is there anything YOU can do that most people can't?

No, I’m wildly untalented. Unless of course you count sitting and watching TV for hours on end, then in that case, I rule!!! In fact I always need to fan myself down when people try and tell me how boring they would find it if they just had to stay home all day. Because to me, having all day to read and all night to watch TV would be bliss!

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

Well, I’m a HUGE Jonathan Stroud fan (and for anyone who hasn’t read his Bartameus, then you really, really must because he is amazing). Anyway, when he joined twitter I kept telling other people to follow him and for some reason he decided to send me a tweet to say thank you! I kid you not I literally ran around the house for ten minutes being very undignified!!!!! And the main lesson we can learn from this is that for one little tweet, I’m your friend for life!!!!

Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?

I often dream that I steal the blankets off my husband, though apparently this is true so I guess it doesn’t count!!!!

---

Small technical note: I've been having trouble using Blogger lately with Firefox and had to switch to Internet Explorer to finish off last week's GCC post. So today I decided to start with IE, and had a million formatting problems. (I couldn't copy from Notepad and paste into IE--seriously?)

I switched to Google Chrome. Like a dream--a dream, I tell you! This could be the beginning of a beautiful blogger-browser relationship.

Congrats to Amanda on her new release, and good luck with her move to Australia! Happy winter!

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Jessica Brody

Happy Saturday! Wow, where did the week go? All I remember is lots of sweat and a marvelous concert by Mumford & Sons (best show ever). I only got one good picture because I forgot that my new phone has a "night" setting. Duh. And we were right up front!

More details on that later. Because this week wasn't just about the heat wave or beautiful music, but it was also the week that Jessica Brody's My Life Undecided hit the shelves!

This sounds like my kind of book. Anyone who knows me well? Just read the description and you'll be nodding your head so hard you'll get whiplash.

About the book

PLEASE READ THIS! MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!

Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I’m gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.


---

Yep, that's me. I'm decisionally challenged (love that term!). Sometimes I compensate by making spot decisions very quickly. Like the touch-screen order menus at convenience stores like Wawa and Sheetz? I barrel through those things so fast, because if I don't, I spend forty minutes trying to decide between Swiss and provolone, and then figuring out whether honey mustard or spicy mustard would work better with each choice. The decision tree has too many branches!

Anyway, My Life Undecided has been getting loads of great reviews, including these:

"Brooklyn is a sympathetic protagonist with whom teens will identify. Her journey is fun to read, and decision-challenged readers will learn an important lesson about self-acceptance along the way." --School Library Journal

"Brody taps into a universal human desire...An amusing coming-of-age story with many funny moments...[Brooklyn's] flustered, off-the-cuff narration should keep readers as invested in her actions as her blog followers are." --Publisher's Weekly

And it has an awesome trailer! Check it out!



A few fun facts about Jessica Brody’s own life undecided:
  • Jessica was born in Los Angeles, moved to Colorado when she was twelve, moved back to California after college and now indecisively splits her time between both states.
  • Jessica graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts with majors in Economics and French because she was convinced she wanted to be an “important business woman.” After a brief stint as a strategic analyst for MGM Studios, she abandoned her business background to become a full-time writer. Now she uses her mad spreadsheet skills to build complicated outlines for her books.
  • Appropriately, when writing this book, Jessica couldn’t decide on a title. So she polled 50 of her closest friends to finally come up with My Life Undecided.
Visit Jessica at jessicabrody.com. And coming soon: www.MyLifeUndecided.com, where you can post your own undecided questions, poll the community, and get some answers. Sounds like I site I could really use!

And now, my interview with Jessica:

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

Act 2! Or the dreaded “middle.” Act 1 is my favorite. It’s the set-up. Everything is fresh, the character is new and fun and novel. You get to lay the groundwork for the story, build suspense, layer in complex plot points that will be resolved later. And then comes the Act 2. The heart of the story. Also known as “my nemesis.” The character is now totally grating my nerves, everything I set up in Act 1 absolutely sucks, I have no idea why I’m even a writer to begin with, I have the vocabulary of a five year old, all the “complex plot points” I thought I was setting up now actually have to be dealt with (yikes!) and I become nearly impossible to live with (my husband will second that.) And yet, somehow, incredibly, magically (as if little elves snuck in my house in the middle of the night and fixed everything that was wrong with my story), I finally arrive at act 3, the conclusion and then I’m like, “That wasn’t so bad. I don’t know why I was so freaked out!”

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

I’m going to have to say the “Truth or Dare” scene. I can’t tell you what it is without giving away spoilers, but it was my favorite scene to write. It’s pretty exciting and marks a big turn in the story. And that’s all I’m going to say about that!

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

I actually JUST finished the entire Harry Potter series. I was WAY behind all the hype. I resisted it for a long time, convincing myself that I wouldn’t like it because I wasn’t into all that magical stuff. Then my friend (who’s a HUGE fan) finally talked me into reading it and I was instantly hooked. As a writer, I could really appreciate the complexities of storytelling that J.K. Rowling was able to accomplish in that series.

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

My laptop! My whole life (and career) is on there!

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

Yes! I can’t wink my right eye. It’s the weirdest thing ever! My left eye winks like a pro, but the right? Nothing!

Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?

Yes! I have a terrible recurring dream about my teeth falling out. I hear this is actually a very common dream, especially for control freaks (like myself!). I think it symbolizes loss of control, but I’m open to any other interpretations if you want to offer one!

--

I have that dream, too, but I didn't realize I was a control freak. (OK, everyone who knows me well enough to nod that I'm decisionally challenged, STOP LAUGHING!!)

Congrats to Jessica on her new release--I'm definitely checking this one out myself, and you should, too!

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

NYX in the HOUSE OF NIGHT out today!

Hey, out of nowhere, the first of two release days for me this week!

If you're a fan of PC Cast and Kristin Cast's House of Night YA vampire series like I am, you don't want to miss this gorgeous new anthology of essays exploring aspects of the series.

Nyx in the House of Night: Mythology, Folklore, and Religion in the P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast Vampyre Series is a collection of writings by paranormal authors and experts in the field.

It's full of fascinating discussions that shed light on the series' complex world-building, plus some beautiful illustrations. My own essay touches on Kalona and his similarities to another fallen immortal I have some experience with (fictionally, I mean)--Lucifer himself.

I signed copies of Nyx in the House of Night at BookExpo a couple weeks ago, along with fellow YA authors Jana Oliver and Trinity Faegen. I also snagged a triple-signed copy just for you. See below for how to win.

But first, a little more about the book. Here's the full table of contents:

"Introduction: Nyx in the House of Night" --P. C. Cast
"Night in the House of Good and Evil: Nyx's portrayal in the HoN series" -- Karen Mahoney
"The Dangerous Dead: Vampire Mythology in the HoN series" -- John Edgar Browning
"By Their Marks You Shall Know Them" (on tattoos) -- Jana Oliver
"The Divine Cat" -- Ellen Steiber
"Reimagining 'Magic City': How the Casts Mythologize Tulsa” -- Amy H. Sturgis
"The Magic of Being Cherokee" -- Jordan Dane
"Freedom of Choice: Kalona, A-ya, and the Raven Mockers" -- Jeri Smith-Ready
"The Otherworld Is Greek to Me" -- Trinity Faegen
"The Elements of Life" -- Bryan Lankford
"Misunderstood: Multiple Partners in our Matriarchal (and Patriarchal) Past" -- Kristin Cast
"She Is Goddess: Goddess Worship in the HoN Series" -- Yasmine Galenorn
"Worshipping the Female Deity" -- Christine Zika
"Cruithne Mythology and the House of Night" -- P. C. Cast
Behind the House of Night Names

Find out more at SmartPop's Nyx page.

To enter to win this triple-signed copy of Nyx in the House of Night, answer the question SmartPop asked me in a recent interview:

If you were any character in the House of Night series, which would you be?

Rules:

Deadline: June 10, 11:59pm eastern daylight time. Winner will be announced in the comments to this post, so subscribe to the comments if you want to be notified without leaving your e-mail address (which I do not recommend, due to risk of spam), or check back here on Monday.

Shipping: U.S. addresses only.

Can't wait to hear your answers!

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Monday, June 06, 2011

YA novels, the culture war. and the politics of fear

By now many of you have seen or heard of the “article” in the Wall Street Journal, “Darkness Too Visible,” about alleged “depravity” in young adult fiction. If you haven’t, go read it, and I welcome your comments about it here on the blog (especially since that site is having trouble accepting comments).

The reaction from the YA world was instant and overwhelming. Late Saturday night Twitter was ablaze with protests, and a new hashtag, #YAsaves, telling how YA fiction had changed people’s lives, was the #3 trending topic in the world. (Which should tell you how many of us crazy-cool YA authors are home on a Saturday night. Woo!)

Like many authors and readers, I was outraged and saddened by the article, and by the cheerleading section in its comments.

What I was not, however, was surprised. It’s no accident that this opinion piece masquerading as journalism appeared in the Wall Street Journal, as opposed to any other newspaper.

The Journal’s news reporting used to be top-notch. They’ve won thirty-three Pulitzer Prizes, the last one in 2007, a gold medal award-winning story about executive stock fraud. All the while, their editorial page had a strong conservative slant—they were, after all, the paper of record for the business world, whose primary goal is profit.

In 2007, the Wall Street Journal was bought by Dow Jones & Company, a subsidiary of News Corporation, the same communications conglomerate that owns Fox News Channel. Many of the Journal's serious journalists and editors have since flocked to other news organizations, frustrated with the paper's new lack of interest in thorough, investigative journalism.

The people who run Fox News--and now the Wall Street Journal--want you to believe that America is engaged in a "Culture War," that the country is divided by moral issues such as gay rights, affirmative action, abortion, and feminism. We are not one American people united by belief in freedom and equality and our love for baseball and apple pie--no, we are at WAR with each other, dammit, and everyone must take sides.

This fearmongering belief was most memorably expressed in Pat Buchanan's speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention:

There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.

Really, Pat? Gay rights are as dangerous as Soviet nukes? Really?

Sadly, these days, more people than ever subscribe to this fear-based world view, thanks to Fox News and right-wing talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and his many wanna-bes. Every year, Fox host Bill O'Reilly yells about the "War on Christmas"--a manufactured controversy if there ever was one.

You might be thinking, come on, Jeri. You're an author, not a pundit. You write books for teenagers, you shouldn't be spouting about politics on your blog. In other words,

SHUT UP AND WRITE!

Well, normally I stay quiet about political issues online (as quiet as I can). If I commented on every issue that bothered me, I'd never get any books written.

But now, the right wing has waded into my territory. They're accusing me and my friends and our publishers of "us[ing] the vehicle of fundamental free-expression principles to try to bulldoze coarseness or misery into their children's lives."

When you start waving code words like "depravity" in my direction? I speak out. Lots of other authors and readers have spoken from the heart, in a non-political way, about how YA novels have changed and even saved their lives and how they provide a way for teens to deal with the darkness within and without. How many of them literally wouldn't be in this world if it weren't for books.

It's all true, and I totally agree. But I don't feel the need to repeat what others have said so eloquently. Everyone comes at these things from different angles. Mine is political, because it's what I know.

And, of course, musical, because that's also what I know. This crusade against "depravity" in YA books reminds me of the fight against rock 'n' roll back in the late fifties. Part of the controversy was about sex, but most of it, especially in the South where the music was born, was about race. White parents didn't want their kids dancing to black music, even if it was played by white musicians. Disc jockeys in Memphis received death threats for playing the music on white radio stations or for hosting mixed-race dance parties at black churches. (I wrote a short story about this tied to my vampire DJ series.)

The root of these freakouts is fear. Fear of the Other, whether the Other be a different race or sexual orientation or religion or mental health status. Fear that their children will grow up without that same fear.

I try real hard, but I don't understand that impulse. My parents weren't liberal by any stretch of the imagination, but they encouraged me to read anything and everything, even if it led me to see things differently than they did. They weren't afraid of the world that books could show me.

Not every kid is as lucky as I was. If we, as storytellers, can lay a path through the darkness, we owe today's teens nothing less.

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Friday, June 03, 2011

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Tour - Elizabeth Scott

Greetings from the threshold of the Deadline Cave! Wow, it's so bright and sunny out here. I have a Weather.com widget on my phone that will beep whenever the National Weather Service issues an alert for my area. Yesterday I got an alert that read:
SEVERE AWESOME WARNING: A high pressure system is moving into the region, bringing sunny days, starry nights, and unseasonably comfortable temperatures. SEEK LACK OF SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!

Anyway, I turned in Shine, so while I'm awaiting revisions from my editor I'll be polishing up the free WVMP serial novella beginning here on July 26 (Mick Jagger's birthday, how perfect is that?) and writing up a few ideas for my first post-SHADE trilogy YA novel, which will be out Fall 2013.

But first! Today on the blog I have one of my favorite YA authors, Elizabeth Scott, whose latest novel, Between Here and Forever, has put her on my very exclusive "auto-buy" list (I haven't counted, but there are probably fewer than ten authors on that list).

I read Between Here and Forever last week after getting back from BEA. Being on deadline, I thought, oh, I'll just read a few chapters so I can get an idea of what it's like before I post her interview. Then two hours later it was, well, I'll just get to the halfway point. An hour later, it was, I'll read until I have fifty pages left so I have something to look forward to tomorrow. A half hour later, I was finished. I did not get up from the couch the entire time.

Me reading a book in one sitting? Never happens. But it did. I was utterly drawn into orbit around these characters.

The thing I love about Scott's creations is that their choices always come from who they are, and I never get the sense that there's a puppet-master author pulling their strings.

Not that I don't also enjoy puppet-master books--it's fun sometimes to notice the strings and go, oh cool, that was an impressive little maneuver. But with Scott's books I'm always completely immersed, completely invested, completely believing, until I pop out of the world at the end of the book and only then truly realize that I've been somewhere else.

Does that make sense? At all?

Here's some official stuff about the book:

---

Abby accepted that she can't measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.

Until the accident.

Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby's life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.

She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she'd never seen.

Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...

---

Between Here and Forever has gotten lots of great reviews. I particularly liked this one from Booklist: "[A]n emotionally wrenching exploration of hope, acceptance, and pride, and Scott's messages--that it's quite possible to break your own heart and that everyone deserves love--will resonate strongly with teens navigating their own first romances."

Yup yup.

And now, my interview with Elizabeth, featuring brand-new questions, (some of which I stole from Under the Radar magazine 's year-end interview with bands):

Q: Which moment(s) during the writing/rewriting/editing of BETWEEN HERE AND FOREVER made you tear your hair out?

A: On the fourth draft, I cut a lot of stuff out that just killed me to do, but it had to be done.

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

A: When my editor told me the book was on its way to production! :-)

Q: 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.

A: I cut a lot of stuff from my novels--on average, about 40%. And at this point, I really don't want to go back and look at old drafts, so I can't tell you something I cut, but I can tell you I cut it because as much as I loved it, it wasn't right for the book.

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

A: As many books as possible!

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

A: I can't do a cartwheel. No, seriously, I can't.

--

Me neither! Even when I was a kid, I couldn't do a cartwheel. I blame gravity.

Congrats again to Elizabeth on the release of another poignant, delicious read!

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NEW RELEASE!

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**

More about THIS SIDE OF SALVATION

Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.com.

NOW AVAILABLE!

Shattered

"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!).

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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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