It's cover reveal season and we're reveling in all the pretty as we add to our ever-expanding TBR piles. With two recent YA covers we're yearning for road trips, our tired eyes ogling neon signs as we get ready to hit the open road. Want to take a peek at what has us hankering?
Creating a whole new world is one of the most exciting parts of being an author — but it can also be the most grueling. With two YA fantasy series under her belt, Cinda Williams Chima knows a thing or two about worldbuilding. And with The Sorcerer Heir, the latest book in her Heir Chronicles series, hitting shelves today, we wanted to know what tips and insight Cinda has for worldbuilding. Here's what she had to say:
People associate worldbuilding with fantasy writers, but all writers need to master it. For example, if I set a novel in a small Georgia town or coastal Maine, I have to make that setting real to people who’ve never been there. Fantasy writers have the additional challenge of building a magical system alongside the setting.
My goal with the Heir Chronicles was to make the magical world of Ohio accessible to everyone — even people who are not regular fantasy readers. The key is to layer in description with a light hand. I believe that a reader with a few questions is more likely to keep reading than one who feels like she is hacking through a thicket of words.
After five books, I know the magical landscape of the Heir Chronicles really, really well. That doesn’t mean that it all makes its way onto the page. I like Hemingway’s iceberg theory of fiction. He says that seven-eighths of what the writer knows stays below the surface, supporting the world that the reader sees.
Ah, classic literary fiction. It can be so wonderful, but at times dense, leaving us wishing for a guide to lead us through the venerable prose. Enter: Italian artist and writer Francesco D'Isa, who reviews the classics in a candid, tongue-in-cheek (and very short) way. We're happy to bring his column, "Very Short Reviews of Difficult Books," to English language readers! Check back here every Wednesday for three new reviews from Francesco.
Our Need for Consolation is Insatiable by Stig Dagerman
Almost a suicide letter, where when confronted with the absence of any consolation our only freedom is suicide. The happy ending is obviously a bluff.
Plot: Everyone wants to be comforted, but there is no consolation.
Thérèse Philosophe by Anonymous
To mix a religious treatise with an erotic novella may be strange, but when you listen to Therese it sounds quite obvious.
Plot: A girl loves God and sex.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake
If everything is sacred, there is a hidden wisdom even in Hell. Blake goes down there and give it to us.
We love authors, it's true. And sometimes we want to know more than just what their next book is about. So we asked, and they answered. Our very first victim, er, volunteer is New Adult and contemporary romance superstar Jay Crownover, whose Top Pick! Rowdy is out this week.
What was the first book you read that meant something to you?
The Catcher in the Rye. I thought I was Holden, then I wanted to date Holden when I got older, I still wanna date Holden now that I'm grown — which is creepy.
What book do you wish you could live in?
The Outsiders. I just love the angst and the greaser vibe and I want to squeeze Ponyboy.
What book are you an evangelist for?
Lately for the Innocents books by Sarah and Mary Elizabeth. So different and beautiful and it hurts. I loved Wicked By Jennifer L. Armentrout too — NA paranormal all the way.
Which trope most mirrors your life?
Super driven girl meets a party boy and has to learn to live a little. Even when I was younger I forgot to have a life — I’m hyper focused and it takes something special to get me to stop.
Romancelandia is filled with so many awesome women who not only write wonderful love stories, but also somehow manage other impressive feats like practicing law, raising tiny humans and fighting infectious diseases. Historical romance author Jennifer McQuiston is a veterinarian and infectious disease researcher with the CDC, and is currently in Sierra Leone as part of the CDC ebola response team. She's sharing her adventures on her Facebook page and it's fascinating to follow. I first learned of McQuiston's day job after reading her article in the April 2014 issue of RT about infectious diseases in romance (Because a highly contageous illness is the first thing people expect when they pick up a romance, right?). Copied below is the article (as well as a downloadable PDF version), "Fever All Through the Night: The Reality of Love in the Time of Cholera". And if you'd like to help Sierra Leone, Jennifer suggests donating to Focus 1000.
There's something about a long-running paranormal series with a cheeky proganist that we just can't resist. So of course we're excited that this week, Darynda Jones is releasing her latest installment in her Charley Davidson series: Seventh Grave and No Body. We, of course, had questions.
Charley's pregnant but still dealing with hellhounds and other otherworldly concerns. How did you approach writing her "delicate condition"?
Fortunately, even in her delicate condition, Charley is still Charley, and she approaches her pregtastic state as she does all of her states: in a very roundabout way. She’s decided that she’s going to start small and work her way up to motherhood by getting a goldfish and seeing if she can keep it alive. It could work.
Here's a look at the titles we love that hit shelves this week.
We're so starstruck by this latest batch of exciting book-to-film deals, we have to share. Find out which of your favorite books are heading to a screen near you:
Holly Goldberg Sloan and Olympus Pictures Team Up
YA novel Counting by Sevens by Holly Goldberg Sloan is making its way to Hollywood thanks to Olympus Pictures. The movie rights were sold to Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan at The Mazur/Kaplan Company and Olympus Pictures’s Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech. Quvenzhane Wallis, the breakout star from Beasts of the Southern Wild, is attached to star.
After Finds Home at Paramount
Anna Todd’s After has found a home with Paramount and the studio has enlisted Step Up’s Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot to produce. After releases this month and is a revamped version of Todd’s popular Wattpad One Direction fanfiction.
Katniss Returns Home in new Mockingjay Preview
We know Monday is not the most exciting day of the week, but we're pretty excited about today because we're shining our Debut Author Spotlight on romantic suspense author C.J. Kyle. C.J.'s novel, Silent Night, earned a 4-star rating from our reviewer Bridget, who said, "Kyle's debut novel blends the charm of a small-town romance and a dark, unsettling murder mystery with significant success." Kyle tells us how she went from aspiring to published author:
Name: C.J. Kyle
Book: Silent Night
Current Home: Florida
Author Icon(s): Julie Garwood, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Heather Graham, Sharon Sala
Favorite Word: Compassion
Was this the first book you ever wrote?
Good gravy, no.
How did you start writing?
After reading enough good books that inspired me, it was time to start telling my own. With young kids underfoot, I filled their nap times with writing instead of cleaning the house and found my passion.
What was it like when you got “The Call”?
With our column, Forewords, we let readers know the latest book news about some of publishing's most-anticipated upcoming releases across the genres — just as the projects are announced!
Historical Fiction - Switching between the present and 1940, Lindsay Hatton’s Aquarium tells the story of first loves and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Classic author John Steinbeck makes an appearance as well as his friend and biologist, Ed Ricketts. We're intrigued!
Paranormal Romance - Rebecca Zanetti is set to return with a brand new series, a spin-off of her Dark Protectors Realm Enforcer books, launching with Wicked Ride. The series will star a male witch who must infiltrate a motorcycle club in Seattle to track down a dangerous enemy. Along the way, he runs into a sexy cop. Coming in 2015.