Review of Another Year or Two by Robin Stephen!

cover-webSYNOPSIS:

Lara lives in the small town of Turnpost, South Dakota. She’s not sure why she started writing a blog. In 2002, it’s just the thing to do. She’s not the only one blogging. Follow five characters in different walks of life as their paths overlap (or just miss each other) in a variety of ways. A story about unexpected connections and the difficulty of change, “Another Year or Two” is a charming, multilayered glimpse into the thoughts of people who have no idea who is reading what they post.

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Interview with Author Robin Stephen!

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Robin Stephen is the author of Another Year or Two. Look for the review of the book coming soon!

Let’s start by getting to know you a bit. What can you tell us about who Robin Stephen is?

My mom jokes I was born fully formed. I was obsessed with reading and writing and horses as a kid. That’s never really changed. I’m a highly self-motivated person, and I guess I’ve always been pretty focused on doing the things I think are worth doing and avoiding the rest. I’m married to a wonderful man who supports all my passions and shares them with me. I’ve been able to build a life around the things I love. I feel really lucky about that.

What was it like publishing your book as a relatively new author? Was it difficult to break out into the world of the published?
I had my obligatory years of form rejections gradually morphing into asks for pages. It is tiring and draining, of course, but I am so glad my first novel got rejected repeatedly. That’s what pushed me to focus on craft for so many years. I thought my books were ready to see the light of day long, long, long before they really were.
Being a new author is definitely difficult. The part I didn’t understand is how much work it is to promote a new book. I should have started building my platform years ago, but I never felt comfortable telling people I was a writer until I had something to show for it. So far my book has received a fair bit of positive feedback, which is gratifying, but I still have a small reach. It’s a journey… I’m learning the ropes as I go.
What do you do to get yourself writing?
I give myself a schedule, and rules. I write first thing in the morning, and I have a required word count (which varies depending on what I’m writing). Currently I’m writing the third book in a fantasy trilogy. This means I get to hang out with characters I know pretty well, so the writing goes fast. My daily quota is 1500 words for this kind of work. When I’m rewriting or refining I spend the same amount of time on less words.
Another Year or Two is unique in its set-up. What made you want to tell this story through blog entries?
I started this work as an exercise in voice. I don’t really remember how I came up with the idea. I wanted to practice writing in the first person, and challenge myself to do it as many different people. I didn’t even know how long I would keep it up, but I got really sucked in and attached to the town and my characters. I never thought this would be my first published novel, but it all came together in a way that surprised even me.
How difficult was it to write from so many characters’ perspective?
It was harder for some characters than others. Madison, for instance, wrote herself. Casey was the hardest. Getting him to come through consistently and in a way that felt realistic was definitely a challenge. I spent a lot of time developing their little tics. I had a short list of rules for each of them – what kind of sentences they use, how they punctuate, any words they consistently misuse or grammatical errors they make repeatedly. After I wrote each post I’d go back and refine it as much as possible for that character.

There’s a lot of heart in this book, and it’s so interesting to see the same town from the lenses of different ages and genders. Which character was your favorite to write?

Madison was my favorite, because she was so fun and easy. I also enjoyed working on Kyle’s posts, because those were always an exercise in saying as much as possible with the fewest words. The other thing I had a lot of fun with was the comments sections, and the way the characters interacted with each other directly on the page.
Lastly, what’s some advice you’d like to give some of our future writers reading this?
I wish I’d known sooner how important it is to spend time rewriting, and to take revisions seriously. I had written quite a few full-length novels before I ever rewrote one, and it wasn’t until I did so that I started to understand what separates something anyone can bang out given enough time from a well-crafted story.
And don’t forget reading. I am careful about what I read when I’m writing. Having a good writer in your head will elevate your craft, but the opposite is also true.

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Graphic Novels are a go! Why YOU should be reading graphic novels

Amanda and I talk about our favorite graphic novels, the different kinds of graphic novels, what books we’d love to see as graphic novels, and why you should read graphic novels (and why they aren’t just for kids!). We had some technical difficulties with the camera switching back and forth, but it’s still worth a watch!

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July 7, 2013 · 10:33 pm

Review of Ascendant by Rebecca Taylor

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SYNOPSIS:

When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her.

I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I’m not the girl I should have been.

When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother’s childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains apentagram necklace and a note from her mother-clues to her family’s strange past and her mother’s disappearance. Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother’s old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts-and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her. Continue reading

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We’re YA and We’re OK.

We’re YA and We’re OK..

 

Amanda (from Amanda’s Nose in a Book), Sarah and I did a post on our love for Young Adult literature. Check it out on her blog, and come back here for Sunday Night Chats! Also, check out Sarah’s cool YouTube video Read Me Maybe! It’s linked on Amanda’s post and it’s great!

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Character Shipping

Amanda (from Amanda’s Nose in a Book) and I talk about shipping at your request!

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July 1, 2013 · 8:43 pm

Google Hangout

Sign in with google+ and join a video chat with me and Amanda! The topic is about shipping.

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July 1, 2013 · 7:57 pm

Google hangout–tonight!

Tonight at 8 pm EST, Amanda and I will be doing a google hangout to talk to our followers and blog goers about shipping! Link to join will be posted here once it’s started, and the video itself will be uploaded once the chat is over. So if you have a webcam and an opinion on character shipping, make a google+ account and join us!

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Interview With Author Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor is the author of the book Ascendant, a book about protagonist Charlotte and her quest to find answers about her mother’s disappearance–and the strange mysteries that unfold the more answers she seeks. The book is YA, and a review will be coming to the blog soon, so stay tuned!

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Many of my readers are aspiring authors themselves who are incredibly interested in the writing process through the lens of somebody successful in the field. What is the writing process like for you?

As always, I over think the question. On the larger level of “process” I keep a file of ideas. Things that catch my interest and that I find myself coming back to and daydreaming about. If I’m washing dishes and thinking of a particular story (events, setting, theme, secondary characters) I stop whatever physical act I’m doing to go and write those ideas down. I may never use them, I may never write that book, but these notes are wonderful to come back to. Currently I have two other files started for books that MAY be written when I finish the current one.

On the smaller level of “process” I’m thinking the day-to-day writing. I wish I could say that I write every day. I wish I WOULD write every day. Instead, I write most days. Like so many others, I work, I have a family, I have many other obligations that have nothing whatsoever to do with writing. I also, sometimes, procrastinate. It is very easy to use all those other very important things in your life as grand excuses for NOT writing—and I think that is a terrible thing. Never blame your family for why you are not writing. Having jobs and people in our lives who love us are gifts—not obligations that are simply keeping us from focusing on creative pursuits. When I’m not writing it’s because I’m avoiding having my butt in a chair long enough to get the process going—if I have time to watch TV, play internet games, Facebook and Twitter, I should have time to write.

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The Etiquette of Spoilers

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June 28, 2013 · 11:57 pm