Interview: Ransom Riggs

Ransom Riggs

I grew up in Florida, went to Kenyon College in Ohio, then film school at USC in LA, where I still live. I write books and screenplays, blog daily for mentalfloss.com, and make short films.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is my first novel. I’m really excited about it — it was challenging and rewarding and I hope people like it. If you read that and like the found photographs in it, you might be interested in a book comprised entirely of found photographs that I have coming out January 2012 from HarperCollins. It’s called Talking Pictures. You can find sneak peeks by doing a search for “mental floss talking pictures” (I included a number of images in blogs there) and I made a kinda-sorta book trailer for it, which is on my youtube page: youtube.com/ransriggs.

Also, watch out for a Miss Peregrine book trailer, which I’m working on right now! I get to go to Belgium and film inside creepy abandoned chateaus, which I’m *really* looking forward to.

 

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What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Silence. My noise-cancelling headphones have become almost essential.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

The first. I rewrite and rewrite it a million times. The last comes easy.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I’m six foot four. I lived on a working farm until I was five. I used to know how to cook Indian food but now I’ve forgotten. I love documentaries. One day I will conquer the moon.

What are you working on now?

A novel for Little, Brown the plot of which is SECRET! (Sort of, for now. But I’m really excited about it.)

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

Oh, definitely YA to write in. I read everything, lots of YA, lots of adult, nonfiction of all sorts. I even read poetry when I’m feeling ambitious. I think it’s crucial to have lots of different influences. If you only read in the genre you write in, your writing will sound like everything else that’s already out there.

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Review: Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Love StoryTitle: Love Story

Author: Jennifer Echols
Genre(s): contemporary fiction/romance; new adult

My Rating

Synopsis (goodreads):

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 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.

My Review:

Wait, just a minute! What?! It’s over. Wow!

Can i just say that i love Jennifer Echols for writing this story. It was just the right amount of everything – angst, love, sexy and then everything else!
I absolutely could not stop reading and within a span of hours it was finished – and it’s well into the night, i have school tomorrow, and my brain wasn’t going to shut up unless i wrote this review.

Erin writes from her fantasies, from a longing crush that achieved nothing from. But she doesn’t expect is for her to crush to walk into her creative writing class and read it all. Thus, unfolds a series of stories that are both of their lives and their writing about each other. Feelings bubble to the surface and secrets start falling over.

Echols weaved this amazingly funny and entertaining story whereby i was just waiting for the two characters to hook up. I wanted to be in that creative writing class with them. New York played through my mind as i imagined the places and how i know i too would have been excited at the sight of Simon&Schuster, HarperCollins and other such publishing houses.

Something that i really found beyond sexy (spoiler): When Hunter barges into the class waving Erin’s recent story ‘Obedience’ all angry and shouts at her. Imagined it! LOVED IT! (When you read the story, or if you’ve already read it then you know the reason why Hunter is so upset.)

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher:  Katherine Tegen Books
Genre(s): young-adult; romance; dystopian
Source: Paperback – bought

My Rating

Synopsis (goodreads):

In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

My Review:

I’ve read rave reviews about this book. And for some time now i’ve wanted to see for myself what made this book such a phenomenon. So, i went and bought said book. Also because i DID want to read it. I too, have fallen prey to the ‘chronic dystopian addiction disorder’.

When i say, ‘ i could not put this book down’, i do mean it. Divergent lived up to everything i imagined it to be and had heard about. You know how you go read a book because it was recommended to you and you’re a bit afraid because you don’t want to be let down. In all honesty, i did feel like that…a teensy bit. But so far, this year has given me fantastic books to read and Divergent gladly comes on my top 10 books that i have read and LOVED.

Tris was bad-ass. You HAD to like her. You couldn’t not like her. It was interesting reading from her point of you. Her fears, while manipulated to the situation she was in, felt relate able…as relate able as having knives thrown at is 😛
But nonetheless i had fun reading about what she was going through and how she stood strong even when i know if something like this was happening to me…i would probably have cried.

Four. I have to say that when Tris started having feelings for Four and we didn’t know who he was…i didn’t like him. I had nothing against his character just that maybe i was a bit confused about his age and found Tris and Four together…something i didn’t want to see. In my mind, when Marcus’s son was first mentioned, i wanted Tris to end up with him. And behold…Veronica Roth was thinking the same thing. Then Four transformed into Tobias (not literally) and i fell in love with him. A bit hypocritical? No. I liked and disliked the same guy. 😛

Once Divergent finished…it left this empty feeling in me and i wanted to jump right into Insurgent. GRAB DIVERGENT IF YOU STILL HAVEN’T! IT’s SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOD!
Also after the book finished i wanted to know which Faction i belonged to. So, i took the test and…i belong to AMITY!

“Waiting On” Wednesday #27

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Valkyrie Rising

Valkyrie Rising

Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there. What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly there’s a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them. 

Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.

Expected publication: October 9th 2012 by HarperTeen

“Waiting On” Wednesday #9

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Under the Never SkyUnder the Never Sky

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—nicknamed The Death Shop—are slim.

If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms eventually will. In this dystopia, even the very air she breathes

could kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild, dangerous—a savage. He’s also her only hope.

Perry needs Aria, too. She alone holds the key to his redemption. And their unlikely alliance will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Expected publication: February 7th 2012 by HarperCollins

Wanderlove

Wanderlove


 It all begins with a stupid question:Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria’s a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan’s a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they’ve got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can’t run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Expected publication: March 13th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
The Story of Us

The Story of Us

A new novel about love, life, and everything in-between… from fan-favorite and award-winner Deb Caletti.Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend, trying to figure out whether she’s in it for the right reasons. But this is a bad week to try to figure it all out. After ditching two previous husbands-to-be at the airport, Cricket’s mother Daisy is finally getting married, to Dan Jax. Cricket loves Dan, but as the families and friends start to arrive for Wedding Week at the beautiful guest house on Bishop Rock, run by old hippies Ted and Rebecca Rose and their sweet, sexy son Ash, things start getting complicated.There’s no airport on Bishop Rock, as far as anyone knows, but Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, and Cricket’s own desires have chosen now to have a mind of their own. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her….

Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Simon Pulse
Article 5

Article 5

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC have been abandoned.The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police — instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior — instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested don’t usually come back.

17-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what’s worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Expected publication: February 14th 2012 by Tor Teen
Slide

Slide

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Expected publication: March 27th 2012 by Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins

“Waiting On” Wednesday #7

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Someone Else's Life

Someone Else’s Life

When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all… Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family’s deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own – one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all…
 
Expected publication: April 2nd 2012 by Simon & Schuster Childrens Books(first published February 14th 2012)
 
 
 
 
 
Everneath

Everneath

17-year old Nikki Beckett has just returned from the Underworld to a family who doesn’t know where she’s been, a boyfriend who doesn’t know why she left, and old friends who think she’s an addict.But Nikki won’t have time to make everyone understand what she’s been through. She only has six months at Park City High before the tunnels of the Underworld come for her again. Six months for goodbyes she’ll never be able to say out loud. Six months to find redemption, if it even exists.

She didn’t plan on her former boyfriend’s reaction to her return. Jack doesn’t care why she left him, or why she’s returned, as long as he doesn’t lose her again.

When Nikki discovers she didn’t return to the surface alone, being near Jack becomes dangerous – for both of them. Cole, an Everliving, followed her back from the Underworld, and he needs Nikki in order to make his push for the throne. He’ll do anything to make it happen, even if it means going back to high school.

Together, Nikki and Jack search for answers in ancient myths and from mysterious characters, hoping to find a loophole for Nikki to escape her fate, but in the end, the choice will be Nikki’s: serve the Underworld, or rule it.

 
Expected publication: January 3rd 2012 by Harper Collins / Balzer + Bray
 
2009 Debs eBook anthology
Contributors: Cyn Balog, Lauren Bjorkman, Leigh Brescia, Jennifer Brown, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Janet Gurtler, Teri Hall, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Stacey Jay, Heidi R. Kling, C. Lee McKenzie, Saundra Mitchell, Jenny Moss, Jackson Pearce, Shani Petroff, Carrie Ryan, Sydney Salter, Kurtis Scaletta, Jon Skovron, Kristina Springer, Rhonda Stapleton, Charity Tahmaseb, Jessica Verday, J.A. Yang, and Lara Zielin.
Reading Level: YA
Release Date: October 2011
Available: eBook format only

Summary: (from Jessica Verday’s post) With 25 different authors contributing, there’s sure to be something here for everyone! From first kiss to first love, there’s no time like the first time. This will be an eBook only(available via Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords) and the tentative release date is October 2011.

This week’s post-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Girl Saves Boy

Girl Saves Boy

The first time we met, Jewel Valentine saved my life.Isn’t it enough having your very own terminal disease, without your mother dying? Or your father dating your Art teacher?

No wonder Sacha Thomas ends up in the lake that Saturday evening…

But the real question is: how does he end up in love with Jewel Valentine?

With the help of quirky teenage prodigies Little Al and True Grisham, Sacha and Jewel have a crazy adventure, with a little lobster emancipation along the way.

But Sacha’s running out of time, and Jewel has secrets of her own.

Girl Saves Boy is a hugely talented debut novel, funny and sad, silly and wise. It’s a story of life, death, love… and garden gnomes.

 
Published August 30th 2010 by Text Publishing

“Waiting On” Wednesday and June Celebration Begins!

June celebration begins today! *the crowd goes wild* I thought i would keep these posts together because they are definitely connected. This is the second week that i’m going to include Incarnate for my WoW and also include the author interview that i promised everyone. Enjoy!

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Incarnate (Newsoul Trilogy #1)

Incarnate (Newsoul #1)

by Jodi Meadows

About the only girl who is new in a world where everyone is perpetually reincarnated, and her quest to discover why she was born, and what happened to the person she replaced. (old description – has been updated recently)

Expected publication: 2012 byKatherine Tegen Books

 

 

 

1) Let’s talk about your main character. How did you think her up and is there any of you in her?

My characters tend to appear in my head fully formed. Like ideas, I don’t always know where they come from. Of course, just because they’re fully formed when they appear doesn’t mean I know them well enough to write them. It can take time to learn their darkest secrets, get their voice right, and figure out what they’d do in any given situation. Ana is no exception.

She’s both a product of her unusual situation (being new in a world where everyone is perpetually reincarnated), and the type of character who’d be most useful and fun to read about in this story. I like to think she has sass and a strong proactive-ness bone.

We do share a few traits: both of us love music, like to do things right, and have a tendency to put our feet in our mouths. (I’m trying to overcome that one. I hope Ana never does.)

2) Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?

Every step along the way has been thrilling! I’ve loved every part of this, from getting my first peek at the cover comp, to seeing the font they chose for my book, to copyediting. Yes, I even loved copyediting!

3) Have you read the WSJ article on YA books? If so what is your opinion of it?

I did read it, but my opinion is pretty complicated. I don’t think, as a whole, YA is dark. There are dark books. There are fluffy fun books, too. And there’s everything in between. The great thing about the YA category is that there are so many options. Like paranormal romance but not all the angst and brooding? There’s a book for that! Like contemporary novels but want something grittier? There’s a book for that! Want books without kissing? Got it! With lots of kissing? We have that, too!

YA is a diverse category. Sweeping generalizations can’t cover it.

I do, however, think it’s good for parents to be aware of what their children are reading, even if they don’t have time to read it themselves. There are review sites aimed toward helping parents get a better idea if a book has a lot of swearing, sex, or violence.

One of the best book-related things my mom did for me was to be interested in my reading habits. She only occasionally asked me to wait a year or so on reading a book, and if a book had content she wasn’t certain of but I’d already read it, we discussed it. She made a point to read several of my books, even if they weren’t her preferred genre. It was important for her to know what kind of stories I was into, and we had lots of great talks about characters, parts of the story we thought were good or bad, and what we hoped to see happen next.

4) Which came first, the title or the novel?

Definitely the novel. The title came about halfway through the first draft. And then got cut to just INCARNATE after HarperCollins picked it up.

5) The concept of incarnations often lead to many controversial debates. Were you hesitant at first of your book becoming victim to such debates?

Nope! Perhaps this is shortsighted of me, but I like to think people will remember that my book is fiction. I set out to write a fun story based on a premise that intrigued me. It happened to be about reincarnation. I try to deal with potentially sensitive topics in the most respectful and thoughtful ways possible. That, and write the book to the best of my ability, is all I can do.

6) What authors or writings have influenced you?

Everything is an influence, which is why it’s so important to read widely and experience as many things as possible.

There are lots of books I love, but we’d be here all day if I tried to list them all. Some of my earliest influences were Robin McKinley’s Damar books, Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books, and Mary Downing Hahn’s ghost stories. I also devoured K.A. Applegate’s Animorphes series in my early teens. Oh, the thrill of discovering universes where magic and aliens were real!

7) What kind of research did you do for the book?

Some you’d expect from the story, like music. While I did a lot of music research on my own, and I played the flute for years and years, that certainly wasn’t enough to cover what I needed for the book; two serious musicians read the manuscript and did everything they could to keep me from making a fool of myself.

I also spent a lot of time researching Yellowstone National Park, which is the area Range is based on. I talked to people who’d vacationed there, read blog entries, looked at hundreds of photos, squinted at maps, and took lots of notes on what animals and plants hung out there.

Other areas of research are not so apparent, but just as important: I studied wedding ceremonies from dozens of cultures, the best way to keep from dying when jumping from a height, how to treat second-degree burns. One of the biggest favors an author can do for herself is to question everything. Just because you think you know something about the root systems of trees doesn’t mean you know enough. Or the right things. Always double check.

8) The cover for Incarnate is absolutely gorgeous! Tell us a little about it.

Thank you! I’m very pleased with it. (And don’t feel weird about saying that since I had absolutely nothing to do with it.)

I actually did an interview about the cover with Jen Bigheart  here , and answered a few more questions about it on my blog here. The cover is absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect for my book. I’m incredibly happy about the positive response it’s gotten so far!

9) If your real life adolescence was a YA book…What would you, the main character, be like?

I don’t think I’d be a very good main character. Adventure? Saving the world? Are you kidding? I could be reading instead.

10) What is your number #1 source of angst?

Oh, there are lots of things. But a big one is disappointing people. I think most authors feel like they have a lot of expectations to live up to — their agent’s, editor’s, potential readers’ — and one thing I really don’t want to do is disappoint people who’ve put time and effort into getting my book out there. I want to make them proud.

11) Finally, tell us a little something about the book. The Goodreads description does no good!

I’ve updated the Goodreads description with the official flap copy! I don’t want to say anything else this early, so this is all anyone is getting for the time being:

NEWSOUL

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

“Waiting On” Wednesday #6

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Incarnate (Newsoul Trilogy #1)

Incarnate (Newsoul #1)

by Jodi Meadows

About the only girl who is new in a world where everyone is perpetually reincarnated, and her quest to discover why she was born, and what happened to the person she replaced.

Expected publication: 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books

I have an interview with the author and it will be shared with all of you sometime this month! 😀

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger

 than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong. 

Mara wakes up from a coma with no memory of the accident that caused the deaths of her best friend, boyfriend, and boyfriend’s sister. The doctors tell her parents that starting over in a new state, a new school will be good for her and to let the memories come back on their own. But Mara’s new start is anything but when she sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere and her world is falling apart. And then she begins to see people’s deaths before they happen – at least she thinks that is what is happening. On top of that, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen can’t seem to leave her alone, but is his agenda more than he leads on?

Expected publication: September 27th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

I think i have major crushes on both these covers! Wowzah!