Book Interviews, Books, podcast

Podcast Episode 8: interview with Susan Dennard, plus THREE BOOK giveaway!

Episode 8 of the podcast features amazing author Susan Dennard! We talk about her newest book SIGHTWITCH, along with the creative process, what’s coming up in the next book, hot kisses, and more!

PLUS we’re excited to share an amazing giveaway: all three of the Witchlands books that I’m giving away to one lucky winner. Scroll down for your chance to enter!

Listen to the podcast on iTunes, or if you don’t have iTunes, I’ve also posted a link to SoundCloud.

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, facebook, and twitter.

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GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway is open to North America only.

Enter by 12:00 am EST on March 15th, 2018.

Good luck!

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Book Interviews, Books, podcast

Podcast Episode 7: Throwback interview with Christopher Paolini and Rachel Hartman and INTERNATIONAL giveaway!

In this throwback interview from San Diego 2012 I sit down with co-host Mike Macauley (from our old site lytherus.com and the awesome Christopher Paolini fan site Shurtugal.com) to interview Christopher Paolini and Rachel Hartman on her then-recently released book, Seraphina. I’m featuring this old interview to celebrate the release of Hartman’s newest book, Tess of the Road, which hits stores on Tuesday February 27, 2018.

Also, I’m doing my first INTERNATIONAL giveaway! I have an ARC of Tess of the Road that I’m giving away to one lucky winner. Scroll down for your chance to enter!

Listen to the podcast on iTunes, or if you don’t have iTunes, I’ve also posted a link to SoundCloud.

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, facebook, and twitter. I have tons of stuff in the works, including interviews with some heavy hitters in the YA field, and a lot of giveaways — but I’ll only be doing those if I get some more followers (especially on Instagram)!

itunes link


GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway is open to anywhere! I don’t do international giveaways often, so don’t miss out!

Enter by 11:59 pm EST on March 6, 2018.

Good luck!

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Book Interviews, Books, podcast

Podcast Episode 5: Throwback interview with James Dashner and GIVEAWAY!

In episode 5 I throwback to a chat from San Diego Comic Con 2013with James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner series. We talk about the series, the first movie coming out, and his then-upcoming new book, The Eye of Minds.

Also, I’m doing my first giveaway! I have a set of movie tie-in covers for the entire Maze Runner trilogy, as well as a prequel book, The Fever Code. Scroll down for your chance to enter!

Listen to the podcast on iTunes, or if you don’t have iTunes, I’ve also posted a link to SoundCloud.

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, facebook, and twitter. I have tons of stuff in the works, including interviews with some heavy hitters in the YA field, and a lot of giveaways — but I’ll only be doing those if I get some more followers (especially on Instagram)!

itunes link

GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway is open to US and Canada only, sorry!

Enter by 11:59 pm EST on February 5, 2018.

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Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Traveler exclusive interview with Arwen Elys Dayton … and a giveaway!

Hi everyone! Last month we featured the new release Traveler, which is the sequel to Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton. We love Arwen, and were excited to talk Traveler with her in this exclusive video interview. We’re also giving away a copy of Traveler AND a set of both books!

But first, what’s Traveler about? Here’s the summary:

  51YGc3Kv0WL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_  Quin Kincaid is a Seeker. Her legacy is an honor, an ancient role passed down for generations. But what she learned on her Oath night changed her world forever.
Quin pledged her life to deception. Her legacy as a Seeker is not noble but savage. Her father, a killer. Her uncle, a liar. Her mother, a casualty. And the boy she once loved is out for vengeance, with her family in his sights.
Yet Quin is not alone. Shinobu, her oldest companion, might now be the only person she can trust. The only one who wants answers as desperately as she does.
But the deeper they dig into the past, the darker things become. There are long-vanished Seeker families, shadowy alliances, and something else: a sinister plan begun generations ago, with the power to destroy them all.
The past is close. And it will destroy them all.

This book was such a great read. The story shifts to a lot of history of the Seekers and why things are the way they are. What’s awesome in this book? A lot. It was rich with story and Seeker culture, along with the struggles of being a good human when your world has been turned upside down. Here are a few of my favorite things:

  • The truths that the main characters encounter really take them through the ringer, and it’s really fun to see how that part of the story unfolds.
  • There are some really interesting new additions to the tools that help the Seekers do what they do, mainly in the form of an awesome helm that messes with the mind. There’s also this shield that takes the lighting-like energy from the disruptor weapon and not only protects the holder but sends it flying back the way it came. So cool.
  • There are some amazing fight scenes, lots of great tension written in the voice that I came to love in the first book. The main characters have all been trained to fight, and it’s really fun to see them using their skills.
  • I really loved that we get inside the head of some characters who were just a mystery in the first book, and watching the separate plots come together at the end of the book was super rewarding.
  • My favorite part of this book is the absolute ringer that my emotions took with the characters’ journeys.There is no black and white with any of them. It’s like all the preconceived ideas I had were flipped on their head. It was delicious to experience, and I definitely found myself shouting in frustration, gasping in shock, and shaking my head in wonder.

If you enjoyed Seeker you won’t be disappointed with Traveler. It really takes you deep into this world and its characters, and it leaves you hanging, holding your breath. Don’t miss out!

Okay! So, here’s the interview with the lovely Arwen. We had a bit of a technical glitch in the middle, but I included a link in the video that allows you to jump past the minutes of silence. We definitely dig into the story, so don’t watch if you don’t want any spoilers! And don’t forget to enter in the giveaway below for your chance to win the books!

Giveaway!

We will choose two winners at random. Winner one will get a hardback of Traveler. Winner two will get a set of both Seeker and Traveler. Don’t miss your chance to win! Enter below:

Rules:

Entries are US only.

The giveaway lasts until 11:59 pm EST February 29th, 2016.

 

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Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Lytherus Book Club: Interview with Melissa Grey, author of THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT!

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This interview was so much fun! Melissa and I talked about all sorts of fun things, including the relationships between her characters, coming up with the uniqueness of the world, books she’s into, and more! Don’t miss this great chat.

Also, we’re giving away a copy of THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT to one lucky person. US/Canada only! Don’t miss your chance to enter below the interview. The giveaway runs from June 30th until 11:59 EST on July 6th.

Without further ado, here you go:

Don’t forget to enter in the giveaway below!

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Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Exclusive interview and giveaway with author Rachel Hartman (author of SERAPHINA and SHADOW SCALE)!!

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We were so excited to finally be able to sit down with Rachel Hartman for our Lytherus Book Club interview! Her books, SERAPHINA and SHADOW SCALE, were the Lytherus books of April, and they’re some of our favorites yet. In this interview we really dig into the depths of the story that she wrote. We talk about the characters, the different directions she takes them, themes like prejudice and racism, magic, and all sorts of other wonderful things. The video interview is below!

We also wanted to share two other links with you. The first is from our first ever interview with Rachel, from SDCC 2012, where I had the pleasure of interviewing both her and Christopher Paolini together about dragons! Keeping with that theme I also want to share a recent interview Christopher did with Rachel a few weeks ago. They talk about a lot of really interesting things, things that are really different than what we covered, things like depression and writing.

We are also giving away a copy of SHADOW SCALE to one lucky winner! Be sure to enter below for your chance to win. (US only, sorry!) The giveaway runs until June 10th, 11:59 EST.
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Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Interview: Ten questions with Anne Leonard, author of ‘Moth and Spark’

To finish off our Featured Author Week with Anne Leonard, she was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions for us about dragons, fantasy, her characters, and writing. Be sure to check it out below!

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1: For those who are unfamiliar with you, tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, so most of life has been about finding ways to write. I got an MFA and then tried the academic route (Ph.D.), which turned out not to be what I wanted. I eventually ended up as a lawyer, where I could make money by writing. (I used to joke that I got paid for telling people they were wrong.) I continued to write fiction and now am a full-time writer. I live in Northern California with my husband, our teenaged son, and our two black cats, Puck and Theo. For fun I go out on walks and take photographs. I’m also a baseball fan.

2: In your own words, can you give us a little summary of Moth and Spark?

Boy meets girl and they have adventures. More seriously, there are two main plots wrapped together. One is about magically enslaved dragons who are using the male lead, Prince Corin, to get free, and the other is about him and Tam falling in love. It turns out that she has magical power of her own, and the two of them work together to solve the problem of the dragons.

3: Dragons have been written about for ages. How did you approach creating and then writing them, so that they felt fresh and new for readers?

One thing I did was think a lot about my experiences with snakes, so that I could have some very real reptile images to use in the writing. I have never had snakes myself, but a college friend did, and I walked around with a 9 or 10 foot constrictor on my shoulders once. Snakes are really cool. I also knew that I didn’t want my dragons to be very human-like, but I did want them sentient and not wild beasts, so I thought a lot about dragon communication with each other and with humans. They have a language that’s not like human language.

 4: You alternate between the leads of Tam and Corin in the story. Which voice came to you first? Is one easier to write than the other?

Corin was the character I started with, because it had been a while since I’d done a male POV in my writing, but it took a little more writing to figure out exactly who he was. Tam came easier at first, because I was a lot clearer on who I wanted her to be when I started writing about her. Now, every time I’m writing one of them I think the other is easier, so it must be about the same.

5: This book is part adventure, political intrigue, romance, and self-discovery. Is there one element that stood out to you as your favorite to develop and write?

The romance was the impetus behind the story, but the politics is most interesting to me on an intellectual level. One of the reasons I went to law school was that the characters in the fiction I was writing were starting to spend lots of time talking about politics and justice, and it seemed like if that was my interest, I ought to get paid for it. I think the same things that make law interesting to me are what make fantasy literature interesting – it’s about systems of power and questions of justice. Both are about people in conflict in the context of larger forces.

B&W.Anne Leonard.credit Judith Love Pietromartire6: From the beginning of the book to the end both Tam and Corin change a lot. What can we expect from them as the story proceeds?

This is kind of hard to answer without a lot of spoilers, but for her at least it’s really about figuring out who she is and having the courage to stick to it – discovering her own autonomy. For him it’s more about picking out his path among things he can’t control. They both have to learn how to love someone, and they have to learn how to negotiate the various kinds of power that they have.

7: The politics of the land are complicated and intricately interwoven. Take us through the process of creating the lands and the challenges of balancing the various political schemes.

Ack. This was rough and took several drafts to develop into the shape it finally took. One of the hurdles I create for myself as a writer is setting up situations before I figure out the motives that led to them, so I had to go back and back-track a lot. I knew that I wanted an invading army as the fuse that set other things in motion, and I also knew that I wanted the politics of imperialism to play a part, but it wasn’t until I really figured out the role of the dragons that I knew where to go with that. Then with the more local politics I initially created something that was way too complicated to sustain and I had to back down on the intrigue to keep the book from tying itself in knots. I read some history and historical novels, not for specific ideas but just to get a sense of things that could happen, and I did some looking at political philosophy too. I have plenty of job experience working in places with lots of internal politics, so creating it was easy – making it fit was harder.

8: Tell us about your writing process. Walk us through a typical day. Do you outline a lot, or do you try and let the story flow as you’re writing?

I don’t outline much, and I actually want to try doing more of that in the future. I have to do a lot of writing to get to know my characters and what situations will wind them up – I also revise a lot as I go along, so Chapter 1 might be through 3 or 4 drafts before the last chapter is even started. It’s helpful sometimes to write back story or scenes that don’t actually go in just to get a sense of what’s happening. When I get stuck, it usually means something is missing earlier, so I re-read my drafts frequently. I also discuss things with other people I trust, but not much. My husband is a therapist, so sometimes he does therapy on my characters, which is very helpful. One of the most unexpectedly frustrating things about publication now is that as I answer people’s questions about the novel, I see things I want to change, and it’s too late! I try to take walks a few times a week or when I’m really stuck, and if I need to shake stuff in my head around a lot I will read poetry or watch a movie.

9: Can you tell us anything about book 2 to help hold us over?

Well, right not it’s not finished so I can’t promise anything and I am a little wary of talking about it too much, but it’s darker, without so much romance. The characters are all less shiny. And I’m writing some chapters in the point of view of the villain, which I have never done before and which is tremendous fun. The plot involves the fall-out from the events of MOTH AND SPARK, but ideally it too can be read as a standalone. I did not intend to write a sequel at all – I had spent a lot of time living with these people already and wanted something new – but when I created the character of this particular villain, then I had to keep going.

10: What’s on your reading shelf right now? Anything you’ve read recently that you’d recommend? We’re always looking for great books.

I’ve been reading a lot of recent SFF (including some YA) to catch up on the genre, but I’m feeling like I’m at the point where I need to cut down on my reading so that it doesn’t take my focus off my writing, so I’m going to switch my upcoming reading to more mystery/ suspense and “literary” fiction on my TBR pile. I’m not allowed to go to the library again for a while. The most recent book I bought was The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, but the one I think I’m going to start up again with first is The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt. The writer I’m recommending to everyone right now is Cormac McCarthy, who is tough to read emotionally but is just phenomenal with his language and storytelling. I’m also excited to read Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, which is just coming out.

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Thanks Anne! Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Anne Leonard Feature Author Week, including entering for your chance to win a copy of Moth and Spark. Want to know more about Anne? Check out her website at www.anneleonardbooks.com, and follow her on twitter @anneleonardauth.

Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Part two of our SDCC audio interview with Lauren Kate!

LaurenKateCROP1Back in July Lytherus sat down with NY Times bestselling author Lauren Kate to talk about her upcoming new book Teardrop. We split the interview into two parts, saving more Teardrop-spoilery interview until after the book was released. Well, the time has come, fans!  In this second part of the interview Lauren and I discuss the Atlantis mythos (is it really a myth?),  the god Atlas, characters she develops in the series, the protagonist Eureka and writing a new protagonist, and last but not least, the men!

There are spoilers to some general ideas to the book, so if you want to be completely surprised be sure to read the story first! 

Be sure to check out our review of Teardrop. Also, don’t forget to enter to win one of three copies of the book!

Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Exclusive video interview: Brandon Sanderson dives into the world of ‘Steelheart’

brandon-sanderson-steelheartAs part of Brandon Sanderson’s Featured Author Week here on Lytherus, the author was gracious enough to sit down and answer some questions for Lytherus about his newest book Steelheart

What’s Steelheart? In short, it’s a twist on your idea of superheroes: what if all of them were evil? Here’s the book’s synopsis:

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

In the interview, Sanderson explains the series in his own words, talks about why finding the names of the characters was a challenge, covers why all of the beings with powers are evil, and more. He also talks about his writing routine and books he’s read recently. This is a great interview for fans of Brandon’s old and new, so be sure to check it out!

Don’t forget that our contest to win one of two ARCs of Steelheart is still running. Be sure to enter, the contest goes until Tuesday!

Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Interview: Kendare Blake talks mythology, writing, and more!

Kendare Blake stopped by to answer some exclusive questions. She talks about her book, why she went with Greek gods, the characters in her new book Antigoddess, writing, and more! Without further ado, take it away Kendare!

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13246736For those who are unfamiliar with your work, tell us about Antigoddess in your own words

Antigoddess is a story of a godly war, fought between gods who are no longer immortal. They begin to die strange, painful deaths, each death tied to the god’s particular traits. As they take sides, they seek out weapons that might be of use. One in particular: a reincarnated prophetess who doesn’t have a clue about her past. Antigoddess draws a lot on the Iliad and the Odyssey.

How was it, switching into a different world and leaving the Anna Dressed in blood world behind?

Well, not as sad as you might think, because I wrote Antigoddess in between Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares, so I knew I still had time to spend with Cas & Co. But it was absolutely scary, whenever I paused to think about it. Luckily, the first draft wrote pretty fast, so I didn’t have time to think about it much.

Why greek gods? There are so many ancients out there, what about them appealed to you as a writer?

Not sure exactly. Only that I’ve always been drawn to the story of Troy, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and even a little bit the Aeneid. Okay, not really the Aeneid. I love that the Greek gods were monsters as much as they were gods. I loved that they shared the worst traits with the mortals they ruled over. Their fallibility is so interesting to me.

Was it hard trying to bring something new to stories that are old and familiar?

I don’t know if it was hard, but it was definitely intimidating. They’re gods. They’re characters from old stories. People have seen them before, and have pre-existing opinions/impressions of them. So if something I add is different, or my interpretation is different, it can really throw a reader. Which is the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to keep the gods petty and brutal. Cruel screwups who occasionally do you a favor. I hope I did a decent job balancing the old traditions while still making the characters my own.

Talk to us about Cassandra. She’s such a cool character, modern teen and yet reincarnation of an ancient prophetess. Did you see her first as Cassandra of today, and then add in her ancient parts, so to speak, or, since she’s really the same, did you try and visualize her as the same regardless of the change in millennia?

I saw her today, I think. Cassandra was tough. She was shy. I got the impression she didn’t want to be written about, and her character would have loved nothing more than to be overlooked. Ignored. Left the frick alone. At first, I had this image of her as this sort of mousy, quiet, tragic thing, a character you would pity because of all the crap piled on her over and over. And she sort of was, just…average, under the radar, for a while. Then she started to change. I thought she’d shoulder the burden of what happened and I would wish for her happy ending. Instead she bucked. She bit back. As Athena learns to be more human, Cassandra begins to become less.

kendareThe concept of the gods dying, and the ways that they’re dying, is one of the most fascinating parts of the book (especially Athena’s with the owl feathers. Brilliant!). Take us through the process of developing these ideas. How did you finally decide what the doom for each would be?

That part came pretty organically. The whole novel started because of some visions I had of dying goddesses. I saw Demeter and Artemis first, Demeter stretched taut across the land, dried out skin like a massive drum. Artemis running from beasts, torn apart in her forests. And as each new god showed up, it was very, “Oh, yeah, there you are, wow, look what’s wrong with you!” I never had to decide between two possible deaths. They just were.

Talk to us about your writing styles and habits. Do you have a crazy outline you write from? How to you take a story from idea to book, essentially (I know, broad question, haha)

I’m what they call a mostly-pantser. So, I have an idea, I get to know some characters, find the starting scenes, play out a few pivotal scenes in my head, and then start writing without any real framework. I don’t know exactly where the story is headed, or what will be involved. For example, I thought Anna Dressed in Blood would end on the shores of Lake Superior. I thought Superior would have a bigger role overall. Turns out it barely gets a mention.

If I’m lucky, I know how it will end. I rarely get so lucky.

Any weird writer’s quirks? Special pens? Candles burning when you write?  A set schedule or word count you must do every day? 

Is laziness a weird writer’s quirk? Probably not. I can’t force write. Is that a thing? Force writing? Anyway, if the words aren’t there, no amount of me staring at a computer screen will get them there. So, I wait until I feel it, and try as best I can to set a schedule. No special pens. I have a notebook open beside my laptop for notes. No burning candles. Usually the Food Network on in the background, or I’ll flip through those Music Choice channels.

What can you tell us about book 2 in the Goddess Wars series? Any secrets to reveal for fans who want more?

I can tell you that more heroes and gods show up. Someone is going to arrive and make trouble for Athena where Odysseus is concerned. If you want to know who, you can find her in the pages of the Odyssey. And we’re probably headed to the Underworld, at least once.

 What have you read lately that you’ve loved? Our readers are always looking for great recommendations!

NOS4A2, by Joe Hill. I’m eagerly awaiting Dr. Sleep, by Joe Hill’s dad. I recently loved April Genevieve Tucholke’s BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA and there’s a great debut that’s not to be missed in a few weeks, Mindy McGinnis’ NOT A DROP TO DRINK. And everyone should probably read some Caitlin R Kiernan. Just because.

Thank you so much for featuring me on Lytherus!

-Kendare

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Want more from Kendare? Follow her on twitter and check out her awesome website. And don’t forget to enter in a giveaway to win one of two copies of Kendare’s newest book, Antigoddess.