Friday, January 13, 2017

Alex Bracken Signing Recap

I've been a huge fan of Alex since she was a member of PublishingCrawl back in the day. I remember when her first book, Brightly Woven came out and how much I loved it--and still do to this day! one of my biggest regrets was getting it for my kindle and not a hard copy now that it's out of print.
Harvard Bookstore always has a pretty good set up when it comes to book events. I love how much space they have in their store to accommodate a good amount of people.
Alex was a very good speaker. She was so friendly and bubbly and sweet.
She told us that  Passenger was inspired by her time in college in Virginia. There's is a colonial place (like Plymouth plantation) where people won't break character. 
She wanted to capture the feeling of being a time traveler, and be able to compare the old with the new, like Outlander for example. 
She picked New York for Etta to be from because, while she doesn't love New York city, she loves new yorkers and the way they can just go about their business and deal with weird things and people and happenings around them easily. Lol
When asked why she chose certain times and locations, she said she wanted to push herself to be not euro-centric and do more world history. 
Wayfarer was her problem book. It taught her a lot about herself as a writer. 

She made Etta play the violin because she always admired musicians since they work so hard and are very single minded in their practice and determined. 
Ettas single minded determination is like Alex in that she was very single mindedly obsessed with getting published while in college.
She read biographies by young concert musicians as research for Etta. 
When asked about her writing schedule, she explained how her original writing schedule when she used to work in editorial and then Marketing. (Something they tell you is that editorial isn't a career its a lifestyle you bring home with you. )
She'd come home every Friday. Buy Chipotle and mountain dew (she's back on coffee now and tryign to kick the habit of mountain dew, but I totally get that addiction. I was a mountain dew fiend in college too! So much so that people got me cases of it for Christmas!) and work from like 7pm till 4 am then wake up at 10am and work again  till 4am on Saturday and Sunday and then go back to work on Monday with a dew hangover.

That's how she worked on writing and school work while she went to college. She did it all in long solitary blocks of time.
Now that shes a full time writer she can have a more healthy time frame.
Wakes up around 8 walks the dog. Check emails. Turn on her app to turn internet off
She usually works on three books at a time!
Marketing for one
Editing for another
Drafting another
A biiiit of a workaholic. So she's glad she has her dog that makes her get up and do stuff.
She keeps a notebook by her bed to write some lines in and get into a groove for her next writing  time.
When asked about her cover, she broke it down in what she imagined the meanings to be.
The City crumbling on the bottom= the unbalance of what could happen if you mess up the time line.
The Tree= the characters--they all have tree names.
The Glass case= the rules of time traveling that's been broken.
She said she felt lucky that she works with Disney since they are very good at working with the authors with the covers.

Some other things she mentioned:
She wrote a lot of fanfiction in high school.
Just need the confidence to take the plunge into original fiction.
Finished her first book for nonowrimo her first year of college. It was a cliche dump of tropes from fantasies that she loved. She queried it to every single agent in existence and got rejected by all.
Sold her second book she wrote though!

Publishing Path Advice:
Read everything. Even genres you don't think you would like. Cause you learn different things from each of them.

Write everyday. Doesn't matter what. Journal entries. Notes. Dreams. Anything.

Believe in yourself in the face of life. Push through it. 

Studied History and English in college.
After spiraling into depression between junior and senior year because she really didn't want to be a lawyer or teacher. She went to the career center. They said why not check out publishing jobs.
She doesn't like NY but thought she could transfer. But then the 2008 year crashed and there were only pub jobs in NY and Boston. Her mom in Lowell said she wouldn't survive a Boston winter. So she went to NY.

Publishing is definitely about who you know. Even still.

She had a dragon lady boss and would passive aggressively leave notes at her.

Passenger and Wayfarer were always planned to be a duology.

Phew! Alex had so much fun insider information, the hour flew by too quickly!! She was so nice during the signing line. So talkative and hugged for pictures! ♥ She really is so sweet. I hope she comes back again!

☆*・゜゚・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆

Title: Wayfarer
By: Alexandra Bracken
Publication:  January 3rd 2017 by Disney-Hyperion
Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Summary: All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.

☆*・゜゚・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Wintersong By S. Jae-Jones Talk-Up

 This isn't much a review but more of a talk-up. Where I talk up and hype (hopefully)books that I love! 

So I've been a huge fan of JJ ever since I started following PublishingCrawl YEARS ago. I though it was so cool that she was an artist too, and when she got her book deal announcement, I was ecstatic that it was a Labyrinth retelling. I loved that movie. I followed her newsletter and kept up with all the changes, from NA to YA it made (I'm still hoping those NA scenes will be available sometime to the public ;] ) and my most favorite thing, the art! I thought it was so cool that JJ was able to implement her art in the book! As an artist and author, it really inspired me into hoping maybe I could do the same in the future.

*・゜゚・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆

Title: Wintersong
Expected publication:  February 7th 2017 by Thomas Dunne
Add to Goodreads  |  Buy on Amazon Barnes & Noble 

Summary: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

*・゜゚・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆

The first thing I noticed about this book is that it's long! Over 400 pages long!
Already in the beginning you can see how different the retelling is from the Labyrinth movie. Instead of the main character loving fairy tales and books, she loves music. The whole family is a musical family, except for the younger sister, Kathe, who is an added character. Instead of a younger being wished away, Kathe is stolen.
There are some scenes that are similar to the movie, but they end there, with small similarities. The goblin's dance, the games. Everything is darker, grittier and sexier. I had read that this book had originated as an adult book--a really adulty adult book, and then was cut down to YA in JJ's newsletter. Since I had this in mind while reading, I could definitely see where certain scenes would have escalated and had been embellished on before the edits. ;)
And the Goblin King is a much deeper character than the mysterious and elusive goblin king of the movie. I would say that the movie is a good touchstone for some things, but Wintersong is something completely on its own.
With it's combination of folklore, fantasy, arts, and music, Wintersong is like dreamy read. The pacing was a bit slow for me-whimsical really, which other readers would probably like a lot more. If you liked The Star-Touched Queen, then you'd probably like the dream-like motions of this book.
One last thing that I found interesting, after my read, was that JJ posted in her newsletter that Liesl is actually Bipolar. After reading that it made me re-analyze the book and the character.
If you haven't already, you should definitely sign up for her newsletter because she gives such interesting inside information to the writing and publishing process. 
Also, her and Kelly do a Podcast all about publishing and books and all the things. So you should check those out as well!  
*・゜゚・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆・*:.。. .。.:*・゜゚・*☆