*Blog Tour + Q&A + Giveaway* You Asked for Perfect – Laura Silverman

You Asked for PerfectTitle: You Asked for Perfect

Author: Laura Silverman

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: March 5th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary

My Review

Synopsis:

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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AUTHOR INFORMATION

laura-silverman_author-photoMy debut novel, GIRL OUT OF WATER, is a summery coming-of-age story about a California surfer girl sent to landlocked Nebraska for the entire summer. It debuted in May 2017. You can order it from most book retailers and of course request it at your local library! My second novel, YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT, is about the effects of intense academic pressure on a teenage Valedictorian-to-be. It comes out March 2019, and you can add it on Goodreads here.

I have degrees in English and Advertising from the University of Georgia, and I have an MFA in Writing for Children from the New School. While I lived in NYC, I interned at Penguin and two different literary agencies. In addition to writing, I also freelance edit manuscripts and query letters. Please check out my services if you’re interested! I particularly love helping with those query letters!

You can find Laura Silverman at the following sites:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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Q&A WITH LAURA SILVERMAN

Thank you, Laura, for stopping by on the blog! I had so much fun chatting with you!

1. Your second book is coming out in March, that’s so exciting! What inspired you to write this story?

I went to an extremely academically competitive high school. We were pressured to take as many AP classes as possible and do well in them. At the time, almost ten years ago now, this high school experience was pretty unusual. We jokingly called the school a university instead of a high school. But I’ve noticed in recent years it’s been more and more common to put this intense academic pressure on high school students all over the country, and that amount of pressure can be extremely harmful to the mental and physical health of the students. I wanted to write a book where high school students feel seen and heard. I wanted to tell them that they are much more important than their grades. I also wanted to send a message to teachers, parents, administrators, etc. Many already know this pressure is an issue, but I hope they will work harder to solve it.

2. I read an ARC of YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT a couple months ago and I absolutely loved it! I related to Ariel so much, and I know a lot more readers will, too. Was it difficult writing Ariel’s character, or any of the other characters?

Ariel’s voice came fairly naturally to me. He’s one of the other main reasons I wrote this book. I’ve had his voice in my head for years now. Originally, he belonged to another book I scraped after a few chapters, but his voice stayed in my head, so a couple years after that, I started writing YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT. That said, it was definitely still difficult in a way to write his voice because the poor guy is super stressed out for a large portion of the book. I felt that stress right along with him and would often continue to feel it after my writing session. Thankfully there are some fluffy, happy scenes in the book as well that gave us both some relief J

3. If you could give one piece of advice to those struggling with any type of pressure to be perfect, what would it be?

Reach out to people and ask for help – whether it’s parents or a therapist or someone else. Perfection is overrated, and hopefully someone in your life can work with you, provide comfort, and help shift your perspective.

4. What was your writing process like for YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT?

As mentioned above, it was super stressful! I had a lot of high school flashbacks. I wasn’t exactly like Ariel, but there were times when I felt like a single grade or project was the end of the world. I really dipped back into that internal spiral, and it was a difficult space to live in again.

5. There are a ton of inspiring authors out there. What advice would you give them?

Write what you enjoy! I strongly recommend writing fanfiction if you’re just starting out. I wrote a ton of fanfiction in college, and it was the best writing practice. You get instant feedback from your reviewers, and you’re incentivized to keep posting new chapters because they’ll want to know what happens next. And most importantly, it’s really fun!

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TOUR SCHEDULE

See what other amazing blogs joined this fantastic blog tour!

http://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2018/12/tour-schedule-you-asked-for-perfect-by.html

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YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win a copy of YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT by Laura Silverman (INT)

Disclaimer: INT as long as Bookdepository ships to the country of the winner.

Start Date: 11th February 2019

End Date: 24th February 2019

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, so much for having A Court of Coffee and Books on the blog tour!

*Blog Tour + Q&A + Giveaway* Dark of the West – Joanna Hathaway

book coverBook Title: Dark of the West (Glass Alliance #1)

Author: Joanna Hathaway

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: February 5th 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:

He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Cursein Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

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BOOK LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32949202-dark-of-the-west

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2EkaLsY

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-of-the-west-joanna-hathaway/1127026418?ean=9780765396419#/

Bookdepository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Dark-West-Joanna-Hathaway/9780765396419?ref=grid-view&qid=1544720532762&sr=1-1

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-of-the-west/id1279815748?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/dark-of-the-west

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AUTHOR INFORMATION

authorJoanna was born in Montréal and is an avid storyteller who was inspired to write after reading her great-grandfather’s memoirs of the First World War. A lifelong history buff, she now has shelves filled with biographies and historical accounts, and perhaps one too many books about pilots. She can often be found reading, traveling, or riding horses.

Her debut novel, DARK OF THE WEST (Tor Teen, February 5th, 2019), is the first in a WWII-infused fantasy series of forbidden love and deadly revenge.

You can find Joanna on the following sites:

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

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Q&A WITH JOANNA HATHAWAY

Thank you, Joanna, for stopping by on the blog! It was wonderful chatting with you!

  1. Your debut novel, DARK OF THE WEST, comes out next year! Congrats! What inspired you to write this story?

Thank you so much! Honestly, the biggest inspiration for me was history. As a teen, all I read were memoirs and biographies and historical accounts from as many different perspectives as I could get my hands on. I wanted to read the real stories of real people around the world—people who had faced these incredible (and often horrific) events with such courage. It always made me wonder what I would do in the same situation. What choices would I make? But I also wanted to write a book that wasn’t bound to the rules of our own history, so I began building this fantasy world that felt like our own yet was distinctly unique. I wanted to make an exploration of the timeless themes of our history, but see it through the eyes of two youthful and idealistic narrators who still believe in the best. Thus, Dark of the West was born!

  1. What was it like to write two point of views? Was one easier to write than the other?

I originally started with only one POV (Aurelia), but then I did a test scene from the perspective of Athan and discovered he had a whole family demanding to be shared! And once I started weaving his story with Aurelia’s, I realized how well they complemented one another, illuminating the larger story. It worked out perfectly. I don’t think either POV is “easier” than the other, but often when I get tired of writing one, I can just switch to the other and feel immediately rejuvenated — handy for those deadlines!

  1. Are you more of a plotter or did you let the story come to you naturally, without a ton of plotting?

This particular story has been with me since I was in university, so it’s definitely come about more gradually and naturally, left to simmer for years. While I didn’t specifically sit down and create an outline for it, I have had the series in my mind for a long time, so I do plot out each book and each character arc to satisfy the overarching themes and events which I know are coming.

  1. If you had the chance to spend one day with Aurelia and Athan, what would you all do?

I think I’d want to visit Aurelia’s horses and Athan’s airplanes. And if I could ride one and fly another, that would be even better. I think they’d be on board with that!

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Trust your heart and know that no one else can tell the story you wish to tell. It’s a reflection of you, which is quite sacred, and while you should always seek out critique and be unafraid to put in the sweat and work, never belittle the heart of what you’re trying to say. Always fight to get it out into the world. There’s room on the shelves for your unique story.

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TOUR SCHEDULE

See what other amazing blogs joined this wonderful blog tour!

https://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2018/12/tour-schedule-dark-of-west-glass.html

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GIVEAWAY

Prize: Win (1) of (10) physical copies of DARK OF THE WEST by Joanna Hathaway (US Only)

Giveaway Starts: February 5th, 2019

Giveaway Ends: February 18th, 2019

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, so much for having A Court of Coffee and Books on the blog tour!

 

*Author Q&A & Giveaway Blog Tour* Girl at the Grave – Teri Bailey Black

About the Book

girlTitle: Girl At the Grave

Author: Teri Bailey Black

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: August 7, 2018

Genre: Young Adult — Historical Fiction, Mystery

Synopsis:

Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer.

Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33294216-girl-at-the-grave

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RlslRp

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/girl-at-the-grave-teri-bailey-black/1127026392#/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Girl-at-the-Grave-Teri-Bailey-Black/9780765399489

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780765399489

About the Author

Teri-Bailey-BlackTeri Bailey Black grew up near the beach in southern California in a large, quirky family with no television or junk food, but an abundance of books and art supplies. She’s happiest when she’s creating things, whether it’s with words, fabric, or digging in the garden. She makes an amazing chocolate cherry cake—frequently. She and her husband have four children and live in Orange County, California.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeriBaileyBlack

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teribaileyblack/

Website: https://www.teribaileyblack.com/


Q&A with Teri Bailey Black

Thank you so much for stopping by on the blog, Teri! I’m so excited to host you here today! Girl at the Grave is absolutely stunning! 

1. One thing I love hearing authors talk about is their inspiration for their books. What inspired you to write Girl at the Grave?

I’m a very visual person (I grew up in a family of artists), so for me a story usually starts as an image in my mind. This book began with the image of a little girl in the 1800’s, with wild hair and dirty feet, looking through a schoolhouse window. The teacher tries to draw her inside, but she runs away. Most of the kids call her names, but one boy watches her with piercing attention. I wondered why that little girl was an outcast and decided her mother was hanged for murdering a prominent man—the father of the boy who watches her. After I’d written about a hundred pages of that little girl’s story, I realized I was more interested in the 17-year-old girl she becomes. So I started writing a new book where the handsome son of the murdered man still watches her, and it became a love story as well as a murder mystery. I thought up a few interesting plot twists and secrets—and I was off and running. Well, typing.

2. Every writer has a different writing experience. What was your writing experience like? Did the story come naturally or all at once or did you have to claw the story out of your characters? Or was it something else entirely? 

I’m a “seat of the pants” writer by nature (start with a vague idea and make it up as I go) but I do WANT to be an outliner (sigh) and I do TRY to outline ahead of time. My first draft of GIRL took about a year and was quite different than the final printed story. The first quarter of the book was Valentine’s childhood (seeing her mother hanged but not understanding why), and then the story jumped to her teen years. 

I sent out queries to agents and got several requests for the full manuscript, followed by rejections with some encouraging compliments. One agent asked for a revision and resubmit, with a suggestion to make it either a full children’s story or a full YA story. Seemed so obvious, suddenly. I spent about six months completely rewriting it, even changing the underlying murder mystery quite a bit.

I sent the new version back to that agent, who replied with some looovely compliments about my writing abilities that gave me hope—but now had issues with the characterizations. Sigh. I set it aside for six months, then attacked it again with fresh eyes. And THIS time, I was able to fly through it fairly quickly because I really knew my characters and story, so it was easy to move the pieces around.

After I signed with an agent (the amazing Barbara Poelle) and sold it to Tor Teen, my editor Amy Stapp had some powerful insights that made another major revision necessary. And then it became a book. Looking back, this book took several years because I was learning to write as I wrote it. The book I’m working on now is flying together much more easily.

3. Which one of your characters do you resonate with the most and why?

I feel a strong connection with my main character Valentine. She’s grown up as an outcast, never fitting in, and I think most of us have had those moments in our life when we feel like we don’t fit in. I love Valentine’s hard work ethic. She lost her mother at age six (or was it five? funny how I’ve forgotten!), so she’s had to learn how to cook and clean and survive on her own. (In my first draft, she spies through town windows watching other mothers, but that was cut.) I’m quite crafty myself and love the way Valentine sews a vest for Sam and bakes gingerbread for Birdy. Oh—and Birdy!! Valentine has such a warm, generous heart. She knows what it feels like to not fit in. She cares about those even less fortunate than herself, which is why she wants to work with Alina Lunt.

4. What is a quirky or unique habit you have?

I start writing at 4 or 5 in the morning—yes, really! The world is asleep, the house is quiet, and I can disappear into my story. Then, alas, the sun rises, the house gets noisy, time to shower and make the bed and throw in a load of laundry. I still write throughout the day, but I’m much more creative and productive in those early morning hours. The downside: my brain melts at 8pm.

5. If you could choose one character from your novel to spend a day around town with, who would you choose and why?

I love creative people, so I’d love to hang out with Rowan Blackshaw. I would enjoy watching him draw and paint. (Three of my sisters went to art school, and I always love watching them work.) Rowan is a deep-thinker—and smart—so I’d love to listen to him ramble about just about anything. And yeah, he’s gorgeous, so that doesn’t hurt. 

6. This is another question I love to ask authors! What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Writing advice! Mostly—keep it fun. Join writing groups and go to conferences and make personal connections, because that’s the good stuff. I know . . . most of us are closet introverts, but it’s worth the effort to find some writing friends. My critique group meets once a week and we have a blast. In the past, I had a critique group that only met online (living across the globe, literally), and that was also rewarding.

Listen to your critique partners and DON’T BE OFFENDED. Listen and learn. Nobody starts out great. You have to figure out your weaknesses before you can improve. You want critique partners who point out both the good and the bad. It’s not very helpful if they only say, “Wow, this is great.” And it’s discouraging if they only say, “Um . . . no.”

Publication seems like an obvious end goal, but that adds a truckload of pressure, both getting there and then getting through it, so decide if you’d rather just write for personal enjoyment—which is a worthy goal. I repeat: keep it fun!

Thank you again for stopping by, Teri! 🙂


Giveaway!

19_d1a46b34-4d61-4685-b2f8-6e4bf4a84a23_1800xPrize: Wonderland Book Beau, size XL for a standard hardcover (USA only)

Starts: 10/25/18

Ends:  11/2/18

ENTER HERE!


Tour Schedule

http://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2018/09/tour-schedule-girl-at-grave-by-teri.html

Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club for hosting this wonderful book tour!