shadowplay blog tour: interview with laura lam

29 December 2013

Today i have the wonderful Laura Lam here to tell us all about her publishing journey. Her books include PANTOMIME, and SHADOWPLAY. Here's a little bit about the author {via goodreads}.
Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.
She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
When I was 15, so 10 years ago. I’ve always loved reading and loved the idea of creating my own books for others to read.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
About 15 months for the first draft of Pantomime, but I wrote it in fits and starts. Then I submitted it, waited about 7 months, had a revision request and revisions took 3 months, then a month later I had a deal!
Why did you decide to write for the fantasy genre and not a different genre?
It’s my favourite genre to read and this story and world came into my head. I write across genres, however. I love how much possibility there is in fantasy – anything goes.
Where did you get the ideas for the book?
I mushed together a lot of my interests – gender studies, the circus, magicians, the line between magic and technology, Victorianism and high society, romance, adventure, mystery.
Did any specific thing trigger your imagination to write the book?
Not really; it was more a lot of little things. I had the idea to write an intersex character, but it wasn’t until I really started researching intersex issues that I realised it was a story and a character I should really try to bring to life.
Are any characters in the books based on real people?
Nope, though I’m sure various characters have aspects of people I know unconsciously.
Did Pantomime/Shadowplay ever have any other names?
Oh man. They had some horrible names. Pantomime for a long time was just called “Gene,” which is the name of one of the characters. Some of the other potential titles were Hippocamp & Epicene – terrible. Shadowplay went through so many potential names – Phantasmagoria, Psychopomp (?!), Spectre & Maske, Phantoms….so many. Shadowplay ended up working quite well, though, I think.
When you look back at the 1st and 2nd books, are there any specific things that you would like to change if you had the chance?
Of course. If I wrote Pantomime from scratch again it’d be different in plenty of ways. Same with Shadowplay. That said, though, I don’t regret it and it’s too late now! I would have tried to make Pantomime’s ending a bit less cliffhangery, and make some aspects of the worldbuilding clearer in both books.
Most stressful thing when writing your books?
Worrying about sales and the career sides of things stress me out the most. I don’t know if I’m doing well, or what the odds are of my next book selling, and sometimes that’s overwhelming.
Most enjoyable thing when writing your books?
Getting lost in the world and having the scene come out just right. That first flush of getting a new novel idea and knowing it’s a Novel Idea and not a passing fancy. Receiving a lovely review or piece of reader mail. I love knowing that someone connected with my world.
What was your daily writing routine and where did you write?
Whenever and wherever I can. Sometimes I’ll wake up and write before work, or on my lunch break. Sometimes I go to the café after work, and often I’ll go on the weekends. I meet up with two friends once a week or so and write with them, or go to the local writing group in my city. I try to write every day, or at least plan and brainstorm. It all adds up.

2013 end of year book survey

20 December 2013

made by 
classics1984 by george orwell, i started off loving it, when i got to the middle i was tempted to DNF but then i carried on and i am so glad i didn't because THAT ENDING.
YA historical fiction Out of the Easy by ruta sepetys… seriously. this book. if you've not read it then...i don't consider you a true friend because i have probably recommended it to you at some point and yOU STILL HAVEN'T READ IT. ;P also the book thief by markus zuzak. i'm actually still reading it now, half way through, BUT I ALREADY LOVE IT.
YA dystopian || sci-fi - the lunar chronicles by marissa meyer - these books. gah. #perfection
YA fantasy — days of blood and starlight by laini taylor. The second novel in one my favourite YA trilogies,;i can't rave about this enough....
YA contemporarythe ruby redfort series by lauren child and the geek girl series by holly smale. both of these have an MG/YA cross-over appeal but my whole family literally LOVES the ruby redfort series and the geek girl series are a winner in my family too. ;)
twinmaker by sean williams. one of my very first DNFs of the year which i was really sad about because i was extremely excited to read it - and when i got it i did a happy dance. then i never finished was just so confusing!!
wither by lauren destefano. i got this book on a whim, while in the works trying to make up my 'buy two get one free' deal having heard a few good things, but nothing to completely take my notice. i finally got round to reading it a few months later AND I LOVED IT.
daughter of smoke and bone by laini taylor. hands down.
rainbow rowell. i read eleanor and park this year and, gah, perfection. now i'm just fangirling and flailing and waiting for fangirl to arrive on my doorstep. im still convinced she wrote it about my life...
angelfall by susan ee. i loved this book (and that cover!!). world after is on my shelf. must. read. it. soon.
shadow and bone and siege and storm by leigh bardugo. the covers are lovely and they are matt (!!), *strokes*
caleana sardothien. because. hello? it's celeana!

BOOK REVIEW: the isobel journal by isobel harrop

15 December 2013

Publisher: Hot Key Books
Published: 7th November 2013
Book: For Review*
Format: Paperback, Finished Copy
Pages: 208
Genre: Young Adult {YA}, Coming-Of-Age, Art
Blurb: THE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author's sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: 'Love', 'Friends, Art and Otters' and 'Me'. Resonant of Laura Dockrill's MISTAKES IN THE BACKGROUND and with the powerful naïve illustrative style of cult Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, this is a collector's gift for teenagers and all who have the teenage experience still in their hearts. Readers will emphasise with this witty and honest journal of a girl getting to grips with impending adulthood. A must-have for all hipster teenagers and anyone who appreciates the raw creativity of youth. Enchanting and poignant. -goodreads
The Isobel Journal is a superb visual book stuffed full of doodles and photographs that will make you want to break out the paper and pen that you have stuffed away somewhere in your desk and create. It's a coming of age scrapbook that will fill your imagination and each page has its own quirky, unique touch that drew me to it immediately.It's only a quick read and took me around fifteen minutes to finish - however it's a book to read, and re-read and read again, just so you can absorb each and everything in it and one that you will never get tired of. I can see myself trying to copy the drawings in the book because I love them so much...but I can also maybe most probably see them ending up in the waste paper bin because i don't like them...
"my favourite past time is probably lying in bed or eating snacks...or both at the same time."
The blurb describes this book perfectly: charming, vivid, creative, witty, honest, enchanting and poignant. It's a striking collection of thoughts and feelings and is the perfect gift for a teenager because it's so unique and original. At times it is also amusing and by the end of it you won't fail to have a smile on your face. By the end of the book I felt like I knew Isobel; she was created through her own musings and scrap-collections and it's such a perfect way of bringing a character to life that by the last page, I felt like I could relate to her. I felt like I had shared a part of her life with her. I felt like I knew all the important things about her that maybe not many people in her life knew: like how she's waiting to discover her 'dark' side; but really she still drinks tea from a princess mug. Like how she loves 90's girl bands and wants to be a character in a cartoon. Small things, mundane things to some people; but things can depict someone's life so easily that you almost feel like you are them.
"sometimes pictures say more than words ever can."

Some pages I laughed out loud at simply because I could relate to them down to the T, {*le sigh* why do some parents just not know how to use a computer?!} and I almost feel like I want to stick some pages up on my wall, or scrapbook, the already scrap booked pages, but no, i will not ruin the book. Isobel Harrop deals with heartbreak, friendships, family, badgers, tea, and otters with brilliant little pieces of teenage wisdom and a scattering of doodles that are more vibrant and poignant than a thousand words.
*I received this book from the publishers free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

fangirling for...#2

10 December 2013

My second 'Fangirling For...'' post is going to be showcasing a book I have been waiting - and still am - for what seems like years. When I first read Cinder by Marissa Meyer, it had been a book that had been buzzing around for a while, getting rave reviews, but never really interesting me because I was so caught up in other books. When I got the chance to read it, I took it, after deciding there was no harm in trying, because i thought it looked interesting, and frankly, the cover was pretty so...
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: February 6th 2014
Pages: 560
Genre: Young Adult {YA}, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 
When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can. -from goodreads
Isn't the cover lovely as well? AND THERE'S GOING TO BE A FILM FOR CINDER I JUST. I can't. and just to pain myself even further. Who want's a little snippet?
“He leaned forward to inspect her closer. "Is that all hair?"
... Sudden, overwhelming panic clawed up Cress's throat. With a squeak, she ducked out of view of the camera and scrambled beneath the desk. Her back struck the wall with a thud that rattled her teeth. She crouched there, skin burning hot and pulse thundering as she took in the room before her— the room that he was now seeing too, with the rumpled bedcovers and the mustached man on all the screens telling her to grab her imaginary partner and swing them around.
"Wha—where'd she go?" Thorne's voice came to her through the screen.
"Honestly, Thorne." A girl. Linh Cinder? "Do you ever think before you speak?"
"What? What did I say?"
" 'Is that all hair?' "
"Did you see it? It was like a cross between a magpie nest and ball of yarn after it's been mauled by a cheetah."
A beat. Then, "A cheetah?"
"It was the first big cat that came to mind.”
p.s you can read the first chapter here.

cast a harry potter spell : questionnaire

05 December 2013

{bookish survey from Flip That Page).
Fixes damaged objects
A book that needs some serious fixing: MONUMENT 14 by Emmy Laybourne. I know someone who will disagree with me on this *cough* Broccoli *cough*, but to be honest, i really didn't like it. Too many stereotypical characters for me to deal with. *reparo, go on fix!*
Creates a narrow beam of light
A book that deserves more attention: UNDER THE MESQUITE BY Guadalupe Garcia McCall. I really enjoyed this book. It was a nice insight into a Mexican family, and it was written in verse. Need I say more?
Counters the effects of Lumos
An overhyped book: Ehem, Ehem, THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancy. Sorry, but not for me...I mean - the cover's pretty but I just couldn't get into it..and...yeah..*Le Sigh*
Summons an object from a significant distance
A book you’re anticipating: PERFECT RUIN by Lauren DeStefano. I absolutely cannot wait to read this book. I loved Wither a lot and this book..well..GIMME. *grabby hands*
Opens unlocked doors, unless bewitched
A book you want to be more open about: THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. When i first read this book I absolutely hated it. And it was so long ago I can't even remember what it was about until I saw the film trailer. It made me want to try it again, so, I'm going to.
Expecto Patronum
Conjures an incarnation of positive feelings
A book that made you cry, or at least want to: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. And if you ask why? 
a) do you have a heart?!
Conjures the Dark Mark
A book you wish to mark as one of your favorites: THE GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale. The. Writing. Is. Stunning. I wish i'd written it. Please read it?
Petrificus Totalus
Petrifies victim
A book you wish to keep forever: BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys. Read it. You'll see. Oh, and make sure you have a box of tissues beside you...
Used against a boggart
A book with a deceiving synopsis: NOWHERE by Jon Robinson. When reading the blurb. I thought i'd love it. Two words: I didn't. >.<
Lacarnum Inflamarae
Shoots fireballs
A book you wish to burn out of your mind completely: FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY by E.L James. I know this isn't YA but please. Just NO. *waves wand* *draws forgetful rune on arm*{I HATH NEVER READ IT THOUGH *shoots glare at Amber*}
Wingardium Leviosa
Levitates objects
A book you wish to reread: WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Brontë. I know i've read this once before when i was younger but i can't really remember the whole story and now I'm older i'll probably appreciate it more. know, because I had to: 
Avada Kedavra
Causes instant death
Worst book EVER: Errmmm..I don't really know? Or shall we just have done with all my lame attempts at stories and forget all about it? ^_^
Puts victim in unconscious state
A book with a chapter you couldn’t seem to get over: 1984 by George Orwell. That last line is a KILLER.
Causes befuddlement or forgetfulness
A book that generally confused you: RESIST by Sarah Crossan. I really enjoyed Breathe but Resist? ASDFGHJKL. I just - it was a disappointment. :(
Inflicts unbearable pain
A book that was a pain to read: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen. In the end I enjoyed it but because I only tend to have reading time in the evenings, it took me ages {around a week - i'm a speed reader.) to read: as at 10pm at night, I could really do with a quick easy story where my brain doesn't have to work: and not a amazingly well-written book with words you have to ponder over the meaning of. -_-
Heals relatively minor injuries
A feel good book that you enjoyed: FLYAWAY by Lucy Christopher. I think this counts as a feel-good book? I don't really read many so I don't know what books fall into this category bit i did love this book. It was sweet and yeah..feel-good. ;D
Impedes target’s progress
A book that kept you up all night reading:  THE ELITES by Natasha Ngan. I needed to finish this book. I started reading at 9:30 and finished...late. I WAS TIRED THE NEXT DAY. But it was worth it. ;)
Immediate silencing
A book that left you speechless after you read it: THE CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare. That ending though. asdfghjkl.
Allows you to delve into someone’s mind
A book with well-developed characters: JONATHON LIVINGSTON SEAGULL by Richard Bach. This book is about a seagull. Learning how to fly. Boring you say? Well, i thought so too - until I read it.
A spell that turns you upside down
A book that changed your mind about a character from its prequel: Dorian from CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J Maas. When I read Throne of Glass I liked him; but I was always Team Chaol. But in the second book he gained my respect a lot more than I had had from him before.
Used to hide memories
A book with a story you can’t remember: DEBUTANTES by Cora Harrison. I can't even remember whether I liked the book or not!...
Peskipiksi Pesternomi
Useless spell
A boring book that had absolutely no effect on you: *hides head* please don't kill me people but HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHERS STONE by J.K Rowling. I'm sorry but the first book was boring. Ok?
Breaks through solid objects
A book that convinced you to reconsider a certain genre: DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. I don't really enjoy fantasy books with devils and such-like in them. But now - I'm more inclined to take a second look when one comes my way.
Tickling spell
A book that made you laugh: RUBY REDFORT: {INSERT ANY OF THE THREE BOOKS IN THE SERIES HERE} by Lauren Child. Ruby Redfort is one legendary kid ok. Just. Yes. I love her.
Offensive spell that violently wounds the target
A book that may have scarred you for life: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. I'm sorry. but *blubbers* G UU UU uuu S ss sS s   ss...
Makes you dance uncontrollably
A series finale that made you feel giddy: I've actually hardly read any series ending books so i'm going to go with a second book that made me feel giddy. GEEK GIRL: MODEL MISFIT by Holly Smale. I'm sorry. BUT I NEED ANOTHER BOOK.
Bombarda Maxima
Causes an explosion that breaks through obstacles
A book that made you explode with the feels: CITY OF BONES {Series} by Cassandra Clare. So. Much. Going. On.
Finite Incantatem
Nullifies other spells
A book you thought you’d dislike, but ended up loving: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen... a book about social propriety and manners and OMG IT WAS SO GOOD.