Category Archives: Interviews

Exclusive Interview: Sarah Beth Durst

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Author Sarah Beth Durst joins again to talk about her latest fantasy release, CONJURED!

Can you tell us a bit about CONJURED in your own words?

CONJURED is the creepiest and wildest novel I’ve ever written. It’s basically a psychological thriller. With magic. Lots of magic. It’s about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program, who, haunted by visions of carnival tents and tarot cards, must remember her past and why she has strange abilities before a magic-wielding serial killer hunts her down.

Who is Eve? Why is she in the witness protection program?

Ooh, look, shiny bird!

*dodges question*

Seriously, those are the key questions. Who is Eve? She has no idea. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know who to trust. But the novel isn’t precisely about her discovering the answer — it’s about her creating the answer. The heart of the novel is her journey from no one to someone, from a pawn to someone in charge of her own destiny.

How did you approach writing a character with complete memory loss?

I wrote CONJURED using a very tight point-of-view. The idea is that the reader goes on this journey with Eve and feels all the claustrophobic chaos of being such a blank-slate kind of character. To compensate, I tried to make the world around her and all the secondary characters as vivid as possible, and I kept very careful track of everything that happens that Eve doesn’t witness or remember so that those things could inform the words and actions of those other characters.

[SPOILERISH] Why is the killer to be tried in our world’s courts versus the place where he committed the crimes?

This world has no magic. So it’s the only safe place to try a magic-wielding serial killer. (Note: the judge is not from this world so the trial is fair.) Plus it’s really Malcom’s case, and this is his home.

CONJURED is by far your darkest novel. Has this been a progression of your writing style? Or is it just how your stories have developed?

Continue reading Exclusive Interview: Sarah Beth Durst

The Planet Thieves Blog Tour: Dan Krokos Interview and Giveaway!

About the Author:
After pumping gas for nine years to put himself through college, DAN KROKOS, now twenty-six, writes full-time. He enjoys watching TV, playing MMORPGs, and drinking coffee. His YA novel, False Memory, debuted from Hyperion in Fall 2012. Currently, he’s hard at work on the next book in the Planet Thieves series. Find him online at


Can you tell us a bit about The Planet Thieves in your own words?

It’s a story about a kid named Mason Stark who doesn’t like the world he’s living in, and decides to do something about it. He’s a cadet, a child soldier basically. He and his friends are forced into an incredibly adult situation when their spaceship is boarded by their sworn enemies, and this story is how they deal with it.

There are also space wizards.

Who are the Tremist? What can you tell us about this alien race?

I can’t say much without giving things away, but I can tell you what humans think the Tremist are like.

Tremist wear this high tech armor that looks close to what knights used to wear back in the middle ages. No one has seen what a Tremist looks like. They are assumed to be blood drinking vampyres or possibly shape shifting werewolves. Or it’s possible their suits are man-shaped, but just filled with ectoplasmic energy.

We’ve been at war with them for sixty years, mainly because the Tremist are just like humans—hostile toward things they don’t understand.

How does Mason assume leadership of rest of the cadets during the crisis?

Mason is a natural leader, so they kind of follow him to start with. But after most of the crew is either captured or killed, he’s given command by a gravely wounded officer. Mason officially becomes the youngest captain the Earth Space Command has ever seen.

Is this the start of a new series or a standalone novel?

Right now it’s two books. But there is definitely more story after the second book, so I hope I have the opportunity to share that. I’d love to follow Mason through his teen years.

What’s next for you, after the release of The Planet Thieves? Are there any other stories that you’re working on currently?

This year I have The Planet Thieves and False Sight, which is the sequel to my first book False Memory. Next year is the final False Memory book, and the Planet Thieves sequel. Just working on finishing all those up at the moment, then it’s on to the next thing!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.

I hated English and writing during my teen years. It wasn’t until I turned twenty-one that I decided to try it. And that was after reading a ton of fantasy novels and falling in love with reading again. Before that, I didn’t have much skill at all, and it was a slow process. I wrote four books before I decided to try querying agents. It wasn’t until the fifth book that I got one.

I wrote a lot of adult stuff, and was worried I’d be one of those writers who would write the same kind of books for the rest of their lives. So I decided to step outside my comfort zone and challenge myself by writing from a female POV. The Hunger Games had just come out around this time, and it was a huge inspiration. I can’t remember reading a book that tense. I wanted to write that kind of book.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

My favorite author is actually an adult writer named Josh Bazell. I love his book Beat the Reaper. I love Hunger Games, naturally. A Song of Ice and Fire is one of my favorite series of all time.

What do you do for fun, when you’re not writing?

I play World of Warcraft with my friends, who currently live in Cleveland and LA (we’re all originally from Cleveland, but I’m in New York now). We all got webcams so we can Skype while we play and it’s ALMOST like hanging out in the same room.


About The Planet Thieves:
Two weeks ago, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short routine voyage to log their required spacetime for summer quarter. But routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years.

With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. And soon they find out exactly why the Tremist chose this ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever. Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.


Courtesy of Starscape, I have a copy of THE PLANET THIEVES for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 14. I’ll draw a name on June 15, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Continue reading The Planet Thieves Blog Tour: Dan Krokos Interview and Giveaway!

Author Interview: Jessica Day George

Author Jessica Day George joins today to talk about her new release WEDNESDAYS IN THE TOWER!

Tell us a bit about Wednesdays in the Tower in your own words.

Something’s up with the Castle. Strange new rooms are appearing, old rooms aren’t going away, but Celie’s almost too busy to notice, because in one of the rooms she finds a giant egg, and has to take care of what hatches out!

What is the relationship between Princess Celie and the Castle?

If man’s best friend is his dog, a girl’s best friend is her Castle. At least, it is for Celie!

How did the Castle become a sentient character?

It just sort of came to me one night, but one thing that’s always bothered me about “magic castles” in stories is that it’s usually just a regular ol’ castle that has a wizard living in it. I wanted the Castle to have its own magic, which meant that it had to be alive enough to use that magic.

How many books are planned for the series?

I’m writing #3 right now . . . but I’m keeping mum on anything after that!

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

Oh, so many great books in the world! I became an author because of Robin McKinley, I’ve read The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword over and over again! I love Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, and Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles! I love Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sarantine Mosiac (Huge, HUGE fan of all Kay’s work, really). And Diana Wynne Jones! Howl’s Moving Castle! Archer’s Goon! Dogsbody!

About the book:
When her brother Rolf dares her to catch magical Castle Glower creating a new room, Princess Celie takes the challenge! No one knows the Castle better than she does. But as usual, the Castle has ideas of its own. Celie finds the new room first, and inside it is hidden a giant egg. Does the Castle want Celie to care for the egg and whatever creature it hatches?

Celie hadn’t bargained for a pet, and caring for this one will prove to be especially tricky, once Celie and her siblings realize what else the Castle is hiding.

About The Author:
Originally from Idaho, Jessica Day George studied at Brigham Young University and has been a movie store clerk, a bookseller, and a school office lady before becoming a writer. Jessica lives with her husband, their three young children, and a five-pound Maltese named Pippin who often makes cameo appearances in her books. She is the author of Tuesdays at the Castle, as well as the Twelve Dancing Princesses series, and Dragon Slippers series Visit her website at

ML Brennan Interview and Giveaway!

ML Brennan joins today to talk about her debut novel Generation V!

Can you tell us a bit about Generation V in your own words?

Sure! The elevator pitch of my book is that Fortitude Scott has a useless degree, a minimum-wage job, a cheating girlfriend, and a roommate who stiffs him on the rent. And he’s a vampire… mostly. But when a little girl is kidnapped, suddenly he’s the only one who is willing to try and do something about it, so he teams up with a wise-cracking shapeshifter and heads off for a rescue mission that will very likely kill him.

But one of the big ideas that I’m working with in this book is what happens when the hero isn’t super-powerful, and is consistently out-classed by everyone that he is going up against. To me, I found that it resulted in a hero that I found more interesting, because he was having to find ways around situations, or building relationships with other characters who he didn’t particularly have a lot in common with, or sometimes it just meant that he was risking a lot more when he went into various situations, but he chose to do that because of what he felt was the right thing to do.

Vampire urban fantasy novels are popular. What different about Generation V that sets it apart from the others?

I’ve always enjoyed vampires, but as a writer I had a lot of problems with them. I spent a lot of time re-thinking and re-constructing the vampire rules and mythos in my book until they were something that I thought would be interesting and fun to work with.

Describe your vampires. (Are they of the traditional Bram Stoker variety?)

My vampires are pretty different from the traditional mold (Vampire Classic, so to speak). For one thing, these aren’t changed humans – this is a separate and distinct species that had its own evolutionary path, and that has chosen to remain hidden from the majority of the human population. My vampires also aren’t immortal – they have a longer lifespan than humans (just as most apex predators have longer lifespans than the species they largely subsist on), but they do have a lifecycle. A vampire in my world will be born, grow up, have offspring, and ultimately die of old age.

Where I made a lot of changes was in how to keep vampires in check – in almost every vampire mythos out there, the major question I always ask is why vampires haven’t completely overrun the world. So my vampires might be long-lived, but they also have the kind of trade-offs that you see in apex-species in nature – vampires take much longer to reach sexual maturity, and their top reproductive output is far lower than their prey. Apex predators are, without exception, incredible animals. But they are also very vulnerable to changes in their environment. My vampires are like the Florida panther – incredibly evolved predators that are barely hanging in against full-scale extinction.

As for the way that vampires breed… well, I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll give a hint – my inspiration for this was when I started thinking about parasites like ticks.

Why has Fort been putting off becoming a full vampire?

Because my construction of vampires has made them a species, with a full biological lifecycle, it’s actually not any part of a choice on Fortitude’s part. Even though Fort is twenty-six years old, he hasn’t transitioned fully into being a vampire – and he doesn’t know when that will actually happen, and he’s really conflicted over the entire process.

How many books do you have planned for this series?

I am currently contracted with Roc for three books, but I do have ideas for more.

What’s next for you? Any other stories on the horizon?

I’m very fortunate to be just starting the edits on the second Fortitude Scott book, Iron Night, which will be published by Roc in January 2014. And as soon as I finish with that I’m going to be working on the third book in the series, so I’m having a lot of fun figuring out where to take the character of Fort.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.

I became serious about writing early in college. It was my primary field of study as an undergraduate, and I ultimately pursued it in my master’s studies as well. I have been extremely fortunate in my experiences as a writer to always have had excellent teachers who helped me really understand the value of revision, feedback, and persistence. I spent a lot of time working with short stories before I turned to novel writing, and that was also invaluable to my process.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

Sherri S. Tepper’s Singer From The Sea was probably one of the most amazing reading experiences I ever had – up until that point, I don’t think I’d ever been shocked by a plot turn like the one she has in that book. After I finished that book, I immediately had to read everything else she’d ever written. Beyond that… Brandon Sanderson, Anne Bishop, Patricia Briggs, Sharon Shinn… they were all writers who I return to over and over again. In terms of newer writers, I’m really enjoying Cassie Alexander’s Edie Spence series, and I got a look at an advance copy of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy The Thousand Names, and it really blew me away.

What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?

Well, spare time has been a bit hard to come by lately, but when I do get it, it’s usually spent reading. I’m also a big fan of tabletop gaming, so whenever I have enough people over, I love breaking out games like Munchkin, Puerto Rico, or Settlers of Catan.


Courtesy of the author, I have a SIGNED copy of Generation V for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends May 31. I’ll draw a name on June 1, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Continue reading ML Brennan Interview and Giveaway!

SciFi Book Review and Interview: Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered-her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right wrist-a black oval with five marks on either side-that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. And she’s right. When the honeybee population collapsed, a worldwide pandemic occurred and the government tried to bio-engineer a cure. Only the solution was deadlier than the original problem-the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts who were branded as a warning to un-vaccinated survivors. Key people needed to rebuild society are protected from disease and beasts inside a fortress-like wall. But Fiona has awakened branded, alone-and on the wrong side of the wall . . .

Fiona has no memory of the past several years. We learn along with Fiona what has been happening recently and why. There are terrifying beast-like humans who only seem to want to kill. There are humans living underground, only biding their time before they turn into the beasts. The militia waits along the wall, protects those inside from the horrors of the outside. But the raiders who are even more terrifying than the infected are the ones who Fiona really wants to stay away from. After Fiona is captured by the guard, her markings show her to be the most dangerous of the infected. But she’s far from the mindless beasts that they’re used to. And an old classmate begins to form a relationship with Fiona, while keeping watch over her.

This post-apocalyptic dystopia is a dark, intense story. With engaging characters and an exciting, emotional journey, Stung is a fast-paced adventure that is impossible to put down. Teens and adults alike with enjoy this science fiction thriller. With several twists along the way, the suspense builds to a climactic and satisfying finale. A sequel is scheduled for release in 2014, and I’ll certainly be adding it to my watch list.

Bethany Wiggins Interview:

Can you tell us a bit about Stung in your own words?

Stung is the dystopian book that can happen tomorrow. It’s about a girl who is from our normal every-day world, who finds herself thrust into a vastly different, violent, terrifying world, and has to try and survive.

Where did the idea of linking a pandemic to honeybees come from?

A few years ago, I got a Discovery Magazine that talked about the decline of bees. At the same time, the swine flu scare was running rampant through the USA. I watched these crazy people on the news who were swarming health departments, frantic to the point of violent to get the swine flu vaccine for their kids, and it made me wonder, “What if the government told us there is this huge flu to scare us into taking a vaccine that is really going to harm us? And what if it was linked to the honeybee decline?” And that’s how a major part of the plot was hatched.

Can you talk about the mutation that develops?

Sure. The bees are genetically modified to withstand all their natural predators, to withstand pesticides, to be stronger, and to have a more lethal sting. This combination is a little too lethal, and they mutate into an insect with a sting that causes flu-like symptoms in stung humans that eventually lead to death.

Will there be a sequel or series for Stung?

Yes there will. It is called CURED and it comes out next year.

What’s next for you, besides your Stung novels? Any other stories on the horizon?

I always have a story or two brewing in my mind, but currently I am not writing anything.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.

I’m a mom, a wife, and didn’t know what I wanted to be “when I grew up” until I was about 29 years old. That’s when I was dared by my sister to try writing a book in a year. I discovered I loved to create my own stories even more than I liked reading other people’s and worked really hard until I got published several years later.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

Robert Jordan, Patricia McKillip’s The Changeling Sea, Robin McKinley’s Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Catherine Paterson’s Jacob Have I Loved, Pride and Prejudice, and Janette Rallison (I love anything she writes).

Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for having me on here!

MaryJanice Davidson Q&A and Giveaway!

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author MaryJanice Davidson joins today to talk about Superheroes and her latest release Undead and Underwater. And keep reading for a chance to win a copy of the book!


“Super, Girl!” one of the novellas in your new anthology Undead and Underwater, features a brand new protagonist, Hailey Derry. Where did your inspiration for her and her unique powers come from?

I’ve been a comic geek since I was 13, and I’ve always wanted to write a superhero story. But as I do with my paranormal characters, I wanted to tweak the tropes; I didn’t want a fiercely hot superbabe with giant boobs and a costume the size and density of a doily who constantly agonized about Her Responsibility To Do The Right Thing. So Hailey’s not especially sexy or outgoing (as an HR exec as well as a superhero), doesn’t spend much time searching her soul, and has a power that irritates the hell out of her and grosses people out. She can eat anything and not die no matter what she ingests. She can then use what she eats to make herself stronger, quicker, and more durable. So if she sucks down a meat lovers pizza with a side of thumbtacks and a glass of glass, she’ll be stronger and quicker and hard to hurt—temporarily. But there’s nothing sexy about being able to eat all the ashes out of a fireplace. When the hero remarks that he thinks it’s great she’s got a cool power, her brittle response is, “It’s neither great nor cool. Because my power isn’t to make things taste good; it’s to be able to eat anything. So a tree branch tastes like a tree branch and bricks taste like bricks and yogurt tastes like yogurt. God, I hate yogurt so much.”

Will we be seeing more of Hailey, do you think?

Oh, I hope so! I really loved indulging my inner comic book geek and would love to do more with Hailey. She’s the product of IVF—her mother donated dozens of eggs; four were fertilized and then implanted, and Hailey was the one that “took” for want of a better word. But her mom saved the other eggs…and then they disappeared. So there’s a strong possibility that Hailey’s got up to a dozen siblings out in the world. Where are they? What can they do? What will they do?

How do you feel about the superhero trend in Hollywood? Do you have a favorite superhero of your own?

I love the superhero trend! Who knows, maybe superheroes are the new vampires. I’ll watch any superhero movie, from the great (Avengers) to the yucky (Eric Bana’s Hulk). My favorite superhero was always Illyana Rasputin (Magik of the New Mutants). She was kidnapped as a pre-schooler and fell into a demonic realm where she was taught hand-to-hand fighting and black magic. She killed to survive. So I loved that she was a badass even without her powers, and that she had a huge dark side to her that could at any moment turn her into a villain. I loved how conflicted she was. I won’t lie: I occasionally rooted for her to be evil.

In “Super, Girl!” there is a lot of office culture, with most scenes taking place at Hailey’s work where she is responsible for HR. How would you characterize various departments? Do you imagine an epic battle between them?

Yes, I do. And so does anyone who has ever worked in any office anywhere ever. Also, imagine? I don’t have to: interoffice epic battles go on all the time, but like Fight Clubs, it’s off most people’s radar. I promise you, wherever you are when you read this, there’s an epic office battle going on right now. And IT is probably winning it. Describing Hailey’s job came easily to me because before I could write full time, I worked a number of office jobs. It was great fun to pull some of my past work experience into my writing. I had just as much fun plotting Hailey’s work life as her superhero life.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Telekinesis! I hate having to get up and shut off lights.


MaryJanice talks books and writing tomorrow, March 13th,


Courtesy of Berkley/NAL, I have a copy of Undead and Underwater by MaryJanice Davidson for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends March 29. I’ll draw a name on March 30, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Continue reading MaryJanice Davidson Q&A and Giveaway!

Exclusive Interview: Debbie Viguié

About Author Debbie Viguié:
Debbie Viguié is the New York Times bestselling author of two dozen novels, including the Wicked series and the Crusade series, both coauthored by Nancy Holder. Debbie also writes thrillers, including the Psalm 23 Mysteries and the Kiss trilogy. She has a degree in creative writing from U.C. Davis. Debbie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She and her husband Scott live in Florida with their cat, Shrödinger. Her newest book, The Last Grave, is the second installment in the Witch Hunt series.

Can you tell us a bit about The Last Grave in your own words?

The Last Grave is about Samantha beginning to understand that there’s a lot more going on in her world than she ever guessed, that wherever she runs magic is going to find her and she’s going to be forced to confront her past. I set the book in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I grew up. I was thrilled to be able to use some places that I went to a lot as a kid as background for some pivotal scenes.

The synopsis states that Samantha Ryan is a homicide detective by choice and a witch hunter by necessity. Why is she forced into being a witch hunter?

In the first book a dark coven in Salem began sacrificing young women. Her police captain knew that she had been raised as a witch in a dark coven before escaping that life and ultimately forced her to go in undercover since no one else could. She hadn’t used magic in years before those events, but now the floodgates are open and magic seems to be finding her regardless of what she wants.

How many books do you have planned for Witch Hunt series?

Currently I have 3 books planned for the series. Circle of Blood is going to be the title of the third one.

What’s next for you, besides your Witch Hunt novels? What other stories are you currently working on?

Continue reading Exclusive Interview: Debbie Viguié

Exclusive Interview and Giveaway: Author Piper Maitland

Author Piper Maitland joins today on the latest stop for her blog tour for a Q&A talking about vampires and her latest release, Hunting Daylight! Follow Piper on Twitter at: @PiperMaitland, and keep reading for a chance to win a copy of Hunting Daylight!


Can you tell us a bit about Hunting Daylight in your own words?

It’s a love story, blended with adventure and the science of vampirism. The action opens a few years after Acquainted With the Night ends. A vampire cabal has chased Jude and Caro Barrett around the globe, but that’s the least of their problems. Jude is having trouble adjusting to vampirism, Caro is plagued by nightmares, and their three-year-old daughter, Vivi, might be at the center of a disturbing 8th century prophecy. When Jude disappears on a scientific expedition, Caro’s life flips upside-down.

Describe your vampires. (Are they of the traditional Bram Stoker variety?)

I honored the core myths but reinforced them with science. I have a B.S. in nursing, so it seemed logical that my vampires would have a human-like physiology. A unique type of stem cells are responsible for longevity, rapid healing, athleticism, and hyper-immune systems. The thirst for human blood is driven by the need to replenish stem cells, which are found in the bone marrow and vascular system. And it takes more than three bites for a human to turn into a vampire. Transformation is possible but requires large amounts of stem cells, usually through intravenous infusions.

When vampires perspire, a fragrant terpene, similar to cat nip, is emitted. As humans inhale the “bat-nip,” they relax, allowing the predator to move in for the bite. A mild neurotoxin is also excreted in a vampire’s saliva, and this further subdues the victim.

A vampire’s brain is super-developed, with heightened senses of smell, hearing, touch, taste, and vision. Some immortals are telepathic and/or possess psi talents; others lack these skills. They can by killed by a catastrophic injury or certain blood-borne diseases.

Psychologically, vampires can be neurotic, prone to obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, phobias, and psychoses. When a human becomes a vampire, his personality quirks are magnified—a slightly suspicious human would become a paranoid vampire.

Vampires are photosensitive due to an inborn error of metabolism and an overproduction of a compound called IgE, which causes an extreme exothermic reaction, resulting in blisters, second and third degree burns, and death.

How many books are planned for this series?

Continue reading Exclusive Interview and Giveaway: Author Piper Maitland