Author Interview + Giveaway: At Your Service by Jen Malone

July 26, 2014 Interview 1

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to have Jen Malone, author of At Your Service (August 26, 2014, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X) here for an interview today! Here’s the official Goodreads excerpt for the book:

At Your ServiceThirteen-year-old Chloe Turner wants nothing more than to follow in Dad’s footsteps as a respected concierge in a posh NYC hotel. After all, living at a hotel is heaven, and perks like free concert tickets and all-access passes to boutiques, restaurants, and attractions aren’t too shabby either.

When the spoiled brat child of an important guest is only placated by some quick thinking on Chloe’s part, Chloe is awarded the role of Junior Concierge. But she might be in over her head when tasked with tending to the every whim of three royal guests: a twelve-year-old princess who can’t stand Chloe, a cute fourteen year-old prince(!), and their ten-year-old sister, who has a nasty knack for getting herself lost. After the youngest princess slips Chloe’s care, Chloe and the remaining royals must embark on an event-filled hunt for her through NYC’s best tourist spots.

Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Hope you guys enjoy the interview!

Question: Describe your book in ten words or less. Go!
Answer: Romp through NYC sites when tween concierge loses visiting princess.

Question: Where did you get the idea for At Your Service?
Answer: I have to give my editor, Annie Berger, most of the credit here because the overall concept of “girl lives and works alongside her concierge dad at a fancy NYC hotel and one day she loses a young royal visitor in the middle of the city” was hers and the publisher requested fifty-page submissions from a handful of authors. I was lucky enough to be picked to write the rest and from that point I had complete freedom in where to take the story. In fact, I remember on my first call with my editor, I said, “Okay, what comes next” and she said,” How should I know?!” with a smile in her voice, which was perfect. It was like a souped-up version of a really great writing prompt exercise!

Question: What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Answer: The scene is still in there but it got tweaked a lot! And I can’t even say I regret the changes because it works much better with the overall tone of the book now, but I did have a lot of fun writing the first version. Anyway, I had this very over-the-top subway rescue scene where Chloe, my main character, gets her foot caught in the gap between the subway and the subway platform as the train is about to pull away. The missing princess’ brother, who happens to be a super-cute fourteen-year-old prince, rushes in to save the day and, when it turns out her ankle is hurt, carries her in his arms up the steps and out of the station. Swoon! First, my Brooklyn-based beta reader weighed in to say the gaps between train and platform are way too tiny for even a kid’s foot to get stuck, so I had to switch it to her purse strap getting stuck in the closing doors. Next, my editor was concerned the carrying-in-the-arms thing might be a bit much, so that got changed to a piggyback ride. The scene has a lot more humor than drama now, and works better for the story, but I liked the image of her being carried off by the prince into the…well, swap out “sunset” for “bowels of a city”!

Question: On the flip side, what was your favorite scene that got added during edits?
Answer: I really wanted to capitalize on the fantasy of living in a high-end hotel as a tween (room service at your sleepovers!) but I wrestled with getting to the crux of the story where the princess goes missing quickly and, as she’s at large in NYC, none of the search that followed would take place in the hotel. I was psyched when my editor felt we could add in more at the hotel without slowing the pace too much. Chloe has free reign there and is “adopted” by a lot of the staffers. One of my favorite scenes is when she, in her own unique fashion, helps her favorite housekeeping employee take all the Pepsi cans out of the hotel minibars and replace them with Coke cans all because they have Coke executives staying at the hotel. It’s representative of the type of insider dish on hotel life (and NYC) that I sprinkle throughout and I had SO much fun writing those tidbits!

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: Wow. So, so many weird ones. The strangest recently was “images of death certificates issued by US Embassy for individuals traveling abroad.” Yesterday I Googled “Camping out to see Five Seconds of Summer perform” because I’m looking for someone to interview for my WIP.

Question: At Your Service is your debut Middle Grade novel. How does it feel knowing your book will be in the hands of readers in just under a month?
Answer: Very, very strange and also exhilarating! I’ve had some tweens read advance copies and their little notes to me are beyond awesome. There is no filter on middle schoolers and I love that. When they’re enthusiastic about something, they are drawing rainbows and unicorns everywhere! When they don’t like something, they’re more like, “Nope. Just nope.” Fortunately, feedback has been positive so far!

Question: You have three middle grade novels coming out with Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X between now and Fall 2015, plus two young adult novels coming out from HarperTeen in 2016 and 2017. How are you juggling five novels all at once? Are they all at different stages in the publishing process?
Answer: The short answer is, “Oh god, I do not know how I’ll do it!!” But the saving grace is that my next MG series is co-written with the very talented Gail Nall, who has her MG debut, BREAKING THE ICE early next year, and we’ve been able to pick up the slack for each other when our other deadlines or promo stuff intrudes on writing time. I also tend to be, um, obsessive, about my passions so I really don’t mind “working” all the time! Yes, they’re all at different stages. At Your Service is done, obviously; we just turned in revisions on book #1 of RSVP so that will get line edits and head to copyedits soon; and we’re plotting book #2 now with plans to write it this fall. My first YA is awaiting an edit letter and the second is scheduled for 2017 and that’s so far in the future that I’m just pretending it doesn’t exist, even though I know it will creep up on me fast!

Question: What’s it like writing both MG and YA? How is writing for the MG age group different than writing for the YA age group?
Answer: I think middle grade is more about kids figuring out where they fit into their groups (at school, within circles of friends) whereas young adult is more about teens finding out where they fit into the world. There’s a broadening of horizons as life after school becomes more of a tangible than a far-away thought. You didn’t ask how the two are similar, but I’m going to answer that anyway because I think, no matter the age, that no one wants to be preached to or talked down to. Often, the tendency is to see kids as a group that needs that guidance from an adult/author. Kids are savvy enough to call BS on this every single time. I read an interview recently with a lit agent who said, “MG writers can’t write to kids, they need to write AS kids,” and it really resonated!

Question: What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Answer: Just one. Have laptop, will write!

Question: Which book was your favorite read of 2014 (so far)? Are you looking forward to any new releases in particular between now and 2015
Answer: Of my most recent reads, I really loved Rebecca Behran’s WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE, and Rainbow Rowell’s LANDLINE. Can’t wait for Alison Cherry’s FOR REAL (which comes out later this year). For 2015, I have to say my co-writer Gail Nall’s BREAKING THE ICE is adorable and I really enjoyed Lori Goldstein’s BECOMING JINN.

Question: Of the five novels you have coming out, which one are you currently working the most on? Can you give us any hints or details on any of your upcoming novels?
Answer: This is going to sound crazy weird, but… none. At the moment I’m waiting on an edit letter for my YA and also waiting for my co-writer to come back from vacation to start drafting book 2 of RSVP, so I’m filling the down time by researching/plotting a “side project”, which is a MG about two teens who meet while camping out to see their favorite boy band perform on a morning show and after they return home, form an endearing long-distance friendship through exchanging fangirl vlogs about the band. Boy band crushes are such a huge part of many tweens lives and I haven’t seen a ton of books focusing on them. So far, the research has been a bit scary, a lot loud, and mostly incredibly fun!

Jen MaloneAbout Jen Malone:
Jen Malone is a middle grade and young adult author. Her debut AT YOUR SERVICE publishes with Simon & Schuster/Aladdin MIX in August 2014 and her new series, RSVP (Simon & Schuster), co-written with Gail Nall, launches with Book #1 in 2015. Her YA debut WANDERLOST publishes with HarperCollins in 2016. Jen lives north of Boston with her husband and three children and teaches at Boston University.

Website

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

~*~*~*~*~*~

Thanks to Jen, we have ONE eBook of At Your Service for giveaway!

-Giveaway is INT

-Winner has 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected.

-You must be 13 or older to enter OR have your parents’ permission.

-I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.

-I reserve the right to change any rules as I see fit for each individual giveaway

*The above giveaway rules were borrowed and modified from Jessica @ Just a Book Lover.

With that being said, I wish you luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Divider

On Meredith’s Mind #5: Harry Potter Confessions

July 25, 2014 On Meredith's Mind 3

OMM Image
 
Hey guys! I haven’t done an OMM since before BEA. But last weekend, ABC Family had a Harry Potter movie marathon – with all eight movies! They’ve never done this before. Now, every time I watch a Harry Potter movie, it gets me in a Harry Potter mood and I end up desperate to re-read the series – something I haven’t done since 2009! This need to re-read all seven HP books got me thinking. Though I’m a huge Potterhead, I don’t really talk about HP a lot unless someone brings it up on Twitter or I’m watching the movies. But I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned HP on my blog, except maybe in passing.

So, today I’m going to share with you some of my biggest Harry Potter Confessions – things that, though I’ve thought about a lot, I’ve never voiced out loud to anyone, as far as I know. Some of these confessions have to do with the books only, some with the movies only. The rest are general observations.

And, obviously, this contains Harry Potter spoilers! So if you, for whatever crazy reason, have not read the books or seen the movies, STOP NOW! You have been warned.

So, without further adieu – and in NO particular order – enjoy!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

HP covers1 – I didn’t like Harry Potter when it first came out. Seriously. I know it’s hard to believe, but I just didn’t. When I was younger, I hated things that were over-hyped. If a ton of people loved something and went crazy over it, I scoffed at it (Harry Potter, the fact that almost every 90′s girl had a crush on Brad Pitt, etc). So it wasn’t until 6th grade when my teacher decided to read the books (only the first four had been released at that point) to our class during snack time that I really started to get into them. At first, I would sit at my own desk, reading whatever book I had brought with me that day. But over time, I started listening to my teacher reading more and more. Before I knew it, I was hooked. In the end, I was the first person over to the reading carpet each day, eagerly awaiting the start of snack time. I even bought my own copies of the books and read along with – and sometimes ahead of – the teacher. So really, I have my 6th grade teacher to thank for my being a Potterhead now!

2- I pronounced most of the names wrong until I saw the movies (or until someone corrected me!). Hermione’s name, specifically, but a bunch of others, as well.

3 – The Half-Blood Prince book AND movie are my least favorite. And no, it’s not because of Dumbledore. As interesting as it was to finally learn more about Voldemort’s background and his life as Tom Riddle, I just found some of those passages to be incredibly boring. And Slughorn wasn’t one of my favorite teachers, either. Plus, Ron playing Quidditch was just kinda odd to me. In the movie, Lavender Brown was especially annoying. Not to mention that Daniel Radcliffe was reportedly drunk or hung over for the majority of filming and it shows in his acting. It’s supposed to be a very dark movie and it’s almost comical. Of all the books in the series, I think I’ve read the Half-Blood Prince the least! Picture 2

4 – Dumbledore’s death was tragic. Snape’s was crazy. And Fred’s was just down-right cruel. But the deaths that upset me the most were Sirius and Lupin. Harry needed a father-figure in his life and both Lupin and Sirius were like fathers to Harry. They were adults that he could go to for help, people he could trust. And they both died. To this day, I still question what REALLY happened to Sirius. Especially the way it’s shown in the movie version of Order of the Phoenix. It just seems so odd and abrupt.

5 – I love the beginning of The Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s so awesome seeing Harry finally stand up to the Dursley’s. I love seeing him on his own in the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley. It’s one of my favorite parts in any Harry Potter book! But the ending (With Harry and Hermione going back in time) gets so repetitive and boring! Honestly, I’ve read it so many times that at this point, I just skip the going back in time part and read ahead to the the actual ending. (Though, if I were to do a re-read right now, I’d read each book cover to cover since it’s been so long since I’ve done a re-read!).

Harry_Potter_and_the_Chamber_of_Secrets_(US_cover)6 – I’m constantly going back and fourth on which book is my favorite – Chamber of Secrets or Order of the Phoenix

7 – I’ve read Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets so many times, I lost count around 36 – and no, I’m not exaggerating. I actually had to buy new hardcover copies because the spines broke from being read so many times.

8 – My last re-read was Summer 2009. So you know I’m due for re-read very, very soon. Just need to find the time!

9 – I’ve been obsessed with the Phoenix and what it represents ever since we met Fawkes in Chamber of Secrets. To a point where, if I were ever to get a tattoo, it would be a Phoenix. And for me, getting a tattoo would be a major deal, so I don’t take that lightly. Also, for my 8th grade yearbook, I wrote a whole introduction based on the Phoenix, what it represents and how it was relevant to us leaving middle school behind and heading on up to high school. Yeah, I’m a nerd! And proud of it :)

10 – I HATED how the Prisoner of Azkaban movie took them out of their Hogwarts uniforms/robes. It’s one of my biggest issues with the movies. At Hogwarts (and in the books), they’re ALWAYS supposed to be in their uniforms and robes. It bugs me so much, I didn’t enjoy the third movie as much. I know, that’s a bit much, huh? But it seriously annoyed me!Picture 3
 
11 – I never went to any of the midnight showings of the movies (I hate crowded movie theaters and usually wait at least a week to see something in the theater), though I went to midnight book release parties for books 5-7.
 
12 – So many people are going to hate me for this one… But I did NOT like Harry and Ginny together. I mean, your best friend’s sister? It was just too awkward, especialy after Ginny’s obsession/idolization of Harry in the Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. it was just… weird! Now I’m not saying I wanted him to end up with Hermione, because I didn’t. Honestly, I have no clue who I would have wanted him to end up with. I just know I don’t like him with Ginny – in the books OR the movies.

13 – Richard Harris WAS Dumbledore. He embodied the Dumbledore from the books. Michael Gambon was NOT Dumbledore at all. He was mean and harsh and he yelled too much. I despised him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Okay! I’m sure I forgot a number of things. Re-reading the books and re-watching the movies will probably make me realize that I’ve forgotten at least five more confessions! But for now, there you have it! Thirteen Harry Potter Confessions that I don’t think I’ve ever shared with anyone before.

So, tell me: What are YOUR Harry Potter Confessions? What did you like and dislike about the books and/or movies? Do you agree or disagree with any of my confessions! Tell me in the comments below!

Divider

Cover Reveal: Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton

July 25, 2014 Cover Reveal 0

M9B-Friday-Reveal

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

FireInTheWoods.v6-Book1-Final

When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally. But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.

But her father runs their house like an army barracks, and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere. Ever. So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met?

Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it. It just means she can’t get caught.

Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part. After all, she can’t really fall for a guy who’s not exactly from here.

As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

add to goodreads

Title: Fire in the Woods
Publication date: September 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Jennifer M. Eaton

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Jennifer M. Eaton

Corporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.

Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.

Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.

Jennifer’s perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

(Winners will receive their book on release day)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Button

Divider