Blog Tour: Half Life

Blog Tour

Half Life

By Lillian Clark
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 9th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Synopsis:
An overachiever enrolls in an experimental clone study to prove that two (of her own) heads are better than one in this fast-paced, near-future adventure that’s Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli.
There aren’t enough hours in the day for Lucille–perfectionist, overachiever–to do everything she has to do, and there certainly aren’t enough hours to hang out with friends, fall in love, get in trouble–all the teenage things she knows she should want to be doing instead of preparing for a flawless future. So when she sees an ad for Life2: Do more. Be more, she’s intrigued.
The company is looking for beta testers to enroll in an experimental clone program, and in the aftermath of a series of disappointments, Lucille is feeling reckless enough to jump in. At first, it’s perfect: her clone, Lucy, is exactly what she needed to make her life manageable and have time for a social life. But it doesn’t take long for Lucy to become more Lucy and less Lucille, and Lucille is forced to stop looking at Lucy as a reflection and start seeing her as a window–a glimpse at someone else living her own life, but better. Lucy does what she really wants to, not what she thinks she should want to, and Lucille is left wondering how much she was even a part of the perfect life she’d constructed for herself. Lucille wanted Lucy to help her relationships with everyone else, but how can she do that without first rectifying her relationship with herself?
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Guest Post

The Art of Character Cloning

 

First, thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited to talk about my sophomore novel Half Life—a near-future sci-fi YA that’s Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli about an ambitious teen girl who signs up to be a beta tester for a mysterious company’s human cloning program—and to discuss the art of character cloning.

Early on in the writing of Half Life, people would ask me about its main character, and I’d pause. It’s a strange mix! There’s one main character who is actually two. For the first third of the book, we only have Lucille, burrowed deep into her head, her thoughts and wants and worries. Seeing the world how she sees it, even when her perspective skews the view.

Then there’s Lucy, who comes violently, gasping, to life. And both Lucille’s idea of her self and the reader’s concept of her life, is thrown off balance.

Writing this divergence was a fascinating challenge. On the surface—and even beneath it—Lucille and Lucy are the same. They have identical bodies, share the same memories and life. But they’re different people. Their interpretation of those memories and that life is different. Writing them was an exercise in the way subtle shifts in point-of-view alter perception, reaction, and consequence. For example, Lucille has a long unrequited crush on a boy named Bode. She wants him to like her, but through her lens of self-doubt he seems indifferent at best. When Lucy takes over Lucille’s life, she sees Bode and his responses to her in a whole new way. Without Lucille’s tint of insecurity, Lucy wonders if Bode’s really just shy.

From big shifts to small ones, perspective changes so much. Where Lucille secretly struggles with confidence while projecting a false sense of superiority, Lucy’s defined by her literal existential crisis. She doesn’t have time for exploring smaller insecurities because the future of her life itself is uncertain. It changes how she sees Lucille’s life, and eventually forces Lucille to confront how she sees herself. Plus, memory itself is inexact. The brain is plastic, which means it’s malleable. Which means it’s constantly changing. The very act of revisiting a memory can change it, imprinting a new perception of it atop the pre-existing one, altering details and emotions. So while Lucille and Lucy share the same framework, the emphasis and meaning of their memories differ.

Working all of that into a plot built around a three-pronged tug of war—what Lucille wants, what Lucy wants, and what Life Squared wants—was honestly so much fun. And I’m delighted that Lucille and Lucy with all of their overlapping, diverging, mirroring fears and plans and wishes are making their way into the world!

 

About the Author

Lillian Clark, a graduate of the University of Wyoming, grew up riding horses, climbing trees, and going on grand imaginary adventures in the small-town West. She’s worked as a lifeguard, a camp counselor, and a Zamboni driver, but found her eternal love working as a bookseller at an independent bookstore. Now living in Teton Valley, Idaho with her husband, son, and two giant dogs, she spends her time reading almost anything and writing books for teens.
Author Social Media Links:

Giveaway info below!

Win a copy of HALF LIFE and IMMORAL CODE by Lillian Clark

(US Only)

Starts: 9th June 2020

Ends: 23rd June 2020

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Blog Tour: Between Burning Worlds

Blog Tour

Between Burning Worlds (System Divine #2)

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: 24th March, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Synopsis:
Les Misérables meets The Lunar Chronicles in the out-of-this-world sequel to Sky Without Stars that’s an “explosion of emotion, intrigue, romance, and revolution” (Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Caraval series).
 
A thief.
An officer.
A guardian.
All from different backgrounds, but sharing one same destiny…
The planet Laterre is in turmoil. A new militant revolutionary group has emerged calling themselves “The Red Scar” and claiming responsibility for a spate of recent bombings. The infamous rebels known as the Vangarde believe that in order to bring about a peaceful revolution, their charismatic leader, Citizen Rousseau must be freed from prison right away. Otherwise the bloodshed will only escalate.
Soon Marcellus, Chatine, and Alouette all find themselves pulled into battle with extreme consequences.
Marcellus is determined to uncover his corrupt grandfather’s plan to seize Laterre—even if that means joining the Vangarde.
Aloutte, trying to unearth the truth about her past, becomes a captive of Marcellus’s grandfather, the general.
Chatine, who is serving time on Bastille, hopes to escape the brutal and horrifying reality of the prison moon.
But the failed attempt to break Citizen Rousseau out of prison launches Aloutte, Chatine, and Marecellus into the middle of a dangerous war for control of Laterre. And in the midst of it all is the legend of a secret and dangerous weapon that could mean complete and absolute power to any that wields it.
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About the Authors

Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples, and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.

Since then, Jessica has sold over twelve novels for teens, tweens, and adults including 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, The Karma Club, My Life Undecided, and the three books in the Unremembered trilogy, the first of which is currently in development as a major motion picture by the producers of The Vampire Academy, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, and Slumdog Millionaire. In 2016, she will release two new contemporary novels, A Week of Mondays (August) and Boys of Summer (April), and in 2017, her debut middle grade novel entitled, Addie Bell’s Shortcut to Growing Up, will hit bookstore shelves.

Jessica also writes books for the Descendants: “School of Secrets” series, based on the hit Disney Channel Original movie, Descendants!

Jessica’s books are published and translated in over twenty foreign countries. She currently splits her time between California and Colorado.

Author Links:

Joanne Rendell

Joanne Rendell is the author of four novels and holds a PhD in English Literature. She teaches fiction writing to teens and kids, as well as online writing classes at Udemy.com and Lynda.com. Joanne is a board member for the youth Shakespeare company, New Genesis Productions. With her husband and son, she divides her time between New York City and New Paltz, New York.
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Author Interview: Lori M. Lee

Author Interview

Meet Lori M. Lee.

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Social Media Links:
Website: https://lorimlee.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoriMLee
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorimlee82/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriMLee/

The Interview.

 

Hi Lori!

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! I’m the author of multiple SFF books and speculative short fiction. I’m also enamored with unicorns, enjoy marathoning TV shows, and daydreaming about magic, manipulation, and family.

 

Out of all the novels you’ve written, what was the most challenging to complete?

Definitely the sequel to Forest of Souls, which I’m still writing. I spent a number of years working on FoS, and while I had an idea for the sequel, so much changed through the revision process that I had to scrap everything and start from scratch. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that no amount of stress eating will make my brain work any faster in terms of chipping away at the block of a new story to reveal the shape of the plot beneath.

 

What are your thoughts on covers? Yours are gorgeous!

Thank you! Everyone says to not judge a book by its cover, and in theory, that’s excellent advice. But in practice, it’s almost impossible not to. A cover has the not inconsiderable responsibility of convincing a reader to pick up a book (or click on it) and read the summary. It’s so important to get right, and I’ve been extremely blessed to get some amazing covers!

 

Are you then guilty of buying a book (or not) based on the cover itself?

I’ve definitely purchased books based on their cover haha. I’ve also held onto books I had no intention of reading simply because I loved their covers so much. In all other aspects of my life, I’m super practical, but I have a weakness for books!

 

Tell us about your publishing experience – the good, the bad, the beautiful.

The good: I’m fortunate in that I found an agent I love and who I work well with on my first try. So many authors have had to switch agents for various reasons, but I’ve been with Suzie for 8 years, and I couldn’t be happier.

The bad: I’ve definitely gone down some pretty dismal paths (mentally) the last few years, and there were times I wanted to quit writing altogether. But the thing is—if I’m not writing, then I don’t really know who I am. Some authors will tell you that’s unhealthy, haha, and maybe it is, but so much of who I am is tied up with my love for writing, and that’s okay with me.

The beautiful: Because I’ve been around since before the We Need Diverse Books movement, I’ve had the distinct privilege of being able to witness the publishing industry and the book community evolve into a more inclusive, more welcoming place for marginalized books and writers, and it’s been truly wonderful. There’s still a long ways to go, but where we are now compared to where we were back in 2010 when I first began querying gives me a lot of hope for the future of publishing.

 

This June, “Forest of Souls” is released: what inspired the story?

It was a bunch of different things coming together, like how the different Power Ranger zords come together to form Megazord XD But primarily, I wanted to write an epic fantasy, because I hadn’t done that since I was a teenager, and fantasy is my first and fiercest love. Then I wanted it to be about two girls who remained friends throughout the entire book, mostly in furious reaction to a string of books I’d read where the best friends shunned each other for 90% of the book before reconciling at the end. I guess I spite write? lol.

 

What really spoke to you – from favorite or least favorite character trait, a moment in the story, etc – about your main character Sirscha in “Forest of Souls”?

Sirscha’s greatest fear is to be insignificant, or invisible, so she spends a lot of energy and time trying to prove herself. She’s constantly seeking this external validation that I think others will relate to, and I definitely relate to that as well because I wrote in her some of my own insecurities as a teenager.

 

What was it like receiving (or seeing) your first fanart or fan letter?

Getting reader emails is THE BEST THING EVER. Also, I completely freaked out the first time someone created fanart for my characters. I spent a lot of time in various fandoms, writing fanfiction and drawing fanart for beloved series, so it means so much when someone cares enough to do the same for my books. That was a really special time in my writing life, and one of my biggest writing goals is to someday publish a book that will spawn a fandom XD

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

If you’re a fan of preorder goodies, keep an eye out for more news on that front soon 😀

Blog Tour: Oasis

Blog Tour

Oasis

by Katya de Becerra
Publisher: Imprint Macmillan
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Synopsis:
The oasis saved them. But who will save them from the oasis?
Alif had exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archaeological dig site in the desert with four close friends . . . and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.
With their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed . . . until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, shade—and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage.
The answers turn Alif and her friends against one another, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave . . .
Katya de Becerra’s new supernatural thriller hides a mystery in plain sight, and will keep you guessing right up to its terrifying conclusion.
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About the Author
Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology and now works as a university lecturer and a researcher. Katya is a short version of her real name, which is very long and gets mispronounced a lot. What The Woods Keep was her first novel (out now), which is followed by another standalone Oasis in 2020. She has also authored and co-authored academic articles, book chapters, guest posts and opinion pieces.
Author Links:

Giveaway Info Below:
Prize: Win finished copy of OASIS by Katya de Becerra (US Only)

Starts: January 1st 2020
Ends: January 15th 2020

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Blog Tour: Refraction

Blog Tour

Refraction

By Naomi Hughes
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: November 5th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Synopsis:
After an attack on earth, all reflective surfaces become weapons to release monsters, causing a planet-wide ban on mirrors. Despite the danger, the demand rises, and 17-year-old Marty Callahan becomes a distributor in an illegal mirror trade―until he’s caught by the mayor’s son, whose slate is far from clean. Both of them are exiled for their crimes to one of the many abandoned cities overrun by fog. But they soon realize their thoughts influence their surroundings and their deepest fears begin to manifest.
With fast pacing and riveting characters, this is a book that you’ll finish in one sitting.
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Guest Post – Mental Health Rep Post
Book: Refraction
Author: Naomi Hughes
Hi! I’m Naomi Hughes, author of Refraction, a young adult sci-fi that comes out Nov 5. It’s chock-full of some super cool stuff: bromance, creeptastic shadow monsters that crawl out of mirrors, tons of banter, and, maybe most importantly, mental health representation.

The protagonist, Marty, has obsessive-compulsive disorder—like me. When I was writing him, I thought a lot about how to make sure I represented OCD well. Because I’m a Ravenclaw, I also did quite a lot of research on how other authors and various forms of media depicted mental illnesses.

As I researched, I found some really wonderful, thoughtful, and realistic depictions of characters who have mental illnesses…and also, some bad or just flat inaccurate rep. All of it helped me ferret out a few core ideas about how I wanted to write Marty.

#1: I wanted to let Marty be human.

In reading books that featured mental illness, I ran across a handful of unfortunate tropes that popped up again and again: the high-strung character whose vague mental illness is a personality quirk played for laughs, the detective or cop whose OCD gives them deductive superpowers, and the villain whose mental illness somehow made them evil.

And the thing is…none of those are accurate to real life. None of them represent what living with a mental illness is actually like. OCD is not a quirk, it doesn’t make you smarter, and it certainly doesn’t turn you evil.

The truth is, people with OCD (and other mental illnesses) are as human as anyone else—and that’s something I wanted to be sure to show in my story. Marty has flaws and vulnerabilities, a cutting wit paired with a sharp intellect, and when he cares about someone, he cares deeply. He also makes plenty of bad decisions (so, so many), but they’re in service to his goal, not somehow caused by his mental illness.

#2: I wanted Marty to be post-diagnosis.

There are some truly awesome books out there about a character being diagnosed with a mental illness and having to learn what it is and how to deal with it. And I’m so very glad those exist! But I knew right away that wasn’t the story I wanted to tell.

In Refraction, Marty already knows he’s got OCD. He’s been through therapy and has his disorder (mostly) successfully managed at the story’s start. But when he trips up and starts performing his compulsions again, his obsessive fears return full-force.

It’s a story that a lot of people with OCD might recognize. Though OCD can certainly improve (and often in a big way!) with the right therapy and/or medication, it almost never “goes away” entirely. Learning how to successfully manage a mental disorder can take anywhere from years to a lifetime, and it’s often not a straightforward journey. I wanted to write a story that reflects that.

#3: I wanted the story concept itself to be a metaphor for what it’s like to have OCD.

I can’t tell you too much about this one without risking spoilers, but after you’ve finished reading, you might see what I mean! Something in me just really loved the idea of writing a sort of allegory, of using a cool and scary sci-fi world as a mirror (pun totally intended) to what OCD can be like.

I’d like to end this post with a few recommendations. If you’re looking for books that have some truly excellent mental health rep, here are a few I think are great:

Darius the Great is not Okay (deals with depression) by Adib Khorram, Turtles all the Way Down (Pure O OCD) by John Green, and For a Muse of Fire (bipolar disorder) by Heidi Heilig. I also wrote another book, Afterimage, that deals with panic disorder.

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so glad to get the chance to talk mental health rep here, and I can’t wait to share Refraction with you on Nov 5.

About the Author
Hey! I’m Naomi Hughes, writer of quirky young adult fiction (usually involving physics and/or unicorns). I live in the Midwest US, a region I love even though it tries to murder me with tornadoes every spring. When not writing, my hobbies include reading (of course), traveling, and geeking out over Marvel superheroes and certain time-traveling Doctors. My debut YA sci-fi standalone novel, Afterimage, is available now from Page Street Publishing. My next novel, Refraction (also a standalone YA sci-fi), comes out in Nov 2019. I also offer freelance critique services at naomiedits.com.
Social Media Links:
Giveaway info below!
PRIZE: Win (1) copy of REFRACTION by Naomi Hughes
(US Only)
STARTS: November 5th 2019
ENDS: November 19th 2019
Click here to enter!
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Guest Post: “The Unique Power of Science Fiction and Fantasy” by Danielle Stinson

Guest Post

Danielle StinsonMeet Danielle Stinson.

Stories were a central part of Danielle Stinson’s childhood. Growing up in a military family meant frequent moves across the US and abroad. She spent many summers in her room surrounded by unpacked boxes and stacks of library books. She currently lives with her husband and four boys in Virginia, where she writes fiction for young adults.

Before I Disappear is her debut novel.

Social Media:
twitter: https://twitter.com/DMStinson4(@DMStinson4)
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daniellemstinson/ (daniellemstinson)
website: https://www.daniellestinson.com/

The Guest Post.

When I sat down to write this blog post, I wasn’t expecting it to turn into an open love letter to the genres I read, write and adore, but I’m not mad that this is what ultimately happened. The truth is that I do love science fiction and fantasy, and I believe with all my heart that they are for everyone. And maybe not for the reasons that you might expect.

Let’s face it. Sometimes we read books simply because we need to escape. No genres provide a better exit hatch than science fiction and fantasy. Want to leave earth and travel to another galaxy? No problem. Feel like hanging out with fantastical beings or going on a quest through make believe words? Science fiction and fantasy have got you covered. We all need to escape sometimes, but very few have the option to just pack a bag and head off into sunset whenever we feel like it. That is what books are for.

But there is more to sci-fi and fantasy than pure escapism. Sometimes, we read them to strike at the heart of what is Real. What is True. Science fiction and fantasy are playgrounds for the heaviest, most enduring themes and questions about what it means to be human. They are the battlegrounds for good and evil. Blank canvases for the interplay of complex human relationships and systems of belief. While the rich world building, clever premises, and tight plots might bring us into story, they aren’t why we remember them years afterward. We remember them because of the characters and their struggles to navigate the shades of grey that we experience in our own lives. Hello, Katniss and Frodo.

Science fiction and fantasy excel at placing characters in extraordinary circumstances, forcing them to make impossible decisions that call everything into question. So doing, they thrust us into the most intricate of moral dilemmas, asking us to evaluate what things matter most. Who we want to be. In essence, works of science fiction and fantasy can serve as portals not just to other worlds, but as microscopes that reveal the inner workings of human nature.

Speaking of truths, one of my favorite things about science fiction in particular is that it is a genre dedicated purely to the possible. Most works of sci-fi deal not in what is, but what could be. They ask tough questions about technology and progress. About exploration and isolationism. Questions that seem to be striking a relevant note when you consider the high demand for dystopian fiction in popular markets over the last decade. I also love how many works of science fiction, no matter how futuristic or seemingly far-fetched, are rooted in some degree of reality.

The list of merits of science fiction and fantasy is nearly endless, but the last one I’ll mention here is arguably the most important to my mind. Freedom. By allowing our imaginations free rein, by taking us away from our world and all its rules and ways of thinking, science fiction and fantasy give us a chance to start over. To see the world through new eyes and break out of our established paradigms and prejudices. One of my very favorite things about these stories is that they often teach us about ourselves and our world on almost subconscious levels. They help us think outside of our own boxes and adjust our viewpoints without feeling our own identities are threatened. I guess you could say some of the deepest, most meaningful truths ever told are told through these types of fiction.

These are some of the reasons I read science fiction and fantasy and believe strongly that they are for everyone. But if I’m being honest, none of these reasons are why I write them.

I write science fiction because I love it. Because one of my favorite things to do is imagine our own contemporary word, but with a mind-bending twist. Because I feel the pull of the mysterious unknown and love nothing more flipping pages as fast as my eyes can devour them. When I sat down to write BEFORE I DISAPPEAR, my debut novel, my only goal was to write a something that would make the reader feel their heart pound. So I wrote about a small town that disappears into thin air and a girl who has to find her little brother before he disappears forever. It’s got atmosphere, mystery and twists galore, but at its heart, it’s a book about people and the type of bonds that can never be broken.

A story that I believe isn’t just for people who like science, but for anyone.

 

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Stinson’s debut Before I Disappear is out today!

Visit her website for more information.