Author Interview: Emery Lord on The Start of Me and You

Emery Lord made a splash in 2014 with her debut novel Open Road Summer. She’s here today to talk about her second novel, The Start of Me and You. My review will be posting tomorrow, but let me tell you I loved The Start of Me and You even more than Open Road Summer and I am beyond thrilled to have Emery here to answer some questions about it!

Miss Print (MP): Can you tell us a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?

Emery Lord (EM): Sure! I majored in English Lit and started writing fiction more seriously after college. (I say “more seriously” but I just mean I was carving out time for it seriously. The actual writing was fun!) I signed with my agent 2 or 3 years into writing for real and sold Open Road Summer in 2012.

MP: What was the inspiration for The Start of Me and You?

EM: Man, this is self-centered, but…largely, my own teen years. I wanted to write about a suburb that is kind of generic but still yours & home, a group of friends that is kind of nebulous- people coming and going/groups overlapping, and I wanted to make the most realistic decisions possible in the story, even if they were cringe-worthy. I wanted to write about boys who aren’t suave or perfect…just human, with good qualities and flaws and a lot of kindness too. Beyond that, when I started writing, I was trying to come back to myself after a really intense grieving experience. It’s so strange- I think I talked myself through it via Paige. Like, I couldn’t figure out how to be okay in my own life, but I could somehow float outside of it and guide this fictional character.

MP: Readers learn early on that Paige is a big reader and TV watcher. Do you have any (current or past) favorite books and TV shows that you can share with us?

EM: Well, I’m obviously deeply entrenched in Arrow right now, haha. I never used to watch much TV at all, but I’ve grown to really love it post-college. I particularly love Friday Night Lights & Parenthood (surprise surprise, shows that are committed to realism). A few favorite books of all time that I get VERY nerdy about: Looking for Alibrandi, Fair & Tender Ladies, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the Alice McKinley series. I’m also a huge fan of many short stories & their writers- Amy Hempel, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jennifer Egan, Lorrie Moore. Like, I will geek out if I find people who want to talk about these stories.

MP: To start her junior year off right, Paige make a plan which includes joining a new club. For Paige that ends up being Quiz Bowl. What clubs were you a part of in high school? If you could do it again, what clubs would you join?

EM: I was in marching band, jazz band, show choir and theater. As an adult, I actually hate doing anything performative, haha! So if I could do it again, I’d found a feminist/social justice club a la Morgan in The Start of Me and You.

MP: Do you have any specialized knowledge that would be useful in a quiz competition?

EM: I can hold my own with the literary canon, state capitals, art and music. I will always win Friends trivia and always lose sports trivia.

MP: Paige is a great narrator and one of my favorite characters. But she also has a great supporting cast in this novel. Is there any character you’re especially excited for readers to meet? Did you have a favorite (or hardest) character to write about?

EM: Thanks! I think the hardest wasn’t a specific character but writing a cast that big/trying to get their individuality and voices across. I really loved exploring Tessa and trying to figure out how to show this girl who is disillusioned and bored but still loving and engaged in other ways.

MP: One of my favorite things about The Start of Me and You is that it’s a really smart book. Paige and Max both have great vocabularies–which they use with each other. Was there any word that you were particularly eager to incorporate into their conversations?

EM: Thank you! I (embarrassingly) keep index cards when I run across a new word in an article or book to quiz myself on them. With Paige and Max, it was less about the specific words and more about the particular…comfort of finding someone who literally speaks your language.

MP: Without getting into spoiler territory, Max and Paige also talk a bit about Pride and Prejudice so I have to ask: Do you see yourself as a Jane or an Elizabeth? Thoughts on Bingley and Darcy?

EM: Ha, you know, I felt like P&P was everywhere when I started working on this book, and I kept wondering why everyone fixates on Elizabeth and Darcy, when Jane and Bingley have this really interesting pas de deux of miscommunication and undertone and longing. That being said, I don’t know which I am, actually! As much as I crush on brooders (Darcy), the truth is I go for the sweet-to-the-core ones.

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project?

EM: It’s called When We Collided, and it’s a summer love story told in dual POV. I tried to tell a story of lives that look like mine and my friends: where there are sometimes mental health struggles and therapists and medication, but also- truly- so much happiness. It is my favorite thing I’ve ever written.

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?

EM: This is going to sound like a cop-out, but I swear I mean it. My advice is: take all writing advice with a grain of salt. Some people may have 2k a day goals, get up early to write, do NaNoWriMo, purge manuscripts of all adverbs, plot extensively, don’t plot at all, repeat “show don’t tell” as if it’s gospel. You don’t have to do any of those things. You can try them; maybe they’ll work and that’s great! But you gotta find the way that works for YOU. Beyond that, to quote Conan: work hard, be kind.

Thanks again to Emery for a great interview.

You can see more about Emery and her books on her website.

You can also read my reviews of Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You here on the blog!

 

Book Giveaway (Redux): A Court of Thorns and Roses

I’m giving away an ARC of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasGiveaway is open to any readers over the age of 13. US only.

Giveaway will run from now through March 18 at midnight. Winner will be notified March 19. If I don’t hear back from the winner by March 21 I will pick a new winner from the entry pool.

ENTER HERE

I’m running the giveaway through a Rafflecopter giveaway. Details on how to enter can be found by clicking “enter” above or clicking the photo!

All Fall Down: A Review

All Fall Down by Ally CarterIt has been three years since Grace has seen her ambassador grandfather or set foot in the country of Adria. Now, with nowhere else to go, Grace is once again home at the American Embassy in the city of Valancia.

Three years is a long time to be away, but distance has done nothing to dampen the painful memories of her mother’s death. In fact, returning to her mother’s childhood home only brings it all back in painful detail.

Returning to Valancia, Grace is more convinced than ever that her mother was murdered; even more convinced that she has to do everything she can to find the killer and make him pay.

Until then Grace has not one but two annoyingly present boys to deal with and a mess of secrets to untangle as she hunts for the truth.

Living on Embassy Row among the other international embassies is like living on a very thin ledge where one wrong move can push Grace over forever in All Fall Down (2014) by Ally Carter.

All Fall Down is the first book in Carter’s Embassy Row series.

It’s hard sometimes to reconcile immeasurably high hopes for a book with the reality of reading said book. Ally Carter has already received wide (and well-deserved) acclaim for her Gallagher Girls and Heist Society novels as well as legions of loyal fans.

All Fall Down marks a dramatically different direction for Carter’s writing. Grace is still a witty and sharp narrator but she is also abrasive. Grace is also rash to the point of being reckless, something that can rarely be said for Carter’s other heroines. The pain and grief of her mother’s death is fresh and palpable throughout the novel. The sense of loss and regret is often so palpable that it is hard to read through.

In many ways, All Fall Down feels like the natural progression for Carter’s writing career as she continues to push her prose and her protagonists in new directions. The writing remains excellent and evocative as Grace delves into her new surroundings as well as a not-so-new mystery.

While the plot sounds sleek and polished, All Fall Down is much grittier with as many raw edges as Grace herself. Unfortunately, this darker tone also lessens the charm and humor readers familiar with Carter’s previous YA novels might expect to find here.

Unfortunately, with such a radically new premise (not to mention a country entirely of Carter’s own invention) almost all of All Fall Down is setup. Some parts of the initial plot are resolved but many are left dangling to be pursued in later installments. Instead of a start to a new series, this book feels more like a supplementary prequel as readers are left waiting for the actual story to start.

All Fall Down does once again highlight what Carter does so very well as she moves in an entirely new direction. A promising start to a new series for fans of thrillers and twisty suspense novels.

Possible Pairings: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma, Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten, The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams

Week in Review: March 1

missprintweekreview

This week on the blog you can check out:

I am no longer sick but my mom spent the entire week miserable. Also: I managed to dislocate my shoulder in my sleep on Tuesday night (I woke myself up when it popped back into place) which was about as much fun as it sounds.

I’ve been trying to take it really easy this week because I don’t think I can handle getting sick again so it’s been pretty quiet. I did have some pretty epic book mail though in the form of a signed copy of The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski.

Suffice to say that was a pretty big deal for my week.

I worked on Saturday which wasn’t too bad. I lead the week’s story and play program which had a ton of people and everyone seemed to enjoy the books I chose. My seventh grade humanities teacher also came into the library with her daughter and we recognized each other which was nice. A patron even wanted to tell a manager that I did a great job helping him.

I didn’t get a ton of reading done in February because of my Horrible Sickness of Death (which I am over finally but my mom now has!) but it wasn’t too bad a showing. You can see what I read in February in my February Reading Tracker.

How was your week?

March (2015) Reading Tracker

You can also see what I read and received in February.

Books On Deck:

  1. Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
  2. Loop by Karen Akins
  3. The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
  4. The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
  5. Dove Arising by Karen Bao
  6. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
  7. The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  8. The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
  9. The Weight of Stars by Tessa Gratton

Books Read:

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Books Bought: 0

Arcs Received:

  1. Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten (from generous coworker)

March 1: Continuing to read ADSOM from last month. While I am back in fighting shape this month, I fear the reading plan in books on deck might be a bit lofty. I have been squirreling away books for two big signings in March as well as stacking up what I’m going to be reading (and what came in the mail) so my desk is frightful right now. I’m hoping to make a dent and read at least half of the titles listed–especially Loop or Snow Like Ashes as I promised Gail from Ticket to Anywhere that I’d read one or the other (or both) before March was out.

The NKOTB Book Tag

Last month Andi from Andi’s ABCs and Gail from Ticket to Anywhere unveiled their new joint endeavor: The New Kids on the Block book tag (as inspired by the Taylor Swift book tag).

When Gail tagged me in her post I was a little worried about participating since I (gasp) do not know any NKOTB songs. Luckily, the banners Andi and Gail put together (which I am borrowing here) had prompts.

So without further ado here are my responses:

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinEven now I’m still blown away by some of this book’s twists and turns!

I swear I’m not just excited about this one because of the cover!

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura BuzoThere are lot of covers I like but this one appeals in its simplicity.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly BlackHazel is a total badass!

In the Afterlight by Alexandra BrackenI am rarely shocked by books but this one really threw me for a loop.

The Madness Underneath by Maureen JohnsonThis is the only valid answer.

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus SedgwickIf you read it, you’ll understand.

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerSo much love I haven’t even figured out how to write my review.

The Vanishing SeasonSo much love for this quiet little book.

Clariel by Garth NixI was very tired after staying up late to finish this one.

Compulsion by Martina BooneI’m reading this one as I write this post and it is feeling very cinematic.

The Winner's Crime by Marie RutkoskiLike there was any other answer to this one!

Seraphina coverShadow Scale by Rachel HartmanWhile I loved reading this duo I am sad there will be no more adventures for my favorite half-dragon musician.

  • Nicole from the Book Bandit’s Blog
  • Veronica from the Talking Blogging Bookworm
  • Andi from Just a Broke Bookworm
  • Kayla from The Thousand Lives

This Shattered World: A Review

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerJubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac never should have met–not when they stand on opposite sides of the decades long war on Avon.

Terraforming corporations promised to make Avon livable for the countless colonists who paid for land on the fledgling planet. But that was years ago and the planet is still no closer to being more than a murky swamp.

Captain Lee Chase is part of the military force sent to Avon to tamp down rebellious colonists. No one has ever lasted on the inhospitable planet as long as Lee–no one has even tried.

Flynn has been part of the rebellion since before he can remember–before he had a choice in the matter.

After a mission to infiltrate the military base goes horribly awry, Flynn holds Lee’s life literally in his hands.

Lee is as drawn to Flynn as she is repulsed by everything he stands for. But she also knows the stalemate of the rebellion can only last so long before something has to give.

When Flynn makes a shocking choice to help Lee escape, both soldier and rebel find themselves drawn into a web of secrets and lies surrounding Avon’s origins–not to mention in the center of a conflict that could destroy everything they hold dear in This Shattered World (2014) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

This Shattered World is the second book in Kaufman and Spooner’s Starbound trilogy which begins with These Broken Stars. Although this book is chronologically a sequel it functions largely as a companion novel and stands on its own without having read book one.

Once again Kaufman and Spooner deliver a story with chapters that alternate between our two narrators while also offering a little something extra in the between chapter transitions.

This Shattered World is a thrilling story filled with action and suspense as Flynn and Jubilee work together to unravel the conspiracy surrounding Avon. Readers are able to see the war from both sides as they get to know Flynn and the other members of the rebellion–a movement with strong ties to the Irish folklore of their ancestors–and the military as seen by Jubilee.

Jubilee is a tough heroine who refuses to take any nonsense from anyone. Although headstrong she is also compassionate, particularly as she learns more about the nuances of the rebellion on Avon. Like Flynn, Jubilee also has strong ties to her past–on her side in the form of a Chinese mother and black father.

Flynn is definitely the softer of the two as he struggles to find a way to end the war without violence. He is also a charming and often cocky character who is keen to be defined by more than his past.

Together Flynn and Jubilee are an unlikely pair who somehow make perfect sense together. Like the best literary relationships, Flynn and Jubilee complement each other and prove that they are stronger together. That isn’t to say This Shattered World doesn’t have it’s fair share of arguing and banter, it does.

While This Shattered World is the second book in a trilogy, it does have a very contained storyline and offers some degree of closure for all of the characters by the final page. Kaufman and Spooner deliver another sleek sci-fi story in This Shattered World which promises to build to an explosive conclusion to the Starbound trilogy in book three.

Possible Pairings: Avalon by Mindee Arnett, The Shadows by Megan Chance, Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch, Alienated by Melissa Landers, Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

*An advance copy of this book was acquired for review consideration from the publisher at a preview event*