penguin teen author spotlight

2

If you have been searching for the next dystopian page-turner to keep you up late into the night, look no further than Dove Arising. This novel sweeps you away to a moon colony where protagonist Phaet Theta has enlisted in the Militia in order to save her family. But the training for protecting the Lunar bases from Earth-dweller attacks is brutal, and Phaet’s world may not be what it seems. Penguin Teen Author Spotlight is proud to introduce Karen Bao, an intelligent young author who started writing Dove Arising at the age of seventeen. School Library Journal saysFans of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Marie Lu’s Legend should flock to this well-written debut.” The book’s publication is a day away, but in the meantime you can hang out here and learn more about Karen Bao!

Name: Karen Bao

Novel: Dove Arising

Available: Tomorrow! Tuesday, February 24.

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Charlotte Brontë. Her books are gorgeous, innovative, and full of self-actualized women.

What’s your favorite thing about your book? The protagonist, Phaet. Her voice was the first thing I nailed down, and the rest of the story just followed. For the past few years she’s been like a kind but sometimes clueless little sister living in my head.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Hermione from the Harry Potter books. In addition to having a lovable personality, she could teach me magic.

Where do you write? I have several workspaces, both at college and at home. Mostly I write on couches and/or beds – the squashier, the better. I’d include a picture, but it would be chaotic.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Marie Curie is seriously awesome. She won two Nobel Prizes for discovering two new elements and for research on radioactivity at a time when women were largely excluded from science; her work hugely impacted medicine and modern physics. Even more impressively, she maintained a humble lifestyle, donated much of her income, and refused to patent her discoveries.

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? Yep! My handle is @KarenJBao. One time I tweeted this picture of Caribbean sharks confusedly scrutinizing a lionfish.

It’s because the lionfish is an invasive species (introduced by humans) and the sharks are all, “What’s this flappy thingy doing here? Is this even food?” Side note: lionfish are multiplying like crazy and messing up Caribbean reefs. They need to go away.

What is your favorite season? Summer, because no school means I have time to cross stuff off my bucket list.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? The deep sea, just to see all the weird organisms that live there.

Do you have any writing rituals? I prefer to drink tea while working. Otherwise, not really.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? All the people I love in one room. With Chinese food.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? The Chainsmokers, an EDM group, performed live at my school last spring. It was hilarious to see a bunch of dedicated students dancing (flailing?) around to “Selfie.”

What are you currently working on? In addition to the 2nd and 3rd books of the Dove Chronicles, I’m also planning my undergraduate thesis. I’ll travel to Fiji this summer with my lab group to study the history of large mollusks like giant clams. Shelly things have stories too.

……………

Thank you, Karen! We can’t wait to read the next book in the Dove Chronicles!

You can find Karen on her Twitter, her Facebook, and her website.

Add Dove Arising to your "to-read shelf” on Goodreads!

Purchase from your favorite retailer.

2

Today, Penguin Teen Author Spotlight welcomes Aisha Saeed, debut author of Written in the Stars. Naila is about to go to college with her best friend, but then her conservative immigrant parents find out she’s broken their greatest rule by falling in love with a boy, Saif. Under their traditions, Naila isn’t allowed to even be friends with a boy until they choose her husband. Livid, they take her to Pakistan for a vacation which turns into a surprise, forced wedding. Her unchosen life escalates into a nightmare, and she can only hope that somehow Saif will find her before it’s too late. Publisher’s Weekly says the novel “Movingly conveys the intense cultural pressure that motivates Naila’s parents and the heartbreaking betrayal Naila feels as she is deprived of her rights, cut off from the outside world, and threatened with shame and death.” Read on to learn more about the author behind the book, Aisha Saeed!

Name: Aisha Saeed 

Novel: Written in the Stars 

Available: March 24, 2015 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? It’s so hard to narrow it down because there are so many wonderful authors but Zaidi Smith, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Ha Jin are all tied for first place in my book! 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? My favorite thing is to be able to see it as a physical tangible thing. It’s absolutely thrilling to see it no longer on my computer screen, or in unbound pages on the dinner table as I revise and rewrite scenes and passages. It’s fully complete and done and ready for the world to make of it what they may. 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Definitely Pi Patel from Life of Pi. Not only is he a deep thinker on matters ranging from zoology to religion, he’s also pretty good at skinning a fish. 

Where do you write? I always wanted to be a coffee shop writer but going to coffee shops to write tends to get me both distracted and over-caffeinated so I stick to working from home. I have a lot of favorite spots but my latest favorite is my new chaise lounge. 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? I have many, but one of them is Malcolm X. 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I am an avid tweeter! Whether I’m funny or not I guess is up for debate but I do tend to go on and on about my love for my local grocery store, Publix. I am dead serious about it but people have told me it’s funny. 

What is your favorite season? Growing up in Miami my favorite season was winter. That was before I moved further north and discovered that most people don’t experience winter as an opportunity to wear sweaters at the beach. I have since learned that fall is the equivalent of a “Miami winter” so fall is my new favorite season. Plus the leaves! Watching them gold, crimson, and yellow on the brink of falling— it never gets old. 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Kauai, Hawaii. The most beautiful place on earth with a pace of life I could definitely get used to. 

Do you have any writing rituals? I always need one good cup of chai before I begin. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Love. One word, and yet it sums up the meaning of life. But if we’re being specific, koala bears. 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Joshua Radin. I heard his song Have No Envy No Fear at that concert for the first time. It blew me away. I met him after the concert to get my CD signed, and told him I had a feeling that song would change my life. It did. This song should be required listening for all artists. 

What are you currently working on? I’m always writing and always working on something. At the moment I have a middle-grade project and a YA project that I’m working on. I’ve never written middle-grade before so that’s exciting, to venture into unchartered territory.

………….

Thanks, Aisha! We can’t wait to hear more about your next projects!

You can find Aisha on her Twitter, her Facebook, her tumblr, her Pinterest, and her website.

Add Written in the Stars to your “to-read” list on Goodreads!

Purchase Written in the Stars from your favorite retailer!

2

Today the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight is trained on the lovely Danielle Vega. Her first YA novel, The Merciless, is a suspenseful tale about mean girls and possible demonic possession that will keep you turning pages long into the night (pro tip: don’t read it when you’re home alone). Intrigued yet? Check out our interview with Danielle, who is warm, funny, and totally not as scary as her novel:

Name: Danielle Vega
Novel: The Merciless
Available: June 12, 2014

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead?

It’s scientifically impossible for a writer to choose just one favorite author, but since The Merciless is a horror novel, I have to give a shout-out to all the fabulous ladies who made the genre what it is today. We’re talking women like Mary Shelley and Ann Radcliff and Shirley Jackson. Anyone who thinks horror is a men’s game clearly hasn’t read their work.

What’s your favorite thing about your book?

So. Much. Pink.

Seriously, the cover is pinker than any horror novel has a right to be. There are lots of amazing things inside of the book, too, but I’m completely obsessed with the cover. Pink is the new black. Tell your friends.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose?

This is an impossible question. I’ve been staring at it for fifteen minutes. The most interesting people in fiction seem like they would be HORRIBLE in real life, and I’m supposed to spend an entire year with them alone on a deserted island?  Maybe Robinson Crusoe? Honestly, I never read the book but he makes that awesome tree house, right? I want a tree house.

Where do you write?

There’s this funky little café a few blocks from my apartment (see above photo). If someone had come up to me a year ago and asked me to describe the perfect café, I would have come up with this place, right down to the mismatched chairs and smoked mozzarella and apple grilled cheese. I’m still kind of convinced it’s a figment of my imagination.

External image

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history?

I’ve always been partial to Nellie Bly, the female journalist who spent three days in insane asylum to expose the horrible treatment of the mentally ill. Check out her Wikipedia page if you ever want to feel really bad about all your achievements. I mean, I’m sure you’re really smart and everything, but did you endure three solid days of torture in the name of journalism? I didn’t think so.

She also went around the world in 72 days. Suck it Jules Verne.

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted?

I do tweet! Usually when I should be working. I think my funniest tweets are about my husband and how nerdy we are. Like, he named his umbrella “Oathkeeper” because we watch way too much Game of Thrones. And sometimes I plot sneak mushroom attacks when he’s cooking.

What is your favorite season?

Fall. I’m a HUGE fan of Halloween and sweaters and pumpkin everything. I think this might make me a stereotype but I’m really okay with it because who are we kidding? Sweaters and new boots are the BEST.  

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go?

I really should be more creative than this, but I have a friend who’s spending ten days travelling around London and Paris right now (hi Courtney!) and I can’t stop thinking about how amazing that sounds. Aren’t you jealous? I’m super jealous.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I don’t know about rituals, but I definitely have quirks. Like, after I type a new paragraph I have to write it out longhand to make sure it’s right. And I have to give myself 24 hours to digest my editor’s notes before I start working on a new draft. And all the animal sacrifices I do before starting a new book. You know, normal stuff.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

I never feel better than after a good day of writing, when everything just kind of clicks and I’m really proud of the words I put on a page. Those are the days to live for, especially when they also involve coming home to my aforementioned nerdy husband.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

The Decemberists, hands down. Colin Meloy is my everything. I really don’t understand why more musicians don’t sing about evil child butchers and people being swallowed by whales. What’s wrong with the world?

What are you currently working on?

Something really and truly horrific! I can’t say much, but I’ll give you three hints: an underground rave, New York City, and rats. So many rats.

Thanks Danielle! We’re excited – and scared, but in a good way – to read your next book! And speaking of scared in a good way, The Merciless is on sale today! Go read it now–you’ll get goosebumps from the very first page.

You can find Danielle online on Twitter and her website.

Add THE MERCILESS to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Purchase THE MERCILESS online here.

Tiny Cooper is finally taking center stage … and the world will never be the same again. Filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers, Hold Me Closer is the no-holds-barred (and many-bars-held) entirety of the beloved musical first introduced in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, the award-winning bestseller by John Green and David Levithan. “Tiny will have readers falling out of their chairs laughing… . It’s big. It’s gay. It’s outrageous and hilarious,” said the Kirkus review. Penguin Teen Author Spotlight is proud to introduce Tiny Cooper. Get to know more about him below!

Name: Tiny Cooper 

Novel: HOLD ME CLOSER: The Tiny Cooper Story 

Available: 3/17/15 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Sondheim. 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? The dancing. 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Superman, because he could leave all the time and pick up magazines and food. 

Where do you write? In my head, mostly. 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Sondheim. 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? A GIF of kittens singing “Giants in the Sky” 

What is your favorite season? Tony season. 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? HEDWIG rehearsals, in the space right in front of Lena Hall as Darren Criss leans in to kiss her, so that he would end up kissing me and fall in love and decide that I was not only his best friend but someone he wanted to kiss on a highly frequent basis for at least a year and a half. Is that too specific? 

Do you have any writing rituals? A song isn’t done until I’ve sung it in the shower. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Sondheim. 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Patty Lupone’s one woman show, You Didn’t Think I’d Last But Suck It I’m Still Here. 

What are you currently working on? The road to getting a Tony.

………………

Thank you, Tiny Cooper! We wish you luck on getting a Tony!

You can find David Levithan on his website and his Facebook!

Add HOLD ME CLOSER: The Tiny Cooper Story to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Purchase HOLD ME CLOSER: The Tiny Cooper Story from your favorite retailer!

2

Welcome back to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight, and a special welcome to today’s guest, the lovely Stephanie Perkins! We swooned over ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, but ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER just might be our favorite. This international love story (Paris! New York! Barcelona!) has us believing in true love all over again. For more on Steph and her next project, be sure to read on…

 

Name: Stephanie Perkins

Novel: ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Available: August 14, 2014

 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead?

J.K. Rowling

 

What’s your favorite thing about your book?

That it’s finished.

 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose?

Definitely someone like Robinson Crusoe, who has deserted-island experience. WAIT. Scratch that! Dumbledore. He could apparate me back to my house. (Living on a deserted island sounds terrible to me.)

 

Where do you write?

I write on a coral-pink desk in my lime-green office. I’ve never been able to work in coffee shops or on the road.

 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history?

This is tough, because everyone is flawed, and the further back you go, the more troubling some of those flaws become. But I do like Oscar Wilde. He was incredibly brave.

 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted?

Yes! I’m @naturallysteph. I couldn’t possibly guess, but the funniest thing would have been a re-tweet (as opposed to something *I* said). I follow a lot of comedians.  

 

What is your favorite season?

Autumn. The great pumpkin.

 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go?

I would stay right where I am. I’m a homebody. This *is* my universe.

 

Do you have any writing rituals?

I’m easily distractible, so: Noise-canceling headphones on. Freedom for Mac on. Phone off.

 

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

Reading a good book in bed. Falling asleep and then picking it right back up as soon as I awaken.

 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

Sigur Rós, the Tabernacle in Atlanta. Early ‘00s. The beauty of the band and the old building—which is hand-painted in roses and stars and other marvelous things—was absolutely astounding.

 

What are you currently working on?

A teen slasher. Blood! Sex! Death! It’s not very subtle, but it is a ton of fun.

 

 

Steph, we are excited for the slasher, but promise us you won’t stop writing love stories!

For daily updates and re-tweets, check out Stephanie’s Twitter and personal website.

Add ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Order ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER here!

2

Saint Anything comes out tomorrow and if you know anything about Sarah Dessen, you’re preparing your heart for a range of emotions. Although it touches on her signature themes of friendship, love, family and identity, Saint Anything is a little darker than Sarah’s other books and main character Sydney’s raw experience finding herself after her family’s world falls apart aims right for the feels. Today, Penguin Teen Author Spotlight invites you to get to know  #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah Dessen!

Name: Sarah Dessen 

 Novel: Saint Anything 

Available: May 5, 2015 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Anne Tyler. I just read her latest book, A Spool of Blue Thread, which is also her twentieth (!) and it was so lovely and perfect. Once I finished, I had to take a couple of days to start something new. It’s just not fair to whatever you read next! In my mind, she’s had the dream career, writing great books from her heart, in her own time. I want to be her when I grow up. 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? I love Layla Chatham, who becomes my narrator’s best friend. I was feeling kind of low when I started Saint Anything, for a number of reasons, and I found myself writing the kind of friend I really wanted to have at that moment, someone so loyal and funny and honest. There are lot of things I like about Saint Anything, but Layla is special. 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? His voice MIGHT get to me eventually, but I love Owen from John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. He’s also a great friend, and I just bet he’d get us off that island, somehow. 

Where do you write? I have an office over our garage where I’ve written my last four books. Once my daughter was born, I needed to be able to physically leave the house in order to get work done, but I didn’t want to go too far. I wrote some of Saint Anything in coffee shops, but that’s unusual for me. I work best at home. But this new novel was different in a lot of ways!

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Can I say Anne Tyler again? It’s true! 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? Man, I tweet. It’s kind of a sickness. But since I quit my day job to write full time, it’s like my water cooler, a social outlet so I am not spending the entire day inside my own head. What I love most is the contact with other YA writers from all over the country and world. We have weird jobs: knowing someone understands can REALLY help on a bad writing day. 

What is your favorite season? Summer. I love everything about it, from the fireflies to the deviled eggs and bean salad to the Fourth of July. The day after Labor Day, I am already counting down to the next one. 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Australia, New Zealand or somewhere else that requires a LONG flight. I am a nervous flyer. Teleporting would be my dream! 

Do you have any writing rituals? I like to write at the same time each day, between 1-5. I eat two pieces of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds and let myself waste some time on the internet beforehand, to get it out of my system. When a book is really going well, though, like Saint Anything, I’ll write whenever I can. With this one, I just couldn’t stop. It’s rare, but when it happens, you feel like you caught a comet in your hand. It’s the best. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? An early summer evening grilling out with my husband and daughter with our dogs running around at the end of a great writing day. Just writing that made me happy! 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Okay, fine: it was Barry Manilow, in Raleigh, NC, in the mid 1990s. I had a blast. 

What are you currently working on? Actually…nothing. Normally, I would have begun another novel by now, which I would then obsess over the entire time I was promoting Saint Anything. Then I’d abandon it, hate myself, and have to start something else up that would probably work. I’m trying to take that middle part out this time and wait until I can’t NOT write before I begin anything. We’ll see how it goes.

…………………

Thank you, Sarah! We can’t wait for Saint Anything to be out in the world tomorrow!

You can find Sarah on her website, Twitter, and Instagram!

Add Saint Anything to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Purchase Saint Anything from your favorite retailer!

2

The Wrath and the Dawn is a novel that heightens each of your senses: it’s luscious and vivid – a love story that will get your heart pounding not only because of the romance but because of the high stakes. Following the story of 16-year-old Shahrzad, who’s determined to break a young Caliph’s cycle of marrying a new bride each night only to have her executed the next morning, this is the book that will absorb you from the moment you lay eyes on the cover until way after you turn the last page. Today, Penguin Teen Author Spotlight invites you to get to know the creator of this beauty, Renee Ahdieh! 

Name: Renée Ahdieh 

Novel: THE WRATH AND THE DAWN 

Available: May, 12th, 2015 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Isabel Allende 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? It’s a tie between the kissing and the swords. 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Draco Malfoy 

Where do you write? At home, where I can listen to my music and drink tea to my heart’s content! 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Cleopatra, because she ruled in a man’s world. 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I do tweet! (Honestly that’s still sounds funny to me, haha.) I think the funniest things I tweet are unintentionally funny. When I try to be funny, the only ones laughing are my friends and I. 

What is your favorite season? Fall … for two reasons: Everything around me looks as though it’s catching fire, and all the eating holidays are at this time. 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Seoul, South Korea. Or the Bay Area to get In-N-Out with Sabaa Tahir. 

Do you have any writing rituals? Music on low, on repeat, with noise-canceling headphones. My dog nearby. A hot mug of tea a hand-stretch away. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Complete and utter contentment with myself.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? A tie between Explosions in the Sky in Central Park during a thunderstorm and Carmina Burana on the Fourth of July. 

What are you currently working on? The edits for THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER.

………………………………………

Thank you, Renee! We’re so excited to hear more about book 2, THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER! 

You can find Renee on her website and on Twitter! 

Add The Wrath and the Dawn to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Purchase from your favorite retailer!

2

Today we are beyond excited to welcome Nina LaCour to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight! You guys know her from the heart-wrenchingly lovely Hold Still and the dreamy and original The Disenchantments, so you already know her new novel Everything Leads to You is going to be one of the best things you’ll read all year. It’s romantic and fascinating and mysterious and you’ll definitely find yourself passing along your copy to every friend you have until the pages are worn and the spine cracks open to your favorite passages automatically. But we all know this already (it’s Nina LaCour!), so before you get on with reading her newest novel, stay and hang out with her for a sec. It’s like hanging out with your best friend, except she writes amazing books for you.

Name: Nina LaCour

Novel: Everything Leads to You

Available: Now!

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Virginia Woolf. Her novels move me and make me think differently about humanity. I also met my wife in a class on Woolf, so there’s a sentimental aspect as well.

What’s your favorite thing about your book? That it’s about artistic creation and falling in love, and the way the two intersect.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Leo Gursky, a kind old man with a generous soul from Nicole Krauss’s novel The History of Love. From the first sentence of the book, I was overcome by affection for him. I think he’d have a lot to teach me, and I would do my best to make him feel less lonely.

Where do you write? I am a nomadic writer these days, but I have a dream of a tiny trailer-turned-office. It would be very spare, with only a desk and a chair and, hopefully, pretty scenery all around it.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Harriet Tubman.

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I’m a sporadic tweeter. And the funniest thing I’ve tweeted would undoubtedly be a retweet. I can’t say that I am all that funny in 140 characters, but I know a good tweet when I see one.

What is your favorite season? It used to be fall, but now, without question, it’s spring.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? I’d go to Madrid, where my brother lives, to share a hug and a visit over tapas.

Do you have any writing rituals? I listen to one song on repeat. It helps get me in a specific emotional space for writing and helps me focus.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? It’s very simple: some peaceful and beautiful outdoor place with the people I love.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? The Dirty Projectors with my wife and brother at Bimbo’s in San Francisco.

What are you currently working on? Everything Leads to You is such an upbeat novel in many ways, and now I’m returning to my Hold Still roots, writing about a girl who is grieving. But even though it’s a grief novel, it covers a lot of new territory for me. I’m so excited about it, but I’m not talking about it much yet!

…………..

Thanks, Nina! We can’t wait to read whatever you write next!

You can find Nina on Twitter and her website.

Add Everything Leads To You to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads.

Purchase Everything Leads to You from your favorite retailer.

2

Today’s Penguin Teen Author Spotlight comes to us from the author of the mystical ZODIAC, about a collection of far-off planets where your astrological sign rules your personality - and your life. Romina Russell is just as fascinating as the premise of her awesome new series, so before you rush out to find out what YOUR Zodiac society is like, get to know Romina, below! 

Name: Romina Russell

Novel: ZODIAC

Available: Tomorrow!

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? JK Rowling for the living, Edith Wharton for the dead.

What’s your favorite thing about your book?The fact that I got to make up a new universe, and now I get to invite others to explore it with me. And that COVER… (Thank you, Razorbill!)

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Percy Jackson: hilarious, brave, works wonders with water.

Where do you write? Home…and anywhere else that offers wifi + foamy iced lattes.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Malala Yousafzai.

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? My Twitter handle is @RominaRussell. The funniest thing I’ve posted is a video of my life-sized R2D2 robot dancing to the cantina band from STAR WARS. He really loves that jam.

What is your favorite season? Fall.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Does Hogwarts count?

Do you have any writing rituals? My laptop and I wake up at 6am. Whether we’re being productive or procrastinating, we’re inseparable the whole day, even at mealtimes. If our procrastination grows problematic, we go on writing dates with my CP Nicole Maggi (also a December debut author) and her laptop.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? I don’t know the earth—or myself—well enough to answer that yet, but I’m working on it.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Live and Counting Crows with my sister. It was the 90s, we were in high school, and we won backstage passes—that’s us with Ed Kowalczyk, the lead singer of Live.

What are you currently working on? The sequel to ZODIAC! I’m having a lot of fun chronicling Rho’s journey and am thrilled for this chance to share her stories. Thank you!  

………..

Thanks, Romina! We can’t wait to see where Rho’s journey takes her next.

Find Romina on Twitter.

Find out your REAL zodiac sign on the Zodiac website!

Add Zodiac to your “to-read” list on Goodreads!

Order Zodiac from your preferred retailer.

2

An Ember in the Ashes is the sort of high fantasy that absorbs you so entirely with exhilarating storytelling that you’re left with one overwhelming thought when you turn the last page: I have to know more. A passionate, sometimes terrifying tale about the crossing paths of a slave and a soldier fighting for what they desire most in a cruel, repressive empire, this debut will leave its mark on your heart and your bookshelf. Today, Penguin Teen Author Spotlight invites you to get to know the author of this highly anticipated debut: Sabaa Tahir!

Name: Sabaa Tahir 

Novel: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES 

Available: April 28, 2015 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? J.K. Rowling 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? It doesn’t shy away from the truth.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Is it weird to pick one of your own characters? I’d pick Elias from EMBER, because he’s a survivor and could teach me how to hunt, kill, make shelter, etc. At least that way I wouldn’t, you know, die of starvation after 3 days. 

Where do you write? All over the place. The library. Local coffee shops. My office, a lot of the time. Sometimes even my car. 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? She’s not exactly historical, but no one in history really compares: my mother. She is the bravest woman I know. 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I do! I’m @sabaatahir. This isn’t exactly funny, but it was fascinating to me: I once tweeted my desires for a dragon, and was surprised at the number of people who were like “ME TOOOOO.”

What is your favorite season? Springtime in Northern California. The fruit trees are dripping with oranges and peaches and apricots, and you can smell blooming jasmine at night. 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? I was going to say “to the closest planet with intelligent life and oxygen,” but then realized I might have a tough time getting back. So I’d settle for a couple of weeks on a Hawaiian beach.

Do you have any writing rituals? Coffee and music. Without either, I’m pretty useless. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? A dragon of my very own. 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Oh, no, you can’t do this to me. I refuse to answer this question properly. I must pick five. I MUST. They are, in no particular order: 1. Jonsi at the 930 Club in DC 2. Nine Inch Nails at the Cox Arena in San Diego 3. Radiohead at Coachella Valley in California 4. Depeche Mode at Coachella Valley in California 5. Tori Amos at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles.

What are you currently working on? Surviving the launch of my first book.

——————————

Thank you, Sabaa! We can’t wait for tomorrow and for whatever you start writing next!

You can find Sabaa on her website, her Twitter, and her Instagram!

Add An Ember in the Ashes to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Purchase from your favorite retailer!

2

Welcome back to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight, where we’re thrilled to be chatting with Richelle Mead, the author of not one but two of our favorite series: VAMPIRE ACADEMY and BLOODLINES (and judging from how many times these books have ended up on the New York Times Bestseller list, they’re two of your favs, too). If you like urban fantasy and Scorpios, you’ll love Richelle, and you’ll definitely love the latest book in the BLOODLINES series: SILVER SHADOWS. Especially if you’ve always wondered what’s been going on inside Adrian’s head, because hello? Hot vampire alert! Read on to find out more!

Name: Richelle Mead

Novel: Silver Shadows

Available: July 29, 2014

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Marion Zimmer Bradley, most famous for The Mists of Avalon

What’s your favorite thing about your book? I love that it’s such a mix of emotions. It flips back and forth between some really dark moments and then some truly beautiful romantic parts. You can never get too secure with this book—just when you think you know what’s going to happen, it’ll change on you.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Jay Gatsby. I feel like I’d never run out of entertainment with all the stories he could tell. Plus, if there was a way to have a party on that island, he’d find it.

Where do you write? In my office, which is very boring and often very messy. As long as I can get to the keyboard, though, the work can get done.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Not sure I have a favorite; there are so many I admire! Textbooks are so dominated by men that I’m usually an admirer of any woman who managed to defy her era’s conventions and make into the pages of history: Elizabeth I, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks…the list goes on. So many greats.

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I tweet every day! I once tweeted about waiting in a veterinarian’s lobby and hearing a guy demand that his cat be tested for STDs. I don’t think that’s the funniest thing I ever tweeted, but from the reaction it got from my followers, they’d disagree with me.

What is your favorite season? Autumn. I love the colors and the change in the air, as well as how it can be hot and cold within the same day.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? I’m pretty sleep-deprived at the moment, so I’d settle for teleporting to my bed and getting a solid night of sleep! I’m also crossing my fingers that teleportation technology is honed before my next book tour because that would make things A LOT easier. I’m not counting on it, though.

Do you have any writing rituals? Mostly I just need to warm up before I start writing a book. That may be in the form of posting on social media, answering emails, or small things like that. I can rarely just jump right in to major writing.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Spending time with family and friends—without stress. That last part’s the key and also the most difficult to achieve! Even when I’m with loved ones, it seems there’s always something weighing on my mind that I’m worrying about getting done. It’d be nice to just hang out without the baggage!

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Tori Amos, playing in Kalamazoo, MI in 1993. I’m a huge fan of her work and have seen her many times, but to me, seeing that one when I was fifteen will always stand out in my memories.

What are you currently working on? I’m currently revising The Ruby Circle, which is the sixth and last book in the Bloodlines series.  I’ve also got a couple other projects I’m worrying on that haven’t been publicly announced, so I’m afraid I have to keep that news under wraps a little while longer!

…………

Okay, we hate the suspense, but…we’ll wait. If we can!

For more on Richelle, check out her Twitter and her website.

Add SILVER SHADOWS to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Order SILVER SHADOWS here!

2

It’s important to diversify your beach reads. That’s why we’re so excited about Daughter of Deep Silence - it came out just in time to add a delicious and thrilling edge to summer TBRs everywhere! A revenge thriller with a dash of romance that blurs the lines of identity and the truth, it will absorb you until the sunshine is way past gone. Today, Penguin Teen Author Spotlight invites Carrie Ryan to share with us more about the writer who penned this gorgeous read!

Name: Carrie Ryan 

Novel: Daughter of Deep Silence 

Available: May 26, 2015 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? JK Rowling. Because she made the world more magical and I probably wouldn’t have a job without her. 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? I loved writing the scene where Frances (the main character) listens to Grey (her love interest/nemesis) take a shower. Even with a closed door between them, she’s keenly aware of the sound the water makes splashing off of him. It’s deliciously tense and angsty! 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Dumbledore. He’s got some great stories. Also magic. 

Where do you write? My office is my living room. I used to have a chair I always sat in, but my dog has decided that it now belongs to him (no one’s bothered to tell him that he doesn’t quite fit in it). 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Rollo the Viking. I did a lot of research on him for my first middle grade novel, Infinity Ring: Divide and Conquer, and had no idea how important a role he played in history! Not only is every sitting monarch in Europe descended from him, so is my husband (so I have a personal reason he’s a favorite!). 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I love to tweet! Writing can feel like such an isolating job, but with twitter it’s so easy to keep up with friends and other book lovers. It makes the world feel smaller in a good way. 

What is your favorite season? Spring! I love when the days get longer and the air warmer and the trees burst with buds and flowers. Plus, there’s still a part of me that will forever associate spring with the coming of summers off.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Fiji (for the reason why, see below :) 

Do you have any writing rituals? Usually I’m writing with a Diet Coke within reach, either a cat or dog curled up nearby, and a quilt my sister made for me thrown over my legs. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Sitting next to my husband on a warm beach with a cold drink and a great book. 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? My husband and I went to see Colin Hay (formerly of Men at Work) in a really small theater a few years ago. I had no idea how funny he is – it was almost like getting a sketch comedy show and a fantastic concert all in one. 

What are you currently working on? Right now I’m working on two projects. The first is a new stand-alone contemporary YA that I can’t talk that much about except to say that it’s a story I’ve wanted to write for years and I’m super excited about it! The second is the next book in the Map to Everywhere series, a middle grade series I’m co-writing with my husband.

————————

Thanks, Carrie! We can’t wait to hear more about this new contemporary YA you’re working on!

Follow Carrie on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and her website!

Add DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE to your TBR on Goodreads! 

Purchase DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE from your favorite retailer

2

Today we welcome Wendy Wunder to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight. Author of heartbreakingly wonderful (no pun intended) novel, The Museum of Intangible Things will make you laugh and cry, mostly at the same time, and we know that’s pretty much all any of us are looking for in a good book, right? Totes. (Plus, isn’t that cover one of the prettiest things you’ve ever seen?) Before you pick up your copy, take a second to hang out with Wendy Wunder!

Name: Wendy Wunder  

Novel: The Museum of Intangible Things

Available: Now!

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Girls: Jennifer Eagan, Karen Russel, Lorrie Moore, Louise Erdrich, Rainbow Rowell, Laurie Halse Andersen, Judy Blume, Wendy Wasserstein

Boys: Junot Diaz, George Saunders, Michael Chabon, Jeffrey Eugenides, Dr. Seuss

What’s your favorite thing about your book? The ending.  Not the events of the ending but the writing on the last few pages, I like.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, whom would you choose? Well the romantic answer would be Mr. Darcy or Rhett Butler, right? But I don’t think they’d have enough kick ass survival skills.

The practical answer would be Katniss Everdeen because she’d know how to survive.  That’s what the girl does best. She avoids certain death.  She could build us a shelter and rustle us up some squirrel meat.

The fancy, erudite answer would be Orlando.  Orlando by Virginia Woolf was one of my favorite books of all time.  I haven’t read it in a while but it chronicles the life of a soul who changes class and gender through time.  So it would be interesting to see which Orlando would show up or who Orlando would be today. 

Where do you write? I write whenever and wherever I can.  I’m a little haphazard about it.  I used to have a space in Boston’s Writer’s Room, but I’ve given that up and sometimes use the Bates Room in the Boston Public Library instead. It’s a gorgeous, quiet space but the security guards are Very strict about carrying in beverages and one time one of them kicked me because I put my head down to rest my eyes. Sleeping there is strongly discouraged. 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? I enjoy Pocahontas and Sacajawea because they are native women that made it into history books.  I would love to read more about them from a native perspective.  I also like finding out more about Cleopatra and Mary Magdelene.. Both powerful intellectuals who did not get their due respect until recently.  I also have a thing about the Founding Fathers.  All of them.  I just think it’s fascinating that they had the foresight to create this document (the Constitution) and a system for interpreting it, so that it can constantly and fluidly grow with time and hopefully become more and more just and inclusive. ? hopefully.   

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I think it was a picture of how my daughter secretly infiltrated my husband’s to do list.  He had written:

“Get Tree Bag” (for disposal of Christmas Tree)

And underneath it my ten-year-old wrote:

“Get dog”

“Get 1 pound candy”

“Get 1 pound salami”

Kids are funny.

What is your favorite season? I love them all, which is one of the reasons I live in the northeast.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? I grew up on a large lake and we were allowed to get a motorboat license at age 13. My friend and I would just ride out to some quiet cove, anchor, read and sunbathe.  I would love to do that right this very minute.  It’s been a long winter and I must replenish the Vitamin D!

Do you have any writing rituals? No, but I think I should get some.  My writing lately has been happening in fits and starts and I think I would benefit from a routine.  I think I’m going to start getting up at 4 a.m. to write before the rest of the day gets in the way. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Having enough money to take a vacation without feeling guilty about it.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? I’ve been to a lot of them, because my dad was in radio, growing up and always got us free tickets.  But it would have to be Bruce Springsteen. As a jersey girl, I’ve been to MANY of these and the man leaves it all on the stage.  His music, live, is always a deeply moving nostalgic trip for me.  It’s the poetry of my youth. Have you listened to his lyrics?  The old stuff?  Rivals Dylan.

What are you currently working on? A family dramedy that is a combination of Arrested Development, Parenthood, the Royal Tenenbaums and Infinite Jest.

………….

Thanks, Wendy! We can’t wait to read what you have coming next!

You can find Wendy on her website and Twitter.

Add The Museum of Intangible Things to your “to-read” list on Goodreads!

Purchase The Museum of Intangible Things from your favorite retailer.

2

“I am Mary Iris Malone, and I am not okay.” So begins Mosquitoland, told in the unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice of our Heroine. The story is a modern American odyssey, equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. It is the debut novel of David Arnold. Booklist’s review says “Arnold boldly tackles mental illness and despair, and sexual assault and sexual identity, without ever once losing the bigheartedness of the story… In the words of one of Mim’s Greyhound seatmates, Mosquitoland has pizazz—lots and lots of it.” Since you have to wait a day for the book’s release, hang out with us here at Penguin Teen Author Spotlight to meet the man behind Mosquitoland, David Arnold!

Name: David Arnold

Novel: Mosquitoland

Available: Tomorrow! Tuesday, March 3.

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? As much as I love Middle-earth, if I could only choose one author, it would have to be J.D. Salinger. Even though he’s better known for Catcher in the Rye, I adore his Glass family novellas: Franny and Zooey; Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymore: An Introduction. (I actually have Raise High the Roof Beam tattooed on my arm.) Salinger has this unique gift of saying a lot without saying much at all; when I read one of his books, I always feel like there’s something simmering just below the surface, as if each of his characters are subtly pointing toward the same closed door. I want to open that door, which might explain why I read those books over and over again.

What’s your favorite thing about your book? People talk a lot about writing the book only you can write. I wrote Mosquitoland during a particularly vulnerable time of life. It was a frightfully personal experience, and I think (hope) the end result reflects that vulnerability.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Samwise Gamgee. I’ve always thought we’d be fast friends. Plus, he can cook!

Where do you write? I wrote most of Mosquitoland while taking care of our newborn son, so I pretty much wrote where I could, when I could. I’ve written everywhere from the car to the couch to the YMCA. I’ve never written at a desk. I aspire to write at a desk one day. I’ve seen pictures of people writing at desks, it looks amazing.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Frodo Baggins! (Shocker, right?)

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I do! Hmm. Not sure. Probably something about the price of cinnamon sticks being equal to the value of gold bullion. (Forreal though. SO expensive.)

What is your favorite season? Winter.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Wherever my wife and son are. Then, I would manipulate the binding nuclear energy of the teleportation device and transport the three of us to Spain. Or maybe a beach somewhere, I haven’t decided yet.

Do you have any writing rituals? Not really. Part of writing-on-demand (i.e. writing with a baby) dictates the need for flexibility. I do like writing to music, though. I make a playlist (mostly instrumental) for many of my characters.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? See teleportation plan.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Sufjan Stevens at the Ryman in Nashville. He wore wings. It was rad.

What are you currently working on? Another standalone YA, as well as a potential Mosquitoland companion novella.

………..

Thank you, David! We look forward to reading your next novel!

You can find David on his Twitter, his Facebook, and his website.

Add Mosquitoland to your “to-read shelf” on Goodreads!

Purchase from you favorite retailer.

2

Today we welcome the fierce Rachel Hawkins to the Penguin Teen Author SpotlightRebel Belle, her latest novel, is an action-packed adventure led by the most fantastic of heroines - someone who can take a demon down in her cotillion gown and heels without smudging her lipgloss. It’s the most fun you’ll have all year, we promise, so before you head out to pick up this pick-me-up, hang out for a second to see just why Rachel can produce such awesome work (spoiler: it’s because she’s awesome, too).

Name: Rachel Hawkins

Novel: Rebel Belle

Available: April 8, 2014

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? Roald Dahl

What’s your favorite thing about your book? That it’s PINK and there’s a DAGGER ON THE COVER! Oh, you mean like my favorite part about the inside? I like that when you strip away all the magical stuff- Oracles, ancient orders of knights, Mages- it’s a story about a girl trying to do the best she can to keep the people she loves safe and happy.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. We could bond over our love for the name Cordelia, and she could possibly find a way to make raspberry cordial. Plus I could explain her a thing about how Gilbert Blythe is the DREAMIEST, and she needs to get on that.

Where do you write? I actually have two workspaces! I read a book awhile back called Steal Like An Artist, and the author suggested making two different spots for working if you could manage it. One should be a digital space- your computer, printer, all that jazz- and the other an analog space- pencils, notebooks, crayons if that’s your thing. So I have a little set up in the guest room that’s just my computer on a laptop desk. As you can see, I keep that area fairly Spartan!

But then I also have a space in by bedroom that’s a lot comfier/cozier, and surrounded by things I love or find inspiring. That’s my Notebook Zone.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Like a lot of girls, I went through a maaaajor Historical Lady Phase when I was younger, so it’s so hard to choose! I’m gonna go with Boudicca, though. Hard to beat a Fierce Celt Lady killing some Romans, you know?

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? Oh man, I probably tweet too much! As for my funniest tweet, it would probably be the one where I ranted about Luna and Neville not ending up together in Harry Potter, and declared that in my mind, they’re running Lovegood & Longbottom: Magical Detectives right now.

What is your favorite season? I live in Alabama, which means we only really have two seasons: Wet and Dear God Why Do People Live Here I Am Melting How Can One Person Sweat This Much. But every once and awhile, we get autumn for like a week, and I must say, I am very fond of that!

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Scotland. I go there every year, and it’s just a weirdly relaxing and rejuvenating place for me. I tend to feel happier and healthier there, and I always write a huge amount. And since I’m on a deadline right now, I could use that mental boost, to be honest.

Do you have any writing rituals? Nooooo! I am actually very ANTI-writing ritual because I have to be able to write everywhere, and I’m such a superstitious weirdo that I’m afraid that if I gave in to one teensy ritual, suddenly I would HAVE to do that ALL THE TIME or NO WRITING EVER AGAIN.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Total cliché, but my family, safe, happy, laughing.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Tori Amos, 1998. She told a story about getting one of her songs from the ghost of a small child who stood at the foot of her bed, and we were all like, “….sounds legit.”

What are you currently working on? I’m writing my first Middle Grade novel, Journey’s End, about a group of kids solving a supernatural mystery in the Highlands of Scotland (told you that was a good writing place for me!) Plus I’m in the plotting stage of a new YA series involving American girls, British nobility, shenanigans, and sheep. Just…so many sheep. 

………………………..

Thanks, Rachel! We can’t wait to read what’s next!

You can find Rachel on Twitter.

Add Rebel Belle to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Purchase Rebel Belle from your favorite retailer.

2

Once you manage to pick yourself up off the floor after laying eyes on its stunning cover, you’re in for a world of time-bending, bittersweet feels with THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD. Following the story of Nat’s last summer before college in her Kentucky hometown, it’s a mix of apparitions, paths left untaken, and a beautiful boy under the lights of the football field. Here today to tell us about the mind behind the masterpiece is author Emily Henry! 

——–

Name: Emily Henry

Novel: The Love That Split the World

Available: January 26, 2016 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? This changes on occasion but K.A. Applegate and Madeline L’Engle have been super close to my heart ever since childhood, and A.S. King and Leslye Walton both became new favorites in 2015. And of course J.K. Rowling will always be Queen. I don’t know if I’ll ever love another series as much as I love Harry Potter. 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? The structure. I like how most of the book is spent looking at these individual pieces of the story and how everything ties together toward the end. And the characters. I’m really attached to them. 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Katniss Everdeen. We might not have that much in common but she would keep us alive. If death isn’t really on the table then maybe I’d take one of the Weasley twins or someone a little more ridiculous. 

Where do you write? On my couch, facing windows. It’s incredibly hard for me to write if there are no windows, which is unfortunate because window’s can also be incredibly distracting. 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? I just asked my husband who my favorite heroine of history was and he said “Beyoncé.” I know there are other heroes and heroines who’ve made more practical contributions to history, but art and pop culture are also so integral to shaping the world, and I regularly find myself thinking about how Beyoncé helps shape our world. 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? Constantly. And this might’ve been the best. 

What is your favorite season? Fall. 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Except it would be real. So what I’m saying is Hogwarts. I’d teleport to Hogwarts, but in the known universe. 

Do you have any writing rituals? Stumble downstairs at 7ish AM, drink a cup of coffee while catching up on the Internet, pour myself another cup of coffee and stare at the screen until I’m ready to write. Keep staring off and on until around 5. I usually draft in bursts, so when I’m writing something new, I’m doing pretty much nothing else. The house gets disgusting, friends don’t know where I am, and meals are substituted with the handfuls of marshmallows I grab as I pass through the kitchen for more coffee. It’s bad, and wonderful. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Being loved by and loving a handful of people very, very well in a beautiful place, surrounded by donuts that taste great but won’t affect our health whatsoever. I think writing gives me an unequaled sense of fulfillment–that I’m doing what I’m best at and what I’m meant to do–but for contentment I really need to feel like I’m loving and being loved well. 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? My first inclination is to say Beyoncé because she’s my favorite, but it might actually have been Brian Wilson, who is my husband’s favorite. We’d just watched the biopic about him, Love and Mercy, a few days before, and seeing a person who so profoundly changed music and recording–and who’s been through so much–was deeply affecting, plus it was just a great crowd. It’s fun to see people from older generations acting like Directioners at the sight of their fave. It felt really special to witness that. He’s definitely a living legend. To be fair, so is Beyoncé. Tie?

What are you currently working on? Another romance-heavy genre bender that explores questions about grief and loss and the meaning of life, and other REALLY FUN STUFF LIKE THAT!

——-

Thanks Emily, we can’t wait to hear about your next novel!

Start reading THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD here!

Follow Emily Henry on Twitter! 

2

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, The Wrong Side of Right is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.  Penguin Teen Author Spotlight proudly introduces Jenn Marie Thorne, the author behind this debut novel. Stick around to get to know more about her!

Name: Jenn Marie Thorne 

Novel: The Wrong Side of Right 

Available: 3/17/2015 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? It’s so hard for me to play favorites, but I’ll go with Shakespeare, for the inventiveness of his language and the sheer volume of his work. 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? I had a lot of fun mixing grounded character moments that hit home for me personally with high-flying campaign strategy—the sound bites, the policies, the speeches. I really enjoyed pretending to be a politico. 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Tropical island? Robinson Crusoe. I have very few practical skills. I’m gonna need somebody there with prior experience or there’s no way I’ll last the year. Cold island, like, say, off the coast of Scotland? Jamie Fraser. (Don’t tell my present-day husband.) 

Where do you write? All over the place. I have a lovely office workspace that I hardly ever use. I stow my laptop in random places throughout the house and type “a quick note” as I walk by, and then I look up and an hour has passed. 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Okay, so he probably didn’t exist, but since I suspect all historical figures are largely fictionalized anyway, I’ll go with King Arthur. What he accomplished in a short lifetime is astonishing, uniting a motley collection of feuding warlords, bringing peace and culture and a code of ethics—civilization itself—to an island ruled by chaos. The fact that it all fell to the Saxons as soon as he died is just a testament to how monumental his achievement was. (Confession: I’m sort of obsessed with Arthurian legend.) 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I don’t just tweet—I hang out on Twitter. It’s like the employee lounge for an imaginary office building full of authors. I’m sure I’ve tweeted funny things, but whenever I’m particularly pleased with something I’ve posted, it’s met with crickets. And then I’ll tweet, like, “Man, I love cookies,” and get fourteen favorites and twenty RTs. 

What is your favorite season? Summer. Long days, heat, shimmery insect sounds, splashing around in various bodies of water? Love it. 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Necker Island, BVI, because I think my fancy teleportation abilities would be enough to convince Richard Branson that I’m a delightful and fascinating party guest, rather than a pleb trespasser. Plus, I’m not seeing anything here about teleporting back, so maybe Richard Branson could help me with my airfare. 

Do you have any writing rituals? More of a habit than a ritual, but I always start by futzing with words and punctuation from whatever I’ve last written. They’re completely useless edits, but they ease me into working while the creative side of my brain wakes up for the day. It usually only takes a few minutes. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Idle time. Oh man, I miss having nothing to do but daydream—preferably someplace warm, with a cool beverage at hand and a view of light shining on water. 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? This is the hardest question in this entire interview. I remember being blown away by Rodrigo y Gabriela at a big festival concert in LA with a bunch of other bands. I was mostly there to see Lily Allen and Travis, but they were the act that made my jaw drop. 

What are you currently working on? I’m between drafts of a companion novel to The Wrong Side of Right and playing with two other projects, another contemporary and a high fantasy.

……………..

Thank you, Jenn Marie! We are looking forward to the companion novel!

You can find Jenn Marie Thorne on her website and Twitter!

Add The Wrong Side of Right to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Purchase from your favorite retailer!

2

Reading and dreaming are pretty much the two most magical activities we can think of, so when a book comes along that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a dream – it’s a big deal. THE RADIANT ROAD is a beautifully atmospheric, fairy-filled fantasy, and here to tell us about the mind behind the masterpiece is author Katherine Catmull! 

—-

Name: Katherine Catmull 

Novel: The Radiant Road 

Available: January 19, 2016

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? I always answer Gabriel Garcia Marquez to this question, but I don’t know if that’s even true any more. But I keep saying it, because his brilliant, strange novels changed the way I thought about writing and reading. He showed me you can do anything at all in a book, as long as it’s true inside your world.

What’s your favorite thing about your book? That’s it’s about being brave enough—well, brave enough to live unafraid, for one thing, but also brave enough to make art. I’m a bit obsessed with how important it is for us all, all, all to make art. Or make something. Robots count as art! Get out there and make!

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? I’m sure I’ll kick myself later, but all I can think of now is Seymour Glass, from Seymour: an Introduction and other Glass family sagas by J. D, Salinger. I really love Seymour’s seven year-old self in the story “Hapworth 16, 1924”—which was published once, in the New Yorker, and was so roundly loathed and mocked that Salinger never published anything again. I urge you not to read this story! Absolutely every legitimate critic from the past fifty years has hated it! But for some reason, I love that endless letter home from camp from a nutty seven year-old American Buddha. I’d love to meet old Seymour.

Where do you write? In my blue-walled room with a terra-cotta tiled floor, at a little yellow desk stained with many colors of ink and crayon and paint, surrounded by bookshelves and art supplies. I put that desk in The Radiant Road, in fact.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? I was just saying elsewhere in blogdom that I don’t believe in heroes. Strikes grim pose, chin raised against the night sky. Really, though, the concept makes me uncomfortable—it seems to me to fail in John Green’s excellent “imagine people complexly” requirement. But there are people in history whom I greatly admire. Harriet Tubman should absolutely be on the $20 bill, for example (not the $10, I like Hamilton—I also like Hamilton—but we could do without that racist Andrew Jackson on our money).

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? Well, no one ELSE thought it was funny, but I thought this sign on a bus in Portland OR was hilarious, and my comment at least mildly amusing. (I went to college in Portland BTW. Love you, Portland! Just teasing!) 

What is your favorite season? Autumn. No contest. And it remains my fave even though for decades I’ve lived in Austin, which has a damn poor excuse for autumn weather. Sorry for the strong language but my feelings run deep on this!

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Not very much of the universe is known! If I knew of some fabulous twin-sunned, three-mooned planet with a language made of song and a breath-based currency, I would go there. But since I only know our Earth … maybe Antarctica? I have two friends there now, and their Facebook photos are killing me.

Do you have any writing rituals? Must play solitaire. Must have many liquids to drink: types vary by time of day, weather. Must close door on needy, wriggly young cats and handsome, interesting husband. Must doodle in my writing notebook. At some point, must write.

Wriggly cat #1: Adam

Wriggly cat #2: Snub

What is your idea of earthly happiness? A snow day. By which I mean, a day when you were all set to work hard and slog through, but the universe gently takes the shovel out of your hands. You’re left with only a warm nest, your books and movies and food to cook, maybe someone you love to share with it, and an unexpected, unplanned day or two when there is not one single thing you’re supposed to do.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? It is embarrassing to say, but I have not been to tons of concerts. Am one of those delicate flowers who says “oooh, it’s too loud! It’s hurting my ears!” But! many years ago, I saw Little Feat in concert, with Jerry Jeff Walker opening for them. It was New Year’s Eve, and I was with lovely people, and it turned out to be Little Feat’s last concert with the miraculous Lowell George. And it was fantastic.

What are you currently working on? Argh I dunno. Some wacky story that’s half girl-who-can-speak-to-wilderness and half Gawain and the Green Knight? Does that sound good? Hopefully it will be good. It also has a magic fox in it, and you can’t go wrong with magic foxes.

——

Thanks, Katherine! We can’t wait to hear more about your next novel.

Follow Katherine Catmull on Twitter!

Get your copy of THE RADIANT ROAD!

2

Hello lovelies, we hope you don't mind, but today we’re welcoming Michele Jaffe, author of Minders, to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight! We know you’ve been searching for that genre-bending, technologically advanced love story with a bad boy edge, and now you can search no longer! Before grabbing your copy, though, stick around to get to know the author behind such a gripping book!

Name: Michele Jaffe

Novel: Minders

Available: Maybe January 30? I’m not exactly sure.

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? TV.

What? That is not a real answer? But it’s so hard to chose! First because I suck at making decisions and second because I have a lot of friends who are writers and if I don’t say them they will cut me I adore all their books.

But when I’m working on a book I only read things by the dead so if I had to pick one author right this second it would probably be Charlesdickensagathachristiejohndicksoncarrjohndmcdonaldpgwodehouserexstoutgeorgesimenon.

What’s your favorite thing about your book? It’s finished.

Honestly, that is every author’s favorite thing about any book they write and if they say something else they are liars. THAT’S RIGHT EVERYONE, I AM CALLING YOU OUT.

In Minders, one of the characters is literally inside the mind of someone else, so I got to make up an entire inner landscape, complete with a fully populated subconscious. That was probably my favorite thing while writing the book. That and the Geronimos.

What are Geronimos?

A feature of the subconscious mind I made up, but I will not say what it is; you have to read the book to find out.

What if we offer you cake?

That depends. Would it be chocolate cak–NO I AM STRONG. I WILL NOT BE TEMPTED.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Jeeves the butler from the P.G. Wodehouse Jeeves books. (If I am well behaved and answer the rest of the questions like a normal person without balking, can I have cake?)

Where do you write? I’ve just moved, so my workspace is in a bit of turmoil but I wrote Minders here:

(Please note the Mr. T curtains behind my desk.)

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Medusa. I think she got a really bad rap and we have the same hair.

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? My funniest tweet is “Dear Boyfriend, I can make your girlfriend scream louder than you. Love, Spiders.”

I got it off a greeting card. I just tweeted it a second ago so I could answer this question. Can I have cake now?

What is your favorite season? Snorkeling season. Or Chocolate Cake Season.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Snorkeling with my boyfriend The Rock.

Is The Rock really your boyfriend? In some known universe. Like maybe the Wishtopia Nebula.

Do you have any writing rituals? Yes! I start each day by getting out of bed.

After that, its kind of free form.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Friends! Cake! Champagne! Tacos! Butler! Mega yacht! Snorkling! The Rock! More champagne! Did I say cake! And pals! And napping! And tacos! And—

I should pause here to say that it is not a good idea to snorkel while drinking.

–Hello fishies! Fill those glasses, Jeeves! More tacos! Ooh cake pops!

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? The best singer I have ever seen is Tom Jones. Even though he started performing decades before I was born, when he sings “Sex Bomb,” I swoon.

(Dear Tom Jones—You are also invited on my mega yacht. Do not be intimidated by my boyfriend The Rock’s big muscles. Love, Michele. P.S. Please bring cake)

What are you currently working on? Getting someone to give me some chocolate cake.

Bookwise, it’s top secret but I can say it has dead people in it. The kind who stay dead, not the undead or the never-dead or the I’vecometosuckyourblood dead. In other words, it is a thriller.

I hope. I mean I hope it’s thrilling.

(I also like the kind of cake that has party colored sprinkles in the mix. And shortcake. And coffee cake. Just FYI)

…………..

Thanks, Michele! If your next book is anything like Minders, we cannot wait to read it!

You can find Michele on Twitter and her website.

Add Minders to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Purchase Minders from your preferred retailer.

2

Instant recipe for a book you won’t be able to put down: sharpshooting, mythology, an irresistible heroine, and an electrifying love story. Introducing REBEL OF THE SANDS, a desert fantasy that will have you craving for more as soon as you turn the last page. Here to tell us about the mind behind the masterpiece is author Alwyn Hamilton!


Name: Alwyn Hamilton 

Novel: Rebel of the Sands 

Available: 8th of March 2016 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? So hard to chose! But I’m going to go top 3 from childhood who have the most important place in my heart: Tamora Pierce, for the Alanna Quartet. Patricia C. Wrede, for the Mairelong Duology and Dealing with Dragons. Sherwood Smith for the Crown & Court Duology. And it’s cliché, but, as part of the generation that grew up with Harry Potter, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention J.K Rowling. 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? The mythology. I was really excited when I built a world with a mythology propping it up that made sense and which helped build some of the major twists of the story around it, because I had always struggled with that. And I also love getting to weave in some of the ancient myths and story in with the central plot. 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Jack, from Blood Red Road. That’s a tough world, so he’s gotta have some skills that would help keep us both alive. And has enough good banter I feel like it could last us a year. Plus (SORT OF SPOILERS BUT NOT REALLY AHEAD) but he’s one of the only male characters who I swoon over but would not feel bad about stealing from the series heroine. 

Where do you write? Cafes! My 2 favourites are close to my house, but far enough away that getting there is a little bit of a walk so I can’t just give up and pop home if I’m struggling to get words on the page. The best one for drafting is a café Nero, a chain coffee shop, with an upper floor and a terrible internet connection. I have been known to sit there for 6 hours straight on a single coffee and no distractions. 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? I have a soft spot for Charlotte Corday, the 24 year old woman who murdered Marat in the bath and went to the guillotine for it. The most famous painting of the event is by Jacques-Louis David and shows Marat looking like a martyred saint. Charlotte Corday is removed to make her “The Sinister Absent presence” as one essay called her. I wrote my dissertation on depictions of Charlotte Corday as they evolved through history, and she went from being a murderess to a martyr herself, as politics moved on in France. Charlotte Corday is fascinating to me because she is a young woman from the countryside with an agency that no one fully understands. No one knows very much about her, even what she looked like (she gets blonder and blonder in paintings as she starts to become saintly) and while we know she declared that she did what she did for France and what her politics were, no one has a fully grip on what made this one particular girl, who was no one in particular as far as politics went, travel to Paris with a mind to murder, and ready to die for what she believed in. I don’t know if she’s a heroine in everyone’s eyes but I will never not love a young girl with a weapon fighting for her country. 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I do! A lot! (@AlwynFJH) The thing I’ve found the funniest recently was not in actuality that funny, but I was delirious because I’d woken up at 5 a.m to go on a school visit. Halfway to Birmingham on Train 1 of the day my UK Publicist, Hannah, and I noticed we were dressed the same and that we looked like creepy Victorian ghost twins a la Diana Arbus/The Shining (photo attached). No one thought this was as funny as we did at 7 a.m on a train. But twitter did. Cut to that evening, 2 school visits later, and between trains 4 and 5 of the day and the exhaustion and delirium fully took hold and we dissolved into madness in Preston Station, and started simultaneously tweeting creepy twin stuff at anyone unlucky enough to cross our twitter path (screencap attached of when my agent, Molly was the unlucky recipient). It culminated with us tweeting a picture of the other one appearing dead on the last train of the day. We thought we were HI-LARIOUS at the time.


What is your favorite season? Summer. Hands down. I love just opening all the windows in my apartment when summer hits and clearing the winter out. I love that London seems to come back to life in the sun and life just spills out into the streets and parks and everything and everyone seems more open and welcoming. I love going to restaurants and sitting outdoors. I love going to open air cinemas in London Parks. I love that I am not constantly having to undress and redress myself with a million coats as I travel around the city. Summer in the city is my favourite thing. 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? I was going to say my parents’ house for a visit, but now that we’ve gotten to talking about sun, I would kill for some of that. I’ve just googled “Where it is Hot in February” and Thailand comes top of the list. And I’ve actually been there in February before, and it’s true, it’s blissful. So I’d teleport myself to Koh Samui. 

Do you have any writing rituals? I don’t know if it’s a ritual but when I’m drafting I put the same song on repeat and listen to it on my headphones for hours and hours on end, on loop. It helps erase the outside world. I also tend to get an almond croissant for my breakfast. Which was a fine ritual when I was writing only on weekends. But now I write full time is not so sustainable… 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? A guilt free reading day, accompanied by a latte and a pastry, in an apartment of my own, with a dog, on a day my hair looks salon wash and blow dried good (for no real reason) and then having pasta for dinner with a group of people I love (family or friends). Alternatively (she says glancing down at the next question): Being part of Taylor Swift’s Squad. 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Taylor Swift, 1989 Tour Concert in Hyde Park in Summer 2015. Again, I love anything I can attend in an outdoor space, and the stage they build there is amazing. It’s a huge fake tree (picture attached). And also I am not so low key obsessed with miss Swift. 

What are you currently working on? Edits on “Rebel of the Sands 2: This Time it’s Palatial” (Not the Real Title, obviously!) It’s due out in 2017, followed by the third book, last in the trilogy in 2018.

—-

Thanks, Alwyn! We can’t wait to hear more about the sequel!

Find Alwyn on Twitter!

Start reading REBEL OF THE SANDS here!