Interview with Merrie Haskell, Author of Handbook for Dragon Slayers

Merrie Haskell dropped by the virtual offices this morning to chat up her latest MG release Handbook for Dragon Slayers.  Check out what she has to say about it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

@merriehaskell: author, library paraprofessional; obsessed with herbs, blacksmithing, office supplies, alternate universes, anthropology

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Handbook for Dragon Slayers?

[Merrie Haskell] It’s a 12th century adventure story that takes place along the Rhine, in which a runaway princess with a clubfoot who joins forces with two dragon slayers-in-training; she runs into the Wild Hunt, an evil knight, and several dragons along the way.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Merrie Haskell] The broadest part of the concept, a girl who writes a handbook for dragon slayers, actually came to me in drips and drabs over the years.  In college, for a history class, I had to read a wonderful book called A Handbook for William, which was a 9th century German woman’s advice for living at court for her son.  The concept of medieval handbooks actually became a bit of an obsession for me at that point.  How on earth do you make something like that exciting in a fiction book, though? Many years later, I ran across the concept of book curses–notices put at the beginning of books that promised dire consequences for book thieves (explored in an interesting book called Anathema: Medieval scribes and the history of book curses).  I’m not entirely sure when dragons wormed their way in there, other than dragons are so much fun.  When I learned Old English in college, the Anglo-Saxons were sort of obsessed with dragons–it was a big insult to call someone a dragon, because you were a hoarder of gold and treasure, the opposite of what a noble and valiant Anglo-Saxon should be.  Being a giver was important–a ring giver, a bread giver.  It’s so the opposite of how we look at dragons now.  So, these three concepts sort of came together, and I found myself scratching out a book curse:

Whosoever steals this book

shall burn in the

fiery conflagration of a DRAGON’S BREATH

and will ALSO LOSE THEIR NOSE

TO PUTREFACTION.

It is advised, therefore,

that you take your nose home intact,

and leave this handbook

for the study of proper DRAGON SLAYERS

It suddenly seemed very clear to me, that a handbook could be very interesting if it were for dragon slayers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Tilda?

[Merrie Haskell] This is actually something I do while I write: have the main characters and their key character traits written on post-its along my monitor.  Tilda’s said: RESILIENT. 

I would also add either "Dutiful/Rebellious" — this is her main conflict in the book, as she is duty-driven but rebelling against that.

And finally–"Intelligent."

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Parz had a theme song, what would it be?

[Merrie Haskell] Great question!  I would say it’s probably "Good Life" by OneRepublic.  That song just reeks of Parz–a sort of easy happiness and optimism, combined with the joy of adventure and travel.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Judith is never without.

[Merrie Haskell] A personal knife to use for eating.  You always had to bring your own knife to dinner in the Middle Ages.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Tilda’s pockets?

[Merrie Haskell] Well, since she lived in an era in which pockets didn’t exist, this list is sort of endless!  But she has a few pouches and purses and things like that, so I’ll say she’d never carry embroidery needles, thread, or any sort of thimble.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Judith’s greatest regret?

[Merrie Haskell] Judith loves animals, especially baby animals; she comes to regret being a dragon slayer pretty quickly when she realizes that baby dragons are affected!  Otherwise, though, she is not a girl who holds herself back except when prudence demands, so she doesn’t have too terribly many regrets.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Merrie Haskell] I would say learning has the biggest influence on my creativity.  When I’m learning new things, I almost can’t stop the flow of story and character ideas–it just rains down.  The most perfect example of this was recently when I started to learn blacksmithing–knowing that I wanted to write about a blacksmith, of course.  I started seeing the world in the colors of heated metal. I would drive over bridges and think about the wealth of rebar embedded in the concrete beneath me.  I was on a long plane flight with a copy of The Art of Blacksmithing and started to read–in 30 seconds, I had a notebook open next to me as I scribbled scene idea after scene idea, just from reading about the details of the things I had learned in a more hands-on setting.  I think that’s my most perfect learning experience, doing followed up by theory. I am similarly stimulated when I travel or learn languages. I love going to a place and then reading about it in detail.  It feels backward–wouldn’t it be better to learn before you go somewhere?–but I think that gives me preconceptions that aren’t helpful for the stimulation of creativity.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Merrie Haskell] A reasonable night of sleep behind me, a writing tool (pen & paper or computer), and ideally, a notebook or a stack of notecards so I can document the things I don’t want to include in the manuscript.  I have been a creature of ritual and habit from time to time, but so often these things get in my way.  Deadlines which are attached to money have a way of clearing a lot of mental fluff from your process, I’ve found.  I occasionally worry that my process is still too dependent on peripheries (really, a computer AND a notebook?), but whenever I forget the notebook, the process suffers, so I think I really do need it. Jotting notes to myself on the computer helps me very little; the notes just get lost in the shuffle. Having that other thing to look at on the desk beside me while my book is still up on the screen is great. And if I need the physical act of writing with a pen to get me out of my typing-mode brain, it’s right there.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Merrie Haskell] I couldn’t put down WHEN WE WAKE by Karen Healey, which is about a girl that wakes up from a cryogenic sleep a hundred years after she died and has to deal with all the grief and loss of her old world.  I read most of it during my time on the elliptical trainer at the gym, and it’s incredibly awkward to be brought to tears on an elliptical machine. Other people tend to think you’re having an asthma attack or… who knows.  "Sorry, I’m just reading a very affecting book, go back to your treadmill!"

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Merrie Haskell] Without a question, it was Little House on the Prairie.  I was starting to read a lot already, but when I got that for Christmas in first grade, and it seemed like such a *large* and important book and then I read it all, all by myself, I not only realized how much I enjoyed reading, but I felt smart and capable (no one else was reading books that big in my first grade class).  The escape of reading and the increase to my self-worth? A combination impossible to escape.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Merrie Haskell] I like to read, of course.  I was a huge YA reader when I was a young adult, and never stopped reading YA along the way. I like TV–my Tumblr is pretty much reblogged gif sets from sitcoms and Avatar: The Last Airbender, and not much else.  Oh, and Revenge.  I dabble in a variety of hobbies, like the aforementioned blacksmithing, gardening, calligraphy, drawing…  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Merrie Haskell] I have a Facebook page, but most of the action is on Twitter (@merriehaskell) and my blog (blog.merriehaskell.com).  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Handbook for Dragon Slayers and The Princess Curse from your favorite bookseller or buy clicking the links below:

About the book:

When a runaway princess throws her lot in with a couple of would-be dragon slayers, before long she is facing down the Wild Hunt, befriending enchanted horses, battling fire-breathing dragons, and learning more about herself than she ever expected…

About the author

Merrie Haskell grew up half in North Carolina, half in Michigan. She wrote her first story at age seven, and she walked dogs after school to save for her first typewriter. She attended the University of Michigan, where she graduated from the Residential College with a degree in biological anthropology. She works in a library with over 7.5 million volumes.

Her first book, the Middle Grade historical fantasy The Princess Curse, was a Junior Library Guild selection. Her second book is Handbook for Dragon Slayers.  Her short fiction appears in Nature, Asimov’s, and various anthologies. Merrie lives in Saline, Michigan.

Waiting on Wednesday – Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters by Diane Zahler

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I adore Diane Zahler’s fairytale retellings, so I had a major geek out when I saw the cover for her next release.  So pretty!  So magical!!  So I must read you now!!  Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters will be in stores August 2013 – I can’t wait!

 

 

Princesses Aurora and Luna have grown up in a cliff-top palace by the sea, where they are carefully protected by their parents, the king and queen. No one visits, the girls cannot stray beyond the castle walls, and, curiously, all sharp objects are forbidden from the castle.

But accidents will happen—particularly when an old curse still has power. Soon, in spite of all precautions, Aurora is struggling not to slip into an enchanted sleep.

Frantic, the princesses accept the help of a young fisherman named Symon and embark on a daring ocean voyage to find their aunt—a fairy who may be able to break the spell. From fearsome beasts to raging storms, many dangers befall them, yet they must not give up…for if Aurora sleeps, she will not wake for one hundred years.

 

What are you waiting on?

Waiting on Wednesday–Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

When a runaway princess throws her lot in with a couple of would-be dragon slayers, before long she is facing down the Wild Hunt, befriending enchanted horses, battling fire-breathing dragons, and learning more about herself than she ever expected…

 

What are you waiting on?

Interview with Gina Lamm, Author of The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl and Giveaway!

Please welcome Gina Lamm to the blog today!  She is celebrating the release of The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl, which blends video games, time travel, and blistering romance.  After the interview, enter for a chance to win a copy of the book!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Gina Lamm] Gina Lamm is a writer, a gamer, a geek, and a kickass female. She does everything too passionately, and is trying her best to learn control.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl?

[Gina Lamm] I’d love to! Jamie, a modern-day gamer girl, gets ported through a mirror into 1816 London. She tries her best to adjust to the rigid rules, but it doesn’t always go well. Micah Axelby, Earl of Dunnington, has decided to settle down with a nice proper miss, but Jamie’s arrival in his home completely screws that up. Through misadventure, passion, and true love, Micah and Jamie find where they truly belong.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Gina Lamm] I wrote what I liked! I’m a gamer and a Regency fan, and the contrast between the two really made me happy. I got to blend two of my favorite things!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Jamie?

[Gina Lamm] Independent, Clever, Passionate

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Micah had a theme song, what would it be?

[Gina Lamm] Something like the Moonlight Sonata, I think. Deep and strong, but full of feeling.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Jamie is never without.

[Gina Lamm] Her cell phone. Even in 1816 England!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Micah’s bedroom?

[Gina Lamm] A laptop, a light bulb, or a USB cable. :) Much to Jamie’s dismay, none of these things are available.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Jamie’s greatest regret?

[Gina Lamm] Believing that her ex was the one. She wasted too much time on him.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Gina Lamm] Books. When I fall into other people’s worlds it makes me remember why I do what I do.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Gina Lamm] A screen, my fingers, and determination! :) I’m not picky other than that.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Gina Lamm] Oddly, Mister Monday by Garth Nix. My brother recommended it, and I really loved it. It was odd and complex and weirdly wonderful.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Gina Lamm] Oh gosh, I can’t remember that far back. I’ve been reading voraciously since I was a little kid!! But I do remember the first romance I fell in love with. Scarlet Butterfly by Sandra Chastain.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Gina Lamm] Game! I play both PC and PS3 games. I love to read, to play with my two crazy dogs, to snuggle with my hubby, and go fishing with my family. My life is so full and wonderful, and I’m very lucky!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Gina Lamm] Tweeting me is always good! I’m @GinaLamm. They can connect with me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/GinaLammAuthor, my website www.ginalamm.net , and Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5278879, too!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Giveway Time!!!

Ready for a chance to win The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl? Just fill out widget below. Earn extra entries by following. US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win? You can order The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl from your favorite bookseller or clicking the links below:

 

About the book:

The Stakes Have Never Been Higher…

An avid gamer, Jamie Marten loves to escape into online adventure. But when she falls through an antique mirror into a lavish bedchamber—200 years in the past!—she realizes she may have escaped a little too far.

Micah Axelby, Earl of Dunnington, has just kicked one mistress out of his bed and isn’t looking to fill it with another—least of all this sassy, nearly naked woman who claims to be from the future. Yet something about her is undeniably enticing…

Jamie and Micah are worlds apart. He’s a peer of the realm. She can barely make rent. He’s horse-drawn. She’s Wi-Fi. But in the game of love, these two will risk everything to win.

Fall into Fantasy Hop-Win The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke!

Welcome to my Fall into Fantasy giveaway,  hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Write Path.This hop runs from October 16 to October 21, and you can win lots of new reads.  Click here for a complete list of blogs participating in the hop.

I recently read The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke and loved it.  I am giving away an ARC of the book, because I know that you’ll enjoy it, too!

About the book:

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her. 
And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

Entering is easy! Just fill out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following! US addresses only, please.

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Review: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

 

Title:  The Assassin’s Curse

Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke

Publisher:  Strange Chemistry

The Assassin’s Curse Digital (Only $6.01 for the eBook!)

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.


Review:

I love books like The Assassin’s Curse.  The premise sounded intriguing, but when I first started reading it, I wasn’t sure that I would like Ananna.  She’s rough and unpolished, the daughter of pirates.  She’s a thief, she lies with aplomb, and she just didn’t seem like someone I wanted to know better.  But like Aria in Under the Never Sky, by the time I reached the fourth chapter, I had a drastic change of heart. While Ananna could be crude and violent, she was also brave and ready to fight for her own freedom.  After fleeing from an arranged marriage, she opens a huge can of worms that includes an assassin with her name on his hit list, a curse that she unwittingly unleashes, and an adventure the likes of which she could have never imagined.  Neither could I, when I first sat down with Ananna and Naji.  By the last page, I wanted more of their story and more of their larger than life journey. Even more than that,  I wanted them to be happy, and to be safe from the dangers that stalked them. 

I read The Assassin’s Curse in less than a day.  It is a fast read, one that you won’t be able to put down.  Ananna careens from one life-threatening situation to the next with the speed and trajectory of a pinball, and the only thing she has to keep her alive is her courage and her razor sharp wits.  She may not have had the benefit of an education like Naji or her ally Marjani, but she is far more clever than either of them.  She also has a steadfast confidence in her own abilities, which gave her an edge in every thing she did.  Ananna is street smart and street savvy; she has been raised among cutthroats and thieves, and she fully expected to take her place as a pirate ship’s captain, whether she was a girl or not.  Her gender just gave her more of a challenge to make her dream of owning her own ship, with her own colors, come true, and she wasn’t going to give that up.  Ditching her stupid fiancé was easier than ditching the scary, shadowy assassin his family set loose on her, but Ananna didn’t even back down from Naji and his deadly, mysterious blood magic. 

I loved the gradual friendship that develops between Ananna and her would be killer.  Naji didn’t strike me as the kind of guy who could take money to commit murder, but when pushed, he suddenly turned into a freaking badass.  One with little common sense, but with all of that magic at his command, he was able to move mountains.  Literally.  What happened after that, well, that was anyone’s guess, especially when he depleted his energy so much that he could barely remain upright.  Given his impulsiveness and, at times, his complete lack of common sense, I wasn’t surprised that he was the victim of an impossible curse.  That Ananna, his would be target, set the curse into motion made the premise of the book that much more enjoyable.  These two extremely diverse people are stuck with each other, not able to venture far apart, and they must learn to get along and, more importantly, learn to work together, to find an answer to Naji’s problem.  As long as the magic shackles them together, Ananna is a target of a different sort.  Powerful magical beings want Naji, and they will do anything to get him, including using, or hurting,  Ananna. 

My one nick pick with the book is, as usual, the lack of an ending, but I felt optimistic and happy when I reached the last page.  I don’t even know why, because Ananna and Naji are left with more questions and challenges than answers at the end.  I think that I just enjoyed spending my time with them so much that Ananna’s optimism rubbed off on me.  She knows that they will overcome all of the impossible tasks before them, and she knows that, one way or another, all of her dreams will come true.  Even though she despairs at Naji’s cluelessness, and even though his disregard cut to the bone, both Ananna and I know this one thing; Naji’s impossible curse has at least one possible cure.  It’s a pity that we must both wait until the next book for him to finally open his eyes to the answer that is sitting right in front of him.

Grade:  B+/A-

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Jill Archer, Author of Dark Light of Day

 

Jill Archer is the author of Dark Light of Day, an urban fantasy about a law student who is training to represent demons.  I think the premise is brilliant!  I don’t know what’s scarier – lawyers or demons! (Just kidding!)  Jill dropped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and to chat about her new book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Jill Archer] Eclectic night owl who loves Sour Patch kids, Twizzlers, organic salads, Vitamix smoothies, my Keurig coffee brewer, wine, books and movies.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Dark Light of Day?

[Jill Archer] In a nutshell, Dark Light of Day is about Noon Onyx, a first year law student who is being trained to represent demons. But the story’s as much about Noon’s magical and romantic struggles as it is about her academic ones. I should also mention that, even though the book is considered "urban fantasy," the setting is not contemporary. The story mostly takes place in New Babylon, a city with a circa 1900’s technology level that was built on top of the ancient battlefield of Armageddon in a country called Halja.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Jill Archer] Noon Onyx is very loosely inspired by the librarian Evelyn "Evie" Carnahan from the movie, The Mummy.

I used to be a lawyer. A few years ago, I was at a writer’s group event and sat next to a librarian during one of the lunches. We each commiserated with the other about how dull we felt our day jobs were, a feeling each of us couldn’t believe the other had. It led to a discussion about Evie’s character and I got the idea to see if I could somehow create a similarly bookish lawyer character who lived in some sort of "otherworld."

Around the same time, I came across my old copy of Scott Turow’s ONE L ("the turbulent true story of a first year at Harvard Law School") and thought, "Hey, how cool would it be to write a story about a first year law student who is being trained to represent demons?"

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?

[Jill Archer] Weaving together the sub-plots. Dark Light of Day has fantasy, romance, and mystery elements. I tried to tie the sub-plots together with common themes, motifs, and/or plot nexuses.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Noon?

[Jill Archer] Strong, smart, and kind

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Ari would never have in his pocket?

[Jill Archer] A cell phone, a match, and a flower. (No boutonnieres for Ari either!)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Noon’s single most prized possession?

[Jill Archer] Despite her privileged background, Noon’s not that into material possessions. She does love her collection of high necked sweaters, cloaks, and wraps though because they allow her to hide the telltale "demon mark" of a waning magic user.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Jill Archer] My love of nature, forests, and flowers helped me to create two of the main types of magic in the book: waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery magic that’s used to control demons, and waxing magic, the soft, creative, nurturing magic that’s used to grow gardens and heal people. The idea evolved from my fascination with the duality of nature’s forces (forest fires versus summer blooms, tsunamis versus spring rains).

Other creative influences: demons and deities from around the world, Christian mythology, pagan holidays, even legal concepts. I played fast and loose with all of them. I tried to be respectful of my sources, while at the same time staying true to my primary goal, which was to write an entertaining story. I thought it would be interesting to create a world within which the traditional sides of bad and good were more muddied than they are in our world.

I’ve also been influenced by other authors. I admire writers such as Lois McMaster Bujold, S.M. Stirling, Colleen McCullough, Naomi Novik, and Elizabeth Peters. I would never, and could never, emulate their style, but just reading their work and knowing there are writers out there writing such fantastic novels influences me to put out the best work that I can. When I read the work of someone I admire, it’s an invigorating feeling!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Jill Archer] An idea, a computer, and coffee. :-)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Jill Archer] The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. Last summer, I attended a writer’s workshop presented by him and Simone Elkeles. It was tearfully funny, but the point is the moment David described that book, I knew I would like it. I left the session and went straight to the temporary bookstore that had been set up in the hotel for the conference and bought it. When I finally read it, I didn’t just like it — I loved it.

I love that the story is told out of order. I love that it’s not told in chapters but in dictionary entries like "kerfuffle" and "cocksure." I love its ending, its humor, and its honesty. But most of all, I love how the reader has to work a little to get it. It’s not a story that’s spoon fed to you. And yet, it’s very light and easy to digest. You can read it in a night if you want or easily before bed over the course of a few. It was in my TBR pile for a year, but it was worth the wait.

If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien. My fourth grade teacher read it aloud to the class that year and I was hooked from that point on. What a story! I just read it to my kids this past year and then we all watched the movie. So fun!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Jill Archer] I like to hike and bike, although I don’t have as much time to do those things as I would like. Of course, I love to read. I also love to watch movies and, occasionally, TV (I’ve been known to go on a streaming binge if I find a series I particularly like). I love to hang out with friends and family. We take a lot of day trips. My husband is a recreational pilot and we have a small Cessna that we fly around in on the weekends.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jill Archer] I have a website and blog through WordPress, which people can find at www.jillarcher.com. I blog about books, movies, interesting people I’ve met, day tripping in our little Cessna, and miscellaneous things I find interesting. Although it’s time consuming, I enjoy blogging. I like to write shorter pieces on a variety of topics just to keep things fresh and I love connecting with other people who have blogs on subjects that interest me. Recently, I experimented with a summer romance guest blog series and that’s been tons of fun! I’m also on Twitter (@archer_jill) and Facebook.

I appreciate your interest in Noon Onyx and Dark Light of Day. Thank you, Julie, for interviewing me for Manga Maniac Cafe. Best wishes and happy reading to you and your readers!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Dark Light of Day can be pre-ordered from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below:

Interview with Katie L Carroll, Author of Elixir Bound

Katie L  Carroll is the author of Elixir Bound, a recently released YA fantasy.  Katie L Carroll dropped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and chat about her book. Check out what she has to say.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Katie Carroll] Mother, writer, editor, collector of signed books.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Elixir Bound?

[Katie Carroll] Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.

For it is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings who will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Katie Carroll] This story all started when my younger sister, Kylene, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 16. In her short life, she inspired so many people to be readers by sharing the Harry Potter books with them. I wanted to give her a fantasy adventure. The story actually turned out to be more about me than her, but it was my way of mourning my sister. I’m working on a second story in the same world as Elixir Bound, and I think this one is going to be more about Kylene!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Katora?

[Katie Carroll] Stubborn, independent, brave.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Katora would never have in her pocket?

[Katie Carroll] Tissues (because she would never admit to crying), lipstick (make-up isn’t practical for a farmer), or a cell phone (there are no cell phones in Katora’s world!).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Katora had a theme song, what would it be?

[Katie Carroll] Regina Spektor’s song “Hero.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOQ3R3MNcv8

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Katie Carroll] My greatest creative influences are writers Lois Lowry, J.K. Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Melina Marchetta, Donna Gephart, David Almond, Kristin Cashore, Tamora Pierce…there’s too many to name all the authors that have influenced me. I’m sure I’ve left out some big ones here. Musically I’m inspired by Our Lady Peace, Fuel, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, and lots of classic rock bands. My favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Katie Carroll] Really the number one thing I need is my brain…I do a lot of writing in my head before I even sit down with my laptop, which I guess would be the number two thing I need. Number three would definitely be time!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Katie Carroll] I would have to say The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I feel like that book took thoughts right from my head and put them into words better than I ever could.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Katie Carroll] My mom used to read to us when we were little. I can remember having such a sense of awe listening to the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Katie Carroll] I love hanging out with my 1-year-old son and my husband. I also play a little soccer, take walks to the beach, and read, read, read.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Katie Carroll] Readers can visit my website and blog at www.katielcarroll.com. I’m also on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/katie.carroll.12139 and Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/KatieLCarroll.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

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