Interview with Ingrid Jonach, Author of When the World Was Flat and Giveaway!

 

 

Please welcome Ingrid Jonach to the virtual offices this morning. Ingrid is here to discuss her Strange Chemistry release When the World was Flat (and we were in love), and she has giveaway for you to enter after!

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

[Ingrid Jonach] Eek. This one is really HARD! Here I go: A positive, yet pragmatic, person who has a lot of drive and determination, but tends to be easily distracted by daydreams.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about When the World was Flat?

[Ingrid Jonach] With pleasure! When the World was Flat (and we were in love) is my debut young adult novel, which is very exciting (for me, at least!). It is also my first foray into both romance and science fiction. It is being published by the good folks at Strange Chemistry, who are based in the United Kingdom.

The story is told from the perspective of sixteen year old Lillie Hart, who is completely confused by her feelings towards the new arrival in her small town – Tom Windsor-Smith. As she starts to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, she discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

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

[Ingrid Jonach] I was actually inspired by Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The first draft was supposed to be a modern adaption, so the genre was contemporary romance with no science fiction elements at all. In that sense, Tom was very much Mr. Darcy and Lillie was Elizabeth Bennet (although a lot less confident!).

I actually came up with her friends (Josephine Green and Sylvia Dartmouth) after I watched the first Sex and the City movie and was inspired by the camaraderie and competition between close female friends (there actually used to be a fourth member of the group, who was removed during revisions. She was the naysayer of the group, which is a role that ended up being taken on by Jo). I am not sure how I came up with Deb (who is one of my favorite characters). My mother is an artist, but is not flakey like Deb!

The science fiction elements were woven through during the second draft (and then developed in further revisions). These elements are long held theories of mine (without giving too much away), which seemed to work well with the storyline. As I researched the science behind the theories (particularly the work and life of Albert Einstein), I became more convinced that these theories not only belonged in the story, but took it to a whole other level.

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

[Ingrid Jonach] Loyal.

Creative.

Insecure.

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

[Ingrid Jonach] The Scientist by Coldplay. I think it totally sums up his feelings towards Lillie.

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

[Ingrid Jonach] Her camera. She is an avid photographer. And I am talking about old-fashioned darkroom photography, not Instagram!

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

[Ingrid Jonach] A cell phone. He likes to stay off the grid.

Credit cards. They leave a trail. He is more of a wads-of-cash kind of guy.

Lint. His clothes are always brand new. He hardly ever sticks around long enough to wear his whole wardrobe.

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

[Ingrid Jonach] I grew up in a creative household. My mother and step-father were both visual artists, which meant I spent a lot of time at art exhibitions and in art galleries, as well as mixing with visual artists, musicians, actors and poets. I definitely think this cultivated my creativity. Also, my cousin is bestselling romance novelist Di Morrissey, who has been so supportive of me and my writing career.

There is a quote in the film Quills from the Abbe du Coulmier  that I adore: The writer who produces more than he reads? The sure mark of an amateur. I read voraciously, as most writers do, with my greatest influences being Jane Austen, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, John Marsden, Victor Kelleher, and more recently Lauren Child, Sonya Hartnett, Sarah Dessen and Suzanne Collins.

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

[Ingrid Jonach] My laptop. I am no good at writing longhand anymore.

The internet. I often have about twenty tabs up while I am writing on random topics I have been researching.

Snacks. This avoids any procrastination in the form of wandering to the pantry or fridge!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on When the World was Flat?

[Ingrid Jonach] Work. I actually ended up quitting my job in order to finish the manuscript, which was probably the smartest (and most difficult) decision I have ever made in my life! I really like my day job though, so I am trying to have my cake and eat it too at the moment.

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

[Ingrid Jonach] I would have to say The Hunger Games (Book 1). It was a few years ago now, but I remember the sheer adrenalin and utter astonishment as I read. Plus, the multitude of tears at the end of Chapter One. As soon as I had finished reading, I ran down to the bookstore to pick up the second book. I think I finished that in one sitting too!

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

[Ingrid Jonach] Brother Knight by Victor Kelleher, which is about two brothers who journey to the twin cities to find the Sun Lord and the Night Lord. I read this in Year Six, when (I admit) I was already a reader. It really took my reading to another level though. It was my first introduction to the fantasy genre and led me to read his other books, which exposed me to even more genres, including crime, horror and science fiction.

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

[Ingrid Jonach] Aside from reading? At the risk of sounding like a homebody (which I totally am), I am really into a number of TV series at the moment, particularly The Walking Dead and Supernatural. I am starting to get into Game of Thrones and I am making my husband watch the complete series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is a rewatch for me)!

I used to have a lot of hobbies, but cannot list one at the moment! My time is mostly taken up by either work or writing. As a result, I have a half-knitted blanket I gave up on three years ago, a pair of tap shoes I only used for about three months, a saxophone that has not been played for at least five years and I still REALLY want to learn how to make macaroons.

Wow. I just realized who was the inspiration for Deb in When the World was Flat (and we were in love) – me!

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

[Ingrid Jonach] I LOVE to hear from readers (particularly if they like my books, but even if not!). They can get in touch via:

Twitter: @IngridJonach

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ingridjonachauthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ingridjonach/

Website: www.ingridjonach.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase Link

When the World was Flat (and we were in love)

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15767908-when-the-world-was-flat

About the book:

Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.

When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

About the author:

Ingrid Jonach writes books for children and young adults, including the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan, and When the World was Flat (and we were in love) published by Strange Chemistry.

Since graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing (Hons) in 2005, Ingrid has worked as a journalist and in public relations, as well as for the Australian Government.

Ingrid loves to promote reading and writing, and has been a guest speaker at a number of schools and literary festivals across Australia, where she lives with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.

Despite her best efforts, neither Craig nor Mooshi read fiction.

Find out more at www.ingridjonach.com

Giveaway

Enter below for your chance to win one of two awesome prize packages as part of the Around the World in 80 Days Blog Tour for When the World was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach.

There will be two winners worldwide. Each prize package includes:

a signed copy of When the World was Flat (and we were in love)

a pair of silver plated key-shaped earrings in a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) gift box

a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) bookmark.

The competition will run until 21 October 2013 and the winners will be announced on this page and via www.ingridjonach.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Bryony Pearce, Author of The Weight of Souls and Excerpt

Please welcome Bryony Pearce to the virtual offices this morning!  Bryony is here to chat about her latest release, The Weight of Souls.  The Weight of Souls is published by one of my favorite publishers Strange Chemistry.

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

[Bryony Pearce] Slightly harassed, book-obsessed dieter with two small children seeks moments of sanity by disappearing into worlds of her own making. Likes chocolate and wine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Weight of Souls?

[Bryony Pearce] Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

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

[Bryony Pearce] When I was a teenager I was fascinated by the mythologies of different cultures. I read books telling the stories (particularly tales from Egyptian, Aztec, Norse, Greek and Roman beliefs), books from the cultures themselves (Beowulf, Homer’s Iliad) and fact-based books (Humphries’ Miracles of Exodus, Accounts of the Tutankhamum expedition and other non-fiction). I also adored historical fiction based on these mythologies.

As a result my writing tends to involve significant ‘mythic’ elements. My first book, Angel’s Fury, is a blend of Hindu mythology and Christianity (reincarnation and fallen angels) and Cassie’s story is told against that backdrop. For the follow up to my debut I also wanted an epic mythic element, but I didn’t want to replicate Angel’s Fury, so I had to look elsewhere.

Recalling my obsession with Egypt and Egyptian mythology in particular I revisited my old reference books, did some more research and came up with a back-story based on the rivalry between Anubis and Horus.

In the history of my novel, Anubis, the original Lord of the Dead Lands and judge of the dead, was trapped by the priests of his rival, Horus, within the tomb of Nefertiti (which, to this day, has not been found). In the 1800s a group of tomb robbers discover the tomb, and within it, the trapped, and much diminished, jackal-headed Egyptian god.

The sole survivor of the slaughter is a Chinese worker named Fa. Anubis allows him to live only if Fa agrees to a deal. He and his descendants will work for Anubis (who still cannot leave the tomb), seeking out murderers and sending them to him for justice via ‘The Darkness’.

And how do they find these murderers? Anubis ‘gifts’ Fa and his descendents with the power to see their victims: the dead.

My story is about a modern teenager named Taylor, who suffers from Anubis’ curse. She sees dead people and is compelled to find their murderers and send them into the Darkness. If she does not, the Darkness will come for her. As with all of my characters, Taylor appeared in my head fully formed one day. I lived with her for a while, got to know her and then populated the rest of the book.

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

[Bryony Pearce] Hardened

Lonely

Indomitable

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

[Bryony Pearce] Coldplay’s Viva la Vida

I am a fan of the poetry in Coldplay’s lyrics and their belting tunes to which I sing along (tunelessly). The lyrics to Viva la Vida feel truly appropriate for what happens to Justin in the novel.

He starts off as king of the school; the most popular boy, ruler of the clique … then he gets murdered. He can’t be seen by anyone except a girl he made miserable for years, he doesn’t know who killed him and is powerless to affect the living. Finally he is terrified that when his killer is found and he moves on, he won’t be going ‘anywhere good’. He cannot see a light: ‘Saint Peter won’t call my name’.

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

For some reason I can’t explain
I know Saint Peter won’t call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world
I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

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

[Bryony Pearce] Her memory of her mother and her mother’s white glove, which she uses to cover up her hand if a ghost has Marked her.

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

[Bryony Pearce] A One Direction CD (as if)

Rubbish (chewing gum, sweet wrappers etc.) it always goes in the bin

A make up bag (he’s willing to take a lipstick, but if Tamsin can carry an entire make up bag she can carry a handbag to put it in)

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

[Bryony Pearce] That she was not honest with her friends earlier on and did not have the chance to be with Justin before he died.

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

[Bryony Pearce] Anne Macaffrey, David Gemmell, Stephen King, Maggie Steifvater. I like to think that my work is dark, character driven, exciting but also lyrical and descriptive. (at least, that’s what I aim for), and, to me, the aforementioned writers embody those attributes. If I’m feeling a bit stuck, I’ll often go back and read some King or Macaffrey and the ideas will start to flow again.

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

[Bryony Pearce] Peace and quiet

My laptop

A comfortable chair

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

[Bryony Pearce] City’s Son by Tom Pollock. His writing absolutely embodies what I try to do with my own, but I think he does it much better. He is lyrical, exciting, dark and his characters stayed with me long after the end of the book. I kind of hate him J

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

[Bryony Pearce] I’ve loved reading since the moment I could read and that was SO long ago that I have no idea what books were the most important to me. I know my mum used to read me the newspaper from cover-to-cover when I was a baby (no television in our house until I was eight), I know that I have a lovely battered copy of The Wind in the Willows and I know Mum once told me that I made her read a book called Aristide over and over solidly for almost three hours. This says a lot about my mum’s awesomeness (my kids would have been told to go and play with their LEGO after three renditions) and also suggests that I loved the book.

I do, however, remember the books that made me want to write: Anne Macaffrey’s Brain and Brawn Ship series. In particular The Ship Who Sang: I read it and adored it when I was quite young and never looked back.

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

[Bryony Pearce] I’m a mum to two small children (a girl and a boy who isn’t at school yet), so most of my time is spent feeding and entertaining the kids, chauffeuring them around and cleaning up their messes!

I read all the time. If I don’t have a child in my arms, I’ll have a book.

When I can, I like to go to the cinema and theatre and I recently began karate lessons with my children. It is a great family activity and I love it.

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

[Bryony Pearce] Facebook Page BryonyPearceAuthor

Twitter @BryonyPearce

Email: admin@bryonypearce.co.uk

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Bryony is hosting a giveaway on her blog.  Please hop over to enter

Purchase links:

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-weight-of-souls-bryony-pearce/1113784409?ean=9781908844644

About the book:

Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…
She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.
But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.
Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him?
And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

About the author:

Bryony Pearce completed an English Literature degree at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1998 and afterwards worked in the research industry. After a while she moved to a village at the edge of the Peak District and went freelance so she could devote more time to writing.

She is now a full time mother to two children, writes as much as possible and enjoys doing school visits and events when she can fit them in.

Her first book, the award-winning Angel’s Fury, was published by Egmont in 2011.

Excerpt:

Cover Shot! Skulk by Rosie Best

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Strange Chemistry unveiled the cover for Skulk, their October 2013 release by Rosie Best.  What do you think of it?  It’s about shifters, so I’m interested just because of that!

 

       

To some, Meg Banks’ life might look perfect – she lives in a huge house in West London, goes to a prestigious school and has famous parents. Only Meg knows the truth: her tyrannical mother rules the house and her shallow friends can talk about nothing but boys and drinking. Meg’s only escape is her secret life as a graffiti artist.

While out tagging one night, Meg witnesses the dying moments of a fox… a fox that shapeshifts into a man. As he dies, he gives Meg a beautiful and mysterious gemstone. Soon Meg realises that she’s also inherited his power to shift and finds an incredible new freedom in fox form.

She is plunged into the shadowy underworld of London, the territory of the five warring groups of shapeshifters – the Skulk, the Rabble, the Conspiracy, the Horde, and the Cluster. Someone is after her gemstone, someone who can twist nature to his will. Meg must discover the secret of the stone and unite the shapeshifters before her dream of freedom turns into a nightmare.

Interview with Christian Schoon, Author of Zenn Scarlett

Please welcome special guest Christian Schoon to the virtual offices today.  Christian is here to chat about his debut release Zenn Scarlett, which features a exoveterinarian.  How cool is that?

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

[Christian Schoon ] Life-long SF-geek, believe life/biology in general are just too mind-blowing, can’t wait for 1st inhabited planet to be discovered.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Zenn Scarlett?

[Christian Schoon ] Zenn Scarlett is a 17-year-old girl in her novice year of exoveterinarian training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic in the deep end of the Valles Marinaris canyon system on Mars. So, she’s specializing the care and treatment of very large, often dangerous, profoundly fascinating alien creatures brought to the cloister from the dozen planets of the Local Systems Accord. She’s usually an over-achiever in her classes. But lately there’s: her father, off on distant Enchara, not communicating and it’s worrying her; Liam Tucker, tall, sorta hottish towner boy who is, strangely, very interested in spending time at the cloister lately which is combo annoying/intriguing; her end of term tests, which she’s pretty sure she’ll pass without too much trouble (there might be trouble); and, finally, the possibility that she’s started to experience a sort of mental “sharing” with some of the animals at the clinic.  The problem is, she doesn’t believe in ESP. She’s a scientist. There must be some other logical, real-world explanation. Because if there isn’t, she’s going just a little mad….

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

[Christian Schoon ] Because of my work with animal welfare groups, and due to living on a farm with lots of room for animals, I’ve had considerable interaction with veterinarians in the past few years. Their skill and dedication to helping their patients made a vet heroine a pretty natural concept for me.  Her uncle Otha and Hild also came about naturally as instructors at the cloister exovet school. Liam Tucker evolved as sort of bridge character between the cloister and the alien-hating citizens of the nearby town of Arisa; he then evolved into an on-again-off-again romantic interest who causes Zenn a fair amount of trouble…  Hamish, the coleopt (an eight-foot-tall beetle) who works as the cloister handyman (handybug?) came about because I wanted Zenn to have a sounding board who was from a totally different culture; that means he can ask lots of questions about stuff I want to clue the reader into.

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

[Christian Schoon ] Compassionate, indomitable, intelligent.

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

[Christian Schoon] Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might Be Giants

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

[Christian Schoon] Mercy

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

[Christian Schoon] A crunchy dried-grasshopper treat for her pet rikkaset, Katie.

A rolled-up v-film listing all her class assignments, homework, cloister chores and patient meds roster for the week.

A dog-eared old-fashioned-printed-on-paper photograph of her mother, Dr. Mai Scarlett, lost in an accident during in-soma pod insertion on a colossal Lithohippus indra years ago. Well, everyone thinks it was an accident…

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

[Christian Schoon ] Not having her mother around to talk to.

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

[Christian Schoon ] My mom was an English teacher, so was my older sister, and they both encouraged me to love books and to indulge my imagination. I also had many great teachers who encouraged me in similar ways. I also have a very supportive and patient wife, who shares my love of animals, which is a good thing, since they basically rule our lives here on the Schoon ranch….

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

[Christian Schoon ] Minimal distractions

A nice hot cuppa.

At least one cat to bother me by lying on the keyboard, jumping on & off my lap, chasing my pencils off the desk, etc.

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

[Christian Schoon ] *checks his socks*  I was seriously impressed with The Greenlanders, by Jane Smiley; it’s been out for a while, but it’s just so beautiful and bleak.

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

[Christian Schoon ] Well, this is tough. I guess I’d say Beautiful Joe: A Dog’s Own Story by Marshall Saunders. Very early on, I was hooked by books told from an animal’s perspective, not anthropomorphic Disney-movie-cute (tho I did love Disney’s animal movies, of course), but stories that really attempted to give a sense of an animal’s inner world, including the brutal, harsh and real, as well as the joyful and exuberant. I never really recovered from seeing things from that POV.

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

[Christian Schoon ] I like good, down-and-dirty authentic old school blues music, played live, either solo or full-on electric, in a setting where people can cut loose and they serve something besides Bud. Also really like it when my wife Kat and I have time to unwind and just hang out with all our animals.

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

[Christian Schoon ] Pre-Order Zenn Scarlett at Amazon   :)

http://www.amazon.com/Zenn-Scarlett-Christian-Schoon/dp/1908844558

Find Christian at:

Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16071885-zenn-scarlett

Author blog:

christianschoon.com

Twitter:

@cjschoon

Publisher’s website:

http://strangechemistrybooks.com/our-authors/christian-schoon/

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Thank you!

You can purchase Zenn Scarlett from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

About the book:

When you’re studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school… is a different kind of animal.

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she’s learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she’s feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she’s started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can’t deny what she’s feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what’s happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she’s actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year….

About Christian Schoon :

Born in the American Midwest, Christian started his writing career in earnest as an in-house writer at the Walt Disney Company in Burbank. He then became a freelance writer working for various film, home video and animation studios in Los Angeles. After moving from LA to a farmstead in Iowa several years ago, he continues to freelance and also now helps re-hab wildlife and foster abused/neglected horses. He acquired his amateur-vet knowledge, and much of his inspiration for the Zenn Scarlett series of novels, interacting with animals ranging from black bears and cougars to Burmese pythons, alligators, caimans, emus and other critters.

Cover Reveal! Control by Kim Curran

Strange Chemistry revealed the cover for Control by Kim Curran.  I loved Shift, so I can hardly wait to read this!  I also LOVE this cover!  It freaking ROCKS!  What do you think of it?

In stores 1st August in UK and 6th August in US

 

Cover artwork is by the very talented Larry Rostant.

About the book:

Scott Tyler is not like other teenagers. With a single thought he can alter reality around him. And he can stop anyone else from doing the same.

That’s why he’s so important to ARES, the secret government agency that regulates other kids like him: Shifters.

They’ve sent him on a mission. To track down the enigmatic Frank Anderson. An ex-Shifter who runs a project for unusual kids – as if the ability to change your every decision wasn’t unusual enough. But Anderson and the kids have a dark secret. One that Scott is determined to discover.

As his obsession with discovering the truth takes him further away from anyone he cares about, his grip on reality starts to weaken. Scott realizes if he can’t control his choices, they’ll control him.

Cover Reveal–Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Strange Chemistry revealed the cover for Christian Schoon’s May release, Zenn Scarlet.   I think it has kind of a retro feel to it, and  I love the colors.  What do you think of this one?

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Zenn Scarlett is a bright and occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. She specializes in the treatment of exotic alien life forms, mostly large and generally dangerous. Her novice year of training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars was going well – until there are a series of inexplicable animal escapes from the school that Zenn finds herself blamed for. As if this isn’t enough to be dealing with, her father vanishes under strange circumstances, and Zenn is worried that she has started hearing the thoughts of the creatures around her…

With the help of Liam, a towner boy, and Hamish, an alien bug also training at the clinic, Zenn must try to find her father, rescue the animals and unravel the mystery of who is behind the attacks on the school. And all without failing her first year.

 

Author bio:

Christian Schoon grew up in Minnesota, and worked his way through college in a succession of rock bands before earning his degree from the U of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Journalism.

Following a stint as an in-house copywriter/scriptwriter at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, he supplied freelance copy for the entertainment industry and scriptwriting for live-action and animated TV.

Currently, he writes from his 150-year-old farmstead in Iowa which he shares with a fluctuating number of horses (generally less than a dozen, but not always), 30 or so cats, a dog, three ferrets and a surprisingly tolerant wife.

The Zenn Scarlett books are his first novels, however he admits to being an unrepentant fan of science fiction and fantasy ever since discovering the tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs in the fifth grade. He can be found at his blog: christianschoon.com and on Twitter.


 

Interview with Laura Lam, Author of Pantomime

Please welcome Laura Lam to the virtual offices today! She dropped by to chat about her new book, Pantomime.

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

[Laura Lam] Writer, reader, traveler, dreamer. Ex-pat Californian in Scotland. Geek chic. I basically just stole my Twitter profile here.

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

[Laura Lam] Pantomime is a YA fantasy that’s primarily set in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic, the greatest circus in Ellada, or so it claims to be. The novel follows two stories set three months or so apart—one is Micah Grey, the new aerialist’s apprentice in the circus, and the other is Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family. Their stories are linked, and you find out what they have in common fairly early on. Ellada is a pseudo-Victorian society set in an alternate world, with possibly magic Vestige, which is advanced technology left behind by an ancient civilisation called the Alder. Gene and Micah learn about their past and how they might be linked to the secrets of Ellada.

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

[Laura Lam] I originally came up with the idea for the character of Micah Grey as an adult for another novel, which I almost completed in dribs and drabs. When I was stuck on it once, I decided to write a “short story” about Micah’s backstory of joining the circus as a teenager. I tapped into the voice of younger Micah right away and the story took a life of its own and became Pantomime. I’ve always been interested in the circus and the setting lends itself to having such a varied cast of characters—the other aerialists, the clowns, the freaks, the workers, exotic tumblers, snake charmers, and a ringmaster.

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

[Laura Lam] Stifled, curious, determined.

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

[Laura Lam] This was incredibly hard! I eventually settled on “16 Years” by Phantogram:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdWkXWwHrl0

16 year in a private ghost chain

But I know that the miracle changed

Summertime is a whirlwind away

And I know that the lights won’t invade

16 years of mechanical joy

And I know that the lines show the way

Burn a candle for magical days

Now I know that the rest is okay

It’s shooting light and I’m feeling again

Is this love that I’m feeling again

It’s both melancholy yet hopeful.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Gene won’t leave home without.

[Laura Lam] Gene’s not the kind of girl where she won’t leave home without a mirror or makeup. She has no lucky talisman. She’ll happily leave home with just herself and the clothes on her back.

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

[Laura Lam] A gold coin (it’s always copper or maybe nickel), a gun, a fancy handkerchief.

Things you will find: chalk for his hands on the trapeze, a sad copper or two, a pot of greasepaint.

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

[Laura Lam] The way her relationship worked out with her parents.

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

[Laura Lam] Life experiences. Everything creative is filtered through what you’ve experienced and who you are. That’s sort of a cop-out answer, I know, but it’s what it comes down to, at least for me. That and all the books I read and watch have an influence on my storytelling, sometimes in ways I don’t expect until I look back at the finished product.

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

[Laura Lam] Tea or coffee, laptop, motivation.

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

[Laura Lam] The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke.

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

[Laura Lam] Hmm, a tough one. Possibly Animorphs. I read the first 60 and after that I read whatever I could get my hands on.

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

[Laura Lam] Reading, watching television & films, travelling when we can afford to get away.

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

[Laura Lam] I’m easily reachable. I have a website, http://www.lauralam.co.uk, which has a contact page. You can also find me on my Facebook fan page here: https://www.facebook.com/lauralamauthor, or on Twitter as @LR_Lam. I’m on Goodreads and Pinterest as well, but not as often.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Pantomime from your favorite bookseller of by clicking the links below.

About the book:

R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.