Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron - Review

Music runs through Sammy Bojar’s veins. His dreams are filled with music, as are most of his waking thoughts. He’s in a band, Tragedy of Wisdom, (the lead singer’s choice and yes, he knows it’s not a good name, really he does) and they’ve decided to compete in a battle of the bands, although they all know they don’t practice enough, the singer doesn’t know the words to the songs yet, and sometimes they don’t even all play the same song at the same time.

As if this was not enough to worry Sammy, his jazz pianist grandfather is not well and seems to be getting worse, slipping away. He keeps bumping into the flip side of musical success (so how on earth is he going to persuade his Mom that he wants to play music professionally?). And apparently one of his band mates is interested in his best friend, who may be interested in more than friendship with him.

This coming of age story is full of warmth and humor, it’s light and fun and brimming with music. Skovron obviously shares Sammy’s passion for all kinds of music and Struts and Frets is a must read for any music-loving teen. And I really did like the inclusion of Sammy’s soundtrack for the book.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

In My Mailbox

I'm early with this - a miracle I know, but In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. Of course I only mention things like books! As ever with thanks to The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie who host and inspired this meme. And I'm early because tomorrow I'm going away for a week.

And although I only got one book this week it looks really good and I can't wait to start it(thank you Sarah!)

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

A Holiday Present from Sarah Rees Brennan

For those of you who loved The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan has a holiday present just for you. A short story entitled Nick's First Word. How awesome is that?
Oh, and isn't the UK and Ireland cover for the sequel, The Demon's Covenant, fabulous?

Nick’s First Word

Light was caught and held for a gleaming moment, reflecting the whole room in a small bright oval. Then the drop of water slid down to the end of the mirror, and Nick started watching another drop.

The door opened and Alan rushed in, dropping to his knees and testing the bath water with his elbow. It was cold. It had been cold for quite a while, since Mum had started screaming and Dad had left Nick to go to her. Nick had been watching drops slide down the mirror since then.

Alan started talking very quickly as he bundled Nick out and wrapped him in a towel. He threw another towel over Nick's head, enveloping him in blackness that shifted into dim colour as Alan began vigorously drying his hair.

"That bath was icy, you must have been there for hours, you must be frozen," he said. "Were you unhappy? Were you bored?"

Nick was obviously not frozen.

He did not understand half of what Alan said to him. He did not know what Alan meant by bored, or unhappy. The words did not mean cold, because Alan used them sometimes when Nick was quite warm.

For more (and how could you stop here?), click here to get to Sarah's live journal.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Radiant Shadows giveaway!

Happy holidays to all.

Just seen this amazing giveaway and had to post it. If you are a fan of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series, as I am, you will be waiting not very patiently for Radiant Shadows to hit the bookshelves. And Melissa is giving away arcs on her Goodreads page. Click here for details. You have only 17 days to enter. oh, and these arcs are signed!

Radiant Darkness (Wicked Lovely #4)cover copy:

Hunger for nourishment.
Hunger for touch.
Hunger to belong.

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers. Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries’ coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani’s death.

Ani isn’t one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin’s plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

Alluring romance, heart-stopping danger, and sinister intrigue combine in Melissa Marr’s next volume of Melissa Marr’s New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series.

I entered - of course I entered - did you?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twilight and New Moon Secrets!

Chris Weitz, director of New Moon, told Entertainment Weekly 10 "little things he embedded in the film", including hidden wolves ("Look for an upside-down engraving of a wolf in the shot of the bowl in which Carlisle burns his first-aid equipment; on Jacob's T-shirt when he meets Bella in the school parking lot for the first time; and a wolf trinket on the dream-catcher that he gives her.") and vampire elevator music ("When Edward, Bella, and Alice get into the elevator on their way to see the Volturi, the music playing in the elevator is from Strauss' Die Fledermaus (a.k.a. The Bat).").

So, did you spot any of them? And now I have to go back and see it again just to find them!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter's End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat - Review

Who and what would you risk to escape a boarding school that feels more like a jail? Could a chance encounter change everything you thought you would or could do? In this harsh dystopian world, four teenagers manage to escape, leaving others to pay for their freedom, with a pack of dog men on their heels. Will they find the resistance movement before they are captured? Can they do more than their parents managed to do 15 years before? Can a beautiful voice ignite a rebellion? Can they really stay one step ahead of the Phalange, who are determined to kill them?

One of them is captured and forced to train and take part in their version of gladiator games. For him the question is whether he can he even survive the training, let alone a fight. And will he ever be reunited with his love

Translated from the French, this is a heart-stopping, all-action tale of adventure and rebellion that takes us from cruel boarding school conditions, through icy rivers and mountains, to the resistance movement just waiting for someone to ignite their passions. It feels very European. Yet with all the hardships they encounter, there remains a streak of romance that lingers and hope that sustains them in their belief that they can succeed where their parents couldn’t. Try this if you are looking for something inventive, adventurous, and just a little different.

Monday, December 21, 2009

In My Mailbox

I'm late with this, I know, but In My Mailbox explores the contents of my mailbox on a weekly basis. Of course I only mention things like books! As ever with thanks to The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie who host and inspired this meme.

This week I got only one book, but it's one I've been waiting for:

Fang by James Patterson

Being a kid with wings--constantly on the run--has never been easy, and Max and her flock are getting tenser than ever. First, on a trip to Africa, they meet a mysterious billionaire whose intense scrutiny of the flock makes her fear the worst. Then, a cryptic message from a young girl arrives, warning them "The sky will fall." And as if an impending apocalypse weren't bad enough, canny birdkid Angel makes a dire prophecy about Max's soul mate: Fang will be the first to die.

Max's desperate desire to protect Fang brings the two closer than ever. But can the team weather the storm, or will the turmoil rip them apart for the last time?

What was in your mailbox?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Hush, Hush Christmas - A Message From Patch

Oh, I have just seen this and simply have to repost. Hush, Hush was one of my favorite reads this year and apparently this is the model from the cover of the book (who is perfect as Patch - no?)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Movie news

See it on a screen near you ...many great books have been optioned for movies recently.

Natalie Portman will star in and produce a film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on the Seth Grahame-Smith/Jane Austen mashup. Variety reported that Lionsgate will finance and distribute, and "Portman will play feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet, who is distracted from her quest to eradicate the zombie menace by the arrival of the arrogant Mr. Darcy."

Variety also tells us that the studio has officially acquired Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl . Richard Lagravanese (P.S. I Love You, Freedom Writers) has signed on to write and direct the film.

And then of course there is the much awaited movie of The Lightning Thief (opens February 12). The cast includes:
Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Pierce Brosnan, and Uma Thurman. Here's the trailer in case you've not yet seen it

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Video book talks by Sarah Quigley, Lauren Bjorkman, and John Yang

As promised, here are the three remaining authors talking about their books from our recent author workshop.

First, here's Sarah Quigley talking about her book, TMI:

Next, here's Lauren Bjorkman talking about her book, My Invented Life:

And finally, here's Jon Yang talking about his book, Exclusively Chloe:

All of these books sound great, don't they? And again, we have signed copies at Kepler's if you want to buy a copy (

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cheryl Renee Herbsman and C. Lee McKenzie

I was lucky enough to host a teen writers workshop last week and asked the five authors to describe their books for me so I could post them here. The workshop was good -- really insightful I thought - and all five authors were delightful, witty, with fascinating stories on how they got to being published. I would thoroughly recommend these workshops if you get a chance to attend one, and of course I've added all of their books to my TBR pile (oh that pile is huge!)

So here's Cheryl Renee Herbsman talking about her novel, Breathing:

And here's C. Lee McKenzie talking about her book, Sliding on the Edge:

I'll post the video book talks of Sarah Quigley, Lauren Bjorkman, and Jon Yang tomorrow. And we have signed copies all five title so if you'd like one, or think it would make that perfect gift for someone on your list, click here to order a copy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In My Mailbox

Can it be that time again? This week just sailed by. As ever, thanks go to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week. A quieter week - just two books to talk about (not arcs, both already published):

How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation by Simone Elkeles

Guess who’s jetting off to the Holy Land this summer! Me—Amy Nelson-Barak. I’ve volunteered for ten days of military training in Israel with my friends. The Sababa brochure said it would be a “fun” summer experience. Okay, so I didn’t sign up to prove I’m not a princess…I did it to surprise my Israeli boyfriend stationed at the same base. Too bad nobody told me:

- It’s hot in the Negev desert…like, so hot your makeup melts off and you get under-boob sweat spots.
- You can’t sleep in until 11 a.m.
- You shouldn’t kill bees with your flatiron—don’t ask.
- Peeing in a hole isn’t easy (when you’re a girl)—double don’t ask.

When I found out our team leader was my boyfriend Avi, I was totally psyched…until I learned he has to treat me like all the other recruits.

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith

Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.

I'm in the mood for non-paranormal adventure this week so Lockdown is calling to me. Will let you know.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Elsewhere by Will Shetterly - Review

I know this is an older title but I just had to post my colleague Shannon's wonderful review of Elsewhere by Will Shetterly (yet another to add to my ever-growing TBR pile!).

Faerie has returned. But this time its run smack into a human city and created Bordertown, a dangerous and gritty world where magic, drugs, gangs, humans, halfies, and elves run wild on the streets. Ron has runaway to find his brother Tony but instead he finds Castle Pup an old building where a community of humans, elves, and half-breeds squat and live in a delicious tumult of electric colored hair, leather, spelled motorcycles, and great music. Will Ron ever be able to find his brother and survive Bordertown where beneath the thrill a dark undertow of violence and dark magic churn?

I loved this book. I think I borrowed it at least 10 times from our library. It was so full of the rebellion and danger that was just not part of my happy suburban adolescence. The characters completely charmed me. They were wild, brazen, street wise, and I mean, what beats a statuesque, leather clad elf riding a motorcycle?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Heidi R. Kling and Sea

I'm a bit late for my Waiting on Wednesday post but naturally I'm waiting for Heidi's wonderful book, Sea, to be published. Wanted to post video of Heidi talking about Sea, so here it is:

(And I'm sorry that the arrow seems to fall directly over your nose in the video, Heidi.)

Now that your interest has been piqued (!), you can read my review here , you can read my interview with Heidi here, and you can even become a fan on facebook here. Go!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fallen by Lauren Kate - Review

Luce Price is haunted by shadows. She can’t remember anything about the accident in which her boyfriend died, but nonetheless she’s sent to a reform school, Sword and Cross. Strangers surround her - all seem messed up to her – her cell phone is taken away, and there are security cameras everywhere. No wonder she’s unhappy. Then she catches a glimpse of Daniel Grigori and wonders why he seems so familiar. She’s sure she’s met him somewhere before but he is simply not interested, won’t have anything to do with her. And yet she can’t keep away. She needs to find out more about him (of course she does!) but he makes no sense to her at all.

This is very much an introductory novel to a new series that is full of unusual characters (my favorite is Penn), star-crossed lovers, and a fight between good and evil. There will be many, many things said about this ending but I loved it, made me change the way I thought about the book. Try it for yourself. Let me know.

Oh, and the cover is beautiful don't you think?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

In My Mailbox

As ever, thanks go to the very creative Kristi aka Story Siren and Alea of Pop Culture Junkie, the blogs where this meme started, here are the books I acquired this week. And this week the holidays came early. I was just SO very excited with my books this week. Sometimes you get exactly the books you were waiting and waiting for.
And to the books.

First, and most exciting to me,
This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I am such a huge fan of Life As We Knew It and The Dead and The Gone. I picked this up the second I received it, despite being in the middle of another book. This was the book I wanted over all others. And mid way through, it is every bit as good as I had expected it to be - and I had very high hopes.

from the back:It's been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce. The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

Lies (A Gone Novel) by Michael Grant
I am also an enormous fan of the Gone series and this is the third in the series. Can't read fast enough this week.

from the back: It happens one night: a girl who died now walks among the living. Zil and the Human Crew set fire to Perdidi Beach, and amid the flames and smoke Sam sees teh body of drake, but Drake is not dead, even though Sam and Caine defeated him along with the darkness - or so they thought.As Perdidi Beach burns, battles rage. And the prophetess Orsay is preaching that death will set them all free. As life in the FAYZ becomes more deperate, noone knows who they can trust.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Yes, I admit, I'm Team Jacob, have always loved werewolf stories (Shiver being the most recent, and thoroughly enjoyed Tattoo and the Squad series. I did say this was a good week for me...

from the author: It's about a human girl who was adopted and raised by a pack of werewolves after her human family was killed by a rogue wolf when she was five. The story picks up when Bryn (the main character) is fifteen and discovers a secret at the center of the pack- lots of snark, lots of adventure, and tons of werewolf politics and teenage rebellion.

That's my very wonderful round up for this week. What did you get?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalists Announced

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first awarded in 2009, honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.

The shortlist was just announced and is FANTASTIC!

1. Ash by Malinda Lo

2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

3. The Everafter by Amy Huntley

4. Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

5. Hold Still by Nina LaCour

The winner will be announced on January 18th.

Which book would you vote for?
(OK, I shamefully admit that I have only read one of the titles above - although I have all the rest on my TBR pile! However the one I have read, Beautiful Creatures, is fantastic.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

John Green reviews Twilight and New Moon

I had to post this. John Green talks here about Twilight and New Moon, the books and the movies.

So - what do you think?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hunger Games 3 Due Next August!

As announced in Publishers Weekly (click here to read the original article), today came fabulous news for all of us eager to know how Suzanne Collins will finish the amazing Hunger Games trilogy. We have just eight more months to wait! It hasn't yet got a title but it will be released in English worldwide on August 24, 2010. Oh be still my heart.

They also announced that they will finally release the trade paperback edition of the The Hunger Games on July 6, 2010.

Apparently The Hunger Games has 800,000 copies in print and Catching Fire has more than 750,000 copies in print. Oh, and Lionsgate has optioned movie rights.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


As promised, here's video of the incredibly talented Jessarae singing Without You (It'll Be Alright), the song inspired by Courtney Sheinmel's Positively. Hard to believe he's only 14 years old!

And did you know that his brother acts in TV's The Vampire Diaries? Such a talented family.

And here's Courtney talking about Positively, the book that inspired the song above.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Courtney Sheinmel Interview

In honor of World AIDS Day, here's my interview with the lovely Courtney Sheinmel, talking about her writing and her newest book Positively.

Tell us a little about Positively

Positively is about a thirteen-year-old girl named Emerson who was born with HIV. When her mother dies of AIDS, she has to move in with her dad and stepmother. Even though everyone around her has always accepted her, Emmy feels isolated and filled with grief. Her dad ends up sending her to a camp for girls with HIV, where she finds hope and the will to live, even in a world without her mother.

What was your inspiration to write Positively?

In February of 1991, when I was in eighth grade, I read an article about a woman named Elizabeth Glaser. She was infected with HIV and had unknowingly passed the virus onto her two children. After her daughter’s death in 1988, Elizabeth founded the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, in hopes of saving her son. It was one of the most remarkable stories I had ever heard, and I decided I wanted to get involved. Since then, I’ve met a lot of men, women, and children who are HIV-positive – regular people who never imagined how their lives would be changed by illness. Over the years I wondered how I would handle being thrust into that situation – particularly as a young kid. That was the impetus for Positively. In the book, Emerson has a personality that is markedly similar to my own; but unlike me, Emerson is living with HIV.

You tackle such a difficult subject like growing up HIV positive in a very sensitive manner. How many people did you interview for this? How much did you agonize over getting it “just right”?

I was very nervous about doing right by this story. I spoke to a number of teenagers with HIV, some of whom had lost parents. I had dozens of conversations with my friend Carol, who started a camp for kids who are HIV-positive, and I got in touch with an HIV nurse practitioner, to make sure I was accurate when it came to medical details. Still, sometimes I felt like I didn’t have a right to tell the story. The issues Emerson faces – life as an HIV-positive teen and as a motherless daughter – seemed almost sacred. One night I had dinner with Elizabeth Glaser’s son, Jake – the boy she started the Foundation to save. He’s all grown up now, and a close friend. I told him I felt like a fraud. He assured me I wasn’t and encouraged me to keep going. He said he believed in me, and believed I could tell the right story. I will always be grateful to him for that.

Because you tackle subjects like what families mean to us, no matter who or what they are, or about growing up HIV positive, are your books seen as controversial?

I don’t see them as controversial. I try to write honest and realistic stories, and my hope is that when readers finish them, they will feel the time they spent reading was worthwhile.

Is there one of your characters you identify most with? And are any of them based on people you know?

As I mentioned, Emerson is a lot like me – she’s sentimental about books and photographs, she’s loyal, and she’s stubborn. Sometimes she throws things when she doesn’t know what else to do (not my best characteristic). I identify with her a lot, even when she does things that may make her life more difficult. In terms of basing characters on people that I know, there are definitely similarities between my friends and the characters in my books. For example, Avery in My So-Called Family is a lot like my friend Arielle – they both have personalities that make people want to be around them. I gave Avery a heartthrob older brother because when I was in middle school, one of my friends had an older brother we were all in love with. And Leah’s younger brother Charlie has a few great one liners that came directly out of my nephews’ mouths.

How does it feel to know your book has inspired a song?

Oh, you mean “Without You (It’ll Be All Right)” by Jessarae? It feels great! The song is about going on after the death of a parent. I think it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard and I was blown away when I found out that Positively was the inspiration.

(I'll post video of this song here tomorrow!)

Do you hear from readers (or parents of readers) who either empathized with characters or had found themselves in the same situation?

I do, and it’s amazing. When I write, it’s just me alone in a room, and I have no idea who will end up reading my books. I would keep writing even if I knew no one would ever see the final product, but getting letters from readers is an incredible bonus. Recently I got an email from the mother of a boy who died of AIDS, and she said she really saw her son in Positively. I will save that e-mail for the rest of my life.

Did you always want to be a writer? (And do you still secretly want to be a singer?)

I always wrote – when I was really little, I would staple pages together to make “books.” But I did really want to be a singer. I was particularly encouraged by my father’s insistence that my sister and I harmonized together really well. (Apparently, in my family, love is deaf.) I still want to be a singer, but I have accepted that it’s just not in the cards.

Do you write full time?

Yes, writing is my main job. I also teach in an afterschool writing workshop and occasionally write book reviews.

Are you part of a writing group?

I’m not in an official writing group, but I sometimes send early chapters to friends for feedback.

Which writers do you admire most and did they influence your own writing?

I cannot possibly name all the writers I admire, but there are three who were particularly influential: First, and of course, there’s Judy Blume, the author of the first chapter books I read on my own, and the person who made me fall in love with reading. When my parents divorced, I carted around It’s Not the End of the World for months. I must have read it a hundred times. Then there was Anna Quindlen, the acclaimed novelist and columnist, who is probably one of the nicest people you could ever meet. She spoke at my high school when I was a freshman, and it was during her speech that I decided, officially, that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. And finally, Mary Gordon. Nothing I can say about her will ever do her justice. She’s an English professor at my alma mater, Barnard College, she’s one of my favorite writers, and she was, hands down, the best teacher I’ve ever had. She made me feel like a real writer, because she took my writing seriously.

What was your favorite book growing up?

There’s a picture book that I read until it was literarily shredded, called The Littlest Rabbit, about a rabbit who dreams of being taller.

What are you currently reading?

How to Say Goodbye in Robot, by Natalie Standiford.

What book would you like to read again for the first time?

A few months ago I read an incredibly moving, lyrical book for adults called The Cure for Grief. When I finished it, I was overwhelmed with sadness that it was over. Also I wish I could read my own books for the first time, as if they were written by someone else. I wonder what I would think of them if I were looking at them from a more objective standpoint.

What next?

My next book, Sincerely, Sophie/Sincerely, Katie, will be published by Simon & Schuster on June 8, 2010 -- I think it’s fitting that the book is a Gemini, because there are two protagonists. Sophie Turner and Katie Franklin are cross-country pen pals who confide in each other when their home lives seem overwhelming.

And I’m in the middle of editing my 2011 book, You Can’t Even Measure It, which follows seventh grader Carly Wheeler, whose life is turned upside-down the day FBI agents come to her house to arrest her mother for a white-collar crime. I went to law school and practiced law for several years before becoming a full-time writer, and this book marks the first time I’ve worked any of my legal knowledge a piece of fiction!

Is there something about you that would surprise people who don’t know you?

I am not really five feet tall (I’m about an eighth of an inch shy).

Do you have any advice for young aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Write a lot – write what you know, write things that interest YOU, and not what other people are telling you to write. And be persevering.

Thank you so much, Courtney, for taking the time to answer all my questions. Your event at Kepler's was fantastic and it's always a pleasure to see you - and to read one of your books. I'll post video of Jessarae singing tomorrow so watch out for it. And below are a few photos from the event: Courtney, Jessarae, and a fan (left) and Courtney and the wonderful Heidi Kling (right)