Interview: Rhiannon Thomas, author of A Wicked Thing

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I want to say that the book by Rhiannon came out February 24 and this post from me is my congratulations to her.
SO CONGRATS, Rhiannon! ❤ I hope this year will be amazing for you. I can only add that I looking forward to start A Wicked Thing, which is already waiting for me on my Kindle!

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Rhiannon Thomas’s dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world… and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.


1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on A Wicked Thing? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?
A Wicked Thing went through loads of names. Giving it a title was kind of a nightmare. It was called After for a long while, which I really liked, but there are already a lot of books called that. But I am terrible at naming things. The day before I was supposed to give my editor a list of potential titles, I remember sitting in a café with some of my friends and a notebook, just trying out every possible combination of Sleeping Beauty related words and quotes from the book, desperately hunting for anything that might work. Argh, titles.

But what always makes me smile about the book is the evolution of one of the characters, Finnegan. He didn’t appear in the first draft, and he was just a plot device in the second – I needed Aurora to have a meeting with somebody important, so she could then miss the meeting for Plot Reasons that I don’t remember any more. That part of the story didn’t stick around, but my friend read that version, and her main feedback comment was “I want more Finnegan.” He was in like four pages of the book at that point. So I rewrote and gave him a bigger role, then gave the book to another friend. “I love Finnegan,” she said. “He should be in it more.” So I gave him a BIGGER role. Then my agent told me that she loved Finnegan and he should be in it more. Then my editor told me the same thing. By the end, I was considering scrapping the whole thing and just calling it The Finnegan Story.

They were right, though. He was a really fun character to write, and he ended up being key to the story that I wanted to tell over the series.

2) What inspired you to write A Wicked Thing?

Originally, it was all about the “true love” trope. When the idea first came to me, Twilight was the hottest thing in YA fiction, and there were loads of stories about Fated Love, or other scenarios where two people simply have to be together because destiny says. It really got me thinking, because if a stranger showed up and told me he was my true love and we were destined to be together and save the world, I’d be more than a little freaked out. And I don’t think that sort of pressure is exactly conducive to romance, or at least to a healthy relationship.

And Sleeping Beauty ends so weirdly. Disney made it so that the prince and the princess had at least met before the kiss of true love, but most of the versions have them as total strangers. So what would really happy after the true love’s kiss? The question really bugged me, and it ultimately became A Wicked Thing.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).

I’m going to give one of my favorite quotes from another book, which is “Kiss me, Hardy, kiss me quick!” from Code Name Verity. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know what an amazing moment that is, and I dream of being able to pull different parts of a story together in a punch-in-the-gut moment like that one.

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

It took about a year to write A Wicked Thing to the point that I thought it was finished. Then it took another three months of editing it with my agent, and two months more editing it with my editor, before it was officially done.

The ending was definitely easier than the beginning. In fact, I think the ending is one of the few things that survived from my very first draft. The words came out right the first time, whereas I rewrote the first chapter more times than I’d like to remember.

5) Can you tell us how you became a published author?

After I graduated from university, I was pretty lost in a sea of “what do I do with my life now??”, and since I’d always wanted to be an author, I decided I would try and write a novel while I was figuring things out. Then I got pretty darn lucky. I queried agents with the novel starting August 2012, and about a month later, I got an offer of representation from my amazing agent, Kristin Nelson. After that, we revised the book together, and then she sent it on submission to publishers. HarperTeen liked it enough to publish it, so that was that! I stopped trying to figure out what sensible career I should be trying to pursue, and started putting all my energy into writing instead.

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Aurora? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

Hmm, I think my letter to Aurora would be full of cheesy sentiments, like that she should Believe In Herself, and that she shouldn’t sacrifice herself to make others happy. It would probably turn into a feminist pep-talk about how girls are expected to never be “selfish” or put themselves before others, and how that’s totally wrong and she should be able to do what makes her happy.

Also, I’d tell her that you should never trust cute guys in bars. Because seriously.


It was a lot of fun! Thank you so much, Rhiannon 🙂


About the author

Rhiannon Thomas is an English lit grad from Princeton University. She currently lives in York, England, in the shadow of a thirteenth-century Gothic cathedral. When she isn’t lost in YA fantasy, she writes about feminism and the media on her blog, http://www.feministfiction.com.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Heroines

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‘Top Ten Tuesday’ is a weekly meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. Thank you for this.

Favorite Book Heroines

1) Aysel from MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga

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Yes, I am truly in love with Aysel. She is a wonderful character. I adore her black humor, her vision of the world, her love for physics. She is the type of person with whom I would like to be friends. She is amazing and I’m so glad that I know her.


2) Adelina Amouteru from THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu

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(Оn this picture the girl has two eyes, but you understand me)
Yes, you get that right, I’m a wild fan of the dark characters with psychological problems that can kick your ass. My favorite type of characters.


3) Mare Barrow from RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard

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The heroine who can be selfish? I needed it.
I also needed her wit and talent for theft. It’s awesome.


4) Cress and 5) Cinder from THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer

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I just love these girls. The first is a hacker, the second is a mechanic. Marissa is managed to create a stunning and strong heroines, from which I will always take an example.


6) Alex from MADE YOU UP by Francesca Zappia 

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Lobsters, schizophrenia and knowledge of history.
This girl is wonderful and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet her. You should too!


7) Nastya Kashnikov from THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay

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Oh, my dear Nastya.
I feel you.


8) Grace from HELLO, I LOVE YOU by Katie M. Stout

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She is beautiful, and I couldn’t stop admiring her thoughts. She acted like any teenage girl, and this is what is sometimes so severely lacking in the YA literature.


9) Blue from THE RAVEN CYCLE by Maggie Stiefvater

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The way she takes care of the four great guys make any person to understand that she is amazing.


10) Lilac LaRoux from THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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Can I just say that I want to marry her?!

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon 2015: High Fives

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‘Book Blogger Love-a-Thon 2015’ is an event that was created at Alexa Loves Books. Thank you for this.

Here I’ll post a few of my favorite things and persons. I am so excited to share them with you!

BOOKS

The most of my favorites are The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and all the books by Marie Lu. If you have not read any of this, then read right now!

GENRES

All of them. For me it doesn’t matter if the book is good. Although fantasy is a bit closer to me.

AUTHOR

Becky Albertalli. Because she always writes exactly those kind of words that I need to feel better. Because she is the friendliest person I have ever met. Because I can send to her strange e-mails, my edits for Simon and pics of Oreo. Because she is very smart and kind, and I’m so grateful to her for everything. Do not put into words how glad I’m to be able to communicate with her.

BLOGGER

My Ukrainian friend Steysha and her wonderful blog InfinitYA.

BOOKISH MERCHENDISE

EpicReads. For being amazing HarperCollins YA community.


 

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon 2015: Getting To Know Me

‘Book Blogger Love-a-Thon 2015’ is an event that was created at Alexa Loves Books. Thank you for this.

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1) What’s your name? 

Maria Leonova. 

2) Where in the world are you blogging from? 

UA.

3) How did you get into blogging in the first place? 

That was last year. I started to sharpen my focus on the book business, because I wanted to find a way to express myself. And I really love to read. So I do not regret that I chose it.

4) How did you come up with your blog name? 

I had a community on another site, which I called The Sound of My Soul. When I created the blog, I decided to use it. But then replaced it on YA books because my blog is focused on them.

5) What genre do you read and review the most on your blog? 

I do not know. Contemporary? (As it turns out)

6) What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews? 

Oh. I try to vary my blog. Basically I love to interview authors and writing memes.

7) Best blogging experience so far? 

Meeting friends. Getting ARCs. So many things that can not be described.

8) Favorite thing about the blogging community? 

Their creativity and kindness. For real. Bloggers are smart and wonderful people.

9) Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2015! 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, Winter by Marissa Meyer, Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy and The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows!

10) What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read? 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This book is changed my life.

11) Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?

Etienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. Definitely. I want him to be my friend. And Aysel from My Heart and Other Black Holes.

12) Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests? 

I love to write. Secretly practiced in cosplay, although it turns out bad, but I’m not giving up.

13) Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for? 

Clothing. No, I’m not a shopaholic, I just love new clothes and her smell.
Also food. Any food. I would not have survived without food.
And tea. The whole cupboard in my kitchen reserved for tea.

14) At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing? 

Anything of the songs by Fall Out Boy. Or Irish music. I love it.

15) Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book. 

The Selection by Kiera Kass. Pretty please.

Interview: Renee Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn

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I’m so happy today. Guess why?
Yes, yes, I finally was able to post wonderfully interview with the author of the book, for which I’m prepared to kill (just kidding. Almost).

HERE WE GO!!!

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A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on The Wrath and the Dawn? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

The Wrath and the Dawn was originally called One Thousand One, but my agent thought it sounded a bit too much like sci-fic novel. And as for funny stories, I think it’s impossible to write a book without having at least a few amusing incidents along the way! Probably some of the most memorable ones involve asking my husband and my in-laws to help me with some Persian translations. Let’s just say that the phrase “lost in translation” was absolutely applicable on more than one occasion.

2) What inspired you to write The Wrath and the Dawn?

I was actually inspired to write it by a tapestry hanging on the wall of my in-law’s home. At a distance, it looked like a hundred different vignettes strung together, but it was actually tales from A Thousand and One Nights.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book?

“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

It took me about four months to write The Wrath and the Dawn. For me, it’s usually easier to write the beginning of a novel.

5) What are your favorite books?

Oh, gosh, this is an almost impossible question for me! I love a lot of classics. Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, The Lord of the Rings, and A Moveable Feast come to mind. I’m also a big fan of anything by Isabelle Allende or Kahlil Gibran. For YA, I love Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy and Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. In truth, this list could go on forever.

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Shahrzad? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

I don’t know that I’d write her a letter for reasons I can’t divulge at the moment 😉 But I do think letters are wonderful to give and receive!


Thank you so much, Renee! It was so fun! So glad I was able to chat with you 😉


About the author

Renee Ahdieh lives in North Carolina with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, Renee like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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‘Waiting on Wednesday’ is a weekly meme that was created at Breaking The Spine. Thank you for this.

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Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pagean—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.


About this author

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Her debut contemporary young adult novel, Side Effects May Vary, is out from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins and has been well-received by Kirkus, School Library Journal, VOYA, Booklist, Seventeen Magazine, and Teen Vogue. Dumplin’, Julie’s follow-up novel is due out in 2015.

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Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

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Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.


My rating: All the stars.

“Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole–it’s so dense that there’s no room for light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still suck me in.”

How can I properly write a review for this book? This is unreal because I cry all the time, when I think about it.
This book is very deep into my heart. 

“You’re like a grey sky. You’re beautiful, even though you don’t want to be.”

Same thing with this book. It shouldn’t be beautiful, because it is about teenagers who conceived suicide.
But it is. Beautiful in every sense, because it made me think about life and all the things that I used to ignore.

I so much want to thank Jasmine for this book.
Because I understand it.
Because I’m in love with Aysel and Roman. They are broken, but at the same time, strong characters. Even if you have a black hole instead of a heart, you still love them.

I so adore Aysel that I can say with confidence that she is my favorite character. With her black humor, which is sometimes similar to mine and love of physics she has taken a special place in my heart.

I just want to make every person in the world to read this book, so they finally realized that it is impossible to ignore teenage problems. That they are just as serious as any other. And if you notice signs of depression in your child, you can’t ignored them.
Depression is a serious illness such as cancer. Because of this, people die.

Please do everything you can to these people ended their story as well as Aysel and Roman.

And read this book. You fall in love with it, I promise.


Here is my fan-art for this book:

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