Archive for July, 2011

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Diana Bishop is a historian doing research at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.  She is also a witch who has turned her back on magic. When she requests a book from the stacks she gets more than she imagined. It is bewitched & sets off a series of events that will turn her world upside down. The future not only of witches, but also of vampires & daemons will be called in to question. Diana becomes involved with Matthew, a vampire who is interested in the genetics & origins of the world’s creatures, & together they try to find answers. The action flows from England, to France, to upstate New York. Elements of the past, including the history of the Crusades & the Knights Templar, the American Revolution & World War Two mingle with the present. History, science, magic, alchemy, love & passion make this well-written book a feast of ideas & secrets. The action & tension increases throughout until you turn the last page & wish for more. This book is the first part in the All Souls trilogy, part 2 is due out in 2012.  Many readers will be waiting for it.  Some reviews were critical of Diana’s character, that she was too good at too many things, or too knowledgeable, but remember this is fantasy & she is a witch & Matthew a vampire, & they have abilities beyond those of a normal human. So suspend disbelief and enjoy the story. (Find this book in our catalog)

http://deborahharkness.com/discovery-of-witches/

Posted by Julia

Jen’s Jewels with Susan Mallery

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Reality television has forever changed the landscape of the entertainment industry. With a click of the remote, you can watch a dating show set in the wild or witness the drama of housewives stirring up trouble in some of the hottest cities in America. These days, it seems as if everyone is looking for his or her fifteen minutes of fame no matter what the cost. Whether it’s good or bad for society is yet to be determined; however, the fact of the matter is reality shows are here to stay.

This month’s Jen’s Jewels Susan Mallery touches upon this very topic in her new release ONLY MINE. Set in the fictional town of Fool’s Gold, California, it’s the charming story of Dakota Hendrix who finds herself in charge of overseeing a romance reality series set in her hometown. The first book in an exciting new trilogy, Susan’s fans are sure to be pleased by this funny, fresh, and frisky summer read.

As part of this interview, Susan has generously donated three copies for you, my favorite readers, to try to win. So, don’t forget to look for the trivia question at the end of the column. And as always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewels a part of your summer reading list.

Jen: A New York Times bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, your unforgettable titles have earned you a spot on the who’s who list of the best in the business. So that my readers may catch a glimpse into the life of the woman behind the words, please share with us your educational and professional background.

Susan: I got my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. While I was studying to be an Accountant by day, I took an evening course called “How to Write a Romance Novel.” I was about two weeks into that class when I realized how much happier I was writing words and feelings on a blank page than I was writing columns of numbers on a spreadsheet. I did get my degree in Accounting because I believe in seeing things through, but I turned down a lucrative job offer so I could follow my dream. My professional background is almost entirely writing books.

Over the years, I’ve studied the craft of writing a lot. Although I don’t ever plan to write a screenplay, I took screenwriting courses to learn a lot about story structure. About eight years ago, I earned my Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction.

Jen: In terms of nuts and bolts, please share with us your writing process. Do you outline and plot first? Or, do you simply allow the story to take on a life of its own? Approximately how long does it take for you to complete a manuscript?

Susan: I do a lot of plotting in advance, which means I can write the story quickly, which further means that I don’t lose interest. For me, the creative rush is highest during the plotting process, and the actual writing of the book is more about getting the story down on paper. I’ve tried writing without a plot, and it just doesn’t work for me. I enjoy the aspect of surprise, but I dread revisions. Even when a book is thoroughly plotted, though, the characters can sometimes surprise me. I was sweetly surprised by a secondary romance in ONLY MINE, my latest book.

It takes me about three months to write a full-length book, give or take.

Jen: Your latest release ONLY MINE is the first 2011 book in a series you started last year, called Fool’s Gold. This year’s trilogy about the Hendrix triplets will unfold over the next three months. In general terms, how did you arrive at the premise for this exciting series?

Susan: The spark that led to Fool’s Gold was a news story about the census. I thought of how interesting it would be if the census discovered that a town faced a serious man shortage. How would the women in town react?

I wanted to go against expectation, so rather than being desperate to get more men, the women in Fool’s Gold get pretty darn crabby when the national media starts making jokes about the town with the man shortage. They do not enjoy being an American laughingstock. I can assure you, things will get worse for them before they’ll get better. In fact, there are some hysterical surprises in this year’s books that have readers reaching for the phone to call a girlfriend.

Jen: The main character in ONLY MINE is Dakota Hendrix, a triplet who has given up on love. When a production company filming a reality series rolls into town, a sexy stranger named Finn Anderssen enters her life. Like a moth to a flame, sparks fly instantly. What draws Dakota to this new man?

Susan: It’s got to be the plaid. Who can resist a man who rocks a plaid shirt?

…but seriously, folks… Dakota is drawn to Finn because the first time they meet, even though he’s angry, he’s angry because he cares passionately about his younger brothers. Dakota can relate to that. Her family is incredibly important to her, too.

Jen: Finn has his own set of issues as he tries to convince his twenty-one-year-old twin brothers Sasha and Stephen to skip out of the reality show in order to finish their last semester of college. Why can’t Finn just let go and allow his brothers to make their own decisions?

Susan: Finn felt that he was to blame for their parents’ death, so he carries a lot of guilt regarding his younger brothers. He vowed to himself that he would honor his parents by seeing his brothers safely through college. Only then does he think he’ll be able to relax and reclaim his own independence. You can imagine how crazy it makes him when his brothers drop out just a couple months shy of graduating! And even more infuriating, Dakota tries to convince him that he should let the twins make their own decisions in life… even if he thinks they’re making the wrong decision.

Jen: Dakota shares a special bond with her sisters as well as with her loving mother; however, she appears to have an adventurous spirit. What is the driving force behind her desire to follow her dreams?

Susan: Not following her dream was never an option for Dakota. She’s the kind of person who thinks problems through on her own before she lets anyone else in, including her mom and her triplet sisters. In FINDING PERFECT, which came out last year, readers learned that Dakota is carrying around a heavy secret. In ONLY MINE, they’ll learn what the secret is… and what Dakota is going to do about the problem she’s been facing.

Jen: Let’s switch gears now and talk about your promotional plans. Do you participate in Author Phone Chats? And if so, how would my readers go about scheduling one?
Susan: Absolutely! I’d be happy to talk by phone to book groups who select ONLY MINE or any of this year’s Fool’s Gold books. Contact my assistant at jenel@susanmallery.com to get on my schedule.

Jen: Please take us on a tour of your website highlighting points of interest.
Susan: Oh, my website is so much fun! You’ll find a list of my current and coming books, as well as a complete backlist of all the books I’ve published so far – and also, if I may say so, a pretty fabulous Members Only area. I run frequent contests for Members. Just recently, I’ve given away two iPads and a Kindle. When this blog is posted, we’ll be running a contest in which the winner gets an exclusive first look at the Fool’s Gold Christmas eBook that will be released later this year, plus a Man Shortage T-shirt. I also have exclusive short stories in the Members Only area, extended excerpts, fun videos, podcasts. You join the Members Only area by signing up for my mailing list here: www.susanmallery.com/members/

Also, don’t forget to check out www.foolsgoldca.com, a site that’s filled with bonus content about Fool’s Gold, the Land of Happy Endings. You can send off for free Fool’s Gold goodies, read free excerpts of the books, see a map of the town, and more.

Jen: In terms of social media, are you on Facebook? Twitter? Do you blog regularly on any sites?
Susan: I’m very active on Facebook and Twitter. Love, love, love how I can connect with my readers these days! On Facebook , we’ve created a real community on my page. Readers post pictures, share funny stories… and we play games together, like MalleryLib. On Twitter, I pop in almost every day, but what I really love about it is watching TV together like the world’s biggest slumber party. Project Runway is super fun to watch live while tweeting. People are so clever and funny, and they notice things about the clothes that I miss.

I do have a blog – susanmallery.blogspot.com. I try to share a recipe every week, though sometimes when a deadline is pressing, I don’t cook, much less blog about it.

Jen: In the fall, the next two books in the Fool’s Gold series Only Yours and Only His will be released. I can’t wait! In the mean time, are you currently at work on your next project? And if so, what can you share with us?
Susan: I’m working on next year’s Fool’s Gold books – three handsome cowboy brothers move to Fool’s Gold. You gotta love a cowboy!

Jen: Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with my readers. I highly recommend your new series to all of my readers. Best of luck with your book tour! It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you. Happy summer!
Susan: Thank you so much, Jen! I appreciate your warm hospitality.
I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Susan. Please stop by your local library branch or favorite bookstore and pick up a copy of ONLY MINE today. For all of my techno-savvy readers, it is also available as an eBook.
Would you like to win your very own copy of ONLY MINE instead? Okay, be one of the first three readers to e-mail me at jensjewels@gmail.com with the correct answer to the following trivia question and you’ll win.

What is the title of the second book in the Fool’s Gold trilogy?
Later this month, I will be bringing to you my interview with debut novelist Allie Larkin. You won’t want to miss it.
Until next time…
Jen

Great Nonfiction – Survival

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

   Finding Everett Ruess: The Life and Unsolved Disappearance of a Legendary Wilderness Explorer by David Roberts and Jon Krakauer (Find in our catalog)

Finding Everett Ruess is the definitive biography of the artist, writer, and eloquent celebrator of the wilderness whose bold solo explorations of the American West and mysterious disappearance in the Utah desert at age 20 have earned him a large and devoted cult following. More than 75 years after his vanishing, Ruess stirs the kinds of passion and speculation accorded such legendary doomed American adventurers as Into the Wild’s Chris McCandless and Amelia Earhart.

  The Ledge: an Adventure Story of  Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier by Jim Davidson and KevinVaughan (Find in our catalog)

On June 21, 1992, Davidson and his best friend, Mike Price, summited Mount Rainier and on their descent tragedy struck. Tied together, the two men fell 80 feet into a crevasse, with Price dying instantly. Now Davidson shares his incredible story of survival and renewal.

Editor

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Two years after the death of her husband, Heidi is unable to move forward with her life. Still grieving, she is a source of concern to her family. Her seven-year old son is also affected & is beginning to display symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. When a fire destroys the kitchen of a family home in Provence, Heidi’s mother offers to pay for her & Abbot to travel there & for Heidi to work on renovations. Charlotte, Heidi’s sixteen year-old niece travels with them.  She is having problems with her father, an artist, & her step-mother, Heidi’s sister. Heidi, Abbot & Charlotte all have emotional baggage they are carrying with them & are not convinced when Heidi’s mother tells them that the house in Provence can heal them as it has been a place for love through time. Through stories, new friendships & the revealing of family secrets Heidi, Abbot & Charlotte will begin to find hope for the future in this appealing, romantic tale. A lovely summer read with the flavor of Provence.

This book also includes, a readers’ guide, some wonderful recipes, & teasers of two other books. (Find the book in our catalog)

Bridget Asher is also the author of My Husband’s Sweethearts & The Pretend Wife.

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/5423/the-provence-cure-for-the-brokenhearted-by-bridget-asher#aboutthebook

Posted by Julia

Inspirational Fiction Picks from Christy

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

  Twelfth Prophecy by Bodie and Brock Thoene (Find this book in our catalog)

Travel back in time when Rome ruled the world and change was on the horizon.  Twelfth Prophecy, a new book by Bodie and Brock Thoene, lets us know how one of the prophecies concerning Jesus is fulfilled.  It also gives us a glimpse into the life of Abigail, the Samaritan woman before and after she meets Jesus at Jacob’s Well. 

When Abigail is found pregnant by a man not her husband, she is divorced and outcast by her elderly 5th husband Zekane.  Despite being outcast, shamed and despised Abigail continues to seek love, a touch of kindness and a measure of forgiveness.  Her daily struggles for survival for herself and her daughter bring her to the attention of a Jewish couple and a Roman centurion, who befriend and aid her until that destined day at Jacob’s Well when her life and many others are changed forever.

If you enjoy this story the library owns the other 11 in the series, A.D. Chronicles.  Enjoy!

   A Heart for Home by Lauraine Snelling (Find this book in our catalog)

The West at the turn of the century was full of change and conflicting ideas about women and Indians.  Lauraine Snelling does a fine job of bringing to life some of this in her A Heart for Home.  This is a story about a settler with two strikes against her:  first she is a woman, and second she’s a doctor with a foreign name!  Astrid Bjorlund has followed God’s calling to be a doctor on the Redbud Reservation in North Dakota.  Dealing with distrust from both the Indians and those who are supposed to help them Astrid works valiantly to stop an epidemic of measles that is decimating the small tribe on the reservation.  Her hard work and the recovery of her patients brings acceptance of herself and her doctoring skills.

Back home in Blessing, South Dakota, Joshua Landsverk, the man she had hoped to marry, is having a hard time accepting and dealing with her calling to be a doctor.  Brokenhearted Astrid fears that her dream of marriage and a family may be lost forever.  Can it be possible to follow God’s calling and still find love?  Follow Astrid as she deals with some of the life changing challenges we all deal with day to day.

Posted by Christy

Great Nonfiction – Unusual Crimes

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

 Sex on the Moon: the Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich (Find in our catalog)

This is what it says in our catalog: “Thad Roberts, a fellow in a prestigious NASA program had an idea-a romantic, albeit crazy, idea. He wanted to give his girlfriend the moon. Literally.   Thad convinced his girlfriend and another female accomplice, both NASA interns, to break into an impregnable laboratory at NASA-past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways-and help him steal the most precious objects in the world: the moon rocks.   But what does one do with an item so valuable that it’s illegal even to own? And was Thad Roberts-undeniably gifted, picked for one of the most competitive scientific posts imaginable, a possible astronaut-really what he seemed?   Mezrich has pored over thousands of pages of court records, FBI transcripts, and NASA documents and has interviewed most of the participants in the crime to reconstruct this Ocean’s Eleven –style heist, a madcap story of genius, love, and duplicity that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride. From the Hardcover edition.

 Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum by Jason Felch (Find in our catalog)

Drawing on a trove of confidential museum records and frank interviews, Felch and Frammolino give a fly-on-the-wall account of the inner workings of a world-class museum and tell the story of the Getty’s dealings in the illegal antiquities trade. Fast-paced and compelling, “Chasing Aphrodite” exposes the layer of dirt beneath the polished facade of the museum business.

Editor

Book to Movie – Sarah’s Key

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

  The movie, Sarah’s Key, based on the book by Tatiana de Rosnay, opens this Friday, July 22.  Kristin Scott Thomas stars as an American who discovers her husband’s family received their Paris apartment after the former owners were captured in a notorious roundup of Jews in 1942.   (Find this book in our catalog)

This is what it says in our catalog about the book: “Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

We also have this book in Spanish and as an audiobook.

Editor

Orange Prize

Monday, July 18th, 2011

  Tea Obreht’s debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife (Find in our catalog), was the surprise winner of this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction.  The judges praised The Tiger’s Wife as evidence of a “truly exciting” new literary talent. “It is a very brave book,” said Bettany Hughes, chair of the judging panel. “We were looking for a book that had some kind of alchemy, that changed us as readers and changed the way we thought about the world and The Tiger’s Wife certainly does that. It is a very special book.”

Here’s what it says in our catalog: “Remembering childhood stories her grandfather once told her, young physician Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man would go on such a farfetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger’s wife.”

Editor

Jen’s Jewels with Meg Cabot

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

I first had the pleasure of meeting Meg Cabot back in 2003 when we appeared together on Live with Regis & Kelly as part of the Reading with Ripa book segment. Since then, her career has literally taken off. A New York Times bestselling author, she writes for a wide audience including young adult as well as mainstream fiction. Her highly successful series The Princess Diaries has even made it up on the big screen. Honestly, it couldn’t have happened to a kinder person.

Nowadays, Meg is busy chasing vampires in her latest release OVERBITE. As all of her devoted fans know, it’s the highly anticipated sequel to her 2010 hit release INSATIABLE. If you haven’t read the first book yet (pick up a copy today!), no worries. Meg provides plenty of back story to catch you up to speed. In her usual quirky and lovable charm, she writes a funny, breezy story perfect for lounging by the pool.

As part of this interview, Harper Collins has generously donated five copies for you, my favorite readers, to try to win. So, don’t forget to look for the trivia question at the end of the column. And by the way, you may want to grab some garlic and a trusty stake! I hear the vampires are quite active this time of year. :

Jen: A New York Times bestselling author of various genres, your exemplary award-winning career distinguishes you as one of the best in the business. Describe for us your “Aha!” moment when you made the decision to pursue a career as a writer.

Meg: Aw, thanks! Actually, though I always loved to make up stories, I never dreamed I could become a professional author. I grew up in a college town and thought you had to have a beard to do that!

Instead, I decided to become a veterinarian. Unfortunately, I flunked algebra and got a 410 on the math portion of my SATs. So after high school, I decided to study art (because I loved to draw). After college, I moved to New York City to pursue a career as an illustrator. But I had a hard time finding work. I was so happy when I landed a job-any job!-as a freshman dormitory assistant manager at New York University, which gave me plenty of free time to return to my early love: writing.

But it took a long time for me to believe in myself enough to focus on what I really loved. It wasn’t until my own college professor dad died, in fact, that I started sending out my own stories. They all got rejected, but I figured the worst thing that can happen to you isn’t getting rejected for trying to do something that you love-it’s that you could die never having tried at all. So I kept trying until I succeeded. It took half a decade of no’s before I got a YES, but I never gave up.

Jen: Over the years, you have written young adult (THE PRINCESS DIARIES) as well as adult novels (The BOY NEXT DOOR). In terms of nuts and bolts, which genre is the most challenging to write and why so? And, which is your favorite and why?

Meg: I always like to say I love all my writing the same-just like moms love all their kids their same! But the truth is, I always love the manuscript I’m working on the best. It needs my attention the most!

I love to write for teens because they’re in a time of their lives when it is okay for them to still be undecided about who they are or where they’re going in life. When you’re an adult, this isn’t such an OK thing (although secretly many of us feel this way). Plus, there’s often a dance in YA books, and then the characters get a chance to dress up, and it’s always nice to give your characters a chance to shine. Adults never get to go to dances (except weddings), and so hardly ever get a chance to dress up. We lead such boring lives. Except those of us who are professional wedding planners, or spies (ha, ha).

But in adult books, my characters do get to have sex and swear more, so that’s a lot of fun.

I don’t make any adjustment to my writing style when I’m writing for non-adult readers . . . except that I usually leave out the swear words. I don’t like books for younger readers that “talk down” to the reader.

Jen: In terms of your writing process, do you concentrate on one project at a time or do you juggle a few? Do you outline first, or do you simply allow the project to take on a life of its own?

Meg: I tend to go weeks without writing a word, then suddenly, weeks where I can’t STOP writing. I don’t always outline, but I definitely know where the book is going to end before I get there.

I wish I were more even — I’ve heard of writers who write a page or two a day, every day. I wish I could do that. But with me it’s usually feast or famine. I focus on one project at a time, and I always listen to really loud music in headphones as I write.

I love writing that first draft. For me, writing started as my favorite hobby, so it’s especially fun for me when the manuscript I’m working on is spec, meaning I haven’t pitched it to anyone yet, and no one knows about — or is paying me — for it. When I don’t have to think about anyone’s expectations but my own, that’s when I really love my job.

Jen: Your latest adult release OVERBITE is in stores now. Please describe for us its premise.

Meg:OVERBITE is a sequel to INSATIABLE, my 2010 hit summer release and pseudo-sequel to Dracula, in which Meena Harper-a dialogue writer for the soap opera Insatiable-finds out the vampires her producers were trying to force her to incorporate onto the show in a bid to save it from cancellation are actually real!

Now Meena’s been asked to join the Palatine Guard, a demon-fighting unit of the Vatican, in their effort to eradicate demons from the earth. There’s just one hitch:

Meena’s in love with Lucien Antonescu, the Prince of Darkness…but her new partner, Alaric Wulf, wants nothing more than to see all vampires dead. Meena’s trying to prove that there may actually be some good in some demons, just like in us humans.

But she’s having a tough time!

You don’t have to have read INSATIABLE to enjoy OVERBITE, but unlike a vampire, it won’t kill you!

Jen: Where did you get the idea for this series?

Meg: Well, it kind of all started with a dog . . . . you can see a picture of him here: http://www.megcabot.com/insatiable/faq-new.php#meenasdog
We found him one morning sitting on our front porch. We thought he was a stray and we took him in, but then quickly realized he must belong to someone, so started looking for his real owner.
Unfortunately when we found his real owner, he turned out to have as many issues as his dog (who was totally paranoid, except when in the company of myself or our cat, Gem).
Although Jack’s owner turned out to be good looking and charming and did a lot of entertaining, he only came out at night. Obviously, we suspected that he was, in fact, a vampire . . .!
. . Clearly, we could not keep Jack Bauer (we called him Jack Bauer because of his severe anxiety problems. He seemed to think a nuclear bomb was going to explode at any moment, and was always looking over his shoulder for one. Jack Bauer was the name I gave him, not his owner, because of his state of constant agitation).
Sadly, Jack was not ours. Every time he showed up on our porch, we had to take him back to the vampire, although Jack cried piteously at this, and tried to phone Chloe at CTU.
We thought about keeping and hiding Jack, but since the vampire lived across the street from us and would see us every time we took his dog for a walk or to the vet, there was no real way we could do this.

The last time Jack Bauer ran away, however, we were not home to take him back to his owner or handlers at CTU. We were told by witnesses that he waited for us on our porch for hours. When we didn’t come to the door, he finally took off down the street in search of Chloe. No one saw where Jack went after that.
Jack Bauer never returned to our neighborhood.
I was distraught. Being a vampire, Jack’s owner did not seem to care very much at all.
Not much later, Jack’s owner was evicted. He left behind a small cat (who was thankfully adopted by the next tenant).
Months after giving up hope that I would ever see Jack Bauer again, I was eating in an outdoor restaurant when a neatly-dressed, pretty, short-haired girl came out of a nearby office building, walking a happy, rambunctious dog on a leash.
I was astonished to see that it was Jack Bauer. He looked totally different personality-wise. He seemed carefree and unworried about the impending nuclear annihilation of our country.
Physically, however, Jack was the exact same dog. He glanced up and wagged his tail when I said his old name.
The dark-haired girl who now owned him (and who had cured him of his crazed paranoia) tugged on his leash and said, laughing, “Come along, Charlie!” They got into her car and drove away.
Charlie -aka Jack Bauer – had saved himself (with the help of a cool career girl) and found a good home at last.
Inspired by how sometimes good does conquer evil, I went home and started writing what would become Insatiable, with the cool girl who saved him the model for my main character, Meena.
Jen: Aren’t readers tired of hearing about vampires?

Meg: This is a strong argument for why vampires might need to be eradicated. Only someone who happened to be in love with one of them might disagree.

Jen: In OVERBITE, you suggest that New Jersey is a hellmouth. Aren’t you being a little hard on my home state? :And, you also mention Minetta Stream. Does it truly exist?

Meg: A hellmouth is described as any place from which evil creatures draw energy! (This obviously explains the success of The Real Housewives franchise.) New Jersey isn’t the only place like this by far! Look at Las Vegas! And my home state of Indiana, and of course where I live now, Florida.

Also, in OVERBITE, New York City’s hellmouth is in the form of the Minetta Stream, a real waterway which used to run down the center of Fifth Avenue, but has been paved over for centuries. The Minetta Stream-both in OVERBITE and real life-does still rise up when the weather gets rough. A fountain that was said to have once been fed by the Minetta still stands in the lobby of the NYU dormitory where I worked for ten years while struggling to get published (Hayden Hall, 33 Washington Square West). A similar fountain with a much creepier history is featured in Overbite. http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/M125D/highlights/7320

Since the 19th century, there’ve been rumors about an elusive creature that lives in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey (and I’m not talking about the many bodies buried there by Tony Soprano and his cronies). The New Jersey Devil has been blamed for cattle mutilations as well as other strange events, including Teresa Guidice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Jersey_Devil

Sorry, New Jersey! But rest assured, there are many even more evil states in America.

Jen: OVERBITE features a demon-fighting unit of the Vatican called the Palatine Guard. Is this a real organization?

Meg: The Palatine Guard was a military unit of the Vatican during the 19th century. It is said to be defunct, but the Vatican says a lot of things we know not to be true. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatine_Guard

Jen: The vampires in OVERBITE are a bit old-fashioned. They can’t go out in the sun without bursting into flame or enter a home unless invited. Why did you choose to create your characters in this way?

Meg: The vampires in OVERBITE are modeled after Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic Dracula, who is said to have been inspired by Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula). Thanks to the popularity of Stoker’s book, there’ve been thousands of books, comic books, graphic novels, plays, television shows, and movies about vampires ever since. Vampires swing in and out of pop culture popularity (Salem’s Lot, The Lost Boys, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blade, Twilight, True Blood), but they never truly go away.

Jen: A question I just have to ask, what’s the best way to get rid of a vampire?

Meg: I recommend a steady diet of garlic, especially in Italian food of any kind. And a good stake of course (STAKE, not steak).

Jen: Will there be a third book in this series?

Meg: Not if Alaric Wulf, vampire-hunter, does his job!

Jen: Let’s switch gears now and talk about some promotional information. Please take us on a tour of your website highlighting points of interest.

Meg: On megcabot.com, you can read my diary, and of course about all my books and get lots of special sneak peeks and extras. For example, right now you can read three chapters from my newest book, Overbite! And there are links to lots of fun videos and book trailers, as well as “leaked” documents from the Palatine Guard, a secret demon-fighting unit of the Vatican featured in INSATIABLE and OVERBITE. http://www.megcabot.com/insatiable/book2.php

Jen: In terms of social media, are you on Facebook? Twitter? Do you blog?

Meg: Absolutely! Readers can check out my blog at megcabot.com and read my tweets at @megcabot. Lately, I’ve been tweeting a lot from the Romance Writers of America conference in NYC, and posting fun photos of having tea at the Plaza with a librarian who donated $1600 (!) towards diabetes research to have tea with me! So nice.

Jen: Are you currently at work on your next project? If so, what can you share with my readers?

Meg: Two new Heather Wells books are due in stores in 2012 and 2013. So I have to write them! When the last book ended, I left Heather in a dressing room trying on wedding dresses. I have to go rescue her! And of course, I have the next two books in the Abandon series coming out, as well.

Jen: As always, it’s a pleasure having the chance to catch up with you! I wish you the best of luck with OVERBITE! I highly recommend it to all of my readers. Happy summer!

Meg: Thanks, Jen! Great talking to you!

I hope you have enjoyed my interview with New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot. Please stop by your favorite bookstore, library branch, or website to pick up a copy of OVERBITE today. It is also available in eBook format which can be downloaded in mere seconds!

Then again, how would you like to win a copy instead? Okay, be one of the first five readers to e-mail me at jensjewels@gmail.com with the correct answer to the following trivia question and you’ll win!

OVERBITE is the sequel to what previous Meg Cabot release?

In August, I will be bringing to you my interview with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery. You won’t want to miss it.

Happy summer!

Jen

Book to Movie – Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

  The Movie Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, based on the book by Lisa See (Find this book in our catalog), opens July 15. The tale shifts between two intimate friends in 19th-century China and their descendants in modern Shanghai.

This is what it says about this book in our catalog: “Lily is haunted by memories of who she once was, and of a person, long gone, who defined her existence. She has nothing but time now, as she recounts the tale of Snow Flower, and asks the gods for forgiveness. In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu (“women’s writing”). Some girls were paired with laotongs, “old sames,” in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become “old sames” at the tender age of seven. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a brilliantly realistic journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. With the period detail and deep resonance of Memoirs of a Geisha, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship. From the Hardcover edition.

I recently read Shanghai Girls (Find this book in our catalog).  The theme is again relationships between women, this time sisters.  The action starts in Shanghai just before WWII.  The book is full of fascinating details of the westernized, decadent life lived in Shanghai before the invasion by the Japanese.  The girls flee to the United States after a series of horrific experiences.  There they become victims of the shameful history of the US vis a vis Chinese immigrants.  That part of the book is eye-opening.  I couldn’t put down this intriguing tale of family secrets reverberating down the generations.

Lisa see has just written the sequal to Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy (Find in our catalog).